Volume 40 Number 1 Article 3
Bar Pot to Gaping Gill Main Chamber
(You've got to have balls to be a caver)
Featuring Tim Eastwood and Andy Macdonald
Two and a half years ago Tim and my self had a trip down Bar Pot without really checking to see where we were going. It was one of my first few SRT trips and I was very impressed by the sheer size of the Main Chamber. We tried to return to the surface going via Henslers crawl and various other bits but as we weren't 100% sure and as a Committee meeting was looming large on the horizon we swore that we would return really soon and have another go having checked a description or two.
With this in mind we waited patiently for the opportunity to present itself while having the odd long trip and a fair few evening trips thrown in.
Finally, having moved up to Carnforth from Huddersfield, we had a chance just before Christmas to have a real male bonding weekend as the girls (Heather, Helen and my daughter Samantha) decided to go to Huddersfield to see their respective mothers. A thinly veiled excuse to do what our wives do best. SHOPPING!
So plans were put in place to go down Bar Pot on the Saturday, go to Sam and Rowenas' house warming on Saturday night and depending on how our heads were on Sunday a long walk up a big hill, possibly High Street, just to show some empathy with the girls and their favourite hobby.
On the Friday night Helen and myself had a works Christmas party to attend and Tim being the kind man that he is volunteered to baby-sit on the condition of being plied with copious quantities of alcohol. I think you can probably see a very recognisable pattern forming here.
On Saturday morning Tim and myself were up and only slightly eager to get going at 8 o'clock, but several cups of coffee later we were beginning to feel reasonably human so we set off to Bernies to get my lamp fixed and find the way to Henslers crawl etc. We called at the local shop for some supplies of orange juice, sundry food items and paracetamol! Whilst driving to Bernies, Tim, in the passenger seat was heard to mumble "you'd better do the rigging today because I can't get it out!" Referring of course to the little plastic bag attached to the orange juice containing the straw.
We got to Bernies, had breakfast, got a description from Steve's' shop slave of where to go in Bar Pot and set off to Clapham. It was busy with cars in Clapham as Santa was in his grotto in Ingleborough Cave, but we found a space and got changed double quick as it was a tad chilly round the trossachs, all the while looking for excuses to get out of walking all the way up that damn hill to Bar Pot. En route we discussed all manner of things including the state of the shoulder straps on the f***ing tackle sack we had chosen to use.
When we reached the entrance we knew exactly where we were going; I was going to rig the 2 pitches as I am after getting validated. But some thing was not right!
It is at this point that I must tell you that some 5 weeks ago I had the snip. I had already been climbing to Kendal to be sure that a harness was not going to be a problem but had not counted on the fact that walking up that damn hill was going to make my left testicle feel like it had swollen to the size of a grapefruit and was exceedingly painful as well.
I laid down in the depression where the entrance is with my legs outstretched and prayed for the pain to go away. We let a couple of very clean and shiny cavers go in before us and told my tale of woe to them as they were getting ready, only to be told by one of the two who was a nurse that she had heard that the pain in some cases remains with you for the rest of your life! GULP!! Tim has started to cringe a bit and then cheered himself up a bit when he said "I'm very grateful to Heather you know for not making me go through that, and I must remember to tell her so when she returns from her trip.
Having laid down for 20 minutes or so the pain was not receding so we called off the trip and walked very slowly and carefully down Trow Gill back to the car and then to the New Inn for some anaesthetic, then some tea and of to Sam and Rowenas where I stood the pain for as long as I could before retiring hurt at about 12.30am.
So, let that be a warning to all you victims of the surgeons' knife, don't do it! I only hope that this pain does not last forever as I have a lot of big hills to walk up and long caving trips to look forward to.
Perhaps then I should change the subtitle of this report of a trip that never happened to: You've got to have balls to be a caver (Just make sure they are not sore or swollen though).
Maybe I'll be able to go down Bar Pot next year. Happy caving, you lucky, lucky bastards!!