Despite living in Yorkshire for three years, I never ventured into the Yorkshire Dales. There is so much of Yorkshire I still want to explore, but much of it requires a car. Fortunately just 15 minutes east of Kirkby Lonsdale lies the White Scar Caves. Just into North Yorkshire is this hidden gem – underground waterfalls, more stalactites than you can imagine and a downright good day out.
Less than 100 years ago, the White Scar Caves were unexplored. Now walkways have been blown open so you visitors can see the wonder of the cave system. It doesn’t take long until you are fully underground. It doesn’t take long to hit the waterfall, but you can hear it long before you see it. The rush of the water is loud, so don’t expect to manage much conversation there. At least nothing more than ‘Can you take a picture of me here?’.
As you walk on, the river feeding the fall runs beneath you. Stalagmites of varying shades ad sizes are identified and the walk continues for quite some time. But eventually, you read a flight of stairs. 100 steps up until one of her greatest natural forms I have ever seen.
Whilst in the White Scar Caves, you spend your time walking through passages. At the top of the stairs you enter into a ‘proper’ cave. There are hundreds are stalactites lining the cavern, and so many tales of exploration. The walking, the crawling and the squeezing through rock was so worth it just to hear these stories.
A word of warning – it’s two hours of walking to get to the final area and back. It’s also tight in places, both overhead and sideways. I’m fairly claustrophobic and I was fine if I kept moving, but I’m also very short. Jack on the other hand is over 6 foot and ended up with backache for the next couple of days. I’d also recommend comfortable waterproof shoes, warm clothing (we took hoodies despite being in tshirts the rest of the day) and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. There’s crawling, you get dripped on and the caves do flood in bad weather so the floor is often covered in puddles. Just something worth bearing in mind if you’re planning a visit to the White Scar Caves.
I understand for insurance reasons you can’t venture into the underground lake, but how cool would that be? Whilst I don’t feel the need to return to the White Scar Caves, if they ever open this up to the public I would definitely go back!