The Cobblers


          If you listen hard when it’s wet you can hear them chatting away to each other but unfortunately we can’t understand the language. The passage normally only has a small trickle of water and because it’s quiet they could be overheard so they don’t try to chat. It’s only when the cave starts flooding and the water pounds down the streamways do they get a chance to prattle on without us being able to ascertain their conversations. A low rumble that lets us know there is something underlying the water’s rush, we’ve all heard it but just ignored it, not knowing what it really is. They’re plotting their games. Only during floods is it that they get to play at changing places. Running around the passages and playing tag with each other while laughing at our inability to notice the game. We’ve seen the result after a sudden drying up of the flowing water as we wander through the system. “I’m sure that cobble wasn’t there last time I was here”. Of course it wasn’t but because it dried up so quickly the cobble couldn’t get back to where it belonged and we came along so it had to stay put, probably emitting a low groan as it settled down in its new position.  


          They do this all the time, this running around laughing at us, the little ones are less noticeable but when a big one gets caught out we think it’s because the water moved it and not that it actually ran around for a while when we weren’t watching. Now that you know the game they are playing you’ll have much more empathy for what appears to be simple inanimate objects. They’re NOT, they’re really ‘the cobblers’, laughing, running and hiding all over every cave in the area and they are even more active in the streams and rivers of our beloved Dales. We try to build dams with them and low and behold the next time we come back it’s gone, well what a surprise! So now you know.        


        Ray Duffy


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