Cave Descriptions


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Return trip to the bottom

4 4 4 4 hours

Juniper Gulf is one of the finest Yorkshire potholes!

The cave has quite a unique character owing to its formation along a very long, deep, narrow rift. There are some memorable and heart-pounding traverses (kneepads are essential). But don’t let this deter you! Juniper Gulf is a none-stop adventure, with lots of action, all ending with a spectacular final free-hanging 50m pitch dropping into an enormous final cavern. Magnificent!


Juniper Gulf is a long walk from the nearest road and can be approached from many locations. Parking in Crummack Dale is the closest approach (but not necessarily the easiest to navigate). Other approaches include from Clapham (via the route to Gaping Gill, 6km). Horton in Ribblesdale (4.5km, the easiest to navigate) or from Selside (parking as for Long Churn/Alum Pot, 5km). Study a map and plan your approach carefully. GPS/compass and a map are essential, especially as it can be difficult to find your way back from the cave in poor visibility.

To approach from Crummack Dale, enter Austwick from the A65. About 250m after the Gamecock pub is passed on the left, turn left on Townhead Lane. Follow this up out of the village for 1.5km to where a ‘no vehicles’ sign is reached and it is possible to park on the verge on the left.

How to find:

Grid reference: SD 7657 7334

If parking at Crummack Dale follow the public footpath straight ahead, past the farm on your right. After 200m the path bears left to follow a steep dry valley uphill onto the fells where you will leave the public footpaths. Navigation beyond this point is difficult. Go north-west towards the gate with a small sheep enclosure at SD 7646 7284. Through the gate, turn tight and follow the right hand wall for 500m, to reach an obvious valley with a stream about 200m away from the wall. The stream flows into the entrance.

If approaching from Horton in Ribblesdale, follow the footpath from near the station, across the railway line and about 2km up onto the fell. At a fork in the footpath, go right which will probably be signed to Sulber Nick and/or Ingleborough. Just over 1 km further is a crossroads. Go straight on, cross a wall after 500m then another wall after another 500m. After the second wall, turn left off the path and follow parallel to the left wall, keeping approximately 200m from this wall. After 500m a valley is reached with a stream which flows into the entrance.

Navigation in the cave:

The entrance rift involves a 20m pitch. Depending on how this has been rigged, it may either drop directly to the stream (meaning a climb down some blocks following the water downstream), or it may swing into a 10m traverse, leading to a second pitch down to the stream.

Downstream, the water is lost down a narrow rift. A traverse along the rift reaches the next pitch.

Further traversing reaches a wide, awkward section called The Bad Step, which will have a rope for protection. More traversing and the next pitch is reached. This is narrow at the top but soon opens out and hangs next to a waterfall. From the bottom of this pitch, the cave enlarges even more and the final pitch is soon reached. This pitch is a spectacular 50m deep, 10m wide shaft with a free-hang from a rebelay just below the edge. At the bottom, a short stream passage leads to the sump.

Additional reading:

Northern Caving (p99) or Selected Caves (p37)

Location Map: