It all started a couple of weeks ago during the York Uni Club’s Christmas Meal (or lack of - which is another story!). As we were staying at Halton Gill bunk barn, we had planned a trip to nearby Curtain Pot and in unusual efficiency had even pre-packed the ropes the weekend before after a Sunday dig in Canary Pot. However, Storm Arwen had other ideas as we awoke to a snow-covered Dales and lack of electricity. Still in high... read more
Imperial College Caving Club has contributed many cavers to the Northern Pennine Club in its time. Several of us are still heavily involved with the student club. At the beginning of September 2021, the week before the official NPC meet in Scotland, ICCC stayed at the GSG to visit the caves in Assynt. There were seven joint ICCC/NPC members on the trip - me (Fiona), Rhys, Cecilia, Dave, Jack, Diss, and Ana - and I thought I would mention that... read more
We had guests to impress. Chloe had been to caves in France, Sardinia , Austria, Spain, Slovenia. One form of cave food she would bring was slices of a fluffy fruity sweet bread which apparently fitted perfectly inside her oversuit chest pocket. This was telling that she had been missing out on some fine UK cave passages. She was fully aware of that. She demanded water, mud, and trips from the black book which she had studied thoroughly. We assured she... read more
A series of short passages. Reminiscences, reflections and ruminations from a caving life
The book is 210 pages, 50 chapters plus notes etc., with many fine photographs and other illustrations (thanks to numerous kind people for providing these).
It is available in hardback (100 copies available) at £20, and in paperback (500 copies available) at £10. To order a copy, or copies, of the book follow the guide below:
1. Go to cavefishes.org.uk.
2. Find the Menu, top right, and drop to the bottom... read more
Saturday 14th August - The Curse of Dihedral
A prerigged Gaping Ghyll was a succesfull lure to draw our party of four up the slopes of Ingleborough. The long tramp up Clapdale lane is not so long with shoulders unburdened by tackle, and the day was welcomely mild and overcast. On our way up we met a behatted Craven member who was descending after rigging Dihedral the previous day. This piqued our interest significantly as we have some history with the entrance.
A... read more
Photo: I was never aware of the existance of cave formations in Gaping Gill. I decided these were my favourite during our trip down Whitsum Series. I climbed up to stand next to them, lighting them up, so the cameraman of the trip could not ignore them. — credit to Rhys Tyers
Just below the top deviation. The two cavers peering down from the pitchhead may have lost interest and left after I shouted my mate should come up before they try... read more
Saturday 31st July - Lost Johns'
I think I am poorly calibrated for summer caving as although it was a damp-ish weekend the subterranean world was quite dry which made our choice of wet weather caves seem a bit silly. Still better than being drowned.
We visited Lost Johns' on Saturday, doing a Dome/Centipede exchange with a crack subteam descending Valhalla. Ana and Diss shared the rigging down Dome and Fiona, Clive and I followed. Above Battleaxe we met the other group... read more
On Sunday 12th June, a team of four CDG divers (Josh Bratchley, George Linnane (me!), Mark Burkey and Mitchell Parry) completed the diving traverse from from Ireby Fell Cavern to Committee Pot (Notts 2) via Notts 1 with sherpa support from Clive Westlake, Bartek and Paulina Biela and Ellen Cooper.
A lot of work had been carried out the previous weekend, with support from Chris Jewell, Andrew Rice, Craig Eley and Louis Phelps, including rigging of Ireby Fell Cavern from top... read more
Cautley Spout, the UK’s highest above-ground, year-round, cascade waterfall, drops 193 m in the Howgill Fells north of Sedbergh. It’s almost certainly the best canyon in England, and probably in the UK. Given the travel restrictions, we can’t jet off to Ticino for a week of canyoning, so we decided to take a look at something a bit closer to home.
Rhys, admiring the falls we are about to descend.
Cecilia, Rhys and I made an early... read more
Saturday 22nd May - Gypsum Tripsum
The rain gauges warned of recent heavy rain, and the forecast hinted at unpredictable conditions (the lightning cloud with rain and sun symbol is a fine bit of iconography). Unwilling to engage in a breath holding competition I wracked my brain for some safe wet weather caving. I cunningly suggested Easegill, which has the appearance of decisive decision making but still leaves the actual nitty gritty of which section of the 60km long cave to... read more
Having braved Black Shiver the previous day, we decided we deserved a day with increased food-consumption to caving ratio.
