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Big Meanie / Death's Head Hole - 11 Feb 2007

Sunday February 11th 2007

Members present: Adam Wilkinson,  Adrian Turner,  Chris Ward,  Chuck Holder,  Gary Douthwaite,  John Singleton,  Laura Bennett,  Matt Ewles

Report by Chris Ward

Another trip to Leck Fell, another chance for me to get my shoes soaked in the local bog. Jumped out of the car and immeadiately fell on my arse in the mud, much to everyone else's amusement.
Took us a while to find the caves, mostly due to misidentifying Rumbling Pot (I think) as Death's Head. They look amazingly similar. Matt was rigging for our group, and there was much swearing at the pitch head while he negotiated the nice vertical squeeze. When it was my turn to go through this, I found out why. It's tight, and with a 50 metre pitch beneath me, I didn't really feel like bouncing around on the rope so much. Biggest problem was that the rope going through my rack bars was getting squashed between the bars and the rock, effectively locking my rack. John bouncing it up and down a bit sorted that out. After that followed some very nervous SRT. I was a bit shaken from the squeeze, and lost all confidence in myself being able to make sensible decisions. All rebelays were negotiated with a minimum of three POC, and I was checking my racking twice instead of the more usual once. Probably the safest bit of SRT I've ever done.

The connection between the two cave sis the muddiest thing I've ever experienced, with mud deep enough to overflow into your boots. The final part of the connection is a crawl which starts off constricted, then turns into a streamway with about a heads height of air space. The roof stays at the same height, while the floor gradually falls away, so you start off crawling and end stooped walking, always with the same amount of air space. At the end of this is a small pitch into the main chamber of Death's Head, where the other group were waiting for us. This was another nervous pitch, as my srt gear and the ropew were all liberally coated with clay mud, something I've never experienced. Wasn't sure what effect the mud would have on rope work, but it turned out to make very little difference. Great little pitch, apart from the other team chucking rocks around below, making my team think we were dislodging them. Seeing as I had dislodged a football size block at the top of Big Meanie which narrowly missed Gary (still don't know how that happened), this was not popular.

Sat in the main chamber for a while, marvelling at the quantity of mud I was covered with, and showing off my martial arts breaking skills with branches we found at the bottom. I was derigging Death's Head, which proved to be fine apart from forgetting a couple of krabs and having to reverse prussic a few feet to retrieve them.