The Breakthrough by Richard Bendall

Northern Caves Vol 1. (1988) describes Fossil Pot as not more than a short rift below the normally dry valley leading to Gill House on Grassington Moor. That all changed in 1999 when members of the White Rose Pothole Club broke through an overlooked point just below the original entrance. What they unlocked was an extensive and complex system of rifts and avens that describe today’s cave.

Fossil Pot: Steve Warren, Richard Gibson, Richard Bendall, Anthony Wood (Feb-Mar 1999).

In February 1999, Steve Warren and Phil Ryder spent a snowy day checking out features on Grassingon Moor in preparation for some notes about the caves and mines of the area. On March 5th, Steve Warren and Richard Gibson were up there for a look at the enigmatic Palfrey Pot.
Returning by way of Fossil Pot the pair did no more than poke their heads into the entrance rift.

Five days later, on March 10th, after a period of heavy rain, Richard Gibson returned with Richard Bendall for a look at the blind rift at the bottom of the 11m entrance shaft to Fossil Pot and claimed that they could hear a stream through a small hole in the west wall near the north end of the rift.

Five days later again, a determined effort was made to enlarge the hole using the Hilti drill. Three weeks elapsed before Richard Gibson could squeeze through into a second rift.

The Fossil Pot Team. Woody to the right of photo (Photo – Steve Warren)

Three days later Anthony Wood (Woody) made a perilous climb into the roof of the second rift to emerge into a 500m extraordinarily configured cave system.

Extent of the extra cave discovered by the WRPC between 1999 & 2000. Original cave highlighted in yellow.  (Survey – Steve Warren).

This Article Was Published Originally in The White Rose Pothole Club Newsletter, Vol 18(2), May 1999, and titled ‘Fossil Pot – Breakthrough by Richard Bendall’.


Fossil Pot Survey by Steve Warren