Heron Pot by Denis Bushell

Heron Pot: Denis, Ian, Fay, and Jane (22nd August 2015).

We met up at Curlew café, Ingleton at 10 a.m., with heavy rain the night before narrowing our options.  We made the decision to do the Heron Pot pull-through f it was passable and when changing at Yordas lay-by, Paul ‘Beardy’ Swire and colleagues pulled up, also bound for Heron to photograph its high-level route, giving us the option of exiting on their ropes as we committed to the lower exit.

Ian and I set off to check the resurgence, whilst Jane and Faye walked up the valley to the top entrance.  I arrived to find Ian’s wellies disappearing into a frothy pool and he emerged looking like he had just had a bubble bath to say there was lots of airspace, although I was not convinced.

Back at the top entrance, we caught up Beardy’s team at the pitch and they allowed Ian to pass and rig the descent as they climbed up into the roof.  I was last down, changing the rigging to pull it down.  Water levels were high and the pitches were challenging with lots of spray and I couldn’t help but wonder how much airspace there was at the exit.

As Beardy and his team were still rigging, we said goodbye and packed our gear into bags for the remainder of the trip.  Heron is a sporty trip in wet conditions and much of it is overlooked, since it has nice formations and a fine, twisting vadose streamway, which had a good coating of foam on its walls and ceiling on this occasion.  Near the end, Ian reassured us that he could see daylight and I was relieved that it was not sumped, although there was a lot of water flowing through the exit.

Ian tackled it on his back, with helmet off, feet first; Jane on her back head first, helmet on; Faye on her side, head first, helmet on; myself head first on my front, helmet on turning the duck into a sump – emerging from underwater realising my mistake yet again.