King Pot: Mick Ellerton, Ian Cummins, Adele Ward and Steve Woods (April ‘17 Club Meet).
The four of us assembled at the shake hole. I was excited. I’d been excited about this trip for many weeks and I wasn’t on my own. The slim deepish pointy rift that leads to the first pitch in King Pot hides all manner of wonders and this promised to be a trip worth the wait.
With Mick out in front rigging the three of us followed and the entrance series began. I’d been once before and remembered this as warm but by the second pitch I was sweltering.
Progress was made through a cave that imediately offers nasty boulders tempting fate and you not to touch, short but thought provoking pitches, energetic stuff above otherwise stunning stream passage, exposed stuff above a few big holes, a tasty dose of awkwardness, mud, and spectacular breakthroughs into some pretty stunning cave all in very quick succession.
Rounding a corner and eagerly releasing one of the many bags down a reasonably deep hole I immediately spotted wasn’t the way on, I shouted Mick in front an apology and looked sheepish as Adele and Ian soon joined us. Knowing Ian’s and Mick’s skills are way beyond mine I continued with apologies for my ‘ding’ type error appealing to Ian and then Mick in sheepish type manner for help retrieving the now missing bag. It’s doubtful anyone with any sense would ever have consider said hole to be somewhere to go or even the way-on.
Mission accomplished my memory and the description switched places at this point. Smoking is something I enjoy. This has been the case as long as I’ve alternated between smoking and not. A tussle between the joy of ‘a drag’ and the drag of a host of prods and pokes that drag me to giving up. Here in the immediately familiar horizontal bedding crawl famed for at least two recent rescues that dialogue similarly played out.
My thoughts now questioned the wisdom of my recent decision to give up smoking with the need for a break in proceedings for a cigarette. King questioned forward progress on mine and the bag’s part with prods and pokes from the sudoko puzzle of joints and obstacles that lay in the rift ahead.
Narrowly avoiding a head first manoeuvre that wouldn’t have turned out so well and climbing out of the end of the t-shaped rift I was joined by the others in the chamber below for a breather, a laugh and a drink of pop and a collective sharing of the fun we’d all equally just had.
Rest over we continued and joined a reasonable sized stream-way. A very different cave. King Pot, Part 2. Rounding the corner the roof sported endless formations. Rounding another a massive even. Rounding another much more. As we progressed we passed inlets that promised even more still.
We reached a point with the next pitch not too far off but at this point my three companions continued and I opted to wait for them on their return. I’d questioned coming due to having a reasonable bug for the past few weeks or so but this hadn’t dampened my enthusiasm. To be honest I’d decided not turning out meant letting my friends down but there was also a bit of not turning up leading to missing out on the fun too. Now I was knackered.
Time sat on your own underground is never wasted and as I proceeded to kick back and relax time did that thing it does underground of passing in a way it just doesn’t back on the surface. The view like the noise around me now familiar a change announced the return of my buddies and we were off on our way back out.
Soon back at the main attraction getting a bag into the start of sudoko rift proved by far the most fun to be had by all. The sequence of fun reversed and we were soon back at the pitches with me de-rigging at the back.
Last pitch sorted, eagerly climbing out of the entrance bit, the gang was all waiting having been out for a while and having similarly exited with beaming smiles.
Heading off down the hill we had a brief chat with the folks at the farm and then split to head back to our respective cars. It was at this point that the consequences of repeated eagerness of the day again were realised. I’d left my phone carefully stowed back up in the entrance.
Accepting the inevitable I headed back up the hill. With a minor delay in proceedings we were soon all back together chatting away over super-sized fun had with great company in a packed Marton Arms.
All photos by Adele.