John M Parr (R.S.Y.C.C., D.U.E.C.)
This cave has been known for several centuries, but it is quite certain that previous exploration terminated at the Wringer. Generations of ramblers have sheltered in the commodious Entrance Chamber while waiting for the rain to stop before resuming the usual hackneyed journey to admire Summer Lodge Tarn. Hundreds of small boys have also used the Entrance Chamber as an out of the ordinary playground. A comprehensive survey of the initials, names and dates carved or smoked on the walls has not been made, but several dates have been noticed that date back to the end of the 18th century.
History of exploration is scanty and references are few. With the exception of an entry in an old gazetteer, which describes it as a "horrible natural cleft in the limestone", all references to Crackpot Cave are in modern caving literature. Cullingford mentions it but seems to have a poor opinion of it. Thornber also mentions its "one chamber, mostly low". As far as I am able to discover, no survey has ever been made of any part of the system. No speleological study of the cave and its possibilities had been carried out, which, in view of its impressive resurgences and the large size of the Entrance Chamber, is rather surprising. This was the position when members of the Richmond School Caving Club turned their attentions to the cave in October, 1956.
The entrances to the system are to be found at the foot of a 30 foot high limestone cliff on the western bank of Summer Lodge Beck above Summer Lodge Farm. This is reached, after a stiff climb, by following the metalled road from Low Row to Crackpot hamlet and continuing straight on until a gate is reached and the road degenerates into a rough track. The house on the right is Summer Lodge Farm, and permission to explore the system should be obtained here. Going through the gate, Summer Lodge Beck is seen on the left. If this is followed upstream, the valley soon becomes deeply incised. If the western bank of the stream is followed, a dry stream bed will soon be noticed coming down from the right. Cross this and then immediately strike diagonally up the main valley side. Within 200 yards an impressive waterfall is seen about 100 feet above the main valley bottom. This is fed by a large resurgence emerging from the talus slope at the foot of the Great Limestone escarpment. This resurgence, together with other smaller ones in the immediate vicinity, provide about half the volume of Summer Lodge Beck under normal weather conditions. At the top of the scree slope and at the foot of the limestone free face a wide but low bedding plane cave entrance can be seen. This is the Main Entrance and it was the only means of access to the cave until the Kneewrecker Entrance, 75 feet to the south and at the same level, was excavated.
In October 1956, M.J.Camm and the author visited the cave and explored all the known passages and we were immediately impressed by the volume of water flowing through the Entrance Chamber and also by the spaciousness of the majority of the passages. These are much larger than any other cave in the Swaledale area, and great hopes were aroused that the system might be extended. The Wringer, however, if not absolutely impossible, seemed to be a rather tough proposition, and could not be passed without some rather tricky excavation. At this point the rumble of running water could be heard somewhere ahead and working on the theory that where there is water there's hope, it was decided that an effort should be made at this point. At the earliest opportunity, a strong party consisting of M.J.Camm, C.Hinson, D.Addison, P.F.Walker and the author returned and managed to dig a way under the enormous block into the passage which could be seen ahead. Unfortunately this narrowed down within 15 feet into an impenetrable fissure six inches wide and three feet high. A small choked vertical fissure was noticed on the left and a light shone between boulders revealed that it dropped about four feet into a bedding plane. The smallest member of the party, C.Hinson, working under very severe conditions, managed to dig this out to some extent but several large boulders proved too heavy for him to lift and so D.Addison and the author set to work. We managed to move most of them either by lifting them clear, or pushing them into the bedding plane below. As this involved standing on one's head in an eighteen inch wide fissure, work was only possible for a few minutes at a time, but the passage was eventually cleared sufficiently for C.Hinson to force his way through. After great struggles and the most remarkable contortions worthy of a vaudeville act, the rest of the party followed him into a small bedding chamber. The rest of the obstacles in the Corkscrew were removed, providing a reasonably easy passage. The way on lay through a tight window half choked with clay into the very small crawl known as the Gut.
Further progress was temporarily halted by a large block precariously perched in the roof. The sound of water was by this time much stronger, so on the next visit the block was stempled and made safe. By dint of much excavation, the Intestines were passed and a wide bedding plane about three feet high entered. This spaciousness was short lived, the passage rapidly ending in an extremely tight fissure four feet high and nine inches wide. Many a happy hour was spent here before the easy way was discovered, pushing and pulling the more corpulent members of the party through this fat man's agony. One on occasion, P.F.Whitaker was involved for nearly threequarters of an hour and eventually emerged badly scraped and without his nether garments. Beyond this fissure, the way on lay through a narrow gully cut in mud in a wide but very low bedding plane until a small rocky chamber was reached. The tantalising sound of water proved to be a large and rapidly flowing stream which unfortunately both entered and left the chamber by way of siphons, neither of which appeared much hope for the future. Feeling very disappointed about this impossible termination, the party was about to withdraw when, by a lucky chance, the author crawled into a small passage about one foot wide and two and a half feet high. This was soon choked with rock but through gaps the passage was seen to enlarge slightly. The rock being very shattered in this zone, work proceeded with care and after several hours' labour the author forced himself in with dire results. For ten minutes I doubted if I was ever going to move again but, leaving large areas of skin and overall behind, I managed to force myself into a really fine cave. C.Hinson also squeezed through, but M.J.Camm found it impossible.
On this occasion we made a rapid reconnaissace as far as the far siphon and Cullingford's Folly, leaving more detailed exploration until the following weekend.
This was accomplished by the same party and all the major passages were explored including a descent of the Pitch, and the penetration of the Kneewrecker passage as far as the Mud Crawl. Returning, D.Addison had the misfortune to be pinned down in the very tight passage leading out of Camp 1 Chamber by a large boulder which gracefully descended from the roof onto his prostrate shoulders. As he was leading at the time, the rest of the party behind him tried to force a way through to the other side to put in a two-way effort in removing the rock. A new passage was forced into the Intestines Series and, as this eliminates the most difficult and dangerous section of the cave, is now invariably used, the other section being partly sealed off. David was freed with some difficulty, it being found necessary to break the block up into small fragments, but was nevertheless little the worse for wear.
By February, 1957, all the major work had been finished, with the exception of the excavation of the Kneewrecker Entrance. This was dug in from the cliff face through the talus after a careful study of the possibilites of openeing a new entrance into the Kneewrecker Passage in order to eliminate the trials and tribulations of the Intestines Series. The Mud Crawl provided the only real barrier as far as size was concerned and this was deepened from each end using entrenching tools until a link between the known passage and the new entrance was established in March, 1957.
Survey was completed in August, 1958, the long interval between exploration and survey being due largely to other commitments.
The Main Entrance is a low bedding plane in appearance about 25 feet wide and four feet high in the centre. It is obvious that the Entrance and the first 25 feet or so of passage have almost been completely choked by material falling from the cliff face above. Immediately above the Entrance, the cliff is freshly fractured and the local farmer told me that a big fall of rock occurred during the winter of 1947, presumably due to frost wedging. Immediately inside the Entrance, the floor, which is made up of a slippery mass of clay and boulders, drops at an angle of 45 , while the roof remains level and flat. It is soon possible to move upright and a short passage branches off to the left, soon to rejoin the Entrance Chamber forming an "oxbow-like" formation. The significance of this is not clear. If the boulders which form the floor extend down to the base level of the stream at this point, which seems likely in view of the position of the boulder choke at the end of Kneewrecker Passage, then an oxbow origin seems probable, but stoping along prominent joints may equally be responsible.
At the foot of the boulder slope, the flat roof drops slightly but the passage is of spacious rectangular section type so typical of the larger passages in this system. The stream is met with where it sinks under the ruckle of boulders blocking the entrance, only to reappear at the foot of the talus slope outside. This is a combination of the Main Stream Passage water and the Thin Stream flow. The Main Stream water emerges from an impenetrable bedding plane siphon on the left of the passage, whereas the Thin Stream water emerges from a very narrow fissure on the right. This is the water from a small sink at the top of the cliff.
The Entrance Chamber maintains its height but widens considerably and is floored with a chaotic mass of unstable, large, angular blocks. A small passage branches west running sub-parallel to the presumed course of the Thin Stream water. It soon ends in a couple of clay-choked, narrow fissures which offer little hope of advancement.
