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Present: Chris, Louise, George, James (Me), Anthony, Julia, Richard (CUCC), Mark (CUCC)

The night before the trip we were talking to Pete and Julie (Red Rose members) and we asked them for something exciting, but off the beaten track, in Easegill. He suggested Link Pot, down Serendipity pitches, to Easy Street; and then back out through the Wallows to Mistraal (a fantastic trip; next year’s secretary please take note!). We were torn between this trip and Cow Pot before we went to bed, but everyone else in BPF seemed to have also decided to do Link; and Cow Pot’s direct route (another good trip for next year) would be too wet (by far!!!). So, instead, we decided to do Lancaster Pot down to Cape Kennedy.

However, we got up the next morning to find that all the other groups had now decided to do Lancaster as well (instead of Link like they’d told us the previous night), and a coach load from Manchester Uni had arrived who also wanted to do this. Nevertheless we went to Lancaster Pot. When we got there we sat in the pouring rain for an hour waiting to rig. Eventually we made an executive decision to do Link intead, which was fortunate because no-one else had decided to do it in the end. When we got there we decided that there was hardly any point taking the 80m rope to do Serendipity, since it was probably too wet. So like a madman, I volunteered to take it anyway on the off chance (stupid boy!).

The entrance shaft was really, really tight, but we all managed to get down into Hylton Hall in the end. Mark decided that he wanted to find something called Echo Aven before we did anything else. So, we wriggled through a flat-out 20m crawl in a very cold stream. Then, when we did find Echo Aven, we reversed and decided to attempt Echo Crawl, which was a squalid, tight and muddy struggle for at least 50m. We kept going until it became too ludicrous to continue, and then we jacked.

Next, we hastily buggered off back to the entrance and Chris, Louise and Julia decided they were too wet after going back through the stream-crawl, so they left. The rest of us went to look for Serendipity. We eventually found the Black Holes via a route that somehow managed to bypass the Bypus Pybus Bypass (work that out!), and we crawled through it into China Dog Canyon, which had a fixed Traverse line. At the end of the canyon, Tiger’s Inlet flows into the chasm below. A VERY dodgy looking chain is fixed to a wall to get people into the inlet, but with the water levels so high we thought that we might have trouble getting back again later. Resolving to return in drier weather (or when p-hangers had been fitted), we withdrew back to the entrance, although we did manage to visit Damnation Aven on the way (the Wallows to Mistraal would have been way too wet to attempt).

When we got back we prussiked out of the really tight entrance, and that was when the realisation hit me that I’d dragged a full tackle sack around for about 5 hours, through freezing cold water and a muddy crawl, just on the remote possibility that by the time we’d got to Serendipity it would be in drought conditions, or else I’d discover a brand new 80m pitch at the end of the really grotty crawl (which was plainly not going to go anywhere anyway). Oh Well!

James C.