Volume 37 Number 2 Article 3
A Tale of Two Pots
Saturday 25 March 2000
Members present: Peter Dale, Duncan Jones
Today's trip was decided on as bottoming Roaring Hole and Hardrawkin Pot. Once at the farm, we packed the tackle and off we sped to the Hill Inn. We parked and got changed, and met some other cavers and got talking to them. So as to make ourselves sound like brave, hard cavers, and to give the Red Rose a good name, we said we were bottoming Black Shiver! We then set off on a long march up to the cave entrance.
Since I wasn't feeling too well, I didn't show much enthusiasm to descend either cave, but with a reputation to uphold, I had no choice. Roaring Hole is quite unique in only having two short pitches to go down to get to the bottom of this 134m deep pot hole.
The entrance to the cave has a steel mesh basket lid, which we removed. We then entered the dark ominous-looking hole. From the bottom of the shaft, you enter a large chamber with a small stream entering from the left. The way down is carefully negotiated over loose boulders which are shored up with rusting bits of iron and timbers. Upon reaching the bottom of the chamber, you find a sinister looking boulder-choke, (the fun begins here!), which is exactly the same way the innocent looking stream takes.
After a very damp and interesting climb down, you pop out into a short passage which leads to the top of a short pitch, 6m, which can easily be free-climbed by the foolhardy club! (Guess which we chose!). You are now standing in an impressive chamber known as The Auditorium, with an ankle twitching traverse along a narrow ledge on a muddy slope. The guidebook states that there is a wire rope in place must have rusted away! At the bottom you meet another choke. (You guessed it!)
Once through the choke, you crawl into a very low streamway below the right wall followed by flat out crawling for 7m, (that's 23ft for all those out there who are imperial still). At the end of the crawl you peer down the next wet climb, (huh! huh! huh! Very Wet!) Looking down the luring climb into oblivion I mentioned to Duncan "Ere Chunks, tha's gonna get wet!" The Chunk grunted "Great!" You see, it was due to a considerable amount of water cascading off every rock it could. So you guessed it, Duncan first! "Wasn't that bad, was it?" I shouted, appearing out of the spray to a very wet Duncan. "*!?#*" was the reply.
From the bottom of the choke, Masons Chamber, you enter a mud coated expanse of rock with a boulder ruckle in the middle of the floor. After surveying the hole, we thought the boulders to be too tight for our perfectly toned, slim bodies. We spent a considerable amount of time looking for the way on. In the end, we found that this was the only way on, and after some careful negotiations with some friendly boulders they breathed in so as to let us past we were through and encountered the streamway which led to a considerably larger chamber, Slab Chamber, where we rigged the easy free climb down due to my energy levels and balance not being too good by now. From the bottom of the chamber, another boulder choke, (nowt but chokes, this cave!), is encountered. At last, proper stream passage -unfortunately to follow the stream meant a squalid tight crawl at water level. Luckily I noticed an oxbow and legged it to the other side of the tight bit where, when Duncan caught me up, I tried to coax him through, but to no avail. Needless to say, he wasn't impressed when he found the oxbow, which was blatantly obvious.
Following the streamway downwards, we came to an unexpected 25ft pitch, which we didn't have any rope for, although there was a traverse line rigged across the top into a parallel rift. We climbed over the top of the pitch and into the rift to find a ladder hanging down, which was rigged reassuringly off a wobbly chock-stone!! Once down, we met a short rope climb into the strewn, which was knee deep. Unfortunately, the passage dimensions meant we had to crawl in the stream to reach the last pitch which we could tell was wet from the roar of water descending it, and since I hadn't brought my gills we unanimously decided to call it a day.
As we progressed with our exit, we didn't have any problems until it came to finding the way out of Mud Chamber. We followed the stream but it got too tight, so we retreated back to the chamber to seek the error of our ways. I told Duncan "I'm sure we came in that way." He replied with a "me too". So off we traipsed up the passage again, but still couldn't find the way out. So, we decided to turn over every rock on the way back to the chamber. Nope no way on was found, but by now we knew this was the only possible way out! We sat in the chamber and puzzled on the dilemma we had got ourselves into.
Duncan decided that he would try and get us out. He shot off up the passage like a rocket and when I'd caught him up, I saw him scurrying around near some boulders where he stuck his arm up and then suddenly retreated with rocks chasing him. Then we noticed a way up through the boulders just before the passage got too tight! A brisk climb up in a heavy shower of refreshingly wet water saw us back in the Auditorium. The rest of the exit passed without any incidents.
Once we were both on the surface, we bathed in the chilly spring sun well Chunks did I just lay there suffering from my ailments. It was time for our second trip of the day, Hardrawkin. On the way over we passed an area of limestone pavement where I noticed a promising looking sink on the perimeter. We then decided to have a look and a bit of a dig just to see if it was worth further work. I squeezed down the tight sloping passage and just managed to get my head around the corner, only to spy the passage choked with shingle and cobbles which we both took turns struggling to remove, but without success.
Needless to say, we gave up, but before we left, we diverted a stream into the entrance to let mother nature do the work for us. We then hopped along merrily to Hardrawkin. We found the entrance, took one look down, and changed our minds. I was feeling too ill to do any more caving, and Duncan was all caved out! A half sprinting, half walking type jog back to the car was undertaken. A quick change and we were on our way to the local chippy for the, by now, ritual sausage, chips and gravy. I then spent the next few days in bed ill!!
Well, I liked Roaring. it was an interesting trip with lots of lovely wet boulder chokes to climb through, probably not a good place to be in wet weather, (but it would be sporting, wouldn't it?) See you up there!