January 2nd Lathkill Head Cave, Top Entrance
Al Steans, Malc S, Mick, Andy W x 2, Graham
First trip of new year; visited one of Derbyshire newest systems (opened 1992) totally by accident. Thought we were going down Raven Mine! Larry's area map totally useless, good trip nevertheless. 10 ft free climb down ginged entrance shaft to head of entrance pitch 65', deviation at -15 ft, re-belay DMM hanger half way down. Pitch lands in a large natural chamber (the Waiting Room) on floor of loose boulders. Way on is free climb down through boulders at bottom of slope. At bottom of choke muddy flat out crawl leads to Lathkiller Hall. Upstream (left) leads to continuation of cave) downstream (right) leads to unstable boulder choke, 'The Lathkiller' connection with Handshake Chamber, meeting point of Gassons Passage and Tiger 3 in Lathkill Head Cave. At time of visit "The Lathkiller was totally under water and Lathkiller Hall was carrying racing stream over waist deep in middle, upstream was sumped after about 100 ft. Boulder choke leading to Lathkiller Hall showed signs of recent flooding. Clean cave with good formations and good prospects of further extensions in dry weather.
PS Visited pub in Monyash after trip and met caver from Crewe CC who pointed out entrance to Raven Mine on Map
Surface Route finding by Mr Larry Steans, sorry I wasn't there L.B.
January 6th-13th (Thurs-Thurs) Andulucia, Spain
A combined party of cavers, cyclists, runners and skiers arrived at a proposed multi-activity training week in the sunny climes of southern Spain. The evening of arrival saw Al Steans, Andy Wheat and Ram Stone (a caver from Bingley) scouring the local bars for anyone with info on local caves. Antonio the Patron of El Cabana, about to become our local for the week, remembered visiting caves on the coast as a child, which went in quite a long way before becoming too tight. Friday saw Al and Andy visiting all the caves on a mile long stretch of coast, all these caves were obviously sea caves formed in conglomerate with no real interest to us. A party of runners who had visited Frigliana that same morning came back with reports of a deep gorge running from the mountains to the sea through limestone containing many obvious cave entrances.
Saturday morning we hired a car and went to Maro to visit the famed show cave: Cueva De Nerja: the show cave is well worth the visit comprising of three huge connecting chambers or more likely on immense cavern split into three by large scale roof collapses. The whole cave has been formed by cataclysmic action and was of marine origin, estimated to be 200 million years old. It contains a wealth of staggering formations from later time, the most spectacular being a 32 metre column up to 4.5 metres in diameter. All the formations are absolutely perpendicular, there being no trace of draught or wind in the cave. All the stal has been formed from seepage and apart from ancient gour pool formations there are no signs of formations being created by active water flow either vadose or phreatic. Evidence of continuing seismic activity is abundant everywhere, with large scale collapses and further formation growth on top of broken columns and rock fall.
Further down the coast, about 10 Km from Malaga is the Cuava de Tresuro, a similar marine cave formed in limestone but on a far smaller scale. This cave however does display vadose and phreatic features.
The caves in the limestone gorge at Frigliana were visited, some dozen or so entrances were looked at, quite a few had traces of decaying stal in the roof, but the limestone appeared to be far older than anything encountered in the UK. Several caves had decaying coral formations, again indicating marine origin. The three largest caves visited were collectively named Los Cuava de Goatpooh, since they were obviously far more frequently visited by wild four legged creatures than humans. The nearest thing to an active system encountered was the sound of a raging waterfall behind a 60 ft limestone bluff, unfortunately neither the source nor the resurgence of this water was located.
A similar limestone gorge running from the mountains to the sea just behind the Caves of Nerja was also explored fairly thoroughly, one or two caves had tight phreatic tubes in the roof or tight bedding plane type crawls that could possibly have been pushed. The problem is the limestone is so old it almost resembled sandstone in its texture and disintegrated on touch.
