Five Ways Pot, Dowlass Moss, Ingleborough


Staff member
On the same day reported above we had broken into a mighty shale bed passage we called the Marmalade Sandwich. This ended at another pitch. The pitch head was very tight but belled out immediately below and looked great. A little bit of capping was necessary at the top to make the pitch 'all inclusive'. Rocks rumbled down and indicated a drop of around 20m again. Bolts were placed in the roof for a very nice hang and the lead given over to Mick to descend first.

I caught his descent on video which I will post later when uploaded. The almost astonishing thing about this descent is that Mick only recently recovered from having ankle replacement surgery. When I say recently recovered, I really mean 'still' recovering from recent ankle surgery. He was back caving just three weeks and five days after the operation and this was only a few weeks later on from that - don't tell his surgeon ;). Anyway he named the pitch 'My Left Foot' consequently.

Towards the bottom of the drop a couple more shale beds are noticeable. A large ledge has formed on one of them and a obvious aven ascends on the far side of it. A beautifully scalloped trench is formed between and leads down in fine style. Almost immediately though it becomes too tight and awkward where thin vertical flakes prevent progress. Beyond the echo confirms another pitch, as does rock throwing. It will be another trip of capping to open it up.

The top of My Left Foot - I'm saying nothing about those nashers
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Some beautiful scalloping leads down to the next pitch
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A few happy bunnies sat on the ledge. All these photos taken on the day by Franklin

Video to come and then we'll set about the next drop :):):dig:


Staff member
At the bottom of My Left Foot the narrow rift led off obstructed by a number of flakes. A hole could be seen directly below but it looked better to traverse along a bit before dropping down. We expected a better pitch and hang would be found there. As the wall comprised of sets of thin vertical flakes and joints, it took a bit more capping than expected but, sure enough, it led over the hole and cut down to a fine looking drop. The pitch head itself needed no refinement, but most of the debris from the rift had gone down the hole and its lack of re-appearance at the bottom had us wondering where it led to. A simple Y hang dropped straight down a spacious pitch and after ten metres or so a narrow slit appeared where our debris could be glimpsed teetering in a parallel pot. After 15m I landed on a large blade of rock creating a suitable ledge for a rebelay and soon came to rest 5m below that at the bottom of the pitch.

A wide clean washed floor had a small trench cutting through the side of it which led straight into a tall narrow rift continuation. Of course it was too small to progress as it was. The whole team came down bringing with them all the gear and the picnic food for lunch. It was a fine place to sit around eating doughnuts and drinking coffee whilst someone worked the front. On reflection the drop was named Picnic Pitch.

A couple of trips ensured to make the rift bigger. It quickly dropped away and echoes suggested another pitch was imminent. On the second trip here a certain person (who can't sit still) decided that the rocks coming out of the front needed to be made smaller. The result was a broken hammer shaft. Capping continued using just the metal hammer head until that got dropped down the rift ahead. Then a suitable rock was used to set the caps off but this was far from ideal in a narrow rift. Consequently another trip was needed to finish the job and even then the last of the batteries was used capping, not even leaving enough power to place a few bolts. The open pitch was left until the next trip as the video shows.

Top of Picnic Pitch

Looking up from the bottom with Dave at the rebelay

The way on - Did I mention I walked up the hill without my oversuit and caved in just a cag.

Picnicking at Picnic Pitch

The next pitch awaits....



Staff member
Gor dam it. It's been a month since we bottomed Five Ways and I've still not written it up. In that time we've started (and probably binned) another dig on another fell. However, other reports on here have inspired me to get on with it so here goes again. There is so much going on this summer - whoopie doo.

We finished our last trip with Stone Age Pitch left wide open but with the team and drill batteries exhausted. Our return was swift and the top bolted and rigged. I was lucky enough again to bag first go, but before heading to the bottom I traversed to the ledge, or bridge as it turned out. I could see immediately that it looked down onto the top of the next pitch but it was too constricted to be worth trying that way. Straight down was only 6m or so to a couple of steps down and around a corner. Here a long rising gash in the floor heralded the next pitch. Again it was a little too narrow at the top and needed enlarging. All nine of the team came down bringing all the gear with them. Apart from the gash onto the next pitch it was pretty spacious and easily held all nine of us.

Dave capping the gash and the team queuing patiently

Descending the Deceiver
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I did a stint of capping and then retreated to the back and Dave took over. As usual it took more capping that we anticipated but Dave was soon ready to descend. The drop was another shorty of around 8m. At the bottom Mick declared the way on to be big enough and rigged the rope. He did manage to squeeze down past a bulge but certainly had a struggle on the way back up. Anyway it was a split drop of 10m, quite spacious at the bottom, but only leading to a very small draughtless crawl. The rest of the trip was spent enlarging the pitch head. Dave named his pitch the Deceiver and Mick named his the Pincher (nothing to do with a certain Tory MP at all - oh no).

Looking down the Deceiver

Bones pushing the bitter end

The team slowly headed out, clearing up the debris, and removing the excess tools.

We returned a few days later to have a more thorough look at the end. Bones gave it a really good go but the tiny passage lowered to barely let the water get away. Although the survey has yet to get this far down we expect we are at a similar depth to that where other pots in the area fizzle out. I think we have called it a day. We have removed all our kit anyway.

Still to do is complete the survey, maybe take a few more photos and get resin anchors installed. I'll keep you posted on how this pans out. I don't think we have any objection to other cavers having a look as long as they are careful of the ropes etc. Hopefully as we get towards autumn we'll have a CNCC rigging topo available.

A final video of the bottom taken from a ledge a few metres from the floor. Cheers



What's the total depth now? I think I've added up nearly 100m of pitches from the reports above, plus the entrance pitch?


Staff member
The survey is yet to reach the bottom. I guess 120 -130m deep which is similar depth to other pots on Dowlass. it's a good little vertical work out.


Most of the way down you've been commenting on the draught and yet the bottom crawl is draughtless.

Any chance you've missed something somewhere?


Staff member
The bottom was completely draughtless on the two days we visited. The cave was also quite dry. That might be a part of it, but the draught might be related to the sheer volume of air and changing pressures. It was most noticeable when capping the crawl before the main breakthrough. Beyond that, in Marmalade Sandwich there are a number of side leads, all too tight but no one has commented on a draught in those. There is also a side aven that leads up from the bottom of My Left Foot.

Draughts are strange beasts, totally unreliable in my experience :) I'm planning a trip down next week so will have a good look around but I don't think we missed anything obvious. If we have - well you've got to leave something for the next generation :);)

Dave O

New member
Has the permanent bolt installation been completed? If so, what are the rope lengths / is there a topo? Do you need any gear bringing out as we are planning a trip this Sunday. Cheers.


Well-known member
Hi Dave O

Please have a read of this...

In summary, anchoring has been complete for all except the top two pitches and a traverse anchor on the third pitch. In-situ ropes on all except the second pitch have been removed (the first pitch was never left rigged and is currently easier with a ladder).

The top two pitches have still not been anchored and a return trip is planned for the coming month to finish the job (the holes are drilled, we just need to fit the anchors). The in-situ rope (on the original exploration spits) is still in place on the second pitch and we would appreciate if this could be left in place until anchoring is complete (but thank you for the offer), so please do not remove anything or de-rig the existing ropes.

The third pitch has two anchors for a Y-hang at the pitch head, but no anchors for a traverse line yet.

A topo and description will be published once work is complete. Are you dead-set on a trip this Sunday or are you inclined to wait until the anchoring is complete? If you are keen to go on Sunday, please PM me and I can provide some additional details.