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Lancaster Hole -Magic Roundabout

Saturday September 11th 2021

Members present: Jacob Podesta,  Paulina Poterlowicz,  Rosie Marshall

Report by Paulina Poterlowicz

The grand return to Bull Pot Farm Finally!!! It did not disappoint featuring all the chaos you expect...with twice the efficiency! Our first trip of the weekend was planned to be Magic Roundabout combined with a wander into Woodhouse way. Now the problems began quickly. You see we couldn’t acquire a new version of the Magic Roundabout description and the old one was…. less than helpful. Quite confused we were not entirely sure if we needed a 25m rope or a 50m for pulling through Aquarius pitch. We figured by the descriptions mention of a “few 25m’s” that a 25m would suffice. We were wrong. It was when we stared at the big maps in the Bull Pot living room we noticed it mentioned Aquarius was 22m. Cant do a 22m pull through with a 25m rope…. Well then. We also had a 15m with us so we figured ok we can tie them together. Of course, that’s still not enough. But we thought if we took a sling and hoped really hard, we might make it work, and if not we can always come back the way we came. As ever I chose to remain optimistic.

It so happened we were joined on our trip the next morning by a Red Rose member called Toby who luckily was very familiar with Easegill. After some questionable Lancaster rigging, we found our way to Bobs Boss and Rosie and I started looking for a hole in the floor- since this is what the description mentioned. But Toby said Magic Roundabout starts with Arson Shaft. Hmm…Rosie and I just kind of accepted this especially considering the description had proven less than helpful so far. Now Arson shaft was long, and I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of going up pitches I can’t see the top of. So I sat there fiddling with my SRT kit but was nonetheless forced to go first when Toby pointed out I should learn the route….well…if I must.

Arson shaft was amazing!!!! You enter it halfway up and it encloses you in a sort of C shape as you go up! Its hard to explain but it’s pretty brilliant. You get of the first rope on a ledge where I heard Toby call for me to stop so I did. As I got to the top I realised my fear of the bolts was completely unfounded though the fact the rope was older than I was (being from 1998) was an interesting realisation. I waiting for the others slightly confused and was soon told the problem. The route Toby was familiar with would take you out at the bottom of Arson shaft at the end. Which would require prerigging the bottom of Arson shaft- which we didn’t have the rope for. Now our suspicious description claimed a bypass for this (hence why we didn’t have the rope). I figured that we carry on, rig the pull through but keep it in until we are certain we can get out then go back and grab the rope. Or if there is no bypass go back and just go back down Arson shaft- which would have been fun anyways! Of course, this was if we could even get down Aquarius (not enough rope remember).

Decisions made I carried on upwards reaching a beautiful and decorated passage with a traverse rope bolted from the ceiling. It was really something. The next part of the trip went pretty smoothly we went down some pitches and finally reached our obstacle. Aquarius pitch. We tied the 15m and 25m and left the end 15m in the bag as not to get confused (and for a dramatic reveal). Jacob was the last one down and it was his job to take the rope out of the bag…and now the moment of truth. About halfway down the pitch we ran out of rope. Right then. We had Jacob’s huge sling with us and another 2m club sling. If I recall the sequence went, rope. Crab. Sling. Crab. Crab. Sling. Crab. Tacklesack hauling cord. Tacklesack.

Aaaaand it just reached the floor! Success! And what an artwork to behold! With that sorted we left the rope there and carried on. At some point Toby found a climb he decided to explore and what a stroke of luck for this turned out to be the bypass! For future when you reach a stopping, crawling meandering passage keep and eye above you for a climb to your left, go up that, then climb again going up the boulders- best approached from the left corner. You will then find a metal chain. Climb up this and you will reach an old ladder- this ladder leads you straight back next to bobs boss. Right where you started. So, turns out the hole Rosie and I searched for was there. It was just the end. Thanks description. To my knowledge this route isn’t mentioned on the new magic roundabout description (which is much clearer) but its good to know if you have any rope dramas. With our exit assured we ran back to get the rope and complete the trip. At this point Jacob and Toby left Rosie and I (Toby had a red rose dinner and Jacob was still fighting Moderna Jab side effects) Leaving just the two of us to try find woodhouse way.
Again, I should mention we had an old description which we later found out was completely different from the new one. I choose to blame this for our inability to find woodhouse way. We really searched and we were definitely in the right place. A high passage on the right as soon as you enter the main streamway- now I do believe in the right place but didn’t recognise it because the old description had us looking for a silted crawl, while the new one mentioned a rift- which we did see. What exactly happened for the crawl to disappear between description 1 and 2 I do not know. Somewhat disappointed we decided to go for a streamway wander. It was on our way back we spotted it. A frog.

Now we had seen many a frog lost in caves and had managed to rescue most but this one. Well, it was in Easegill streamway. That’s kind of far from the surface. Now I probably would have swallowed my morals and left it there, but Rosie is a better person and did not consider this an option. So, we sat there pondering what to do. We didn’t want to squish it in our pockets so decided to instead put it in a boot. Ok. Next problem. Getting the frog up Fall Pot. Lancaster was less of a problem- we had a tacklesack there, but we didn’t at Fall Pot. The initial plan was for me to run and grab the bag and with that we set of with the most efficient teamwork you have seen. The frog was placed in Rosie’s boot and passed along from person to person as we slowly climbed up the boulder choked. Smooth. Eventually we reached Fall Pot. I suggested we try the climbing route as I figured we might manage it. The climbing route out of Fall Pot has two ropes. One knotted for free climbs and another next to it set up for SRT should you need it. Rosie attached to the SRT rope whilst I free climbed. I sat on a boulder holding the frog while Rosie prussiked a metre above me she then sat on another boulder and took the frog as I climbed a little higher. Somehow, we managed to zig-zag our way up like this! Yesss. Next was the walk to Lancaster, easy enough and Lancaster itself. I had the honor of prussiking with the frog tacklesack, as such I could not do my usual flail but had be ~smooth~ not sure if I succeeded but the frog survived so there. Next we took it back to bull pot having found no water elsewhere. I think we rescued it but I also have a horrible feeling it may have ended up at the bottom of bull bot of the witches instead. Hmm….. Anyway great frog rescue complete!