BULL POT of THE WITCHES

SD 6623 8129 Alt: 293m
Length 2.9km but part of the Ease Gill system at 80km
No CNCC permit is required for access to this cave

Link to CaveMaps surveys


The entrance is the large open shaft a short distance down the track behind BULL POT FARM. It is seen in the photo below just beyond and to the right of the two figures. The cave consists of fossil development on several levels in a thrust plane.It is a complex cave system that provides the hydrological link between Lancaster Hole and Aygill Caverns although as yet it is not physically connected to the latter. The main stream emerges from the upstream sumps and then flows through another five sumps, all of which can be bypassed, before sinking in the downstream sump. Of the bypassable sumps only the furthest upstream has been dived: it is an easy, shallow dive of 15m.

From the stile a short path leads down to the edge of the shaft which can be descended as a 15m pitch using the tree as a belay. The usual route is to traverse along the path to the left around the shaft until on the opposite side a path leads down (Care!) to a hole on the south side. Down the hole the passage leads to an easy chimney climb down to emerge in SOUTH CHAMBER a few metres from the open hole. camera.gif (251 bytes)SOUTH CHAMBER is just one of several routes leading from the bottom of the ENTRANCE SHAFT and it can be followed to where the mud floor gives way to a climb down into the extensive, boulder filled, CAVERN 32. At the far end of this chamber an awkward climb up leads to a further passage and a dangerous choke, whilst under the left wall was the original route from the now blocked HIDDEN POT.

At the opposite end of the Open shaft lies NORTH CHAMBER camera.gif (251 bytes) and a short section of rift passage leading to further small chambers and a mud choke. At the start of NORTH CHAMBER a route down through the boulders, THE CATHOLE, leads to an 8m pitch to join the route taken by the stream. A further short climb down drops one into BURNETT'S PASSAGE. An excavated U-tube squeeze at the end of NORTH CHAMBER leads to a further 4.5m of passage which ends in a choke.

North Chamber Extension

From the North Chamber slope up to a squeezes to a downwards sandy slope to another squeeze up a tight slot to a small chamber where one can almost stand. A hole in the floor here is the connection to Robert's Inlet. Above a bedding ascends to a squeeze to the right and a capped tube to a 4m drop to a chamber at the end.As you climb down the drop a climb in the roof leads to a choked bedding. The chamber has a tight rift at floor level to a smaller chamber and a climb up. The smaller chamber is blind at the top but some draught comes from the choked boulder floor.

BURNETT'S PASSAGE AREA

The last passage out of the open shaft leads back alongside SOUTH CHAMBER to a series of drops, possibly best tackled with a 9m ladder, to reach a large passage. A climb up over boulders enters a chamber, whilst a climb up to the left leads via a dangerous route into CAVERN 32. Back in the chamber if the passage to the right is followed a 'T' junction is met after only a few metres. The large passage on the left here leads via either of two routes at different levels to a climb down into the large BURNETT'S GREAT CAVERN. The main route on quickly leads to a choke which can only be penetrated for a short distance via a climb to an upper level whilst high in the left wall is the short BSA PASSAGE which can be reached with a 12m scaling pole and ladder. Another passage can be entered from a shelf on the right up an awkward climb leads up to where the way on becomes too tight.

To the right from the 'T' junction is BURNETT'S PASSAGE, a hands and knees crawl which enlarges where the main stream enters on the right. A few metres further on and to the right is an aven which can be scaled for 8m to a short length of rift passage and a further aven. This is free climbable, and 9m up this ROBIN'S INLET enters, an awkward crawl which terminates in a choke very close to the surface stream.

UPSTREAM PASSAGE

From the foot of the first aven a large passage slopes away to the left and ends at a muddy climb up into a hading rift. A traverse along this followed by a climb up enters the beautiful GOUR CHAMBERS Continuing along the rift by-passes a sump in the upper section of the bottom stream passage to emerge in a large sloping chamber. A traverse across the mud slope and a careful descent reach the UPSTREAM PASSAGE. The first few metres consist of a low airspace crawl in the stream, but soon the roof lifts and the way continues as an easy walk. An obvious climb up leads into the high level 49 CAVERN, or a low passage in the stream camera.gif (251 bytes) reaches a slope down from the far end of this cavern. Only a few metres further on the UPSTREAM SUMP is met.

