• Hello From Descent

    The publication date for issue 289 is the 10th of December, meaning subscribers should receive their copies during the week leading up to that date. It is also available from caving suppliers such as Inglesport and Starless River, or from our new website

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Rowten pot kingsdale 1897 -first descent --saved by a tin kettle !!!

This was a HARD trip.
On July 4 1897 severn set off with a cart horse up Kingsdale with1700ft of rope 200 ft of rope ladder lots of coils of telephone wire, flare lamps crow bars etc weighing many hundredweights which the severn then struggled up the fell .(as the report warns -this type of hole cannot be done with only a match a candle and a bit of string.and it was said to be 600 ft deep!)
They arrived at 6am and eventually almost down -2 stopped on the surface to help 1 on the ledge - it was now time for lunch so they telephone the surface party and hot soup was sent down and later other courses in a basket .they also phoned for all the ladder to be lowered (as some 100 ft ) still to descend despite oil skins and sourwester hat they were soaking wet but carried on not only surveying but taking temperature of the air and water and chipping the sides for rock samples and a barometer -which showed the hole was 365ft deep
Then it went wrong someone was in darkness as he lost his light and candle ,the were wet and cold so unable to call to mr Cutttriss on the ledge due to the noise of the waterfalls the tried the phone to the surface --it was dud -the sent up a message on a newspaper and pulled on acorn to send it up but alas tidied not survive its watery passage then all attempts were hopeless and they were getting very cold what could be done
The day was saved by the ingenuity of Mr Scriven at the top who attached a tin kettle to the end of a cord and corking up the spout (probably from a wine bottle as was the drink for a cave in 1890s )this provided a dry way to send messages for pulling on the ropes etc
thanks go to Yorkshire Ramblers Journal 1902 and Messrs Booth ,Cuttriss, Parsons ,Scriven , Swithernbank ,Woodhouse ,Somers and the horse of course!!!