GALE GARTH POT EXPLORATION

Link to passage description

From RRCPC 7
Ian Jopson

 
The serious attention of the Red Rose was focused on this sink during the August Bank Holiday deluge, when quite a large volume of water was observed disappearing.  The following weekend a strong digging party was organised with J. Newton in charge.  Some five or six feet of glacial fill was cleared and the sides shored with "Acrows" and wooden planks, before signs of a break-through occurred.
 
A week later the "dig" went and rapid progress was made until we were checked at a narrow rift approximately six inches wide at the base and tapering vertically to close.  This led off from a small circular chamber some three feet in diameter by five feet in height and entered from the top.  It was decided to lower the bottom of this little chamber, in the hope that the rift would widen and so two teams of three were arranged. One digger filled a bucket, a second man lifted it up from the chamber and passed it back to the last man who emptied the spoil down the passage. The two teams worked alternately for a shift of an hour at a time before returning to the surface for tea and soup supplied by the "back up services".  Towards the end of the day the rift had been enlarged sufficiently to permit the injection of our thinnest "volunteer" whose report was not encouraging.
 
D. Creedy, P. Whiteside and H. Rothwell returned mid-week to the rift and succeeded in breaking through as far as Octopus Chamber.
 
The following Friday found us exploring the vicinity of this chamber which included a twenty foot scale, at the end of which a few members were persuaded to dig.  D. Creedy and myself scaled a six foot wall of sand and found the continuation along a phreatic passage much of it crawling to avoid damage to the many straws and formations.  This gained us around 250 feet extension to Dracula’s altar, where we were stopped by a sand and calcite choke.
 
Meanwhile the stouter members who could not force the tight rift near the entrance, concentrated their efforts at the adjacent sink which we estimated to be over Octopus chamber.  This of course was named "Fat Man's Dig".
 
Attention was next paid by C. Bargh, H. Rothwell, P. Whiteside and D. Creedy to a twenty foot pitch which led to a chamber from which a small stream sumped.  This has yet to be dug, but there are hopes of a connection with Lancaster Hole.  A connection was achieved with the stream sink just beyond Octopus chamber.
 
Several weeks work was expended on digging at Dracula's altar before Bill Mitchell was allowed the honour of "first man in"
 
A very tight flat out "Z" bend, followed by a straight, but still tight, crawl for 15 feet is undertaken before the roof lifts to reveal the passage continuing.  The formations again appear and soon lead to the
largest chamber in the cave discovered at the present time.
 
Explorers
 
D.        Creedy, P. Whiteside, C. Bargh, V. Unsworth, W. Mitchell,
P.         Llewellyn, I. Jopson, G. Bosnyak, H. Rothwell.
 
Diggers Only (over 36" chest)
J. Newton, R. Bliss, J. Sheldon.
 
Gale Garth Pot - Speleological Notes
 
D. P. Creedy
 
A positive correlation of Gale Garth Pot with Lancaster Hole and Bull Pot of the Witches is difficult due to the involvement of upper levels containing much fill. Gale Garth consists essentially of a major phreatic phase modified by a lowering of base level to form a lower, now abandoned streamway.  The present day active stream is a minor invader which has bisected the system and cut its own path to base level, presumably Lancaster Hole main sump.
 
A comparison of levels with Bull Pot of the Witches indicates two possible points of connection.
 
     (a)  Burnett's Great Chamber inlet.  (Probably a continuation of the '32 extension.)
 
     (b)  Far Gallery - this is the most likely.  This passage has a cross-sectional area comparable with Gale Garth upper level. (refer to Bull Pot of the Witches survey by D. Baldwin.)  A 1 in 7 slope for a distance of 300 feet from the northern end of Gale Garth Pot would ensure a connection with Far Gallery.
 
Still dreaming of an overland route from Bull Pot to Lancaster Hole consider the lower abandoned streamway of the new Pot.  Could this be the upstream end, or at least a tributary, of Montague South passage in Lancaster Hole which lies about 550 feet to the S.S.E.
 
The immature active stream passage beyond Octopus chamber is a mystery.  One possible destination is a minor inlet in Waterfall passage.  (Lancaster Hole)  A dye test would be worthwhile. Numerous small boys have been lured into the tight streamway to no avail.  The stream has cut three or four different routes before establishing its present course.  It is possible that within a few yards of the tight section the phases unite to present a navigable passage.