Founded in 1946, documented in the tale "Genesis", the Northern Pennine Club was one of the caving clubs started by various people affected by the politics of the British Speleological Association immediately after the war. Whilst the Red Rose Cave and Pothole Club was mainly formed of folk from Lancaster, the NPC gained many of its members from Leeds.
The BSA's lease over the recently discovered entrance of Lancaster Hole and denial of access even to its discoverers (see George Cornes' account) led to the NPC's first major exploratory efforts in Upper Easegill, looking for a new way in to "The Promised Land". This was eventually found through Oxford Pot and later the easier way in through Rosy Sink (which is nowadays superseded by County Pot a few metres away). This first flush of exploration led to the first NPC publication, "The Caverns of Upper Easegill" in 1952, which still makes compelling reading today.
Perhaps the club's most famous exploration was that of Penyghent Pot - then (1949) one of the most difficult caves in the country. The next two clubs who attempted to repeat descents both suffered serious accidents (one fatal) and the pot was left severely alone. Thus it fell to the NPC once more, in 1954, to return to the depths and explore the major inlet passage which had been left five years before.
Within days of its foundation, the club found its way to Crow Nest, as told in the tale "Exodus". This cottage, near the present-day Settle Bypass, was in a very run down state when first occupied (rent free), but much work transformed it. After ten years, the club had to move, and found its present cottage of Greenclose House. Greenclose was taken on a lease at ten shillings a week, but right from the first move, eventual purchase was hoped for. As the fifteen year lease would soon expire, in 1967, the club learned of the owner's precarious financial position. By raising various donations from current and older members, £850 in cash was raised, and this was taken, in a suitcase, to visit the owner. Thus was the club able to purchase Greenclose, securing its future. There is more history of Greenclose here.
Explorations continued on all the major fells of the Yorkshire Dales, but most especially in caves which drained to Brants Gill Head. Fountains Fell became almost "Pennine Property", with the exploration of Fornah Gill Caverns, Magnetometer Pot, Hammer Pot, Echo Pot, the long saga of Silverdale Gill, the Gingling Hole extension, Gingling Sink, Coronation Pot and many minor sinks and digs. Dale Head Pot, explored in the mid-seventies was another major feeder, but no progress was made in finding the supposed master cave until recent dives at the end of Gingling Hole finally broke through.
A return to Easegill saw the club finding the missing link between the caves of Lancaster/Easegill and those of Leck Fell with the exploration of Link Pot in 1978. A little further east at the end of 1985, diving in Notts Pot led to the discovery of a huge streamway leading almost to the extension in Gavel Pot found by the club fifteen years earlier.
All of these explorations were documented one way or another, many of them in the irregular club journal. Although years would elapse between issues of the journal, the preponderance of articles on new exploration in the Dales meant that they were always eagerly awaited, avidly read and much treasured. Most are now rare collectors' items. Much of this material is now on the website, along with a lot of previously unpublished accounts which were at one time being collected together for an ULSA-style Explorations Journal and for a comprehensive history of the Fountains Fell and Penyghent to Brants Gill Head system.
Index to publications on the site
Caves explored, listed by date
Caves explored, alphabetical list
On the NPC main site:: NPC today Greenclose Kindred Clubs
Northern Pennine Club Home page