“ Ingleborough cave is a show cave in the Yorkshire dales „
It's late summer 2009 and the weekend is here again, i know exactly where we are going for a day out but all my partner knows is that we are not going to be walking all day, she has a nasty cough and i think the fresh air will do her good so we are off on a day trip to Ingleborough Cave, i have been there before with a friend but as i have said before i am no big explorer so into the Sat Nav goes the address and off we go.........
A Bit Of A Hike
The Sat Nav was directing me strait past Clapham but i recognised the junction before we past it and managed to take the turn in good time, within a few minutes your driving into the picturesque village of Clapham in the Yorkshire Dales, running along one side of the road is Clapham beck, now i know this makes it sound like a mucky little waterway but it is in fact quite a picturesque "beck" and will feature more as the story continues, on the other side of the road were the grass is always greener you have a few interesting village shops and The New Inn Hotel, there is some street parking here but if you drive past the hotel and turn right there is a National Trust car park sign posted just off the main road, pick up a leaflet here to help you on your way.
Follow the trail across the bridge following the the waterway upstream passing the old church and the waterfall, just ahead here you will find the National Trust payment machine and a sign informing you of the 40p (20p child) ticket price to use this trail so do take some change with you.
As the tarmac path disintegrates into a rough stony trail slowly raising uphill the scenery starts to change from grass to beautiful woodland, i can hear the roar of the waterfall but the woods are getting so dense i can no longer see the water, as the rugged path climbs even higher i spot a bench up ahead where we can stop and take in the scenery, at this point the river turns into a beautiful lake and the sunshine briefly bounces off the still water until a dog chasing for a stick bounds in and brakes the reflection, a couple of hikers pass by at a much greater pace then us as we spend another few minutes watching the kids play fetch with the dog.
Onwards and upwards we go as the river falls into a ravine or are we just getting higher? There are little pathways shooting off into the woods and down the steep hill to the river but we are going to stick to the main path and look forward to the next bench, my partner has not coughed since leaving the car and is really enjoying the walk and the clean fresh air but we are still going to stop and take in the surroundings at this bench which is built into an old stone ruin, a few more people pass on there own journey to and from the cave and almost everybody has a nod, smile or hello for you.
I am glad it's a cool day as the track winds on and up we are both feeling the heat of the walk and i wish i had put some sturdy boots on as i could feel every bump in the track through my flimsy trainers, the river joins us again this time at a more leisurely pace as the woods thin out revealing a gate marking the end of the National Trust track, on firm ground again it's now just a short leisurely walk to what looks like the cave entrants and accompanying buildings up ahead, the river and the track go past the buildings and possibly lead to a future review!
We head towards the shop which is a funny little building, as you go in the door there is seating area with maps, posters and useful information about the Cave and surrounding area, the gentleman who served us with our hot drinks and Cave tour tickets was very pleasant and chatty, as it was getting a bit chilly outside we had a good look round the shop and i bought my partner a amethyst crystal, then we sat in the rest area and had a chat with a few other visitors while we waited for the next tour to start.
We were greeted by our expert cave guide who started off by explaining a few important things about the tour, once inside the entrants you will be supplied with a hard hat, there is a sturdy concrete path throughout the tour, there are 2 low parts were you will have to walk stooped over for a shot time, i will stop and talk about some of the main features of the cave every so often so if you want to take pictures please take them when the group is stopped so you don't fall behind.
We soon find ourselves at the back of the group of about 15 people heading along the concrete path with a small stream running along side us, the cave is lit by well placed "mood lighting" and a few spots to highlight some of the named features such as the Witches fingers,Queens bloomers and Horses leg, this is were the guide stops briefly to tell some interesting stories about them, there are some amazing stalagmites,stalactites and rock formations from the beginning to the end of the cave, halfway through the tour the guide stops and turns all the lights out to show that your eyes don't get used to the pitch blackness, after around 20 mins we come to the end of the line for the tour, the cave goes on beyond this point but only for the experts, on the return journey we stop to look at a few more features and take some photo's as the guide chats about the history of the, then we emerge back into the daylight and head back down the track for the journey home.
A Bit Of History
Until 1837 the secrets of Ingleborough Cave were hidden behind large natural calcite dams behind which water had pounded, submerging much of the passage beyond. These were broken down following a flood, to reveal a wonderland of sculpted passages and beautiful cave formations which have been delighting our visitors ever since.
The Cave was once the outflow for the streams that flow through the world-famous 17 km Gaping Gill cave system, but it has long been abandoned by the main stream, allowing it to be explored safely by visitors.
We had a fantastic day out here, Clapham village is a lovely little place to eat or have a refreshing drink, the 2 mile track up to the cave is a scenic relaxing walk, it's suitable for people and families of all ages although the path is very rough so i wouldn't recommend taking a pushchair, the cave is well worth a visit but i felt the tour was a bit rushed as we kept getting left behind when we stopped to take a photo or take a closer look at something, the walk up to the cave took us about an hour at a very leisurely pace, i can recommend Ingleborough Cave for a nice summer day out for all the family.
The Best Bits:
Very scenic enjoyable walk.
A welcoming hot cup of coffee at the shop.
Some fantastic stalagmites/tites and rock formations to see.
Lots of interesting information off the guide.
Not So Good:
The tour seemed a little rushed.
Everything Else You Need To Know
Telephone: 01524 251242
Ingleborough Cave is on the south side of Ingleborough, above the picturesque village of Clapham. Clapham is just off the A65 Leeds - Skipton - Kendal trunk road.
National Trust trail: Adults 40p, Children 20p
Cave admission charges are £6.00 for adults, and £3.00 for children. A family ticket allowing for 2 adults and 2 children is available at the reduced rate of £15.00. Special rates are available for parties. Payment may be made by cash, cheque or card.