Sunday 22nd November 2020 - Whitbarrow and Fairie's Cave
There were aspects of this walk that I did not enjoy. I wanted to visit Fairie's Cave which has recently come to my attention, and also a climbing crag at Slape Scar further south. I had walked on part of the route only a few days ago with not much enthusiasm passing close to the cave, and then plotting a satisfactory circular route to incorporate the crag was problematical. I decided to go for it anyway and improvise after the crag depending on visual assessment of the terrain. Having given the subject of objectives in a recent post an airing I now found that I was restricted by them to the extent of being forced to plot a route that did not appeal as an overall walk.
The path through the woods was unpleasantly squelchy and I found myself irascible right from the start. I was following a poor description for the location of the cave from an Internet post and spent longer than I should have not having a mental picture of the cave's situation and appearance. When I did find it there was no mistaking the huge deep cleft which I circled on steep pathless terrain with almost vertical forty foot drops into the depths. I tried to get a decent photo but the cleft was filled with trees. I could not see a reasonable way into the foot of the ravine without descending steep wooded hillside. If I was intending to explore this cave I would suggest abseiling in from the top. There seems to have been limited exploration which is a pity. with some persistence there may be a larger interesting system here The most I could find on the Internet was this report from 2011.
|Approaching the edge of the very steep forty foot drop into the cleft|
|Zoom to cave|
|Ascending Bell Rake, much steeper than it looks here|
|The best part of the walk|
|I stopped for coffee and a sandwich looking at this pretty view of blue sky, limestone, and silver birch before the path became unpleasant|
|At last out of the swamps|
|The pins show location of Fairie's Cave and supposedly Slape Crag which I never saw. The horrid path was the second half of the north/south bit. Bell Rake is marked close to the cave if you enlarge. The blue line is part of my route from a few days ago. Ignore the other blue route at bottom left|