Monster Raving Weekend (19/9/87)

I picked up Neil Pacey from Askam and we set off for the farm in a steady downpour that maintained its enthusiasm till we were in Bullpot farm; a building unusually full of members. 6pm. and the weather was worsening, still we were inside so that was OK.                     

The committee meeting was run through with dispatch and then the evening began. Although there had been fears expressed about the whereabouts of Stu. Johnson and his beer engine.Then the slide show, no, not the effects of the beer, but the magic lantern type. Ron Bliss even produced some antique glass caving slides. These having to be viewed in the antique manner, held up to the light. The evening continued with more beer, food in abundance, more beer etc, so a convivial evening wore on.

Some time around midnight the fact of an unattended car was brought up, eventually it was suggested that everybody in the farm should go outside and stand beside their cars, so that it could be made certain that the car in question did not belong to one of the revelers. Everyone trooped or squelched out. The car was not one of ours. Further investigations were made, on the back seat of the vehicle was a book on SRT technique and tying knots etc.

Then Jim Farrer recalled that he had met a party of three in the afternoon who had told him they were going down Pool Sink, Jim had warned them of the weather forecast, but they had seemed quite happy and had continued on their way. - the board outside the farm was inspected there were faint traces of a record of a party of three and Pool Sink
Now this reporter had been enjoying himself and thus this account is written based on a somewhat hazy memory.

It was decided that the CR0 should be called out, and meanwhile a gallant bunch led by Andy Hall volunteered to get changed and to rush out to the rescue. An ‘umble PC soon arrived and seemed slightly bemused. Then our team appeared changed and ready to battle with the elements, and cave search. It was now that Andy decided that the rescue would not be complete without a molephone. This entailed the party awaiting the arrival of the CR0. Now Jim Newton heard this, There came a great snort of derision and a statement on the lines of; “When men were men and cavers, cavers etc., we just went out and got on with the job.” snort, snort”.

Soon another member of the constabulary arrived, something like an inspector, I believe. Then some of the CR0 team, whose first act seemed to be to grab some beer, before settling down to consider the situation. The police joined the CR0 members somewhere other than the kitchen leaving their hats behind, there followed an interlude where interesting and imaginative suggestions were made regarding alternative uses for constabulary headgear.

Time passed and as things were gradually organised, Jim passed about the kitchen, ensuring that a sufficient level of beer was maintained in his mug to mutter and snort into.

Every time ‘molephone’ was mentioned it produced an almost Pavlovian snort response from Jim; Jackie attempted the impossible task of placating him, with no great success.
Eventually everything was as organised as it was going to be and off set the gallant band; Andy Hall, Pete Seed, Pete Saville, Steve Hutchinson, Chaz Frankland, Keith Wright, and Frank Hardy.

More beer was consumed (that barrel stood up well), and eventually the mob in the kitchen thinned out. In my case Morpheus made himself felt and I decided to get my head down. Jim Newton departed for bed with the parting shot; “This lot couldn’t organise two lame ducks for a shit.” More beer was consumed (that barrel stood up well), and
eventually the mob in the kitchen thinned out. In my case Morpheus
made himself felt and I decided to get my head down. Unfortunately for me John Frankland was resting on my normal perch. I looked at him and informed him of this fact, then I must admit rather huff ily, settled into a nearbye armchair. I was just dropping off, it was now about 3am. when I heard the CRO radio in the next room announce that the missing party had been found. The operation was stood down and John decided to move on as he had a meeting to attend later in the day.

I occupied my spot and thinking that I was now in for an extended sleep dropped off.
It was not to be: 7am. and I awoke to the dulcet tones of two children. I lay there a while hoping to drop back off, but it was no good. I got up and made some breakfast the children meanwhile were concocting a disgusting mixture from the many glasses that littered the kitchen table; they ended up with a pint glass full of a purplish/brownish liquid with an evilly leering off white head. The morning continued as mornings usually do and soon I was talking to Frank Hardy. He informed us of the rest of the rescue saga. He and Keith Wright were crossing the fell towards County, and had missed the path, it was then that the rescuers also being off course, had spotted them and the job was finished
Later on still, nine thirtyish, Tony Tanner organised the children to go around the bedrooms and inform everyone of the time and get them up. A fairly successful operation if not entirely wise. Olwen wasn’t moved, and Keith Lewis was definitely not amused, still Tony survived this indiscretion.

As noon approached people started to get changed, most in a reasonable state of health considering the average sleeping period of two or three hours. The Gear was collected and we headed far Lancaster Hole. We found that another party had already rigged the pitch and we were invited to use their tackle. Bill Holden tied on and prepared to descend, he looked at me and said; “You had better come next Dick.”. I nodded as he disappeared over the edge.

Now I had fallen out of love with 100ft. pitches some years ago and wasn’t looking forward to this descent. Still, up came the rope and I was on my way. Making sure that I had a good life lining squad I climbed slowly down. It was OK and I was soon at the bottom of the pitch. The rest of the group descended some using the ladder, some abseiling, and some seeming to do both.


The through trip continued, with Sandra Wilkinson at times chivying me on. We continued until we reached stop pot for THE PHOTOGRAPH. Now all was up to Ron Bliss and his aged flash powder. This worked, all that was lacking was the genie, the smoke rose in a great mushroom, and then fell back on itself so that we were feeling our way through it on the way out. At a rough count there were forty plus members in stop pot
The trip continued to County and back to the farm. A good shower and a meal and the end to an enjoyable weekend.

One unpalatable act was performed by a member of the NCC who in the early hours of Sunday morning removed the rescued groups tackle from Pool Sink. Even though, apparently the party had said anybody could have the tackle. When they returned for it later on Sunday it had gone.

Dick Wade.

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