TURBARY POT by Mike Myers
Turbary Pot was found on a Sunday afternoon at the beginning of October 1964, when three members of the Club went forth on to the battlefield of Speleology in search of new potholes.
The pubs had closed, and as nobody had thought to buy any bottles, it was decided to drive up Turbary Road in the Land Rover to take a look at a likely shakehole noticed previously. It was situated in the same field as Swinsto Hole, but only a few feet from Turbary Road, so we had no walking to do. The three of us disembarked from the vehicle and one of the lads took a close look in the bottom of the shakehole. He suddenly let out an excited yell, “I can feel a draught between my legs!‘ after various remarks such as ‘yes I can smell it!“ we went down and started frantically pulling out boulders and digging for all we were worth (which wasn’t very much) until three large boulders prevented us getting any further. We used the Land-Rover to remove these, and after another hours digging we had made a hole large enough to squeeze through into a small crawl.
Dave Taylor went in feet first and soon disappeared. He was just saying that the passage was getting slightly larger when he let out a yell - he had nearly fallen down a pitch. The passage enlarged slightly to the left of the pitch, so he turned round in this and looked down. It was a large shaft he told us excitedly and he began dropping rocks down. There were long silences and distant rumblings - we estimated the depth of the pitch to be about two hundred feet. We hurriedly returned to the hostel for ladders etc.
An hour later, back at the shakehole, the fifteen foot crawl was negotiated and the pitch laddered, a piton Being used for a belay. Sixty feet down, a large ledge was encountered, which looked out into a large rift chamber, later named McShea Chamber.
The ladder was quickly re-belayed to a convenient flake and the floor was reached after a further fifty-five foot ladder climb. The chamber was explored and found to be approximately fifty feet long, ten to fifteen feet wide and seventy feet high. The wall behind the ladder is decorated with broad vertical stripes of white calcite. A small stream enters near the top of the pitch, and flows down the wall, wetting the calcite and making it glisten. The water also makes the limestone appear dark, the whole effect being very beautiful.
Three more small streams enter the chamber. One comes through a tight crack just to the left of the bottom of the ladder. A waterfall can be seen about twenty feet away in a small chamber, but the crack is too tight to get through. An unsuccessful attempt has been made to blast through here, but it would take a lot more blasts to be successful, and hardly seems worthwhile as it is very unlikely to go anywhere beyond the waterfall. Another stream enters down the large calcite slope at the opposite end of the chamber to the ladder. A third flows down the left-hand wall, coming from the roof of the chamber (see survey) These streams combine and sink in boulders in the floor where in wet weather a large amount of water sinks.
This has been the scene of numerous digging efforts in the past eighteen months with as yet no result. A shaft about ten feet deep has been dug where the water sinks, but it is constantly silting up. However, the dig definitely holds possibilities of further extension.
The water which comes in at the top of the big pitch has been tested to come from the stream in the entrance of Swinsto, a red dye being used in wet weather. When tested in dry weather the dye did not appear, although this could have been because we didn't use enough dye or wait long enough.