Boggarts Roaring Holes

28 February 2011

Posted by
Matt Ewles

A great return trip to Boggarts. Quite a difficult cave to find, but it can be found just a couple of hundred metres along the base of the steep gritstone cap of Ingleborough. A GPS is highly recommended for the return trip as if the mist comes down during your trip then finding your way back to the footpath would be a difficult task.

Several holes present themselves, but the way down is by the side of a prickly tree growing at the top of the shaft. Some unpleasant smelling dead sheep at the bottom hurry you onwards through the narrow window leading onto the second pitch (the less obvious of the two routes). This is easy enough on the way down but a bit of a struggle coming out. From the bottom of the second pitch a narrow sideways thrutch leads immediately onto the third pitch. Gary rigged an extra loop of rope to clip into here, as you emerge head first over the pitch! It's quite acrobatic to swing your legs onto the pitch head, but once you've done this there's a nice ledge to stand on and the pitch becomes easy.

A short rift-like crawl later and the fourth pitch is reached. The anchor for this is high up on the left wall around the corner of the pitch head and is difficult to rig. Getting on this pitch is not too much of a problem, but again, coming back up is difficult as the you must depart from the pitch head into an ascending tight squeeze! A small ledge at the pitch head allows you to perch your backside on while you thrutch your legs into the slot to allow a feet-first departure from the pitch!

This pitch immediately opens out to a nice spacious shaft. From the bottom, a flat out crawl over two holes reaches the fifth pitch, where we turned around last time due to a large volume of water going down here. Steve had unfortunately done his arm in and we decided that we would turn around again here - no objections - as finishing caving early on Sundays is always welcome! Gary rigged and went down the fifth pitch to recce it, and found that the small amount of water entering here was disappearing down a slot, which was not the way on. Therefore, it seems that the time we were here last must have been exceptionally wet, and that under 'normal' wet conditions (it had been raining all week before, and the ground was saturated) there are no issues. Good to know for a return visit!

The return trip is much more strenuous than the downward trip!

Boggarts is a superb cave, as it presents lots of interesting pitch-head challenges and unusual rigging, but without being continuously tight. Each squeeze is rewarded by a nice spacious area, or a fine spacious pitch, with little chance of getting bored. We got to the bottom of the fifth pitch and out again in three hours, so bottoming this cave should be about 6-7 hours. The guide in Not For the Faint Hearted is, as usual, spot on and highly recommended.