Present: Chris Sharman, Chris Kelly, Don Miller, Mike Skyrme
Four of us met in Inglesport for food before heading up to Barbondale. After a leisurely change, we were heading into Crystal and the first of the Ducks. Route finding wasn’t an issue until we reached Monsoon Chamber in Dog Hole where we gathered and studied the descriptions – after a quick ferret we decided on the way forward and soon ended up at the vertical squeeze into the low bedding at the start of South Passage (the termination point of an earlier foray by Don and Chris S a few weeks previously).
Fairly straight forward from there on in with recollections from a 2013 trip helping here and there. After the series of ducks we found ourselves cold (all wearing fleeces) but enthusiastic at the Spanish Inquisition in Bucket and relishing the thought of soon to be basking in the blazing sunshine and maybe a pint or two in the Barbon Inn – oh how fate deals a rotten hand!!!!!
Entering the crawl up to the entrance we made our way along and up the Bird Flue soon finding the fixed ladder – almost out boys!!!! However, the rock slabs covering scaffolded entrance were jammed solid. Two of us huffed and heaved to no avail so began to dig up into some soft soil fill where we managed to get elbow deep with still no sign of breaking the surface. At this point we realised that the entrance must have slumped and there was no way we were exiting Bucket. Also, we were becoming increasingly cold but the thought of returning through the ducks was not a particularly welcome one. However, it was a case of “where needs must”, so we simply turned around and retraced our steps back to Crystal. The ducks were passed again and we got a little colder during the immersion but managed to warm up again as we pushed on. A couple of mishaps and a dead leg en-route saw the intrepid quartet eventually emerge into the sunshine albeit a little later than planned and no time for the pub for some.
All in all, a great day with great people and although unexpected, its nice to say that we have done it in both directions lol.