Long Churn

Yolanda, Scott, Yulia (3rd caving trip), Andy (1st caving trip)

Report from Yolanda:

Long Churn is a classic trip for a novice caver. On Sunday, Scott and myself took Andy (first ever trip) and Yulia (third ever trip) for a potter around Long Churn. We clambered around double shuffle pool and plank pool before wriggling through the cheese press. There was a queue at Dolly Tubs, so we carried on exploring the cave. After a lot of falling in while trying to ascend the waterfall above Doctor Bannister’s Handbasin, we went back above ground for a bit of a break to dry out before going back to Dolly Tubs for a descent and a look round. After a good couple of hours underground we made our way back to the surface, with a bit more falling into pools on the way out. The Yorkshire Dales looked magnificent, and I suddenly realised in a flash of understanding that Long Churn was the first cave I did when I went for a caving trip with my university back in 2014! Thanks Scott for leading us on a great trip.



Long Churn

Yolanda, Pete, Nat (Pete’s son), Andy (friend of Pete’s), Steve (1st KCC trip)


Report by Yolanda:

On Saturday, the crew went for a trip down Long Churn, in the foothills of Ingleborough. We had a rather warm 20 minute walk before reaching the lovely cool cave – the lower entrance to Long Churn. The stream level was much lower than usual due to the warm weather, but when we reached the first pool, Pete lost his footing and went in with rather a splash! I was a minute or so behind him and hadn’t realised it was an accident, so not wanting to be outdone, I leapt into the pool myself – very refreshing after an uphill walk in my caving kit, although possibly not worth spending the rest of the trip in wet clothes.
Andy, Nat, and Steve managed to climb around the edge of the pool, and we continued through the cave to the Cheese Press, which I’m happy to say we all made it through! After a bit more scrambling around we then went back via a different tunnel before arriving at Dr Bannister’s Handbasin. This is usually a beautiful and tranquil pool but on Saturday it was the site of some kind of ‘take your kid caving’ event as there was a group of about a dozen parents and children. The youngest were about four and hopefully there were some future KCC members among them! Our group then scrambled up the waterfall out of Long Churn’s top entrance and back into the sunlight! A great little trip and hopefully a good introduction to caving for Steve.
Report by Pete:
Another trip for a first time caver courtesy of Yolanda with Steve joining us for the ever popular Long Churns. Andy and Nat have both visited before but the opportunity of a repeat trip appealed.
The dry spell meant there was no water at all at the entrance, and none to speak of in the lower churns. Not that that stopped me soaking myself well at Double Shuffle Pool – which puzzled some of the party who wisely opted for staying dry.
Nat happily led the way through the Cheesepress and we were soon at Dolly Tubs.
Heading back up stream we soon met a family who we’d seen as we left cars, the youngster of the group seemed to be having a great time. Andy took the branch into a low passage which turned out to go further than I remembered, spitting us out in the upper churns
On we went to Dr B’s where a brief rest was taken as we waited for a party coming down the chute. This turned out to be Bradford Pothole Club on a family day out, as Yolanda said it seemed we’d chosen “Take you child caving day”.
Soon we were back on the surface just in time for a feeble attempt at rain.
Thanks to Yolanda for organising this.

Katnot Cave

Darren, Emma, Vikki, Alec, Maz (3rd KKC trip), James (2nd KCC trip), Ray

A short novice trip, fearlessly led by Darren. I’d never been to Katnot before, so I was looking forward to this one. The clocks had changed the previous weekend, so for the first time this year we were changed and at the cave entrance in daylight. It was still a bit cold, though.

The trip started in a most unexpected fashion, with Darren leading us straight to the entrance! And what a nice entrance it is too. Unfortunately, after the recent rain, it was a bit on the wet side, which was a bit of a theme through the whole cave. Darren led off with his train following. The main passage is a good size and liberally decorated with flowstone of various colours, red being the most common. Careful not to touch it though… it doesn’t half stain your oversuit. Progress was a bit difficult at times against the fast flowing water.

It’s quite a photogenic cave and we stopped at various points for Darren to take a few snaps. We passed a few side passages, but didn’t take any of them – perhaps we were leaving them for the way out. Vikki and I did stick our heads into one, which looked quite nice (dry, anyway), but we didn’t go far as we didn’t want to lose the others. Eventually the roof lowers and the main passage continues as a (very wet) crawl, with the main flow coming in from an inlet a short distance in. Even after the inlet, the main passage was still very wet, although the flowrate was much less, so progress was easier.

