26th January 2019 - Nigel Dibben
Anton and Tom organised a weekend of caving and pottering in Derbyshire partly to celebrate Charlotte's birthday during the week before. We met in Stoney Middleton Dale and decided to have a look at the Middleton Dale Mine levels and caves. As far as can be remembered, we visited 13 sites starting at Keyhole Cave and covering Level 3, Level 4, Level 5, Gin Entrance (didn't go in!), Eyam Dale Shaft (not descended), Crackpot Cave, an unknown cave in Eyam Dale, Flowerpot Entrance (not descended), Fireset Shaft (also not descended), Carlswark Resurgence cave, an unkown phreatic tube near the resurgence and finally Bossen Hole through trip. A great day out. Antion and Nigel were kitted up for mucky caves so went in most and Gina, Tom and Kieran also had a look in the cleaner ones. Tom and Charlotte were with us for a while and then went for a walk at Monsall Head. After that, we had a debrief session at the Bull's Head, Monyash before starting to get the OCC hut warmed up. Later, we met Rob and Louise in Hartington for a meal at the Devonshire Arms.
Sunday was colder but dry so we headed to Castleton and then up to Oxlow where we met Callum and Lucy. We made a fairly quick descent in two smaller groups: Tom rigging with Kieran and Nigel, and Anton following with Gina, Callum and Lucy. The last rope was a bit short so Tom, Nigel and Kieran went for a look in East Chamber instead of West Chamber. The others got down to the top of the last main pitch and then started out. The entrance shaft was pretty cold with a strong draught coming down (I wonder where that goes?) but we all made it safely to the surface and got back to the cars as quickly as possible to change as it was bitterly cold outside. Gina and Lucy even returned to the shaft with extra coats to help to keep us warm. After this, we had of course to have a debrief session in the Wanted Inn before going home.
A good weeekend, well worth repeating as the OCC hut makes a good base - even if the loos are outside and a bit cold when it's sleeting.
Below 1: Western end of Keyhole Cave with Ivy Green and Level 3 Below 2: Route checking in Middleton Dale Level 3 Below 3: Looking out of Middleton Dale Level 5 Below 4: Fireset Shaft
Below 1: Anton in Carlswark Resurgence Cave Below 2: Unknown tube below Carlswark Below 3: Kieran on the Windy Ledge Below 4: Gina emerging from Bossen Hole