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Pippikin Pot - Top Sink - A wrap fuelled birthday venture

Friday July 2nd 2021

Members present: Jean-luc Heath,  Paulina Poterlowicz,  Rosie Marshall

Report by Paulina Poterlowicz

Waking up after a third night of wild camping and so so so much walking all limbs where agonised, but this didn’t matter for today was Rosie’s birthday which meant we were obligated to do an Easegill Traverse. Fortunately some preparation had already occurred the day before…..

*Queue flashback*
Arriving at Easegill after camping the previous night at the Lake District we realised that our original goal of transporting all our camping and caving gear as well as rigging and route finding in Top was possibly a bit much considering it was at this point 3pm. Desperate and too committed we decided the only solution was to split up. Rosie and Jean-Luc went to rig Top while I was tasked with completing my destiny as pack mule by transporting over three sets of very weighty bergens down the forty-minute path from Bull Pot farm.
I cannot say what happened in Top but some getting lost did apparently occur as junctions where dismissed. Meanwhile above ground I was entertaining myself by hosting an off key private concert and questioning my life decisions. All was going well until the last bag. It was abnormally heavy. Very very heavy. It was probably not a good idea to put amongst other stuff- the large gas canister, tent and cooking stove in one bag but oh well. Setting myself the goal of one county marker at a time I set off chanting “to the next post” over and over. Was I losing my remaining sanity? Probably. Did I make it? Most definitely. I arrived at the camp site 3.5 hours after beginning just in time to be swarmed by midges and see Rosie and Jean-Luc emerge. Perfect timing. Finally broken I barely made it up the hill as we moved camp to avoid the horrifying midge swarm. Tent set up we realised we forgot the pasta sauce so contingency burritos were eaten and morale soon returned followed by some very heavy sleeps.
*Flashback over*

After consuming porridge (and Rosie trying not to gag) we set about completing one more very important admin task- lunch prep.

~~~~Quality Easegill traverse Wrap recipes~~~
Cheese version: Divide a block of chilli Cheddar cheese into three. Apply it to the wraps and consume.
Sweet version: Take 6 small wraps (two per person) and apply as much peanut butter as desired (between 1-2 tablespoons) Add a layer of chocolate hazelnut spread (1 tablespoon). Apply. Consume.

With lunch made and container securely duct taped we set of for Pippikin. Here the first hurdle was met. Pippikin was no where to be found! The CNCC description clearly placed it on the right side of the wall coming from the direction of Bull Pot Farm so surely it had to be there. Many shakeholes were searched and morale hit a new low as dehydration and tiredness set. Finally, in a stroke of desperation we decided to search the other side of the fence and there hidden in some grass was Pippikin. Why was it there!? Did we read the description wrong? No, no we did not. The description lies. (for future reference the black book description does have it in the right place and Pippikin is indeed on the LEFT side of the wall coming from Bull Pot Farm. Not the right.)
At this point I got very excited, after months of desiring to do this cave, it was time. I had the additional honour of dragging the food bag through and the responsibility was honestly nearly too much to handle! What if I destroyed the wraps!? Turns out Pippikin is speedy! One hour speedy but more than that, stemple squeeze is amazing! There is nothing quite like diving for a metal bar holding onto nothing with your legs jammed into a slit! Highly recommend. With the last pitch descended we found ourselves coming out in the Hall Of The Ten. Vague memory navigated us through the aptly named Wet and Muddy Wallows. Much muddy crawling occurred, and I was soon drenched. We soon got briefly lost yet kept going the right way and somehow ended up in Link Pot having passed Squid Junction….somewhere??? Next was the crawly trek ending at Echo Aven. This was a fun pitch to get down! The considerable mud meant much bouncing was required for any descent.
With that sorted we continued onto the 88-foot pitch which was rapidly ascended. We soon realised the traverse coming of it is much more awkward on the way up but with some questionable wedging and bag removal it was smoothly done. With Rat Pit only a corner away we soon reached Brew Chamber (where we got quite lost last time we were there.) This soon led to a ladder at Canuck Climb and some more walking, crawling and all sorts ending at Stake Pot.
Finally, it was food time! Dense wraps were quickly consumed, and morale revitalised, genuinely the effect was amazing (9 out of 10 cavers recommend peanut butter as their wrap filling of choice)
Keen to get moving as not to get cold we ran through the next section of cave which in hindsight is a bit of a blur and consisted of smooth navigation. I was quite excited when we descended the next ladder to the very recognisable Stop Pot! Having been there the week prior it was finally my five seconds of navigational fame! Pretty much a straight-line crawl followed by a right sided climb leads to Holbeck junction where a stream is met (though it was quite dry on this particular day) left turn taken it was a short stoop onwards to another left turn leading to a finely decorated passage and assembly hall.
Here navigation passed to Rosie and Jean-Luc, after all I had been busy ferrying bags and never saw this part of the cave. An in-situ rope lead up a short climb followed by a slightly longer roped climb and traverse into Nagasaki cavern where I was told to stick very left. (What did I miss the previous day I wonder!?) following this Limerick junction was reached and some talk of “aery steps” occurred. (Once again what did I miss!?) Following this we reached Penknife Pitch where we found our reward. A carrot cakes. Obviously with-it being Rosie’s birthday we had to have cake in a cave and had left it there the day before. Somehow it had managed to perfectly survive (thank you excess plastic).
Rescue knife out, cake was sliced and consumed. Since at this point our container had very much leaked, we did have to eat the entire thing and later dinner was perhaps in poor judgement skipped.
Now it was just a quick run up two shorts yet very drippy pitches and an endless sideways walk leading to the evening light of the surface 8 hours after we entered. Coming out in the sunset made for a pleasant sight- midges however did ruin the experience. Running back to camp we threw of gear and dived into the tent in our underwear to hide. Tired and exhausted we were perhaps not thinking too clearly and decided to try brew coffee inside the tent. Hot water was spilled but no tent was enflamed! Even so the idea was soon binned. Instead, we decided to drink some hot chocolate (which we made outside) and ended the night with some celebratory raspberry rum.
In conclusion. An amazing trip, Peanut butter is best and traverse complete.