Volume 39, No. 1-6, January-June 2003

Cover Picture

ORPHEUS IN IRELAND (photo by Paul Lydon)
Boyd P.Jenny P.Mark O.Simon BTricia W.Paul L.CokeNed R.Pete W.Mick HLiamPili
    Jenni BKen M.Eileen M.     



This is your very last reminder, if there is a RED CROSS on the back page, you haven't paid your subs. yet and this is the last Newsletter you will receive. There is now a 3-month surcharge for late payers so your subscription due now is:
Full Member25.00 + 3.00 = 28.00
Privileged Full Member21.00 + 3.00 = 24.00
(in full time education or unemployed)
Associate23.00 + 3.00 = 26.00
(non-caving members)

So, if you haven't yet paid, the Treasurer would like to hear from you with a cheque, payable to O.C.C.

Hon. Treasurer, Tricia Webber, 38 Wheeldon Ave., Derby. DE22 1HN.


Now that some caves have had to be booked on different dates from the ones we originally wanted and Hidden Earth has been changed from 1/2 November to 3/4 October, a number of changes have been made to the Meets List for this Autumn, one of which is a change of date for the Half-Yearly General Meeting. Included with this Newsletter is an updated Meets List in a format which will fit inside your membership card - but be warned, there may yet be some amendments still to come for 2004. All current updates are on the OCC website. The meets up to the end of the year (meets marked * are all confirmed) are now:

  26/27 - Yorks. Notts Pot / Notts Pot II. *

  23/24/25 - Bank Holiday.
  30/31 - North Wales. Oread Cottage.*

  13/14 - Yorks. Birks Fell (Sun) / Langstrothdale. *
  27/28 - Yorks. Lancaster Hole / Pippikin. *

  3/4 - BCRA Hidden Earth. Gloucestershire.
  11/12 - Yorks. Juniper Gulf / Long Kin West. *
  18/19 - Derbys. OCC Yearly / Long Rake (Bradwell)

  1/2 - South Wales. OFD / Pant Mawr
  8/9 - Derbys. OCC Bonfire Weekend.
  15/16 - Yorks. Swaledale. Crackpot / Sir Francis Mine.
  29/30 - Yorks. Long Kin East / Rift Pot. *

  13/14 - Derbys. OCC Christmas Dinner.


A reminder that the Oread Cottage Booking is confirmed for the weekend of 30/31 August. Don't forget that a deposit of 5.00 is required to secure your place as we have to book the whole cottage for the weekend - a total of 160 we are committed to pay. There are still some places going but you need to book fairly soon now.

To be fair, OCC Members and Associate Members only up till 31st. July; after that it's open to anyone to book for friends, etc. Deposits should go to Boyd please, cheques payable to Orpheus Caving Club. Any queries, contact Boyd on 01335-370629 or e-mail jenny.potts@ukonline.co.uk.


Tim Holling: please note that Tim's correct e-mail address is now caver@ntlworld.com.
Paul Lydon now has a key to the Club Tackle Store.


There are important changes coming with regard to insurance for cavers. Up till now ALL O.C.C. members (including Associate and Prospective Members) have been automatically covered for Public and Civil Liability under the Club's own policy. This is the cover which is required for you to go caving in certain caves in Britain - Peak Cavern, Holme Bank Chert Mine and Lathkill Head Upper Entrance are three examples in Derbyshire. Dan-yr-Ogof now requires this too and it is becoming increasingly common in all caving areas.

This will change when the insurance comes up for renewal after 30th. September - after that date every member who wishes to go caving with the Club will be required to take out his or her own insurance for caving as an individual. A letter from BCRA & DCA has been sent to all caving clubs explaining the changes and this was discussed in detail at a Committee Meeting on 16th. July. A letter explaining what this will mean for Orpheus is included with this Newsletter for all members. PLEASE READ THE LETTER CAREFULLY. If you have any queries, please contact Boyd.

A copy of the BCRA/DCA letter and the accompanying papers will be posted on the notice board at the Club Cottage.


Library Changes

From the weekend of the Orpheus Bar-B-Q there have been some changes made to the cupboards in the library. A new cupboard has appeared just inside the door (the one with the music centre on it) This now contains al of the Orpheus Caving Club literature including Old Hut Logs, Newsletter, Photo Albums etc. The Cupboard that used to contain this literature has now been used to expand the book section of the library, principally books about caves and caving areas (Categories U and V) as we now have nearly 1000 separate books alone.

