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Adventures Underground


A journey of exploration through the caves of the Yorkshire Dales, by Dave Haigh and John Cordingley.


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Adventures Underground

From the cover

IN 1952 Underground Adventure by Arthur Gemmell and Jack Myers brought stories of exploration in the caves of the Yorkshire Dales to the reading public. Now, inspired by those classic tales, two new authors – Dave Haigh and John Cordingley – continue the theme into modern times, bringing to life the dedication, ingenuity and sheer hard work needed to break new ground, often in desperately difficult circumstances, yet blend their narrative with the outrageous humour known only to cavers. They have captured the thrill of exploration that arises when a project finally begins to reveal its secrets, such as penetrating further in Gaping Gill, diving beneath Malham Cove and discovering caves that were unknown in the 1950s.

Adventures Underground will be enjoyed by everyone with an interest in the outdoors and in how adversity and challenge can be overcome. All royalties from sales of this book will be donated equally between the authors’ chosen charities: cave rescue and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The hardback edition is a limited binding with marker ribbon, head and tail bands, cloth covered cover and paper dustjacket. The softback edition has a laminated card cover.

NB. Hardback sold out

  • Author: Dave Haigh and John Cordingley
  • Binding: Softback and hardback
  • Dustjacket: With hardback
  • Size: 17.6cm x 24.6cm (hb), 17cm x 24cm (sb)
  • Pages: 240
  • Illustrations: 290 photographs, surveys and maps, in colour
  • Publication date: 8 April 2017
  • ISBN: 978-0-9526701-4-8 (hb); 978-0-9526701-9-3 (sb);
  • Availability: Published 8 April 2017
  • Postage: Included with cover price for UK orders
  • Stock no: AU
  • Other: HB: dustwrapper, head and tail bands, and marker ribbon; sb: laminated cover
DAVE HAIGH has been involved with many of the Bradford Pothole Club’s discoveries in the Dales and first came up with the concept of Adventures Underground. An inveterate digger, he is well placed to write about the explorations, being so often linked with the breakthroughs.

JOHN CORDINGLEY is a highly respected caver who, after a chance discussion, agreed to join the project. Arthur and Jack were friends of his and he knew they would have been delighted by the idea of this second book. John has contributed a wealth of knowledge of the magnificent caves of the Dales, both above and below water.

