The Craven Pothole Club
Record 53, January 1999


Club Rules & Constitution, Membership List and related matters are incorporated in the Craven Pothole Club Handbook published biannually.

Published by the Craven Pothole Club, Ivy Cottage, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire. Copyright - Craven Pothole Club. No part of this Record may be reproduced without permission from the Committee of the Craven Pothole Club.

Contributions to this publication are welcome in any form but are preferred on disk (Word preferred) or by email.


Dr RA Halliwell, Academic Office, University of Hull, HULL, HU6 7RX

Tel No: 01482 465948(W) 876544(H) 466441(FAX)



Recently at the Cottage someone did say that they disagreed with a recent Editorial and were going to write in but never got around to it; Mike Baslingdon implies in his meet report that he only went to the bottom of Lost John's because of a recent editorial. Even our illustrious Chairman suggested that he was giving a longer address at the AGM because he had been taken to task for being too brief in earlier years. So, at least some of you read the editorials.

Like Russell I think that it has been a good year for the Club. John Helm in his meet report comments on how nice it was to find the same friendly atmosphere he remembered from the past. Several people have commented that the Craven is free of the cliquism which is affecting some other clubs. We are continuing to attract new members including not only several 16 year olds but also probably our oldest probationary member at 82. We are retaining a large proportion of those who join, at a time when caving numbers in general are believed to be in decline. We are continuing to improve our relations with other clubs. We had another successful GG, despite the weather. We are (just about) managing to find some new cave although the rewards are fairly meagre for the effort being expended. We have also recognised the CPC's long standing relationship with Stump Cross Caverns by offering Honorary Membership to Gordon Hanley, an offer he has been pleased to accept.

This coming year is the Club's 70th year, our Platinum Anniversary according to Whitaker's Almanac. It has been agreed by your Committee and the AGM that the Club's Publications this year should have an historic bias to mark this achievement. This can be seen with this Record where Don Mellor provides some of the background to the CPC's activities in the pre-war years. I have also been promised an article on the Club's activities in the 50's and early 60's for the April edition of the Record. Any volunteers to write on the mid-60s onwards? In this same vein in addition to the 1998 GG Meet Report I have also included a reprint of the 1932 GG Report, the first CPC Winch Meet. How times have changed.

With this Record you will also have received a copy of the index to all(?) the CPC's Publications over the years, excepting a number of early secretarial notices/circulars of which very few copies exist. This has proved to be a much larger task than I had envisaged when I agreed to do it approximately a year ago. Also, however regrettable, it is almost inevitable that there will be some errors somewhere in this tome. If and when you find them please let me know so that I can correct the master copy just in case we decide to reprint at some time in the future.

This Record will be late reaching you because I have been awaiting a number of major items which had been promised. I would like to issue the April Record at the usual time and therefore please ensure that any items for inclusion reach me no later than 24 March. Best wishes for a successful year underground and let's all hope that we can mark this 70th anniversary with a major discovery by the Club.

Ric Halliwell

Meets Reports

Satisfying Honour - the unofficial Anglesey Meet Report 23 to 25 May 1998

Present: Nigel Graham, Jane Rickman(G)

"The Meet's off, not enough interest!" That was the message my girlfriend, Jane Rickman, and I received a few days before the Bank Holiday. We were all set to go though...

Leaving Portland on the Saturday, we camped overnight on such a peaceful site among the rolling Radnorshire hills, that we were tempted to stay. We pressed on though, and after establishing ourselves on a camp-site near Llanberis, visited Anglesey, for a gentle evening walk.

Visiting the slate mines at Blaenau Ffestiniog occupied us on Sunday. We travelled up from Porthmadoc, using the Ffestiniog Railway then a bus.

Llecwedd Slate Caverns offer a fully-guided tour on one level, partly by train. The adit is daylit briefly by an opening into a vast cavity created by the present quarrying opening the original workings from above to extract slate from the pillars. The mines were worked up the dip of some 400.

A sort of genteel Winch Meet, using an enclosed car running in a steep incline shaft, takes you into the deep Gloddfa Ganol mine. After a short introductory talk by the guide, you are then left to follow the lighting and recorded commentaries, spoken as reminiscences by the original miners, through a series of sizeable chambers along a cross-cut and down finally to a lower level. Further progress down would require the CDG: the chamber there is dominated by a placid lake, the top of the permanently-flooded levels. The recording there ends with a male voice choir.

The summit of Yr Wyddfa was wreathed in clag from Crib Goch up, but that did not deter us, having walked all the way up from Llanberis. Those diesel railcars which supplement the steam trains on Snowden Mountain Railway are noisy brutes! We dried off over tea, amused by the rounding-up of train passengers to ensure that they caught the correct ones back after their thirty minutes of admiring the magnificent drizzle. The cloud parted grudgingly as we started off down, giving us a few misty glimpses.

We may not have stayed on Anglesey, let alone gone kayaking, but honour was satisfied: a CPC member and guest set foot on Rhoscolyn Head and beach.

Nigel Graham

Aygill Caverns 17 October 1998

Present: Tom Thompson, Becky Wilson(P), Rebecca Race(P), John Worden(P), Dave Kaye, Reg Parker(L)

Last year's attempt to descend this hole was thwarted by water and this year it was even worse. With very heavy rain the day before the meet and on the day itself, Aygill was a non-starter. Three of us sat in my car waiting for the rain to ease, then a walk down the track to look at Bull Pot of the Witches confirmed we should rethink where to go.

After much deliberation we decided on Bull Pot of the Witches and by then another four had turned up. As we approached the hole there was just a trickle of water on the track and the waterfall was "medium". Down we went. There was some debate whether the "easy chimney descent" into the South Chamber was Cathole Pitch or not.

Tom did most of the conducting in the cave with others picking his brains as to the names of the various bits. The girls showed some remarkable skill at climbing muddy boulders. After three hours we emerged to increasing water levels to fins a veritable river flowing down the track. Not too bad a day considering the conditions.

Thanks to all who turned up. On a more sour note I made an excursion into the large passage to the left of the waterfall (North Chamber?) and found two piles of human excrement.

Reg Parker

Stump Cross area 24 October 1998

Present: Ric Halliwell(L), John Allonby, Andy Roberts, Mal Goodwin, John Webb (Stump Cross to Great Expectations); Geoff Workman(L), John Worden(P), Dave Kaye (Great Expectations to Stump Cross); Michael(G) and Alec Bottomley(L), Geoff Cowling, Jacquie Cowling, Tracy Johnson, Rob Scott, and Brian Varley (in and out Shockle Shaft)

As a thank you for all the hard work which had been done in refurbishing North Shaft and in fitting new lids to all the entrances Gordon very kindly agreed to allow the first ever exchange between Great Expectations and Stump Cross. After changing into furry gear in the torrential rain we put on the rest of our caving gear at the changing area where the showcave is left and the real caving begins. Apart from myself and Mal this was a first trip into Stump Cross for the others and they were suitably impressed by what is obviously a very old and complex cave development.

After pausing to clear the deliberate blockage at the top of Heartbeat we were soon zooming along towards the sound, the very loud sound, of the streamway. When we did eventually join it water levels were indeed up but as we were only in the stream for a few tens of feet it didn't really matter. Andy tried going a few feet downstream at the connection and found it quite exciting! When we arrived at the connection there was a light at the top and the ladder in typical Craven fashion about eight feet up in the air. However a relatively easy climb provided access to the ladder and I went up to greet Geoff Workman and complete the through trip. Geoff said that he had only just arrived so he went off with his group to look at various bits of Great Expectations and we did the same with John Webb photographing some of them.

Then it was time to make our way out. I went to collect the ladder which Geoff's group had used to descend into the streamway whilst John attempted to get out through the squeeze at the bottom of the entrance ladder. When I returned with the ladder John was still there and beginning to wonder whether he would have to take his oversuit off. With all the rain there was quite a stream coming through the tiny hole and once I had taken my cell off the stream (and spray coming down the pitch) provided the lubrication/persuasion for me to shoot through. John tried several more times and then with a slight pull from me, a push from Andy below and a mighty thrutch he was through and we didn't have to retrace our steps. Up the 50ft ladder to the surface and we had completed the first ever through trip.

We changed in the rain in the car park and then went into the cafe for a coffee. Geoff's group emerged about half an hour later and after another half hour or so the Shockle team also returned with tales of nice streamways suddenly becoming very wet streamways as the torrential rain finally started to have a major effect on stream levels.

Despite the weather which we had thought might have prevented us from getting underground everyone had a good trip. Particular thanks are due to Gordon Hanley of Stump Cross Caverns for giving us special permission to undertake the first, and possibly only, exchange between Great Expectations and Stump Cross.

Ric Halliwell

President's Meet (Dow Cave) 29 November 1998

Present: Len Cook, Brian Varley, Karen Lane, Patrick Warren, Ted Wood, Perce Lister(PM), John Worden(PM), Harvey Lomas (YRC Guest)

Sunday morning was a bright crisp day. The car park at Whoop Hall alive to the sound of chilly motorists scraping thick ice off their car windows before setting off through a few foggy patches on their way to Kettlewell.

Parking space at the foot of Park Rash (How did it get its name?) is a bit sparse but at 10.30 am you could have taken your pick. Brian Varley was another early bird having already visited the car park in Kettlewell.

The sun got brighter and the sky got bluer and it was obvious that the great outdoors would be the winner in any competition with the underworld. By 11:00 am it looked as if Brian and Len would be the only ones in Dow Cave and we set ourselves a deadline of 12:00 noon. Don Mellor paid us a short visit to see who had turned up. By noon we set off and at a quick reckon up half way through made our number to be eight or nine. At this point Brian said "who was that standing there", pointing at a patch of mud. The rest joined in pointing and saying "There?- we hadn't a clue!

Some looked at the start of Dowber Gill Passage and then at Hobson's Choice. Four of the party (Patrick, Perce, John and Harvey) went in but soon appeared again. Photographs were taken and Mars Bars eaten. We were out by three to a still bright day and there were eight of us not nine. Who the heck was it standing there?

Don't worry no one was left behind after a leisurely trip; just right for an after dinner meet.

Len Cook

Lost John's 12 December 1998

Present: See Pete Gray's Report (which hasn't arrived yet - Ed)

For me this trip started about a year ago when Barbara waited until my defenses where weakened by alcohol in the bar of the Crown and then slid up to me with the meets list to suggested that I should do my bit for the club by leading a meet. Most of the better caves had already being taken but Lost Johns was still free. In my hazy condition I remembered what a great cave Lost Johns is, but completely forgot that it always attracts a cast of thousands.

A year later at the appointed place and time the cast of thousands assembled. OK I am exaggerating slightly, there were twenty three. The meet nearly failed before we left Cowan Bridge due to a coffee morning in the village hall and given the choice between coffee with mince pies or getting changed on Leck fell the hardened cavers of the CPC, without hesitation, opted for the coffee. So it was half an hour later that the three largest vehicles where commandeered to transport gear and cavers up to the fell.

This year the meet was a joint affair with both ladders and SRT routes. Wet weather ruled out the active Monastery route and Pete chose the Mud/Centipede route for the ladders which left the interesting Cathedral/Dome route for the SRTers. Hoggy relieved the pressure of numbers by rigging the side trip from Dome into sink chamber where I am told that the waterfall was spectacular.

I followed the main route on down through Dome Junction and the Candle/Shistol pitch to reach the Battleaxe traverse. At this point the active route is rejoined and a lot of water could be seen cascading down below us. The Battleaxe traverse was as scary as ever but when followed to the end gave a dry hang well clear of the waterfall and a landing on a ledge out of the stream. I had some doubts about continuing due to the volume of water in the stream until I remembered the comments in the last Record's editorial about bottoming caves and pushed on to the final pitch. The pitch itself is dry but just before it there is a water shoot that is very difficult to climb up in wet weather. The new P hangers give no help in either traversing over or climbing the shoot.

On reaching Groundsheet junction we found the water level in the master cave to be surprisingly low. Everybody knew that downstream just gets deeper and gloomier so we headed up to Lyle Cavern. Further exploration in this direction was halted when we couldn't find anybody stupid enough to risk their life to the dubious piece of string at the climb up into the upper series.

On the return journey we met the ladder party coming down the final pitch and when I saw the free hanging ladder on the Valhalla pitch I was very glad that I had a set of jammers. We passed Pete at the end of the traverse, still smoking slightly. (You will have to wait for Pete's report to find out why he is now know as "Fire Bucket" - Ed)

We left the cave by the same route that we entered to find the weather pleasantly warm on the surface.

Thanks to everybody who carried the sacks in and out. I was amazed to find that correct sack was always immediately at hand for each pitch.

Mike Baslington

Sunset Hole, Great Douk-Middle Washfold caves 28th December 1998

Present: Mike Ashmore, Rebecca Ashmore(G), Chris Bone(P), Clive Bone, Nick Gymer(P), Ric Halliwell, Pat Halliwell, John Helm(L), Sean Howe, Sean Karley, Karl Karley(P), Steve Kirk, Bob Jenkins, Sarah Jenkins, Jenny Jenkins(P), Frank Johnston-Banks, Perce Lister, Ben Myers(P), Graham Turner, John Worden.

On the drive up to Horton in the sleet and snow, I thought that I would be leader of the meet that never was, but on arrival at the cottage was pleased to find an enthusiastic (well almost) team ready to do battle with the inside of Ingleborough  or was it just that everyone thought that it was a good way of working-off the excesses of Christmas?

So a slow drive round `the boro' (due to snow fall) saw a team of 20 people assembled at the roadside in Chapel-le-Dale. It was not the weather for hanging around and so by 10:30am we had set off over to the entrance of Great Douk (as it was the least distance to walk). Unfortunately due to the horizontal snow, some folks felt that it was turning into an antarctic expedition and decided to call it a day.

We had a quick look in the Great Douk dig, which still sounds as promising as ever, then headed off upstream, glad to escape the surface weather. A fine wander up the stream passage soon lead to an exit on to the cold moor via Middle Washfold, where we lost a few more folk to the temptation of warmer environments. Eight people carried on over the moor to Sunset Hole (by now the weather had improved a little), and a quite fast trip was enjoyed by all down to the `final' chamber, exiting the pot after about 3 hours underground. This pot proved to be a good introduction to ladder climbing for some of the newer recruits to the Craven, and after a number of years of being away from the club meet scene (I live in NE France), I was extremely pleased to find the same superb ambience on our club meets as I remember in the past.

Oh, and after the meet we did succumb to the liquid refreshments available at the Hill Inn.

John Helm

Easegill 29 December 1998

Present: R Halliwell, S Howe, E Hill, D Kelly, W Ripley, Nick and Andy(Young Pennine), C Brown, W Corkill, T Thompson, N Gymer, D Kaye and D Hoggarth(Leader)

As the weather was not very pleasant, and the number of the party being 13, we went for the easy-ish Mistral entrance. We soon reached Dusty Junction and turning slightly right carried on to Gour Hall. There is not much of the gours left but the ceiling is very well decorated.

We made our way back to the hall of the Mountain King which is knee deep in glutinous mud. Here Wendy. Elaine and Donald decided to return to the entrance. Ric said he knew the way on and slid down a muddy slot into a pleasant decorated streamway to reach the bottom of Cigalare inlet, where we could take a shower to try and get clean.

After an awkward climb up out of the streamway Ric found the bedding connection to the second streamway and via a boulder choke back into the main passage; much to everybody's relief as we did not fancy trying to climb up the muddy slot into the Hall of the Mountain king.

After a quick visit to Red and Whitewall Chambers we made an exit to cold weather. Thank you all for coming.

Dave Hoggarth

Gaping Gill 1998

Months of preparation behind me this was it, Friday 14 August got up 7am, it was lagging it down. Today was the first of the 'extra tractor runs' for personal gear to GG. The Ribble was rising rapid and in my estimation Inglebourgh will be quite damp!. After breakfast I went round to Clapham to converse with Ian our tractor driver about the prospects of getting the gear to GG, "We'll give it a try," he replied. I drove back round to Horton, becks and streams by now in full spate, J Allonby, N Lucas, and I struggled like hell to refix the wheel mountings to the CPC trailer. P Gray, and P Jones arrived and eventually by 12 noon the trailer was pushed round to the door of the GG store, ready for loading up. I left John in charge of loading the trailer.

One pm saw me back round at lan's farm yard to be met with a sea of faces and both lan's trailers heaped up with personal gear, the rain eased a little!. The hay was still not cut in the fields to Flatt's barn, as a consequence all the GG runs were via Newby Cote. By 2.15pm we were on our way, ha! ha!. 2.45pm, by the gate on to the fell at Newby saw us unloading gear by approx 1/3rd from both trailers, members waiting expecting ALL their personal gear to arrive at GG together, impossible. Arrived at GG 4pm to thick mist, thick wind and thick rain. People like bees swarmed over the trailers, "Where's me tent?, where's me box?". I carried some camping gear to my tent, to find Mrs Goodwin and child sat inside sheltering from the rain.

Trailers emptied I swung my next plan into action, getting all the gear from Flatt's barn. One tractor and trailer plus five members went to the barn, whilst the other tractor/trailer departed to Newby for the remaining personal gear. By 6pm both tractors/trailers were back at GG, missions accomplished. P Gray arrived to inform me that the club's trailer had arrived at Clapham with everything on but the tea pot!. Believe it or not by 8pm I was back at Horton, the end of an impossible day.

Saturday 15 August fine and sunny morning saw more CPC members assembled at lan's farm yard, half of the GG engine equipment was loaded onto another trailer. Ian drove one tractor and trailer up, H Rose the other. By late morning we had arrived up to GG, ready for erecting the winch. This year the club has purchased new timber dam sheets, the task of scribing them to the rock was volunteered by T Shipley and along with P Jones an excellent job and a water tight fit was achieved. It was great to see the winch, Gantry, Beer Tent, Dam, etc, etc, fall into place, or spring up, and by early evening it was looking like a Gaping Gill winch meet.

Sunday 16 August, another fine morning, H Rose, D Milner, and A Bottomley finished erecting the gantry, whilst J Cowling sorted the electric's and new phone system. Round about 1am T Shipley, A Davey, and P Jones set of to rig Bar Pot and then continue through to the Main chamber to secure the guide cable for the Bosun's Chair. By 3pm every thing was just about finished, J Cowling informed me that the phone in the main chamber was in a safe and flood free position. By evening time I was feeling more relaxed knowing that by the following weekÄend, when the punters arrive we will be ready. During the night it started to rain and the noise of Fell Beck gradually increased and by dawn it was just a ragging torrent. What a sight, well over the dam top, and flowing round the base of the winch, up Fell Beck more devastation, the stream bursting its banks and flowing through S Keedy's tents, blast, this was all 1 needed!. By mid morning the water levels along with the rain had subsided, also today I was going back home to work. In the afternoon I left GG for home, but about 20 members were stopping in camp mid-week on holiday and keeping an eye on things.

