Monday 31 August 2015

Introductory Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Wednesday 26th August 2015.

Today was the second Outdoor Activity Session booked by Mick Hickey & his family who had been on an Introductory Kayaking Session In the Lake District with Iain the previous afternoon.

The family were in the area for a week long holiday and amongst other things, fancied trying out some "proper caving"- non of this show cave stuff! So, Iain took them to Long Churns in the Yorkshire Dales National Park for their Introductory Caving Session.

Photo one sees the family kitted out and ready to go in Long Churns Lane.

Long Churns is a great place to go for your first caving experience. There are over 3 kilometres of underground passageway to explore and there are all sorts of things to see and places to go.

There are a number of challenges that can be offered to people visiting this fantastic cave system; and probably, the most famous of these is "The Cheese Press". How it got it's name is anyone's guess, but basically it is a tight "flat out" crawl done only over a distance of four metres (but when you are in it - it feels like a lot longer!!) Photo two sees Elliott giving it a go; and succeeding as he emerges at the other end - well done!

We have a well "tried and tested" circuit that we do in Long Churns with novice cavers. We enter via Middle Entrance and head down stream passing Double Shuffle Pool, Plank Pool & The Slot before arriving at The Cheese Press after which we visit the head of the Dolly Tubs Pitch in Alum Pot where one can observe daylight entering from that great shaft.

We head back out to daylight via a different exit - Diccan Pot; and then if people are feeling up for it - re-enter the cave system via  the wet & low upstream entrance from Diccan Entrance to undertake further exploration of the cave system.

That further exploration includes a visit to the well decorated Cross Passage with it's infamous pool (photo three) known as "The Font". Cross Passage is also known as Baptistery Crawl and we can only guess that this name arose from explorers getting "baptized" as they were forced to duck under the flow-stone formation above The Font" although this has now been eroded by the passage of thousands of bodies passing under it - meaning that ducking is no longer necessary!

Photo four sees the family emerging from a fossil passageway in Long Churns that avoids getting excessively wet in a deep pool just to the right of Elliott's Wellies .

Within Long Churns, there are many passageways - wet ones taking the flow of Alum Pot Beck; and dry (fossil) passages where the water used to flow 15'000 years ago when the caves in the area were brimming with glacial melt-water.

The great  thing about Long Churns is that there are way around most of the difficult, wet or tight sections and that there are passageways of all sizes - so there is something for everyone to be found in this cave system. Also, there are some fantastic formations to be seen underground too - it really is well worth a visit; and a true adventure too!
Photo Five sees Robyn tackling another challenge that we offer to our clients on our Introductory Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and that is the opportunity to crawl around behind the waterfall at Doctor Bannister's Washbasin.

Whoever Doctor Bannister was - he must have been a big chap as the pool that bears his name is 8 metres in diameter!

Anyway, the last challenge we generally offer people on our Long Churns Circuit is the opportunity to climb up that jet of water to get back into the sunshine on the surface - only a short distance above!

Photo six sees the Hickey Family back on the surface with Penyghent - one of the Yorkshire "3 peaks" behind. The family had all thoroughly enjoyed their caving experience underground in the Yorkshire Dales National Park - in fact, at the end of their three days with Iain, they would still be saying that caving was the best activity they tried!

Caving is great fun and we enjoy doing it as much as our clients - so you can expect us to pass that enthusiasm along to you! Caving can be done at any time of year including the Autumn & Winter - so if you want a real adventure in the coming months then contact us and book a caving session. Prices start at just £45 per person for a four hour session with all equipment you see this group wearing, included in the fee!

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