Trips & Reports

Write a Report

Sunday October 15th

FOUL Pot

Pete, Matt, Les, Gary, Aileen

Matt wrote...

It was too wet for our planned trip to Magnetometer Pot so after a brief discussion over breakfast we decided on FOUL Pot. It has been a few years since our last trip there. I remembered how good and wet weather compatible it was. Furthermore, it has recently been resin anchored meaning it should be an even more efficient trip now than it was previously.

The cave lived up to its reputation for wet-weather compatibility and despite a considerable amount of rain the day before (the river in Settle was fast flowing and peat stained and the fell was very wet), we had an excellent trip to the sump, only getting out legs a little wet.

Clearly the chamber just before the sump does flood but I find it hard to imagine anything but the most serious of flood conditions making this trip totally impassable. We managed a total trip time (car back to car) of only five hours which is pretty good, and we were taking a steady pace.

Overall FOUL Pot is an excellent pothole; it has some challenging obstacles, but nothing that most moderate build cavers will struggle with too much, and most importantly, the narrowest bits are very short and quickly open out into much larger passage beyond.

I’d say it would be a ‘Grade 4+’ pothole using the old difficulty grading system.

The three longer pitches are excellent; clean, spacious and impressive, and so overall this is a pothole well worth visiting and worthy of any meets list particularly now that it’s been resin anchored (thanks to Sam and the IC anchor team).

The following description should be useful to others planning a visit:

Call at the farm and parked up at Dale Head (honesty box for car parking). Follow through the gate and along the track across Fountains Fell (i.e. away from Penyghent). After 10 minutes, pass through a gate. About 5 minutes later (well before you reach the shooting hut), the track turns down to the left into a shallow dry valley. Before dropping into the valley, leave the path and cross the limestone pavement on the right towards the wall, to locate one of the few places it is possible to step across the wall thanks to some conveniently located limestone outcrops.

Head away from the wall towards the dry valley. FOUL Pot is located about 200m down the dry valley away from the wall (not to be confused with Echo Pot which is much closer to the wall). The entrance is at the base of the shakehole and is covered by metal sheets and rotten pieces of wood.

The entrance is an easy free climb of 5m but care is required with the stacked walling.

At the bottom of the entrance, a cramped passage leads away. After several metres, the way on is a downward slope into a narrow and flat out crawl through some puddles or a small stream. After 4m this crawl ascends awkwardly through blocks into a small chamber with some straws. We managed this crawl fine with SRT kit on but removal may be easier.

If you find this section excessively troublesome then you may wish to reconsider your choice of cave!

From the chamber the way on is to keep right into an awkward crawl-traverse over blocks in a rift (perhaps best tackled feet first). After three metres the passage enlarges and it is possible to drop down onto a shelf which overlooks the fine chamber below (Octopus Hall).

Take note of where you have just come from (it is easy to miss this later!)

This is a 4m pitch however at present there is an in-situ ladder which appears in perfectly good condition which avoided the need for a rope. However, it’s worth taking one just in case.

The chamber is very nice indeed; small but predominated by a large orange flowstone (please be careful to avoid muddying this). The way on is next to/beneath the flowstone, through a low wriggle under/through some blocks (a little loose so care) and into the ongoing passage. Immediately, another wriggle through blocks reaches a tiny chamber with a white calcite pillar.

From here, the way on is under the right wall where a 2m crawl reaches a 1m drop down onto a balcony overlooking the first (proper) pitch. The first anchor for this is near the roof and is reached just before you need to drop down from the crawl (clip in before you drop down as the balcony is only small and is directly over the pitch head.

We used a 29m rope and had a few metres to spare for this pitch. It’s an excellent descent of a lovely spacious shaft.

The spacious nature of the cave doesn’t last too long. At the bottom of the pitch is a very narrow section of rift leading off. This should prove passable for most cavers, but those of medium build or above will need to remove SRT kits. The rift must be passed slightly above floor level at the widest point so it is necessary to squeeze along on your side using one hand for support on the ground. The rift if only 4m long and it is fairly easy to pass tacklesacks through to someone else on the other side (who can reach in to grab them) without any trauma.

Don’t put your SRT kits on just yet, as a short drop down then reaches another 3m squeeze along a narrow rift, slightly easier than the first and again easy to pass tacklesacks along.

At the end of this second narrow section a 3m climb down (in-situ handline currently present but would be easily free climbed if the rope was absent) enters a spacious chamber, Keel Hall, with plenty of space to regroup and put SRT kits back on (although they are not actually required just yet so you may choose to keep it off for the following easy crawls).

The way on from here is at floor level under a jammed boulder and into the ongoing passage. This passage is an easy sideways crawl in the stream, which turns sharp left after 15m. A short but easy flat out section then eases to a muddy crawl for 20m, which soon enlarges into a proper passage.

Downstream in this proper passage is an excellent flowstone which you must duck under (care please, the vulnerable prongs of this have yet to be broken off and the flowstone is fine and white, please keep it that way). Beyond here are some excellent straws in the roof, some over 1m long.

An awkward 1m drop down under a block quickly leads to a traverse as the floor cuts down on the approach to the big pitch. A very nice large flowstone sits above the start of the traverse line (if you reach this flowstone at head height you are slightly too high and you will need to take a slightly exposed climb down a metre or so to locate the anchors for the start of the traverse).

