The Black Rose Pothole Club
Entrance Pitch 1960 with Ged using prussic knots - The earliest SRT technique.
The Oldies Page
For absent friends
who pushed the darkness just a little too far.
Home Diary Who's Who Dinners Olde Photos Topics Jokes Spectacle Olde Finds The Book Video Thursday Club
Of our actual explorations, which were many, I suppose none can surpass the controversy of
bearing in mind that in the early sixties we were very badly hampered by the lack of equipment,
and involved in an aggressive take over bid by the NSG to eliminate the Black Rose Pothole Club.
I would like to thank all the cavers who have left reports of their adventures in Spectacle Pot.
Splutter Crawl is a memory never forgotten, the Great Rubble Heap is the stuff of nightmares.
A photo of splutter Crawl by John Gardner was removed
and was replaced with something far more appealing.
NSG newsletter 1964 complaining
that another club had stolen their glory for Spectacle Pot.
Click on thumbnail to enlarge or read below.
NORTHERN SPELEOLOGICAL GROUP Newsletter 36 1964
SPECTACLE POT REPORT
When Speleological historians of the future come to write of the first explorations of the 300 or so potholes in the Craven, they will have no alternative but to put down the exploration of "Spectacle Pot" as that of another large Club.
The efforts of Jed Dodd and other N.S.G members will be forgotten and unrecorded.
The reason is that another Club has published the first report and survey in its own strictly exclusive Club Journal, for all the world as if Spectacle were all its own work:
Members should note that in future if they discover something new, they should get it surveyed and published in some reputable non-club journal where due credit is given. Also, if they have to borrow tackle from other clubs, make sure the people who come with it at least have some standards of caving ethics.
As Bob Leakey says, "the easiest way to speleological fame and glory is to do your potholing in print." This evidently also applies to clubs that are better equipped for printing new discoveries than actually making them.
Putting the Record Straight .. by Ged Dodd
I never was in the N.S.G.
I was, and still am, and always will be - Black Rose Jed
I never was in the NSG. I had the opportunity to do so just before their hierarchy destroyed and absorbed the Black Rose Potholing Club and their hostel by stealth in 1960 - but I could see it coming and rather than associate with those rat-bags I left the club I loved a month or so before this finally happened - left my very naive mates who had been family for a couple of years, - and went caving on my own, and that is why most of Spectacle Pot was done on my own (1960's) - with Maureen Dryden sitting on the surface out side on the moor - reading a book and enjoying the solitude - and making sure I came out again.
When I first located Splutter Crawl it was a half of a small oval cross section, about 20" x 4" high blocked with a flat level floor of small pebbles. I had to remove these a handful at a time and back out of the tube with 2 handfuls held upright whilst using my toes to wriggle backwards, an inch at a time, like some cartoon character out of Tom and Jerry. The problem was, the space left by each handful of pebbles promptly filled up with water until I had a 9" high tube, to solid rock bottom, 5" of which was filled with cold water, hence the name, Splutter Crawl.
It was at this point, when, despite lying in cold water in only jeans and a shirt, and sweating like a bull, I realize I was being cooled by a distinct icy cold breeze draughting out of the cave. Even in 1960 this in itself predicted Spectacle Pot would one day join up to another, as yet unknown entrance, and bigger things to come.
Splutter proved too small for the vast majority of cavers in those days, despite efforts by some to blast it bigger at the start of the crawl, which prompted Maureen and myself to search the moor above looking for another entrance that would connect to Moorhouse Chamber and thus bypass Splutter Crawl. We actually did locate several small caves, (None of these are still not in any of the books) but they all dead ended. Several shake holes looked promising when removing a few rocks revealed promising cold fresh air spaces, and they were marked for further exploration, but fate intervened and my exploration days came to an abrupt end, and the NPC have never realised how near they were to not being the first into Vespers ..
click for a modern day area plan of the local shake holes.
I'm a big believer in, "If your name isn't on it, it's meant for someone else."
Maureen worked in a plastics factory in Earby and she would take my dry shirt, jeans and crisps to work with her to be sealed in a strong plastic bag. I would take this bag down Spectacle Pot with me and then change into dry clothes when I reached Dryden Chamber. This really was a life saver. There were no wet suits those days.
The extensions were eventually credited to Black Rose Pothole Club because I did Spectacle Pot in the summer of 1960, before the hatchet job on Black Rose by the NSG was accomplished. The big pitch was called Dodd's Pitch, due to the insistence of Dennis Moorhouse, who was also Black Rose at the time, and Maureen Dryden, also Black Rose, who had clobbered all the squabbling big boys (NSG, Craven Pothole Club, Northern Pennine Club, Burnley), by printing my caving diaries in the White Rose Journal and saying "Ged called the first big chamber Moorhouse, after Dennis Moorhouse, and the first dry chamber he reached, Dryden, after me." A "Moor House" and a "Dry Den" ... get it?
