An underground Yorkshire adventure
f your idea of a good day out is climbing down a tiny dark hole in the ground then you’re either Lewis Carroll’s diminutive heroine Alice or a potholer. And if it is the latter, you might well have found your own Wonderland in the Yorkshire Dales.
Because thanks to dramatic limestone scenery and favourable geological features, the National Park is pretty much perfect for both potholing and caving.
The best place to begin your subterranean adventure is in the village of Ingleton where you’ll find caving shops, a range of accommodation and a good old cup of Yorkshire tea to steel those nerves before you head into the bowels of the earth.
If you’re just starting out, there are a number of tour operators and local clubs offering both potholing and caving trips for beginners. You’ll be amazed by just how exhilarating it is to squeeze your way into a hidden world, shaped by nature. Experts should head to the Easegill Caverns, which stretch more than 40 miles. With over 70 known passages, they are Britain’s longest and most complex system.
If the idea of crawling through dark tunnels metres below the ground is not for you, then there are some excellent show caves in the area. Best of all is the White Scar Cave, located deep beneath Ingleborough Hill.
You can take a path past waterfalls, gushing streams, and through galleries of stalactites and stalagmites, and the best thing is it’s all lit up for you.