12th January 2008
People present - Pete Dale, Rob Santus
Weather: - Light rain with sunny spells.
Not having been caving since Jean Pot and due to the weather not being all that good we opted to do an Alum Pot exchange with me rigging the Southeast Route and Rob rigging the Northwest Route down the shaft.
Our first port of call was to Daleswear so Rob could get a new undersuit and after much faffing he had to go for a medium instead of a small. (Could he be putting weight on?) That sorted we headed for Inglesport and Bernie’s. While in Inglesport we asked Dave Ramsay about the accident in the Churns a few weeks back and also about Rumbling Hole extensions which I was lead to believe have gone past the sump with three new pitches! It was then into Bernie’s for a brew and a quick look at the rigging guide for the Pot.
Arriving at Selside just after 10:30am we were pleased to find that it was deserted which meant we had the pot all to ourselves which, was a rarity to say the least. We packed all the tackle required and then got kitted up and soon we were approaching the start of our epic 2 man exchange! Climbing what was left of the stile I set about rigging my route down which is never easy at the top due to lack of good belays but lots of improvisation and a few slings, tree routes and dodgy knots later I was ready to set off down to the re-belay.
It’s always the same at Alum you lean out over the main shaft and crap yourself because you can see the bottom!! My fears overcome I was well on my way down and looking across to Rob he had just set off down from the top. Reaching the re-belay I started to rig the ‘Y’ hang and upon looking round to see how Rob was getting on I saw that he had vanished and all that was left was a thin yellow thread disappearing out of sight into the depths below.
With the Speleo Gold being like greased copper wire I was soon at the bottom of the entrance pitch and making my way along the ledge to the next pitch down missing out most of the ‘P’ hangers in the process, reaching the bridge I discarded the 25m rope that we hadn’t needed and set about rigging the pitch below the bridge. Looking down I could see Robs light and passing the deviation I was soon at the bottom and making my way over to the last pitch. Reunited we both made our way to the sump and for a look at the Diccan waterfall (if only we had a camera) after a good look around and noting the height of flood debris in the roof we headed out, but not without finding something of extreme value to the BRCC.
As planned I was faced with the 80m pitch and Rob had all the de-rigging on the other route. Needless to say I made it to the top first with Rob close behind. All tackle was packed back in the bags and since it was still early (before 12) we decided to go and have a look in Long Churns and pay our respects to unfortunate cavers. After a good play around in the Churns we headed for the van to change into something drier. It was still only 14:30 so we decided to head home as we couldn’t think of owt else to do!Pete Dale