© Yorkshire Ramblers' Club. Reproduction of this article is not permitted.
However, short extracts from it may be used, for non-commercial purposes, provided their source is fully cited, acknowledged and referenced as:
YRC Committee. (1921) Cave Exploration. Yorkshire Ramblers' Club Journal Volume 4 Number 14: pp272-275. Leeds: YRC.
I.- New Discoveries.
Ingleborough, Mere Gill Hole (second descent). - At Whitsuntide, 1914, there was quite a large camp at Mere Gill of eight men and four ladies - Mrs. Stobart, Miss Capper, Barstow, Oscar Addyman, Roy and Stewart Sanderson, in addition to the old Mere Gill party, Mr. and Mrs. Payne, Miss Payne, R. F. Stobart, Erik Addyman, and E. E. Roberts. The cave was worked very safely and comfortably in two days by dividing into two gangs, the first two pitches being rigged by the first gang while the weather outside was very unpromising.
The sand at the start of the long final stream passage beyond the Third Pitch and the Bridge Pool was found still marked with footprints and " Y.R.C., 1912." Roy Sanderson and Roberts followed the unexplored dry tunnel from here, and after a trying crawl, partly over "stalagmitic ice" lying on mud, reached a broad passage containing a strong and rapid stream. The rope was unluckily abandoned on the way. Stobart entered next day a shorter tunnel from the Mere Gill stream and after a very muddy crawl reached within sound of a stream, probably close to the end of the first tunnel. The new watercourse upstream very soon became a low bedding plane with no prospects to tempt the explorers on. A tramp of a quarter of a mile downstream led to a waterfall into another passage, which was identified, perhaps rashly, as the junction of the "Torrent" with the Mere Gill water. Fluorescein was put into Sunset Hole on the second day, but the party who followed the main stream to the Torrent waterfall had no result to report.
Miss Capper made the descent of the Second Pitch into the Canyon Hall.
Penyghent, Little Hull Hole. - Whitsuntide, 1913. Mr. and Mrs. R. F. Stobart and Messrs. Payne, Hazard, and Roberts descended the first pitch, and the two men who went on down the second (130 feet), found a straight narrow passage of over 100 yards. Difficult going, during which they had twice to lie right in the water, led to a twenty-foot pitch, which will need a ladder.
High Hull Pot. - Hull Pot itself points E. and W. Two hundred yards from the eastern end a beck, unnamed on the 6-inch map, is swallowed in a sink by which passes the Foxup track. At Easter, 1919, a pot-hole was found to have opened out here enough for access, probably in the preceding very wet winter.
On 7th June, 1919, J. V. Hazard and E. E. Roberts in turn descended 60 feet of ladder swinging free, and from the noise of the water judged that the pot is of considerable depth. Unluckily the electric lamp had been dropped over the edge, and the descent was made in darkness. Here is certainly a second great addition to the Penyghent pot-holes.
Hull Pot. - A large hole in 1916 had opened in the bed of the beck, not far from the pot, and the water could be seen flowing along a passage of the Douk type. A large boulder now blocks this hole, but any cave man, in suitable garb, with an electric lamp, can still reach the passage by chimneying past the waterfall in the upper cave of Hull Pot.
On 7th June, 1919, in a very dry spell, F. Payne, Miss Pilley, S. Sanderson, and R. F. Stobart entered the lower cave and crawled through the water to the upper. Foam was the principal obstacle met with.
Ribbleside - Dismal Hill Hole. (6th September, 1918 ; F. Payne and E. E. Roberts). - This lies exactly at the S. foot of Dismal Hill, which is S. of Old Ing Farm, in the line of the dry beck, half-way between a. wall and the scar. It is entered by a very low bedding plane slit in the last sink-hole. Handline only required; depth 30 feet in all.
Calf Pot or Dry Lathe Cave. - Near Old Ing Farm. Requires one ladder from the bridge. Downstream, the cave is described by Moore in Bogg's Border Country.
September, 1915, Charlesworth and Roberts found that there was a fine passage upstream, straight, narrow, and low, with a splendid array of innumerable pipe-stem stalactites. These were treated with the greatest care. A desperate creep finally, led to the bottom of a pothole containing a 40-foot waterfall, which comes from a sink right over on the E. side of the hillock next Calf Pot, 350 yards in a direct line.
Ribble Swallow (7th June, 1919; Payne's party). - When the Ribble is in flood, much the greater part of the water disappears into the left bank of Thorns Gill, just below Katnot Cave. It would be interesting to know if there is any printed reference to this.
Three entrances form an arcade, and at low level the water runs in direct from the lower. There is much drift wood within. The passage splits and then reunites. After the water disappears, a narrow rift, with timber jams and a small pitch, leads across a fine aven to the stream again. The finish is in a bedding plane against unexcavated shale, at thing unique in my experience.
Somerset - Swildon's Hole (near Wells). - This is one of Balch's discoveries, a. remarkably fine cave with three main passages. Soon after they unite the stream forms a waterfall into a fine wide pot-hole. Beyond this point exploration was not carried for a long time.
