CDG Newsletter 42, pp 17-18

MIDDLE SCAR HOLES, Ribblehead, Yorks. SD 770 797

26th September 1976
Divers: R.J.Shackleton & J.T.Griffiths.

Aim: To have a look at the "canal in a cross rift" recounted in Northern Caves, vol. 4, p.14.

We located what we thought to be the entrance but the canal could not be found, possibly because of the high water level. After a bit of gardening JTG located a narrow squeeze below water level beneath a large block. Having donned his diving gear he descended on a base fed line but returned almost immediately reporting that it "went big" after 10 feet. RJS, with more appropriate equipment then descended to have a look and managed to pass the sump after 30 feet surfacing in a deep canal which was found to end in low airspace after only 20 feet but with the roar of the streamway audible from beyond. Returning after lunch, the low air space section was passed and JTG and RJS were able to explore 1000 feet plus of passage, most of it nice walking stuff, ending at a sump after a free climb of 15 feet and an interesting 50 foot long "nose in the roof" section. On the way back an inlet above the climb was explored to a draughting constriction which will need enlargement to enable further progress. JTG found a place near the upstream end of the entrance sump. Where he could see daylight between two boulders.

9th October 1976
Divers: R.J.Shackleton, J.T.Griffiths and A.Nichols.

Aim: To dive the second sump, and to force a way past the constriction in the inlet.

In the lower water conditions the entrance sump was found to be much easier than before, although not free diveable, and the low air space section had disappeared leaving an easy swim through to the streamway. RJS and JTG went to dive the second sump whilst AN, brandishing a hammer, disappeared off to the inlet. At the sump RJS dived and reached airspace after 20 feet only to find 50 feet of canal and a second sump. This was entered after a tight squeeze beneath a chert band in the roof, and was found to be a muddy bedding plane less then 12 in high and liberally dosed with chert obstructions. About 20 feet in, the second stage of the valve began to leak air vigorously so the diver dumped his line reel and hastily thrutched his way back out. In the meantime AN had hammered his way to glory in the inlet finding some 500 feet of fine stream passage ending at a 15 foot aven which proved to be unclimbable without artificial aids.

10th October 1976
Divers: First party - J.T.Griffiths & A.Nichols
Second party - R.J.Shackleton & N.Reckert

Aim: first party to survey the cave; second party to climb the 15 foot aven.

JTG and AN completed their appointod task, continuing on from the point reached on the 9th. The second party, after visiting the top sump where RJS recovered his line reel, went to the 15 foot aven where NR bolted up to the passage above. About 400ft. of new passage was then explored, including an interesting low airspace section, to a point at which the passage became very low with miminal airspace. A subsequent dye test confirmed this to be the inlet from Great Bank Gill Pot.

Note: The gap between boulders near the entrance first noticed by JTG has since been enlarged to permit access to the cave for non-divers. In order to distinguish this from the Middle Scar Holes 1 to 3, the entrance has been renamed MIDDLE SCAR CAVE. The survey has now been completed and shows the cave to be half a mile in length.

23rd October 1976
Diver: R.J.Shackleton

Aim: To have a more determined effort at the top sumps.

About 10 feet more progress was made in the second sump by smashing through several chert obstructions. The sump could be seen to continue in much the same manner ie. low and very muddy.

CDG Newsletter 45, p 14

MIDDLE SCAR CAVE, Ribblehead. SD 770.797

13th February 1977
Diver: R.J. Shackleton.

Previous exploration: NL.42:17.

Aim: to try and find an underwater route to connect with the "roar of water" heard through an impenetrable tube near the cave entrance.

A search of the exit area from the initial canal revealed nothing of any consequence. The only possibility of reaching the enticing roar would seem to be in the region of the former entrance sump, where the downstream continuation peters out in small solution domes and boulder blockages.


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