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Trip to Nippikin Pot -- 7th Mar 2010

Group: Ian, Roger, Dave

A cold, but beautifully clear sunny morning as we drove up the track to Leck Fell House. The farm was just starting indoor lambing and we were kindly allowed to park at the side of the farmyard to change. We headed down the valley following the wall looking for the fenced off enclosure containing Nippikin Pot. We did find a large enclosure, but after a fruitless search for the hole we got out the GPS and realised we had headed downhill too far. A bit of a backtrack led to a smaller enclosure which fitted the description in the guidebook at SD66758011. Finding the entrance to the pitch also occupied a few minutes - it's on the SE side of the blind open shaft, but its not that obvious at first. After tying the 31m rope to the only vaguely usable anchor (a rather weedy looking bush) Dave slid down the grassy bank and poked around in the hole to find an anchor for the rebelay. Just inside was a fairly meaty limestone 'beak' which was just to big for a 1m sling and so a spare piece of doubled rope was used instead. Rigging was a bit awkward as it has to be done lying flat out with just head and arms in the hole, but the rope hang in the shaft was perfect. Ian abseiled down first and reported that the rope was only just long enough, followed by Roger and Dave. Although the pitch was a bit constricted at the top, it opened out to reveal a quite spacious chamber with fluted walls.

The floor of the chamber was pretty dry and a low passage led through a window to a stream channel leading to the second pitch. There was a bit of a boulder bridge over the drop and it looked like the only anchors were natural. The rope was anchored to an eyehole and an attempt was made to use a sling off the boulder for a deviation. This looked like it was going to work OK, but there proved to be some unacceptable rope rub. Fortunately an 8mm split was spotted just under the rock bridge and a rebelay from this gave a clear hang, but did involve a bit of gymnastics under the boulder.

Dave went down first inspect the slot leading to the final pitch and decide whether to bring down the ladders. The slot was tight and it looked like getting on and off the ladder would be fairly difficult. As the bottom of the final pitch didn't lead anywhere it was decided not to bother. Roger and Ian abseiled down and after a quick look at the slot and some of the limestone walling we headed back up, derigged and trudged back to the farm.

A pleasant enough trip, there are no stunning formations (we didn't see *any* formations!) but it gives a bit of rigging practice, doesn't require a permit and made a nice easy afternoon trip.