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White Scar CaveThe Yorkshire Dales (which generally is taken to include parts of Lancashire and Cumbria) are arguably the best caving areas in Britain.  Mendip, Welsh and Derbyshire cavers may disagree but ...

In very simplistic terms. the Dales consist of a chunk of limestone lifted up along the Craven Fault, roughly the line of the A65 from Kendal to Skipton.  The caves are located north east of this line and tend to be grouped by the valleys they are located in.  The main areas for caving are Casterton Fell, Leck Fell, Ireby Fell, Kingsdale (west and east), Chapel-le-Dale, Ingleborough and the Allottment, Selside, Penyghent and Fountains Fell.  However, there are caves north and east of these areas as well.

Detail may be added to this page in due course but initially it contains (as an example) just some detail about Casterton Fell.

Visiting the Yorkshire (and Lancashire and Cumbria) Dales is now quite easy with motorway links within about half an hour of Ingleton and Clapham.  To stay up there is also easy with several clubs, such as the ones listed under the links, having bunkhouses and there is also a comfortable bunkhouse in Clapham which is very convenient and central.  Meeting places are usually at the caves or at one of the cafes in Ingleton such as Bernie's and Inglesport where caving kit can also be purchased.

Access to caves in The Dales varies between open access (the farmer does not mind - such as at Yordas Cave, asking the landowner and occasionally paying a trespass fee, and obtaining a permit from the CNCC (Council of Northern Caving Clubs).  In common with most caving clubs, the DCC periodically organises club trips to the Dales but small groups also go at other times in the year.

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CASTERTON FELLLancaster Hole, near Fall Pot

The main caves here are the Lancaster-Easegill system with it's numerous entrances, Bull Pot of the Witches and Aycliffe Cave.  Lancaster to Easegill is a classic through trip but there are a number of other options involving just the Easegill Caverns.  There are also trips through Link Pot to Mistral and Pippikin on Leck Fell.  Recently, the whole system from Easegill to Ireby Fell Cavern was connected forming the three counties system although to traverse this would involve some long dives.  Access to Casterton Fell is controlled by the CNCC.

(Photograph taken in Lancaster Hole.)

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In the Dales, you can visit White Scar Cave, Ingleborough Cave and Stump Cross.  Yordas cave is close to the Kingsdale road and only needs a torch so although not a show cave is easily visited by non-cavers.  In addition, the Bradford and Craven clubs run winch meets at Gaping Gill over the Whitsun and August Bank Holiday Weekends when non-cavers are allowed (for a fee) to descend over 100m down the main shaft.

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ALBUMS AND LOG REPORTSThe colonades in Lancaster Hole



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Books and Journals

Numerous journals are available for the various clubs that have been active in the Dales since the early 1900s.  For books, the best reference is of course Northern Caves (volumes 1 to 3) and for historical interest, Underground Adventure by Gemmell and Myers.


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