Are There Caves Beneath The Snooty Fox?

It has been known for some time that the limestone’s of the Lune Valley near Kirkby Lonsdale display evidence of karst development. Indeed, several sinks and risings near Casterton have been investigated by club members. A few years ago, we were only just too late to witness the appearance of a large hole in the road near the garage in Casterton. Unfortunately, the local council moved faster than we did and brought a JCB into swift action, denying us a glimpse of what the locals described as a passage big enough to get a bus in. A pinch of salt there, I think, but all the same another grain of truth.

Not that I’d given these events much thought for several years, until the night of’ the 12th June, a Saturday, Naturally, time found us in the Snooty Fox taking a taste of our favorite tinctures. A sultry heat had been building up all day, and now the skies let loose with a vengeance. A storm fit to grace the stage of King Lear bent itself on Kirkby Lonsdale and its environs, lighting the sky with persistent regularity and shaking the town to its roots. Rain came down like stair rods, and honeydew girls danced in the street in a moment of madness, drenched to the skin. The spectacle captured everyone’s attention as the pumps flowed and a carnival atmosphere gripped the whole pub.

Suddenly the water came up. Those near the door were the first to raise the alarm with whoops of incredulous laughter. The water flowed on, approaching the bar, inches deep, its path always forward, the searching, probing head ff water fuelled by the still continuing torrent from the heavens. Into, the back bar it flowed, down the hill, surrounding the pool table, then flowing out through the French windows. Diverted by a partition wall, another tongue of water tore down past the dartboard as well, over the step, into the lavs, and out of the back door. The place was awash in minutes - too late for sandbags.

Andrew, the landlord, gave a weak smile and shrugged his shoulders in surrender. We ordered another pint and watched a swirl or water sink through a crack in the flags. “There’s’ caves beneath your bar, you know”, we said to Sue the barmaid. “Yes, but I think they’re safer under look and key from you lot” she replied with a wink. We sighed and raised our glasses to the great unexp1ored. Then the lights went out.....

Hugh St Lawrence.




Back To Contents