On Friday night at 6pm nine of us left from the Henderson Scout Hall in Kilmarnock, 6 explorers – 4 guys and 2 girls - as well as 3 Leaders, and set off on our journey to the North Yorkshire Dales National Park where we would be staying at a fantastic place called “The Dump” – the club headquarters of the “Bradford Potholing Club” near Horton-in-Ribblesdale. After four long but fun hours, we arrived at about 10:30. The first thing we did was emptied the bus and prepared our rooms. We were then made a tasty supper, by Jim - hot dogs – and after a few hours of chat, we all went to bed!
The next morning, we were all woken at 7:30 and enjoyed a hearty fried breakfast and after making our sandwiches for lunch, we set off to the first cave of the day – “Upper Long Churns” near Selside. We got out the bus and got dressed in our fashionable – one size fits all – waterproof green suits with hardhats and torches. We walked up to the cave entrance and prepared to go underground!
As soon as we entered the cave, we could hear the water roaring at the waterfall at the other end of the cave and it didn’t take long for us to get our feet wet. This quickly spread to other areas as we headed further into the darkness of the churns. Wading through the water, which was extremely cold, started off easy but the narrower the cave got, the faster the water was flowing and the harder it got to move forward against it. We got to a point where we were helping each other to climb a water cascade and the current was getting too strong for the smaller explorers, so we turned around and headed back out to daylight, where other cavers were waiting to attempt the churns themselves. At that point we headed back to the bus, got stripped of our wet gear and headed to Ingleton to “Bernies Café” for a much needed hot chocolate and giant Yorkshire puddings!
In the afternoon, we headed north of Ingleton to another cave, “Yordas – Main Chamber”. Yordas was a much larger cave with an impressive waterfall at the back. Inside the chamber was impressive. It was 50 feet high and the walls were reflecting the light from the head-torches with the water running down them. It wasn’t as wet as the churns, but there was still a foot of water all around to walk through. We set back to the bus after a quick session of green suit grass sliding!
When we got back to “The Dump” we had a warm shower and relaxed until dinner. For dinner we had homemade chicken curry, apple pie, custard and later on we had pizzas for supper. After that we all chilled out in the sitting room by the fire and talked about what had happened that day and what we would like to try again next time.
On the Sunday morning, we had a late breakfast and tidied our stuff away for packing into the minibus. We all did a chore and then got in the bus and headed to Ingleton for some souvenir shopping and snacks for the trip home.
We arrived back at 5:30pm absolutely shattered but smiling! A good time had by all!!!