RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 38 Number 3 Article 7
October 2001

Foot And Mouth - “Baaaaa!!!!”

Well I've been slacking in the trip report department these last few months, but not because I've not been caving; nothing stops me caving, not even Foot and Mouth! No, the reason is I’ve been busy moving house, so I just haven’t had the time, but I’m back and in full force now! Well, I would be if the government hadn’t closed all public rights of way! So, where is a law abiding citizen like myself supposed to go then?

A few enquiries on the World Wide Web at Duncan’s, (when I could prize him away from the ‘wigs are us’ web site), saw me, (erm, I mean me and Duncan), finding a few locations still accessible to us underground type folk. We found that we could visit Bagshaw cavern, Peak cavern, Ingleborough cave and a few others, including the mines at Nenthead!

Bagshaw Cavern - 31 March 2001

Present : Pete Dale, Duncan Jones, Bill Holden, Andrew Whitney, Milton Grimshaw

What can I tell you about this lovely place? Hmmm, (*Thinks*) Well now I think of it there’s nothing really to say about the place! The first time I saw Bagshaw Cavern it was on the telly on a program called Two’s Country. (It looked like a good trip!) After arriving and getting changed in a shed that makes BPF look like the Hilton, and a toilet that just had to be seen to be believed, we were ready for action.

The entrance to ‘Baggers’ is in a small stone building which, once you enter, is locked behind you!!! (Strange!) After going down a few hundred steps in an old mined vein you enter proper cave. Well, as proper as a Derbyshire cave gets! We all had a good look around the cavern visiting the sumps and exploring small passages everywhere we could. Upon finding that Baggers was short of the odd formation here and there, apart from the very strange luminescent ones which seemed to follow some sort of line through the cave! Some of us decided to help the Derby caves out by converting a short length of passage into a copy of Easter Grotto, even including two beautiful columns! (All made out of the abundant mud that seems to be present in the caves in this area).

After making it a bit more like home ground, (underground even), we headed to where Duncan and Bill were waiting for us, but not before we each had a look at our masterpiece back lighted by each other. When we arrived at the top of the pitch, which Duncan had already put a ladder down, we asked why they weren’t down there exploring. The only reply we got was “Go and have a look!” Upon climbing down the ladder we saw what had stopped them, a murky deep lake with minimal air space. Without a word, and just before I could go any further, Milton pushed past and plunged into the depths. He shouted back saying that it was fine and upon doing so swallowed a mouthful of water which, later on, he said smelt like urine! We followed the passage a bit further but got fed up with the crawling and grovelling on shattered rock, apart from Bill, so we voted on it and triumphantly made our exit, Duncan and I coming out through the lake like hard cavers and the others taking the dry bypass. (Wuss’s!) Everybody safely on the surface and no chins banged! A unanimous decision was made never to enter Baggers again! Which is a pity since it has a lot of potential…….?…….Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

Peak Cavern / White River - 15 April 2001

Members Present : Pete Dale, Duncan Jones, Andy Whitney, Jan Willder

It was decided that we would have a look at the White River Series in Peak Cavern. So entering Peak we headed for the Treasury and the connection to the Bunghole series where the permanently rigged pitch up to it is. We eventually found the way to the start of the Trenches and Colostomy Crawl! Leading the others and with Duncan following close up behind Jan, we progressed with the excitement of the crawl. Having passed that obstacle we then spent a few minutes looking for the dry bypass to the bottom of Block Hall and the way up into White River losing, Jan in the process! Duncan and I, having climbed up to the bottom of the pitch, decided to give it a miss as, looking up, we could not see the top. Instead we went to have a look at the main stream and the large phreatic tubes.

Having done Colostomy Crawl twice in one day and for no reason we were glad to now be in large clean river cave as opposed to grotty little crawls! Exploring upstream first we went a fair distance and turned back as the large tubes where calling us. So, about turn, we all headed down stream enjoying ourselves as we went by playing in the water chutes on the way down! (Good fun indeed!) After a few hundred yards we finally found them and, oh my, they are impressive! So having fulfilled our needs for the day, we headed out and home.

Ingleborough Cave - 21 April 2001

Present : Pete Dale, Duncan Jones, Andy Whitney, Mike Green

Having booked the cave we all met in Bernies for a chat and a drink, then we headed off for Clapham. It was the first time in ages that I have actually got changed and walked up the track instead of parking at Clapdale Farm. (Wow!)

Arriving at the entrance we went inside for a look at the survey and to wait for Andy to catch up. Andy arrived just as we finished with the survey; we then paid our entrance fee and made our way into the cave. What an impressive place, lots of formations and large walking passage, but our aim was to go beyond the show cave and find a dry connection to Gaping Gill! (Fat chance of that, but you never know?) At the end of the show cave we turned to the right and entered a stooping passage, which changed to walking passage of large dimensions. Admiring the formations as we went we noted the large amount of cross joints along the way. A brisk wade through a not too deep pool saw us in front of the Radon fan which luckily for us was turned off. The other side was more of the same, and in one section was almost identical to the Minarets, which in my theory is three cross joints side by side.

The passage then changed to a low bedding which slopes down to a sump. A crawl to the right about halfway down takes you to another sump, where we met and had a chat with John Cordingley who told us of a dry bypass to the Wallows. We then found the start of a crawling board over the stream. Struggling over the board/ladder we arrived on a dry patch of stone and consulted the survey which was starting to look a bit soggy. We decided to have a look at the eastern bedding and near wallows just to familiarise ourselves with the place for further trips. Having spent a bit of time trying to find the entrance into the bedding we eventually succeeded and made our way to the start of the Wallows.

Reaching the slope down to the wet bit (40ft of minimal airspace bedding!) we saw the start of the dry bypass which Duncan shot off up and out of site, so without further ado I followed, but what’s that I hear behind? Andy’s bottle went and he convinced Mike to personally escort him out, so it was just me and Chunks now. After finally getting through the squeeze and the crawl we could stand up again. Duncan had already set off upstream so I followed, but he shouted back that it was too wet so we went down stream, a muddy crawl to a large rift with lots of boulders. Chunks found a way on which led to a short climb down 10ft, from the bottom a small hole opened out into a continuation of the rift with a deep pool and some very nice formations.

We then decided to turn back as it was getting late and we had to be out by 5pm. Reaching the boards again we found it easier to crawl in the water than on them. Upon arriving at the show cave we found Andy flashing! (Don’t know what the tourists thought?) He packed his camera away and we set off towards the entrance. About 200 yards from open air Andy wanted to do a bit more flashing so Chunks and I went exploring in a side passage where the hand rails stop and the water plunges down a hole. Everybody together again we exited the cave and had a pleasant stroll back to the cars.

Pete Dale

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