Buttered Badger Potholing Club
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Long Crawls, Big Bangs, Curry and a misguided sat nav: Adventures in Rift Pot

Adam, Chris H, Mark R, Guest Star – Tim Allen
20th April 2013

After a long stressful week keeping the rivers of the United Kingdom in check, it was time to get some R+R a BBPC style.  Starting on Friday I made haste to the Peak and met Little Chris for a quick wander up Mam Tor in the spring sunshine to take in the view and play with his big one.  Chris has recently invested in an enlargement, and I was very impressed by the results, not to mention the feel in my hand, if only I could justify a lens like that! After our bimble we headed over to BBPC HQ and stole Lizzy and Holly away to the pub while daddy badger was busy playing badminton.  Many pints and much food later Mark returned and announced that his (shuttle)cock knocking was of such standard, they had been promote to the “league”, an event which resulted in further gin consumption and cheese appreciation.

Awaking the following morning with the standard dilemma (full bladder, dry mouth, warm bed) we arose to find Mark had already departed for Ingleton leaving us to take up the rear.  A quick bacon sandwich and we were off……. Following my satnav which had decided to take us on a tour of urban settlements in the north of England (Bradford was my top favourite), we eventually arrived to join Mark and Tim for another breakfast before venturing out to the cave. Our mission for the day was to help Tim in his efforts to connect Rift Pot with Low Douk which necessitated some “chemical enlarging” of a previously proven passage.  I’ve never been down rift pot before, though I had noticed the gash in the landscape which gives up its name.  We’d all been issued with tackle sacks containing various vital kit and been informed to stow our SRT gear until the first pitch for risk of it impeding crawling (crawling!!!!).

Just inside the entrance lay a short, dodgy free climb, the way on helpfully denoted by a dead sheep just where my face wanted to be (memories of the previous nights gin surfaced at this stage).  A bit of a scrabble found us at the bottom and ready to crawl (yay).  In conditions painfully reminiscent of Darren, bags and cavers were pushed, shoved and dragged over a series of flat out crawls on broken rock, with the odd face first drop to vary things a little (face break approach implemented).  Finally arriving at a pitch we donned SRT and enjoyed a brief period of standing before the crawling started again. Having crawled for approximately three days, we arrived at the face, a narrow hole in the wall still full of jagged remains of previous blasting, it was at this point I was concerned to note that the tackle sack I had been kicking down crawls for the last hour or so appeared to contain the det cord (hmmmm).  We sent our to best diggers forward (clearly not me) with Marks shovel hands and Chris with his slender form, the “dig” was clear and ready for further blasting and photographing by Tim and Chris respectively.

Tim drilled a series of shot holes and explained blasting best practice with the aid of a series of diagrams and health and safety presentations.  Appropriately educated, and shot holes filled, we retreated a safe distance (one long phone cable away) and readied for the bang.  Tim asked if either myself or Chris would like to do the deed, we both suggested Mark who readily took up the battery and cord, then realising why we were so keen not to (we had empty hands so could put fingers in ears).  Grinning like mad chimps at Mark, contact was made and the earth moved.  Not much noise, but one hell of a pressure shift.

Blasting done, we made haste out of the cave to avoid any fumes.  Much crawling, swearing, crawling and swearing later we were at the surface again in the beautiful Spring Sun, happily strolling towards the cars and beer/curry

A great day, more to follow...