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Present: George, Martin, James, Sian (driving)

Bull Pot.

Having singularly failed to get any further than the bottom of the third pitch last time we were here, we decided to return to correct that mistake. George rigged the entrance quickly, and we all got down easily.

I then took over rigging for the second and third pitches, and whilst rigging the first traverse, managed to get twisted up on a combination of my long cowstail, the rope, my hand-jammer, and my descender. Ah Well! Things were sorted out quickly and I managed to rig everything up to the Y-hang at the top of the fourth pitch reasonably well (if a little slowly). Things were not helped by George’s insistence on kicking large quantities of water down onto my head as I rigged the third pitch’s re-belay. George maintained that he was merely giving me invaluable experience by letting me rig in ‘extreme conditions’.

Eventually we all got down to the top of the fourth pitch, where George took over the rigging again. This was made extra difficult because placement of the deviation required him to swing out a huge distance to reach the p-hanger. He managed though, and eventually the cry of “Pitch Free” was heard. Martin who despite having not caved for a while, had been flying down the previous pitches with ease, went next. Unfortunately though he descended too far to pass the deviation, and so cooly decided to prussik back up and call it a day. On the way out George and I shared the de-rigging duties and very soon we were back on the surface.

Negative Point: I hadn’t got any further than the bottom of the third
pitch (Yet Again). Third time lucky maybe?

Plus Point: My over-suit was now nice and clean from all the water
flowing down Bull Pot.

Craftsman’s Pot.

Having left Bull Pot we decided that we really quite fancied a look at the nearby Craftsman’s Pot, which had been mentioned on Andy Whitney’s website. We quickly located the shake-hole that signified the entrance, but Martin decided not to join us on this escapade, and so went back to the car instead (wise man!).

Stupidly, we assumed that the wheel-barrow covering the entrance was there to prevent foolish and unwary sheep from entering the cave. In hindsight we now know that the wheel-barrow covering the entrance was in fact there to prevent foolish and unwary cavers from entering the cave!

What can I say about this except: “Worse Cave Ever TM”. Completely and irredeemably shite! George has challenged me to put the following words/phrase into this write-up: “rancid”, “festering”, “slime-ridden”, “puke-inducing” and “cack-fest”. The inclusion of these words did not prove a problem, as the following description aptly illustrates.

Let me paint a picture for you: you peel back the rusted wheel-barrow and are faced with a 5m deep shaft covered in moss and spiders’ webs. The whole thing is apparently held together by bits of old scaffold bar. Nervously, we squeezed into the exceedingly tight hole and began to climb down, all the time kicking loose rocks down to the floor. Talk about a hanging-death climb!

At the bottom, the only continuation is a tight slot, half full of what looked like muddy water. To make matters worse a rancid stench had begun to continuously assault our nostrils. And to make matters even more worse, the crawl was guarded by a very odd-looking frog, which sat there ribbeting! George went first and you can only imagine his cries of disgust as the ‘water’ filling the passage turned out to be two foot deep mud that, curiously enough, had the consistency and odour of festering diarrhoea! I tried really hard not to laugh out loud as he sank head first into the cack-fest. Eventually, he was through and it was my turn!?

I seriously considered jacking at that point and leaving George to crawl back. But deep down in my heart I just couldn’t do it! So, I slid into the quagmire and struggled down the passage. Then I noticed the evil frog, dead-ahead, staring at me. Laughing at me! Totally immobile. I have to admit that I was completely spooked. You can well imagine then, that this wasn’t quite the most welcome juncture for my brand new carbide lamp (purchased the very same day as these events), to decide go out. It really isn’t pleasant when you have to crawl forward in the dark with only a slime-ridden frog for company, whilst you try to reach a point where you can maneovre an arm to your helmet to re-light your carbide. Eventually though I made it through to the chamber where George was standing. As I exited the slit he had the decency to warn me not to touch the loose-looking rock above my head, because it appeared to be the only visible means of support for the whole cave! Talk about a hanging-death crawl!

