Arun Paul, Cecilia Kan, Clive Westlake, James Wilson, Rhys Tyers, Ana Teck, Lucie Studena, Matti Mitropoulos, Luke Matthew, Scarlett Sprague
Little Hull Pot: Cecilia Kan, Rhys Tyers, Ana Teck, Matti Mitropoulos
Little Hull is a funny cave. Rhys’ suggested approximate possible estimated time of round about in the vicinity of 25 minutes turned into an arduous, tiresome, endless slog up Pen-y-ghent, but finally, after 40 whole minutes we collapsed at the entrance.
Midges herded us into the gloom. The description describes a ‘duck’ near the entrance – just as bollocks than Rhys’ estimated walking time. Its just a bit of a wet hands-and-knees crawl (though probably an easy sprint for Cecilia). Careful at the top of the first pitch – go through the window ahead before dropping down. The description is extremely unclear, stating:
‘This pitch passes through a ‘window’ about 4m down’,
So naturally I missed the window. I think my second ever changeover in a cave.
Bottom of the first pitch is a bit moist, but the second is just around the corner. An up-traverse leads through a hilarious little squeeze – don’t do what I did and try to squeeze alongside your tackle sack (I’ve made of habit of doing that… King; Winter Tour…), but rig the rope first, clip the sack (and yourself) onto the rope, and then squeeze through. You’ll be birthed onto an awesome overhang overlooking a frighteningly deep abyss. I think there were three deviations, but I only put in two, and we only needed one. In wetter weather it could well be quite moist though so remember that the first one comes sooner than you expect (or don’t - I quite enjoyed bouncing off the walls trying to catch the tat further down).
This is where the mood changes. Exiting beautiful voluminous caverns, a tight, wet squeeze squeezes out your high spirits, leaving only the bitter aftertaste behind. Further and further it goes, crushing your tackle sack like it crushes your motivation. Half an hour of oscillatory squeezing eventually spits you down a hole filled only with mud and rope rub. At high water, this is where the trip ends, but at low water you reach into your Victorian ancestry to continue. After a quick sweep you head up a sooty crawl and are smoked out onto a smoggy sump. I don’t remember what it looked like but remember thinking it was quite pretty, so its probably worth seeing. Take off your SRT gear if you want to avoid lugging around a small dog’s worth of black mud; ultimately it won’t make much of a difference though since the wet squeeze will clean you right up.
Near the bottom ChrisB must have begun to sense us having fun, as his spectral hand reached across the Irish sea and gifted us a titanic chunk of lime and chilli cheese. Gleefully we dove into it and the complimentary sausage – only to have our excitement stamped out by the rapid realisation that acidic cheese does not taste good. Especially not after being stewed in muddy water for two hours. So we spent the next fifteen minutes forcing clumpy wet grossness down each other’s throats.