Located on the east flank of the Kingsdale Valley, Heron Pot is a gem of a trip when water levels are low. In such instances, you can complete a rewarding but never really difficult through trip. For those not in the know, a through trip is when you start at the entrance and exit at another location. Often this exit is lower down the hillside.
However, through trips are not that common in caving meaning you normally have to return the way you entered a cave system. In addition to this, through trips that have any vertical descent by abseil are fully committing if you decide to take the rope with you on each vertical section. Once that rope is pulled down the first section there is no going back. Therefore, you have to be 100% of your ability and water levels, otherwise your going to have a long wait until your call out procedure phones for cave rescue.
Why take the rope with you, is a good question some may ask. The idea being you enter one way and exit another, without having to go back and strip the rope out. Thus saving time, saving energy, having to take less equipment and more importantly giving a more adventurous journey.
The trip starts with a short slide into a reasonable roomy crawl, which soon leads to a fine winding passageway, one which you can stand up in. This passage way is a classic section of dales caving, lots of good features to see, roomy, twisting and with water flowing down. This gives a real sense of exploration without too much stress.
This leads you to the 1st pitch with the water cascading down. Two bolt anchors threaded with the rope and a 10m descent takes you to the bottom of pitch 1 and no turning back. You are straight onto Pitch 2. However, this does require some exposed climbing to reach the next set of anchors over the vertical section. This pitch is approx 15m with more water cascading down and takes you to more winding passage.
This then leads to a lengthy crawl, initially over small boulders and in water, until the floor of the crawl smooths out and makes life more comfortable. It is never really tight, but its either hands and knees or on your belly and in water.
Eventually you pop out in daylight, through a constricted and wet section of cave ( which is what the video clip shows ). So how do you know the exit is going to be passable. Well you need to check that out on the way in.
This was a 2 hour trip from car to car. Never really rushing, but still moving at reasonable pace and being efficient.