On the Monday, the return trip to Top Sink to retrieve the ropes did not seem anywhere near as attractive as it did when we thought of it on the Saturday. Luckily we had managed to attract another member to our little group for this final trip of the long weekend. Jane, from UKCaving, offered to come along and be our model for the pitch shot.
As the three Dudley cavers slouched along through the boggy ground on the long trip to Top Sink, Jane was skipping along happily praising the lovely scenery. With trepidation we approached the entrance – even without tons of kit the rifts would be hard going. Jane however still didn’t seem worried, and it soon became clear that at the various ‘pinch points’ in the rift where we three had to crawl and thrutch, being rather smaller she was waltzing through upright, swinging her arms!
Once we reached Walrus Pot I went down first and set off along the second rift to de-rig Penknife pitch while Brendan started setting up lighting at the foot of the pot. After he got so cold in Long Churn, we had thought ahead, and he was wearing a waterproof jacket, which despite being wet through, did make a difference to body temperature.
When I got back to the bottom of the pot with the second rope, the photo shoot was nearly finished, with Jane on the rope, Mark hanging over the top of the pitch with his camera and Brendan jumping in and out of the waterfall with various flash guns and bulbs.
I viewed the climb back up with trepidation – the bottom half of the pitch would all be through water and I wished I’d remembered my pantin. However, it didn’t prove to be as bad as I feared; in fact Brendan and I both agreed that the water was quite refreshing!
The ‘crabwalk’ back to the entrance was not at all refreshing, but Jane ran through the rift with a bag and camera box and then came back for more!