Recent reports

Brown Hill Pot

Sunday March 12th 2017

Members present: Adam Walmsley,  Joshua Young,  Rachel Findlay,  Toby Buxton

Report by Adam Walmsley

Good to finally get to Brown Hill. We'd been umming and ahhing about which cave to do on account of being joined by Fleur, Pete and Avelina and not wanting a late one. In the end we decided it'd be fine to derig Brown Hill and wouldn't be any slower than doing Dale Head on our own. On arriving at Floyd's entrance, we found all three of them still on the surface. Pete had gone down and struggled with the constriction at the foot of the tube so had come back out. They decided to send us in first as we were mostly younger and smaller and better looking.

Toby led the way, followed by me, Rachel and Josh. The first few metres up to the chamber were fine, but then things became a little frustrated. Toby entered the next low crawl and wasn't making encouraging noises - when Toby says it's small, it doesn't do much for the nerves. I entered and soon came across a sharp right bend. Deciding I needed to be facing the other way, I proceeded to make a very awkward manoeuvre to get my right side down for the next section. Pushing the bag in front of me wasn't too difficult, but Toby helpfully came back up the crawl to grab it off me. Continuing along the crawl, I encountered a kink in the passage which proved quite a struggle to pass and left me panting on the other side. Kinky. Listening to Rachel behind, it seemed that she also had issues at the same point. Josh floated through.

The last we heard of the others was Pete saying that he might try the alternative roof-level traverse.
And they were never seen again.
Brown Hill'd*.

On approaching the first pitch we found it to be rigged with in-situ 8 mm which we decided to use. Soon we were traversing the impressive Galerie pas Mur and making our way into the 'involved crawl traverse'. I found it to be more aloof than involved, but Toby disagreed. While waiting for the others, I began rigging Puits Ian Plant - a magnificent two-part pitch. It was all still rigged with 8 mm string but here we much preferred to use our own. The bottom of this pitch was a little breezy so we quickly moved on through the rift and down a few climbs to the streamway. From here it was plain sailing to the final pitch and the sumP. By Josh's watch we were just over two hours in. Toby and I took advantage of the convenient ledges over the frothy sump to have a tinkle before heading out.

On the way out we were all getting quite tired. I was feeling particularly hungry with a general malaise. Added to this was a slight sense of unease at the thought of the entrance crawl. Progress slowed down on account of these factors, but we kept on keeping on and periodically sang some select tunes to raise the spirits. At the top of Ian Plant, my backup torch, which had been pre-loosened earlier in the trip, finally called it a day and naffed off down the pitch. We never really got on. It didn't even say goodbye. I didn't even shout below. Thankfully it missed Toby. It couldn't be found and I wasn't even bothered.

Josh had a bit of a 'mare at the top of the first pitch, then all of a sudden we were back at the crawl. Toby and Josh moseyed on above this like it was nothing, saying "that might have been the crawl". Rachel and I de-kitted and waited for Toby to come back and drag it all through - what a gent! I excavated the gravel below the kink to make it quite a lot larger, but unfortunately created a puddle in its place. After excavation, the crawl was easy peasy. The real struggle for me was getting out of the plastic entrance tube. I climbed up this with a hand jammer on the rope, but couldn't get my feet into the footloop and hadn't the strength to haul myself out with arms alone. Porpoised. Rachel had a similar issue, and ended up being hoiked out of the tube by Toby and me. What an ignominious end to a stonking trip.

*Brown Hill verb (rare or dialectal) to bail, bottle, flake, bin-off or otherwise fail to complete a trip to Brown Hill Pot, or any other pothole for that matter.
Simple past and past participle: Brown Hill'd
Etymology: Chadism from Old Chimpish. "Who will be next to do a brown hill?"