Day Out – White Scar Caves

There couldn’t be a better proclamation of Spring, than the weather last weekend. Gloriously sunny, warm, perfect!

We always wanted to book a B&B and go away on a spur-of-the-moment trip – but alas, we couldn’t, this week. Daughter had a Kumon award ceremony on Sunday, so we couldn’t really go away. We still wanted to make the most of the time that we did have, so off we went to the White Scar Caves in Yorkshire Dales. We had been to a show cave in Wales a few years back, and had really enjoyed the experience.

Just a 1.5 hr drive away, the caves are Britain’s longest show cave.  We only started at around 1:30, after daughter’s swimming lessons and lunch. On a side note, Husband will never be happy with the fact that the swimming lessons are on a Saturday- it kind of cramps the day, you know. But then, swimming is a life skill, and I did not want to compromise on that, when we have nothing available on any of the other days.

The route was scenic, as always. Yorkshire Dales have a distinctive look, and it feels amazingly calm and peaceful. All you want to is stop the car, and lie down on the grass.. with sheep grazing nearby, and streams gurgling away.. The only thing I don’t like is that it is difficult to park the car and reach some of the most gorgeous places..

You can catch a glimpse while driving through, but not much more.. I so wish we could find a B&B near these most scenic places, and then find a walking trail – that would be just great! We had once been to a place like this. We keep planning to go back there- but funnily enough, have never managed to.

We reached the caves just after 3. After that glorious sunny weather, we were shocked to be greeted by cold winds. Thankfully we had our jackets with us(you never know, when the weather changes, in this country!). The next tour was at 4:00, and we had a long long wait – in chilly, windy weather. There was a cafe, thankfully, we sat there, nursing coffees while daughter inhaled a doughnut – I’ve never seen her eat something so fast. Sitting there, we noticed that there were some ponies and ducks, so we decided to go and say hello to them, for a change.

Only here, do we get all excited when we see goats, and hens 🙂 Daughter, was too chicken to touch, she was happy enough to just see them. I’m not complaining, I was happy to not have to run to the washroom to wash our hands again.

Finally the tour began. Just to give you an idea of how old these caves are..

These caves were first discovered by Christopher Long, a student from Cambridge. Apparently he stumbled across these caves, and entered it with just a few candles balanced on his hat. A model of his is placed there to give us an idea of what Christopher Long did back in 1923.

He had wanted to open it up as a show cave, but he died in 1924 before that was possible. In 1925, miners were brought in, to create an entrance so that visitors could view the show caves so thankfully, we did not need to crawl through to get into the caves.

The first stop – the water fall..

Then on, we followed the water trail to go further up. The only way to see these caves are by by tours. Each tour takes about 80 minutes, passing through two low height tunnels -we had to crouch low to go through, a squeeze(not too bad, to be honest 🙂 ), and 97 steps. We covered about a mile underground. We had been given hard hats, and we had assumed that they were just general health and safety procedures – but most of us did bump our heads – especially in the low height areas – even short people like me!

Can you see the gushing waters? We walked over it on a metal grid pathway.

Dark and spooky…..  ….it would have been, if we were not accompanied by a group of chattering tourists 🙂

And we saw formations – stalactites and stalagmites.. of all sorts.. If this had been in India, at least one of them would have been worshipped as a ‘natural’ Shiva Lingam 🙂

And now, I am too tired to upload any more pics!

Okay, just a few more. We also got to see the fossil of a sea snail, much to daughter’s delight. She has been fascinated by fossils ever since she started learning about dinosaurs.

And finally reached the Battlefield Cavern(climbing up 97 steps -not so easy, as we realized). It was so named because it looks like some giants had a battle there, throwing boulders at each other. It also had the most delicate, beautiful stalactites ever! They were gorgeous! Photography was not allowed in this cavern.

Check out these natural pavings – don’t they look man-made?

And can you see the witch of the cave?

That was the end of the tour -all we needed to do was make our way back. And that was much faster. Most people seemed to run back. Of course, all that speed went off as soon as we reached the Gorilla Walks, where we had to crouch and get our heads bumped – all over again. Coming back into the open, felt so different. The sunlight never felt more welcoming.

That was one wonderful Saturday afternoon. Even if we ended up underground on a gorgeous sunny day. We did make the most of Sunday’s good weather – but I feel too lazy to to write about it now.

So what did you do this weekend? Who else is celebrating Spring?