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Book Review

by Dave Metcalf.

"Northern Caves, Vol. 5.” ‘The Northern Dales’ - Revised Edition by D. Brook, G.M. Davies, M.H. Lone, P.F. Ryder.

Surely this must be a guidebook which contains the most varied selection of caves and potholes ever recorded.  Since the 1974 version came out passages have been pushed, digs have been dug and sumps have been dived.  A wave of discovery fever seems to have hit the Northern Dales.  In the 1977 edition there are no less than 100 new entries together with many important extensions to existing caves.

The total area map has been extended to include caves as far a field as the West Coast of Cambria to the North Northumberland Border; Flamborough Head to Nottinghamshire. There are caves in Sandstone, Chalk & Grit, with every subterranean hazard known to man - from creaking boulders to radioactive gas!  Of interest to the connoisseur of cave names we have Mitochondrion Pot, Diggle Wigglepit and next time you visit Dentdale how about 60ft of Bum Burner Breach! There are many more surveys in this edition but unfortunately omitted is one of Blea Gill Cave - a newly discovered complex system of come 1-2 miles.  However a description of the new cave does appear.

Perhaps the most important extensions recorded are those in Cliff Force Cave and the long overdue reopening of Lunehead Mine Caverns.  Much new ground has been covered by divers, with much activity in all areas particularly in the Rawthey Valley with the sump in Rawthey Cave being passed and two important risings explored - Uldale House Rising and, would you believe 'Lady Blues Underwater Fantasy'.  Also recorded are underwater extensions in Tutmans Hole, Ayleburn Mine Caverns, Tub Hole, Gods Bridge River Cave, Otters Cave and Pate Hole leaving plenty of scope for further exploration.

The book is well laid out and very readable.  Additional Geological information is provided and there is also a comprehensive section covering caves in Magnesian Limestone.

This volume is understandably slightly fatter than other ' Northern Caves' editions but unfortunately so is the price.  However at £1.65p,  I still think it is good value.