Short Gill Rising

Short Gill Rising is a resurgence in Barbondale where a significant amount of water surfaces. This has been dye tested from Short Gill cave 1km away and also from further up Barbon Beck.

The earliest recorded attempts to gain access were in 1983 and since then, numerous concerted efforts have been made all of these until now, thwarted by the large, unstable entrance scree that threatens to bury the unwary.

In October, 2008 members of the CDG Northern Section commenced a project to stabilise the entrance and make further exploratory progress. This project has been supported by a huge number of people including Red Rose divers Alex Fletcher, Gary Taylor, Peter Devlin & Steve Robinson.

Underwater conditions can be hostile at SGR. In high flow it spits gravel that works its way into masks and regulators causing them to “breathe a tad wet”. This, complimented by the Barbon winter above water was eloquently described by one diver as “An exercise in misery”!

Several tonnes of rock have been removed and a large scaffold “dam” installed to secure the entrance area. The base of this is at 2m depth and from here a tunnel approx’ 0.75rn high by 1.25m wide has been excavated in an arched area along the true left of an inclined bedding. Progress has been for a further 5m to a depth of 4m where we have been temporarily halted by a series of boulders.

In clear conditions and with a powerful light, the passage can be seen to clear of rubble to the true right and possibly increase in height. Current efforts are focused upon moving the boulders with current opinion in favour of hoisting them out.
As well as exploring further, the impetus is now on safety. Previously buried and protected rubble in the bedding to the true right is being eroded by the current and subsiding. What was a “solid” wall of debris now contains deep fissures. One sizable boulder (now removed) has fallen in from I guess, somewhere near the scaffold this being big enough to potentially trap any diver in there at the time.

Lots of work still to be done but the potential is significant.

Steve Robinson


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