Friday 21 August Ä Tuesday 1 st September.

A bright fine Friday morning found me at Horton with Mr Armstrong filling and transport the remaining 7, 5 gallon drums of Diesel round to Clapham, the barrels of Beer and Cider were delivered the previous day, as today was the second of the 'extra tractor runs'. The trailer laden with gear and with Ian, our trusted driver we once again set forth to GG.

The fell was starting to dry out, but the weather was still not to trusted. On arriving at GG, I was told that Benn Myers who mid-week had been down in the main chamber opened the telephone box and a fish fell out!. That night beer was served in the "Trenchfoot Arms".

"Edward get up, it's 8Ä30, a bright sunny morning", came a shout at my tent door. The leader had slept in. By 9am punters were arriving and our phone system was inoperable, but this problem was resolved by Allonby connecting the old field phones to Jeff's new wiring. By late morning the tractor arrived with more personal gear and most important, the remaining Beer and Cider. After the wet phones had dried out, they were reÄconnected to the new wires. The rest of Saturday's winching ran nice and smooth, but this was not always the norm. P Jones was the first entry in the 1998 Red Book. A good night was had in the beer tent.

The next day Sunday, typical GG weather, damp, mist down to stocking top level and that thick drizzle, but the punters were still rolling in and by dinner time things were quite busy, a close eye was kept on the water level. I was informed from below that spray from the waterfalls in the Main Chamber was causing very unpleasant conditions, also the rain was causing the time sheets on the gantry to disintegrate, vital information was in jeopardy.

The information on the time sheets was quickly transferred to new sheets and placed in a plastic container to keep dry. I decided to call a halt on descents only, a quick tot up on the sheets showed me there was about 8 tourists in M/C, the rest were cavers scattered about the system. The drizzle started to ease, water level became stable, 1 hour later we commenced descents and continued to work steadily away until closing time, 6'ish. Another good night was enjoyed in the soggy Tetley tent.

Another fine day dawned, 8Ä30am panic, a check of the oil level on the diesel engine for the winch was showing low, Alec told me the oil level had to be correct before we could operate, spare engine oil was an item that had been over looked, punters were arriving. D Allanach rummaged in his Jeep and found some oil. Whilst reÄchecking the oil level it was discovered that the dip stick had been inserted in the wrong way round! Panic over. Today I had visitors, wife + brother in laws. The day was steady away, until mid afternoon a chance conversation with a lady, who was waiting for her husband, a lone part-time caver to surface. 1 checked in the book, his destination was down as Sand Caverns, chatting to other cavers who had surfaced he had been sighted way up in Stream Passage Chamber, and to boot the person who had booked him in that morning had left the fell. We had no idea if he had a survey or what, his wife told me GG was a place he had been wanting to explore, what concerned me was that if on his way back to the M/C, and he has no survey, he makes a wrong turning, we could spend hours searching for him. He eventually surfaced late in the afternoon. Closed 6pm. During the evening Allonby and P Gray abseiled down to Birbeck's ledge to explore a hole Allonby had spotted, only to discover signs of previous explorations. That evening in the beer tent we had a slide show given by P Norman and J Cordingley. It was brilliant to look back on GGs of the 70's, 80's and other caving golden oldies, well done lads.

Tuesday. Damp start, things started to pick up by lam, then it was steady away. The meet had a visitor from Aus, Ian Metcalf a member from way back. lt was great to see him again, he still retains his Gargrave/Yorkshire ascent. Heavy drizzle set in which altered to rain, beck started to rise again, everything was going west. Early shut down, just as the beck was really in full spate 2 Belgium cavers arrived to abseil down Lateral Shaft. They abseiled down as far as the big ledge then wisely came back out. Deputy man came round for tea and we chatted about how the meet was progressing. R Dove and Judith arrived intending to camp a few days, but during the night Rob's old Arctic Guinea tent finally succumb to the weather.

Wednesday. Fine and sunny, yippee, the leader has a day off, leadership handed over to deputy man. Armed with a digging bar I spent a few hours looking in the shake holes in and around Hurnel Moss fault area, but found nothing of any great interest. I later went over to Lancashire Hot Pot removed about 6 barrow loads of fill that had collapsed onto the boards covering the hole. D Allanach arrived from Flatt's barn with his land rover towing some of the old dam sheets, these were be used for shoring. After about an hours digging I left to make my tea and prepare for the night's competition, "How many live black slugs can be placed together on a bald human head". That night I walked into the beer tent wearing a lettuce leaf tied to my scalp.

At 10 Russell announced the contestants, H Beck, J Christie, P Gray, E Whitaker, each participant had a slug placer and counter. The buckets full of black slimy slugs collected by the children were ready, everyone gathered round to watch this bizarre spectacle. The slugs felt cold and heavy, after about 30 slugs on my head I could feel slimy fluid trickling down my face, I took a glance to my left just in time to see a slug slither into P Gray's mouth, a few seconds later he spat it out. H Beck was the eventual winner with about 120 slugs and he was pronounced, "Grand Slug Master". The second part of the competition was held outside the tent. We all shook our heads 3 times, the contestant with the least slugs left on afterwards was P Gray. Washing the slime from our heads took quite a while. At about lam there was a spectacular showing of the Aurora Borealis, quite a few members in camp did get opportunity to see it.

Thursday. The weather continues to improve and the rivers of mud in camp start to dry out. As usual the punters soon arrive and it wasn't long before we were quite busy. Deputy man and P Gray went on a mountain bike ride to Dent. Today also saw the arrival of more golden oldies, John Nuttall, Peter Rose, Dick Hodgson and Val his wife. Another good night was enjoyed in the "Trench underfoot Arms".

Friday. Today N Lucas is in charge, as the leader went on a string trip down Flood and out of Stream with, Jan & Hoggy, D Milner, Ian Peretti and S Kelley. By noon we were all underground, it was one of those no rush, steady away trips. We made steady progress and at T Junction Jan and Ian opted for the easy way out!. The remaining cavers progressed on to Stream Passage Pot chatting with other cavers we saw. It was D Milner's first prussiking experience going out of Stream and he managed very well. Neville also managed very well.

Saturday. Another fine day and the start of our busy weekÄend, cavers & tourist arriving from all over the country, by the end of the day there were 204 entries in the descent book. During the day all the cave entrances except Bar Pot were de-rigged. Late at night in the "Trenchfoot Arms" things really hotted up, a 'fin blowing spectacle was provided by Neville, Fritz, and the leader. J Christle produced his large water gun to try and douche the flames but he soon found himself taking a forced midnight swim. Very late on Colette and chair fell to the ground caused by an extra person flying to her lap!!.

Sunday. Another very busy start today, I was in charge till noon then D Milner took over. The leader took the afternoon off, as once again wife, sister in laws and friends were visiting. We all had a walk up Ingleborough from where we got a brilliant view of all the tents extending up Fell Beck.

Monday, the penultimate day, first come, first served day and by late morning we had our quota off punters (97) booked in for descent, the weather is still holding, but the weather man has different ideas. By 2.45pm a large crowd is assembled around the gantry to watch the customary greeting for the last man out. The chair is halted just below the gantry and a large bucket of slops is poured over M Whitehouse. The cavers in the main chamber start to disconnect the guide cable, telephone wire, floodlights and then detackle Bar pot on their exit of the system. The dismantling of the winch and gantry go into full swing and soon piles of gear are ready waiting for Ian's tractor and trailer. All spare food is collected and some of the lady's prepare a feast. The early evening feast was heartily enjoyed by all in the "Trenchfoot Arms". By now there was only one full barrel of Beer and Cider left, so to show gratitude people's pints was the order. I gave a short speech of thanks for all the hard work put in by members for a brilliant meet.

Tuesday. I got up at about 7am, the weather was dismal with rain and thick mist. I start packing my camping gear away and took it to the pile ready for the tractor to arrive. Like wise the remaining members in camp were starting to dismantle their wet tents and trying to keep personal gear as dry as possible!. The tractor duly arrived and the trailer filled with personal gear. Priority was given to those members who lived afar. By now it was early afternoon and there was about 20ish club members left at GG. The beer tent was dismantled and put with the winch and engines on the club's trailer, all the plastic sacks full of litter were placed in a pile and we all huddled in the remaining brew tent. Hot soup and last night's remaining pasta was dished out. It started to rain!. Torrential rain fell unabated and after about 15mins R Myers said, "Look at that thick rain". Shortly afterwards Fell Beck became a raging torrent. A lone walker arrived and looked at the stream falling down into GG, we all shouted out from a gap in the tent wall, "Help, Help." There was no reply.

The rain finally stopped, the brew tent was taken down and along with all the club's caving tackle put on our trailer. A large plastic sheet was put over the gear and roped down. (This trailer was collected later on in the week and driven round to the club cottage.) Ian finally arrived with tractor and trailer, no time was lost loading all the remaining gear on and netting it down. We said good bye to Gaping Gill, the home for some members of well over 2 weeks.

By 6pm we arrived at Clapham, a frenzy of activity took place as people looked for and filled their cars with their sodden camping gear. Hands were shook, good-byes exchanged. As leader 1 was one of the last to load my car up and R Scott arrives back, "Edward, have you any beer money to give me?". In the middle of the road I opened the command case and handed Rob sealed envelopes containing each nights beer money, "Hell, if anyone saw us they might think we are drug dealers", Rob replied.

Other parts of the meet, but not in any order. Whitsun Series was visited by club members on various days, for trips only and digging trips, Glover's Chamber was another popular venue, especially for 82 years old Albert Karley. There were lots of SRT trips done, Stream / Flood was very popular, Dihedral / Main Chamber, Disappointment Pot, Hurnel Moss Pot, where a frog was rescued from the bottom, Gantry to Birkbeck's Ledge and also on the Main Chamber wall, but not very high up an SRT training area. N Lucas went on his annual trip to Northwest Extension. J Allonby, P Norman, P Jones plus various others made good progress digging Lancashire Hot Pot. Cath Blick plus another walked over to the cottage for the large teapot. Mid week J Cowling decided for practical and safety reasons, all the electrical charging equipment be moved across the beck into the booking-in tent. This was duly done and all housed in a very large wooden box, (The Ark) with shelves etc made by A Roberts. Late one night the gas supply for the generator was twice mysteriously tampered with. The guide cable got snagged round the usual flake, so to try and solve the problem J Allonby went down in the chair and with a rope attached to the guide cable from below he was pulled across to the rock flake where he placed a belay across the gap. Unfortunately this action did not solve the problem.

As leader I would like to make comment about the meet, in my observation it went very well, at times it was hard, that is expected leading such a large meet. I was very pleased with the way everyone worked together and enjoyed themselves, I had very little chasing up of people late for work duties, although towards the end of the meet guides needed in the Main Chamber were short on supply. To conclude with I must say many thanks to J Allonby, my deputy man and all other club members and guests who kindly helped with the organisation and came to Gaping Gill and endured the weather to make the club meet a brilliant success. Did you chill out?!.

Edward Whitaker

Gaping Gill - as others see us

Dear Mr Whitaker,

Please pass on to your fellow members our grateful thanks. It is a brilliant idea giving just anybody the chance to see the cavern. A special thank you to the houng man who loaned me his boots and to his Mum who thought of the idea. Please find enclosed the article I will put into our Chapel Magazine some time in the future.


Betty & Jim Livesey

Gaping Gill

It is true, the older you get, the dafter you get. Jim and I proved this conclusively. It happened so.

We bought our car from a garage in Clapham. It goes back to the garage, to be serviced, at stated intervals. The time had arrived.

The weather forcast was for cloud, with rain at times. Not a forecast for a long walk. The plan was, walk to the Caves, look round, walk back to a cafe or hotel, eat a meal, collect car, ------ but we met a man. He was camping by Gaping Gill, and he tempted us. There are temptations one cannot resist, or perhaps? was it a chance we might not get again, it is only possible two weeks of the year. We did take advice, from the little shop at the caves, they thought we would make it, ill prepared as we were.

So far, we had stepped forth on quite a level gravel path, it was to change gradually into mud and rocks. My shoes will never be the same. Going through Trow Gill was



perhaps the worst bit, a gorge that narrows, great rocks the height of a house bordering the path, the path lifted upwards like Sharps hill, with rocks that become slippier. We were aware, the return journey would be a reverse of the outer. NO drinks, NO back pack containing the hikers safety bits and pieces, NO lunch, but we did have a Mars bar each, and, after the problems of walking in unsuitable footwear, we were determined to carry on to our goal.

The rain had decided, if it rained stair rods, instead of cats and dogs, it would loosen into mud any bits that had so far been resistent. It was like a mud bath to be avoided at all costs. Splosh, in the mud again. Through gates, over stiles, over walls, climbing up stone slabs set into the wall. Plodding on and ever upwards. A few more minutes and we saw them.

A multitude of tents, all hues, all shapes, all sizes. It was a holiday village for pot holers. Rain or no rain I bet they were having a good time. I wonder if any of them had a carpet in their inner tent, we used to, and it helps.

We looked for, and found, the tent where we would pay for the privilege, of being dropped down a hole, sat in a bucket chair, getting soaked. It was at this tent I met an extremly kindly deed, my shoes were not really intended for rock walking, this lady borrowed for me, from her son, a pair of boots. It was a great act of thoughtfulness very much appreciated.

A short queue, we watched the procedure. Step along the wooden platform, about turn and back into the bucket seat, sit well in, bar over and chain from under the seat clipped to this, one was captive. One smooth pull of the lever, the trap door moves away (a bit like being hung). Too late to say "let me out" you are suspended, the drop below is 365 feet, as high as Blackpool Tower.

No sudden jerk, no leaving the tummy behind just a smooth journey on a thin wire descending on light encrusted droplets of water through a hole in the hillside. Past rocks glistening, green and brown. A good job we were told to keep the feet underneath and the elbows tucked in, we went down inches from the rock.

Wow! I was there, and a little disorientated in the darkness, all about, lamps moving or grouped, some disappearing into the rocks. Turning, a never to be forgotten sight, yes I had seen it on the television but seeing it in the real, that was fantastic, never in a million years had I thought it would be possible.

Two waterfalls jumped from holes in the rocks, twice as high as Niagra falls, higher than any other in Britain, they fell in one long cascade to the ground. The water disappeared into the ground, to its right a mist of descending water shimmered and moved lit by the shaft of light from the world above, the pathway of light through which we had come. Gradually eyes become accustomed and the cave is seen. It is said York Minster would fit nearly within. Is there a ghost? Herman the German may have rested there for a while. One could easily believe that alone in that vast cavern one might await the spirit of the world to tap your shoulder to gain attention.

We learn a little of the cavern, the dark corridors that lead off, passageways that only the dedicated might examine, why a white layer of rock surrounds the cave and we join the queue to return to the world above. Slipping and sliding down the pathway back to the car, soaked to the skin from the thighs down and neck upwards like, "if we hadn't met that man", "You have got to take an opportunity, it may never happen again", "We must be mad, but wasn't it wonderful".

Craven PotÄHole Club Record of Meets - Season 1932

No.6 Gaping Ghyll July 20th Ä August 2nd, 1932

The descents of Gaping Ghyll, apart from constituting the most important meet of the year, saw the realisation of the. Club's greatest ambition. In the early days, three years ago, when a few of us were beginning to succumb to the lure of the underworld of Craven, we were then determined that sooner or later, the sooner the better, we would explore the wonderful system of passages and potÄholes which are to be found in GG.

Records of previous explorations were known almost by heart; in our mind's eye we had a plan of the network of passages, and all we wanted was to explore a system of which we knew so much in theory. Twelve months ago the possibility of such exploration seemed infinitely remote, but so successful were the arrangements for the 1932 camp that no less than 78 descents were made, and hundreds of hours were spent underground by members, every part of the system known to potÄholers, with the exception perhaps of the Flood Entrance route, being visited.

We saw it under normal conditions and in flood, one party having to make an enforced stay below, their way out being effectively blocked owing to the swollen waterfalls down the main entrance and the Rat Hole. The experience was unforgettable, and no matter how many future visits are made, the 1932 descents will ever be a landmark in the history of the Craven PotÄhole Club. True, nothing new was discovered, but everybody saw what is to be seen, and next year there will be a thorough investigation, which, it is hoped, will lead to new discoveries.

Gaping Ghyll was not unknown to some of our members. Our President, Mr. Blackburn Holden whose leadership of the expedition won the admiration of all, in 1908 made the second solo descent by rope ladder, and has many other descents to his credit; E. Simpson, of Austwick, a member of the old Yorkshire Speleological Association, whose knowledge of GG and its ramifications is profound, was a ready help, his advice and assistance being greatly appreciated, and to these two gentlemen much of the success of the camp was due. Three of the younger members of the Club also knew a little of the potÄhole, for last year, under very wet conditions, Haighten, Hill and Mitchell (A) each made a ladder descent, the other members performing the necessary surface work and taking charge of the lifeÄline. Needless to say, each one, on his return to the surface, was firmly convinced that if the Club was to organise a successful camp another year on the banks of Fell Beck, it was essential that descents should be made by bosun's chair operated by winch. Yet, their descent was an experience; their desire to see more of the potÄhole and the passages leading from the Main Chamber was unabated; and their enthusiasm infected all the members who had remained on duty at the surface with a desire to descend this unique potÄhole. The party left the slopes of Ingleborough determined to obtain the necessary tackle for the 1932 camp.

Nineteen hundred and thirtyÄtwo dawned, and the Club, which was only starting its third really active year, could not promise any financial help towards the project. It was evident, therefore, that if GG was to be included in the programme the necessary costs would have to be met by the members themselves. To their credit, all responded magnificently to the appeal launched for assistance; each contributed to the best of his ability, and in the early summer we were able to put in hand an order for a satisfactory winch and cable. But this was not the end by any means, and had it not been for the generous gesture of the Yorkshire Ramblers Club in loaning us much surface tackle, the guideÄline and the bosun's chair, it is extremely doubtful whether descents of GG in 1932 would have been possible. To the Yorkshire Ramblers Club we are deeply grateful, and if, at any time, we can return their kindness we shall be happy to do so.

Eventually, the final arrangements were made, and all was in readiness for the expedition to leave Skipton. I use the word expedition advisedly, for the amount of impedimenta, including winch and cable, which the advance party took with them had every appearance of such. A review of the preliminary arrangements is incomplete without expressing the thanks of every member of the Club to Hill and Mitchell (A) for the hours they spent in preliminary work, especially in obtaining specifications for the winch.

