TRIP REPORTS - what have you been down to? > Sporting Trips in The UK

Penyghent Pot - The Living Dead Extensions

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GeorgeB:
28th May 2018

I'd just got back to the BPC after a chilly 8 hours surveying in Hammer Pot, I checked my phone to find missed calls and texts from Becka, she'd tracked me down, and was on her way from a hang gliding thing in Hawes to take me somewhere miserable, leaving Julian to grieve for a loss I was somehow responsible for. Already feeling less than fresh I settled down for an early night. Sunday morning, Becka provided a selection of wetsuits for me to try on to see which was the least baggy. I opted for Julian's home made fitted suit complete with retractable peeing spout, I asked if this too was tailored but got no definite answer. It would have to do, Nat donated his chunky neoprene jacket and a pair of knee pads which in hindsight made a world of difference.

Joining the conga line of bank holiday weekend walkers heading up penyghent we soon arrived at the entrance. We kitted up; PVC over wetsuits, neoprene gloves, three pairs of knee pads and packed some extra neoprene and hoods into a bag for later. Underground by 11:00. We were swiftly through the entrance and down the pitches to the head of the tenth pitch where we climbed up into the passage leading to the extensions, quaffing from the stream at almost every opportunity just to cool down. Soon across Eerie Pot, we ditched our SRT kits and ate the homous, coleslaw and cheese sandwiches we were saving for the return trip.

Through Pyschocrawl reasonable quickly We got to what we thought was the junction leading to the Highway to Hell and the Living Dead Extensions, crawling along for half an hour before deciding we must have gone wrong somewhere since what we were seeing wasn't fitting the description. Eventually we worked out we'd walked past the junction after Psychocrawl, discounting it as an oxbow, and ended up starting up Elm Street. Another half an hour saw us back into main passage and at the actual start of the Highway to Hell, feeling rather deflated at the early blunder.

The going from here was more difficult, the passage narrower and cobble filled. We passed the Kidney crusher with no issues and made it to the Dialysis machine, the bit we'd both been the most apprehensive about. Becka was first through, making it look easy. Psyched that she'd made it through, I followed. I was able to push off the opposite wall with my feet, exhaling and forcing my way through without too much difficulty. We knew things got more aqueous beyond this point so where the passage breifly enlargens slightly we donned the rest of the neoprene and celebrated the minor victory with a snack.

Gloom Doom Passage was fantastic, the airspace was plentiful and the going made easy by being so bouyant. We floated along the noisy canal, the water sloshed and gurgled in the air pockets along the water line making it all the more ominous, but nevertheless a fine bit of passage and a highlight of the trip. At Relief Junction Becka once again tried to get us lost by missing the left turn and going some way along Better Dead than Welsh. Back on course a mixture of crawling and floating brought us past Acieed Aven to the aptly named Paradise, a roomy and decorated bit of passage that certainly feels out of place but definitely a welcome change. The momentary respite from crawling was celebrated, walking up-right felt strange. Ducking under the left wall the passage instantly changes character, we were both impressed by just how formidable Paradise Lost was, paddling along the deep wide canal. I could only imagine how exciting and forboding it must have felt to be one of the inital explorers, a spooky place indeed. The Too Long Gone sump was very low, allowing easy access to the boudler choke beyond, truly the best dig in the Dales. Behind the choke I could spy small black spaces and hear what sounded like water going down a plughole, tantalizing.

Before starting the return journey we followed Too Long Gone upstream to Interdiction. More crawling in water was had, before long I found myself staring into a low, wide constriction, Renal Failure. I swept away everything that wasnt bedrock and started through it but soon felt myself pressed tightly on both sides, with the jagged floor catching my belt and snagging at the seams of my suit. I reversed and tried again to no avail. I shifted to one side to see if it was any wider but couldn't progress forward without forcing my face underwater. I reversed once again and Becka had a go, I knew Becka was narrower chested than myself but even still she couldn't fit through. We swapped over again, I tried it on my back to keep my face out of the water, making slightly more progress. Only this time I drifted too far to one side and just as Becka started cheering I felt my chest stick tight just short of clearing the squeeze. The floor still clawed at my back and I found myself unable to move forwards or backwards. I had what rest my shallow breaths could afford me and thought about the seriousness of getting stuck in such a remote place. After what felt like a long time and a lot of brute force I managed to wriggle backwards with Becka pulling me by the foot. To come this far and fail wasn't good enough so Becka had another go, this time on her back, and made it through. With no choice now I had another go, belt off, suit open and jacket unzipped. With Becka's spotting and a lot of struggling I got through, relieved it was over but nervous about the return.

We ticked off the choke at the end of Interdiction and started the long plod back. This time I got through Renal Failure first after slightly less drama but still a lot of effort. Becka followed with relative ease. The aim was to regain Paradise Lost via a different inlet from the one we'd entered Interdiction. Incidentally we arrived back in Paradise having missed the junction and unknowingly taking the route we'd orginally intended, and just in time as we were both starting to feel the cold. The thought of being lost and going in circles was daunting but the unmistakable sight of Paradise was a huge relief. We didn't really stop until reaching the end of Gloom Doom, where we got stuck into some soggy cashew nuts (mostly hoovered from the floor) and de-layered in preparation for the squeezes to come. Back at Eerie pot we kitted up and dined on a block of cheese and some soggy crackers before the home straight. Spirits were high.

Becka powered off with the bag while I derigged. The entrance crawl was tedious, I was pretty fed up with crawling now. I was down a kneepad, both elbows were flapping, my gloves were quickly disintergrating and my toes now stuck out the front of my wellies. A massive hairy caterpillar greeted us at the top of the climb out of the streamway. I heaved myself out of the scaffolded entrance climb. Out in just over 12 hours, we merrilly trotted back down the hill. An excellent day out, one of the thoughest yet. Interdiction is not somewhere I'm in a hurry to return to, though a visit to the far side of the Hunt Pot Inlet (vocal connection) would be worth another trip, time to get digging.   

Alex:
Wow, I bet you were the only people down there for a long-while. Right time of year to visit too. Becka had asked me for a similar waterlogged trip, but I was otherwise engaged.

Simon Beck:
Great stuff, well done! Nice to hear of others also making use of the weather!

Swallowneck:
I wonder how many people have done those two trips in a weekend! Well done.
A great read as well!

MJenkinson:
Excellent read - thank you

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