• Rowter Hole: Down to see the new stuff. Along the Ice Cream Trail, up Hourglass Aven, then over to Sunrise. Around 5.5 hours. Great trip! (Mike, Rob, Ed)

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

 

  • White Rake: Digging

  • Castleton: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • Streaks: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • Bradwell: Mystery Mine

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

March 15th:

As the meet was to be held Wetton way, the regular cavers decided that Waterway’s Swallet would be worth looking at. Being the deepest cave in Staffordshire at 125m, it’s vertical but climbable tortuous passages looked interesting. So did the entrance hole! Situated in a field not far from a stream, the guide book warns not to go down in heavy rain or melting snow, as it all pours down the hole! When we arrived, Syd’s car was parked up, but no Syd. He eventually turned up, having found the hole and spent some time clearing the leaves and flood debris from the entrance grill. After gearing up and walking over to it, the others were quite enthusiastic at seeing Syd’s handiwork, me less so. It looked very uninviting!

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • Waterways Swallet: (Mike P, Rob, Geoff, Syd)

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • Watergrove Sough: First trip underground since March(!). Took advantage of the dry weather to have a gander down Watergrove Sough as neither of us had yet been (too wet last time we tried), and fancied an easy warm up to get back into the swing of caving again. Water was nice and low (but cold, very very cold) and we headed upstream to the blockage before turning round and heading back out. Had a quick look downstream and managed to get what felt like a lot further than the ~30m that CoPD says is possible. Would've pushed on further but Rob had headed out and I was getting a bit spooked on my own and it started to feel a bit like being at work, so I bailed. Wonder how far you can actually get? Skipped Eyam, and went to the Rose & Crown instead. (Mike, Rob)

October 18th:

Due to Andy T’s ongoing Achilles problem, Syd was ‘elected’ to be the caving organiser, with Rob & Mike subsequently picking the venue – Nettle Pot, with the intention to visit Derbyshire Hall beyond the Flats. (The last DPC visit failing because not enough gear was taken!).

Parking at Oxlow Farm in the layby, Mike, Rob & Syd were the only takers (SRT competent and skinny cavers were requested – Ed.). Caving gear was donned and SRT equipment and ropes sorted before walking up to the Nettle manhole entrance, now equipped with a plaque commemorating the DPC discovery and digging out in 1930-34.

Mike rigged the 160 feet entrance pitch through the Narrows with a couple of re-belays. The 100 feet mainly flat and very muddy crawl along the Flats led to a 30 feet abseil to enter Boulder Passage. Further muddy scrambling amongst the boulders and a traverse across Suicide Pot led to Firbeck Hall with two 15 feet and 30 feet fixed ropes in place for the ascent to the Far Flats. Further flat and muddy crawling led to a final pitch of 40 feet and the small Gour Passage.

  • Nettle: Walked up a hill, went down a 'ole,  got off at The Flats, crawled for a bit, went down a pitch, over another 'ole, up a pitch, up another pitch, crawled along the Far Flats, went down a pitch, wriggled through a tight bit, Syd cut his face, stooped for a bit, went into a nice big chamber, couldn't go any further, turned round, went to the hut, made a mess. A nice muddy trip to Derbyshire Hall. (Rob, Mike, Syd)

  • Carlswark - Dynamite: Wimped out of grovelling to the end of Born Slippy in Streaks for another week, so decided on a late evening trip into Dynamite via Flower Pot. Through Porth Crawl into Clog Passage and into the mine workings beyond, then wriggled through the awkward keyhole shaped passage into the final aven(s). Clocked what must be the top end of the Codeine Connection on the way out, so will have to make a round trip of it next time. (Mike, Rob)

  • Castleton/Eyam: Flying visit to two digs. (Mike)

  • White Rake: Digging

  • Eyam: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • White Rake: Digging

