RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 38 Number 3 Article 1
October 2001

Rift Pot / Large Pot Exchange

Saturday 13 March 1999

Rift Pot team : Duncan Jones, Iain Simpson.
Large Pot team : Pete Dale, Bruce Stone, Sam Carradice.
Others (above and below ground) : Sam’s mum & dad, CRO.

Well I was asked (told) by Pete to write this report up because he said it would be funny (although some people might not see it that way!!) I think there are some people who would just like to forget about it.

We split up into two groups, myself and Iain going down Rift Pot and Pete, Bruce & Sam going down Large Pot. Upon reaching the gate we went our separate ways, none of us knew what fun would arise later in the day. Neither I nor Iain had been to Rift or Large before, so it was all new ground to us; we had a brief description of Rift from Pete and he said we would meet down there in a bit.

After finding the large shakehole of Rift Pot we clambered down to the entrance and entered the cave. Climbing down the rocky entrance we came across a pitch - already. “That can't be right” I said, “there’s only one rope in the bag for the big pitch.” Remembering what Pete had said we looked around to see how to free climb the pitch. Things weren’t looking good at this point until we noticed a small hole on the left just back from the pitch. Shuffling through there we found the climb down the scaffold poles and wood. At the bottom of the climb, a low passage leads off, flat out all the way until you can climb down, which leads to a small crawly passage again. Just before the pitches are reached, an interesting drop has to be negotiated. I seem to recall doing this head first which was interesting!

That little obstacle past we reached the pitch. The first part of this rigged easily and I descended and set about rigging the next part. At first I didn't know where to hang from, after a bit of dangling around on the rope, I swung round the corner where I found the rest of the hangers. The pitch rigged, I whizzed down the rope and shouted “rope free”, standing in the large chamber which I thought was an impressive size. I waited for Iain to descend. I waited some more and started to wonder what was taking him so long. After what seemed like ages Iain arrived grumbling about the rope being too tight at the top of the pitch, I didn't have a problem with it!

We thought that it had taken quite some time to get this far and we assumed the Large Pot group would be met pretty quickly. Wandering round the chamber we found a small hole which quickly lead into some large and well decorated passages. I was starting to enjoy this trip!

Eventually the big passage ended and we clambered off to the left in search of the connection duck, arriving at what I assumed was the duck I shouted to try and get the attention of the other group. No reply. “Odd”, I thought, “not like Pete to be slow.” Having seen the duck with limited airspace I thought “sod it, I’m not going through that.” Iain didn’t even look at it before deciding whether to go on or not.

Retracing our steps back to Coates Cavern we headed off in the other direction and followed the rest of the passage, and had a look round to see if there were any side passages lying around. After spending some time poking around that area we returned to the pitch. Still no sign of the other group; we decided they weren’t coming and Iain started making his way up the pitch. Upon reaching the top and no doubt grumbling about tight rope again he shouted “rope free” and I set off out. I arrived at the top of the pitch and set about de-rigging. It wasn’t until I’d gone round the corner on the traverse bit that I heard a shout from below and saw light, although I couldn’t hear any sarcastic comments from Pete, which was most unusual. At this point Iain and I were well on our way out and we couldn’t be bothered abseiling down again and making our way out of Large Pot, so we decided we would go out the way we came in. I shouted down “we are going out of Rift now, you’ll have to go back out Large.” After I shouted that, the lights disappeared and it all went quiet. I thought they had heard and understood me, so we proceeded to make our way out.

Emerging into the darkness we walked back down to the cars and got changed. A short while after we saw a single light coming down the track; it was Pete. Everybody was puzzled! Where are Sam and Bruce? Well I had said to them “go back out of Large Pot.” Then Pete told me that they said they had seen me and they were going out of Rift, (they obviously hadn’t heard what I’d shouted... oops), and when I had seen the lights disappear they must have gone back to the duck to let Pete know what was happening. Pete had told Sam and Bruce he wasn’t going through the duck, (why not Pete??), and that he would make his way back out of Large Pot, but because he was on his own he would not de-rig it.

So our nice cosy warm group, (Dunc, Iain, Pete, Sam’s mum & dad), happily sat in the cars whilst we waited for Sam and Bruce to return. (It was lovely and warm in the car!!) Pete said that on his way out of Large he thought he could hear some noises behind him which at the time he couldn't explain, so we assumed it would have been Sam and Bruce making there way out, having realised that Rift had been de-rigged. (Not the case, so what were those noises??)

We had a stroll up to Large entrance after a bit, and replaced the only rope that Pete had removed, and sat up there for quite a while waiting for the return of the adventurers. After quite some time we decided to head back to the cars. (It was chilly outside.) Upon returning to the cars, Sam’s dad was starting to get worried, but at the time we said we wouldn’t call the CRO just yet.

At this point I bet some people are thinking “why didn’t you go back down and re-rig Rift?” This is where the excuses start! Me - lack of light and tiredness, Iain - not enough light and probably tiredness, Pete - not enough light. Hmmm, strange how everyone suddenly had a lack of light!!

You could also ask “why didn’t Sam & Bruce go back out of Large Pot?”. They knew it wasn’t being de-rigged!

Anyway it started getting later (like night time) and it was decided that the CRO should be called. They arrived and set off down Rift, and found Sam & Bruce sat waiting at the bottom of the Pitch. They made there own way out. Whilst this was going on, Pete’s wife(ex) had phoned the farm because she was getting worried, so Tim & Roger drove over to see what was happening. Hmm, not quite what I wanted - I’m sure the news spread very quickly about what had happened. I shot off home before I was attacked by Sam & Bruce. They exited the cave sometime in the morning, about 1.30, and Bruce finally arrived home around 3.30.

Almost one week later on Friday 19th myself & Pete returned to Large Pot to de-rig it.

I wrote the majority of this report having just completed a Large / Rift exchange on 26 August 2000, with no problems apart from Sam, Andy & Alan not wanting to exit via Large. (Not knowing the way was the excuse - yeah right!) So Pete & I had to do another midweek trip to de-rig it. How come we always end up de-rigging Large Pot??

Duncan Jones

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