Hammer Pot Surveying #2
Sunday, 14 January 2018

Met Becka at Fountains Fell parking spot at 11:00, she arrived on the dot so I wasn’t able to call her out for being late 🙁

We packed the bags and were off across the fell and underground for just after 12:00. Almost thirty seconds into the cave Becka’s super scurion packed in, whoopsie! Luckily she had a back-up light with “1 bar out of 5” battery life, doppel whoopsie! Because I didn’t have a back-up light Becka concluded I was to blame. It was decided that I would go on ahead and rig the fourth and fifth pitch, by which time Becka would have jogged across the fell and back to retrieve some batteries / magically fix the buggered scurion. A few minutes later I heard her shouting from the passage behind me, though I couldn’t make out any words so sat and waited. When she caught up it was revealed that some bashing had miraculously fixed the light.

On we went, no problems finding the last survey station from the previous trip, just after stemple rift before sliding down the second and third pitches into showerbath chamber. Made decent progress, surveying mostly nice easy passage past the fourth pitch. A side passage in the roof of the passage a few metres from the bottom of the pitch was surveyed to its conclusion, having quite obviously been explored before, soon becoming too tight. Curiously, Becka noticed a delicate mummified crane fly-type insect on the wall, and I soon found more embedded in the mud towards the end of the passage, interesting.

Back in the streamway we continued up to a junction with a left-branching crawling passage somewhere just before the fifth pitch. This side passage proved pretty squalid and sapped all our enthusiasm to continue so after wriggling along and surveying as far as seemed reasonable we called it a day. It looks as though it’s been dug out at some point, we didn’t reach the end of it and (as with the previously mentioned side passage) is marked as ‘unexplored’ on the NPC ’57 survey so worth checking out, though from the look of it and lack of any draught I would assume it to be nothing important.

Suitably muddy and miserable, we turned back. The first pitch was free climbed on the way out, surprisingly straight-forward. Not to be outdone, Becka followed suit but I did see her hold the rope at one point, so had to tell her it didn’t count. Got out for about 19:00. I’d underestimated how long it would take to survey to the fifth pitch but I think we’re not very far off now, certainly in the next trip. Then onto sludge crawl and all manner of misery.