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News from July to December 2012



December 17


Cold Streak Level is on the north flank of Littondale between Hawkswick and Arncliffe, apparently at SD 946 717 but on Thursday 13 December  we were unable to find it for the third time, even though we had a location map and a photograph.  There are extensive mine workings all around and as we stretched out the search wider and wider we came across a shaft - Cold Streak Mine covered with a very flimsy looking woofler wheel.  A stone dropped down fell for around a second before striking something but it then fell with a couple of bounces much deeper finally landing in water after around 4 seconds.  Checking with Mike Gill's publication on the mines of Wharfedale we found that the mine shaft reaches a natural chamber of some sort.

We did eventually find something that looked a bit like the level but a careful comparison with the photograph proved disappointing.  A small passage went in a little way but appeared to be blocked.  We were out for nearly 5 hours in glorious weather but had taken so much time scrambling around looking for mines and following escarpments that we got little further than Arncliffe before descending to the river and wending our way back to Hawkswick.


December 9


Hi all,
Thanks for your articles - 221 ready at last (and in the Archive).

Cheers Pete

December 5


Rather than Notts II we had a pressing task at Brown Hill Pot (well actually Floyd's Entrance) where the entrance was collapsing and there was an urgent need to replace the 10 feet of ancient oil drums with a nice strong everlasting pipe.  That was last Wednesday's (November 26) task of the week and it may keep us away from Notts II for a short spell.  A good strong team assembled at the Yordas lay-by - Boggarts Pete, Bog, Tim, Fred, Kay and Edward plus lots more.  Whilst three diggers set to work removing the first section of the oil drum in preparation for shoring up the shaft with scaffolding and timber the rest of the team set to work ferrying materials across the fell.  A trek of a kilometre with a 100 metres of ascent over rough ground carrying heavy materials was hard work, but at least it kept us warm in the sub zero temperature.


December 4


Last Thursday (November 29) Bog, Carol, Sarah (back home from her jaunts round North America and Africa) and Michael (worked out mine enthusiast) set out from Hebden for Yarnbury.  Sarah was particular keen to see the mine workings of  the area and peer into a few mine levels.  Hebden Gill is a spectacular place with its highly fossiliferous limestone beds.  First we stopped at the little footbridge just up from Hebden where in the streambed can be seen slabs of limestone, an inlier of Great Scar Limestone exposed on the upthrow side of a fault - fascinating because this is the only Great Scar limestone to be seen round here, the main beds lying deep underground.  But more of that later.  There are interesting things along the Gill.  First we pass Lanshaw Level which is very effectively gated to prevent ingress by mine enthusiasts, it now being a public water supply.   Further on is Duke's Deep Level, also a public water supply and even more effectively gated than Lanshaw Level.  There were other levels too (all gated) as we moved up the valley.  Eventually we reached Cupola Corner, site of the Cupola Smelt Mill and from where the long flue (built in 1849) goes to the high chimney.  Inside the flue is very little different from the levels as can be seen in the photographs.  It was here that lead condensed from the vapours going from the smelt mill to the chimney and where children worked scraping the lead of the walls of the flue.  On a recent Craven and Pendle Geological Society meet to the site one woman who had already expressed her dislike of children commented that it was lead smelting and flues that made it so important for the Victorians to develop their passion for breeding.

From Cupola Corner we walked across to the dry valley to the east.  Some 300 metres up this dry valley lies the southernmost limit of the Middle Limestone and Fossil Pot.  Fossil Pot leads into a 400 metre complex of ancient phreatic tunnels within the Middle Limestone.  These ancient tunnels are part of a large cave system that drained Grassington Moor before it was glaciated, linked perhaps with the lost caverns of Grassington Moor one kilometre to the north east and 200 feet below moor level in the upper part of the Middle Limestone.  And talking of Grassington Moor and ancient caverns in the Middle Limestone moves one's thoughts immediately to Mossdale and Black Keld and a UK Caving Forum discussion that attracted an enormous amount of discussion on the feasiblity and plans for re-entering the lost caverns in the hope of solving the riddle of Mossdale and Black Keld.
Follow the link below for the UK Caving Forum discussion on Grassington Moor and Mossdale (started Februrary 7 2010 and last post by Brave Duck November 10 this year!) and the one below that for Joe Mellor's youtube of a trip into Fossil Pot....and the one below that for pictures from our walk. 


November 25



The link below  takes you to Ric Peterson's latest update on UCLAN's Bowland caves project.  If you go into the earlier archives (July) you will find the full story of this year's New Laund excavation.  The two interim reports on the 2011 and 2012 excavations giving it all in summary are available online on the Sheltering Memory site but things have a habit of disappearing.

