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Diving in Blue John Cavern
Report From: John Cordingley.
Report Date: 07/2006.
Published: 07/2006.

TEXTNigel Ball, Dave Shearsmith and I had a trip in Blue John on 1st July to dive the downstream sump and do some photography.  The last dive here was probably Cheg Chester's (over 36 years ago).  The sump is still clogged with thick silt and, although I got my legs down the steep slope which Cheg reached, it would probably be best dealt with by pumping and digging.  We also dived the upstream sump in far Razor Back Cavern nearby but the passage leading off from the 1 metre deep pool is too silted to enter.  Dave checked out the other end of this sump (in near Razor Back Cavern) which is also deeply silted.  This end section of Blue John is huge; there must be a way on somewhere!

John Cordingley, covered in silt and mud after diving Blue John Cavern's Downstream Sump.
Photo: Nigel Ball 01/07/2006
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John Cordingley washing off after diving the incredibly muddy Blue John Cavern Downstream Sump.
Photo: Nigel Ball 01/07/2006
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Developments in Far Sump Extension's Coral Aven
Report From: Wayne Sheldon.
Report Date: 07/2006.
Published: 07/2006.

On Saturday 24th June, Wayne Sheldon, Ann Soulsby and John Highfield went to investigate the bedding crawl at the top of Coral Aven following the advice of Nigel Ball who had recently reclimbed the aven with Dave Shearsmith at the begining of June. The climbing team couldn't pass this constriction near the start of the passage.

The constriction is ackward but was passed into an easier going passage for about 7 metres to a choke of medium sized boulders, where a black void could be seen beyond.  Five minutes of digging created a gap big enough to pass through into the base of an aven, the aven is about 8 metres long, about 10 metres high and 3 metres wide at its widest.  A way on was spotted about ten metres above the entry point but aid climbing will be required to reach this.  At the other end of the aven, a short hand and knees carwl led to an approx 6m pitch into a rift running both ways but lack of gear meant we couldn't drop this pitch.

The team will return to continue exploartion in a week or two so watch this space as further developments in the area looks very promising!

The breakthrough point, Ann Soulsby coming out of the crawl into the aven.
Photo: Wayne Sheldon 24/06/2006
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Looking up the new aven. The way on is to the left at the jammed boulder.
Photo: Wayne Sheldon 24/06/2006
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Update:

On 8th July, Wayne Sheldon accompanied by Keith Joule returned with the main aim of dropping the pitch. The clean washed pitch was bolted and descended for 6m into a narrow rift which soon opened out into a small sloping chamber where it was possible to stand. From the rift a low muddy stoop went down at about 45 degrees, slightly bending to the left before a 90 degree bend into the top of a wide rift. It looked very promising for a few seconds then we realised.... we had come back into the top of Stemple Highway. A 10m pitch was rigged which dropped to the floor, about 15m from Coral Aven on the JH side. The aven is marked on the Peak Cavern survey but had never been climbed because it didn't look promising from below. Another piece of the jigsaw has been put in place. We now have to return to climb the aven above and survey the extension which will be done in due course.

previous related report 06/2006

Dowse Hole Clean Up
Report From: Wayne Sheldon.
Report Date: 07/2006.
Published: 07/2006.

On Saturday 17th June, a small team of EPC and TSG members joined forces to tidy up Dowse Hole, the aim, having first checked with the original diggers, was to remove generations of digging clutter that has been abandoned in this fine swallet cave, which is one of the feeders to the Bradwell area. 

Six hours of effort brought a mix of timber, plastic pipes, metal, plastic sheets and other associated items to the to the surface and this was placed in a skip. The skip was paid for by English Nature as part of the SSSI Cave Monitoring Project that has been carried out over the last three years.

  People Involved: Sam Townsend, Dave Cowley, Bob Dearman, Keith Joule, John Beck and Wayne Sheldon.

Keith Joule (one of the original diggers) in the entrance to Dowse Hole.
Photo: Wayne Sheldon 17/06/2006
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Dave Cowley in the Dowse Hole shakehole.
Photo: Wayne Sheldon 17/06/2006
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The fully laden skip, paid for by English Nature.
Photo: Wayne Sheldon 17/06/2006
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