Peak District Caving

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PEAK DISTRICT CAVING News - January 2001


Update, January 2001:

Report from John Beck -

Durham Edge Swallet has proved to be a little more difficult than we thought! A number of trips through December enabled us to fight our way forward along the rift, but we were plagued by the water which falls as a constant rain from the roof, making it dodgy using a 110 volt drill and freezing us within a couple of hours (three hours was the record on 30th December).

On New Year's Day the snow was melting fast and the stream was very high and very cold. Mark had diverted it away from the entrance, which made the climbs a lot drier, but we found it crashing out of the roof right where we wanted to work!

"Go and take the wriggly tin out!" Mark commanded. I did the foul deed under protest, and the freezing torrent of meltwater flowed over the ice sheet in the entrance and down the climbs, which became really desperate. I returned to Mark frozen, but after a short time he announced that I would be able to get through. I did. I turned round, and the cross joint that we had been heading for was a six-inch wide slot down which the stream could be seen. It was thundering past along the continuation of the main joint, in a passage that looked only just big enough to take it. Grass was stuck to the roof at the top of the joint: not a good sign! Getting back up the climbs was awful.

Ahead of us in our parallel rift is another black space, but a lot more drilling is necessary to reach it, and there is a persistent inlet in exactly the wrong place. Hopefully there will be another connection back to the main stream when we get there. It's not dead yet!

previous report 12/2000

COMMITTEE POT / NOTTS II (Yorkshire Dales):

Request from the CNCC, January 2001:

Report from Glenn Jones (CNCC Treasurer) -

As no doubt most will know by now, that after many years of digging, Committee Pot has "gone" and there is now a dry way into Notts 2. Congratulations are due to the digging team for their commitment and determination. The CNCC are currently negotiating with Leck Fell Estates to add Committee Pot to the permit system. This process is being hampered by two things: a new estate manager with whom we are yet to build a relationship, and the outrageous amount of pirating that can be witnessed at Committee Pot. Please note that currently there is NO RIGHT OF ACCESS to Committee Pot other than that negotiated by the CNCC for the digging team (on specific days). Until negotiations are complete, the CNCC asks for cavers help in resisting the temptation of a sneak visit. Please understand that the landowner has said that he will close the fell if the current access agreement is transgressed.


Circular, January 2001:

Report from Jenny Potts DCA

NEXT DCA MEETING A.G.M. : Saturday, 17 February, 10am. Monyash Village Hall. The Hall will be open from about 9.30am. with tea, coffee & biscuits on tap. The Old Smithy Cafe, next to the Pub, does an excellent breakfast from 9am.

DERBYSHIRE CONSERVATION & ACCESS NEWS - If you have any information to pass on or have any queries, please contact the Conservation & Access Officer direct: Tony Gibbs, Tel. 01709-559858 or E-mail.

. Alternatively, contact the Assistant Conservation & Acc ess Officer direct: Pete Mellors, Tel. 01623-882515.

STILL PROBLEMS AT KNOTLOW MINE - The situation changes constantly so be prepared to abort your trip if there is bad air. For example: 19 October - no problems at all in Waterfall Chamber or the level leading off, yet the following weekend a trip down the Chapel Dale Shaft had to be aborted due to bad air. Weekend 18/19 November - smell (!!!) when mud disturbed in passage when turning left at bottom of Fourways. - rest of system OK. Please fill in the Log Book at the foot of the Climbing Shaft or, if you abseil down the Chapel Dale Shaft and don't go via the Log Book, please contact David Webb after your trip to inform him of conditions. David is passing on information to John Gunn regularly - David can be contacted on Tel. 0115-8401109, or Email

. Don't forget that a "nil return" is just as important as reporting pollution at this site if we are to track down the source of the trouble. Note also that there have been occasional reports of bad air in Hillocks, near the connection with Knotlow. If you come across this, please report it to David for onward transmission to John Gunn. There are occasional reports from other mines as well: Whalf Mine, Robins Shaft Mine and Bagshawe Cavern have all been reported at least once and there was a "near miss" a few years ago with a caver on an SRT rope down a mineshaft near Waterhouses becoming unconscious - he was hauled out by quick-thinking mates just in time! Please keep DCA informed if you come across this problem anywhere so that we can warn others.

