All the news from the club in 2021. Other years can be found from the links below.
Our last offficial trip before Christmas. Ten folk underground in Peak Cavern on Saturday, having a great muddy time. The Eyam Dale House Cave trip on Sunday unfortunately had to be cancelled as one of the three people planning to go was self isolating with suspected COVID and another was recovering from a booster jab. Some pictures from Saturday.
The latest newsletter can be downloaded from the Newsletters page. What we've done over the last few months and a preview of what's coming up.
A trip report from Des:
Darren, Neil and Myself had a good 4hr trip into Minera yesterday with an intention of looking for new routes to explore on future trips. I'm not sure how successful this was for Darren and Neil as they looked like they had seen most of it before but there was definitely some new areas for me. I hadn't realised there were so many nice formations in here and there are some pics of them taken at the insistence of the Conde Bros.
Here is a link to some pics https://photos.app.goo.gl/tCVqoXAH5JBvy8Me6.
Three club members met at the head of Lathkill Dale to visit Raven Mine. This was a trip organised at short notice. A day of sunshine, heavy showers and hail. None of us had been there before. There had been heavy snow, followed by a thaw over the course of the weekend, which made the mine rather wet. The final pitch ended in a flooded shaft, with no sign of the passages that can sometimes be visited. Between us, we saw pretty much all of the currently known system. Some photos from Gaz McShee can be seen here. A longer report will be in the next newsletter.
On Sunday, we were at Water Icicle Close Cavern. Four members were with a guide to explore the gated North West Extensions. Another three members had seen the NW passages before, so explored the "Free to View" parts of the cave. A write up will be in the next Newsletter. Mean while some pictures from the day from Gaz McShee are here.
The James Hall Over Engine Mine topo has been updated to better match reality. In particular, in the lower part of Leviathan, the survey was rotated 180 degrees, so the Tea Rooms were on the wrong side and the final rope appeared to landed you close to the Speedwell connection side of the shaft, rather than on the Far Sump connection side. The topo has been like this for several decades. I blame the much poorer lights we had back then, not letting us appreciate the layout of the shaft. The topo has been split over two pages. Surface to The Workshop and Leviathan. The JH and Titan topos have been moved in the guide from from within the Peak/Speedwell system to being entrances in their own right, positioned alphabetically in the Castleton section of the guide. This matches the approach used by peakdistrictcaving.info. The page numbers have been updated to suit the new positions of the topos. A printed guide will need reprinting. The guide revision history was getting long, so it has been moved to a separate web page to speed the loading of the rigging guide page.
The club held its annual clear up of the cavers car park for Waterways Swallet. The veg was bashed and the soakaway cleared, so hopefully the car park will be fine to use by cavers till next Autumn.
Read our latest Newsletter. Find out what we have been down to recently and our plans for the next few months.
Four Crewe members underground today. A cold autumnal breeze at Rowter Farm, where we got changed, before the short walk over to the entrance shaft for JH. Despite some route finding confusion on Leviathan, two cavers made it to the bottom, with two turning back at the top of the final 30m drop. Around six hours underground.
Seven members underground in a small corner of the Three Counties System. We descended Lancaster Hole to explore the Graveyard Series and visit the Colonnades.
Two club trips in to Peak Cavern today. One doing the "tourist trip" to Far Sump, the other going through Colostomy Crawl to Main Rising and Cliff Cavern in Speedwell. A couple of first timers with the club on both trips.
On Saturday the club made its first visit to Turbary Pot in Kingsdale. This was connected to Swinsto Hole and the rest of the Kingsdale system last year. A fine pull through trip that bypasses the long crawl in Swinsto. It will no doubt appear again in future meets lists. A report will likely appear in the next Newsletter.
We had out first pub meeting since February 2020 on Monday 6th September. There were four people physically present, plus another three coming in via Zoom. Thanks to our new venue, The Red Bull in Church Lawton, for their welcome and wifi signal! The Zoom attendees were a mix of the still isolating and the far flung from places like Sheffield and Scotland. After some teething problems, this mixed format proved very successful and we hope to continue it for the future, along with the greater involvement in the clubs affairs by those who can't easily get to the regular monthly meetings. Among other things, the upcoming trips to Turbury Pot and Peak Cavern were discussed.
Eight club members underground for a visit to Bagshawe. A visit to the Hippodrome, then to the top of the pitch to the Glory Hole. We retraced our steps to the Dungeon and descended the pitch to explore down to the sump. Very dry conditions. Some photos of the trip from Gaz. We visited the Anchor near Tideswell for post caving drinks and food, before heading home.
