© 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. (1927) Cave Exploration. Yorkshire Ramblers' Club Journal Volume 5 Number 17: pp240-245. Leeds: YRC.

Cave Exploration.

I. - New Discoveries.

Ingleborough, Keld Bank Spring Cave. - 18th August, 1924. Stobart and Roberts. A drain pipe crawl, about the limit. The entrance is one of the holes close to P. 82. The wonderfully continuous tunnel runs for 250 yards and joins the main stream at a point where one can walk for a space. The roof suddenly descends and daylight is visible on the right but cannot be reached.

The explorers were too weary of crawling to try up-stream very far.

Ingleborough, Borrins Moor Cave. - 2nd June, 1925. Hollingshead and Griffiths, Gritstone Club. A remarkable cave to turn up close to Alum Pot, and one with an entrance ten feet high. It is in the water system beyond Upper Long Churn, W. of the wall crossed by the Alum Pot Beck.

The main cave runs in 200 yards to a horrible crawl over mud, but on the right bank fifty yards in, is the more remarkable channel of a tributary. For 400 yards this is almost straight and of even height, six feet or so, then suddenly breaks up into impenetrable rifts. Judging from the surface sinks it runs S.E. towards Simon Fell.

Allotments, Silva Pol. - 70 ft. deep, dug out by the Gritstone Club, July, 1925. Search twenty yards east of the Allotments Gate, towards Rift Pot.

Ribblehead, Cuddy Gill Cave. - 29th March, 1924. The upper course of the stream through Rainscar Cave is Cuddy Gill which goes underground into a fine looking cave which has also an odd doorway into the passage a dozen yards along. The explorer is three times forced to a wettish crawl over stones not entirely submerged, and after passing small chambers and avens of great interest, as they are formed by infiltrations from the surface close above, emerges in the bottom of a sink hole, 60 yards direct from the entrance.

A few yards away, marked by a stake, is Cuddy Gill Pot, 22 ft. deep, but leading to nothing.

Ribblehead, Gunner Fleet Cave. - In conspicuous sink holes at the N. end of the Viaduct close to the W. side of the railway embankment are two caves formed by the same stream.

The upstream cave (29th March, 1924, Brown, C. E. Burrow, and Roberts) after many windings and pools, and after forcing a stalactite barrier, was found to close under a boulder choke.

The downstream cave (10th May, 1924, Lowden and Roberts) by a curious series of S bends reaches a long chamber with fine stalactites. There is a dangerous loose wall on the left. A muddy stream passage led to another area with fine stalactites. In the President's opinion there were traces of a visit many years ago, possibly at the time when the railway was built.

Ribblehead, Holme Hill Cave. - August, 1924. The Ribble sinks about 300 yards above the footbridge on the old track over Cam Fell, and emerges as a powerful stream from a seldom noticed cave under the high bank on top of which the track leaves the high road to Hawes.

Beyond an old frame for a gate, there proves to be a fine wide and high passage for 150 yards. The upper region is of the winding stream type, but the lower, the present day watercourse, is a straighter channel not more than three feet high.

Greygareth, Yordas Cave (Kingsdale). - On August 2nd,1925, Addyman, C. G. Culross, Sutcliffe and E. E. Roberts descended the waterfall into the "Chapel" off the Great Chamber. The pool at the foot is quite shallow. Ladders were used, but the place could probably be climbed, were it out in the open.

Greygareth End, Marble Steps Pot (High Douk). - June 27, 1925 (Brown, Hilton, F. & H. Booth, Roberts, Lowden and Anderson). This delightful cave now turns out a pot-hole of the first class, and the only dry one.

The first five coming on 31st May from the Alum Pot Camp, used one ladder at pitch I. in the rock channel, passed pitch II. by a new variant in the singular rifted area to its right, climbed out of the first hall by the route discovered in 1915 and down into the second, then followed the perfectly straight passage, 230 ft. long, bearing 322°. After the turn, a short distance in a very narrow passage with a stride over a hole in the floor already explored, led to pitch III. which begins with a sloping floor and finishes with the descent of a 12 ft. wall, by means of a hand line into a chamber 6 ft. wide. On a level with the stalactite used as belay, Brown and Hilton advanced, hardly noticing the chamber below, to a passage with a solid floor (the point reached by Holden and Humphries,1922), and walked over mud to where a crawl of some interest over stalagmite began.

From the chamber below pitch III., a passage ran down to the left, and immediately a great hole in the floor had to be passed by chimneying. The bottom, 15 ft. down, could be climbed to on the far side, but from it another 20 ft. was descended by ladder into a very straight but very narrow passage.

Across this hole in the floor, the main passage very soon finished at the 4th pitch. In the early hours of June 28th, three ladders were put over, and down, a magnificent dry shaft bottom was reached at 90 ft. A 5th pitch of 30 ft. followed immediately and at its foot a chimney climb of 20 ft. into a straight lofty channel with a trickle of water along it. Progress downstream, bearing 295º, was soon checked by a deep pool awkward of access. Some way upstream earth was found and then the very straight passage became painfully narrow, but progress was not actually stopped. A little way back an upward passage with much earth was followed to whatseemed to be a choke of stones from the surface. Everywhere down here a slight draught was noticed, and it must be remembered the hillside below the pot-hole slopes steeply.

