Cavers: Chrises Scaife, Sharman and Kelly; Neil Harrison
There was a time when Swinsto, Simpsons and Rowten were the only pull through trips in West Kingsdale and to pull the rope down any other pitch in the valley (even one of the pitches in Simpsons) was a recipe for a rescuing; so cavers would say to one another in jest, knowing the dire consequences of such folly: “Are you off to do the Turbary Pot pull through? Hurr hurr hurr.”
Last night, thanks to some recent digging activity, we actually did.
I’ve been down Turbary Pot a few times, hard rigging, and it’s an impressive place, so I was giddy with excitement when I saw in the late news section of the last issue of Descent that it has now been connected to Swinsto. What a plan for an evening trip.
Rigging the first pitch is a bit awkward, in a constricted crawl, but there’s currently an in situ traverse line, which gives you something to clip your cow’s tails into, so the leap of faith over the edge is not unprotected. This pitch lands on a ledge and is immediately followed by the next pitch. We had two 40m ropes, so I had my hand jammer on the first rope whilst rigging the second. There is also another P-bolt before the reach out for the second pitch, so it’s not too exposed.
The new way on was obvious, just at the bottom of the second pitch. It began as mostly walking passage, with a small stream, soon decreasing in size to crawling with a couple of squeezes – one where there is a choice of sliding through flat-out in the water or via a narrower squeeze to the left. We all had SRT kits on the whole way, but it might not be a bad idea to take a tackle sack for them – it’s quite thrutchy in places. There was only one way to go in this passage and before long we had joined Swinsto below the big double-drop pitch (not sure of its official title, but I quite like my name for it).
We descended the next pitch in classic pull through style, free-climbed the last one and then hardcore climber dudes Neil and one of the Chrises (can’t remember which one) free-climbed up the roof tunnel pitch. One of the other Chrises (again, can’t remember which) was still sore from cycling 350km in the Lakes and Dales over the previous two days, and the other one (sorry, it’s not coming to me) had been largin’ it up in the Mediterranean and just needed some detoxing; so those two Chrises prusiked.
A great evening of caving. I’m really pleased there is now another pull through trip to add to Kingsdale’s already bulging oeuvre. Lamentably, the night-time road closures meant the drive home took about seven times as long as the actual caving. Oh, to remain underground forever.
I like your reports, Chris always a bit of comedy.
one where there is a choice of sliding through flat-out in the water via a narrower squeeze to the left.
I must have missed the dry alternative when I did it, or do you just mean squirm past the calcite while still in the stream, rather pointless as you still get wet I thought.
The real comedy didn’t get a mention – that was the intrepid Mr Scaif going in to rig the first pitch, and saying “It doesn’t go – is this really Turbary Pot?”
It wasn’t – the real Turbary Pot was about 50m further along on the other side of Turbary Road, with P hangers and a metal disc saying “Turbary”.
Don’t know what we’d found first – it was a body sized hole in the rock, and doesn’t seem to appear in the book.
Yes, I meant squeezing past the calcite just above the stream. You have to return to the stream, but it definitely seemed drier to go the way I did.
I was looking at the first hole we tried, thinking this doesn’t look right; but my memory is so terrible I’d had to check the Turbary entrance photo on the CNCC website and was surprised to see that it was a photo of Carol that I had taken.