Extracted from the Northern Pennine Club's 1948-1950 Log Book


Saturday October 22nd 1949

Party K Gray, H Burgess, J J Leach, A Jowett.

Digging at the first sink south-east of Hunt Pot. A draught of air was being sucked in, and a stream could be heard below.

Sunday October 23rd.

Party A Jowett, K Harris, B Ledger, K Johnson.

Digging at the same sink on Pen-y-ghent.

Sunday November 6th.

Party :- A Jowett, J K Harris, J Buckley, D M Boothman, D Hawtrey.

Continued dig that commenced on Oct. 22nd. Trouble was experienced with the sides of the shakehole falling in but eventually Don Hawtrey managed to produce an entrance with a wave of his wand in his usual mysterious way and we were in. A tight squeeze leads into a passage 4' x 4' carrying a small stream.

Saturday 11th November.

Party :- J O Myers, J J Leach, K Harris & K Gray.

Party returned to the dig on Penyghent to determine the extent of the cave as observed the previous weekend by Don Hawtrey. The entrance was so constricted that KG was the only member able to gain entry. Exploration of the cave was thus carried forward by one bod. The cave had a considerable stream flowing through, and at a height of four feet, a wetting was unavoidable. after a short distance, a very small pitch of some 7 feet into a pool of some 3 feet depth was encountered, and led off on to a cave of some 3 feet height and of this some 30 inches was water. The cave carried on at this state for some considerable distance, when the height gradually decreased, and the width increased. After a while a slight gravel bank damming the water was reached and above an aven of height 20'. The climbing of the aven was quite easy and the top was a cluster of boulders coated with boulder clay, which may provide another entrance, however the advantage of such an entry was later proved to be useless. The stream passage carried on with a height of some 3 feet, width a good 6 feet, water height of some 15 inches and flowing fast. The height decreased even further whilst the width increased to something like 12" height and 20' width at the smallest height. Immediately after, the height increased and the head of a 25' pitch was reached. So much water was flowing down the cave that the water flowing over the pitch made descent an impossibility.

Observation of the bottom of the pitch was also impossible due to the amount of water falling into the pot from the main stream and also from another subsidiary stream. Exit was then made with utmost available rapidity. The water was somewhat cold, and also the amount was abnormally high due to heavy rainfall during the night.

Sunday Party:- K Gray, K Harris, A Jowett, B Ledger, K Johnson ( A Kirk, J Buckley - breakdown ), F Butterfield.

Hole enlarged by good work and made more reasonably accessible.

Saturday 18th Nov. Pen-y-ghent Pot.

Party:- H Burgess, K Gray, J J Leach, A Jowett, J K Harris, Frank Edmondson.

Party moved off down crawl to end of 1st canal where they paused to lower the dam which lowered the water level a little. Carried on to head of 1st pitch, 25', which Ken G and Ken H descended. They continued on a good passage 5' high ( average ) to the head of a 15' pitch. As they had no tackle to descend this pitch they retreated and whole party returned to surface in a state of extreme cold and exhaustion.


Sunday 19th Nov.

Party:- D M Boothman, J O Myers, K Gray, M G Riley, D Hawtrey, E Beagham.

Party moved off with 2 ropes + 1 timber baulk with small rope to the 1st pitch. This pitch was laddered in a way to make a safer take-off. The party continued on to the 2nd pitch which was laddered by jamming the timber baulk across the passage + passing the rope ladder over the baulk and back via a long belay to a suitable point up the passage.

All descended a wettish pitch into a chamber from which a narrow fissure leads off the right + descends into a bedding cave. By going left a fissure is reached which descends an estimated 120'-150'. This pitch is extremely wet at the near end but maybe descended at the far end.

While retreating, Ken wandered off to the right of the fissure which led via a bedding cave to a huge pot. 20' diameter, of depth again 120' also estimated. This pot is terrific and gave the party new spirits for the grim journey back through the two miserable canals.