An attempt to visit the Cuava de Agua (Water Cave) situated at c 6,000 ft in the Sierra Nevada just north of Granada was abandoned when a raging blizzard was encountered at 4,000 ft and darkness was imminent. Instead we opted for a bit of culture and visited the supposed 8th wonder of the world, The Palace at Alhamibra in Granada. The area Armnd Nerja is of great interest to Geologists but has little to appeal to the active caver. The active caves are more likely to be in the various Sierras which to say the least are rather remote. The likelihood of locating caves without the help of Spanish cavers with an intimate knowledge of the area is infinitesimally small but we did try.
On the last evening of our stay, we met a German paracender in the El Cabana bar who had several Spanish 'mountain men' friends who apparently had knowledge of the mountain caves, since we were due to leave 8 hr later this information came a trifle too late, I believe this phenomena is known as sods law.
January 9th Maskill Mine
Larry, A W, Roger, Malc S
Typical capped mineshaft of Derbyshire. Descended to 2nd pitch where ancient shoring is in use. Carried on to 6th pitch where it is possible to swing thro' to Oxlow 4th 'camped' in Oxlow and returned to Maskill via a look at Oxlow Pool Chamber & terminal sump. Quick ascent by all but AW took his time derigging. Considering the dangerous reputation this place has, it seemed quite stable.
January 15th Ireby Fell Cavern
AW, Malc S, Malc D, Nick
Supposed to be attempting Notts Pot with Sheffield CC but arrived at Fountain Cafe with the prospect of joining 25 + other like minded cavers. Decided on Ireby Fell. Problems parking. Descended partway double rigging to divers, but carried on purely on theirs for the remainder. Took Ding Dong etc route, to Duke St. Speedy exit by all but Nick who took his time derigging. Retired to Marton / Craven for non - drinking activities.
January 16th Simpsons
January 23rd Raven Mine
AW, Larry, Al, Andy W
Eventually found entrance. Whole mine laddered. A lot of digging activity. Very muddy, a lot of blind crawls. Very disappointing. Needs a lot of work for worthwhile trip.
January 29th Parc Mine, Llanrwst, N Wales
Cheg, Pat, Darren, Dave G, Nigel + 2 friends
Entry by No3 level. Access is gated with known weaknesses. This level is modern, driven towards lode junction where Parc Shaft is gained. Water beyond here is deeper with all lower workings flooded.
We climbed the ore chute and pipes near the junction and came to a sub-level from where a ladderway took us to No2 level. This is on the lode and is a very long, stoped out to maybe 100' with false floors in places, very little signs of minerals. Some photos taken.
Exited before dark and on leaving the forest by an official track found we had been 'locked in'. Having modified the padlock we exited from the forest.
Level 3 Park Mine. Darren, Pat, Neil & Pothead
Visited Phil the Miner at Llanrug and went for a beer. Slept under canvas on his lawn.
January 30th Coed Mawr Pool Mine, near Betws-Y-Coed
The deep adit is in the valley above Swallow Falls, river Llugwy, located after taking a look at possible sites on the far side of the river from the A5. Cheg and Pat took a closer look, venturing underground in chest deep water for about 30 mins. The mud in the level is ochre in colour and soon the river flowing toward Swallow falls and Betws y Coed was changing colour. Dave and Darren drove past the beauty spots to witness the astonishment on the faces of the tourists. The culprits were never apprehended.
January 31st (30th) Peak Cavern
AW, Mike D, Roy R, Larry, Nigel, Sam & Nige, Al, Malc D, Malc S, Roger, Simon, Paul W & wife
Sunday morning trip in Peak after beers + sleep in hut previous night. Buxton Water / Maypole Inlet (Outlet) and a "long" trip up Pickerings Passage to find Moss Chamber.
February 2nd Alum Pot
AW, Malc D, Malc S, Al, Roger, Sam, Arron, Cathy + Nick
Trip down Upper to Lower Long Churn out to descend big pitch in Alum. Very impressive pitch, very wet at bottom easy climb out up thro' Lower Long Churn. Cathy & Arron climbed back up main pitch.
February 13th Odin Mine
AW, Al, Andy W, Nigel
Put off Dr Jacksons thro' inclement weather. Impressive stone stemples in Cartgate. Muddy & very loose.
