Sunday 12 April 2015

Easter 2015 Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Easter Sunday.

Our previous Easter Weekend activity post was about our session Ghyll Scrambling with Sean Connolly and his friends on Saturday.

At the end of that session, Sean mentioned that the group quite fancied having a go at Kayaking, but hadn't booked anything.  "We do that!" said Iain "and I think I'm available tomorrow!". He gave the group an idea of activity options and they chose Caving in the Yorkshire Dales National Park instead! Photo one sees them all kitted up in Long Churns Lane ready to go underground.

It was strange weather today. The South lakes area was shrouded in fog as Iain set off along the A65 to meet the group at Inglesport. The fog remained with us all the way up Chapel Le Dale and it wasn't until we got nearly to Ribblehead did we emerge into bright sunshine and a really warm afternoon!

Photo two sees Olivia as she was about to negotiate a tricky section in Lower Long Churns known as Double Shuffle Pool. This consists of a "lower" down to the pool just visible behind followed by a tricky rightwards turn & step across from a very small foothold to avoid slipping into the chest deep water.

To get to here, we had walked half a mile up long Churns Lane and then crossed the field above to the gaping tree lined shaft of Alum Pot gently steaming in the warmth of the afternoon. It was quite a sight!

We had then walked a little further across the field and entered the Long Churns Cave system at Middle Entrance - covering a further 200 metres underground partly via the main streamway and then by following the relatively dry fossil passageway of Lower Long Churns to get to here. There were were not too many people around underground which was good - as places like Double Shuffle Pool become a "bottleneck" on busy days.

After avoiding getting wet at Double Shuffle Pool, it is virtually impossible to do likewise at the next obstacle en route - plank Pool. Allegedly, many years ago a wooden plank did span this and it would certainly allow one to stay drier if it were still in place. Anyway, we all got a little damp here before descending into the lower reaches of the cave by dropping down into "the slot" to arrive in Cheese Press Chamber.

Photo three sees Sean achieving success squeezing through this tight bedding plane crawl. The Cheese Press is one of the most talked about and best remembered challenges undertaken by anyone who has been on an Introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park!

After visiting The Cheese Press, we made our way a short distance further to the lowest point in the Long Churns System where daylight can be seen coming in from Alum Pot - but only if you switch your lights off!

We then reversed our route to just beyond The Slot and took a right turn through Diccan Entrance to get back out to sunlight again.

Going out via this quicker route to the surface involves another short Cheese Press type of crawl but it is not as tight or as long and in photo four we get a smile for the camera from Dee as she emerges. Dee also successfully followed Sean through the Cheese Press. Good effort.

Our final photo for this post about an Introductory Caving session in the Yorkshire Dales sees the group Olivia, Sean, Robbie & Dee in Upper Long Churns where we went next. This involves taking the upstream route in the main passageway where, in places the stream is quite deep.

Eventually, the rumble of a waterfall can be heard in the distance as we approach the final obstacle - Doctor Bannister's Washbasin. Climbing up the waterfall is easier than it looks - provided there isn't too much water. Today, it was fine.

Shortly afterwards, we emerged in bright sunshine once again and although we offered the group the option to do a little more caving if they fancied, they were driving back to London that afternoon and wanted to be on their way.

Sean, Olivia, Robbie & Dee enjoyed their Introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park with us just as much as their Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District the previous day. Again, the cost for a four hours session is only £45 per person with caving oversuits, wellingtons, belts, helmets and lights all provided to each person. The cost reduces if you bring more people. Caving is ideal for families and groups and is truly, an adventurous sport. Contact us here to book your session, we look forward to working with you.

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