The latest update features Fairy Holes.  We knew about the graffiti in the main cave.  David Fisher, the Batman of Slaidburn, has been trying to remove it but progress is slow and may have come to a halt.  Andrew Hinde has expressed some interest in getting a team of Little Green Men out to deal with the graffiti but for the moment there is too much going on elsewhere.
Of interest in the latest Sheltering Memory update is the hint that UCLAN may look at the two unexcavated caves at Fairy Holes.  I've long thought that there must be something there as modern archaeology has found that very small caves were used in prehistoric times.  The excavations of the 19th and early 20th century cleaned out all the obvious cave sites in the North of England but left things such as the two smaller cave at Fairy Holes intact.  Serious excavation is often prohibitively expensive so it has been exciting to see what UCLAN can achieve with its hoard of student labour working to text book standards under tight supervision.  

November 13



Notts II digging was cancelled last Monday but I understand diggers will be down there today.  In the absence of anything else to say about the matter, the link below takes you to the video I presented at the Bradford Pothole Club's Electric Picture Show last Saturday - an excellent event with nearly 3 hours of videos/pictures from numerous contributors.  
We gave got a little further in Notts II than the video goes and Fred has installed his air circulatory equipment as the quality of air at the dig face is starting to become a problem.  The latest survey shows that we are 2/3rds of the way to the nearest passage and heading straight for it.  However, linking up with that is the last thing we want to do and as we are apparently at a quite different elevation, we will hopefully end up somewhere much more exciting.

November 19


There has been some interest expressed in easy caves, easy of access, caves where you just ferret around and find interesting or intricate little nooks and crannies.  It is also the case that such caves are usually neglected, their formations intact.

With this in mind Carol, Bog and Michael (the worked out mine enthusiast) set off from Halton Gill on November 15 to find some of the orifices in Penyghent Gill.  The worked out mine enthusiast has unfortunately also worked out his enthusiasm for any sort of holes, the  seeking out of which interferes with the getting on with the walk.  Hence there was more talk about holes than the finding of them as we only had a few minutes to seek them out as we passed within easy distance.
However we did manage to spot a few and we let our imaginings run amok whilst turning the pages of Northern Caves.
The first hole we passed, only 60 yards from the track, was Out Sleets Beck Pot, just a quick romp down a little gully that would take no time at all.  We thought we had found the entrance to the pot, last explored by the Boggarts on 12th November 1983 and reported in Newsletter 29.  There was a bar across a pitch which looked free climbable but all was dark and without a light we couldn't see the bottom.  However, back home a photograph, suitably edited in Picasa to lighten up the blackness, revealed nothing but a choked shaft.  It wasn't the entrance at all.  Interestingly the Boggarts also had some difficulty finding the  entrance in 1983 and some would have used that as an excuse to get out of caving had the Tackle Master not reminded everyone (or created a new rule) that tackle fees (we used to have tackle fees) applied as soon as tackle was removed from the car and taken across the fell.  At this point Pete Simpson found the hole which he had been sitting over and hiding from view.  We then had a good trip but Out Sleets Beck Pot is probably a bit hard for boggarts these days.
As we approached Upper Heselden Caves the worked out mine enthusiast sensed something happening behind his back and sped off into the distance.  Not paying enough attention to exactly where we were the hole was soon behind us and lost for the day.  We had particularly wanted to find Upper Heselden Cave 1 with its permanently fixed steel ladder up a 5 metre aven to a walking size passage with fine formations.
Near Giant's Grave Caves we had lunch and a bit more time to look around.  Northern Caves list four caves,one with three entrances.  Whist none of them sound particularly interesting in their own right they are located in a fine setting where one could picnic, and where close by lies the Neolithic cairn from which the caves take their name.
Moving on, we passed Penyghent House Cave which was within easy striking distance of the path and we were able to peer into it as the worked out mine enthusiast strolled on  barely noticing  our absence.  Beyond our vision lay the wonders of an impressive stream passage, a swim and a 6 metre waterfall.
There are lots more caves in the Penyghent Gill area.  One we thought we spotted on the other side of the gill walking along the west side towards Halton Gill is Snorkel Cave.  This is a hard cave which needs scaling equipment to reach the end but for those so inclined, the first 90 metres requires no special equipment at all apart from possibly a snorkel though cavers have been known to manage without.

Incidentally there are a number of ancient field systems in North Wharfedale dating back to the first few centuries AD.