The advance party Ä Mitchell (A), Hill, Waterfall and Thompson Ä reached Clapdale in the afternoon of July 20th, from which point the tackle was expeditiously sledged over the moorland. No easy task awaited the party on their arrival at the camp site; tents had to be pitched before dark, and it was not until next day that a start could be made in fixing the tackle in readiness for the descents. Under the direction of Hill and Simpson (who was a daily visitor and an invaluable help during the whole period of the camp), everything was in readiness for the first descent on Saturday morning, the only casualty being the unofficial descent on Friday afternoon of one of the safety belts and a rope. These, however, were recovered.

At long last GG was to be explored. Conditions were ideal, and all members in camp were excited when, at 11Ä17a.m., the telephone strapped to his back, Mitchell (A) was secured in the bosun's chair and the "right away" signal was given. The brake on the winch was released; the chair began to drop, and with the guide line running loose Ä it had, of course, yet to be made secure at the bottom Ä there was much speculation as to the feelings of the occupant of the chair. All doubts were dissipated with the shrill whistle from the depths that all was in order. The President followed, and he and Mitchell made the guideÄline secure and telephonic communication was established.

Of the subsequent descents and the laddering of the various pitches in the pot, I will pass over, as they are dealt with fully in the diary of the camp, very efficiently kept by Waterfall, extracts from which are given below. Nevertheless, there are one or two incidents worthy of comment. The first is the memorable experience of the party who made the descent on Sunday night, July 24th Ä Simpson, Sunderland, Whiteoak, Ackroyd, Harrison, Haighton and Mitchell (J). The descents were completed by 10 p.m., and the writer will never forget his first impressions of the spacious main chamber. The actual descent was rapid, about a minute, and one of the quickest of the 78. It appeared on leaving the ledge as if one was being gently dropped into the nave of some huge cathedral, this impression being heightened by the lights of candles placed on the east and west slopes. There was little time for reflection, for Simpson, the leader, immediately took charge. Little water was falling at the time, and one has distinct recollections of a member of the party remarking with awe that there were sometimes as many as three or four falls tumbling down, a spectacle rarely seen. One remembers also making the usual polite replies which such observation merited. Little did we think that in less than twelve hours we should be witnesses of just such a magnificent spectacle. We were anxious to be off, however, to see as much as we could, and after laddering and making a complete exploration of the Old East passage, where we were greatly impressed with the wonderful stalactites and stalagmites of all types, we returned to the Main Chamber for a delectable concoction of soup, of which more anon. The falls seemed to be bigger, but so engrossed were we in the surprises that GG was for ever giving us that, alas, we failed to realise the significance of the increased volume of water.

After a meal, eaten with great relish, off we went along the SE passage to "T" junction, then along the SW passage by way of Sand Cavern to Stream Chamber and the end. Returning to "T" junction, the SE passage was followed to Flood Exit Pot, etc. That was the extent of our exploration, and we returned to the Main Chamber with the prospect before us of early repose. Imagine our surprise when nearing the end of the SW passage joining the main chamber to hear a low roar. A magnificent sight met our eyes on looking out into the Main Chamber. In the faint light reflected at the bottom of the shaft we could see through the spray, not two, but several falls; indeed, from the Rat Hole to the other side of the Main Shaft there was a solid wall of water and the noise was terrific. The scene was truly aweÄinspiring and we stood some minutes impressed with the grim beauty until we realised the awkward predicament in which we were placed Ä no food and the prospect of having to make an enforced stay. The situation had to be faced and we proceeded to Telephone Corner through the drenching spray thrown up by the falls and ploughed through water several inches deep. At 5Ä30 we managed to awaken the sleepers at the top and were told that there had fallen through the night torrential rain and that the water had worked away part of the dam; that it was flowing over the top timbers; pounding down the stream course and over the three lips of the pot. The only bright spot was the assurance that it had ceased raining, that the portents were all for a fine day, but that it would be several hours before ascents would be possible. Recollections of the 1909 flood when potÄholers had to spend nearly two days below did not add to our cheerfulness, and after a good look round we tried to find a dry (?) place in the SE passage and snatch a few hours rest. But, wet as we were, we could not get warm and rest was impossible. All kinds of expedients were tried. The primus stove was lit and this did generate a certain amount of heat. Constant journeys to the main chamber showed that, if anything, the flood was abating, but very slowly. At ten o'clock the first man made the ascent and by 11Ä44 all the party were at the surface. We had plenty of time to explore the Main Chamber, which was inches deep in water, the stream across the chamber from the Rat Hole was considerably swollen, and the falls made a scene of grandeur. The upward journey was welcome, and it was a wonderful experience passing through the water.

Another memorable experience befell those who were in camp on July 27th. Rain commenced to fall heavily at midnight and by early morning the stream was pouring over the dam timbers. At 9 a.m. water was plunging over the whole lip of the main shaft, and shortly after Noon one solid sheet of water was being carried over the dam. Salvage operations on the winch platform had to be carried out in a foot of water. The stream rose steadily until the water was almost two feet over the winch girders, and so anxious became the party for the safety of the winch that a rope belay was made upstream. Trenches had to be dug round the tents, one of the tents having a stream pouring in at one side and out of the other.

From the dam timbers, so far as the course of the beck could be seen, there was a solid sheet of water, and the rock path, by the dam timbers, to the upper camping ground was impassable, the water being at least two feet deep on the path. Rain ceased shortly after three o'clock; the water quickly dropped; and by five o'clock the dam was able to hold all the water.

The following day, during a descent, it was found that the telephone in the Main Chamber had been swept away from its fastenings on the wall of the telephone corner and carried ten feet up the East slope.

A little excavation work was put in underground at D1, the whiteÄpainted name given to a sink in a sand floor on the leftÄhand side of Sand Cavern. Under the direction of Simpson, investigations were pursued with a view to widening the surface fissure and making it possible for a crawl down the boulderÄcovered incline. It was thought this sink might be a connecting link between a lower and master cave in use at a time when the passage was taking quite a considerable amount of water from its further reaches to the Main Chamber. Only one man could work at a time and lack of time made it impossible for much headway to be made.

At Whitsuntide, B Holden, junior., found a small rifted passage some distance before Mud Pot is reached. On the last day of the Club's camp the passage was further explored; it continued for some distance as a low crawl and then ended in a barrier of boulders, dislodged from a very shaky roof. The boulders were cleared away, but further obstruction prevented exploration.

Of humour during the camp there was plenty; of good fellowship there was an abundance, and the true team spirit made many things possible, not the least being the operation by hand of the winch. When one considers there were no less than 78 ascents and the usual time taken was from six to seven minutes, some idea can be obtained of the amount of energy expended; yet there was no grumbling, but there was born a keen desire that this work in future shall be done by an engine.

Apart from unforgettable experiences underground we shall ever remember and have many chuckles over the drama of the screwdriver in the base tent; the party round the camp fire which ended in Fell Beck; the wonderful soup which contained every one, so I am assured, of the 57 varieties (FS will supply recipe); and the humour that was rarely absent from all operations in the big marquee.

Many excellent photographs were taken and it is to be hoped that members can see their way to contribute a print of any photograph they took to ensure a full pictorial record of the camp being included in the official records of the Club.


Some East Passage Problems.

Owing to the meet being the initial effort of the club, where a winch was employed in the descent, little technical investigation could be accomplished, as it was felt that those usually detailed in such investigations should assist in conducting the various members through the numerous passages and caverns.

It was, however, realised that existing surveys could be extended. The reÄsurvey was therefore commenced in the furthest reaches of the East Passage and terminated, owing to lack of time, at the Mud Hall.

During the past 20 years several changes have taken place here, especially in the terminal chamber of this series. This chamber in its prime has been of fairly extensive dimensions, but at some period, probably during one of the Glacial epochs, it has almost entirely been chocked with boulders and clay, the remains of which can still be seen in the form of a thick bed of conglomerate through which the stream has again cut a course.

From the time of the first exploration in 1912, exploration always ended at the further end of this chamber in a deep pool which completely barred further progress. In comparison with the topography at the surface we passed under the wall running from Trowgill to the Allotment at a point approximately between the two portions of sunken floor before the "pool" is reached from the Mud Hall. We continued almost due East, and at the point of our furthest exploration in the Final Chamber we are in a direct line, some 1,062 yards distant from Giants Hall in Clapham Cave and 125 feet above it. If therefore this point can be forced there are possibilities of some very interesting developments, but it must be remembered that it is yet to be proved that the East Passage water issues at Clapham Beck Head.

At no point throughout the series under consideration is bed rock floor encountered, the whole of the floors being boulders, boulder clay and mud. How this has entered the passages from the surface is not difficult to understand when the number of extensive avens communicating with this is considered. Through three avens particularly active streams enter, and there is no doubt that at points very near the surface passages of the type of Flood Entrance exist and a careful examination would probably be profitable.

The members of the Club would, during their next visit, if they concentrated on the following points, probably add a large amount of valuable data to the Gaping Ghyll records :

1. An exhaustive search of the surface east of the Main Hole for possible openings.

2. Test by fluorescein in the East Passage stream.

3. Examination of the Sink in the Final Chamber of the East Passage.

4. Examination of the passage at the bottom of the potÄhole, first approached from Mud Hall.

All these have been in abeyance for many years, and as during the past twenty years all points have been rapidly opening out, the possibilities of breaking new ground may prove a practicable proposition.


The Camp Day by Day

The following extracts from the diary kept by Waterfall describe the incidents of interest during the whole camp :

July 20 Ä Advance party leaves Skipton. All tackle sledged to Gaping Ghyll by nightfall and two tents pitched. Winch placed on limestone platform ready to be bolted down.

July 21 Ä E Simpson arrives for day, and he and Hill place winch in position; also corner gantry, along with the guideÄline and surface equipment. Dam boards are erected and the tents pitched. Winch is tested with a sack of stones slung over the gantry and down the hole, but the mouth of the sack bursts halfÄway down and stones clatter to the bottom.

July 22 Ä Torrential rainfall in the afternoon. J Mitchell arrives, and final preparations are made for descents on the morrow. Only accident is to a safety belt that drops down the pot Ä why, no one seems to know. B Holden arrives at 9Ä30.

July 23 Ä A fine sunny morning and ideal conditions for descents, only a trickle falling over the single lip of the pot. A Mitchell and B Holden make the first descents; telephonic communication is established and guide line secured. Along with Hill, a quick trip is made of the SW passage to Stream Chamber and the West Chamber. In the evening six descents are made and a tour is made of all the passages. At D1 the "night" party do a little excavation (referred to elsewhere). E Simpson, E Clarkson, K Atkins, TK Robinson, L Haighton (for the day), W Fairbank, S Waller, J Mitchell, TW Harrison, F Sunderland, C Whiteoak and H Ackroyd arrive in camp.

July 24 Ä Shortly after eight a.m. the night party reach the surface, and three hours afterwards a party of nine make the descent. Conditions again ideal. JR Nield, E Smith and W Hardiman join the party. In the evening a second party of seven prepare for an allÄnight trip. Following a repast of which the principal item on the menu was "GG soup", said to contain over a score of ingredients from tomatoes to potted meat, the party leave about 9 p.m. The party laddered the Mud Hall passages of the O.E. passage. Their further troubles are dealt with elsewhere.

July 25 Ä Heavy rainstorm during night and Fell Beck flooded. Part of the dam weakened and water plunging down the chasm. Impossible to get the night party out until several hours have elapsed to allow the stream to subside and the dam to be repaired. The last of the night party came to the surface shortly before noon. After a meal the next descents began, under the leadership of the President, with photography in the O.E. passage as the main object.

July 26 Ä A wet morning after an equally wet night, and the weather none too good. Four descents made, but increased water in the Main Chamber retarded exploration. Rain again on the surface.

July 27 Ä Rain all night and all morning, with the stream tumbling over the dam planks. Water reached its height about 2 o'clock, the pathway round the dam planks being 2 feet under water. Those in camp at this time were Hill, Haighton, Waterfall and Mitchell (A), who had to belay the winch for safety.

July 28 Ä Flood water rapidly subsided and at Noon conditions were again ideal. Simpson and Mitchell (A) leave for the O.E. passage shortly after noon and completed a survey from the high aven at the end to the final water sink.

July 29 Ä Camp in mist and rain. There arrive F Sunderland (for the day), W Fawcett, R Thompson, with friends (for the day), B Holden, E Clarkson and AA Thrippleton. Descents impossible.

July 30 Ä At 8 a.m. Fell Beck running well over the top boards, and at Noon beck had fallen over six inches. Waller, Robinson, Atkin (with friend), Barton (and friend), J Mitchell, TW Harrison and R Thompson arrive Sixteen descents made.

July 31 Ä A Hatton (and friend) arrive after spending the night in their lorry at Clapdale. Descents commence at 8 a.m., and by 1Ä0 o'clock 17 descents are made. Camp joined by C Whiteoak, H Ackroyd, F Sunderland, E Pelham and E Smith.

Aug 1 Ä Bank Holiday, and a Bank Holiday crowd of visitors. Seven descents before noon. Camp joined by W Hardiman, D Haighton, B Holden, jun., and E Hatton. Sixteen descents made altogether, or rather 17, one load comprising B. Holden, jun., and "Rip," a terrier. All tackle taken out. At 8Ä50 p.m. the guide line was unfastened at the bottom and hauled out on top and to A Mitchell fell the honour of making the first descent and last ascent of the meet.

Aug 2 Ä All in camp engaged in packing for the first sledge load at 9Ä30 a.m. Winch and surface equipment dismantled in less than two hours. Last sledge load moves off shortly after four o'clock leaving a small party still in camp. A very enjoyable holiday!


Early Winch Meets (not 1932)

The Craven Pothole Club its formation and early years

The Craven Pothole Club was officially founded at a meeting held in Skipton in September 1929. The precise date being a little uncertain, but the roots of the club had been under formation for some years previously. As a boy at Ermysted's Grammar School in Skipton, Albert Mitchell had been impressed by a large photograph of Gaping Gill Main Chamber which hung in one of the classrooms, and the discovery of a set of YRC Journals in the school library fired Mitchell with enthusiasm to explore caves and potholes for himself. Accompanied by two or three schoolmates he visited some of the easier caves and potholes in 1927, but as none of his friends ware particularly impressed with the dirt and discomfort of caving, he was unable to descend the deeper holes he had read about. In 1928 Mitchell left school and there are records of him taking parties of the Skipton Wesley Guild Rambling & Scientific Society to White Scar Cave, Weathercote Cave, Jingle Pot, and other caves and mines. He also organised caving visits to Elbolton Cave and Ingleborough Cave for the Skipton Wheelers Cycling Club, and with others he visited Skoska Cave, Dowkabottom Cave, Cononley Leadmines, Victoria Cave etc.

At the Annual General meeting of the Craven Naturalists and Scientific Society in March 1929, a feeling was expressed that there were few young men applying for membership, and it was decided to make positive approaches to a newly formed Skipton rambling club, whose members had explored one or two caves in 1928 (the names of some are amongst those inscribed in smoke at the "old" end of Dowkabottom cave). Mitchell, who by this time was a junior reporter for the Craven Herald, wrote in the paper that Mr. FJN Dufty, recorder of the Craven Museum, and prominent member of CNSA, was appealing for members to form a speleological section of CNSA, and whilst Dufty had made no such appeal he agreed it was a good idea, and as a result a meeting of interested parties was convened and the CPC was born in September 1929.

There are few records of the first few months of the Club's existence. Visits were made to Skyrethornes Cave, Scoska Cave and Dowkabottom Cave, but finances were virtually non-existent, tackle sparse and membership very small.

At the founding meeting FJN Dufty had been appointed President, and it may well have been his support for the club which helped it over the difficult first year of its existence. At the annual general meeting of the Craven Naturalists in March 1930 Dufty's motion that the CPC be affiliated as the speleological section of CNSA was accepted, and immediately following this the affairs of the CPC seem to have been put in order. Regular general meetings and council meetings were held, officers appointed, subscriptions fixed (6 shillings; including 3 shillings and sixpence {3/6} levy to CNSA) meets arranged, and fund raising efforts such as bridge drives, raffles, and dances organised.

In November 1930 CNSA made a grant of œ4 to CPC "completely to equip the club with necessary tackle which would last without further replacement between three and five years". In January 1932 a deputation from the CPC persuaded CNSA that the contribution should be reduced from 3/6 to 2/- per member and in March that year a grant of 1/6 per member was made by CNSA to CPC. The following year CPC seceded from CNSA, but CNSA remained firm friends and supporters of the club, and remain our first "kindred club".

During the first year or two there were only a handful of members, indeed at the 1931 Annual General Meeting a resolution limiting membership to 30 was passed. This was later rescinded, and by 1939 the membership had almost reached 100; probably the reason for the Club's successful survival of the 1939-45 war which caused many similar organisations to founder. In the early years, so keen was the membership, that General meetings and Special meetings were held at least once a month, and for several years Committee meetings were held weekly.

Private transport in those days was scarce, and many of the early meets were attended by members on motorcycles, but in 1931 an agreement was made with the Pennine Motor Co to provide buses for CPC meets and although another local bus company was used for a year or two, this association with Pennine continued for over 30 years. Buses were smaller then and the CPC club bus reached many places in the 1930's which would be impossible today. Members who owned cars were usually volunteered to carry tackle to a hole and partially tackle a day or two prior to the actual Sunday meet.

Whilst potholing was always the primary objective of the club, the early members also arranged mountaineering and skiing meets, and several members were actively engaged in local archaeological excavations. Although the CPC had the reputation in those days of being rather "straight-laced" an early note in the minute book instructing the Secretary to arrange for an extension on the evening of the AGM and dinner in view of the past difficulty of collecting glasses at closing time, would seem to refute this!

There was no special caving apparel or equipment in these early days of potholing. Devotees of the sport devised their own wardrobe of substantial nailed boots (although Arnold Waterfall was notorious for wearing pumps underground, and there is a 1930's photograph of Albert Mitchell in Long Churn Cave in wellies) clothing consisted of old suits etc no longer fit for other wear, sometimes covered with a boiler suit, often not, and headgear varied from nothing, to ex-army tin helmets. Not until 1939 did the club recommended its members to buy helmets!

For the first few months of its existence the club had no tackle and could only attempt easier caves and pots. Then lengths of rope were purchased, some pots descended using rope alone, including Alum Pot, but before long funds had been acquired to enable the construction of rope ladders.