Adventures Underground: Contents

Acknowledgements and dedication

Area map



         One               The Hunt for the Penyghent Master Cave

         Two               Droughts and Floods at Hull Pot

         Three            The Kingsdale Caves      

         Four              Kingsdale: The Divers’ Story                                   

         Five               Gaping Gill to Ingleborough Cave       

         Six                 Further Gaping Gill Discoveries 

         Seven            Pay Sank and the P5 Master Cave 

         Eight             A Classic Diving Discovery    

         Nine              Notts II: The Dry Way   

         Ten                The Three Counties Connection    

         Eleven           Diving, Digging and Discovery at Malham

         Twelve          Birks Fell Cave: A Wharfedale Gem   

         Thirteen        Underwater Boulder Mining 

         Fourteen      Digs and Discoveries 

         Fifteen          Pottering   

         Sixteen         Not All Trips Go According to Plan   

         Seventeen    The Adventure Goes On



         A                   How to Start Caving   

         B                    Going Caving          

         C                    Further Information  

         D                   Glossary           


Index: Adventures Underground


A.G. Pot, 214

Abbott, Jim, Dub Cote Cave, 15, 16-19, 20

      Ingleborough Cave, 96-7, 99-100

      Little Hull Pot, 29

access, 226-7

Ackroyd, John, 185

Addis, Frank, 95-6

Alderson, Jamie, 161

Allen, Tim, 138, 144, 155-9, 222

Allonby, John, 171, 179

Alum Pot, 199-200, 216-17, 219, 240

Anderson, Alex, 90-1

Andrew, Barry, 169

Antler Hole, 14

Aquamole Pot, 59, 76, 79

archaeology, 34, 103, 146

Arkwright, Bob, Christmas Cracker, 185

      Corky’s Pot, 117

      Generator Pot, 189-90

      Hensler’s Pot, 106, 110

      Losers’ Pot, 35-8

      Parkinson’s Pot, 112-14

Arthurs, Diane, 154, 158

Arundale, Jim, 23, 30

Ashmead, Pete, 149

Ashton, Ken, 49-50

Ashworth, Jeremy, 117, 185

Atkinson, Paul, Chapman’s Rising, 203

      Keld Head, 61, 69

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 76

      Malham Cove Rising, 161

      Notts II, 127, 135

Austwick Beck Head, 123, 218

Aygill Caverns, 148, 216-17


Backhouse, Andy, 26

Baines, Martin ‘Basher’, 123, 125

Balcombe, Graham, 61, 62, 72

Baldwin, Chris, 93

Balmer, Tom, 158

Balmer, Tony, 158

Bar Pot, 83, 103, 114-16, 209-10

Barnes, Frank, 54

Bartrop, Richard, 102, 135

Bass, Malcolm, 24-5, 26-7, 30, 41

Batty, Gordon, 137, 149-50, 181

Batty, John, 171-2

Beck, Howard, 171

Beck, Simon, 221

Belshaw, John, 23

Bendall, Richard, 142-4, 185

Benn, Gerald, Christmas Cracker, 185-9

      Corky’s Pot, 117, 120

      Fat Finger Pot, 33

      Gaping Gill, 82-3, 86

      Generator Pot, 189-90

      Hensler’s Pot, 106, 110-13

      Ingleborough Cave, 97-8

      Losers’ Pot, 35-8

      Nettle Pot, 207-8

      Pay Sank, 123, 125-6

Benn, Ian, 33, 106, 117, 185-6

Bhatti, Javed, 25

bibliography, 232

Birks Fell Cave, 171-6, 216-17

Birks Wood Cave, 176

Black Keld, 216-17, 220

Black Shiver Pot, 218

Blenkinsop, Dave, 161

Blind Beck Cave, 216-17, 219

Blyth, Helen, 141

Boireau, Geoff, 50

Bonington, Chris, 121

Bonwick, Jon, 161

Boon, Mike, 22, 28, 29, 61, 77, 122

Booth, Bob, 106, 185

Boreham Cave, 216-17, 219-20

Boswell, Dave, 171

Bottomley, Alec, 171

Bottomley, John, 15, 16

Bottomley, Mike, 221

Boxhead Pot, 215

Boyer, Matt, 161

Brackenbottom Pot, 19, 20, 30-3

Brackenbottom Rising, 14-15

Bradshaw, Bert, 162

Braithwaite, Callum, 158

Brants Gill Head, 13-15, 21, 26, 28, 29, 40-1, 216-17, 219

Brentnall, Alan, 82

Brittain, Alan, 82-3

Brock, Dave, 24, 26, 29, 30, 161, 204

Broken Finger Pot, 56

Brook, Alan, 50-1, 53, 82-3, 86-9

Brook, Aly, 33, 35, 106, 112, 117, 119, 123, 185, 189

Brook, Dave (BPC), Christmas Cracker, 185

      Corky’s Pot, 117

      Fat Finger Pot, 33

      Gaping Gill, 82

      Generator Pot, 189

      Hensler’s Pot, 106

      Losers’ Pot, 35

      Parkinson’s Pot, 112

      Pay Sank, 123

      Trans-Craven System, 213-14, 221

Brook, Dave (ULSA), 50-1, 82-3, 86-9, 149, 213

Brook, Jon, 171

Brooks, Russ, 32, 39

Brown, Ian, 23

Brown, Tom, 15-16, 93, 103-4

Brown Hill Pot, 56, 78-9, 216-17

Bruno Kranski’s Rising Sump (BK), 132, 143, 156-7

Bryant, Bill, 161, 166

Buckley, Dave, 161

Bull Pot (Kingsdale), 59, 76, 218

Burgess, Harold ‘Budge’, 7

Bury, Ron, 161, 193-5

Butterfield, Frank ‘Buzzer’, 112

Bycroft, Mick, 82


Calford, Judith, 86, 133

Camm, Chris, 142

Car Pot, 196

Carlisle, James, 143

Carter, John, 161

Carter, Russell, Clapham Beck Head, 193-4

      Keld Head, 61, 72-4

      Kirk Pot, 184

      Malham Cove Rising, 161, 163-8

      Meregill Skit, 204

Cartledge, John, 61, 76

Castleden, Carol, 112

Castleden, Derek ‘Cas’, 47-8, 81, 112, 192-3

Champion, Arthur, 43-4, 171

Chapman, Andy, 145

Chapman’s Rising, 203-5

Cheshire, George, 117, 123

Christmas Cracker, 185-9

Churcher, Bob, 15, 16, 151

Churn Milk Hole, 42

Clapham Beck Head, 123, 193-6, 218

Clapham Bottoms Pot, 83, 84, 86, 103

Clayton, Tom, 143

Clegg, Alan, 29

Clough, Andy, 161

club, publications, 231

      reasons for joining, 224-5

Cobley, Dave, 53, 155

Coe, Randy, 171-4

Colledge, Martin, 138

Committee Pot, 129, 133, 138, 143, 148, 155

conservation, 227-9

Cooper, Gordon, 50

Corky’s Pot, 117-20

Cornhill, Simon, 154, 158

County Pot, 213

Cow Dub Holes, 147

Craftsman’s Pot, 59

Crescent Pot, 56, 79, 218

Cross, John, 161

Crossland, Derek, 40, 61, 63, 74, 77, 78

Crossley, Geoff, Dub Cote Cave, 15-20

      Gavel Pot, 151

      Ingleborough Cave, 95-102,

      Keld Head, 61, 69, 71

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 74-6