The continuation of the Entrance Chamber swings S.E. and decreases in size and the floor rises in a series of small steps. Near the most prominent of these steps, a hole in the floor on the left enters a very tight crawl which eventually rejoins the main passage near the Wringer. On the right a hole in the angle of the roof leads to a fine circular chamber. This has a very low, wet and muddy crawl running part of the way around its perimeter at a lower level. The main passage ends in a rock wall but a small hole in the floor on the left leads into a small chamber. This in turn has three holes in its floor, all of which lead into the aforementioned Wringer crawl. Dropping through the largest of these holes, the next obstacle is the Wringer, an enormous block which appears to fill the passage. Closer inspection reveals an awkward wriggle beneath it to enter the continuation of the passage, a low bedding plane. This was the previous limit of exploration. Yet another hole in the floor appears on the left where the passage narrows savagely. This is the Corkscrew: opinions are divided as to whether it should be tackled feet first or head first. Whichever method is chosen, the decision must be made before attempting the obstacle as it is impossible to turn round. The complex evolutions needed to pass the Corkscrew beggar description, but it drops into a low, broad chamber with sufficient room for three or four people. Various low bedding plane crawls lead off from this chamber, but the way on is to the right, through a tight window into a vicious corner and thence into the Gut. This presents no real difficulty: it is just uncomfortable and somewhat unsafe. The floor rises steeply but fortunately so does the roof and the main route turns right, through a window into a small boulder-strewn chamber. Looking N.W. an impossibly narrow fissure communicates with the passage above the Corkscrew. In the west corner of the chamber, a tight wriggle through the boulders leads into a wide bedding plane with a floor of fine gravel, a pleasant contrast to the sharp rocks and sticky mud of the Intestines. In 10 feet the really spacious part of the cave is entered. This is a dry, flat roofed passage, averaging about 10 feet wide and between five and eight high. The limestone is very cherty here, and nodules of black chert stand out grotesquely on "stalks" of limestone. To the right the passage ends in a roof fall of dangerously perched blocks and various shattered fissures which probably communicate with the Intestines. A great bank of sandy mud has some interesting mud stalagmites. To the left the passage gets smaller for a short distance but soon opens out into the large Camp 1 Chamber. The solid limestone floor of the passage gives way to the usual chaotic mass of perched blocks of the larger chambers and passages.
In this last-mentioned section, calcite formations appear for the first time. They are mainly straw stalactites but some normal stalactites and curtains occur in the angles of the roof. The fallen blocks are much pitted by solution but not in the form of ripple marks (which are singularly rare in this system) but in large pockets. Incipient stalagmite growths are common in spite of the recent nature of the falls.
The Kneewrecker Entrance, excavated in March, 1957, is a tight slit at the foot of the cliff face about 80 feet S.S.E. of the Main Entrance. It is best tackled feet first and an acute turn to the left at the bottom brings one into a small chamber partially filled with enormous blocks of rock. It is easy to imagine this chamber to be the result of the collapse of a bedding plane complex by stoping.
The entrance to Mud Crawl is difficult to find, but if the south side of the chamber is followed round, a small hole near the N.W. corner will be found at the angle between wall and floor. This should be attempted head first and a short drop leads into the flat bedding plane known as Mud Crawl. This is now much easier than formerly, the passage of many bodies having worn somewhat of a groove down the centre. In wet weather, percolation converts the normally damp mud into a quagmire and some strategically placed stalagmite bosses do not make for an easy traverse.
The Mud Crawl enters the main Kneewrecker Passage three feet above its floor. To the right the passage continues for some 60 feet, finally ending in a boulder choke in which tree roots are prominent. These are assumed to belong to a rowan tree growing some 50 feet above on top of the cliff. This is a striking example of the penetrative power of tree roots and leads one to wonder about their efficacy in wedging off blocks. The choke is very close to the Main Entrance.
To the left the Kneewrecker Passage continues with various minor changes in level and direction for some 150 feet. It is a dismal, small rectangular passage with frequent cold pools and mud banks which must be crawled through. Areas of bare limestone floor with various nicked projections and odd boulders have given this passage its name. It is difficult to understand the mechanism operative in the formation of this passage, but perhaps it has acted as an overflow channel under pressure when the siphon at the north end of Main Stream Passage has banked up water. Some 50 feet from the end of Kneewrecker Passage it suddenly opens out into a broad but low passage some 5-6 feet high, an enlarged bedding plane. A flat clay floor has few rocks and straw stalactites are plentiful. It is obvious that this section has not been water active for some considerable time. A low bedding plane leads off on the left but is choked within a few feet. A few feet to the east, a hole in the roof communicates with a small fissure chamber which has a strong draught. Unfortunately it becomes very narrow and is choked with boulders, but it offers possibilities for extension.
With a drop of four or five feet over boulders, Main Stream Passage is reached.
