Sunday 15 December 2013

12th December 2013 - Bull Pot of the Witches

It has been dry for ages and so we thought we were definitely on for the Magic Roundabout, but a pesky weather front was forecast to move in at just the wrong time and an alternative was required.
Most of the entries in the CNCC rigging guide have a warning about being an "active pothole, responding quickly to wet weather", but Bull Pot of the Witches doesn't.  (NB while the pitches may be dry, the lower reaches of the cave definitely DO respond to rain).
BPotW also has the advantage that the walk in is pretty short, handy for a late start.  Over the stile and the path round the open pot was carefully followed to the short entrance tunnel.  While the pitches are all free climbable, they also proved perfect for a bit of early season rigging practice.

Tom at the bottom of the first pitch
At the bottom of the first pitch, a large but short tunnel soon leads to the open pot.

Tom making his way to the open pot
Turning back on yourself then leads, almost immediately to the next pitch, which gave Dick a useful chance to practice his rerigging of my rigging to make it somewhat more user friendly.

Dick and Tom rerigging the rigging
The last pitch was rigged, though Tom took the opportunity to isolate the more worn sections of the rope.  At the foot of the pitch a short climb down lead to stream level and a short climb up to the aptly named Long Gallery.  This gives a  less aqueous route to the further reaches of the cave, which are much more considerable than I thought.

Thought this would be a dry underwear trip, it wasn't.
We first visited the downstream sump and its in situ dive line, leading into the depths before Tom managed to pull the route to the monolithic towers from somewhere in his memory.

The monolithic towers
While Dick and I took photos Tom disappeared to do a bit of ratching around and found himself at a couple of scaffold bars, the reason for which we unsure of, but:
offers an explanation.
On our return to the pitches we managed to miss the climb up from the stream on the first pass, but raising water and a lowering roof soon convinced us we'd gone to far.
It was quite late by the time we reached the pub, there's  lot more to Bull Pot of the Witches than you may initially think and probably a fair bit more still to be found.

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