Sunday 11 January 2009

9th January 2008 - A fine evening in Ease Gill

Not only are the Red Rose busy above ground, renovating their Bull Pot Farm Headquarters (or are they creating a direct access from the changing rooms straight into Bull Pot of the Witches?), but they've also been busy underground too. At the bottom of the Wretched Rabbit climbs there now sits a dry stone walled entrance into the upper reaches of Spiral Staircase passage. Descending through it we were almost instantly met with the first formations of the evening, a series of pristine straws.

Spiral Staircase Passage

Photos taken, we carefully continued down via a couple of climbs with fixed ropes into Green and Smelly passage, another climb and finally to Lower 'T' Piece passage. Dick and Tom were now in terrority they recognised from years previously and trips down through the Borehole or up to Top Sink. Instructions such as "follow downstream" were harder than usual to follow as most of the water that usually flows down through the Ease Gill lay frozen on the surface. Despite the drought like conditions not helping navigation we soon found ourselves at Holbeck junction, a point we would be returning to later in the evening. We were once again surrounded by impressive decorations as we made our way up the Thackray's Passage streamway and up into the White Way.

White Way

This opens out into the Assembly Hall and the first of the climbs that lead up into Easter Grotto.

Easter Grotto

While the floor is no longer pure white and some formations have been destroyed since its discovery back in the Easter of 1951, it is still an impresive place to visit and the rusty, pineapple like features on some of the stal were a new sight for me.
The taped route takes you through into a parallel and slightly less well decorated passage before an ominous looking hole appears in the floor. Dropping through this, the way on is via a 30m long crawl. The crawl is not overly high and a couple of stalagmite stumps restrict movement further. Its floor however is made of calcite and with a bit of water on top of it, progress can be made quite easily by sliding your body along. Over enthusiasm for this means of propulsion needs to be curtailed before the end of the passage however as it appears from a slot about 2m above the floor at the end of Gypsum Cavern. Tackling this obstical headfirst would probably hurt. The cavern is higher than Easter Grotto so its stalagtites hang a safe distance above cavers' heads in all their glory.

Gypsum Caverns

Climbing out of the cavern up another fixed rope soon brought us back to Holbeck junction and the route through to Stop pot. From here it's possible to return directly to Wretched rabbit but we took advantage of the low water conditions and made our way down the trickle of a stream to Eureka junction. Standing with the water barely lapping over our feet it was sobbering to see froth on the roof of the passageway.
Then it was 'just' back up Wretched Rabbit to the frozen moor.

1 comment:

Gerrish family said...

I love the idea that you could get changed in Bull Pot Farm then slide down a tube into Bull Pot without having to go outside. Maybe that is where you will clean the gear, then climb back up a clean ladder to the changing rooms at the end of the trip. Great video!