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Turbary Pot

I writ a rant. In lieu of a website it goes hear.

Turbary Pot is an all weather trip!

Team: Adam Aldridge, Kristian Brook, Jack Overhill, Gwen Tawy

It rained the day before, and it was heavy drizzle in the morning followed by a clear afternoon. Perfect conditions for a Kingsdale pull through thought the moron (me). We arrived in Kingsdale at 11AM and the beck was in full flow. A quick scout through the roof tunnel revealed that the master cave was in heavy but passable flow as the cobbles at the base of the pitch were still visible, so it was decided that we would carry on with the trip seeing as it was not forecast for any more rainfall.

A trudge up the hill later, we arrived at Turbary Pot. Jack Overhill rigged the pitch and found the ledge at the halfway point was lashed with spray and quite unpleasant. After we all got down to the ledge and clipped into the in situ line we pulled through. Now we were committed.

After Jack had rigged the second pitch, both he and I headed down to land on the bolder choke at the base of the pitch, which has been dug through to make this fantastic trip possible. It was in full flow and a deep pool had formed behind the dam that protected it.

The dig is a climbable scaffolded shaft which in normal conditions is pretty dry. Not this day. The dam surrounding it had water about 1ft from the top of it. Water was flowing though the dam and going with some force down the shaft, making it look very unpleasant. Jack enquired to our callout time, to which I said 7PM. He seemed miffed at this, and it was agreed we had to at least try the dig shaft to see if it was passable. Seeing as it was my fault we were there, I volunteered for this task.

What I did next could be described as the perfect merger of down climbing and falling that I have ever performed under such duress and after about 10 m (unsure of measurements, I did not stay around to find out) I hit the turbary inlet passage and was out of the maelstrom. Now the worse bit; climbing back up to tell the others the water is passable. It took much longer to get back up and when I got out I was feeling a bit chilly. I gave my report to the others, who looked pleased at the prospect of escape but not pleased of the prospect of the climb. I described to them the nature of the shaft, grabbed the tackle bag, and headed back in.

We all made it down the climb with myself leading the crawl through the Turbary inlet which I found most pleasant. Mostly hands and knees crawling in the stream way with two lower/ducky sections which eventually entered the Swinsto streamway. One exciting section during the Swinsto streamway was when we encountered a climb which has a chest deep pool at the bottom. I just lowered/jumped into it myself and the others managed to climb over with the exception of Gwen who also fell into it but up to her neck. The issue here being I was bridging the pool at the time, so my leg was blocking her escape while water was pouring on her head. Not a good moment, but we quickly recovered and were carrying on strong afterward.

Two final pitches later, we were at the bottom of great aven. I thought to go through philosopher’s crawl, but given the conditions it was wiser to carry on the shorter way to the master cave.

The master cave was in the same amount of flow that we had found it in earlier and Adam opted to float down some sections of the streamway, although later he did admit that this had made him quite cold. I think a visit back with some wetsuits is an idea for some rubber dinghy rapids fun. Nothing of note to report with the journey back though the roof tunnel.Afterwards, we headed to Inglethief to report that Turbary Pot is an all weather cave. We relayed our story of daring do to the staff who said that the condition indeed sounded very wet and when they were initially digging the connection if the ledge was covered in spray that was a good indicator that conditions would be too wet for digging. Perhaps this would be a good indicator before you pull through your rope as well. In normal conditions, there are barely a couple of drops going on that ledge, I would not recommend going further unless you have a strong team in wetter conditions. Older and wiser.

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