February 16th Old Ash Mine
Larry, Al, Dave, Malc, Tim (+kids)
February 19th A visit to a Stone Mine near Bath
P.Cronin., N.Burns, S.Chester, P.Thompson, J.Cooper, D.Hind, M.Bishop and the story teller.
Stories had been circulating of a wonderful new find in the stone mines around Bath. This would be a scoop visit with a host of machinery to see including a Samson coal cutter and hydraulic crane. All the passageways were clear of debris and the columns supporting the roof were strengthened with chains. There were even photographs to confirm the stories.
Leaving the house of the intrepid Bristol explorer late on the Saturday morning, arrangements had been made to meet the Bishop in a hostel in a village called Norton St. Philip. In retrospect this was the high point of the day. Turning our backs on the bar after only one pint the cavalcade left the car park for the second part of this great adventure. It soon became necessary to enlist the help of our local navigator as Bishop had raced off and was nowhere to be seen, still we did reach the mine at Westwood before the rest of the exploration contingent. Everyone was now eager to get into the vast stone caverns and had soon changed into boiler suits and wellies, someone had tried to spread a rumour that it would be locked but no-one had taken any notice of such talk. Alas as the last of us assembled at the gate to the mine it became obvious that we were not going to go any further, the gate would not budge to any persuasion. We left somewhat subdued wondering where to go to make the most of the remains of the day.
There were several alternatives as to where to go but now a consensus of opinion concluded that we go to Box. Heading across country towards Box all was OK until someone decided to get out and inspect his tyres thus causing some confusion in route finding but eventually we arrived at the parking space close to the backdoor entrance. Having changed into boiler suits and wellies again, we descended the slope overlooking a private tennis court and entered Box Freestone Mine. The trip was only a short one taking in the Cathedral (A good place to throw your rubbish if you are a local) and some old machinery. Route finding was a little difficult at times but we finally gained the passage which took us to Jack's Workings and exited before nightfall. Some photographs were taken during the trip. All that remained was to return to our vehicles and then make our way back to Bristol for some serious drinking.
Westwood Quarry main entrance. Photo: Nigel Burns
John Cooper at Slope Shaft entrance. Photo: Nigel Burns
Paul Thompson in Box Mine. Photo: Nigel Burns
February 19th P8
Al, Andy W, PA, Stef, Robb
Bog standard novice trip, quite wet and cold.
February 20th Winnats Head Cave
Al, AW, Andy W, Nigel, Roger, Mike D, Roy R, Malc S
Late start on Sunday intending to re-rope climbs. Due to large party & dampness of cave AW, Al, Andy W & Nigel departed prior to Sewer awkward climb back up thro' boulder choke Nige down to underwear.
February 27th County & Wretched Rabbit
Al, Arron, Sam, AW, Simon, Cathy
Excellent trip in Easegill system in fairly high water conditions. Out by Wretched Rabbit via parallel streamway and high level traverses by-passing rope pitch in big rift.
March 6th Oxlow to Maskhill
AW, Malc S, Nick, Larry, Al, Simon
Long wait at surface for idiots to go down (Maskhill)
1. Open 8mm maillon for deviation
2. Descending SRT? but being lifelined for rigging
3. Painfully slow. Got pissed off with them in the end and shoved passed them at 3rd pitch. Their rigging abysmal, used our rope top exit (idiots and sods).
(Maybe the other party felt the same about Larry!)
March 12th Nenthead
Very little done - got a little typsy and went for a rest in the cottage, to wait for the others, but fell asleep. Awoken by Terry and Barbara's dogs.
March 19th Eldon Hole
Simon, Larry, Nick, Malc S, Roger + Aaron and Sam (later)
Took a look at the climb up to Millers Chamber. Simon made several valliant attempts but we will be back (see 8/5/94)
March 20th Peak Cavern
Al, Aaron, Sam, Cathy
Free tourist trip round Peak, similar to January trip, but also looked at Lake Sump, Lake Sump by pass, Ink Sump, dig above Sink Sump, passages connecting Squaws Junction and main inlet series and Cadbury Crawl as far as gate connecting to Speedwell. Quite familiar with main series now.