Once again a frozen and exhausted party reached daylight again except Jack who complained he was hot - due to an excellent new waterproof suit he had made - to be recommended to all and sundry.

Sunday 26th Nov.
Party:- J O Myers, K Gray, J J Leach, J K Harris, M G Riley, T Guy, B Ledger, A Jowett.

About 140 feet of ladder and ropes to match were taken down the new pot. It was decided that the rift pitch should be laddered, a baulk of timber being used as a belay.

45 feet ( dry ) to ledge ) boulder belay, 90 feet ( wet ) to floor ) 135 feet

The 90 foot pot starts from some way down the main pot, seen on right hand side of bedding cave. From the bottom of the pitch, a high rift leads off with numerous boulders lying around and hanging around. After a short distance, this rift leads to a 15' pitch. Stream on floor. As no more tackle was available, exploration was terminated for the day at this point and the party retired to the cottage.


Sunday 4th December.

As the weekend was extremely wet it was decided that further exploration of the new hole was impossible.

Christmas Day Sunday Dec. 25th.

Party:- K Gray, H Burgess, J Myers, K Harris, T H Wild, M G Riley.

Pen-y-ghent Pot. 100' of ladder and beam taken as far as the main pitch. Two were able to descend 15' pitch reached on the 26th Nov. A large passage was then followed to a 20' pitch; a dry passage then led above the stream passage eventually to end in a pitch - the stream appeared to have reached a lower depth.

The party then retired somewhat fatigued: even though no more than 50 yds. had been put on.


Saturday Jan 13th

Party. D M Boothman, M G Riley, A Jowett, H Burgess, K Gray.

Principal objective for todays trip was an out and out push to see how far the pot went and subsequently how far we could go. Good time was made to the "beam pitch" ( ¾ hour ), and descent of party and gear stored at head of 90' pitch was easily accomplished. Progress was made down the rift pitch already described and brought us to the last halt at pitch No. 6. The descent, 20', was quite simple and a very short length of passage brought us to another pitch. The passage, which was part of a high rift jammed with loose rotten boulders, was traversed for quite some distance over the pitch No. 7 by continuing past the head of pitch No. 6, but no useful purpose seemed to be gained by further traversing. Descent of pitch No. 7 of 35' was made by cunning use of a 25' ladder and a spot of climbing. The passage which continued was reached by climbing down a small step bringing one in a very short distance to pitch No.8 of 20'. From this point, the passage descended down a rift in a series of steps, and short passage to a large chamber, over a depth of about 80'. Continuation was along a lowish bedding cave, very wet, the floor of which had a deep pool some 5' deep and gave access to another large chamber with a noticeable large boulder slope on one side. This slope was not investigated. Climbing through the boulders we reached another continuation of the passage and quickly were able to stand upright again. A descent of two small falls brought us to the head of pitch No. 9 of 25'. Descent was made carefully, avoiding the water spout which passed perilously close to the ladder. The passage once again assumed the proportions of a lowish bedding cave, very wet, which very shortly was joined by an inlet of similar proportions, but containing a stream estimated at some four times the size of the one we had so far followed. The stream was now quite large, and with quickly increasing height and width of the ensuing passage it was pretty obvious that a Master Cave of some sort or other had been reached. This cave had proportions such as a large bedding cave but quite high and wide, containing many deep pools, not so deep as to be out of depth, and this very swiftly running stream. Two or three steps of some three or four feet were encountered, taking care to avoid contact with the water which had a tendency to sweep one off balance. Six more inlets were passed, all dry, and quite large, none of which were explored at all. Eventually we reached a step of some 7 feet which presented quite a problem, and landed one at the head of a 15' pitch which will need a ladder to descend. Return to the surface was a very tiring business, one's energy being taxed by wading against the flow of the main stream. Small climbs, usually regarded as easy, were made difficult due to the tiring effort required to make any progress. The sixty foot pitch became a major problem to ascend successfully. All gear was however brought to the head of the sixty foot pitch and some was brought to the head of the "beam pitch", but at this point exhaustion was about to set in and exit was finally made, last man leaving the hole at 9.15pm. This concluded a 9½ hour trip.

