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Photograph of the volcano formation in Witches II Cave

Manchester Hole

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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"

Manchester Hole is not complicated, but the through trip is not so well known, and makes a pleasing half hour warm-up trip before being regurgitated above the entrance to Goyden Pot. This route assumes reasonable water conditions. Being below Scar House Reservoir, it does have its own flooding characteristics, but Graham Mollard has produced a publication which outlines the factors to be taken into consideration before committing to a trip.

Take the trade route through Manchester Hole. In high water conditions, you may need to take the high level mud traverse round the Main Chamber, but normally you can thread a way through at water level. Once past Main Chamber, the river passage continues in fine style before lowering into a smaller section which requires a small amount of crawling. The roof then rises, and another fine section of river passage is traversed until the roof dips uncompromisingly into the water. However, the river doesn't actually sump straight ahead as it seems, but does an almost 180° turn into a small concealed passage to the right. Follow this through into the sump chamber proper.

Next to the diving line, a muddy passage (Swinton Bypass) makes its way in an uphill direction, soon breaking out in the roof of Diver's Chamber. A continuation of the river may be found at the bottom of the mud slope, but the way on is to traverse round to the right. A step up leads to a passage, and immediately above, a rift continues to ascend. Climb this, and you will daylight filtering through the entrance of Bax Pot. A muddy slither will soon reach the lid, which can be easily lifted from the inside.

You can now wash off in Goyden, the entrance of which is just below.