This route provides the link from LANCASTER HOLE to LINK POT via ECHO AVEN to connect the caves of Casterton and Leck Fells.
By following the right hand wall of Stake Pot towards Bobs Boss you reach an irregular arched passage partly hidden behind some boulders. Taking this passage a small pit is encountered which leads down to the Rabbit Warren, a series of small passages leading to the Stake Pot boulder slope and the Stake Pot Inlet Series. Further along the main passage another pit is reached at Streamway Junction, where beneath the boulders an upstream route leads to a stal choke while downstream connects to the Rabbit Warren back below the small pit mentioned above.
Straight ahead from the junction is a climb over a flake in a fissure to a long joint passage, Barlick New Road, (or 93 foot Passage) leading to Thirsty Junction. To the left at the junction is a streamway, which terminates after 30 metres in the approx 40m high Razor Aven, while the way on is to the right in a roomy, sandy floored passage which splits into two. Straight on leads to a grotto and just before the end a low tight passage on the left leads to a low muddy dug connection to the Subway. Before this on the right is a short draughty crawl to Canuck Climb, where a fixed rigid steel ladder is currently in place.
To the north west behind the top of the ladder the passage rises over calcited boulders but gets too low after 30m. In the opposite direction from the top of the climb a passage over boulders leads to a short crawl upwards into the square Breakthrough Chamber followed by a wide sandy crawl to a similar but cone shaped chamber. Down to the right through boulders is a 'gothic' crawl leads via a small chamber and ends in a tight fissure. This rift is clearly the upper part of the old inlet, which enters the aven at Canuck Climb as a vocal connection can be made. To the left of the fissure a short section of craw leads to a sandy dig.
Back at the cone shaped chamber a slope over a sand bar and a low sandy crawl give access to another chamber. A bedding plane has undercut the far wall and this leads to Fossil Passage. Just beyond here a bridge spans the passage. This is Bridge Chamber with a high rift in the roof. A small climb over another bridge is followed by a short narrow section, with stal columns on the right. A hole seen beyond the stals is the base of an 8 metre aven, which is well decorated with dripstone. A climb up here leads to an impassable passage at the top. Back in the main passage a steep boulder slope leads to The Pit.
The continuation soon leads to a dribbly climb down into a large passage. A further climb down boulders leads to a chamber and the SUBWAY, 120m of small stream passage and a squeeze to a low muddy section which can be passed (with care as it can sump) for another 20m and pops out back at THIRSTY JUNCTION.
Below the dribbly climb a large dry tunnel leads quickly to BREW CHAMBER. Its continuation closes down to a short crawl with a squeeze in the middle into Equinox Hall, a massive low chamber with a roof aven, the exit crawl from which becomes too tight. The chamber continues over blocks and up a sandy slope to within 1 metre of the roof. At the far end of the chamber a crawl leads up to the right and is lost among fallen boulders. The chamber turns left (east) for 10 metres to a squeeze, beyond which is a bouldery rift. This passage doubles back on itself to a bedding plane crawl to a junction. To the right it ends after 10 metres in a circular chamber, while to the left the crawl goes for 15 metres to a 7 metre square chamber with a tight sandy crawl leading off.
Back in Brew Chamber an easily missed, low crawl leads to a wide bedding plane under the east wall leads into a small cavern with a 12m aven. The passage ends in a choke but this can be pushed on the left leading to a squeeze and a vocal connection with Equinox Hall.
From Brew Chamber, a step down to the left leads to a manhole and a chute into the north end of Long Gallery. Long Gallery has loose passages at two levels at its south end and is best avoided, as this route to Rat Pit chamber is loose. Various holes in the floor of Long Gallery communicate with a streamway below, which is best reached by sliding in front and to the left of a large boulder directly below the entrance chute. Below an abandoned streamway is met. Downstream is the route to Rat Pit Chamber, whilst to the left and upstream the passage quickly becomes a traverse in the roof above an active streamway. After a few metres Birthday Junction, a confluence, is reached. Straight ahead the traverse leads to a streamway, where two 2 metre cascades lead up to the base of the 50 metre high Archway Aven. Right at Birthday Junction continues as an interesting traverse (alternative is a 4m pitch down to the stream). The traverse is followed by walking in the streamway until a mud wall blocks the passage. Climb up here into a high level. Shortly at a sharp bend to the left, a narrow pot drops back to the stream, emerging from the Mucky Ducks. This starts as a low wet crawl with one vicious duck, followed by crawling, then traversing in a tall rift passage to end at a spectacular 25m high wet aven some 100m from the duck.
