January 1st Carsington Pasture Pot
Al Steans, Aaron Smith
Arrons last trip before Mexico, and according to Tanya (Aaron's new lady friend) his last trip for the foreseeable future. Too much water at dig site at bottom to do much, large boulder removed from pool. Plastic pipe for draining purposes left at bottom of cave. Tanya and son accompanied us to cave entrance, Tanya definitely doesn't like muddy fields.
2½ hrs AS
January 11th Carsington Pasture Pot + Devonshire Cavern
Andy W, Malc S
Changed lock at Carsington Pasture Pot.
Andy's ingenuity allowed access to Devonshire with a Maillon. The system is quite extensive and was impressed by Waterfall Aven and the ex-show cave Chamber. Whilst inside we met a party who called themselves Mansfield Caving Club.
January 11th Long Rake Flourspar Mine, Youlgreave
Al Steans, Malc Scothon, Dave Walker, Andy Walchester, Paul Wheeldon
Round trip entering down long rubbish strewn scree and exiting by old miner escape route on original fixed ladders. Party split into two parties underground. Andy and Dave descended iron ladder just past main entrance shaft and entered lowest level of workings encountering, allegedly, natural caverns measureless to man, being stopped by a huge lake flooring a huge chamber. Now why do I find that difficult to believe? Climbed a number of fixed ladders from main level into upper stopes. Upper stopes quite unstable. Nice easy trip. Paul seems to have an aversion to climbing miners ladder.
3 hrs AS
January 17th Oxlow Caverns
Al, Malc, Dave, Roger Hall, Martin
Unbeknown to Roger (Debbie his wife had arranged a 40th birthday celebration) Debbie left him in our capable hands (foolish person) to ensure he didn't return before 6.30 - 7.00 pm and no later!! Well. Pegasus true to form ensured he was late. However not through anyone's fault other than Roger's own. We descended with no problems. On coming out Roger decided to de-rig (1st mistake). Roger then decided to drop the spanner down a pitch (2nd mistake). Roger, then decided to drop the rope down a pitch he had just de-rigged (3rd mistake). After much shouting back to the advance party for a spare rope, and eventually understanding the problems, we again resumed ascent. At the entrance pitch roger decided to get caught up in the rope whilst trying to pass the deviation at the metal bar 15' from the surface (4th mistake). During all the time this was happening, whilst we were invited to the Party, we did well to not give the game away. He arrived home sometime 7.30 ish whilst we arrived around 8 pm. Not bad considering . However our ears were bent by Debbie and comments like "I should have known better, than to leave him in your hands" were muttered. A pleasant evening followed without further amiss other than no bar extension was allowed.
January 24th Stoke Lane Slocker Mendip
Al, Malc s, Dave, Andy, Pat Cronin, Martin Bishop
Excellent trip. Healthy stream flowing underground on descent. Very little evidence of previously noted pollution in Stoke One, slight smell of diesel in places. Sump one passed uneventfully thro' to Stoke Two and the very impressive decorated high level chambers. Martin & Pat looked at extremely clear inlet sump at end of Stoke 2 with a view to diving in the future. First trip down cave for non-Mendip contingent. Martin and Al managed to get thoroughly lost in entrance series on way out.
Quote from 'Mendip Underground': The return through the sump requires caution as over enthusiastic diver is likely to go too far, missing the air space to find himself beneath rocks under water. They mean it man.
Excellent chilli con carne consumed in evening, courtesy of Sue Bishop followed by a gallon of fine Bass in Martin and Sue's local.
January 25th Reservoir Hole, Mendip
Al, Malc S, Dave, Andy, Pat Cronin, Martin Bishop, Martin Grass and Kate
Unusual trip, pretty much as described in 'Mendip Underground'. Well worth a visit. Good Sunday trip. Had to walk about 2 Km down Cheddar Gorge to get to entrance, due to road being closed for maintenance of the gorge itself. Got a lift back up in Kate's Land Rover and consequently were able to make the Hunters Inn for a couple of pints of Roger's best Butcombe prior to the journey back.
P.S. Joined on Saturday night by Chris (Batspiss) Batstone, rare species of bats observed flying out of Chris's wallet.
January 31st Snake Mine, Hopton Wood
Al, Malc, Dave, John Addison, Dave Epton, Malc Debbage
Whilst we were changing below the mine at the entrance to the quarry we were visited by the Police who wanted to know what we were upto. By this time Al had gone up the hill and was out of sight, fortunately, from the questions asked they thought we were badger hunting. Al's attire consisted of an American adventure jacket and an SAS style hat. First two pitches laddered 'typically grotty derbyshire' were the comments and 'why we never learn', Al was the most enthusiastic to go down the 150' by rope on a dodgy hanger whilst the rest of us were quite happy to sit it out. Al came back with tales of various machinery and miles of tracking waiting to be explored. One benefit came out of the visit, Al retrieved a heavy duty bucket for the Carsington dig. John Addison was heard to mutter something "Why do I never learn. I should have known better, a typical grotty Derbyshire Mine."
February 2nd Cressbrook Dale
Al, Malc S, Dave (Geordie)
Peters Stone Rising, Lingards Cave, Neptune Mine, Old Cressbrook Cave, Tansley Dale Mine, Wardlow Crawl Cave, Wardlow Mires Swallett, Wardlow Sough.
'Caves of the Peak District' quote "the lack of surface streams and the high rainfall suggest the extensive underground systems may exists"
A very interesting area, and you come away with the view that there is some potential for finding further caves as the above suggests. Ended in a pleasant afternoon in the Stags.
Neptune Mine has been laddered with an angled descent through oil drums. The ancient timber bridge stopped further progress. With the aid of some hangers it would make an interesting trip.
January 1998 Big Trip to Mexico
A Bennett (Tony), A Smith (?), Sam Garrad (Sam) & a cast of Eldon Pothole Club & many Mexicans.
