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Gunnerfleet Cave

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April 24th 1935:

"We had dinner at 3.30 p.m. and set off for Gunner Fleet at 4.15 loaded with the tackle I had brought. We entered the cave at 5.0 p.m. and as I was going along I got a terrible headache, by the time I got to the first chamber I was feeling as though I could not carry on. We collected two boxes full of stalactites and tied some larger ones to a plank, then Mr. Simpson took a photograph and we worked through to the second chamber, by that time I was feeling quite fit. He then set to work cutting out stalagmites, he broke two off and packed them, then we worked them to the entrance, they were very heavy and we were glad when we got them intact to the entrance chamber. We then worked the boxes of stalactites through and we returned to the second chamber. Mr. Simpson was then working at the 4 feet “mite” I went to help him while Longbottom took the camera forward, we used the hacksaw. The “mite” itself was on a loose stone and when we tried to break it the boulder rocked. When we had nearly cut through it broke off and we packed it and worked it forward. It was not heavy and I carried it most of the way. We got to the entrance at 10.0 p.m. and loaded up. We left the two shorter stalagmites and I took the box of stalactites and the camera. We walked back with our head lamps going to show the way; on arriving at camp we had a good supper and got to bed at 11.30 p.m."

Those were the days, my friends....

I am a bit puzzled.  Is this the Eli Simpson of BSA fame?  and what was he doing with the speleothems?  Was the cave about to be quarried away?


--- Quote from: rhychydwr1 on May 07, 2021, 04:44:42 pm ---I am a bit puzzled.  Is this the Eli Simpson of BSA fame?  and what was he doing with the speleothems?  Was the cave about to be quarried away?
--- End quote ---

It was Eli Simpson, the cave scientist of BSA fame, and it's simply just what he did. The same journal recounts similar episodes in Skirwith, Hardrawkin, White Scar and other places.

As to what happened to "the specimens" - who knows?

When I first read it, I was shocked to the core. My view of the man absolutely plummeted.  It's all very well saying that we live in a different era, but he knew that what he was doing was irreversible. I remember stal. bashing with Mel Gascoyne, but at least there was some discretion in the process, and we got to learn a lot about the history of  Dales caves in the process.

Ian Ball:
Phew! I'm glad it wasn't just me who thought it was a shocking read! 

I had a brief moment when I hoped this was a 'rescue' operation to remove stal from something that was about to be quarried away. Clearly not!

Eli Simpson was long before my time and from what I heard about him, he had a rather Voldemort reputation. If that's accurate, this would seem to support it....


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