Cave Descriptions


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Through trip to Valley Entrance

3 3 4 3 hours

Return trip or exchange trip to Swinsto Hole

3 4 4 4½ hours

Alongside Swinsto Hole, Simpson’s Pot is probably the most popular through trips in the Dales. Just like its much wetter partner, Simpson’s Pot drops via a series of mostly short pitches, to eventually unite with the water from Swinsto Hole a few minutes above the Kingsdale Master Cave. Simpson’s Pot is generally much drier than Swinsto Hole on the pitches; however, there is a chest-deep duck half-way down which does get you very wet.

From the bottom, an exit via Swinsto Hole is possible or, like most people, you can exit via Valley Entrance to emerge next to where you are parked.

Note that the final pitch, Slit Pot, is very narrow at the top. Most average size cavers will find this a narrow, awkward, but perfectly manageable squeeze. Cavers or larger proportions, or those who are not so confident with awkward pitches, may wish to consider Swinsto Hole a more suitable trip.


Park in either of the laybys just before or after the track to Braida Garth Farm on the Kingsdale road. Please do not park too close to, or across from the farm track as this can block access.


Grid reference SD 6962 7787

Walk up the steep hillside immediately opposite the track to Braida Garth Farm to meet the Turbary Road track at the top of the hill. Turn right and follow the track through a gate at the wall. A further 100m along the track, turn left and 100m ahead (away from the track) is the small shakehole of Simpson’s Pot.


The entrance leads into a series of slightly awkward crawls which after 75m gradually enlarge to reach some free-climbable cascades in larger passage (the Five Steps), which will probably have a rope for assistance. Then you will reach a short traverse rope leading over a deep hole (which many cavers in the past have mistakenly descended).

Five very short pitches then follow in quick succession. The route onwards after these pitches is not immediately obvious as it involves is a drop into waist-deep water near the bottom of the pitch, and then a 1m long duck under the right wall of the rift. The water is 1m to 1.5m deep in the duck. There is usually with 20-50cm of airspace. This can be passed in just a few seconds.

Four more short pitches follow in relatively quick succession before a chamber is reached at Slit Pot. Getting onto this pitch involves a tight, awkward squeeze through a slit. It is best to reach through, grab the rope and thread and lock your descender, before attempting the squeeze as it leads immediately onto the 25m pitch. Climbing up half a metre helps gain a wider point.

A short distance from the bottom of the pitch is a junction with another stream. Upstream (right) leads to the bottom of Swinsto Hole. Downstream of the junction is the final short pitch.

Exiting via Swinsto Hole

The navigation out via Swinsto is very easy (see separate description). Just follow the ropes upwards. The pitches may however be extremely wet on the upward journey (the anchors are not well placed for cavers wishing to go up Swinsto Hole). The 300m Swinsto Long Crawl is reached just before the final pitch is ascended, and then the stream can be followed to the surface.

Exiting via Valley Entrance:

At the bottom of the final pitch is a large chamber with a route downwards through the boulder floor underneath the wall. Follow this down to a crawl eventually reaching a wide, low canal. Follow the obvious wet passage for some distance, crawling in 10-40cm deep water, to eventually arrive at the Master Junction. Turn right to enter the main Master Cave Stream. Follow the flowing water downstream to the sump, where the rope from Valley Entrance will be found.

Climb up the rope. Follow the obvious worn route via a mixture of crawling, walking and stooping for about 15 minutes (ignoring a small side-passage on the right at a junction). Eventually, this reaches a narrow, knee or waist deep wade through water and then the pipe to the surface. This emerges (pleasingly) next to where you are parked.

Additional reading:

Selected Caves (page 69)

Northern Caving (page 94).

Location Map: