During a very dry spell in 1959, several members made an attempt to pump out Douk Gill. This was not successful as the rate of outflow could not be made equal to the rate of inflow. An attempt to push the extreme left bedding plane crawl was brought to a halt by epiphreatic conditions. However, a side passage was discovered leading back towards the scar. Perhaps this passage may be joined by others. It was in fact joined by one other which led back for about 35 feet. A shaft was dug near the entrance which led to this passage. In it we found a large amount of white powder containing a jaw bone of a wolf which is now in Tot Lord's museum in Settle.
A.Gemmel's 1939 survey of Douk Gill Cave shows it ending in a sump. A trip into the cave showed that the passage leading to this sump was full of large blocks - evidence of massive flooding. However, the sump was passable. This led to a wide bedding. On the right of this bedding was a tight crawl to a boulder choke and into another crawl and yet another boulder choke.
Rain falling during the night emerges by 9 am the following day.
Close to the track from Horton to the Shooting Hut on Penyghent, lies Limekiln Pasture. Bob and Jeff Hart paid a visit to this pasture in semi-flood conditions in 1959. They noticed that a fairly large stream was sinking in a large flat area of stones. There was no sign of a shakehole. Despite the wet conditions, the water showed no signs of backing up. It was decided by J.O.M. upon surveying the scene that entry would be gained to a square stream passage 8 feet by 8 feet, and so a dig was commenced.
Other Club diggers arrived and pointed out that they too had dug here in the past. They suggested that we should help Settle Council as they needed men like us on the roads.
Nine hours after they had returned to the Crown, a nine foot shaft had been sunk and entry gained to an 8 foot by 7 foot cave passage, the floor of which was covered by limestone blocks. The passage terminated in a 15 foot high chamber which was highly shattered. A stream enters from the far side of the chamber and sinks in the floor.
A shaft was dug to follow this water which unites with the stream from outside before disappearing down a tight borehole. Entry was gained to the first 14 feet of this tube. The body, however, acted as a very efficient plug and it was necessary to contract the stomach every half hour to allow the water to pass and permit digging to continue. We were kept active by visions of marching to Bransgill Head.
Al. Wilson then attempted to push the tube and reported that it continued to a small drop into a passage which narrowed into an impenetrable fissure. This was the state of the hole when we abandoned the dig.
During the summer of 1960, Bob Gillibrand was persuaded to spend his holidays making observations at Hull Pot.
Extensive observations during all weather conditions showed that two thirds of the surface stream moves to the western end of the pot in flood and then divides into three separate streams before sinking.
Photographs taken over 40 years ago show a large shingle bank sloping towards the southern wall. A recent rock fall has altered things a little but a large stream still followsthe course of the bank and vanishes at the foot of the south wall without backing up. A shaft sunk here was abandoned due to some dangerous blocks.
The second division of water flows under these blocks and has cut itself a large passage, but this is considered dangerous.
The remaining water flows along the north wall where it then sinks. A dig here disclosed a bedding plane which was excavated for about 14 feet. Bob Hart and myself both thought we could hear a tream but conditions were far from pleasant and the dig was abandoned.
Above the blocks, surface drainage trickles out of a small passage which is blocked by flowstone. A hole was driven through this to a 20 foot chamber, once again blocked by flowstone.
During the time that work was in progress at Cliffe Force, Keith Britton mentioned that he had noticed a strong draught amongst some boulders by Hunt pot. Was the club interested ? We were, but it was two years before anything was done. A few people had said "Why bother ? Hunt's waters reappear at Penyghent Pot."
This was so, but Hunt itself is formed by a master joint near the Hull Pot valley and looking directly across the valley. It appears from the surface contours that Hunt's water once flowed into the valley. Hunt Pot takes all the water. Did the joint continue, and where were the old water levels, if any ? If there were old levels, would they cut into Hull Pot's galleries or Little Hull's, for its sump is only about 300 yards away.
On the left of the track leading down into Hunt are a number of blocks. It was soon realised why the White Rose Pothole Club, who had also noticed this draught, had not made any entry. A 30 cwt jack was used on one block, which was then chocked, jacked, chocked, etc. The jack was then placed at an angle against the wall and the block slowly toppled down the slope. The other blocks succumbed to sledge hammers and picks. A small. partially blocked passage led off.
Keith reported that he could see into a chamber, so the passage was forced. On the left of the crawl, a pitch leads to the continuation of the joint and immediately opens out into a comparable shaft to Hunt, now called Shrapnel. The walls of the shaft tend to peel off. One ladder was cut by a falling rock. Reactions occurred at the top, but even now the take off is a bit of a push. The pitch appears to be about 150 feet deep, but can be broken into steps of about 30 feet, the ladders being belayed mainly to chockstones. A series of small ladders lead down to a large ledge where daylight from Hunt Pot main chamber can be seen. In front is a 60 foot pitch with the Shrapnel water disappearing down it. This has previously been explored from Hunt Pot proper. The water appears to back up over 100 feet up the Shrapnel shaft.
There are two small waterfalls in the shaft, one on the ladder and the other on the opposite side. Looking across the pitch there appeared to be a continuation of the joint. Our lamps would not penetrate that gloom across the top of the pitch.
It was thought that development may exist on the other side. A free climb was attempted from a ledge 100 feet down the big pitch on the far side up a fluted tube. This ended. A traverse out into the shaft, up and then across led into a sloping passage about 30 feet high and 30 feet long. This was probably hollowed out by the waterfall.
Pitons were inserted in the right hand wall at the head of this pitch. These fell out. Different types were tried and another attempt was made on the left. A ledge was reached but again, the pitons moved excessively in the soft fractured rock.
Rawlbolts were inserted and the ledge reached again. From here a bridge was constructed using scaling poles and the pitch crossed. Over the bridge hangs a large block of limestone jammed in position by the pitch wall. This wall being heavily fractured, moves at the slightest touch.
A passage was entered which, after 100 feet, closed down to an impenetrable bedding plane.
The rawlbolts have since come loose, in fact one fell out during deladdering, the same bolt having borne full weight half an hour before, under close observation.