All cupboards are accessible by a library key as they all share the same padlock combination.

Simon Brooks (Hon Librarian OCC)

New Library Computer System

Doug Hobbs has now finished uploading the complete subject card index onto the computer in the Library and the computer itself has been upgraded. It should now be possible to use the computer to conduct searches for information you want on any subject which is represented in the Library.

Many thanks to Doug for all his hard work on this.

A New Front Door

Many thanks to Kenny who has now fitted the smart new front door to the Cottage.

Cleaning/Storage Problems

Many thanks to Dick Marley who did a couple of days intensive cleaning at the Cottage: kitchen, showers, changing room and soak-aways all benefitted from his attentions.

Particular points arising from his efforts are:

Thanks to the "Woodmen"

Thanks to "woodmen" Boyd, Paul L and Jenny who last Saturday cleared away all the wood stacked in the wrong places. The main pile of large logs is now by the boundary wall and the space below the kitchen window is clear. A new, roofed woodstore was built next to the old one with a metal plate behind it to ensure that the stack isn't directly touching the wall of the cottage. All the excess wood was cleared from the common room and stacked outside, the common room woodbuckets were filled and the woodbox in the dining room replenished. Much of the wood which was in long lengths has been split and sawn into shorter, manageable lengths ready for the fires - thanks to Paul's efforts with Coke's special wood-sawing gadget and Boyd's wielding of a mean axe.


We've had a contact from Frank Hammond, one of the Founder Members of Orpheus from the days of John Plowes and Stan Gee. He now has a computer and had come across the OCC website and would like to get into contact with older OCC members who may remember him. His nickname was "Skank" or "The Menace" and he was involved with the attempted rescue of Neil Moss from Peak. You can contact him on .


This is now almost certainly on for a period during October/November 2004, exact dates not yet decided. If you are interested and want further information, contact Simon Brooks direct on e-mail. Simonj.Brooks@btopenworld.com or by phone on 01335-346411.


County Clare, 22nd. to 31st. May 2003


For this year we arranged to book a pair of semi-detached cottages in Doolin, and they turned out to be brilliant! Each cottage slept 7 in 3 en suite bedrooms, with washing machine & tumble drier in a separate utility room (ideal for stacking caving gear and bikes), well-equipped kitchen with dishwasher, comfy lounge with colour TV, picnic table and drying lines in the garden; the 14 of us existed in positively sybaritic luxury for a week, the cleanest cavers you've seen in a long while! (Imagine a queue to wash your rinsed out furry suit, socks and towels in the washing machine after each trip.)

Total cost per person, including all charges for electricity, etc. was 30.00, and this even left 20 over to go into Club funds.

We were 50 yards from McGann's Bar, less than 100 yards from McDermott's and a stroll from O'Connor's - could cavers ask for more?

Boyd & Jenny Potts, Simon & Jenni Brooks, Mick Hogg & Pili (plus young Liam), Paul Lydon and Mark O'Keefe all arrived by various ferries from Britain and drove to Doolin to arrive on the first Saturday. Ken & Eileen Morton caught the ferry to Cork on the previous Thursday and then drove to Doolin, meeting up with the cyclists en route. The cyclists, led by Pete Wagstaff, were Tricia Webber, Ned Rice and Coke Calcott.


Poll Dubh South to North, Sunday 25 May

After a night's rest from the previous day of travelling, followed by a small (?) amount of Guinness, Sunday brought a nice, bright and sunny morning. Four of us set out on the first caving trip of the week: Paul L, Mark O, Simon and myself.

After a second attempt to find the entrance, the original being a waterfall entrance, we followed the stream for about 200 yards to meet up with daylight, which was another entrance (our first attempt). From here we carried on along the passage, crawling and crouching, and eventually came to a canyon-type passage, which is quite normal for caves on the Burren. This went on for about a kilometre with the passage being quite high.

Our way out through the other entrance was by climbing and traversing in the roof for quite some distance before we finally climbed down, but, guess what? We'd climbed down too soon. So, after a short break and a look at the survey guide, we climbed up again into the roof for another short traverse until finally we came to daylight.

The cave itself did not have any formations apart from the occasional stal boss or stalagmite but it was a good trip. It was a new cave for both the Club and for the four of us. Time underground about 2 hours.