On Saturday 21st August, the club held a picnic at Ramshaw Rocks in Staffordshire as a post lock down outdoor get together. The weather wasn't brilliant, but the rain held off for a few hours.
The rigging guide has an update for the James Hall Over Engine Mine topo to add the backup eye bolts on the surface recently installed by DCA. The entrance shaft rope length has been increased to suit. A mention of ash die back disease has been added to the safety section, along with its deleterious effect on tree belay strength.
A visit to some caves at Minera Quarry in North Wales by four CCPC members and two from NWCC. Half did the trip from Ogof Dydd Bryaf to Ogof Llyn Ddu. The other half thoroughly explored Ogof Dydd Bryaf. A full write up is likely in the next newsletter.
The rigging guide now has a key symbol for scaffold poles that are used to belay from. The Peak District has a lot of these. Possibly something to do with many site entrances being old mine shafts, where a scaff pole can be built in just under the lid. We haven't had a special symbol for scaff poles before. Instead we used the same symbol, an open circle, for natural anchor points; a source of possible confusion. The following pages in the guide have been updated: Cover, Key, Safety, Eyam Dale House Cave, Lathkill Head Cave - Garden Path, Lathkill Head Cave - Upper Entrance, James Hall Over Engine Mine, Long Rake Mine (Bradwell), Maskhill Mine, Nickergrove Mine, Oxlow Cavern, Rowter Hole topo 1, Snake Mine (both topos), Water Icicle Close Cavern and Deep Shaft (Day Shaft).
A not very successful trip to King Pot for the club on Sunday 8th August. Way too much water falling out of the sky and in to the cave. The team took a look inside Valley Entrance, where water levels were also rising, before beating a retreat.
Trips to Giant's by club members on Saturday and Sunday over last weekend. On Saturday, two members visited Carnival Aven, above Geology Pot. This route was bolted by CCPC members around twenty years ago. The anchors appear to be in reasonable condition, but the fixed ropes are of unknown age, so no attempt was made to climb them. A return with a dynamic rope to protect a climber may be made at some point, as this place is very exposed, with the full depth of Geology Pot underneath!
From September, we are planning to restart our monthly pub meeting, COVID willing, for the first time since February 2020. After many years at the Bleeding Wolf, we will be moving back to the Red Bull, a short distance down the road. See our Contact page for details. The alternative Zoom meetings have helped keep us all in touch during the long months of Lock Down and we hope to try some element of mixed real/virtual meeting to blend the best aspects of both. The virtual meetings have been popular with some of our more far flung members.
The rigging guide has been updated. The new version is 14.0. In the P8 topo, the names of the pitches above Idiot's Leap have been added/reinstated. The name of Stalagtite (sic) Passage has been changed to the earliest known spelling from a survey in BSA Bulletin 62, 1967. Thanks to Clive Westlake for digging through the Wessex Club library archives. The Giant's Hole topos have been condensed from three pages to two. The first covers the main route from Garlands Pot to the East Canal. The second covers other pitches in the system. The pull through from the Upper Passage to the Crabwalk has been added. A new Safety section replaces the Warnings and Disclaimers and Resin Fixed Anchor Safety paragraphs in the Introduction. The guide pages have been renumbered to take in to account the added and removed pages over the last few months.
Some updates to the rigging guide. The latest version is 13.9. The P8 topo now has more detailed drawings of the area around Idiot's Leap to help navigation and updated rigging of the high level routes there. The rigging for the Iron Ladder pitch has been corrected. Snelsow Swallet now includes the rigging for the lower pitch. At Eldon Hole, the South Gully route topo has been modified to make rigging and using the route easier. Corrected the introduction. The date of our first rigging guide was 1994.
Our editor has published Newsletter 126 (July 2021). A copy can be downloaded from the Newsletter page. Find out what we have been down to in the intervals that caving has been legal so far this year.
Among various trips over the last few weeks, six members did a through trip from Pippikin Pot to Mistral. Pippikin is infamous for being rather snug in places. Everyone made it through and a report, with pictures is likely to appear in a future newsletter.
The trip by some members to the international Gouffre Berger clean up expedition in France has been cancelled. The COVID related restrictions on travel to France have made this impractical. Our 2020 club trip to the cave was also stopped by the disease control measures at the time, so that is two years in a row now.
