Peak District Caving

HomeNewsArchive index

Peak District Caving News January 2007

Peak Cavern Surprise View Sump Passed

Report FromJohn Cordingley.
Report Date05/01/2007.

Down in the bottom of the canyon traverse approaching Surprise View in Peak there's a squeeze down into a small passage which descends to a sump. Diving attempts in the early 80s weren't successful but a strong team of mainly TSG members managed to siphon it out in 1986. The sump was only open for a matter of minutes and only John Beck went through, discovering a new chamber and a boulder choke. All further efforts to remove this sump failed. Nick Butcher's hilarious report about this can be found in the 1986 TSG Journal.

During the second half of 2006 I did a series of occasional trips to try and pass this sump by diving. This has involved moving underwater rocks and some careful line laying. Success came yesterday (3rd January 2007) when I finally surfaced in John Beck's Chamber. At the far side of this chamber is a diggable choke with (in the wet conditions) the sound of a substantial stream just beyond. John Beck was waiting at the dive base so he was the first to know that the 21 year impasse here has finally been overcome. The sump is only 12 m long but needs care, even though most of the underwater obstacles have been dealt with. The choke is a promising project but may have to be left for a short while as other sites are being dived whilst water levels are high and clear.

Peak Cavern:

Surprise View Sump update. Report date10/01/2007.

John Cordingley returned to John Beck's chamber and had a go at the choke. After some effort this was passed after 3m of digging. Beyond is an open inclined bedding but progress was halted just 2m in at a restriction. Fatigue and the possibility of an imminent flood prevented an attempt on this but a squeeze to the right looks to be the way forward and will be pushed on the next trip. Beyond the restriction is the encouraging sound of a loud steam, not thought to be associated with either the Peak or Speedwell streamways. A return is planned for in the near future.

next related report 09/2007

Stoney Middleton Dale Flood

Report FromEd.
Report Date23/01/2007.

On the morning of Monday 22nd one of the dams at Cavendish Mill failed and a tidal wave of tailings, mud and rocks swept down Farnsley Lane into Middleton Dale and through the village of Stoney Middleton. It looks as though most of the caves escaped being filled by the torrent but Watergrove Soughtail was burried and blocked. Reports suggest the water has backed up and is forcing its way up through the ground further up the dale.

The junction of Stoney Dale and Eyam Dale.

Photo: Mark and Wendy Noble 22/01/2007

Looking up Stoney Dale between Eyam Dale and Farnsely Lane.

Photo: Mark and Wendy Noble 22/01/2007

Watergrove Sough Tail, completely submerged and blocked under the sludge-like tailings. The water has backed up and is and water is welling up out of the ground a bit further up the dale. Photo: Mark and Wendy Noble 22/01/2007.

John Beck and Wendy Noble in Farnsely Dale. The road surface has been ripped up and stacked by the flood.

Photo: Mark and Wendy Noble 22/01/2007

Cavendish Mill, near the source of the flood.

Photo: Mark and Wendy Noble 22/01/2007

The source of the flood.

Photo: Mark and Wendy Noble 22/01/2007