Mick H.

Faunarooska, Sunday 25 May 2003

Simon, Paul and Mark, the second trip of the day after a through trip in nearby Poll Dubh cave. The cave primarily consists of a stream canyon which zigzags relentlessly for almost all its length. It is also consistently sized to permit sideways-on progress only. The first few hundred metres proved interesting, thereafter the lack of variety became increasingly irritating.

Nevertheless we persevered. We zigged, we zagged, we grovelled under some lower bits; we even saw some formations - these were good.

Eventually the cave relented to broad passage floored with moonmilk, two pitches and the end of cave was apparently only a short distance further. However, none of us were sufficiently inspired to check them out.

The return trip seemed shorter for some inexplicable reason, and not as uphill as the inbound trip had suggested.

A bit of a disappointment really after the excellent trip in Poll Dubh.

Mark O.

Polnagollum, Monday 26 May

My first trip down an Irish cave, led by Simon and accompanied by Mick H, Boyd and Mark O. On entering the cave I thought I was back in Owl Hole with a very similar open pot entrance. However, on entering I realised the similarity ends there as it wasn't muddy enough.

The cave had two ways on so Boyd and Mark took one route and Simon, Mick and myself the other. We took the ladder as there is a 7m pitch which links our system to Boyd and Mark's, making an exchange through trip. So, led by Simon, off we went and soon entered a small chamber with several ways off. Simon says, "I think it's this way," a small, flat out passage. I didn't fancy it if it wasn't the way on so Simon offered to scramble through to investigate while myself and Mick waited. After a short while a voice comes back from a distance, "this is it, it leads to a walking-sized streamway."

So off we scrambled, heading downstream in a good sized passage with boulder blockages occasionally to scramble over and deep pools which we traversed over (we didn't want to get our goolies wet and cold). Anyway, one pool caught me out; I yelped as cold water encircled my goolies. Simon didn't say anything - he must have been wearing a willy-warmer or else he hasn't got any.

After a while we heard voices; yes, we'd reached the pitch. Boyd and Mark were relieved to see the ladder come down so the exchange was on. Boyd told us there was a cairn at the passage which leads to the exit as it isn't obvious because you have to duck under a wall. However, we headed down-stream again; interesting passage shapes being encountered, e.g. headroom only sized if walking. We continued on downstream until it got to crawling sized, then back to the cairn, up the passage to a 4m climb, a bit of traversing and finally met up with Boyd again close to the exit. We exited into pouring rain - nice and clean.


Doolin River Cave, Tuesday 27 May 2003

Doolin River Cave (St Catherine's to Fisherstreet Pot), County Clare

Boyd Potts, Simon Brooks, Mark O'Keeffe and Paul Lydon After a lateish start, Simon, Boyd and I walked over to Fisherstreet Pot and belayed a couple of ladders to a tree. Simon climbed down a short way to see if the water level was low enough to permit a through trip, but as he was wearing ordinary clothes and didn't want to get too dirty, he couldn't really see what the water level was like. Well, it would probably be O.K. - if not we could always retrace our steps and go out the way we came in!

After returning to our accommodation and collecting our caving gear, we were joined by Mark and Jenny Potts gave us all a lift to the gateway leading past the farm to St Catherine's entrance. After changing, we found the farmer in his tractor nearby in the barn and he was more than happy to give us permission to do the trip and directed us to the entrance.

We entered the cave at 3:00 PM and Boyd and I were soon entertained by Mark doing his impression of Winnie the Pooh getting stuck in a hole as he tried to get past a constriction just inside the entrance! Although there had been a bit of rain recently and the river near McGann's pub was higher than the previous day, water levels underground seemed reasonable (although later in the trip we spotted a large polythene bag caught on a projection some 10 metres up from the bottom of the streamway...).

We had a brilliant journey through this river cave admiring the periodic decorations and benefitting from the spacious passages and easy going. Simon recounted the slight problem on a previous trip when entering the system via Arran View Cave and having some route-finding troubles on the way to St Catherine's - but today there were no problems in route-finding at all.

As the roof lowered signalling the end of the trip, we were pleased to see that an exit via Fisherstreet Pot was definitely on as the water levels were easily low enough. We arrived at Fisherstreet Pot at 4:45pm and were all soon back on the surface and had the ladders tidied away.

