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? la recherche du tacklesack perdu


Active member
Some weeks ago (see http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=17908.0) my tacklesack, with quite a lot of gear, had disappeared in the flood in Boundary Pot.  KCC were meeting on Wednesday evening for an Aygill trip, so I thought I?d go up early and see if the recent dry spell had revealed it, though I didn't hold much hope.  My wife reminded me of the folly of solo caving, but I assured her my co-clubbers would be delighted to come and get me out if I got stuck, rather than go to the pub.

I expected to have to do some ferreting around in water, so donned my neofleece and worked up a fine sweat marching over Casterton fell.  It was a relief to get in the cave, but there was no chance of a cooling splash.  Where there had been a waterfall pummelling us down a climb, there was hardly a trickle now.  I soon got to the crawl where we had turned round previously and as my face drew level with a hole in the floor - there it was !

I was delighted, and not a little amazed, but the trouble was that the hole was some 2m deep and too narrow to contemplate trying to squeeze into.  I hadn't anticipated this, but I tried dangling a krab on the end of my belt, with the gate held open with the elastic from my spare light, to try and hook the tacklesack handle.  Quite ingenious, I thought, but it wouldn't quite reach.

Conscious that I'd left a call-out note on my car, I left and yomped back over the fell to find my mates arriving for Aygill.  Did anyone have a fishing-rod, or long stick ?  No - why didn't I try in the farm ?  So I did, meeting a friendly group of Belgian cavers, and I explained the problem in franglais (j'ai perdu mon sac, il est ? at the bottom of a hole).  They were game for some fun and soon found a coat hanger, and some copper plumbing pipe.  This looked promising, but how to connect the two?  Back to the KCC, and Andy managed to find some insulating tape, shoelaces and a tent peg in his van, so fully equipped, I set off back to Boundary.

The tent peg taped to the pipe proved to be an excellent fishing rod, although the pipe did need some bending to get it down the hole, and some more to get it out - but it worked first time and to my great joy, the Crunchie was intact in its waterproof box, so I celebrated by eating it.  I exited with a light heart and returned again to the farm.  The Aygill trip was still in progress, so I dropped in to see the visitors to pass on the good news and thank them for their help - to which they added by pressing a bottle of Belgian beer into my grateful hand.

They'd had a splendid few days caving: exchanges from Top Sink to Wretched Rabbit and Flood Entrance to Bar Pot.  I assured them that the glorious weather we were having was typical for Yorkshire.  By this time, my mates started appearing, so it was a quick change and off to the Whoop.
So, a most rewarding trip, even though I spent less than an hour underground in total!

PS - thanks to Red Rose for the 'loan' of the copper pipe - I returned it, though sadly not in its original condition - hopefully the fiver I put in the honesty box will cover the cost


New member
Well done! It always satisfies a parsimonious caver to retrieve tackle and hence save spending money on  new gear. You, at least, retrieved a greater value of gear than the cost of fuel in returning to the cave!

When I and a friend first took my two young sons through the rifts in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu II known as The Labyrynth, we lost a belay belt down a narrow pot that was too difficult for us to climb down. The folowing weekend I took my sons back, along with a trench struct (small acrow jack), rope and SRT kit. The base of the pot was too narrow for me to penetrate and the belt was tantalisingly a little out of reach. My younger son was small and slim and was game to be dangled into the hole so the belt was, at length, successfully retrieved. There were other lost stuff down the hole so my son did some litter picking and among the junk acquired a decent though battered alloy water bottle so we emerged one up! (excluding fuel cost, of course...) We finished the day with photography which made their reports on their year's worth of caving easily merit the Scouts badges they were pursuing - and both of them have continued caving.



Active member
haha... I'm sure the moral satisfaction of having 'beaten' the cave was worth a few quid in fuel :)


Active member
Excellent, considering they must have spent at least 3 weeks under 8 ft of water - GPS working fine, rope looks good after a wash, no more than a little rust on the maillons. Lucky, lucky....


Well-known member
Fulk - he was so chuffed he bought us a bear  :beer:  Probably means he'd have been better off leaving it where it was...

Jason - glad it's all in good nick, the crunchie's sentimental value obviously wasn't that high  :)