CTS 87.2442: NPC Journal 4(1), Jan 1987, p 40

Derbyshire Activities - a brief report.

John Cordingley

On several occasions, Pennine members have 'journeyed into the dark and forbidding lands' (ie. South of Blackburn) to potter in the Castleton caves.On these occasions we have been frequent visitors to the Technical Speleological Group, to whom we extend our thanks for accomodation in 'The Chapel'. Various TSG members have also stayed with us at Greenclose from time to time, where we have been pleased to make them welcome.

One of the most interesting possibilities in Derbyshire is P-8. Members of the NPC made two determined attempts to reach and push sump 9 in this cave, but sadly, sump 7 was silted up. Several other divers have found that the silting varies between floods. It is probably worth visiting this site fairly frequently, in order to get the best conditions for a push at the end (1).

In Peak Cavern, various projects have been undertaken by Pennine members. The 385m long Far Sump has now been surveyed, together with the 700m or so of passages beyond (ie. 'Far Sump Extension'). The line in the sump was not well belayed, but about 30 new belay points have been added. Even though visibility is often poor on the return, it is now a much safer dive. On one trip, a 90m addition was made in Far Sump Extension, by forcing a sharp crawl. Beyond, a short length of streamway on a pipe vein was explored ('The Rasp') which is significant as it is the source of the water which floods Far Sump Extension in wet conditions. Some dye tracing work has also been carried out in this area (2).

The Pennine Divers have started climbing an aven in the further reaches of Speedwell Cavern, reached by diving through Treasury Sump in Peak Cavern. A full report on this will appear on completion of the project.

At Main Rising Paul Whybro and myself have pushed the dive down to -36m, from where it rises up to -20m. Beyond this, the way descends to -24m and becomes very silted. We seem to have lost the main way on and this is thought to be overhead near the end.

Three members of the NPC were also involved in organising the first Sump Rescue and Safety Symposium, in Derbyshire this summer. This is one area of Cave Rescue where much work is needed, and it is hoped that much will be learned.

Derbyshire caving certainly has a lot to offer; especially as caving in Peak Cavern is less affected by poor weather than many of Yorkshire's better systems. I am confident that the Pennine will be involved in each season's programme of exploration in the Peak, where there is still potential for many more discoveries.

References :

1) Cave Diving Group Newsletter 78, January 1986

2) Cave Diving Group Newsletter 79, April 1986


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