It was a short walk back to the cottage for a meal after another excellent caving trip and another evening in McGann's to look forward to!

T.U.G. 1 3/4 hrs.

Paul L

Pipers Cave, Inisheer, Aran Islands, Wed. 28th May

With the weather looking quite settled a group of us decided to visit the smallest of the Arran Islands, Inisheer. Lying some 8 kms off of the coast from Doolin this tiny island measures only 3 kms by 2.5m and has a population of only 300. The ferry crossing from Doolin took about 20 minutes at a cost 15 Euro per person return. Leaving Kenny, Eileen, Mick, Philly and Liam to continue onwards to Inishmoor, the largest of the Aran Islands, Ned, Coke, Trish, Paul, Boyd, Jenni B and myself alighted on Inisheer. Boyd set off to walk around the island whilst the rest of us Contd. on p. 6 >> Pipers Cave, Inisheer >> Contd. from p. 4 headed for the nearest bar for some food and a pint. Suitably refreshed we then walked up to the impressive ruins of O'Briens Castle before heading over to the large rusting hulk of a 'Plassey' Freighter that was washed high onto the beach in a massive storm in the 1960's. This fascinating relic provided the perfect plaything for us to explore being rather like a rusty cave on the inside. Inisheer proved to be a delightful little Island formed solely out of limestone: it had traditional thatched cottages, small wall fields with little walled lanes in between and some excellent beaches and limestone pavement.

More interestingly Inisheer had two recorded caves and a lake that was rumoured to be connected to the sea via a "blue hole" underwater style tunnel. We set off to investigate. A good look at the lake (Loch Mor) suggested that the rumours of a blue hole are likely to be unfounded. Attempts to find Loch Mor Cave were unsuccessful finding only limestone pavement and beautiful scenery, and a small dog that chose to accompany us on our search. This search involved a bit of 'casual trespassing' or 'Piking' as it is more affectionately known. Being unable to work out who owned the land we opted for the 'Paul Lydon - High Visibility Approach to Piking' where Paul wore a bright pink T-shirt thereby removing any threat of being accused of sneaking around. It certainly worked and we could be seen for miles, but no body seemed to complain.

We then turned our attention to finding Pipers Cave, one of the longest caves on the Aran Islands. This proved no less difficult until we happened upon Mr Antony Kane the landowner on whose land the cave lies. Mr Kane enthusiastically agreed to show us the cave which was most helpful as the small entrance, completely concealed in a hollow behind a wall near to the summit of a hillock, would have proved impossible to find on our own. Pipers Cave was an excellent little cave with 39m of clean, mainly walking size, abandoned stream canyon passage ending in a diggable choke. Clearly a remnant cave; there are most likely to be more similar sites at other locations on the Aran Islands. Mr Kane mentioned another similar cave (entrance now buried beneath beach cobbles) that lay on the far (West) side of the Island. We did not have time to check out this rumour, suffice to say a return to this delightful Island could be fruitful. Generally a fine day out and Pipers Cave a fine collector's piece. (Photos on p. 5 )

(For more information on the Caves of the Aran Islands see UBSS Proceedings 1998 21(2) p 159-173 article written by Charlie Self)


Poll na gCeim and Pollnagree, Thursday, 29th May.

A cloudy day threatening some showers which held off till late in the afternoon. Jenny, Mark O, Paul and myself drove northwards and after dropping off Mark at some coastal limestone crags we headed up to high on the north side of Knockauns Mountain. Parking near the Burren Way Paul and I changed in preparation for a couple of fairly short caving trips.

Poll na gCeim is situated in the middle of a field surrounded by a few clints and some boggy ground and covered over by rusty metal sheets. A couple of spits allow you to rig a rope down the free climbable 6m entrance pitch. This then leads you to a gradually descending narrow passage quickly dropping onto the second pitch. An easy short traverse leads you onto a ledge with spits for a Y hang for this 6m pitch, which is a free hang in a wide circular shaft. The whole cave is supposed to be fairly dry, even in poor weather, but it certainly proved quite damp on this particular trip. Paul had problems with the narrow and bouldery access to this pitch and so I continued on my own.

The third (31m) pitch goes directly off from the foot of the 2nd pitch and here I had a surprise. (All the rest of the cave was rigged with shiny new hangars and very new looking rope. I presume someone must still be digging down here! Anyway thanks to them as it saved me a lot of rigging.) This pitch has a Y hang start from which you descend and traverse across to an interesting Y hang rebelay to take you away from most of the water. The rest of the pitch is in a beautiful water worn vertical shaft though you do end up in the water at the bottom.

