White Scar Caves: A subterranean world of wonderful nature

Amazing Europe | | January 12, 2011 at 12:05 am


Envision an underground setting that is lit strikingly with the voluble streams, fluent waterfalls, giant ice-aged grotto full of stalactites, and exotic cave formations. Deep down the Ingleborough Hill resides a mysterious world that is carved by nature in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Well, I am talking about the White Scar Caves nestled in the outskirts of the Ingleton hamlet below the Dales’ landscape. This attraction is certainly the Britain’s longest show cave wherein the travelers are enamored via the 80-minute guided walk for a mile underground. Do not worry of your safety as modern paths and lighting protect you from the risks of this 1000-year old untouched treasure. This walk takes you via the cascading waterfalls, rushing streams, flowstone banks, stalactites of cream- and carrot-colors, and cave formations such as the Judge’s Head, Arum Lily, and Devil’s Tongue.

Entering the unblemished gem…

The entrance to the White Scar Caves is via a tunnel of 100 m meandering into the hillside. Passing through this will make you hear the running water thunder that slowly becomes louder until the first waterfall sight. Then, an array of metal grid walkways take you deeper into the Hill where the water level at some places rises for soaking the grid and making your feet wet. This means you need to avoid visit during the heavy rains.

Marveling at the natural wonders

You will first come across a low-roofed zone after the first waterfall, which is rightly named as the Gorilla Walk. This is where you will see the walls draped in the calcite curtains created by the deposited dissolved salts of the running water via the ceiling cracks. Some are in cream, while a few are in red-brown as well as turquoise. This is really stunning site of photography. Look for the shelves under the roof from where the stalagmites and stalactites take up a weird sculptural shapes based on which they are named. For instance, the Judge’s Head is a replica of a tiny porcelain ornament, while at other places, a witch’s gnarled fingers are seen.

Passing via the Squeeze and Bagshaw Tunnel

The Squeeze is a narrow stretch that takes one to the geological wonders in form of the stalactites: Crown of Thorns, Arum Lily, Sword of Damocles, and Devil’s Tongue. In each of the corners here, nonstop roar of flowing water resonate via the tunnels. And yes, at some spots, you just need to move quickly. After this, you go upwards via the Bagshaw Tunnel taking one to the vast Battlefield Cavern in the White Scar Caves.

Exploring the Battlefield Cavern: Unique in Europe

The other parts of the White Scar caves were formed by the permeating rain water that liquefied the limestone. However, this cavern was dug by rock erosion by the flowing water under high pressure. These spinning currents are also responsible for forming the vertical caves called avens in the roof. From the ceiling are the hanging sets of several delicate stalactites. Other large features symbolize a witch’s face along with her cat. On the floor and flanking the boulder debris are the big zones of mudstone deposits that are intact and are exceptional in Europe. This is why this cavern is regarded as the ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’. To the mountain’s south is the Ingleborough cave associated with the Gaping Gill.

Tour timings

February to October: 10:00 daily until 4:00 pm

November to January: Same time but only on weekends

However, every tour is subject to weather conditions.

Entry tickets

Adult: £7.95

Children: £4.95 for 3 to 15 years

Family: £22.00 (2 + 2)

Reaching here

You can come here by train, car, or bus. There are three stations all of which are within the 4 miles from the White Scar caves. On the settle to Carlisle line are the Ingleton and Ribblehead stations, while on the Leeds to Morecambe line is Bentham station. From the stations, buses take you to the cave. Catch the Ingleborough Pony bus that also runs on Sundays and Bank Holiday when it is summer. If you have your own car, get ready to drive for 1.5 miles from the Ingleton hamlet. This is the B6255 road that goes until Hawes.

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1 Comment

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