A Trip to Mossdale Caverns

My granddad told me about Mossdale Caverns – a huge cave system deep on Grassington moor, and I had to see it!

He told me that there was a tragedy there in 1967 when 6 cavers were killed in the cave during a storm, and they are still buried in there. It is a very sad place.

Barrets Incline – this is part of the lead mines and is currently blocked

It is a long walk to Mossdale Caverns, but the way is through beautiful scenery. We walked past the old abandoned lead mines – some of the tunnels are open (we didn’t go in) and there were lots of shafts too.

This is where the dressing floor was – women and children sorted out the lead from the rocks

Going past the main mines, we came to open fields with old buildings. Granddad said there was a huge cave under our feet. I was hoping that it wouldn’t collapse and drop us in the cave!

After a while the going got harder and we came across a couple of streams – one sank in the limestone, probably to drain into the caves below.

It was getting hard, with barbed wire fences to cross

We eventually came across the ruins of a World War 2 crashed bomber. Granddad said that it came down during bad weather in 1945 – all crew were killed instantly. I had a root around to see if I could find anything interesting but I was told not to take anything away from the site.

The crashed bomber

Eventually we crossed a big stream and came to Mossdale Scar.

Mossdale Scar in the distance

The place is huge – it is 150 ft long and 50 ft high. A massive stream flows into the cave under the scar. There is another dry entrance but we couldn’t get to it as it is on the other side of the stream.

Mossdale Scar
A plaque commemorating the dead cavers. This is above the dry entrance

There was a plaque near the dry entrance, this names the cavers who were killed in the cave in June 1967. They were all very young. Granddad says he remembers the rescue, which was the biggest in Britain.

He said that the cave is 7 miles long, and the water comes out 800 ft lower down and nearly 3 miles away. It is part of a huge cave system thought to be about 200 miles long, but only a little bit of has been explored. The water comes out at a place called Black Keld near Kettlewell.

After a pork pie (granddad calls them ‘growlers’) and a drink we set off back to the car. We went home another way, and passed some old mine buildings which had been destroyed.

We got back to the car after walking about 7 miles. It was a really good walk with lots of interesting things to see. But it was sad too as we passed the crashed airplane and the cave with the young men buried inside.

Back at the car

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