From here the cave continues down over a series of four small pitches, following the water, all rigged. At the foot of these a small stream passage descends a series of climbs to a sump pool. This pool is supposed to be passable by using the pipework etc. sitting in the passage. Most of the cave is a clean and water washed system and a really sporting little trip. The only thing I had to watch out for were Leeches having met one fat three inch specimen on the way down. The return trip proved very pleasant and I met Paul again at the top of the second pitch where he had just succeeded in getting through. Anyway we both then headed out after about an hour and a half underground. Pollnagree. Once we were back on the surface and at the van we relocated about half a mile to the west and parked on the Burren Way. From here a short walk south took us to a rifty sink hole with an old water pump in situ; this was the entrance to our second cave, Pollnagree.

This cave required no tackle and proved a pleasant and, in places, well decorated streamway. An easy almost vertical climb down took us into a high but narrow, steeply descending passage over boulders until we met the stream as we came into a very impressive aven with water falling from its roof. We then continued through the cave for over half a kilometre, mainly in a narrow joint controlled streamway with some crawling involved. Eventually we turned back when it became obvious that the only way on was a tight climb at roof level into a narrow traverse. At this point we gave it best and made a fairly quick exit.

Definitely a cave worth a visit even if only to see the first section which contains the well decorated and impressive 40m high avens.

Back out after less than two hours we soon changed and, collecting Mark enroute, were back at the Cottages for our evening meal.


Cullaun 2, Thursday 29th May 2003

After six days of cycling a welcome trip underground. Logging around this area is presently changing the reference points for the Culluans locations but at the moment Cullaun 2 is still along the edge of the fire break, from the first sharp RH bend of the road. The hot sunny day (should be cycling) made descending the hole pleasant and with only a trickle of water flowing over the waterfall an easy trip was envisaged. After 350m a passage 2m high up on the right was noted for an alternative exit route. Mick remembered the "Bloody Guts" from previous trips but he wasn't sure if he had been beyond this area. At this time I was otherwise occupied with Tricia's weight lifters rear explosion (Bloody Guts!) which we had lived through many times during our cycling. (And I thought Lycra could hold most things in!)

Pushed on through Pool Chamber into the lower streamway with its chert false floor. This was reminiscent of the lower stream series in Speedwell. The fluted last climb had a fair bit of water flowing so we declined the chance to get wet and returned to Pool Chamber.

Climbed up to look at the old stream route and remembered the book's description as interesting so tried the first few metres, but Mick thought the book's word "interesting" was a challenge so we decided on the lower route. Ventured back to the alternative exit and followed the stooping passage through several sections of pretties and a tight squeeze/roll. At this point Mick's leg went into a spasm and the confined nature of the squeeze made an hilarious picture. (Sorry Mick but it was funny at the time and no damage was done.)

Round the next bend where the rift passage enlarges Mick snagged his cable and lost his main light (connection pulled out). No problem I thought, as Mick had a spare light attached to the side of his helmet. He then told me that this had failed earlier in the week and hence he was now totally "Simon Brooks'd" (lightless). This is a worrying trait as Mick usually has Megawatts of spare lights and Simon not even a reliable main light. In Ireland this was reversed because Simon now appears sorted. Quickly changed my main light with Mick and I caved on the faithful Petzl Tikka.

Soon arrived at the Boulder Breakdown Chamber with water flowing at a lower level and a 'good feeling' about the exit route hanging in the air. Thrashed around a bit and found no sign of daylight but was convinced by the UBS ensignature in the mud that this had to be right.

Eventually traversed over the boulders high above the waterfall and squeezed out to daylight. On the surface a dense cover of trees made route finding back to the cave entrance guess-work. Ended up in a parallel field 100m along the road. Extracted the hire car from the mud (thanks for washing it Ken) and returned to Doolin for Tea.

Time Underground 4 hrs. Mick Hogg & Pete Wag.

Pete Wag.

Coolagh River Cave, Friday 30th May.

Coolagh River Cave is one of the finest river caves in County Clare - its only downside is its fearsome reputation for flooding. With Friday morning dawning reasonably bright and clear and there being only a small chance of rain, Pete Wagstaff and myself set off to visit the cave. As we changed some dark clouds appeared to the North but putting our faith in the Irish Weather Forecast we set off into the cave.

