Wednesday 17 September 2014

Level 2 Caving day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Sunday 14th September 2014.

Variety is the spice of life; and when you run an Outdoor Activity Company - variety is certainly what you get! Iain could get a "proper job" like his mate Paul mentioned in our previous post but who wants to be sat in an office in a building when you can have the whole of the great outdoors as your office? Not us - that's for sure!

And today, our office was the Yorkshire Dales National Park as we set about providing Shirley & Graham (photo one) with a day of hardcore Level 2 Caving in Kingsdale.
A level 2 caving session differs from a level one introductory caving session in so much that the Cave Leader is qualifed to work with clients on vertical pitches of up to 18 metres (60 feet) in hieght - a very much more serious proposition than the 2 metre (6 foot) pitches to be found on a level One Caving Session.

To get to where Graham is in photo two, Iain had lowered him & Shirley down a 6 metre pitch after a 500 metre walk underground with considerable stooping & some crawling. We had then continued up the streamway in Kingsdale Master Cave for a further 200 metres before crawling another 200 through a low chilly streamway to get to this point - strenuous, challenging stuff and an adventure of a serious nature!

And we were only half way there with regards to this particular Level 2 Caving Trip - but it was worth it for where we were heading!

Photo three sees Graham in the massive vertical  cavern that is the Swinsto Great Aven. This chamber goes shooting upwards for a hieght of over 40 metres and its floor is a steep jumble of mud & boulders that have fallen out of the roof far above.

There are a couple of fixed handlines in place allowing cavers to ascend the tricky slopes to some of the caverns higher reaches such as the place where Graham was stood. Swinsto Great Aven is an awesome place and well worth the hard work required to get there.
Having investigated the upper reaches of the Great Aven in as much as we could, Iain led the pair out via the other route leading back to Kingsdale Master Cave - South East Passage.

Whichever way you enter the Great Aven, a climb up/scramble down through boulders is required, however, Philosophers Crawl takes the main flow entering from Swinsto & Simpsons Pots and is lower & wetter than South East Passage which is also the shorter route.

It was with some relief for Shirley that the crawling down here was soon over and were were able to walk back down the main streamway in the Master Cave to the pitch foot. Iain  ascended this pitch and then dropped the ladder down for Shirley and Graham who climbed it in fine style - again, no easy task! It is no wonder that Shirley was all smiles as she appears at the pitch head in photo four.

Our round trip underground via Valley Entrance (photo one), the Master Cave and Swinsto Great Aven took three hours and it was about 1pm before we emerged from the lidded entrance to the cave system into warmth and sunlight. That left all afternoon; and definitely time for another Level 2 Caving Trip - so should it be Heron Pot or Yordas Cave?

Shirley didn't fancy the idea of more crawling and there is a fair crawl out of Heron Pot at the end, but the idea of being lowered into Yordas Cave and down the truly impressive Chapter House Waterfall into the equally as impressive main chamber appealed - so after a relaxed lunch in the sunshine, that was what we went and did!

Photo five sees Graham as Iain lowers him down the Chapter House Waterfall to the delight of a family (and shirley) watching from below. This pitch is very impressive with the noise of the water as it crashes down into the darkness - fortunately today it was well lit from the bottom thanks to the family with their headtorches and Shirley.

Our final photo from this post about a Level Two Caving Day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park sees Iain with a pair of very satisfied clients who had throughly enjoyed their challenging and very adventurous day underground.

The day had included a visit to two cave systems, being lowered down four pitches  - the highest of which had been the last one at over 15 metres in height; and also a climb up out of the Master Cave of 6 metres in height. Total distance covered was in the region of 3.5km consisting of walking, stooping and crawling - at times through quite chilly water!

The pair paid just £80 each for this day out with Iain and that fee included all of the equipment you see them wearing in this final photo. Great value for a fantastic experience.

Level Two Caving is great fun and very rewarding for the effort involved to reach some of the more remote and impressive places underground. Level One Caving Sessions are as much fun but less physically demanding and prices start at just £45 per person for a half day (four hour) Introductory Caving Session.

Contact us here to arrange a great adventure that you'll never forget. We look forward to working with you.

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