Giggleswick Scar, 26/11/23

Giggleswick Scar, 26/11/23

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    Cavers: Chris Scaife, Carolina Smith, Oscar Scaife, Duncan Jones, John Proctor, Alex Ritchie

    The morning after a damn fine annual dinner at the Helwith Bridge, we went for breakfast at Ye Olde Naked Man in Settle. As the time came to say goodbye to the old naked man (Sharman) and the café itself, some of us had a wild idea to go for a walk on Giggleswick Scar.

    We parked in a small lay-by near the golf club and followed a path into the woods. The path stayed below the crag and presented one or two challenges to those of us bearing a child carrier with child. The first cave we stumbled upon was Staircase Cave, at the foot of the crag. Oscar was particularly keen to reach the bitter end of this one, up a slope that was quite slippery, especially when wearing trainers and pushing a child. I completely forgot I still had my waterproof jacket on until I exited with muddy elbows. A grade 2 cave, apparently – a higher grade than Great Douk.

    We followed the path, which just became more and more adventurous, until we were past the crag and into the open. We then found Buckhaw Brow Caves – one wide entrance to a dead end, and two smaller tubes. Oscar was quite determined to stay in one of the caves and I had to carry him out.

    Heading back across the scar, Dunc and Alex looked in a patch of woodland beside a dry valley and found Dangerous Cave. This looked as if it continued quite big, but reaching the wide bit would require a bit of a muddying on a slippery climb – and we were all in our Sunday best – so we had to leave this one unconquered.

    At the top of the dry valley was Kinsey Cave, with some hard as nails bolted routes spewing forth from the maw. In caving terms however, it was a mere trot to the back wall without even needing a light. I’m so glad we’re gnarly cavers and not cissy climbers. A bit beyond that was Wall Cave, which gives a fun chimney climb if you’re not bearing a child carrier.

    After all that caving, all that was left to do was walk around the quarry and back to the car, which is what we would have done if Alex hadn’t insisted on us all trying to cut across the crag, putting all of us into grave danger. It would have been a simple walk, but it turned into an epic in which we were no longer in control of whether we lived or died.

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