19/10/14 - TSG Dig. Met Glyn and Phil W about midday to help/support with their JH West dig. Glyn was finally plucking up courage to descend Butch Pitch for the first time. I was there as another eye witness for the inquest. We descended the entrance shaft then headed west along the cartgate, almost immediately to an area which used to be sumped, which they’d dug out - the route then went vertical from there on. We ascended back up the rift/stope to within ~15m of the surface (lots of loose stuff about), and a bit of crawling and muddy thrutching leads you to a tight pitch head leading back down again - down a pitch very similar to Bitch Pitch with the usual hanging death around. Met up with the other two waiting at the head of the undescended part where a gravel/loose slope leads down to a hole in the floor and Glyn then gingerly descended - bolting as he went. Phil followed after about 30mins whilst I waited on top as a call-out boy. Both descended about another 15m and reached the westerly continuation of the cartgate again which unfortunately run in about 20m further west. Glyn then made his careful return up the loose pitch and I headed back out lugging the drill and other kit with me. I’d got quite cold waiting for around an hour at the top and Phil apparently struggled quite a bit getting out the top loose section after it all fell apart on him. They weren’t sure if they’d be going back again any time soon! Made it out around 5, and had to shoot off to the hut to help with the dinner. Interesting trip! (Mike, Glyn, Phil W)

10/11/14 - TSG Dig. Stopped off on the way back from working in Glossop and met Phil W at the Chapel. Jumped in the van and headed up the hill, still in high vis. Plan was to measure up the first ~5m of the shaft/pothole for the installation of an entrance pipe by the TSG hopefully later this year. Phil went down first and waited at the rebelay taking photos, after which I followed whilst knocking lots of stuff onto him. Probably spent about 45mins playing around with a level, tape measure and chalk whilst Glyn was on top writing down the measurements. Looks like an interesting place. Wasn’t practical to go to the current bottom tonight, where the surface rubble’s formed a plug, but it looks like a larger version of the entrance to Maskhill. Should be good fun when it goes! (Mike, Glyn, Phil W)

21/02/15 - Rob and I met up with Ed at the Throstles Nest and drove up onto Bradwell moor in the dark. The aim was to find an old mine that one of Rob's colleagues had come across about 6 months before. It's located in one of the quarries up above Bradwell, and without too much searching we found the hand picked entrance. Quarrying activity having obviously intersected the mine some 15m or so beneath the previous ground level. Rob and Ed ventured down, whilst I waited at the top of the initial pitch as a call-out boy. A scaff pole was wedged across the pitch head and Ed headed on down, careful not to disturb the slope leading to it or the stacked deads lining the pitch. Rob followed down and they soon called for another ladder. It sounded like they entered quite a large stope and after descending the second pitch off some dubious bolts they ran out of ladders and had to make their way back up. Sounded interesting, and we'll have to return soon. Would be interesting to find out where it goes. Back to Ed's and an extravagantly fancy meal in Bradders. (Ed, Rob, Mike)

30/10/15 - Had the pleasure of aid climbing up the railway retaining wall in New Mills again, so after that was done we headed out on a  tour of the Peak, stopping off first at Longcliffe. We had the task of carrying 3, 21ft long scaff poles up the hillside to the shaft entrance. I managed one myself with quite a bit of effort, with Glyn and the young apprentice lad struggling with one between the two of them. The third one stayed at the bottom of the hill for some other poor bastard. Took the opportunity to have a look down the shaft (as we had all the rope dangly kit with us). Pretty impressive, and quite a change since I was last there. The shaft top now nicely capped with the first couple of pipes in place. Abbed down to the bottom, past the level which ventures off the side and down to the current digface about 20m-ish from the surface. Looks good! Masses of ropes and pulleys around and plenty of water entering from the vein at the top and disappearing down a hole in the dig at the bottom. Climbed halfway out via the fixed ladders then back onto the ropes for the last section out. This done, we headed to Mark Noble's to look at the dig under his house. Nice landscaped entrance, complete with stone archway and steps leads down to a rocky/muddy series of shelves and down to the current digface and an enticing hole in the floor. Two interesting places, and a nice day at work! (Mike, Glyn)