Back above the narrow pot Mortuary Passage continues as a gothic crawl for 50m to a climb up in the rift. Beyond, a section of false boulder floor leads to a junction. Straight ahead chokes rapidly in boulders, whereas the sharp right bend continues, as a crawl, past crystal pools in an awkward passage at the base of a rift. Eventually a low arch opens out to a small chamber with a pool. Here, the rift narrows and a section of squeezes lead to, and (awkwardly!) over, a large slipped boulder, followed immediately by more tortuous rift. A section of well decorated crawling passage opens out to a tall rift which ends at a fine flowstone mass where a 2m climb and squeeze up leads to the base of a large 15m+ high aven.
The base of the aven is rock strewn but covered in delicate formations and calcite. On the right side of the aven is a roped 10m flowstone climb at the top of which you my climb over or squeeze under a large fallen block. A second rope climb continues on above the fine crystal pool, whilst behind at this level, a careful tread across some boulders meets the base of a rope pitch leading to a blind alcove in the roof. Back on the main route, the rope climb takes you up to a narrow rift ledge and then 4m up to the base of the final climb. The final 10m climb really requires SRT gear and has a very awkward get off as you climb above the belay into a mud floored, very well decorated roof passage.
From here hands and knees crawling for 25m passes an undescended 6m pot under the left wall, then, just beyond a right / left dogleg, the passage terminates with a fine white calcite flow blocking the way on.
Downstream below Birthday Junction are shattered chambers and here two routes reunite at Rat Pit Chamber. The upper one follows the roof as a traverse and exposed step over a pit to a climb down a rift, while the other is an awkward route in the middle of the rift with a climb down at the end. In the roof of Rat Pit Chamber a climb gives access to 30 metres of passage, which ends near to the passages beyond Equinox Hall.
A crawl through a stal grille and a traverse forward leads to the top of the 88' PITCH, a 26 metre drop to the Lower Streamway. To the right here at the same level as the top of the pitch is an abandoned passage with stal masses until a short crawl is met which expands at Maple Leaf Junction. The obvious way on to the right is a crawl to a junction. To the left goes through a bedding up into a boulder strewn phreatic passage and a high chamber with a roof inlet that chokes after 30 metres beneath Equinox Hall. Here a small aven enters the main passage and a high level rift passage leads off at the top. This can be followed to a boulder choke. A trickle comes down the aven and flows into Ramsden's Crawl via an impassable passage directly under the aven.
The main crawl continues flat out as Ramsden's Crawl, through pools of water for 200 metres. The first section follows the stream to a point where it issues from an impassable bedding and the way on is to the left via a tight squeeze and a low bedding chamber with false floor. Under the false floor leads back to the stream and the passage height increases slightly. At this point an inlet on the left is passed and this brings in the water from the larger phreatic passage described above. The passage soon lowers again to a low phreatic tunnel with a floor covered in a mixture of mud and calcite paste.
The flat out crawling continues passing tight squeezes until after about 150m a 1 metre deep pool about 8 metres long is reached. Two more similar but slightly longer pools are crossed soon afterwards. Beyond these pools the passage height increases and the abrasive mud is left behind at last. And some 20m after the last pool a junction is reached. Here a small inlet comes in on the left and just beyond the inlet the impressive Far Pinnacle Streamway is entered.
Upstream the impressive passage 8m high and up to 1m wide ends after 30m. The water enters from a small passage on the left above floor level and this starts as hands and knees but lowers to the Border Sump, which has been dived to an impenetrable bedding plane after 49m. The water comes from the nearby FRONTIER SUMP in Pippikin Pot.
Downstream from the junction with Ramsden's Crawl is Pinnacle Streamway This leads via two short drops to a large rift chamber with the 12m Pinnacle Pitch landing on a rock pinnacle in the floor. A 4m climb leads down on to a static undived sump. Back at the base of Pinnacle Pitch the water disappears down a narrow slit in the right hand wall, but a 6m pitch to one side is the way on and enters a small chamber. The stream descends a narrow gully but progress continues in a wider section of traverse above the gully to the top of a 7m pitch to emerge at Sausage Junction in the WORMWAY. At this point a 5m climb up leads to a short section of wet passage to a static sump.
