We had heard about the Big Rift at the end of Wretched Rabbit
Passage (W.R.) in Ease Gill Caverns but had never been there for a
proper look. In late August 1984 Jim Farrer and I decided to go for a
trip. There were two probationary members at the farm, Terry and Lee,
who were looking for a trip and they jumped at the chance.
Ron Bliss and Lol German overheard us talking and as they were taking Lol's dog for a walk. "Did they want us to have a shout in the gill down various holes to see if we could hear them?" We laughed!
We had a steady trip up W.R. showing Terry and Lee the joys of P.J. to finally arrive at the Big Rift at the end of W.R. In spite of professing to be a non-climber Jim was first up the two lower sections and he tossed us an old digging ladder he was carrying and we joined him where the rift splits into two near the top. Jim and I went left which was blocked after a short distance with large black boulders, while terry got Lee on his shoulders and scaled into the right hand passage. We soon joined them to find the passage ending in a wide bedding which looked quite diggable. Terry was just pulling a couple of boulders out when he said he could here a dog and some one shouting it. I told him he was hearing things. Then suddenly Lol's voice rang out, "Gerrout o' there!" We hoped he was talking to the dog. We tried to dig through there and then but although we made 6 feet of progress it was not to be so we staggered off down the passage coming out the long way round.
Jim was up next weekend and told me over the phone that he had almost dug through from the surface. When Terry and I went over with Pete Muckalt and Peter Bracken it still looked blocked but we pulled back a block there it was, open! Peter Bracken squeezed through before we could stop him, but when he turned round it had collapsed behind him! We soon put in a 45 gallon oil drum and a very picturesque entrance was constructed.
Next week we returned with scaling poles as we had spotted a hole in the top of the rift. Richard was shoved up, but dashed our hopes with news of a large boot print, However he was soon joined by Derek, Frank and the rest of us from a variety of directions. Bodies kept appearing in different parts of the rift and at different heights. The amount of passage made a mockery of the Ease Gill Survey and there was lots of new stuff!
At the end of August I returned from the Gouffre Berger Expedition not especially keen to go caving in the relatively small caves near Bull Pot Farm. A visit to the Farm soon changed all that. A new cave had been found and it was only five minutes from an entrance! I had to have some of that. At first things were very confused. In typical Red Rose fashion nobody seemed to know what anyone else was doing Co-ordination and a survey were needed. I was the one to do it!
Within a few weeks over 300m. of passage had been surveyed within 50m.. of the entrance. Avens had been scaled, squeezes pushed and pitches descended, The link is a description of the Wretched Rabbit Entrance Series as it is now known.
The entrance is located in Ease Gill Beck immediately upstream of New Cave with which it is now connected and 30 metres down the Gill from Slit Sinks (grid ref: 676806). An oil drum marks the entrance.
For completeness New Cave was included on the survey as it was connected to Wretched Rabbit, by Derek Varnon not long after the entrance was opened. New Cave was explored by Red Rose in 1972 (RRCPC No. 6) but it was not surveyed. In 1990 we re-excavated the entrance in order to survey the cave. The survey was never completed as the cave is very tight and awkward and the surveying party did not even reach the second pitch! Hence the lower part of the cave is only Grade 1. It is worth noting that New Cave's location is incorrectly marked on the old CRG survey and the more recent one which was copied from it. As can be seen from the survey in this Journal it lies further along Ease Gill to the S.W. and is opposite the waterfall marked on the other surveys.