Upstream of the ducks in UPSTREAM PASSAGE a passage in the right wall can be climbed up to, this leads crawl leads to a chamber, then via a tight squeeze to a sudden emergence into CASCADE AVEN, this is 18m high and has been scaled to an inlet bedding which is impenetrable. The outlet in the floor of the aven is a drop to a narrow stream passage which has been pushed to an acute bend.

The first sump is 34m long to an airbell, followed by the second sump which has been dived for 175m to a point where digging is required. The water in the sump comes from AYGILL CAVERNS but the upstream limit is beyond and is thought to be on one side of the downstream end of the sump in AYGILL CAVERNS.

The sumps are complicated by many parallel rifts and care should be taken when diving here.

Upstream Sumps

Sump 1 is a pleasant dive of 34m in an oval shaped passage 2.4m wide and 1m high. It emerges in a large airbell. From here Sump 2 passes a small airbell with an inlet and then descends through a squeeze over a silt slope and quickly breaks out into a gravel-floored tube 1m high and 1.2m wide. Care should be taken in the complicated silt slope area as the passage is very low. At about 152m the passage becomes a 1.5m wide hading rift and this suddenly ends at a blank wall about 15m further ahead. There appear to be two possible routes leading on from here. At the blank wall, a slot leads into a continuation of the hading rift which lies at an angle of about 6 . This has been descended for 7m and continues.However, a low, silted bedding offset to the right has also been entered: this has been pushed for 12m to where digging was required for further progress. The end of this sump is well past the downstream limit of Aygill Caverns though it is evidently offset to one side of the Aygill sump. No other passages leading off Sump 2 have been noted despite thorough searches. However, just past the airbell there are two pots, 2.4m and 4.5m deep respectively. Both have very narrow exits.


LONG GALLERY to THE DOWNSTREAM SUMP

If instead of leaving the large passage adjacent to SOUTH CHAMBER below the series of drops, the continuing passage is followed, a climb down leads to an enlargement in a roof bedding, and an extremely tight crawl goes off to the left to emerge at the head of a small aven at the choke of the downstream end of LONG GALLERY. A short distance downstream is the 5m HIDDEN POT PITCH which is an awkward fee climb, possibly best laddered. At the bottom a short length of passage and a short climb down reaches the bottom stream passage which can be followed in either direction for only a few metres before it sumps. However, just to one side is a short climb up into LONG GALLERY which by-passes both sumps.

Upstream is a hands and knees crawl in a slanting passage to where the way slopes down to the right and the stream at the bottom end of the sump by-passed via ROBERT'S PASSAGE and the hading rift. In the opposite direction THE LONG GALLERY reaches an aven and the choke mentioned above. Just before this twin holes in the floor against the right wall lead down an easy climb to THE CANAL. Upstream sumps immediately but downstream leads into a wide low passage to a complex junction, straight on leads via a low and wide passage in aqueous going to the downstream sump, THE WET WAY. Back at the complex junction, to the right is a large and complicated oxbow, whilst to the left is junction chamber and the way through a choke up into far gallery, and the entrance to THE DRY WAY. This is a large abandoned passage which finally reunites with THE WET WAY in a roomy chamber containuing the DOWNSTREAM SUMP. camera.gif (251 bytes)

 

Kerplunk Inlet

This is located on the right just before the final crawl along the DRY WAY. A steep body sized tube intersects a hading rift to a chamber and 5m climb up through a squeeze. Above is a 3m high vadose stream passage rising for nearly 20m to a dangerous choke of cobbles. The top has been smoke tested to the bottom of the field below the lime kilns south of Bull Pot. CARE - loose boulders are plentiful.

The sump has been dived. A low passage at -4.5m depth on the left of the large sump pool leads to a 6m diameter chamber after 24m with a muddy rift going off to the south, where via 2m and 4m climbs, the rift chokes but it is a possible connection to GALE GARTH POT From here a 1m high, but apparently wide gravel-floored passage continues at the same depth, emerge after, approximately 120m, in WILF TAYLOR'S PASSAGE in LANCASTER HOLE .


R.R.C.P.C. 2013