Bar Pot

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Regions \ Yorkshire Dales \ The Three Peaks \ Bar Pot



Grid Reference: SD 7518 7234.

Altitude: 395 m

The entrance is located in a large rectangular crater, 40 m due east of the stile at the top of the Trow Gill valley. It is best approached by continuing along the path from the stile for 30 m and turning left.


Bar Pot provides the easiest way into the Gaping Gill system (winch excepted!). It's an interesting system whose subtleties are largely missed by those hurrying through on their way to the Main Chamber.

A descending passage at the base of the large shakehole leads to a 13 m pitch, which is restricted at the top. Below the pitch a step down leads to the top of the Greasy Slab - a 4 m slab best negotiated with a handline. This drops into Bridge Hall. At the bottom of the boulder slope Horrocks' Way on the left leads into a further set of descending chambers. At the bottom of these are the two pitches into South East Passage of Gaping Gill. The main pitch (30 m) is straight ahead and can be reached by traversing round the ledge on the left, or by crawling forward from the bottom of the slope.

An alternative (and the original) route to the Big Pitch is also accessed from the bottom of the entrance pitch. Looking towards the Greasy Slab, a bedding plane passage can be seen on the right. Entering this, a large pit in the floor is encountered. Crawl round this to the right and then straight across the wide bedding to another pit. This is free-climbable and leads to a 10 m pitch. At the bottom of this a thin rift drops into a low bedding which soon enlarges and morphs into the impressive Whitehall - a high rift passage. At the bottom turn left to arrive at the back of the platform overlooking the Big Pitch.

Other passages of note:

  • The small passage to the left at the base of the entrance pitch drops into the top of Bridge Hall.
  • Veering right after the pit in the wide bedding leading off from the base of the entrance pitch leads to Small Mammal House and the alternative entrances of Small Mammal Pot and Stile Pot.
  • A passage to the right at the bottom of Bridge Hall (Leakey's Way) leads into Whitehall.
  • A traverse round to the right of Bridge Hall leads into the Graveyard Inlet which almost reaches the surface.
  • A climb in the Bridge Hall Aven leads into Violet Ground Beetle Passage, another inlet series.
  • A passage across from the Big Pitch on the left leads to an alternative descent down South East Aven, and also to Wild Cat Rift, a passage which descends to the hole in the wall opposite the bottom of the Big Pitch.
  • A rope climb above the start of the traverse to the normal SRT descent of the Big Pitch enters Horrocks-Stearn Crawl which leads into Flood Entrance Pot near the top of the main pitch.


Permission for access should be obtained from the Ingleborough Estate Office


The cave was first entered in 1949 by the BSA, when the original route to the Big Pitch was through the bedding below the entrance pitch, down the 10 m pitch, and through Whitehall. Bob Leakey then discovered the route from Bridge Hall to Whitehall, and Horrocks discovered the passage named after him which is now the voie normale.

Wild Cat Rift was explored by the NCC from below in 1969.

Small Mammal House and the Graveyard Inlet was discovered by LUSS in the late 1970s, and Violet Ground Beetle Passage was first entered by John Cordingley in 1993.

In 1987 Bob Jarman, tenant and manager of Ingleborough Show Cave, submitted a planning application to develop Bar Pot for adventure caving tourist trips (Planning Application Reference Number YO/5/17/156). The plans included setting up scaffolding structures supporting ladders for the two pitches. The scheme came to nought.

The alternative entrance of Small Mammal Pot was opened up from below by Mike Wooding and John Gardner in 2005.

The alternative entrance of Stile Pot was opened up by John Gardner, John Sellers, Dave Checkley, and Phil Johnstone in 2008.

A comprehensive survey of the cave was published in 1980 by Lancaster University Speleological Society.

References and Further Reading

  1. Atkinson F. (1950), "New Pots for Old - Bar Pot, Yorkshire", Cave Science 2 No 11, pp 136-8
  2. Boothroyd C. & Johnstone P. (1980), Bar Pot and Flood Entrance Pot, LUSS (17 page booklet + survey)
  3. Brook A, Brook D, Griffiths J. & Long M.H. (1991), Northern Caves Volume 2 The Three Peaks pp 173-175. Dalesman Books, Clapham
  4. Cordingley J.N. 1990), "Odds and Sods in Flood Entrance and Bar Pot", CPC Record 20, pp 7-8
  5. Cordingley J.N. (1993), "Violet Ground Beetle Passage, Bar Pot", CPC Record 32, pp 4-6
  6. Cordingley J.N. (2003), "Bar Pot: Bridge Hall Aven Revisited", CPC Record 72, pp 11-12
  7. Cordingley J.N. (2005), "Bar Pot Potterings" Descent 182, page 15
  8. Crabtree H. (1970), "Discoveries and Extensions", ULSA Review 6, page 2
  9. Gardner J.W. (2005), "New GG Entrance Imminent?" Descent 183, page 9
  10. Gardner J.W. (2005), "Another Entrance for Gaping Gill" Descent 184, page 9
  11. Hall A.S. (1987), "Bar Pot Planning Application" Caves and Caving 37, pp 34-35
  12. Gardner J.W. (2006), "The Bar Pot Alternative" Descent no. 190, page 26
  13. Gardner J.W. (2008), "Stile Pot - So Why Bother?" Jnl CPC No. 92, pp 26-2
  14. Gardner J.W. (2008), "GG's Twentieth Entrance" Descent no. 205, page 10

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