Volume 44 Number 1 Article 9
Another use for Bull Pot of the Witches
2nd September 2007
Linda Smith is a prospective member of the club who had contacted me with a request to take herself and her son, Mike, underground to see if caving was for her. Linda is a geology student in the Open University, hence the interest in caving. We met up at Bernies where she and Mike were going to hire gear, before joining Steve Robinson and I in a trip. I had chosen to take them down Bull Pot of the Witches as I feel it gives a fairly representative variety of challenges.
Getting ready at the Farm, Mike was having trouble with his wellies being too small, but he thought they were ok so we started off. Before we got ro the cave he decided they were too small and went back to change into a pair of boots. When we were all together again we got into the cave. Steve went down the entrance rift first, to help Linda and Mike with footholds. Linda did fine climbing down, but Mike found getting onto the top of the climb difficult. Having got onto the climb he was struggling to get his foot on the first foothold on the way down. I stuck a ladder on the climb thinking it would help but to no avail. It was at this point that Mike gave a gasp of pain and whacked his right hip. When I asked him about this, it turned out that he has some condition not dissimilar to a dislocating hip. Shortly after this Mike suggested that maybe caving wasn't for him. Retreat seemed the prudent course for him, so we agreed that the rest of us would do a shorter trip while Mike waited in the car.
Linda, Steve and I made it to the bottom of the second pitch. I could see that Linda was enjoying the rock. From time to time she pointed out geological features of interest to Steve and I. We made it back up after two hours underground. Linda had done very well for a first trip. I suspect that following Mike's experience of Bull Pot of the Witches he will never go caving again, but at least he found that out without going more than 3m from the entrance.