Trips & Reports for 2017

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

Write a Report

Saturday July 15th

Notts Pot

Pete, Laura, Gary, Fleur

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...

Write a Report

Saturday May 27th

Agen Allwedd to The Courtesan

Aileen, Rachel, Toby

Write a Report

Sunday May 14th

Knotlow Caverns via Climbing Shaft

Gary, Jerry, John D, Matt, Tegs

Write a Report

Saturday May 13th

Lathkill Head Cave , Mandale Mine and several other small caves

Chris, Gary, Jerry, John D, Matt, Tegs

14 photos by Gary...

Write a Report

Saturday May 6th

Fairy Holes (Weardale)

David W, Fleur, Matt, Pete, Ursula Seddon

Matt wrote...

It'd been a few years since our last trip into Fairy Holes, and I was quite excited about the possibility of returning.

With the weather very much in our favour, we arrived at the quarry and made our way up the forestry track - or at least what once was the forestry track. Now it is more like the deforestry track. All the trees have gone (replanted with saplings) and the place is unrecognisable compared to last time. The parking spot was covered in forestry debris so we parked on the side of the track near the top gate.

Unfortunately, Gary was developing a migraine so opted out of the trip (choosing to fly his drone instead) but the rest of us made quick progress through the quarry and to the entrance. The entrance pipe has two locked gates, and is crawling in several inches of water, so you get wet legs and arms from the off.

Having done the trip in a 5mm wetsuit last time, and almost passed out with heat exhaustion, I opted for a neofleece today (half fleece, half 3mm wetsuit).

The description that was supplied with the permit was excellent throughout. About 25 minutes of fine easy caving in sizable stream passage with waist deep pools eventually reached the climb up into Vein Chamber, with a few reasonable formations. Back down the fixed rope to the stream, and upstream developed into an extensive streamway of straight passages broken by sharp bends - evidence for the highly fracture-driven nature of the stream passage. This varied from stooping, crawling, crabwalking, easy stomping, scrambling over blocks and everything in between, with nothing of any particular difficulty.

Part way along I stopped to read the Northern Caves Monitoring form that we were filling in - it referenced clastic sediments and various other technical jargon that I was wholly unfamiliar with. On vocalising my concerns about our ability to complete this, Fleur promptly reminded me that at the back of the group we had Pete, who just so happens to be a Professor of sedimentology! It seems our problems were well and truly solved!

Eventually we reached the choke with the climb up to Grave Chamber. Last time, we stayed in the water here and got very wet, but today we climbed up the steep slanting wall to a squeeze up into Grave Chamber, which is barely a chamber. A narrow sideways squeeze at the far right end of the 'chamber' soon opens out and a descent back down to the stream was possible.

A short distance on we reached the climb up into The Choir, a sizable chamber. This was shortly followed (via a crawl) by The Vestry, with some decent stalagmites.

At the end of The Vestry is a traverse to a window, which marks the start of about 25 minutes of rather arduous dry thrutchy crawling in a small twisting passage. Ursula, Pete and David opted to turn around here. Fleur and I pushed on at top speed, whizzing through the various crawls and building up enough heat inside our oversuits to melt lead. The crawls seem to go on for quite some distance but eventually we reached The Sarcophagus. This is a stunning chamber with some very nice unspoiled formations, significantly better than I had remembered, and worth the crawling.

After a few happy-snaps, we turned around here and headed out at top speed, arriving at the entrance only a few minutes behind the others. We were greeted at the end of the pipe by a buzzing noise - Gary's drone - here to greet us as we exited the cave into glorious sunshine.

Fairy Holes is an outstanding trip. It's proper Northern Dales caving at it's best, and a trip to The Sarcophagus is a lengthy day (about 4-5 hours) and a worthwhile destination. It's not one for wet conditions, but in settled weather neither is this one for a full 5mm wetsuit as the description suggests. Many cavers will be perfectly happy in a fleece and others in a 3mm wetsuit or ideally neofleece - You can actually keep your upper body completely dry throughout if you are careful, and the absence of any pitches to wait around at mean you don't get the chance to get cold.

Sadly Pete never did get to the clastic sediments; A good job otherwise poor Natural England may have ended up with a dissertation in the post!

18th July 2017

Matt Ewles

Show More

6 photos by Fleur...

Write a Report

Sunday April 23rd

Hagg Gill Pot

Aileen, Gary, Laura, Matt, Toby

6 photos by Gary...

Write a Report

Saturday April 22nd

Christmas Pot - Grange Rigg Pot

Aileen, Gary, Jack, Laura, Matt, Toby

4 photos by Gary...

Write a Report

Sunday March 12th

Brown Hill Pot

Fleur, Pete, Rachel, Toby, Josh Young and Adam Walmsley (YUCPC), Avelina

Write a Report

Sunday March 12th

County Pot Upper Trident, Main Line Passage, Mancunian Way and Manchester Bypass

Ade, Chuck, Gary, John D, Matt, Mary Holder

5 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...