|Report from||Rob Eavis.|
On 16/03/08 Rob Eavis and Rob Middleton re-bolted up the highest pitch above Calcite Aven. This leads, after a short stream passage, to Mud Sump, which was first discovered by John Cordingley through Far Sump before there was a dry way into FSE. The sump comprises of either a sump full of mud or a dig full of water, and so was not fully pushed by John at the time.
Over the following weeks Henry Rockliff, with friends, dragged 30m of syphon piping down Titan and up the +100m of fixed ropes to the sump and installed it.
On 18/4/08 Rob, Rob and Henry returned to attack the sump, armed with spades and digging trays. After 2-3 hours of digging, syphoning and general squaller the 4m long sump was passed to the base of two 8-10m high avens joined by a short rift passage. Three high level passages were noted but not climbed into due to the loose nature of the rock and the tempremental syphon system!
A return trip is planned...next report 06/2008
|Report from||Wayne Sheldon.|
The work on the new cap at Rowter Hole is just about complete and is now open again for access, call at the farm to pay the trespass fee of 2. The work on this cap has been paid for by funding received from Natural England, as part of the SSSI Cave Monitoring scheme. The old cap was constructed by the BSA in 1963, it had been showing signs of disrepair for the last few years so it was decided that we would replace the whole cap.
A fence was placed around the shaft in late December 2007 to safeguard the farmer?s livestock and walkers while this work was in progress. During January, the materials were transported to the shaft from the TSG hostel, the old lid was removed and the ground exposed down to the ginging, part of the ginging downwards was removed, to create a level area for the steelwork to sit. The hard part was manoeuvring the steel into place without dropping it down the shaft but it went without a hitch, the ginging was rebuilt around the steelwork, concrete was poured in to secure it. The welder was used to cut out the joints in the gussets; these were placed over steelwork, giving the structure strength. The mesh was placed over the structure; an opening was cut for the access lid.
The final weekend of the project occurred towards the end of February, the final job was to mix the concrete and create the cap. The materials were delivered that morning from the suppliers, these were transported over to the shaft by hand, until Mark, the farmer from Rowter helped us out by using his quad bike to make lighter work of the aggregate and cement bags. Shoring was placed around the opening and a solid stainless steel bar placed inside an aluminium scaffolding bar was placed across the opening for the belay point. The cement was mixed using a cement mixer, mix after mix was poured onto the cap and in the end a solid cap was created. The lid has been made; it just needs bolting into place once the concrete has gone off. The old belay bar will be removed, the old lid will be taken away and skipped; and the fence will be taken down, with the site being returned to how it was.
We have constructed a new cap that will stand the test of time for many years to come; the steelwork we have installed will definitely out live me. This work wouldn't have been possible if it wasn?t for the grant from Natural England, and the team of cavers that gave up there time to undertake this project: Chris Foster, Martyn Grayson, Brian Griffith, John Highfield, Keith Joule, Wayne Sheldon, John Sharp, Ann Soulsby, Tim Webber; and a party of students from Manchester University Speleological Society who helped us on one occasion to carry the generator back across the field to the car.
The old BSA Rowter Hole cap.
Photo: Wayne Sheldon.
The old cap removed and the new supporting steelwork in place.
Photo: Wayne Sheldon.
The concrete being layed.
Photo: Wayne Sheldon.
Tuesday night and the phone rings. It's yet another call out to search for overdue Titan - Peak through trippers. The number of cavers descending Titan without the necessary knowledge of the system is worrying, and more so, are the ones who aren't even proficient in the basics of SRT. I would be one of the last to advocate the gating of caves, official leaders and vetting, but it won't take many more call-outs like this one to provoke restrictions that will affect everyone.
The owner of the Speedwell and Peak show caves had to be called out to open them up for cave rescue. He not only opened the caves but spent hours ferrying searchers up and down the Speedwell Canal between the entrance and the Bottomless Pit on the tourist boat. Once the missing party had been located, exiting the system via JH (James Hall's Over Engine Mine) the search was called off and the Speedwell search team was evacuated. Two of the team were unaccounted for so the show cave owner returned with the boat to the Bottomless Pit to wait. Around midnight they finally appeared, delayed due to a foot injury sustained at the bottom end of the Lower Bung Streamway.
All of this because the cavers involved didn't know the route and hadn't allowed enough time for back tracking. If this continues to happen the relatively easy access that cavers currently enjoy will become a thing of the past... Lets not lose it!
EdNext rescue 03/2009