Entering via the low Polldonough South entrance the initial aquatic bedding was passed to reach the delightful double passage followed by gour passage. Reaching the 6m climb down into the main Coolagh River Passage we were pleased to see that it had a rope on it. Rather more concerning was the fact that this was the same rope as was on the climb when the Orpheus last visited the cave in 1999. I elected to go down first, working on the principal that I was heavier than Pete. If the rope broke Pete could go out and get help, if it held then it would be OK for Pete, and more importantly for our return. It held, we got down, and we set off down the fantastic black limestone sculptured main river passage to the terminal sump.

Returning back up the river passage we exited the cave via the entertaining passages leading to Polldonough North Entrance thereby making and excellent through trip. All in all one of the finest trips to be had in County Clare made more exciting by the knowledge that heavy rainfall can flood it to the roof. (The nervous are advised not to read the account in the Caves of Clare of the flooding in this cave)


Poulelva-Polnagollum Through Trip, Friday, 30 May

Boyd, Paul and Mark O'K. Three went searching using the sketch map from the book. Three failed miserably, having been bush-bashing in totally the wrong area. Over an hour later, dehydrated and fed-up, the entrance was found half a mile away!

Paul couldn't be bothered by this time. Boyd rigged the 40m freehang and himself and Mark descended. It was a relief to get underground and out of the roasting sun.

Initially a crawl and rift passage avoided the waterfall area in the pothole then, by generally staying left at junctions and following the robust draught, we made our way through to the major streamway. There was a lot of hands and knees crawling but no squeezes or significantly awkward bits.

After several hundred metres of main streamway a cairn indicated some alternatives, these were: straight on narrowing to inlet, low-level deep water option, or high level crawling over narrow rift. The latter seemed well used so this was followed to eventually drop back into a broad streamway. This proved to be the main Polnagollum streamway so the rest of the trip was assured, despite person(s) unknown obliterating the cairn at Main Junction which had been present just two days previously. About half an hour later we emerged into the Polnagollum shakehole.

An excellent trip and well worth all the effort in finding the entrance.

Mark O.

Diving the Green Holes off Doolin Point, Friday 30th May

Returning from Coolagh River Cave I packed my diving gear and headed down to Doolin Village to join Tony Boycott and another UBSS member on a dive into some of the Green Holes off of Doolin Point. We started the dive from 'Hell', the large fissure that runs across the Doolin Headland. Here a climb into the fissure gives access to the sea where a dive of some 50m along a tunnel (the impressive main underwater passage of Hell) some 6 to 8m wide and between 9 to 10m high, reaches the open sea. This dive was quite atmospheric and interesting being that I was using only a single sea diving valve and equipped with only a single and rather dim torch rather than a full cave diving kit.

On reaching the sea we turned left (West and then South) and swam around the headland at between 12 to 16m depth following a large underwater cliff passing numerous cave entrances on the way. These included Mermaids Hole, Noon's Hole and Through Cave, the latter which we swam through. What amazed me was the size of the entrances with some being over 10m wide and 8m high. With our limited equipment we were able to enter some of the caves for 30 to 40m, finding them full of large spider crabs and frequently wall to wall in black 'Spiney Norman' Sea urchins. We surfaced on the far side of the headland after a dive of some 40 minutes. An impressive dive and one that I would certainly repeat possibly with larger cylinders and more cave diving oriented kit. Many thanks to Tony for the guided tour.



Historic Sites in Cashel, Saturday 31st May

Having booked the return ferry for the Sunday, Jenni and myself had an extra day in Ireland. This was spent in Cashel in central Ireland where the amazing historic site of the 'Rock of Cashel' (a limestone rock outcrop no less) was visited resplendent with its round towers, churches and castles. Saturday evening we continued the castle theme by staying in the pleasant Kearney Castle Hotel in Cashel that is in fact a real castle in parts.


Carrowkeel Passage Graves, Saturday, 31st. May

As Boyd and I had a day to spare before catching our ferry back to Scotland from Belfast, we took a suitably devious route, vaguely north-east from Doolin, intent on avoiding main roads. En route we stopped at a pleasant converted watermill on the River Suck for lunch and picked up a booklet which gave details of a walk around some abandoned mines near Arigna and taking in the "Carrowkeel Passage Graves". Being suitably intrigued, we forked out for the booklet and discovered that Carrowkeel was a hill just northwest of Boyle and that it was sufficiently on our way to make a visit feasible.