We each carried one tackle sack of some rope and SRT gear. Mine had extra weight of easy peelers, one for each caver plus a final one we placed at the entrance of Out Sleet's Beck. Rhys went inside the cave last — if we were to find the warning easy peeler inside the cave, he wanted to be first to get out.
The slither into... read more
Glorious day. We entertained the idea of white furries for caving. (Photo credit: Rhys Tyers)
Where do you lay your eyes when you are dangling in the middle of a great big pitch? Dave said he closed his eyes going down and only observed the space while he had plenty of time on the way up, whereas Rhys looked around both ways. I try to absorb every detail during the descend, as the laborious climb always disperse my focus. To each his own way... read more
This blog is an homage and honour of Tigers Lakes meets. I was wandering up to Stony Cove Pike a few weeks ago and thought I should put something together to honour of Tigers Meets.
It was to be a trip to Wasdale again with us camping or vanning at The National Trust campsite nestled at Wasdale head, surrounded by Pillar, Yewbarrow, Great Gable, Scarfell, Illgill and a short wander for refreshments at the Pub.
A couple of years ago we wandered... read more
We had a very specific selection of ropes; We had maillons; We had to optimise for doing only the necessary travel to get ourselves underground. All hurdles, but we identified our cave candidate nonetheless. The weather god was impressed, so he granted us weather with the strongest caving vibe. Come what may. Our plan needed no mercy from him, so we would be the ones laughing till the end. Except at the parking bay, we saw two other cavers had already changed... read more
It had become harder to find that same sense of humour he used to employ when writing trip reports, Jack reflected, perhaps because the novelty of caving had worn away. Fewer screw-ups, Rhys added. Half of his face was illuminated by the fireplace next to him. I quietly slouched on one end of the sofa as I tried to recall the day. It was pleasant, smooth, but indeed ordinary. Caving had been more of a sport than an adventure for... read more
Socially distanced posing around the entrance to Tatham Wife Hole, Ingleborough in the background. Photo credit: Rhys Tyers.
Although individuals have been able to get underground throughout the summer, to no-one’s surprise 2020 hasn’t been the best year for club caving. Greenclose is now open for pre-booking by members in small groups though. A small group of us took advantage of this in September and ended up catching a fantastically sunny weekend, the last gasp of summer before the autumn... read more
A merry gang of twenty-five potholers spent two weeks in Slovenia and visited a dozen caves in the lowland karst.
A short way from Laze is the Planinsko Polje, a large flat-bottomed plain surrounded by wooded limestone hills. Running through this is the river Unica, which resurges from Planinska Jama and disappears into a line of sinks along the edge of the polje. After each time this river resurges and flows across a polje it takes on a different name, hence... read more
My caving weekend began in the hot underbelly of London, crammed between raucous French schoolchildren with no regard for tube etiquette and banker wankers spoiling my weekend get away by going on their weekend get away. This form of underground holds no appeal and I was glad to emerge in Paddington and find a seat on the waiting train.
I let my guard down and began to relax. As I settled in for an enjoyable 2 hours of reading, I was... read more
Grotte de Saint-Marcel in the Ardèche, France. Photo credit: Clive Westlake
In May 2019 the NPC again made pilgrimage to France, and from my wording you can tell this means I've written a pretentious blog post about it! The destination was the Ardèche for a week. Named after the river (as so many French departments are), it is especially famed for limestone and caves, in particular the World Heritage Site of Chauvet Cave and Pont D’Arc. The sport caving is very fine too.
"This cave is rather casually stal-ed."
"I don't think that's how the word ‘casually’ is used."
I was stooping in a small chamber, taking up the last bit of its space that was not already occupied by speleothems --- I have found this word which would rescue this post from repetitive mentions of cave formations --- as I imagined how people might have tried to tape them all out of bound if this were in Yorkshire. But this was not... read more
Black Shiver was on the meets list for Easter but did not materialise on Good Friday and I went on a fun photography trip down Sunset Hole instead, learning about the additional parking beside the St Leonards church in Chapel-le-Dale, the footpath through Southerscales and the way back to Ingleton along the road beneath Twistleton Scars (the other side of the dale from the B6255). This would be helpful the next day!
