Walk a Mile with Mick
Walk a Mile with Mick Melvin

Penyghent Pot 1964

Penyghent Pot was first entered by the Northern Pennine Club in 1949, when a group of club members digging at a small stream sink on Penyghent broke through into the cave. When the main part of the exploration and surveying was completed in 1950 the cave was established as the deepest known cave in Britain.
This is a reprint of an Article written by Mick Melvin in 1964 and included in the White Rose Pothole Club newsletter during that year; I have decided not to change the content in any way.


For a long time John Motley and I had been planning a trip down Penyghent Pot and we decided to see if we had the support of the other lads in the club. A notice placed in the Club Room collected twenty signatures. The next thing to do was to decide on a date and obtain permission from the landowner to descend.
The date fixed was 12th January 1964, because we hoped the ground would be frozen and so there would be less water down the hole. Permission was obtained without any trouble and I arranged a meeting at the Sun Hotel on January 3rd for all those who hoped to go.
At this meeting everybody studied the surveys available and were given their allotted tasks. It was obvious from the start that everyone could not bottom the pot and so it was decided to split the team into two parties. One party was to ladder the pot, and the other party was to go down the pot three hours behind the Laddering party and de-ladder.
On the morning of the descent the laddering party (10 men) left Horton-in-Ribblesdale at 8-30am, and after a short rest entered the pot at 9-30am. A short hands and knees crawl led to a 6ft. climb down into a canal about knee-deep in very cold water.  John Motley took the lead and we found that the roof descended immediately so that we were crawling on our hands and knees in about 18 inches of water. This proved arduous since everyone was carrying two items of equipment each. After half an hour or so of this we reached the top of the first pitch 20ft
This pitch had two waterfalls going down, one was from the canal the other was from the sink some half mile away. We stepped off the ladder into a knee-deep pool and the passage turned back underneath itself. This was quite an easy passage but contained some deep pools which were not too bad provided you kept to the edges. The next pitch we arrived at was a short one of about 15ft. with a rift leading off to the right via a crawl which leads to the big pitch (130ft). The top of the big pitch was very constricted and a suitable belay was hard to find. Eventually this was done and we descended to a small ledge where I found that the ladders had all collected in a big heap.
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Links to Content & Topics...

  1. Canal Cave Nidderdale
  2. The Happy Wanderers Pothole Club
  3. Weardale 1963
  4. The Leadmines of Weardale 1963
  5. Langstroth Cave, a first Cave Dive
  6. A Cave Dive with Bill Frakes
  7. Torquay 2009
  8. Walking in Devon & Dartmoor 2009
  9. Walks on the Costa del Sol
  10. Walking in Spain 2009
  11. Our holiday in Kokkari
  12. A Walking holiday in Samos 2004
  13. Six Young Men
  14. A Poem by Ted Hughes
  15. A Circular Walk from Todmorden
  16. A Castle & three Waterfalls
  17. BSA Conference Paper 1966
  18. Cave Diving in the Northern Pennines
  19. A Descent in 10 hours
  20. Penyghent Pot 1964
  21. A Tribute to John Dixon
  22. Remembering John Dixon
  23. Sleights to Whitby
  24. A Walk from Sleights to Whitby
  25. Climbing the Ahornspitze
  26. An ascent of the Ahornspitze
  27. Around the Schlegeis
  28. A Walk by the Schlegeis Reservoir
  29. Trevor Briggs Tribute
  30. A Tribute to Trevor Briggs
  31. Simon Cooke's Scornful blog
  32. Councillor Simon Cooke Scorns Ramblers
  33. The Guernsey Coastal Path
  34. Bradford CHA Holiday in Guernsey 2001