An easy traverse reaches the muddy head of Man O’ War pitch. This is rigged from a large Y-hang. Careful positioning of the Y-hang is necessary to avoid rope rub further down the pitch, the first part of which is not a perfectly straight descent. About 15m down the pitch, swing across the shaft to a Y-hang rebelay (careful, the left-hand anchor is a little tight to the wall and a Karabiner is hard to get in and out; a maillion is recommended). The final descent is a magnificent drop of about 20m, landing in a spacious passage. In extremely wet conditions there may be a little spray near the bottom but nothing of too much concern.

Around the corner is another short pitch (Pool Pitch, 4m). It is then necessary to climb up a few metres into the ongoing passage, where the final pitch is approached.

Just before the final pitch, the passage abruptly narrows to a rift as the water cuts down in the floor, and it is necessary to take a slippery upward traverse to the top of a ridge of rock. Here, two anchors on the right commence the traverse line down the equally slippery downward slope to the pitch head.

Again, care with the positioning of the Y-hang at this pitch head is needed to avoid rope rub on the rock buttresses just below the take-off point. The pitch descends via a few ledges (no rebelay required) into a splendid chamber of large blocks (Fastnet).

A scramble down loose rock leads down towards the stream, and an easy scramble/climb drops eventually into a sizable chamber/aven with lots of mud. A stooping height passage (with scum on the roof to indicate that this part of the cave is not passable in very wet conditions) reaches the sump after only 25m; which is well worth getting to for the sake of completeness.

Rope lengths (updated from previous YCC trip report in lieu of new anchors):

10m for first pitch into Octopus Hall (ladder currently in place, we didn’t need this rope)
30m for second pitch
28m for Man O’War pitch (third)
10m for Pool Pitch (fourth)
35m for fifth pitch

Karabiners: 16 minimum (recommend 18) plus one maillion for the left anchor at Y-hang rebelay on Man O’ War pitch (anchor is too tight into the wall to easily get a karabiner into)

Large sling perhaps useful for climb down into Keel Hall in case in-situ rope is absent.

16th October 2017

Matt Ewles

Show More
Write a Report

Sunday October 15th

Car Pot

Walmslers, Mark, Rachel, Toby

Toby wrote...

Enthusiasm for harder caves was high after I'd pulled off a magnificent coup in getting Captain Walmslers and Admiral The Cutty Sark down Marble Sink for my 300th trip a few weeks ago. It was marginally harder to convince the ever-reticent Captain Findles but in the end she too wilted in the face of a barrage of excitement and occasional cajoling.

As one of the more classic tight Yorkshire potholes it was surprising that we hadn't already done Car Pot, so we set out to remedy the situation. The weather had been pretty dreadful during the week and on saturday, but after a good 24 hours of dryness everything looked fine. Nobody could be bothered coming back to the dump afterward so I dutifully saddled up Chardonnay and zoomed off, leaving the Findles-mobile to pick up our ropes kindly left at Greenclose by Matt and Gary.

Apparently we'd been too keen to leave the dump to Newcastle uni, with the result that I'd left my wetsocks behind. A miserable trip beckoned, but Captain Findles had a spare pair which fitted almost perfectly. We popped up long lane in fairly short order, and found the entrance in a modest shakehole on the opposite side of the wall from recently visited Grange Rigg, Christmas Pot, and all that crowd. The shakehole is easily identifiable by the withered tree and free climbable entrance.

Having both climbed in the wrong way, Admiral Sark and I made it to the first pitch, where a nice Y hang from shiny IC anchors got us down to the floor of a spacious rift passage. This slopes off in both directions, but the anchors led the way for the Admiral, who was soon down the next small climb and going round a right-hand bend on the incorrect side with a persistent drip in his face. His promotion to Admiral has always been a mystery to me.

The bend, which might be a tad awkward for some, spits one out over the second (Baptistry) pitch, so clipping in is probably wise. I hadn't. Fortunately I managed to contrive a roped descent instead of a gravity-only one. Just around the corner, Sark was sliding down the letterbox squeeze just before baptistry crawl. With a slight sense of foreboding - both about the crawl and the later ascent of the letter box - I followed him, only to be stopped short while wedged in the top section. My Senior Lecturer companion was taking the opportunity to remove his srt kit and stuff it into his bag before the fun of baptistry began, and I spent a comfortable but restricted few minutes hanging in the rift, trying vaguely not to kick him in the head.

With only two bags remaining already, we decided to manage the front one together, with Mark pulling and me pushing, and leave the second bag to the two Captains bringing up the rear. Baptistry is longer than seems really necessary, but it is indeed the second quarter that is the tightest, and has the deepest water (or mud/water/sheep soup). A few inches is enough to soak one's left side (recommended) entirely, as wallowing is the only method of progression. Fortunately there are only a few opportunities for bags to become a problem, and punching the bottom of our tackle sack seemed to put a stop to that. Sark got through quickly, though he regretted not attaching the bag to a belt of some kind. On the other side, relishing the feeling of being soaked on one side and dry on the other, we awaited the duo of Captains. Looking back down the dreary crawl, a tackle sack soon came into view. Captain Walmslers, perhaps wanting to spare his compatriot the trouble, had elected to push the bag ahead of him through the entire length of the crawl, with his SRT kit attached to the hauling cord and presumably in his face most of the time. An interesting decision. I popped back up the first few metres of the crawl to relieve him of his self-imposed burden.