Dave, Diss and Úna arrived on Friday evening looking... read more
The weather was good, the sky was clear; drop everything for Meregill Hole. It had been over 10 years since I last descended the depths of Meregill, the last being with the York Uni crowd and some rather inexperienced freshers. The result was a very cold nine-hour trip, most of it spent going up, missing call-out by an hour to find our "rescuer" on the surface, mostly passed out drunk.
I was keen to go back, with a strong team and... read more
Over winter 2018-2019 the club’s had a couple of trips to South Wales and I’ve had the pleasure of attending both. I’m naturally a Yorkshire caver by dint of physical proximity and since joining the NPC I’ve mainly delved into caves in Yorkshire and France. I know next to nothing about South Wales – but the region has made a case for itself recently.
At the end of November ten members descended on the Chelsea Speleological Society’s home at Whitewalls on... read more
At the NPC we had an excellent New Year celebration to welcome 2019. In the last days of 2018 there were caving trips to Maracaibo and Arson Shaft in Easegill, Vesper Pot, Valley Entrance and Swinsto Hole in Kingsdale, and Rift Pot on the Allotment. The final trip of the year on New Year's Eve was a club bonanza down Lost Johns', with everybody reaching the master streamway.
25 members then tucked into a huge delicious feast at home in Greenclose.... read more
The blog has been quiet this summer since the family meet of May and the trip to the Grands Causses in France, but only because we were still out and about taking advantage of the excellent weather instead of writing it all down! The facebook group and website galley are full of great photographs of caves and social events, and there are definitely more out there. Trip reports of some of our shenanigans will undoubtedly follow in the next newsletter which is due... read more
In May 2017 the NPC visited the Grands Causses region of France for two weeks, staying in Meyrueis and venturing out in all directions to sample a number of the many caves in the area. Armed with both the knowledge gained from 2017 and with an updated set of more objectives, we returned to the region in May 2018 for another two weeks of caving, cycling, walking, and talking about the weather.
The Grands Causses are a group of limestone plateaus... read more
The new ‘Premier Inn’, constructed single-handedly by President Tiger, had opened for business (Trip Advisor reviews to follow). The forecast was decent. Even better, the previous days had been quite dry. All things considered it was definitely time to go caving. Those who descended on Greenclose over Easter (29th March – 2nd April) all thought so, even the ones who weren’t actually there to go caving (it's been whispered that the Pennine
enjoys tolerates other outdoor pursuits... don't tell anyone).
But the main event was... read more
An update to the club website has been long over-due but finally, here it is. It's quite a change from the previous one and will hopfully show off the club in a much better light. No doubt it will evolve over time and some bugs will be ironed out but it's going to be a work in progress.
Public features inlcude a blog which will hopfully fill up with interesting articles on trips, digging and other club (mis)adventures. A new gallery... read more
The NPC has an impressive record of cave discoveries and exploration. Before I joined in 2015, I remember perusing Northern Caves on many a winter evening; and a handful of clubs seemed to account for a disproportionate number of discoveries. Of course, the Gritstone Club and Yorkshire Ramblers, each formed around 200 BC (or something like that), were prolific; they were having their heyday in cave exploration before the NPC was even a twinkle in the eyes of our founding members. The... read more
A Happy New Year to everyone. Kath and I were at Greenclose for New Year and we had an excellent evening meal cooked by Rachael. We were joined by members of the York Caving Club. They had originally booked a meal at the Indian restaurant in Bentham, but due to last minute cancellations, Rachael invited them to join us. Our thanks to her for all the hard work she put into preparing it during the day.
The Winter Dinner
The Winter Dinner was at the Whoop Hall near... read more
It was great to see 50 people attend the Winter Dinner at the Whoop Hall including some new (at least to me) faces. The Whoop Hall turned out to be a great venue and I would like to thank Fiona once again for finding it and for her faultless organisation of the evening. The activities during the day saw 17 people descend either Lost Johns’ cavern or Committee Pot on Leck Fell and a further 10 descend Link Pot on Casterton Fell. The evening meal was rounded off... read more