This, to my mind, is the finest part of the system. The Main Stream Passage is some 20 feet wide and 15 to 20 feet high, of rectangular cross-section with flat roof. Careful examination produced a theory to account for the formation of the flat-roofed, rectangular passages so obviously controlled in their final form by the numerous joints and bedding planes in the Yoredale limestones. At stream level in the Main Stream Passage several miniature oxbows have been found, generally only a foot or so in diameter, but occasionally large enough to crawl through. These have the near-circular cross-section so common in solution tubes. It is easy to visualise solution widening the bedding planes and joints above the tube by percolation and by pressure solution in times of high water table level. Such action would loosen the overlying joint bounded blocks and they would fall into the tube to be eventually removed by solution. Thus the tube would be enlarged by stoping adapting as it grew the rectangular cross-section controlled by both joints and bedding planes. Stoping would not be restricted to the roof but would also affect the walls. It would also be logical to assume that such large passages would be developed along lines of weakness such as master joints or fault planes and such is the case in Main Stream Passage which follows a master joint for much of its length. In two places, Block Chamber and Column Chamber, the stoping mechanism is obviously still active as these enlarged sections of the Stream Passage are still largely floored with angular blocks fallen from the roof. The Block in Block Chamber is a particularly fine example weighing many tons. The cavity left in the roof of the chamber by its fall is still clearly visible. But why should the stoping process continue in some places and not in others ? It may be that Block Chamber lies in a fault zone although direct evidence is not forthcoming on this point. But Camp 2 Chamber, to be considered shortly, definitely has its main axis running along a fault and is dangerously active. It has been possible in successive visits to watch fissures grow and widen and blocks collapse from both roof and walls. On several occasions the sound of blocks falling has been heard in different parts of the system. Whether the stoping theory is acceptable or not, it seems to fit the facts as known as well as any.
To return to the systematic description. The Main Stream enters a siphon at the foot of the rock wall which is the northern termination of Main Stream Passage. The siphon is in the form of a bedding plane much obscured by large boulders: the water is next seen in the small chamber in the Intestines.
Continuing upstream, the passage is wide and high and progress is largely by wading, although occasional sandbanks occur. The floor is smooth limestone with occasional boulders. After about 100 feet. Block Chamber is reached. This is simply an enlargement of the Stream Passage by stoping, probably in a fault zone as outlined above. Great mounds of blocks litter the floor, many of them dangerously unstable. In the S.W. corner, Formations Passage entrance can be seen entering some ten feet above the floor. This bedding plane, very low at first, contains some excellent formations including rimstone and crystalline pools, nests of cave pearls, moonmilk and floating calcite flakes. Unfortunately, unless one is extremely careful, the restricted nature of this passage severly jeopardises their survival. It is possible to rejoin Main Stream Passage near Column Chamber by a slippery 12 feet drop, although this is tricky.
Column Chamber is some 90 feet beyond Block Chamber and is named after the magnificent calcite column which it contains. This, as well as being an exquisite form, is very interesting by virtue of the insects which it contains, embedded in its translucent layers. Many long, pure white stalactites hang from a prominent bedding plane on the west side of the chamber. Also highly interesting is the nature of the floor. This is at two levels (see section j-j') and it is quite possible that this represents a more advanced stage in the removal of the stoped detritus (inherent in the formation of these chambers) than that in Block Chamber. At one time in its history, the floor, made up of recently collapsed loose blocks, presumably extended right across the chamber at the present level of the floor at the east side. These blocks have since been removed either by flood action or by solution, whereas the blocks on the east side, washed only by heavy floods (being outside the normal stream channel), have survived to act as a filter trapping the sediment which is only carried in any quantity when the stream is in flood.
Upstream from Column Chamber the passage grows smaller with a concave roof and the water becomes waist deep until the siphon is reached. At this point, the water appears from several narrow fissures below the water level. This probably represents the northern limit of the SW-NE fault zone responsible for Cullingford's Folly and Camp 2 Chamber. To the left of the siphon, a precarious boulder slope rises for some 30 feet but there is no way past.
From the SE corner of Column Chamber just past the Column, Bridge Passage runs with a general uphill trend to Cullingford's Folly. This passage, a low fissure three to five feet high and three feet wide, is unusual in so far as it has at some stage in its history been filled to a depth of three feet or more with a fine muddy silt layer later covered with a film of dripstone. This has been excavated naturally by torrent action to form a deep gully with mud walls. At one point, the dripstone cover remains, forming the Bridge. Evidence of severe local movement, presumably either caused by stoping or by movement along the adjacent fault plane, is to be found in the large number of straw stalactites embedded in the silt in a vertical position. The muddy crawl rises steadily until after about 70 feet Cullingford's Folly is reached.
