Mountain Course & Activity Locations

Kendal Mountaineering Services cover locations across the UK, including North Wales, Scotland and The Lake District to mention but a few. We also offer holidays in Slovenia and on The Isle of Skye.

Valley Entrance & Kingsdale Master Cave, Kingsdale

valley-entrance-entrance-manhole.jpgWe start our Trip into Kingsdale Master Cave by parking up in a layby just north of the entrance to the cave system.

Once kitted up, we slide down through the oil drum entrance into a stooping height passage which soon lowers to a wet crawl through a tube. Beyond this, the passage gets higher and then lowers several times. We are joined by water which eventally sinks away into the floor. Shortly beyond this point, we arrive at a place where the floor drops away vertically and above, there are bolts in the ceiling - but don't worry, your Caving Instructor will have gotten ahead of you before you reach this point. Below is blackness; and the sound of a large stream echoes through the darkness.

kingsdale-master-cave-pitch-head.jpgHere, if you have booked the Level 2 caving experience, you will put on the climbing harnesss brought for you by your instructor who will rig up a safe system from those bolts to lower you to the floor of the Master Cave - actually only 7 metres below! Downstream, the roof dips underwater, but upstream, a large high stream washed passageway beckons. You'll take off your harness and leave it at the foot of the pitch. It won't be needed again until you have to climb back out like the lady in the photo.

Heading upsteam, we eventually reach a point where the roof lowers to more crawling and stooping in a low, wide chamber. To the right, the roof drops to the streamway - no way on that way, but if you look straight ahead, you'll see a couple of passages - both showing evidence that people have been this way before!

swinsto-great-aven.jpgThese passages are the two ways on to reach our ultimate objective - the Swinsto Great Aven (photo right). Going left through a muddy tube leads to a clean washed passage - mostly stooping and some crawling. Eventually, one crawls upwards through boulders to emerge in a massive chamber - the Swinsto Great Aven. It is not usually possible to see the ceiling - 148 feet (45 metres) above, but it is an impressive place with a waterfall crashing into the chamber - the combined flow from Swinsto & Simpsons Pots which are also ways in from the surface to get to this very place.

We can return to the Master Cave via the same route we came in, or - if you are up for it, there is a crawl down through a square slot just right of where the water from Swinsto & Simpsons Pot lands on the floor; and this leads to the low, wet & slightly more challenging "Philosopher's Crawl" leading back to the Master Cave; this route is roughly about the same length as South East Passage.

philosophers-crawl-kingsdale-master-cave.jpgAnd you'll be surprised at where you pop out too - pretty much right next to where you first entered South East Passage just where it enters the Master Cave. All that needs to be done now is a ten minute journey back down the streamway to where you'll get that climbing harness back on so that your instructor can safeguard you back up the 7 metre pitch into Valley Entrance. You'll be climbing a caving ladder (two cables with Aluminium rungs between) and if you climb it as instructed, you'll soon be at the top.

A further 20 minutes of stooping, crawling & splashing will see you back in daylight; and it's funny how the air always smells different when you emerge from a long session deep underground.

Note - The Valley Entrance Trip is dangerous if the weather has been very wet as the stream will be large & powerful and the Master cave can fill up to the level of the pitch head. In this instance, you will be offered a suitable safe alternative to this cave system. This is a "dry & fine weather excursion" and as the saying goes - if Kingsdale beck is flowing, then we ain't going!

Frequently asked questions.

  • Where do we meet for the Valley Entrance/Kingsdale Master Cave Trip? Answer - At the Inglesport Climbing Shop & Cafe in Ingleton just off the A65. (LA6 3EB for Satnav purposes).
  • What equipment is provided as part of a Caving session? Answer - as part of your fee per person, you get a Caving Oversuit, a pair of Wellington boots, a helmet with caving light & and a caving belt. Basically, so that you can get kitted up like the people in these photos!
  • What do I need to bring? Answer - you each need to bring old clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty and a little wet. A long sleeved fleece type top is ideal and fleece pants as well - if you have them; or tracksuit bottoms or leggings are also good! You also need either two pairs of long shoe socks or a pair of thick walking socks to wear in the Wellington boots provided and a towel/change of dry clothing. Also, bring your lunch and a flask of hot drink if you doing the Master Cave Trip.
  • How long does this session last? Answer - the combined trip lasts up to five hours underground.
  • Are there any discounts on your price? Answer - yes, but only on a level 1 "walk in & back out" valley entrance only trip which will usually be combined with a level 1 Yordas trip. Our price per person for a minimum group size of two is £50.00 each, for three to six persons the price is £45 each. For seven persons or more, the price is £40 each, bring more than eleven persons and the price falls by a further £5 to our minimum price per person of £35.00. Children under 16 also receive a discount - please contact us to enquire.
  • How much is a combined L1/L2 session including the Kingsdale Master Cave (KMC) Trip? Answer - The Valley Entrance /KMC trip is a minimum fee of £140.00 for one to two persons. It is not possible to complete this caving adventure in a four hour time slot - it typically takes at least five hours! We charge £80.00 each for a group of three  which is the maximum group size a caving instructor will work with in this serious environment. If your group is bigger then we will bring in additional instructors to assist.
  • We've booked & paid, but the weather's too cold or wet for our session to run. What happens to our payment? Answer - If we are unable to run your session due to the conditions, then you can either reschedule to another time; or, receive a full refund of your payment.
  • I've never been Caving before. I'm excited but scared at the same time. Will I be able to do it? Answer - don't worry, you'll be well looked after in expert hands and you don't have to do anything you don't want to; but do be aware that the Kingsdale Master Cave Trip requires confidence and physical fitness before you book this option. Basically, you need to be "up for the challenge!"

 

 

More Activity Locations

More About Us

Iain Gallagher, Lakes Outdoor ExperienceLakes Outdoor Experience is run by Iain Gallagher. Iain divides his time between hills and crags in the Lake District, North Wales, Scotland and North Yorkshire. He can also be found climbing peaks across Europe and around the World.

Find Out More...