Little Hull Pot: Emma Callow, Ian and Chris Dudman (2nd June 2012).
Little Hull Pot is a cave of 2 halves, with easy, spectacular caving via 2 fine pitches, leading to a thrutchy, damp finale. The first problem was finding the entrance, with NC2 and CNCC3 differing in the location by about 70 metres! In fact, both seemed to be a bit excessive in their distance estimates and we walked to the end of the shallow valley before retracing out steps and finding the entrance, again rather larger than NC2 would suggest, in a shakehole. Basically, if you get to the gate, follow what looks like a faint quad bike track up a small hill going NW and the entrance will be on your left where a shallow valley drops into a small shakehole with a 4-foot-high entrance.
With dry conditions, I was hoping to cut down on rigging and so it proved, particularly on the fantastic second pitch, where we avoided the roof traverse and rigged from bolts a few feet out above the pitch, reached via a bit of a stretch, but this give a fine hang next to the wall, perfect for rapid ascending. A 40m rope suffices here, if one climbs down the lower cascades. The first pitch was also pretty dry and waiting for Chris on the way out to help with the bag haul, I couldn’t help but think that after the initial drop, one could just wander down the hold-covered gully.
After the fun of these pitches, the hard work began, with a low wet section eliciting a few cries from Chris and Emma (avoided by skinny me on the right!) and a further wet squeeze, like ‘the narrows’ in Dowbergill – unavoidable this time. Emma retired here – understandable after a maternity break – leaving Chris and I to make the up-and down-way to the final pitch head, where a climb up onto a ledge of jammed debris allow a drop into the final chamber.
After exploring the inlet passage and following the water to an impenetrable slot, we searched for the chimney to find the passage to the final sump. After a few minutes of rummaging around, we decided to head back to meet Emma, as I had some of her kit in my bag – oops!
On the return I decided to go through the wet section, pushing a bag ahead of me that got jammed and left me rather colder and wetter than I expected. Jugging up the pitches was a delight, leaving only the problem of carrying 3 bags of kit between 2 of us through the entrance passages.
After being rather warm on the walk up, we were disappointed to emerge to chilly, grey, windy conditions and made a hasty retreat down the hill.
This is a splendid cave, great fun if the water levels are kind, but obviously a place to be avoided if wet.
Pic by Chris Dudman.