This is an image my friend took. It is of my daughter ascending from Gaping Ghyll. Although it could be his daughter( there is a similar one of her on Facebook ). And she could be descending.
Someone thought it looked like an IU scan. It does feel something internal , as did the experience of being in the cavern. It is after all a cavity.. The potholers explain you can fit York Minster in there, but you’d have to chop it up first – which seems to me to defeat the point, unless it is about the need to digest things properly.
Normally the gullet is filled by a burn – England’s largest waterfall says the superlative blurb.( Or largest plughole if you are of a hubris-pricking nature..)
Twice a year the cavers divert the burn ,which fissures it’s way osmotically down to the floor by other pores. They then run what is basically a caving festival halfway up Ingleborough, lowering a queue of nervous people into the gap.
It is an Experience. The descent in to the void. The first Victorian explorer, dangling by rope and candle got so far, found a ledge, and then returned, allegedly declaring it bottomless. I imagine he intended to say that at that point the drop felt like it could be endless.
Securely strapped into a bosun’s chair that is still how I felt – there being no visual stimuli at this point but only viscera, sound and feel – these sensations all being of great , possibly infinite space. It was hard – despite being passenger 128 of the day- to believe in my security , and in truth I didn’t want to.. I guess that is what sublimity feels like..
Shortly after I dropped through a column of spray which I felt to be coiling around the chair, and at times flowing upwards past me. As the water droplets concentrated the minute amounts of light I felt shrunk to a pinhead in space. A mote – a word which needs more use (outside Scrabble).
Watching the return ascent felt redemptive . The small figures moving away from us in straight lines into the great distance, amidst everything else curling , fading and falling.. well there are some sleeping metaphors here, but lets let them lie, and say, more profanely, it reminded me of getting my endoscopy. However, Id recommend Gaping Ghyll above that – you don’t need to have acid reflux to go and it raises money for potholers.