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Peak District Caving News September 2007

Peak Cavern - Buxton Water Aven's North West Rift

Report FromJules Barrett.
Report Date04/09/2007.

Jules Barrett, assisted by Jim Lister, has begun work in the North-West Rift in Peak Cavern's Buxton Water Aven. Buxton Water Aven is 63m upstream in Buxton Water Sump and has been the subject of work by various divers, most recently by Mark Wright in 1999, but the top remains to be reached. The major challenge posed by the aven is the quantity of loose rock which threatens to fall into the ~3m diameter sump pool and block the exit. Work is being carried out to install a series of mesh shields in the rift to catch smaller pieces and a scaffold frame to keep the sump exit open. When this preparatory work is complete Jules plans to continue climbing from Mark's high point (57m above sump level). Thanks to Mark Wright for info and Martyn Grayson for engineering expertise.

previous related report 10/1999

Peak Cavern's Surprise View Sump

Report FromJohn Cordingley.
Report Date24/09/2007.

Another Peak - Speedwell Connection?

Last winter Peak Cavern's Surprise View Sump was passed by diving for the first time. The choke in John Beck's Chamber beyond was dug through but an overtight squeeze beyond prevented access to the continuation, from which issued the sound of a big stream in wet conditions. To gain this continuation would not have been particularly easy, so I recently went into Speedwell to look for any possible leads which the Surprise View water might drain to. About 30 m downstream of Treasury Sump there is an oxbow on stream right, in which is located the tiny inlet known as Oxbow Sump. This had always been thought to be hopelessly tight but I found it was possible to kick away a crumbly black layer from the floor and pass through into a very low canal passage. This was followed for a short distance to where airspace became unusable. The scallop marks aren't very well formed but I gained the impression of inward flow in flood. So this might well be the place from which flood waters escape from Speedwell to emerge at Surprise View. If so, the sound of a big stream heard from John Beck's Chamber may well have been the main Speedwell Streamway (so I was right about it being big!). A dye test from Surprise View Sump, or even shouting through, will hopefully prove this connection.

previous related report 01/2007