Notts II (Inlet 6.5¾) – 19th August 2015

Notts II – Inlet 6.5¾: Tim D, Darren, Jason

The advertised trip was Voldemort, which was why I bothered with the 2½-hour drive from West Bretton where I’d been all day.  But on the way, the rain set in and the prospect of pulling-through to find the snug crawl full of water was a little off-putting, so we decided to look at inlet 6.5¾ instead.

This was some consolation, as I’d never been there.  The water levels were back to normal from the torrent 3 weeks earlier, and we quickly came to the junction on the right of the upstream passage.  Some easy passage soon leads to the sparkling white stal formations.

A little backtracking leads to a left turn which links to inlet 5.  On the way are yet more fine formations, one or two sadly besmirched by a careless muddy glove (a mini conservation project is called for here – half an hour with a bottle of water and a nail brush would make a big improvement!).

Unfortunately, it also involves some crawling in disgusting gloopy mud.  There are compensations, though – as you wallow on your back there are some solution cavities in the ceiling a few inches away.  These contain some beautiful crystalline deposits and helictites.  I was reminded of the Oscar Wilde quote “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

Returning to the streamway, we continued upstream to the canal in inlet 2b (or not…?).  A good opportunity to wash the gloop off by avoiding the traverse above the canal and having a bracing wade, and even a brief swim at one point.  We warmed up again by a quick march downstream and out. As a final bonus, it actually stopped raining long enough for us to get changed!

Cow Pot – 12th August 2015

Cow Pot: Darren, Jason

It was 5 years since I’d last done Cow Pot, when I’d not been in the KCC long, so I wondered if I’d find it easier (having more experience) or harder (being 5 years older).

Darren opted for the ‘Sneaky’ route on the main pitch (or was it the ‘Devious’ ?).  The first back-up bolt is in the roof, the second is sneakily located just out of sight on the wall behind you as you lean out over the rift.  As you follow the rather alarming traverse to the left, further bolts are revealed.  Darren selected the first obvious pair for a Y-hang and eventually found two fairly extreme deviations from flakes (perhaps this was the Devious route) to reach the free-hanging rebelay at the top of the main pitch.  This was at the end of the first 30m rope, so he patiently hung around (literally!) while I joined him to hand over the 50m for the rest of the pitch.

This was a straight drop into the middle of the vastness of Fall Pot, and we met Tim D at the bottom, who had entered from Lancs.  He recommended solo caving for “concentrating the mind”…

I had no difficulties with the ascent (in contrast to the first visit, 5 years ago!) though it gave plenty of time to appreciate the slenderness of the excellent 9mm Spelenium Gold that was keeping me from a messy end far below.

However, when it came to the awkward thrutchy climb on the way to the entrance pitch, I found the years had taken their toll.  I had managed it earlier, but this time needed Darren’s shoulder for the final push – that’s another pint I owe him!