1970 to 1979
1970 After a major digging exercise by HWCPC, Pippikin Pot was extended and quickly gained a reputation for being very tight. The HWCPC also dug into Hurnel Moss Pot. Mike Wooding passed a major psychological barrier when (in Keld Head) he made the first cave dive of over 300m(1000 feet). Norman Thornber, one of the first Cave Rescue Wardens and the author of Pennine Underground, died. On TV there was the first showing of Sid Perou’s film on the attempts to connect Gaping Gill and Ingleborough Cave. Speedwell Cavern was connected to Peak Cavern when divers passed the Treasury Sump.
1971 Gavel Pot was extended and the Earby extensions were discovered in Lancaster Hole. A new permanent ladder was installed on Stop Pot in Lancaster/Easegill System. On a solo trip Mike Wooding discovered Far Waters in Gaping Gill. Tunnel Cave was opened as a showcave and renamed Cathedral Cave. Dudley Soffe was rescued from Swildon’s Lower Oxbow after 10 hours of major effort. The Rhino Rift dig went to the head of the deep shaft. NCA together with BSA & CRG started to identify caves of special scientific importance (SSSIs) on behalf of the Nature Conservancy Council (NCC) in a programme that was to go on for the next three years. The first Ghar Parau Expedition left Britain for Iran.
1972 The first Edition of Northern Caves (Vol 1 Wharfedale) was published. OM Mines re-opened Moorwood Sough from Stoney Middleton to Eyam. A major pumping exercise by the Technical Projects Unit in Knotlow Cavern, allowed exploration of passages normally 15m below water level and the recovery of an historic rag and chain pump. Divers linked Noon’s Hole to Arch Cave in Fermanagh. The Grand Circle route in Agen Allwedd was dug through. Withyhill Cave was discovered in Fairy Cave Quarry. The second Ghar Parau expedition was halted by a sump one pitch beyond the end reached by the previous year’s expedition
1973 Reg Hainsworth – founder member, chief warden and then chief controller of CRO retired from his more active roles. BSA and CRG merged to form BCRA, the first issue of BCRA Bulletin was published. Merlins Cave and Carswark Caverns were linked after a dig, although the link was later blocked. NWCC discovered Ogof Hesp Alyn. NHASA dug into Manor farm Swallet. Mammoth Cave and Flint Ridge Cave were linked to overtake Holloch as the longest cave in the world. The Ghar Parau Expedition Fund set up to aid future expeditions.
1974 Divers discovered the China Shop in Boreham Cave. The CRO bought their depot in Clapham. Major extensions were made in Dalebarn Cave. Sump 1 (Tidal Sump) was passed in Otter Hole and was followed by a streamway and sump 2. A caver who broke a leg in the Black Hole Series was rescued through Sump 1 in Swildons without breathing apparatus. Thrupe Lane Swallet was entered for the first time and the Manor Farm dig went. The uppermost sections of Cowsh Avens in Swildon’s Hole were reached after four years of climbing and digging. BCRA held its first one-day regional meeting and first issue of BCRA Transactions was published. Limestones & Caves of NW England was published by BCRA, the first of the series on Limestones and Caves of Britain.
1975 As a consequence of flooding the CRO had seven rescues in one night involving 47 cavers; Bob Hryndij and Phil Pappard were awarded Royal Humane Society Awards and the CRO was awarded the freedom of Settle. Dale Head Pot was entered after long dig, it was the third deepest pot in northern England. The Hall of the Thirty was discovered in Otter Hole. The New Guinea Expedition left Britain, 19 of the most experienced cavers in the country went out for 6 months. The SC3 (Belfry) entrance to the PSM was discovered and explored by a mixed group of one American, two BEC members and 1 CPC member re-establishing the PSM the deepest cave in the world.
1976 Radagast’s Revenge was discovered by divers in Ingleborough Cave. A dive by Phil Papard linked Ireby Fell Cavern and Notts Pot. The Scout Association ceased running Whernside Manor and North Yorkshire CC stepped in. Chamber 25 was reached in Wookey and the first attempt was made to dive the deep sump beyond. The drought caused Sump 1 in Swildon’s to become a duck and allowed exploration of normally flooded passages in many parts of Britain. Ogof Craig-a-Ffynnon was explored as far as Choke 2. An expedition set off for Los Tayos in Equador to ascertain whether, as claimed by Erik von Daniken, the caves had been carved out by spacemen using lasers! Neil Armstrong accompanied the expedition.
1977 Link Pot was discovered and connected to Lancaster Hole. Silver Jubilee Pot was discovered by the MSG, although only 75m long it is the highest cave in England at an altitude of 768m. The Tyning’s Barrow dig went. Wookey 25 was dived to minus 45m using gas mixtures. The 7th International Congress of Speleology was held in England, this was the first Congress which encouraged sporting cavers to attend as well as scientists.
1978 Link Pot was connected to Pippikin. The Keld Head and downstream Kingsdale Master Cave dive lines were linked. Sid Perou’s series of films Beneath the Northern Pennines were shown on TV. The NPC dug into Ogof or Herwheliwir in North Wales. Winnats Head cave was pushed to Fox Chamber. Ogof Craig-a-Ffynnon went again and Hall of the Mountain King was discovered. The first edition of Caves of South Wales was published. The BCRA Bulletin was renamed BCRA Caves & Caving. Dr EK Tratman, member of the UBSS since 1919, editor of The Caves of North-West Clare and Chairman of the 1977 International Speleological Congress, died. The first expedition returned from Mulu where the six cavers had surveyed over 30 miles of caves in just over 3 months
1979 The first through dive from Kingsdale to Keld Head, which established a new world record (1829m), was filmed by Yorkshire TV. On Scales Moor major extensions were made in King Pot; Vespers Pot was discovered and linked to Spectacle Pot. Ingleborough Cave and Beck Head were linked by divers. The Pippikin Pot film won the Royal Television Society Award for the best sporting and adventure film. Bernard and Alice Robertshaw retired from Bernies. Permission was given for diving to restart in Peak Cavern.