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Photograph of the volcano formation in Witches II Cave

BUSS Route, Notts Pot - A Rigging Guide

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This series of articles is intended for the guidance of experienced cavers, who may not be familiar with the details of the best routes through the more complex systems in the Yorkshire Dales. To echo the sentiments in Northern Caves, it "is intended as guidance for the wise, not the obedience of fools"

BUS Route Notts Pot, Rigging Guide


This is a fine route which gives a further insight into the intricacies of the Notts Pot vertical maze. It includes an interesting manoeuvre from Double Bucket Pitch to enter the route, and a superb final shaft which has the whole of the Notts stream cascading down the bottom section. It can be combined with an exchange with any of the other routes by going through the duck at the bottom of BT, or with either Centre Route or BT route itself without having to get wet. It does require reasonably dry conditions now that the whole of the Notts stream goes down BT. It was originally explored in 1970 by Birmingham University Speleological Society, hence its name.

Double Bucket Pitch

Descend the main Double Bucket Pitch for a few metres, and then work your way along the wall using the in-situ fixed line to land on a large ledge. The rope can be belayed either to a drilled flake or to a natural thread round the corner.

Mud Pot

Follow the passage at the rear of the platform, keeping left at a junction and traversing over a hole to reach Mud Pot. The backup for this straightforward pitch can be secured to a natural back along the passage.

Fossil Pot

At the bottom of Mud Pot a climb drops into a chamber overlooking Fossil Pot, the descent of which is from the oxbow on the left. The backup can be secured to a natural at the start of the oxbow. The Y-hang uses a natural thread on the left (not immediately obvious), and a P-bolt on the right. Fossil Pot is an impressive shaft, with the whole of the Notts stream entering halfway down. In drier conditions the water can be partially avoided by deviating from a blunt flake on the arĂȘte a few metres down, and then from a spike in the back of the rift opposite from where the stream enters. At the bottom, the final pitch of BT Route is a few metres upstream, and the duck leading from BT Route is a few metres downstream. If the pitch is too damp, Thread Pot, a dry alternative descent, passes down the other side of the arĂȘte. It requires the same length rope and a couple of extra slings for rebelaying from naturals, although care should be taken as much of the rock is brittle.

Tackle Required

Rope: 25 m; 12 m; 45 m
Carabiners / Maillons: 11 (excluding first bolt on traverses)
Snap links: 2 for deviations
Slings: 2 for deviations, and 2 for backup / belays.


Apart from the top of Double Bucket Pitch, these bolts were installed by a third party, and were NOT installed as part of the CNCC bolting programme.