Friday 8 August 2014

Caving sessions in The Yorkshire Dales. 7th August 2014.

As previously mentioned on our Facebook Page, Iain worked in Yorkshire on Wednesday and then came home to The Lake District. However, by 11am on Thursday morning, he was back in the Yorkshire Dales National Park again - this time working on behalf of The Scouts with the 64th Birkenhead Sea Scout Group.

These children were on a visit to The Lake District from The Wirral and had booked a day of caving. Long Churns was once again too busy and we couldn't get parked to go to Great Douk. So, Iain decided to go over to the Birkwith area again - scene of our last two posts about Introductory Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Photo one sees the group peering down the manhole that leads straight down into Dismal Hill Cave - one of the Birkwith Group of caves.

Not much further along the Pennine Way from the lidded entrance to Dismal Hill Cave is the entrance to Old Ing Cave. Set in a grassy depression in the middle of a field - the entrance doesn't look like much, but once inside you can follow a roomy passageway for over 700 metres (photo two)

The passageway winds about through some fantastic limestone features until the floor begins to drop and the stream picks up its pace as it flow over waterfalls and deepening pools.

After some 400 metres from the entrance, a sharp right hand bend is reached with water flowing in from Rough Hill Inlet straight ahead. After another 300 metres of much more adventurous passageway, one arrives at the sump where the waters of Old Ing Cave sink below the surface to combine with the flow from Red Moss Pot en route for Dismal Hill Cave.
After an hour & a half or so of exploring, we resurfaced from Old Ing Cave and then walked back along the Pennine Way to visit Birkwith Cave.

The entrance is set under a limestone cliff in a wood and to get in involves a low crawl with the water to get to a chamber containing some massive blocks. Clambering over these brings one to a waterfall; although care is needed to get there without falling down some big gaps between the blocks.

Above the waterfall, a lively stream is followed some 300 metres until the roof lowers; and shortly afterwards, the canal is reached at a sharp bend rightwards. The water here deepens quickly and it is a chilly swim to the sump that cuts off further progress into Dismal Hill Cave. We turned around at the start of the canal!

On the way back downstream, a fossil passageway is passed on the right. This drier oxbow can be followed to where it ultimately emerges back in the main streamway and we took this route. Photo three sees most of the group back in the main streamway and one of the leaders (in blue) is emerging from the oxbow.

The final photo from this post about Introductory Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales sees the group descending the short canyon which runs at right angles from the mouth of Birkwith Cave.

The waterfalls behind the group are issuing from the cave mouth - one can drop through a tube in the rock and many of the group gained some delight from sliding through this; and watching others following - getting pretty wet in the process. Mind you - some of the group were already soaked - having chosen to take a swim in the canal deep undergound. They were braver than Iain!

After emerging from the pool at the foot of the canyon, we climbed back up the slope to join the path leading back to The Pennine Way and the bus - only a short distance away.

The group ate the remainder of their lunch and dried out in the sun - it was a lovely warm afternoon and a great end to another great caving session.

And so ended another great Introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and all of the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We currently have availability to arrange a great caving adventure for you in the coming weeks between August 13th & 15th and the 18th - 22nd. To book a session - contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

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