The first rope ladders made by the club were about 28 feet long, the side ropes (of canal hauling rope) almost 1 inch thick and the oak or ash rungs (from Skipton woods) 12" long 2" wide and 1" thick spaced 1 foot apart. These ladders, with a strength safety margin, probably sufficient to carry all the members at once quickly proved to be too heavy and cumbersome in use, and were replaced by ladders with lighter rounded rungs pushed through the middle of four strand 1/2" diameter side ropes. Problems with these ladders were a tendency of the rungs to spin whilst being used, and wear to the side ropes. In 1933 a design of ladder was evolved which was used by the CPC until after the 1939-1945 war. The side ropes were 1/2" diameter and the rungs were 10" long 1 3/8" wide and 5/8"thick. The side ropes were threaded through the rungs, pegged below each rung, and lashed above and below. Although tedious to make they proved substantial and enabled the club to bottom the severest holes for many years.

During the first ten years of it's life the CPC quickly rose to become the predominant northern potholing club. Its members had successfully descended all the major potholes in Craven known at the time, many of them on numerous occasions. The Club took out a lease of Alum Pot in 1935, and held regular open days when, for a small charge, members of the public could be guided down the hole. The money so received was used to offset the cost of repairing the wall surrounding the pot, constantly being broken down by visitors. A local man was employed to collect money from visitors at the gate, his wages in 1938 being 7/6 for a weekend. The Club was a founder-member of the Central Rescue Corps (forerunner of the Cave Rescue Organisation) and some of the first Wardens were CPC men. The Club also supported the formation of the British Speleological Association in 1935 and remained associated with that organisation for 2 or 3 years until dissatisfied with the method it was being run.

The CPC's long association with Gaping Gill began in 1931 when Albert Mitchell, Leslie Haighton and Jim Hill descended the shaft on rope-ladders. Following that descent, an appeal to members for funds to provide a winch met a ready response, and in 1932 the CPC were at GG with all the necessary equipment for numerous descents, although in those days descents were limited to members and friends. (There weren't many people about on Ingleborough in those days anyway!) (A full report of the meet is reprinted elsewhere in this Record - Ed) During the next few years annual camps at Gaping Gill became traditional; each year there were improvements and modifications - an engine, a better gantry, and on more than one occasion a camp cook! The only year before the war in which the CPC did not hold a full scale meet at GG was 1937, when CPC members operated CPC tackle at the hole on the occasion of the BSA meet there.

Club activities were not merely confirmed to the descent of known holes; then, as now, members were keen to make new discoveries, and in the 10 years up to 1939 the CPC can be credited with several notable achievements.

In 1930 they completed the first exploration of Lord's Hole, Stockdale, and the same year assisted in the excavation of Robin Hood's Mill, unfortunately finding no cave passage as had been hoped. In June 1932 CPC members made the first exchange of parties between Alum Pot and Diccan Pot, and the same year the Club discovered the Intestines route in Marble Steps Pot. The first descent of Rathole was made by Edgar Smith and Arnold Waterfall in 1935, Rigg Pot, Kettlewell was also discovered and new passage was found in Stump Cross Caverns later that year. In 1936 the club made the second-ever descent of Nick Pot, (11 hours), discovered Langcliffe Pot at Kettlewell, explored Ringle Mill Cave in Ribblesdale and found Coronation Pot on Fountains Fell.

Unfortunately after this lapse of time, records of these new explorations, and indeed of routine caving trips are sparse. In 1932 the Club did produce a journal recording the meets of that season, but complete copies of this are rare.

The minute books deal, on the whole, with administrative matters only, as do the sporadic circulars to members. Fairly complete coverage of CPC activities was recorded in the Craven Herald (John Mitchell, who was editor, had joined the Club in 1930, and Albert Mitchell was of course still a reporter with the same paper) and also in the rival newspaper, the Craven Pioneer. The thoroughness with which members explored the local cave and pothole systems can however be judged by the detailed guide books written by Albert Mitchell.

When the CPC was formed the nearest thing to a local caving guide was Balderston's "Ingleton Bygone and Present" published in the late nineteenth century, and Albert Mitchell decided to rectify this with a series of guides to the various caving areas in Craven. Unfortunately only one volume - "North Ribblesdale" was published before war was declared and Albert went to India, although a second volume "Under Ingleborough" appeared in 1946.

Don Mellor

Meets Card

High Plains Drifter, or the Caves of High Cup Nick.

Where those hills meet the valley of Tees - folk song

A bedraggled string of backpackers make their way across the headwaters of the Tees, picking their way over a swollen Maize Beck and plodding in the rain across High Cup Plain towards the famous Nick. Suddenly, one splits off from the end of the group, and starts to pilot a much more erratic course. It soon becomes apparent that his objectives are not random. He is looking at streams running off Murton Fell; mysterious streams, streams which never make it to the path, streams which sink in fact as soon as they reach the edge of the limestone plateau. After a futile investigation of the third or fourth such stream though, he sees his companions disappearing behind a low rise. Shrugging his shoulders, he sets his shoulder against the wind and hurries off after them. After fifty yards he stops abruptly. A shallow depression lies at his feet. Dropping into one end of this he disappears momentarily, only to reappear with a enthusiastic grin. He has found a cave entrance.

Well, you guessed who the lone character was, didn't you? Several weeks after this episode, Jo and I decided to revisit High Cup Nick and I would investigate a little further. The only recorded caves in this area are some in Maize Beck itself, whereas the water that sinks on the southern edge of the plateau cannot reappear for at least 1/4 mile, possibly in the Maize Beck caves. The limestone beds are thin, but I knew that you don't need a lot of limestone for a decent cave.

We chose a day of guaranteed fine weather, the best we were to have all summer - or so the met office astrologers told us. As we hiked up into the heavy rain clouds, woe betide the stranger who admitted he or she worked for that particular government department.

The sinks were all still there, all pretty impenetrable. The cave entrance seemed to have vanished though. I'm sure that in times of the densest hill fog, walls appear or disappear in front of you, specially shaped rocks and cairns sprout like magic all around, and cave entrances spring open at your feet. Come back on a clearer day though and not only are there no cave entrances, there are also no recognisable landmarks. Just as we were about to dismiss my experience of a few weeks previous as another example of this phenomenon, I decided to try to retrace my steps as closely as possible. Sure enough, fifty yards from the last major sink in the direction of the Nick, I found again the shallow depression. It was in fact a short section of collapsed cave passage, with open entrances at both ends.

Having hauled caving gear up the fell, I was determined to investigate despite the inhospitable weather for changing clothes. I looked at the downstream entrance first, an inviting five foot high canyon. After a few yards of narrow progress the stream dropped into a small chamber and gave all the appearance of marching off down a sizeable canyon passage. Alas, rapidly and painfully are the hopes of fame and glory dashed against hard limestone of reality. The pool at the bottom of the small waterfall proved to be a sump, and the continuing passage an illusion, degenerating after a few feet into an impenetrable bedding. In finest CPC tradition, I'd been Ghar Parau'ed.*

Returning to the surface, I investigated the upper entrance. This proved to be a hole into a hands and knees crawl, which I followed for probably a hundred feet or so, before being stopped at a triangular keyhole. It couldn't be far to the sink though from this point.

Not bad for a day's work - maybe 120' of passage - but obviously not what I'd hoped for. Well, apart from proddling in some of the sinks, that was that. On returning home I checked with Harry Long and Peter Ryder whether the cave had been reported since the last edition of Northern Caves - apparently not. Not a massively impressive find, but it proves one can still walk into new caves in the Dales without any excavatory effort at all. You just have to choose a really obscure area that is as far from a road as you can get.

*to be Ghar Parau'ed, vb. intrans. to follow up a promising lead, often at considerable effort and cost, only to be thwarted almost immediately afterwards. [From a 1972 expedition of the same name- see Ghar Parau by D Judson.]

Description for guide book NY 751277 Alt 590m

Collapsed section of cave in small depression, to south of Pennine Way where it crosses High Cup Plain, near several stream sinks. Downstream can be followed for 10' or so to a small waterfall into a chamber. The pool at the foot of the waterfall is a sump although the water exit is obscure. The passage continues for a few feet before becoming too low. Water presumed to rise in Maize beck. Upstream can be followed as a hand and knees crawl for about 100' ending at a keyhole.

A short section of flat out crawl can be followed from one of the other sinks before becoming too low (entrance now filled in). There are several streams which sink on the north side of the plateau. One of these drops into a 10' deep, narrow rift and may repay further investigation.

Patrick Warren

Chuck Pot

New dig in Penyghent Gill - Cattle Grid Pot, Elixir Hole, Chuck Pot, Drop Pot, Recovery Pot. - There's no shortage of names if this one eventually goes.

The site is one that had been previously examined by Pete Caleb (Captain) during the 80's at the same time as Swan Dyke Pot had been noticed. A stream appears from a drain under the road adjacent to the next cattle grid towards Littondale from Swan Dyke and after flowing on the surface for a few feet sinks in normal weather in a narrow slit some 30 feet from the road. The slit is about 24ins long by about 4ins wide, but runs away at an angle so you are unable to see down although the water can be heard trickling down inside. This site is itself promising, but only another 10 feet down the dry stream bed a more promising alternative is found. This is a squarish hole in the stream bed perhaps 8ins by 10ins with a clear visible drop of some 8 feet or more. The hole is far too narrow to do anything with but a light shone down seemed to suggest that a connection back towards the sink was possible.

On Saturday 4th July 1998 after an intended major assault on scaffolding the boulders in Swan Dyke was cut short through lack of scaffold poles, Captain, Perce, Alan Bolton and Barry Andrew turned their attention to this hole with the new generator that Barry was keen to try out and a borrowed Hilti TE17 that unbeknown at the time was to prove to be a key player in the explorations. Two initial holes were drilled to enlarge the entrance and after a large and satisfying "Bang!" the downstream side of the entrance was reduced to rubble which when cleared provided a useful ledge upon which to stand or sit while gazing longingly down the hole. We covered the hole up and then returned to Barry's where some while later the Police came by to say that some walker had reported an explosion in Halton Gill and given Barry's Car Registration no as being there! Good job he's got a licence.

The morning after found the same team back clearing more spoil and then drilling a couple of holes down the left hand side of the hole to take out more rock and allow us to get lower into the hole. The work progressed slowly, the drill bits seeming to take ages to work their way down through the rock, but we had a few problems with the TE17 chuck, which became detached from the drill several times. We eventually had two reasonably deep holes (15 - 18ins), and we were packing up equipment ready for the next bang. Barry and taken the chuck off the drill and carefully placed it clear of the hole but my foot caught it as I reached across for the drill and "Clunk - Click" off it went down the hole in an independent manner, determined to explore the system before we did!

Well, we poked and we prodded, and we swore and we cursed, but all to no avail. There was absolutely no way we could get at the chuck, we couldn't even see it, as it had rolled away out of sight some 8/10 feet below us. Barry held his head in his hands for a few minutes, but that didn't seem to help either, and then he said "Oh Well, chaps, dashed bad luck that - what ? (or words to that effect), and charged and banged the place anyway. This time when we returned to the hole we could see the bang fumes swirling around inside and so we just covered it and returned to Settle.

Monday 6th July. I had obtained a "Sea Search Magnet" and I drove up to Settle to meet Barry convinced that all I had to do was wave my magnet about down the hole and I would have the chuck back. Unfortunately I hadn't counted on that last "Bang" which had put at least 6ins of rock on top of the chuck, maybe more, we had no chance but made a brave effort anyway. As we were returning to the car a rather stout chap on a 4 wheel ATV rolled up complete with two guns and a tray full of freshly killed rabbits, we didn't need telling that this was the Game Keeper. He asked us what we were up to, and we explained that we had been trying to recover some "caving clips" that we had dropped down a hole on Saturday. He seemed a bit dubious, but after 30 minutes of Barry's convincing conversation I was surprised that he didn't invite us back to his place for a pint!

Saturday 11th July - Alan and myself returned to the hole to see what we could do to clear some of the rubble and get nearer to the missing chuck. It was a fine day and we managed to get out quite a but, but there just wasn't room to get down low enough to excavate properly so we drilled another couple of holes using Barry's battery powered drill. Incidentally there is no chance of keeping this dig a secret as every car that comes across the cattle grid has a full view of what we we're doing and sure enough it wasn't long before some more cavers driving past spotted us and came down to see what was going on (Jed Campion and others from the YRC). They wandered off to look at Outsleets Beck Pot leaving behind an invite to their Bar-B-Que at Lowstern that evening. We amused ourselves until Barry arrived with some bang, by taking turns to dangle upside down head first down the hole pulling out rocks one by one.

After Barry had charged and banged it we hauled out some more rubble, but after a while it was obvious that we were going to need a couple more bangs before we could get enough depth to matter. There was now probably 18ins of rubble on the top of the chuck, and we still couldn't reach it to lift it out.

Sunday 12th July and our booked trip to Short Drop/Gavel didn't attract anyone else to Barry's so Alan, Barry and I decided to continue work on the dig. The weather was truly horrendous for July, it had been raining most of the night and it bucketed it down all the time we were on the fells and a howling gale blew it every which way so there was nowhere to find any shelter from it. When we arrived at the dig the normally small stream was swollen to a torrent and as well as sinking in the normal slit an overflow was running vigorously and cascading down our entrance, until a dam was built to contain it at the original sink. This was interesting - there was more water sinking here than there was at the main Swan Dyke sink!

We took up the generator and the Hilti drill again with a chuck that Barry had borrowed from Bob Mackin. Barry did most of the drilling with occasional spells by Alan, but for some reason he seemed reluctant to let me get my hands on the drill again! I can't think why? After several hours of work when everyone was really piss wet through, Barry charged and banged again and then returned to his car while me and Alan poked about in the hole (the fumes and been blown away this time by the fierce weather). We removed a few more chunks but eventually had to concede that at least one more bang was going to be needed and perhaps two or more to give us enough room to move. There was probably now 24ins of rubble on top of the chuck - it was slowly getting further away. We tidied up and covered the hole for another weekend.

We next returned to the dig on Saturday 18th July and again drilled several holes and then banged out again eventually managing to create a ledge some 5ft below the surface where it was possible to kneel and haul out some of the spoil from our blasting activities. This was tackled on the Sunday mainly by Perce and Alan and we shifted a good 20 or more bucket loads of spoil to a suitable dumping site farther down the dry valley. Eventually we reached a situation where again we had no room to move and we still couldn't get a sight of that elusive chuck.

We didn't return to the dig until Saturday 1st August due to an excellent weekend at Knock Fell having come in between, and this time Keith & Bewler joined Perce, Alan and Barry as we drilled yet more holes. Two in the bedrock below the part we were kneeling on and one in the side wall to try and create some more room. As we had more workers on this trip we also took the opportunity to introduce a little flourescein dye into the sink and Alan walked down to Penyghent Gill to see if he could spot the resurgence. After I had done a spot of drilling I also walked down the Gill and between us we covered all the known resurgences and also walked most of the length of the gill without seeing any results in the two to three hours we were there.

We returned to the dig in time to join in the festivities as Barry let off another of his most famous "Crackers" and then we covered the hole and returned to Settle.

Sunday 2nd August was a most interesting day. The weather was nice and sunny for a change and we had "Far-away-John" (John Worden) come to join us in our efforts. I drove up first and noticed a Land Rover parked just before the lay-by, I wondered if it was John Allenby's, as he had said the night before that he may come and join us, so I didn't think too much about it. I had already changed into my digging gear and Alan and John arrived and were working on it when this bloke from the Land Rover pulled up and said, "And just where do you think you're going?", in a tone that can only be described as distinctly unfriendly. Silence ensued for a while, John didn't know what we were doing anyway, and Alan's reflexes were for once even slower than mine.

"Ermm - we're going down Swan Dyke Pot", said yours truly.

"Swan Dykes not here!", was the response. He looked over his shoulder and continued, "It's back up there quite a way".

I had to agree, but tried to explain that we parked down here because we liked to walk to Swan Dyke via the footpath instead of climbing over the fence. To say that he was sceptical about this would be a gross understatement of facts, I didn't believe it myself and it was my story! I don't think he believed any of the lies I told him. A Bolton Man, who just happened to be there, then started to elaborate on the purpose of our trip down Swan Dyke, (which was pretty good as we hadn't had any intentions of going down there at all!), and sort of half convinced the chap who incidentally by then we had found out was the tenant farmer of the land we were digging on. Eventually he drove away and we were left with a dilemma - what to do? We had said we were going down Swan Dyke Pot so if he returned and found us digging in his field he would probably not be amused. He had expressed concern over the recently publicised threat by the father of the lad who fell down Rat Hole a couple of years ago to sue the Land-owner (in this case the Farrer Estate) for negligence because there wasn't adequate warning around Gaping Gill of the dangers involved. But I digress yet again...

We decided to go down Swan Dyke Pot, show Far-away John what we had achieved so far in the way of shoring, and see if he was mad enough to climb down to the constriction (No, he wasn't, but I got a picture of him thinking about it!). We then returned and after humming and harring for a little while Alan and I decided to have a go at rebuilding the dry stone wall near Swan Dyke, while John went for a walk around the Gill keeping his eyes open for any traces of the dye we had introduced the day before. A couple of hours later the wall was repaired, in a fashion, and John had returned with no sign of the dye reported. We threw caution to the winds and returning to the dig we started to extract spoil. We were really cracking, over 20 bucket loads had been cleared out and we could smell that chuck, when proceedings were temporarily stopped when the farmer, a Mr Robinson, returned and said "I thought you lot said you weren't digging on my land !

Now It's difficult to get around an outright lie, but Alan managed the best he could (well he is the assistant conservation and access officer, and has a good line in waffle at any time). The end result of a friendly discussion was that we now have permission to examine the hole for a while, but no guarantee that we will be allowed to continue indefinitely - the farmer doesn't want a bomb site on his land, neither does he particularly want a major cave system. We promised the first but couldn't guarantee the second! There was also mention of that traditional Yorkshire farmer sweetener (a bottle of Whisky) being organised !

Saturday 7th August and we were again back to the basic team of Perce and Allan digging with technical and chemical support from Barry. We drilled two more holes on the Saturday and then banged it removing the right hand wall which had been impeding our progress down. On the Sunday we removed loads of spoil, before eventually conceding that at least one more bang would be needed. It was very frustrating, we knew we were now down at about the level of the missing chuck, but it was still conspicuous by its absence.

Friday 14th August Allan and Barry went up to drill a couple of holes ready for work on the Saturday, only to find (to their amazement) that the normal stream sink in the slit had become totally overwhelmed and was now a pool, with the excess water again flowing into our dig. The difference this time though was that our dig was full of water to a depth of some 4 to 5 feet, needless to say, no drilling got done this day.