November 12


It was a very successful weekend which saw Pete and Louise, Jacqui, Tom. Pete, Bog, Bob, Edward and Kay at Whitewalls on Saturday night for an excellent Metcalfe chilli con carni and an extravaganza of musical excellence and obscurity.

Before that we had a team of Pete, Tom, Edward, Bob and Bog in Draenen and Pete, Louise and Jacqui up hills of which we will hopefully learn more in due course (form Jacqui I understand).

Of Draenen, Pete and Tom opted to abandon the far reaches of Dollimore and join the B team of Bog, Bog and Edward for Rifleman's.  It was a difficult trip to describe, just flawless route finding and mounting excitement as we probed deeper and deeper into what used to be the longest cave in Britain.  But excitement is physically draining and by Rifleman's, three and half hours and two miles in,  we had to think of the return journey and how much longer it might take.   It is a remote place.  The best part of a mile beyond the boulder chokes, with just one tiny well hidden orifice, the key to Draenen's distant secrets, it feels like the door may remain forever locked.  There was tacit agreement not to film on the way out (hence the shortage of underground footage in the video), an agreement reinforced by the increasing distance separating those at the front from those at the rear.  The Boggarts have been to more remote places in Draenen when they were younger but, with age telling its sorry tale, Rifleman's was more than enough.  it was comforting to read Colin Pryor:  "...a trip to Rifleman’s Chamber at the bottom end of the streamway and back can be very arduous".

On the Sunday the sun shone again and we strolled around the quarries above Whitewalls, looking for caves and playing with donkeys.  Bob couldn't resist going into Daren Cilau as far as his immaculate walking clothes would allow, then peering out for the camera while Pete recited some boggartry.

There will be photos in the photo gallery soon, plus newsletter 108 in the Archive which tells the story of the Boggarts' 3 days underground in Daren Cilau back in 1990.


October 28


Many of you were at Stuart's funeral on Wednesday.  In fact there was barely a face missing from those who have walked or caved with Stu in recent years; and from those missing came tributes from afar.  A lot of these tributes are recorded on the card Pete Monk prepared for the funeral which has the fitting quote: "Up where no overshadowing mountain stands, towards the great and loftiest peak, a fiery longing draws me", Petrarch c. 1345. There are a few copies of that card left - just ask if you want one.  It has a picture of Stuart on Buckden Pike in winter conditions as well as much of what people said about Stu on learning of his death.  Not all the tributes came in time for that card and many more were verbal and not recorded.  One emailed from Australia by Robin Barraclough reads: "....on Wednesday morning, after my shift I'm going to drive up the nearby Mt Wellington which overlooks the whole Derwent estuary and remember Stu from the summit. He would love Tasmania and its stunning wilderness."


It was a day, sad but uplifting, that we will remember for the rest of our lives.  For Irene it was what she wanted most, an opportunity for all those whose lives he brightened to bid farewell. It was an opportunity too for Irene to share with others, past memories of someone who will be sadly missed by so many.


The link below takes you to most of the pictures that Pete brought on Wednesday.  For easiest viewing scroll to the bottom and change "display num" to "all".  You can scroll down the pictures but clicking on the first one will bring to full size and you can then progress through by clicking "next" which appears top right as you move your cursor there.

October 6


Hi all,

I expect many of you saw the clip on the One Show last night (Friday). It showed the new discovery in Reservoir Cave in Cheddar. The guys have broken into what is now officially the biggest chamber in the UK.

You can see footage on the BBC iplayer. The formations are awesome although the way in looks pretty forbidding. When are we going to get a trip down there?

Cheers Pete

October 4


Hi all,
The latest Descent arrived this morning and if you're not a subscriber then you should hurry along to Inglesport and get a copy. This edition contains a great article on the latest developments in Notts II and the breakthrough in 6.5 and 3/4. This was an important dig that would avoid the interminable crawl along Inlet 5 to get to more interesting digs and sumps on T'Other side of Inlet 6.5. The interest from the Boggarts point of view is that at least 50% of diggers on any one of these trips were members of the Boggarts. As the digging progressed the team became known as the Little Green Men because of the colour of our oversuits (kindly provided by Ged).

In the article Richard Bendall outlines the history of the dig and captures the moment of breakthrough. In the same edition there is also a reference to our latest venture down the same cave - Inlet 8. Already over 60m long and still heading into the unknown. If there are any Boggarts out there who have a free Monday then there's plenty of space on the digging team.

Don't forget - we're trying to get a Newsletter out before Christmas. So far I haven't received any articles

Photos show the LGM and Boggart Tim Sullivan standing by the Pirates' Flag

Cheers Pete

October 3

Whilst some Boggarts were attending the first day of the Discovering the Iron Age and Roman Archaeology course in Whalley last weej, and hearing all about Maiden Castle, one Boggart was actually in Dorset looking at Maiden Castle itself and viewing the fine display of Maiden Castle artefacts in Dorchester Museum.
Maiden Castle was an Iron Age hill fort from 800 BC to 43 AD but it was actually occupied for 6,000 years from Neolithic times when an oval enclosure of 2 segmented ditches was built at the eastern end.  This was one of earliest monuments in Britain and is thought to have been a ritual site for specialist activities such as flint axe production.  The products of the flint workers on Maiden Castle are similar to flint workers on neolithic sites in the rest of southern Britain and include polished flint and stone axes.  Later, when the enclosure went out of use a long barrow with ditches each side was built.  It is 550 metres long and is thought to represent the ancestors of the community.  However there was also at least one neolithic burial.  Bones of two children probably 6 or 7 years old buried head to tail, in a shallow grave cut in the ancient turf line, and sealed by the neolithic long mound. A pygmy neolithic pot was found with one of them.
The Bronze Age passed Maiden Castle by.  A few ploughed out round barrows are the only Bronze Age earthworks.   A solitary spearhead was found.  The neolithic enclosure was covered in trees and scrub and nobody inhabited it for a thousand years.
The first iron Age period until 550 BC saw only a single rampart and a V shaped ditch at the eastern end but in the centuries following it was developed to cover 19 hectares and eventually had a 200 metre long sinuous entrance corridor which would have been confusing and difficult to access for intruders.  The banks and ditches were formidable obstacles.  Excavations revealed early Iron Age post holes which archaeologists believe would have been storage areas for grain grown locally to sustain the workforce building the huge ramparts.  At its height the fort was densely occupied with many round houses with hearths and there is evidence of textile and metal working.  Various periods of organisation of the roundhouses reflect increasing control over the community and as trade developed with the continent the importance of the site in metal working increased.  
Excavations at Maiden Castle were by Edward Cunnington in 1882, Sir Mortimer Wheeler from 1934 to 1938 and Sir Niall Sharples for English Heritage  from 1985 to 1986.  An oven was extracted from the Western ramparts in 1935.
The heyday of Iron age Maiden Castle was in the last 5 centuries BC.  At the beginning Maiden Castle was a defended agricultural village.  By the end it was a strongpoint, perhaps a tribal capital with hundreds of people living there.  It was surrounded by arable fields now largely ploughed away.  It was massively defended with huge ramparts and complex earthworks.  The bulk of the objects found belong to the iron age.
After the initial landings of AD 43 Vespasian commanding the II Augusta Division fought his way through Dorset and began to establish Roman control over the area.  For the first time in the history of this period we have a contemporary record of events.  Suetonius refers to 30 battles, the conquest of two powerful tribes and the capture of 20 fortresses.  There is evidence of bloody battles at Maiden Castle and Spetisbury Rings where war cemeteries have been found.  The Roman records give good insights into what those battles would have been like with a legion of 6,000 well trained Roman soldiers against probably not more than about 100 skilled sling throwers.  At 50 metres the sling throwers would have been deadly but grossly outnumbered.  Even with their ramparts and fortifications they would have been no match for the Roman balista bolts which were designed to penetrate armour.  The Durotriges tribe had their capital at Maiden Castle, the largest hill fort in Europe. The Iron Age people of Dorset fought bravely against the Romans but the Romans picked off the hill forts one by one which minimised any possibility the Durotriges tribe might have had had they fought as one much larger group.
A Roman balista bolt (labelled "arrow head" in the museum) from AD 43 was found in the spine of an Iron Age Briton who died defending his home at Maiden Castle.   In the battle for Maiden Castle the Durotriges, armed with only slings and stones, were massacred by the superior Roman forces.  A picture in Dorchester Museum shows a pile of 20,000 sling stones at Maiden Castle.  Mortimer Wheeler discovered the two skeletons and the bolt in 1935.
The site was finally abandoned when the Romans moved in and established the town of Durnovaria (Dorchester), the third largest town in Roman Britain.
Evidence of much later use of Maiden Castle comes from a man buried under the long cairn at the eastern end  who was 25-30 years old.  The limbs and head were hacked off the body shortly after death.  Presumably because of its location Sir Mortimer Wheeler suggested the skeleton was neolithic but it was later noticed that the injuries appeared to have been inflicted by a metal weapon and carbon dating gave a dating of about 635 AD.
See the pictures in Photo Gallery.  Some of the text has been clipped off due to an error in formatting the pictures prior to insertion on the website - a bit tedious to correct so I will leave them.


