Notts Pot.

This is a story of a club trip into Notts Pot in February 1998. I‘ve just been asked by our very own Robert Maxwell (alias Dick Wade) to write about it. It’s now June so the story might be a figment of my vivid imagination, My apologies to anybody I’ve missed out, or indeed put in.

The story can be split into four parts the ladder, the fart, the daft fart, and farting about. After meeting at 1O.3Oam. by the shooting hut we split into two parties of five - Chaz Frankland, Fran Dyke, Chris Naylor, Neil Pacey and myself and Andy Hall, Bob Jenkins (I was trying to get him to defect to the Red Rose) and two new recruits who’s names escape me and Dick Wade.

Bob’s upbringing came out at the first pitch; “What, no ladder? We always have ladders on our club trips!” So we put one on the next pitch in the main chamber just to make him feel at home. At this point myself and the rest of the SRT team put on thick rubber gloves, “You never know what you’ll catch off these Jim Newton ladders.” Says Chaz. Now we split up.

Andy ‘s group to do Adamsons Route, the rest of us to do Twilight Zone we’d swop routes to de-rig. Up above the first pitch of the left hand route the ox-bow carries on up to a narrow section which gets you further out over the shaft. This is the start of the Twilight Zone and is rigged with a traverse line up to the first Y hang. At this point I was following Fran up the traverse, her backside level with my head, when this enormous noise came from her nether regions - now Fran’s Troll suit has seen better days and is full of holes, so I slid back down the traverse , in a semi gassed state, right into Neil who was cursing and holding his nose. Fran then escaped down the pitch laughing to herself.

This pitch is a masterpiece, rigged from two bolts in the roof, it descends 10-ft. to a deviation and then a pendulum across to a re-belay on the very far side of the shaft. A further 4Oft below is a ledge from which a descent of 50ft. lets you onto another ledge. A short passage leads to a 16ft. drop and a small chamber. In the side of the chamber is a window which drops 5Oft. into a streamway, which brings you to the final pitch of Left Hand Direct.

At this point I had recovered from my ordeal and caught Neil up. We traversed along a rift and Neil said he would go first. “It’s a bit awkward here.” He said as he slid down the rope. After 6ft. he said; “I’m at the re-belay.” “Eh?” Said I; “I’ve never had two re-belays on this pitch.” “Rope free.” So I went down. No re-belay. “You stupid fart”. I said; “you’ve gone down on an old divers line used for hauling bottles - get yourself back on the right rope!”

After we had sorted him out we Joined the queue for the last pitch - 80ft. - to the bottom. There was Neil, Chris, Dick and myself. Just then shouts from the bottom - “We’re cold, don’t come down, we’re on our way up”. “Bloody softies” said Dick. Chris and myself having bottomed Notts at least three times before, headed out so as not to get caught up in any wallying about. It was my first time in Adamsons route - a very nice way out. The first pitch going out is a 4Oft. pitch to a Y hang in a roof, followed by the excellent Birthday pitch of about 100ft. with one deviation near the top. Two more pitches of 4Oft. and 26ft. lead to the main chamber, where we sat at the foot of the ladder listening to the different sounds from down below, like; “What do I do now?” and “How do you pass a deviation?” (Oh no, not Dick again!) and other farting about sounds.

We then heard someone coming from the direction of Twilight Zone, so up the ladder we scurry and turn off cur lights. It’s Bob, breathing heavily and chuntering. He sat down at the base of the ladder and we drop pebbles on his head. “Ere, what’s going on?” he says in his best headmasters voice - so we kicked the contents of a pool over his head, while he cursed about illiterate blacksmiths of doubtful parentage! “I knew you were there,” he exploded when he got outside - “I could hear the sniggers!”
As we got changed a very pleased Dick Wade came out - “What a good do,” he said.. “You can stuff your ladders, this SRT ‘s a much better do.” And with that we retired to Bernies for a brew. So with this I end a very personal view of a club trip that was a bundle of laughs - and wind.

Keith Wright.

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