Large Pot.

Imagine a pot where there is no glutinous mud coating the floors, walls and tackle, the streamway never floods and naked bathers swam in crystal clear gour pools heated by geothermal springs. I certainly can’t and Large Pot is nothing like that. However it was no ‘grot spot’ and turned out to be a good old fashioned ladders epic enjoyed by many.

The tackle for the trip was heaped up in a huge pile in the farm kitchen and the ‘everest’ of neolithic ladders and lifeline was dispatched to a legion of speleo-tanks which roared their way along peaceful Yorkshire lanes running down bleary eyed sheep and thrusting bimbling tourists out of the road. At the track that had cracked Neil’s sump (creating the Exxon of Ingleton), and ravished many an exhaust pipe, it was decided to kit up on the road rather than risk injuring one of the precious cars. When all excuses had finished and water had been found for carbide, brains were put in the correct gear and tackle was handed to gullible youths in liberal armfuls.

After milling about aimlessly in the sheltered depression a rigging team set off at great speed, not seen before, where had all this grip welled Lip from?

Past the entrance pitch under an overhanging pile of boulders starts the crawl leading to the head of the first pitch. Here much advice was shouted about the advisability of going feet first or risk descent upside down. A distinct lack of lifeline prompts an attack of the wobblies but the tight nature of the pitch provided some psychological protection for such mere mortals as myself.

A multitude gathered at the head of the ‘8O’ where much ferrying of tackle started and muffled, spluttered shouts from below confirmed the wet nature of the pitch as more tormented souls descended into the maelstrom. The more intelligent life forms amongst us turned back here. Next stop, sump. The sporting wet streamway with its many short pitches provided an entertaining trip to the murky sump after a short crawl. The sump was a bit of a let down after the hard work put in.

Due to unseasonable levels of enthusiasm and organisation Cris, Ian, and myself were sent out to wait at the next big pitch while the ‘ard men derigged, so fast were they that they caught us up! It had to happen though, the ‘80’ threw down water in a noisy spray making our shouts sound like neanderthal grunts. Hours of wallying about, totally gripless, produced some short tempers and caused unprintable words to arise. Chaos reigned, while we shouted into the spray trying to decypher the mumblings from below. Eventually cursing bodies were hauled up and sacs of tackle ferried out to ease the bottleneck while the last sodden remnants of our merry band made a beeline for the entrance pitches.

Much cursing of the ladders through the crawl and out we popped, ready for well deserved tea ‘n’ buns at Bernies. A great ladders epic with plenty of entertainment and well worth repeating sometime.

Paul Wilkinson.

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