Saturday 22 February 2014

Mud Mud & More Mud In Nettle Pot

Having heard tales from Andy and Wal of the tight vertical squeezes Nettle Pot had to offer, when Wal suggested a trip one night at the club I, of course, signed myself and Jess up straight away!
Unfortunately on the day Wal wasn’t feeling well so then there were 3.

We made good time and arrived at around 10am to find 3 cars already parked. Andy was confident that people hardly ever go to Nettle and anyone here would be doing Oxlow or Maskhill. We were half changed when another car pulled up and a women jumped out exclaiming that as there were half naked people by the side of the road she must be in the right place! Turned out she wasn’t a swinger after all and was in fact waiting on yet another party to arrive for Oxlow.
As we finished changing a further 2 cars arrived and some lads jumped out asking if anyone was going to Nettle…. “Yes!”, Andy gruffed and soon packed them on their way sending them off to Giants :)

After trudging up the hill past the entrance to Oxlow we went through the gate and spent 15 minutes looking for the entrance before discovering we had walked straight past it.
Andy rigged and was soon sliding down the narrows in his loveable vocal caving style. I went next and was glad to find them more awkward than tight, especially with Jess's rather splendid idea of extending the stop on a sling from the D ring to hang above us rather than at waist height. 
Reaching the bottom of Bottle Pitch Andy declared he had a splitting headache and that he hadn’t wanted to let us know until he’d got us in the cave. After making sure he had a key and knew where the first aid kit was in the van for tablets he headed out and we headed off down The Flats …..and then there were 2. 
Reaching the levitation pitch at the end of the Flats we found this already rigged, but on inspection of the rope there was a cut in the sheath so we rigged our own and continued down. The traverse over Suicide Pot was also pre-rigged, but proved to be in good condition. Upon reaching the pull through we discovered there was no pull through cord and ropes were already in situ. As this was only a 5m pitch I tentatively went up to check the rigging and found it to be in decent condition for Jess to join me. The 2nd pull through also turned out to be rigged so again I went up first to check with jess following. 
After a half an hour or exploring the very muddy and wet Far Flats, and not finding anything that could be described as a tight squeeze, we decided we had better head back to Andy. Reaching the head of the 30ft pitch it turned out that to aid her in her prussic up the rope Jess had decided it would be a good idea to tie off the tail of the rope to one of the pull through bolts. Unfortunately in doing this she had made the rope so taught there was no way of threading a stop. The only way down would be to down prussic the muddy rope. 
The exit through the Narrows proved awkward whilst hauling the heavy rope bag beneath me, then to top off Jess couldn’t undo a Krab and I had to do the Narrows again to de-rig!
Reaching the van Andy had a good laugh at the amount of mud we were caked in and upon examination of the guide book we found, although the rigging guide makes no mention of it, we in fact needed to find a 12m pitch down at the end of the Far Flats to find Freeze Squeeze and the way to Derbyshire Hall. Oh well a good excuse for a return visit! :)
Mark entering the 'Narrows'
Jess admiring formations in the 'Far Flats'

Jess sporting a rather fetching mud beard ;)
Present Andy Grimes, Jess Burkey & Mark Burkey

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