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Rowten Pot

Rowten Pot: September 5, 2015

Denis Bushell and Ian Cummins

Met at Curlieu Café 10.30 am, quick brew and off to Kingsdale. Both surprised, not one vehicle parked: the whole valley to ourselves. Changing in the warm sunshine we could hear bird song clearly. Ian picked up an unusual cry and said it must be a buzzard. We looked across the valley and Ian spotted the said bird high on the fells of East Kingsdale. My eyes could not pick it out from the crows flying in the same proximity.

Once changed into wet suits it was to be a pull-through trip. Tackle bags packed, 100m and 30m ropes, we started up the steep hillside to Rowten Pot sweating heavily. As we would not be exiting this entrance, hopefully, Ian used the shorter length first to secure a good rub-free hang on the longer rope. Usual practice is to just use the longer rope which on the first pitches rest against the wall. Ian, being a perfectionist, and thinking of club rope, preferred the none-rub method taking a little longer but extending rope life. Myself, second man. would pull shorter rope through and bag it before descending the longer pitch 100m. All going well till big pitch. I also carried masks, hoods, slings and a few crabs in second tackle sack which was the 100m sack. I have a 1m 6mm cord for tackle bags which I attach by 2 maillons, I left these at the car to my chagrin, relying on the snap gates already attached to the sacks. Ideal when heavy due to gravity, not so when light. Starting to descend large pitch, sack with hoods and masks unclipped and plummeted down following the course of the water. I knew Ian would not be there but no excuse. I warned him of imminent disaster: “Below” was the cry.

On reaching bottom of the pitch Ian said “No damage” and quickly took the 30m rope for the next pull-through while I packed the 100m into its sack and followed with the remaining bags. Final two pitches were short requiring 30m rope only. Once down at Sump Chamber Ian set off to check line, fingers crossed. On return, thumbs up, hoods on, tackle all into large sack.

Plan: Ian would set off holding rope end. When I could see the taught rope slacken approx. ten seconds, I would tie the tackle sack on and give three tugs. Ian would pull the sack through, I would let the remaining rope slide through my hands slightly taught so as to keep the sack neutral in the water. If the sack did snag we would be able to free it up by means of tugging back and forth. Once my loose end had escaped my hand into the murky soup I would follow. Reaching the first bell Ian was already eager for the next sump, same method. Used totally different methods for ourselves. I would float on the ceiling face up, back to floor, probably due to not disturbing mud and silt in most short free dive situations plus no weight required. Ian preferred traditional orthodox method, slightly negative buoyancy facing floor which usually requires weight.

On reaching final sump before canal there was air-space which is not unusual for this particular sump. We sorted our tackle, I replaced my harness and we were off through the long canals to the roof tunnel pitch. On arriving there was a rope in situ. I elected to use it and also transport our tackle up, while Ian, the climber in him, would dictate the free climb which he has done on many occasions, Once united at the top of the pitch we both took a tackle sack and started our exit to Valley Entrance, so popular for many groups.

A bright sunny day greeted us with just one addition to the vehicle count, a VW camper. Quick change and Curlew Café for de-brief, tea and crumpets. Great trip.

Trip Date: 5th September 2015
Added: 27th October 2015
Reviewer: Denis Bushell
Score:
Hits: 616
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