The recognised overhead bedding plane approach to the big pitch which is now used by everyone, was dug out by me when I first did that impossibly tight crawl where the water sinks - I found myself dangling head first over the edge of the big pitch of the Great Rift with no place to go - the crawl actually split into two around a very narrow pillar of rock which acted as a life saving handhold for me to squeeze out into thin air of black nothingness and squeeze back into the crack again, but, after reversing back up the wet crawl - I found that I couldn't get back out again into Dryden Chamber. Slide into that rift - and it looked like one stays in the rift.
So I backed out into the thin air again over the pitch, and free climbed up the side of the Great Rift up into the roof and dug out a loose bedding plane until I could drop back down into Dryden Chamber. Surprising what one can do when needs must. And the clattering of loose rocks as they flaked away from the walls on a one-way trip down into oblivion definitely told one that needs most definitely must.
Oh happy days ..... they don't make fear like that anymore.
Dennis Moorhouse (Black Rose) was my back-up man that day but he wisely decided to take my word for it that after some 10 feet along that tight slot it suddenly blossomed without warning from a tiny duck's posterior into a gigantic bottomless chasm, and one popped one's head out over an absolute douzy of a first step into black nothingness. When L.U.S.S extended the pothole in 1971 they were extolling their wisdom of using this bedding plane to descend the pitch instead of the tight slot when they suddenly realised it was already marked on my 1960 survey, and the Black Rose had been there before them.
They also attempted to re-name Dryden Chamber the Relief Chamber in their journal after dislodging huge boulders on the Great Rubble Heap and being sent scurrying back unceremoniously up the ladder to Dryden in a very dishevelled and frightened manner - all ego and pride hastily abandoned as Spectacle Pot dealt with these disrespectful interlopers in her own special way. I wasn't having any either. Relief Chamber is Dryden, named after Maureen Dryden, without whom, my lone explorations of Spectacle Pot would have been even more foolhardy. By the same token they did a great job with their survey in very difficult conditions.
The following week, again backed up by Dennis, I laddered the big pitch with 100 feet of Mike Myers' best electron, but it went no-where near down to the bottom, and simply caused piano-sized rocks to peel off the walls and bring a lot more down in sympathy and add to the "beloved" Great Rubble Heap. Crazy I may have been in those days but there was no way I was going down that ladder without a life-line and Dennis couldn't get into a position to do this at the time... so we called it a day.
Very soon after that I lost my knee cap in a motor-cycle accident and apart from going down with my leg in a plaster-pot to retrieve the ladder for Mike Myers that was my last trip into Spectacle Pot. As I remember, I had taken slim John Adams, (ex Black Rose who one day sailed off into the Indian Ocean on a solo yachting trip and was never seen again.) with me that day, we worked together in the same office, and he had transport, and my motor bike was in several jagged pieces, and when we got down Spectacle there were several large potholers in a traffic jam at Splutter Crawl, unable to get through it - and I took great delight in elbowing them to one side with my pot-leg and after a curt "excuse me" shamed them all into watching this invalid disappear down this impossibly tiny-looking crawl into the darkness, with his leg in a full-length plaster cast.
Oh happy days ..... they don't make fun like that anymore.
At the dreaded low and loose boulder choke of Wet Crawl before Dryden we came across a lone potholer who had made it through Splutter Crawl but who was making very hard work of this bit. My plaster pot was getting wet and I was getting cold so I just said "Excuse me, passing through", and went straight over the top of him, and sped off into the darkness .
Oh happy days ..... they don't make fun like that anymore.
I climb into the bedding plane, de-laddered, said a sad good bye to the still un-bottomed pitch and lowered the gear through to John in Dryden, and then we started back out and met up with this, laddie who was still having difficulties, now half way through the choke. I just said, "Excuse me, passing through", and went straight over the top of him", back through Splutter Crawl and the traffic jam and exited the cave. The whole exercise, in, collect the gear, out, in all of 40 minutes ... tops.
Oh happy days ..... they don't make fun like that anymore.
Many years later I was "Geologising" up on Malham Moor with my business associate, David Emery, when we saw this largish group of potholers walking across the moor, and they abruptly changed direction and strode purposely towards us. We prepared for trouble.
One came straight up to me, into my face, and said, "You won't remember me, but I remember you. Down Spectacle Pot, a few years back. I thought I was a very good caver, and then this bastard with his leg in pot came straight over the top of me, as though it was a stroll down Blackpool Prom, and made me feel about so high". He held two fingers together about an inch apart, and Dave and myself sort of edged round, back to back, and started to reach for our geology hammers.
"And then," he said, "When I got back out my mates told me you were the Black Rose, and that made me feel a lot better" ...... And then he smiled, shook my hand, and they all buggered off to do Pikedaw Calamine Caverns, as Dave and myself found somewhere to relieve ourselves.
Oh happy days ..... they don't make fear like that anymore.
Now, by the same token this should not detract from the amount of work put into Spectacle Pot at a later date by Dennis Moorhouse and Mick Eland and the others (all ex-old Black Rose), after I had lost my knee cap and my priorities had changed from..