The Carrowkeel Graves are well signposted from the main road north of Boyle and we found ourselves on winding minor roads and eventually on a track leading high up to near the top of an extraordinary limestone outcrop above Lough Arrow. A short walk up from the parking spot took us to the first of the graves: a megalithic tomb built of slabs of rock, roofed with slabs, and then covered with a huge mound of limestone rubble. Sadly, after several thousand years the roof slabs are no longer stable and the tombs can't be entered, though you can see inside if you crouch in the entrance. The various finds from the tombs when they were excavated are now in a museum somewhere.

Dotted across the hilltop were more of the mounds and yet more across a narrow valley which splits the outcrop in two. In all it seems there are more than 30 of these things on Carowkeel itself and from the hilltop you can see even more on other nearby hills. It's a spectacular site with amazing views, particularly to the north and west where you can see range after range of mountains.

The booklet has excellent and detailed maps and the walk passes through the narrow valley at Carrowkeel and does a complete circuit, starting from Boyle, using minor roads, trackways and footpaths, and visiting a number of other sites of interest including what were, at one time, claimed to be the largest coal mines in Ireland at Arigna. Though we had time only for a quick visit to Carrowkeel itself, the area does seem worth a return visit sometime.

The booklet is called "The Miner's Way & Historical Trail Map Guide" and it details the 74 mile circular walk. It includes a series of 1:50,000 strip maps and notes on geology, archaeology, natural history and local history. The mines at Arigna produced iron ore and, more lately, coal and operated for nearly 400 years, closing only in 1990. The booklet, ISBN 1-899815-090, was published in 1999 by EastWest Mapping on behalf of Leitrim, Roscommon and Sligo County Councils. It will be passed on to the Club Library


More Historic Sites and Dunmore Cave, Sunday 1st June

Sunday morning was spent at the remarkably well preserved Cahir Castle after which we were well and truly 'Castled out' so we made a leisurely drive back to Dublin and the Ferry.

En route we detoured to Dunmore Show Cave that is situated some 10 kms to the North of Kilkenny (now there's a thought!). This amazing cave is situated all on its own in a large hill of limestone that looks less like a caving area than any I have seen. Entrance to the cave is via a large collapsed entrance more similar to something that would be found in South East Asia than the UK. This leads to a series of impressive chambers many of which contain good sized Stalactites, one of them named the 'Market Cross' a 7m high free standing Stalactite that is reputed to be the largest free standing Stalactite in Europe, (yet another record Stalactite!). Despite this the cave is well worth the visit and one of the few where you have the option of walking around the cave by yourself or joining a guided tour.

One question I could not get an answer to was why are there not more caves in this area as Dunmore proves large caves can exist. (Further information on Dunmore Cave can be found in the OCC Library.)



Agen Allwedd, Saturday 7 December 2002

Mark O'Keefe, Mark Silo, Mick Hogg, Paul Lydon and Pete Wag.

After breakfast and the arrival of Mark O'Keefe: who arrived, shot off to the loo and for some reason earned a round of applause from another party who were getting changed; we set off from the Chelsea S.S "Whitewalls" to walk along the tramway to Aggie, arriving at the entrance around 12:20 p.m. We headed for Main Passage with a quick rest in Baron's Chamber. Following Main Passage we stopped again at the Music Chamber with its in-situ music stand and sheet of music.

After a quick consultation with the photocopy of the guidebook description, we set off back down the Main Passage, retracing out steps until we arrived at the junction leading to Main Stream Passage. All except for Mark Silo, who headed out of the cave with the excuse of "lack of fitness", continued on down the Main Stream Passage eventually reaching the Second Boulder Choke (the First being before Barons Chamber).

We climbed up to the top of the boulders and continued onwards to a small chamber. Next was a 2 metre climb down with in-situ hand line, followed shortly by another drop of about 3 metres. This was a bit puzzling as there was no obvious, easy way down - the way on was to the right via a step protected by a short traverse line into a tube which lead in a few metres to an easy clamber down at the end with a jammed ammo box, marked as containing rescue supplies.

