Large Pot

(Marble Steps Area) Sunday 2nd April



How did this start and why? I donít remember now but to say I hate the second pitch in Large Pot would be wrong; only because cavers are not allowed to hate caves, we have to respect their difficult sections and appreciate that they teach us about ourselves as people and at times even help us appreciate not being underground.

Whilst not allowed to hate, it would be accurate to say I have never been on good terms with the move into the chamber before the second pitch of Large Pot, having made a mess of it on my last two visits including having to start the pitch head first on one occasion, whilst hoping I had put the stop on correctly upside down.


So when keen for any trip underground I bumped into Beardy in Inglesport it was with a little trepidation that I joined Beardy, Peter and Neil for a digging trip in Large Pot.

The slimming world diet of red and green food groups and a greatly reduced beer input appears to have worked as I got past the chamber and pitch head with no significant problems and was able to descend with my head above my feet. There was the minor problem that another group was in front of us and their rigging was a bit tangled with the ropes that Neil had installed on his last visit. However, Beardy behind me being taller was getting to respect the pitch two chamber and pitch head, he was also learning a lot about himself and his determination to continue. An hour after entering the Cave the four of us gathered at the base of pitch two. For the next 45 minutes or so we moved though the cave, working as a team helping to move the tackle bags of gear towards Colossus.


The trip was broken up by Neil providing interesting detail about our location and the area around us. Beardy, Peter and I descended a very wet Colossus Pitch with the knowledge that Neil was going to rebolt the top and it would be a dry return backup the pitch. At the base of the pitch Beardy and I set of in the direction of Kingsdale while Peter removed his SRT gear. Kingsdale is only about one kilometre from here, the downside is after a couple of minutes we ran out of cave passage and stated to dig, after about 20 minutes I went back to check on Peter who had lost sight of us was poking around in various holes in the area. After about an hour Neil joined us with the disappointing news that main pitch rope was still in the water with the positive advantage that could wash our suits going up the pitch.


While one was digging the others could poke about and with a overhead boulder removed there could be a way over the top via a easy to climb aven near to the dig. A couple of us climbed the aven but the move over the small boulder was too difficult and a piece of timber is required to be braced over the aven and provide a footing to get over it for a look. Whilst the other three had planned a late call out I had promised to turn and leave at 4pm, so it was with regret that having not got to Kingsdale at about 4pm I had to leave the others and start to make my way out, solo. It was a pleasant surprise that as I got to the base of Colossus so did the other two cavers in the system and one was a Red Rose caver Andy (sorry Andy I know you told me at least four time -surname begins with a P) and another chap called John from the Swaledale Outdoor Club.


We had an uneventful trip back towards the base of pitch two with the mild entertainment that John decided to make hard work of a couple of obstacles on the way. At Pitch Two the plan was for the two of them to go first and remove their rigging and I would follow up and help free the bags from below if they got stuck. Andy went up and into the chamber no problem, John went up and was given a lesson in self awareness by the top of the pitch but battled on an got into the chamber. After that it was bit of a fight to get their two large tackle sacks up the top of the pitch.


Whilst John was exiting the chamber I was remembered to got up the pitch and into the chamber to find that John was reversing with his size 10 boots back into the small chamber that I was previously so pleased to be in. I was forced by a boot in the face to reverse back down the pitch a bit to give John room to turn and try a different exit technique, with a bit of pushing and pulling he was round the difficult bend. When I went to move out of the chamber round the awkward bend I kept getting stuck, once I engaged brain and released my long Cows Tail from my reverse over the pitch head it was a simple move left side down to start with then sit up roll over roll and exit right side down. A couple of minutes later the three of us were outside enjoying a fantastic view and a wonderful evening which was perhaps all the sweeter thanks to pitch two and oddly enough looking forward to a return to Large Pot.


Paul Thomas


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