The Craven Pothole Club Record

Number 46, April 1997


Club Rules & Constitution, Membership List and related matters are incorporated in the Craven Pothole Club Handbook published biannually.

Published by the Craven Pothole Club, Ivy Cottage, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire. Copyright - Craven Pothole Club. No part of this Record may be reproduced without permission from the Committee of the Craven Pothole Club.

Contributions to this publication are welcome in any form and can be accepted on MSDOS disk. (ASCII or Word preferred)


Dr. R.A. Halliwell, Academic Office, The University, HULL, HU6 7RX

Tel No: 01482 465948(W) 876544(H) 466441(FAX)



I don't know whether or not it has anything to do with my pleas in past Records but there does seem to be an upsurge in digging activity within the Club. On several weekends during the last three months there have been two, or even three digging teams working at different sites on the same day. Indeed the Cottage logbook records that four digging trips took place on the day of one meet. We have the second part of Geoff Workman's report on Great Expectations in this Record although I am afraid that the survey will not be available until the next Record. I hope that the next Record will also contain reports of the success of at least one of the many on-going digs

The last three months have also seen problems with meets and leaders. There was one leader who wished to turn a ladder meet into an SRT meet, at very little notice and against the wishes of a number of people intending to attend the meet. Another leader refused to attend their designated meet or find an alternative leader because the caves were not hard enough for them! All meet leaders were told of their meets at the AGM, including the leaders mentioned above, and all received a letter confirming the fact with their January Record. Members used to consider it a privilege to lead a meet and those who failed to turn up were summoned before the Committee to explain themselves. Now it appears that meet leadership is seen as a chore best avoided or ignored. Meets are vital for the future of the Club because it is on meets that new members learn their basic caving skills. The topic has been discussed at a number of AGMs without reaching any firm conclusion but do you, the broad membership of the Club, have any ideas on how you can be persuaded to volunteer to lead meets, and then to make a good job of actually leading the meet.

Whilst I am on my soap-box (well it is election time) what happened to the old adage of "tackle-first". Those of us brought up, or should it be dragged up, on ladder meets will well remember that once there were one or two people down a pitch all the tackle was sent down so that it could be kept moving forward to avoid delays in rigging pitches. A leader of a recent SRT meet told me of people crawling past tacklebags rather than carrying them so that the meet ground to a standstill waiting for the tackle to arrive. So remember regardless of whether it is a ladder or an SRT meet, if you see some tackle keep it moving forward at least as fast or preferably faster than you.

Whilst talking about Club Meets I must thank Patrick for taking up the poisoned chalice of describing forthcoming meets to help Probationary and new members decide which meets are suitable for them. Whatever he says someone will disagree with him whilst agreeing that the job is necessary.

Because of holiday\expedition plans the closing date for contributions to the next Record is a little earlier than usual. As always please ensure that your contributions reach me as early as possible but no later than 9 June if you want them to be included in the next Record. The date is a cut-off date not a target to be aimed for and possibly missed by a few days. Many thanks.

Ric Halliwell

Meets Reports

Cliff Force Cave - 8 December 1996

If you go down to the cave today,
you're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the cave today,
You'd better go in disguise.
For ev'ry troll that ever there was
Is going there today, because
Today's the day the teddy bear has his picnic.
Ev'ry Speleo who's been good
Is sure of a treat today.
There's lots of marvellous things to eat
And wonderful games to play
Beneath the rocks where nobody sees
They'll hide and seek as long as they please
'Cause that's the way the Speleos have their picnic

The weather is typical Dales' December - low damp cloud, but at least it isn't windy. With Steve in front the route through the mud banks and pools is soon negotiated to the streamway. This time we stay with the water and avoid the deceitful oxbows. It is clear that there had been some flooding since my last visit, the crawl into Fault Hall is sandy instead of floored with gravel. A strange sight awaits in Fault Hall, it is lit with candles on a cake. Barbara & Steve present me with a birthday card signed by all those present. The cake, an excellent bran cake, is served and washed down with a drop of whisky. So that's why people go to Scotland and the Isle of Skye in particular, is it? Alas every party must end and we press on upstream. The older and shorter among us finding this invigorating. At the Room of Dangling Doom some press on trying to find the roof level crawls back to the streamway. By now all this exertion by thoroughly damp people causes so much steam you'd have thought that someone had put the kettle on for a brew. Returning back downstream trying to remember where the waist-deep bits are, we reach the boulders in the passage. Each time these seem different and you figure out a way over them. After the mud banks and pools you arrive back at the point where you said "Remember this, that's the way out, up there". You forget what you said and go down a passage with a crystal clear pool. Nobody has been that way today but you haven't realised that yet. Dead end. Back again past the people following you. Now think and find the way out. At the awkward bit of the crawl you wonder if the rest are following or just waiting for you to return from another dead end. They are following so we leave the cave to the same Dales' December weather.

Picnicers were: Barry Hunkin, Mary Hunkin, Michael Ashmore, Frank Johnston-Banks, Ian Robinson, Andy Howe (guest), Janet Harland (probationary), Karen Lane, John Melbourne (probationary), Barbara Pickersgill, Steve Pickersgill, Mike Baslington, Robert Scott (Leader)

Robert Scott

King Pot 30 December 1996

Rumblings of discontent: rumour had it that the meet was going to be usurped by the dreaded "Sitstand Rattling Tackle", a poor substitute for "Strugglingwithhugesaxaladders Relentlessly Thruthecaveasateam". So was born a revolution in our time: young, new and young-at-heart members stood up for the right to maintain the traditions of a damn good hard caving trip. After a lot of ale a mildly protesting Membership Secretary was press ganged into ringing up the planned leader who it seems had other plans; the hour was late and the leader-to-be took the dromedary's most memorable characteristic. Later that day the Bridge End Armoury was ransacked of most of its jangly stuff and nine traditionalists rumbled off to Braida Garth. Permissions were duly obtained, including the dumping of the huge pile of sacks at the farm and soon a trail of oversuits searched the moor for the lost cave of the King.

Eventually we decided on a hole which, it luckily turned out, was the correct one. Wriggling down first I found that the layout was going to come back to mind and the entrance climb was soon rigged, followed by the first proper pitch. Soon we were confronted by the pit and immediately a struggle through a tight bit with the sacks, especially the Great White Tacklesack, which held several ladders. A Nuther pitch was rigged, down through the awkward hole in the boulders. Another pile of boulders, we were off again, down-canyon in search of the dreaded Tea Shape Passage, which followed some low bits. Soon we were all grunting our way through until I blocked proceedings by losing my generator in the crawl. Unable to reach it by hand I managed to kick it along to Ian who bravely inverted himself in a successful retrieval attempt. Having no hanger left on the offending article, it was relegated to my tacklesack where it attempted to poison us all with acetylene until a bit of string could be rigged. Meanwhile with the bulk of tackle behind me I could hear the sound of my hardworking companions struggling with the sacks; though I had the heaviest one it was easy compared with moving the bulky stuff through that place.

Eventually I made a safe exit into Queensway, followed by Ian, Henry and John. As the girls came through another bit of stress when Tanya with a Y got stuck in the last bit. With encouragement from Emma she was soon at the exit. Hanging on to the end of the traverse, trying to coach her into the double turn needed to get off, Henry and I gave too much encouragement and not enough instructions and we watched in horror as she went flying through the air across the passage from the traverse. Like something out of a Roadrunner cartoon she sailed down and bounced off the tacklesacks, landing unhurt. Needless to say everyone else was grabbed and handled carefully to the ground whether they liked it or not. Soon we were all trooping down Queensway until the rather disturbing looking Canute's Canal was reached. I proceeded, unsure of the route until round the first corner, then we were all getting wet together.

The next pitch was reached; aptly called Emma's, though I rigged it in the event. More tramping downstream until we were forced up a rope climb to Anne's Pitch which we by-passed by a climb down through an awkward boulder stack (take care in these boulders). Then we ascend the boulder pile to drop into King Henry Hall - another apt name for our party. Everyone is looking a bit weary by now and I frantically rig the pitch in the hope of getting further than last time. Down Bloodaxe and I'm waiting for the tackle to rig Victoria when someone - Gemma - climbs down to tell me we are turning back and reclimbs without getting off the ladder. I acquiesce, as keen to get to the pub as anyone. Making a mental note not to volunteer to lead this the year after next (1998, it was the 30th December 1996 then) I fettled my carbide while Gemma climbed and then followed the troops back through the boulders.

