The Dry Connection

Due to the concentration of exploration and surveying of the Serendipity-Easy Street section of the cave, the left-hand series was somewhat ignored. Standing at Squid Junction, near to the Black Hole, this passage was found to be heading in a south-westerly direction upon plotting up the Link Pot / Pippikin survey. A possibility of direct connection with Pippikin became obvious.

From the end of a choked phreatic passage a distance of eighty feet was estimated to connect into what is described in the Pippikin guide as 'the main way on' from Dusty Junction.

Two days of digging through and beyond this arch resulted in twenty feet of trench below a flat roof interspaced with phreatic cross-joints. At the end of the second day, having turned a corner to folow the draught, in a small minaret joint in the roof a strange looking red-coloured stalactite could be seen lying about twelve feet away. On closer examination with a good light it was realised that the supposed 'stal' was in fact a rusty trowel. Too tired even for such a momentous breakthrough into Pippikin, we retreated.

The following Sunday inevitably saw a much more numerous team at the dig. Two hours of laborious hauling work and removing sludge and the trowel was reached. Expecting to emerge into a comfortable passage we were surprised to fins ourselves in a claustrophobic crawl some forty feet in length. Upon reflection, any dig in Pippikin would have been dug by a team of 'thin men' - hence the lack of size. Eventually the crawl increased in size and we emerged at Dusty Junction - tired but elated.

The breakthrough into Pippikin via Link Pot left-hand series on 17th December 1978, was, foolishly, not kept a secret (foolishly, as no doubt one certain member of the 'Wanderers' would agree).

The following day or so reports came in of pirate evening trips and of a highly organised trip planned for the following Thursday evening. After spending that evening, ourselves, underground in Roaring Hole, the 'Thursday night team' sat in the Hill Inn lightheartedly discussing the rescue complications that could arise from the now much-enlarged Easegill System.

Unknown to us at the time, a further pirate through-trip was being enacted as three members of a local club were busy laddering the eighty-eight feet pitch in the Earby Series. Ironically, the failure of the first pirate trip was the undoing of this second expedition as the majority of this latter party's conspirators are all members of the local team of the C.R.O.

In the dawn light at Green Close stood three N.P.C. members and one shanghied breakfastless Mendip member. Rumours of the arrival of the 'Miners Aladdin' were also rife.

Two hours later, assembled at Pippikin entrance on a beautifully clear day were Bill Pybus, Nigel Beattie, Kev Millington, Greg Smith and Gordon Batty.

G. Batty

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