Cullingford's Folly is one of the highlights of the system and is named after a certain reverend gentleman who considered that anyone visiting Crackpot cave was himself a crackpot. It is a magnificent circular chamber with a sloping boulder floor, solidly cemented with dripstone, rising to the south. At the northern end it is perhaps 25 feet high; at the Pitch end 10 to 12 feet. The roof is flat and covered with the most fantastic collection of straws I have ever seen. Some are four feet long with thickened tips; others curve sinuously. Many fine stalagmite bosses occur around the periphery of the chamber and a double column near the entrance to Bridge Passage has been fractured and laterally displaced several inches. Whether this is due to local subsidence of the boulder floor, which seems to be false in places, or to local fault action, can only be surmised. Perhaps the fault has triggered local subsidence.
At the south end of Cullingford's Folly, a low bedding plane leads off almost at roof level. There is no difficulty of access as the floor is high at this point. After a few feet, a vertical drop of five feet into an enlarged E-W fissure gives access to the top of a 25 foot boulder slope. It seems likely that the Pitch fissure is directly on the fault and there is definite evidence of movement at this point. The rock is very highly fractured and only one person should move in this section at a time. A handline is an advantage here. I have received an unconfirmed report that part of this section has collapsed recently: (*) this only serves to emphasise the need for extreme caution.
At the foot of the boulder slope, Camp 2 Chamber is entered. This is one of the most dangerous and dismal parts of the system. No formations reflect the light. It is just a chaos of fractured rock. For the first 20 feet it is only five to six feet high although broad until a step down is reached and the height becomes comfortable although the width of the passage decreases. The floor is made up of precariously perched slabs and blocks of rock. A small inlet passage enters from the south, its mud floor and smooth walls contrasting markedly with the shattered, peeling walls and rocky floor of Camp 2 Chamber. Unfortunately, after about 40 feet it ends in an overhanging clay and boulder choke. At the SW end of Camp 2 Chamber the Main Stream is again met with in Hell Fire Alley. It is at this point that subsidence and collapse has taken place since the first exploration and the walls are cracking dangerously: it is no place to linger. A perfect solution tube can be seen in the roof and large chert nodules abound. There is little doubt that Camp 2 Chamber is developed along a SW-NE fault plane and further evidence of faulting can be had if the water is followed downstream to the siphon. It is a short but uncomfortable journey. The passage shrinks to a low crawl and the gradient of the stream increases. Progress is from boulder to boulder until amidst the roaring of the water roof meets water. This is unusual since siphons are usually still pools. It is possible that it is just a duck, but the size of the passage makes experiment impossible.
Upstream from Camp 2 Chamber a natural stone dam holds back a five feet deep pool but a short stretch of difficult overhanging traverse reduces its effective depth to about two feet. Some very amusing incidents have occurred here. The end soon follows. A bedding plane which gets progressively lower until it is only 18 inches high enters a tight vertical fissure which is only six inches wide at its foot, one of the feeders to the Main Stream. It is possible, if foolhardy, to climb ten feet up the fissure into a tiny chamber in loose boulders. The whole area is a mess of loose rocks, many of which shift on the slightest provocation. Digging is most decidedly out of the question.
On the left, a thin stream emerges from a tiny passage, but again, penetration is impossible. Straight ahead a steep, sticky mud slope leads through a hole in the roof into a short stretch of dry fissure where the limestone is surprisingly solid. The mud floor has a number of slump pits, indicating a possible lower level. The passage soon ends in a dripstone-coated, overhanging boulder choke. A strong draught emerges from the chinks in the boulders but all efforts to penetrate it have failed. By the survey, this part of the system seems to be near ground level somewhere near the Summer Lodge mine dam. So ends the system to date.
Faults have played a major part in the developement of this system. The surrounding area is part of the rigid Askrigg Block dipping 3-4 East. Although rigid, very small faults are present, many of them mineralized and giving rise to the now extinct local lead mining industry. These small faults fall into two groups, NNW-SSE and SW-NE and members of both these groups have left their mark on this system. The SW-NE faults are most strongly developed and best appreciated underground. Notable are the fault which controls the passage trends and the shattered nature of the rock in Cullingford's series and the arc cutting the Main Stream Passage at Block Chamber. It has been suggested that the Entrance Chamber is aligned on a small fault but I can find no definite evidence of this either underground or on the free face outside. Faults appear to be wholly of the compound type giving a shatter belt rather than a fault plane. Throws are small; often no more than a few inches displacement is sufficient to create vast effects underground.
