Peak District Caving

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Breakthrough in Peak Cavern

, June 2001:

Report from Robbie Shone

- Diggers Tim Allen, Pete O'niell, Robbie Shone and Mark Wright have made a discovery above Victoria Aven. Several days digging gave access to around 200ft of new passage trending south-west* from The Victoria Line. It takes the form of a well decorated fossil phreatic hands and knees crawl with the occasional flat out section, passing a number of gours. A skeleton of a bat was also found. The passage end at a calcite blockage that looks terminal. (*A survey is planned for the near future to confirm the estimated direction).

Far Sump Inlet:

Progress report, June 2001:

Report from John Cordingley:

I was able to get another dive in at the Left Hand Branch near the upstream end of Far Sump (Peak Cavern) in April. This passage, which accounts for most of the Peak Cavern main stream, consists of about 50 metres of shallow sumped tube with a powerful flow in wet weather (the best conditions for diving here). Previously a junction had been reached; on the most recent dive I forced the way along a vein to the left for 5 metres to a boulder choke. This looks fairly terminal. However, to the right I was able to make a bit of further progress by digging gravel out. As this is developing into a rather more serious dig now the point has been reached where a wetsuit is just too cold to make real progress, as there's over 400m of diving to reach this point. I hope to tackle this in the late Autumn when the rains are more reliable, with a drysuit and some bigger tanks. It won't be a quick job but bearing in mind the huge amount of water which can emerge from this passage, it's well worth pursuing.

previous report 11/2000

Foot & Mouth Disease:

June 2001:

The good news from The Peak is that footpaths, crags and caves are becoming accessible again. The majority of public footpaths are open, and there is access to most crags. Open paths are identified by signs which also list any conditions of access. The

British Mountaineering Council's

web site has the most up-to-date listing of open crags.

The situation with regard to access to caves is less clear, with most caves lying on farmland away from footpaths. There is no official list but the number of caves that can be visited seems to be growing. Over may bank holiday farmland caves such as Giant's Hole and P8 were reported to be open. See the

Cave Access

page for further information.

Update 6th June:

It could all go pear shaped again as foot & mouth outbreaks approach the valley. There was a confirmed outbreak at Rainow on Saturday, conveiniently unreported by the media.