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Trip to Manchester Hole/Goyden Pot -- 24th March 2012

Group: Dave, Graham, John, Ian, Dave Taylor

This was another trip which had been on hold for some time waiting for dry weather. It finally arrived and we headed up to Lofthouse and drove up to the reservoir to check on levels. These were fine and with warm and sunny weather and no wind we headed back down to park opposite the Manchester Hole entrance. After changing and a bite to eat we headed in.

At this point Dave's camera started to play up, so a lot of streamway pictures didn't come out properly, but it seems to fix itself later. We had a quick look at the upstream choke and then headed downstream following along a good stream passage. Eventually the roof dipped a bit and some of the group climbed up the somewhat slippy mud slope and then dropped down back to the river while others stayed low and just got slightly wetter. There were a few formations to admire and a bit further on a bit of crawling was necessary before the passage once again was standing room and the walls had a few fossil shells visible. One thing that was noticeable throughout the cave was the amount of flood debris left on the walls and ceiling - it was obviously pretty wet sometime earlier...
Further on the passage appeared to sump, but looking to the right there was a low duck under a rock where the passage doubled back. Dave had a quick look to see if the connection to Goyden via the eternal optimist was open - it probably was, but since everyone was still relatively dry it seemed more sensible to exit via Bax pot and then head into Goyden via the main entrance. We climbed up the muddy passage using the knotted rope and slid out of the oil drum entrance. Some of the group found this a tad awkward.

Once out in the sun we headed down to the river and entered Goyden Pot, the entrance of which was decorated with fallen trees and boulders. Graham found a sofa shaped rock just inside and relaxed while the rest of us prodded on along the streamway.

We reached the edge of a massive chamber where the stream could be seen below, it took a little bit of searching to find the connecting hole so we could make our way down to the stream again. This involved an awkward climb down at one point. Once back in the streamway, easy walking took us past the chain marking the ascent to church pot and onwards to the labyrinth. The roof lowered at this point and we started to crawl towards five ways. Having not been in this system before route finding proved a bit problematic, and after a bit of back tracking we found the ladder leading up to cap tunnel. This provided a reference point and we could see from the map that we had actually been to five ways and just hadn't recognised it. We headed up the ladder and along cap passage and then and along sand tunnel. There were a few formations encountered on route, but generally the passages were undecorated.

It was originally intended to try and do a round trip, but with time pressing we decided to just do a bit of a tour around and then head out. We took the right hand passage just before clay tunnel and groveled in the water before emerging at the top of the 20' pitch. The rope was jammed and anyway we didn't really have time to route find to new passage to complete the loop. So we headed back to the ladder and five ways, although Dave managed to find a slightly different route and surprised the others by appearing from a different direction. We made our way along labyrinth passage to the main chamber and climbed out.

An excellent cave which definitely needs a return trip. Its not particularly pretty, but there is a lot of cave and you could spend all day exploring all the interconnects.

Total trip time about 3.5 hours