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On this day . . .

Pitlamp

Well-known member
On this day, 15th January 1922, the Gritstone Club came into being.

Congratulations Grits, on a Century of exemplary activity, a long series of fascinating Journals and many fine caving discoveries (not to mention 100 years of mountaineering excellence)!  :clap:

(Note to moderators - the Gritstone Club is northern based but I've posted this in the general area of the forum for several reasons. The main one is that the topic title is inspired by a regular feature on Radio 4 and I thought others might like to make use of it to post similar "on this day" notes in future, from other caving areas. Also, the Grits aren't just active in the Dales; their publications reveal all sorts of adventures all over the world.)
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
On this day, 1st February 1962 (60 years ago) Eli "Cymmie" Simpson passed away.

We modern cavers still benefit from the foundations this visionary helped to lay. History has been rather unkind to Cymmie; it has tended to focus on the post war disputes which led to the great "Exodus" to form the Northern Pennine Club and Red Rose Cave & Pothole Club, at the expense of all the great things he did from earlier in the last Century.

Never forget that "history" is generally written by the winners / survivors. Dig a little deeper into contemporary publications and Cymmie's massive contributions and achievements will soon become obvious.

There really ought to be a blue plaque on "Cragdale" - the former Settle police station in which the BSA was based through the interwar years.

 

pwhole

Well-known member
Well if it's any consolation I was born on the 1st February, so it's partly balanced :)

And his work in Peak Cavern has been very useful to us lot too.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Purely in the interests of accuracy, I need to correct myself. In the post above about Cymmie I referred to the first premises occupied by the British Speleological Association asL ""Cragdale" - the former Settle police station in which the BSA was based through the interwar years.".

Jenny Potts has kindly given me some detailed information, in which is revealed the fact that Cragdale was occupied by the BSA between 1935 - 1939 (not the whole period between the 1st & 2nd World Wars, as my previous words seemed to imply). Thanks Jenny.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
On this day, 14th May 1972, 50 years ago, the CPC got through "The Trap" in their extension to Kingsdale's Slanting Cave and reached the 23 m shaft. This was bottomed on a subsequent trip on 4th June, to reach the sump. The survey of the cave was also completed on a 9 hour "most enjoyable" trip. The shaft was described as follows:

" . . . a fine "T" shaped passage led on to the pitch. Our only ladder enabled us to step onto a wide ledge 15 ft down. From here we could see the full splendour of a quite magnificent shaft not unlike some of the big classic pitches to be found in Kingsdale. As we only had the 130 ft rope left, abseil and prussik techniques had to be employed. Could this be the first time these techniques have been used by the CPC in exploring a brand new pothole?"

Slanting Cave has various low and wet sections which are prone to become badly blocked in flood; they sometimes need some determination to make them passable again. I bet not that many folk have bottomed this fine pot, even today.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
On this day, 12th July 1967, 55 years ago, the Valley Entrance to the (west) Kingsdale Master Cave was opened. This was achieved by cavers from the University of Leeds Speleological Association, helped by members of the Happy Wanderers Cave and Pothole Club. It made possible some very fine through trips (from Simpson Pot etc) and gave easier access from the dale side, which has facilitated further exploratory work ever since.

Of interest is a Valley Entrance meet report which has just appeared in CPC record 147 (July 2022) pages 28-29. It was produced, with a bit of help from the grown ups, by an exceptionally young caver. (Her grandad is the bloke who made the replacement lid for the tube we all slide through into the Roof Tunnel.) It concludes with the words: "I like caving and I expect I may be doing more in the future".
 

Alex

Well-known member
Slanting Cave has various low and wet sections which are prone to become badly blocked in flood; they sometimes need some determination to make them passable again. I bet not that many folk have bottomed this fine pot, even today.
Did try it, but it seemed to completely blocked after the chamber. It would definitely need digging out again.
 

Ian P

Active member
On this day, 12th July 1967, 55 years ago, the Valley Entrance to the (west) Kingsdale Master Cave was opened. This was achieved by cavers from the University of Leeds Speleological Association, helped by members of the Happy Wanderers Cave and Pothole Club. It made possible some very fine through trips (from Simpson Pot etc) and gave easier access from the dale side, which has facilitated further exploratory work ever since.

Of interest is a Valley Entrance meet report which has just appeared in CPC record 147 (July 2022) pages 28-29. It was produced, with a bit of help from the grown ups, by an exceptionally young caver. (Her grandad is the bloke who made the replacement lid for the tube we all slide through into the Roof Tunnel.) It concludes with the words: "I like caving and I expect I may be doing more in the future".
Some pictures from said trip.
 

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langcliffe

Well-known member
Slanting Cave has various low and wet sections which are prone to become badly blocked in flood; they sometimes need some determination to make them passable again. I bet not that many folk have bottomed this fine pot, even today.
I did it on ladders many years ago, soon after it was opened. I'm not sure that I could even find the entrance, now.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
(Almost) on this day - Summer 1952 (actual date uncertain) - Mike Dickinson and Brian Varley of the Craven Pothole Club discovered what is said to be the longest stalactite in Europe, 70 years ago. It's in Poll an Ionain in County Clare. There is a very fine photograph of this in the 1952 CPC Journal taken by Hugh Holgate. Nowadays most folk refer to this as Doolin Cave and it's open to the public.

I must ring Brian and congratulate him on the anniversary!
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Today it's 50 years since the 1972 Ghar Parau expedition arrived at Kermanshah in Iran, en route for the lofty Zagros mountains. I was still a child in that year (far too young to join a caving club) but I remember how exciting it was to be in the Dales and rubbing shoulders with so many experienced British cavers who would be members of one of the most ambitious caving expeditions at the time.

Of course, as we all know, shortly beyond the point reached by the previous expedition the cave suddenly ended at a diminutive sump, after all the massive effort needed to mount this venture. Even today this kind of situation in caving is referred to as "being Ghar Paraud". Yet the 1972 expedition paved the way for even more ambitious caving expeditions in the years that followed (e.g. New Guinea, 1975 and many others since).

David Judson compiled an excellent book about Ghar Parau, which is widely available in caving club libraries and is a highly recommended read for any caver or expedition planner generally. Much more recently (during the 2020 Covid lockdown) Arthur Champion treated fellow CPC members to an online presentation, which is now available to all on You Tube:
 

JAA

Active member
Fascinating thanks for sharing that! Out of interest was it/has it ever been dived?
What a shame those big resurgences and all the potential will (to western divers at least) likely remain untapped.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
On this day, six years ago (22-8-16) there was a great flood at Gaping Gill, which also flooded the show cave. Main Chamber became a deep lake, which was visited by cavers via Bar Pot; photographs appeared subsequently in Descent magazine. The flood took place during the August GG winch meet (which was a week later in August than currently, in those days).
 

mikem

Well-known member
Rain started on the 19th, as it was the end of eurospeleo & the parking field was a quagmire on the 20th (final day), after exceptionally good weather for the rest of the week (remember seeing photos of the benches outside the helwith bridge standing in overflow from Ribble on, I think, 21st)
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
On this day, 185 years ago (23rd September 1837) Josiah Harrison and three Ingleborough Estate labourers broke a gap through a gour dam some 60 m into Clapdale Great Cave, drained out the lake it was holding back and explored part of what is now the show cave. The fuller exploration was then continued by members of the Farrer family and several of their friends. They had reached the second Gothic Arch (see picture, taken yesterday evening) by 29th September and two labourers then continued as far as Lake Avernus. (Giants Hall wasn't found until later on.)

On 11th October that year James Farrer tied a rope to himself and set off swimming along Lake Avernus, clutching a candle. He was eventually stopped by the roof dipping below water, a point which was only passed by cave divers, more than a Century later.

As a caver, I have immense respect for that generation.

IngleboroughCave_2ndGothicArch.JPG
 
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