29/12/16 - For a while now, Glyn has been persuading us to take a look at some unclimbed stuff in JH West. I hadn't been there since he descended Butch Pitch with Phil for the first time about 2 years ago, and my memory of the place was that it was rather muddy and rather loose. With the two of them (and rest of the TSG guys) generally distracted by Longcliffe these days, after a few emails with Phil explaining where to aim for, we decided to go sometime over Christmas. Rob and I met McBain at Rowter farm just before midday and found the Buttered Badger lot were also descending JH, but with candles to do the through trip. Kitted up, we descended the entrance shaft (which incidentally doesn't have a bolt or padlock anymore?) and made our way up to Shinbone Chamber, the main feature of which is a steep mud slope which is gradually getting steeper and muddier the more you climb up it. At the top of the chamber there are two shafts through solid rock, the one to the west is choked with boulders but the one to the east is open and was the first of the question marks that needed ticking off. After some mild muddy faffing, with me climbing, Rob belaying and McBain trying to stop himself instinctively punching falling rocks, I made it to a solid roof/bedding about 6m off the top of the mud slope. A small hole to the east looks properly choked a short way in, but the hole to the west looked more promising, so I had a quick dig - trundling quite a few large rocks back down the pitch, followed by a lot of loose mud. After a short while I just about managed to squeeze up and get my head over the top of a boulder to see that it continued beyond, but lumbered with the drill and the rest of the kit, I rigged up a rope and headed back down to let the others have a go. McBain headed up next and launched himself into the muddy hole, with quite a bit of grunting he managed to force himself through into a small chamber with stacked deads on one side and a hole in the floor. Rob then followed him up, with me shortly behind, and we slipped down through the hole to find a rift/stope running west towards Butch Pitch. It has a natural roof, seemingly following the same bedding at the top of the shaft, and continues for about 12m before hitting another choke with black space between the boulders. On the way to the end of the rift you walk over the top of boulders choking the other shaft in Shinbone Chamber and after chucking a few rocks around we managed to make a visual connection back down into the chamber. Phil has since suggested that this is the same worked out vein that Butch Pitch is on and that the choke at the end may well link with a similar choke seen in The Attic. We left the pitch rigged and made our way back down to the base of the entrance shaft, now covered head to toe in sticky thick clay/mud. No big breakthroughs, but better than nothing and we'll be back soon to check out the other bits and pieces that need ticking off up there. (McBain, Rob, Mike)

14/01/17 - Another trip to JH to check out the stope beyond Butch Pitch. We got changed in a bitterly cold wind after Rob had managed to reverse his van all the way up the snow covered track to Rowter Farm (for some reason T4's being able to reverse in snow but not able to drive in it) and a brisk walk across the fields, down the entrance shaft and up the ropes heading west found us at the top of Butch Pitch. We rigged a 2nd rope off the existing gear and made our way down and across into the stope, not entirely sure if the floor was solid or not. Unfortunately, there were no obvious ways on and a quick dig at ground level didn't really reveal anything promising, but several stemples in the roof hinted that there might be something worth looking at, so we kitted up and started bolting up the north side of the stope. It was reasonable going until meeting the wayboard where things got rather loose and bouldery. The roof comprises several enormous boulders with lots of smaller, looser boulders all jumbled in amongst them. After a bit of dithering, I managed to climb across at the top and just make out a potential way on west, but it didn't look promising and more than likely leads straight back into a load of mud and loose stuff. So with that, I gingerly made my way back across the top of the wayboard and slowly started stripping the climb. About halfway down, quite a few rocks decided to spontaneously flop off the top of the stope and join us, resulting in a bruised shoulder and quite a fat wrist. After that welcome, we decided it was probably best not to hang around and slowly made our way out, Rob now weighed down by the enormous bag of muddy ropes and gear. Got changed, headed off to the hut, and just made it to The Moon in time for food. (Mike, Rob).     

23/01/17 - Ian Smith had been in contact about an old shaft on the west side of The Delph which had recently slumped in. The landowner wanted someone to have a look at it with the intention of potentially capping it off, so we took a look on Monday evening. It’s in a really interesting spot, located on White Rake, further west than the sump from the Boil Up has been dived. Unfortunately, about 30 minutes of poking around revealed there’s no signs of any ginging or capping and prodding the long bar at the bottom suggested there’s at least another 2m of soil between the base of the slump and any potential bedrock or shaft. It would have to be a proper dig or digger job to excavate properly which it sounded like the landowner wouldn’t be particularly interested in. The easiest thing for the farmer to do will most likely be to fill it in. (Rob, Ed, Mike, Ian Smith)