Only on reaching Emma's pitch did I realise that John had waited there for us; that must have been a cold station. With surprising speed we are soon struggling back through Tea shaped traverse. Problems of the tackle-sticking kind were encountered at the second pitch and the crawl after was dominated by the unreasonable behaviour of the Great White Sack, which I had to crawl over and leave behind causing Emma and Gemma to do acrobatics in a confined and awkward space. Amidst this excitement Gemma managed to tear off her carbide pipe at the business end, basically setting fire to her head in a tight place. We managed to put out the fire and repair the damage and before long everyone was passing tackle over the traverse-of-the-pit. This time was one of those excellent places in life when you are happier to be part of your group than pursuing individualism; this was why we insisted on a ladder trip regardless of whether we got more than a third of the way down the pot; we wanted to do this together; it's not just caving though caving is great. It's not being led but sharing the load; navigator, rigger, belayer, comedian, person who unexpectedly produces things to eat and drink.

Outside it was a whiteout; some enjoyed the toboggan back but I didn't; I preferred he security of the cave. Simon gave moral support as I slithered down to Braida Garth, thinking I would end up sliding into a wall at 50 mph any minute. Back in the Crown broccoli flan and chips waited, last minute, no salad, massive experience. Thank you everyone.

Tom Thompson

Lancaster Hole 1 February 1997

Present: Russell Myers(L), Steve & Barbara Pickersgill, Patrick Warren, Barry & Mary Hunkin, Andy Howe, Ian Robinson, Pat Halliwell, Tony Whitehouse, Roy Clunie, Damian Sheeran, Ken Armitage, Martin Tomlinson, Pete Gray and Karen Lane

I was there, 9.00am on a cold, miserable, blowy sort of day; just the sort of day to be in the wind at the top of Lancaster Hole hauling people up and down the shaft, only there was no one else here! I settled down into the comfort of the heat of the car contemplating my escape when the Hunkins arrived, the others were on their way. Oh well!!

15 of us gathered at the top of the entrance shaft, quickly reduced to 14 as Martin's friend(?) saw the potential predicament of our situation and opted out - sensible person.

Sometime later, everyone was underground and opting for the "leading from behind" style, a pre-arranged rendezvous in Bridge Hall from which to visit the Colonnades revealed a solitary coiled ladder; the mob were missing.

My basic plan for the day involved looking for a way round the Fall Pot old ladder route which I had heard about. This would avoid the "P" hangers and the need for extra tackle or the alternative route to the Main Stream via Wilf Taylor's Passage.

Needless to say, the mob had found the route and most were on the far side of Fall Pot illuminating this large chamber quite spectacularly. The alternative route turned out to be a relatively easy climb down a yawning gap about 10 metres back from the top of the old iron ladder route. A knotted rope hung down it but we lifelined the remaining few to the bottom. A slip from here is not worth contemplating as the main streamway lies some 25 metres below!

The assembled throng gathered together once again and we mooched along to the top of Stake Pot where Pete Gray and Karen Lane caught us up, overtook us and left us behind sweeping Patrick along in their wake!

The rest of us were eventually deposited in the streamway to savour the delights of this magnificent active passage as we ambled down to the sump. Memories of previous encounters with less benevolent water levels spilled into my mind - curling combers up the walls of the snakey bit necessitating traversing antics along featureless parallel walls and Ken Chappel washed from his feet by the force of the flow were powerful reminders of when not to trifle with the natural world. (The older I get the more maudlin I become!).

The mob had departed the sump for the climb up to the bottom of Fall Pot by the time we arrived, so a quick dip to say we had been there saw us following and eventually catching up with everyone back at the climb mentioned previously. Quite a bottle-neck ensued but it meant that those in front were back at the entrance pitch and evening out the bottle-neck which also occurred there before it became too unmanageable.

A range of ascending antics ensued but the competence of the lifelining party on the surface overcome most problems and a pretty efficient exit resulted. So efficient was this, that just as we were getting concerned at the whereabouts of Pete and co., they duly arrived as the last man of the main party was about to exit - excellent timing.

They had reached Cape Kennedy on a forage around and met another party in the Earby Series doing the big through trip from Top Sink(?) to Pippikin. It turned out to be Geoff Yeadon, Mick Nunwick and A.N.Other and as we stood on the surface hauling out the remnants of our party, I couldn't help but compare our trip and theirs, especially as they passed by in the gloom of nightfall.

Still, the crack was good!

Russell Myers

Lost John's Pot 8 February 1997

Present: John & Sue Allonby, Simon Ashby, Mike Baslingdon, Gemma Connelly, Rob Dove (Leader), Steve Horne(P), Bob Jenkins, Sarah Jenkins, Steve Kelly, Karen Lane, Jan & Chris Little, Aracelia Sarria-Nunez, Steve & Barbara Pickersgill, Janet Harland, Keith ?, Elaine Hill, Patrick Warren, Wendy?, Martin Wigfield

The day was overcast but dry. The snowdrops were out in the Cowan Bridge car park but on Leck Fell it was still Winter. The rain earlier in the week had caused flooding on a grand scale, but although the ground was still saturated the streams were down so allowing an attempt on the wet Monastery route as well as the normal trips.

Twenty two people were quickly transported up to the fell thanks to John's huge van, and Steve's plus Bob's people carriers. I followed with a full car and gear only to return for another full car plus two in the boot! Who did what?

Boxhead route. S Ashby soloed this new direct pitch from the moor top to the master cave. The pitch is dry, but has a ledge a third of the way down and loose bits can accumulate there!

Monastery route. M Baslington and Janet rigged this wet route into Sink Chamber and exchanged with Oggy and P Warren who de-rigged.

Cathedral and Dome. D Hoggarth led this trip with Karen Lane rigging. The route to the sink was rigged as was the cross-over into the Mud/Centipede route. This meant that the bulk of the party could exchange which they did.

Mud/Centipede route was rigged by the leader supported by John Allonby. We carried on through and eventually made Groundsheet Junction in reasonable time. I found that placing an "Elliot" bolt in the middle of Battleaxe Traverse helped in the rigging, but apart from that P-bolts were used throughout.

At Groundsheet Junction foam on the walls showed the extent of the flooding earlier in the week. John and I set off upstream and whilst John explored the still loose Lyle caverns I chose to check out the passage to Boxhead. We both met up again at the base of Lyle and headed back downstream. There we met the Littles who were returning from the master cave. As all four of us reached the traverse S Ashby appeared looking for company after his solo epic. He told us that he bottomed the main pitch but turned back at the low crawl, very near to where I had been earlier.

With John de-rigging and Simon carrying we were soon out to the bleakness of the fell. All in all a good trip, well attended and hopefully enjoyed by all. Special thanks to Barbara and Steve for washing the tackle back at the Cottage.

Rob Dove

Boxhead Pot (Lost Johns Hole) - 8 February 1997

Present: Simon Ashby

As part of the Lost Johns Hole meet, the new(ish) Boxhead Pot entrance was descended. The entrance shakehole lies approximately 5 minutes walk from the Lost Johns entrance, diagonally right across the fellside and towards the broken wall on the horizon. It is just past the Lost Pot shakehole (big, with a stream and tree) and is devoid of vegetation. The actual entrance is a vertical grey plastic pipe at the bottom.

The pipe has cut-outs for rigging a Y-hang (long slings) and a back-up was made to some foot cut-outs lower down (via the outside). There may be a stake somewhere near the edge of the shakehole, but it wasn't seen. Care is needed when reaching into the pipe as it is easy to forget there is a clear 25m drop below, with only a short roll down to the 70m continuation.

The pipe is a bit cramped, but only approx. 3m deep and the next Y-hang soon reached. This is easily rigged from P-hangers while bridging on good ledges. A fine descent follows, with a step in the shaft avoided by a deviation from another P-hanger. A stream enters about a 1/3rd of the way down, but even in the wet conditions spray wasn't a problem.

The landing is on a steep and loose'ish boulder slope, a bit like some in Rift Pot (Allotment). Apparently this was formed by the opening of the entrance and is consequently still a bit mobile. Care is needed as anything knocked goes straight down the continuation of the pitch. Also, there is an approx. 2' square and 4" thick slab wedged just to one side of the next pitch head. It looks safe enough, but would be exciting for anybody on the pitch if it went. From the landing, a traverse line follows the left hand wall (3 x P-hangers, set quite high if you're a short-ass like me) and leads to a Y-hang over the continuation. P-hangers are installed here, but the right-hand one needs two maillons to avoid rope rub. An alternative is to use the 8mm spit just below with a plate hanger.