In 1914, Dr. E. A. Baker, R. F. Chandler, G. Baker, and E. E. Roberts found the waterfall feeble enough for progress. One ladder reached down through the fall into a very large pool. A good sized passage with much rotten rock led after a sharp bend to a 12-foot pitch, unclimbable and requiring another ladder. Dr. Baker and Roberts then followed the passage a considerable distance and were stopped by a difficult pool.
This point has not been reached again, though the fall has been twice descended. At the very dry Whitsuntide of 1919, an impossible amount of water defeated a party who expected to open out much new ground.
Transport difficulties are not serious and occur chiefly at the start, but the troublesome hole near the fall is almost too much for big men.
II.- Other Expeditions.
Ingleborough - Hardraw Kin or Far Douk Cave. - Second descent, 8th and 9th June, 1919; F. Payne, Miss Pilley, R. F. Stobart, S. Sanderson, J. V. Hazard, E. E. Roberts. First descent, 14th April, 1906, by the Y.S.A.
Top passage, 200 yards, very narrow, conspicuous for the number of right-angled bends. First pitch, 100 feet. Next a steep climb, followed by second pitch, 36 feet, into a fine chamber. Although the pool at the foot of the ladder can be climbed across, the crack beyond is only an inch or two wide, and that is the end.
(In consequence of a slip in the text of the very accurate Underground Waters Report, it is well to repeat that the upstream passage has been repeatedly followed to its source, and that Hardraw Kin water has no connection with Sunset Hole, P. 99.)
Long Kin East. - The expedition down this passage though lengthy is very interesting. There are two short pitches, easier down than up, and then a more serious drop which requires a fixed rope. At a still deeper plunge, which is beyond the powers of two men and a rope, the passage broadens into a chamber, and the shaft of Rift Pot is seen on the far side near enough for stones to be flung in.
Rift Pot was first reached this way, 3rd June, 1906, by the Yorkshire Speleological Association. On 17th April, 1908, three Y.S.A. men made a traverse of the wall and bridges to join their party on the direct descent.
Sulber Pot and Nick Pot. - The position of these pot-holes is not well known. Nick Pot is the final plunge of the Shooting Box Beck from Simon Fell. The actual pot is a few yards down the water channel from the shallow surface pot. Sulber Pot is a dry shaft surrounded by a wall only a few score yards away in the direction of Sulber Nick and Horton. The walk from Gaping Ghyll to Long Kin East and then to Juniper Gulf leads direct to Nick and Sulber Pots
Disappointment Pot. - It is curious that so few know of the existence of this cave, within 100 yards of the S. edge of Gaping Ghyll sink, directly in line of Fell Beck. It was discovered and christened in 1912 by Holden and others.
An obvious hole at the bottom of a deep sink leads to the head of a. 15-foot pot-hole, which can be climbed to a stream. The waterfall upstream can be ascended, but the passage soon becomes too narrow to follow. Downstream the watercourse runs perhaps 200 yards, mostly narrow, and one part a severe struggle on the return, ending in a small pool and choke. It was once more traversed by the 1920 campers.
Leck Fell. - At Whitsuntide, 1919, by the courtesy of Mr. Welch, of Leck Hall, a number of members began the survey of the Leek Group of pot-holes. Mr. Welch was good enough to grant us the use of his shooting box. Death's Head Pot (200 ft.) was taken first and the survey completed. Gavel Pot and Rumbling Hole were among other descents made.
About these caves nothing has been written but "A Night in Lost John's," and the Editor has been disappointed in an article for the present Journal. Better luck next time.
Rainscar Cave. - On Blea Moor, half a mile from road fork below Ribblehead station. At W, end of scar, near thorn tree, a beck flows out among rocks. Upstream choked by a big fall of rocks. Downstream a fine passage can be followed to a choke. Clinib out into a sink and immediately re-enter the passage. After many rapid turns, deepish pools are reached, and then one can crawl out through the water, 70 yards from the second entry.
The beck sinks again at once, and can be followed to its final exit. Daylight is visible and only a few feet of six inch slit block the way. The water then runs down to Batty Wife Hole, which seems to be gradually opening out again.
Sell Gill Hole has been several times descended since 1914 by parties led by R. F. Stobart. The last descent was with Payne and Miss. Pilley, Whitsun, 1919.
Oxlow Cavern (near Castleton, Derbyshire). - An amazing series of huge natural chambers, entered by an old mine. It was visited by Payne's party at Whitsuntide, 1915. A very narrow shaft went down 70 feet to a chamber, the floor of which sloped down 50 feet to a level space. From this a short passage led out on to the side of an enormous cavern. One ladder led to a platform and another through a tunnel in the platform to the entrance of a wide passage. This sloped down away from the cavern a very long way till it reached a wonderful series of vast connected halls. One ladder was needed to reach the floor. In one of the halls was a single ladder shaft.
Owing to the narrow shafts here and the stemples there, it was possible to climb back the whole distance, unroped, in luxury and ease. It is much to be regretted that since the Y.R.C. visit the entrance has been blown in, this on the evidence of one of the criminals.