Skrevet av Emne: Exploring the marvel that is Britain's largest cave  (Lest 718 ganger)

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Utlogget Rolf

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"The 110m drop to the foot of Gaping Gill takes about a minute. From the cloud-blemished tops of the Yorkshire Dales, in the shadow of Ingleborough, the winch descends through a puncture in the surface and deep into the earth.

It passes through a narrow shaft, close to the moss-covered limestone - so close you think you might graze your knees - before the chamber widens and you dive into the darkness, where no plants can grow.

It accelerates through the entrails of a waterfall before settling on slimy rock at the heart of Britain’s largest known cave – a space so vast the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral could fit inside.

This is a voyage suitable neither for those with a fear of heights or the dark. I am thankful for the caver standing next to me, who must have spotted my nerves as I wait for the winch.

"Don’t worry," she says, pointing at a man standing on a boardwalk above the chasm, the steep grass verge beside him funnelling into a black void beneath his feet. He is fastening a youngish-looking boy into a small metal cage, suspended above the gulf by a wire.

"He will tell you how you should sit - and what prayers you should say."

Twice a year - at spring and August bank holidays - these cavers, who dedicate their weekends and holidays to exploring the fissures beneath the Dales, provide the general public with the opportunity to join them in Gaping Gill, otherwise inaccessible to all but the most skilled cavers. "


Se også:
"When I try to imagine a faultless love
Or the life to come, what I hear is the murmur
Of underground streams, what I see is a limestone landscape."
W.H. Auden, "In Praise of Limestone"