The final 70m pitch is a absolute cracker, as good as any in the Berger, PSM, etc. The walls soon bell out and you descend in the middle with the walls only vaguely visible through the gloom. The top few metres are well marked from falling rocks, and you get to look back underneath the boulder slope above. There is only a few keystones holding back a lot of rock. The stream was a little bit close and so a deviation was rigged from a convenient flake approx. 10m down. The landing, which seemed to take an eternity to reach, is a flat boulder floor with exits left and right.

Exit left soon closes down and the way on is right. Wading through a deep pool under an archway brings you to the foot of the Lost Pot aven, where a lot of water was entering and a mangy old piece of rope disappeared up into the gloom. All the water exits along a narrow, inclined rift from the deep pool, then cascading down two climbs. There are bits of old tat here, but the climbs are fairly easy. The rock changes here from white and compact to black and knobbly, rather like the bottom of Birks Fell. At the foot of the climbs a short crawl in a low bedding leads to The Tube, the start of the connection to Lost Johns. This is a small tube (well named), which takes a sharp turn almost immediately and was swallowing a not inconsiderable amount of water on the day. Thus, the caver trying to squeeze his way through rapidly starts to drown due to the backing up of water. As this wasn't the most pleasant of experiences, the trip was abandoned for a drier day. The climb out was a straight forward affair, with only the glass smooth sides and narrow confines of the entrance pipe causing problems.

Overall, the shaft of Boxhead Pot is magnificent and it is a great alternative entrance to Lost Johns, with the possibility of a through-trip. Drier conditions than on the day would seem necessary.

Tackle: 50m & 80m ropes, 4 slings, 2 krabs & 11 maillons (or 10 maillons & 1 bent plate hanger).

Simon Ashby

North Lakes 15 - 23 February 1997

Present (in varying quantities): Tony, Emily and Michael Whitehouse, Jan and Dave Hoggarth, Pauline and Alan Pedlar, Steve and Barbara Pickersgill, Pat and Ric Halliwell, Ian Robinson, Andy, Henry Rose, Tom Thompson, Gemma Connolley, Chris Hayter, Tony and Sarah Blick, Sarah, Jenny and Bob (leader) Jenkins.

Friday: As peoples arrived, the theme of the week was quickly established - liquids and winds.

Saturday: Blencathra was scrabbled up via Hall's Fell Ridge and descended along Blease Fell. It being only early (don't know how many) bells, it was deemed grog time in the local brig. This was the first official external Bushelling*.

Sunday: Buttermere lake, full of wet stuff, was circumnavigated as the shipping forecast predicted precipitation and ventilation of a high degree. We completed 75% of the voyage before aforementioned forecast became reality. A fascinating view of an uphill waterfall recompensed for the wetting. The Bridge (apt title) was boarded for liquidations. Canoeing was also attempted by a small band of idiots intrepids who braved the elements on Bassenthwaite Lake.

Monday: Borrowdale Valley. When the bus boat from Keswick had difficulty navigating the river which used to be the valley road, we knew it was going to be an interesting walk swim back from Seatoller. Thank Heavens (which were well and truly open) for a gale astern, we said. Setting off, we tried to remain dry shod, but when the floods reached thighs, we decided this was not possible. Quote: "Be careful, Steve, I think there's a bridge underneath this water somewhere....." Steve missed the bridge, but found the deep gully and sharp rock to starboard, whilst Barbara fell off the port side of the submerged bridge and Tony B and myself made a hasty retreat.

Tuesday: General Shopping day in wet 'n' wild Keswick, swimming (more water!), walk up Latrigg. The leader went fishing to escape (and got wet).

Wednesday: Still superaqueous... Sellafield Visitors' Centre seemed appropriate. We returned to find our road blocked with a fallen power-line caused by a roof being blown off! - no electricity, no heating, no lighting, No off to The Bitter End in Cockermouth for a Bushell.

Thursday: Another funny day (There's no "f" in sun....), so a short walk from Ashness Bridge to Watendlath and on to Rosthwaite (for a Bushell) and Grange, arriving back at the cars just as darkness fell. Canoeists visited the Irish Sea at Flimby...looked at it....came away!

Friday: A windy day.......Skiddaw was scaled by people who had a lot of wind and could hardly stand up, even though sober! Canoeing the River Derwent in such conditions was "interesting" (They all got very wet). A post-trauma Bushell was needed.

Saturday: Waking to usual wind and cloud levels around 1000' the concensus was that conditions on the higher fells would be grim. The planned epic was to have been Pillar, but the "Nine Becks" walk in Ennerdale, at only 9.5 miles seemed reasonable. A glance at the map seemed enough - the route goes up towards Black Sail Hostel and then returns on the other side of the valley. After an exhausting route march during which it only rained once (whilst we were stopped for lunch!! - Ed), we looked at the map a little closer. The Nine Becks walk only goes towards Black Sail, turning back quite a distance before it......ho hum, off with aching feet to Bushell before tea.

Sunday: The best day of the whole week! Despite the forecast, the bright thing in the blue sky appeared and shone on the small band who enjoyed a womble around Loweswater to a Bushell and lunch.

And so ended a week of activities where everyone did something worthwhile and in good company, despite one of the worst continuously bad weather periods in years. Congratulations to all the chefs who provided such excellent cuisine daily.

When the CPC devote their energies to doing nothing physical, they turn to the cerebral. Quotes and sayings are born, hatched or simply developed, but the following was found ready-made:

"And there is the grotesque female who screams for equality with men: give her all the privileges she demands and let her demonstrate her right to be considered an equal if she can; then at least she can creep quietly back to the kitchen where she belongs. Her protest is not against lack of opportunity, it is man's dominance she resents. Man's dominance is not of mushroom growth, it has been developed through the ages and his gradual expansion has inculcated in him qualities which the ladies might possibly acquire when they have spent as long a time in apprenticeship, not the least of these qualities being a sense of fair play, to which at present they are strangers."

From - A Pennine Journey. A. Wainright 1938

"Steamy Windows" - spec wearers were having problems

"Women Know Your Place"

"If it were a little bit, bit windier, it would be interesting" - heavier member blown over on Skiddaw

"This is like Stream Passage with a good light" - on footpath by River Derwent

"I think there might be a bridge under that water.......sploosh!!!

"It's raining" "We might get wet" "Ugh"

"I've a screw loose in my head" A true statement from Henry R.

"When do we get to see a bomb?" to guide, Sellafield Centre


verb, to partake of alcoholic beverages before, during or after a CPC activity, or

noun, a quantity, usually unlimited or uninhibited or unmeasurable to man, of alcoholic beverage.

(From name of ex-member who raised CPC awareness of its roots)

Bob Jenkins

Notts Pot 10 March 1997

Present: D Hoggarth(L), J & S Allonby, R Parker, S Parker, S Horne, M wigfields, R Dove, P Gray, H Rose, I Robinson, A Howe, D Kelly, P Hamilton, E Hill, W Pool, R Stevens, A Brooks, K wright, J & C Little, B Jenkins, S Jenkins, A Sarria-Nunez,, John ? and M Baslington

A 10 foot ladder was used on the entrance climb, this made our exiting much easier. Mike Baslington rigged down the Centre Route to the bottom and Adamson's Route was rigged by myself creating a round trip joining up in the main streamway. The climb up the 6 foot fixed ladder from 3-Ways Chamber was quite interesting, 3-Ways Chamber could soon be renamed 3-Ladders Chamber owing to the fact that the ladder is in 3 pieces and only tied together with string. Beware!

A lucky thirteen reached the sump, myself not one of them as I had elected to play the part of traffic warden situated at the bottom of Adamson's/Centre route to direct and count the various bodies as they passed to and fro.

395 metres of rope was used of which Patrick opted to carry out the biggest bag to be found, ever.

The trip went very smoothly considering the amount of cavers present. We were derigged and out by 6.30pm (ish). Special thanks to all those cavers who stayed late to help derig and carry out tackle, without you this type of trip would not be possible.

Dave Hoggarth

Caves of Ribblehead (sort-of) 15 March 1997

Present: Ian R (leader -type-thing), Sarah J, Emma F, Rob S, Mary and Barry H, Reg and Simon P, Squeak & Squawk (Wendy R{P} & Elaine H), and Mike A

We think we did Roger Kirk Cave. We know we did Upper, Main and Lower Thistle. Some did Runscar 4.

