Magnetometer Pot

Team:       Pete Hall, Ray Duffy, Andy Hall, Sophie Crook, Andy Hine, Youth and Giles

Weather was poor in the morning so we had to go to Bernies for a weather forecast, eventually staggered off to Neals Ing Farm to do Mag. There we met ‘Orrible who had been wailing for about an hour and proceeded to tell us all about it in his inimitable fashion. Pete and his car load turned up a bit later on account of having some long involved discussion in Bernies.

Eventually hit the pothole which now looks like a submarine coming up to surface. The concrete tube which marks the entrance is well festooned with steps and two giant bolts (for a Y-hang?) for the entrance pitch - they look about 50 times stronger than the concrete. Everyone lifelined down the pitch which is easy to climb, anyway we did it the textbook method. At the bottom there was a most inconvenient spout of water firing straight off the wall at a most impertinent level so that you got soaked just as you climbed down. Having successfully avoided a soaking Andy Hall got fired at when Giles inadvertently redirected the spout further down the hole! We all fired on down to the Wet Crawl which to our delight was totally dry and didn’t look as if had ever been wet It starts off as a technical move around Legover Corner, then we rounded the corner and discovered why it is called Wet Crawl - it is wet and deep and low and cold. However it did have a number of beaches along the way with the odd palm tree to get out of the sun. After some relaxing sunbathing Dry Crawl followed which has a lot of the ubiquitous cobble flooring it. This suddenly opens out into the beginning of River Styx, but before embarking on this we went for a short sojourn down to the sand dunes of Styx Sump.
The River Styx is a fine piece of seascape when the tide is out which fortunately it was. Some fine roof formations and exciting wallowing. Beyond this the cave takes on some more acceptable proportions and Easy Passage is really quite big with precision milled swirl pools which are very pronounced. The rock which is well scrubbed when the tide is in is very white aid leaves the passage very bright Holes Junction is the next landmark where there are numerous ways on, we found two which joined up as we dropped into the quite large Milestone Chamber where Ray examined a side passage. Sophie, Giles, Andy Hine and Youth set off in advance for Caton Hall and its 50 ft pitch. This is difficult to rig as you have to use natural belays which although adequate are not in convenient places so it needs some care. Eventually Youth, Andy, Giles and Pete descended the pitch. Youth said that the ladder was badly rigged because the ladder had to be stepped down to. Giles couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about (I expect Youth will doctor this in the newsletter). The others set off back as we had no intention of doing Rough Crawl and the interminable misery of Kamikaze Passage.

We all headed out at top speed and topped out without incident except Ray and Giles bribed Pete to carry all the heavy gear through the Wet Crawl. Mag is an excellent and unusual cave and not too difficult to Caton Hall although not suitable for beginners who are not used to crawling in water.

Giles Barker.

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