April 2nd Vespers
Al, Aran, Sam, Cath, Nick, Roger
SRT trip. Extremely tight awkward
Cave with very little to inspire another visit. Looked at some formations inc helectites in aven above rift prior to third pitch. Came out with Nick at top of fourth pitch due to lateness of hour, others went to bottom of big pitch.
April 3rd Lancaster to.........?
Nick + Sam
April 4th Long Rake Mine
AW, Larry, Malc S
Trip to rig for midweek placement of DMMs.
April 3rd-10th Ireland
Cheg, Pat, Nigel, Barry & Ceily, Dave Gough & Liam Gough
April 3rd Sunday
Travel over to Dun Laoghaire to stay in a caravan at Shankill south of Dublin. Pat and Cheg stayed at Bray.
April 4th Monday
Walk to Greystones and back by the railway lines. The Guinness was flowing well.
One of the many tunnels on the stretch of railway between Bray and Graystones designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel
April 5th Tuesday Avoca
Visit Avoca. Little remains of the late C20th operation other than a large hole . A few old levels are visible and some old engines houses teeter on the edge of collapse.
Avoca showing Tigroney engine house with mineral bin infront
April 6th Wednesday
Visited a small level on the beach near Bray and the Ballycorus flue chimney cum observation tower which overlooks Dublin. This chimney has a fine set of stone steps on the outside but some are missing making a climb to the top quite daunting, I chickened out!
Ballycorus flue chimney and lookout tower taken Dec 1985
April 7th Thursday Dublin
Caught the DART to the metropolis and had an enjoyable day. Needed to teach a young man that Guinness had to settle before it was quaffed.
April 8th Friday Glendalough
A wet day looking around the old mining area.
April 10th Saturday Glendalough
Another visit, but in the snow. Darren slipped whilst crossing the stream and was quickly de-bagged and re-robed before becoming hypothermic.
Rain, snow and sunshine, all in three days at Glendalough
April 10th Sunday Glendalough
Yet another trip to this mining site. The rain had stopped and the snow had gone, just got sunburnt.
April 11th Monday
Well all good things come to an end so they say. The Gypsy's in the caravan took it in turns to sort out the evening meal, Darren's evening arrived, so at the local shop we selected the cuisine and left Darren at the checkout whilst we waited outside. Barry and Liam went off fishing one day but didn't bring back any supper. The Harbour bar at Bray was a popular drinking den.
Bar at Bray Harbour 'are we having another one?'
On the way home I booked my summer holidays with work. Nigel, Aileen and myself would accompany Barry & Ceily on their honeymoon in India.
April 10th Long Rake Mine
AW, Larry, Al, Roy
Trip to recover the rope after aborted Thurs night. Larry & Roy looked at boulder choke at -490', AW Al looked to the west of final pitch - flooded workings & extra bit of cave found. After quick climb down 10' pitch to boulder choke Al received a bashed right hand. This started an eventful trip up 7 bags 4 people.
Managed to push down through the boulder choke at the very bottom to another clay bed. The water here sinks through impenetrable slots under the whole stack of boulders. Further progress here can only be made by very remote blasting (LB)
April 17th New Venture Mine
AW, Mike D, Al, Trev, Sam, Aaron (Cathy in Hut)
Trip to another mine on Bradwell Moor.
April 24th Rowter Hole
AW, Al, Roger, Larry, Aaron, Sam
Exploration of parts not previously covered.
Put two ropes down the main (225') pitch for ease on the way out. There are 3 optional and one semi optional rebelays. Rigged so each rope had two. Concentrated on the climb up. 35' of rope needed (1 hanger) for the traverse, to get to the climb. There is a 'rope' up but the 30' climb isn't too difficult. Large sloping chamber with pretties at the top. Another small 'up bit' but very unstable and dangerous so not pushed to its limit. In the opposite direction, at the top of the chamber, passage choked by boulders. Relatively rapid exit made swapping from rope to rope. Lovely, smooth trip after the LR (Long Rake) (whoops bang ) trip.
