Goyden Pot

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Regions \ Yorkshire Dales \ Wharfedale and the North East\ Nidderdale \ Goyden pot


Contents

Location

Goyden Entrance

Goyden Main Entrance

Grid Reference: SE 09997613

Altitude: 210m

Parking by the road next to the picnic tables further up the valley from Limley farm. Access is via the gate, field and second gate to the obvious entrance in the cliff face. Be sure to close both gates.

Access

General access is currently permitted by Mr. Church of Limley Farm, and there is no need to call.

Description

Warning Flooding - this cave can flood by wind pushing water over the dam of Scarhouse Reservoir as well as by rainfall. Check both the weather report and the level of water in Scarhouse reservoir before making a trip into Goyden Pot. Goyden can flood quickly and completely. If water is flowing into the cave and access is still possible then it is inadvisable to wander away from the main stream passage. If the water rises whilst in the stream passage then an exit can be made by Gaskell's Passage & Church Pot.

Overall

The main entrance leads to an impressive large chamber and stream passage with a labyrinth of passages leading off to one side. Two other entrances Limley and Church Pots provide small but interesting through trips. Church Pot is the flood escape route.

Detail Quite a lot of people find Goyden complex and confusing. The following guides will not only help you explore each section but also help you develop a knowledge of the overall system.

1. Main entrance to downstream sump 1 and exit via Church pot.

From the main entrance make your way for about 30m to where a walking size phreatic passage goes off left and another one is straight ahead. Note both join after a just a few metres and provide access towards the 'First Window' and Mud Hall. What is less obvious, at the start of the phreatic passages, is a low arch to the right and way through to the main chamber. Enter the main chamber and high up on the left is the 'first window' a stream falls from this in wet weather. Towards the right of this is a smaller 'second window'. Over to the right of the chamber is the bridge and walking on top of this to the other side gives a fine view to the stream below and across to the 'third window'. Going straight on and down under the bridge in the main chamber leads to the main stream passage. Note: most of the stream enters from a passage going back under the main chamber. This is Lesser Stream Passage and link through to Manchester Hole. Follow the stream down the cascades, along, round the right hand bend to see a chain hanging down the right hand wall shortly before the left hand bend. Note this is the climb that leads up into Gaskell's Passage and Church pot the flood exit route. Follow the stream until the roof begins to lower. Stoop and crawl through this section until it is possible to stand up again. Note at this point Labyrinth passage goes off left which leads to Five Ways, Ten foot climb and the Labyrinth (a confusing maze of small passages). The passage going right leads after just a short section to sump1. Return back up the stream passage to where the chain hangs down. Climb up and then left into Gaskell's Passage. Straight on leads to the Pinnacle climb and Turf pitch which provides a bypass to sump 1 to enter Goyden 2. Both passages on the right provide access to Black Sheep passage and Church pot. The second passage is the easiest and soon passes a high aven on the right then just before it narrows passes a small crawl on the left, Gargett Way. After the narrow section a walking size passage leads to the first of the in situ ladders. Climb this and then the rift that follows to the second ladder. Climb this ladder and the narrow awkward rift above to exit the cave via Church pot.