The trip started for me by Arron phoning me at 1.50 am on Friday the 9th January. 10 minutes before I had planned to start. When I picked him up from Tania's he still had not got a Carbide light. So a frantic dash to Notts to collect one from Larry. Then an even more frantic dash to his Mums to get his oversuit. Considering that we had been training and planning since September, I was pleased to see that Arron was better organised than usual. We picked up Sam and arrived at Manchester Airport on time! Waited around and finally our leader (TPOT one time Pegasus caver, now with a big chip) turned up late forgetting essential equipment. The trip to Mexico ran like clockwork. Mind you we were flying Luftwolfer. We were met by several Mexicans and Chucky (cor) who spoke very good English until I asked her if she had an older sister. Any way back to caving, went out on the piss till 2.00 am on Saturday. The three cavers travelled to Cuetsalon with our tour rep a little known caver called Anthony Revell. Cuetsalon is a cavers paradise the beer is 25p a bottle, the food is brilliant and it is impossible to eat more than £2.50 worth even after caving for 10 hours, the top hotel is only £3.50 a night. No women in evidence so perhaps not so good. On Saturday night we went out and got pissed, it must have cost at least £3.20p! On Sunday after visiting the market with the Major, honest a real Army Major. (Johnathan Smith). I went caving (Boring) with Anthony Revell, Johnathan & Pass Vale managed a free lift with Veronica (20 year old Mexican Drop Dead Gorgeous) and Monica (Professional Photographer and as per Veronica). We pushed a cave called Cueva De Yocoyolo to the end, it had been visited by Americans, but we surveyed it (670 metres). Attempted to climb the Boulder Choke with Pass Vale but I felt the need to stay alive. Cave is brilliant massive entrance like Peak Cavern. SRT pitches in to big pools with big swim. Came out and guess what went on the piss again. Sam and Aron meanwhile had done bugger all.
January 12th Monday
Our leader arrived last night. He says "You Pegasus lads can carry these big bags of rope 8 kilometres to Cima Grande and rig it to the bottom" We said "YES SIR." Managed to get a lift in a truck. Found the entrance in a coffee plantation. Rigged 4 pitches, the rock was crap in fact the cave was full of crap. It also had albino centi pedes, crayfish and bats. But we saw a possible lead in a side passage!! Out of cave after 5½ hours. Managed to get a lift back ⅔ of way. Had 8 Tortillas to eat in the market 45 pence. Went on the piss again.
January 13th Tuesday
Our leader had the shits, so we all went for a walk to Tepetzalan apart from Tony Revell, Pass Vale & Johnathan who seem to have a separate expedition. Got back late went on the piss (I'm getting bored with drinking but if I say anything I might be accused of being a heretic) When we got back we had a bit of the old home grown! Hence whole expedition stoned for 2 days!
January 14th Wednesday
Big push in Cima Castor. What a crap cave just like Derbyshire long, tight and muddy. Full of crap (human). Me & Sam given several leads to push they either did not go anywhere or they did not exit or we could not find them. Got fed up so went to find Aron who was aven climbing (what!) with Steve. When we found him Steve was 40 metres up the most muddy & loose aven you can imagine. Aron was shaking with fear at following him. Sam & myself left for the surface and went on the piss before any accident happened.
January 15th Thursday
It rained, thank God. My legs were shagged. The rest of me wasn't worse luck. Stayed in bed till 12.30 (12 Hours!). I think the "Pegasus lads" are going down with lethargy & the shits. Still went out on the piss again "YAWN".
January 16th Friday
Woke up felt bad refused to go caving as did Sam. I cleaned and prepared Arons carbide so that he could go!
January 17th Saturday
January 16th Friday (Maybe it should read Saturday?!)
Up early, packed my kit and off caving by 12.00 Noon with Sam. Went to Cima Grande where Aron had pushed our lead to a big pitch. I hope it is bigger than TPOTS big pitch which turned out to be a samll pitch into dry cave. Gosh I am glad we did all the big river training. Anyway in Sima Grande we started surveying. Me and Sam did 70 m until too tight. We were joined by Aron and Carlos and Chunky (In skin tight lycra "WOW") Aron showed us a tight squeeze into a side passage which Sam could not get through: Whilst Sam went out I surveyed to the pitch with the two Mexicans. Aron rigged the pitch (2 bolts). Every body kitted up, we all held our breath and Aron descended 12 metres. Oh know we were back in the Sima Grande. Still 160 metres surveyed. With Aron, Carlos & Chunky we went to the bottom of Sima Grande, really nice passage good formations very like Ogof Draenan. Exited cave at 10.30 pm 8½ hour trip 1¼ hour walk back. Tacos in the market. Got back to the room and found Sam had left us a large take away pizza, what a Star.
January 18th Sunday
Big rot day also market day. Aron decided by the afternoon that he might have been robbed of his air ticket, passport, travellers cheques and money. The suspect was described as short, dark and Mexican looking. Phew I'm in the clear. TPOT decided to search everyone, everyone's kit everyone's room. I volunteered to search Chunky but wasn't allowed.
January 19th Monday
Packed our bags as we thought we might go back to Mexico city with Aron.
January 20th Tuesday
Unpacked bags and went caving. Me & Sam visited a new entrance untouched by human hands. We kitted up. Unpacked our trusty tape, clino and compass and entered the low entrance it went 10 m to a complete clay choke blockage. Exited the cave 5 minutes later de kitted and lay in the shade of a banana tree for an hour. Leapt to attention on hearing our intrepid leader arrive in a brand new 6 litre Ram / Dodge / Chevrolet pickup. We climbed in the back and joined Nigel Atkins, Lofty, Rob, Steve, T Pot & Pepe the Mexican. Went down to Tepetzalan. Me and Sam pushed a side passage to a surface connection another 40 m of cave Wow I'm over 900 metres can I make 100 metres, NO met loads of ALPHA PIGEONS!!. The considered opinion among the Mexicans and experienced cavers is that NO ONE even Mick Boon (Had to drop that name in, met him the other night he looks just like my father, old and knackered and wearing wellies) has survived a bite. An alpha pigeon covers the area of a small beer mat it has six legs (large and hairy) two long antennae (menacing) two big claws at the front and a body the size of a cocktail sausage. On top of this the cave passage was small and was being flown up and down by a squadron of rabid bats. Exited cave at 8.00 pm with relief. Went to bridge to await truck to arrive at 10.00 pm by 10.30 no truck. O fuck. We all walked back. 2½ hours, 12 kilometres 400 metre asscent carrying 20 Kg. Got back at 1.00 am.