May 2nd Oxclose Mine
Andy W, Larry
Acting on information received went to Snetterton (Snitterton, Matlock) area and obtained permission. Escape shaft is in the field just past the cottage, but it needs a large belay bar. The main shaft is in a little hut just below the cottage. Andy went down 40m + but didn't reach the bottom. Nice sunny day so called it a day due to shortage of rope and motivation. In the field just below the cottage there are 20 or so shafts. Went climbing at Yarncliff(nr Hathersage) and showed up some flashy looking climbers.
PS Mineral rights are still owned by Tarmac who last mined it in the 1950's.
May 8th Eldon Hole
Andy W, Aaron, Larry, Roy, Cathy, Dave G, Nick
Descended E route, may poles etc lowered and set to work on the 80 ft climb in the main chamber.
The previously noted spits proved to be 6mm (put in by EPC) so the Bosch (drill) was used to place 5 or 6 8mm spits. Taking it in turn we managed to reach within 12 ft of the top.
A brilliant effort by all. EPC originally took 5 weekends to reach the top.
PS New (130m) rope used for the 1st time - lovely.
Larry Blanchard, with his trusty 'Bosch' re-bolting the route to Millers Chamber in Eldon Hole
May 8th P8
Al, Trev + novices
Standard Trip again.
May 11th County Pot, Wretched Rabbit via Ignorance is Bliss
Al, Aaron, Sam
May 12th Batty Wife Cave, Hurtle Pot
Al, Aaron, Sam
May 15th Eldon Hole
Andy W, Larry, Dave E, Dave G, Keith, Sam, Cathy, Alan, Mike, Al, Roy
Returned to the climb and once sufficient gear collected, the climb was completed in no time without the need for further spits. The traverse line and rope up Damocles were OK and after many photos. Al appeared from Winnats and descent was begun thence Aaron, Sam and Cathy appeared.
Much trouble in cutting the rope as no knife was brought, it eventually succumbed to the hammer and a carbide lamp. Hangers and grease were left in all the spits for further generations. A couple of extra spits will be required if the aid climb has to be repeated, but hopefully nobody will steal the rope we left, for some time.
The formations were all superb but Millers Chamber was marred by graphitti "EPC 10/5/64". (10. MAY. 1964 E.P.C.)I've lost a lot of respect for the first people to complete the climb.
Anyway well done everyone involved, a brilliant effort.
My notes show we called at the Devs, in Peak Forest, after the trip, I wonder why?
Sword of Damocles above Millers Chamber, Eldon Hole
May 15th Winnats Head
Guided trip for Trevs benefit as far as upwards pitches other side of Sewer. 2½ hrs.
April 30th Saturday Elton Shaft
Shaft located behind school in Elton village. Inspection of shaft after winter prior to a further trip into the mine.
May 21st Alderley Edge Copper Mines. Engine Vein - Hough Level - Wood Mine
Al S + Paul W - PCC (Caving Section)
Cheg, Tombstone, Pat Cronin, Nigel B, Barry S, John C (PCC Mining Section)
Kevin (Axbridge CC) + Nigel W (DCC Guide)
Official Mining Section meet organised by John Cooper, liaising with DCC (access controller) 1st visit for Al S, since meet organised by the late Mike Farmer in February 1980. Mine considerably extended and improved since then, particularly Engine Vein Mine. Loads of interesting mine relics in all mines visited plus plenty of colourful formations left by mineral deposits. Plenty of photos taken by, Nigel B, Kevin and Paul Thompson. On a personal note, nice to get underground again with people I've not caved with for many a long year, too long!
PS West Mine visited on Sunday by Pat, Nigel, Barry and Kevin.
May 28th Yorkshire. Bank Holiday Weekend
May 28th Marble Steps
DE, LB, RH, Nigel, Andy
May 29th Yordas Cave / Pot
Al S, Aran, Sam, Nick
A 6 hour mess around in and out entrances, basic rigging exercises.
May 30th HuntPot / Hull Pot
Al S, Aran, Sam, Nick
Twin exercises in entertaining the walkers who stopped to observe potholers at work and play. Glorious sunny day, too good to really venture underground properly, so we didn't. free climbs out of Hull Pot.
