Going underground before it’s my time

Report by Leo. Pictures by Cath.


On one of the sunniest days of the year 11 of us decided to go caving. After eating Caveman Breakfasts at the Inglesport Cafe we headed for the Ireby Fell Cavern. After a series of 30’ climbs down wobbly ladders we had brought along, we got to a breathtaking underground water course carved through the limestone. The passage was tall but narrow at times, you had to walk sideways to get through. The walls glistened with gold, which on closer inspection appeared to be possibly a golden fungus.

carved by water

There were stalactites all over the place. Some of them resonated tunefully if you tapped them. At other times the cave became a low wide passage and you had to get down on hands and knees to get through. At one bit it was so low that you had to get half submerged in the shallow water to get through. It was here that I kicked Will in the face because he was getting too close. Fortunately my foot was alright. Cath got me back later by standing on my thumb when I helped her get onto a ladder.


Further down, the cave changed to more river-bed like. It had silt in it and no stalactites. This was near the end when the cave reaches the water table. We then turned around and headed back up. Since I was wearing a harness I ended up pulling the short straw and was the last person to get up the dangling last ladder. Rather than get left behind I struggled manfully to get my foot out of a tangle and onto the first rung. With all this dangling about I discovered how much I need to work on my upper-body strength. Somehow I made it to the top with my jelly arms. After that it became a bit of an endurance test to climb up the other ladders. I had no energy left over to marvel at this underground carving hidden away in the bowels of Yorkshire. I vaguely remember Dinny flashing past like a giant yellow mole, as he, Mike and Adrian safety-ed everyone out of the cave.


We all came out completely knackered, but my aching shoulders are now a tangible reminder of this journey to an amazing hidden world.



One Response

  1. You guys are very brave to go down into the cave. Sounds like it was a very tight squeeze to get in and out. Great adventure!

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