Saturday, 3 September 2011

Caving Stuff

Well, the Craven Pothole Club's Gaping Gill winch meet has come and gone for another year.  It always feels like the end of summer when I get back down to Clapham on Bank Holiday Monday.  A few interesting changes down in the Main Chamber this year.  The mud banks at the west end have eroded significantly from when I was last there, two years ago and a small depression has formed in the floor at the east end, a couple of metres from East Pot.  It appeared at the start of the meet and was deeper by the end.  I wonder what that will look like by next year.

I did 5 guiding sessions in Main Chamber over the two weekends.  When I got back to Sheffield after the first weekend I could hardly talk.  It had been very noisy down there on the Sunday after the previous night's heavy rain.  Perhaps I need a voice coach before next year.  We had one person who didn't like it and wanted to go straight back out.  She said to me, "I bet you get a lot of people like me" and I didn't have the heart to say, "Well no, you're the first in the 20 years since I started guiding down here.

Straws in Stream Passage

My friend Hilary came up for the first weekend and I took her out to Stream Chamber.  I tried to go there with the Pieman two years ago but had forgotten the way round Mud Pot.  It turned out to be round the lip of the intimidating big, dark hole we stopped at.  Anyway, we went about as far as you can along Stream Passage and I also had a quick look up North West Extension but I was there years ago and I recalled that it gets 'orribly muddy, so I turned back after a short distance.  We also went out to SE Pot and to the bottom of the 110' pitch in Bar Pot.  The climb up from SE Aven into Bar seems to get more polished and scarier every year (or maybe I've just lost my bottle).

At the bottom of the 110' in Bar Pot

I found this video of a cave rescue from 1964 on the web earlier in the week.  Given it's probably one of the first caving films made for TV, the quality fo the photography is stunningly good.


Mike Knipe said...

I recognised Hell Hole - and I've only been there once - in 1978. The lad from the wages dept developed tourettes syndrome every time he got underground, which is why I remember it. We dammed the water up with bodies and let it go on his head when he was on the ladder...

Hope he doesnt read this... word is forit. Apt.

Anonymous said...

This takes me back, Tony. I used to do a lot of caving but I've been down Gaping Gill only the once, and I think it was via Stream Passage. It's that long ago I can't remember. There was a long crawl and a few pitches, one of which was very wet on the way out. Your piece has stirred some memories and some yearnings. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. Cheers.
Alen McF

Tony Bennett said...

Hi Alan

Your trip doesn't sound like Stream Passage Pot. SP doesn't have any crawling. Well at least not until you get out of Sand Caverns towards Main Chamber. The entrance of SP is in the middle of the fell.

I'm wondering if it was Disppointment Pot, close to GG, which has a flat out crawl in water early on , followed by a number of smaller pitches.

You should come up for the August winch meet next year