Having negotiated what sounded like the least pleasant part of the cave, we headed off down a very short section of larger passage to the head of the third pitch. Just before the pitch the passage lowers, forcing a difficult choice of feet first or head first. Sark went feet first, and soon discovered the pitch's nefarious intention. A sharp spike provides the only place to sit at the pitch head, forcing the caver to find some way to complete the pitch without sitting on it and becoming more intimately involved with Car Pot than expected. With the pitch rigged by Sark, I also headed off feet first, managing to put a foot on the spike and sit on that. After a quick lecture to the pitch about obtaining consent, I completed the descent. Captain Walmslers had difficulties, as the spike had not learned its lesson and wouldn't take no for an answer. Eventually he had to go head first. Captain Findles sailed through, perhaps better versed in warning off stubborn suitors than the rest of the team.

The final pitch follows immediately, with a back up to an enormous but less insistent spike leading to an interesting, multi-ledged shaft. The first section is split by a rounded ledge and is fairly drippy. From the floor a short section drops the caver down a drippy wall to a rebelay bolt, allowing one to pop through a small window with the drips to the final single bolt hang down the impressive drippy shaft. Much of the mud from baptistry is cleaned off here by the drips.

The pitch lands in the roomy, dry craven passage, where we were surprised to learn we had been underground all of one hour. A quick read of the description suggested North Craven would be much more interesting than its opposite number. In this direction a quick stomp up an inlet passage leads to some climbing up boulders, becoming progressively more muddy. The visual connection with East Passage in Gaping Gill is in this area, but without the complicated arrangements necessary to have a team on the other side at exactly the right time, it's impossible to know where exactly it is. Fortunately there are other attractions: a very fine stal and curtain arrangement in the ceiling of a large muddy chamber, attended by large arrays of bedding plane straws around the outside. The short crawls leading on from this chamber soon choke.

Back at the pitch bottom, we debated a visit to South Craven. With a good 15 minutes of crawling the best that it could apparently offer, we sacked it off and began the ascent. With smooth derigging up to the third pitch, where the spike was much more easily avoided than on the way down, we found ourselves back at baptistry, psyching ourselves up for another go. Sark Mims made a poignant distinction between 'hard' caving and 'miserable' caving, placing baptistry firmly in the latter category. Captain Walmslers and Captain Findles seemed to agree, as the sound of much excursion floated down the crawl, while myself and the Admiral quickly cooled to a fairly uncomfortable temperature. With communication between the two pairs leaving something to be desired, and wanting to avoid any waiting in the crawl on the other side while the Captains negotiated the letterbox, we ended up waiting for some time. Eventually we headed off, and found the crawl a little tighter than on the way in, for no readily obvious reason. We were soon up the letterbox with the aid of the wooden stemples, and from there a mildly awkward ascent of baptistry pitch paved the way for our exit.

A total of 3 hours underground seemed surprising, but it had been a varied and enjoyable trip. Sadly, the drippy, muddy, dark passages of Car had been no match for the clean, contorted rifts of Marble Sink, but the cave had lived up to expectations and we were pleased to have visited at last. The cave would make an excellent sunday or evening trip, as the installation of proper anchors seems to allow rather faster trip times than suggested by the Black Book. A quick jaunt down the hill and a not-so-efficient change completed the day, and it was home for everyone else and back to the dump to collect my wetsocks and mouth off at the students for me.

16th October 2017

Toby Buxton

Show More

Mark wrote...

Expectations were high. We'd been fairly keen to visit Car Pot for several years, but weather had thwarted our plans on multiple occasions, and more recently reports of degraded anchors had put us off. However, the recent resin anchoring of the whole cave and a dry forecast meant we finally got around to it.

The poor anchors had put paid to a previous attempt by Adam with MUSC, which at least meant he knew where the entrance was and what it looked like, and his usual reliable and understated sense of direction led us almost directly to the entrance.

I was volunteered to go first, and the enjoyable entrance pitch was soon followed by the less enjoyable approach to the second pitch, made particularly unpleasant by a fairly significant amount of water falling right at the start of the narrow section. We knew water levels would be up a bit after the enormous quantities of water that we'd seen the day before in Kingsdale at the CRO training session, but we were happy that they would be falling all the time we were underground. A bit of a soaking was unavoidable, but in the grand scheme of things the water falling above the second pitch was pretty irrelevant with Baptistry Crawl lurking just around the corner.

I made Toby wait above the Letterbox Squeeze below the pitch as I elected to de-kit for the crawl itself, which turned out to be a wise decision. Baptistry Crawl was pretty unpleasant, not so much from its dimensions, but from the nature of what we were crawling through. Although as I type this report I'm wondering quite why it's even called a crawl. I certainly wasn't using my knees as I lay on my side, one arm stretched straight out in front, dredging my way through the silt, grit, cobbles and fetid water, unearthing what I like to imagine were be bits of wood, but were clearly bones. I consoled myself with the knowledge that it was nothing compared with a trip report I'd stumbled across earlier in the week (https://www.union.ic.ac.uk/rcc/caving/articles/yorkshire-2010-05-08.html).