June 5th Maskill Mine / Oxlow Caverns
Cathy, Al, Trev, Andy, Roger, Nick, Sam, Aran
Exchange trip. What should have been a straightforward exchange, deteriorated into a "How to make friends and influence people" exercise by LB.
June 12th Gingling Hole
Sam, Aran, Malc D
June 19th Eldon Hole
Larry, Al S, Malc D, Nick
Larry rigged north route for Malc and Nick to bottom cave and do upper series, while Al assisted Larry on his return to put DMM's in north route. Unfortunately neither Malc nor Nick could manage Larry's "easy" climb to the bottom of the rope into the upper series hence Larry had to abandon the drilling to rig another rope. Larry then rigged the east route for Malc and Nick to exit, Nick didn't appreciate de-rigging the diversion Larry had put in on the opposite wall near the bottom. Back at the car Nick and Larry had an animated discussion on Larry's rigging techniques.
PS DMM still need putting in at top of main pitch.
June 25th OFD 1
Al S, Andy, Aran, Sam, Icarus
June 25th Nenthead
Paul Thompson, Dave Gough
A wander around the surface remains of the upper Nent valley trying some video recording. Not very successful due to wind noise in the microphone. The brave ones venture underground.
June 26th Bridge Cave
Al S, Andy, Aran, Sam
July 3rd Darfar Pot, later Thors Cave & Hartington Moor Farm Adit
Al, Andy, Nigel, Glen
Due to flood proness of cave a long awaited summer trip was organised. A tight entrance choke made start awkward. Progress to the "Glory Chamber" was slow, where a dead fish was encounted as was a lot of mud/silt. The party called it a day and retreated. Met DCC digging in the stream bed. A quick climb up to Thors Cave. And also thro' Hartington Moor Farm Adit on the way home where the entrance adit was noticed from the road.
July 3rd Giants Hole
July 9th Ogof Craig A-Ffynn, Rock and Fountain Cave
Pegasus Vets 'A' Team
Al S, Dave E, John, Trev, Arthur Millett (leader) CSS, Judy and Andy CSS
A superb trip down one of south Wales most finely decorated caves by four of the clubs over forties, Al S, Dave E, John A and Trev R who appear to be the only members of the club to acknowledge the existence of worthwhile caves away from Yorkshire. The trip was led by Arthur Millett from Chelsea SS and we and we were also accompanied by Judy and Andy from the Chelsea Club. After a trip to the end of the known cave at the massive and as yet unpenetrable 5th Boulder choke, we were treated to a visit to the superb helectite passage on the way back, a luxury not normally afforded to casual visitors. Shortly afterwards we made our way via a 20 ft ladder pitch into the promised land, with more good formations including the Pagoda, It is at the end of the promised land that a potential connection with Busmans Holiday in Darren Cilau could eventually be made. On exiting after about 5½ hours we showed our appreciation to Arthur Millett in the time honoured fashion at a nearby hostelry. After a quick food stop at a nearby chippy we returned to the Chelsea hut at White Walls, where we were entreated to finish off a barrel of free ale left from a bar-b-que two weeks earlier (it's rude not to) Despite this enticement we still managed to meet up with Arthur Millett in the Bear in Crickhowell after paying our respects to the Bridge Inn and the Six Bells on the way.
The Pagoda formation in Ogof Craig Y Ffynnon Jan 1983
July 10th Youds Level - Railway / Day Shaft
Intended descending Day Shaft and into main system found blocked at approx 1' down. Descended Railway Shaft and pottered around the various levels. The flies made the before and after sureale deliberations agony.
July 17th Tearsall Pipe caverns No2
After 2 hours of walking up/down & across field trying to find Pool Shaft or Pool Shaft, Pool Shaft was found was found in the next field. Abseiled down to a maze of miners passage and natural cavern. A lot of taped off pretties.
July 24th Giants Hole
Al, AW, Nige, Elen, Ian H
Trip down Crabwalk etc. to Geology Pot and further returning via Windpipe etc. A demanding trip for novice Ian, but very enjoyable for a "text book" trip carried out in a text book 5 hours. arrived back on surface to a torrential downpour. Made for a interesting trip back thro' Stoney.