      Notts II, 127, 135

Crystal Beck Pot, 216-17, 219

Culleton, Steve, 61, 77-8

Cumming, Andy, 24, 26

Cunningham, Jim, 43

Cupcake, The, 145-6, 156


Dalby, Rob, 161

Dale Barn Cave, 58, 215, 216-17, 218, 220

Dale Head Pot, 14-15, 42

Danilewicz, Chris ‘Dani’, 127-9

Davenport, Colin, 185

Davenport, Jim, 161

Davies, Chris, 82-3

Davies, Colin, 137-40, 155

Davies, Dinny, 26

Davis, Jim, 135

Davis, Stuart, 106, 185

Dead Man’s Handshake, 65-6, 68-9, 72

Death’s Head Hole, 148, 221

Devaney, Terry, 185

Diccan Pot, 208-9

Dickinson, Richard, 86

digging, 229-30

Disappointment Pot, 83, 86, 103, 196

Diversion Cave, 14

Dougherty, Mark, 40, 61, 79, 161

Douglas, Geoff, 185

Douglas, Val, 185

Douk Gill Cave, 13-15, 21, 219

Douk Gill Scar, 47

Dow Cave, 216-17

Dowbiggin, Richard, 158

Downton, Alan, 161

Drew, Dave, 22

Dub Cote Cave, 14-21, 216-17

Duckworth, John ‘Buzzy’, 35, 106, 110, 117, 185

Duffy, Ray, 138, 185


Earl Pot, 216-17, 219

Ease Gill Caverns, 11, 147-51

Easton, Edward, 123, 125

Echo Pot, 14, 39, 40

Edmondson, Chris, 161

Edmunds, Colin, 61, 77

Edwards, Glyn, 176

Emmott, Bob, 61, 76

Everett, Paul, 86

Eyre, Jim, 149


Fairholme, Ray, 194

Farr, Martyn, 15, 16, 61, 64, 75-6, 164

Farrer, John, 6, 83

Fat Finger Pot, 14, 20, 33-5

Fletcher, Alex, 61, 69, 193-4

Fornah Gill Caverns, 14, 39

Fountains Fell Master Cave, 39, 40-1

Foxholes, 103

Frakes, Bill, 15, 22, 61, 75-6, 77, 162

France, Andy, 96

Franklin, Rob, 161

French Mike, 205-6


Gaping Gill, Bonfire Aven, 209-10

      Craven Aven, 192-3

      Deep Well, 92-3, 103-6, 116

      Far Country, 86-9, 103, 116

      Far Waters, 92-3, 94-5, 103

      flood, 211-12

      Ingleborough Cave connection, 81-102

      Lost River Chamber, 116

      Main Shaft, 235

      Myers’ Folly, 196-8

      other discoveries, 103-120

      Shallow Well, 94, 96

      South East Pot, 104, 114-16

      survey, 84-5, 104-5, 216-17

      in Trans-Craven System, 218

      Whitsun Series, 36, 81-4

Gardner, John, 103

Gasson, Iain, 86, 89

Gavel Pot, 134, 148, 151

Gavel Rigg Pot, 14, 19, 30, 32

Gemmell, Arthur, 7-12, 29, 45, 47, 112, 147, 149, 160, 214

Generator Pot, 189-90

geology, 215

Gerrish, Rich, 27, 138-40, 143

Gibb, Chris, 99

Giblin, Joe, 158

Giblin, Sean, 158

Giggel Rav Pot, 14, 30, 32

Gingling Hole, 14-15, 21, 39, 40-1, 216-17

Gingling Sink (Gingling Wet Sinks), 14, 39, 40

Glanvill, Pete, 141

Gledhill, Dave, 158

Glover, Dick, 83, 196, 198

Goddard, Andy, Clapham Beck Head, 193-4

      Keld Head, 61, 69, 72

      Kirk Pot, 184

      Malham Cove Rising, 161

      Meregill Skit, 204-5

      Notts II, 127, 135-6, 140

God’s Bridge Risings, 203, 205, 216-17, 218, 235

Goodwin, Mal, 114, 210

Goodwin, Mark, 161

Grainger, Monty, 114

Grange Rigg Pot, 121-6, 186-7, 189, 214

Gray, Pete, 44, 179

Green, John, 82

Griffiths, Julian, Dub Cote Cave, 15, 16-18

      Ingleborough Cave, 97, 99-100

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 61, 76

      Little Hull Pot, 29-30

      Malham Cove Rising, 166

      Penyghent Pot, 22, 26

Griffiths, Naomi, 26-7

Growling Hole, 56


Hague, Brian, 61, 76, 102

Haigh, Andy, 33-4, 35-6, 106, 185

Haigh, Harry, 106, 117, 185, 187

Haigh, Mike, 35, 106, 117, 185, 187

Hall, Adrian, Clapham Beck Head, 193-4

      Ingleborough Cave, 106

      Kirk Pot, 184-5

      Malham Cove Rising, 161, 167-9

      Nape Well Cave, 191-2

      Preacher’s Cave, 177-9

Hall, Pete, 27, 141, 143, 156, 158

Hall, Tim, 47

Hallam, John, 81-3, 171

Halliday, Simon, 161

Halliwell, Ric, 138

Hammer Pot, 14, 39, 41

Harrison, Jude, 117, 185

Hart, Jess, 117, 123

Hartland, Mike, 123

Hasenmayer, Jochen, 61, 64, 65-6, 72

Hayward, Colin, 161

Helm, John, 46-7

Hensler, Eric, 106-7, 112-13, 196

Hensler’s Pot, 36, 103, 106-13, 185, 189, 221

Hermit’s Cave, 174

Heron Pot, 56

High Hull Cave, 14

High Hull Pot, 13-14

Hill, Elaine, 41, 161, 234

Hiscock, Ashley, 161

Hobley, Keith ‘Hogin’, 24

Hodgson, Dick, 171, 173

Hoggarth, Dave, 114

Hoggarth, Lara, 198

Holroyd, Martin, Gingling Hole, 40-1

      Illusion Pot, 79

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 61, 76

      Little Hull Pot, 30

      Notts II, 127, 135

      Penyghent Pot, 26

Holt, Chris, 171

Hooson, Mark, 221

Howson, Phil, 192

Hryndyj, Bob, 61, 62-4, 150

Hrynyk, Mykola, 161

Hudson, Rick, 29, 41, 61, 76, 161

Hull Pot, 13-14, 21, 43-8

Hunt Pot, 13-14, 21-2, 221

Hurnel Moss Pot, 46

Hurst, Ken, 162

Hyde, Dave, 15, 19-20


Illusion Pot, 58, 79, 216-17, 220

Ingham, Stu, 145

Ingleborough Cave, 12, 89-102, 106, 123, 193-4, 218, 236

insurance, 227

Ireby Fell Cavern, 148, 151-5, 216-17

Iron Kiln Dig, 138

Irvine, Lisa, 161


Jackdaw Hole, 219

Jackson, Andy, 33, 207

Jarman, Bob, 194-5

Jarratt, Tony, 185

Jarvis, Rob ‘Stemple’, 212

Jenkinson, Matt, 161

Jewell, Chris, 103, 105

Jingling Pot, 76, 218

Jobling, Simon, 142

Joint Hole, 203, 233

Jones, Gary, 161

Jones, Karen, 161

Jones, Pete, 114

Jowett, Chris, 127, 135

Judd, Brian, 15, 19-21, 161


Kango Hole, 129, 133

Kay, Pete, 86

Keld Head, 10, 49, 53, 54, 59, 61-75, 79-80, 215, 218

      survey, 66-7, 216-17, 218

Kelley, Steve, 114-15

Kemp, Trevor, 61, 64

King Pot, 10, 56-8, 66, 73-5, 78-9, 216-17, 218

Kingsdale caves, 49-80, 215, 218

      connections diagram, 52-3

Kingsdale Master Cave, 50-6, 64-6, 75-9, 216-17

Kirk Pot, 183-5

Klondyke Pot, 123


Labardie, Richard, 185

Lancaster Hole, 8, 9, 148-51, 184, 216-17, 236

Langcliffe Pot, 216-17, 220

Larch Tree Hole, 21, 30

Large Pot, 58, 71, 215, 216-17

Last, Debs, 136

Latham, Joseph, 149

Latimer, Johnny, 158

Latimer, Simon, 138-9, 158

Lawson, Becka, 146, 152-5

Lawton, Ian, 153-5

Lawton, Liz, 154, 159