Saturday 15th August and while Perce and Pauline are getting together the final items for the Airedale trip to Austria in 2 weeks time, Barry and Alan returned to the dig and finding the climate more temperate they drilled several holes and filled the dig with rubble for the Sunday team to dig out. The usual team of Allan, Perce and Barry was augmented on Sunday with the arrival of Elaine, Wendy & Donald who had a free weekend and some energy to spare.

A couple of hours saw all the spoil removed, yet again! Then as Barry started to drill for the next bang, I took a walk down towards the stream bed of Penyghent Gill, incidentally stumbling across another interesting hole in the ground which led into a large underground system. Unfortunately it was only a rabbit hole and the bunnies were not amused when I stuck my hand down and had a feel around their warren. I returned after about 30 minutes expecting to find the 1st hole still being drilled but Barry's secret weapon (Andy Roberts Hilti TE5-A Drill) had been employed and was according to those watching a very impressive limestone eater. Barry had drilled 3 holes, two to about 450mm deep in the main hole and one a bit shallower down the "chuck rift". A quick insertion of Dr Nobel's laxative and the hole was again filled with rubble, but this time we could move to do something about it.

A team operation quickly evolved involving the two buckets we had available plus the various digging tools. I dug a bit and then Allan and Wendy, but it was to be Donald who got the honours on his stint when he reached down, scrabbled about and then produced the elusive chuck looking little the worse for its underground ordeal.

"Is this what you're looking for?", he asked, waving the chuck about.

A couple of pictures were taken of the recovered chuck and then it was ferried off to the safety of Barry's car while we continued excavations until we again ran out of room. We now have a hole 10ft deep, about 2ft wide and varying between 2 and 3 ft long. The continuation seems to be back towards the primary sink, but a thin rift also cuts down into the floor and our next objective is to follow these two leads onwards. Thanks to all who have assisted in the opening up of this hole, and if I've missed anyone in the credits I am sorry but you should come more often and make your presence known!

Perce Lister.

Northern Cave Diving News

Yet another soggy couple of months has come and

gone; there has been virtually no news of discoveries by cave divers in the north for over 6 months. I can't remember a year quite this bad - lets hope we get a decent freeze up!

The picturesque resurgence of Beck Head at Witherslack was visited again recently by yours truly, accompanied (no less) by Harpic. The site was pushed to a final conclusion 145m from base, unfortunately without finding any dry passages. However at the nearby Pool Bank Cave Phils Murphy and Howson have forced a tight section to reach Sump 2, which is large, clear and inviting. This could be quite promising!

In Kingsdale a short section of new passage was revealed in Turbary Pot which does not seem to be connected with the Turbary Inlet in Swinsto Hole. It ends in a narrow rift sump currently being explored by Martin Holroyd. Jason Mallison has laid a bit more line at the end of Joint Hole's Deep Route (Chapel-le-Dale) but we don't have any more details at present. There are several dives set up and ready in various other Three Peaks caves (Broken Finger Pot, Lancaster Hole and Penyghent Pot to name a few) but the weather has prevented any of the tanks from being used to date.

Further east the Malham Cove Rising system has seen a lot of activity with 3m further progress made so far this Autumn into the terminal choke, the limit here now standing at 713m from base. Long digging sessions at the terminus (at 14m depth) now mean that decompression stops are having to be done on the way out. A few Wharfedale sites have also seen some diving but no real news worthy of a mention. I just hope we have more to report on next issue!


Norway 1998

Once more unto the breach... My Norwegian Expedition logbook now outlines seven trips. The first, a joint WCC/MNRC party, led by Glyn Bolt in 1983, travelled North of Bodo to culminate in Ragge-Javre-Raige's spectacular, very severe, 2000feet deep through-trip (which I did not do). We also enjoyed a joint weekend with Norwegian cavers, exploring and surveying the Greftkjelen / Greftsprekka pair of pots (Later linked, I think.) Glyn's quote of the latter trip was;

"Let's not find any more - we'll be here all *#$# night surveying it!"

All the other expeditions were organised variously by Trevor Faulkner and Geoff Newton, to explore systematically North Nordland, about 200miles North from Trondheim. My 1989 introduction to these trips commenced with perhaps the hardest walk in I have done, to camp for a week on Elgfjell, and ended with a week on Vargskaret on the far more accessible flanks of Blafjell, above Svenningdal. That and the 1990 follow-up, yielded some of the series' most enjoyable expedition caving, exploring and surveying beautiful swirling streamways in sparkling grey-banded white marble.

In July 1998, Alan Marshall (a veteran of the series) and I boarded the Newcastle to Bergen "Color Line" ferry. Two days later, we arrived at our Svenningdal contact Odd Johansen's home, where Trevor Faulkner and David St. Pierre awaited us.

Next day we were off to Stavassdal (Dal = dale) near the town of Trofors. Unlike all previous expeditions, Trevor had spent several weeks in 1997, prospecting solo and with locals, talking to farmers and reindeer-herders, and had amassed lots of sites for the picking.

So "all" we had to do was thrash about in secondary growth and forestry trimmings until we found the intended sink, an open shaft needing one ladder. (My diary omits names for some of this year's sites, but the eventual formal reports will have full details.) The stream descends a vadose canyon to a pitch into a chamber. I baulked at climbing this free-hang from the roof beyond the waterfall, without a life-line, but Trevor and Alan surveyed the following narrow, windy, cold, wet rift. Dave stayed "upstairs", searching the forest for more caves. A good start! The surrounding hillside yielded nothing significant though, and we retreated to a roadside camp, nicknamed "The Mosquito Pit", in woods near the path up to Vargskaret.

South of Svenningdal station, and of Vargskaret, Trevor, Alan and I braved potential heatstroke (honest: Norway can be pretty hot in Summer) as we fought our way up the steep, heavily-vegetated valley side to Litle Hjortskaret, where Trevor and Odd had found cave entrances last year. Once up, we were in pleasant, dappled shade on a wooded terrace, sprinkled with small sinks and risings.

Coffee Break Sink, a small shaft in a shakehole, and Wide Cave, a bedding-like rock-shelter into a tube, were both choked. Alan attempted to photograph a curious "formation", probably a fungus, in the former.

Sunbeam Cave's roomy chamber is just below the floor of a large shakehole, lit by four skylights. One is the entrance, a short ladder climb. Sadly, a pit swallowing the stream, and a short dry passage, choke in boulders. We admired, and tried to photograph, the sunbeams illuminating the chamber.

Litle Hjortskaret done, we fought the clegs, mosquitoes and heat once more on our descent to the road.

Gjeitklauvgrotta, near Trofors, is fairly well known, and we planned to photograph its formations (rare in Norwegian caves) and to push and survey side passages in its complicated multi-level maze. We visited its impenetrable resurgence, then threaded through part-felled forest, up over the hill, to the main entrance in a blind valley.

The water, sinks below the entrance crawl, into a handsome stream passage to a very large chamber. An awkward climb gains fine phreatic passages descending to sumps, and interlinked by assorted ramps and tubes. We left the surveying unfinished, though local cavers may carry on, went out to warm up over lunch, then popped back in to take lots of photographs, especially in the chamber and larger passages. The cave gave us an enjoyable semi-"tourist" trip. Even the walk to it was relatively easy, through a forest and nearly flat!

No Nordland expedition is complete without its mountain camp. The 1998 weather was changeable, but mainly dry. Trevor reported temperatures in the 80s before Alan and I joined him there. It poured with rain as we prepared for the hard march in to Kvitfjellet (White Fell), from the car-park at the end of the Stavassdal track near Trofors. Most visitors there are local walkers, hunters or anglers.

The rains grudgingly eased as we swayed, laden with 601b packs, across a short suspension footbridge, and sploshed off up the footpath. The path took us perhaps a quarter of the way in, passing a ruined farmhouse and ending in a boggy confluence of three valleys. Most of the anglers turn off to a lake, but we crossed another swaying bridge over the foaming torrent, to... where? We think the path follows the third valley, but we followed the middle dale, climbing steeply through long grass and scrub birch on the spur to a broad, marshy terrace.

It took an age to pass the opposite spur; then a long, tedious and laborious meander across cotton-bogs rose steadily to the sting in the tale, a very steep, wet, grassy slope. We were forced to use the springy birch trees as handholds while fighting our unwieldy packs through their contorted branches. At last we "only" had a kilometre of careful boulder-stepping along the shore of a lake, to our campsite on a small spur at its upstream end. Thankfully we dropped our packs and erected our tents. I was not very fit, and on the last stages urged myself on by keeping the survival rules going round in my head: shelter, warmth, food. I crawled into my little porch, set the stove going for soup for two, and called Alan over.

"Seen the resurgence?", Trevor called. On the axis of a very tight fold some 600 feet above our campsite, a powerful stream poured out of the mountain side.... Having rested, and with that intriguing resurgence beckoning, our appreciation of the valley deepened. We were in a fine cirque cut by a col above and to one side of the rising, and with a view away out across the lake to distant mountains.

Next morning's climb to the rising was strenuous, but not unduly difficult, to a grassy changing perch. Trevor (1997) reported a sump but closer inspection revealed a narrow passage to an easy climb above the sump. Alan and I pushed the meandering strike passage until it became too tight, discovered a wriggle down to the stream beyond the entrance "sump" - a duck, but we kept dry and warm - and a sump proper. The little cave was rather disappointing, but a thinner person might have negotiated the bend which stopped us.

The cave is unusual, as it is crammed so tightly into a fold lying on its side - and this is in the land of the vertical bedding - that the dip changes from about +80ø at the floor to -10ø at the roof, within perhaps six feet height. The rising is double, but the parallel outlet was impenetrable. Its volume rose and fell noticeably over the next couple of days.

Kvitfjellhola was provisionally named Ole Matis' Entrance when Trevor first found it with Ole and his father, Arni Gronli. Its cold, draughty, sand and cobble-floored phreatic tubes diversify from a sizeable entrance chamber. Alan pushed through a tight section to Arni and Trevor's 1997 terminus cairn in a small chamber, but its further outlets were choked. We agreed what that bit looked like on paper, surveyed an interesting pair of parallel tubes rising from the chamber one cut along a schist band to give a phreatic "quarter-tube" and went off to find the streamway.

The climb up past the resurgence into a fine dry valley became our commuter route for the next three days. Back in Kvitfjellhola, next day, we laddered the short, awkward pitch into the streamway. Though short, it was what we go to Norway for: sparkly marble stream passage with intriguing cascades over schist barriers (the holds can be treacherously friable), to a gloomy sump. Upstream from the pitch, an overflow passage leap-frogged the water to a bizarre sump - a circular shaft up which the water rose, in an alcove - and a low, slightly threatening waterway between its too-low inlet and outlet. Kvitfjellhola is a fine and varied little system, with some very interesting geology.

Edgar Johanssen, a farmer and amateur geologist from Northern Norway, found us in camp. He had left the car-park the day before, but followed the wrong valley, forcing him into a long detour with an overnight camp on the intervening hills.

Sfinxhullet (Sphinx Pot) defeated me, with its peculiar entrance rigged by hanging a ladder through the too-narrow top of a shaft, straddling a few feet down a parallel shaft, then squeezing through an interconnecting crawl back to the ladder! TF and AM named it after one of the sharp rock flakes which characterise its streamway.

Next day was our last back up on the col. Trevor and Alan explored and surveyed Green Valley Cave, in a shallow, verdant valley in the floor of the col. Its entrance, a slot in a wide "bedding-plane" (a joint really), was too tight for me, so I examined a rather scruffy little cave in a nearby shakehole. It developed promisingly, but soon ended too low.

A large snowfield coated the mountain side just above us, and Trevor and Edgar argued about the pale-coloured rock above it: marble or quartzite? Our caving here finished, the rest of us lazed in the warm sun, entertained by two reindeer chasing a sheep and its lambs away from the snow-field, while Trevor went to find out. He soon returned, not only deciding to agree with Edgar that the rock was quartzite, but more importantly, he had seen a rainstorm approaching up the next valley. We hurried down too before the rain made the grass and lichen-dappled rocks slippery, and scrambled into our tents.

Luckily the storm soon passed, and we broke camp. I was rather sad to leave this idyllic spot, with its superb cwm and distant hills, its bright alpine flowers and butterflies, and its interesting little caves and geology. The cotton bogs were very unpleasant, but at last we were back near the old farm, where we browsed on succulent ripe cloudberries and chatted to three young men whose grandfather, it turned out, had owned the farm. They were assessing it for restoration as a summer house. These Sami (preferred to the word "Lapp") heard our observations of the reindeer and the sheep, and explained that the two species are unfriendly to each other. This had unexpected repercussions...

That evening we met as arranged at Odd's home, where Edgar cooked a meal of elk steak and rice. Odd was not at all impressed when we told him in all innocence of our meeting the Kvitfjell lads - that is their family name, they had said - and he promptly spent much of the rest of the evening discussing the matter with the owner of the deer. Oh dear, what had we dome? We gathered that the reindeer herders are a rather disputatious lot... Odd was already rather unhappy, the aftermath of an extremely gruelling time supervising an important industrial building contract. We decided camping that night at the Mosquito Pit was the diplomatic course of action.

A rest day followed. Edgar was due to leave us for a rifle-shooting competition, and we accompanied him to Amdalselv Gorge, scene of the 1996 antics with a flooded river, where he could test his sights and his aim undisturbed while we watched and pottered about tidying and drying our car-loads. After farewells, Edgar set off South, while we drove North beyond Mosjoen and over a high and bleak pass to Korgen, an attractive town with an excellent campsite. We booked a "hytte" (hut) for our last few days in the field.

Next day, we drove back over the pass, pausing on the way to examine the thrust-plane carrying the Helgeland Nappe over the Rodingsfjell Nappe, parts of the country's very complicated tectonic and volcanic geology. The thrust is exposed at the E6 roadside, just below and South of the summit, and lies along a thin bed of brecciated marble at about 25ø dip. The fault runs away Eastwards across country as a distinct scarp.

Luktindgrotta is a known cave partly explored in 1997 by Trevor and Ragnar -? (sorry, I don't have his surname). Once Alan and I had identified the excessively-tight bedding cave we initially entered as the wrong cave, and then found Luktindgrotta, we commenced surveying while Trevor and Dave examined other sites in the area.

The cave is a roomy, sandy, rather shattered, linear canyon with many short oxbows and false floors, cut along the inevitable schist bands, and taking a small, possibly misfit, stream. Beyond Trevor's limit, a wet crawl, and just as the cave looked as if would end, it started cutting down again, with encouraging noises ahead. I rounded a corner and found myself peering down a waterfall into an attractive chamber. The drop was unclimbable, but an eyehole to the side looked helpful. I wriggled over a low barrier... and found a similar but dry pitch, with a rope hanging down it! We had no ladder with us, but vowed to return, and started surveying out. TF and DStP joined us, and we managed to survey right back to the entrance, some 400m back from the pitch head.

Outside, we met members of the landowner's family, intrigued by our presence in their forest. They told us of relations exploring the cave in years past, one indeed entering there but emerging down at the rising! How do you react to such tales? Clearly, to dismiss them as hearsay or embroidered would be very rude, and there might be something in it... One of the women photographed us with her relatives, and we went our ways.

The year before, Trevor had visited an enormous resurgence in high flood: Rossagrotta, and advised us to bring wetsuits this year. We made light of the strange looks that donning wetsuits at the roadside gained us from passing motorists. A moderately easy walk through forests reached a very wide river-bed, dry up-valley from a wide, fairly low arch discharging a gently-flowing but impressive volume of water. I proved, in shallow water, only that I sink in caving kit, even in a wet-suit. TF and AM negotiated submerged ledges to reach a rock bridge, but the small drop beyond into clear, very deep water would have been irreversible without a short ladder, and the canal appeared to sump soon anyway.

Up-valley, two large entrances meet the subterranean river flowing approximately parallel to the valley wall, in very deep canals. The aquatic duo traversed and swam to an oxbow just visible in the gloom, reported a sump beyond, and surveyed out.

The sink is a couple of hundred yards up valley again. The water slithers under the bank, but scrambling over a boulder pile about twenty feet high enters a short section of passage above an ominous green sump pool and a mass of jammed logs.

We knocked off two sites that day! After the water-babies' fun, we examined Storskoggrotta ("Large Forest Cave"). A valley ends rather abruptly at an entrance, normally dry below its sink, about 200 yards upstream, which debouches abruptly onto an impressive rift. Trevor and Ragnar descended it part way in 1997. Shortage of tackle and surplus of stream stopped play.

I was volunteered to descend first, but gained only Trevor's previous limit, a tiny ledge on the wall. The ladder ended below me and at least 20 feet above the floor. Lined by Dave, I retreated. Re-arranging the tackle now gave a difficult and exposed free-climb down to the belay on a stance on jammed boulders, and I did not attempt the descent again.

TF and AM bottomed the superb 70 feet pitch, armed with the survey kit and my snapshot camera. They reported a fine rift to a deep sump, in beautiful marble, with huge tree-trunks jammed high above them by the floods. I examined the sink, but its boulder ruckle was unenterable.

Thus ended our last full day all together. Next morning, Sunday August 2nd, we were up early and away back to Lucktindgrotta. Dave and Trevor stopped to examine the resurgence, Alan and I carried on to push and survey the cave beyond the pitch.

We were on edge: only two other people knew where we were, and our team was dividing; Trevor and Dave to go to Sweden, Alan and I to go home. We soon laddered the pitch, and double-checked the belay. The rope, which we later learnt was Ragnar's, was jammed solidly among the boulders below. I descended steadily but nervously, and Alan joined me.

The lovely chamber is in white marble, dominated by a black schist barrier forming the waterfall, and by a strange oval exposure of the same impurity in the opposite wall. The cave continued hopefully, but then lowered to a short wet crawl. The weather was fine, but we felt very exposed down there as we pushed on. We wanted to savour the exploration, but we also wanted to get out as quickly as possible. The stream sinks under the wall of a short, mud-floored passage with an air of finality, to two gloomy sumps. Nobody had ever completed through-trips here. Is there another cave in these woods?

Rapidly but efficiently, we surveyed back up the cave. As Alan coiled the ladder, I measured and noted the expedition's last survey leg, all of 1 metre from belay to previous station. We ate some chocolate, and fettled our lamps, reminding ourselves that just because a cave is easy.... The journey out was rapid but steady, and we both felt relief that it was over.