Alternative Meets: Barbara & Steve P, Jenny G(G), Kimberley H(G), Jo W, Pat H, Howard B and Tamlyn B(G) to Settle, swimming

John & Sue A to Sell Gill, "not-digging"

Terry S, Ric H and Paul (God) to Sting, digging

Pete J & Tracy B to Gauntlet Cave, digging

Patrick W, Karen L & Andy R to Gill House Pot, digging

Ken C to "Top shop", bushelling

Tony B to Bradford to pick up Sarah B

Bob J to Clitheroe to go fishing

Henry R had to go to work

Harpic & Hoggy went home

Ian Robinson

Forthcoming meets - some further details

Oft discussed is that someone should write more details of forthcoming meets so that new members have an idea of what they may be letting themselves in for. Here it is! At the risk of upsetting everyone I have added a (*) next to those meets which novices could attend (not necessarily to go all the way to the bottom - and a (!) next to those which are harder than usual - if in doubt contact the leader or ask any experienced member. I include NGR grid references.

March 28-30 Easter, South Wales (*) Leader Steve Pickersgill.

Camp at South Wales Cave Club cottages, Penwyllt (SN 855 154). Many classic South Wales caves - Ogof Ffynon Ddu, Dan Yr Ogof, plus new finds Ogof Draenen and Daren Cilau are also possibilities.

April 12 Marble Steps Pot Leader Patrick Warren.

Meet top Masongill track (SD 676 763). Marble Steps Pot itself is further up the hillside (SD 680 763). Marble steps is a large sinkhole on the slopes of Gragareth. Pitches 120' (well broken) lead into the upper series. Pitches 25', 90', 35', and a 25' climb lead to the sump. This is one of the Dales classic ladder trips, although much frequented by string danglers these days.

April 19 Swinsto Hole / Simpson's Pot Leaders Dominic Madison and Peter Hamilton.

Meet roadside Ingleton-Dent road in Kingsdale about (SD 700 775). Two deep pots each with much variety, which connect with each other and with Kingsdale Master Cave allowing exchanges to take place. Normally run as a laddered exchange between the two, although it is possible to come out of Valley Entrance if the short pitch (20') into KMC is tackled beforehand.

Swinsto (SD 695 775) pitches 20', 20', 30', 15', 70', 40', 30' to the point where Simpson's pot enters, then additional 30' to get into KMC. Simpson's (SD 696 778) five short climbs followed by pitches 20', 30', 25', 15', 20', 25', 80' (slit pot) drops into Swinsto above the final pitch.

May 3-5 Mayday, Nether Wasdale Camp (*) Leader Jan Hoggarth.

Camping in the nether regions of Wasdale in the Lakes.

More precise details given below.

May 18 Magnetometer Pot (*) Leader John Christie.

Meet Neals Ing Farm (around SD 836 690), off Stainforth (Ribblesdale) to Halton Gill (Littondale) road. Complex cave with a number of different streams in it. Pitches 25' entrance, then 50' Caton Hall in the little visited further reaches. Go as far as you want.

May 24-26 Spring Bank, Kettlewell Camp (*) Leader Robert Scott.

Camp site details given below. Something for everyone. Amongst others, Dow cave (SD 986 743) is an interesting roomy stream cave with remains of mined passages. Providence Pot (SD 992 729) in Dowbergill stream bed has much large old mud filled phreatic passages. Dowbergill Passage (!) connects the two and is a classic through trip, not to be undertaken lightly even though no tackle is involved. Cold water and traversing in many parts, nearly a mile in length.

Further up Wharfedale is Birks Fell Cave, reputed to be the finest cave in the North of England. Park in Buckden Car Park (SD 943 773); the cave is on top of the fell opposite (SD 932 768). Much varied terrain and a couple of short pitches take you as far as Whitehall and Elbow Bend where most people turn round. Don't underestimate the effort required to get this far! Beyond, further passages lead to a pitch of 50' (Shale Cavern) and a contorted route involving a further climb (Slimy Slit) to end in a sumped passage a few feet above the rising.

June 7 Little Hull Pot (SRT) Leader Steve Kelley.

Meet at Cottage; cave (SD 821 746) is near Hull Pot below Penyghent. Pitches of 135', 55', 30', 50' take you to a miserable sump. Above this, as described in the classic "Underground Adventure", an unnoticeable chimney leads to a large bedding, more stream, and a magnificent sump.

June 8 Alum Pot Leader Dave Kaye.

Park in Alum Pot Lane (SD 783 757). Immense open shaft (SD 775 756) usually descended by ladder at south east end (130' pitch) to reach a ledge also reached by Lower Long Churn route. From here pitches of 50' and 25', still within the main shaft, lead to a tall passage down to the sump chamber. Large waterfall entering at this point is from Diccan Pot. Lower Long Churn (SD 774 757) is more gentle descent route involving only Dolly Tubs pitch (45'), a short greasy drop (10'), and a traverse of the Bridge to reach the same ledge as the direct route. Watch out for string danglers landing on your head just above the last 25' pitch (240', single drop from surface).

June 14 Penyghent Pot Leader Tom Thompson.

Meet Cottage; Entrance is below Penyghent (SD 830 733). If Birks Fell Cave is the finest cave in the North, this is the finest Pothole. Pitches of 20', 15', 60', 70' (25'), (40'), (25'), (25'), (30'), (25'), 25', (35'). All pitches in brackets can be free climbed. After the notorious 1000' entrance crawl, a stooping passage leads to a series of pitches into the start of a super rift passage in which it is common nowadays to free climb all the pitches - this is not too hard but some of the moves are bold. Further pitches lead to a sump. Such was the situation to 1986 when ULSA re-entered a little visited side passage above the last pitch and crawled into about 2/3 mile of previously unknown passages including another pitch (35') to another sump. If you talk nicely to the leader he might let you visit this! In 1988-9, following up a constricted lead in the new extensions ULSA entered nearly a mile of further passages - the Living Dead extensions - including a new streamway and another sump - Too Long Gone. Few points in British caves are this far from the surface.

June 15 Ireby Fell Cavern Leader Pat Halliwell.

Meet top Masongill track (SD 676 763), same as for Marble Steps. The Cavern itself is around the hill side (SD 673 773). Three easy pitches just inside the entrance (30', 35', 40') lead to a fine series of passages involving a couple of further pitches. From here on the passage enlarges, finally entering a grand phreatic railway tunnel before reaching the sump.

June 28 Ibbeth Peril, (*) Leader Ian Woods.

Large parking area off Dent-Denthead road where river enters gorge (SD 742 864). Complex cave in river gorge behind waterfall. Very large main chamber. Recently connected with caves off Hacker Gill so a through trip is possible if it's not too wet.

July 5 Pasture Gill Pot (!) Leader Andy Roberts.

Meet on Langstrothdale road near Yockenthwaite (SD 905 790). One of the deeper and more difficult Langstrothdale caves. Pitches 40', 30', 140', 20', 40'. Loose boulders, crawls several ducks await the intrepid explorer.

July 6 Sunset Hole (*) Leader Mike Scratcher.

Meet on layby above Hill Inn on Ingleton-Hawes road (SD 746 778). Cave is below Ingleborough (SD 742 759). Pleasant passages lead to a couple of climbs and a pitch (60') into the final, large, boulder filled chamber.

July 13 County Pot / Pool Sink (*) Leader Howard Beck.

Meet at Bull Pot Farm (SD 663 815). These were amongst the original entrances into the complex of caves alongside Easegill (around SD 678 808). Masses of possible passages to explore here with a number of easy pitches. Eventually connected with Lancaster Hole and the Master Cave via Poetic Justice, a very obscure but short crawl in the roof of a passage in County Pot. There are now a number of ways through.

Late July / Early August Camp in Germany Leaders Andy and Chris Hayter.

See Record or contact die Fuhrer for details.

July 27 Gingling Hole Leader Tony Whitehouse.

Park Dale Head (SD 843 715), off Stainforth (Ribblesdale) to Halton Gill (Littondale) road. One of the deep potholes on Fountains Fell. Too many pitches to count. About 2/3 way down, one can either go down the Big Rift or Big Pitch route depending taste and availability of people to carry you out again. If you don't want to go to the bottom "Fools Paradise" about half way down has some very nice formations sometimes missed by those rushing for the bottom.

August 9-10 Silly Season (*), sorry...Gaping Gill starts with Tackling Weekend.

Patrick Warren

Lake District Meet - May ( 3 to 5 )Day Bank Holiday

The meet will be held at Nether Wasdale, a small village at the southern end of Wast Water. I believe that the camp-site is called Churchstile Camp-site.