2. Main entrance to Mud Hall and exit via the Main Stream passage

From the main entrance make your way for about 30m to where a walking size phreatic passage goes off left and another one is straight ahead. Taking the left hand passage passes a dig on the left then joins the other passage. Just a few metres beyond this is a junction. Note: left provides access to Cap Left Crawl and Pillar pot while right leads to the First window and 10m drop into the main chamber. Straight ahead is a less obvious low crawl and the way forward to Mud Hall. Follow the crawl past a small dead end passage on the left and then turn left at the next junction. The way right leads to the second window and large drop into the main chamber. After the junction the passage enlarges to stooping height and goes by a passage on the left that connects with the passage leading to Cap Left crawl and Pillar pot sump. Soon after passing this passage climb down the small drop with care to enter a large passage. Right leads to the third window and drop into the main stream passage below. Note: at the window a ledge on the left hand side is the start of a long traverse that runs along the roof of the main stream passage and links with Upper Nurgatory. A ledge on the right hand side of the window is a traverse across to the bridge in the main chamber. Going left from the climb down is a steeply ascending passage that can be followed up and through to Mud Hall. There are three possible exits to Mud Hall. Straight on for a short distance and then working your way down to the left with care leads to a series of switchbacks, traverse and climb down into Pyridine Passage. Going forward down the mud slope in Mud Hall for a short distance then down through a narrow slot by the right hand wall leads into Upper Nurgatory passage. This connects with both Lower Nurgatory passage and the roof traverse above the main stream. Going all the way down the slope in Mud Hall leads to a muddy crawl, Limley Bypass. At the start of Limley Bypass is an aven which is the base of the second pitch in Limley pot. Follow the Limley Bypass crawl on and through the large plastic pipes then along the crawl beyond to the T junction. Left leads to Five ways and the Labyrinth whilst right leads to the main stream passage. Follow the passage right until the stream is reached. Left goes for short distance to the sump. Right leads under a low arch for short section then on into a splendid large walking size stream passage. Follow this pass the hanging chain on the left (flood escape route, Church pot) through to the main chamber and exit the same way in to complete the circular trip.


3. Main entrance to Mud Hall to 10ft climb, Five Ways and exit via Church pot

From the main entrance make your way for about 30m to where a walking size phreatic passage goes off left and another one is straight ahead. Taking the left hand passages passes a dig on the left then joins the other passage. Just a few metres beyond this is a junction. Note left provides access to Cap Left Crawl and Pillar pot while right leads to the First window and 12m drop into the main chamber. Straight ahead is a less obvious low crawl and the way forward to Mud Hall. Follow the crawl past a small dead end passage on the left and then turn left at the next junction. The way right leads to the second window and large drop into the main chamber. After the junction the passage enlarges to stooping height and goes by a passage on the left that connects with the passage leading to Cap Left crawl and Pillar pot sump. Soon after passing this passage climb down the small drop with care to enter a large passage. Right leads to the third window and drop into the main stream passage below. Note: At the window a ledge on the left hand side is the start of a long traverse that runs along the roof of the main stream passage and links with Upper Nurgatory. A ledge on the right hand side of the window is a traverse across to the bridge in the main chamber. Going left from the climb down is a steeply ascending passage that can be followed through to Mud Hall. Once in Mud Hall go straight forward and just before the main mud bank descends towards the bottom of the chamber make your way left and back on yourself into the hole on the left. At the bottom go right, left, right left through the switchbacks. To the left of the deep pool climb up into the passage and then awkwardly clamber through the 'letterbox' shaped hole. Traverse across the pool using the thick rope provided and then along the rift to a climb down. Having climbed down make your way along Pyridine passage and through the waist deep water to the T-junction beyond. Note: Turning right takes you to another T-junction with right to Labyrinth passage and left to Five ways. Turning left after the water takes you to the base of an in situ small ladder at Ten Foot climb. Note: Up the ladder leads to Cap Left crawl, passages to Telegraph aven and also Twenty foot climb and New Stream sump. Turning right at the base of the ladder and following the passage leads to Five Ways. This is a small chamber with five ways out, and a very small stream running through it. Note: Five ways is a key chamber to remember and getting to know which passages leads to where is key in getting to know this part of the system, especially the way out! The stream flows out of one exit into the heart of the Labyrinth of passages whilst the passage to the right of the stream exit is the way out. Follow this passages and at the point the rift closes in duck left under the arch where very soon the going gets easier. This is Labyrinth passage. The first right would take you back to Pyridine passage whilst the second right would lead up and through pipes to Mud Hall. Straight on all the way leads to the main stream passage and T-junction. Left goes for short distance to the sump. Right leads under a low arch for short section then on into a splendid large walking size stream passage. Follow this to the point where there is a hanging chain on the left. Climb up and left into Gaskell's Passage. Straight on leads to the Pinnacle climb and Turf pitch which provides a bypass to sump 1 to enter Goyden 2. Both passages on the right provide access to Black Sheep passage and Church pot. The second passage is the easiest and soon passes a high aven on the right then just before it narrows passes a small crawl on the left. Gargett Way. After the narrow section a walking size passage leads to the first of the in situ ladders. Climb this and then the rift that follows to the second ladder. Climb this ladder and the narrow awkward rift above to exit the cave via Church pot.


