Penyghent Pot: Rebolting 10th Pitch and Eerie Pot, then more
Saturday, 8 October 2016
Sam Allshorn had messaged me the day before asking if I would like to go on the trip with him, requesting an early start of 6:30am (if I had received comms before departing Leeds for Penyghent I would probably have stayed at the Bradford!). After experiencing some back pain exiting the pot I was unsure about this trip, but having had Sam Allshorn flake on me twice I knew I couldn’t be seen to do the Sam Allshorne. In order to numb the pain, I went to the pub until 2:30am.
Unsurprisingly, I struggled to get up the next morning. ‘Wake up Rob, you lazy git’ was shouted round my door the following morning at 6:30am, after Amy had kindly let Sam Allshorn in. I stumbled upstairs to make coffee. ‘I’m going to get Katey; I’ll be back’ yelled Terminator Allshorn before slamming the front door. Soon he was back and we were away. After Katey tried to blame me for not bringing her wetsuit, we were soon back at Quarry Street to collect it, meaning that both our houses were visited twice that morning, causing Mr Allshorn quite some displeasure. We arrived in the Dales at 8:30am, not a bad time in my opinion. We were soon at the entrance to the pot after heading to the Bradford to collect Mr Adam Walmsey who would be learning how to place P bolts. Underground at around 10am.
Swift progress was made to the head of the 10th pitch. While Adam and Sam Allshorn got on with the bolting, myself and Katey went to inspect the downstream sump. I took a massive shit in the stream, with Katey on standby upstream to assist in undressing and dressing of the wetsuit. The pitch has now been bolted with 2 slightly obscurely placed bolts due to the absence of good rock anywhere at the pitch-head. Both bolts are on the left hand wall approaching the top of the pitch. A great improvement on the two very shoddy naturals that had previously been the only useable anchors.
Next we headed to Eerie Pot to rebolt the traverse. Sam Allshorn seemed to dislike the bold step across to the far side. Two bolts were placed in the floor on the near side as well as a bolt in the middle near to the previous bolt, and a bolt on the far side to be equalised with the natural (of dubious quality) which has been in use for the last 30 years. I have left a 15m rope there which I will rig next time I head down there, after which I will remove the 80s black marlow and the horselain ropes that are currently in situ. We removed all the rubbish that remained there which used to be part of the camp at the Norman Bates Motel, comprising 2 tacklebags of mugs, drums, tin openers, mess tins and a rusty hammer.
We then headed out via the Hunt Pot Inlet so that Sam Allshorn could have a look at the dig having never been there before. After his greatly appreciated advice I suggest that the future trips to the dig consist of:
1. Inspecting the Living Dead side and establishing the best part of the vocal connection to work out where it is best to concentrate the digging efforts. The Hunt Pot Inlet team could take down some scaff lengths (transport by drilling a hole in one end and attaching a maillon to facilitate easy dragging), another drag tray/bucket (one already down there) and some old rope to drag with (I have this) in order to remove floor material to facilitate easier access to the dig face. Getting hold of a crow bar also likely to be useful.
2. Capping some of the solid floor and continuing to remove cobbles. Continued transport of material.
3. Once the dig face is large enough, remove some of the loose stuff on the right hand side with a great deal of care.
4. After this, a scaff cage could be constructed though this would mean a restriction of the size of the working space at the digface. Drystone walling possibly another option.
We then headed out removing the rest of the ES ropes and stashing the replacement ropes. Adam seemed to be rather tired by the time we reached the entrance crawl, possibly due to his poor selection of bag for the trip (Petzl bag with no drainholes!). Out by 4:30pm. The entrance to the pot also needs to be re-shored as two trips ago two large sections of rusty scaff fell on me as I was exiting. This project will need to be approached with some caution as the entrance is on an SSSI. Re-scaffing would be the quickest and easiest option but a more long-lasting solution would be to dig back and build a new solid drystone wall (the method needs to be able to drain as the entrance can take water from the stream in flood conditions), though drystone walling would take a lot longer. Back in Leeds for 7:45pm meaning that Sam Allshorn didn’t miss his curfew, Nic got to see her friends on schedule and Peachey provided us with a very nice apple and cinnamon cake.
Good, useful trip overall. Thanks to Sam Allshorn for driving and putting up with students again.