Wednesday, 17 January 2018
I met up with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters at White Scar Caves recently, to do a spot of caving! White Scar is up near Ingleton, on the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, deep underneath Ingleborough, one of the famous Yorkshire 'Three Peaks'. It is the longest 'show cave' (ie: those that the general public can enter) in Britain, as visitors can walk about half a mile inside the system, though experienced cavers have, of course, explored much further into the whole system of tunnels.
The system was first discovered in the 1920s but some of the guided walk we took was opened up much more recently. There is a trail of natural tunnels that have had concrete paths laid, metal walkways with streams flowing beneath and some long staircases; some sections require you to double over and creep under low overhangs. The hard hats were mandatory and very necessary. I'm not a great fan of being underground in enclosed spaces... You'd never get me actually potholing, even when I was younger. But the visitor trail is safe inside, even for little children to walk through, and the caves are very interesting. It does sometimes flood, but they have a careful monitoring system and would not allow you inside if there was any danger. The children had to wear woolly hats under their safety helmets. Even then, the littlest one managed to knock hers off (there was no chin strap) and lose it in the abyss!