ASHFORD MARBLE MINE ACCESS RESTORED - A permit is required to visit the mine and you must hold a current P. L. Insurance. For details on how to get your permit contact Pete Mellors on 01623-882515 or write to him (with SAE please) at "Fairview, Station Road, Edingley, Newark, Notts. NG22 8BX.

HILLOCKS CLEANUP - Thanks to Ralph Johnson for doing a clean-up in Hillocks Mine. The pile of rubbish left outside will be removed as soon as his trailer gains a new wheel!

WATER ICICLE - MIND THE GATE PLEASE - Please, if you visit the mine, close the field gate after you - don't let stock stray down the lane. No need to ask permission and the gate is never locked. The smart new surface belay stake supplied by Crewe C.P.C. has been installed (and cemented in) by Orpheus C. C. Thanks to both parties concerned.

CAVES AND MINES ON SSSIs - Don't forget that you need permission to dig a cave or mine site on an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). Also some mines are now Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) and you can be in trouble with English Heritage if you disturb the remains without permission. The free leaflet, "Do You Dig Caves? (... on SSSIs ...)", produced by DCA and English Nature, gives useful guidance and has a map of the region with SSSIs and National Nature Reserves marked on it, plus addresses and phone numbers to contact for information. If in doubt - ask! You will receive a friendly and helpful response from English Nature. If you would like some copies of the leaflet "Do You Dig Caves? (... on SSSIs ...)" to pass round your club, contact Jenny Potts.

PROJECTS & EQUIPMENT NEWS - If you come across a DMM Eco-anchor which you think may be loose, (or any other suspect anchor, fixed aid, etc.) please contact DCA Equipment Officer, Mark Lowe, direct: Tel. 0161-330-5111 or Mobile: 0802-358602 or E-mail:

. Mark may be working away from home at times so, if you can't contact him, then inform Jenny: Tel. 01335-370629 or E-mail.


PLEASE USE THE MAILLONS ON THE ECO-ANCHORS IN GIANTS ! - One of the Eco-anchors in the Wet Inlets above Base Camp Chamber in Giants has had to be replaced already because of the severe wear caused by cavers dragging down their rope after a pull-through trip. Similar wear has been caused on the second anchor of the pair. Also the two anchors furthest upstream above the climb down into the Crabwalk from the Upper Series have suffered in the same way. Now "permanent" steel maillons have been installed at all these 4 sites, (they are locktighted shut!) so that the rope can be threaded through the maillon instead of the anchor itself - it makes it much easier to pull through and, if the maillon does show signs of wear, it's easier to replace. Unfortunately there still seem to be a few daft b*****s who don't understand why the maillons are there and still try to thread the rope through the anchor. If you come across one of these groups, please suggest to them quietly that there is a better way.

DEVONSHIRE CAVERN - The slab in the roof has now been stabilised. Two blind shafts (Hells Well and the shaft on the opposite side of the passage) have been bolted with DMM's to allow SRT practice. (PICA is donating funds for this.)

WHALF PIPE MINE ENGINE SHAFT - The DMM at the first re-belay is suspect. It is being checked and will be replaced if necessary.

EYAM DALE HOUSE CAVE - Chesterfield C. C. will be replacing the lock on the shaft and refurbishing the lid. Don't forget to call at the nursing home for permission to visit.

DCA NEWSLETTER DEADLINE - DCA Editor, Alan Keen, would welcome contributions for No. 109, which we hope to have ready by March. Deadline for articles this time is 1st. February. Write, telephone or e-mail to: Alan Keen, 16 Shetland Way, Countesthorpe, Leicester. LE8 5PU. Tel. 0116-277-2455, E-mail.

NEWS FROM NCA - In 2000 the NCA commissioned the Charities Aid Foundation "To carry out a functional analysis of British caving and report on that analysis to the BCRA and NCA Councils and to suggest possible structures for the future of British caving." The final report "British Caving - A Functional Analysis" is available on the NCA web site at

and can be viewed by following the link on the banner on the index page. Discussions continue and there will be a meeting for NCA constituent body representatives at Alvechurch on 27th. January at which it is hoped a paper can be drawn up ready for the NCA AGM on 17th. March suggesting a way forward. If you want to know more of what is going on, contact Jenny Potts