Crackpot Cave - 7th February 2016
With the wind blowing and sleet showers forecast, Ron and I decided to take up Paul Brooks’ email invitation to members of sections other than caving wishing to answer that nagging doubt about exploring the underworld and joined the caving trip setting off from Grinton Youth Hostel as part of the activities for the AGM weekend.
There was a group of 7 of us led by Paul and Andy. We took a short drive to Summer Lodge farm where we changed into suitable clothing and wellies and were kitted out with helmets, lamps and knee pads.
After a short but steep uphill walk we arrived at the entrance to Crackpot Cave which looked very small. Paul explained that the start of the exploration involved about a 10 minute crawl (known as the Kneewrecker) and then the cave opened up into larger spaces. I was very apprehensive as the way ahead looked very narrow but, as I ended up right in the middle of the group, I had no option but to get on my tummy and crawl forwards. After the initial crawl we found ourselves in a sizeable chamber where we saw many stalactite straws.
We continued down to an underground stream where, inevitably, we got wet as the chilly water came up over our wellies. In the next chamber we saw an impressive column where stalactite had grown down to reach stalagmite. The next stage involved a scramble up to the Turnip Field – another large cave with an impressive ceiling of stalactites. We crawled along another passage and along another stream to reach journey’s end. By this time the water in my wellies had warmed up nicely.
We retraced our route back to the surface. By the time we reached the Kneewrecker section I was beginning to feel quite tired but suddenly we popped back out of the entrance – and into a cold wind. Underground it was very still and the effort of moving through the passages and streams kept us quite warm. I don’t think I will make a caver but I thoroughly enjoyed this exploration of the underworld and would like to thank Paul and Andy for looking after us so well and making it a trip that I will remember for a long time.