26/01/17 – After checking out the shaft on the west end of White Rake on the Monday we decided to have a look at the collapse in Nickergove which is blocking the level heading pretty much straight for it. We understand the level essentially ends at a forefield inches away from White Rake but there was also a silted tube heading off in the vicinity. With this in mind, we thought we’d check out quite how big the collapse is that is currently blocking the way on. As it turns out, it’s pretty big, but about 30 minutes digging managed to create a void in the roof and it’s certainly do-able but it would be a long-term dig. There’s a huge volume of material to shift and it may even mean reinstating the old railway installed by John Beck & Co. Satisfied we’d had a good look, we headed out, washed up and scuttled off to The Moon. We’ll probably leave this one for someone else. (Rob, Ed, Mike)

30/01/17 – Rob recently spotted a hole in the north side of Stoney Dale just below the final pull up out of the trees towards the Foolow junction, so we headed out on Monday eve for a quick look. It’s a sizeable open hole halfway up the cutting about 10m up from the road with quite an undercut top and would certainly swallow anyone who wasn’t looking where they were going.  We rigged up and Eddie headed down first, not looking very happy about the hanging death just below ground level. The hole takes the form of a wide rift (~2m across in places), solid rock to the north and south and fill to the west and east. Ed descended to  the rubble filled bottom about 15m below the surface and then explored a short but well decorated rift passage about 2/3 of the way down. T'owd Man has clearly been at work here, with neatly stacked deads wedged about the place. Taking it in turns to have a look, Rob then had a quick poke about at the bottom and managed to get through into a low chamber with a deer skeleton complete with antlers and accompanied by a single welly and shoe (if the deer was wearing wellies, this may explain how it fell down there). Ed rejoined Rob, and after about 15 minutes of digging with various deer bones like a pair of Neanderthals they unearthed a possible way on. No draught and no idea what this place is, as we can’t find any record of it anywhere, but it’s certainly a modified natural rift and must head somewhere. We’ll be back again later in the week. (Ed, Rob, Mike)

02/02/17 -  Back to the deer hole. We rigged up a tension line this time, so we could ab straight down the middle of the ~15m deep rift and avoid the loose top. Rob and Ed set to work in the small chamber they’d dug into last time off the bottom of the rift and Sam was on dragtray duty, stacking the spoil at the base of the pitch. I stayed on top and listened to Spotify, which is how I intend to spend every digging trip from now on as it is eminently more pleasant than rolling around in a deer carcass. I’m not sure exactly what was going on down there but it sounded like they were digging into a continuation of the small chamber which eventually got too constricted and a bit grim.  Grim in the sense that after disposing of the deer skeleton, they then had to evict the bony remains of a badger, still complete with fur. Mr Badger was dutifully buried by The Reverend Sam, complete with a badgery prayer to the baby badger Jesus. By 9.30 they’d had enough and started heading back out, the consensus being that we probably won’t return. Rob thought he could possibly feel a slight draught at the very end, but there’s no real obvious way on, not without emptying the whole thing like a mini Eldon Hole. (Sam, Rob, Ed, Mike)

04/02/17 - Whilst everyone else was watching the rugby, three of us bobbed down Waterfall Hole to have another look at Great Gunn's Rift. Sam has either grown a bit or the entrance crawl's gotten tighter since we were last there, but after a bit of effort he was through. Down the pitch and the fun wet climbs and we soon found ourselves in Waterfall Chamber. Unfortunately the squeeze up into Great Gunn's Rift was going to be too tight for Sam, so he patiently waited in the chamber whilst Rob and I squeezed up past the loose blocks. We'd last been up there a year or so ago and about halfway up I remembered there being a tall, wide rift running at 90 degrees to the main inclined rift. This is what we were here to climb, but my memory is obviously appalling, as what I remembered being a tall rift with no top in sight, turned out to be about 6m high with boulders and mud clearly blocking the way on. Bollocks. So we dumped the drill and the rest of the kit and continued up into the top aven which I scrambled up last time. In the opposite side to the rock bridge at the top there's a narrow slot through into a small chamber, the roof looks blocked but there might be a possible way on at a lower level. It would take some widening to get through though as I could only just get my helmet through into it (without my head). Something for another time maybe. After that, we regrouped with Sam, headed out and washed up in the waterfall back in the shake hole.  A quick stop off at some of the holes Rob had spotted the other week around Hanging Flat/Horseshoe (none of which went anywhere) then off to The Moon. (Sam, Rob, Mike)