After this meet fell foul to either flood, blizzard or ‘flu early in the year, a re-match was organised and possibly for the first time in the 60-year history of WRPC, females outnumbered males on this trip!
Arriving earlier than expected at BPF, I had quite a wait as all A65 traffic was well delayed, with Emma and Jane turning up a few minutes late and a lonely Mike Cooper almost joined our gang until a well overdue Sam Allshorn arrived just as we were ready to head off.
Having no knowledge of the route from Top Sink into the cave, or even how to find its entrance, I was relying on my copy of Mr C’s description and was assured by the author that it would see me right - thank you Mike, so it did! Being reluctant to attempt a pull-through trip first go, I decided to leave the ropes in-situ, get to Easter Grotto and return, with the option of using any fixed ropes if they looked OK to allow the option of another exit, but it turned out there were no ropes on the Top Sink pitches anyway.
We enjoyed the walk up the mostly dry bed of the beck and managed to find the entrance first go - easier than Little Hull by a long way.
Much of the entrance series is narrow, twisting streamway, that can be negotiated upright by the skinny (me) or by grovelling in the water (......some other people), although a couple of inches narrower and you’re into Hammer Pot or Quaking territory....such are the margins. The well-watered Walrus Pot provided some refreshing respite and upon passing the similarly aqueous Penknife Pitch, we were able to dump bags and SRT kit to move freely to our destination - what a joy! I don’t know about you, but I often sing or whistle underground and it turned out that my companions were amused by my continual repetition of a particular tune - Windrider, Ensiferum, on this occasion, with other hits from my collection being N.I.B., Black Sabbath, in Langcliffe Pot and Songbird, Fleetwood Mac, in King Pot.
Memorable moments on this trip included the rather sobering chasm crossings between Limerick Junction and Nagasaki Cavern, as well as the feeling of space and silence upon entering this impressive chamber. After listening in vain for any sound of Mr C and Mr A making their novel entry into the chamber, we continued on. Making the slippery climb up to Easter Grotto we admired its slightly jaded beauty from the edge of the bedding (remembering that famous picture of bespectacled caver viewing pristine formations many years ago), before heading out.
With the heart-in-mouth traverses passed, Jane went up the ropes first to head out and exiting the cave seemed to be much easier than entering, as usual.
As an added bonus, I reckon we were probably the only clean cavers exiting the system - passing 2 very mucky individuals exiting from County on the walk back. Great stuff!