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Pikedaw calamine caverns minor rockfall

As most caves were underwater this evening we made the trip back to pikedaw calamine caverns.

On the large boulder slope  after the great shake ( going up to near the 8ft pitch)  we noticed a rock that has recently fallen out of the wall / boulder choke.
It was about car engine size and signs of it falling very recently.  There were also other smaller bits of rock fall in the area.
I do wonder how long this large boulder slope will hold together.
Please be careful next time you visit!
Also some evidence of people digging in other areas of the cave. Where are you trying to dig too?

All the best


Well-known member
Where are you trying to dig too?
That's quite an interesting query; isn't the purpose of digging to find new cave? The fact is that Pikedaw Calamine Caverns has natural passage that seems to be old, abandoned and isolated ? but pasages don't just start and stop for no reason at all. It seems to me that there may well be plenty of cave in the area that has not yet been discovered ? so why not dig a bit?

Not too far away is Wizard's Chasm, which has a similarly enigmatic series of reasonably sized passages with no obvious relationship to the surrounding topography . . . . maybe PCC and WC are connected?


Well-known member
There was an earthquake centred on Cowgill (Dentdale) on 25th February, possibly related?
See forthcoming Descent magazine for a bit more about earthquakes and rockfalls in caves.


Well-known member
Why pursue projects in Pikedaw? Well, it's a big, very old, phreatic system, giving tantalising clues as to what else still lies waiting to be found. However, it is probably truncated by surface erosion, at least at one end.

Then again there is this tale of a dye trace from there to Malham Cove. This has always fascinated us and we've tried quite hard to find any proper reference to such a test. (I seem to remember asking about this on here in the past, without success.) To my knowledge this story appears to originate from Norman Thornber's Pennine Underground - but this book doesn't give any clues as to the source of this information.

When we were planning the BCRA Hydrology Project at Malham three years ago we very much wanted to include a trace from Pikedaw. Unfortunately, the project coincided with an extremely dry spring, so there was too little water about. I think others have tried to verify this trace more recently, without success. To be honest it would be an extremely valuable test to try and get sorted - interested BCRA folk please note! (We can easily arrange comprehensive detector placing / recovery from within the underwater cave down at the bottom.)

If you (HP) want better answers to your question, I can highly recommend asking YSS members, who have been closely associated with this cave for many years - and still are.


There was a report that Pillar Holes has some unstable rock this week also.
Yes the Cowgill earthquake was quite large ,so these reports do not surprise
me at all. Once in Mud Hall at GG and heard and felt a very large blast at Horton
Quarry .This quarry is fast expanding and I do worry that it will become an issue
on Ingleborough over time.


Well-known member
I should make it clear that my own interest in the relationship between earthquakes and cave collapses was originally sparked off by Braveduck; he first discussed this with me several years ago. I was slightly sceptical initially but he was quite persuasive and I've been earthquake watching ever since. I'm now convinced Braveduck is absolutely right that we cavers should take this hazard far more seriously.