Thankfully the crawl is very short, and we were soon dropping down the next couple of pitches which were uneventful other than suffering a somewhat uncomfortable moment at the 3rd pitch-head. Ouch.

The inlet before the last pitch was delivering a fair bit of water which was unavoidable on the descent, but the unpleasantness was offset with the knowledge that it was washing away some of the scum we'd picked up from Baptistry Crawl. We all shivered in the draughty Craven Passage as we de-kitted, and did our best to warm up by exploring some of the horizontal passages at the bottom. As promised, there was no shortage of calcite to admire, and the large curtain certainly prompted a few noises of appreciation.

Before heading out we picked up an old ammo tin, some rubber tubing and some scraps of material that were sitting at the bottom of the last pitch, slowly degrading. Our exit was pretty uneventful, if a little chilly for me. Baptistry certainly felt narrower on the return, but not overly so, and I was pleased to find that the mild weather had persisted, meaning I was able to warm up a little after surfacing.

Unfortunately we generally felt like Car Pot didn't really live up to our high expectations, but that's not to say it wasn't an enjoyable few hours underground. It's always nice to visit somewhere new. Baptistry Crawl vs. the rest of the cave certainly provided an excellent illustration of the difference between unpleasant caving and challenging caving, which seem all too often to be used interchangeably.

16th October 2017

Mark Sims

Show More
Write a Report

Sunday October 1st

Notts II - Lost Johns Pot

Aileen, Les

Write a Report

Sunday September 24th

Notts II

Walmslers, Ade, Aileen, Gary, Matt

4 photos by Gary...

Write a Report

Saturday September 23rd

Marble Sink

Mark, Walmslers, Toby

Mark wrote...

It had been a while since I'd felt anxious on a walk to a cave. A couple of years of largely dig-focussed trips and a more recent spate of returns to Yorkshire classics meant I was rather out of calibration with some of the more challenging trips to be had. However, Toby's enthusiasm for Marble Sink had changed that, and the anxiety was well and truly there. Recalibration was on the cards and I was anticipating maximum spice.

After reading a trip report over lunch the previous day that likened the trip to being pummeled gently whilst lifting a tackle sack at arms length I decided to end my research there, and to simply approach the trip with ignorance. This tactic failed as the description appeared after a couple of beers at the NPC the night before. "Tight", "sqeeze", "awkward", "narrow". I got the gist, but Toby's enthusiasm was still sky high. "It sounds like a great trip!" Easy to say when you're his dimensions.

Our arrival at the entrance heralded some unusual scenes as Adam cracked open his usual zesty beverage and instructed me to cut off various bits of his harness that he deemed would be detrimental to the trip. After a significant attack with my knife, his harness was looking much more streamlined, and we all opted to go for a descent sans cowstails or ascenders attached. Good choice.

Toby obviously had to go first, and totally ignored the advice to enter feet-first on the premise that he'd probably be able to turn around at the pitch head where most couldn't. He was right. Adam and I followed feet-first. Also a correct decision.

We arrived sooner than expected at the pitch where the rigging was...unorthodox. One spit and an old protruding bolt provided our only means of attachment, and Toby thankfully had a skinny sling that could be nicely(?) clove-hitched on to the bolt. The pitch head looked pretty remarkable, and not in a good way, but you've got to be in it to win it, and once in, it was easily won. A spacious descent led to the entertaining and distinctive flake climb, Bastard Hole, and further climb to meet the water. So far so good!

A couple of shocking spits didn't faze Toby on the next pitch, but the same couldn't be said for me and some rerigging preceded my descent. The subsequent enticing bedding lived up to its description, as did the less enticing crawl below, and a dampening was unavoidable as we set off into the next section of passage. At the sharp-ish corner before the next climb down I had a bit of a brain-failure, culminating in me stood in the rift unable to get back down to a level at which I could continue. After a partial reverse around the corner, the situation was rectified and I continued on to hear Toby telling us how easy Speakers' Corner was. Toby finding it straightforward was hardly surprising, but I was pleasantly surprised to agree with his assessment, and we were back in more spacious passage and soon down to David's Traverse. I following Toby and Adam along, amazed to almost immediately hear Toby announce that he'd reached the next pitch. Having taken only 5 minutes or so at this point, Adam and I scoffed slightly at the 15-20 minutes mentioned in the guidebook for the time taken for this section, before reaching the squeezy bits which took us an additional 10 minutes or so. Oh well. In-situ hangers provided a pleasing level of ignorance at this point, and an enjoyable couple of descents saw us down to the Devil's Kitchen.

We were well aware that Marble Sink is unlikely to rank amongst the most frequently visited potholes in the Dales, but we were very surprised to find the handline solidly calcited to the flowstone it was resting on! After forcefully detaching the rope, we traversed through to the pretty little grotto that was our final destination. A pleasing chamber to complete an enjoyable descent.

I volunteered to derig, and our ascent went reasonably smoothly. David's Traverse was certainly a little spicier on the return, as was Speakers' Corner. Particularly for Adam who tackled it facing the outside of the bend, although I have since read this as a recommended method! At around 6 ft tall, I had few problems tackling the bend facing the inside and would certainly not have liked to have been facing the other way! The following section of passage proved more of an obstacle, due to the enforced arms-ahead position, upward slope, and tackle sack making progress a little tricky.

