Saturday 12 February 2011

County Pot and Trident Series - 10th February 2011

As usual, to get a pint and of pack of crisps in one of the local pubs, we had to meet at Devil's Bridge, agree a plan, execute it, and collect evidence. The beauty of taking phtographs is that we can allow ourselves to go back to areas we have been to before. Even so, as we set off down County and headed for White Line Passage, it was still easy to imagine what it must have been like to have been first to explore the section of cave we were in for the first time.

Descending the County Pot ladder pitch

Dropping down the entrance series, it seemed friendly enough with the short pitch in place to keep out the faint hearted. Then some devious route finding through to the waterfall guarding the entrance into the trident series. We took about 15 attempts to get the lighting right for the photo here and then dropped under the wall to the left and into the streamway.

Waterfall above Trident Series

What a great sight to lean around the corner and see the thick white line shining up at us. The Trident area seemed quite complex but easy enough to navigate in fact. Back out, the rain had set in but the air was warm enough with a following wind back across the moor. We set off for The Barbon Inn hoping to find the big lady with the plate of sandwiches there again.

One of the many Trident passages

Stunning formations in little explored passages

Bizarre  'hanging' passage
She had kept them all to herself last week but there were four of us tonight and we would have her outnumbered. We had the regulation pint and a half and then started to think of the end of season bash which John is organising when we can push the boat out a bit more. A good trip which filled the day which included one incident I can't say anything about (this did not involve the big lady and the sandwiches). The possibiity of the TNC guiding a nice French lady on an evening trip was also floated. This appeared to have a good effect on morale.

Sunday 6 February 2011

Mistral and Gour Hall - 4th February 2011

Curtains in Gour Hall

5 o'clock came and went as we sat waiting at Devil's Bridge. What could be keeping John? This was his first chance to go caving in nearly two months and he'd be determined not to let anything prevent him from getting underground. Eventually after trying home landline, personal mobile, business landline and business mobile multiple times, John eventually answered. Too eager to get underground he had removed the panel from his bath, crawled under and was being dripped on by the outflow. The thought of having to get dry and be comfortable for the 15 minute drive was too much him and so as he crawled back under the bath, we headed onto the windy moors.

The irony of finding shelter from the wind in a pot called Mistral wasn't lost on us as we made our way down the freeclimable entrance pitch. Having negotiated the winding entrance crawl, Tom was soon back up to full speed, the passageway blurred to me by both the speed with which it was passing and the condensation on my glasses.

The passageway to Cross Hall and then onto Gour Hall must be some of the best in Easegill in terms of the continuity of formations, interspersed only by the occasional slither under the odd low section. As we approached Gour Hall a strange metallic ringing sound was heard, growing ever louder as we drew nearer. It's source, an upside down sauce pan under one of the shower baths that fall into the fine chamber.

Fine formations in Gour Hall

Another view of Gour Hall

With photos taken Tom produced a survey showing the Extreme ways extension from the Hall and inspired by seeing a new bit of passage we set off through a small hole at the bottom of the chamber next to the more likely looking old dig.

For the first time in a number of caving trips we'd actually got muddy, so the crystal clear pools that make up the floor of the crawl through to Extreme ways Hall gave a great opportunity to clean off. With time pressing/no rope for the next bit/further photos to take/fear of last orders being called (please circle favoured excuse) the climb up the snug aven at the end of the Hall was left "for next time" and the return made through the now slightly less than crystal clear pools.

Returning from Extreme ways
With only brief interludes for photos we once again quickly headed back to the entrance and back out into the wilds. At least this time the wind was behind us and it seemed like no time before we were back at the farm.

It seems that Ruskin had taste not just in terms of his landscapes, as a pint of his beer in the Barbon in tasted very good too as we pondered the hairless and rindless pork scratchings.