Strangle Pot (aka the poo pit)
Saturday, 11 June 2011
5.5hr trip down this seldom visited pothole located on fountains fell and also one of the trips that features in the excellent ‘Not for the Faint Hearted’ guidebook. It was extended back in 95 by the NPC and is now some 450m long and 160m deep.
After a pleasant walk from dale head layby and short search for the correct shakehole we were underground around 1pm(ish). 3 short and easy pitches and then SRT kits bagged up for Dementia Crawl.
This started easily enough with some easy rocky crawling but then soon degenerated into a slow-motion struggle through a small blasted passage half-filled with stinky mud. Being at the front and pushing a bag ahead i found this really hard work. Felt like i was continually pushing against a solid wall and my body was quickly being sucked down into the channel i was forging. Pausing regularly to catch my breath Sam Allshorn and Tom were close behind reaping the benefit of the now-liquified porridge and channel but also encouraging me to politely hurry the feck up.
The crawl soon improves and slow progress was made to the enlargement where a smooth flat out crawl is followed to the right. I let Sam Allshorn past to go and rig the 4th pitch. Three pitches follow in quick succession with short sections of narrow rift in between. After the 6th pitch is the spacious breakdown chamber and then several minutes of easy, gritty crawling along Paranoia with some formations. The passage becomes a narrow rift again to the 7th pitch where i took over the rigging again. This looked a tad tight from the top but wasn’t too bad in the end. A short section of large rift passage and then the double duck, which was passed easily on one’s front. Some more stream passage and then SRT kits were donned again for the 8th pitch, a fine pitch in a spacious shaft – rigged off a small scaffold construction in the roof and a bolt.
The final 43m 9th pitch is reached after a short narrow traverse where wooden stemples were placed for footholds. This airy solid clean washed shaft was split by a small ledge 15m down. At the bottom, the trickle of a stream ran down into a too-tight rift. Once Sam Allshorn and Tom were down, I headed up the pitch leaving Tom to endure the misery of being in close proximity to Sam Allshorn while he relieved his bowels. Cries of terror echoed around the shaft and then relief as i called down rope-free.
Good progress was made out of the cave which is fairly straightforward really, well, apart from Dementia Crawl. Back at the 4th pitch, Sam Allshorn went on ahead and I followed Tom expecting another miserable time. Much to my relief, Dementia Crawl was a piece of piss on the way out…..the deep muddy porridge now a muddy, watery crawl where bag and body glided easily. It’s still a smelly, muddy piece of shitty crawling though…
Then back up the pitches to the entrance and a swift walk back across the fell to Dale Head, and to the Station Inn for a well-deserved pint!
Good to finally tick this cave, but suspect it may be my first and final visit, lacking the appeal of its excellent neighbours Hammer Pot and Gingling Hole. Dementia Crawl aside, its also a relatively straightforward trip with no major difficulties…..just a few narrow pitch-heads
Oh, and some useful advice for Dementia Crawl…….dont be the one who goes first!
I would suggest that you don’t drink any water in this cave!
Saturday, 18 June 2011
Unless you follow it up with several pints of beer and wine???
Saturday, 18 June 2011