The climbs between the top two pitches were easier than anticipated, aside from the Bastard Hole which well and truly lived up to its name. Some teamwork would perhaps have helped a little here; maybe next time. The final obstacle was provided by the sharp bend in the entrance crawl: Toby's bag got caught behind him and I was following with my bag ahead of me, making it impossible for me to help out. Probably. I left him to it and after what sounded like a bit of unpacking and repacking we were soon back outside after a thoroughly enjoyable 4.5 hours underground.

I think the cave exceeded my expectations in every way. It certainly provided challenges, but was also not lacking in pleasant passage, pitches, climbs and formations, and at no point was it really unpleasant. It pains me to say it, but Toby was absolutely right. It was indeed a great trip.

We rounded off a super day with a curry with the other Yorkies in Bentham that, much like the cave, was perfectly spiced. We then caught the end of the book launch at the Marton for a drink or two, before returning the the NPC for some more refreshments and copious amounts of food. Top cave. Top day.

25th September 2017

Mark Sims

Show More
Write a Report

Saturday September 23rd

Long Kin East

Aileen, Gary, Les, Matt, Pete

22 photos by Gary...

Write a Report

Sunday September 10th

Pipikin Pot

Walmslers, Aileen, Fleur, Mark

Fleur wrote...

The next day I let the others cajole me into going down Pip. Aileen hadn't done it and the other two hadn't been for a while. We had considered Ireby as an alternative, but the rain kept on coming and in retrospect we definitely made the correct weather decision.
I last went to Pip a two and half years ago on valentine's day. It was Tom Clayton's birthday do and we were doing an Easegill traverse exchange; my team going in Pip and out Top while others went in Top and out of Bye George via the Grind. I recall Pip being much harder than I had remembered (and Pete discovering he no longer fitted) hence my reticence for this trip. Still, I reassured myself that it was an exceptionally strong team and I would be fine.
There was a debate in the farm about whether the cave was still rigged. I remembered Gavin Lowe et al taking the ropes out fairly recently, but had a suspicion that someone had put them back. Tom Clayton agreed, but was equally unsure. So we packed the minimum pull through ropes we felt we could get away with a set off.
The first tricky bit was judging the best place to walk up the other side of the Easegill beck as we ended fighting our way through the vegetation. Arriving at the entrance we found it was indeed rigged. And Adam realised that maybe he should have brought some cowstails for the pitch heads........
To cut a long story short I was fine indeed. The cave is, in my opinion, genuinely tight in two places early on. The first place is after the entrance pitch, cellar pot and the awkward climb that follows. The second is following the second pitch. I took my SRT kit off (although the others didn't) just to make my life easier. And abseiled on an italian hitch on my belt on the second pitch just because I couldn't be arsed to put it back on again. Third pitch was a bit longer though and definitely warranted a harness.
Then came the bit I had really not been looking forward too. The stemple rift. My tactic here is always to send someone else first so I can avoid the committing head first dive from the rift over the 4m drop. This allows me to go feet first instead with someone to make sure I hit the stemple with my toes. But the disadvantage is that it is harder going feet first to keep your body up and horizontal to avoid the tight part of the rift. I had one "I don't like this moment", but then swiftly sent myself through, Mark directed my feet and it was all done. Phew. Aileen boldly followed head first but had to retreat for a second go having initially got herself stuck on her srt gear.
After that is was plain sailing. Well, apart from the bit where I entered the rift lower down facing the wrong way, got to the awkward corner and then remembered that I had done exactly the same thing last time.
We were down to the Pipikin boulder choke in no time and in danger of being out in less than two hours, so took a detour to look at Cigalere. It has been a very long time since I last visited this part of the cave. The Hall of the Mountain King mud was just as squalid as I remembered. But interestingly I had forgotten all about the climbs in the Cigalere streamway, instead focusing my memory on the canal further upstream. It was very very wet and the climbs were sporting to put it mildly. This will be interesting coming back down I thought (and was later proved right). Further upstream the passage lowers in a few places until I felt that it was not the place I wanted to be on a pissing wet day. So Mark and Adam carried on to see the waterfall and Aileen kindly came back with me. Good job too since the final climb down posed a bit of a problem. Luckily we had a long sling with us or else we would not have made the descent.
Finally we got to cover our clean and wet suits with goo again exiting first back through Hall of the Mountain king and then via Mistral. The Mistral exit was much as I remembered it. Not terribly inspiring and a bit slimy in places.
In the last section we met a family coming into the cave and helped them rescue a baby frog.
Then back across the fell in the pouring rain; stopping only to be impressed by Ray Duffy et al repairng the path between Link and Lancs in the most hideous of weather conditions.

18th October 2017

Fleur Loveridge

Show More
Write a Report

Saturday September 9th

Rift Pot (Allotment)

Walmslers, Aileen, Fleur, Mark

Fleur wrote...

