At last, Summer!
I’ve missed out on the last couple of club trips to Fairy Holes due to stupidly breaking myself so when Andrew Hinde offered me a trip to this far flung cave I jumped at the chance. Sunday 13th August turned out to be a glorious, warm and fortunately, midge-free day as we set off from Ingleton at 8 a.m. Graham Coates had managed to find a day off from his hardworking schedule to join us, so the three of us enjoyed the two hour drive to the entrance to the quarry where the cave is situated. t was here that we met up with the landowner Mark who lived just up the road and turned up already dressed in his wetsuit and eager to find out what lay underground, now there’s a turn-up for the books. It was a grade 1 change on flat ground, no mud, in sunshine and warmth, no howling gale, sleet or ice. Soon kitted up we headed all of fifty metres to the entrance, easy peasy. Andrew had the key for the gate so he entered first to get the inner gate open and we all followed after him so there wasn’t a people-jam in the entrance tube.
Inside the rock was much darker than we’re used to in most of the Dales and had a South Walean feel to it. There was lots of walking, some clambering over rock falls and quite a bit of deep wading in a narrow but reasonably spacious streamway. There’s quite a fossiliferous band and lots of coral that we don’t often see in our area. The streamway has lots of small ledges reminiscent of Lost John’s entrance series though not as large. Though we didn’t see any, Andrew told us to look out for white trout as he’d seen one on an earlier visit, I guess they heard us coming as we floundered our way upstream.
There’s only a few narrow bits to negotiate as we were only going up to Feldspar Chamber with Andrew placing air monitors on the way and us trying to give Mark a quick lesson in cave formation and speleothems. After a few quick photos just as a record we headed back out, Mark was majorly impressed and quite made up with his trip underground. I was pleased to have negotiated the cave without any further damage to my shoulder and we emerged into the same balmy weather to change in sunshine. Mark invited us back to his farmhouse for a quick snack before we set off back home, all in all a very pleasant foray into the north of our region even though we got nowhere near the end of the cave which apparently gets a bit gnarlier beyond our furthest point, but hey ‘who cares wins’.
Manganese Coated Nodules Mark and Andrew in Chamber Mark, Graham and Andrew