January 21st Wednesday
Packed my bags again ready to travel on Thursday. On Thursday we went back to Mexico City. On Friday we spent the day sorting out papers for Aron. On Saturday we went to TAXCO (TASSCO) with Sergis (Top Mexican caver a real wow with the ladies + did El Capitan in Yosemite in 2 days) He took us to XOCHICALCO famous ruins and the caves at LAS GRUTAS DE CACAMUAMSLPA. Now these are IMPRESSIVE. they make the Berger, The cave of Drac on Malorca, Browsillian etc look like P8. These are KILOMETRES long and 100 of metres high and wide with formations the size of pubs (why does everything come down to drink?). Anyway thats the end of caving in Mexico we stayed there for another six days and visited Taxco brilliant, Acopulco like Benidorm and did the big pyramids. We went out drinking with Norwegian girls, rich American widows, writers from Greenland, girls from Argentina. We got pissed, bought silver, lots of it. Eat big meals and had a great time but that's another story or two.
Anthony Bennett 11-2-98
February 14th Carsington Pasture Pot
Al, Malc S, Aaron, Sam
Digging and re-rigging. Prospects at bottom not encouraging, very wet and muddy. Decided to postpone digging until drier weather in the summer. Old rope taken out of cave. Newer rope left in. Ladder needed for entrance.
Meanwhile ---- while Al was de-rigging solo awaiting the arrival of Aaron and Sam, Malc the Pegasus' habitual mole was starting to shift a few boulders in the nearby Carsington Pasture Cave. Little did we know what he was starting.
February 22nd Windy Knoll Cave
Al, Malc, Paul , Don (prospective new member)
First visit to cave, quite impressive - evidence of fairly recent extensive digging.
Thorough look round for Don's benefit. Dons first caving trip. Rigged high level rope traverse to by-pass 2nd pitch. Quite low water conditions considering recent weather.
February 29th Clatterway Levels
Al, Dave W
Good trip. Entered by top entrance and quickly found way thro' to bottom levels. Lower levels very complex, probably more than 2000 ft as stated in 'Caves of Peak District.' Located third entrance - laddered shaft approx 70'-80'. Bats in lower levels comparatively clean for a Derbyshire lead mine.
On exiting did solo trip down unnamed trial level approx 300 ft walking size passage to dead end. Adit on RHS in private gardens just before car park, about 200 yrds up from Clatterway levels.
March 5th-9th Ireland Trip
Tony Bennett, Malc Scothon, Andrew Walchester, Dave Gough, Alan Steans
Tony, Malc, Andy and Dave met at Keyworth on Thursday afternoon. A short drive to Birmingham Airport for a £39.00 return flight with Dan Dare Airways. No meal on the plane!. Stayed in Dublin at AVALON HOUSE £13 per head in a 4 bedroom room. Out in Dublin for some Guinness. Breakfast very poor. Drove out of Dublin and stopped in Kildare Town and had a second breakfast at The Gallow Restaurant. Carried on to ADARE where we stopped for lunch and a few Guinness's. Drove down to Castle Island where our accomodation was booked at the Island Heights B & B. The accomodation turned out to be double rooms as she was expecting 4 couples. Went out on the town. SHOEMAKERS Bar is recommended. When we arrived back at the B & B, Al & the Notts Running Club had arrived. The next day visited Crag Cave The show cave was actually shut but we were given the full tourist trip by Margaret Geaney. Then left with the keys to explore. A good cave full of mud and formations. Returned the key to Shoemakers Bar. The landlord is the son of Margaret. By now Al had joined us in our small Astra so five cramped cavers made our way to Cork to meet the Notts runners at six. Arrived at 7.45 pm no sign of the Notts lads or Al's luggage. Stayed in Cobh that night.
Next day did the tourist bit visit Cobh museum and the Titanic display, went to Blarney Castle. Visited the Castle Pool Caves, they are a right load of crap. That night we stayed in KILKENNY in Mrs Dempseys a very good B & B. Big breakfast and I did not have to sleep with Dave. Out on the town and we where refused service in one bar. Stayed out drinking until 12.30 on a Sunday. Next day steady drive back to Dublin for flight home.
Pegasus visit Blarney Castle and kiss the stone
At the time of our visit to Eire the currency was the Punt with an exchange rate of 1.2 Punts per £.
March 15th Carsington Pasture Cave
For a complete history of the Carsington Pasture Cave Dig Click Here
Al, Malc, Geordie Dave (under duress)
Easy digging trip after extremely boozy AGM * the day before. Good long term prospects. Bit muddy but easy digging following solid roof, no sign of imminent breakthrough at this stage. If further confirmation was needed (and it wasn't), this trip proved that Dave doesn't like digging.
Also looked at Harborough Rock Cave - Malc thinks it could be dug.
* One of the few decisions made at the AGM was to charge 50p tackle fee per caving trip, digs excluded. Fees to be collected from 14/3/98 onwards.
21st March Giants Hole
The Filthy Five was the intended trip even though it was late by the time we arrived at valentine's sump. We began bailing but it didn't seem to lower the water level any, I went to the end and there was limited airspace nose to the roof stuff so we decided to go to the east canal and seeing a rope hanging down dogs leg pitch I went up. On returning we decided it was getting quite late so we went out. When we got to garlands pot I was in a great deal of pain from my back and I also couldn't grip the ladder, Malc lifelined me but as well as no grip I was having difficulty lifting up my legs to each rung and I would have fell apart from Malc and the lifeline. I was relieved when I got to the top thanking Malc and offering him some caving gear very cheap. I had some difficulty in returning to the car and when I received some treatment the following week I was told my back muscles were severely knotted together.