August 6th Pen-Y-Ghent Pot
Andy, Al, Larry, nick, Dave E, Sam, Simon, Roger
7Hr trip to bottom of cave in very low water conditions, divers line was reached in sump at bottom after negotiating bottom stream passage normally completely submerged. Ladder used according to individuals discretion on all pitches except for single rope (c,54 metres) used for 3rd and 4th pitches together. All in all a pretty smooth and uneventful trip (almost)
PS Q) How is it possible to fall of a ladder while descending a straightforward pitch of 20 ft one weekend and successfully bottom the Berger the following weekend with no mishaps.
A) Don't know ask Baldric.
August 14th Robin Shaft Mine
Straight forward SRT trip to bottom of 320 ft shaft, hading down at approx 60º to bottom with possible dig in tight natural rift continuing downwards. Short mined levels entered at c 20 ft and c 60 ft, level at 200 ft could be reached by pendulumming on rope from very dubious rebelay and was consequently left. Rebelays on way down are in extremely short supply and are not particularly confidence inspiring. Due to depth of pitch, Rope rubbing and rope stretching are problems one can expect to have to cope with.
August 21st Lathkill Head Cave
Al, Roy, Mike
Straightforward SRT from New Entrance to Lathkiller Hall, upstream explored as far as large aven on RHS, reached by knotted rope through boulder choke, aven still being explored (climbing rope and SRT rope left by persons unknown in aven, also bang wire in evidence) Downstream was explored from Handshake Chamber down Tiger 3 and Tiger 2 to Puttrells Chamber where exit was not obvious, so exit was made by same way in. Mike just loves flat out crawling !
NB Lot of worthwhile nice pretties in new stuff.
August 28th Nettle Pot
Al, Andy, Larry, Mike D, Paul W
Trip to Far Flats and beyond. Trip combining SRT and ladderwork with no snags. Paul W stopped at top of Far Flats pitch. Al S and Andy W were stopped at Freeze Squeeze shortly after bottom of pitch, while Larry and Mike both possessing the physique of the average Rwandan, were able to progress a further 400 metres to Derbyshire Hall and the current end of the cave. Both the pitch up to the Far Flats from Firbeck Hall and the final pitch down to Freeze Squeeze are already rigged with electron ladder of unknown vintage seemingly rigged from apparently sound belays. The first pitch down from the Flats to Boulder Passage was rigged with a 15 ft handline from a natural belay down to a spit on the right hand wall and a long (3 ft) tape belay and 25 ft ladder, from which it was possible to make a bold step across to Boulder Passage. The pitch continues down for a futher 70 ft. Due to the exposed nature of the step across to Boulder Passage a lifeline is definitely recommended, alternatively this pitch could be descended with 60 ft of rope. The pitch can be (and was), free climbed by anyone brave enough or daft enough (Larry). On exiting Suicide Pot was descended on rope by Andy W, to see what was at the bottom (i.e. an electron ladder which he dropped down there). All in all a good trip.
October 22nd Nenthead
Pat, Paul, Dave G and others
Good session in the Crown and Miners at lunchtime followed by a trip into Rampgill to sober up before we started again in the evening. Left early on Sunday morning heading for Whitehall and a DCRO training session.
Pat & Pauline, Nigel, Cheg, Barry & Ceily, Dave G, Darren
This was the final year of our Christmas tour of Nenthead. We had had some very enjoyable times both underground and overground. John Cooper would come along with Terry Bolger and the late Seymor Smith (so called by Cheg because he was never on time. Keith in the Crown misunderstood the use of the word 'late' until Cheg explained) after Christmas and stay at The Miners. They would join in the underground trips and drinking. Terry lost his car keys on one visit. After returning home for a spare set of keys he returned to Nenthead by bus just in time for New Years Eve celebrations. The tales could go on but back to 1994.
