RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 43 Number 1 Article 2
July 2006

A Grand Day Out :
Gaping Gill Main Shaft

Saturday 23rd July 2005

Johnny, Beardy, Helen, Dinny, Carmel, Dave, Abbie, with surface support from Hamish.

Down from The Farm, I drove in the drizzle,
To sunshine in Ingleton, and bought a new whistle.
When I asked the team if anything had changed
They said "There's no blobbing Johnny, it's GG as arranged."

Walk up to the entrance all anguished and worry,
The rigging wasn't done in much of a hurry.
A huge gaping hole and a huge pile of ladders,
Needless to say, played havoc with our bladders.

And then I was down! The descent it was done.
Ten minutes of apprehension, five minutes of fun.
But was this a terrible mistake I was making?
As on the way down, my arms they were aching.

Then off, up the ladder. Ouch! Must stop again.
Blowing my whistle like a deranged steam train.
Ahh, a nice ledge, I'll blow once more.
Arghh! I'm only thirty yards off the floor.

Glance up the pitch into the daylight,
The ladder teasing me, spiralling up out of sight.
Then up a few rungs when I feel the rope tug.
Until I need rest and the ladder I hug.

Then off up again with a resigned sigh,
Feel a tug on the lifeline from those friends way up high.
"How do you feel?" Asks Beardy as I climb up the duct.
Honesty answered. "Absolutely fucked."

Then I get to the top, I'm knackered, but smile.
A classic pot-hole, one I won't repeat, for a while.
Then next man down. Or was it a lass.
Whoever it was, they were going quite fast.

Then it's next person up. Haul away! Heave!
A song while we're hauling, then a moment to breathe.
How high had they climbed, while that shanty was sung?
"They're halfway up, but haven't touched a rung."

So, climb away, heave away, up that great pot-hole,
Expecting them to erupt, like a cork out a bottle.
But the hauling team tire, so does the climber,
A bloody good effort from a ladder first-timer.

Then we're all at the top, I think we all ache.
They sing "Happy Birthday", then we feast on some cake.
Then it's three cheers for us all, "well done" we all shout.
There's no mistaking, it was a Grand Day Out.

Johnny Baker

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