I’ve never been confronted face-to-face by a cat before while standing fully upright with my eyes, like his, only a few inches above ground level. It put me in mind of Alice dosed from the bottle labelled “Drink Me” but in my case the curious experience was not achieved by corporal shrinkage.
The entrance to Robinson’s Pot is covered by a rectangular steel lid against the exterior wall of a farmhouse, next to the back door. The house wall straddles the entrance shaft, and a significant part of the kitchen floor is suspended above the void. For some years it was not possible to visit the cave because the residents of the house were reluctant to have throngs of cavers gathering under their kitchen window. When the property changed hands a year or two ago, the new owners agreed to allow a small number of visits per year by teams holding permits booked through the Council of Northern Caving Clubs. GOC had a permit for Saturday 6th May.
We used a ladder to descend the short entrance pitch – the kind of roll-up ladder cavers use, that is, not something from B&Q. A dusty-dry, winding passage soon led to a chamber containing scratched names and dates from the nineteenth century and beyond it we progressed sometimes upright, sometimes prone and dragging ourselves forward in an inch or two of water. We did not expect to find anything special – the main attraction was having the opportunity to visit a cave which has limited access because of its remarkable entrance. So we were delighted to discover a long canyon, carrying a good-sized stream, with many areas of flowstone and formations decorating its walls.
The entire trip was not a big one – it took us about three hours to look around everywhere – but well worth doing. It was as I poked my head out of the top of the entrance shaft that the farm cat came to greet me. The solidly-built tabby was smartly groomed to start with, but looked a bit grubby after we had reciprocated its affections with our muddy hands.