September 27

Kent’s Cavern Show Cave which I visited last week is said to be one of the most important sites for Palaeolithic Archaeology.

Geologically the caves were most probably formed around two and a half million years ago in limestone arising from the time the region lay beneath the sea (385 million years ago) There are examples of cave formations Stalac(tites)(mites), flowstone etc.

The cave opened to the public in 1880 but much exploration took place prior to this, as early as 1571 (William Petre) whose name is engraved on a stalagmite along with more recent explorers. (I do wish they wouldn’t do that!)

Two men were responsible for the exploration and excavation of the cave Father John MacEnery and William Pengelly. These men – to their credit, were much more painstaking than some of their counterparts who used explosives to uncover archaeology.

Evidence has been found of human presence in and around the caves from the earliest Europeans (Homo Heidelbergensis) whose 500,000 year old flint hand axes have been found in the caves, Neanderthal flint implements from between 100,000 and 30,000 years ago and Homo sapiens sapiens, evidenced by a jawbone around 35,000 years old when these modern humans probably used the cave.

 Use of the cave continued through the last ice age around 12,500 years ago when sea levels rose and Torbay on which Kent’s Cavern sits was flooded. About 5,000 years ago Hunter Gatherers began to farm the landscape and the caves were used initially it is thought for burying the dead and latterly during the manufacture of bronze tools. During the Iron Age about 2,500 years ago evidence suggests use as a temporary shelter with finds including pottery and artefacts associated with wool weaving.  

 Here is a Boggart of the Victorian Exploration Era examining his finds….











and another, from more distant times, cooking the dinner….











As a show cave experience, the interest for me was in the archaeology found there and the exhibits.

Worth a visit if you are down that way. The coastal path runs alongside and I walked back to Torquay beside Daddy hole Plain taking its name from a 19th Century cliff landslide which was attributed to the devil, or Daddy to use the local name.

Excellent views and a good walk back.



September 25


On recent visits to Elbolton  we observed the debris all the way down the slope from Elbolton Hole - much of it the result of rabbits burrowing.  We cast a beady eye over it as we passed but didn't give it a good working over, such as we have with molehills around ancient sites on previous walks.  The youtube below emphasises how molehills can be a source of ancient artefacts so next time we go digging them we might perhaps be a bit more systematic.


September 21


Half of the Boggarts will be at Hidden Earth so if you aren't already among that privileged 50% put it in your diaries now.  You will have to pay more on the door of course, if you haven't already booked like the wiser boggarts.

One of the highlights will be Mr Peter Monk's talk (see below) which is at 3.00 pm on Sunday afternoon.  I don't think "Tony Brown and others" will feature much.  Going by his success at the University of the Third Age, Mr Monk will no doubt manage perfectly well on his own.

Digging in Notts II Pete Monk, Tony Brown and others

A PowerPoint talk with video and photographs, mainly about work in Notts II inlets. Younger diggers
have recently been joined by a growing group of older diggers which has meant that with increased
manpower spectacular progress can be made even if the hard work isn’t always rewarded with
spectacular discoveries.



The Whalley Archaeology Group is an informal affiliation of people mainly interested in archaeology but with that interest spreading into caving and geology.  The group comprises people from Pendle Heritage, Craven and Pendle Geological Society, Northern Boggarts Potholing Club and students on the Discovering Archaeology series of courses held at Whalley Adult Training Centre.

On Tuesday September 19 six of the group, led by John Trippier (freelance archaeologist),  visited Blackburn Museum where we were hosted by Stephen Irwin, Blackburn Museum Education Officer and treated to a range of artefacts not on display.   Museums display only a small fraction of what they hold and items not on display can be viewed by groups of people from interested groups by arrangement with the museum.

Follow the link to see a few pictures by Carol Makin which show some of the things shown to the group:

  • worked stone implements of various types and not all flint or chert
  • Grimston Ware urn which is neolithic and very rare in this part of the world.  This one came from Darwen
  • a viking chape (for the tip of a scabbard) found locally by a metal detector and extremely rare

The next archaeology course at Whalley Adult Training Centre starts next Tuesday at 10.00 am - Discovering Iron Age and Roman Archaeology.  Currently only 6 people have enrolled - it is too basic for many in the Whalley Archaeology Group - and two more are needed for the course to go ahead.  Don't miss this marvelous opportunity to learn from local expert John Trippier, go on field trips, and meet other interested people.  You will find the course on the Lancashire Adult Learning website below but it may be simpler just to ring 01257 276719.  The course only costs £88 for eight 2 hour sessions.





