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Yorkshire Dales - new cave

12th-13th January 2013 - Tony Brocklebank (via Yahoo group)

Well as weekends caving go this one was pretty good. It's rare to be able to report a new cave in West Kingsdale. This weekend we've found two.

Friday night Dan, Collette, Si, Di and Tom joined us for Big Steve's birthday curry and we once again impressed the Baltistan staff with our red wine talents, before enjoying a shattering midnight game of basketball in Steve's lounge.

John Southworth called last week to say he'd found a draughting slot on a line from Duke Street through Large and Rift about half way to Keld Head, so on Saturday Dave Milner, John, Sue, Tom and I headed up and began digging and joined later by Steve and Susie (both looking much better than first thing).

Dave and I got on with the hard work while Tom, as he does, went for a walk and promptly turned over a boulder to reveal a shaft. Even though the two caves are at a similar height and just twenty or thirty metres apart the one we were digging was sucking in icy air at an unbelievable rate, whilst so much warm air was pouring out of Tom's that you only needed to stand over the entrance to warm up despite a strong cold wind outside. Tom, John and Steve shot off down the shaft, Dave and I tried to follow before realising that Tom had nicked my helmet and Steve was wearing Dave's. As Steve climbed out the sounding of rumbling boulders hitting soft Welsh legs drifted back to us, Tom claimed he was OK (although he's now moaning about sore fingers and legs), Tom came out, I started in and John announced he'd hurt himself as well. He made his own way out and X-rays have since confimed he's broken a rib.

At around the same time as all this excitement Dave and I had got about two metres down in the dig and uncovered black space below, which by the end of the day we were just able to insert Tom into, who announced it was a chamber and then came back out.

All plans for a quiet Sunday lie in and roast beef dinner were promptly cancelled, we booked into the Bunkhouse for the evening and invited Si and Di to join us.

Sunday saw Dave, Sue, Tom and I back at the dig with Si and Di surveying as well as Chris Camm and Gordon with Lugger supervising.

Si and Di have surveyed 55m in Tom's cave, two passages radiate off from the entrance, and both end's draughting cold air (I'm not sure which way). The source of the warm air hasn't been resolved but it was still pouring out of the entrance.

The second cave entrance was enlarged and this drops into a slanting chamber, with lying down and turning over room only, dropping to a hole through which small rocks rattle a bit. Si managed to shoot a 4m survey leg through this.

Is it all one cave? Well not exactly. Smoke set off on Saturday was sucked into the dig and wasn't seen at the second cave entrance, although some did emerge from boulders further up the field more or less on the line of the last survey leg of the cave. Smoke set off at the bottom of the shaft on the Sunday did emerge from the dig, so they are somehow connected, the survey has revealed that the two passages in the cave head away from the dig, whilst the passage in the dig heads away from the shaft, so it's all a bit of mystery!

More to come no doubt!
 

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