mudinmyhair - home page

Recent updates to these pages:

Dow Cave surveys: June 15 2016: 2nd Choke - detail plan and elevation.
The Malham Dig: May 1, 2016: Complete new section, Malham Tarn Sinks historical and recent events.
The Porcellanous Band: August 16, 2015: new images from Redmire Farm.
The Girvanella Band: August 27, 2015: additional notes on location of GB at Craighead Quarry, Ayrshire including images of Craighead Quarry and of pillow lavas near Girvan.
The Great Whernside Cloudburst: August 31, 2015 Hunterstones-Coverhead-Burn Gill rearranged with additional images of Hunterstones - Coverhead bog burst.


On a dank dismal Sunday morning at the beginning of October 2011, six cavers converged on a remote farmhouse high in the Yorkshire Dales. Their mission: to go where none of them had gone before, except, of course, the navigator, the senior member of the team. The youngest was but nineteen and the eldest seventy four but after an exploratory visit a few weeks earlier, hopes were high and exploration fever was in their blood. Some fifty miles of underground passages lay before them and the aim was to find the correct route through the enormous maze that make up the Lancaster Hole-Easegill Caverns system to regain the surface in distant Easegill. The thirty-five metre entrance pitch, Kath's Way, Bill Taylor's Passage, Fall Pot, Montagu East, Stake Pot, Oake's Cavern, the Minarets, Corne's Cavern, Monster Cavern, Stop Pot, Four Ways Chamber, all were safely negotiated. So too, more by good luck than good management, was the greater part of the Main Drain. Vast caverns, a fabulous underground stream-way, seemingly endless clambering over highly treacherous mud-covered mounds of collapsed rock debris, and last but not least, interminable squeezing and squirming through the serpentine rifts of Wretched Rabbit Passage were their lot. They emerged to fading light six and a half hours later to face a long moorland walk back to the farmhouse: some fifty-six years earlier, the senior member had first traversed a similar route. There were no crowds of fans or supporters to welcome them, no music, no bright lights, no cameras and no timekeepers or stop-watches, no waving flags and no tapes to pass, no cups, prizes, trophies or medals to be awarded. Only a handful of family members and friends knew where they had been or what they had achieved.But this is the magic of the underground, especially our hidden world of the Yorkshire Dales.

The author at Giants' Graves, Penyghent Gill, August 24 2008. Photo by Phil Ryder.

The noted French cave explorer Norbert Casteret wrote that most people know nothing about the underworld and that is most certainly true. In 'Underground Adventure', Arthur Gemmell and Jack Myers tried to answer the question: Why do you go down these holes?" "To view the stalactites or to see the view as the mountaineer might does not answer the question. The sustained thrill, the allurement of mystery, the bite of nailed boots on clean rock... (no we do not use nailed boots now but the grip of today's footwear is equally important) ...the challenge to muscles and lungs on long rope-ladder pitches... (they have long gone too, nevertheless the challenge of ascending a long rope has equal allure) ...a caving trip is an adventure!"

One aim of this website is to make freely available in digital form, and subsequently as 'hard copy' where not already available, the cave surveys and data, observations and pictorial records that I have accumulated over many years. The late Dick Glover was a passionate believer in making his observations freely available and that is only right and proper. One good reason for me to do so is the enormous debt I owe to all those who have spent countless hours measuring and surveying often under difficult conditions. Another reason is the need for accurate records in the event of an accident or incident in any of our caves. Today's technology makes it possible to show the location of underground features directly onto Google maps and suchlike: this may be invaluable in explaining a situation to the layman who has no experience of the underground and I am grateful to Alan Scowcroft for introducing me to these techniques.

 

Another aim of this website is to understand, not what is where, (there are a number of sources which adequately supply such information and some of these are listed below): no, the principal aim of this website to to understand why the caves, potholes and related features that we see around us are where they are today and how they came to be.

A further aim of this website is to make extensive use of digital photography to illustrate features that may be seen out in the field. After all, the aphorism "a good picture is worth a thousand words" holds true in our activities and interests just as it does in any other sphere of interest. Thus, any description or discussion of features observed in the field, is illustrated, where appropriate, together with NGR locations, and so may be re-visited in the field. By the same argument, extensive use is made of historic photographs where suitable.

Steve Warren


Northern Caves 1. Wharfedale and the North-East, (1988) D.Brook, G.M. Davies, M.H. Long, P.F. Ryder. ISBN 0852069278
Northern Caves 2. The Three Peaks, (1991) A. & D. Brook, J. Griffiths, M.H. Long. ISBN 1855680335
Northern Caves 3. The Three Counties System and the North-West, (1994) D. Brook, J. Griffiths, M.H. Long, P.F. Ryder. ISBN 1855680831

This series of three guide books give definitive information on caves and potholes of Dales and the Northern Pennines generally. They are getting dated now and up-to-date information may be found in various caving journals, in the national caving magazine 'Descent', and on the internet.

A potted history of these guides may be downloaded as a pdf file HERE Northern Caves history


Any shortcomings in the text are entirely my own.
If you would like to get in touch or add information, there is an email address:
mudinmyhair@btinternet.com

Steve Warren

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