With the roof getting progressively lower, various people decided to turn back at various points. Only Darren, Alec and James made it to the bitter end. Well done guys. Everyone was now thoroughly soaked and getting a bit cold, so we beat a hasty retreat… ignoring all the side passages in our hurry to get back to some dry clothes.

The trip didn’t take long at all, so it was still half light when we emerged. As we were getting changed, who should drive by but our Chairperson Sophie. If that wasn’t the perfect reason to stop off at the Station Inn for a pint I don’t know what is.

A great evening. Cheers Darren!

Photos by Darren.


County Pot

Rhod, Maz (2nd KCC trip), James Benson (1st KCC trip), Ray

A great little midweek novice trip. The weather was uninspiring to say the least… decidedly wet and windy! The long walk across the fell was directly into the wind too. Definitely one of those trips where you’re glad to be below the surface. Given how wet it had been, Easegill Beck was remarkably dry. It wasn’t even that wet underground.

The chosen route was a short roundtrip via Platypus Junction. I had originally planned to go anticlockwise, but opted for clockwise instead, out via Razor Passage and back via Spout Hall. I didn’t want to get all the way round to Razor Passage, only to find it impassable and then have to come all the way back. As it turned out, there were no issues with water levels at all.

We made good progress to the pitch, which we laddered. The climb down into Broadway caused the usual fun and games, but nothing too serious. Then on to Platypus Junction, where we took a short photographic break. Rhod led us out expertly. The spout in Spout Hall was spouting a bit too much to climb up comfortably, so we bypassed it to the right. More fun and games on the climb back up out of Broadway. James somehow managed to get his left leg into a most uncomfortable looking position. I’m still not sure how he managed to get himself out of that position, but he did. Everyone managed the climb back up the ladder without incident. Maz had been a bit concerned about getting back up some of the rifty climbs in the entrance passage, but needn’t have worried as he seemed to fly up them all.

Thankfully the wind was behind us for the walk back across the fell. It was a relatively tough trip for novices, but they both seemed to cope well. They even want to come back for more!

Photos by Ray.

Scoska Cave – 2nd February 2014

Scoska Cave:  Chris H, Andy G, Jason, Paul (work colleague of Chris), John (prospective new member)

Parking in Arncliffe, Scoska is a pleasant mile’s walk along the Skirfare, or it would be in drier weather: today the metalled farm track was welly-deep in running water.  Just as well it’s not a flooder….

A brief clamber uphill, following the beck, brings you to the impressive entrance.  It might be a child’s drawing of a cave – a big square hole leading horizontally into the hill.  Chris treated us to some geological remarks on the (clearly visible) porcellanous band.  In fact the cave’s roof follows the top of this band pretty much in its entirety, so the level flat ceiling stays with you throughout.  I can’t think of another cave so resolutely horizontal, which at least makes it very suitable for new cavers.

At first, it’s easy walking with the added attraction of large numbers of moths snoozing on the walls. Soon we took a right at the first junction and left at the next.  I remembered this much from the survey (carefully printed – and left at home!).  A little notice in the passage announced “Bears”.

By this point it’s hands-and-knees crawling.  Easy enough – but it does go on a bit.  Eventually we could hear the streamway some distance off (or was it the bears snoring?) and even more eventually we reached it.  At this point, I regretted not having the survey – which was the way on?  Turning left, upstream, turned into a lowering crawl in boisterous cold water which wasn’t inviting [the survey shows it really isn’t passable].  Meanwhile, Chris investigated downstream where the water went into a small opening.  He decided against going head-first into a deep pool [wisely – the survey shows a sump!].

That only left the passage off to the right we passed just before the stream.  I checked it out, thinking it would rejoin the stream, but it didn’t – just more hands-and-knees crawling in 6” of water.  After a while, the passage turns to the right in deepening water.  Was this a sump, so I could justly claim to have got to the end?  No, the passage continued, but it looked a bit of a mud wallow.  A determined explorer would have carried on, but out of consideration for the others who had stayed by the stream and were probably getting cold, I turned back.  That’s my story, anyway….  Checking the survey later, I was probably about 20m from the draughting choke that marks the furthest point of the cave.

Returning, we met a family group, warned them of the bears and reached the first junction.  Chris and I checked the left fork out for some distance.  This was more like a normal cave passage, with some variety and even a bit of calcite.  This also turns from walking to crawling to flat-out crawling and after a bit we decided we’d extracted as much fun as we were going to get from the cave.

Regrouping at the entrance, it was voted an unusual cave in that it had so little variety in so much length.  Glad to have done it, but may not be rushing back…  John admitted he had not fallen in love with caving but would try it again.  We’ll make sure he does!