Saturday 7 January 2012

6th January 2012 - Boxhead Pot

Dick near the entrance to Epiglottis Grotto

New years are generally associated with taking on new challenges and so for their first trip of the year, the TNC headed to Boxhead.

The first major challenge came in the form of getting to the Lost Johns' car park, the fog thick on the fell road, with seemingly vertical bits of road appearing out of the gloom in the headlight beams. The second challenge was finding the cave. Walk back down the road to the Lost Johns' gate. Tick. Go over the stile. At this point we realised we'd left the description in the van and so while Dick went to get it I set about finding the stile. As the stile was attached in traditional fashion to a fence, it wasn't too hard to find but then for the next instruction, walk 200m south. Fortunately Dick had picked up his phone with newly installed "compass" app and off we went counting our paces. We had travelled 199m according to the "GPS tracking" app when a halt was called and we felt quite pleased with ourselves, only problem was that there was no sink hole. While I commenced a box search, finding multiple sink holes by falling into them in the ever thickening fog, Dick was hard at work too and the "satellite imagery of where you're stood" app soon saw us at the pot.

We couldn't believe that we'd never been here before, the awesomeness of the pitches matched only by the digger installed plumbing. Following the Kendal flyover we soon arrived on a ledge, just above the bottom of Lost Pot Aven. Here the hoespipe split into two, one branch continuing down while the other headed into the Tate Galleries.

With hazily remembered directions we followed the pipe into the galleries, looking for Epilglottis Grotto. Knowing we had to turn right at some point we found ourselves traversing along the classically shaped and named Cresta run which eventually brought us to a handlined descent. Not remembering this from the description we turned around back to the last junction [having read the description since this handlined descent is the way on to Lyle cavern in Lost Johns'].

Going the "other way" we soon arrived at a pitch, which again we couldn't remember from the description [Crowbar pitch]. Just before this however was a small hole which Dick pointed out looked incredibly like an epiglottis. Sure enough a brief squirm lead to the fine Epiglottis Grotto.

We finally had a look at another dug passage [Venus or Serena??] before returning to the ledge and making the final descent to the bottom of Lost Pot Aven and yet another dig [Wet dig?]. There was a considerable about of water making its way down the climbs leading to the Tube so exploration of this was left for another time. It's not often that my lamp doesn't illuminate the majority of a pitch in Britain, but standing at the bottom of Boxhead's main pitch, the light was just swallowed, it really is an amazing place.

The return journey up the pitches became damper and damper, with water now flowing out of the footholes in the plastic pipe. I waited in here out of the wind and rain on the surface until Dick joined me and with the wind on our backs we once again found the wall that borders the road and with it the way on to the vans.

The Craven Heifer's quiz was in full swing when we arrived and it has to be said that the beer they're serving at the moment is very good and well worth a visit.


Tom Phillips said...

beers sounds good!

Gerrish family said...

you would be impressed by this pot Tom. and this makes the beer even better.