Return to Robin Pot by Phil Ryder

Many years ago Harry Long told me about a shakehole up on the slopes of Horsehead Moor where a large stream could be heard running somewhere below in wet weather. We eventually got round to looking at it in October 2006, the we being Richard Gibson, Phil Parker, Alan Speight (YSS) and I.

This was during the time that the Club was pushing Hagg Beck Sink and Compass Pot in the same area and the dig only got cursory visits usually on Wednesday’s. The dig got its name from a Cock Robin that used to turn up when we were there, and sing its heart out.

The way into the dig was via a 4m. ladder pitch but this was unstable and we got very nervous from flying rocks so decided to engineer a new way in. Gary Rhodes joined us and together with Phil Parker we had a twin capping team in this new fangled way of removing rock, (well to me anyway). Our pet Robin objected to the noise of the caps and deserted us for ever.

We capped a way into the rift at the bottom of the shakehole, and after building a dry stone wall inside to stop the contents of the peat bog above engulfing us, at 6 metres depth encountered a small chamber with an inlet on the right, the source of the loud running water.

Unfortunately the way on was completely choked by peat and cobbles, the bog collapse must have affected the inlet too. But shouting down a thin rift above the choked passage brought back a tremendous echo indicating a sizeable space beyond.

In April 2007 the Bang Boys, John Clarke and Chris Smith, blasted their way into a 6m. high aven, the source of the echo. The water disappeared into the floor at the far end. The dig was soon forgotten. Other diggers at this time were Richard Bendall, Steve Warren and Richard Mercer of Kendal C.C.

Forward to 2018. It has been a crap year so far as the weather goes, our only activities to date being a couple of forays into Lancashire to help Richard Bendall with a dig. Time to get some of my caving affairs in order including digs not recorded, but should be for future generations. This is when I remembered about Robin Pot.

At the start of February, Richard Gibson and I set off up the track to Horsehead, to try and locate and GPS Robin Pot. The BBC Weather said it was going too be a mild and sunny day. We were hit by torrential rain and gusts of wind that nearly send us tumbling, and were soon thoroughly wet through. We found and GPS’d the entrance and made a fast return back to the car.

P1000352On Saturday 17th February, Richard G, Hucky and I armed to the teeth with ladders, ropes, drills and batteries, survey gear and planks of wood to cover the entrance, set off up the track to the mountain. John Clarke joined us soon, and carried my wood plank – what a nice lad!

The BBC Weather said a warm front was coming in from the Atlantic and it was going to be a fine weekend. We were soon wading through six inch of snow and hit by an icy blast that would even bother the Abominable Snowman! I admired John Clarke who had just espied us going up the hill and joined our walk. Not equipped for anything outdoor, he just had a pair of trainers and a fleece hoodie on, but plodded on regardless, (with my plank)!

Hucky in the lead soon found the hole, it’s very hard to find being a mere 3 metres from the track! Hucky also said the wall of deads in the bottom of the shakehole gave it away. John C. being sodden wet through by this time disappeared quickly back down the hill to his van.

Richard G. was quickly in the bottom of the hole, remarkably nothing much had changed in the intervening 11 years. It then began to snow. It’s amazing how enthusiasm disappears fast in these conditions, and we quickly beat a retreat.

We now have a whole range of projects to do, Thundering River Cave, Raisgill Farm Sink, Sheepfold Sink, Buzzard Pot, Alzheimers Dig, George Pot, unnamed Yockenthwaite dig, and now Robin Pot. Importantly the diggers have got permission for all of these digs. By the laws of chance one of them is going to go big. Help needed from people who are willing to graft.

Hopefully we will survey Robin Pot soon and put it on this site, and we will have a good look at the end of the cave where the water disappears in the floor of the aven and see if it can be extended.P1000364

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