Langstroth Pot

Beer talk! Yeah, Langcliffe tomorrow, no problem! Neil has a rendezvous with a well known dales hardman (psycopath) . We mere mortals concentrated on the business of getting well plastered, Paul is going well. We’d spent a fine clay soaking up the sun, and having wobblers on good Yorkshire grit stone. Suddenly Phil chips in; “The Lancs are having a meet down Langstroth tomorrow.” Inside our numbed brains, gears grate, and cogs whirl. That sounds a good move!

Early morning acton. Where had all this grip come from? Festering cocoons containing human hangovers are emptied. Greasy breakfast, grab gear and gone. By about 10.3Oam. the combined Lancs and Red Rose team are starting to slide into musty smelly caving gear. A large pile of ladders, the like of which not seen for some time, are shouldered and our merry band troops off. The warm sunlight on our backs soon has the sweat flowing. It’s an uncharacteristic day for mid March. The entrance series seems to have a reputation as an awkward sod, but it caused us no problems. Everyone slipped smoothly through the ducks and grunted through the rifts, and had an ‘involved’ time in the crawls. the slot was gone, blown or hammered into an easy slide, the rapid pace, though, was brought to an abrupt halt by the second pitch. It involved a tight slide down the rift to end in suspended animation looking for the ladder forty feet above the
deck. The potential for a mega wally on the return was pretty good. During the bimbling on this pitch we discovered that Oor one and only lifeline was far too short. Consequently everyone descended the next 50ft. pitch without a line. Being either tough or stupid,  probably the latter) we pressed on. The cave changed character, the pace quickened and we were cruising again Fine sporting streamway, and plenty of pretties and gravity defying helicites to gawp at. The hordes had obviously not found this pot as they were in good nick. Three short but damp and sporty pitches loomed up. Each was a joy to climb, although the wetsuited brigade had to dam the stream the stream on occasions to make it more comfortable for the drysuit nambies. The seventh pitch turned out to be just an easy climb down requiring no tackle.

The passage increased in size to an impressive canyon. Like pigs in chit we continued to the head of the final pitch; a fair sized stream cascaded over the lip, it looked a trifle damp. The old damming or bailing machine went into action again. Some harp eyed bugger spotted a length of rope jammed in a crack, it was retrieved and joined to our rope, we had a lifeline. It was a race against time, no bimbling, the person on the ladder had to mave it before the pools overflowed and they were drenched. This was sporting Yorkshire caving at its best. The teamwork and comradeship really came into its own Everyone mucking in, a great spirited ladder trip. Unfortunately such a rarity these days.
All nine of us reached the sump pool. Only the short sump separated us from us from the surface, but our thoughts were on the prospect of an enjoyable journey back up the cave. The damming and sprinting up ladders before being soaked started again.
Things ran even smoother on the exit.. Pete was he only one who had problems, but they were with his bowels, and didn’t hold him up for long. The second pitch loomed up and its uphill squeeze was suddenly remembered. I went up first, gingerly pushing upwards trying not to thrash. I’m through, no prcblem. The others. follow, they slip easily through; even Graham, who is nervous that his body will not yield to the rock passes through without too much of a fight. The entrance series next, it’s a head down and go for it job. carrying tackle makes it knackering and sweaty, but its not tight and the ducks cool you off. Fairly soon we were all sat basking in the sun outside the Buckden tea shop, looking rather grubby, compared to the squeaky clean tourists, and shoveling down large quantities of tea and stickies. Langstroth is one of those active, exciting, Yorkshire pots that fill you with energy and enthusiasm for caving and potholing.

Chaz Frankland.

BACK TO:  Volume Contents