Cave Descriptions


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Through trip to Valley Entrance

3 3 4 3 hours

Return trip or exchange trip to Simpson's Pot

3 4 4 4½ hours

Swinsto Hole is a fantastic pothole with some fine, well watered pitches and a guaranteed soaking! It is a classic wet Yorkshire pothole and probably one of the finest examples. Some cavers are deterred by the long crawl after the first pitch (about 20 minutes of hands-and-knees crawling along a canal), but this makes the excellent pitches below even more rewarding.

At the bottom, you can return back up Swinsto Hole, however, the most popular option by far is to follow the water down into the Kingsdale Master Cave and exit at Valley Entrance, to complete a fine SRT trip with no prussiking! Finally, if you wish to extend the adventure, you can exit via Simpson’s Pot, which joins with Swinsto Hole just before the final pitch.


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 6942 7751

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 left and follow the track. Stop 30-40m before the wall and turn right and walk parallel to the wall for 100m up a small dry stream bed. Swinsto Hole is a small entrance in the dry streambed, about 75m from the Turbary Road track.


Inside the entrance, follow the stream to the first pitch. At the bottom of this pitch is the Swinsto Long Crawl, 300m of wet hands and knees crawling in a canal leading to the second pitch.

Continue onwards with the water to reach the third and fourth pitches. The largest pitch is then reached, which is split by a broad ledge part way down. This is often a very wet descent, in the full force of the water on the first section. Continue to follow the stream until it disappears and then take the dry route to reach two further pitches.

The water is soon re-joined in Spout Chamber. Then continue onwards in a rift to reach the spectacular Swinsto Great Aven pitch.

A short distance from the bottom of this pitch is a junction. On the left, several metres away, is the rope coming down from Simpson’s Pot (where you can commence a long outward trip). On the right, following the water downstream, the final pitch is reached. This is only a very short pitch and is the route down towards Valley Entrance.

Exiting via Simpson’s Pot

The rope ascends the largest pitch of Simpson’s Pot (Slit Pot). The top of this is tight and awkward, requiring a thrust through a very narrow slit to depart the rope. After this, simply follow the (many!) short ropes upwards; there are no navigational issues. The only point to note is that after five upwards pitches, the way on requires a 1m long duck under a low arch through chest-deep water to reach the bottom of the next pitch. Several further short pitches/climbs up, and then a short section of crawling eventually emerges back onto 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 71) or Northern Caving (page 80).

Location Map: