Penyghent Pot. 17th June 1979.

I drove to Horton in Ribblesdale on Sunday morning calling in on the Penyghent Cafe on the way for a coffee, then on my way again to Brackenbottom, arriving at 10.45. I met Pete Muckalt and his wife there and saw that Andy, Keith and some others had set off. Then Bill Holden, Graham, Paul Seddon and Hugh St. Lawrence turned up.
I set off with Bill and Graham, near the hole we met Keith Lewis and Mark Woodhouse coming back. They said that there had been a rock fall near the entrance and they couldnít get through. It was a very hot day and it is uphill most of the way, I was sweating hard by the time I reached the pot. Bill was having a go at getting through so I took off my wetsuit to cool off.

Eventually Bill found a way through and Graham soon followed him, then a young lad named Dave, a new member. I got kitted up and had a go, after a bit of a struggle I got through. The others had gone by this time. I soon got to the canal and made good time with my kneepads on, I reached the first pitch where I met up with them and went on down it. We had no tackle to carry as the first party had taken it all.

I finally caught up with them at the top of the 60ft pitch, while I was waiting there Hugh and Paul caught me up. After about half an hour wait I got down the pitch and then belayed the young lad down the 70ff. Hugh joined me and belayed me down the 70ft pitch, it is down a big aven and is roomy and free hanging for the last 5Oft or so. I traveled alone until I caught up with the party at the top of Niagara. This pitch just has a rope down it, Hugh and Paul caught me up here. The last pitch had a ladder on it but most were using the traverse. I descended the ladder into Lower Main Stream Passage and set off along it, here I met Andy and the others as they came back from the sump.

Bill and Graham passed me at the top of Niagara so I went along to the sump alone and lowered myself in. I couldnít touch the bottom which wasnít surprising as I later learnt that it was 60ft deep! I had just got out of the water when Hugh, Paul and the young lad joined me, they went into the sump and pulled themselves along to the far end; s.... I did the same. There was deep froth all over the floors and roof indicating that it had not long ago been flooded.

We set off out using the climb and the traverse instead of the ladder. Hugh pulled up the ladder and then rolled it up and then we climbed the rope up Niagara. I was last up so I pulled up the rope and then threw it to Hugh to plait. We had just got up the next pitch and Hugh was rolling up the ladder when Pete arrived. He said that two more were following him and wanted to bottom it, we handed him the rope and er and he continued on down, It was along way back before we met the other two who were Bob Stevens and Steve Terry. We carried on out just taking one ladder where it wasnít needed. I had difficulty near the top of that ladder with it being so narrow, so I went back down climbed up further up the passage where the water comes down. W stopped at the top of the 60ft and 70ft pitches, I stayed at the top of the 70ft pitch for a long time, then Hugh came down and I eventually went to the top of the 60ft and waited there with Pad aid Dave.

After what seemed like two hours Pete and co. returned, we had been getting worried about then but they were alright. I picked up a ladder and a rope after most of the tackle had been hauled up, Dave picked up a ladder and we set off out leaving the two others to get up the two pitches. We made good time out but found the long crawl a bit tiring. When we emerged the sun was low in the sky but it was a beautiful evening with Penyghent bathed in sunshine. Hugh and Paul caught us up just before we were climbing out of the hole. I found it easier coming out of the hole, I think I must have lost a pound or so whilst down there.

I was glad that I had had a good breakfast as I had nothing to eat since except part of a flapjack and a cup of tea at the Penyghent Cafe. The air was warm and we all sat down and had a good rest in the sunshine, the only trouble was the midges were out and biting! We didnít wait for Pete and Co. but set off to Brackenbottom after about fifteen minutes rest. It was 9.45pm when we got back to the cars. We changed and Pete and Co. arrived just as we were leaving.

We drove to the Crown Hotel in Horton for a drink, then leaving Pete to take the tackle back to the farm, set off home.

Frank Hardy.

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