Washfold Pot
Saturday, 17 May 2014

An excellent forecast allowed us to visit this pothole. We set off from York at about 8.30 and had breakfast at the Penyghent Caf. It was a very hot and sunny day so we sat outside. Horton was full of tourists and Maz overheard one trip leader lecturing their overdressed group about the dangers of hypothermia.

The black book states that the entrance is only a 15 minute walk from the road so I suggested to Luke that we should park by the side of the road. Unfortunately we couldnt find a layby so we returned to Alum Pot Lane and paid our 50p each. There were hardly any cars parked there which was surprising for such a nice day. We walked up the hill and noted that there was much less water about than usual. The spring-fed puddle in Alum Pot Lane had dried up and Alum Pot Beck was low.

The YUCPC tackle bags are in a similar state to the ULSA ones. I was carrying a 50m rope in a bag with only one strap intact. Unfortunately this broke while I was climbing over a stile and I spent the rest of the time carrying it by hand.

We walked around the Middle Entrance of Long Churn Cave and crossed into the next field. A pleasant walk took us to the next wall and then to the fenced enclosure of Washfold Pot. We selected the appropriate hole to descend, removed the obstructing cobwebs (sending the attending spiders scurrying away) and descended into the stream passage.

A short section of narrow stream passage took us to a climb up to a flat out crawl in the roof. From here, a climb down led to The Depot. The others rigged this climb with a short rope. We put on our SRT kits and I set off to rig the First Pitch.

The traverse to the pitch head is not particularly roomy and is lacking in floor. Fortunately this pitch is well bolted with P anchors. I used the in situ deviation on the way down. The lower part of the pitch was very wet despite being in the drier half of the shaft. The only other pitch I have been on that was this wet was the nearby Diccan Pot. You really dont want to be on your jammers on a pitch wetter than this.

I waited in the continuing stream passage for the others. Eventually they arrived and Maz said that the pitch was much wetter than on her previous visit (which was in a drought). We continued along the rift and to the climbs. Each of the three climbs has some in situ twine which inspired zero confidence. Fortunately the first and third climbs also had in situ ropes which seemed to be in good condition. We added a 10m rope on the second climb although all three are free climbable.

Maz decided to turn around at the top of the third climb so we headed out while Luke and Vicky continued on. I never knew I could rope run quickly until I ascended the lower part of the First Pitch. The others caught up with us at The Depot after failing to locate the rebelay on the third pitch and we slowly made our way out.

More spiders were disturbed at the entrance. Ribblesdale was looking very grand in the evening sun on our walk back.
When Luke and Vicky reached the car they announced that they had left a YUCPC first aid kit at the cave entrance. Vicky walked back to retrieve it while we went to Horton to cancel the callout. Back at
Selside, Vicky came back from her walk and said that the first aid kit was not at the entrance after all.

We stopped for food at Bodrum Kebabs in Skipton. A loud drunk couple were also in the take away. The man was very keen to get his kebab. The woman told him that he always stinks after eating a kebab so should not expect anything later.

I slept for most of the journey back and was glad to reach my bed.

Ill have to return to this cave to bottom it, preferably in drought conditions!