Skirwith Cave and High Douk


Two short trips done in one evening. I'm new to caving having only visited Bull Pot and Great Douk before.

Skirwith was a showcave at one point (I think late 60s to early 70s) the gate is open and there are remnants of an old wooden walkway and concrete path - but don't let this put you off as although the trip is short there are some nice formations in surprisingly good condition, nice little gour pools with crisp crystals inside and small calcite curtains, some have have been rubbed away with generations of visitors but others remain in good condition. After a few minutes you come to some steps and a number of boulders have fell down from the ceiling, it's easy to scramble over these and you eventually come to a small waterfall (I think this probably marked the end of the showcave) - people can climb up the waterfall to a further passage and a small grotto (we didn't). We turn around here and made our way out.

High Douk
We then made our way over to High Douk passing by Great Douk where I've been before. Cloud cover making it a bit more tricky to find the entrance. It's possible to join the cave in the middle section (as we were pushed for time) and we entered and made our way between the rock walls (quite narrow in places). The water levels were higher than normal at the points in which you have to crawl so we opted to turn around and went back down to try the first half instead. The latter passage was similar in places to Great Douk, just slightly narrower and on a fairly constant level with the roof being about 2-3m above us. Scalloping went up to the ceiling throughout so this whole place obviously floods from time to time. The last section before exiting was a proper flat out crawl - cold water was quite welcome as it was getting quite warm.

Both of these were (slightly) more committing that Great Douk, nothing too strenuous, but good fun and some nice things to see.


Congratulations on finding the entrance to Skirwith  :clap: I know a few folk who haven't managed that part  ;)  :LOL:


Active member
Skirwith is an underated gem.
Above the waterfall is a tremendous passage.It has a reputation for being low and wallowy but after an initial section of low stuff it gets quite big. There is a nice chamber towards the end with a final bit of low airspace fun and games near the sump.
Its definately worth the climb..but prepared to get wet.

Welcome to caving BTW.


Yes, the entrance is not exactly as described in my old guidebook! The only time I visited I was in shorts and trainers. I really ought to go back in proper caving clothes to do the bit above the waterfall.


Active member
I likend it to White Scar's 'Little Brother' .
The hand rail through the boulder choke is quite sobering.


Skirwith is indeed a lovely little trip - I went in it as a showcave when I was a kid, and have been a couple of times as a caver. Glad you enjoyed it!
If you're new to caving, were you aware you need permission before visiting, to keep the landowner happy
- if not it's worth reminding other potential visitors via this forum to do so in future (unless anything's changed since I last went there).