Malham

Posted by Swaledale Outdoor Club on 2009-11-07

Malham Barn was a very good base, if a little too hot. Thanks to James for organising the weekend. A pity more cavers didn't come.

Paul did a lot of thinking about this trip, and many caves were mentioned – Pikedaw Calamine Caverns, Outsleets Beck, Gorbeck Cave, Ftfagos Pot, Wizard's Cavern, Attermire, Victoria.

I arrived Friday. After Saturday breakfast I went for a walk over the magnificent Malham Cove – I found the spot to rig an abseil from, but I couldn't see any bolts. Back to the barn as the cyclists departed. Paul soon turned up with a map and the original article about Wizard's Cavern's discovery from a 10 year old copy of Descent. We parked up on the fell, got half changed, returned to the barn for my missing welly, went back to the fell and were eventually changed and ready to go before twelve...

Discoverers of new cave can be quite secretive, and this was no exception – the article contained only a 4 digit OS grid reference, leaving us a 1km square to search. We walked in about ½ mile, and walked up and down, strip searching our kilometre, mostly grass covered limestone pavement, in the rain.

After an hour or so of this, quite cold and wet, our thoughts turned to Ftfagos & Attermire Cave.  We walked over, descended the 100m or so steep grass & scree slope to the main path – quite exciting in my slick-soled wellies, and headed along to Attermire, finally getting underground at 2.35 – I think this may be an SOC record?

Attermire was well worth a visit though – all the way in it looked like it was about to peter out, and then went on around another corner, or over another boulder. It's very well decorated ancient fossil cave, with a bit of moisture in the middle (when we visited) to deter the casual visitor. It also has a voice connection to Horseshoe Cave, with a howling draught blowing through – after examining this we went around to Horseshoe for a quick look at the other side.

We then headed back to the car, agreeing to leave Victoria for another day, since we were both still cold from too much walking and not enough caving.  Back to Malham in good time for a beer before dinner.

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