Laycock, Adrian, 185

Leakey, Bob, 44, 61, 91, 121-2, 126

Leck Beck Head, 49, 135, 147, 216-17

Lee, Raymond, 30-3

Limekiln Pot, 14

Link Pot, 148, 149-51

Lister, Jim, 161

Little, Kev, 30

Little Hull Pot, 13, 14, 21, 23, 29-30

Littondale, 219-20

Livesey, Pete, Grange Rigg Pot, 121-3, 126

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 61, 75

      Little Hull Pot, 29

      Lost Johns’ Cave, 155

      Penyghent Pot, 22, 28

Lloyd, Dewi, 161, 196-7

Lloyd, Ian, 33, 103, 106, 161

Lloyd, Oliver, 164

Long, Harry, 174

Long Kin West, 216-17

Lord, Tom, 34, 146

Lord, Tot, 146

Losers’ Pot, 14, 20, 22, 35-9, 221

Lost Johns’ Cave, 138, 151-60, 215-17, 221

Lost Pot, 148

Lowe, Gavin, 27

Lower Long Churn Cave, 199


McClaren, Matt, 33, 35

McDonald, Ruth, 142-3, 145-6, 154, 185

McGhee, Rod, 183, 200

Mackin, Bob, Hensler’s Pot, 106

      Ingleborough Cave, 97, 99, 102

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 61, 76

      Notts II, 133

      Penyghent Pot, 26

Magnetometer Pot, 7-9, 14, 39, 41, 45

Malham Cove, pavement, 223

Malham Cove Rising, 161-70, 216-17, 221

Mallinson, Jason, 29, 41, 127, 136

Marble Steps Pot, 49-50, 58, 69-70, 79

Marilyn, 103

Martindale, Emma, 143-4

Mellor, Adrian, 24-5, 26, 28-9

Mellor, Don, 171, 175

Melvin, Mick, 54

Mercer, Richard, 177-8, 182, 185

Meregill Hole, 203, 216-17

Meregill Skit, 203-5

Midge Hole, 203

Miller, Peter, 171

Millward, Perry, 102

Milner, Alistair, 50

Milner, Dave, 171

Mohole, The, 148

Molefone, 17, 76, 95-9, 101-2, 133

Monico, Paul, 26-7, 41, 80, 161

Monteath, George, 29

Moon, Norman, 167

Morris, Dave, 114-16, 127, 135, 161

Morrison, Duncan, 138, 155

Moses Well, 218

Mossdale Caverns, 15, 46, 75, 164, 216-17, 220

Muir, Angus, 161

Munn, Kevin, 134

Murgatroyd, Rob, 161

Murphy, Pam, 196-7

Murphy, Phil, 24-5, 61, 69, 161, 192, 204

Myers, Jack, 7-12, 45, 80, 112, 162, 191, 196-8


Nape Well Cave, 191-2

Nasse, Jez, 161

Nettle Pot, 205-8

Nettleton, Ron, 50

New Houses Rising, 219

New Pasture Cave, 14

Newby Moss, 218

Nick Pot, 216-17, 218-19

Nielsen, Grace, 161

Norman, Paul, 114, 196-7

North, George, 143-4, 153-4, 159

Notts II, 127-46, 148, 151, 155-9, 234

Notts Pot, 127-30, 148, 151, 155, 216-17

Nunwick, Mick, 138, 155-9, 221

Nuttall, John, 171


Ogden John, 54, 61, 75, 77, 162, 164

Onions, Jude, 156

Ormerod, Dave, 69

Ormerod, Mick, 54, 61, 77

Orrell, Mike, 168


P5, 121-6, 186, 189, 212

Pacey, Neil, 141-3, 153-4

Pack, David, 43

Palmer, John, 159

Palmer, Rob, 61, 64-5, 77, 88, 93-6, 164

Papard, Phil, 43-5, 61, 63, 76, 164

Parker, John, 15, 16

Parker, Phil, 156, 177-8

Parker, Simon, 114-15, 196-7

Parkinson’s Pot, 112-14

Patchett, Arnold, 91, 118

Pay Sank, 121-6, 211-12

Peak Cavern, 127

Pearce, Ken, 28, 29, 64

Pearson, Frank, 158

Pegleg Pot, 185

Penyghent, cave locations, 20

Penyghent Long Churn, 200-1, 219

Penyghent Master Cave, 13-42, 221

Penyghent Pot, 14-16, 20-30, 39, 47, 216-17, 221-2

Perilous Pot, 222

Perou, Sid, 93, 99-100, 116

Perry, John, 32, 35

Pickersgill, Steve, 93-4

Pickles, Steve, 61, 69, 193-4

Pickstone, Carl, 82

Pikedaw Calamine Caverns, 183, 216-17

Pinkney, Steve, 161

Pippikin Pot, 56, 148, 149-51, 216-17

Pirate Pot, 137

Pitman, Rod, 96

Plant, Ian, 78

Platts, Niall, 171

Preacher’s Cave, 177-82

Preston, Mr, 161, 170

Preston, Keith, 171

Price, Duncan, 161

Price, Madeline, 25

Proudlove, Graham, 43, 59

Pryer, Colin, 132, 139, 161

Puckering, Shaun, 161


Ramsay, Dave, 141-6, 154-6, 185

Randall, Kirsty, 185

Rattray, Fred, Brackenbottom Pot, 33

      Christmas Cracker, 185

      Corky’s Pot, 117, 120

      Generator Pot, 189

      Hensler’s Pot, 106-7

      Losers’ Pot, 35, 39

      Parkinson’s Pot, 112, 114

      Pay Sank, 123

      Preacher’s Cave, 181-2

Rattray, Jimmy, 35, 106-7

Readman, Di, 106

Redmire Pot, 176

Rhoden, Gerik, 33

Rhodes, Brian, 17, 96

Rhodes, Chris, 161

Rift Pot, 58, 148, 151-5

Riley, Mick, 118

Riley, Pete, 127, 129, 135

Ritchie, Alex, 171

Roberts, Andy, 114

Roberts, Steve, 61, 78-9

Robertson, Nigel, 138

Robinsons’ Pot, 216-17

Robson, Mark, 166

Rogers, Martin, 86-8

Rose, Henry, 114

Rose, Pete, 171, 173

Rough Close Pot, 14

Rowten Pot, 49, 51, 75, 216-17, 218

Rumbling Hole, 148

Rushton, Mark, 185

Rushton, Neil, 161

Ryall, Dave, Christmas Cracker, 185

      Corky’s Pot, 117-18

      Diccan Pot, 209

      diving aphorism, 19

      Fat Finger Pot, 33

      Gaping Gill, Deep Well, 103-6

           flood, 212

      Hensler’s Pot, 110-12

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 61, 77

      Losers’ Pot, 35, 39, 221

      Malham Cove Rising, 161

      Pay Sank, 123, 125-6

Ryall, Sue, 33


St Lawrence, Hugh, 156-8

Salmon, Tony, 50-1, 88

Schofield, Bryan ‘Scoff’, Christmas Cracker, 185

      Diccan Pot, 209

      Dub Cote Cave, 15, 19

      Fat Finger Pot, 33-4

      Gaping Gill, Deep Well, 103-4

           flood, 212

           through-trip, 100

      Hensler’s Pot, 106-7

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 61, 77

      Nettle Pot, 205-6

      Pay Sank, 123

Scratcher, Mike, 171

Seddon, Tony, 61, 79, 184

Sell Gill Holes, 216-17, 219

Shackleton, Rob, 15, 16, 22-3, 29, 61, 76

Sharp, Joe, 33, 106, 110

Sharp, Mick, 97, 101

Shaw, Jonny, 203

Shep Pot, 148

Sherrington, Bill, 142-3, 156, 158

Shuttleworth Pot, 148, 233

Sike Gill Rising, 216-17, 218, 219

Silverdale Gill Pot, 14

Simister, Brian ‘Ragnar’, Christmas Cracker, 185

      Fat Finger Pot, 33, 34

      Generator Pot, 189-90

      Hensler’s Pot, 106

      Losers’ Pot, 35-6, 38

Simpson, Dick, 196

Simpson, Eli ‘Cymmie’, 162

Simpson Pot, 49-50, 77, 216-17, 218

Sims, Jon, 127

Skell Gill Caves, 14

Skirfare Risings, 216-17, 219

