Monday, 4 November 2013

Bonfire Night Caving

2nd and 3rd November 2013
It was a scene from a war film. Clouds of smoke billowed around us. We choked on the acrid smell of gunpowder, as we cowered from the rockets screaming overhead, temporarily illuminating the murky gloom as they exploded close by. Yes, it was another typical bonfire night at Bull Pot Farm, and yes I'm probably exaggerating a bit.
Over the din of the outdoor-fireworks-inside, we managed to establish that the weather forecast was terrible, and that our planned trip from Top Sink to Link Pot should probably morph into a trip from County Pot to Lancaster Hole, avoiding any potentially dangerous wet bits. So on a chilly Saturday morning (it would be warmer underground than above for the fist time in months) Tony, Kathryn, Emma, Nial, Aiora, Kayla and I dropped into County Pot. The climb up to Poetic Justice was as entertaining as ever, and soon we found ourselves in the Main Drain at Eureka Junction, where the water was still very low - presumably the rain hadn't arrived yet.

We followed the water up into Stop Pot and climbed up into the high level series. Our plan was to make a short detour to Carrot Chamber, which I had not seen before but had heard was nice. With Aiora's survey guiding us, we were fairly sure that we found the correct chamber, but extensive discussion ensued on whether or not what we were seeing could really be likened to carrots. Nevertheless the chamber and the passage leading to it, were beautifully decorated and in surprisingly good condition.
Kayla in Carrot Chamber (probably)
The rest of the trip was incident free, as we picked our way along the high level route (even though the Lancaster Main Drain was still very low). We met Ian and Hannah at Stake Pot - they had rigged the Lancaster Hole entrance pitch for us. When we finally emerged on the surface after 6.5 hours underground, the rain was only just beginning in earnest.
The following morning, Tony, Kathryn, Nial, Aiora and I spent a couple of hours in the Notts II streamway. It had rained very heavily overnight and the streamway was swollen enough to make the trip quite exciting. After going as far as we could downstream, we fought our way back upstream and it was quite hard work in some of the narrower, fast-flowing sections - we wouldn't have wanted much more water flowing.

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