A rather depleted crew of two, just Jim and myself, had a trip down Jingling pot, which neither of us had visited before.
Jim is fairly new to SRT rope work, and Jingling would be a good trip to push him a bit further and develop his skills. However, learning new techniques at the top of a 140ft pitch is not the best way to do things, so we had a couple of hours on the Inglesport climbing wall before hand where the delights of a “free hang re-belay” were learnt , with some ease, by Jim.
We then headed off to Jingling Pot in Kingsdale, and after a steady climb up to the entrance, with the student carrying most of the rope in the best tradition, we arrived already feeling we had done a days activity before we even got into the pot.
There are two routes down Jingling. A fantastic 140ft foot abseil straight down the daylight shaft, and a “Lateral Cleft route” which once the access the been spotted and then gained from about 10m down the main shaft, by swinging frantically from one wall to the other, provides a nice series of smaller pitches which also end up at the bottom of the shaft. These pitches are ideal for SRT and rigging practice.
I was unable to spot the Lateral Cleft initially, despite much frantic penduluming from side to side of the shaft and expending great effort in reaching and exploring a couple of options which were not the lateral cleft! So I then decided we should do the main shaft first, and hope we would spot the elusive Lateral Cleft on the way back up.
I had promised Jim I would rig him a nice text book “free hang re-belay” at the pot entrance, rigged from two overhanging trees. However things didn’t quite work out that way and we ended up with a rather scruffy access onto the main rope, where Jim got to improvise the techniques be had learnt earlier that day, well its all good practice!
Jim headed of down the pitch first, and I soon received the “pitch free” shout. The pitch was truly spectacular, unfortunately so was the smell towards the bottom. Jingling is renowned for attracting suicidal sheep, and true to form there was a nicely rotting sheep at the bottom. There isn’t a lot of caving to be done at the bottom, so we quickly explored what there was trying to ignore the smell. Then, with the excuse of needing to be at the pitch head to assist Jim, I headed straight back up the climb, leaving Jim to endure his smelly friend at the bottom a little longer. On the way up I finally spotted the Lateral Cleft, I really must start wearing my glasses.
Jim managed to negotiate the climb and the pitch head fine, with a bit of technique adaption, but he did look rather worn out by the 140ft foot climb. He was not too impressed when I announced the good news that I had spotted the lateral cleft and that we could head straight back down again.
After a bit of discussion Jim decided he hadn’t really got the energy for any more, and opted to lay in the sunshine, sort out the long rope and chat to passing walkers while I had a quick trip down the Lateral Cleft. The Lateral Cleft was great fun, and I even managed to rig all the pitches in better style than I had the pitch head, shame Jim wasn’t there to see my handiwork! I said a quick hello to Dolly at the base of the shaft before retracing my steps and escaping the smell.
Back towards the surface I was met with a few walkers peering over the edge waiting to see the strange man swinging about on a rope as I exited the lateral cleft. Jim had sorted out the long rope and even then had enough energy left to carry most of the ropes back to the car.
A great trip and we both felt we had earn’t the post trip beer.