If approaching from the SW via Stanton Bridge follow the Wasdale Road to Forest Bridge then Cinderdale Bridge where at the "T-junction", instead of turning right to Wasdale Head turn left into Nether Wasdale. The farm track to the camp-site is on the right before you reach the pubs, near an area which is used for parking. Please book into the camp-site individually as we do not have a block booking. The two pubs in the village both did meals the last time we were there.

Hope you can come along and do some walking as well as socialising over the three day holiday.

Jan Hoggarth

Kettlewell Camp (May 24 - 26)

The camping will be at Lambert's bottom field. This field is reached through Fold Farm. The charges for this field, which is near the toilets and facilities, are the same as the top field, namely £2.50 per person per night and £1.00 per car

Rob Scott

Birthday Party

Tamlyn wishes to invite everyone to Howard Beck's 50th birthday party. She asks that you bring a bit of grub, a bottle and that you have a good time. The place is Gaping Gill on 9 August at 7pm. This is the Saturday night of the tackling meet.


Greenhow Notes, Great Expectations, Part 2.

Suddenly he (Alan) sounded very alarmed - "Pass my helmet and light down; I am on a ledge with nothing beyond my feet!". That was how we left him at the end of part 1. Passing his helmet and light down all T could see beyond was space! He was quickly kitted up again and a few moments later I could see his light shining up towards the small hole through which he had disappeared. "It's a big passage going north and south with good formations. There is a narrow ledge at the bottom end of the hole which slopes down to the floor of the passage. It's a bit awkward but there are a couple of hand-holds to use."

Soon we were both stood in a sizeable N - S passage about 2.5m wide by 2.5 m high. To the south the floor was mainly angular blocks of limestone varying in size from a small chair up to a cottage. Ahead the passage suddenly widened on the right to 5m wide, with a fine white stalagmite about a metre high at the head of a further drop into a lower section. (This lower section was entered later by an easier route). Heading south again we climbed up the large fallen blocks to a steep descent into a jumble of more rocks. The roof of this section of the cave was clearly formed on one bedding plane with a shale band about 10cm thick. This would have formed the inception band when the cave was first being formed. Descending the rocks we found ourselves climbing up once again until the floor reached the roof. At this point a very small tube heading S-W led off from near roof level and was draughting gently. Unfortunately it soon presented us with a very sharp bend which we were unable to get round.

Descending to the lowest point of the rocks, we found another route going up to the S-W. After some interesting squeezes and scrambles we came to a final chamber with a wonderful collection of stalagmites from 20cm to nearly a metre in height. These were appropriately named "The Pockets" after a family in the book "Great Expectations". (Father, mother, two nannies, and ten children). Several other features in the cave were later to be given more names from the book.

During our exploration of the southern part of the cave we were joined at intervals by three other members of the club; Ric Halliwell, Tom Thompson and John Allonby. Alan and myself are fairly slim and were able to get through the small cat-hole without too much trouble. The others, however, decided that it was too small for them, and each in turn spent some time chipping away at the rock with a lump hammer and chisel before deciding that it was large enough to negotiate.

We all had a look into the northern half of the cave, where the passage soon split into two. To the right we could look down into a lower passage, but we decided not to go down as it would have meant causing damage to a stalactite curtain. (Another route into this passage was found later) To the left we followed the passage over mud banks passed the head of a couple of pitches, and then had to crawl under some false floors before reaching a small chamber. At the end of the chamber a small waterfall was descending an aven, and a high level continuation of the passage led forward but was not explored as it would have meant damaging a weak overhanging remnant of false floor. Looking back from the chamber the top of the entry false floor contained some large gours which had been partially eroded after formation. By now time was getting short, but before leaving we had a quick look down under a low portcullis almost directly under the entry cat-hole. Here we found ourselves passing through a flat roofed section directly beneath the entrance shaft. It was in this lower chamber that we found what is one of the most interesting features in the cave system - a wall of very well formed rillen-karren. An unusual feature underground.

The following weekend I returned with Peter Jones to try and follow the northern passages without damaging any formations. As it was Pete's first trip in the new cave we started by having a quick look round the southern passages and the lower chamber. We now went quickly to the waterfall aven inlet, and after a bit of careful thought were able to climb into the upper passage with hardly any damage to the remnant of false floor. At the top we followed an easy walking passage northward until it abruptly ended at the top of a pitch overlooking a rift passage. A rapid return had to be made to the bottom of the entrance shaft where there was a spare ladder and a bar for a belay. These were soon carried to the pitch at the north end of the upper passage, where the drop was about 4.5m. The rift passage was about 5m high by 1m wide and went north and south. To the north we passed under a couple of low arches to a junction. On the right an easy passage led us into the bottom of a boulder choke, while the left hand passage went up a mud slope and then turned right into more boulder choke. In this area we found a lot of bat droppings on the floor and shortly afterwards saw one bat. This upper boulder choke went both right and left; to the right it was soon obvious that we were directly above the choke in the lower passage, while to the left a slight draught could be felt coming towards us. We started moving rocks and large dollops of tenacious mud but soon came to boulders too large to move.

A return was made to the bottom of the short pitch and we next followed the rift to the south. The roof gradually lowered, but we were rewarded by the sight of many excellent stalagmites and stalactite curtains. Several of the stalagmites were coloured brown or black with the top 3cm white, and a very sharp demarcation line between the two shades. Soon the passage became even lower, but above us and to one side we recognised the stalactite curtain in the side of the main passage. We had obviously come round in a complete loop. We could not get out this way without damaging the curtain so we returned via the 4.5m pitch. In the main passage we started digging away the mud in the floor near the curtain and soon made a small tunnel to get us past the curtain without risk of damage.

On the next visit we took the ladder to the narrow pitch by the mud banks in the first part of the northern passage. Alan Weight was the first to descend and was soon shouting back - "come on down, it's big down here with a good passage going off". As I was descending the ladder I heard an "Oh no!" from below. "I've found a footprint in the mud. We've been here before." In fact we had found another route into the lower chamber (with the rillen-karren) that we had previously entered via the portcullis near the cat-hole entrance crawl.

A survey trip was next organised consisting of Alan Weight, Ric Halliwell, John Allonby, Peter Jones and myself. Alan, Ric and John surveyed the southern passages and the lower chamber, while Pete and myself surveyed the northern passages. In the perverse way of things, once the survey had been plotted three more sections of the cave were discovered.

(a) In the process of survey work a slight draught was noticed under a rock near the Pockets. Digging by various people over the next couple of weekends revealed a tiny hole leading upwards into two more well decorated chambers. Despite extensive searching no further way on could be found.

(b) The draughting choke at the far north end was blasted, and after more digging led into another high rift passage heading further north. This only added about 30m before running into a breakdown area of loose rock and very small crawls which quickly choked.

(c) I had made a visit to the very small draughting hole at the south-east end of the cave, and was climbing back down the pile of boulders when I thought that I could vaguely hear water. On closer study this was loudest about half way down the heap. As I pulled boulders out the sound became more audible, but the dig soon became too difficult and dangerous. Next weekend, with help, many more rocks were removed to make it safe and digging down continued. The noise of water got steadily louder, and soon a deep hole appeared beneath us. The sound of a stream was now very obvious, and the spare ladder and belay was brought up.

As much loose material as possible was kicked down before the pitch was laddered and a descent made. The first few meters were a bit nasty as it involved climbing down over a vertical wall of loose rocks and gravel. At an estimated 7m depth I shouted up - "Hey there's a good sized passage going off to the side here. This is something else to explore, but I am going down to the bottom first." The rest of the climb was easy, as I was climbing down the heap of debris that we had dropped during digging. At the bottom I was stood in a good sized streamway, and I decided to start off by a quick look downstream. After only a few metres it was looking familiar - I was walking in the Stump Cross main stream, and where I had climbed down was the rift that we have often used to get up into Heaven. In fact the "new" passage that I had just noticed half way down the ladder was, in fact, the entrance to Rose's Gallery!

All of these more recent finds have since been surveyed, but the plotting is not yet complete. It is hoped to publish the completed survey in the next issue. The top of the shaft has now been concreted, and a permanent lid fitted. Also in the next issue it is hoped to publish a few scientific observations on the cave and details of an access and conservation agreement.

Geoff Workman

Thin Team

The latest BCRA Caves and Caving (Spring 1997) includes a report on the second Forest of Dean Symposium held in June 1996. Various activities are described including "Once the bar had closed then activities moved to the marquee and the GSS Squeeze M/C was brought out and provided some enjoyable entertainment. The eventual winner was Araceli Sarria-Nunez from Spain". Several members may have met "Our Sally" caving on club meets with Jan and Chris Little.

