Far Country/Far Waters via Bar Pot

Posted by Swaledale Outdoor Club on 2009-09-12

Bernie’s had two teams of SOC cavers gracing their tills today, The 'A' team led by Bob off to visit Bruntscar, and the 'B' team led by Chris off to GG.

We had a smooth trip down Bar, and Chris kindly took the rope bag through Short Hensler's (much to my relief). Once down Echo Rift, I lost my sense of direction for the first (but by no means the last) time, and started off upstream. The mud soon put me off, and we headed down Southgate in the right direction.

The duck had about 10 cm of airspace, and so was bearable - at least in a wetsuit. Chris will tell you what it was like in a furry suit. The problem with Far Country is that it almost unrelenting crawling, and both our knees were suffering by the end. We visited the pitch down to Mountain Hall, but I couldn't remember where the bypass is, so we headed off down Eastgate. We paid a semi-intentional visit to Deep Well, before heading off towards Clay Cavern.

Once there it took me a couple of minutes to remember where the crawl through to Penny Arcade was, but we eventually found it and headed into Far Waters to visit some decent passage. It is 38 years since my last visit, but it proved to be as good as I remembered. Penny Arcade with its beautiful clean deep pools and fine formations; the dramatic entry into Bree Junction; and the beautiful Rivendell. I waited at Bree Junction whilst Chris went up Northern Line as far as Hallucination Aven Passage.

We then made our way back slowly, continually moaning about the state of our knees, and Chris had an energetic time coming back through the Blow Hole. Progress out of Bar Pot was slow - very slow (I had half a dozen rests on the Big Pitch). But we emerged after a five and half hour trip into a beautiful evening.

A good trip, but I wasn't quite fit enough for it. I entered the system a fit and hearty pensioner, and emerged a wreck.

John Gardner

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