Sunday 30 August 2015

A Caving Adventure Day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park 20th August 2015.

After two days of truly fantastic Rock Climbing in The Lake District with Nick & Freya, there remained but one day to be done; and that was the pairs Caving Day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Last year, Iain had taken the pair on a foray around the Yorkshire Dales best known Introductory Caving Venue - Long Churns. Obviously, it was not appropriate to return there again so Iain came up with a plan to visit some other level one caves instead.

Firstly, as arranged last time, we met up at Inglesport in Ingleton for a "cavers breakfast" in the cafe. This classic Inglesport fry-up will set you up well for any caving day; and if any equipment is required - then Inglesport has everything for the caver and climber!

Photo one sees Freya having an explore around one of the side passages in our first cave of the day - Great Douk. Great Douk is a great little cave system which can be done as a "through trip" meaning starting at one end and finishing at another. However, after the overnight rain, the stream flowing through here was a bit on the large side; and Iain felt it would be foolish to attempt the through trip which ends in an "arduous" flat out crawl with the water!

As there was quite a bit of water around; and the weather, showery, Iain felt it prudent to keep away from caves that respond significantly to rainfall when the ground is saturated.

There are a couple of good introductory caves at nearby Ribblehead which are used by a lot of school groups. These are called Runscar & Thistle.

Iain started off by taking the pair into Thistle Cave where the water level was low; and here, there were plenty of opportunities for the pair to try squeezing through some smaller, tighter fossil passageways. Freya rose to this challenge well - unlike Nick, who, at over six feet tall was understandably reluctant to follow a relatively short Freya through such places - it looks, in photo three, (taken in Thistle Cave) as if Nick was only the same height as Freya - but don't be fooled, he is crouching down!
We traversed Thistle Cave starting at one of its downstream entrances (the cave has three different sections) and went upstream as far as we could to a big underground collapse.

Back out on the surface, we cut across to the upstream entrance of Runscar Cave and commenced to head downstream.

Runscar Cave carries a much bigger stream than that seen in Thistle Cave making it a much more "lively" place to be. On the route downstream, one emerges back into the open air twice before entering the final section, which, at it's downstream end, lowers to a crawl in the water and a tight squeeze (well - it was in Nick's case!) to get out.

In photo three, Nick is recovering from having just  completed that tight squeeze and Freya is emerging from the same place - behind him. All good challenging fun!

It was only around about 1pm and we had already put three different cave systems behind us, but, there was still time to do a few more!

Photo four sees Freya & Nick at the entrance to Yordas Cave in Kingsdale around 45 minutes later, after we had driven over from Ribblehead.

Yordas Cave is an amazingly large cavern that would hold (by Iain's reckoning) probably around 20 double decker buses. Whilst it was only a short walk around this cavern, the waterfall in a separate chamber at the uphill end of Yordas was worth a visit, as with the amount of water coming down it - it sounded & looked truly awesome!

We finished off with yet another introductory cave in Kingsdale - that being Valley Entrance (photo five).

Probably the most exciting thing about this cave is entering through a lid in the side of the hill. Today, there was quite a strong, cold breeze blowing out of the entrance. Iain surmised that it was probably due to the amount of water entering the system as Valley Entrance leads to the "main drain" into which all of the "active" caves on this western side of Kingsdale empty in to!

And today, Valley Entrance was a very wet place too! After only 50m the stooping height passageway degenerates to a small wet crawl through a canal, so we were all wet pretty quickly! Further on, we found the middle section of the cave unusually flooded to a depth of 1 metre over a distance of around 200 metres which caused Iain a little concern, but at the far end of the passage we found the usual 7 metre pitch into the Master Cave not flooded & backed up to our level; although in very wet weather - it can & does back up all the way out to the lid!

We turned around and headed out. Arriving back in the warm sunshine (and relatively "tropical" temperature compared with that underground!) it was still only 3:30pm, but Nick & Freya were happy to call it a day and head back to Inglesport for a well earned brew and slice of cake.

It had been three days of excellent adventures for this pair; and they had both thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Next year, we are talking about doing a level 2 caving trip, maybe the Esk Gorge and possibly some more Rock Climbing.

If these reports about Nick & Freya's adventures in the Lake District inspire you - then give us a call. Our adventurous activities start at just £45 per person for a half day (four hour) session and just £80 per person for a full day out. All technical equipment required for any activity is included as part of the fee and you will be looked after by our qualified and experienced staff team so you can be assured you are in safe hands! Book now! - we look forward to working with you!

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