Exploring Caves > Drinking Ale > Chasing Women to
Getting Married > Working for a Living > Staying Home
The subsequent explorers deserve their due for what they did, especially when the rather well built Brian Lewis had to be pulled through the tight Splutter Crawl on a rope, and nearly drowned as the water couldn't drain away past him and his head went underwater, spluttering all the way ... and rather them than me on the big pitch, but as for the Northern Speleology Group claiming me as a member ... and for claiming any part of Spectacle Pot for the NSG which was not actually done by an ex-Black Rose member.. then "Do me a favour" .. when it comes to Spectacle Pot and caving exploration in those days .... Black Rose Potholing Club ruled OK.
Click on thumbnails for surveys - On the 1960 survey I give an approximate depth of 370 feet for Spectacle which was calculated by throwing pebbles down the unclimbed pitch and counting seconds. Near enough ..
As Bob Leakey says, "the easiest way to speleological fame and glory is to do your potholing in print."
Hypocritical old sod - I wanted him and other NSG members invited to the Black Rose Reunion Dinners, so I could stir it, but Big Jack Procter wouldn't have any of it because he claimed Mr Leakey and the NSG were not Black Rose - and that, Big Jack, my naive old mucker, is what I tried to tell you and everybody else over 50 years ago - those rat-bags never had any intention of being Black Rose, not then, not now, not ever, they just wanted to poach the best Caving Hostel and the most active young potholers of that generation.
The infamous Black Hole of Ingleton. 1958
TRIPS BY OTHER CLUBS
The Spectacle Pot /Vesper Exchange 1979
All the obvious exploration of Vespers being exhausted and the survey completed the inevitable Spectacle Pot / Vesper through-trip raised its ugly head.
Unfortunately for us B.I.C.C. were keen on doing an exchange trip, so we unwillingly said that we would oblige. The reason for the apparent lack of enthusiasm lies in the legends of Spectacle's reputation for being tight, wet and loose, but to save the club's dubious honour an exchange was arranged for Saturday, May 20th, 1978.
Representing B.I.C.C. were Trevor Ilston, Dusty Spencer, Tom Lambert, Rick Wiggans, Geof Williams, Bill Tinkler and John Conway.
For the N.P.C. were Jim Eyre, Talking Pete, Roger Williamson, Malcolm Lodge, Andy Colau and Gordon Batty. Chaperoning Jim Eyre was Jim Newton of the R.R.C.P.C. This latter pair decided that Splutter Crawl was too tight for them, so they volunteered to act as guides in Vesper.
My personal recollections of Spectacle Pot were of a very wet night in November, some years ago, taking part in the rescue of some early explorers of the place. I had visions of people being pulled through Splutter Crawl on a running rope, with bow waves of water covering the individual's head as he was accelerated to safety.
To our delight, and due to the dry May weather, Splutter Crawl was found to be bone dry giving a pleasant (though rather exacting) crawl of some 30 feet and ending in a squeeze and a short drop down a metal ladder into a small chamber above a 20-foot pitch. A running rope was used in Splutter Crawl to tail the tackle through - a slow but efficient system.
A couple of hundred feet or so of alternating flat-out and hands-and-knees crawling led to the start of the big pitches. Expecting the pitches to be fraught with 'hanging death' we were pleased to find the reverse; it was no worse than any other Yorkshire pot. Laddering the pitches we could hear voices below; the B.I.C.C. lads had obviously made better time than us.
Thinking that Spectacle could never live up to its reputation again, we were, on laddering the final pitch into the Great Rubble Heap chamber, soon to change our opinions. This final short pitch runs down what may be likened to a tottering dry-stone wall, terminating in a forty-five degree slope of large, sliding scree.
Two hours later both parties were on the surface agreeing that the Spectacle/Vesper exchange through trip was an excellent expedition.
Cambridge Underground 1989 p 28
by Chris Densham
As part of a compendium of some of the club's more entertaining trips underground over the last twelve months, this certainly is not an account of a typical day's caving, but then, who cares?
A few days before the now traditional 'alternative' Annual Dinner at the Brass Cat in Settle, Yorkshire, it was decided to avoid the June sunshine with a Spectacle - Vesper SRT exchange trip. Mark Dougherty and Adam left a verdant and sweet smelling East Kingsdale via a rotting and foul smelling sheep carcase inside the entrance to Spectacle Pot, covering the entrance behind them so that no other sheep would try to imitate the pot-holing habit.
They quickly reached the top of the 140 ft Dodd's pitch, where Mark noticed the rope would just touch the wall. To avoid this rub point, he put in an elegant deviation in the form of a sling wrapped around a large projection from the wall. He also put in a vital rebelay half-way down the pitch, consisting of a large loop of rope around a large natural belay.
Meanwhile, the writer, together with Mark Fearon and Jeremy, descended Vesper Pot. Having misinterpreted the guidebook, they at first ignored the obvious way on and followed the main stream inlet. Chris flailed around shifting gravel in a '..degenerating crawl..' which did, however, draft extremely strongly.
