Happy Wanderers Cave and Pothole Club

How the “Happy Wanderers” came into being

Five lads were exploring around Castleton in Derbyshire. We bumped into each other once or twice and formed a lasting friendship. We visited Peak Cavern, Winnats Pass, Giants Hole and Peveril Castle. There was Malcolm (Tiger) Culshaw from Southport, Pete Matley from Salford, Frank Shuttleworth (Bazz of Bolton) and Philip Wallace from Bolton and myself from Barrow. It was summer 1955. We decided to meet up again the following Easter at Ingleton.
Mike Myers

How the Happy Wanderers came into being

by Mike Myers: click here

It was summer 1955. We decided to meet up again the following Easter at Ingleton. So in 1956, after exploring a few caves around Ingleton and Clapham, we decided to form ourselves into a proper group. It was August-September 1956 we held a meeting in the Wheatsheaf Hotel, Ingleton.


On Saturday 24th June 1967 at two o’clock in the afternoon, a group of ten cavers entered Mossdale Caverns near Grassington. They split into two separate groups before going into the cave. The first group into the cave comprised of Dave Adamson, Geoff Boireau, Bill Frakes, John Ogden, Michael Ryan and Colin Vickers, with the intention of going to the extreme end of the known cave and to attempt to remove a blockage that had prevented further progress for a number of years.
The second group, Jim Cunningham, Morag Forbes, John Shepherd, and Collette Lord, intended only to go as far as Rough Chamber, an underground journey taking about forty minutes, and then return to the surface.

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Bob Gillibrand was a member of Ken Pearce’s 1963 Gouffre Berger Expedition. At that time the cave was the deepest known cave in the world. Viewing a recent video on YouTube has stirred these memories for Bob.

Browsing on YouTube recently I came across the video ”Gouffre Berger 2014 V5 congre's"

The video starts at the first sump (Syphon). The diver finds in the sump a "Tadpole" cylinder from the 1963 British Expedition. As he moves the cylinder you can make out rusting piano wire binding before the disturbed silt obscures the view. This brought back many memories from the 1963 expedition.

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by Frank Barnes

Frank Barnes

It was spring time 1964, a few caving friends and I were walking through Kingsdale in the Yorkshire Dales near to the cave resurgence of Keld Head, when we saw two men, one was sat on the grass bank grinning and the other running completely naked along the bank in big circles as though it was his way of drying himself off after diving in the cave rising, he was a huge man for a caver.

I remember saying to my friends, who the hell are they? One of them thought the big man was Ken Pearce and the other was Mike Boon, both cave explorers of renown.

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Click a photo below to enlarge it
braida Garth 1967

Braida Garth July 1967 Mossdale Memorial day

Photo: Jim Cunningham

Left to Right: Max Robinson, Dave Pickup, John Southworth, Mick Melvin, John Shepherd, Frank Barnes, Brian Dewhurst, Unknown, Mick Ormerod.


Mossdale Memorial

Wanderers at Mossdale 50th Memorial 2017

Photo: Dave Fisher

Left to Right: Mick Melvin, Dave Cobley, Frank Barnes, Sue Cobley, Jack Pickup, Jim Cunningham (kneeling), John Southworth, Hilda Guthrie, Stu Whitmey, Dave Stewart, John Rushton, Dave Fisher.

John Ogden dives the Chikker

John Ogden diving in the Chikker 1966

Photo: Jim Cunningham

John discovered about half a mile of new passage to reach a huge boulder choke in the Chikker cave system near Taza in Morocco.

Chikker and the Friquato

Wanderers Expedition to Morocco 1966

Photo: Jim Cunningham

John Southworth in Friquato, the object of this expedition was to connect two large cave systems, the Chikker and the Friquato situated near Taza, Morocco

MY FIRST CAVE DIVE by Jim Cunningham

If you walked into the H.W. Hostel at present you would be excused if you thought it was a Diving Club. ;Bottles, demand valves, flippers masks, snorkels, weight belts, wet suits and even a compressor, are scattered all around. However, this isn't surprising when you consider that eight members of the Club are also Cave Diving Group members, and another five have cave diving experience.
Jim Cunningham I am one of the five; I have been through Langstroth sumps (one and two!) I did not want to, but our C.D.G. members are very vain, and decided that they wanted photographs of themselves at the other side. I was the only available fool with a caving camera and diving experience. Of course they couldn't tell me, or I wouldn't have gone, so they carefully made arrangements to dive Dale Barn, suggesting that I take photographs in the new passages before the sump. This was, of course, to make me bring my camera, and also explain the presence of their diving gear.
On Saturday night they loaded all their diving equipment into Bolton Speleo Club's Land Rover, arranging to meet at Ingleton at 12.00.a.m. ;On the Sunday (I think- anyway they came at that time!) but told me to meet at 9.30.a.m. Sure enough I was there with the rest of the lads at 9.15.a.m., and everybody moaned about the Bolton lads letting us down. At 12.00.a.m. sharp they arrived, but everyone had decided that it was too late to do Dale Barn, though we still had time to take photographs in Langstroth...

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I've always considered myself incredibly lucky as a youngster to have come Bar Potunder the tutelage of Jim Cunningham, an experienced caver and Wanderers member at the time. Graham Proudlove and I were at school together where Jim was a physics teacher. We'd read a couple of caving books borrowed from the local library and decided that a life of adventure underground was for us. Our geography teacher, David Pack (a man of the finest calibre on whom I could write a book!) organised youth hostelling visits to the Dales and Jim was one of the staff who used to give up his free time to help out

Base of Bar Pot's big pitch.
Graham Proudlove by ladder, John Cordingley holding flash.
Photographer: Jim Cunningham

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