4. Main entrance to sump1, Five ways, 10ft climb, 20ft pitch, High Rift and return

NOTE: The handline on the 20ft pitch has been removed due to being badly frayed.

From the main entrance make your way for about 30m to where a walking size phreatic passage goes off left and another one is straight ahead. Note both join after a just a few metres and provide access towards the 'First Window' and Mud Hall. What is less obvious at the start of the phreatic passages is a low arch to the right and way through to the main chamber. Enter the main chamber and high up on the left is the 'first window' a stream falls from this in wet weather. Towards the right of this is a smaller 'second window'. Over to the right of the chamber is the bridge and walking on top of this to the other side gives a fine view to the stream below and across to the 'third window'. Going straight on and down under the bridge in the main chamber leads to the main stream passage. Note most of the stream enters from a passage going back under the main chamber. This is Lesser Stream Passage and links through to Manchester Hole. Follow the stream down the cascades, along, round the right hand bend to see a chain hanging down the right hand wall shortly before the left hand bend. Note this is the climb that leads up into Gaskell's passage and Church pot the flood exit route. Follow the stream until the roof begins to lower. Stoop and crawl through this section until it is possible to stand up again. Note: The passage going right leads after just a short section to sump1. Turn left and follow Labyrinth passage. Note: Go past two passages on the right. the first leads up and through plastic pipes to Mud Hall, whilst the second leads to Pyridine passage. Keep going until a small pool of water in the passage. Note:: Look carefully to your right and you will see a small bedding this is the entrance/exit of New Stream passage. From the pool carry on along Pyridine passage for short distance to what looks like a T-junction and dick under the arch to the left and carry on along this passage into Five Ways chamber. This is a small chamber with five ways out, and a very small stream running through it. Note: Five Ways is a key chamber to remember and getting to know which passages leads to where is key in getting to know this part of the system, especially the way out! Make a note of the way back out from this chamber just in case you have to turn back and exit. The exit from the chamber is the passage to the right of the stream exit. Proceed up the chamber and into the passage where the stream comes from which leads to Ten Foot climb with in situ ladder. Up the ladder and into the chamber with stalagmite boss. Note: Left leads to Cap Left crawl. Duck under the arch to the right into a fine rift with calcite formation. Note: Left leads to Old Year Passage. Turn right by the calcite flow into Sand tunnel. Follow this down to the junction. Straight is a large passage, Clay Tunnel with large mud banks that leads to Telegraph aven. The way on is turning right into a stooping height passage that soon lowers to unpleasant crawl in water. Once out the water climb up into the passage right and follow past fine examples of chert nodules to Twenty Foot pitch. Climb down using a rope. There is a rope in situ but explorers are advised to use their own rope for safety. At the base of the climb follow the passage to the Baffle Plates with its many holes in the fins of rock on to the aven, High Rift at the end of the passage. Note: In the roof of the aven is a walking size passage the Beet Route one of the most interesting passages within Goyden. Turn around and return by the same route. Remember: The way out of Five Ways is to follow the passage to the right of the passage where the stream exits the chamber.