" But surely it must go somewhere, with a howling gale like this coming out of it!" said Chris, excavating gravel from beneath himself.
" Maybe, but obviously not to the bottom of the Great Big Boulder Heap" was the gist of the reply.
So they returned to the obvious way on and rigged down to the bottom of the cave, meeting up with the rather chilly 'team Spectacle'. Mark D. started to prussic up the last Vesper pitch, with 'team Vesper' hanging around eating chocolate, until a pebble falling randomly from the roof galvanised them into exiting through Spectacle. Jeremy and Chris sat chatting, a safe thirty feet from the bottom of the rope hanging down Dodd's pitch while Mark Fearon went up it. After prolonged grunts from the pitch head followed by a cry of "Rope free", Jeremy started up until he was hanging beneath the deviation. He was saved the bother of passing it because, having held his weight for 139 of the 140 foot pitch, the four foot long section of the wall to which the deviation was attached decided now to give up the struggle against gravity. Fortunately the boulder shrugged off the tape fastening it to the rope as it skimmed past Jeremy. From the logbook: ... an elegant deviation by Mark detached itself giving Jeremy a surprise and Chris a shot-blasting, as it fell 140 ft, smashing off the rebelay and disintegrating into a million pieces and showering the chamber below in rock fragments...' two skull-sized ones landing just where Chris had been sitting a moment before.
An age later, he poked his head out from the overhang after repeated assurances from the two at the top that the pitch was now safe, and the minor rub point at the top was now protected with a tackle sack.
The writer, not realising that the pitch was supposed to be re-belayed halfway up, thought the falling boulder had simply bounced away from the rope and that the rope would probably have been untouched gingerly ascended the pitch. Expecting a simple free hang, he was surprised to meet an ex-rebelay seventy feet up. In its place was the sort of abrasion point that all good textbooks recommend against in capital letters, usually with skull & crossbones just to make the point. The rope took a 45 degree change of direction over some of the sharpest rock around, so it was with disbelief, on examining the rope later, that we found it completely unscathed!
Morals of this tale:
1) Don't go down Spectacle Pot.
2) Edelrid rope is good.
The most evil underground place in the world
June 20, 2005. (When EU regulations made farmers dump dead sheep in potholes.)
Crescent Pot takes some beating, however, I think Spectacle Pot is even worse. When we did it the first flat out crawl was full of dead sheep, which had died sufficiently recently to be still full of maggots. And that crawl is small, so there was no avoiding them.... Splutter crawl is horrid. Then the final pitch is definitely the most scary pitch in the Dales. There is no decent rock to belay from and stuff tends to just fall off the walls or ceiling without warning. Oh, and when you get about half-way down the rock has as many sharp teeth as a shark, meaning that a rub point would really not be a very good idea.....
Dead Sheep in Spectacle Pot 02-03-2007 photo by Matt Traver
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
As it has been quite dry recently, I suggested an evening trip down this classic East Kingsdale Grade V. Tom hadn't done it before, and I still had the final pitch to do as on both occasions I've been there (once via vesper and once via spec), we didn't have the rope to do it.
Arrived in Kingsdale on a rather nippy winters night at around 6.30pm. A quick cigarette in the comfort of tom's car provided the necessary internal warmth to cope with changing in the sub-zero temperatures.
A quick walk saw us up at the entrance for around 7.15ish. It was nice to get underground. Yet again, the entrance was littered with bones and skulls, with one positioned high up on a ledge for dramatic effect.....an omen of things to come.
Soon at splutter crawl, once again passed with relative ease, except for the tacklebag drawcord being slightly too short. Then the very enjoyable head-dive down the 2m drop at the end...love that bit!
Soon down second pitch and into the horizontal stuff. The water levels were low and the low wet crawl not too wet, and we were soon at Dodd's pitch. This is a superb, albeit loose, 37m pitch. I wasn't overly inspired by the flake deviation about half way down, but it held....
Then another short, loose pitch and the Great Rubble Heap. We proceeded down this one at a time to avoid kicking massive boulders on to each other, although I think we both secretly wanted to...
The last pitch is found at the base of this, and has an awkward section about 3m down. I decided to handline the pitch, which is fairly straightforward although one has to be careful as the pitch bells out beneath the squeeze. Tom followed with descender mounted above head on short cowstail.
After spending a few moments to admire the beautiful sump pool, we set off out.
Good progress saw us back at the second pitch in double-quick time. We decided to pull the bags back through splutter crawl, which is easily done as floor of crawl is very flat. Tom complained that I forgot to put a krab on my tacklebag .......I don't know, its all moaning with that boy! :-)
Back on the surface for around 11.30pm, after a very enjoyable trip of just over 4hrs. Excellent, varied trip and ideal for an evenings jaunt!
Black Rose Caving Club
SPECTACLE POT. Stone cold? Probably..
