Barbon Pot or Confessions of a Fat Bast*rd

Having spent ages cleaning out loads of farmer-type sh..(rubbish) out of the entrance it was now a fairly pleasant descent to the bottom of the water-washed shaft and into the large continuation passage. So now all we needed to do was take a few photographs, finish the survey that Sam and I had started and then leave it to the pushers (not drug related) to find the connection to Dog Holes, simple! The reason for us leaving off at this point is quite simple, I didnít fit!I didnít fit about twenty five years ago when me, Fran, Charlie, Neil, Pete and Giles came down through the rubbish to try to push the cave and I definitely didnít fit now .So here we were, Hugh St. Lawrence, Sam Lieberman, Andy Whitney and myself flogging up that bloody hill again, I know itís a short walk compared with some but Iíd done it getting on for forty times usually carting some heavy load either up or down. No chance of keeping up with a rampant Hugh after all the wings help him a lot when going uphill so I trudged along with camera gear and SRT kit behind the younger members of the team. The entrance had been left rigged so the survey team could get down easily but his meant that the others were carrying absolutely nothing and romped away from a flagging pensioner.

As usual Hugh set off from the pitch as if followed by a garlic seller and Sam followed as fast as his little legs would go, leaving me to bring along the caving equivalent of Marvin from Hitch Hikers Guide. O.K. so the Main Chamber is a bit muddy in places and looks a bit loose but it is still an interesting piece of passage until the climb down through boulders and slide through a muddy tube to the top of the pit, head first, well maybe not that interesting! Once Andy and Iíd negotiated the climb down to The Vaults, I found Andy was really happy to pose for a photograph in the tight muddy bedding, great. Descending the mud tube to the lower streamway is fun but itís worth remembering where you land in the stream for the return journey. The next section involves a little thrutching in a narrow stream passage and climbing over obstacles.

We caught up with the Count and Renfield as they were leaving the station where Sam and I had finished our survey so Andy and I took a few photos and then did a little exploring before heading back.

I led the way out but was surprised when after some time Andy hadnít arrived at the end of the muddy bedding. Then there was some sound of udging and it appears Andy had missed the muddy tube back up and tried to crawl at stream level, error! Exiting then went fairly straight forward and we had only a short wait at the car before the others returned, defeated. Apparently there is a lot more surveying beyond where theyíd reached so that means the Ďskinny folkí will have to sign up to finish it off.

Ray Duffy


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