Christmas Greetings 1994 from the mining section
Pat, Cheg, Dave and Darren visited an area beyond the underground engine house in Smallcleugh. They set about digging a collapse but with no sign of a possible route over the top the only way through was to 'forepole' a passage. We knew we had left some wood in the mine from our previous dig at Bog Shaft but couldn't locate it. Please let us know if you find it!
Why not spend new year in Ireland was the comment tossed out by probably Pat. Seemed a good idea so on vacating the cottage at the end of our stay we made arrangements to meet in Holyhead and cross the Irish Sea and have a different kind of New Year. Arriving in Holyhead we found that the weather wasn't being kind to the ferry services and all crossings had been cancelled. Plan B was to go to the Hut at Peak Forest and yes it was an enjoyable New Year.
The Ribden Swallet digs. (Holly Tree Hole & Anemone Entrance) I have a full record of all the digging done at the site by primarily Andy W and Myself assisted over the years by several other club members. I also have a line survey done by D.Arveschoug & E.Hardy in August 1997 . Although this information was submitted to John Beck, somehow the discovery never made the latest edition of Caves of The Peak District. (2010) An article does however appear in The Derbyshire Caver No 103.
Ribden Swallet Revisited ( Staffordshire )
After a hiatus of some eighteen months , Al.Steans and Andy Walchester decided to revisit the site of Ribden Swallet No3. the location where Holly Tree Hole was discovered in April 1995 . Al and Andy were accompanied by Malc Scothon, who had previously visited the site with Al. And Dave Arveschoug to do a survey of the surface topography, but had not been down the cave itself.
We called at Ribden Farm to reacquaint ourselves with the landowners Chris and Pete Chris said 'You're not gowin dan that bloody ole again are ya?'. We nodded in the affirmative. Pete then said ' You'll be gettin wet then'. Pete is a man of few words
We parked the car and got changed. We were fully expecting the entrance to be under 3 ft ( or should I say ) a metre of nettles and brambles as it was last time. On arrival at the shakehole we were gobsmacked!
The rickety fence surrounding the depression had been replaced by newly laid turf, the brambles and nettles were all gone, the holly tree looked as though it had been pruned, and a muddy morass that used to fester at the base of the shakehole was now a middling sized lake fed by a picturesque waterfall. It looked like BBC's Ground Force had been in. The lake encroached to within a metre of the oil drum entrance and It was almost the same height above it. A wood and earth dam protected the entrance from the mass of water A 8 inch (sorry, 20cm) diameter pipe led through the dam and directly over the oil drum, it was flowing healthily, we were indeed going to get wet!
The affects of the constant flow of water down the entrance had been two-fold, the first was that all the mud had been washed from the initial climbs and squeezes, it now looked like a proper cave and not a grotty dig. The second was that the removal of the mud and loose fill had caused the boulders in the entrance to move slightly. The movement was not appreciable but sufficient to render the initial squeeze impassable to people of average build.
The word average in this context can be taken to mean the size of the cavers present, some people would perhaps interpret this description as to being of muscular manly frames, others might say Fa! B...s. Either way the squeeze was not negotiable by any of us.
Al, being rather miffed at not being able to enter the cave he co-discovered, decided to turn his attention to the adjacent shakehole This shakehole is not really conducive to digging. The three side of the hole compose of two taking healthy streams and the third being a scree of broken glass, tin cans and rubbish The rubbish inherited by the present farmer I hasten to add. The tri-furcation of the sides forming a gurgling, smelly muddy weed infested pond. Andy and Male, joined Al. Digging commenced in optimistic hope rather than great expectation. Less than 30 minutes later. Male Was through into inviting black space. Al And Andy joined him and both had a feeling of deja-vu . we were in the upper reaches of the Holly Tree Hole boulder choke.
A through trip is now possible for masochistic thin men. A trip in by Holly Tree Hole to the bottom of the terminal rift and out by the newly discovered Anemone entrance will take in the order of 2-2 1/2 hours by people who are good at finding their way through loose intricate ruckles.
Route finding is not straightforward and upwards of an hour can could easily be lost.
The recent heavy rainfall has had interesting repercussions in some of the other nearby swallet holes, active exploration is currently being undertaken
Access is controlled through Pegasus C. C.