Lying on the floor I cautiously took in my surroundings: a sort of mini-aven with room enough for one person to stand up in (i.e. George). So I crawled on. The continuation was no-better: another rancid mud-tube. I took the lead, and very shortly the passage reaches a streamway-type section. Unfortunately, getting into this part required me to lower myself feet-first down into a extremely tight rift (which in keeping with the general theme of the cave, had a kind of hanging-death motif about it) that, from my postion, may or may not have been the head of the first pitch. We’d had enough!

To summarise: on the way out the frog was still there, malingering! The climb-out was just as terrifying as the climb-in. And the entrance was just as tight. As soon as we reached the the surface we realised that we were both now caked from head-to-toe in the puke-inducing mud. The Hickory, Dickory, Dock and Mouse pitches would have to wait for another day! Quickly we headed back to Bull Pot to pick up the tackle sacks and roll around in the stream to wash some of the mud off our oversuits.

We had accomplished a feat that we are quite certain only very few have ever been stupid enough to attempt: Craftsman’s Cave!

The big question that remains was whether we can accomplish a feat that we are quite certain none have ever been stupid enough to attempt: Craftsman’s Cave AGAIN!

Negative Point: My over-suit had been nice and clean from all the water
flowing down Bull Pot. My over-suit was now nasty and filthy from all
the shite flowing down Craftsman’s Cave.

Negative Point: Everything about the sodding place!

(P.S. You may have notice that there are two negative points here. Two
negatives makes a positive I hear you cry…

“Bollocks”, I retort. Thus I win!)

(P.P.S. “Enjoy the ‘Craftsman’s Experience’: In nine-out-of-ten-trials Patented Craftsman’s Mud is proven to lubricate the parts other muds can’t reach!.”)

(P.P.P.S. There is a deliberate mistake in this write-up: If anybody can spot it then sent a cheque or postal order to the sum of twenty pounds to the following address to claim your exciting and luxurious prize:

James Carlisle Ltd,
Too knackered to end this write-up properly Ltd,
I couldn’t give a flying f*ck anyway Ltd,
Limited Ltd,
Etc Ltd.

(P.P.P.P.S. I’m in an odd mood! And I don’t know why!)

(P.P.P.P.P.S. I’ll let you in on a secret: The exciting and luxurious prize mentioned above is actually a set (almost complete!) of the obscure trading cards that accompanied coma-inducing, laugh-free, eighties sit-com “Allo Allo” (I’m missing the ‘hilarious’ English policeman {you know, the one who couldn’t pronounce his words correctly}, played by Arthur Bostrom; and the short-arse German captain played by the man who was Warren in Porridge). For those of you too young to remember Allo Allo… I really envy you.)

(P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I’ll let you in on another secret: I’ve just realised that I’ve forgot to include the deliberate mistake. Bugger! What happened was like this: I meant to write vomit-inducing the first time and then puke-inducing the second. But then I thought, it’d be better for the flow of this write-up if it were the other way round, that is puke-inducing the first time and then vomit-inducing the second. But then I thought that would just be silly, so I swapped them back again, i.e. vomit-inducing the first time and then puke-inducing the second. But then I…

Voice of the Narrator: “This continues in a similar fashion for some time until the writer gets bored and decides to end the loop (I think that’s called a Chronic Hysterisis {Anthony?}) in imaginative style by penning a paragraph in which the narrator of the piece butts in and explains that this continues in similar fashion for sometime until the writer gets bored and decides to end the loop (I think that’s called a Chronic Hysterisis {Anthony?}) in imaginative style by…”

Voice of Another Narrator: “To cut a long story short, the previous Narrator continues in similar fashion for some time until he gets bored and shoots himself dead.”

Voice of Yet Another Narrator: “I would like to complain about the continual disruption to the flow of this trip-report caused by the constant interuption by parties claiming to be the Narrator. It is most tiresome and if it continues then further proceedings will have to be invoked!”

Voice of One Further Narrator: “I would like to state categorically on behalf of the British Board of Narrators (BBON), that the previous three narrators are very silly indeed, and do not speak for, or represent in anyway, BBON or any of its daughter organisations. Furthermore, by order of BBON, this report ends NOW!