Derbyshire I

Ben Honan, David Wilson, Isha Kaur, Rhys Tyers, Ryan Clark, Sam Page, William French

Friday

Suspiciously easy trip out of London and very little traffic all the way to Derbyshire. Arriving to a quiet TSG the one remaining member seemed disappointed by our numbers (we'd promised 15 apparently). We also apparently disappointed SUSS by going to bed before they got back from the pub. I was not disappointed with 8 hours of sleep though.

Rhys

Saturday

JH -> Peak Cavern: Rhys Tyers, Ben Honan, Isha Kaur, Ryan Clark, David Wilson, William French, Sam Page

JH to Peak lined up for everyone. Will and I had done it before, it was new for everyone else. My vague memories promised a sporting trip. Arriving at the Rowter farm Ben offered an IOU to the farmer (which was accepted) and fawned over the exceptionally friendly farm cat. The rest of us changed and lugged the rather large amount of tackle over the field. It's not a long walk, just in an adjacent field to the farm, the one with all the little bumpy hillocks.

No one else was keen to rig so I did it. Cheeky little Y-hang off the bar across the entrance and down I went. Down down down. It is nearly 60m in one hang! Fine on the way down. I briefly put in the rebelay about 1/3 of the way down but you need an additional deviation to avoid a nasty rub then so I had Ben remove it (we were a little light on slings).

At the bottom we grouped back up again. . The clear pools were their usual deeply mysterious selves. Bitch pitch, with its stempled approach was fun to rig. I like the deviations on the way down that seem to pull in the opposite direction to usual deviations, zig zagging the rope down the tight pitch. It didn't seem as loose as last time (I'm not sure anyone dislodged any rocks this time).

In the workshop I scouted ahead for the nicer way down. Down the square slot in the floor a slightly dodgy climb down the sandy passage brings you to a hole with some non-p bolts. With the other catching up I started rigging down. It's significantly more pleasant this way than the old route from the top. The fact that you climb down about 15m before starting also removes some of the fear factor. However the DCA rigging guide does not match well at all with the bolts in the cave. It isn't to hard to pick a way down though and we were all soon down the beautiful final hang.

We were all excited to begin the traverse. Down the ladders, following the sloshing pipe and into the stream. I think the water levels were lower than last time I was here as only at one point did it approach nipple deep. Also I did not remember that the deep pool (whirlpool?) has a metal bar just under the water to walk on. Speedwell gate in sight we turned right to the Bung. It was not as intimidating as before and I descended. A few seconds later I was shivering in the stream on the other side. Everyone came down, smiling for the most part and we carried on.

Here my memory of my previous traverse failed and following the streamway brought to a point where, on the right, the ceiling lowered rendering the stream an impassable low crawl and, on the left a was a sandy climb up that I definitely didn't remember. We read the descriptions that Ben had helpfully printed. We were quite confused for a bit as the description describes Block Hall for a long time and only very subtly returns to the streamway to describe the way on. Anyway we eventually found the crawl (the short bypass) on the left bank (looking downstream) that leads past the low point in the streamway.

The crawl rejoins the stream and not long after it enlarges into a very tall passage. The ladders to Colostomy are very obvious and land in the middle of the passage. I asked how everyone was doing. A few grimaces told me that everyone was in the right state of mind for Colostomy and the Trenches. We emptied our wellies and climbed up. At the top the initial entrance to Colostomy is quite intimidating if you don't know that it almost immediately gets better. I shuffled forward far enough to let everyone get into the crawl and then once we were all in we set off in our human centipede esque train.

I found the crawl fairly pleasant. It's not too long, no one was too slow and with so many people its very sociable. I think we were all surprised when we popped out into Treasury chamber so soon.

We crossed the chamber into the rift, followed it to the larger passage and followed that all the way to the bathing pool. We gave eachother a thorough scrub. Davey Dubz, earning himself something of a reputation now, went to swim in the sump to clean himself. I would say it was not worth it given how little mud he removed. Out through the show cave we were just early enough to catch the last tour of the day and so were gawped at and photographed by quite a few tourists.

It was really warm when we exited, a pleasant change to just about every other time I've been in Derbyshire. At the hut Tony Seddon gave me a lift to pick up the minibus from Rowter and I made good on our IOU. It was early enough and warm enough that we even went for a beer sitting outside The Castle pub. Dinner was a delicious lentil curry with chipolatas and bacon (for those that indulge in such things). A masterpiece by Ben. The evening descend into drinking (we even went to the pub with SUSS, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Inn is a very nice pub). ICCC were all in bed by the time SUSS started experimenting with the microwave (honest).

Route finding tips

I couldn't find a good description of the route, probably because it's relatively easy. The DCA have a series of guides that you can sort of patch together to figure it out but you end up having to read them backwards a lot of the time. Anyway for future reference here are some navigation tips that could be useful (and might be all you need to do the route, take guides and surveys anyway!).

Rhys

Sunday

Peak: Ryan Clark, David Wilson, Sam Page

JH: Rhys Tyers, Ben Honan, Isha Kaur

Nice derig bounce into JH on Sunday. Isha did the work whilst Ben and I took some photos and chilled like villains.

Rhys

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