Mossdale Caverns strikes terror
into the hearts of many cavers, for it is the potholing
equivalent of the north face of the Eiger.
Today the only stable entrance is sealed and permission
to descend is not given as expeditions into this
notorious system is inadvisable under present conditions.
This is because Mossdale was the scene of Britains worst
caving tragedy in June, 1967. Although no special
equipment is required, the 6¼ mile (10km) system is
graded V (super severe) as it involves crawling and
squeezing for much of the way, in passages that flood
completely even after moderate rainfall.
Cavers were drawn to the confines of Mossdale which is
situated in Yoredale limestone in the hope that it will
connected with a greater cave formed in the older Great
Scar limestone below.
On June, 24, 1967 ten cavers entered the caverns. Four
later emerged after three hours but when one of them
revisited the entrance, the beck had become swollen
submerging the entrance. She ran 2½ miles (4km) accross
the moor to raise the alarm. Cave rescue teams were soon
on the scene but it was not until the small hours of the
following morning that teams were able to get into the
cave because a trench had to be dug to divert the water,
but had to resurface due to water levels still being too
The following afternoon several search and rescue teams
entered the caverns and after several hours of searching,
the bodies of five men were found in the Far Marathon
series, with the sixth being discovered the following
Today, the six men remain buried in the caverns, in a
high level chamber, a permanent tombstone to the young
men who perished in the name of the sport they loved.
note that this page is for illustrative purposes only as permission
will NOT be given to descend Mossdale Caverns. Anybody entering these
caverns under current circumstances not only will be putting themselves
and any rescuers at risk they also risk bringing caving into disrepute.