Sunday Jan 20th

Party:- K Gray, H Burgess, J K Harris, J O Myers, M G Riley.

Penyghent Pot - brought tackle from 130' pitch to entrance.

Sunday Jan 27th

Party:- J J Leach, J K Harris, D Hawtrey, B Ledger, K Gray.

Removed remaining gear from Penyghent Pot back to cottage.

Sunday Feb 18th

Party:- H Burgess, M G Riley

Surveyed as far as the head of 2nd pitch in Penyghent Pot.

Sunday Feb 25th

Party:- M G Riley, D M Boothman

Plotted position of Penyghent Pot. Examined surface features relative to known passage survey.

Sunday March 5th

Party:- A Jowett, K Gray, J J Leach, J K Harris, D Hawtrey, K Shorrocks, B S Ledger, D M Boothman.

Penyghent Pot - constructed timber cage to form shaft entrance. Filled in behind timbering with boulders etc.

Sunday March 12th

Party:- K Gray, A Kirk, B S Ledger, A Jowett, K Harris, M G Riley, J J Leach, J B Clough.

"On and around Pen-y-ghent".

Timbering of the pot completed. One or two smaller digs attempted.

Sunday March 26th

Party: D M Boothman, D Hawtrey, K Shorrocks, J J Leach, J Durante, A Jowett, J K Harris, J O Myers, A Kirk.

Tackle for Penyghent Pot taken down as far as head of 130' pitch.

Sunday April 2nd

Party A Jowett, J O Myers

Diverting stream inlets away from Penyghent Pot inlet.

Saturday April 8th

Party : A Gemmell, J Buckley, M G Riley.

Descended pot at 9.30 a.m. and laddered beyond 130' pitch, reached & descended pitch reached by K Gray on January 13th. This pitch was, however, quickly followed by another ( approx 30'-40' ) for which tackle is required.

4 inlets ( ox-bows ) explored and a 20' dry pot was descended, this closed in a tight fissure. Surface reached 7.0 - 7.15 p.m.

Saturday April 22nd

Party K.Gray, A.Jowett, J.K.Harris, M.G.Riley, H.Burgess

Descended Penyghent Pot to head of final pitch (as yet unexplored). Descended, finding it rather wet, but not unbearable. Depth 40 feet. From here a wet but high passage led into a high rift chamber, with marks of flooding some 15 feet up the walls. From here the party dropped into a passage some 6 feet high by 8 feet wide. After approx 150 yards, this ended in a sump, J.K.Harris swimming to the far end. The only way on is by diving (*).

Returning back to the oxbow just above the last pitch but one, the party ate. K.Gray crawled 100 yards along a passage starting at the entrance of the oxbow, and reached a pitch estimated at 50 to 70 feet deep. The party then retired, exploring the passage at the head of the pitch following the boulder chamber. This comes out into the aven above the pitch. At the bottom of the pitch, A.Jowett took the opposite direction to normal, and climbed a good way up a boulder slope.

Times taken:
Entrance to Beam pitch45 mins
Beam pitch to Oxbow Depot1 ¾ hours
Oxbow Depot to bottom & back1 ½ hours
Oxbow Depot out2 ¾ hours

* A passage near the sump, on the right hand side of the passage going in, was explored. It ended in a rift which it was possible to continue to climb up, but it became very narrow.

Saturday May 6th

Party: J.K.Harris, D.M.Boothman, K.Gray, J.O.Myers

Descended Penyghent Pot. Reached sump via 75' pitch down boulder slope. This pitch is reached by a hands and knees crawl along a waterworn passage just before the head of pitch no. 10.

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