An underground adventure

Friday 24 February 2017

Trips Manager Ben delves deep into a beautiful corner of Yorkshire on a caving day out with Lost Earth Adventures.

Ben's caving group

Ben (second from right) will fellow cavers on their Lost Earth Adventures trip

Sunday saw me driving deep into the heart of one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful areas in the search for adventure. Nidderdale doesn’t get the same recognition as other, better-known areas of Yorkshire, but it is no less stunning than the Dales or the North Yorkshire Moors. 

It is a spectacular and remote stretch of countryside, all imposing valleys and winding country roads. There may be no mobile phone signal, but there is an abundance of quality outdoor activity options. 
 
I was meeting the team from Lost Earth Adventures, and we were going to be spending a few hours going underground, caving. 

And it is a testament to the secrets of the area that we went somewhere I had never heard of; despite living my whole life just half an hour’s drive away. Today we were going caving in Goyden Pot and Manchester Hole. 

Nidderdale boasts an extensive caving network. There are almost 10km of hidden passageways to explore, and they are all connected too. It is a great stretch of underground assault course!

The perfect winter activity

We got kitted out in our overalls, gloves, head torches and helmets and down we went. Although it was the middle of January and a brisk 4 degrees above ground, it was quite warm in the caves. No wind chill and being surrounded by thick rock means the temperature underground is normally okay all year round. In fact, as no weather can bother you and because you have to supply your own light source, caving is, surprisingly, the perfect winter activity! 
 
We spent the next few hours slipping, sliding and squeezing our way through the cave network. Word of warning, you will get wet, and you will get muddy! At one point, we were literally up to our necks in it with only my head poking out from above an underground stream. Lost Earth did a great job of looking after the group, making sure that everyone knew what they were doing and were safe. They also made it clear that you could leave at any point you didn’t feel comfortable. 
 
It was great fun but also interesting to learn about the geology of the caves. There was an impressive number of fossils of prehistoric sea creatures. One of the walls of the caves we saw was even made completely from the fossilised remains of ancient sea life. Amazing to think that these huge caverns were once all underwater. 
 
When we eventually came up for air again, everyone was caked in mud but had had a great time. All that was left to do was get changed into our clean, warm change of clothes and have a glass of hot juice to heat us back up. We all went home happy and definitely ready for our tea after what was a fantastic day out for all the family.
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