March 29th Carsington Pasture Cave
On return to the cave we continued to dig in the right hand corner of the chamber clearing to a depth of 6 feet of glutenous clay infill. Today we had a visitor (bat) who had took up residence and was very annoyed at being disturbed and in turn complained regularly with chatter and the odd flight. For some reason unknown to us we took the decision to carry on digging to the left and broke through to what appeared to be a 20-30º slope for about 8-10 feet. Al decided he would go down but to be on the safe side, on a line. Before he commenced we could definitely feel a draft and visually the slope appeared to veer off to the right at the bottom. Al on reaching what appeared to be the bottom was standing on cobbles, no draught and no visual way on. He decided to remove his lifeline to allow him more freedom to look further. At this stage we were both disappointed considering previously we had a clear draught. Al continued to give me a verbal survey identifying a potential way on through the floor his voice then immediately changed to panic with expletives of Oh Fuck!! and clipped onto the line in time before the floor started falling away from him. As quickly as it happened it settled itself. We departed with high hopes and to search for further hands. The phones were busy that night.
April 3rd Carsington Pasture Cave
Malc, Al, Dave
Progress was slow although mainly cobbles but agrevated by infilling itself. We decided that some shoring was required and decided to go to the Miners Arms. Al and Dave thought it was their birthday when the landlord kept asking if they wanted another, after hours. Arrived home about 1.00 am.
April 4th Jingling Pot
(Sam's Stag week end)
Sam's stag do organised by Aaron, who due to domestic pressure was unable to attend, Unfortunately the weekend also clashed with Tony's housewarming so a further piss up was missed, Malc S - bent car Dave W - being visited by kids and Andy - work were also missing. At least it meant there was plenty of space in the 2 caravans booked
The weather was piss awful and rained all day Saturday, given that the ground was already saturated - choice of caves was very limited. After the usual trail around Ingleton shops and cafe was completed we decided upon Jingling Pot.
Sam rigged the Lateral Cleft Route ably assisted by Dave W while Al, Dave E, Malc D followed John Addison down the direct route we then swopped round at the bottom.
Lee and Fig (plus dodgy cigarettes) joined us for the evening festivities. A good session followed, the highlight being Sam doing the Half Monty, goaded on by the ugliest woman in creation and her fat simpleton friend. We all talked a good caving trip in the pub for Sunday, but surprisingly in the morning enthusiasm had waned and we return to Nottingham (and Newcastle) early.
NB * £3 tackle fee collected.
NNB John Addison was due to visit Ingleton with the Chelsea the following weekend and was intending to loan some rope from Steve at Bernies Cafe with a view to buying 100 m (£1 per metre)
April 10th Carsington Pasture Cave
Malc, Andy, Dave
Unfortunately we took the decision to stop for a drink prior to going to the gag. Just one to wet the lips, several drinks later we vacated the Miners Arms at Brassington, and headed for the cave. It was a cold day and only Malc was mad or drunk enough to get changed and go down the dig. However in the process of Malc getting changed he decided to do a back somersault over the wall near the style. Chuntering and muttering was heard from the bowels of the dig with words to the effects "come on down you bastards don't leave it all to me". Progress in the dig amounted to a further 6 inches in depth.
April 12th Carsington Pasture Cave
Al, Malc, Andy, Tony
Al and Malc erected some scaffold where the cobbles started. Tony aided the progress by bolting in key places for safety lines. Andy commenced digging and what started as cobble progressed to boulders. The dig as originally thought veered to the right and soon a small void was discovered. A ladder was quickly installed and Andy squeezed into the void with his legs dangling but his chest restricting access. Andy decided not to go any further and returned to base of the dig, all this time he was lifelined. Malc looking from the safety of the scafolding directed him to what appeared to be a keystone in the floor and asked him to kick it away and into the void. In doing so, the floor in what appeared to be slow motion fell away revealing a steep slope. Andy descended whilst Malc continued to lifeline. The conversation then followed between the two. Andy "I'm entering a chamber with pretty formations, Easter Grotto!!" Andy "I'm now progressing along what appears to be a floor made up of large boulders with the possibility of a further way on. No visual way on. Oh!
Malc "Andy" Andy "Theres some bones down here"
Malc "Andy" ! "Andy" "talk to me Andy" Still a deathly silence then all of a sudden
Andy replies "I'm coming out" No sooner said he was making a swift exit with Malc asking "whats the hurry", the response from Andy being "I'll tell you when we are at the top". Reaching the top chamber Andy described to us all in a nervous voice with a pale face how he came face to face with what appeared to be a human skull with horns. The rest of the party didn't fancy checking this out due to it getting late (that was our excuse) and departed for the pub.
April 15th Carsington Pasture Cave
Armed with cameras we returned and immediately was impressed with the findings. Initially we saw both animal bones and what appeared to be human skulls 4 in total, one with a formation growing on it (obviously Andy's encounter with one of Denis Wheatley's creations) The formation were unusual and pretty with helictites indicating a draught in two directions at some time. Tony took some measurements of the chamber and drew a rough diagram indicating the position of the bones. The phones again were busy that night.
April 19th Carsington Pasture Cave
Al, Malc, Andy, Kevin Wills (Video Photographer), Dave Barrett & Jill (guest archeologists)
On Thursday 16/4/98 members met to decide the next course of action. We decided sooner than later to report findings and hopefully, the problem inhibiting further exploration would be limited to a minimal period.
Andy arranged for Dave Barrett and Jill from Matlock County Council to meet us at 11.00 am on 19th at the Miners Arms. Gill was eager to see the chamber whilst Dave remained at the top. She quickly confirmed the skulls were human and was suitably impressed, whilst she did not commit herself to dating these bones Gill was of the opinion they were at least from the MESOLITHIC PERIOD. Kevin was keen to use his video whenever he could using Jill as the presenter at each find. However, at times Kevin got frustrated with Jill when she was too enthusiastic in coming in too early with her presentations and not allowing a 5 second pause from the time Kevin pressed the record button. On leaving the chamber, to the left of the loose slope (an understatement) Jill noticed behind a calcite column a complete skull completely covered in calcite attached to the side wall. Hopefully Kevin will have picked this up on his video. Dave and Jill thought the best approach was now to bring in an expert. Andy Chamberlain, based at Sheffield University, who helped to cover the exploration of Rowthey Cave filmed by the BBC which formed a documentary series 'Meet the Ancestor'. In addition they would have to contact the Coroner's Office, the Police and the landowners. Once this had been done Dave Barrett would contact us again for access and further support. We all then vacated to the Miners Arms.