21st March 2009
People present - Chris Scaife, Pete Dale, Rob Santus, Daniel Jackson, Bruce Stone
Weather - warm and fairly clear
See below for Pete's version of events
According to Not for the Faint-Hearted, "Although it is one of the shorter trips in this guide, Spectacle Pot on East Kingsdale still has plenty of variety." Yes, I agree.
We had a hot, sunny walk up to the cave and then spent a while looking for the spit for the entrance pitch. Eventually we found it buried under some quite deep moss, so either this cave hasn't been done recently or everyone else who does it is really gnarly and doesn't need bolts. Anyway, the 1st pitch is short and a few free-climbs through a surprisingly large number of dead sheep leads to Splutter Crawl.
Rob stopped here for a while and had a good look at this crawl. It's not the widest of places and a few of the early efforts to get through were halted. Eventually Rob had his harness and helmet off and slowly managed to force his way through. Anyone who has been caving with Rob before will know that watching him struggle is not good for confidence. Pete was next but bottled it after a pathetic attempt and asked me to give it a try. I went in on my side for the 1st few metres, exactly as Rob had done, then just before the tightest bit, went flat-out. It's not actually particularly tight, but it is awkward as you really need your arms right out in front and only small movements are possible. There was water there too, so plenty of spluttering all round.
Pete had a rope, tied to his ankle, which was attached to a tackle sack and everybody's SRT kits, so once he was through, he pulled all the gear through. Poor old Bruce, who hadn't been caving in 9 years and had been very much thrown back in at the deep end by his 'friend' Pete, didn't want to do the crawl, but as he now had no SRT kit, he had to sit at the foot of a 6m pitch alone for several hours while we did the rest of the cave.
At the end of Splutter Crawl is an iron ladder down a slot, which I think we all tackled head-first. There is then the easy 6m 2nd pitch. After this pitch, a short crawl leads to an aven. Rob was a fair way ahead of me at this point, and Pete and Dan quite far behind. At a not-particularly-tight squeeze leading into Wet Crawl, I got into a bizarre position with my right leg twisted beneath me and caught up in the tackle sack, and my hips wedged against the roof. At first I thought I'd be fine so just tried to push myself through, but then I realised I was genuinely stuck. I knew that I could get out easily if somebody moved my right leg for me, but any attempts I made to move myself were futile and quite painful, so, not expecting Pete to catch up for a while, and really not very comfortable in that position, I shouted for Rob to turn around and help me out. Had I known what the passage was like ahead, I might have been more patient and waited for Pete, but soon enough Rob came back and coincidentally at that exact moment I felt a hand on my arse, which sadly turned out to be Pete. Without much effort, and far less painfully than I had imagined, my leg was freed and, but for the looks of disbelief at the ridiculous nature of my entanglement, we were ready to face Wet Crawl, a first for some, an unhappy second visit for Rob.
Wet Crawl is aptly named. It is mostly flat-out crawling in shallow water with no real room to turn around. Again, there's not really anything tight here, but I'm glad the water levels were no higher. Just after the wet crawl Pete managed to get his foot stuck somewhere ridiculous and I had to free it for him! At the end of the crawl is the 37m Dodd's Pitch, named after Jed Dodd from the Black Rose Pothole Club. The top of the pitch looked awkward at first, but there is a tremendous ledge to stand on for the rebelay, which is at more or less the same height as the Y-hang. There is a tape deviation half way down this pitch.
From the foot of Dodd's Pitch, it is not far to the 4th pitch, which starts as a loose slope and then traverses out across the wall to a rebelay. I think everyone knocked a few rocks down this pitch to add to the Great Rubble Heap. The Great Rubble Heap itself is a frighteningly loose slope, leading down to a short 5th pitch. Only Rob descended this pitch, which is immediately followed by the sump. It looked pretty narrow to me, and Rob was very much of the opinion that none of us should bother with it. So we began our return journey.
More rocks were dislodged on the Great Rubble Heap and the 4th pitch, but Wet Crawl seemed a lot shorter on the way out. We used the same rope-around-the-ankle technique for dragging gear through Splutter Crawl and Dan, who had confidently boasted throughout the trip that Splutter Crawl was easy and he would keep his SRT kit on, took his SRT kit off once again. At the other end we found Poor old Bruce, who must have had a really reelly boring day. I can't think of many things more frustrating than spending all day at the foot of a short pitch, surrounded by ovine skeletal remains, looking out into sunlight, but not able to get out. Once we were out, we all headed for the Marton Arms, except Dan, who probably had a hot date.
"In at the Deep End"
Having read Chrisís report I thought I had better write a correct summary of what really happened down Spectacle pot.
Having got back in touch with one of my old friends I had asked if he wanted to go caving one day and what a surprise it was that he should phone up about caving today, down Spectacle pot of all places. I had informed him that there would be a few squeezes but nothing he wasnít capable of 9 years ago (hmmm) anyway I met Rob at the usual Saturday morning and then surprised him by offering to drive. Rob seemed nervous about this trip for some reason maybe because it is a grade V cave and he isnít up to such trips or it was his skiing injury nagging him? Anyway we got to Ingletonia and made our way to Bernieís to await the arrival of the gang. A short while later Chris and Dan had both turned up and where troughing themselves with various fatty foods and numerous trips to the toilet for a shit.
