A quick evening trip with Jeff to this often overlooked West Kingsdale pot. Although it is only a few metres from Bull Pot, I had never noticed it before, but with the wet weather, a quick glance through the guidebooks and NFTFH left this as a possibility. The entrance climb down is rather loose despite the shoring – a common theme to the whole cave. A short body size muddy crawl leads to a little chamber, before the series of tight rift climbs and squeezes. It was at this point we decided that the advice about not wearing SRT kit for the entrance series was sensible – unfortunately after they had been dragged through the mud. The squeezes are okay if a little snug, but being fatter or taller than me would likely prove to be a significant challenge. After some wriggling you arrive at the top of Hickory pitch, which we found to be rigged on rope of dubious vintage, off two rock spikes. We used it anyway, not that disappointed to leave the bag of rope behind us. The pitch lands on a floor of boulders, and you then climb under a wall of loose looking boulders of death, trying not to dislodge the other boulders of death on both sides and under you. It certainly is not a place to be clumsy. This leads to a short crawl with a mobile floor, ending at Dickory pitch – also pre-rigged. After a short descent you swing into a crawl, trying not to brace off the wall of loose boulders held together with mud which seems to comprise a large amount of the cave. A rather acrobatic traverse, made easier if you are 6 ft 2, and without lifting the rope of the rather short stal belays sees you at the head of Dock pitch, a fine hang down to a small cleanwashed streamway at the bottom. This apparently goes for a few hundred metres, but just downstream of the pitch is a low bit which fills up with rocks after flooding, and indeed i would have needed digging. We decided to head out, and after some delicate prussiking and boulder avoidance, enjoyed the entrance climbs – which are a bit of a pig in places.
Disappointingly the entrance muddy crawl had been topped up by drip water from the surface, so despite remaining dry until the end, we were forced to wallow through a flat out pool of suspiciously organic smelling mud. Time to the sump and out with rigging quoted as 4-6hrs in NFTFH, we managed to the stream and out in just over 2 hours. The flood debris is normally about 10m long, so may require a decent amount of digging to access the far end.
The view of the stars on emerging was excellent.