September 19


Our meet at Illusion Pot saw Boggarts Pete Metcalfe, Edward, Fred and Bog along with Friends of the Boggarts, Nicola, Rachel and Caitlin.  We found the sump passable with ease - about 12 inches of water which was comfortable until the roof lowered and the airspace was only just enough to keep the head dry. We had three and half hours down there, most of it admiring and photographing the formations and marveling at the sediments and stones.  At some stage in the history of the cave, the chamber above the Dale Barn sump has evidently been emptied of a much larger quantity of sediments and boulders than exist there now, some of them cemented to the walls giving an indication of past levels.  Ancient basement rocks from Chapel le Dale were in evidence as well as some good cross sections of sediments.  All this tells a tale of geological history which sadly none of us could understand.   

It was good to see young people on this trip.  Caitlin, already with nearly eleven years of caving experience in places like Shuttleworth, Mistal and Wretched Rabbit was not to be put off by her injured hand.  She was careful to replace the bandage, soaked and muddied in the squalour of the Illusion entrance passages, before gobbling up a welcome bowl of chips at Inglesport.



Hi all,

On Wednesday 12th September 7 Boggarts joined a team of 13 volunteers to carry out some conservation work at Victoria Cave. The work was carried out under the direction of Richard White, Archeologist for the Yorkshire Dales National Park who own and are responsible for the cave. Back in the 1870s excavations at the cave gained national prominence as a huge number of prehistoric bones were excavated. These were supplemented by finds of Romano-British and Celtic artifacts dating from a much later time. The history of how the cave was discovered makes for fascinating reading and as Bog has mentioned in previous email there is an exhibition currently on at the Folly in Settle. The exhibition finishes at the end of the month and I know quite a few of you have already been to see it.

Our remit on Wednesday was to re-route the path into the cave from high on the left hand side of the cave to a point lower down the cave. The current path was leading to people to walk over and potentially destroy important geological sediments. The work is being done in two phases with the re-routing of the path being carried out on Wednesday and the second phase being carried out at a later date when hand-rails and an information board will be installed. Despite some pretty inclement weather all the of the re-routing of the path was completed by an enthusiastic team.

 You can see a video of the work done at

Cheers Pete

September 14


Seven Boggarts or friends of the Boggarts (not far short of half the entire group in fact) attended the Craven and Pendle Geological Society field trip to Ilkley on Saturday September 8 so there must have been something of interest to cavers and we had our fill not only of sediments and fossils but also Bronze Age archaeology.

The geology of Ilkley Moor is similar to Bowland in some ways with its grits and shale but unlike Bowland there are no limestone features except for limestone dragged along beneath the ice during the last ice age and deposited under the lateral moraine at Lanshaw Delves.  There are no caves though there is evidence of mineral extraction along the moraine.  And even if there were no caves there were certainly cavers and one told a tale of what sounded like recent diving activity by John Cordingley in Elbolton Hole.  We need to know more about that.  
To appreciate the wonders of Ilkely Moor look at the sequence of photos in the Website Photo Gallery
  • Pierced Rock - the hole features streaked impressions of the pith cast of a Carboniferous club moss tree dating from 320 to 315 million years ago
  • Tidal laminates - the area was a huge delta in carboniferous times, so huge it is hard to imagine, the sediments coming from a vast mountain range that would have dwarfed the Himalayas.  The tidal laminates are thin layers that come in groups of 28, thicker and thinner with two tides a day and corresponding to spring and neap tides occurring every two weeks.  Thus these layers were laid down over an exceedingly short period of time yet there is some depth to them as discovered by BGS boreholes in the the 1990s.  We also learned that in Carboniferous times, tides were perhaps half as big again as they are now with the moon that much closer.
  • Victorian graffiti 
  • The Calf - dislodged and stranded after the ice melted  The Calf is 8 metres high and weighs around 1,000 tons.
  • Glacial striations - the ice in this area was perhaps 1,000 feet think at the Last Glacial Maximum 17,000 to 20,000 years ago.
  • A slickenslide - though nothing like as impressive as the one we saw in Sykes Mine.  Others were pointed out too but they need a bit of imagination to appreciate.
  • Cup and ring markings - best guess is Bronze Age but so far there has been nothing to provide dating evidence.
  • The lateral moraine at Lanshaw Delves
  • Reconstructed Bronze Age hut circle
  • Fossil Giant Club Moss tree

September 10


...on her charity sky dive on Saturday 22 September. The sky dive is from Flukeburgh.

