RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 46 Number 2 Article 2

April 2009

Wandering around Crina Bottom

Johnny Baker


I'd been for a walk up 'The Berg' a few weeks ago, and on the way down had a ferret around on the surface a few hundred metres up from Crina Bottom. I came across a couple of holes that seemed to require further investigation. My memory of their position was a bit hazy, and when I looked in Northern Caves, there didn't seem to be anything that fitted the bill, so it was with some excitement that I set off up with caving gear and a rope. I'd convinced myself I was on to something new.

I seemed to get a few strange looks from the ramblers that I passed, perhaps the Christmas-present-gortex-clad walkers weren't expecting to see what must have appeared to be a purple teddy bear, as I strode up in my furrysuit! I walked straight to the holes, and after a warming coffee from the flask, I descended a promising looking rift. Unfortunately, it was a mere 3 or 4 metres deep to a choked floor in a too tight draughtless rift. Never mind, there was another hole a stones throw away. This one was tighter, but not as deep, and 'opened up' to a bodysized void with a very small hole leading off.

A worrying thrutch back onto the surface required a calming coffee and mince pie. Dejected, I wandered about, and to my surprise found a 'giant rabbit hole', (as I remember thinking at the time). This led to a drop of a couple of metres, into a short walking passage, surely I hadn't found a cave so easily!

Correct, I hadn't! Around the corner was a rope, and a 7m pitch with a tight get-on. This led to the top of another tight pitch-head. I 'umm'ed and 'ahh'ed, and decided that, as I was on a solo trip and no-one knew where I was, it'd be a bit foolish (and terminal) to risk getting stuck.

Actually, getting up out of the first tight pitch was easy, so maybe I was just a big wimp. Despite the fact that I wasn't discovering new caves, I was excited, because it was all new to me. So, I continued with my spot-holing.

There were two or three obvious digs, which didn't seem to go very far, but one was a discrete small hole in a non-descript shakehole. My first impression was to admire the icicles adorning the lip of the shakehole, until my eye caught the 'black'. I quickly found a stone, and lobbed it down ...... ding ........ ding ............. ding!

Blimey a proper pitch! But no spits or hangers, and only a moderate boulder to lassoo. Another cup of coffee required!

I tipped out my 40m rope and belayed around the boulder. The head of the pitch was small, so I figured I could sort of chimney down and hope to get a good natural belay inside. However, when I tried to drag the rope over, it didn't move- what was going on? I went over to the pile of rope to discover that I'd emptied it ontop of a metal stake in the ground! So, a 'safe' rig was had, and down I went. Down I went. Down I went! Probably about a 30m pitch, which somehow seemed much deeper. It was choked at the bottom, with old shoring around, so back up I went to a very chilly surface, and a content walk back down the hill.

Checking that evening showed that all the caves were in the book (Lumphammer Hole, etc), but an enjoyable day out nevertheless, with a few more caves to add to my list!

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