After spending a day driving round the lakes looking for things to do, we decided we would change pace, and hop across to Yorkshire and visit White Scar Caves.
You might remember that last year we took a trip to Poole’s Cavern in the Peak District, so we are no stranger to caves, and I personally find them fascinating.
White Scar Caves holds the title of the longest show cave in Britain, and since it’s discovery in 1925, has extended some one and a half under the Yorkshire Dales. Believed to be somewhere between 100,000 and 400,000 years old, some of the caverns are amongst the largest in Europe.
Within the caves, there are a large number of natural formations, ranging from rock formations that look like faces, to stalactites more than a metre long.
As you would expect, it was very dark, so presented a massive challenge for my camera, but I think we did get some rewarding images to give a flavour of what you can see down there.
This cave is home to a number of underwater lakes and rivers. This waterfall is part of that network.
Formed over thousands of years by precipitation of minerals from water dripping through, stalactites can be spotted hanging from the roof of the caverns.
Other examples of similar process are quite big, like this formation, affectionately known as “the Devil’s Tongue”.
Other formations are formed by faster flowing water, and give the appearance of solid waterfalls.
The Battlefield Cavern was at one time the largest cavern in Britain, and remains one of the biggest that is open to public.
These straw type stalactites are very fine and delicate formations. Their formation comes from faster dripping water, and rather than forming a solid structure, instead rings are formed, leaving them hollow. It is believed that these can grow at a rate of a centimetre every 200 years. When you consider some of these are around 1.5m in length, it makes you realise we are but a blip in the history of the planet.
There are thousands of the straw type stalactites throughout the Battlefield Cavern.
The rock fall to the back of the cavern is what used to be the roof, which many thousands of years ago would have collapsed, creating the cavern we see now.
In centuries past, the caverns would have been filled with running water, which naturally would try to escape. These channels are the result of water trying to force its way through cracks and out of the cave. Even today, the caves can rapidly fill with water.
The cavern lit up in red.
As I mentioned, there are lots of interesting rock features in the caves. This formation is believed to resemble a face, and as such is called “the Witches Face”. There is also another formation in the caves which look like fingers, these are called “the Witches Fingers”.
Beyond this gap is the route further under the Dales. But due to this area being protected, they are no longer able to explore and expand the caves. Who knows what likes beyond.
If caves and natural history are your thing then this is a really fun visit. The tour guides know a lot and have an answer for everything about the caves. I will warn you however that if you have back problems you may struggle, as in some places you physically have to crouch down to get through.
Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for looking.