Around Hell Gill - Mallerstang


Eden Sike Cave

The best way to approach the cave is by driving to the farm in Hell Gill from where it is only a few minutes walk in a north westerly direction to a fairly large resurgence.

The passage from which the water emerges is too tight to allow most normal bodies to enter. However, about 100 yards up the fell there is a small shakehole at NGR SD 782 970 and an altitude of 1300 ft. In the bottom of the shakehole is a hole through which can be seen a stream. Downstream is a small passage with a distinct excess of water and a noticeable shortage of air. This passage, although explored, is unsurveyed.

Upstream from the entrance is a passage about 5 ft. high and 2 ft. wide, containing a knee deep stream. After about 100 ft. the roof lowers and it is necessary to crawl in the water for about 50 ft. until one finds oneself in a fissure passage along which it is possible to walk sideways. Shortly the passage becomes keyhole shaped and the way on is by traversing out of the water. The relief is short-lived however as it is soon necessary to crawl in a very low passage almost full of water where it is just possible to keep your head above water. Happily this gives access to a larger passage where it is possible to get out of the water and have a rest and a smoke before tackling the more strenuous passages ahead.

The passage from here takes the form of a slanting fissure with extremely jagged walls, which, apart from demolishing boiler suits in a very short time, makes progress painful and slow as you must squeeze past the projections at various levels.

This passage eventually brings you to a T junction. On the left is a low wet canal leading to a drier passage which lowers gradually until you reach a sump.

If you turn right at the T junction you follow a slanting fissure passage to a fairly large chamber containing a 12 ft. high waterfall. If you follow this passage at stream level it becomes exceedingly tight, however, by keeping in the roof immediately before the chamber you avoid the worst section, and you are also treated to a view down a very small inlet containing some very fine gour pools.

The walls of the final chamber are composed of chert and very brittle rock. It is impossible to climb up the inlet although there appears to be a very small passage there. Nobody has so far attempted to take in scaling poles, due to the unpromising nature of the inlet.

1960 plan - 19k gif

Jingling Sike Cave

This cave lies on the southern side of Hell Gill in Mallerstangdale at an altitude of 1325 ft. A stream sinks at NGR SD 787 966 and resurges about 800 ft. away and further down the fell. There is an obvious cave entrance at both the sink and resurgence which has been looked at by various members as far back as 1960, but because of the short distance from sink to rising, they have never been investigated seriously.

On Feb. 11th, 1966 five members had been carrying out various unsuccessful plumbing operations in Eden Sike Cave. When we emerged it was decided to have a look at Jingling Sike Cave which was only two fields away.

Eski went in at the sink, followed by myself and Roy Burton whilst Brian Heys and Gordon Batty went in at the rising. The inviting looking entrance soon lowered to a very wet crawl which wasn't very encouraging. However, the floor dropped away and we found ourselves in a walking passage which led into a fairly large chamber, about 15 ft. high. We noticed the flood debris in the roof of this chamber and thought about the crawl after a shower.

The way out of the chamber was a very uninviting wet crawl into which Eski disappeared followed very reluctantly by Roy and myself. The crawl didn't get any drier, in fact in places there was a distinct lack of air. However, coming out at the rising appealed to us more than returning through the water. Just as we were convinced that we had crawled past the rising we saw Gordon's lamp ahead. In order to reach it however, it was necessary to go through a tube with about two inches of air space. Once this was negotiated, it was a simple crawl to the exit.

Above and to the north of Hell Gill is a long line of shakeholes at about 1400 ft. As you move away from Hell Gill these get progressively larger. In wet weather most of them take small streams and several large ones.

One very cold day in February this year, Garth, Colin Hall, Alan Shaw and myself set out from the Moorcock Inn determined to investigate these sinks sytematically. Entrance was gained into four or five with very little effort, but all closed down immediately. Three of these holes required 25 ft. ladders leading to quite spacious chambers but with no hope of further progress.

After looking at a dozen of these depressions, the sleet and high winds won the day and we retreated.

The amount of water sinking into any two of these holes would account for the water resurging at Eden Sike Cave, so some of them must feed risings further north in Mallerstangdale, none of which have been penetrated.

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