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Top Sink - Lancaster Hole

Saturday August 24th 2013

Members present: Andrew Gilmartin,  Andy Hurlbatt,  Catherine Moody,  James Gregory,  Mark Sims,  Mike Rippon,  Steven Spall,  Toby Buxton

Report by Catherine Moody

Having not been for ages, I was feeling the need for some Easegill action, and given that we had permits for Top and Lancaster, the choice of trip seemed pretty obvious to me! There was a lack of other trip suggestions from other people so the number of people on our trip steadily grew to 8.

The pull-throughs were unsurprisingly rather a faff with so many people! But it all worked out fine, eventually. At the bottom of the last pitch, Mark asked me "do you know the way through Top Sink?" "Vaguely" was my response. I'd done it a couple of times before but not for a few years. I remembered little bits of it and I knew once we got to Easter Grotto/Assembly Hall and Holbeck Junction it would be plain sailing as I knew the rest of the way perfectly well. I'd meant to read the description for Top Sink itself in Selected Caves before setting off (I'd left all my Braemoor descriptions at home, d'oh) but managed to forget. Mark had just assumed I knew the way, oops. "Oh well, we're a bit committed now! I'm sure between us we can muddle through" I said optimistically. But it was true. There was a brief moment of doubt at Limerick Junction but between myself, Mark and Andy H (who had been most recently and showed us the way at LJ) we made steady progress and were soon at the traverse above Assembly Hall without the others at the back having too much of an inkling of our near incompetence.

We were a bit behind on time so once at Stop Pot had a brief discussion as to whether half of us should head out of Wretched Rabbit instead, but decided it would be fine and could just split up later. We made speedy progress through the high level route, splitting into cars at Stake Pot to make the exit as efficient as possible. The first team were out in a respectable 5 and half hours, with plenty of time before call-out, to be greeted by a swarm of midges. Despite being eaten alive on the way back to the car it was a great trip, and it was really good to be back in Easegill again after so long (and still mostly remember the way)!