The trip into Boxhead Pot will stick in my mind as being a mix of the spectacular and unpleasant sides of caving, but more of that later. As it turned out, this was a fun day out and it was great to see how the latest addition to the ‘A-Team’, in the form of Emma, had progressed to be very efficient on the ropes – in fact, apart from my cock-up by rapping way too far down to get a swing going into the ‘Kendal Flyover’ rebelay, the rigging/de-rigging of this big pitch went like clockwork.
Surprisingly, we had Leck Fell to ourselves, save for a couple out walking, who handily were opening the gate as we drove up – cheers folks - and we even managed to find the entrance straight away – well Matt did anyway.
The plan was to get to Lyle Cavern and then return, with me being on 1 leg still, whilst remembering that this trip would not be in Mr C’s book for nowt! Finding in-situ ropes, it soon became apparent that these belonged to diggers who have also installed rather a lot of plumbing – pretty impressive, although detracting from the ‘out-there’ experience somewhat and landing on the rock bridge after the spectacular descent, we found that a simple climb down didn’t really need a third rope if one is crawling off to Lost John’s.
Some easy caving led to the fine keyhole passage of the Cresta Run, quite strenuous in parts, but also for me a wee bit sad to see what was once a nice bit of rock left muddied and slippery by the passage of countless bodies, with no stream to wash it clean – but then I’d rather be underwater than get my feet muddy!
A slippery, fairly holdless climb down led to some respite at a pool, although with Matt following, other members of the team declined and we decided to return. Ascending this obstacle proved to be unpleasant and involved getting my good leg above my head onto a ledge, whilst gladly grabbing a sling proffered by Emma. Matt followed, gaining height upon the pile of profanities he produced – we won’t tell your mum – honest.
Back at the ledge, plumbing was fiddled with to wash off the muck and the bottom of the shaft was plumbed whilst the jugging train got in motion. De-rigging was a speedy delight, although the pipe proved to be a tad tight to easily ascend, surprisingly enough.
Thanks to Chris, Geoff, Matt and Emma for coming along.