Report by Steve (Stik) Rider
Cavers: Steve (Stik) Rider (EPC), Jase Rider (EPC), Paul (Paz) Vale (EPC), Gary Bode (EPC)
There are those type of Sundays when the previous Thursday it seamed a good idea to get up at 7, drive to Ingleton, get changed in the rain and trudge across the moor to Lancaster. I’m sure we’ve all had them.
This particular Sunday was one of those. Well, it was for a while then it ended up being rather good. Me, Jase and Gaz turned up at the Cottage Café to collect Paz at about 9:00am and Paz was breakfasted and ready to show ‘us young ones’ what it’s like down Ease Gill.
We set off for Bull Farm in excited anticipation. Having not been there before, it was interesting to see the place after hearing so much about it.
The four of us changed in the wet, and made our way across the moor to the top of Lancaster Hole. There were a dozen or so other cavers at the entrance, so we rigged quickly and started to decend. This was not before we overheard one of the other cavers instructing his companion to ‘hold in the handle and feed the rope through. It’s dead easy. If anything goes wrong just let go of the handle’ . . . . . A fine time to learning the art of abseiling on a Stop !
We were soon down in Lancaster, making our way through Bridge Hall, Kath’s Way and Bill Taylors passage before reaching Montague East passage and the dark, foreboding expanses of Fall Pot. However, this was not our route as the Main Drain was high and had indeed claimed the life of a caver from Lancaster the previous weekend. Our trip was to explore the high level system around Montague (Western Extensions)t passage.
Paz set off up a mud slope which led to an entertaining ‘climb’ and squirm up a small aven (this aided by a short section of strategically placed ladder) which led in turn to a well decorated hands and knees sized passage (Montague Western Extensions).
After 10 minutes or so crawling a junction is reached, the left hand branch of which terminates a short distance away at two abandoned digs. Paz was adamant that this was the way. We eventually persuaded him that it was the other way and led off that way onto Waterfall Passage which is entered from a slope some 50ft above the stream. This stream was in full torrent so a high level traverse was opted for. After some time of slowly traversing above the flooded stream I was wondering just how deep it really was. This was answered as Paz appeared from round a corner up to just below his knees! There was no chance of being swept away after all ! (not by Paz anyway Ed). We all dropped to the stream and had a sporting time negotiating the various cascades and pools encountered before making our way back to the junction with Montague Western passage.
We then carried on up the passage to meet the resurgence sump from Bull Pot of the Witches (Wilf Taylors passage) which was definitely too deep to stand in as it made it’s way to the main drain.
On the return to Fall Pot area Paz again insisted that the ‘abandoned dig passage’ was the way on and again we persuaded him otherwise. He said it was 15 years since he was last here ! We said we’d never been before !
After returning back to the foot of the entrance shaft we got prusiking up the 100ft or so into the retreating daylight of the fog covered moor of Casterton Fell.
We must go caving with Paz again this was great and if not for foot and mouth we would have no doubt spent a considerable length of time in Lancaster Hole between the date of this trip and now . . . .