We were supposed to be going to Penyghent but it had been clear for several days if not a week that it would be too wet. Aileen and I deferred the decision of an alternative trip all week as well. By chance we managed to collect Mark and Adam for the team too, and it was not until Aileen, Mark and I were departing York that we finally decided on Rift Pot instead. Main rationale being that it was sufficiently weather proof and I hadn't done it before (neither had Aileen) - a rare beast indeed.
Adam met us in Crummack and we packed the ropes, dodging the odd shower. The walk up was mostly pleasant and Mark and Adam found the entrance fairly easily having been there recently with the Ario crew. I started to rig the first pitch, taking instructions from Mark that it was hard to avoid a rub and to keep the y-hang to the right. It turns out that if you put the second y-hang in lower down on the other side of the rift then this is not such a problem.......
The bottom of the entrance pitch was an impressive space and I immediately made the mistake of going in the wrong direction into the inviting large space. Mark called me back, but him having the next rope this did not delay us. He carried on to rig the next two small pitches, where we found the rope lengths in the CNCC guide to be somewhat optimistic. It was just possible to get off the second pitch and the third needed to be rigged quite tight. Sure, we had fairly fat rope that will have consumed some meterage in the knots, but not that much. We recommend packing some excess.
A longer pitch took us to the end of the ropework from where you can admire the sound and spray of the water entering from Long Kin East (in flood). Skirting past this leads to a small section of streamway. Very nice but short lived, it crosses a large slope up to the left before degenerating to a low crawl mostly full of water which no doubt led to a sump that I felt no need to see. Back up the mud slope you can take a short cut back to the Long Kin East Waterfall.
So, that was it - a fine, but not extensive excursion. Adam derigged and we were out on the surface within about 2.5 hrs.
A quick jolly through Long Kin East cave completed our day out with the possible highlight - a swirling Guinness foam doughnut going round and round and round in an eddy in the stream.
A badly timed heavy showed as we got changed them possibly soaked us more than the caving trip.

18th October 2017

Fleur Loveridge

Show More
Write a Report

Sunday July 16th

County Pot - Cow Pot through trip

Josh, Jean-Luc Heath (YUCPC)

Write a Report

Sunday July 16th

County Pot to Molluscan Hall via Dismal Bypass

Gary, Matt, Jack (RRCPC)

Matt wrote...

After cancelling our scheduled weekend in Wharfedale due to the dodgy weather, my main aim during our substitute weekend at Bull Pot Farm was to learn more about downstream in County Pot, particularly the route via Dismal Junction and the possible connection to Ease Gill Aven, which we have visited from above on two occasions over the last year (via the Mancunian Way).

The weather on Saturday was a little dire, and despite very low water in the Main Drain during our Saturday trip, this was steadily rising. By Sunday morning Casterton Fell was saturated, and not surprisingly a substantial river was flowing down Broadway just inside County Pot, all disappearing down towards Dismal Junction. Things weren't looking all that good!

We headed down via Spout Hall and beyond, soon reaching Platypus Junction (apparently so called due to a platypus head shaped rock protrusion, although this was a little tenuous). Left here returns up Razor Passage back to Broadway to complete the famous short County round trip. Right however (taking an initial bypass to a low section) heads downstream towards Dismal Junction.

The going was all pretty good for a few minutes; stooping and easy crawling. Then it started to turn nasty. Ahead, a wide cobbled bedding meant a flat out crawl in the water. Gary and Jack seemed unimpressed, but I hadn't come all this way not to have a go, so I pushed on into the water. Around a slight bend, the water deepened and a rock arch presented a daunting obstacle which would require complete submersion and sucking air from the 10cm air gap. No thanks! The fresh foam on the roof emphasised how readily this passage sumps, and with the fells saturated I had no intention of continuing.

Returning to Platypus we headed towards Razor Passage, in search of a 'Dismal Bypass' that was marked on the survey. We had a copy of the survey (or rather, a printout of the relevant section), but we'd done no research on this alternative route. Still, we thought we'd have a go at finding it anyway. Our expectations weren't high for the quality of this passage. Given that most people prefer Dismal Junction, the bypass must be pretty hard work.

Only 20-30m up Razor Passage (from Platypus Junction) a 2m climb out of the stream on the right reaches a high level area, and a small scrotty passage disappeared off back in the direction we'd just come from. This looked well worn, and was going in the right direction so we followed it.

The passage continued, mostly awkward crawling and wriggling through blocks in a narrow passage for some distance, eventually reaching a small chamber with an obvious 1.5m high cone of mud, smoothed by the action of passing cavers, sloping up to a fissure. At the top of the fissure, we found ourselves in a much larger passage. In one direction (right) this was walking through liquid mud along a beautifully decorated passage, ending with a fine view towards a pristine white pillar and some flowstone. We didn't expect this especially somewhere so muddy! In the opposite direction an easy wide crawl passed several more (rather dirtier) formations and seemed to be the way onwards.

Soon, we reached The Funnel, a standing height chamber with a rusty metal bar, presumably used to pry open the boulder slope leading down and out of this chamber at floor level. More grim slithering over slabs and through deep mud in a small passage eventually reached what looked initially like a dead end; but squirming up through the boulders revealed darkness, as Molluscan Hall came into view.

We were delighted! Our recce has been successful and we were in the splendid elongated chamber of Molluscan Hall. A traverse along the right wall reaches the central point of the chamber where a steep route up boulders presented itself. However, we opted for the large hole in the floor leading down to the sound of water. Getting back down to the stream here requires an esoteric corkscrew climb down through blocks (with a few wrong turns that lead to exposed balconies over the stream) but with relative ease we found ourselves back in the stream beyond Dismal Junction.

Despite the temptation to continue exploring, we'd actually had quite enough. So feeling rather pleased with ourselves, we headed out, completing the round trip up Razor Passage. The cascades in Razor Passage provided an excellent place to wash off the thick mud now caking our entire bodies.