(b) Nature of the Great Limestone
It may not be out of place to say a few words here on the lithology of this horizon as most cavers are familiar with rather different limestones. The Great Limestone in the Summer Lodge area is about 100 feet thick and overlain by sandstone. An impermeable shale forms the base. The limestone is impure, medium grey in colour, and gives off a bituminous smell when broken. Fossils are uncommon except for crinoid ossicles and Dibunophyllum sp.. The odd productid also occurs. The horizon is thinly bedded with the interval decreasing towards the top. It is reasonably uniform lithologically and I have found no shale bands in the system. Joints are very numerous, there being two sets: master NW-SE and minor almost due N-S.
(c) Calcite formations
These are the really oustanding feature of the system. So much has been written about the absence of calcite formations in caves located in Yoredale limestones. The explanation is easy to see. Most, if not all, of these caves are overlain by a relatively impermeable grit or sandstone cover which usually also has a drift cover. This prevents the extensive percolation of ground water necessary for the formation of significant calcite formations. But the limestone at Summer Lodge forms a fairly extensive hill bench, the sandstone cover having been removed by ice action. As a consequence, percolation is rapid and large in volume. Formations are therefore large and extensive.
There is a complete lack of formations until Camp 1 Chamber is reached. Beyond this point the roof is covered with long white straws except in areas where stoping is still taking place, eg. Block Chamber and Camp 2 Chamber. Normal stalactites are very fine although localised, the best examples being found in Column Chamber. Columns and curtains are less common but still fine. Some fine bosses occur in Cullingford's Folly.
In Formations Passage a wide range of pool deposits occur, many of them rare, eg. floating calcite.
Some peculiar mud stalagmites occur in Camp 1 Chamber. These are simply splash formations and do not appear to be calcareous. Anyone who visits the system will be left in no doubt as to the following of the dogma that calcite formations CANNOT occur in Yoredale caves. That they do not occur is due to the overlying strata inhibiting percolation. Where this cover is removed then the formations, as in Crackpot, would do credit to several well-known Yorkshire show caves.
The source of the water forming Main Stream is unknown. All major sinks in the area have been tested without result. It is quite within the bounds of possibility that the water comes from beneath the surface divide from a catchment area in the Wensleydale basin, but this remains a hypothesis.
Evidence of flooding can be seen in various parts of the system but it is extremely doubtful that the water ever rises more than a couple of feet in Main Stream Passage.
Two other resurgences, one of considerable volume, lie just to the south of the Main Stream resurgence. These have no known connection with the present system and their sources remain unknown. One emerges from solid rock as a thin stream but is too tight. The other large one emerges from beneath a vast mound of talus and excavation, if not impossible, would be a very difficult and lengthy job.
Not numbering a biologist among our party, zoological observations have been few and far between, but the following may be of interest.
There has been one noted occurrence of an albino fish. One member of the team, C.Hinson, attempting to pick up what he took for a white stalactite lying on the bed of Main Stream, was somewhat startled when the object swam away upstream at a high speed. Considering the amount of splashing inevitable in the journey along Main Stream Passage it is not surprising that other observations have not been made.
A grey bat has been seen on a number of occasions both in the Entrance Chamber and at Camp 2.
The insects embedded in the Column appear to belong to the mosquito and earwig families.
The discovery of this new cave system has given the lie to the gloomy forebodings of certain notable members of the Craven speleological circles who predicted that nothing of importance would be found in the Swaledale area. Perhaps the length of survey is short by Craven standards but the discovery is one of considerable speleological importance illustrating the importance of roof collapse in cavern formation as well as it does. Shale bands are not universally applicable ! It is also a fine example of the two cycle theory in operation, the main factor in the lowering of the water table being the deep incision of Summer Lodge Beck.
In addition, the discovery of a really fine cave, second only to Mossdale in importance in the Yoredale limestones, has encouraged us to redouble our efforts to discover similar systems in Swaledale and its environs.
I should like to acknowledge here the great assistance given by by various members of the Richmond Club in surveying and encouragement. It would be unfair to mention individuals but David Addison and Colin Hinson together with Paul Whitaker were truly outstanding in their efforts.
Finally my thanks must go to Jack Myers of Leeds University without whose encouragement this might never have been written.
* It has ! A handline is no longer necessary. J.O.M.