In 1946 George Cornes was having a hike on Casterton Fell when he decided to stop and have a break. Resting against a rock, George noticed some grass moving near his feet and bent down to take a look. Moving some boulders aside, he discovered that he was sitting almost on top of a 110 foot deep shaft. Coming back later with reinforcements and ladders he set about exploring.
At first the passages were old and dry, but they soon encountered a magnificent river passage on a lower level, and after many months of exploration several other entrances in the nearby Ease Gill were discovered – including County Pot, Top Sinks and Pool Sink.
Eventually the cave joined up with some other caves in the area, including the notoriously difficult and exceptionally tight Pippikin Pot (I broke 3 ribs, a finger and a vertebrae in my neck once in ‘Pip’ – it was fun getting out!).
At present the cave contains over 100 km of passages and is growing as new explorations are being made, and it is one of the finest caves in the UK – if not the world.
On a bright clear morning Stu-baby, myself and 2 others walked along the path past Bull Pot of the Witches – where Ian Plant sadly died diving the terminal sump – and through a sea of purple heather towards Ease Gill beck and County Pot.
We made our way through this amazing cave, down to the underground river, past Stop Pot boulder choke through which the river runs, then up into some old abandoned passages and after several hours climbed up into Easter Grotto.
Easter Grotto contains hundreds of thousands of extremely delicate straw stalactites – each the same diameter as a drinking straw – and some are several meters long. It is a magical place, very delicate and very special.
Throughout the 70’s, 80’s and some of the 90’s I had the pleasure of exploring this superb cave and each time I visited it I was amazed – both by it’s beauty and it’s diversity.
Easter Grotto is not easy to get to – it could never be opened to the general public – it is too remote, so consequently very few people have made the journey – thus helping to preserve it for the next generations of cavers who come to explore these amazing caves.