Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Stump Cross Caverns, Yorkshire Pt. 17

There are beautiful Dales in Yorkshire, as we have already seen, but there are also the bleak moorlands, some of which we have just crossed on our way over from Brimham Rocks. We are surprised to find the car park empty. We go into the entrance and ask what time the tea rooms close. 5.0 pm we are told and it is now 4.40 pm. We decide we had better have our tea before entering the caves only to be told that the caves close at 4.30 pm. Oh! no, we have just driven over the moors especially having understood the caves were open until dusk.

We are in Yorkshire however and we are told that we can still go down into the caves. The great thing about this is that we are the only people here so we will be going down by ourselves. Wonderful, we can do it at our own pace, in our own time and nobody blocking my photographs. How's that for Yorkshire hospitality.

Here, in limestone formed in a warm, shallow sea some 350 million years ago, you can share in my adventure if you care to come down with me.
The superb range of stalactites and stalagmites, unusual rock formations, and spectacular lighting all go to make a descent into the caves an unforgettable experience. Discovered in 1860 by lead miners working at Stubbe of the famous Stump 'Cross', this cave was opened for viewing by the public soon after.

Sparkling stalactites and stalagmites add an extra ingredient to the water sculpted rock walls of the cave. Scientists from Newcastle University have recently discovered h ow old they are. Some of the stalagmites at Stump Cross Caverns are thought to be at least 230,000 years old and, therefore, the actual passages themselves must be very much older.
Exploration since 1860 has extended the system to over 4 miles in length. Animal bones from Reindeer,Bison,Wolves and the vicious Wolverine have been discovered during these evacuations. These have been dated to over 90,000 years old in the time when the Dales were a barren and frozen landscape. Some of these bones are on display at the visitors centre.

This one is called 'the cathedral' and one can see why. When in there it certainly looks like an alter complete with candles. We are 50 feet underground at this point.

We make our way back to the entrance and they have kept the tearoom open for us. Not only that we are asked if we would like to watch a video of the history of the cave. We decline,we've had a long day, but do opt for a large mug of hot and refreshing tea before leaving.Very welcome.
Oficially, that is the end of our Yorkshire holiday. Visited 17 places in 6 days. It was a pleasure to share them with you.
We are not going straight home however. Tomorrow we are going to spend the weekend with friends who have recently moved to Ripon in Yorkshire. I will post some pics. of Ripon Cathedral in my next post which will end this particular Yorkshire trip.


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Brave of the two of you to go down all alone. I find myself wondering how many tourists are given such royal treatment. It's amazing to me and I don't think that such things...1. yes, you may go down even though it's closed and 2. we will keep the tearoom open for you...would ever happen here.

I enjoy all the trips I take with you via the camera.

willow said...

Magificent! Can you believe what it must have felt like to stumble upon those back in 1860?! Nice photos, although I was begining to feel a bit claustrophobic.

Nice of them to keep the tea room open just for you!

Anonymous said...

Aren't caves magical with those ancient rock formations. You can understand how ancient people treated some of them with reverence. The last ones we went down were the Dan y ogof caves in South Wales. The children loved it.

bennie and patsy said...

It has been so educating and fun I hate to see our tour end.I know you have more good things for us to come.

Judy said...

Thanks for taking us along on your Yorkshire visit. They are most hospitable indeed...keeping everything open just for you!
The caves are amazing!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Yikes! You are a brave woman. I might have balked just a little when it came time to enter those caves. Probably would have opted for a longer tea time! I can't wait to see Ripon Cathedral! Lovely trip!

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Amazing caves, interesting Barbara but a little bit scary!

Mmm said...

That is SOO much better than the cave I was in spelunking!!! Very nice adn I love the Moors too. Very moody.

Willow said...

What an incredible place! I'm not much of a cave traveller, but this look so fascinating. Thank you again for taking me on your trip to Yorkshire. I've enjoyed it so very much.

Paula said...

You are a brave soul, Barbara. Wouldn't catch me in any cave. Too tight of a space for me. I looks really neat though. How nice that they kept the tea room open for you. That would never happen in the States.

Darla said...

Holy Cow! Don't know if I could do that now, went in some caverns in FL. on a field trip when I was young.