Dentdale Affair

Once upon a time in a little village called Gawthrop, seated high above the beautiful Dentdale, five cavers did assemble with the intention of descending that deep and dangerous hole, NETTLE POT (pause for gasps of terror and awe).

Having had a serious night at the pub, they did decide, after much thought and wandering about the countryside, that a grade 4 (-3) would suffice to dispel hangovers and Messrs. Chester, Thorpe, Uncle Dave Raine and someone called Crossley did send the Welsh Git to get permission (note).

Through the spacious crawl they did meander; clang, gasp, fart - what a delightful sound they made. The pitch was duly reached and amidst cries of "It's too tight", "I wanna go t'pub", "where's me fags?" and "I shouldn't have had that last rum and pep", the Welsh Git made his perilous descent. Next came the nymph-like form of Mr. Thorpe, who deftly eased his way out of the pitch-top letter-box, and actually managed to get a hob-nail onto a rung.

The Welsh Git was happily sitting in a pool beneath the nimble climber and was most alarmed when it was announced that he was about to be brained (?) by a cell, so he quickly leapt out of the way into a suitably-sized crack. This was just as well, for at that point, the climber decided to try out his new pitch descending technique (ie. SJT - single jump technique. Essential equipment - one pair of hob nail boots) and promptly let go of the ladder. He descended the pitch at an alarming rate and emptied the pool on impact, sending a tidal wave back to the top of the pitch. The place did rock, and the rock did moan, and rock and moan did the disgruntled Mr. Thorpe.

On hearing the crash, certain expedition members thought that the roof was coming down and attempted a quick exit. Eventually they all got moving and after giving instructions to Mr. Thorpe and Chester, the rest did move on quite quickly. On reaching the duck, the Welsh Git spent a happy half hour making the dry alternative wet, and eventually, the underground parachutist and Chester with much cursing and swearing. "I say, old man", said Chester, "I think we went wrong; it was rather small and not terribly nice", or words to that effect.

Much relief was felt at not having to return that way so they proceeded to force Mr. Crossley into the duck, whilst Uncle Dave made a quick exit; he had to meet the missus in five minutes. Alas, he could not remember the way out (surprise), and in a desperate attempt to avoid Pennine ridicule by being left down the hole, he ran around and around, tearing himself to bits. He finally ended his own personal epic by climbing out using a box of Swan Vestas ("didn't like those bloody electric jobs; yer can see where you're going")

The rest of the heroic team heaved themselves out and trekked back to base. A fish pond was found most useful for washing Chester's leg.

P. Roberts

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