Northern Cave Diving News

It's the usual excuse I'm afraid - precipitation prevents progress! Most northern divers have been in hibernation in recent months or involved in peripheral activities. Various individuals have taken to exploring the inner recesses of their lofts and cupboards; not as a substitute for darkness but to root out old underwater survey data. As most people are aware northern pride is currently being threatened by the magnificent discoveries in Ogof Draenen, now over 60km long. The status of our Easegill system as numero uno is looking less secure! However the Red Rose are co-ordinating a major resurvey and would like anyone with old data to pass this information on, whether below or above water. The nerve centre for all this is of course Bull Pot Farm. Watching hungover Red Rose members entering data on Sunday mornings is like a cross between the Doomsday Machine mission control and Planet Of The Apes!

Redundant divers have also taken to a spot of honest dry digging recently. Perhaps the most significant result has been the extension of Flood Cavern in Dentdale by the NPC. This cave is between the Ibbeth Peril complex and Tub Hole. The cave is now over 300m long but more significantly ends at a huge downstream sump pool which seems to be a window into the main active phreas. Diving lamps are being charged as I write .... Some dry cave was also found beyond the sumped entrance to The Popples (ie the all weather resurgence) by diving in Autumn 1996.

In Chapel-le-Dale much digging time has usefully been spent in opening up Bargh's Entrance. This is a small surface rift which had been voice connected with an airbell in the Jingle to Hurtle Pot underwater complex. The advantage will be the opportunity to dive straight to the upstream end of Hurtle Pot with much less risk of decompression sickness - hopes for the exploration of the Ellerbeck master cave are thus encouraged. And finally, way over in the east, Phil Murphy had another go at Timpony Joint (a flood rising for Stump Cross Cavern). The choke beyond the short sump is as substantial as previously described and not really a diving project. (Thinks.... I wonder if it will pump out so that proper diggers can sort this choke out - Geoff Workman please note!)

John Cordingley

That dye test: GG Main Chamber to South East Pot

Isn't it great when you're browsing through a caving club library and you suddenly come across something which you've been trying to find for ages. During an enforced lay off from caving recently I'd decided to go through all the material which The Cave Research Group published up until its merger with The BSA (thus forming our present BCRA in the seventies). There never seemed to have been time before; all the CRG stuff together fills several feet of shelf space! It turns out to be an absolute treasure house of fascinating and relevant information for cavers and is well worth seeking out.

During last year's GG meet whilst the CPC extensions to South East Pot were being explored many members talked about a dye test having been carried out "years ago", successfully tracing Main Chamber to the South East Pot sump. No-one was certain who'd done it although the general concensus was that it was probably the Bradford. The results of this test were believable but as is so often the case we lacked a proper reference. Experience has shown that relying on caving folklore and hearsay is unwise; I could quote several tests which, when repeated, have shown that the old "established" connections are fictitious.

Anyway, I can now confirm that the dye test to South East Pot did actually happen in May 1960. It is well documented in CRG Newsletter 84, April 1962, in a lengthy article on experiments with rhodamine B, by TK Marston and J Schofield (pages 4 - 13). Their notes refer to detectors as "hanks" and the technique of removing iron contaminating the detector to allow the pink colouration to be seen is called "sequestering". It might be interesting to review a little of the information given in this reference:

"The hank from South East Pot was so intensely coloured that sequestering on this occasion was not required. Allowing for the fact that a proportion of the dye may have been washed out, the water must reach South East Pot shortly after leaving the Main Chamber of Gaping Gill. Thus we must assume for the time being that the present route of this water lies through a series of submerged passages between South East Pot and Ingleborough Cave."

The text also goes on to describe how, in a subsequent test, the Stream Passage Pot water was traced successfully to South East Pot sump. (Also included are details of a trace from P5 to Clapham Beck Head where the dye was picked up at Lake Avernus in Ingleborough Cave - sadly without reference to any detectors having been placed at Terminal Lake). Note that this was written before any extensive diving in Ingleborough Cave, the discovery of Far Country, deep dives upstream and downstream in Deep Well or the plumbing of the deep Lost River Chamber Sumps. In the light of what we now know their last sentence in the extract above seems to have been quite prophetic. I don't think we can expect much airspace passage to be found on the diving route between Lost River Chamber, Deep Well and Ingleborough Cave!

John Cordingley

The Yorkshire Dales Experiment

(Although the English in the following article is sometimes inaccurate it is a lot better than my Romanian. I have deliberately left the article in the form in which it was submitted because I believe this to be the correct way to treat Mátyás's contribution - Ed)

Invited by HUSS (Hull University Speleological Society) and sponsored by University of Hull, in March 1996 we made a 1500 miles jump to the West in the British Isles where we were expected with generous hospitality. Our objects of interest in this tour were in Geology, Karstlogy, Geomorphology and Palaeontology.

Leaving aside the rainy and snowy days, the time spent in the Yorkshire Dales has been one of the most enchanting experiences we had during our three weeks in England. We were hosted by the cavers of the Craven Pothole Club who assured all the comfort possible in the Ivy Cottage, which had - in our view - the most "strategical" position (not only was it quite close to the caves but it also had a pub as its neighbour). Anyway the cottage was a very good example of how a caving house should look like for almost all of the Romanian clubs and organisations. From this point of view our most shocking moment was when we first entered the gear deposit, the washing room and the drying room, not to mention the house with the large kitchen, showers and so on... In Romania, the cottages generally are resumed to a small wooden house (1-2 rooms), sometimes with electricity, bunks covered with hay, and one or rarely two ovens. There is no gear deposit (excepting a place where you can drop the hammer, spits and bucket), you can use the neighbouring stream as "shower" or "washing room", and the drying place is on the next tree... but it is wonderful anyway (especially in the summer).

Being used to the Central and East European karst, the Dales have represented a fantastic surprise, the possibility of touching with our very own hands a real Glaciokarst, with a relief eroded by ice, with those impressive limestone-pavements, erratics and sinkholes, and of course these humid and apparently not really welcoming caves, which, however, offered a series of pleasant surprises.

During our stay we visited the Alum Pot, the Sell Gill Holes, the Gaping Gill (through the Bar Pot) and a part of the Lancaster-Easgill-Pippikin Cave System (Top Sinks to Lancaster).

It was the Sell Gill Holes where I met again the meticulous caving technique of some cavers, and I was surprised by the amount of the bolts in the walls of the caves, which, if possible (and necessary?) were all used for the rope. By almost every step I was attentioned that this is the most secure way of descending. Parallelly I was told again that the so called "Romanian Caving Technique" (described by our friends in the HUSS reports of the 1994 and 1995 expeditions in Romania)(copies in the CPC Library - Ed) is extremely dangerous. However, in one of the trips, when my leaders were older cavers, no time was wasted on interminable anchorings of the rope to 8-9 bolts, only the very necessary were used for the safe descent of the pot (pots) instead. Discussing this problem with various people, it seems to me that many of the young cavers have a deeply anchorated fear of caves which is very hard to explain. It also seems to me that this "bolt-psychosis", which appears, of course, on psychotic basis, has as its only antidote the exaggerated safety.

As for the "Romanian Caving Technique", this evolves as possibilities are given - and it should not been confounded with the "suicide technique" which characterises a small group of Romanian cavers (and many "pseudocavers"), and is disliked by most cavers. In the majority of premier-exploring vertical caves the maximum time accorded to a pot is of 1-2 bolts. We also use natural anchorages (this fact being strongly disapproved by our English caver-friends), but then there are some places/situations where/when there really isn't any other possibility. The caves are then properly equipped (if it worth it and is necessary) in the following expeditions... maybe that's the fever of exploring.

The explanation of this contrast between British and Romanian caving methods and techniques resides in many cases in the disorganised caving, the lack of information, lack of equipment, experience and many other reasons. If you've been caving for many years with an extremely primitive equipment (home-made harness, eight-descender or karabiner, ascending by prusik-knot or a pseudobasic ascender, ten years old rope ladder, almost dead ropes), which was a common, normal situation before 1990, it is absolutely normal that we feel safe with the new Star Trek gears. To cave with a proper equipment is the sensation of dropping a lead jacket.

Our opinion is that in England everything is better arranged. We visited the extremely well organised and equipped Rescue Service in Clapham, and I think that we can conclude the differences: they are a question of mentality, civilization, and the most important - money. Anyway I think that we've learned a lot from our English friends, and also I hope that they can learn some things from us... wild camping, wild caving, wild fishing, why not, a wild life style.

