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Notts Pot, Leck Fell, Yorkshire Dales - 27/12/2007

Written by RobEavis.

Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC) and various members of the Masson Caving Group

I'd travelled up to Yorkshire a day before the rest of the Eldon and was hoping to get into Lost Johns; a cave I'd not been in before. In Inglesport in the morning it seemed like most cavers in the cafe were going to be in Lost Johns so we needed something different to avoid the likely queues. There had been a fair bit of rain over the last couple of days so we had to pick our cave. The Twilight Zone route in Notts Pot sounded like a good dryish SRT trip and we went for that. The other three blokes I was with had all done this route before but I'd never been in Notts Pot so it was a good opportunity to see a new cave. We drove up to Leck Fell and got changed in cold rain. Walked over to the entrance, a large shakehole about fifteen minutes walk from the Leck Fell parking, and abseiled in. The first pitch is quite short and is split by a rebelay on a good ledge. This landed us in the bottom of the shakehole and an obvious passage leads off under the wall. After a short crawl there's an easy handline climb down leading to the Main Chamber. This is where various routes go off and the Twilight Zone route follows an easy rising traverse which leads to a pitch-head after a short distance. Abseiling down the pitch past a deviation leads to a swing into the side of the shaft where there's a connection with a parallel shaft. Possible to abseil past this rebelay but look out for some tat which helps the rigger pull himself over to the bolts. Rebelay here and abseil down partway before another swing into a window leads to more straightforward abseiling to reach the Lower Streamway. From here a gently rising traverse leads to a cramped pitch-head with three bolts to rig from. Another swing partway down allowed us to gain a ledge system and another rising traverse. This leads to a neat pitch-head and pitch down in a very impressive chamber with loads of water falling out of the roof. A deviation half way down kept us clear of most of the water. At the bottom of this pitch a final short pitch leads to the two final sumps. On the way out I heard a shout from above and saw something fly past. Arriving at the top of the pitch I met another group on one of the traverses and apparently someone's head torch had come past me after coming off a helmet. The rest of the trip out was uneventful although there was definitely more water on the handline climb on the way out.

The Twilight Zone route in Notts Pot is an excellent SRT trip which has some entertaining traverses and pitches. Plenty of good technical SRT and you're on rope almost all of the time.