Author Topic: Brigantes Rover Crew Logbooks  (Read 259 times)

Offline Jenny P

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Brigantes Rover Crew Logbooks
« on: August 25, 2019, 05:44:27 pm »
We have in the British Caving Library just one copy of the Brigantes Rover Crew Log Book for 1956.  They were the Brighouse District Rover Scout Group and they were keenly interested in caving.  Below is their report of a trip to Pikedaw Calamine Caverns, on a snowy weekend in January 1956, under conditions which would make some of our current hard men think again.

If there are any more issues of these Log Books out there, we would love to have copies for the Library so, if you know anyone who was once associated with the Brigantes Rover Crew, it would be great if you could ask them to get in touch.  Please just PM me.

Extract From
Brighouse District (Brigantes) Rover Crew
1956 Log Book


Pikedaw Calamine Mine (Depth 75’)                January 14/15

P. Patchett   P.Manning   D. H. Thompson   R. Drew    A.Best

Transport:  Bus (Patch & Guzzle were to have gone by car but it broke down.)

Food:  Own  -  2 primuses.

Gear:  2 thirty & 1 twenty foot ladders.  100 foot rope.

   About 12” snow lay in Malham and buses were just about getting through, but little else.

   Rodney, Pymie and I went up to the Stockdale track and tried to follow it as far as the first gate, but without success.   We found conditions very bad for travelling with gear.  Dumping rucsacs at the gate onto the road we returned to Malham.  Around 6.30 p.m. the two Peters turned up with lots of gear - after a very hectic journey.

   We had egg and chips in Malham and then off up the road.  It was impossible to follow the track, but we tried!  After missing our way once we decided to follow the walls.  Snow was up to about two feet deep in parts.  Periodically we rested and had tea from  the thermoses.  At about 12 p.m. we arrived at the gate which is 50 yards above the shaft.

   The shaft was all covered up, so we spaced out about every 5 yards and walked forward.  After five minutes we found the hole and kicked snow off the covering timbers, hitting them to break them free of ice.  The wind was bitter and our finger-ends almost frozen.  We stamped snow down and erected a lightweight tent.

   After making the ladder secure we searched for the water pool, but gave it up later and used snow instead.

   As soon as we had beaten some warmth back into our fingers off we went down the hole.  Once down it felt quite warm.

   Patch had a pound of candles which lit up the shaft bottom well.  By the time Rodney was down we had brewed some tea on a Primus and turned to arranging bedding (!) in a suitable alcove.

   There was just head-room and we sorted out food and had a meal.  This revived us wonderfully, and so we did some exploring before turning in for the night.  There are five passages radiating from the entrance chamber and Lord’s Chamber.  We left the long westerly one for the morrow.

   There were three of us with blankets - and two without!  We slept spasmodically and I arose about 5.30 to fetch some more snow and have a brew of coffee.  (Snow takes up three times the volume of water!)  There was still a bitter wind outside and I was glad to get down again.

   We had lots of food with us so breakfast was a very good meal.  We explored many side passages - Pymie and I doing a particularly interesting bit just off the Great Shake.  Rodney had twisted his ankle and so exploration for him was unfortunately reduced.

   After re-charging the thermoses and  burning all our litter we emerged at about 8.30 a.m.  The sun was shining and the wind had died.  There was a marvellous view over to Wharfedale and beyond.

  We could just discern the track due to a slight thaw and went over the track to Settle.  After a drink in the milk bar we made our way home.

Offline Greybeard

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Re: Brigantes Rover Crew Logbooks
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2019, 07:52:53 pm »
Fascinating on the spot detail from these old logbooks. I only know the Brigantes Crew by the fact that they organised the first Fellsman Hike ( 1962 ). There  was a culture of sleeping underground in winter in those days, probably because the winters were colder then but sleeping bags were nothing like the modern ones. I remember spending the night down Dowkebottom and Providence ( both near Kettlewell in Wharfedale ) and here is an extract from my logbook regarding them at the time:

'5/6th January 1963  -  Providence Pot

Four of us hitched up to Kettlewell  and after a few halves in the Kings Head we floundered up to Provie in deep snow. The first 10 feet was blocked with snow and it took nearly 2 hours to dig our way in and get our gear to 54 Cavern where we slept the night.

The following day we went down into Dowber Gill as far as Bridge Cavern. (found a Karabiner & sling)

We emerged into daylight at 3pm after 16hours underground. The temperature was about 25 deg F' (-4C)


Those were the days - but we survived!!  A karabiner & sling was real treasure then,


The following weekend :

'12/13 January 1963 - Dowkabottom  & Sleets Gill

Hitched to Grassington and got the BUS to Kilnsey .  The five of us then walked up to Dowkabottom in brilliant moonlight through freezing snow.

We slept on the main chamber of North Passage and did a bit of exploring when we woke up.

Climbed out onto the moor into clear but freezing conditions with perfectly clear views.

Went over to Sleets Gill and did it. Then walked back to Threshfield. Took some photos.'



I don't keep a log these days,  just mark the trips on the calendar . 

Pity really!!

I don't hitch hike or go on a bus either - it was another world!


Greybeard