Holly and Noel’s Birthday Bash (an eventful weekend)
Friday, 13 December 2013 – Tuesday, 17 December 2013
We arrived at Bullpot Farm on Friday night at 2am to find that only Holly, Noel and Lyndon remained of the festive cohort. Lyndon was making up for drinking ground lost on Tom at Pennine Hut, and entertaining conversation was made. We then withdrew at 4am, and awoke around ten fresh (or not) for a days caving. Tom, Matt and Kristian headed off to do Notts Two, only to find that Kristians 90% certainty as to its location was more than 10% inaccurate. Nobody really can be sure which cave they did end up doing, but a good time was had none the less. Katey, Peachey and I headed off to Sell Gill to get some rigging and hauling practice in. Much was learnt, and Sell Gill was explored to the fullest extent possible via the dry route. We emerged, and the shitty weather enthused us to return to the car at a hefty pace.
Once back, the gigantic buffet had been assembled and was waiting to be done full justice to. After this, and substantial quantities of alcohol, the party began. Leeds students proceeded to disappoint Holly and Noel by turning in early. However, this dilemma was rectified by a promise of gin from Holly, and me and Tom were persuaded to stay and thrash away to a fine selection of 90s classics until the close. The morning was rather less pleasant for us than for Matt and Katey, but I still wanted to do King Pot, so we got our shit together and collected Nathanael from Clapham Station, Brendan having been driven up by Peachey that morning. Peachey then slept all day after his night shift, and Tom, Nathanael, Brendan and Kristian decided to do Bull Pot of the Witches and County Pot to Wretched Rabbit. Matt, Katey and I set our callout for 3am and then headed off and got underground.
We split the rigging between us, with me doing the first and third pitches, Katey the second and fourth, and Matt the last two. We got to the bottom of the last pitch (Elizabeth) after 4 or so hours of crawling about and discovering how arduous the T traverse in King Pot is with tackle sacks full of rope. We left Elizabeth pitch to crawl around in shitty mud for 20 minutes (though there were some pretty decorations), and when we returned found that the waterfall in the pitch had doubled in size and become impassable. We decided to sit it out in a group shelter out of the cold and wet, and spent twelve hours exchanging stories and singing songs about goats whilst getting very sore necks, arses and knees.
We all felt tremendously relieved when, at some time in the morning, we heard Peacheys signature “whoop from the top of the pitch, and were shortly met by him after he heroically rerigged the pitch and descended down to us, bringing a roll mat, mars bars and a larger shelter. He then got himself back up the pitch, and CRO shortly arrived at the pitch head. We were then escorted to the surface, and were fed many mars bars (yay!). My escortee was Paul, an excellent chap who had a real way with words (“this bits a fucking twat, they should rename this Twat Cave! What a fucking disgrace!) We surfaced around 2pm, a full 24 hours after first descending, and were greeted with a very welcome tent containing a heater and such delicacies as “unknown stew and “lumpy stuff. We then thanked all involved, got ourselves back to the farm, indulged in Peacheys curry, and slept.
So, lessons learnt from an eventful few days:
1. Notts Two is near the road on Leck Fell.
2. Gin is not ideal preparation for caving trips.
3. King Pot is a bit of a twat.
4. Peachey is an utter legend.
5. Holly and Noel have a very agreeable taste in music.
6. The water level in caves is affected by the weather (Brendan).
7. What every button in a police car and rescue vehicle does (Brendan again).
8. Which rescue stories covered by Descent are most amusing (Nathanael).
9. Being rescued, whilst being a crucial part of a cave rescue, isnt as fun as not being rescued.
Massive thanks to all the CRO team involved, we really appreciated your presence and hope we can spread the word about your tireless and selfless work and give something back in the future.
Group shelters are great, i just bought one.
Friday, 20 December 2013
Great final comment Rob.
Glad you’re all fine.
Sunday, 22 December 2013
Just read back on this, and realised it gives off a bit of a false impression to other cavers who aren’t very experienced like myself. Callouts should not be set at 3am. No one wants to wake up at 3am.
Don’t do it. Emma’s Pitch and Elizabeth pitch both become impassable in very wet weather. A deviation rigged around a large natural to the right of Elizabeth (viewed from the pitch head) brings you away from the water here. Take into account groundwater saturation and surface runoff when checking weather, and remember if lots of rain has happened during the week then even only a tiny bit at the weekend will probably cause a substantial rise in water levels.
Friday, 28 February 2014