Friday 1 August 2014

Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Monday 21st July 2014.

On Monday, Iain was once again working on a freelance basis for Great Tower Scout Camp providing yet another Introductory Caving Session in The Yorkshire Dales - this time for the 2nd Balsall Common Scout Group who were visiting The Lake District from Warwickshire.

Iain took the group to Long Churns in The Yorkshire Dales National Park - one of our favourite Introductory Caving Venues.

As can be seen in photo one, we had a beautiful day for going underground and as in the previous week, water levels were very low.

We entered Long Churns via Middle Entrance - one of the main ways into the cave system and Iain allowed the group to "self explore" the Upper Long Churns passageway as far as Doctor Bannister's Washbasin.

Doctor Bannister's Washbasin is a large underground pool of water some 10 metres across and at the back of it, Alum Pot Beck enters down a 3 metre waterslide.

In wet conditions, one has to be careful here as although the waterslide is not steep it has been worn smooth by 15'000 years of water flowing down it; although the rock is surprising grippy for all that. The problem comes from the jet of water flowing down the fall - if it is more than a few inches deep, then it is powerful and can easily sweep an inexperienced person off their feet. On this particular Introductory Caving Session The Yorkshire Dales, the water level here was low and the children could climb the fall easily - as in photo two.

Above Doctor Bannisters Washbasin one exits out to daylight at the upstream entrance to the Long Churns Cave System - very close to the Limestone Pavement where photo one was taken.

Above here, Alum Pot issues from the very low wet, downstream exit that is part of the Borrin's Moor Cave System - but there are several other entrances & exits to this smaller, interesting cave system and in photo three, the children on this session can be seen entering by the largest & driest of those entrances.

We had a foray downstream in this cave to where it gets very low and wet - ultimately leading to the downstream exit already mentioned. However, whilst some of these children were keen to experience a low wet crawl, the majority were not, so we returned upstream for a distance before branching off up a side passage where Iain asked the children to look out for another side passage  where daylight could be observed - another exit. This is not easy to find, but find it they did; and along with Iain, quite a few of them enjoyed the relatively short but tight corkscrew passage back to the surface - a fine little caving challenge!

We still had a bit of time left for some more caving so, Iain took the group back to Diccan Entrance in Long Churns and we got back underground via the wet upstream crawl into this system and then headed down Lower Long Churns past the challenges of Double Shuffle Pool and Plank Pool before returning to daylight via the downstream entrance to Diccan Pot.

Part of this involves another crawl and here, one of our most enthusiastic cavers on this day - Amy, emerges into the streamway.

All of the children loved their Introductory Caving Session in The Yorkshire Dales with us, They also enjoyed a brew and a bit of fab cake in Inglesport when we stopped off there on our way home (as we always do!) to drop off the hired caving helmets.

Another fab day underground with us! If you fancy trying caving then contact us here. Prices start at £45 per person for a half day (four hour) session with all technical equipment and guiding included as part of the fee. We look forward to working with you.

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