Langcliffe Pot.

Date: Thursday 24th January 1991            Team: Pete Hall, Neil Pacey, Dalek (PC)

When I phoned Neil on Tuesday to find out if he would come to the farm on Wednesday he said he might go down Langcliffe Pot with Dalek on Thursday. I was slightly nervous about caving with Dalek again (nuff said) but nevertheless packed plenty of carbide and munchies and hitched to the farm. When I got there Neil and Dalek announced that we would be camping overnight in the pothole, they had the situation under control and all I needed was some warm clothes.

The access is a bit dodgy to say the least so we packed our gear in rucsacs and set off up the hill trying to look like innocent ramblers. After ten minutes a tractor came up behind us and we rushed to hide ladders, tackle bags, cars of petrol etc. but he passed without incident. We continued till we were in the next field to Lanqcliffe Pot and a Land Rover came up the fell so we dived for cover. We watched from behind a rise in the fell as he drove around spreading out hay. Dalek thought it would be a good idea to try and get closer (god knows why) and looked like something from the Saudi desert as he ran round and dived into holes to avoid detection, amazingly he got away with it but the next thing Neil and I knew, the farmer was coming straight for us. There was nothing to do but face the music.

“What are you lads doing here’?”

“Oh, Just going for a walk up’t fell.”

“Your not going down them potholes are you?”

“No, Just a walk!”

“You are going down them potholes aren’t you!” It was pretty obvious because nobody walks up Great Whernside that way.

“No, nc!” we replied.

“What have you got that can of petrol for?”

“Oh’ve got a cooking stove and we’re having a brew on’t top!”

“How long are you staying up there?”

“Oh, Just till this evening.”

“Well make sure you don’t go down them potholes!”

“No, we wouldn’t do that!”

The entrance climb is best rigged with a ladder, the two short pitches which followed and Slaughter Aven which then followed dropped into the crawl of Strid Passage. After 45 minutes the Langcliffe Pot inlet, Stagger Passage, entered on the right and soon we popped out into the main drain from Skifare inlet at Hammerdale Dub. Downstream was mostly walking to the Wet and Dry ways, the Dry being preferable. Then it was Langstrothdale Chase where you can walk/scramble with a tackle bag on your back for a full 45 minutes then a short but awkward crawl pops into E4oireau Falls chamber which leads to the Nemesis pitch.
We then headed towards the Nemesis boulder choke. Dalek had been a bit cagey about this bit Just saying that it meant a total soaking. Crawls and squeezes connected boulder chambers until a climb down led to the water, running under the choke. Neil and I weren’t too worried because “It’s never as ‘ard as what yer fink!”. However after watching him for about ten minutes I began to get a bad feeling. Eventually we all got through and assembled in the chamber beyond.. We were very wet and cold and gripped up including Dalek who had been down seven times before!
Fifteen minutes of caving brought us to the “OK Corale” a typical camp with loads of mess. We got the stove working, had some brews and a scoff (Spaghetti Bolognaise) before continuing on to the end.

Soon the Agora was entered, a large chamber with superb formations at the far end a climb down through flowstone led to Aphrodite Aven with gour pools in the floor. The whole of Gassons Series was reminiscent of OFD in Wales. Eventually the Dementor sump was reached and the New Fearnought Streamway was followed to a huge boulder choke (thought to be close to Swarthgill Hole). We proceeded back to camp for more brews and Daleks long term dig was tried (with cups of tea in the dig!), by now it was 2.3Oam so we had a curry and an ‘Arry Rag and dossed down. Dalek and I had really good pits but Neil had a shit one which was cold and farted loudly during the night.

The choke wasn’t quite so horrendous on the way out but was still quite technical and we emerged at about 6pm, totally knackered to a frosty night. Went down to Kettlewell and left a message at the caving shop to say we were out then we went to the pub and had some well earned beer. Finally got back to the farm at about 10.30 after 28 hours of potholing.

Pete Hall.


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