Saturday 5 September 2015

Lancashire Hot Pot - A weekend on Casterton Fell

Red Rose Caving Club were holding a social weekend and BBQ over the first weekend in September. SWCC were invited as they have a reciprocal arrangement with the two clubs. On hearing of the event we enquired if the Dudley could join in, to which they extended a warm welcome. Unfortunately straight after the Bank Holiday, it was only Mark and Brendan who could attend, but we planned to make it a recce weekend for future Club trips.
We arrived on Saturday night via a nice Italian Restaurant in Kirby Lonsdale. Beer had been laid on for the weekend so we had a quick nightcap before bed.

Saturday morning saw a hive of activity with most Red Rose members doing trips into Notts II via different entrances. Mark and Myself planned for a trip into Lancaster Hole and were kindly lent a rope suitable for the pitch. We headed off in blazing sunshine across the fell and were soon rigging the entrance. The 30 metre deep pitch is a fine free hang once through the cosy entrance section and looks amazing as you abseil down into the blackness.
Once off the rope we headed to Slug World, a short diversion off the normal routes recommended by members at the club. A short bit of crawling led past some fine formations and a couple of helictites to emerge in a taped off chamber. Here some magnificent stal bosses marked the end of this series.
We then headed to Bridge Chamber and the climb up on the left to Colonades Hall. The columns are impressive and it is only when you stand beside them that you really appreciate their size.
An hour or so was spent photographing them before we headed further into the cave.

The Colonades - Lancaster Hole
Brendan at the Colonades - Lancaster Hole - Photo Mark Burkey

Colonades Hall - Lancaster Hole
Brendan in Colonades Hall - Lancaster Hole - Photo Mark Burkey

The Colonades - Lancaster Hole
Mark at the Colonades - Lancaster Hole - Photo Photo Brendan Marris

The Colonades - Lancaster Hole
Mark at the Colonades - Lancaster Hole - Photo Photo Brendan Marris

We wanted to navigate around the cave, finding the main passages and routes to open up longer trips in the future and we were soon on our way to Fall Pot. We descended the 8m fixed rope climbs to arrive in the bottom and then headed off along Montague East to reach Stake Pot. Here a rope down and then back up on the other side really needed tackle. As we had left our gear we decided that this would be as far as we would go. We did think we could see a bypass on the survey and spent much time looking for this non existent route before heading back to Fall Pot. The sound of the streamway enticed us to climb down the choke at the bottom of the pot and soon we were in the Lancaster Main Drain. We headed upstream in the impressive streamway enjoying every inch of the passage. Rich peaty water flowed through deep pots and the brown scalloped walls reflected the lights beautifully. We went through a boulder area below stake pot and eventually reached a choked area which we believe to be on the approach to Oxbow Corner before time was running short and we had to go back.

We were up the pitch in no time and then enjoying the walk back to Bullpot Farm under a clear blue sky. The BBQ was already lit when we got back so after a wash down of kit we ate a sausage or two washed down with a pint or two of beer. Happy Days.

Present: Mark Burkey and Brendan Marris

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