Skorupka, Rupert, Chapman’s Rising, 203

      Keld Head, 61, 69, 70-1, 77

      King Pot, 74-5, 78

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 76-7

      Notts II, 127-8, 134-5, 141

      Penyghent Pot, 29

      Sike Gill Rising, 218

Slanting Cave, 59

Slater, Mark, 35, 106

Sleets Gill Cave, 178

Small Mammal Pot, 103

Smart, Roy, 50

Smith, Chris, 30-3

Smith, Duncan, 161

Smith, Martin, Christmas Cracker, 185

      Corky’s Pot, 117

      Fat Finger Pot, 33

      Generator Pot, 189

      Hensler’s Pot, 106, 110-13

      Losers’ Pot, 35

      Pay Sank, 123

Smith, Mick, 61, 76

Snurd’s Hole, 216-17

Solari, Roger, 61, 75-6

Southworth, John, 61, 64, 162

Spectacle Pot, 56

Speight, Alan, 156, 177-8, 185

Spencer, Bill, 116

Spike Pot, 14

Stamp, Colin, 33, 106

Stamp, Maria ‘Maz’, 33, 35, 106

Stansfield, Ian, 171

Stanton, Rick, 40-1, 61, 79, 127-8, 134-6, 161

Statham, Oliver ‘Bear’, Dub Cote Cave, 15, 16

      Keld Head, 61, 62-6, 72-3

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 75, 77

Stevenson, Richard, 61, 77

Stewart, Dave, 162

Stock, Nic, 33, 39, 57, 108-9

Stot Rakes Cave and Pot, 14

Stream Passage Pot, 201-3

Stump Cross Caverns, 220

Sudell, Barry, 127-31, 135, 161, 203

Sugden, James, 153

Sullivan, Tim, Brackenbottom Pot, 33

      Christmas Cracker, 185

      Corky’s Pot, 117, 120

      Gaping Gill, 86

      Generator Pot, 189

      Losers’ Pot, 39

      Parkinson’s Pot, 112, 114

      Pay Sank, 123, 125

Sunderland, Norman, 192

surveys and diagrams, Birks Fell Cave, 172-3

      Brants Gill Head hydrology, 14

      Chapman’s Rising, 204

      Committee Pot, 139

      Corky’s Pot, 119

      Dub Cote Cave, 15

      Fountains Fell caves, 39

      Gaping Gill, 84-5

         Deep Well, 105

         South East Pot, 104

      Grange Rigg Pot, 125

      Hensler’s Pot, 107

      Ingleborough Cave, 97

      Keld Head, 66-7

      Kingsdale caves, 52-3, 218

      Losers’ Pot, 37

      Lost Johns’ Cave, 159

      Malham Cove Rising, 163

      Meregill Skit, 204

      Nape Well Cave, 191

      Notts II, 129, 139, 159

      Pay Sank, 125

      Penyghent Pot, 22

      Preacher’s Cave, 178

      Three Counties System, 148

      Trans-Craven System, 216-17

Sutcliffe, Roger, 86, 88

Swinsto Hole, 49, 50, 54, 77, 218

Swire, Paul, 141, 153

Sykes, Pete, 33


Taylor, George, 185

Taylor, Kenny, 53, 54, 155

Taylor, Roy, 171-3

Tharratt, Andy, 23, 24-5, 161

Thomas, Mike, 30, 127-9, 135

Thomas, Steve, 127, 135

Thompson, Jack, 162

Thompson, Tom, 114-15

Thorp, John ‘Lugger’, 56, 155

Thorpe, Mike, 91-2

Thorpe, Neil, 81

Thorpe, Steve, 61, 62-3

Three Counties System, 71, 147-60, 185, 213, 216, 221

Tietema, Rolf, 161

Tindale, Mon, 161

Todd, Julian, 153

Todd, Laurie, 171

Top Sink, 148, 150

Trans-Craven System (hypothetical), 213-22

Trollers Gill, 191

Trowbridge, Laura, 161

Tucker, Steve, 61

Turbary Pot, 79

Turn Dub, 216-17, 219

Turton, Roger, 177-8

Tweedale, Charles, 161-2, 168


Ullet Gill Cave, 216-17, 218-19

Unsworth, Dick, 43-4


Valley Entrance, 50, 54, 59-60, 64, 218

Valley Exit, 57, 74

Vesper Pot, 56

Volanthen, John, 41

Voldemort Hole, 142


Waddon, Jack, 15

Walford, Julian, 15, 16-18

Wallbank, Alan, 171, 173

Walsh, Andy, 138, 156

Waltham, Tony, 155

Walton, Mike, 171

Ward, Geoff, 161

Ward, Pete, 156, 159

Warren, Patrick, 47, 114-15, 153-4

Warren, Steve, 47, 171

Watson, Ian, 61, 65, 69, 76, 78

Watt, Jon, 23-5

Weare, Damian, 185

Webster, Martin, 28

Weight, Alan, 59, 61

Westlake, Clive, 61, 75, 102, 135, 137, 161, 166

Weston, Dave, 51

Whalley, John, 43-4, 171-2

Whatley, Ben, 161

Whitaker, Edward, 171, 173

White, ‘Mendip Carole’, Christmas Cracker, 185-6

      Corky’s Pot, 117

      Generator Pot, 189

      Hensler’s Pot, 106, 110

      Losers’ Pot, 35

      Nettle Pot, 207

      Parkinson’s Pot, 112

      Pay Sank, 123-4

White Scar Cave, 216-17, 218, 240

Whitehouse, Andy, 161

Whitfield, Colin, 69

Whybro, Paul, 40, 127, 135

Wileman, Kev, 185

Wilkinson, Ian, 97, 101

Wilkinson, Johnny, 43-4

Wilson, Dave, 196-7

Wilson, Simon, 111, 157-8

Winch, John, 197

Windle, Paul, 141, 143-4

Winstanley, Fred, 61, 76

Winstanley, Mary, 140, 158

Witches Cave, 135, 147, 148

Wizards Chasm, 216-17

Wooding, Mike, Gaping Gill, 89, 92, 103

      Ingleborough Cave, 91-2, 93

      Keld Head, 61, 62, 63

      Meregill Skit, 203

      Penyghent Pot, 22

Woodward, Brian, 28

Wright, Ben, 114, 116

Wright, Gerry, 91

Wright, Mark, 161

Wright, Martin, 161


Yeadon, Geoff, Dub Cote Cave, 15, 16-18

      Gaping Gill, 84, 94-102

      Keld Head, 61, 62-6, 68, 70, 72-3

      King Pot, 78

      Kingsdale Master Cave, 74, 76-7

      Lost Johns’ Cave, 138, 151, 155

      Malham Cove Rising, 164-5

Yeandle, Dave ‘Pooh’, 61, 76, 77-8, 150

Yonge, Charles, 23

Yordas Cave, 49, 59, 76-7, 218

Yu-Pearson, Will, 158

Winner of the 2017 Tratman Award

The Tratman Award is presented annually to the best caving-related publication; it is considered to be hugely prestigious and Adventures Underground won the award  for 2017 against an incredibly strong field. The trophy, a hand-crafted model of a caver and featuring the book itself, was presented to Dave Haigh at the annual caving conference, Hidden Earth, on 23 September 2018.

Readers' comments ...

Absolutely brilliant – a fine tribute to my grandfather Arthur – it's a wonderful book and the whole family is very proud of it. David Gemmell

I have finally finished the book - been reading it in bits to make it last. It is without a doubt the best book on caving I have ever read, and certainly one of the best adventure books generally.

I read it from cover to cover in a solid twelve hours because I just couldn't put it down.