April 26th Carsington Pasture Cave
Malc, Al, Dave, Paul
We decide to make the cave as difficult as possible for the curious to gain easy access. Therefore the entrance at the base of the depression was sealed with rocks and mud and then capped on the outside with a roof from Malc's Ford Escort estate, well summers nearly here so an open top will be ideal. A temporary H frame of scaffolding was done for the top of the shaft. However, longer poles are required to bridge the hole better.
May 2nd Carsington Pasture Cave
Malc, Andy, Dave, Tony
Today we were going to make the entrance shaft save for tomorrows big visit, by squaring out the top concreting in four scaffold poles and concreting in some boulders around the entrance.
Tony was the hero of the day by carrying numerous bags of sand / cement up to the cave entrance while in between telling us of his spanish sexual exploits with women as nearly as old as the bones in the cave.
May 3rd Carsington Pasture Cave
Malc, Al, Andy, Tony, Dave, Dave Barrett, Jill, Andy Chamberlain
The big day! that bloke off the telly was coming down our cave to see our discovery. Andy W, Malc and Andy Chamberlain descended to "Yoric" chamber and were unheard of for some time as photos discussions and a good look round at all the bones was undertaken. Al much to the surprise of the others especially Andy Chamberlain went to the bottom along with some small loose boulders much to the concern of Andy who had already voiced some concern about descending the cave. On exiting the cave and returning to the pub the decisions were made and Andy Chamberlain and some students were returning in 2 weeks to remove the bones with our assistance.
May 10th Carsington Pasture Cave
Team, Al Staines, D Walker, M Scothern
Malc the Pegasus mole began digging in the far corner upside down with little room to move in the first chamber while myself and Al constructed some stageing made of wood and scaffold poles down to the muddy angled tube and if we do say to ourselves, we did an excellent job. Malc made quite a good bit of progress in the far corner trying to find a 2nd entrance into "Yorics" chamber.
May 16th Carsington Pasture Cave
Team: Malc, Al, Tony, Andy, Dave, Andy Chamberlain and 6 associates. The Bigger Bag 0' Bones and Beyond. The weekend of 16/17th May saw a concentrated effort by a 5 man digging team and a 7 strong Archaeological team led by Andy Chamberlain from Sheffield University. Andy's objective was to log the position of all the bones in Yorick Chamber and then bag, wrap and remove them from the cave for further examination. Over the weekend the cave was also surveyed, and the surface topography recorded. A more accurate grid reference was also calculated. By mid Sunday, all the bones had been made ready for removal, with the exception of one human skull firmly calcited in behind two columns of stal, this has remained in situ but protected measures have been taken. Whilst the Archaeologists were preparing the removal of the bones, the digging team continued to shore-up Promotion Pot in order to facilitate a more safe evacuation of both teams and bones. Promotion Pot is now a free-climb, assisted by scaffolding and a knotted rope WITH CARE !!!. The diggers were then given the green light to continue their downward push. A 3 metre Shaft was driven through the boulder strewn floor of Yorick Chamber. We quickly met a calcite false floor, a miniature White River, diminutive, but still pretty. To the right, back towards Promotion Pot a way on could be seen. During the sinking of this shaft, a large polythene sack was filled with further bones, mainly animal but also some human, hence the name' The Bigger Bag 0' Bones. The bones at this new level, have yet to be formally identified but are thought to contain Bear , Wolf and an Auroch (the predecessor to the Cow) along with more mundane Pig, Fox, Badger, Dog, Weasel and more interestingly Water Vole. The smaller bones supported the view that there was a former entrance close by. Also discovered in this section of the cave was a carved and fashioned bone needle approx. 13 cm. long and a fragment of flint, these finds will be useful in helping to date the human remains. A crawl at the base of the new shaft under very loose boulders to the right, was then engineered, and Dave Walker, being the thinnest, was sent unwillingly, but encouraged by Malc. Scothon. through a tight 2 metre long squeeze. Dave returned accompanied by ominous rumblings of falling rock to report a 20 metre stooping sized passage leading to a T - junction, both ways leading to further draughting chambers. Encouraged by this Andy Walchester and Al. Steans then set about enlarging the squeeze, the inevitable happened and a fairly major collapse ensued whilst Al was still underneath it all !. The author nowadays built for comfort rather than speed, still managed to extract himself quickly (though I crave caving fame and glory, I have no great desire to attain the kind of notoriety achieved by Floyd Collins and the like!). In recognition of the movie scene where Charles Bronson is buried in a collapsed tunnel due to lack of shoring, this connecting crawl has been christened 'The Great Escape'. During Dave's solo exploration, he managed to lose his silver neck chain with the patron saint of travellers pendant attached. The stooping size passage has hence been named St. Christopher' s Passage. The work will continue next weekend when the Bigger Bag 0' Bones and The Great Escape have been safely shored up. Special thanks go to the following people:
Andy Chamberlain for the continued loan of the generator and lights for use in the dig. Dave Walker, Andy Walchester and Malc. Scothon for the fabrication of the metal lid and finally, to Tony Bennett who in between lugging countless bags of cement, sand and gravel to the entrance, entertained us with accounts of his recent sexual conquests with Spanish women only slightly younger than the bones in the cave.
A report by Alan Steans.
May 24th Carsington Pasture Cave
Team: Malc, Dave, Al, Andy, Tony, Andy Chamberlain + one
Due to the first dig being very unstable we decided to start more towards the base of the slope which follows after Promotion Pot.
Slow progress was made and as usual the concern was on everyone's mind of the instability of the whole place. Andy Chamberlain took away a selection of bones with the assistance of Tony. Al then proceeded to bring some scaffolding down Promotion Pot whilst Malc S and Andy W remained at the top of the new dig. When Al started to descend Promotion Pot their was a too familiar noise of falling rock. We both looked up the slope only to see a large boulder that had been supported by an accro had slid underneath it and commenced to roll out-of-control towards us. Linford Christie with the exception of the lunchbox, eat your shorts. Was no match as we made a sharp exit narrowly missing the several hundredweight boulder that had come to rest where moments earlier we had been standing. Once we had composed ourselves and the toilet odours had dispersed we vacated to the miners arms to collect our thoughts.
