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Ragged Staff Cave

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Ragged Staff Cave is one of the great service diving destinations - along with the Blue Hole in Belize, the Zenobia in Cyprus, and Scapa Flow - in that rocky wasteland stuck on the North of England.

To get to the dive you DRIVE into the rock, park outside some steel doors, open them, see a load of aliens, nuclear weapons and Elvis, realise you've got the wrong door, move along a bit, and enter a pitch black cave. (The clue is in the name).

The dive club have rigged up a single light bulb which allows you to see a rickety wooden jetty poking out from the rocks in to a small black pool - your inviting dive site for the day. The cave runs down at 45 degrees to 40m and is roughly big enough to squeeze a bus down except for one very narrow section. This is about 15m down, is a tight squeeze and was designed to prevent fat people enjoying the best bit - the lower cave. A safety line runs the full length of the cave from the jetty and as you follow this down in to the lower cave descend in to complete darkness.

After touching the bottom at 40m or so, and looking back up, it is just possible to see the faint glow of the single light bulb at the surface through the narrow gap at 15m, and it seems a very long way away. Then it's torches on and time to enjoy the spectacular lower cave. And it is really stunning - crystal-clear water and lovely colours and rock formations.