Gemma likes all things scary and was probably the only junior boggart ever to complete Cap Left crawl in Goyden Pot.  She developed her love of snakes when she was about fifteen and I remember her bringing one round to the house with a nice boy one summer evening in 1998.  It was quite a big snake but not as big as the one in the picture.

Gemma is  raising money for Alder Hey Hospital where her young friend, Victoria Lord, died on January 21st 1997 of an incurable heart disease aged 9.





September 7


Elbolton Hill is one of the reef knolls which mark the southern edge of the Askrigg Block.  To the north, the limestones formed in the shallow water overlying the Askrigg Block whilst south in the Bowland Basin it was shales and grits where the water was much deeper.   Reefs formed on the steep slope between the edge of the Askrigg block and the Bowland Basin.

Elbolton is the most interesting of the reef knolls as it contains a number of caves as well as mines.  Elbolton Cave is an important neolithic burial site.

Pete, Stu, Carol and Bog headed first for Escoe Level to explore as much as was conveniently possible in walking clothes.  Ken Geddes explored the Level much more thoroughly some years ago as already outlined in a recent Daily Braggart.  Yesterday we were in there for just over an hour which was plenty of opportunity to explore the easily accessible parts.  According to the survey we went in for about half a mile but it didn't seem anything like that.  However for the sake of establishing some sort of standard I will assume for the purpose of this report that the survey is correct.  

Some 600 feet in, the passage turns sharp right, left looking low and uninviting.  According to the survey there is a "rise to cave" at this point.  Northern Caves says that the loose boulder floor at the bottom of Escoe House Cave (depth 18 metes) was excavated to make a connection in 1980 but this has since collapsed.   

After another 500 feet Stu climbed up a rise on the left followed by Pete and Bog whilst Carol waited to see if the farmer, who had spotted us at the cave entrance, came in after us.  At the top of the rise the passage continued to a slope which looked tricky to descend so we returned to the main level. The survey shows the passage above the rise continuing underneath the main level.  After a few rises and short uninviting passages in the main level we came to a junction.  Right branched again,  left ending in a blank wall and right ending in what looked like a collapse.  At the end of one of these passages we found the smoked initials JQ,  and  at the end of the other, IH and JQ 95.  Anybody know these individuals?

Back at the junction we followed the left hand branch for a short distance under an extremely unstable looking pile of rocks, apparently held up by nothing.   Beyond, the pasasge continued under an unstable looking pile of blocks held back by ancient timbers, which we decided in our wisdom would be our limit of exploration for the day.  However, we had had an entertaining hour with some nice caclite and other crystals plus the signs of a tramway and some obscure cave fauna and flora.

Climbing up the hill above Escoe Level we came to Escoe House Cave and then right at the top of Elbolton Hill near the cairn we searched in vain for Elbolton Hole West.  Northern Caves has evidently got its bearings wrong given the location of Elbolton Pot, but even so we should have found Elbolton Hole West with its position marked on the map.  We could only assume it was filled in. We had a look at Sheep Cave and Elbolton Hole (also called Navvy Noodle Hole for some reason) and then we were away to Thorpe and a romp up Stebden Hill where the wind was so fierce it blew Bog's specs off.

You have seen Pete's pictures and there are some more in the website Photo Gallery which also record the rest of yesterday's adventure.  


September 5


The course - Discovering the Iron Age and Roman Archaeology - starts on 24 September for 8 weeks.  It is in Whalley and costs £88.  Carol and Bog attended the last course - Discovering the Prehistoric Archaaology which was very basic but very good.   That one covered the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

If you are interested and want more information let me know. You could of course just ring the college on 01257 276719. 


August 26

Please note that not everything is put into this part of the site.  You need to look in the News from July 1 section to get all the latest news.  If you want older news look for it in News Archive.  These sections are members only.

August 23


Ken Geddes has sent some pictures taken when he was down Notts II with Jeff Cowling of CPC in January 2006.  One of them is portrait which Photo Gallery doesn't seem to like. See them in the Photo Gallery.  Very nice.  The pictures are reproduced with Jeff's permission.

August 9


Descent 227 has an interesting little piece on the oldest art.  The engraved drawing of a reindeer in Cathole Cave on Gower has been dated using uranium-series dating to between 12,572 and 14,505 which puts it arguably older than the Cresswell Crags art dated at 12,800 years old.

I've been trying to link that with the Upper Paleolithic material from Victoria Cave but with some difficulty because of the different methods of dating and because the literature refers to calibrated and uncalibrated dates which may be 2,000 years apart.  However here goes.  

