RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 37 Number 2 Article 2
July 2000

Snatcher Pot

Saturday 11 March 2000

Members present: Peter Dale, Duncan Jones

It was a crisp Saturday morning in March when Duncan and I arrived at the farm. Luckily, for a change, we had already decided to do Swan Dyke Pot, which is near Penyghent and very close to the road! After studying the 0S map, we decided that the cave entrance was just the other side of the wall. So we turned the cars round, getting mine stuck in the process and hilariously pebble- dashing Duncan trying to get it out again.

We found that in order to get into the field we would have to ascend a dry stone wall, traverse over the top and then descend the other side. This was just not practical as we hadn't packed enough gear, so we opted for the easy approach a nearby road drain! Duncan entered the tunnel first so I got a few pictures and then I entered the 30cm diameter drain. Upon reaching the other end I found myself confronted by a 4ft drop which had to be attacked head first very entertaining.

After removing the rocks covering the entrance in what we thought was Swan Dyke Pot, we entered the chamber which we found to be choked with boulders. We tried in vain to remove the blockage but failed miserably. We then decided to abandon the dig and go somewhere else.

Studying the guidebook, I noticed a small cave nearby called Snatcher Pot. It was only a few hundred yards down the road, but I took the easy option and drove there, where we parked in someone's drive.

Apparently the entrance was 50m down the valley on the right side of the stream which, after a bit of confusion, we found. Entering the cave, you descend in a rift to a small drop of 3m which is easily free climbed. The cave then shrinks down to a tube with a small stream running along the bottom, (nice!) After about 10m the crawl turns sharp right and then in 3m sharp right again. The passage then starts to enlarge, but only to the start of the crux of the pot, a 5m tight traverse downward to the continuing passage. (I even had to take my SRT kit off.) It was then back to crawling again. Soon we reached another pitch, 6m, which we should have rigged but didn't; then it's more crawling to the head of the third 8m pitch. It was at this point that I realised this cave wasn't P-hangered! I rigged the pitch the best I could with some dubious belays and a thread and abbed the pitch. From the bottom of the pitch there is a short crawl into the streamway, followed by walking passage to the next pitch of 18m.

After several attempts to rig it dry with a prolonged attack by Duncan, I gave it one last chance while Duncan watched with amazement at my agility on a rope. Nope couldn't be done, so I climbed back up to hear Duncan say "Hey there's two spits up here." Typical pitch re-rigged DRY in five minutes flat.

From the bottom, the stream disappears into the floor and you enter a higher passage which leads to a traverse along muddy ledges, back down to the stream at the top of the last pitch. The rigging for this last pitch is very dodgy indeed, with the rope belayed to a stal and a rusty bit of metal. Looking down the pitch I noted a pool which looked uninviting, so Duncan went first. Sure enough the pool was deep as I expected, (over waist deep to be exact). We followed the stream till it sumped and then made our retreat.

At the top of the last pitch we found a lot of hangers and maillons, plus a spanner! The pitches where ascended with no problems and de-rigged. While crawling I noticed something calcited into the cave wall. After a bit of hammering with a handy rock I freed it. It was a bone an upper arm bone to be precise possibly human, you never know.

With a lot of struggling we made it to the top of the 6m pitch and all that was left was the traverse, which I decided to tackle at stream level successfully. We then made a sharp exit into a chilly moonlit night and got changed. An excellent trip a must for anyone.

Pete Dale

Volume Contents

Main Contents