5. Main entrance to 10' Climb 20' pitch New Stream sump and back via New Stream passage

From the main entrance make your way for about 30m to where a walking size phreatic passage goes off left and another one is straight ahead. Note both join after a just a few metres and provide access towards the 'First Window' and Mud Hall. What is less obvious at the start of the phreatic passages is a low arch to the right and way through to the main chamber. Enter the main chamber and high up on the left is the 'first window' a stream falls from this in wet weather. Towards the right of this is a smaller 'second window'. Over to the right of the chamber is the bridge and walking on top of this to the other side gives a fine view to the stream below and across to the 'third window'. Going straight on and down under the bridge in the main chamber leads to the main stream passage. Note most of the stream enters from a passage going back under the main chamber. This is Lesser Stream passage and link through to Manchester Hole. Follow the stream down the cascades, along, round the right hand bend to see a chain hanging down the right hand wall shortly before the left hand bend. Note this is the climb that leads up into Gaskell's Passage and Church Pot the flood exit route. Follow the stream until the roof begins to lower. Stoop and crawl through this section until it is possible to stand up again. Note: The passage going right leads after just a short section to sump1. Turn left and follow Labyrinth passage. Note: Go past two passages on the right. the first leads up and through plastic pipes to Mud Hall, whilst the second leads to Pyridine passage. Keep going until a small pool of water in the passage. Important: Look carefully to your right and you will see a small bedding. Crawl in until a stopping height passage is gained. Take note of what it looks like and especially the way back out to the small pool of water. From the pool carry on along Pyridine passage for short distance to what looks like a T-junction and duck under the arch to the left and carry on along this passage into Five Ways chamber. This is a small chamber with five ways out and a very small stream running through it. Note: Five ways is a key chamber to remember and getting to know which passages leads to where is key in getting to know this part of the system, especially the way out! Make a note of the way back out from this chamber just in case you have to turn back and exit. The exit from the chamber is the passage to the right of the stream exit. Proceed up the chamber and into the passage where the stream comes from which leads to Ten Foot climb with in situ ladder. Up the ladder and into the chamber with stalagmite boss. Note: Left leads to Cap Left crawl. Duck under the arch to the right into a fine rift with calcite formation. Note: Left leads to Old Year Passage. Turn right by the calcite flow into Sand tunnel. Follow this down to the junction. Straight is a large passage, Clay Tunnel with large mud banks that leads to Telegraph aven. The way on is turning right into a stooping height passage that soon lowers to unpleasant crawl in water. Once out the water climb up into the passage right and follow past fine examples of chert nodules to Twenty Foot pitch. Climb down using a rope. There is a rope in situ but explorers are advised to use their own rope for safety. At the base of the climb follow the passage to the Baffle Plates with its many holes in the fins of rock, on to the aven, High Rift at the end of the passage. Note: In the roof of the aven is a walking size passage the Beet Route one of the most interesting passages within Goyden. Turn around and head back towards the Baffle Plates slowly inspecting the right hand wall for a small rift. Enter the rift which looks too small keeping to the top section until it is possible to descend using the rope. Climb down with care using a rope (rope in situ but explorers are advised to use their own to ensure safety) until a tricky manoeuvre is required to get into New Steam passage and avoid dropping into the sump! A crafty techniques is to slide into the passage using the ledge on the left hand side. Follow the passage upstream until you recognise the way out through the bedding left sussed out on the way in or until you can't go any further and back track a little to spot the bedding. Crawl through the bedding to stand up by the pool of water in Labyrinth passage. Turn left and down to the main stream passage. Left goes for short distance to the sump. Right leads under a low arch for short section then on into a splendid large walking size stream passage. Follow this pass the hanging chain on the left (flood escape route, Church Pot) through to the Main Chamber and exit the same way in to complete the trip.


