EASE GILL DIARY

Reading the last newsletter made me realise how much we take our back yard for granted. Trips don’t seem to’ register’, being just another common or garden visit to places we all know like the back of our hand. Or do we? Regulars at the farm know what’s going on from week to week, but for those farther afield or making occasional visits here’s a recap of some recent events.

 
EASE GILL PROJECT

The plan to resurvey the system and publish a new map is ongoing, if a little invisible at times. Anne and Andy have compiled a great deal of data but the last computer programme threw a wobbly so it was ditched. We’ve now got a new computer and new programme which should be up to the job and the task of entering the data has started all over again. Meanwhile, surveying is picking up again with odds and sods being finished off and critical loops closed. Andy and Hugh surveyed the bypass oxbow to Bradshaws Passage and accidentally reentered the Wisdom Tooth Extensions (RRCPC 1982) to find a new piece of passage with the initials W.V.L & T.D, 13.7.52’ on the wall. Er, looks like someone (Bill Leyland?) has been here before! Andy has also started surveying up Green & Smelly In Pool Sink but this needs plenty of work to finish. Bigger surveying projects loom in the shape of the Earby Series and Link Pot. Surveyors and tape holders welcome.

LANCASTER HOLE

Pete and Hugh’s sump-busting project in The Crater has been temporarily suspended after the owner of the pump requested his machinery back for personal use - quite what this is we don’t know, but we sincerely hope the application is speleological! On a surveying trip down Skittle Alley, Hugh had a look at the blind pitch on the corner upstream towards Aquamud Sump. A dig was started at the bottom of the 35’ pitch with the real muscle power being provided later by Pete and Jason, Phil Luff and Nigel Jennings. A hundred and odd buckets of sloppy shit later 20’ of mud sucking passage had been revealed heading west into empty territory. Little Lechuguilla is about as revolting a dig as you can get, but is probably worth continuing. On the same trip an interesting aven was also noted above the Skittle Alley junction and Phil Luff swore to return and bolt up. Phil? In the Earby Series, Neil has started a dig in the west wall of Bridge Chamber, a sandy crawl heading towards Woodhouse Way. Continuing. Also in the Earby, Hugh and Neil went up at the blind branch at the first major junction on the way in. This did prove blind, but a curious unattainable small hole in a calcite alcove nearby beckons with blackness and a promising echo. Nothing on the map here.

COW POT

Dave and Hugh had a pottering trip in the fossil passages off the open pot. All routes out of the shale band chamber were examined and a bit of digging done up a small inlet tube which turned out to connect with the small hole directly beneath the entrance pitch - the boulders blocking this connection, however, obviously mask the continuation of the tube which must go somewhere else....? The obvious hole in the floor in the shale chamber was also descended and appears to have an un-pushed but very tight squeeze in an upstream direction. A peep into a substantial enlargement was gained but entry will require a ferret. A climb above the floor of the open pot gained an inlet which falls into the main canyon passage. Upstream this could be followed to a 30ft pitch in the floor. The inlet continued above the top of the pitch to a 20ft even beneath which the crawl appeared to continue but was not followed due to lack of time. Worth another look.

EASE GILL

 A trip down Sylvester Pot earlier in the year saw a bit of ferreting but not much gained. Ray probed delicately around beneath the massive boulders in Newton’s Wonder and came out a quieter man. Paul Wilkinson (Youth) was pushed up an inlet in the same chamber which proved too tight even for him, though some chemicals may do the trick. On exiting the chamber a 30’ drop between the boulders was sighted awaiting some intrepid and featless numbskull. A further 30’ pitch was also unearthed directly beneath the ladder on the main pitch. This is open and awaiting descent.
Jim Newton reputedly has something interesting to look at in Trident but hasn’t been there yet. Come on, Jim, get a grip! Nothing else doing in these parts as far as) know.

PIPPIKIN
That formidable team of Pete Hall Associates has pushed the Misty Mountain Series through to link up with Cigalere above the 60’ pitch, about 600ft of new passage. Steve looms and others assisted. Well done, Pete, just got to survey it now!

BARBONDALE

A scene of great activity over the winter months with numerous digs and pokes. Pete has pushed Strike Cave, extending the old length of 75ff to something like 300ft, all flat out in water, so I hear, with another duck to bale lower at the end. Steve Tooms was again first mate. A small cave was also opened up on the opposite bank to Brittania Cave by Andy and Ray but only went 30’ to a sump.

Scrotty Pot at the top of the dale near the green lane has also been reopened as a dig by Pete and Neil. Progress is continuing through a veritable feast of moving boulders and shingle under an irritating shower of water. 30ft deep at present.

In search of the cave that must exist between Stone Rigg sink and its rising 375ft lower in Gawthrop, Hugh wandered over the fell one evening and turned up a surprising find in a small fenced-off patch of grass ten yards from the road. Parting the grass a small hole was found to look in upon some dead lambs 8ft below. However, rocks thrown into the corner of the hole rattled off down a rift for about 40ft. Pete went down the pitch the next day into a passage 5ft wide sloping down to a lamb and plastic bag choke. The stench was overpowering.

Silence of the Lambs will be continued when the corpses have properly decomposed. Barbon Pot and Dog Holes have also had visits by Pete and Neil. Anything doing?

 
CASTERTON POT

Lots of visits over the winter months ‘cos it’s close to the farm. Final crawl looked at separately by both Youth and Hugh. This must go with a bit of bang, even if only into Pre Cambrian in Aygill. But who knows, there might be something off towards Bull Pot too? In search of the latter connection, Pete started a dig below the first pitch and this is still progressing (past a 4ft iron bar that he’s got stuck in an abortive shotholel) A hidden alcove was found below the second pitch with a glimpse of better things above - Youth was tempted into it but this closed down. Hugh then spotted another hole level with the top of the second pitch and climbed across on a lifeline and put a couple of pegs in. This will need a bang to get into but again appears to get bigger beyond. Surely this cave holds the key to the Bull Pot/Aygill link somewhere?

SHORTY HOLE

Fifty yards down valley from Lancs. entrance and the scene of much activity by the Heineken Team (reach the parts that other cavers etc....) of Paul and Claire Wilkinson. Harder than Hammer and tighter than a gnat’s chuff, this is promisingly close to breaking into the Graveyard avens as confirmed by a rather over-enthusiastic smoke test by James Henry. More chemical
persuasion needed (keep supping, Paul!) And that is about that. The Ease Gill Traverse (Pippikin-Top Sink) was completed both ways with the Gas Board team creating some new sort of record by going in during April and emerging in May! The Savages? Well, who knows what they’ve been up to - write and tell us, lads.

Hugh St.Lawrence

 

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