Here’s more from the caving diary of Wilf. Taylor our honorary member in the Antipodes.

Lancaster Hole. 23/2/48

Air Currents Log:  Wind NE Cold

Current Direction: Bridge Hall to Master Cave (Strong)

Party: J Walmsby, John Pearce, Margaret Radcliffe, P Kitchen, J Evendon, W Taylor, J Helm, J Price and H Harrison.

Our party split up in Kirkby on arrival, Walmsby and co. went to get a taxi whilst Helm, Price, Margaret and self went for a cup of tea, the night being cold. On returning to the square we found no gear and no Walmsby and co. , finally after an hours wait we got a taxi and were dumped at Bullpot in the cold, cold snow.
We rushed into the farm to get the first glimpse of the rented rooms and fire, the door was swung back and behold “Smokey Joes” tavern. Bodies floated around in dense smoke but as the smoke lifted we spied G. Walmsby crouched as usual over the primus preparing and tasting grub. The room’s OK but I’m afraid we need a chimney sweep or Cornes with a rag round his head before we do any painting. Anyway, after a feed I persuaded Price, Harrison and Helm to brave the trail to Barbon.

Barbcn! What a joint, one pub, no dance. The landlord “Hang your coats up.”, “Make room for these lads”, “We don’t sell brown ale” in a grumpy voice. Barbcn is definitely written off as a burial ground for retired cavemen. Sunday morning dawned, a cold clear day with two inches of snow, Walmsby and Kitchen announced their intention of sledging and not going down. Price, Harrison, Helm and myself set off for the hole. After clearing the snow I attempted to open the lid. What a key, for the first time I failed to open it, by the time Pearce, Margaret and Evendon arrived we were frozen. Pearce opened the lid and down we went. Pearce and company went down to the sump whilst Harrison, Helm, Price and I went to view the Colonnades, they were pleased with the sight and enjoyed it very much.

We soon reached the sump and found Pearce and company going up my passage. (There’s no answer to that’ Ed.) After inspection of the sump and Eastwoods dinghy which we found stuck up on the far side of the cavern, we proceeded after Pearce. We all reached the syphon tunnel and proceeded to dig a channel in an attempt to lower the water. Taking the spade in turns we all found it damned hard work. Eventually Pearce and company left us and proceeding along Chocolate tunnel reached Portcullis, sometime later we went along to see how things were going and found Margaret and Evenden alone. Then I saw that a passage had been smashed through the straws, I was blazing mad, I don’t know who broke through first but they’re rats. I could have broke through ages ago but wanted photos taking first.
Pearce it seems went through, he returned after an absence of half an hour to say that there was a maze of half choked passages beyond. The news was good of course but it did ‘nt satisfy my rage of the vandals.

Will Taylor


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