As none of us felt we had done enough caving over the summer and we were all missing yorkshire Mike, David and I decided to head to Bull Pot Farm over the weekend. No-one else was booked in at the Farm so it was eerily quiet on the Friday night - quite a change from the usual party atmosphere! Our initial plan for the Saturday was to go in Top Sink and then see how far we got before we bailed, but that was scuppered by the amount of rain we got overnight. As there are some low, wet crawls to start with in Top it can't really be attempted in conditions like this:
Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself... On Friday night we realised that we had left half of our food back in Manchester, whilst remembering to bring breakfast and alcohol. The next morning David and I headed back down to Kirkby Lonsdale to pick up food for that evening, passing Matt halfway down the lane who had come to join us caving that day. Having managed to get down and back without flooding the car we settled down to the serious business of the day, breakfast (and figuring out what trip to do, but at that time of the morning everything is secondary to breakfast). We settled on a through trip from County Pot to Lancaster Hole as if you take the dry route Mike assured us it is basically flood proof, which seemed to me like tempting fate at the time.
With mine and Matt's enthusiasm waning as the rain continued we set off down what is usually the path, but in this instance was more of a stream flowing down into a very wet looking Bull Pot of the Witches.
Getting to Lancaster Hole, Matt rigged the pitch we would be coming out of in a few hours time and with that done we headed up to Ease Gill Beck - a raging torrent compared to usual when it is basically a dry river bed. This made it slightly more difficult than usual to get up to where the entrance to County is as normally we would just walk up the river bed until the waterfall is reached but this time meant wading over knee deep in places!
When we got to the waterfall Matt decided to do some posing in the middle of the stream for us to take some pictures (I think he regretted it since it was waist deep and very cold...)
Soon enough after that the time for bailing had past and we were into the cave some of the initial bits before the turn off at the entrance to Spout Hall were sporting, with a couple of waterfalls to duck through and then a crawl up a stream bed before the ladder up to the Manchester Bypass. After the latter Mike provided everyone with some peace of mind by mentioning that he had never seen water in the bed before and while it was nothing approaching a duck, there was a definite flow of water flow of water down there! Despite this the rest of the bypass route was as flood proof as claimed and we made swift progress through the crawls to main line terminus, where my only successful underground picture of the trip was taken (there was too much water vapour around most of the time):
After that it was business as usual, only impeded by some even slippier than usual mud to be negotiated on the way to Stake Pot (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!) and before we knew it we were out, having taken 3.5 hours entrance to exit.
After cleaning our oversuits off and getting changed we headed to Bernies for coffee and cake before we parted ways with Matt and headed back for another quiet night at the Farm.
Waking up on the Sunday we decided to forgo the caving as what we were initially planning for the day (Illusion and possibly something else in Kingsdale) would've been too wet. David and I headed up to Malham Cove instead for a nice touristy day and Mike stayed at the farm to get some work done. All in all a good, if damp weekend!