Photo by John Forder (Thanks John)
This project, revolving around the caves of Ease Gill on the Cumbria/Lancashire border and mainly run by Red Rose members consists of three parts. a)Re-rigging of pitches, b)Re-survey of the system, c)Conservation of both the surface and underground features. Money for funding the project is being raised by the sale of five surveys of the cave available from Red Rose Cave & Pothole Club and other fund raising activities in the future.
Re-rigging of the pitches
This forms part of the on-going bolting work which is taking place in a number of popular caves across the Dales, where 8mm anchors are being replaced with DMM resin bonded anchors. So far Lancaster Hole, Cow Pot, Pool Sink and Top Sink have been rigged with DMM anchors. Other less frequented routes may be bolted in the future. Where ever possible they are being rigged so that a pull through of a rope is possible so that through trips can be undertaken.
See CNCC Rigging website at http://www.cncc.org.uk/publications/
A number of the fixed ladders in the system have been removed or replaced. The fixed ladder down to the Graveyard has been replaced with two DMM anchors for use with a standard electron ladder, to be taken into the cave by each party, as the old ladder was dangerous with missing rungs and a poor belay. The fixed ladders at Stop Pot and Fall Pot have also been removed and replaced with DMM anchors. See descriptions in the Easegill Guide The DMM hangers placed in the system have been done so on behalf of and financed by the CNCC.
Re-survey of Ease Gill Caverns
Through out the 1980’s Frank Addis from the North Manchester Caving Club plus others started a re-survey of the system. This proved necessary as more and more bits of the the old CRG survey proved to be inaccurate and new discoveries meant that the survey was added to without knowing where to start surveying from. Frank passed his work onto the Red Rose and the club has carried out a complete re-survey of the system using a computer based system. The surveying work continues today as new discoveries and connections are made.
All the entrances have been accurately located using GPS, fixed survey stations established underground and Molephone bases established underground and on the Fell. These will help to accurately fix the cave to known points using the Survex computer program. The Club has a separate web site for the detail of the cave system at Ease Gill Caverns Hypertext Guide The first four sheets of the new survey (Sheet 1, 2, 3 & 4) have now been published. Price £5.00 and £7.50 for Sheet 3 and 4. The first one won the “Aurthur Butcher Award“at the 2001 BCRA Conference. Continued work on the survey lead to Ray Duffy and RRCPC being awarded the Bryan Ellis Award at Hidden Earth 2004 and The Arthur Butcher Award at Hidden Earth 2006.
See link to UK longest and deepest list.
The Red Rose have a Conservation Officer and already we have had several major clean ups of the system in which on one occaision 116Kg of rubbish was removed from the system. This included an amazing collection of scrap iron and a large amount of spent carbide. Other clean ups are to be held in the future and we are re-taping off formations and cleaning stals. Surface conservation work is also being carried out including the replacing of stiles and footpath erosion repairs. See conservation page.
If you would like to help in any way with The Ease Gill Project see a Red Rose member. Club contacts