May 28th Carsington Pasture
May 31st Carsington Pasture Cave
Malc S, Andy W
Andy collected some more scaffolding and clips from Tony and we delivered them to the cave and then proceeded to collapse in a heap under the Strong Midday Sun. It didn't take much to convince one another that it would be more beneficial that day to do a recky of the surrounding area of the cave. We discovered several areas of potential including a possible resurgence at the base of the hill that overlooks the reservoir. In line with the cave entrance and a third of the way down the hill, amongst a small escarpment, we spent a couple of hours digging which revealed nothing but remnants of a clay pipe.
June 7th Carsington Pasture
Tackled the dig myself and Andy had left on 31st which revealed nothing new. Then more towards the end of the ridge in the direction of the reservoir a previously identified potential was started. Moving a couple of large boulders in the entrance area of a shelter shared by, at some time badgers, revealed a cobbled floor with a solid roof which dipped in line to the hillside. Realising this may become more fruitful I scored a rock at the entrance with 'P.C.C' and the date, to return at another time. No sign of Wirksworth Mining group who had arranged an extra-ordinary meeting to discuss Pegasus's activities on Carsington Pasture (see correspondence between Andy Chamberlain and Roy Paulson)
June 13th Carsington Pasture Cave
Team: Al, Malc, Dave Epton, Paul W, Malc D, John Addison, Andy Chamberlain
After the recent impasse of the last few weekends, today was a good day. The original digging team, depleted to two (which is one more than last weekend) were fortified by the arrival of new blood in the shape of John Addison, Eppo and Malc Debbage, Paul Wheldon completed the team and contributed enormously by reminding the others, every few minutes that some boulders were loose and appeared to be moving. He also regaled us with stories of his canal digs, very interesting! John in the meantime was well impressed and was keen to get to the sharp end of the dig and start shifting rock. Impervious to the fridge sized boulder balanced so precariously on two dodgy scaffold poles at the top of the current dig site, John descended to the sharp end. Eventually he was persuaded out whilst the boulder was moved and the site made safe.
John and Al then both returned to the front and fairly quick progress was made. (For the first time in months, I felt completely safe and happy in the midst of the boulder ruckle digging. It certainly is reassuring when adequate scaffolding and shoring is put in as you progress.) At approximately the same depth as to where the needle was found in the 'Bigger Bag O' Bones', John found a complete skull, a fine example without doubt the best yet, and passed back to the others. After photos were taken, Andy Chamberlain after wetting himself, identified it as being a male approx 19 yrs old from the Neolithic Age (10,000 yrs old) and quickly packed it away and removed it from the cave. A short time after this, the team exited the cave, after doing a little more gardening on the loose parts of the rubble slope. The proper chaps, Al, Malc and John went to The Miners.
(A second report appears for 13th June, the contributor is the same person although only this second report is annotated with a name)
June 13th Carsington Pasture Cave
Al, Malc D, Malc S, Dave Epton, John Addison, Paul W, Andy Chamberlain, Mark Krause, John Cooper + wife
A cast of thousands descended upon the cave, the terminal shaft was extended by a few feet and a tidying up operation was undertaken in Yoricks Chamber. Inevitable a few more bones were unearthed. Nothing of consequence was achieved, but the trip is worth logging as it commits to record one of the increasingly infrequent forays underground by our club treasurer and Cooperman. The descent of the electron ladder by John's wife and the asthmatic wheezing of John on exit did give cause for concern.
June 14th Carsington Pasture Cave
Al, Malc D, Dave W, Andy W, John A
More of the same. Find sufficient space to deposit digging spoil becoming a bit of a problem. Needs some further thought and perhaps a new plan of attack.
The following formed the basis of a report published in Descent issue 143, April/September 1998.
'ALAS POOR YORICK, I DID'NT KNOW HIM AT ALL WELL.'
In a dig initiated by Malc. Scothon, assisted by Al. Steans, Dave Walker, Andy Walchester, and Tony Bennett. The Nottingham Based Pegasus Caving Club made a significant breakthrough in a well known but little visited Derbyshire cave. A 10 metre deep dig through glacial fill in the corner of the entrance chamber has resulted in the discovery of a second larger chamber approximately 8m x 4m x 2.5m , this chamber shares the same roof as the first and is undoubtedly a downward continuation of the same chamber. The second chamber is well decorated with fine examples of straw stalactites and helictites. The floor of the chamber consists of loose boulders liberally interspersed with animal and human bones. Several human skulls together with hip joint, lower pelvis, tibia and fibia have been identified. Animal bones are from horse, deer, sheep, cow and small rodents. In addition, there is an abundance of owl droppings, indicating there was an additional entrance at one time. A video by Kevin Wills and still photos taken by Malc and Tony have recorded the chamber in its original state when it was first discovered. Visits by Archaeologists from Derbyshire County Council, initially date the human bones to fall sometime between the last Ice Age and up to more recently the Mesolithic period which ended approximately 5,000 years ago. The site is thought to be that of a prehistoric burial cave. The coroner, police and the landowner have all been notified of the find by the Chief Archaeologist, and, further scientific investigation is required. The 5 metre pitch into the second chamber has been named Promotion Pot as it was discovered the day Notts County was promoted to the Second Division, the chamber has been dubbed Yorick Chamber for obvious reasons. The Pegasus are also digging in a natural cavern at a depth of 55metres, the site is in the immediate vicinity, prospects in both are extremely promising and a survey will shortly be undertaken to assess the possibility of a connection. A third cave between the two sites has also been looked at, but first impressions are not encouraging. Due to the potential importance and vulnerability of the site along with the horrendously unstable nature of Promotion Pot both digs have been temporarily sealed and gated, keys are held by the digging team. Despite the team's eagerness to continue the digs things have had to be put on hold while Archaeological excavation continues, assisted by the original diggers. If anyone discovers the location of the site, through the caving grapevine, it is strenuously requested that they keep away. The diggers realising the potential importance of the find have acted in a correct and responsible manner, and it is hoped that other cavers will do likewise, unauthorised visits could jeopardise future access. Work continues and further reports will follow.
Report By: Al. Steans.