The rave reviews and comments are – if anything – understatements

Congratulations on bringing out this volume. I'm sure it will be as valued as its predecessor!

Great reading, great photos and great production values. Do buy one!

Thoroughly enjoying this outstanding book. I'm rationing it to nurse me through a series of dull night shifts!

Great book, haven't been able to put it down.

I am really impressed by the quality of the book – its layout, printing, photos, diagrams ... I suspect that the original Underground Adventure and Potholing beneath the Northern Pennines – two of my favourite books over the last forty years – will have to take a step down from the top of the podium to make room for Dave and John's book.

The book is certainly inspirational. A book to savour and which will need several reads, given the vast amount of information in its pages.

An absolutely superb book, the best caving book for a long long time.

Brilliant book, well written and put together.

Rushed through it as I couldn't put it down. One complaint – too short!

A quick glance showed me this is a real classic book on Dales caving. It is well written, illustrated with loads of great photos and diagrams, and produced to an exceptionally high quality. The authors John Cordingley and Dave Haigh are to be congratulated on producing such a splendid book. And much credit to Chris Howes and Judith Calford at Wild Places for all their efforts in making sure the final product is worthy of its contents.

Great reading, great photos and great production values. Do buy one!

I've only dipped in at the moment, but I've read enough to appreciate the quality and the effort, a bloody good read. Perfect copies may become collectors' items, but I'm afraid mine won't be one. It'll become too dog-eared and well read!

What a fantastic piece of work. It has been a pleasure to read such finely written inspiration material. Thank you for writing such a great book.

Have just finished reading Adventures Underground. Really enjoyed it. Another super book for my collection.

I found it a riveting read – the excitement that John and Dave inject into their explorations of the caves really shines through. The tantalising final chapter about the future is fascinating.

Review in Descent (256) by Alan L. Jeffreys

Straight off, may I say I found Adventures Underground a fabulous book. Being, as I always have been, a tremendous fan of the original Gemmell and Myers work, I am constantly in favour of promoting the sport of caving and potholing vis-à-vis the general public with informative, well-presented and readable narratives that give precisely the right concept of what can be viewed as being a slightly lunatic occupation. In 1952 explorers of Yorkshire’s underworld were little known outside their own circles. Certainly, they did not labour under the misplaced notion that all cavers were ‘risk junkies’ crawling down rabbit holes putting other peoples’ lives at risk, souring public perceptions for several decades thereafter. Their resulting book, Underground Adventure, undeniably attracted large numbers of readers into trying the sport for themselves.

Dave Haigh and John Cordingley have here attempted to bring readers (fans?) of this original book up to date, generally restricting themselves to classic Dales territory between Fountains Fell and Gragareth (Arthur Gemmell’s ‘Land of Pot-holes’), although a couple of very welcome departures are also present. Birks Fell Cave, for example, ‘a Wharfedale gem’, is a worthy inclusion. Both writers are too well known in caving circles to require any introduction, and both are more than qualified to undertake the task of synthesising a massive body of exploratory work over the sixty years that have elapsed since the first book appeared.

Although, as a general rule, they have tried to follow the Gemmell and Myers style of personal experience, obviously regiments of other cavers have been involved – demonstrated by solid paragraphs of acknowledgements at the front of the book – so the engaging narratives fully recognise achievements in which the authors played little or no part. Each of the seventeen chapters covers a self-contained topic, for example the endeavour to complete the Three Counties System, the epic Gaping Gill to Ingleborough Cave story, and the search for a Penyghent Master Cave. What I found particularly pleasing in each case was the clear description of geographical problems and the ordered, well-thought-out approach to tackle them. Trying to assess this book’s contents from the point of view of ‘Mr General Public’, I found narratives which clearly explained what cavers were trying to achieve (and why), contextualising their efforts with a liberal salting of humour, constantly referring back to the 1952 book just to keep things in perspective.

The book is generously illustrated – 261 superb photographs, almost all in colour and nearly every one new to me. There are even thumbnail pictures to clarify definitions in the glossary at the rear! Twenty-five surveys, diagrams and maps provide state-of-the-art situations such as the Three Counties System, the Fountains Fell caves and the Kingsdale Master Cave sump dives. I particularly liked Bryan ‘Scoff’ Schofield’s schematics of the Kingsdale and Gaping Gill systems.

Any non-caving reader perusing this book will discover exactly what it is like to spend hours below ground in conditions a great deal less than ideal (no holds are barred in relating ‘hairy’ experiences), which, it seems to me, will be a great selling point at various Yorkshire Dales National Park outlets. Neither author, I’m sure they will allow, is a spring chicken so they share with me values of what is fast becoming a lost age, as illustrated by my favourite two quotes:

‘These days an awful, risk-averse culture has developed in the UK which is choking the life out of adventure and fun, but I’d rather be digging in a choke than be bored to death by health and safety control freaks’ (Dave Haigh, p156)


‘people who think that “caving” is only about swinging around on a few bolts wearing a shiny plastic suit are in for a real shock here’ (John Cordingley on Birks Fell Cave, p176).

In short, this is a long-winded way of saying: you cannot, just cannot, do without this book – or indeed its predecessor, reprinted in 1990. Get them both and your life will be complete. Very well done, Dave and John – you fly the flag superlatively.

Alan Jeffreys, online review April 2017; subsequently published in Descent (256), June 2017

Review in Descent (256) by Tony Waltham

A NEW book on caving in the Yorkshire Dales has to be an exciting event. Eagerly awaited; have they done it? Yes, they have. The title is a brave (but very respectful) play on words. And the book itself is a brave successor, even a worthy successor, to that by Gemmell and Myers from 1952.

One has the feeling that the original Underground Adventure was all about gentlemen cavers who still had the opportunity to find open entrances and explore deep caves without too many horrendous obstacles in their way. Gemmell and Myers’ style of writing was one of elegant understatement – rather British and old-school, whereas the new Adventures Underground hurtles into the modern world. Long-term digging, diving and desperate climbing are the essential tools for finding caves today (in the Dales at least – we are not talking Mulu here), but all this can be equally exciting. Some of Haigh and Cordingley’s modern style of writing does verge towards the over-exuberant, even a little too American in places, but maybe that is more how folk think and feel these days.

The comparisons had to be made, but now they are over what of this new book? It’s good, nay, it’s very good, and it will stand high among the Dales’ caving literature, mainly because it presents a great picture of caving in the Dales over the last forty years or so. It is not a complete record (that would be far too heavy going), but it is much more than the personal experiences of the two authors. That said, the text sparkles more when it recalls first-hand explorations. Dave Haigh’s discoveries (with friends) of Corky’s Pot and Hensler’s Pot, both descending into Gaping Gill, and John Cordingley’s underwater explorations in Keld Head and behind Malham Cove provide the best reading.

Veering away from the purely personal experiences, splendid chapters summarise many of the big cave discoveries of recent years. Notable are the stories of the Penyghent caves (where Dave had some peripheral involvements) and Notts II (where John took part in the earliest diver trips). The book comes up to date with the story of the Three Counties connections and goes back a bit to provide perhaps the best summary in print of how Gaping Gill was liked with Ingleborough Cave.

This is not primarily a picture book, but it includes some excellent photos – some are rather small, but a few winners are presented large and, especially welcome, the pages also contain a number of classics and rarities from the archives. The maps are very Descent style and perhaps a few more would have been welcome to follow the geography of some of the explorations, though the style of the map of GG is clever.

The book is meant to be a good read, and it is. Dipping into its pages will remain a delight for many a year. Each to his own for the best bit, but for this reviewer the highlight is John Cordingley’s three pages headed ‘The anatomy of a long dive’ which provide something that few readers will ever experience – the atmosphere, the tension, the excitement, the loneliness of a long cave dive. Four hours alone in the alien environment of a water-filled cave is just freaky.

Perhaps better, and for most of us more enjoyable, is to read the book. Don’t miss out on this one.

Tony Waltham in
Descent (256), June 2017

Review on ukCaving by Matt Ewles

In 1952, Underground Adventure by Gemmell and Myers was published; a landmark book documenting some of the biggest discoveries in northern UK. Unlike many other books which presented straight facts for reference, this book presented the personal stories of the discoveries from the perspective of the two authors who had been directly involved. In each short, standalone chapter, the reader was taken on an underground adventure, experiencing the highs and lows of the first explorations of some of the caves we know well today. The writing style was engaging, enticing and exhilarating and left the reader feeling as if they were almost there with these original explorers, and offering a beautifully written first person perspective on many of the early discoveries.

I am embarrassed to say that my copy of Underground Adventure languished on my bookshelf for several years before I finally reached for it one evening in 2012. As fortune would have it, I’d enjoyed a trip down Little Hull Pot on Penyghent for the first time only a week earlier so I was immediately drawn to the chapter describing the original exploration of this fine pothole by Gemmell et al in 1939. I was quickly captivated by the story of how Little Hull Pot was first descended, and what a major undertaking this was with the equipment at the time. I then couldn’t put the book down, soon becoming immersed in the gripping story of the exploration of Simpson Pot, Lancaster Hole, Notts Pot (known as Notts Hole originally) and others. Each was told in a way that immersed the reader in the underground adventure as it unfolded.

Of course, cave exploration did not end in 1952 when this book was written. Sure, many of the easier pickings had been explored; but enormous cave systems continued to be discovered. This is thanks to the tenacity and ongoing resourcefulness of underground explorers, improved caving equipment, SRT, and advances in cave diving.

It was therefore with great excitement that I learned of Adventures Underground. This new book is billed as an unofficial follow-up to the 1952 Underground Adventure. The authors, Dave Haigh and John Cordingley, are well qualified to narrate on some of the biggest discoveries of recent decades. They make no secret of their admiration for the 1952 Underground Adventure, and their wish for their book to be written in a similar style.

So, does Adventures Underground live up to its aims? I was keen to find out.

Much as I was drawn to the Little Hull Pot chapter of the 1952 Underground Adventure, I was first drawn to the Adventures Underground story of the discovery of Pay Sank and P5. Only a week prior to collecting the book I had performed an exchange trip between Grange Rigg Pot and Christmas Pot, both of which are part of the Pay Sank/P5 hydrological system. I yearned to know more about this often-forgotten small area, sandwiched between the more popular Gaping Gill pots and those on the Ingleborough Allotment. To my delight, there it was, a chapter dedicated to the Pay Sank and P5 discoveries. This seems a fitting inclusion in the new book, as Grange Rigg Pot was originally explored by Arthur Gemmell et al in 1943. Dave Haigh provides a history of the exploration before describing the post-1952 explorations which culminated in the discovery of Pinnacle Hall via Grange Rigg/Christmas Pot.

This introduction, as with all chapter introductions, is written in a concise yet informative way, providing enough historical background to help the reader appreciate the nature of the adventure that lies ahead, but without getting bogged down by too much historical context.

The story then jumps to above ground and the surface dig of Pay Sank in the P5 shakehole. Capturing the excitement (and relating the miseries) of digging in words is no easy task but one which Dave has done extremely well on several occasions; combining exactly the right mix of facts, intrigue, adventure, comedic anecdote and personalities to keep the reader gripped.

Having jumped straight in at a later chapter, I then returned to the beginning. The first chapter is dedicated to the search for the elusive Penyghent Master Cave; a theoretically immense system spanning the potholes on Penyghent and Fountains Fell. This is skilfully narrated. Dave grabs the readers’ attention, leading them into the mystery and explaining the evidence.

After reading the introduction to this chapter, it is almost impossible not to read on; a theme common to the entire book. The story then moves onto Penyghent Pot. Most cavers will have heard of this classic pothole; many will have been on the sporting trip to the main downstream sump, but few will have ventured into the furthest reaches such as the Living Dead Extensions; for good reason as you will find out. The ULSA explorations, commencing from 1986, are extremely well recounted; with each key breakthrough covered. The story accurately portrays the determination of the cavers involved, returning week after week to push through the most torturous and wet passages, on 16hr+ exploration trips, always believing they were one corner away from finding the elusive Master Cave.

I became acutely aware that in the hour or so it had taken me to read this chapter, I had learned more about the wider Penyghent cave system than I had learned in 13 years as an active Yorkshire Dales caver. Maybe this was just laziness on my part. The authors have managed to both educate and enthral the reader in each short chapter.

It is fascinating to see a short chapter dedicated to Hull Pot; a tribute to the coverage this well-known enormous pothole received in the 1952 Underground Adventure. This chapter follows on very nicely from the Penyghent Master Cave chapter, changing focus, as John shares with the reader a short personal story of his early trips into this well-known pothole. He recalls his early descents of the lower pitches, which unknown to many, are some of the wettest in the Dales.

The explorations of Notts II, originally by divers, and later by dry cavers following the breakthrough into the system at Committee Pot, form two excellent chapters. The story of this complex discovery is well told, and the excitement that this discovery created is captured. Likewise, in a separate chapter, the story of the work to connect Ingleborough Cave and Gaping Gill is told with admirable clarity.

The Three Counties System is rightly given considerable attention; the concept of this was first proposed in 1968 (prior to Underground Adventure). The key breakthroughs, right up to the final Notts II/Lost Johns’ connection in November 2011 are well covered. Over the course of 14 pages, the reader is taken on the mission to explore and connect this enormous system. The authors accurately portray the adventure and determination experienced by the explorers, and (like any good story that is likely to have a sequel) have left us on a cliff hanger with the mention of a potentially much larger trans-Craven system from Aygill Caverns all the way across to Wharfedale.

Diving was naturally going to play a massive part in post-1952 cave discoveries. From the discovery of Notts II, the exploration of the Kingsdale Master Cave (including the famous King Pot to Keld Head dive), to the underwater explorations at Malham, John Cordingley tells the stories very well indeed, in a way that captures the excitement, the opportunities (and the dangers) of cave diving.

Finally, it is great to see some attention given to areas outside of the Three Peaks/Three Counties area; the explorations in Birks Fell and Preachers Cave on Wild Boar Fell are covered; in the latter, the determination of the explorers is made all too clear, as John recounts episodes of poking at (and deliberately collapsing) underwater boulder chokes; and even scaffolding underwater; All in the interests of pushing for that next big discovery.

The book is well furnished with photos throughout, and the reader is assisted in his/her understanding of the systems being discussed by simplified ‘tube style’ maps, simple black-line surveys or more detailed surveys which help to put everything in perspective. Readers will recognise the style of many of the surveys; the book is published by Wild Places Publishing, who also publish Descent. Chris and Judith have done an outstanding job with this.

Adventures Underground can be enjoyed by anyone; Some knowledge of caving terminology is beneficial, although a glossary is included to help.

It must have been a daunting task to try to create a follow-up to Underground Adventure; The engaging writing style is not easy to replicate. Dave Haigh and John Cordingley have nonetheless got it exactly right. As well as educating the reader on each discovery, they successfully relate the personal tribulations, the determination, and most importantly the excitement and adventure of the original explorations. This is done mostly from first-hand perspective; because, after all, they were there for most of them!

Each chapter is the right length to read over a mug of hot chocolate (or something stronger). By the end of the first page of each chapter, you are totally hooked on the story; wanting to know more and wondering what will happen next. Each chapter is stand-alone (with a few exceptions) so the book can be either read from cover to cover (the ordering of chapters ensures alternating variety), or as a selection of short stories.

Adventures Underground certainly lives up to its aim. This is a must-own, must-read book for all cavers, and looks set to help inspire cave explorers for several decades, much as the original Underground Adventure has done.

Matt Ewles Chairman, York Caving Club Secretary, Council of Northern Caving Clubs, 17th May 2017
Original published on ukCaving, reproduced by author's permission

Review in Cave and Karst Science Vol. 44 (2) 2017 by Deej Lowe and Duncan Price

An editorial aside

Well, I really did want to review Adventures Underground (see below), but it ws a case of few being called and even fewer being chosen.

Easter 1965 saw me discover geology and caving during a school fieldtrip to Ribblesdale. Within a week my local Library’s copy of Gemmell and Myers’ Underground Adventure found itself on an oft-renewed loan that lasted three years. Much later I bought a copy!

At Birmingham University in 1968, waiting to set off to Llangattwg with BUSS (RIP), I asked Nigel Dibben (another new BUSS member) how or why he had started caving; if I remember correctly he too had been mesmerized by Underground Adventure (a School Prize). Months later, after the discovery of the BUSS Route in Notts Pot, Nigel placed our BUSS Route plan over my amateurish (pre-digital-days) enlargement of the Notts Pot survey from Underground Adventure; that simple act kick-started a project that led to the publication of the BUSS Notts Pot survey in 1971.

Every so often, after looking again at Underground Adventure, I thank Jack Myers and Arthur Gemmell for capturing my imagination with what was my favourite ‘cave exploration’ book for more than 50 years. So, now it’s thanks to Dave Haigh and John Cordingley for sharing their Adventures Underground. How many embryonic cavers will these tales attract, intrigue and motivate over the next 50 years?

Deej Lowe

Book review

Sixty-five years ago Arthur Gemmel and Jack Myers wrote Underground Adventure, arguably one of the earliest accounts of cave exploration in the Yorkshire Dales and a motivation for many youngsters to take up potholing. Dave Haigh and John Cordingley feature among the Gemmel and Myers’ acolytes and they have been inspired to write this book as a sequel to the original work from which it derives its title. The authors should need no introduction to most readers and (judging by their comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter) they seem to have each devoted more than a lifetime to the exploration of caves in the classic Dales caving area.

Some histories of cave exploration can be rather dry tomes, frequently of interest only to those involved, but Haigh and Cordingley have successfully avoided this pitfall by adopting an easy-going, conversational, tone, which draws the reader into the unfolding action in each of the 17 chapters. Subtitled ‘Tales of cave exploration in the Yorkshire Dales’, the book encompasses some notable events in the history of Caving in the Dales, including the discovery of the Kingsdale Master Cave and its later linking to Keld Head and King Pot, and the connection of Gaping Gill to Ingleborough Cave and subsequent discoveries of new entrances to the system. The mammoth saga of the eventual establishment of the Three Counties Cave System, which became a reality in November 2011, spans three chapters. Finally, the book’s concluding chapter discusses the tantalising possibility of there also being a Trans-Craven Cave System, linking caves between Barbondale in the west and Wharfedale in the east.

The text is illustrated copiously, with more than 260 photographs (mainly in colour and commonly of historical interest) as well as surveys - including some novel schematic diagrams, from Bryan ‘Scoff’ Schofield, that resemble London Underground maps – all of which help the reader to follow the narrative.

Adventures Underground is as much a social history of caving as an account of the exploration of the caves themselves: spanning an era in cave discovery from the 1960s to the Present, with the Index listing enough people to make this a veritable Who’s Who of the activity and a perfect substitute for going underground when the weather is unfavourable or the body unwilling. The stories provide an incentive to visit many of the caves described and (although they are not intended as such) they effectively provide a guide to some of the more obscure parts of the Dales underground. Although this is a book that will definitely appeal to established cavers, the appendices provide useful information for any non-caver reading the book, about how to start caving, cave access and cave conservation, a bibliography and an illustrated glossary.

The authors and publishers are to be congratulated on producing such an accessible and engaging volume. It would be premature to describe Adventures Underground as a ‘classic’, but it is surely destined to become just that ...

Duncan Price, Cave and Karst Science Vol 44, (2) 2017, p94

(It really is rather good)

Other articles and publications

Feature articles about Adventures Underground appear in the Dalesman and Lancashire Life for April 2017; coverage also appeared in Descent (254) and (255) for February and April 2017, as well as Cumbria Life for April 2017. A feature was also published in the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald on 15 April 2017, and in the Craven Herald on 4 May 2017.

A major review by Linda Wilson was published on 11 November on Darkness Below.

Royalty donations

The authors donated the royalties from Adventures Underground to their chosen charities, equally divided between cave rescue and Macmillan Cancer Support. Descent (259) for December 2017 reported that the first donation was presented to the British Cave Rescue Council at Inglesport, and at the same time a donation was sent direct to Macmillan. Each payment was for £675, the royalties due being added to and rounded off by Wild Places. This means that a total of £1,350 was raised for good causes in this initial stage.

An online report appeared on the BCRC website in December 2017.

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