6. Main entrance, Pillar pot sump,Cap Left crawl and exit via Main Stream passage

Enter main entrance and then turn left at the first junction. Follow the passage for about 15m to another junction. Note: Right leads to the 'First window' pitch into main chamber. Take the left turn and under the arch often blocked by flood debris. Then walk a few paces to the T-junction. Note: Right leads to the Third window and Mud Hall. Take the left along Timber passage an apt name with all the flood debris this passage collects. Almost immediately is the entrance on the right for Cap Left crawl. It may be blocked by the wood debris and need excavating which never takes long. Before following this passage you may wish to carry straight on all the way ignoring a passage on the right which is a short muddy grovel that at present leads nowhere. The passage ends at a clean washed pot, Pillar pot and sump below. This sump has been dived 45m and connects with Manchester Hole. Back at Cap Left crawl enter the crawl head first and begin the long crawl through to Cap Tunnel. Eventually the crawl opens out into a fine walking size passage, Cap Tunnel. Straight ahead is a low passage to blocked sump that connects with Mud Hall. Left along Cap Tunnel ducking under calcite flows and false floors leads to a junction and stalagmite boss. Note: Left under the arch leads to Old Year passage, Sand Tunnel-Clay tunnel- Telegraph aven, and Twenty foot pitch-New Steam sump. Going straight ahead leads to the top of Ten foot climb (ladder in situ). At the base of the ladder passages lead right and straight ahead. Note: Right goes to Pyridine passage and climb up into Mud Hall. Go straight ahead and through into Five Ways. A stream flows into the chamber where we entered and exits via one of the five passages. Take the passage to the right of the stream exit. Follow this until the rift closes in and duck under the arch on the right into Labyrinth passage. Follow this until you reach the main stream passage. Left goes for short distance to the sump. Right leads under a low arch for short section then on into a splendid large walking size stream passage. Follow this pass the hanging chain on the left (flood escape route, Church Pot) through to the main chamber and exit the same way in to complete the circular trip.


7. Main entrance, Five Ways, 10ft climb to Telegraph Aven and Crater Chamber

From the main entrance make your way for about 30m to where a walking size phreatic passage goes off left and another one is straight ahead. Note both join after a just a few metres and provide access towards the 'First Window' and Mud Hall. What is less obvious at the start of the phreatic passages is a low arch to the right and way through to the main chamber. Enter the main chamber and high up on the left is the 'first window' a stream falls from this in wet weather. Towards the right of this is a smaller 'second window'. Over to the right of the chamber is the bridge and walking on top of this to the other side gives a fine view to the stream below and across to the 'third window'. Going straight on and down under the bridge in the main chamber leads to the main stream passage. Note most of the stream enters from a passage going back under the main chamber. This is Lesser Stream passage and link through to Manchester Hole. Follow the stream down the cascades, along, round the right hand bend to see a chain hanging down the right hand wall shortly before the left hand bend. Note this is the climb that leads up into Gaskell's passage and Church pot the flood exit route. Follow the stream until the roof begins to lower. Stoop and crawl through this section until it is possible to stand up again. Note at this point the passage right leads after just a short section to sump1. Turn left into Labyrinth passage. Go past the first left which leads to Mud Hall via crawl and plastic pipes. Go past second left which if you keep to the left leads to Pyridine passage and then Mud Hall. Note: When you reach the pool of water a bedding on the right leads into New Steam Passage. The way on is straight ahead to the T-junction. Turn left under the arch into easy going crawl through to Five Ways. From Five Ways exit the top of the chamber near to where the stream enters. An easy going crawl leads to the base of a short ladder, Ten Foot climb. Up this and continue until you reach the stalagmite boss and junction. Note: Left leads to Cap Tunnel and Cap Left crawl. Turn right under the arch. Stand up and note: left leads to Old Year passage. Continue straight on past the calcite flow and column into Sand Tunnel. Pleasant walking size passage leads to a junction. Note: Right leads to to a stooping size passage then crawl through to Twenty Foot pitch and High Rift. Continue straight on into Clay Tunnel with it's mud banks and muddy ducks. The muddy ducks are often sealed off during winter periods and only open during long dry spells. After working your way around and over mud banks and through the ducks and then through an eyehole and short awkward climb the base of an aven is reached. This is telegraph aven with its original scaling pole still in place. Note: The pole is very rusted and dangerous and should not be climbed. At the top of the aven is a passage with long pool leading to a 9m pitch down into Crater chamber. A climb out of the far side of Crater chamber leads up the slope into an aven with very loose and unstable boulders some of which are of considerable size. At the base of Crater chamber follow the passage left and then into a crawl. This loops back under the passage leading to the pitch into Crater chamber and so heads south down valley. The crawl which used to be a sump has dried out and presently a Black Sheep Diggers dig. Return from the base of Telegraph aven and exit via the Main Entrance or Church Pot.


8. Main entrance, Roof Traverse, Upper/Lower Nurgatory, Mud Hall, Church Pot

From the main entrance make your way for about 30m to where a walking size phreatic passage goes off left and another one is straight ahead. Note both join after a just a few metres and provide access towards the 'First Window' and Mud Hall. What is less obvious at the start of the phreatic passages is a low arch to the right and way through to the Main Chamber. Enter the main chamber and high up on the left is the 'first window' a stream falls from this in wet weather. Towards the right of this is a smaller 'second window'. Over to the right of the chamber is the bridge and walking on top of this to the other side gives a fine view to the stream below and across to the 'third window'. Traverse across the ledge on the left hand side into the third window using the P hangers in place. Alternatively climb along the ledge on the right hand side to the point where the gap over the chasm above the stream way is least. Rig a traverse rope over the gap using the wire for assistance. Note: The wire is only there to help steady people as they rig there own traverse line. It must not be used as the safety line. Continue from this point to traverse along the roof securing the rope with the in situ bolts and natural threads. Upper Nurgatory passage is the first passage to go off left. Note: If the traverse is continued Lower Nurgatory is the second passage to go off left through a squeeze. Enter Upper Nurgatory passage and make your way along the crawl to a junction where a small passage goes off on the right. This can be followed for a few metres to give access to Lower Nurgatory either by the squeezing down the slot in the floor or continuing around the corner and down through a muddy tube. Once in Lower Nurgatory the passage can be followed a few metres then through a squeeze to the roof of the main stream passage. Going the other way leads to a welcome aven where it is possible to stand up. From the aven it is possible to climb up high to within 5m of the surface. There are a few chocked passages at the base of the aven and also a voice connection with Mud Hall. Back at the the junction with Upper Nurgatory the crawl continues through to a rift. Climb up and squeeze through into Mud Hall. Turning right leads down the mud slope to Limley Bypass. Follow this through the plastic pipes into Labyrinth passage. Turn right and go down the passage to the main stream. Left goes for short distance to the sump. Right leads under a low arch for short section then on into a splendid large walking size stream passage. Follow this to the point where there is a hanging chain on the left. Climb up and left into Gaskell's passage. Straight on leads to the Pinnacle climb and The Turf pitch which provides a bypass to sump 1 to enter Goyden 2. Both passages on the right provide access to Black Sheep passage and Church Pot. The second passage is the easiest and soon passes a high aven on the right then just before it narrows passes a small crawl on the left. Gargett Way. After the narrow section a walking size passage leads to the first of the in situ ladders. Climb this and then the rift that follows to the second ladder. Climb this ladder and the narrow awkward rift above to exit the cave via Church Pot.

History

Thomas Jeffreys in 1775 made an accurate record of the location of Goyden entrance, (plate 7) map of Yorkshire . He records that water sank at Goyden pot, travelled underground and then rises again southeast of Lofthouse at an unnamed cave. The unnamed cave is now known as Nidd Head rising. Thomas Allen in 1831 provided a description of the interior of Goyden pot reporting that it could be explored for two hundred yards using candles for illumination. He had no claim to be the first explorer so we can safely assume that the cave was already receiving visitors.

The geologist John Phillips some time before 1836 explored Nidderdale and was impressed with ‘Gowden pot’ and decribes it as “A prodigious long flexous subterranean narrow cavern, in places filled by the river Nidd, which here takes a subterranean course for one or two miles according to the quantity of water, and in almost all parts of the cave the sound of waters may be heard as they rush along the secret channels of the limestone rocks”. The description of hearing the water in secret channels and lack of description of the magnificent large chamber suggests they explored the high level passages with drops (referred to as windows) into the Main chamber. In 1853 he made further exploration and wrote reports on Goyden pot. William Grainge first topographer and historian in Nidderdale gave an original description of Goyden pot in 1863 but was clearly aware of Manchester Hole and John Phillip’s earlier visit. He recorded the size of the entrance, drop into the cave and then length of passage as 200m. This again suggests they explored the high level passages. He noted the absence of stalactites which he put down to the flooding.

William Stott Banks in 1866 explored Goyden pot and provided a description including a length of 3km, a popular length quoted for caves at that time, the same length quoted by others for Eglin’s Hole. His description clearly describes the high level passages as it makes specific mention of what is now called the first window, a drop into the main chamber, from which you can hear the sound of a falling river but not see it. He also makes mention of that to explore beyond would involve ladders and rope an undertaking that can only be made in settled weather. He mentions people having been down and explored half a mile of passage which would be the length of passage from Main chamber to sump 1. Mention is also made of the flood debris including stout trees and the end of the cave being filled with brushwood. Still today large tree are washed into Goyden pot and become stuck in clefts and the brushwood mentioned is still present within Timber passage in the high level series above the main chamber. The passage leading west from Timber passage was at that filled with mud. He comments on that when Goyden pot is flooded it forces the water past the entrance onwards down the valley. By this time the rising is known as Nidd Head rising. By 1872 the visitors to upper Nidderdale were sufficiently numerous for a guide to be available at Limley Farm and for at least two newspapers to publicise the valley. Locals were exploring Goyden pot but few records have survived. One record makes mention of Miss Clara Carling with her brothers playing in the pot and nearly drowning with the flood waters. Another mentions Mrs Bradley of Lofthouse who used to accompany her father Thomas Eglin (farmer at Middlesmoor) when he escorted visitors using ropes, ladders and spikes.

In 1886 there is an anonymous account of Goyden pot in Chambers Journal . Stephen Craven suggests it may well have been written by John Hawkridge Metcalfe who lived in Upper Nidderdale and made three attempts to follow the Nidd underground through to the rising. His fourth exploration he describes in the Chambers Journal. On this exploration he discovered and describes in detail the climb up into a high level passage that bypasses sump1. This find was lost for decades and later rediscovered then wrongly credited to Mr George Gaskell. Still today the high level route is known as Gaskill’s passage.

It was the Yorkshire Ramblers Club (YRC) who commenced the systematic exploration of upper Nidderdale caves. Their first visit was 27-29th May 1893 exploring How Stean Gorge, Tom Taylor’s cave, Cathole, Eglin’s Hole, and Goyden pot. Messrs Thomas Booth, Samuel Cuttriss, George Lowe and Lewis Moore stayed at the King’s Head in Middlesmoor over the Whitsuntide holiday 1-3 June 1895. They had intended to explore Goyden pot but because of the heavy rain explored Manchester Hole instead. They followed the river for about 100m at which point they returned to the surface due to the inclement weather. The next day they managed to explore Goyden pot and made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to force a passage into Manchester Hole. Finally they returned to Manchester Hole pushing the exploration further towards Goyden pot. Their grade 1 survey was the first of a Nidderdale cave. It suggests they pushed Manchester Hole beyond the duck to sump 1 and explored a short way into the tight rift at the base of the First window in Main chamber of Goyden pot. Messrs Booth and Cuttriss returned to Goyden pot in 1896 and discovered and surveyed the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth as the name suggests is a complicated maze of passages within a 100m square area of Goyden pot. Remarkably this important find was hidden and unappreciated until Messrs Frank Barstow and Ralph Stobart on 13 June 1912 rediscovered the Labyrinth and surveyed it on 30th June. By this time YRC were much more involved in exploring caves in the heart of the Dales where access easier and caves numerous. However visits by YRC members such as Jack Buckley and Ernest Young and the rediscovery of the Labyrinth probably prompted the next generation of cavers to renew their interest in Nidderdale. A thorough exploration was made of Goyden pot between 1929 and 1935. This period revealed the extensive and complicated system of Goyden pot. On 30th August 1931 they rediscovered Metcalfe’s passage (now known as Gaskell’s passage) after and independently of the Pudsey District Ramblers who were the second group to find it in that year. This rediscovery prompted Eli Simpson and friends of the Leeds Cave club to resurvey Manchester Hole and Goyden pot on 24-25 October 1931. Eli Simpson later achieved fame as the founder of the British Speleological Association (BSA).

