Hello, my name is Mal Tabb.
Thanks for visiting our web pages. Marion & I operate a small outdoor activity organisation called Canoes, Mountains & Caves. We provide activities for: adults, young people, schools, charities, families & individuals. A key aspect of our work is the provision of a "Community Programme" which is offered free of charge to participants. If you think we might be able to help please don't hesitate to contact us, you can find out more about what we do on our main website www.canoesmountainscaves.com

Monday, 20 October 2014

Underground Over the Weekend

The rain has been lashing down in Cumbria this morning and with weather warnings "pinging" in as Atlantic lows spiral towards us the week ahead has a distinctly changeable and autumnal feel to it. There's a pile of caving gear just outside the back door which I'm putting off giving some attention to cleaning & sorting out - for now updating social media from the warmth and comfort of the office is a little more appealing!

However, given the present weather outlook I guess we were blessed to be able to get underground this weekend, especially on Friday evening when a good forecast meant we were able to visit a natural cave in the Yorkshire Dales rather than the mines of the North Pennines. A group of four, with two complete newcomers, allowed us to incorporate an element of the vertical into a visit to Valley Entrance in West Kingsdale - I always feel that the inclusion of this short ladder pitch transforms the whole "Valley experience" enabling the transition from the fossil passages of the entrance itself to the clean washed classic Yorkshire Dales"canyonway" to be savoured. The endeavour then associated with ascending the ladder to exit the system makes for a satisfying short outing.

Saturday, by contrast, was a very different underground experience. The rain that fell in squally torrents as we prepared ourselves on the former Nenthead Heritage Centre car park mattered little to our day other than for its temporary interruption to the groups transformation into underground explorers. There were twelve of us, which for me is a large group. We trudged up the familiar track alongside the beck to the Smallcleugh portal from where we made a lengthy tour of the more popular parts of this old lead mine stopping often to consider its geology; its features and the social history of those that lived and worked in the area. Smallcleugh Flats; Wheel Flats; "The Ballroom"; Gulley Back Cross Cut and more we spent a good four hours wandering the passages of this extensive system eventually emerging into welcome bright sunlight for the walk back down to our vehicles.

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