Simpson’s Pot: Ian Cummins, Leif Andrews, & Adele (14 January 2018)
“What’s type-2 fun Leif?” I asked in an attempt to distract myself from my momentary nervous breakdown. Type-2 fun Adele – that when you have an bit of an ordeal then laugh about afterwards in the pub, type 1 is the sort of ordeal you want to forget and never discuss”. Therefore if you’re a hard-ass caver prob best click off now.
We have had a good run of caving trips lately, Ian suggested Simpson’s Pot and I felt my “good run” may be over. Having no major love of SRT (in fact I’m a bit of a wimp) it’s become apparent to me that I have actively avoided certain caves and preferred anything else on offer. It’s been 1 year almost to the date that I first went caving. Swinsto was fun, it seemed fitting that we tackled Simpsons. Again it’s hard to tell the difference between excitement and nervousness – but my face usually tells the tale.
Ian and Leif land in Yarm to collect me – the drive over is the usual chat about projects and things to do; all that is in my mind is a sausage sandwich at Inglesport cafe. The preamble is always good, catching up with Ian and Leif about proposed trips and seeing Richard B in Inglesport was a pleasure – I love the enthusiasm!
Parking up, observing the climatic state for the usual speed changing – the weather looks positively balmy from the interior of the car, opening the door yielded a sledgehammer of cold wind – shit. I don’t usually feel cold but the simple act of breathing, sucking cold air into my lungs is making my lips numb…. deep joy.
Ian is hopping around the car in an excitable manner … this behavior I have previously observed, it’s often a tactic I trying to distract me from an area of a cave I might find …. unpalatable. Walking up leads to my usual cursing – Ian points out 4 buzzards circling overhead and how awesome they look, I comment that they feel like vultures circling me.
Simpson’s Pot entrance is easy peezy – heading down it felt like plain sailing, but that damn blind pot is ahead. Coming into sharp focus I reckon we are here, watching Ian wiggle low then traverse out. Can’t say I’m feeling enthused but it’s worth a crack. Quickly deciding that trying to go high aint going to be rewarding, my resolve is wavering at recreating the traverses I have just watch Ian complete. A fair bit of fucking about now follows, cow tails, hand ascenders, bits of tat I’m trying to wrap round the traverse line, but it aint getting any better. Time to think – Ian is annoyingly pulling out my hand ascender across the traverse line in order to urge me across, which is thus pulling my body out over the blind pot – In a comedic battle of wills, my friends are patient with me. Leif and Ian are used to my “fuck it moments” and admirably continue urging me on. Bombarding the lads with a hundred reasons why I think this is an insane idea and how it’s a good idea for me to just go and wait by the car … I get the impression this is falling on deaf ears. But more to the point – I don’t want this to be the end of today’s caving antics.
I have a love of life; situations like this make me appreciate it. Asking Leif to steady my confidence ,Turning one light off and turning the other to min – the blind pot it traversed with a liberal use of colourful language – curse You Tube videos with tales of ”you fall 20 foot then bounce another….. “
Anyhow – moving on. Best not to linger with my lack of courage, but it irks me; I can be cool about most situations except stuff like this. I know there are going to be a fair few more pitches – it’s going to fun. Having Leif along always adds a layer of reassurance for me, this is what he does – teaches people to be better on ropes. Much to my surprise the couple of pitches are super easy. Ropes are pulling thru grand – we have a flow, the boys have big bags, I have my teen tiny caving bag. Chatting to my mates, the caving is easy sideways passage with the odd traverse a little higher.
Arriving at Storm Pot pitch – Ian has gone down and there is enough water for me to realise Ian will get chilly if I mess about. Ian heads through the duck, which looks remarkably easy. Feet first – works best for me. YEY – this is a brilliant cave – type-2 fun memory of blind pot has already set in.
Aware friends have previously mentioned Slit pot ….. Where is this little lovely? Reaching a chamber and spotting a slit – wow them bolts look high. Ian sets to work rigging, while I have a quiet moment.
Feeling frustrated, I reflect on what the issue is. The squeeze looks fine – end of the day, I bend and can breathe in but I aint feeling right keen on the pit of certain doom on the other side. Ian wisely instructs Leif to head through first, so he can “assist” me with any issues aka “Ian can usually talk me round out”. Leif heads up the slit of slit pot, and has a test squeeze. Realising the way on, he wriggles through the squeeze. Leif is confident on a rope and heads off.
“Ian this looks shit”
“no its fine mate, you will easy fit”
…… confirming I know I will fit, it’s the pitch other side that’s causing mild concern. However a bolt of lightning appears in my brain!! There have been no epics on the other pitches today why should I this. The squeeze though is fine – it aint that bad- dangling on the rope, there is only one way down.
Arriving at the final pitch before Kingsdale Master Cave – Ian reminds me I have been here before. The Denis pitch, where in wetter conditions our friend attempted to become a human dam in the stream in order to make my descent more clement in rather inclement conditions.
Exiting to Kingsdale Master Cave is short crawl ending in a wet-ish bit – this is enjoyable. Next the passage to the short climb up is enjoyed. Why use a perfectly good rope when you can climb up is Ian’s gig, me and Leif choose the rope.
Arriving at the top Ian is engaged in chat with a fella that’s recently moved up here from the Mendips; pleasantries exchanged- it’s time to head out. Exciting to sunlight seems unusual – 3 hours of good fun.
The Marton Arms is a welcoming sight, to defrost and refresh. A great day out.
Leif took several short videos –
The Duck – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrUMsp18XU0
Blind Pot – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwjMCscJdZg