09 January 2009

Going deeper underground

For the past three days I relocated to some rather splendid timber lodges, known as The Timberlodges, over in Ingleton. These three days were for my degree in Outdoor Leadership, the main aim was to head underground, explore the many cave systems in the Yorkshire Dales and learn how to plan a caving trip for a group of peers.

A snow blanket laying over Newton Rigg.

Tuesday night came and put a lot of snow down over the region and made the drive into university, to get the minibus, down to the Dales rather interesting. We had a morning of collecting gear, travelling and lectures before heading underground around Selside into the Long Churn Cave system.

Entering Thistle Cave by the Shake Hole.

Walking back to the van at the Ribblehead Viaduct.

When Thursday came we had further lectures before we eventually got back into the damp gear of the day before to explore Thistle Cave and Runscar Cave just east of the Ribblehead Viaduct.

Walking up to the Great Douk Cave.

Limestone Pavement on the side of Ingleborough.

After descending these caves, which appeared considerably sedate compared to the previous days caving, we headed over to the cave system of Great Douk, which livened things up as there was a very long crawl in a very confined space down a nice cold, stream.

Abseiling into Calf Holes.

Somewhere in the cave system of Calf Holes and Browgill Cave.

On the final day we entered the world of vertical caving with an abseil and a ladder climb into Calf Holes, which leads down to Browgill Cave. However, the group I was with entered at Browgill Cave went up through the cave, with some poor route finding, before eventually climbing the ladder and then abseiling straight back down to descend through the cave and pop out, once again, at the exit of Browgill Cave.

This was my first time caving and I thoroughly enjoyed myself underground in some fairly confined spaces. I may even venture into the caves again and see about getting some more interesting pictures one of these days.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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