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Deep, dark and down

Kim Roach, a teacher at Marshfield Primary School, Bradford, shares his pupils' encounter with the caves:

We have been taking Year 5 and 6 children to the Dales for more than 10 years. We stay up there for a week, looking at a contrasting locality and geographical features and taking part in outdoor pursuits. It is way away from civilisation and not an area that the children would normally visit.

For many it is their first time away from home and that is exciting in itself.

Before going to White Scar cave we take them to a smaller cave at Clapham.

There they can safely crawl and clamber around and get thoroughly wet.

There is some apprehension, almost a fear of the unexpected, when we go to White Scar. It is much bigger and nothing can quite prepare them for what they will see. They are full of wonder. When the guide turns the light off some of the children are a little frightened but they enjoy it.

The children start using such adventurous language to describe their visit and they can be comical. One boy rarely spoke to adults but when we got back to school he went straight up to our head teacher and initiated a conversation about everything he had seen in White Scar cave.

It really is an experience they'll never forget.

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