1939-1945 the post Office Engineers were evacuated to Harrogate. Messrs Eric Crosby, H E Francis, Eustace, S A Gill, W D Gray, P Kymes, J Moffatt et al made about eighteen visits to Goyden pot they extended the previous survey of the YRC In July of 1944 Graham Balcombe one of the earliest pioneering cave divers and Ray Nunwick of the British Speleological Society prospected sump 1 of Goyden pot and Nidd Head rising. On 14th October 1945 Graham Balcombe returned with the Post Office Engineers to explore Goyden pot sump1. This dive was his first one of real success using his oxygen re-breather and heavy boots to ‘bottom-walk’ the sump.


Brian Andrew Kerr disappeared in Goyden Pot in December 1957 whilst on a lone underground camping trip. It is assumed by some he was washed away by floods, and drowned and by others that he faked his death and went abroad.

N Brindle dived Goyden sump 2 on Sunday 16th August 1959 and found 100m of passage leading to smup 3. He noted several airbells in sump 2 and so S Warren and A Hardy free dived through three ducks but then felt the last section was too long to free dive.

Diver David Yeandle (supported by Martin Davies and Dave Brook, Mart Rogers) dived Pillar pot in Goyden pot and made a connection with Manchester Hole static sump in the early 1970’s. At this time Alf Latham explored sump 3 Goyden pot but did not manage to get through as well as passing upstream New Goyden sump 1 and finding a large airbell (Alf’s airbell) at the end of sump 2. He also dived New Goyden downstream sump 1 and found an airbell in sump 2.

Throughout the 1970’s Rob Shackleton and Julian Griffiths steadily dived the downstream sumps of Goyden pot. As part of this exploration they also discovered the Aquamole series between sump 6 and sump 7. The final connection with Alf’s airbell in New Goyden was made in August 1981 by Julian although a through trip dive was not completed until 5th October 1991 by divers Julian Griffiths, Malcolm Bass, Julian Clamp, Jon Watt and Paul Monico. Jim Abbott on the original connecting trip provided a double celebration by digging a passage leading south from Toad Hall (in the Aquamole series) to discover 60m of passage finishing at a choke and noise of falling water ahead.

The Black Sheep diggers made intermittent progress over the years from 1987 to 2003 in connecting Manchester Hole and Goyden pot. During those years they broke off to make other finds such as 1995 Limley pot (Chris Fox and Paul Baxter), 1999 Zanussi pot (Chris Fox and Paul Scott Massey) and 1999 Church pot (Chris Fox, Mick Gargett and others in the Black Sheep Diggers). The latter was found when flood debris blocked Goyden main entrance to such an extent that the river flowed by before the system became completely flooded. The flood waters opened up a hole further down the river that with a small amount of work to enter was explored and became Church pot and an important flood exit route for the system. Over period of forming the connection Chris Fox and Paul Baxter led the digging supported by typically three or four members at a time whose names changed as the years went by. There are too many names to mention but they all helped make that important link. On May 8th 2003 after many years of work the final section of passage was dug to connect Manchester Hole with Goyden pot. Carol Lawrence dug out the last boulder and Chris Fox led the first through trip.

Reference

  • Northern Caves Volume 1, Wharfedale and the North-East. Nidderdale section page 151-157
  • Cave and Karst Science, The Transactions of the Britisg Research Association. Volume 33 Number 1. Speleo-history of upper Nidderdale by Stephen A Craven

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