Cave Descriptions


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Short Drop Cave is an extensive and mostly horizontal stream cave that provides an excellent and quite simple trip. Short Drop Cave ends at a traverse which leads up into the base of the impressive Gavel Pot shakehole. You can then prussik up the short Gavel entrance pitch to return to the surface and complete a very enjoyable and simple through-trip. Alternatively, you can follow the stream underground again down Gavel Pot into a fine deep pothole with some nice formations.


Park at the first major layby on Leck Fell, 700m after the cattle grid, just before a wall on the left.

How to find:

Grid reference: Short Drop: SD 6703 7893, Gavel: SD 6661 7906

For Short Drop Cave follow the far side of the wall down the fell just beyond the car park. After 150m (next to a depression by the wall), the entrance to Short Drop can be found about 60m away from the wall.

For Gavel Pot, follow the wall down the fell on the same side as the car park, for about 600m until a large fenced enclosure with trees is seen about 100m on the left. This is Gavel Pot.


Short Drop Cave to Gavel Entrance

2 2 4 1 hour

At the entrance, a ‘short drop’ enters a stream passage.

Follow this passage downstream which soon lowers to a crawl. This enlarges again at a junction with the main water inlet entering. Continue downstream. The passage gets larger and then passes under a boulder bridge. Beyond here, the passage narrows slightly and descends some cascades just before the first pitch. This pitch is quite easy and descends clear of the water, landing in a pool.

Downstream of the pitch, daylight can be seen from above and the water cascades down a pitch (not rigged) to a sump. The route is a traverse which can be followed to the bottom of the entrance shakehole of Gavel Pot. You can follow the rope up to the surface if you wish to exit here.

Gavel Pot return trip to the sump

4 3 4 3 hours

Scramble down the entrance to a ledge surrounding the main shakehole. A short entrance pitch meets the traverse entering from Short Drop Cave.

At the bottom of the shakehole, at the far end, the route goes underground amoungst boulders. Two pitches (the second of which is down a wall of stacked blocks), reach a crawl in the stream. Follow this downstream. The passage enlarges and a junction is reached.

Right leads via 50m of crawls and easy squeezes to a very large passage with some excellent formations (Glasfurd’s Passage). Please take extreme care here to avoid damage!

The way onwards is to ignore the right turn and continue straight ahead, following the water downstream along a winding passage. This eventually reaches the next pitch. An awkward climb just before the pitch can be bypassed via a roof-level tube about 10m further back. The pitch itself is an excellent and sometimes wet descent.

A short distance onwards is the final, also excellent pitch, landing next to a fascinating sump pool. This is the end of the trip and a return to the surface at Gavel Pot or Short Drop begins.


Additional reading:

Selected Caves (pages 90/96)

Northern Caving (pages 44/45)

Location Map: