WITCHES CAVE

SD 660799 Alt: 218m

Length included in Ease Gill Caverns Three Counties System total 80km

Link to CaveMaps surveys

The obvious cave entrance in the north bank of EASE GILL below the LOWER KIRK

WARNING

Lines get shredded all the time in the Witches Cave sumps and the visibility is usually very bad - so care is needed!

Originally explored in the 19th Century. See link

In flood conditions this normally dry entrance resurges a large volume of water. A stooping height passage leads to a step up into various blind boulder chambers on the right. Straight ahead is a choice of either a 3m sump, although in wet weather this has been measured at 8m, to a chamber which is floored by a deep pool. Here a low arch under the left wall leads to airspace after 3m Beyond, a short, low passage enters a chamber with deep water. There are two holes in the floor of the low passage before the chamber but both are too tight. Another route on from the chamber is blocked by an underwater boulder ruckle. Alternateivel;ly the chamber can be reached via a 5m climb up and a 4m pitch back down to the same point. In the roof here are a number of choked tubes.

Nearer the entrance are two small floor rifts both with sumps. These are connected underwater and lead to a 30m deep shaft emerging in the roof of a huge underwater passage. To the west the passage but goes for about 50m in a big tunnel to the base of a dangerously unstable pebble choked ramp. This has only been passed only once and is the connection point with Leck Beck Head Main Rising. See LECK BECK HEAD .

SUMP 1

To the east, upstream Sump 1 is a large tunnel varying between 27m and 33.5m deep. This has been dived for 430m from base.to a big chamber. From this chamber about 250m of large abandoned dry passage leads off roughly in the direction of the furthest downstream passages in Notts Pot - and is almost certainly the extension of the major trunk passage in PIPPIKIN, last seen at GOUR HALL..

SUMP 2

Upstream Sump 2 follows shortly after Sump 1 and is approximately a 500m dive with a max depth of about 31m and surfacing in Pooh's Revenge, downstream of Sump 1 in PIPPIKIN. However, before surfacing an underwater route continues to the right at depth of 20m for about 900m to surface in Gavel Pot (passing the Lost Johns inlet on the left near the Gavel Pot end of the sump.

WARNING

Lines get shredded all the time in the Witches Cave sumps and the visibility is usually very bad - so care is needed!

Main Sump CDG Report

The sump pool is the first of several flooded rifts encountered after the entrance. A descent here leads northwards down a slope of pebbles and silt to a small underwater chamber. From here, a slanting passage to the right quickly breaks out into a shaft where an ascent surfaces directly in the second flooded rift from the entrance. From the bottom of the shaft at a depth of -10m, an obvious passage leads to the lip of a deep pot after a further 15m. Ahead the passage becomes blocked by silt after 15m but a descent of the pot leads down to -30 m depth where it breaks into a passage about 5m high and 3m wide running from east to west. Downstream from here is west, upstream is east. From the base of the shaft a single large passage heads west south west and this quickly reaches a maximum depth of -32m. After about 35m the way ahead suddenly lowers and beyond here a low passage has been followed for a further 15m. This seems to take some water but is probably not the main way forward. The main downstream continuation may be a shaft in the roof but searches for this on the left side of the main passage (looking downstream i.e. west) have been complicated by a confusing area of cross joints, one of which as been ascended to -28m. The roof on the right side of the passage still awaits investigation.

From the base of the shaft at -30m, the upstream route heads east and follows the left wall. The large passage dips down to -31m after 10m and then swings round to the south. A silty alcove on the far side of the passage is then passed and beyond here the passage reaches -33.3m depth and continues in similar dimensions to head generally south at around -32m. At about 28 m the main route crosses over from the left to the right wall and beyond here a large deep bay is passed on the right (looking upstream) at about 200m from base. At 347m the depth has decreased to -26m and the large passage continues until an abrupt turn to the right is encountered at 430 m. Here the character of the sump changes dramatically and jagged breakdown slabs litter the floor in contrast to the smooth rounded boulders of the previous section. A further 4 m of line has been laid from this point around the perimeter of what appears to be the roof of a large chamber. No way on could be found and this point is about 450m from base. Extensive searches of both walls of the main passage have been made up to around 400 m from base but no other side passages have been noted.


R.R.C.P.C. 1999