This has hopefully set the scene for further trips over the coming year or two to learn this less well visited, fascinating part of Ease Gill Caverns, with the ultimate aim being a round trip from County, to Stop Pot, then Mancunian Way, down Ease Gill Aven and then back via Dismal Junction. More research and recce trips are needed though before we try anything like this.

A lovely day out, and so nice to go somewhere we've never been before.

Those Yorkshire cavers who are reluctant to part from their trusty SRT kits take note; There is some top notch exploration and adventure to be had here. Get yourself the survey, some online descriptions, and instead of doing Rowten Pot for the umpteenth time, go somewhere new in Ease Gill Caverns instead.

17th July 2017

Matt Ewles

Show More
Write a Report

Sunday July 16th

Cow Pot

Fleur, Laura, Pete

Fleur wrote...

Actually, Fleur, Laura and guest Lou - a rare girls only trip underground.
A quick jolly down the pitches in cow pot before an early departure on a Sunday. With my third visit in the last year or so I remembered better all the rigging details and was hopefully fairly efficient. Main points of note were losing Laura twice (once on the way in and once of the way out) between the two pitches; rescuing a baby lizard from the climb down; Lou choosing the hanging rebelay on fall pot (of course) to get in a bit of a tangle. Fall pot as spectacular as ever. Easy exit since leaving the cave rigged for the the through trippers hence soon back at the farm for tea and cake. Yum.

29th August 2017

Fleur Loveridge

Write a Report

Saturday July 15th

Notts Pot

Pete, Laura, Gary, Fleur

Fleur wrote...

The weather forecast was not as good as hoped; I had promised Lou a nice SRT trip in the dales and it was decided that Notts would be a good bet. Initial plans for an exchange were shelved at the last minute since our numbers were reduced by Matt eating too much macaroni cheese for breakfast and making himself ill......
First challenge was locating the entrance in foggy weather, but we managed to do so fairly easily in the end. Gary, Pete and I shared the rigging of left hand route, my preferred descent at the moment. Laura later commented that it was interesting to observe the differing styles employed by the three of us with my expedition tight rigging being notable. We made fairly swift progress through the cave without any difficulty or incident. Well, until I was rigging the penultimate pitch when I realised that the top pin on my stop was wobbling around rather disconcertingly. Luckily just one more small pitch to rig an then it was all jammers. We paid our dutiful respects to the sumps before heading out with Gary derigging. An efficient exit and back to the farm for tea and cake. A lovely day out.

29th August 2017

Fleur Loveridge

Show More
Write a Report

Saturday July 15th

County Pot to Oxbow Corner

Matt, Josh, Jean-Luc Heath (YUCPC)

Write a Report

Sunday July 9th

New Goyden Pot

Toby, Matt, Laura, Josh, John D, John C, Gary, Jean-Luc Heath (YUCPC), John Holloway (ULSA)

Matt wrote...

Despite caving in Yorkshire for 13 years this year, the caves of Nidderdale have so far eluded me. Some years ago a few members had a trip to New Goyden and reported it as being an excellent trip, and it's always stuck in the back of my mind. So with the CNCC meeting on Saturday 8th, which myself and Gary were attending, the Sunday seemed the ideal opportunity for a trip to Nidderdale on the way home from The Dales.

With a staggering turnout of nine people, including friends from YUCPC and ULSA, we were able to split into two teams. John Holloway (ULSA) kindly took a group from Manchester Hole to Goyden, being the only person in our group with a good knowledge of this complex and extensive system. My group instead headed first to New Goyden Pot, the plan being to 'swap caves' afterwards so everyone got to see both.

New Goyden is pleasantly accessible. Park in the layby immediately after Limley Farm or in the larger layby by the picnic tables a few hundred metres further. Walk back down the road to the main vehicular entrance to the farm, and down here turn right and then through a gate and onto a public footpath running south along the west side of the (hopefully dry) riverbed. After three or four hundred metres the path crosses the riverbed at a derelict ford, and a hundred metres further is the entrance to New Goyden in the right hand embankment under an overhanging tree.

Of course, we missed this completely and instead found a much more obvious lidded pipe only 50m further along the riverbed and descended this. We found ourselves at the top of a loose series of climbs with in-situ tat and scaffold poles, with the New Goyden stream below. John had mentioned a free-climbable route into New Goyden, but this was a little to hairy for our liking so out we went, this time locating the correct entrance.

Immediately inside the entrance, a short crawl reaches the first pitch, followed immediately by the second; both are splendid short pitches. The second lands in the New Goyden stream passage in the middle of the river.

The stream passage is stunning and I stood in awe for a few minutes, shining my light along a 10-15m high, 5-6m wide cavernous river, vanishing off into the distance! Upstream quickly reached an inlet through what appeared to be dig spoil (or possibly even mining spoil as there are some mines in the area), from which a stream issued. Just up here, looking up, we could see the scaffold poles where we had been stood 30 minutes earlier.

We then followed the dramatic river passage downstream for a few minutes down to a sump. A short distance back from the sump, a steep slope on the left took us up to a scramble up through blocks into The Planetarium. A few of us headed straight on from here into the continuing high level passage (this led to a junction where right was the main way on), and a few of us went right down boulders at the bottom of The Planetarium, but both routes soon reunited in another splendid short section of stream passage until we hit another sump.