As protection, I had left at the entrance a small knapsack, which someone had abandoned at the end of the 1994 Berger trip. There was a note from Trevor slipped into its strap, to wish us good luck and goodbye, as he and Dave started their drive to Sweden, to join another caving expedition. In hot sunshine, we changed, and packed the car. Back at the E6, we turned left, South: "Let's go to Rochdale", I said.

Our journey South gave us time for sightseeing. Alan had always wanted to see the Troll Wall - a climbers', not its local, name. So, we drove down peaceful Romsdal, which starts wide and gentle before suddenly realising that if it does not start cutting down, it will be hanging when it reaches the sea. So, the road and improbably, a railway line, suddenly find themselves squeezed into the bottom of a spectacular, steeplydescending, and extremely beautiful, gorge ending on a narrow coastal plain at the port of Andalsnes. We guessed that the largest of the huge cliffs is the Troll Wall, in deep shadow, its dinosaurean crest of pinnacles silhouetted against the sky.

Head back SE, and another narrow valley ends abruptly at a huge headwall up which the Trollstiggen zig-zags its hairy way. This 19th C. road replaces an old, very steep, drove-road, which is now a "path" for the intrepid, with hand-chains for aid. We grockled at the top, threading past souvenir kiosks (and buying postcards) to viewpoints, and snapshotting away.

If any feature is Norway's most photographed, it is the dramatic Hardangerfjord. There were no cruise liners on the deep waters far below the viewpoint, but it was obvious why they visit the fjord, with its near-vertical walls and narrow waterway. The town is a tourist trap with expensive-looking hotels, but I am sure the price the campsite receptionist quoted me for one night with one tent was wrong. "Is she selling us the site?", asked Alan.

We were becoming pushed for distance and time, and pressed on. Our last night in Norway was like our first, spent in the back of my hatchback car in a forestry layby. (We stacked the gear on the front seats or behind the car, and I had left the rear seat at home.) Only that night was wet, unlike the fine Summer weather which greeted our arrival in Norway.

Christmas shopping in Bergen's "Bryggen" (shops and galleries in ancient warehouses) a fine blow-out meal in the ship's restaurant, beers, music and a very entertaining conjuror in its lounge: so my seventh Norway Expedition ended.

Nigel Graham

Over the Sea (Well, that Bridge) to Skye

"What are you doing here? You should be up that hill!" called out the Stump Cross Caverns manager, a week out, on spotting my CPC flag-waving - well, sweatshirt wearing. My girlfriend Jane Rickman and I visited the cave on our way North-East after the 1997 Winch Meet. If Sell Gill Holes are the Club Pot, are Stump Cross Caverns and Ingleborough Cave Honorary Club Showcaves?

Following a convivial evening in Ripon with Robin & Kath Sermon, we ventured via Housesteads Fort on Hadrian's Wall, deeper into Moldywarps Speleological Group territory and the residence of Pete & Elaine Ryder. Jane and I dutifully said "Aaaah!" over the gerbil which, stuffed and mounted, guards the top of the Ryder household harmonium, after a fatal encounter with one of their moggies. I first met both couples in the 1980s when the Moldywarps surveyed Sandy Hole, on Portland. Subsequently I accompanied them on MSG caving expeditions to Applecross, Skye, and Dungarvan, in Eire.

After photography stops at the border viewpoint and the Forth Bridges, we stopped at Inverness for the night. The expansive, empty countryside of Northern England and Southern Scotland was all new territory for Jane, and not very familiar to me. I planned to follow the route taken on my first visit in 1983, on the MSG trip to Applecross (Wester Ross) and Skye. At Applecross we pushed Cave of the Liar rather inconclusively, surveyed and photographed it: Elaine was my patient model for the latter. (Did I send Pete and her prints?) On Skye, we found Upper Breakish Bridge Cave, with its superb upstream grotto, and visited other caves; but not the one unfinished by Arthur Champion, a flat-out, razor-rock crawl.

So, over the mountains Jane and I now drove. Sadly, the weather broke, and the glorious scenery I remembered from the MSG trip became grey lumps looming out of grey murk.

We bought our share of the Skye Bridge, beyond which the mountains called in bright evening sunlight. Portree: where's the camp-site? "Staffin, Portree" may be the postal address, but, "Staffin 16", announced a sign. We soon learnt that Skye distances are integer multiples of 16 miles which as befits an island in the NE Atlantic, are of Nautical rather than terrestrial length.

The small and pleasant site, just outside the hamlet of Staffin, accepts tents, caravans and motor-caravans, and it has just one static caravan, and a holiday bungalow. The manageress had a surprise for us. She had put us in the bungalow at the last minute, at no extra cost, as the caravan's electrical supply had failed. We soon made ourselves at home!

Sunday morning is an excellent time to explore a Scottish island village without crowds. The shop was closed, and the hamlet deserted except for the faithful going to church. They were all very soberly dressed. I ascribed that simply to Presbyterianism, but Jane wondered if they were in mourning.

After lunch, we set off for The Quiraing, whose strange profile dominates the view north from the cottage lounge. We chose from the OS 1¬" map, the path to the north of the Quiraing. It looked a gentle introduction to Skye hills. It also passed small Loch Hasco whose outflow sinks according to the map, and there is limestone near Staffin... The path rose gently, and soon we gazed down onto the lochan. The water was low, and it was obvious that it just overflows through vegetated scree. (We've been had like this in Norway!)

Beyond a strategic stepping-stone over a fence, we ascended into a confusion of parallel ridges and small bogs caused by slab-failure landslips. We lost the path among vague sheeptracks. Navigating across this rough ground would have been difficult, but on turning round, Jane spotted the real path.

Soon, we were below the fantastic, eroded columnar basalt pinnacles and stacks which are the Quiraing's dominant features, below Meal na Suirameach: "The Needle", "The "Prison", but which is which? The path traverses the steep, rather exposed, undercliff, then reaches a saddle rewarding us with fine views SE over Staffin and the Isle of Rona, although the visibility was rather poor that day.

On we went, taking photographs at likely places. The Staffin to Uig road over the escarpment's one negotiable pass came into view, about a mile ahead. Nearer, I saw that the path becomes a hairy traverse ascending a cliff face, but that the slopes below us offered an easy exit to the road.

Round the next corner, I was stopped by a nasty obstacle. One has to climb down into a deep gully, then out up wet rock onto the traverse, to a flat, broad terrace leading to the car-park on the pass. Crossing the gully was beyond me. I waited until Jane had negotiated the obstacle, helped by her greater height, then returned to the exit slope. Still, half the team completed the high route to the pass. When we announced our plans at GG, many people suggested lovely routes including Cuillin ridges, forgetting I cannot rock-climb! (I'll never see OFD3....)

On the long trudge back along the road to the car, I abandoned hoping to attempt the big hills in the south of the island, or the coast path "Bad Step", which the "Trenchfoot Arms Guide to Skye" called "not that bad"! Nobody mentioned the Quiraing one. Despite this set-back, we had enjoyed an interesting walk of otherwise moderate difficulty and some popularity: we met a number of other people on the Quiraing.

At Gaping Gill, I had sought advice on the Skye hills, remembering Frank Smythe-esque "Record" epics, but we were assured that high routes for non-climbers exist even on the Cuillins. This set-back reminded me of similar advice in 1996, before a "Norway Expedition Reunion" Ogof Draenen round-trip led by Emma Porter. Estelle Sandford's "You'll get through" (the Squirrel Rifts squeeze) proved only just correct: it, and the numerous climbs, are on my limits. The cave's few superb formations are not on the Round Trip, so cannot compensate for the route's unpleasantness. So after the Quiraing, I was cautious, and frustrated.

At least we had delicious fresh mackerel for tea, courtesy of a local fisherman visiting friends on the camp-site. He had caught plenty of sizeable mackerel, dogfish, etc.

Monday 1st September 1997 dawned wet, and we opted to drive to Uig, on the West Coast. First though, as I paid for groceries in Staffin shop, Jane examined the newspaper shelf. Suddenly she asked, horrified, "What's happened?" She was staring at one front page after another carrying something about the Princess of Wales. We bought a paper....

Beyond the Quiraing pass, we drove down into sunny Uig. We planned to walk East up Glen Uig, the broad River Conon valley, to Beinn Edra, returning along the opposite side of the glen. It was mid-afternoon (-ish), after a leisurely wander around the harbour, before we laced up our boots and locked the car.

The initial lengthy road walk to Balnaknock (farm) passes below Castle Ewen through a peculiar area of mass-movement land-slips and small-scale cone topography which resembles cone karst, but seems to be vegetated, eroded basalt columns.

Near the valley head, our path faded away among peat bogs, then Jane's keen eyes spotted another couple walking away to the north. Bog-clagging regained the path, which follows a ruined wall heading straight for Bealach a Mhoramhain. And straight for grotty weather again, with near gale-force wind as we approached the scarp overlooking Staffin, and we proceeded very carefully indeed. "Bealach" means "pass": no way down there though!

We clung to the trig point on Edra, (1990 feet), almost on the cliff edge, as we admired the view and the beautiful weather effects. Back west, Glen Uig and the Hebrides basked in the sun. East, a rainstorm drifted away seawards, while the Staffin plain lay shaded by dense, very dark clouds streaming out from the ridge to our right (South). Before and below us, small holes in the clouds allowed sunbeams to shine moistly through ghostly veils of drizzle. The Quiraing was in shadow, but the hills above it and West were in sunshine.

(Digressing, for a moment, I remember a magnificent katabatic cloud display one evening at the Winch Meet a few years ago. The mist was just like a silent waterfall plunging down all along the face of Ingleborough, curling into a fine "stopper" on the valley floor, and dispersing eastwards in gentle drifts of fine vapour.)

Our intended route was on an excellent ridge which appears to attract few walkers judging by the paths. Though we were in sunshine, I was mindful of the dense cloud less than a mile away, and took precautionary bearings. More peat bogs a short way downhill were a brief problem, but soon we were descending steadily to a farm track. From Glen Conon, the North side of the valley, the landslips and cones stood out in sharp relief in the low evening sun, giving us a better view of the structure (of a landslip?). A mile or so of road took us down almost to sea-level - and a final stiff ascent back to the car.

This round-trip is perhaps 9 miles of easy but very rewarding hill-walking. Using a bus would allow a full Trotternish peninsula crossing: Uig to Beinn Edra, then north over steep Bioda Buidhe to the Quiraing car-park. The Uig - Staffin road is the only way down the superb scarp face.

Strathaird Peninsula on the south coast serves that side of the Cuillins. It was also the venue for the 1983 MSG trip, when we stayed in a holiday cottage near Elgol (on Ian Anderson's estate: "Dun Ringill" of the Jethro Tull song is near there). As Jane and I approached Elgol, the weather worsened dramatically. We stopped the car above the steep descent to the little harbour, gazed out into a ferocious rain-storm, and admired the persistence of two electricity workers installing a transformer on a nearby pole. They kept at it despite being blasted by a horizontal waterfall.

The rain stopped, and we drove gently back, pausing at Cill Chrios church ruins and remnants of the marble-quarry railway. Small patches of marble pavement rise above the lush green grass on the peninsula. I collected samples and photographed a small dyke in a roadside exposure by Loch Slapin. Some of this area's caves are on contacts between igneous intrusions and the resulting marble. Skye's geology is remarkably varied for a relatively small area.

The island of Raasay proved an interesting excursion. We crossed as foot passengers, as the car ferry fare is pretty stiff. From the ferry stage, a disused railway incline leads uphill, steeply at first then gently for about two miles to the derelict iron mine above Raasay Forest. Has anyone explored it, or otherwise knows it? The adit is open, apart from a low fence and outflowing water. Some wit had altered five letters of a "Dangerous Old Mine Workings" sign, to warn us of "Danger Cold MICE ... " (This is a family magazine). It rained again. We sploshed back down roads and forest tracks to Clachan, to dry out over coffee in the local hotel as the sun came out again.

We enjoyed a number of other, gentler excursions and grockling, but still intended to sample the accessible bits of the Cuillins. Eventually we managed it, although we had to wait until late afternoon for suitable weather that day. From the Sligachan, Coire a Bhasteir looked a reasonable aim. The path fades near the Coire's outlet, and the daylight and weather threatened similar intentions. Jane waited while I trotted up the last hundred yards to find the gorge is honourably impassable. We retreated rapidly to regain the good path in fair light, and relaxed on the last stretch back to the Hotel.

On most of the holidays and expeditions I have been on over the years, we have enjoyed a general ignorance of what the rest of the world is doing at the time. It hardly matters in the Grotte de Gournier or on a remote Norwegian fjell. As on this trip...

Jane and I promised ourselves a Friday night slap-up meal in a hotel several miles from Staffin. It was very enjoyable, but as we were going to bed I had a thought. So, next morning, we packed hurriedly, cleaned the bungalow, handed the key in and drove ... north, back to the hotel, to pay for the meal! The manageress was very nice about the mistake, and indeed surprised at our honesty. Now we could drive south.

In heavy rain we stopped at Sligachan Hotel for the last time on the trip. Its bar was full, and very quiet. We honestly had not known. We bought soups and roll (they were serving throughout), and joined everyone else watching the televised funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.

We were philosophical about the bustle, though not the pop music, audible in the adjoining kitchen. One or two local "laddish" types let themselves down, as they became bored with the funeral, and I was not the only one who heard a very insulting remark about the broadcast and the assembled viewers.

There was a queue at the garage in Broadford: like most businesses they had just re-opened after the funeral broadcast. We took the Armadale to Mallaig ferry. Massive roadworks are in progress to widen the Broadford - Armadale, and the tortuous Mallaig - Fort William, roads. We had learned a bit about why the Skye residents feel so strongly about the Kyle of Lochalsh bridge: its financing and planning are very sore points. At least you can still go O'er The Sea, in Summer at any rate, rather expensively! The coast road South is a beautiful route, even if bits were familiar from works trips, to an overnight at my brother's family residence near Glasgow. At the M6 junction over the River Ribble near Preston, we completed our roundtrip. We were on our way home.


We would like to thank all those members who suggested various walking routes on Skye. It is a beautiful island, and we are very grateful for your assistance!

Nigel Graham

Shropshire September 1998

Jane and I spent a week in Shropshire, having vowed to explore the area we had driven through on our way home from the Dales last year. We enjoyed some excellent hill-walks, on Long Myndd and on Stiperstones ridge with its shattered quartzite tors; as well as visiting various industrial archaeological sites.

The village of Snailbeach was originally an important lead, later barytes, mining centre, and the ruins of the leadworks may easily be explored. Two adits have been gated recently: I do not know if there is any access for cavers. Possibly not: we saw clipboards hanging up a few yards in, and suspect they may belong to some bat group or other.

Near Ironbridge is a subterranean oddity, the Tar Tunnel. When it was being dug in the l9th Century as a canal tunnel to a colliery under Blists Hill (now occupied by an extensive industrial museum), it struck bitumen deposits. For many years afterwards, until the flows of bitumen diminished, it apparently forgot its original intent and became a bitumen mine! The first hundred yards of straight, brick-lined, tunnel is open to visitors at a œ1 each. Bitumen still seeps through the brickwork, and fills pools in small cavities off the sides. The Tunnel was re-discovered by local mine explorers, its entrance having been hidden by a house basement after it was abandoned.

Nigel Graham

Ice Cave Record

A November Caver's Digest reported on a French Group led by Janot Lamberton who had just set a world record for penetrating over 200m under the ice of a glacier in Greenland. Although analysing the snow for scientific purposes they are descending natural cavities in the ice. A more recent report said that the group making the IMAX caving film have been filming in the same ice caves and will be moving on to limestone caves in the near future. The film is not expected to be out on release to IMAX cinemas for at least another two years.

More on those inscriptions and the letter I

CPC Record No 51 (July 1998) contained a brief article (pages 14 & 15) about inscriptions in the Peak Cavern system and in the Dales. Those in question include a strange letter like a capital "I" but with an extra horizontal line thus: I. They were originally thought to be confined to Peak Cavern and Speedwell Cavern but with the help of various CPC members it is now clear that this character is fairly common in the Dales. Allan Butterfield has seen it in Stump Cross Cavern and Rob Scott, Brian Varley and Alec Bottomley found an example in Mongo Gill Hole on a recent club meet.

Since the above article was published Allan has gone to some effort to find out more about this strange letter. He produced a useful reference to the Kettlewell door lintel inscription (North Country Folk Art, by Peter Brears, 1989, ISBN 085976 2149, pages 6 & 7). He also consulted Martin Davies (YURT) who has come up with the most useful information so far. Allan assures me that Martin is happy for his notes to be published and these are so worthwhile that they are reproduced verbatim below:

"The character I was once in widespread use to represent the letters I and J and the number 1. It was not used for E, as has been suggested. The relationship between the letters I and J is explained in the Oxford English Dictionary under the entry for J; briefly, J is a late addition to the alphabet, indicating the sound that had previously been regarded as the consonant sound of the letter I. Consequently, what is now J was written as I; a more familiar example of the use of one letter where two are now used is that of U, which was formerly written V. Neither J nor U occur in Latin.

Although English printers had introduced the letter J by the middle of the 17th century, for other purposes the use of I to represent it continued for many years. This seems to have occurred where a decorative appearance was sought, and in such circumstances the character was frequently used. For example, on embroidered samplers - which often included the alphabet - the letters J and U were rarely included before the end of the eighteenth century. The upper case I and J were usually worked as I. In lower case use there is no equivalent to the decorative I, i being used for both i and j.

On samplers the use of I was common, and in one book alone there are illustrations of German, Flemish and Dutch examples, in addition to many from England. On buildings it is not unusual to find I on datestones, either as the number 1 or as an initial. A look at some books about architecture produced some examples from Lancashire, Leicestershire and Norfolk. The use of I has been recorded at various places in the Dales. I have notes of it in Nidderdale on buildings or on boulders where initials were carved. Lintels over doorways were an obvious place to put an inscription, especially where the local stone was relatively easy to carve, as is the case with the sandstones and gritstones of the dales. In an article on dales cottages (Dalesman Vol 3 No 7) Dr Raistrick illustrates several datestones that include I.

Among the many initials in the 1964 Series of Mongo Gill Hole, I photographed one that read IH and had the date 1819 nearby; I did not make any notes of the initials but I have a feeling that there were more instances of I being used. David Judson had a list of the initials in Mongo Gill in his article in the 1964 CPC Journal, but this example is not included, nor is I shown in any of the initials listed - no doubt because it could not be set in type. In typefaces used for text I was never included, and the closest approach to it in type seems to be the italic capital J, which had a crossmark in some typefaces; and also in some decorative typefaces where there is a crossmark on most or all of the capitals.

The use of I was therefore not uncommon, nor - unfortunately - does it indicate anything particularly related to caves or mines. Its use does demonstrate, however, that it can take a long time before changes become an accepted part of common usage."

