The adventure specialists

Caving & Potholing

Discover a hidden world and spectacular cave systems beneath the surface of the Yorkshire Dales

Beneath the Yorkshire Dales are some of the finest and most spectacular cave systems in the UK! An often misunderstood sport, caving offers the chance to explore a truly stunning and unique environment of underground rivers and streams, vast quiet chambers adorned with thousands of delicate stalactites hanging from the roof, deep shafts reverberating with the sound of the waterfalls crashing down them, cascades, and walls rich in fossils.

Here at Yorkshire Dales Guides, caving is our greatest passion and we would love to show you the underground world we've come to know so well through years of our own explorations in both the UK and abroad. Whether you fancy a gentle introduction to caving, or would like a more challenging adventure, we are certain we can cater for your needs! Caving is a perfect year-round activity as the temperature underground remains a constant ~8ºC.​

QUICK FACT: Many people who visit the Yorkshire Dales won't know that one of the longest cave systems in the world can be found under the hills between Kirkby Lonsdale and Ingleton. The Three Counties cave system is now well over 80km long and new sections of cave are still being found to this day.

Choose your experience:

Explore Caving

Explore a hidden underground world and learn basic caving skills with our expert local guides.

Adventure Caving

Experience the very best caving the Yorkshire Dales has to offer.

Vertical Caving

Get into this amazing underground sport led by our local guides.

Advanced Caving

Join our expert caving instructors to challenge yourself and develop advanved skills.

Single Rope Technique (SRT) Training Area

Develop your skills at our purpose built indoor training facility

Cave Instructor Training & Assessment

Looking to complete a course, or need a venue to practice skills for your upcoming LCMLA or CIC (module 2 and 3 assessments)? Then come on down to our spacious SRT training facility (see vertical caving training facility page). Within the facility, there is an array of ropes, platforms, traverses (both high and low-level) and anchor points for your own rigging, all contained within a very spacious 15m x 10m x 6-8m high area which is perfect for group work. Upstairs, there is also an office with comfortable seating, white boards and projectors, which is also available for use. Get in touch for more info!

Cave Safety Courses

Our cave safety courses are designed for anyone who wants to ‘really get into’ caving, beyond the standard introductory and intermediate level guided caving trips we offer. It really is a fascinating sport taking you into a beautiful and highly unique environment. No caver forgets the first time they explored and splashed their way down their first underground streamway, or turned that corner and found themselves in a large, quiet chamber surrounded by thousands of glistening and delicate stalactites hanging from the roof, or started abseiling down their first pitch (vertical shaft) with a waterfall crashing down beside them.

Whether you’ve already tried caving and want to start doing more easy horizontal caving trips with friends, or are a more experienced caver who wants to learn the skills to take on more serious vertical potholes, we are positive we can cater for your needs. Our office and vertical caving training facility means we have the perfect premises to teach you all the skills you need to know, from researching and planning your caving trip, to the safety aspects of clothing/equipment/callouts/weather, to the skills required for moving underground safely and efficiently, and knowing what to do if things go wrong.

Get in touch for a chat and will happily put together a single or multi-day course for you based on your wishes and requirements!

Rigging for Rescue

Looking to complete a course, or need a venue to practice skills for your upcoming LCMLA or CIC (module 2 and 3 assessments)? Then come on down to our spacious SRT training facility (see vertical caving training facility page). Within the facility, there is an array of ropes, platforms, traverses (both high and low-level) and anchor points for your own rigging, all contained within a very spacious 15m x 10m x 6-8m high area which is perfect for group work. Upstairs, there is also an office with comfortable seating, white boards and projectors, which is also available for use. Get in touch for more info!

What to expect

Most of our caving trips begin at our premises just outside of Settle, where you will meet your instructor for a briefing, before kitting up in the required equipment (see below) ready for your caving trip. You will get kitted out in our specially designed cavers briefing area complete with 4 changing rooms for privacy.

For the intermediate level caving trips which involve some vertical work, we will then move into our vertical caving training facility for a quick practice at ladder climbing and traverses before heading to the caves.

You will then follow the instructor in your own vehicles to the parking location for the caves, which is normally around a 15-30 mins drive depending on the venue chosen for the day. There is often a short but easy walk to the caves of around 15-25 mins (longer for some advanced caving trips), and you can expect to be underground for anywhere between 1.5 and 4 hrs depending on level of caving experience chosen, weather, and fitness and ability of the group. Some advanced caving trips may take a full day.

After the caving trip, we’ll then head back to the cars and you then have the choice of changing and departing from the parking location, or coming back to our premises to change in comfort and privacy first before departing. Our premises are also a safe place to leave any possessions for the duration of the caving trip if you wish, as opposed to in your cars.

Equipment
A kit list of what to bring will be sent out to all participants ahead of the caving trip, which normally includes a set of old clothes, towel, spare clothing for after the trip and some snacks/a drink.

For your caving trip, you will be kitted out in:
Caving oversuit – Similar to a boiler suit, but much more hardwearing. You will wear this over your old clothes.
Helmet and light
Safety belt
Wellies – wellies are provided, but you may wish to bring your own instead to use (subject to them being deemed appropriate by YDG staff)
Harness and cowstails (for vertical caving trips only)

Pre-requisites
All participants are expected to have a reasonable level of fitness, and will be required to complete a medical form prior to the caving trip.

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