August 20th-Sept 16th Dragon Cave
Diving Exploration of Taurus Mountains, Turkey
Al Steans, Pat Cronin, Martin Bishop, Eric Hoile, Pete Fowler and our venerable leader Martyn Farr.
Al Steans, Pat Cronin and Martin Bishop
The Red Dragon / Pegasus expedition to Altinbesik & Magarasi Mart-Al, Taurus Mountains Turkey. Pegasus members; Pat Cronin, Martin Bishop & Al Steans. (see true report by Martin Bishop and so called expedition reports by Martyn Farr in Descent and other publications)
September 19th Short Drop/Gavel Pot
Malc D, Dave W, Andy W, John Addison
October 4th Wakebridge Cavern
Wirksworth MRG invitation winch meet
Caving section: Al Steans, Figg, Mark Krause, Dave Walker
Mining section: Cheg, Gobby, Nigel Burns, Bob Holland
Thorough look around the mine including large natural cavern, and climb up into Bacchus Pipe via very dodgy broken wooden ladder. Thanks extended to WMRG for trip.
NB Wirksworths No1 arsehole and Pegasus Antagonist in Chief, the Honourable Roy Paulson Esq was present at the meet. Given the opportunity to confront the Pegasus members face to face, Paulson predictably said nothing.
October 11th Via Gellia, Nr Cromford, Derbyshire
Malc S, Al Steans
Groaning Tor Level
The car was parked close to the works opposite what once was the 'Pig O lead' public house, now someone's home. Armed with overalls and wellies over our normal clothes we set off to find Groaning Tor which surprisingly was found quickly, considering it is in a well established wood. Described in the 'Caves of the Peak District', the mining level should be 850ft long. Add another 600ft and you should be nearer it's true length. The passages and chambers are in decomposed toadstone and mixed with water it makes it somewhat glutinous which at times came up to your waste. Yes it was an experience not to revisit, especially when we had no change of clothes !.
Jacob's Dream Mine
After visiting Groaning Tor we started to look for Jacob's Dream Mine. This turned out to be an expedition, but it did give us time to dry out. Eventually we found it with the aid of an Ordnance map by approaching it through the fields at the top of the crags and just literally measuring the distances by field boundaries. Shortly after entering the adit Al, who was just ahead of me, asked if I was interested in some fox slippers. I soon realised what he meant. Lying in the centre of the passage was a decomposing fox which for the unwary, could end up as footwear. The small stalactite grotto turned out to be flowstone in the form of a beehive. We took a direct route to the car which consisted of tobogganing down the steep slope from the crags, crossing the stream and over someone's well manicured lawn.
October 17th Mendip
Al, Malc S, Dave W
Thorough look around did both entrances and most of accessible cave lower reaches; tight, awkward and unstable. Route through to Lads Luck blocked.
Quick recce to locate entrance, went as far as other side of bold step only.
Slither down muddy entrance dig as far as entry to first chamber.
Good meal and Turkey slide show at Pats afterwards, followed by piss up with Dragon Expedition members at Pats local in Bristol
October 25th Carsington Pasture Cave
Al, Malc, Andy, Dave
First visit since returning from Turkey, unfortunately the breakthrough to Carsington Master Cave had not been achieved in my absence. We decided to dig in the first corner directly below the ladder, this was to refute or confirm the prognosis that the entrance shaft once extended below the present level - it did not.
Due to the infernal meddling and general bloody mindedness of Roy Paulson, this was to be the last trip of the year down the cave, access being revoked by Michael Key Estates (Viaton). Malc and Andy Chamberlain are to correspond direct with Michael Key to try and resolve this unfortunate development. We await the outcome.
November 5th Llanaymynech Ogof
Al S, Paul Anthony
Quick visit on route to Llanbedr (Gwennedd) for a long weekend. Easy to find, exactly as desribed in Tony Oldhams "Caves of North Wales" 1 hour only underground did all the mine/cave except the circle. Entry to the circle tight and wet at both ends. Roman copper mine, collectors item, quite interesting and pretty in parts, not really worth another visit.
November 7th Croeser Slate Caverns
Al, Malc, Andy, Dave
Joined by Malc, Andy and Geordie Dave who travelled down on the day. Track to caverns only passable with four wheel drive vehicle otherwise long uphill walk, but easy to find entrance. ½ m long adit easy walking to 3 lakes and flooded ramp down to lower levels.
Good diving site. Climbed up to first pitch of through trip, LHS at very end of passage after climbing up 45º slope. Did not attempt thro' trip or do any pitches due to the fact my supply of carbide was left back at the car. Played around with dinghy on lakes. Malc and Andy finally succeeded in puncturing dinghy after pissing about on exit, thus stranding Al & Dave on wrong side of first lake. Dave was not too keen on the swim back, considering the weight of his new lamp and of his waterlogged wellies could cause him to sink, on reflection he decided the risk of a watery grave was preferable to abandoning his new (expensive) lamp. The swim was very cold and wet, but aided by a precautionary lifeline provided no problem. Good enjoyable trip, worth a second visit to do the thro' trip and possibly make a dive. If a 4 wheel vehicle can be found to transport diving gear to the entrance. 3hrs underground.
Dave, Andy and Malc stayed at Al's chalet in Llandedr after a night out watching a live Irish band in the pub in Harlech. Got a taxi back.
November 29th St. Bertrams Cave, Manifold
Malc, Andy, Dave, Al
After being refused permission to descend Browns Shaft (nr Robins Shaft) we decided to look at Beeston Tor Caves which were close by. Andy and Malc ascended extremely ancient and dodgy climbing rope to reach a ledge, from where a further climb would have accessed Jackdaw Cave, aka St Bertrams Chimney. Al & Dave wimped out. All of party explored St Bertrams Cave. Al, Andy & Dave climbed rift at end of cave, squeeze through to Jackdaw Cave too tight for Al & Andy, Dave the only member of the party thin enough to make the connection, declined the exposed traverse immediately prior to the squeeze. Muddy dig prospects in the cellars but not really worth another visit. Andy and Malc played with their cameras. We all partook in coffee and cake courtesy of Mrs Scothon.
PS Malc fell in the river at the stepping stones.
