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Lancaster Hole - Wretched Rabbit

Saturday October 21st 2017

Members present: Alistair Rollinson,  Jean-luc Heath,  Lizzie Underhill,  Mads Senstius

Report by Alistair Rollinson

As usual we assembled at the store, I was feeling confident that it was going to be an efficient start, confidence that was soon to be shattered. I had forgotten the descriptions I had so carefully printed out and prepared only the night before! The solution turned out to be simple…. I ran to James and printed out some more. By the time I got back Lizzie and Mads were packing their gear and Lean-luc was onto the rope, so far so good. As it turned out Lizzie had come directly from a night-out with only 1-hour diversion to her bed, as such she was dressed more for Kuda than caving… ohh well, she seemed happy enough.

The drive was uneventful with Jean-luc and I discussing the various issues with our cars and bemoaning the cost of repairing them, no-doubt a reassuring topic for those in the back. Breakfast at Inglesport gave us some time to chat to fellow student cavers and me the chance to consume huge quantities of carbohydrates in the form of approximately ½ litre of chips.

Arriving at bull pot farm we found a rather packed parking area and proceeded to get changed; after a chat with the nice folks at the red rose and we decided time was pressing and we best do some of this caving business. Rigging and descending Lancaster was quick if slightly less efficient due to a rope already in-situ, but everyone was down the hole in 15mins and Jean-luc lead the way deeper into the system.

Navigation was relativity easy throughout the entire trip (at least that was impression) as Jean-lucs memory was working wonders and the CNCC descriptions are rather good. Fast progress was made apart from around stake pot area as there was quite a queue. We met a number of NPC and Red Rose members on our way, who were doing our trip in reverse and proceeded to chat a little. Stake Pot to Stop Pot took a bit longer than expected due nature of the passage but soon the stream-way was reached. Into the stream we went, no issues here either other than an accidental swim. The wretched Rabbit turning was reached and along we went, I was mildly concerned by the amount of foam on the roof but as water levels were so low we continued onward.

We had some fun in wretched rabbit as neither I nor Jean-luc could remember the way, but with the description and a strong draft we were soon at the roped climbs with only minimal drama. The climbs were great fun! We created a cowstail rope to help everyone up them; it’s amazing how fast it’s possible to go up 5m with 2 people assisting, excellent teamwork! This teamwork continued onto the surface as the beck had swollen to at least knee high while we were underground. We had to cross several times to get back to the car so decided the best way (safest) was to help each other across.

Once back to the car lizzie and Mads got change while Jean-luc and I went to de-rig Lancaster. We did have a bit of a surprise when we found our rope was gone…. “Err that’s not our rope is it” “nope…”. After some discussion we decided to leave the other rope in situ (not knowing if there was still a group underground) and hope the team that de-riged our rope has left it at the Red Rose hut. And…... success! with the help of a lovely member our rope was found, safe and sound with crabs, bag and all in the tackle room. Off home we went stopping only to refill hungry stomachs in Skipton. Overall an excellent trip with a healthy dose of excitement thrown in for good measure.