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Published: September 2nd 2011
The Squeeze is on
a very narrow passage to negotiate - if only we hadn't had all those English Breakfasts
Lindsay and Anne were out yesterday when some new guests knocked on the door, Jeanette let them in and got them organised (as she does), as part of the discussion the guy mentioned how there were some great caves to explore about half an hour from Skipton. He also mentioned a rope making business he was keen to check out, he had been there twice before (on a Saturday) and they had been closed – rope making as a tourist hightlight - Jury very much out on his credibility at this stage.
In the morning they came down for breakfast and not only did they make the novice mistake of not reading the menu but they then proceeded to tell cook Lindsay what they wouldn’t have! Poor old Lindsay he just couldn’t cope (not only had they not read the menu but now they are saying what they don’t want – just too much for any self respecting cook to bear)! He did quite well to control his emotions though as he responded “ Look we’ll start again, this is how it works, you tell me what you WANT to have for breakfast and I write it down on
100 yard long low passage - in hindsight should have had this photo taken from the front (see where I went with that - hindsight!)
my paper then I COOK it – that alright!
A bit later to change the subject we asked Lindsay about the caves and he was away. We got a run down on caving in the area and the suggestion that White Scar Caves in Ingleton was the best bet for tourists, he also gave us a useful map of that area.
We had never heard of the caves so obviously it wasn’t on our ‘To Do’ list but we decided to give it a go. Ingleton was also about half way to the Lakes District which made it easy to carry on and have a bit of a look there. Potentially a good way to spend our last day in the North.
WHITE SCAR CAVES
Are about 10 minutes out of Ingleton, there is a Visitor Centre and the usual shop and cafe and of course a Cave – in fact one of the more significant cave systems in the country.
The cave trips took around 80 minutes and you walked for about a mile into the cave. There were about 20 of us and a very knowledgeable Guide to show us the way and explain
Most of the passage was similar to this
the wonders before us. Apart from the first short bit the path we followed was the natural one cut by water wearing away rock over millions of years. A wire mesh walkway has been built just above the level of the stream and that’s the path you follow deep underground. What this means of course is some parts are particularly narrow and some very low (OK for Jeanette but not so good for me). The first challenging part is a 100 yard stretch called the Gorilla – because for to get through you need to bend over and walk a bit like a Gorilla, later there was the Duck - lower but thank goodness shorter (bit of a waddle), at this stage really wasn’t looking forward to the Worm!
We were all issued with hard hats at the beginning, which was lucky because I got a couple of decent cracks on the noggin when I misjudged the height. Disconcertingly around the path there was the odd abandoned red helmet lodged against a far off rock or in the stream below – didn’t see any bodies though so that was a plus.
There were some very interesting formations on
An awesome experience
the way in and ultimately we came to a huge underground cavern, one of the biggest in the UK (the Battlefield Cavern), which had a fine display of straw stalactites hanging from its roof. We then retraced our steps to get back to the beginning. The whole experience was brilliant, more so because we followed a natural path, despite the odd difficult bit! We would highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in the area.
After visiting the shop – got some awesome (but not very light) stone bookends, then we headed off to the Lakes.
BROWNESS ON WINDERMERE
We actually thought we were going to Windermere but after a delightful journey through some lovely country there was the very nice lakeside town of Browness on Windermere. We found a park (eventually) and had a look around the lakefront and village, then jumped on one of the Lake Cruise boats for a 45 minute cruise around the lakes islands, which also took in some of the most impressive buildings on the mainland. It was a beautiful day for a trip on the water and the views were stunning.
On our return we had a drink and
snack at the Ships Inn before heading back to Skipton.
Earlier in the week we had an awesome Italian meal at a place just down the end of our road and because it was our final day in Skipton we decided to treat ourselves again. Tomorrow it’s off the Bath for 3 nights before heading back to London.
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