Well we were ready but no Bruce? As we left Bernieís I spotted him in his car over the road so went over and got him sorted for the tip with a new harness and a light. We then made our way over to Kingsdale. Parking up we got changed, packed the ropes the way we have always done and headed off up the track to East Kingsdale with Rob getting permission on the way past. We located the entrance with ease and then Rob set about rigging the entrance pitch while we all kitted up. When Rob finally found the spit we set off down. The entrance pitch is about 15ft and lands on a large ledge of jammed boulders with a short climb down to a large pile of bones no doubt Dan sat in the dead sheep as he always does but I didnít wait around to find out.
With Rob and Chris in front and then me, Bruce and Dan coming up his rear we set off in search of some spluttering. From the pile of bones a short climb of 2m followed by a crawl, to a head first drop of another few feet into a rather spacious chamber followed by another crawl to a letterbox type drop to the start of splutter crawl. Having caught Rob and Chris up at this point I was a bit dubious about Rob asking me to take a look at splutter to see what the best way of tackling it was, unusual for Rob I have to admit. Anyway Rob had a go at it and got stuck and had to back out he then took his SRT kit off and had another go and backed out again! On his third attempt he had sorted himself out and was off down the crawl. I then set about having a look at the crawl to see if Chris and Bruce would be able to do it and having had a rummage around in the tightest bit I reversed out of the crawl and sent Chris off into it. With Chris in front I was then able to talk him through it and assist him if need be. I then followed dragging the rope with me to haul the tackle through once at the other end. Bruce clipped the gear onto the rope and I hauled away passing the kit to Chris as I got it. Bruce then entered the crawl but was unable to persuade himself to do it at present so Dan went in front and came through stating that Splutter was easy and he would not be taking his SRT kit off on the way back.
With Chris out of the way I squeezed through the rift head first onto the handy ladder and dropped down to the floor and the top of the 2nd pitch. As I kitted up for the pitch Dan arrived and we heard Bruce saying he was going to have another go at it but alas his nerves got the better of him so he had to wait since his SRT kit had been pulled though splutter and there was no easy way to get it back to him and Dan would not lend him his. The 2nd pitch has a slightly awkward pitch head and then a straight drop of 6m to the floor. Rob said to take SRT kits off for the next bit but I couldnít see why so left it on and set off along the crawling/stooping passage. Reaching Moorhouse aven I was amazed by what I saw in front of me. Just ahead was Chrisís arse wedged in a hole leading to the wet crawl. I could hear Rob on the other side of Chris trying to calm him down as he was quite hysterical by now as he was stuck fast. Anyway after we had calmed him down and finished laughing at him we pushed and pulled various bits of him till he came free and with him now moaning that his hip was hurting he set off along the wet crawl to Doddís pitch. Dan had caught me up by now so I tied the tackle bag to my ankle and set off along the crawl with Dan freeing the bag as and when required. Well the wet crawl is wet as there are a few pools to go through and a mouth in water low bit to start you off but it soon passed and all too soon you stand up in Dryden chamber with the way to Doddís pitch a short climb and crawl away.
Climbing up and crawling through to the pitch head sounds easy but trust me it isnít as one wrong move and youíre stuck. To highlight this fact I purposely got my foot stuck to show the others how easy it was to do. With them now aware of the dangers in the cave I freed my foot and crawled over to Rob. Rob had soon got the pitch rigged and set off down and upon hearing ďrope freeĒ I set about re-rigging the pitch to avoid the rope rub! Doddís pitch is a nice free hang of 35m with a deviation half way down. The base of the pitch is at the top end of the great rubble heap and requires a short loose pitch not rigged off very much to reach the looseness of the heap proper. With everyone down Doddís and the scratty pitch all that was left to do was to see the sump. Rob rigged the pitch and set off down complaining about the lack of space. Once he was at the bottom he said the sump was 6ft away so we all looked down the pitch at the sump and made a hasty retreat as it was a tad chilly but not before we watched him struggle back up the pitch!
The exit out of the cave passed with relative ease and even splutter seemed easier on the way out, Bruce was found and was ok so we kitted back up at the entrance pitch and made our way back on to the surface. Once we had got back to the cars and changed we headed for the Marton for a well earned pint, well all apart from Dan who had a hot date with some fella he met the previous night.
Re: Spectacle Pot 10-05-09 richardrae
Sorry to disappoint Damian after his usual "mind games" as we left the school to suggestions of an afternoon in the cafť
In hindsight I think the drop at the end of Sputter would be ok as a head dive, but that's easy to say now! Was glad there was only two of us with all the loose choss below Doddís pitch and on the very mobile great rubble heap.
YORK CAVING CLUB
Sunday, 11th Oct 2009
Spectacle Pot - Vesper Pot (not quite an exchange!)
