Volume 37 Number 3 Article 2
The Amazing Goyden Pot and Manchester Hole
Saturday 24 June 2000
Members present : Peter Dale (organiser), Duncan Jones, Peter & Julie Mohr.
This was an interesting trip, suitable for those members who do not always want to do SRT, or just want an easy day! Goyden Pot. (SE 102754) in Nidderdale, is a bit out of our usual area, but it is a nice ride via Pateley Bridge, (watch out for traffic police on the A59 road), and other sites including How Stean Gorge can be visited. The Goyden Pot system has been explored, extended and dived since the 1880s. The Scar House Reservoir, 4 kilometres upstream, controls the flow of the River Nidd into the cave.
Our leader braved several barking dogs to call at nearby Limley Farm for permission from Mr Church, the farmer, and also checked the Scar House Reservoir to make sure it was not overflowing into the Nidd, which can quickly flood into Goyden. The Scar House Dam, constructed between 1906 and 1936, is a huge structure, well worth a visit in its own right. Meanwhile, Zig and Zag found a spot to rest-up and park in the sunshine, about 100 metres from the cave entrance.
The main entrance is massive and leads into a large, shingled dry stream passage.
After 50 metres a low arch on the right leads down a tricky boulder slope to the River Nidd's main streamway-a truly impressive river canyon, 20 metres high. A wide, knee-deep stream flowed rapidly over steep cascades, but what amazed us, was that in the roof was a mass of recent flood debris, including whole trees -large ones! The main stream was easy going; after about 200 metres, on the right, there is a short chain-assisted climb, which leads to Gaskell's Passage. The main passage continues a little further, but suddenly lowers and ends at Sump 1, from which a series of complex dives eventually link through to New Goyden Pot (see Northern Caves 1 for details).
The main way on for non-divers is to turn back up an obvious inlet, Labyrinth Passage, which leads to a complex of intersecting crawls with names like "Five Ways" and "The Labyrinth". At this point it is important: not to keep together; not to take any notice of where you are; not to leave any cairns or way markers; not to look at the survey; and to shout things like "I am over here", "isn't this amazing", etc. After a while you arrive at a ladder, the Ten Foot Climb, which leads to more sensible passages, which are walking size and nicely decorated.
On the way out, Pete and Duncan climbed into Gaskell's Passage and found an alternative exit to the dry riverbed, a new escape route called "Church Hole", recently described in Descent (April/May 2000, p.24). We met up again at the main entrance, and marched upstream 300 metres to Manchester Hole (SE 100764), an obvious entrance in the cliff base on the right of the river. The upstream passage soon chokes, but downstream there is a railway-tunnel-size river passage, which after a 100 metres, ends at a great mud slope and a sump, which links to Goyden Pot. Several digs are in progress to try and link the system for non-divers.
Pete and Duncan went on to visit New Goyden Pot (SE 102754), which has two pitches, and the small caves at How Stean Gorge (SE 092734), while Zig and Zag went to Pateley Bridge for tea and cakes. This was a good trip, plenty for everyone to do, and we would like to go again.
Peter & Julie Mohr