Leck Fell, Gavel Pot. - 11th July, 1926. F. Booth, Brown, Hilton and Roberts. The interior pot-hole, into which the stream coming from Short Drop Cave falls, proved a disappointment. The floor was reached by a wet, ladder-climb of 72 feet, but the water disappeared into an impenetrable fissure.

Barbon Fell, Bull Pot. - 21st March, 1926. Brown, Evans, E. E. Roberts. The stream passage in the main cave was reported by Burnett to be a quarter of a mile long. Where Hastings' and Hudson's survey stopped, the continuation was discovered to be made by climbing high up to a small hole.

Burnett's Great Cavern was also reached again, having been visited by Ellis and Roberts in 1924, but starting from almost the same point near where the water appears, the party found themselves in another cavern of similar size crossed by a stream coming down from a boulder choke. The presence of boots and tins in the choke and cavern was clear evidence that the new chamber is close to the outer pot-hole.

Bull Pot is so unexpectedly intricate that it is highly probable more remains to be discovered.

Nidderdale, Blayshaw Gill Pot, No. 2. - Depth 44 ft. 10th May, 1925. Visited by Cuttriss and Hastings, 1906. A "man-hole" covered by a stone must be looked for in the left edge of the stream bed some yards below a walled up bank. It is on record that the original discoverers, Mr. Walker of the adjacent farm and others, crawled through a passage which entered a rift. Of a party led by Barstow to the pot-hole, Lowden, Culross, and E. E. Roberts found a way out of the bottom of the rift and entered a stream passage which also communicated with the waterfall from a swallow-hole higher up the beck. After a most interesting journey of 350 yards they found themselves in a lead-mine.

Later the lead-mine above the bridge was entered but was felt to be unpleasantly dangerous and not explored.

Nidderdale, Blayshaw Gill Pot, No. I. - Depth 22 ft. 21st June, 1925. Lowden, Culross, Sutcliffe, and Roberts. This is the blocked up pot-hole in the grass visited in 1906. There are a number of exhausting crawls which were thoroughly explored, and an exit was found by way of another "manhole" in the bed of the beck, large enough but by a hair's breadth only.

Penyghent, Little Hull Hole (Corrections). - The actual discovery is claimed by Barstow in May, 1910. The editor apologises to those who have sought for Larch Tree Pot, two miles north (Y.R.C.J. Vol. V., p. 134). It is two miles south of Hull Pot.

II. - Other Expeditions.

Ingleborough, Juniper Gulf - A week after the success of the Gritstone Club, a Y.R.C. party, tempted by the fact that the ladders were still in the cave, tried to do a first class pot-hole in a day from Leeds. Motoring out, six men were underground from 12.45 till 7.30 p.m. All took a trip on the ladders in the big shaft, and the first two reached the 130 ft. ledge only to find one side-rope cut through there. The advanced hour forbade the cutting out of rungs and knotting up. Congratulations to the drivers who took us home in the dark after their strenuous day.

Ingleborough, Rift Pot. - The third descent was made in June, 1925, by the Gritstone Club, via the Long Kin Cave passage and a ladder descent of 180 feet direct into the Lower Chamber. The through route of the Y.S.A. from Long Kin across the bridges and out by the daylight shaft of Rift Pot was repeated.

Penyghent, Hull Pot. - Some time previous to August, 1924, a great slab split off from the south side at the west end and tilted forward so that one can pass right round it. The floor of the west end is only accessible now by climbing.

This and the rock fall of 1926 at Malham Cove are of interest as showing the process of enlargement of pot-holes. The easy cataclysmic theory that "the roof fell in" is somewhat out of date.

Penyghent, High Hull Pot. - Second descent, 17th August, 1924. Stobart, Lowden, Hilton, Roberts. Much time was spent the day before in clearing the mouth of the pot-hole and in testing the safety of the jammed blocks. The ladders were all tied up outside, and it was only necessary below to take off the two for the third pitch. The life line for the first two pitches, 140 ft. in all, was held on the surface. Much delay was inevitable in the lighting of candles by the leader owing to the frightful drenchings on the ladders.

The first pair were from noon till two o'clock, but by 3.45 p.m. the second pair had been down and the ladders were up on the moor. The whole of the work was done in steady rain.

Greygareth, Rowten Pot. - Third descent, 23rd May, 1926, Brown, Frankland, Hilton, F. Booth, E. E. Roberts. Conditions extremely favourable. 100 feet of ladder was put down from the end of the watercourse, the lower half of which was dry. After that only two short ladders (24 ft.) are needed, as the easy lateral passage should be used. This wonderful pot-hole is quite another problem under wet conditions, but time has clearly developed an easier route by the watercourse, instead of from the Bridge, which was perforce the route of the pioneers of 1897.

Greygareth, Rowten Cave and Jingling Cave. - Except at flood times there is no difficulty now in following the Rowten Pot Beck underground to the great pot-hole, or vice versa. Two short dry crawls may at times be under water. The journey up Jingling Cave, a tributary on the left bank below the crawls, is most amusing and well worth doing, but the distance to the exit by Jingling Pot is considerable both above and below ground.

Greygareth, Batty Cave. - This cave, visited long ago by Cuttriss, is not far above the Kingsdale road in the next stream channel beyond Yordas. It contains an extremely fine and lofty little chamber, into which one must rope down fifteen feet. Be sure you can get back.