Illusion Pot


This was my 3rd cave having visited Skirwith and High Douk a few weeks ago so please excuse the novice descriptions.

This is a really great cave with some real contrasts, low passages to crawl through and large caverns to wander around in, some lovely formations and truly stunning (to me) large ceiling areas, covered with straws. Physically, I think it's a step up from what I have done before, but doesn't require any climbing or SRT.

Short walk from the layby, you come to a small circular concrete structure (which is the entrance) and a large cover (I'm assuming this is to stop the sheep from falling in). First thing that struck me was the amount of effort people have gone to, to construct/protect the entrance and apply ladders to the walls.

There are a few manhole type steps at the top and then the first ladder which is maybe about 20ft high, the next ladder is only a metre or so away and maybe about 15ft high followed by a final one about 10ft high. (This was my impression, so please don't take it as fact).

The bottom 6ft of the ladder was quite tight (for me) but once off you come to the first passage, which you need to crawl along. There are lots of small boulders and after about 20metres of crawling you come to a smaller passage with a large bud bank at the right hand side - I thought this was rock at first so was amazed to see it was actually soft. This requires some flat out crawling, which I've never done before. To look at a picture of it I probably wouldn't think I would like it, but when you were actually doing it, it was actually good fun.

We then came to some stalagmites made of mud and another passage which required a mixture of crawling and stooping and finally came upon an area that can sump but on this occaision was just full of mud (I was quite warm by this point and could have done with a cool down). This finally opened out into a huge church like area (with a rope hanging from a pot high above) we walked past a truck sized boulder where what had been the ceiling was now the floor, scrambled over some holes (there were some obvious areas where people were exploring some (very committing) smaller passages.

We then got to an area where my friend had injured his knee on a previous visit and didn't wish to go an further, you could see a very nice chamber through some rocks, so another visit with some rope will be required at some point.

We then doubled back and climbed over the area where we had entered this larger passage and up a gravel slope. To the right of us between the bedding place were some amazing orange coloured formation. Down a short slope on the left we opened out into an amazing sloping room with 6-8 inch straws covering the ceiling. At the bottom of a slope was a small canyon which apparently leads of to a slope, but with my limited ability this was as far as we went on this occaision.

The ladders felt a lot longer on the way back up but we got out and made our way back down to the cars.

A sure sign that I was tired was when I went into the Morton Arms toilet to wash my face and realised after a few minutes I was in the wrong ones!

A really nice couple of hours under ground with quite a few places I would like to go back to.


Well-known member
Glad you enjoyed it !
If you've got the taste for low crawls, try turning left at the bottom of the entrance ladders instead of right.
Eventually you get to a little chamber where you can turn round, and er.. that's it.  Apart from the warm glow of achievement.  :)

I assume the canyon you mentioned had a fixed traverse line?  If so, it's worth visiting - not that difficult, but you do need some cow tails for safety.  Quite exciting, and leads to the sump.


Yes - there is a fixed traverse and what looks like a large calcite pillar or curtain at the other side. We didn't have the gear for that (and I lack the ability) so one for another time.