Lancaster Hole (26/10/47)

Comes, Oakes, J Walmsby and I reached Bullpot around l0.30pm and set off for a spot of potholing. We changed in the barn and were joined by Martin Ridges and his friend. Next, Dr Aspen, Leakey, Atkinson followed later and at the hole Mr and Mrs Gilbert, also I’m told four more from Bristol. Next came the trouble of getting in the hole. The can was passed around like a red-hot penny, all the usual excuses “I thought you had the key!”, “OK I thought Cymmie had given it to you.” finally, owing to someone not locking the nut tight George was able to turn it with aid of a pinch bar.

Dr Aspen, Atkinson, Comes Martin Ridges friend and I descended into Montague Caverns as far as Fall Pot. Mr and Mrs Gilbert also came to Fall Pot to retrieve Cymmies camera etc left there earlier in the week. While Comes and Dr Aspen were joining an extra ladder onto the existing one I descended onto the slab from which Atkinson took a bearing Ion me standing at the point on the east slope at the bottom of the climb to the high level caverns. Next I climbed up to see how George was getting on and found that they had put an extra ten feet onto the steel ladder. In the meantime Atkinson and Martins friend took a photograph of the drapery formation which adorns the side of’ Fall Pot. We were now ready for a crack at the Master Cave.

The climb through the false floor of Fall Pot which I had considered unsafe after a chap falling down I found to be easy, the chap must have been clumsy to fall. This climb we found had been marked through by a thin line earlier this week. The upstream route was new to me as I had not been up before, of course I had been up the Master cave before (George and I were the first mortals to do so) but we had done it by traveling along Montague Cavern and then dropping down to stream level further on. The journey from Fall Pot proved very wet, we waded through and skirted deep-bored “hand-basins” then through a huge ruckle of boulders into a fault chamber containing masses of rock. From this point the cave is clear and continues onwards up through waterchutes and deep pools.

The formations are simply marvellous. I have not seen the most famous how caves in Britain but I am sure they are nothing to touch the beautiful formations found in this cave. From a few inches to ten feet, one weighing over a ton, they must be seen to be believed.

Here we separated, Atkinson and I climbed up into a crystal inlet and crawled about through masses of boulders for some time but we could not get through. On returning to the stream we carried on upwards and reached the ruckle of boulders. And what a ruckle!, we found Dr Aspen in it and I don’t think he knew where he was. Cornes and Martins friend had got through and left Dr Aspen, anyway time was passing so we returned home safely experiencing a little difficulty getting through the first ruckle of boulders. We carried on to the sump as Dr Aspen wanted to ascertain if the water from the new section of waterfall entered the sump below water but it does not. On returning to Fall Pot we met Comes and Martins friend, I inquired of Oakes where he had spent the day. He told me he had taken our new recruit Jimmy into the Colonnades then down to the sump. Jimmy proved himself a born potholer and enjoyed himself very much. Another mad-dog joins the pack! So ended a most strenuous and interesting day. Roll on something new!

Wilf Taylor.


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