Out Sleets Beck Pot Club Meet: Derek Hammond, Jack Upsall & Steve Woods (Sunday 14th August ’22).
It’s been a very busy summer, and a while since I’d been on a club meet so this was long overdue. And meets have been really well organised this year, thanks to Phil Ryder our new Social Secretary, and really well attended, thanks to Adele who has lead most of these and encouraged loads of folks to attend. All in all the club is looking in really good shape.
Derek and Jack were waiting with Muff as I parked up amongst glorious sunshine and stunning views with hills covered in vibrant heather and a crystal clear sky above. I had been really looking forward to this trip. Very few times have I rigged on a trip, and with a little practice and recent help from Mick I was really keen to give it a go.
Having packed the bags and checked the topo we were soon in a crawl with a prominent left turn. Checking the description I was now thoroughly confused. A bit further on with obvious hangers in the roof we had done the climb already. Ropes reorganised we were soon down the short pitch and in no time arrived at something altogether bigger.
I’d like to say rigging these was fun but it was definitely heart in mouth stuff and some steady breathing (for me at least) as both are quite exposed. The flip side of this is they offered some seriously stunning views and some super rigging practice.
I’d not been further than the canal on previous trips, and was really keen to see the rest, with water levels lower than usual me and Jack headed through. Floating through with no sign of the floor and handholds preventing too much going up my nose a howling gale led to a gravel bank and what lay beyond.
And the rest of the cave is a real treat. Heading along some stunning passage, I thought of what might lie beyond the boulder choke in Scanty. The folks who got here first must of been seriously chuffed. Reaching the very obvious breakdown chamber I still wanted more. With Jack patiently waiting (having been twice before), I headed into the rift and round to the left as the character of the cave changed again. Shinny, then fractured limestone became suddenly very black and gloomy as I climbed down into the water and a massive bedding plane. Wanting to see more, but feeling the cold now and conscious of folks waiting it was time to head out.
With Jack de-rigging we were soon back to the first pitch (or second) and back at what should have been the latter. This proved surprisingly awkward without a rope. Bags pushed ahead through the slot in the side of the stream bed we were soon back out in much balmier temperatures.
With no camera underground a quick photo followed back at the car. A smashing day out!
My grateful thanks to Derek and Jack for their patience with my no doubt quite slow rigging.
Pic by Jack