Members on this trip:
Gary Douthwaite, Matt Ewles, Chad Bullivant, Tom Blakey, Chuck Holder, Mark Sims
After a leisurely breakfast at Helwith Bridge we made our way down to Kingsdale
for a Vespers - Spectacle exchange. Chad, Tom, Gary and I were on Spectacle and
Mark, Cat and Chuck on Vespers. We arrived at our respective entrances around 1pm
ready for action!
The entrance pitch to Spectacle is pleasantly easy, although the knob of rock to
rig off requires a close eye to make sure the sling stays on there! The pitch
lands in a small chamber with a rift leading downwards into the distance, littered
with several sheep bones (one skull placed high up in the rift for dramatic
effect). Very soon (after only around 20 m) Splutter crawl was reached. We
expected this to be a flat out wet bedding, however, to our surprise, it was
actually a tiny tube at floor level, barely body size, for approximately 4-5m. It
really does look frignteningly small! However, Gary push on in, one arm forward,
one back to streamline his bones, and with SRT kit pushed ahead with the
tackle sack. On several occasions he nearly lost his nerve but after a couple of
minutes slipped through to the ladder which he descended head first! I nervously
adopted the position ready to come along the crawl. I initially tried to go along
with both arms ahead outstretched but no chance! I retreated and repositioned my
arms, one forward, one back, and tried again. Into the tightest part, all you could
do was propel yourself with little pushing motions of your feet. You are totally
constricted at this point and movement of your arms, torso or head is completely
impossibly - it\'s down to your feet wiggles to push you through, literally half a
centimetre at a time. After a terrifying few minutes it related slightly and I
reached the ladder. The head-first descent seemed a breeze by comparison! Tom
slipped through somewhat easier.
Gary rigged the next pitch, although as one of the spits was knackered, it was a
one-bolter backed up off the ladder (which itself would not have fitted down the
pitch). The short pitch lands in a chamber, yet more bones from unfortunate
woolley friends. A short flat out crawl reaches a flow of water followed by a
shorter easier section to a large aven where SRT gear could be removed ready for
the crawl ahead.
The following crawl was approximately 30-40m long, constricted, wet, and sharp and
jagged, very unpleasant indeed, involving a complete soaking and many tackle sack
jammings! However, our guidebook estimated 6-8 minutes, and so I was relieved
after only a couple of minutes of struggling to see Gary's light ahead say at the
end of the crawl just prior to Dodd's pitch.
Dodd's pitch proved some rigging dilemmas. We were unable to locate the rebelay
bolt one metre down, and so Gary descended without it, however, while swinging
around looking for the deviation about 20m down, the rope started rubbing badly,
and I had to perform a constricted pitch head manoeuvre to remove my kneepads and
jam them behind the rope, and Tom held them in place. Gary came back up and we
found the rebelay. He then descended and after much searching, the less than idea
(given the crumbliness of the walls) deviation flake was found.
We could hear the others by now and assumed they were already down at the Great
Rubble Heap waiting for us... we didn't want to miss the exchange (I was looking
forward to a nice easy trip out of Vespers) so we hurried to the head of the pitch
to the Great Rubble Heap which was easily descended and saw the other group
rigging the last pitch of Vespers above.
Unfortunately, one of the spits at the top of the Vespers pitch was not working
properly, and could not be tightened - and so all that was availably to rig off
was one spit and a dodgy natural as a backup. Mark made the sensible decision not
to descend, and so we were faced with the prospect of a painful trip back up
Spectacle. We returned to the surface still with daylight at around 6pm, feeling
pleased to have bottomed Spectacle! The others were only minutes behind in coming
out of Vespers. Great trip, would love to return and complete the exchange once
the final pitch of Vespers has been P-hangered or re-bolted.
13th October 2009
YSS Forums (Yorkshire Subterranean Society)
Spectacle Pot 09-05-10 cliffords
A refreshing change not having to drag a drill and meters of rope through a cave. Unfortunately having picked up some sort of bug (might just be that I hadnít recovered from working the previous 10 days?!!) I was actually impeded more than usual. So having met Rich and Nigel (high / only turnout for the YSS trip) for a leisurely 10 am for a brew in Bernies we eventually got round to Kingsdale for a blustery change and slog up't hill.
Rich agreed to rig, so me and Nigel just followed. The entrance series is easier than Vespers until Splutter which Nigel wisely choose to retreat on and Rich took 2 attempts at (1 forward crawl, 1 backward). Having spluttered through we eventually descended from the tight pitch head and progressed to the 8 min crawl (15 mins, we're not of Weare dynasty).
Rich battled with the dodgy spits while I attempted to summon some strength. Having achieved to make the safest use of rope and spits, Rich descended with me following into the abyss. Hearing voices below we decided to head down towards the final pitch (in case they wanted to do an exchange). Time against us and not having the enthusiasm we retreated back through the cave not doing the final pitch to find Nigel at the car ready with food and drink (shame no alcoholic). fortunately we had learnt lessons on way in and had just enjoyable battles with the crawls.
All in all a good trip, cheers to Rich for rigging, wish I had some more energy for it.
