by Julian Griffiths
The conclusions of an EXCS motorbiking and caving week saw Rob Shackleton and Mike "The Fist" Thomas with pristine wetsuits and a motley collection of Triumph and Norton bits. Not wishing to spend another oily, knuckle grazing day risking life and limb aboard their piles of vibrating scrap they were forced to consider alternatives. Nidderdale has always been a keen favourite with Rob and Goyden Pot seemed a reasonable way of restoring his street credibility whilst offering the possibility of a considerable amount of lunchtime hydration. Persuading "The Fist" that they were undertaking a sort of cross-country trial except without motorbikes he had the basis of a trip. Julian Griffiths meanwhile had been having a much less fraught time. Not only had he fallen off his bike fewer times than Rob (3 to 1), his bike (Naomis' in fact) had all the advantages one associates with reconstituted washing machines and was consequently in perfect working order. Keen for another days biking he nonetheless deemed it prudent not to cross the British biking fraternity and reluctantly agreed to go underground. Naomi was fresh (?) back from the Pyrenees so a trip to introduce her and Mike to the intricacies of Goyden was decided on.
Main stream, Labyrinth, Five Ways, Carbide Tin Passage, Warm Drive, Baffle Plates. By the time they got to High Rift, Rob and Julian had slipped into the silky routine of show cave guides and were launching into the time-honoured tale of how generations of cavers had dug at the foot of the rift but never found anything.
"Whats in the roof?", asked Naomi.
"Nothing of course", they replied, continuing their guidebook patter.
"Looks like a passage to me."
"Rubbish, now if we go back about 50' the passage on the right will take us to New Stream ....."
"Are you sure?"
"Martin Davies says...."
"I still think someone should have a look."
For "someone" read "Julian", ("Well she's your wife", muttered Rob, whilst "the Fist" practised wheelies in one corner of the aven). Shinning up the far end of the rift above the dig, an easy climb ascended 20'. Above this handholds become scarcer, but luckily the rift closed in and back and gut for 10' landed the explorer on a ledge at the top of the aven. "Told you so", he thought as he stared at an impossibly tight passage straight in front of him. Behind him though, it was less easy to dismiss the 2' wide by 4' high passage as impossibly tight. 50' of easy progress along a beautiful black chert floor was indeed enough to convince him that this was indeed "New stuff". Assembling the rest of the party, 300' of fine passage was explored ending in a canal and a sump. The sump, which is at the level of the New Stream sump, has subsequently been dived by Rob. The visibility was very poor, but he laid 200' of line to a depth of 20' and he was under the impression that he had passed over the far end of the New Stream sump. This seemed to be the only explanation for the visibility suddenly becoming very poor 20' into the sump. The sump is heading for the streamway in the Aquamole Series (leading off between sumps 6 and 7 in Goyden) found in 1980. From there it continues to Main Inlet in New Goyden.