Volume 33 Number 1 Article 6
Large Pot - New Rift Pot Exchange
Team 1 - Jayne, Christine, Mike + friend.
Team 2 - Six million other people including Ray, Gareth and... the Belgians.
What is it about exchange trips? I mean what could be simpler than one group down one pot, another group down a connecting pot and meeting up at the bottom? Sounds easy, does it not?... not if it is a Red Rose exchange trip but this time it was not the notorious Swinsto/Simpsons exchange that has baffled many a potholer. Well, this is how the story goes...
Saturday morning arrived with the usual non-organisation now come to be expected after a heavy Friday night session. I started to sort out the tackle hoping that this would get people enthusiastic, it worked! Yes, everybody wanted to go caving but not down Large Pot, apparently they had heard nasty rumours about tight bits and ducks. Dalek was the co-ordinator but could not go caving because of an injury (how convenient) so things were looking grim. I don't know why Jayne and I were so keen to go down Large Pot again after previous experiences down there. It could have been all that excess drinking had affected Jaynes brain but more likely is that she will do anything to get away from Daves nagging! At least I had an excuse that I am just a thick Irish tart!
Fortunately, Mike (+ friend) arrived and saved the trip, and I eventually succeeded in conning Gareth, Gerard and company to do the exchange.
At last we were off! I rigged the Large Pot end, so progress was slow as I invented a couple of knots along the way (Figure 20's). However, everything else was going surprisingly well and we had enough bolts and rope, can this be true!? Memories of the previous trip came flooding back and we were pleased not to come back through this way again. When we got to the top of the last pitch (Colossus) we could hear the other group... or could we?
By the time we got to New Rift we realised there was no-one coming to derig Large Pot. But wait, here comes Gareth. Because of the large numbers and rigging problems (now there's a surprise!) everyone else had buggered off apart from Gareth. So those serious decisions had to be made such as who were the lucky people to go out of Large Pot and miss out on serious boozing time. Unfortunately, before starting the trip I had agreed with Mike that in the likely case of such an event I would go back out that way with him. So, that's the way it was to be. Jayne and Mikes friend went out through New Rift later realising that it was not such an easy alternative.
It was a good trip, we all survived to tell the tale and at least some of the group managed an exchange trip but someone please, please remind me not to go there again. However, I did get a free pint off some very guilty Belgians... Thanks!