Swinsto South, West Kingsdale


Well-known member
Due to a mistake I found myself in Swinsto South a few days ago. (I was in the wrong field!) It's well blocked by flood debris below the various short drops inside the entrance.

Out of interest, does anyone know where the water is next seen in the West Kingsdale System? I presume it joins the Bedstead Pot etc flow to emerge in the Swinsto Cave crawl. But there was quite a substantial stream sinking at Swinsto South and I don't remember any of the diminutive inlets in the crawl in Swinsto Cave having that much water emerging. (There's a useful diagram of all the inlets in Tony Waltham's (Ed) 1974 book "Limestones & Caves of North West England" on page 112.)

I think Swinsto South was very much a Bentham & Ingleton Caving Club project about 40 years or so ago, so I guess I'm hoping one of their former members might see this and be able to enlighten us. If so, thanks.


New member

I don?t know if this adds anything to your question ... there?s an interesting paragraph in Waltham?s (Ed) 1974 book ? p325 which I quote below.

?Very little direct drainage reaches the limestone bench between Marble Steps and Swinsto Hole. The small streams seen in the Mohole, Sheepfold and Buzzer Pots are percolation or bog drainage, and all larger streams sink into higher limestone beds. Since they do not reappear they must be assumed to drain directly to Keld Head as does the sink to the south of Swinsto Hole.?

Presumably the latter sink is ?Swinsto South?, and by ?drain directly to? is Waltham inferring that the water reaches Keld Head without first entering the known West Kingsdale System? This would support your observation that the Swinsto South water wasn?t entering the Swinsto Long Crawl.

However, in volume 2 of Waltham?s (Ed) ?Caves and Karst of the Yorkshire Dales? p332-333, Dave Brook writes ?the most southerly accessible sink is Swinsto South, with low bedding-plane passages that pass beneath the Swinsto stream and into Bedstead Pot, and then drain into the Swinsto Long Crawl?.

So, which is correct? Has either of the above ?routes? actually been proved by dye testing?

Sorry, more questions rather than answers but at least your question has provided me with several very pleasant hours of armchair caving on a very wet December day. Thank you!


Well-known member
Many thanks Whale; that's of great value. I agree; a bit of hydrological work may well be worthwhile. Next time I bump into DB I'll ask him about this, as he may be able to tell us of a previous +ve trace.


Staff member
One of the digs we had a few years ago was the terminal end of Cascade Inlet in KMC.  This is quite a large passage ending in a fairly big choke which became hard to dig.  A stream emerges from the choke and I have only been able to guess where it comes from.  Any ideas?  This is not the much smaller Good Friday passage which ends near Thorney Pot.