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Yorkshire

An account by D.L. Stuckey of caving over the Summer Bank Holiday this year.

The vast midgy population of Crummock Dale Farm, already suffering from mild droughts had their peace shattered by the arrival of seven B.E.C. members on the evening of Friday, August 25th.  Roll call the next morning found Joan and Roy Bennett; Bob Cross; Ian Calder and Doug Stuckey alive and well, with Nigel Taylor and Ken James on the injured list.

A little later, all camp personnel negotiated the route to the Craven stronghold at Gaping Gill. After the entertainment of rousing the Craven from their slumbers, our party split.  Ken and Nigel walked down to Clapham for a guided tour of Ingleborough Cave, Joan soloed lngleborough and Simon Fell; adding her name to the injured list by twisting her ankle, while the other members of the party  turned their attention to Disappointment Pot.

The dry conditions had reduced the stream to a mere trickle giving the duck a six-inch airspaces but the well washed nature of the pot throughout its length showed that under wetter conditions it could prove a sporting entrance to Gaping Gill.  Each pitch was tackled parallel to the Craven ladders already installed.  The Pennine Underground description was adequate except that, on inspection, we found the entrance pitch 15 feet and the Fourth Pitch 20 feet to be easy free climbs.

Ignorance of the Bar Pot route from Disappointment inlet to Gaping Gill main chamber resulted in the party visiting Hensler's Master Cave and then spending sometime in Hensler's Old Passage before returning to the Disappointment Inlet.  Co-operation with a Craven party at the third pitch split our party, all gaining the surface after some five hours caving.

Bob's knees voted him on to the injured list, as they received a fair battering in the grips of Hensler's Crawl.  Sunday saw Bob, Nigel and Ken on a joy ride round the dales, while Joan; Roy; Ian and Doug, visited Kingsdale with the intention of abseiling through Simpson¬ís Pot to the master cave and out via the valley entrance.

Leaving Joan with the car keys and an estimated through time of three hours, Roy, Ian and Doug, started a direct descent of Simpson's.  Progress was stopped by the squeeze below the pit.  With Roy's assistance from above, Ian and Doug, climbed the pit and the party set off on the roundabout route.  Storm Pot (35 feet) caused a halt when the rope jammed on the belay and much energy was wasted before the pitch was prussicked.  The descent then continued with the use of a rope left on the pitch by another party.  The passage to Slit Pot - excellent for abseiling with large and smooth belays for all pitches.  The other party was met, and they gave us a large metal ring for use as a belay on Slit Pot.

For the descent of Slit Pot (83 feet) the two ropes of 96 and 106 feet were tied together to enable retrieval. Using the ring on a peg and sling belay, the knot ran over the lip easily, leaving the belay behind.  Roy made a quick exit through the master cave while Ian and Doug de-tackled Roof Tube Pitch, reaching the surface after five hours underground.

Ian departed, seeking his wife's company in Brecon.  Beckhead Rising not far from the campsite received a quick visit from Joan, Roy and Doug. Camp broke on the Monday morning. During its existence, Jim Abbott, Graham Wilton-Jones and others put in surprise visits.

A worthwhile weekend.