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County Pot as far as Splash Chamber

Saturday November 26th 2011

Members present: Catherine Moody,  Mark Sims

Report by Mark Sims

An interesting trip. We originally went to do Lancaster, but soon found it wasn't really an option since YSS were doing a novice training day there (conveniently coinciding with CHECC...good planning!). Instead we went to pop down County, thinking that given the intermittent rain that Manchester Bypass would be a sensible choice.

Easegill Beck had no water flowing as we walked up from Link, and the rain eased as we reached the entrance. It was still nice to get underground though. We were soon at Battle of Britain Chamber, with dry feet despite the water coming in at the Showerbath.

Trident was never an option, but we thought the waterfall at Splash Chamber might be quite impressive, so we popped up to have a look. On the way back down to Manchester Bypass I suddenly heard water behind me. Within 5 minutes of getting back to Battle of Britain Hall, the passage down from Splash Chamber had become a river, all flowing down Manchester Bypass...not ideal.

Since Splash Chamber had been impressive before this new influx of water, we went back up to have another look. It was now a column of water about 2m in diameter. Well worth another look!

Since water was continuing to surge down the crawl at the start of the "all-weather" Manchester Bypass, heading out seemed like a good plan. The active bit up to Broadway was now surging brown water. Before long, Cat called me to the front, saying the amount of water ahead was looking bad. I could hear water thundering just around the corner and asked if the Showerbath was looking bad. "We're not at the Showerbath yet!", was the reply.

Looking around the corner the passage was filled with water coming out of the roof. We briefly considered turning around to wait it out in Battle of Britain Chamber, but I thought it might be worth a look.

I went through, immediately drenched from head to foot, scrabbling around to get up the small climb without being able to see anything in all the water. Once through I yelled back that it was OK, but that I'd go and check the Showerbath before getting everyone else drenched. Luckily it was fine so we made a hasty exit to find that the Beck had completely burst its banks in the very short time since we headed underground. Scary stuff.

Turns out we weren't the only ones in a similar situation, as another group were almost trapped by water levels in Jingling...