Casserole Pot - Grid Ref: SD 6637 8085






This is the club's ongoing dig near Cow Pot first started by Steve Gray and Starkers back in March 2016 at the time of the Sausage-gate incident. Since then numerous club members have been involved over the last fifteen months. Several people keep asking where it is.  Here goes then. On reaching the stile over to Lancaster Hole turn left along the wall and follow the faint quad-bike track. The shaft is in a deep shakehole just beyond the top of the rise over the fell to Cow Pot. A small stream sinks here and the original shakehole drafted as well. The 9 metre deep entrance shaft is rigged with fixed ladders in three steps down to the passage at the bottom. A large spoil heap fills much of the south side of the shakehole.


In the early months a lot of work was put in by Steve Gray and Emma Kay digging out the boulder and mud filled shaft. Some very large gritstone boulders were pulled out using a tripod and block and tackle. A depth of about 6 metres was soon reached but then the unstable shaft needed some serious shoring. Thanks Bill Nix for scaffolding donation. Steve Gray and I have been regular visitors over the last few months. After a period of slow progress over the winter months due to having to spend several trips improving the shoring we made better progress at the dig gaining another three metres vertically chasing a draft and the sinking water in the west corner of the shaft. Thanks for help from Pete Hall, Bill Sherrington and others with this.


At 9 metres depth we reached a point before Christmas where we could see into a low wet crawl. After improving the shoring, access  was  gained to the very low crawl in February when we inserted Toby Speight he could see a way on but he got stuck.  We had to pull him out with a rope tied to his feet. A week or so later Emma and Adam with help from Steve Gray pushed on through the tight crawl for over 6 metres to Chipolata Chamber (only small sausages could get there!).  From there the way on was via another short bit of passage to another drop too tight to descend at the time estimated to be 4 metres.


During March Steve and I, with the help of Bob Makin used chemical methods to enlarge the roof of the wet crawl to Chipolata Chamber to give easier access to the way on. We also dug out the floor  of the crawl to lower the stream and give drier access. This revealed a 10cm thick dark grey shale band with a thin coal seam and plant fossils at its base. After some more capping in the roof of the crawl we were ready for a push to the end. It was now almost Steve Grey size!


On the day of the club dinner we had a pushing trip down Casserole. Steve Gray, Andy Hall, Toby Speight and Phil Gillespie entered the cave. Andy set off along Tiwkcuf Crawl at the base of the entrance shaft clearing the floor of mud and gravel to the awkward muddy squeeze up to Chipolata Chamber. Meanwhile Steve poured water down the hole in the floor at base of the 6 metre deep entrance shaft. This appeared out of an inlet near the start of Tiwkcuf  Crawl so there is little point in digging at the above spot.


Andy cleared the crawl of orange sticky mud and cobbles down the watery slot in the floor of the crawl loosing Steve's lump hammer in the process! Phil took over and was soon standing in the chamber. It was now big enough for Steve to get in. The small 4 metre high chamber has a large orange stal boss with mini gour pools. The way on along a short crawl also needed enlarging so we set to with a lump hammer to get easier access to the pitch head. Andy set off back to get a short section of loft ladder for descending the pitch, while Toby assisted by Steve climbed half way down and made the pitch head safe. His foothold gave way and he managed to fall the rest of the way down the pitch. The pitch is overhanging so a ladder was needed for Toby to get out and the others to descend the 3 metre drop into a 4 metre high chamber, Pepperami Pot named in keeping with the sausage casserole theme and it has green stains on the wall. The pot also has some nice long stals on the west wall. We spent a while digging the floor of the way on but we decided it needed capping and banging.


The water disappearing down the slot in the floor of Tiwkcuf Crawl appears at the base of the Pot through a narrow inlet and it runs off down the narrow Sausage Streamway just too tight to enter. More digging and capping required. Photos were taken on the way out and then off to the dinner for a celebratory pint.


 During April there were three trips to the cave to start digging the entrance to the streamway. The first two by Andy and Bill Sherrington were capping trips but were hampered by the large amounts of mud in the floor of Pepperami Pot and the wet nature of the floor of the tight passage. Slow progress was made along the crawl. The muddy floor was also partly cleared and stacked behind the fixed loft ladder. A snapper was fired off in the right wall of the crawl when we left. A follow up on a  Thursday evening trip by Sam L and Phil did some more mud clearing at the base of the pot and they have made it a lot cleaner to work in.


In early May Ray Duffy and Andy did a surface survey from Cow Pot to link in the new cave and put a tag at the entrance. This showed that the top of the entrance shaft is almost at the same height as the lip of Cow Pot entrance shaft


Steve and Andy returned later in May and did an underground survey and extended the bang wire cable from the entrance down to the dig at the end. This was followed by a long capping session in the roof of the crawl. A lot of rock was removed and stacked to make a dry retaining wall. A deep hole was drilled at the end of the session and another snapper fired off. We will be back shortly but it will be a long slow job. The stream and draft are still enticing us on though. The cave continues to head down dip to the north and away from Cow Pot. What will happen when we reach the next major cross joint in a few metres will be interesting to see.              


Andy Hall





















Setting up hauling tripod  - April 2016 







Pepperami Pot                 - March 2017   






Steve Gray in  Tiwkcuf Crawl           - May 2017                                 










              C2 C4 C5

                Looking up entrance shaft     Stal boss, Chipolata Chamber       Ray at entrance adding                                                             .                       March 2016                             March 2017                    survey tag, April 2017




















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