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The Underground Eiger

The Underground Eiger

A marvellous portrayal of a key event in British caving, and of the adventurous spirit of the two cavers famous for their numerous cave diving breakthroughs and records.

Documentary 1979 50 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive

Overview

This is a wonderful account of a significant event in British caving history, and a film that has become legendary in caving folklore. It features two divers, Geoff Yeadon and Oliver Statham (aka Bear), who over several years explored and plotted the caving system beneath the moors of Ingleborough before completing the dive from Keld Head to West Kingsdale Master Cave on January 16th 1979. The film has added poignancy as Oliver Statham took his own life later that same year.

This Yorkshire Television production was first broadcast on 21st February 1979 to 20 million viewers. The 6,000ft dive was at the time a world record, and a UK one until 1991. The many exploits of Yeadon and Statham are portrayed in Martyn Farr’s book 'The Darkness Beckons', while a humorous behind-the-scenes account of the filming itself is given in ‘The Adventures of Another Pooh: Caving Explorations and Escapades’ by David Yeandle. Yeadon was renowned for his Mick Jagger impersonations, as seen here at The Old Hill Inn at Chapel le Dale, while the Ronnie Drew lookalike is a character known as J.C. Geoff Yeadon carried on to have a notable career cave diving and is at present Chairman of the Cave Diving Group.

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