Black Shiver Pot -FAFF STRIKES BACK
Monday July 19th 2021
Members present: Jean-luc Heath, Paulina Poterlowicz, Rosie Marshall
It was a blood hot, sweat boiling day when our tale of terror begins. Beneath the benignly looming mountain of Ingleborough three naive cavers set off for an efficient adventure, unaware of the lurking danger that stalked them. For the week prior some of them became infected with a horrendous disease -- a taste of fun. It started off innocently. A laxer attitude than usual. A later start. A café breakfast. The next thing they knew they were underground at 2pm. As time was checked a realisation dawned on them: faff was coming – faff might already be with them. Could they stop it? They didn’t know. But they were going to try. With a goal of Black Shiver and Meregill in the same day, they knew they needed motivation. So the first pitch of Meregill was rigged and rope left behind. But the seeds of faff where already sown when they left a picnic there as well….. and although they didn’t know it, this would be their undoing.
As they entered the crawl into the cave the stench to death permeated their surroundings. Something had clearly died here. Concerning, but not as concerning as the daylight being wasted. The crawling was wet and sharp as they squeezed themselves under the black rock, and some glimmer of hope returned. Perhaps this would be miserable, perhaps they would hate it. Odd moans and sloshes filled the passage, sounds with no discernible origin as if the ghostly imprints of long gone cavers were still pacing the chambers ahead. They grew silent and blissfully fearful.
But as they approached yet another pitch the panic of enjoyment came over them. Something had to be done. The situation only worsened when one of their number -- a creature called Rosie -- put her rack a little too low and dramatically swung onto a pitch. A sign of further enjoyment. Worrying. Was she too infected with deadly fun?
At the lake at the foot of the third pitch, staring at the blank wall that they would have to force themselves under, the malicious cold of the water made itself apparent to them. Water that had been underground for hours, perhaps days, with no hope of sunlight. This was good. With the help of ominous water, speed could maybe be acquired. Perhaps they could outrun faff yet…
Finally, the big pitch was rigged and descended. As the third earth inhabitant waited at the pitch head the strange cave noises intensified. Some growling was heard and the usual human resonances water can so often make. But then the noises worsened and shifted… what were they? Ghosts, animals? A murder following them? No, no it was much much worse. It was…. Other people…..and with them the most enjoyable faff of all: small talk. Realising the danger as soon as the cry of rope free reached her ears the remaining victim spiralled down the pitch, terrified, and desperate to warn the others! “I heard people” she frantically yelled! Horror froze their limbs. They had no choice but to confront the dire situation they were in. Surely it couldn’t end like this…
They crawled to the sump in grim defeat. It was after 4pm and they had so much left to do. It smelt like failure.
Promptly they decided to exit the cave! But even then they were not safe. The other people left their ropes in, and so this meant derigging was…..pleasant!!!!??? and cheatage occurred. The final straw as the infection of inefficiency festered. Out by 6pm they began the walk to Meregill. Yet it was too late. Faff and fun had won. As they ambled over and retrieved their brie and baguette, settling themselves down in the warm air of the evening, it became obvious to all that this was it. They would go no further.
Faff has returned and we must be on our guard. Remember – please remember – that fun is still out there, waiting behind every corner for unsuspecting cavers who only long for meticulous planning and ruthless efficiency. Who knows… you could be next.
Other YUCPC reports on Black Shiver Pot
- Black Shiver Pot - 25th Jul 2009 by Catherine Moody
- Black Shiver Pot - 25th Jul 2009 by Mark Sims
- Black Shiver Pot as far as the pool - 04 May 2008 by Matthijs Bouwman
- Black Shiver Pot - 28 Apr 2007 by Chris Ward
- Black Shiver Pot - 09 Sep 2006 by Matt Ewles
- Black Shiver Pot - 09 Sep 2006 by Gary Douthwaite