Rumbling Hole. 8th. July. 1979.

I left home at 9.15am and drove straight up to Lack Fell. On the way I met Andy who delivered the permit to the farm. We continued on up to the Lost Johns car park and Keith Lewis, Mark Woodhouse, and Mike turned up. While we were changing, Steve Terry, young Dave from Burton in Lonsdale and Bob Stevens turned up, Bob had come up on his motorbike. Keith and Co. had brought no ladders for the entrance pitch, thinking that they were the only ones doing it, they had brought an abseil rope. However we set off over the fell to the entrance

The rope was tied to a tree and dropped down.. Keith went down first, then Mark, young Dave and myself, followed by Steve, Bob and Andy. Some used a rack, Keith and Mark used one of Keiths inventions, and the rest of us used figure of eights. We all carried down tackle.
We were all soon gathered at the top of the third pitch which Keith was rigging. We had come down the first two pitches on the one rope. A 300ft. length of passage, a crawl and some small climbs led to this. Keith found that the ladder was about eight feet short for this pitch of about 58ft. We also only had one lifeline for the last pitch. However we all soon got down this pitch which was in a fissure. After a short length of passage we came to the fourth pitch. After rigging the ladder to a bridge above this circular pot Keith decided that it was too dangerous without a lifeline. So he climbed down a hole this side of the big chockstone and dropped the ladder down the waterfall. Even in the water it was an easier take off and a safer climb down without a lifeline; it was also shorter, about 30ft. at the bottom of this pitch there was another drop of ten feet which we put the end of the ladder over. This was immediately followed by a climb down a fissure of about ten feet. Then a short length of passage and we were at the last pitch. The take off was narrow at the top but opened into a large pot 50ft. deep. There was a fair bit of water going down, and we used a lifeline. Keith was the first down, then Mike; Keith came hack up and I went down followed by Mark. I crawled down the passage towards the sump, but after a short winding bit it was sumped up at a small chamber. We climbed back up the pitch and were replaced by another pair going down, this being repeated until the whole party had visited the sump.

Keith, Andy , Mark and Mike bombed off out as they had the prussiking gear. Bob, Dave, Steve and myself de-tackled the pitches, we hauled the tackle up the 30ft and 60ft. pitches on the end of the ladders; we ‘felt that this was safer than carrying without a lifeline. The 60ft. pitch up the fissure or rift did not ‘feel safe at all without a lifeline, especially near the top. When we got to the open pot a rope was hanging dawn the fifty foot gully, I climbed up using the rope as a handine. Then I hauled the tackle up and threw the rope back down again for a ladder and rope that Sob and Dave had just brought up. I tied the rest of the tackle to the abseil rope and shouted up for hose at the top to haul in. At first it went well, but then the rope got caught on a small overhang; I tried pulling it free with the end of the rope. There was a lot of cursing from above, then it came loose.
They dropped a ladder down from above, at first this got caught but with a bit of shaking it dropped down, then the rope came down, but not enough for the others below so I had to shout for another 60ft. They tied another rope on and lowered it again. I threw the rope down the gully for the others and made it fast at the top of the gully. They climbed up to me, I untied the rope, and then tied on in the middle of it, then shouted ‘for them to take in”; there was a cheer from above and I started climbing. They soon started pulling hard so I went up the ladder fast. Near the top I saw that the ladder was hanging from a rung which had caught over a small rock. I climbed up to this and reached above it then shook it loose, shouting for a tight rope at the same time. I was soon up to the top, and was then hauled out of the pot entrance and over the ‘fence.

They were hauling the rope across the fell. The rest of the lads were hauled up likewise. Bob said his feet hardly touched the ladder and young Dave said that he had got caught under a overhang and was nearly strangled. Steve called us bastards as he was hauled over the fence.

It was 5.30pm. we had been down about five hours. It was dull and cloudy and started raining, but it had been a good trip and I think we had all enjoyed it. Then it was back to the farm and a good meal. Later to round off the day, some of us went down to the Snooty. Fox for a drink.

Frank Hardy

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