December 5th-6th Mendips
Al.Steans, Dave Walker, Malc Scothon, Andy Walchester, Tony Bennett, Pat Cronin
December 5th Saturday Swildons
Arrived at Pat Cronin's house about 9.30 am, a first I think, unless someone knows different!. Andy's speeding improves with his age. First time for Malc so he attempted, with Pat's guidance, to lead the way to the first chamber through the apparent ever shifting boulder choke entrance. Pat then negotiated us through several groups of novices up to the head of the pitch. Once at the bottom we encountered a group of Chinky/Malaise people led by a female who would attempt to climb once we were clear. Tony & Andy went ahead whilst Al had a look around, Dave & Malc followed Pat into the roof space which was very pretty. As we descended back to the floor level Malc decided to take a quicker way down, fortunately, without to much of an incident. Carrying on to the 1st sump, Pat had got it into his head that Al was still behind us. He couldn't be seen so Pat went back in search of him. Malc and Dave carried on, meeting Al on his way back from sump 1 looking for us. However, in the meantime unbeknown to us all Pat had gone as far back to the base of the pitch and encountered what could only be described as a fiasco, with the party who we had passed 30 minutes earlier still attempting unsuccessfully to climb the pitch. Pat assessing it as a potential Rescue Operation, took control. Fortunately, by this time Al had caught up with Pat and between them assisted the group in a quick departure to the surface. However, not before the group's leader had lost her ill-fitting wellies which took pot-shots at Pat whilst climbing the ladder lifelined by Al. Later when Pat & Al related the incident to BEC members, a sense of disappointment was conveyed that a rescue turn-out had been abated !!!. In the meantime, whilst all the excitement was happening upstream, downstream Malc, Andy and Tony carried on through sump 1 to sump 2. When we arrived at Sump 2 Tony had this death wish to free dive the 8m sump. Fortunately, the other two's whinging worked and we started to make our way out collecting Dave at Sump 1. Tony went ahead of us but took the wrong passage, Malc Andy and Dave vacated Swildons and went to get changed due to it getting cold. Tony caught up with us somewhat later declaring he had visions of never ever getting out and commenting with various expletives of how he had been abandoned.
Met Martin Bishop at a new Waterhole (The Crown?) *with good food, ending up later at the Hunters. * TUT! TUT! FANCY A PEGASUS MAN FORGETTING A PUB NAME "THE CASTLE COMFORT"
That evening we stayed at the BEC hut with the exception of Pat who decided to drive home to Bristol a bit worse for drink. Jarrett showed off their newly installed bar. Plenty of students were there on a diet of bitter and Vodka. Descent had come out that week-end with Al's 2nd report on Carsington together with his photo. One Archaeologist student, overwhelmed by Al's presence, kept muttering 'we are not worthy'.
December 6th Upper Flood Swallet
(Leadership controlled by MCG)
Al.Steans, Dave Walker, Malc Scothon, Andy Walchester, Tony Bennett
Thanks go to Martin Bishop who arranged the trip on Saturday Evening with MCG. As usual, some of us were hungover and the keenness to go underground was rapidly dwindling especially when the cave survey highlighted such names as 'the canal' and the 'lavatory trap'. This attracted the usual encouragement with 'what whingers' and 'have you been to any good knitting circles recently?'. Eventually after a cup of coffee at MCG's palatial clubhouse and comments like 'I can't believe I'm doing this' we all donned our gear and headed for the cave on a cold and crispy morning. The trip turned out to be very good. It has excellent formations including Moonmilk with plenty of awkward squeezes for the less than agile frame!. MCG have done a good job in controlling the caves's access and therefore limiting any damage. Cleaning operations are constant due to digging teams persistantly pushing the system. The club intends to push a further entrance establishing a through trip which should minimise traffic through the cave's sensitive areas. Something we hoped had already been done, rather than having to go back the way we came in.
Apparently, MCG are bringing someone in from another club who has a mining drill with a bit that extends to 20m!!!, it recognises pockets in the rock which should increase their speed of progress.
Christmas Waunfawr, North Wales
Nigel, Cheg, Dave & Darren
The last Christmas in which the intrepid lads of the Mining Section rented a cottage and drank merrily.
December 27th The Dungeons
Looked at several cave entrances collectively known as The Dungeons - Good dig probably in one.
On way back posed for picture at entrance to Dumble Hole Swallet and went for a drink in the Black Swan (immediately next to the hole) and in Crispin Inn (the diggers pub) Photos of cave displayed in pub, looks worthy of a trip in drier conditions.
December 27th Valley Entrance
Tony, Al, Lee, Figg
Bitter cold weather with biting wind. no one very keen to get changed. After usual mammoth deliberations we decided to do Large Pot and got gear sorted out. Arrived at Masongill to find another party about to descend. Following yet more discussions we decided upon a trip into Valley Entrance to do Toytown Series. Went as far as second knotted rope climb, hanging directly under an ultra sporting waterfall, ascent considered impractical and would probably need a jammer and ladder even in dry conditions. Went into Master Cave, waist deep, fast flowing water just after a climb up to escape route traverse. Dave Epton baby sat cars while we caved.
Lock-in at Three Horseshoes at Ingleton, joined for drinky doos by Chap & Elaine. Good session - stayed in caravan.
December 30th County Pot
Wretched Rabbit entrance.
Original plan was to abseil into the system via Lancaster Hole, this was aborted after waiting for 40 mins while a team of mining wankers from Cumbria arsed about trying to rig the shaft. Instead did County Pot to WR using Manchester bypass route, thus eliminating the need for tackle (County Pot already rigged with another teams ladder) Combination of faded memories and Lee's newly purchased survey, along with a smidgin of luck saw us through after only a couple of minor route finding delays. Entrance to Wretched Rabbit passage now confusingly indicated with an arrow reading RR. Good trip overall about 7 hrs. Joined by John Addison (who'd kept Kath at home amid a pile of chimney and ceiling debris) for another lock-in, this time at the Craven Heifer. Lee, Fig and Al returned to the caravan by way of the railway viaduct (pissed).
A damper was put on the weekend, on hearing of the death of Pete Fowler drowning while cave diving with Martin Farr at Cefn Coed in South Wales.