Volume 37 Number 4 Article 1
Living it Large
(Fatties need not apply)
Saturday 26 February 2000
Members present : Peter Dale, Duncan Jones, Iain Simpson, Roger Watkinson, Katie Rochester.
Got to farm, packed tackle, persuaded RW and KR to come with us. Drove up to Masongill, met DJ and IS, got changed and waited for RW and KR to arrive. Still waiting, they hadn't turned up, so set off for the entrance. As we neared the hole I saw Rogers car arrive, but he didn't get out. Was he waiting for us? Due to my lack of walking stamina (unless it's downhill) I had parked at the top of the lane, which meant Roger couldn't see my car. After a lot of ridiculous waving and jumping we gave up and descended into the gloom.
For all those out there who haven't been down Large Pot, don't be put off by the rumours of tight nasty bits and stories of people being abandoned in New Rift. It is exactly as its name suggests - Large! Well, deep anyway. Oh yeah, and a couple of awkward bits, not to mention the second pitch.
Upon finding the entrance shakehole you find a steel lid hiding the darker secrets of what lies beneath. Opening the lid, a scaffold pole is spied which the rope is belayed off. The first 8 metres are easily free-climbed, but it is just as quick to abb down the rope. Once at the bottom there is a short climb of 4 metres using the previous pitch rope as a handline. After realising how un-large the cave now seems to be getting, you slither through a narrowing of the passage to the head of the second pitch, 18 metres. The top is adequately spacious to start with but grows to impressive dimensions at the bottom. [I think Peter is trying to provoke an editors comment here - Ed.] (Note the fossils in the cave walls.) You are now confronted by two short pitches into Thornton Hall where several ways lead off, one of them to the connection with Rift Pot. Following the water downstream a short distance, you come across a collapse where the way on is to climb up and traverse out to the head of the third pitch. A traverse line is rigged at the top of this 23 metre pitch, where a deviation at -7 metres is optional. You land on a spacious ledge where an awkward take off for the last 4m lands you in another large chamber with two routes available; Flake Aven Route' and Red Herring Series', we'd packed gear for the latter.
After an awkward traverse to the top of the pitch, Duncan rigged it and we descended. Once at the bottom we waited for Iain, and waited, and waited, We knew he wasn't far behind so we carried on down the pot. A short climbable drop leads to a short length of passage passing beneath Flake Aven. Another short decent of 5m lands you at the start of a shingle crawl in the stream, with a calcite squeeze chucked in for our enjoyment! Unfortunately, the last pitch is soon reached and bottomed. (The rigging guide says there is a rebelay half way down, but none was found, probably coz the walls were covered in a thick layer of mud!) Anyway, the rope didn't rub as you are able to keep it off the wall all the way down. At the bottom the passage meanders off in grand proportions, but typically sumps just around the next corner. Duncan made a comment on all the mud covering the entire passage, possibly due to it normally having a lot more water entering the system! We remembered the low crawl and calcite squeeze further back up the cave and decided to head for the surface in case of a sudden downpour. Wondering where Iain was when we reached the bottom of the big pitch, we heard a faint noise from above. (I forgot Iain's lack of enthusiasm for big pitches.)
Party reassembled, we made our way up the next pitch with Duncan following behind de-rigging. Well this was it, we'd reached the hard bit. Iain went up first and, after he'd forgot' to unclip his cows tail and got stuck, yours truly ascended the pitch to help him out. Duncan up safely and the rest of the cave de-rigged successfully.
Well that's it, Large Pot bottomed. We all agreed that it wasn't as bad as last time, but then we didn't do an exchange trip this time. Come to think of it, we didn't last time either! But that's another tale.
Go on give it a go! Don't believe the rumours, get to the bottom of this classic pothole. You'll feel you've been caving. An excellent trip!