A new discovery in County Pot




Some months back, I stumbled across a small oxbow passage, between Stop Pot and Holbeck Junction.  A subsequent investigation revealed that the upstream end is choked, seemingly quite close to the main drag.  However, it felt like there might be something leading off, part way along.  I returned, armed with a crowbar, at the start of March. My first dig revealed just an alcove.  I moved along.


My second dig proved more promising.  After a few minutes, I was looking along a small side passage, maybe 10cm high, heading off to the north, apparently into blank hillside.  The digging was easy: mud and loosely packed cobbles, with shelves to the sides for stacking spoil; so progress was rapid.  I soon picked up a trickle of water, which had the effect of turning everything to slurry.  Shortly ahead was a pool.  Before long, I had broken the dam: water flowed out, perhaps several hundred litres, so it seems there is plenty of passage beyond.


I eventually had enlarged the approach enough that I could wriggle into the pool.  The passage continued, with quite deep water in places, and 20cm of airspace above.  Progress required crow barring flakes off the roof, and re-arranging cobbles in the floor, so the going was slow.

At the end of the pool, about 12m from the start of the dig, the passage was blocked by a mud bank.  It looked easy to dig; but by now I was sufficiently soaked that I decided to retreat, and return another day.


Gavin Lowe


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