GOYDEN POT, Lofthouse, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire
DIVERS: Cristian CRISTEA, Ewan CAMERON
The trip was organised by Ewan as part of the UKMC AGM. Ewan has been many times in the dry parts of this cave, but never had the opportunity to go beyond sump 1.
Both divers headed inside the cave with a 2l and 3l cylinder each, and after a short walk reached sump 1.
Cristian dived first relining the sump, in good visibility, swimming downstream trying to keep up ahead of the silt clouds. Not long into the sump, a boulder slope was reached which lead to the exit in Lower River Passage. Ewan followed shortly, and both divers continued ahead following the main stream. Another sump was soon encountered, named Sump 1b, initially thinking it’s sump 2. Cristian dived first in a roomy wide bedding plane, lining the sump for about 12 metres, when an exit was made in a vertical rift, where the way forward was partially blocked by flood debris.
As the sump didn’t meet the sump 2 description, both divers thought it could have been a new one formed by the recent floods. Although the northern sump index doesn’t mention the existence of it, it has been found that this was a known sump, never dived, as it was always bypassed by a dry passage next to it.
The divers carried on following the stream reaching sump 2a, which had the rope hanging down broken, but due to low water there was an airspace and an easy duck to sumps 2b+c.
Short tugs on the existing rope at the start of the sumps showed that the rope it’s not broken. Cristian dived first in poor visibility, and found the rope to end between a boulder and ceiling, where it probably got snagged and broken on one of the last floods. Cristian tied new line just before the boulder and continued another 2 metres to surface.
Ewan failed to follow, so Cristian made a return dive to find out that his new line had slipped into the same place with the old rope, between the boulder and ceiling, fact that didn’t help Ewan finding his way forward. A quick rearrangement of the line and both divers passed sumps 2b+c.
After an easy walk through one of the biggest chambers in Goyden, the divers arrived at the base of sump 3.
With limited gas reserves and little line left, Cristian started the dive heading through the middle of the passage in a wide bedding plane. In poor visibility, Cristian met a constriction, with roomier passages on both sides. Near the constriction, a small airbell was found. Cristian followed the left hand passage for few more metres, which proved to be too narrow. Due to reaching gas limits, the right side passage was not checked anymore. Both divers made an enjoyable return with Ewan showing Cristian different parts of the dry cave.
All laid line was removed to avoid any future hazards produced by possible floods.
Both divers surfaced in a beautiful sunny weather.