A small update to the guide. Removed the direct hyperlinks and QR code links from the web site and the topos to the appropriate DCA microguides for Far Sump Extensions, George Cooper's Aven, NCC Shafts, Victoria Aven and the White River Series. The direct links no longer work, but the guides can still be accessed from the peakdistrictcaving.info Peak Cavern entry links shown on the web site. The guide version is now 13.8.
Four club members underground in Eldon Hole today. Two routes down the open shaft rigged, East Wall and South Gully. Two of us also rigged the pull up route in to Millers Chamber, then followed the fixed ropes up the beautifully decorated Damocles Rift.Some photographs from Gaz McShee.
Over last weekend there were two trips by CCPC members to Odin Mine. A fine time was had, except perhaps by the Saturday team, who got very wet on the surface in the rain! From these trips, the topos for the rigging guide have been revised. This is now split over two pages to make the rigging clearer. The rigging guide is now version 13.7.
Odin Mine, the jewel of the Peak District underworld, is open to cavers again. This follows much hard work by DCA over the last decade with various agencies to first get permission, then rebolt the mine. As a result, the topo in the rigging guide is now very inaccurate. It has been removed temporarily to prevent confusion. A new one will be drawn up, after we have had a chance to visit. Looking forward to it already!
Following on from Saturday's Snake Mine trip, the part 2 topo for the mine is now in the rigging guide. This covers the Chain Ladder Shaft, Old Man's Steps Climbing Shaft and the Lower Shaft. Thanks again to Dan Lay for bolting the routes and making this a safer place to explore. The mine appears fairly stable, but a lot of the roof and the shaft walls are made from expertly stacked deads that the miners placed at least a century ago. Try and minimise contact with these when visiting.
Five club members visited Snake Mine in Hoptonwood. Descended the Coe Climbing Shaft to explore the 80' level and the Chain Ladder shaft, the Old Man's Steps Climbing Shaft and the lower shaft. A report is likely to appear in the Newsletter at some point. Some of Gaz McShee's photos here.
Now we can get underground again, there is a long list of rigging guide entries to check. This update replaces the written descriptions for Lay-by Pot and Carlswark Cavern in Stoney Middleton Dale with proper drawn topos. Rope lengths have been checked. A longer rope is now given for Eyam Dale Shaft to allow a back up to a tree. This pitch is often used by novices, so this gives some extra protection at the top. The most up to date rigging guide version is now 13.4.
Our first post-lockdown 3 disorganised trip was to the Manchester Hole - Goyden Pot system in Nidderdale, Yorkshire. A fine time was had and a full report will doubtless appear in the next newsletter.
DCA have been updating the names of some mine features to their historical ones, rather than the names given by their more modern explorers. This has affected Youds' Level, which has returned to the name Ringing Rake Sough and Day shaft, which returns to being Deep Shaft. As a result, the Youds' Level topo has been renamed to Deep Shaft. Both names are shown on the description and topo. The rigging guide version is now 13.3.
The rigging guide has been updated. We have added a topo for The Dungeon in Bagshawe Cavern. Other pitches in Bagshawe will follow, but this is the most often descended. The DCA access links for some of the caves were broken, so the links on the site and the QR codes on the topos have been corrected. All caves now use peakdistrictcaving.info links, rather than a mix of these and DCA Cave Registry links. Since many topos have new QR codes, the opportunity has been taken to renumbered the pages to take account of the two new topos since the last renumbering. The Level 7 / Hope Shaft topo is now called Middleton Dale Mine - Level 7 / Hope Shaft to match the naming in CotPD. Various minor corrections. A printed guide will need printing again to bring it up to date. The guide is now at version 13.2.
With the lifting of some restrictions, caving is now possible again for most of us. There are limitations, but we will be able to get underground. 😃
On the last day of lock down, the web wrangler placed some 360 degree panoramic pictures on the Mountains gallery page from a number of climbs and treks the club has done over the years.
Lock Down 3 means no caving. The web wrangler has been using the enforced time to modify the web site to use webp images, as well as jpeg and png formats. For browsers that support webp, which is most modern ones, users should see shorter download and faster loading times for pages with lots of pictures. Older browsers will still work, but won't see the speed improvement.
A new Newsletter has been been delivered by our editor. Read what we have been up to in the brief gaps between lock downs.
Lock Down 3 in England means that the trips we had planned are canceled while it is in effect.
The entrance of Uamh a Bruthaich Chais Fhada in Appin, Scotland. Photo © Jenny Drake 2013.