Doing the Double in County Pot
Sunday, 22 October 2017

After quite a late and heavy one the night before, Nadia and I awoke feeling pretty shit. We arrived in Inglesport for breakfast, where a veg chili combined with making conversation with Becka and plans with Richard improved the mood considerably. The river at Gargrave was very full indeed, so we had low hopes of Stop Pot boulder choke being passable. My group was allocated to go in Wretched, and this was good because we didn’t have to carry any gear, though I was sceptical at first because I was worried we wouldn’t have time to do any of the fun passages in County. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The trip started with a very quick walk across the fell, and after sneakily checking County to see if there was another groups ladder there to use. This test proved negative, so we headed on to Wretched. All of my group found the climbs very straightforward and soon we found ourselves at Eureka Junction, where there was a lot of foam on the ceiling which must have been very recent. After a splash around in the streamway we headed back up towards Upper Trident. The climbs here were navigated without issue and White Line Chamber was impressively wet. Soon we were in Battle of Britain Chamber, and it was only 3:45. Therefore, I decided that, since the other groups would be a long time yet, that we could probably squeeze in another trip around the Manchester Bypass and back up Pierce’s Passage and Poetic Justice.

After a quick visit to Broadway to retrieve SRT kits and kit up (I got it wrong at Confusion Corner again, every fucking time!) we started down the Bypass, which was negotiated without incident, though the nature of the passage was beginning to tire the freshers. The crawl through Spangle Passage into Old English Chamber particularly was hard for some. At Main Line Terminus, we bumped into CSJ, Basic Beth et al who had come down Pierce’s and were looking around Stop Pot while Nathan, Fattia and Adam headed out of Wretched with their group. They announced that now they would head out of Manchester Bypass if we could pick up a bag that they had left on a shelf at the start of a bedding. The location of the bag was not well described, so after descending the Stop Pot ladder I had a look for it at the start of the Wretched flood bypass but didn’t find it, so decided that Carl had meant the bedding into Poetic Justice. Therefore, after checking it was passable, we took the shorter route along the Main Drain to Eureka Junction.

After some confusion with following a straight line, we were at the top of the pitch and heading through Poetic Justice. The bag wasn’t here either, oh dear. Ewan particularly was starting to become tired, and I was glad there was a ladder on the County entrance pitch to make the exit more painless for him. Everyone else wanted to get more prussiking practice so did that instead. We arrived out at the Sam Allshorne time as CSJ et al, who had picked up the bag exiting via Wretched after failing to find the Manchester Bypass despite meeting with us less than 30m from where it began. After leaving George on ladder coiling duty, I headed back across the Fell on one of the coldest walks for some time. On arriving at the hut my hands took 15 minutes to become useable. All groups arrived at the hut at the Sam Allshorne time, excellent timing meaning no waiting around. After a cup of tea for most and beer for me, we left for Leeds at around 8:30pm.

Great trip, would do again. Many thanks to the drivers and to my freshers, who were all very keen, very capable and a pleasure to cave with!