Mátyás Vremir & Márta Veress

How well do you know your countryside?

I was surprised but interested to see a botanical article in the January issue of Record - but why shouldn't there be?

In the earliest days of the Club, the meets cards indicated a strong link with the Craven Naturalists and Scientific Association whose secretary was Albert Mitchell (founder of the Craven Pothole Club). Indeed, in 1931 the meets card printed the name as:-

Craven Pot-Hole Club

Associated with the Craven Naturalists and Scientific Association

It announced "The Summer Programme for 1931", it being a list of pot-hole meets between March 29th and October 11th. It was also a combined meets card with the Craven Naturalists and Scientific Association and listed four evening rambles and four Saturday excursions. It also listed eight aspects of Natural History covered by the activities of what was loosely referred to as "the Craven Nats.", each of which had a recorder. The sciences covered were zoology, ornithology, botany, geology, meteorology, archaeology, photography and speleology

On this 1931 meets card (as I am calling it, perhaps incorrectly for it was in fact called: "Members' Card") it showed three sections: the Craven Pot-hole Club itself, the Craven Naturalists and Scientific Association and the Photographic Section. By 1933 the reference to Craven Naturalists and Scientific Association no longer appeared on the meets card.

However, some of CPC's earliest pioneers were also members and recorders of some aspect of the activities of the "Craven Nats.":- notably FJN Dufty who was recorder for meteorology was also the CPC's first president; Leslie Haighton was recorder for the speleological section and also one of the first members of the CPC and our Club's first assistant secretary.

The CPC has had and still has some first class pot-holers and mountaineers who had a keen interest in various aspects of natural history.

I can vouch for the late Arnold Waterfall's knowledge of the countryside. In my early days in the Club I enjoyed walking from the Club bus, on a pot-hole meet, to the pot with Arnold. He was a mine of information on what was to be seen on the way and would point out to me certain flowers, ferns and birds. It was he who showed me what could be seen from the gantry at Gaping Gill - the various wild flowers and ferns growing in crevices in the walls of the shaft and the amazing dipper capable of walking on the stream bed under water and which made its nest on a tiny ledge in the shaft.

I also recall a Lakeland meet in the late 1940's when Len Cook and I joined club member Tom Hodgson, (a keen amateur geologist) for a walk in the foothills near Derwent Water and had a most interesting and enlightening day out. More recently that colourful character in the Club (the late Roy Thorley) had a keen interest in and knowledge of trees.

Although the main objective of a Club meet is to explore caves and pots or climb mountains, we can add to the interest of the walk to the pot or the climb to the summit of a mountain if we observe what is to be seen en route.

So I read with great interest, the article on "The Plants of Gaping Gill" by Seán Karley in the January issue of Record this year. We have a number of Club members who are knowledgeable on plant-life. In answer to Seán's invitation to draw attention to any other plants growing at Gaping Gill not in his list, my contribution is the most widely spread and abundant flower to be seen on the fells and mountains in our Dales. I refer to the small four petalled yellow flower on slender stalks: the Tormentil (Potentilla tormentilla). It is all round us as we walk up from Clapdale Farm to Gaping Gill and grows where we pitch out tents. Perhaps Seán will have another name for it that I don't know of. Another plant which I have seen near Fell Beck (but I think that it would be much further up stream that the limit of Seán's area of study) is the bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum).

I hasten to say that I am not a botanist or an ornithologist but I have had an interest in nature; in particular the wild flowers and birds, since I was a teenager.

The alpine plants to be seen while walking up mountain tracks in our Dales, Lake District and Scottish Highlands and Islands do not distract from the main purpose of the climb (to reach the summit) but enhance the day's activity. I have in mind, the various stonecrops, the bog asphodel, the butterwort, the sundew (that remarkable little plant with a basal rosette of yellowish green leaves covered in sticky red hairs which, when a fly settles on it, closes inward to trap and digest the fly. I also particularly admire the mountain pansy with flowers of yellow or violet or a mixture of both, which is wide spread in our Yorkshire Dales, North England, Wales and Scotland, flowering May to August. And what about the spring gentian, that very rare alpine plant with its intense blue flowers on very short erect stems. I have to admit that I've only seen it growing in one area - in Teesdale.

But my favourite alpine plant is the starry saxifrage with its rosette of unstalked root-leaves and loose cluster of star-like white tiny flowers with two yellow spots near the base of each petal. Of course the wild mountain places where I have seen it seem to make it all the more special to me. I've seen it near Seathwaite in the Lake District (where the Lake District's highest annual rainfall is recorded). I've seen it growing in crevices in rocks by the mountain stream in "the Lost Valley" (Allt Coire Gabhail) in Glen Coe. But I have never seen it in such profusion as when I was on the summit of Argyll's highest mountain (Bidean nam Bian) with my life-long friend Johnny Frankland. The stony summit, bereft of grass was covered in large patches of starry saxifrage.

So I advocate keeping your eyes open as you walk to a pot-hole or climb a mountain - come to think of it, it would be silly to walk with your eyes closed! There is more to see than many people realise and it won't distract from your day's main activity on the hills of below them - it will enhance your day's enjoyment.

Hugh Bottomley

What the Journals were saying 30 years ago

The year 1967 will always be an important one in British caving history. It was a time of great discoveries but it was also a year of sadness. The Mossdale tragedy on 24 June when six cavers drowned remains (and long may it do so) the most serious caving accident to occur in Britain. The six were amongst the best cavers in Britain and some of their names live on in their beloved caves; Boireau Falls, Frake's Passage, Adamson's Route. We must all hope that such an incident never occurs again.

Major discoveries in Wales included Little Neath Cave which was found by diver's going into Bridge Cave. The Great North Road in Dan-yr-Ogof was entered for the first time and a dry route from Cwm Dwr to OFD was discovered. This in turn led to the discovery of the Top Entrance to OFD

"Success came this weekend, Colin and Terry took a party in with the radio device again and several more fixes were made. We came to the conclusion that the only place to dig was where Clive had started last weekend. A small charge was placed in the choke by the underground party, and when the smoke began issuing from a scree-filled hole on the surface we began to dig frantically. Before long we could talk to Hywel and Terry and as each run in occurred we almost joined them. After a loud Hurrah from the diggers at both sides the hole finally went through and within three hours we were shaking hands with each other and tidying up the entrance"

In Yorkshire ULSA explored Black Shiver whilst the Earby discovered Tatham Wife Hole. Other discoveries included Kuling Hole, the start of King Pot, Aygill Caverns, the pushing upwards from Langstroth Cave into what is now called Langstroth Pot and extensions to Gingling Pot. In order to ease the logistics of exploring the newly discovered Kingsdale Master Caves which was involving many descents of Swinsto or Simpson's, the Valley Entrance to Kingsdale was opened

"The party went down Simpson's via the slit, and once at the terminal choke of the main tunnel began to dig horizontally. When they came to the grass roots they dug outwards until a hole 10" by 18" was made....Though intended to help the serious caver, the entrance appears to be attracting the lazy and the cowboy element"

The Wessex Journal reported that "The Red Rose Pothole Club have taken over Bull Pot of the Witches Farm on Casterton Fell as their Club HQ, and on request they will prepare coffee and biscuits for cavers visiting caves in the Lancaster Easegill area".

Nearer home the Editor of the CPC Record noted that

"For the last six years the Club has rented cottages, first at Helwith bridge and later in Snaizeholme Valley, Rented accommodation being unsatisfactory due to insecurity of tenure, the Committee decided to buy High Scales Farm when it came on the market earlier this year. Unfortunately the farm was sold to another party while we were attempting to raise the deposit. The Club must decide whether or not it wants to invest in a cottage. If a cottage of our own is to be bought, a deposit must be raised in anticipation of suitable property becoming available"

The Craven Journal in addition to describing the discovery of the Aille River Cave reported on the building of wire ladders with araldite. The list of CPC tackle included 500ft of metal ladder and 250ft of rope ladder

"We have also purchased a quantity of 2" circumference Ulstron for heavy work such as lifelining the more weighty Club members, and tethering elephants!"

The leader of the GG Meet (Peter Rose) stated that he wanted "to put on record that from the Saturday it did not rain (bar three short showers the following weekend) for ten consecutive days.....The fact that the weather during this year's meet was without doubt some of the best in post-war years at GG directly resulted in a successful meet, a total of 323 descents being made during eleven days of winching". (Let us hope that the weather is the same this year although the number of winch descents is somewhat of a contrast).

