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Shuttleworth Pot

Sunday February 10th 2013

Members present: Adam Walmsley,  Jonathan Booth,  Lieke Oosterkamp

Report by Jonathan Booth

A good little trip to a well decorated cave. Take note, if you find a rigging guide, the rope lengths are wrong. The guide says take a 25 and a 45, with a 25 and a 60 I still hit the knot near the bottom, so a 25 and a 65 would be best.

Arriving on Leck Fell to some pretty rough weather I was gratefull when Walmslers said we could get changed in his car boot. Thankfully the navigation to the cave was easy thanks to some descriptions I'd gathered from some YSS people. From the Lost Johns' carpark face up the road to Leck Fell House. Immediatly above the carpark is a drystone wall perpendicular to the road heading left accross the fell. Follow it down on its right hand side for about a mile (hard to judge distance in bad weather with gear, it could have been less) to a rocky, grassy, steep slope. Head down this and pick up a faint path. Follow this down and right until it becomes a more obvious track. Soon after this, a lidded entrance can be found on the left in a green patch above a small cliff.

Opening the lid, rig the first rope on the scaff bar accross the top. The ladder gets in the way if anything. A short drop into a puddle leads to a window in the pipe, a Y hang from there leads past a deviation (easy to miss) and onto the floor of a small chamber. An uninspiring crawl through some loose slopes and random bits of metal leads to the start of the next rope: a series of small drops followed by quite a nice descent into a canyon like passage.

From the bottom of the pitch, an in-situ rope traverse leads right to a small drop to a sump. Skirting round the pool on more traverse lines goes to a nice little stream and cascade. Strangly, if you cant hear the cascade from the main pitch then you shouldnt go down to the sump as its flooding. The origional explorers say that this is because high water smothers the cascade. Beyond the stream are several little bits of passage. Back at the bottom of the main pitch the best section of the cave is to the left. A muddy slope leads to the start of the tape which is very restrictive but for a good reason, everything in the cave is very vulnerable to mud and breakage. Sadly there are signs that people have ignored the tape and I think the formations are beginning to suffer. If youre reading this and you've been outside the tape, youre an idiot!

An easy flat out crawl through some straws and helictites (careful here) leads to a large chamber. Follow this past a few nice bits of formation and some amazing straws to a boulder choke at the top. Head through this into a second chamber where the taped paths diverge. There are some odd formations here, curtains and flowstone but in crazy black and green stripes, like somebody got the colours wrong. Left leads up a slope to a terminus, right leads past very nice straws to a muddy passage that goes nowhere.

All in all a good trip with many fine and unique (from what ive seen anyway) formations.

On heading out I found the srt to be a pain with bits of rock getting in the way everywhere (maybe thats how caving works) but thankfully most of it can be climbed securely so long as the jammers are kept high. On getting to the surace I saw that we were in for a special Leck Fell Horror Show with a freezing blizzard. Me and Walmsley hid behind a rock and watched the weather rolling in, wishing it was summer.