Brown Hill Pot.
Having a day
free from college I decided to meet Paul in the dales and together we’d tick
off an ‘ard pot. The hole chosen was Brown Hill Pot
consists of a slide down oil drums followed by an awkward bend through a
squeeze. The tackle was manhandled through and we soon stood in a small
chamber. Vague memories of the description suggested that we should stay high
in the preceding rift. The next 2OOft. Was, to put it mildly, a little bit of a struggle. Straining
to keep in the top of the twisting rift was made doubly hard by the tackle.
After what seemed a hell of a long way, and sweating buckets, we eventually
reached the first pitch. A manky old bolt was located
and the ladder dropped down. The relief of being out of the confined rift was
tempered by the alarm bells in my mind as I considered the return journey.
Still, in good spirits we were confronted by the next pitch. An easy drop of 25ft. was a pleasant surprise, above
on the left the original entrance joined the pitch, (we had come through Floyds entrance).
Once again we were traversing in a large rift, this one more spacious, but still awkward at times. The main problem was finding the right level, several blind alleys meant tiresome thrutches back up, or painful squeezes down. My tattered over suit was taking a battering from the rough cave walls, one knee had already disintegrated, and the other was well on the way to the same fate.
and scratches signaled that we were at the right level, and in quick time we
found ourselves at the head o-f the big pitch. Still jammed in the rift we
donned SRT gear, each of us being very careful not to drop some vital bit of
gear into the depths. The pitch was s fine hang, the previous obstacles floated
out of mind, as I sailed down the shaft. On the far side flowstone slithered
down the walls in eternal cascades, and the limestone was scoured clean and
shiny by falling water. Dry freezing weather above ground meant that the second
half of the pitch was nice and dry. The question was, would our rope be long
enough, would the ledge have used too much rope? This was answered when about two
feet from the bottom I docked onto the knot. Everything was going smoothly, we’d had no cock ups or getting stuck. The final
part of the cave was a complete contrast, a sporty
streamway tumbled down small cascades and along a spacious walking passage. This
type of caving is just about my favorite in the
After a short
pause for chocolate and reflection we headed out. For the last couple of days I
had been suffering from a groggy cold, but I had
ignored it on this trip. I suddenly realised that it
was beginning to catch up on me, and I was starting to feel quite tired, and
not as ‘fresh’ as I would have liked to be. Small climbs and thrutches suddenly seemed more energy consuming, and I set
myself on autopilot putting all doubts to the back of my mind. Apart from the
odd occasion the journey back to the entrance pitches was very smooth; so far I
had only struggled on two occasions, but had managed to curse and thrutch my way up.
Paul led, taking the rope bag, I followed de-rigging the pitches. The constricted nature of the head of the first pitch made coiling the ladder problematical — the fun was really going to start now! My enthusiasm was at a low ebb, I pressed on thrutching to the top of the rift and along to join Paul. At a small chamber we sat and rested, and I tried to regain composure before the most awkward section.
Progress was painfully slow. Paul struggled with the tackle bag, luckily he was able to jam it in the rift at certain points and rest. My burden of ladders would not jam, they just dangled in the rift, snagging at every opportunity, causing me to swear and waste valuable energy. Every time Paul rested at a comfortable spot I was always stuck behind him in an inconvenient position. Needless to say, on several occasions some hard and indelicate wards escaped our lips. At one point I emerged head first from a horizontal squeeze at the top of the rift, I thrust my elbows out to jam myself but nothing happened and I continued down head first. Panic welled up as I thrashed about wildly, luckily an elbow jammed in a handy crack and my downward motion was checked. A few swift moves saw me upright and panting heavily.
After what seemed
forever we reached the small chamber, and were soon clambering back up the
entrance into the fading daylight. The freezing temperature prevented our
lingering, but the red orange glow of the sunset made Kingsdale
look even better. After a cold change we drove back to
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