So there you have it; another mystery solved. In most of the Peak Cavern system inscriptions the character I probably stands for the letter I, since I also appears several times in the same inscription alongside a clearly formed J. Thus the person who co-wrote the celebrated bottle on the wall toast in Speedwell (who signed it "J.I.B.") probably was "J.I.B." One further possibility interests me; I wonder if the "IH" who inscribed the Kettlewell lintel was the same "IH" who scratched his name by candle light in Mongo Gill Hole in 1819? Perhaps we'll never know.


The Kettlewell inscription - note engraving of the bird to the right

Part of the inscription in Speedwell cavern dated October 20th 1781

Mongo Gill

The original access agreement between CNCC and the landowners for Mongo Gill was made in 1965 and permitted access in return for a nominal rent of one shilling per year. In late 1996 the then landowners gave the required six months notice that they wished to terminate the agreement because of the pending sale of the cave. Thus, because the six months also included the closed season, CNCC was no longer able to issue permits for Mongo Gill for visits after March 1997.

Immediately the sale had been agreed, and that took some time, CNCC commenced negotiations with the new owners who were Stump Cross Caverns. They wished to see remedial work done to the walls and new cap which CNCC had previously fitted to North Shaft, and gates fitted to all the entrances. This included the new entrance to Stump Cross, Great Expectations, which had been excavated by Geoff Workman and other CPC members. This work involved many visits by numbers of CPC members (especially Alec Bottomley) who took on the work on behalf of CNCC in the light of the CPC's long association with Stump Cross.

That work has now been finished and a new access agreement, for three years in the first instance, has been signed. The new agreement has a shorter closed season (July and August) and allows access to Valentine's shaft and the Stump Cross streamway via Great Expectations, neither of which were covered by the previous agreement. Anyone who has visited Stump Cross Showcave will be aware of the efforts made to get across the cave conservation message to visitors. This is echoed in the specific agreement on Great Expectations which limits party size to 6 including a recognised leader. At present there are only 6 recognised leaders (all CPC members) which may cause some restrictions on visits but as this is in the cause of cave conservation it seems a small price to pay.

As a thank you for all their work, and as a one off because there is normally no access through the showcave, a limited number of CPC members were allowed to undertake the first Great Expectations-Stump Cross Showcave exchange in October 1998 with one group going in each direction (see Meet reports). Also as recognition of the long term good relationship between Stump Cross Caverns and the CPC, the present owner, Gordon Hanley, has been offered and has accepted, Honorary Membership of the CPC. Any members seeking a trip under the new arrangements should contact Barbara Pickersgill in the first instance to obtain a permit through the CNCC system. Alternately Geoff Workman may be willing to assist with trips down Great Expectations in return for some help with one of his digging projects.

Ric Halliwell

Annual Subscriptions

The usual reminder that CPC Member's Annual Subscriptions are now due. The Subscription remains at the same level as last year, that is œ18, and should be sent to the Treasurer (address on the enclosed Meets Card) as soon as possible.


dURACELL 2 pages

Book Review

"Riding the Wind & Other Stories" by Gaynam Lock.

"Riding the Wind" recounts the Land's End to John O'Groats solo cycle ride undertaken by Gaynam Lock, of Weymouth, an East Dorset Spelaelogical Society member. When? He does not say, but as he mentions September and the book was published in 1998, I assume the trip was in 1997.

Gaynam's Christianity shows in this readable, short book, by his considering himself in God's hand, especially in the dense Midlands traffic and the wide, open Scots moors. He describes his motive as breaking out of the armchair in which "most of us spend our lives as part of the audience". And he succeeded, on a bicycle which was not especially sophisticated, in ten and a half days, living on bread and cakes, and finding accommodation with friends or B&B each night. He raised money for the British Heart Foundation and a local charity.

One short, anecdotal, "Other Stories" describes beachdinghy rafting on Dorset's River Stour, with friends and relatives. The other, entitled "Daren Celau [sic] - The Breakthrough" refers to a personal, not an exploration, success. He and a friend, the two left of an originally larger party, reached the Time Machine despite lamp problems. The story reads like a caving-club report, as it has few explanations for the non caving reader. Some brief notes describing the general character and length of the system, would avoid risking the "public" reader asking, perplexed, "Yes, well, so what was so special about it?

"Riding The Wind" costs œ1.95, and is published by Southill Publishing (tel. 01305-788872), also available in local (Dorset - Ed) shops selling books on local and county topics.

Nigel Graham

Answers to the Crossword

At least this was more popular than last time because I received a whole 3 attempts at the crossword. The winner of the "well-experienced" Mars bar and a bottle of wine is Barbara and Steve Pickersgill who managed to get all the answers.


1. Sum-up 4. Set rate 8. Entitle 9. Epcot 10. Parsons 11. Crawl 12. Red Dog 15. Bar Pot 17. Grand 18. Rubella 21. Booth 22. Vein Pot 23. Dust Pan 24. Solar


1. Steeper 2. Meter 3.Patio 4. Steps 5. The BCRA 6. Arc Lamp 7. Extol 13. Dragons 14. Old Chap 16. Tractor 17. Gibed 18. Raven 19. Bliss 20.Lapel

Cryptic Quiz

Possibly fired by enthusiasm as a result of Reg's Crossword, Sue Allonby has sent in this brain teaser. Answers in the next Record

  1. Mountain has one wrecked glen with body odour:- not smooth! (12)
  2. No new bacon for this light. (6,4)
  3. Melon is pale in manganese oxice container. (11,3)
  4. Unmarried string methods get you down and up. (6,4,9)
  5. Animal's foot containing smashed ditch is followed by soothing lotion in Malham caverns. (7,8)
  6. Quietly annoyed by illicit trip? (6)
  7. Fifty snakes unrolled and ready to climb. (7)
  8. Six cricket balls joined clubs to get protective clothing. (8)
  9. Eccentric spouse grot? (5,4,4)
  10. Steel receptacle for big shaft? (4,3)
  11. Member of female group swaps right for left to get Chapel-le-Dale water. (5,4)
  12. Inert gas surrounds prefix and precedes point, to make wetsuit material. (8)
  13. Waterspouts slipped? (9,4)
  14. Article taken from wonky table: worn around the waist. (4)
  15. Throw around victory for Kingsdale hole. (7)
  16. Essential link is a pillion dream. (7,6)
  17. Morning army doctor makes a useful box. (4)
  18. Her lilo pals offer choice of entrances. (6,5)
  19. Sounds like Satan's home had assignation to protect head. (6)
  20. Moving (i.e. drivers) by Horton road junction. (9)

Short and hilly or long and flat?

For years, keen hillwalkers have used a Victorian rule of thumb to calculate how long a journey will take. First outlined in 1892 in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal and known as Naismith's Rule, it prescribes "an hour for every three miles on the map, with an additional hour for every 2000ft of ascent". This means that every foot vertically takes as long as 7.92ft on the flat.

But is the rule correct? To check it, a mathematics lecturer and orienteer, Philip Scarf of the University of Salford, looked at records of 300 races held by the Fell Runners' Association. True, these are runs rather than walks, but what matters is the ratio between speed in the horizontal and vertical directions.

In Mathematics Today, Dr Scarf concludes that for men Naismith was right: a ratio of 1 to 8 is correct. For women, a ratio of 1 to 10 fits the data better. The result, as well as being an elegant confirmation of Victorian empiricism, could be valuable to orienteers, who must often choose between a short, hilly route or a longer, flatter one.

Seen in the Times of 8 October 1998

"The Rogues Gallery"

For the benefit of all members who were unable to be at the 1998 Club Annual General Meeting and missed my short explanation (excuses) for the lack of progress since the 1997 AGM, here is an update on the project.

At our last AGM our Chairman Russell Myers afforded me the opportunity to speak on the subject. When I opened my report with the words "I regret that very little progress has been made in the last year" a voice from the assembled members called out "So do we!" Although there was the usual jovial and good natured atmosphere at the meeting I detected some disappointment amongst members and I felt lucky to escape the dreaded vote of censure.

Our young member Emma Faid (who helped to produce a complete collection of poems, odes, etc which have appeared in the Club's publications over a period of 48 years, under the title "The Bards of the CPC") had offered to help with the production of the Rogue's gallery. Her offer is to print in an attractive presentation from my notes. She has the experience and access to the necessary equipment to do a god job. What is more important is that she has the enthusiasm and motivation to get started. She is keen to do something for the Club. She will of course be pleased to accept advice and suggestions from members with appropriate knowledge and experience of the most modern and sophisticated computing methods. In the same way I shall always welcome interesting accounts of members and photographs (either as contributions to the Club or on loan).

Immediately after the AGM we were in the run-up to Christmas (and all that involves in correspondence and festivities). So we resolved to start in earnest in the New Year.

When the project was started in the 1960's I had to rely on the memories of pre-war members for stories about members. The photographic side of the project was to include a picture of each member as they looked at the time of joining the Club. This helped to give the feeling of the age of the Club. It was Ron Pringle who tackled the job of producing what he could from pre-war snap-shots many of which were of groups of members. Some were indistinct or out of focus. Some were faded but this was the material with which we started.

Ron had the difficult task of "extracting" head and shoulder pictures from pictures of groups and copying them as no negatives were available. He created a collection of these with one print for the Rogues Gallery and one held in his indexed file. This collection has been used for providing photographs of members when writing up obituaries of Club members who have passed beyond the veil. Ron has now passed the collection and index to our Club Librarian Don Mellor for safe keeping. We shall therefore work in close liaison with Don in our project.

Our Resolve:-

Research into the Club archives has produced more interesting information about Club members. We have therefore decided to re-write the records in Volume One (The Pre-War Pioneers: 1929-1939) and Volume Two (The new members of 1945-1949 who helped some of the pre-ar members to consolidate the Club before the start of the rapid growth that was to follow in the next two decades). Our target (which we believe is achievable) is to have Volumes One and Two in a presentable form to display at the 1999AGM, our Club's 70th Anniversary. As information and better photographs (?) become available the records will be updated. Hopefully we can start collecting photographs and write-ups of members who joined the Club after 1949.

How Club Members can help:-

Our invitation to all members is to send photographs of themselves as they looked when they joined the Club (you may have already done this), and to send interesting stories about members. Initially you are invited to send those relating to members who joined the Club after 1950 to Barbara Pickersgill who offered to co-ordinate the overall project producing records up to the present date. The latest volume will be Volume Seven (those who joined the Club in the years 1990 - 1999). The project is an on-going one and it rests with future generations of members to keep the records up to-date - forever.

Our ideas on how to produce the completed volumes for the Club Library will no doubt change over the years and we should keep an open mind about this as we can update records as they are on loose leaf pages held in attractive binders.

It is not our intention that each entry shall be a catalogue of pot-holing and mountaineering achievements - that would result in a monotonous collection of similar accounts. On the other hand records of a member's contributions to new explorations and discoveries and other significant contributions to the welfare and progress of the Club are welcome and very appropriate. It is often the case that members can write interesting accounts of members other than themselves with whom they have enjoyed their caving, mountaineering and kindred interests.

Hugh Bottomley (and Emma Faid)

The Nunwick Memorial Lecture

This year's lecture will be given by Dr Trevor Ford OBE and is entitled "The Castleton Caves". The lecture will be commence at 7pm on Friday 5 March 1999 in the Middleton Hall of the University of Hull and admission is free. There is a buffet reception after the lecture (for which there is a charge); any member wishing to attend the buffet should contact Ric or Pat Halliwell before the end of February.

Address List

As has been the practice for a number of years now it is intended to issue a revised address list to all members with the April Record. If the address on the front of this Record is incorrect, or if your telephone number or email address as included in the last list were incorrect, or if you have a new email address, let me know before the end of February so the list can be thoroughly updated prior to its issue. Many thanks

Ric Halliwell

May Bank Holiday Camping Weekend - Forest of Dean

After 27 years in the CPC I have finally been forced into leading a meet. Barbara Pickersgill forced my arm up my back and threatened me with death and destruction plus large amounts of beer (not true really, but that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it)

Anyway the meet is Slaughter Stream Cave in the Royal Forest of Dean. It's not a severe cave by anybody's standards. The entrance being fixed steel ladders, then shortly after two wire ladders, the first being ten foot and immediately after a thirty five foot ladder which is a free hanging pitch.

The upper series is very dry with a section called the Chunnel and another called the Three Desserts while the lower series consists of walking size stream passage. Formations are not a great feature but two interesting things in the cave are a large rodents skull and a place called the Dog's Grave.

It must have been quite a large dog, nobody seems to know quite how old it is, or how it got into the system, but it must have been hundreds of years ago. It certainly didn't come through todays entrance as it was one hell of a dig.

Camping, it is hoped, will be at the Rock Inn, Hillersland, Nr Christchurch, one mile from Symonds Yat. It's not an organised campsite, the toilets are off an annex at the side of the pub which opens from about 8.00 am in the morning. The camping field is right beside the pub, and is nice, flat and well grassed. The pub do an excellent breakfast for campers which must be booked and paid for the night before. The cave is about 5 or 6 minutes drive from the pub down narrow lanes and parking will be restricted to three or four cars at most.

Getting there from the North, use either the M6 - M5 - M50 or the M1 - A42 - M42 - M5 - M50 to Ross-on-Wye, then follow the A40 from the end of the M50 towards Monmouth looking for the sign for Symonds Yat East (It's easy to shoot past it). Follow for Symonds Yat but instead of turning right down into the village, bear left up a steep hill, under a wooden footbridge and the Rock Inn is about a mile further on, on your left.

Don't forget, this is a historic meet. It is the first meet in Slaughter Stream Cave, the first in the Forest of Dean and my first time leading a meet. If I do another one in another 27 years I will need a zimmer frame as I will be eighty-two. I am also trying to arrange a trip down the non-tourist part of Clearwell Cave.

To sum it up, it's a good cave and a beautiful area. If any more information is needed you can phone me on 01729 823691.

Barry Andrew.

Draft Minutes of the Craven Pothole Club Annual General Meeting 28th November 1998, Whoop Hall Inn, Kirby Lonsdale

(Subject to approval by the 1999 AGM)

Present: D. Allanach, T. Beasley, H. Beck, A. Bottomley, H. Bottomley, A Bridge, D. Brindle, K. Chappel, L. Cook, J. Cowling, B. Cross, A. Davey, A. Dopson, R. Dove, R. Espiner, E. Faid, N. Graham, A. Gray, H. Gray, P. Gray, P. Halliwell, R. Halliwell, D. Hoggarth, J. Hoggarth, B. Jenkins, J. Jenkins, S. Jenkins, P. Jones, D. Kaye, S. Kelly, S. Kirk, K. Lane, N. Lucas, D. Mellor, P. Mellor, D. Milner, G. Moore, B. Myers, R. Myers, J. Normington, J Nurse R. Parker, S. Parker, A. Pedlar, I. Peretti, B. Pickersgill, S. Pickersgill, B. Prewer, R. Pringle, H. Rose, P. Rose, R. Scott, M. Scratcher, T. Shipley, T. Thompson, J. Warren, P. Warren, J. Webb, E. Whitaker, A. Whitehouse, M. Whitehouse, T. Wood, G. Workman, K. Wright,

Apologies for Absence: S. Ashby, J. Cordingley, K. Davey, M. Fredrickson, A. Hardy, A. Hayter, Hayter, J. Helm, R, Kelly, P. O'Niell, A. Roberts, R. Taylor, A. Weight, R. Weight, I. Woods.

The Chairman reported the death of Derek Moor, who had joined the Club in 1948 and was one of a select group to have clocked up 50 years of CPC membership.

Minutes of the 1997 AGM:

These had been previously circulated in Record 49 p33-37 and were accepted as a true record. Proposed by B. Pickersgill, seconded by R. Hespiner.

Matters Arising:

1. Cottage fees for member's children  The Committee had addressed this issue and members children would continue to pay normal guest rate - œ2 per night.

2. Exploration Journal  Alan "please sent your articles now" Weight is still waiting. No real progress has been made due to lack of material and other commitments.

3. Conservation Officer. David Edwards was unable to fulfil his role in the post and was deemed to have resigned from the committee. The post had been advertised, but a volunteer remained elusive.

4. Temporary membership insurance under the BCRA scheme. The first retrospective premium had recently been paid. The committee had undertaken to cover costs for a further year.

5. Special Projects Fund. Secretary & Treasurer to report later. An advert had been placed in the Record.

6. Smoking in Riverside Cottage. The Committee have decided to leave this to the discretion of individual occupying parties.

7. Rogue's Gallery. Hugh Bottomley addressed the meeting reporting that some progress has been made and it was hoped that Volumes 1 and 2 would be finished by the next AGM. Hugh appealed for the return of any borrowed material and requested that anyone with additional material contact either Emma Faid or Barbara Pickersgill. It was noted that the Committee had made provision to finance this work.


No additional correspondence received.

Chairman's Address:

Having remarked upon a previous tendency towards one liners, the Chairman then delivered a robust eighty five liner, reflecting on the year's activities. Despite the poor weather, few meets had been adversely affected, and even GG had escaped with only the odd dam topping. A small group had made a ground breaking venture into Macedonia, hopefully sowing the seed of future ventures into Eastern Europe.

Turning to administrative matters, the Chairman thanked the committee, firstly for their forbearance, and for the effective manner in which they had dealt with the day to day running of the Club.

Recent effort at Stump Cross  Mongo Gill had provided new secure entrances and a new access agreement.

Developments in the relationship between CNCC and NCA were outlined. The Chairman expressed the view that in future we may see a merger of the two bodies; with the resultant opening of access to more national caving clubs and northern clubs losing the right to control the functions of CNCC.

Finally the Chairman drew the attention of the meeting to the dilemmas posed by cave conservation and the difficulty we are currently experiencing in finding anyone to fill the committee position of Conservation Officer.

The Chairman's report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from H. Bottomley, seconded by L. Cook.

Secretary's Report:

The Secretary first recorded his thanks to those committee members who shared the administrative burden. Club membership was reported at 5 honorary members, 27 life members and 201 full members, with membership continuing to grow at a steady rate. A trend toward recruitment via our website was noted.

On the social front, club members had hosted a number of foreign guests on private meets and at Gaping Gill, while others had attended such notable events as the NPC's "Old Codgers" Lancaster Hole through trip.

The difficulty of recruiting nominees to eat a free dinner as the guest of our kindred clubs was highlighted and the Secretary appealed for volunteers to make themselves known.

The club's exposure to the public at Gaping Gill continued to be of concern and the committee were exploring ways of insuring against accidents.

