Recent conservation work, June 2000:
Report from John Cordingley -
For a number of years the show cave section of Peak Cavern has ended at the top of the "Devil's Staircase". Previously it went quite a lot further, to the end of the Five Arches near Buxton Water Sump. It seems unlikely that the Five Arches area will be used as part of the show cave in the forseeable future so all the old delapidated fencing and bridges over the stream have become redundant.
For a long time there has been talk of clearing all this up in an effort to return this fine passage to as natural a state as possible. A lot of work was carried out on 3rd June this year, with the co-operation of the show cave management, when Wayne Sheldon organised a skip. A team of T.S.G. members spent a somewhat tiring day demolishing a lot of this stuff and carrying it out through the show cave. Fortunately Nick Williams had loaned his van to transport it all down the gorge and the job was finished by 8 p.m.
In future cavers can walk up the streambed through the Five Arches, which is much easier than skidding about on the old mud coated path. The passage looks a whole lot better as a result. There are still a couple of bridges to demolish and a load of old electrical cable etc to strip out, which can wait until the Peak Season. This work will be ongoing from October until March next year - but it would help if visiting cavers could get involved by carrying rubbish back in the direction of the bottom of Devil's Staircase. Further information can be had by calling at the T.S.G. hut in Castleton.
Warning from the Yorkshire Dales, June 2000:
Report from Dave Ryall of the Bradford Pothole Club -
WARNING! Not in Derbyshire but relavant - The area below the Great Aven in Simpsons Pot, Kingsdale, Yorkshire Dales is dangerously unstable. A number of large boulders and a quantity of mud has fallen from beneath the huge jammed boulder which forms the 'floor' which you land on descending the Great Aven pitch, threatening to block the way down into KMC. One very large boulder (3cuM) is perched just above the squeeze down at the base of Simsons/Swinsto final pitches and seems likely to be knocked further by any more falls, effectively cutting off this way on. Philosophers crawl may remain open, but if the huge boulder comes down this will also likely be blocked. Looking up, it is difficult to work out what is holding the rest up, and further collapse seems likely. For the time being it seems sensible to avoid descending the Great Aven, and potential through trippers should be aware that Simpsons/Swinsto through trips may well be impossible, and should bear this in mind if contemplating one way trips.