  • Waterfall Hole: First time down Waterfall Hole. Not sure why it's taken us so long to get round to it! After heavy rain all day yesterday, we found the entrance in the right hand wall and wriggled through the entrance crawls pushing various ropes and ladders in front of us (not sure what was needed, so came prepared). Laddered down the 1st pitch then scrambled through various boulders and another short rift to reach the stream and the cascade down into the roof of Waterfall Chamber. Found the cunning little feet first way down into the next level and arrived at the base of the waterfall. Quite an impressive, wet and noisey place for Stoney! Headed on down through Showerbath Passage and laddered into the bottom of the wonderfully squalled EPS Aven. On the way out we had a look to see if we could find Great Gunn's Rift. Remembering the description, we crawled through the initial dug out rift until it became a flat out crawl then headed up through a cherty slot and up into the rift proper. This can be followed for 5 or so meters before meeting a col and a cross rift where you can then ascend further up the inclined section of the rift, popping out into the base of a drippy aven. Wasn't as big as I was expecting but seemed to fit the description otherwise. Climbed it for about 6m and scrambled up through some boulders in the roof to find yet more boulders and gloop blocking the way on. There looked to be a slight hole up in the jumble but it didn't look particularly inspiring or particularity safe. Seemed to be taking a slight draught though. Scuttled back down to regroup with Rob and headed out. Good trip! (Mike, Rob)

December 19th:

Christmas Candle Cave:

Cavers: Mike, Rob, McBain, Ed

The night before the Xmas meet, four us laddered down Eyam Dale shaft and headed out via the Dynamite Series through Flower Pot by candlelight. Nobody died, which was good.

December 20th:

Stoney Dale Cave Crawl Part Deux:

Cavers: Goodier, E Sampson, M Peppit, R Peppit, E Shawcross, J Willmott (came & went), Sam Glasius (guest)

This year's cave crawl wasn't really a cave crawl as such, nor was it in Stoney Dale, it was more of cave followed by a walk and it took place between Foolow and Eyam. Our plan was to descend Waterfall Hole then Crock Pot then walk back to the hut via the Miner's Arms for a pint.

We got a lift up in Rob's van and trudged down to the impressive waterfall and headed straight for the muddy bedding entrance of the first cave. Jon didn't get much further than this, took one look at the entrance and walked back to the hut. The rest of us squirmed, squeezed and laddered our way down to the bottom of Waterfall Hole, a great little cave, before heading back to the surface. Back over to the other side of the waterfall, and this time down Crock Pot. Same story really - bit of squeezing, bit of squirming and a bit of laddering  - only with less mud in this one. Back out, we washed off in the waterfall and set off across the fields towards Eyam. McBain was volunteered to go into the Miner's and get a round in, still in his muddy caving gear, and Ian, the Landlord, very kindly obliged by bringing the pints out to us - including a pot of tea for Eddy Samp. Refreshed, we set off back to the hut - another festive cave completed, good trip! 

  • Crock Pot: Back to Waterfall Swallet to have a look down Crock Pot. Now a bit more familiar with the place, we wandered down to the shake hole to find the water much higher than last week; there now a very obvious lake forming in the base of the doline. It was forecast to rain all evening and was already drizzling, so we initially thought twice but decided to have a cautious gander down anyway. Found the entrance up and to the left of the waterfall and headed down through a few crawly and srambley bits to a small slot which dropped down into the Miner’s Rift. We’d brought a ladder and headed off in search of Echo Pitch which we found after a few squeezy bits and a climb up above the pitch head. Following the narrow rift down, it’s quite a surprise to pop out into large, impressive rift chamber at the bottom with an obvious scaff dig in the floor. After furtling around for a bit, we headed back up with the intention of finding North Rift and the enticing sound of the falling water. Scrambled down Flake Pitch then squeezed through the bottom, narrow section of the rift to find where the water cascaded out of the boulder choke before sinking back into it at floor level. Rob stayed above and we found that you could almost squeeze through the choke at Miner’s Rift level down into the rift itself. Intriguing little place. Headed back out to find that the stick we’d jabbed in to mark the water level had washed away and we could visibly see the water rising within the shakehole. Got changed in torrential rain and headed to the Miners.  Another good trip, and quite a contrast to most Stoney caves, there’s no mud and it’s clean! Along with Waterfall Hole, definitely worth doing. (Mike, Rob)

  • Lay-by Pot: We were going to have a look at the holes on the south side of the dale (Hangover Hole etc) but last minute extra recruits meant it was more practical do something we already knew; save us all wandering round the hillside trying to find entrances in the dark.  So the ladder was dropped down the top entrance of Lay-by and we wallowed through tuther end and up the ropes. McBain managed to get himself and his taut buttocks up via the squeezy bypass… just. (Rob, Mike, Jon, McBain & friend Rachel)

  • Carlswark – Dynamite: By Candlelight (Mike, Rob, McBain, Ed)

  • Waterfall Hole & Crock Pot: (Rob, Ed, McBain, Mike, Syd, Sam)