Finally the Secretary reported that one award had been made from the Special Projects Fund, a GPS receiver, initially for use on the Macedonian expedition and which had now been added to the Club's tackle inventory.

The Secretary's report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from D. Milner, seconded by B.J. Pickersgill.

Treasurer's Report:

The Treasurer's report and audited accounts had previously been circulated with the Record. In comment, the Treasurer added that the current account surplus was a reflection of a successful Gaping Gill meet.

On the subject of Temporary Membership insurance the Treasurer expressed the view that guests of the club who are full members of other clubs may already be covered under their own BCRA policy. This would be taken up with the insurers.

The Treasurer's report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from J. Hoggarth, seconded by R. Halliwell.

Tacklekeeper's Reports:

Unable to attend the meeting due to personal circumstances the Tacklekeeper had forwarded his report, which was read by the Secretary.

Regular use of tackle continued, with only one major loss during the year, when several items had been crushed in a rockfall.

Additions to the store at Horton included new pulleys specifically for rigging Bar Pot during the GG meet, tape and rope slings, two portable rope washers, a combination battery charging rack, additional batteries for the cordless drills and a GPS receiver. Future plans to reorganise the Horton tackle store and refurbish the ropewasher were outlined.

In conclusion, it was noted that several small items of club tackle had been recovered from Alum Pot, although not apparently booked out and that some members had lost personal equipment from the Horton store.

SRT Tacklekeeper's Report:

Current rope stocks amount to 730m. All but 125m of the original SRT rope have now been scrapped. 200m of new 10mm and 200m of new 11mm rope had been recently added to the tackle inventory and a further 200m of 11mm Edelrid was on order.

SRT rope had been booked out on 19 occasions and there were now 33 members on the rigging list.

The SRT Tacklekeeper reminded the meeting of the dangers associated with descending a dry rope and concluded by thanking members for their help over the past year.

The Tacklekeepers' reports were accepted unanimously on a proposal from R. Dove, seconded by A. Davey.

Cottage Warden's Report:

The Cottage Warden began his report with a mathematical conundrum. The solution revealing that Ivy Cottage had been occupied for 1,391 member nights (100 less than the previous year) and 294 guest nights (4 less than the previous year), while Riverside Cottage had been occupied for 149 days (60 less than the previous year).

The working weekend had been a great success and major improvements included the erection of a partition and replacement of the window in the Ivy Cottage entrance lobby. Decorating and a thorough Spring clean had concluded a very sociable meet.

Future plans included resurfacing the carpark and lessons on the use of electric kettles.

Outstanding cottage fees were reported to be œ33.50 and a list of the offenders was read out.

Finally it was reported that the no smoking rule had generally been well received.

The Cottage Warden's report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from D. Hoggarth, seconded by H. Bottomley.

Librarian's Report:

The Librarian reported that eighty five items had been borrowed from the library in the past year by 16 members. Three items had been forwarded by post, service which he was happy to offer providing that costs were met by the borrower.

A significant number of items remain on the "longstanding loans" list, please return material when you have finished with it.

Over the last year 289 items have been added to the library in the form of purchases (28), exchanges (14), and donations (142). The latter from 14 individuals.

The Librarian reminded the meeting that the CPC library was one of the most extensive in the country and deserved to used more.

The Librarian's report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from B. J. Pickersgill, seconded by E. Whitaker.

Editor's Report:

The Editor began by apologising for the incorrect dating of the October 98 Record. The past year had seen a 10% increase in the number of published pages and a similar increase in the number of authors, indicating that approximately one third of the membership had written something for the Record over the past two years. The trend to more, but shorter meets reports was noted, perhaps reflecting the 17% drop in member meet / trips over the past year.

Other commitments had prevented much progress on the Explorations Journal, but Alan Weight was still enthusiastic and material / contributions were eagerly awaited.

The next four issues of the Record would contain a strong historical theme to celebrate the club's 70th year.

In conclusion the Editor made his customary annual plea for contributions.

The Editor's report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from L. Cook, seconded by I. Peretti.

Conservation Officer's Report:

There was no report as the post was vacant.

Election of Officers and Committee:

The following Officers were elected unopposed:

President: Ken Chapel, Proposed by Randal Coe, seconded by Barbara Pickersgill.

Senior Vice President: Jim Nurse. Proposed by Alec Bottomley, seconded by Jeff Cowling.

Junior Vice President: John Whalley. Proposed by Dave Allanach, seconded by Russell Myers.

Chairman: Russell Myers.

Secretary: Dave Allanach.

Treasurer: Rob Scott.

Editor: Ric Halliwell.

Cottage Warden: Steve Pickersgill

Membership and Assistant Secretary: Barbara Pickersgill

Librarian: Don Mellor.

Tacklekeeper: Andy Roberts.

SRT Tacklekeeper: Dave Hoggarth

Conservation Officer: There were no nominations.

With respect to committee places, Henry Rose had resigned and one nomination had been received from Dave Kaye, proposed by Dave Hoggarth and seconded by Steve Kelley. There being no other nominations Dave was deemed elected.

The committee is, therefore, as follows;

Alan Weight, Dave Milner, Edward Whitaker, Jan Hoggarth, Pat Halliwell, Ted Wood, Terry Shipley and Dave Kaye.

Meets List for 1999:

An almost completed list was circulated during the meeting.


1.Following discussion in committee regarding the rules for election to full membership of the Club it was felt that meets of a week's duration or more and in particular the annual Gaping Gill meet were of sufficient duration to count as two meets. The committee recommended the following amendment to the Club Constitution.

Proposed by Dave Milner and seconded by Don Mellor.

Rule 4 Membership.

Amend Rule 4 to read;

Application for Ordinary Membership shall be made by a Probationary Member who shall have attended at least four (4) underground meets of the Club, with meets of a week's duration or more counting as two (2) meets. The Probationary Member shall be proposed for__.

Following some discussion the proposer and seconder amended the proposal as follows:

Application for Ordinary Membership shall be made by a Probationary Member who shall have attended at least four (4) underground meets of the Club. Where an official meet of extended duration includes more than one separate caving meet, each such meet may be regarded by the Committee as a separate underground meet, for the purpose of this rule. The Probationary Member shall be proposed for__.

The amended proposal was carried by a majority.

2. Following his past and more recent support in maintaining access to the Stump Cross  Mongo Gill system and long association with the Club as landowner and proprietor of the show cave, the committee recommended offering Honorary Membership of the Club to Mr Gordon Hanley. Proposed by Ric Halliwell, seconded by Alec Bottomley.

The proposal was carried unanimously.

Any Other Business:

1. Tracy Beasley had offered to organise the printing and distribution of new club sweatshirts at a cost of approximately œ12. Contact Tracy to place your order.

Cottage Warden's Report to the 1998 AGM

I'll start this year with a question, who are the two people who have been missing? Your Cottages are still well attended on most weekends, with the number of member nights being 100 lower than last year ( ie two people per weekend), a total of 1391, while guest nights has remained constant at 294, 4 lower than last year. Riverside was used for 149 days, 60 less than last year. Compared with what you have to pay for a camp-site these days the cottage fees are still a good deal. I'm available after this meeting to accept bookings for the next six months.

The working weekend was a great success. There were more members there than jobs that needed doing, which must be a record. The lobby has been modified with a partition wall to give more security to coats hanging in there, the window has been replaced, a new storage cupboard for cottage spares built and a boot rack / bench installed. The main work done this year was decorating, and a very comprehensive spring clean. Thanks to all who attended this very sociable meet. I hope to see as good a turn out again next year, I'll even try and find enough jobs for everyone!

A few weeks ago I purchased a large kettle for Ivy Cottage; a 2 litre capacity and a 2.6 kW element, I thought that with it being a cordless type it would also be safer than having the lead trailing around on wet worktops. A week later it was put on the electric cooker to boil! A smell of burning plastic was soon evident to the culprit, who was making his first appearance for three years. Maybe his embarrassment will keep him away again? Although I hope not. It was repaired, however, by taking off the imprint of the ring with a surform.

At the end of September there were œ111 outstanding in cottage fees, these have now been reduced to œ39.50. The list of those outstanding contains the usual names:

Andy Roberts œ10.50

Paul Norman œ4.00 both of whom are already starting on this year's debts)

Andy Howe œ6.00

Steve Kelley œ3.00

Mikola Hyrnyk œ2.00 for his guest

Paul Massey œ2.00 (probationary member)

Alison Glenn œ3.50

and œ7.00 from lapsed members.

I sometimes wonder if we should charge interest on debts left outstanding, or else charge these persons at the guest rate.

The no smoking rule has been generally well accepted, but some members still refuse to abide to the wishes of the majority. Other rules seem to have been bent at times as well, or are some members following in Monty's wishes for there to be double bunks at Ivy Cottage.

I expect there will be an increase in the number of bednights next year when the training starts for the 2000 meet in France.

Steve Pickersgill

Annual Photographic and Literary Awards

Albert Mitchell Trophy: Pete Jones for his article on Lancashire Hotpot

Tom Pettit Cup: Steve Kelley for his article on Lowe's Gully

Meets Report Prize: Pete Jones for his reports on the Birkwith area meet

President's Challenge Cup: Jan Hoggarth

Climber's Cup: Tracey Beasley

Men of Kent Trophy: Steve Pickesgill

Down Valley Trophy: Steve Pickersgill

Philip Tyas Cup: Pete Jones

JR Neild Cup: Jan Hoggarth

Spirit of Gaping Gill Trophy: Edward Whitaker

Jottings from the Committee


Received various letters of thanks about GG and donations arising from GG. Permission was given to open a Berger 2000 Bank Account. A proposal to amend the constitution to allow multi-day meets to count as two meets for the purpose of membership applications was agreed after much discussion of the correct wording. Noted that work needed doing on the shower room floor/kitchen ceiling at Ivy Cottage and that the kitchen fan had now progressed as far as Hoggy's van. Noted that the rope washer was in need of renovation.


Noted that the Stump Cross access agreement had been finalised and that one extra permit per weekend was to be permitted on Leck Fell. Hugh Bottomley had written regarding progress with the Rogues Gallery, agreed that he could have œ100 in the first instance towards the costs of printing photographs. Initial discussion as to whether or not the Club should seek Limited Liability status. The floor in the shower room at Ivy Cottage had been given an anti-fungal treatment, the kitchen fan had been installed and a proposal to level and resurface the Cottage car-park was agreed. The tacklekeeper reported that one ladder and one spreader had been scrapped. The Secretary agreed to build a new rope washer to replace the one he built many many years ago. Agreed that the Record should have an historic bias during 1999 to make the 70th anniversary of the Club. Agreed that a motion would be proposed to the AGM that Gordon Hanley should be given Honorary Membership of the Club.


Noted that Gordon Hanley had accepted the offer of Honorary Membership. Noted that UWFRA were now having second thoughts about seeking Limited Liability Status but Kendal Mountain Rescue Team were also seeking advice on this matter which they would be willing to share with us. Lancashire Caving and Climbing Club had written seeking reciprocal rights for their members at Ivy Cottage and our members at the LCCC Cottage near Coniston. Because of the heavy use of the Cottage at the moment it was agreed that we could only offer limited reciprocal rights which might not meet the needs of LCCC. Noted that the car-park had been resurfaced.. Noted that a further 200m reel of SRT rope had been purchased. Skipton members were asked to cajole the GG Leader into producing a meet report. The lack of progress with the computerised library system was noted although Don Mellor reported that the BCRA Librarians Group had made some progress on specifying the type of software they required.. Thanks were expressed to Dave Allanach for the success of the Dinner. A number of suggestions for Chief Guest at next year's dinner were made, it was accepted that if we could not find a good chief guest then we should consider not having a chief guest and inviting one of the kindred clubs to propose the toast to the Club. The Assistant Secretary agreed to investigate possible venues for the 1999 Annual Dinner.

Additions to Craven Pothole Club Library - January to December 1998

Journals & Periodicals

Airedale Caving Club Newsletter Vol.34 Issue 3 (December 1997), Vol.35 Issue 1 (May 98), Vol.35 Issue 2 (Sept.98)

Axbridge Caving Group Journal No.73 (Autumn 1997), April 98,

Bristol Exploration Club "Belfry Bulletin" Vol.50 No.1 (No.494) (December 1997), No.2 (No.495) (Feb.98), No.4 (No.497)(June 98), No.5 (498)(Aug.98), No.6 (Nov.98)

British Cave Research Association Newsletter "Caves & Caving" Issue 78 (Winter 97), Issue 79 (Spring 98), Issue 80 (Summer 98), No.81 Autumn 98)

British Cave Research Association Transactions "Caves & Karst Science" Vol.24 No.3 (Dec.97), Vol.25 No.1 (Apr.98)

British Caver Nos.43,89,91,92,93,104,105,106,107,113

Cave Diving Group Newsletter No.126 (Jan.1998), No.127 (Feb/Mar.98), 128 (Jul.98), 129 (Oct.98)

Cave Rescue Organisation "Rescue 97"

Cerberus Spelaeological Society Journal Vol.24 No.3 (Apr.98)

Chelsea Spelaeological Society Newsletter Vol.39 No.12 (Dec.97), Vol.40 No.1 (Jan.98), No.2 (Feb.98), No.3 (Mar.98), No.4 (Apr.98), No.5 (May 98), No.6 (Jun.98), No.7 (Jul.98), Nos.8&9 (Aug/Sept.98), No.10 (Oct.98), No.11 (Nov.98)

Descent No.139 (Dec.97/Jan.98), No.140 (Feb/Mar.98), No.141 (Apr/May 98), No.142 (Jun/Jul.98), No.143 (Aug/Sept.98), No.144 (Oct/Nov.98)

Endins No.7 (Dec.80), No.13 (May 87), No.16 (Dec.90)

Grampian Speleological Group Bulletin. Third Series Vol.4 No.4 (Mar.98), No.5 (Oct.98)

Grampain Speleological Group Bulletins Vols.1&2 (1963-1966) - reprint 1998

Gruppo Grotto Schio - CAI - Bulletin 1990-92

Gruppo Grotto Schio - Bulletin Stalattite Anno XVIII (1993-95)

International Caver No.21 (1997), 22 (1998)

NCA Speleoscene No.32 (Dec.97-Mar.98), No.34 (Jul/Aug.98), No.35 (Sept/Oct.98)

Red Rose Cave & Pothole Club Newsletter Vol.34 No.3 (December 1997), Vol.35 No.1 (Jul.98), No.2 (Oct.98)

Shepton Mallet Caving Club Journal Series 10 No.3 (Spring 98)

Southern Tasmanian Caverneers "Speleo Spiel" No.309 (Jul/Aug.98), No.310 (Sept/Oct.98)

Speleologia No.36, No.37

Speleological Union of Ireland and Irish Cave Rescue Organisation, Newsletter No.24, No.43 (Sept.98)

Sydney Speleological Society Journal Vol.41 No.9-12 (Sept.-Dec.97), Vol.42 No.1-4(Jan-Apr.98), No.5-8 (May-Aug.98)

University of Bristol Spelaeological Society Proceedings Vol.21 No.4 (Mar.98)

Wessex Cave Club Journal Vol.24 No.258 (Feb.98), No.259 (Apr.98), No.260 (Jun.98), No.261 (Aug.98), 262 (Dec.98)

West Brecon Cave Rescue Team Newsletter "The Way Out" Edition 4 (Mar.98)

Westminster Speleological Group Newsletter No.24, 25 & 26 (Dec.97, Apr.98, Jun.98), No.27 (Oct.98)

Westminster Speleological Group Bulletin Vol.9 No.8 (Aug.97)

White Rose Pothole Club Newsletter Vol.16 No.1 (Feb.97), No.2 (May 97), Vol.17 No.1 (Feb.98), No.3(Aug.98), No.4 (Nov.98)

William Pengelly Cave Studies Trust Limited Newsletter No.74 (Dec.97)

Wittenberg University Speleological Society Journal "Pholeos" Vol.17 Nos1&2 (Oct.98)

Yorkshire Ramblers Club Bulletin "The Yorkshire Rambler" Issue 9 (Summer 98)

Books & one-off publications

TC Lord: A Biographical sketch of Joseph Jackson (1816-1886) the first cave archaeologist in the Yorkshire Dales (April 1997)

The 1930 Excavations in Attermire Cave 1997

Jugoslavia Maps (Macedonia - in Russian)

Any time.....Anywhere The first fifty years of the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association

Caves and Karst of the Brecon Beacons National Park - Mike Simms. BCRA Cave Studies Series no.7


from Barry Andrew: Austrian Alpine Club Newsletter 136 (Winter 1997/8), 137 (Spring 98), 138 (Summer 98), 139 (Autumn 98)

The Peak Cavern System - A caver's guide - John Cordingley

Alpine Club Guide Book - Bernese Alps East and Bernese Alps Central RG Collomb 1979

1:50000 Maps Jungfrau, Interlaken

Swan Dyke Pot (3 sheet survey)

The Caver's multilingual dictionary (17.5.98 edition)

from Laurence Elton: Copy maps/plans of Ingleborough area

Survey "Upper extension of Hensler's Passage, Gaping Ghyll Hole" by E Hensler & M Boon 5.6.60 (original)

Rolled photograph of Main Chamber Gaping Gill

from Ric Halliwell: Various issues of Geology Today Jul/Aug.87 to Nov/Dec.91

Various issues Yorkshire Geological Society Proceedings Vol.43 Parts 1&2 to Vol.49 Part 4 (1984-1993) incomplete

Access to the Open Countryside in England & Wales - a consultation paper (Dept. of Environment)

Survey of Grotte Casteret

from Martin Mills: Various extracts relating to Irish cave exploration:

Extracts from Report of the 27th (Sep.1857), 72nd (Sept.1902), 73rd (Sept.1903), 74th (Aug.1904) and the 78th Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (Sept.1908)

Extracts from Spelunca Vol.1 (1895) and Vol.3 (1897)

Typed extracts from Nature, Vol.74 No.1910 (Jul.1906)

from Dave Milner: Dalesman (Jan.98) article on EE Roberts, (May 97) article on NCPC Washfold Pot descent, June 98

The Caves of Fermanagh and Cavan -GL Jones 1997

from Tony Oldham: British Caver Nos 83,86,87,96,120,121,

from Keith Preston: Various old CPC Journals and surveys

London University Caving Clubs No 11 (Spring 1971), No 12 (Winter 1971)

from Rob Scott: Yorkshire Life (December 1997) - article on Geoff Workman

from Alan Weight: Malaysian Cave Bibliography - Liz Price (1998)

from John Wilson: "Le Grotte D'Italia" Series 3 Vol.1 1955-56