Notts Pot: Andy G, Scott, Jason
Meeting in Cowan Bridge car park, Andy revealed the 5 tackle sacks that would be needed to bottom Notts Pot. Rapidly calculating that this worked out at over 1.6 sacks each, we soon decided that a leisurely trip to the streamway was in order, so we could leave two of them behind.
When it came to getting changed, Andy had second thoughts, no doubt wanting to put all his rope-bagging time to good use, but I soon talked him out of such reckless bravado. I was already glad just walking up the hill to the pot! On the way, we chanced upon an attractive bird (no, a fieldfare actually) feigning injury to lead us astray, then the perfect, but dead, body of her mate a few steps on. Later, on our return, a small pile of feathers was all that was left – nature red in tooth etc….
The entrance drop was quickly rigged, although it almost looks short enough to do without a rope. Almost. Then a short crawl leads to a little climb down, described as “awkward”. Andy had therefore brought a rope, but it was no more than a brief slither – what was the fuss ? A nice section of typical meandering rift leads to the short pitch down into the Main Chamber. From here, there are all kinds of choices for the route onwards. We’d opted for the Centre Route. A short rebelay gave a fine free hang without needing a long deviation recommended by the guide – a benefit of the recent dry weather, no doubt. The second part of the pitch follows immediately, starting with a memorable belay round a big rock column. This is also split into several sections. While waiting for Andy on the last section, Scott and I heard voices from another party, but did not see them.
Then, to our consternation, Andy called up to say he’d taken a wrong turn. Where could we have gone astray ? But it turned out, he’d just descended the ‘wrong’ side of a big rock flake half-way down. He had reached the streamway – but just on the ‘wrong’ side of a duck, which no-one relished tackling. Shortly after, we all reached the streamway and had a quick look further along the high, narrow rift. This would have been the way on, had we brought the rest of the rope and climbed up, but we were happy to turn back from here.
Andy led back up with Scott and I derigging. Interestingly, we heard the other party’s voices again – this time from below – it showed how riddled the pot is with different vertical routes, and sound carries from one to the other confusingly. The return trip was uneventful, apart from the “awkward” climb near the entrance, which I found fully justified its description – despite having seen Scott ascend effortlessly in front of me, I somehow managed to find a far less elegant route.
We all agreed it had been a satisfying trip of around 4 hours, and were happy to leave the full descent to another day with a bigger party of porters!