The last glaciation, the Devensian, lasted from around 110,000 years BP until the start of our current warm period, the Holocene, 11,500 years ago.  The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) was between 26,500 years BP and 19 or 20,000 years BP.  Since the LGM and the start of the Holocene there have been three stadials or cold periods:

The Younger Dryas - 12,800 to 11,500

The Older Dryas - 14,000 to 13,700

The Oldest Dryas - 18,000 to 15,000

So given the dating of the Cathole Bones we are probably talking about the warm period between the Younger Dryas and the Older Dryas stadials.  Evidence of human activity in Victoria Cave has been dated to 12,900, the same period.  What is fascinating about this is that although we have known for a long time that there was an Upper Palaeolithic presence in the Dales before the Younger Dryas stadial, only recently has ancient art been discovered in Britain relating to that time if not the same area.  Is it possible that Palaeolithic art existed (or exists) in the Dales caves - perhaps in caves yet to be discovered?

Human artefacts and signs of human activity from Victoria Cave also date from 14,400 years BP which comes within the earlier warm periods between the Older Dryas and Oldest Dryas stadials.   These people were part of the Late Magdalenian settlement detected elsewhere in the south of Britain

From July (I don't know for how long) the Museum of North Craven Life in The Folly in Settle has an exhibition about the history of Victoria Cave.

Also in the Descent article is mention of cave painting in the Cueva de El Castillo in Spain.  Red dots in part of a painted panel covered in flowstone have been dated to at least 40,000 years old using uranium-series dating.  This puts back the date of the previously oldest paintings in Europe by 4,000 years, when humans and Neanderthals may have co-existed.  What is really fascinating is the thought that the paintings could have been created by Neanderthals.



July 28





Kay found some pictures of Great Douk to compare with those taken by Boggarts more recently.  However quite apart from that this site is great.  It has lots of pictures taken by Rev Black in the 30s and many are from Yorkshire.  In addition to pictures the BCRA archive has the LUSS journals and, more importantly, some of the Cimmie records. This archive is obviously going to grow and grow.




July 26


Yesterday saw Bog and Carol on Elbolton Hill looking for fossils and mine workings (and caves).  Elbolton Hill is one of a number of reef knolls around Thorpe - a fascinating area for geology.  Reef knolls occur where the Middle Craven Fault marks the edge of the Askrigg Block.  The Middle Craven Fault splits off from the South Craven Fault at Settle and continues east. The coral reefs formed in the slightly deeper water south of the Askrigg Block are quite different to the Waulsortian mudmounds in Bowland which were formed in deeper water and by a different organic mechanism. 

The South Craven Fault turns south east from Settle but the Bowland Basin boundary appears to be the Middle Craven Fault and the edge of the Askrigg Block.  If anybody can tell me what influence the South Craven Fault has on Bowland geology I'd be very pleased to know.

On the south flank of Elbolton Hill, the two walls have been extensively demolished, presumably by fossil hunters.  There is still plenty to see - shells and crinoids - but the best specimens have mostly gone.  Clearly visible as you approach the hill is Escoe Level which we headed for after our fossil hunting and having investigated some mysterious circles seen from a distance.  Surprisingly, the best of these circles is also clearly visible on the ground when you are actually on it though it is no more than a change in the colouration of the grass.  The circle was perhaps 15 metres in diameter and the band delineating it is darker grass measuring about one third of metre across.  Very strange.
Escoe Level had some interesting rubbish from early in the last century but more importantly it seemed to extend some distance.  Without helmet and only one feeble light we didn't venture far but there was no sign of an end and a survey by CPC in 1953 (attached) indicates that the level may be worth a return visit.  If anybody knows more about Escoe Level please let us know.
We also looked at Escoe House Cave, Elbolton Hole West and Elbolton Hole itself.  Elbolton Hole in an important Neolithic burial site and now sports a fine gate to stop things falling down the entrance shaft.  It wasn't there on our last visit in 2004.
Follow the link to see the pictures of the day.  The first few in the series show the rings - not that easy to see on a photograph - but obvious enough once you have spotted them (well the one on the left at any rate).  The rest of the pictures are of Escoe Level and its rubbish, Escoe House Hole, Elbolton Hole West (I think), Elbolton Hole, and looking over to Elbolton Hill from a line of bell pits on Kail Hill.




July 22

Hi all,


As the summer gets underway and the digging season gets into full flow it's time for a Newsletter. Articles should be in word and any pictures should be embedded in the document. This saves a huge amount of time. Keep articles reasonably short and remember the Boggarts motto, 'Never let the truth get in the way of a good story'.  All articles to me  asap and I'll try and get something out by mid to late August.

 Cheers Pete