Manchester Hole – Goyden Pot Chris H, Jason
I’d been keen to have a club trip to Goyden for a while as it’s relatively close to me in Harrogate. So much so, that I’d been on a route-finding trip with my daughter Rosa at Easter. We followed the route at http://www.braemoor.co.uk/caving/route17.shtml – although any number of variations are possible, this being a fairly complex system, Braemoor’s route is a good tour of much of the cave with plenty of interest and variety.
So, it would have been nice to have had a better turnout, but at least Chris came so I could see how much of the route I could remember. It was a fine day, with low water and no rain forecast, so we entered Manchester Hole cheerfully. There’s not a lot to this and we soon found ourselves facing the forbidding ‘false sump’, which you ignore and take a sharp right into an uninviting duck (not too bad at all in these conditions). Passing by the dive line of the real sump, you come to the beginning of the connection to Goyden dug out by the Black Sheep Diggers from the other end. This is an entertaining mix of bedding plane crawls, wet boulder chokes and at one point, so Chris informed me, a squeeze.
Before too long, we emerged into the impressive main streamway of Goyden, from where Braemoor takes you on a romp around the system. The caving is very varied, a lot of walking, some crawling, a little canal section and a surprisingly awkward 4-foot climb! There’s no SRT required, though there is a 20-foot climb provided with a bit of knotted tat when we were there (it was removed soon after as being ‘too dodgy’ !). There’s little in the way of calcite formations, though there is a lot of chert, often bulging out of walls in bands, giving the appearance of bin liners stuffed into crevices.
We came eventually to the main entrance of Goyden, where Chris took some nice photos, we spent a few moments in the warm sunshine before somewhat reluctantly turning back to take the quick route back to the streamway and out via Gaskell’s passage to Church Pot. Before we exited, we decided to have a look at Sump 2. It turns out that you get there via Pinnacle Climb, which is partially roped, but the bit that isn’t looked highly exposed, with a tight passage at the top, so we wimped out and turned back for Church Pot. On the way, Chris decided to investigate to investigate a narrow, grotty little dig, I’m not sure why…
Shortly after, we found the right way out, which is hinted at by several excellent fixed ladders taking you up the rift – but not all the way, the final few meters is a sweaty vertical thrutch which emerges from a capped concrete pipe in the bed of the Nidd (which was completely dry here).
So – 3 hours or so of fine and varied caving – much to be recommended!