Sam ......... Sam and Rich 5.5 hours? Nigel 1hour?
York Caving Club
Saturday, 13th Nov 2010 Spectacle Pot P-Hangering
Members on this trip: Mark Sims, Gary Douthwaite, Matt Ewles
After our trip down Spectacle Pot in October 2009, this was a cave that was high on our priority list to return to there and install P-hangers! Having completed the course, Mark and Gary were the installers and I was the bag carrier and general dogsbody! A team of Rich, Nikki, Cat and Andy also headed off down Vespers.
On our last trip we found several of the spits to be in very dodgy condition, and with the increased popularity of this trip thanks to the NFTFH guidebook, it was time to ensure the accessibility of this cave for the future (especially with the bottom trip of Vespers now P-hangered and an exchange being an excellent trip).
With four tackle sacks between three people, we set up a hauling line along Splutter Crawl, which worked well and all tackle sacks were efficiently passed through. Then the hard job of fitting ourselves through it began! The crawl last time was completely dry, and so it made it more intimidating with flowing water going through this time, resulting in a complete wetting from the off! However, with the one arm forward and one arm back approach we all popped through trouble-free (and in fact the water seemed to help lubricate us on our way).
Quick progress to the wet crawl which was very wet! We pushed through this, with tackles sacks jamming everywhere, and with water sufficiently high to force you to have to get your head quite wet in some extremely smelly and sheep-bone infested water! We were pleased to arrive at Dodd's Pitch and expecting to be unwell the next day!
Not making the same mistake as last time, we found the rebelay one metre down, however, rope rub was unavoidable, and again it took ages to locate the flake deviation. By the time the pitch was rigged we were suitably cold, and looking forward to getting down there! We arrived down to the pitch to the Great Rubble Heap to find Cat and Andy coming down from Vespers (Rich and Nikki had already turned around).
We didn't descend this last pitch to the Great Rubble Heap but instead set about installing P-hangers, including two for a traverse down to this pitch head, and one for a single hang down to the floor, which seemed adequate. Dodd's pitch was also hangered quicker than I expected, with two traverse line hangers placed, followed by a single bolt hang for a couple of metres down to a Y-hang above the main pitch. An anchor was installed for the deviation (just below the flake used previously), on the sturdiest looking bit of rock we could find, of which there weren't many! This could also be used as a re-belay.
The drill batteries (and our energy levels) were now low and we decided to call it a day and return to hanger the first and second pitch tomorrow, but we were pleased that we wouldn't have to come back through the wet crawl tomorrow!
The wet crawl out was not pleasant, as we were all very cold and wet now and nothing could have looked more unappealing! At one point (the wettest bit near the end) I kept too far left and ended up with my head jammed between the floor and ceiling with water lapping against my mouth (I was pushing and pulling a tackle sack so couldn't see where I was going and had limited manoeuvrability). A moment of panic, but this was soon over and we were through the worst. We were out of the cave within an hour of this point, and at Bull Pot Farm for 9:30pm for curry and beer!
T he following day we made short work of hangering the entrance pitch (one hanger backup, and one hanger on the wall opposite the knob for a clear hang) and the second pitch (one hanger backup near the ladder, and one above the pitch for a single hang). We were in and out in less that three hours, and very pleased with the job.
Therefore Spectacle should now be riggable for the foreseeable future, and provides a classic exchange with Vespers highly recommended, although if anyone has doubt about fitting through Splutter Crawl, they should try it for size from the surface size before committing to an exchange going down Vespers and out Spectacle! Spectacle is a great trip, and an efficient team should be able to reach the bottom in two hours from the surface, with an exchange taking approximately 4-5 hours.
The P-hangers follow almost the same line as the old spits, and therefore the rigging guide is relatively similar to that from NFTFH, however, it would be advisable to add an additional 10m to the length for Dodd's Pitch and 5 m to the Great Rubble Heap pitch to allow for comfortable rigging with the new hangers.
Not for the Faint-Hearted
*OK, but last pitch is suicidally loose! (I almost died! The main reason I hate big pitches!) Jeremy Rodgers
*Good but rather loose. - Wookey
*Good as an exchange with Vespers but there is lots of loose rock and probably no good rig for the penultimate pitch. Chris Densham nearly got squashed here. Worth a miss - Adam Cooper
*Loose. Not for novices. Good as an exchange ... - Andy Waddington
is nothing special. Good exchange to Spectacle except for Dodds (last in Spectacle) pitch. Jeremy Rodger
|If you are fed up with living in a
country that is no longer England.
THEN CLICK ON WELCOME
Bulgaria is England with sunshine and has similar wildlife, butterflies and flowers.
Friendly people, no political correctness, 21st Century living at 20th Century prices.
This site is sponsored by Worldwide
Aromatiques UK who supply
Essential Oils & Health Supplements by Free Delivery Mail-Order in the UK
Click on the man to open the website
Please make enquiries to Ged (Jed) on 01535 212 971
links to other sites of interest