Saturday 10 March 2012

9th March 2012 - Cow Pot

Dick rigging the first pitch (in the light!)

Driving up the Lune valley on a pleasant afternoon, the murk hung in the distance over the hills of the Dales and Easegill lay invisible in the clag as we headed to Bull Pot farm to change. At least Cow Pot was easy to find and we weren't in for a repeat of our Boxhead experience. Rigging in the light for once Dick was soon heading down the open entrance shaft and by the time I'd arrived having tangled every bag with every bit of rigging, had located what he hoped wasn't the way on.

The "awkward" climbs leading down from the entrance shaft

Heading down the climbs wasn't actually too bad and we were soon in the great little crawl taking its sinuous route to the second pitch. This is a superb bit of Dales caving. It was going to get better though as the stream dropped away below us and the (rigged) traverse ahead became visible. Dick's shouts came thick and fast, "Rope free", "Whooo whoooooo", "Rope free"...

The view of Fall Pot, Montague East and West gained from this vantage point reminded me of being in an aeroplane for the first time, the difference in perspective from our usual passage through this bit of cave being incredible.

Landing at the bottom of Fall pot we made our way down through the boulders to the Main Drain before stomping down, through a surprising amount of water to the sump. On the return the waterfalls in the aptly named Waterfall passage were doing exactly what it says on the tin and returning to the drain, we continued upstream. Moving through the ever changing passage, I was reminded just how lucky we are to have such amazing places so close by.

The return journey, other than the terrific view once again of Fall Pot, passed without incident until we arrived at the foot of the climbs. While gravity significantly aids the descent on the way back up it causes slightly more of an issue. As Victorian climbers found, "combined tactics" will get you up most things and with assistance from ropes, jammers, knees and shoulders we both found ourselves at the foot of the entrance pitch once more.

Dick returning up the first pitch

Our thanks to the couple by the open fire in the Barbon Inn who, despite being there for a posh weekend, were happy for two muddy oiks to sit next to them.

Our apologies to the vast number of frogs, who thought it was their lucky night, but ended up under the wheels of our cars.

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