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Present: Anthony, Al, Gwyn, Tim

30 people in Bull Pot Farm just about fitted, so after a few hour’s sleep and a remarkably efficient breakfast, we were all set to go caving. Unfortunately, Al had buggered off to Bernies with all the rope, so there was a half hour delay until he got back. By this time, all the volunteers to go in WR and take the ropes out of Lancs had evaporated. However, there was a team planning to do Pippikin -> Lancs (!), so they were detailed to take our ropes out and off we went.

Following last Summer’s route finding cock-up, I’d worked out where the Colonnades ought to be, and sure enough there they were looking suitably impressive. Gwyn and Al hadn’t brought cameras however – probably a good thing since the trip could have taken forever if they’d snapped every pretty/impressive bit.

Found and rigged Fall Pot no problem, then on into new territory (for me) – the high level fossil route. Generally big, impressive passage, lots of mud and tedious scrambling over boulders. Rigged Stake Pot, up the other side, admired the pretties, more boulders, failed to fall down some big holes… About half way through, Al sobered up and his hangover kicked in causing him to become rather thirsty, which was unfortunate since the high level route was as dry as the Gobi Desert. Didn’t take too long to find the right way from Oxbow Corner, and met some oldies who’d come in County Pot. Finding the Minarets from Oakes Cavern took a bit more doing – I got some way down an alternative sandy crawl which neither the survey nor the guidebook wants to tell me about before turning round and going the right way. Minarets were suitably impressive, as were the big boulder chambers and Carrot Chamber beyond. Needed a bit of help from returning oldies to find Stop Pot, then raced out of WR (complete with running water so we could have a drink) to finish in about 5 hours.

Got ranted at on way home for not sticking religiously to the path even though parts of it involved almost swimming. Returned to find that the Pippikin team had bailed out at Mistral, so all our ropes were still in the cave – some of them had to fetch them on Sunday.

A fine trip in some very impressive cave passage. Carrying on to the Minarets would make a nice extension to a County trip.

Anthony Day