Other items of note included the report of the BSA Expedition to the Gouffre Berger when Ken Pearce dived the sump, and Bob Leakey's infamous article on "Cave Psychology and all that". When this was published the editor of "The Speleologist" suggested that it might attract a lot of correspondence for the next edition and he wasn't mistaken. It may be of interest to note that one of the responses was from someone called Tony Blick of Bradford!

Journals browsed:

Bradford Pothole Club Bull, Vol 5, Nos 1 and 2

Craven Pothole Club Journal, Vol 4, No 1

S Wales Caving Club Newsletter, Nos 55 to 57

Spelologist, Vol 2, Nos 10 to 13

University of Bristol Proceedings, Vol 11 No 2

University of Leeds Review, 2

Wessex Cave Club, Nos 110 to 114

Ric Halliwell


The Council of Northern Caving Clubs AGM took place on 1 March 1997 and dealt with its usual range of issues mainly in the form of reports from its various officers. Of practical concern is the access arrangement for Casterton Fell, complicated by the problems experienced by the Red Rose CPC and their tenancy of Bull Pot Farm, coupled with recognition of an erosion problem to the paths serving the principal sites!

The tenancy problem is all but resolved although the path erosion had been put on hold; we are now taking the initiative once again to rationalise the access agreement and take a responsible attitude towards a solution for the footpath erosion.

Most people attending the AGM probably turned up to hear of progress on the NCA re-structure debate. However there was not much to report other than a plethora of e-Mail correspondence between various individuals which to some extent revealed the "true nature of the beast". It was encouraging to receive the continued support for the CNCC approach to this issue.

The election of officers caused a bit of a ruffle when Janet Harland (Airedale CC) put up against Phil Parker (White Rose PC) for the post of Conservation and Access Officer and won! This caused a knock-on effect for the Club committee places since Phil represented the White Rose PC who had effectively lost their place.

A number of nominations were then put forward as all the Club Committee places had to be voted for and re-elected. Chris Camm from the White Rose PC stood on their behalf but lost the place in the ensuing vote! Such is caving politics.

All in all, CNCC continues to serve us well in its core area of interest, namely access.

Russell Myers

Chairman, CNCC

NCA AGM 22 March 1997 at Monyash, Derbyshire

A group of us, representing various Northern Clubs but also carrying the Council of Northern Caving Clubs' banner, turned up not really expecting much of a revolution and as it transpired, not getting one either.

The morning was devoted to the usual officer's etc. reports with nothing particularly out of the ordinary except that I took the opportunity to get a promise from the Conservation Officer, Graham Price, that the Cave Conservation Handbook would be produced by the end of April!

The afternoon was devoted to a lengthy and rambling debate about what to do next with the NCA. Constitution or more appropriately, the Structure Committee. The Cambrian CC launched into an attack in our support, querying the mechanism by which our proposal for re-structuring had not received the necessary support at the previous Council meeting for inclusion on the AGM agenda. I can only confirm however, that everything had been in order under the current constitution and the lack of support we found, had quite legally, resulted in our proposal being refused access to the AGM.

This highlights a criticism of the current structure in as much as any constitutional matter has to be considered by the National Council and approved by 70% of those attending the meeting before it can even be put to the AGM. The last National Council was attended by 5 representatives with voting rights out of a potential of 18 (my assessment) and four of them voted against us on the CNCC proposal - our concerns about minority groups are quite well founded I believe. Needless to say, the rambling went on a bit (like this report) and eventually culminated in a proposal from the Council of Southern Caving Clubs that "The Special Committee on Structure is to continue and that in the forthcoming year it is to concentrate its concerns primarily on the matter of funding and subscription within the current structure".

We attempted to progress the CNCC proposal by seeking clarification on what the effect this proposal would have on it. Various platitudes and assurances were given that it would not be ignored but when you consider that it could now take up to 2 years to see a constitutional amendment you can imagine our scepticism. Talk about plaiting fog! Needless to say, the resolution was carried with our group voting against - 10 for 5 against 1 abstention. I do not think the northern cavers are going to be too happy.

The rest of the day fizzled out and although we stayed to see out the National Council meeting convened immediately after the AGM nothing of particular importance came up and it started raining as we departed homeward bound after what must have been one of the best days of the year so far - weatherwise.

Russell Myers

Kendal - Signpost to the future

An article in the Times Higher for 21 March 1997 suggested that rampant individualism and moral anarchy have replaced traditional human values in the late 20th century. The article explained that this theory is to be tested for the first time by academics at Lancaster University who are "to scour a small market town in the Lake District for clue's to man's destiny......The people of Kendal have been selected as a test bed. The town's population contains a 'good social mix', and it is a fairly self-contained and self sufficient community which supports all the major institutions such as industries, schools, shops a hospital and a number of religious circles".

Unfortunately for the team from the religious studies department at Lancaster University, Kendal also harbours a large number of CPC members who are sure to skew the study. Maybe Harpic could be their perfect example of rampant individualism and moral anarchy and that's why we wanted him to be President. His reply to the questionnaire, to be circulated in Kendal to explore what individuals regard as the good life, will probably be somewhat different to most other responses.

Cottage Affairs

Recently there has been some expensive work done on your cottages. The security for Ivy Cottage and Bridge End has been improved with the fitting of new doors and five lever locks. The electric supply will shortly be revised up to current IEE standards. Another problem which has arisen with new legislation is that our upholstered furniture may not meet the new Regulations which came into force on January 1st. All such furniture in premises charging for guest accommodation must comply with BS7176 for upholstered furniture and BS7177 for mattresses. If any member has any unwanted furniture meeting this requirement, or can obtain some at a reasonable cost, please contact me as soon as possible. The committee will take steps to replace all obsolete furniture after the May meeting.

The cottages have been getting an increased usage in the last few months and are starting to look increasingly shabby, so I intend to hold a working weekend on May 10-11th. As well as a general spring clean there are several jobs which need doing. In Ivy there are some bunks which need recovering and there is some internal painting to do. The gas fires would benefit from being securely fixed to the walls. In Riverside there is some decorating to do, the chimney needs to be swept and the living room carpet needs cleaning. If you would like to help with some of these tasks, or can think of any others which need doing, please let me know. Hopefully the committee will allow some refreshment to be provided! Advance notice of numbers attending on that weekend would be helpful in providing sufficient supplies.

Steve Pickersgill, Cottage Warden

Jottings from the Committee


It was reported that the FX chargers had been bought and installed. A new 5-lever lock had been installed on the tackle room door. It was noted that the BCRA Insurance policy appeared to provide cover for error and omissions in situations such as training (otherwise known as professional indemnity). Agreed that the wiring in the Cottages should be checked by a professional electrician. In the light of a letter from a member regarding SRT training for novices the question of "duty of care" was discussed. It was agreed that in the light of the BCRA Insurance cover, the clear way in which meet leaders' responsibilities are laid down in the Handbook and the fact that all SRT Meet leaders have to be on the riggers list then we were doing all that we could to provide "duty of care".


It was noted that the new doors have been fitted to Bridge End and Ivy Cottage. It was noted that the check of the wiring in Ivy Cottage had revealed that a complete rewire was necessary. It was agreed that we would buy our own trailer, built to our specification, for use in connection with the winch meet. The Whoop Hall at Kirby Lonsdale has been booked as the venue for the 1997 AGM and Annual Dinner. It was reported that 200m of new lifeline rope had been purchased together with three sets of plugs and feathers. It was agreed that a further two sets would be purchased.

About Members

Change of address:

Ken Armitage, R Bethell, Temporary address for Norman Brindle, Steve Hardcastle, Martin Holloway, Steve and Robin Kelley, Andrew Knight, Estelle Sandford, Martin Taylor, Martin Tomlinson.

Life Membership:

Having completed the required number of years of membership John Helm has applied for and been granted Life Membership.

We welcome the following as new members of the Club:

Michael Ashmore, Emma Carpenter, Janet Harland, Andrew John Howe.

The following have been accepted as Probationary Members and will probably be attending meets during the next few months:

Clayton-Lloyd Clarke, Richard Hathaway, Christine Hirst, Ann Karley, Joanna Kirk, (James) Patrick O'Neill, Carol Robertson, Damian Peter Sheeran, Martyn Wm Wigfield, Michael Wilson, Ian Winstanley.

SRT Leadership: The following has been added to the list of approved CPC SRT Leaders:

Dave Morris