We spend another happy hour exploring every nook and cranny of the cave and all the various inlets - an absolute delight.

New Goyden was a total surprise - a splendid, dramatic and inspiring underground river - well worth the drive up to Nidderdale for if you're looking for a gentle but thoroughly pleasant afternoon trip. The day was finished off nicely by some blazing hot sunshine and an ice cream in Pateley Bridge.

17th July 2017

Matt Ewles

Show More
Write a Report

Sunday July 9th

Manchester Hole - Goyden Pot

Josh, Laura, Jean-Luc Heath (YUCPC), John Holloway (ULSA)

Write a Report

Sunday July 9th

Goyden Pot

Toby, Matt, John D, John C, Gary

Write a Report

Thursday June 29th

Cnoc Nan Uamh System (Cnockers)

Ade, David W, Josh, Rachel, Lots of others from YUCPC

Write a Report

Monday June 26th

Uamh An Claonaite

Laura, Jerry, Gary, Ade, Matt, Philip, Rachel, Adam Walmsley (YUCPC) and Matt Bouwman (YUCPC)

19 photos by Gary...

Write a Report

Sunday May 28th

Ogof Draenen to Dogleg Series

Aileen, Gary, Matt

Matt wrote...

After numerous trips to the far reaches of Ogof Draenen over the last few years (including one to Medusa's Children, one to the Geryon, and one to War of the Worlds and Sandero Luminosa at the opposite end of the cave), we were on the lookout for new places to visit in this excellent system. A tip off from a few club members recommended the Dogleg Complex, a different branch from the end of MS&D. After watching the excellent YouTube videos by The Freems (Youtube name 'Catchpool'), documenting a trip to here, it was clear that this part of Draenen is home to some of the finest formations.

A trip here was a must and so a bank holiday weekend at Whitewalls was promptly arranged.

A reasonably early start for a team of five enthusiasts suggested an efficient day ahead. Unfortunately on arriving at the Draenen car park opposite the Lamb and Fox, myself, Gary and Aileen waited patiently for Rachel and Toby to arrive in Rachel's car. After 30 minutes and no sign of them we were wondering what had happened. With no mobile signal, we gave them another 30 minutes before deciding that we might as well get started and hope they would catch us up (we knew they had recently been as far as MS&D so hopefully knew the way).

Aileen, Gary and I made quick progress through the entrance series, Beer Challenge, Indiana Highway, Megadrive etc etc, arriving at the Snowball in about two and a half hours - Not bad going! Into Last Sandwich Crawl, and the 30-40 minutes of long but not too hard crawling commenced. It was good to be back at MS&D after a year or so away. We stomped along to the junction where on all previous trips we have headed up towards The Geryon, but this time we headed down to 'Into the Black' down a steep slope of boulders (with a handline at the top). In the chamber at the bottom, a cavernous stream passage disappeared into the darkness (hence the name), but up on the left a steep rubble slope lead up into the Dogleg complex, and then the route was on the right at the top of the slope up yet more scree slopes. This did not look like a place many people had visited!

The Dogleg Complex is a very old, high level fossil complex of joint-driven cave development. It is a three dimensional labyrinth of junctions. Thankfully, Tarquins description which is freely available online (http://www.cavinguk.co.uk/draenen), is excellent. There are a few confusing moments where it is necessary to read ahead considerably to see what bits to ignore and what to follow, and some creative interpretation, but we encountered no major difficulties. Within 30 minutes of entering the Dogleg complex we arrived at our target; a stunning, absolutely magnificent, grotto at the end of an inconspicuous low passage, hidden beyond five minutes of arduous flat-out crawling.

Peering into this grotto from the approach, it is like a fairyland of columns, stalactites, straws and helictites. Stunning! They were in splendid condition, thanks to the difficulty in reaching this location and the fact that this is a dead end so it is not a thoroughfare. We admired this stunning chamber for several minutes and Gary took photos before we moved on.

Next stop was Circus Maximus, where it was nice to be back into more typical Draenen type caverns. There were some very nice stalagmites and straws here. However, the real treat was just beyond Circus Maximus, another dead end with a stunning gallery of flowstone and helictites. Absolutely pristine!

After more photography, we started on our outward journey, stopping only for a brief stomp down the first few hundred metres of the Into The Black Streamway, and exiting the cave at 9pm after about 10 hours underground.

What a superb trip - I thought I'd seen the finest Draenen had to offer before today - But the Dogleg pips the others to take first place.

Arriving out we found a note pinned to the entrance hatch. Rachel's car had a blown out tyre on route to the cave. Very bad luck indeed, but at least they'd got a top notch trip to the Courtisan in Aggie the day before to slightly compensate. It was nonetheless fun telling them how great The Dogleg was!

16th July 2017

Matt Ewles

Show More
Write a Report

Saturday May 27th

Agen Allwedd Up Turkey Inlet

Gary, Jerry, Matt, Philip, Tegs

7 photos by Gary...

YCC Trip History

Here you can see the list of pretty much all the trips YCC members have been on over the years. Members can also submit reports which will hopefully help others to avoid problems or just for some inspiration! Use the filters below to view by year or cave.

Trips by Year...

2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Trips by Cave...