At MAPLE LEAF JUNCTION, a bedding plane crawl to the left passes a crystal pool (care!) This is the start of Maple Leaf Passage. A hands and knees crawl continues to a roomy passage with a pit to the right into Maple Leaf Aven. This is an alternative way down to the Lower Stream Passages is also known as Cellar Pot and involves two 10 metre pitches.
Continuing straight on for 30 metres leads to an 8 metre deep vadose trench in the floor. After some initial traversing it is possible to climb down into the floor trench and follow it downstream to join up with the Maple Leaf Aven and the alternative pitches to the Lower Streamway as mentioned above.
Back in the top of Maple Leaf Passage the way on is over a mud bank to a large section of fine phreatic tunnel. This continues for over 100 metres to where the stream enters from a vadose inlet on the right. The phreatic tube comes to an abrupt end at a bank of silt and on the left is a short section of dug passage heading towards passages at the end of Diamond Hall.
The active inlet is now followed. This is mainly hands and knees crawling for nearly 100 metres with a 3 metre climb half way along. Near the end of this section an old dry inlet is passed on the left and a few metres further on a 7 metre climb is reached. This leads up into a section of large phreatic passage heading East to West.
To the East the passage ends in a boulder choke. To the West the passage can be followed to a junction. Straight ahead the passage continues over large blocks to an impassable crawl. To the right a crawl leads back to the stream passage. A traverse over the stream follows and leads to a further section of large passage to a 9 metre waterfall. At the top of the waterfall a narrow streamway leads to a small chamber with a series of short climbs to the base of 12m aven. This has been climbed to enter a cross rift and both ways are blocked by gritstone boulders. The water enters from the sink near MAPLE LEAF DIG. on the surface.
Belay for the 88' Pitch is a bolt in the roof. The pitch starts as a rift but soon opens out into a fine shaft and lands in a pool. Under the wall of the high chamber asecond smaller chamber leads to a short low crawl to junction with Cellar Passage. Upstream a 20m aven, Maple Leaf Aven (Cellar Pot ) links via two 7 m pitches, up to Maple Leaf Passage and on further upstream is a tortuous inlet. Downstream is easy going for 200m with the Wormway entering from straight ahead, the combined streams flow off to the right in a 1m high passage into a sump. This is low and heavily silted and backs up considerably in wet weather. The sump is undived. Up the Wormway after 50m of stooping height passage is the inlet rift at Sausage Junction and the water from Far Pinnacle Streamway enters here. Beyond, Wormway enters a low section before regaining height. A dry oxbow bypasses a sump and The Grind enters on the left. Wormway continues past a short choked inlet on the left before arriving at the towering Echo Aven with the connection to LINK POT at the top.
THE GRIND (see this link for original exploration by CUCC) is a crawl under barriers on the right of Zeppelin Aven. A muddy tube develops into a tight meandering rift until Letterbox Junction is reached after about 250metres. The main passage continues to a boulder choke after 52m after passing a narrow inlet on the left. On to the right through boulders leads to more low wet passage to a junction. To the right upstream becomes too tight but ahead is another junction (Easter Duffy Passage). Right and upstream is flat out crawl to a drier passage.to boulder squeeze and a 3m chimney up. From here a steeply desceding passage leads down to The Manchester Shit Canal, a 5m long water logged pool followed by 1-2m wide phreatic tube to a junction. To the left is Beyond the Dark Side 75m of tight passage to a series of constrictions. The main way on to the right is Grind to a Halt. Over 100m of phreatic passage with several pools and a series of fine crystal pools near the end, which is a flowstone blockage at the end.
To the left at Easter Duffy Passage is 75m of unpleasant low muddy passage, The Dark Side of the Grind, to a point where it reaches walking size only to be folowed by a calcite choke and a very tight way on, Windle's Wallow!
Back at Letterbox squeeze the original Grind leads into a clean tubular crawl past an oxbow junction. The left passage soon becomes too low, but a larger crawl to the right leads after 61m to pools and 152m beyond the passage terminates in a sump, which has been dived for 15m in a small tube to a tight bend. The sump can be seen to continue in a similar fashion to a further bend about 5m ahead heading towards Cobble Crawl in Link Pot.