Following the stream and a crawl through boulders, we climbed up to Keyhole Chamber, immediately recognised by Mick. There were the options of a traverse to the right, needing a line for protection, or a climb down at the start of the traverse. Mark O'Keefe was soon down followed by myself, after a bit of thought at the final drop, which was a bit awkward (but much easier on the way up), I soon joined Mark after a bit of assistance by supporting one leg. Mick didn't fancy the climb and after attempting the traverse, elected to wait for us to continue and return.

And then there were three...

The rest of us continued down the Main Stream, reaching easy walking passage but with the floor a bit slippery. The roof started to lower and the water deepened as Northwest Junction was reached. We followed onwards through a narrow rift with a climb reaching Turkey Streamway. At Coal Cellar Junction, we met another party of cavers having a rest, probably en route via the "Outer Circle".

Continuing up Turkey Streamway, passing Shattered Passage and Phreatic Passage on the right, we reached deeper water at Turkey Pool. Following a bend round to the left and short section of chest-deep (at least on me!) water brought us to a tube-shaped passage. Continuing upstream and climbing up a slope we arrived in Turkey Chamber. There was no obvious way out at the top of the chamber but there was an interesting pot about 4 metres deep with the route following down boulders to the right - verified by Mark while Pete and I waited at the boulders.

The time came to turnaround and we retraced our route to find Mick waiting at the top of the climb in Keyhole Chamber. Continuing onwards I ended up in a squeeze between boulders which didn't seem familiar. After a bit of a struggle to get my legs around a boulder blocking the way, Pete realised that this was where we had climbed down after crawling through a tube. So we climbed back into the tube and reached the climb down which was protected by a short traverse line and needed only to step around a corner. Spotting the jammed ammo box which we had noticed on the way in would have prevented this mistake!

Next it was back up an easy 2m climb then, after a slight detour climbing up when we should have turned left through a short tube, we walked back along the large Main Passage and were soon back at Baron's Chamber. Another small route-finding error found me and Pete following a well-polished squeeze into a dead-end! We soon realised where we had gone wrong and made the short climb down to the correct way through the boulder choke.

Onwards via the entrance series with a very strong draught to exit the cave at 7:45 p.m. after an excellent and enjoyable trip.

Paul Lydon.

Yorkshire 8/9th March.

Sell Gill Holes, Saturday, 8 March 2003

Boyd Potts, Derek Freeman and Paul Lydon

After driving up through frequent showers the evening before, I wasn't surprised to see sleet falling on Saturday morning and see it settle on the higher ground near Helwith Bridge, where we were staying at the Y.S.S. Hut.

Unfortunately, the rain continued to fall non-stop throughout the day, so the usual game of "Let's decide on which cave to do" was started after breakfast. As we had no permits for Bar Pot and we were very near to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, it was decided to have a quick trip down the Fossil (Dry) Route in Sell Gill Holes.

We set off through the rain and parked in the car park at Horton. Boyd and I elected to get changed in the public toilets, while Derek braved the wet and changed in the car park. Perhaps he was worried about his reputation if he was caught in a state of undress in a public toilet?

Anyway, we set off up the track near The Crown and were soon at the cave. Here we found water flowing into the normally dry entrance! Added to which there was a strong wind whistling right through the gap between the rocks on the surface as we were kitting up. It was here that Derek discovered to his dismay that while he had left his SRT gear at a friend's place, somebody had "borrowed" his harness and it was now much too small to get on. Derek had to spend some time in the wet, cold wind re-adjusting his harness. We were soon all down the short first pitch which thankfully provided shelter from the wind. There was some water dropping down at the normally dry second pitch, but this was easily avoided by a traverse on the left with a deviation. Unfortunately, as I swung out at the bottom of the pitch to avoid the water by trying to land on a boulder, I missed, and swung back right under the full force of the waterfall!

Boyd was soon down the third pitch but there was a bit of faffing as we had to readjust the first belay as there wasn't enough slack to get my Petzl Stop on the rope. All the time we were doing this we could hear Boyd coughing, due to a cold, at the bottom of the pitch.

It wasn't surprising then, when I arrived last at the foot of the final pitch, Boyd set off back on the ascent. The final chamber was like a gargantuan washing machine with waves of water crashing down and against the walls.

We were soon back on the surface and the rain continued to pour down. Back at Horton, the stream which flows under the bridge by The Crown had risen by about a foot.

After repeating the changing ritual with Boyd and I, joined by some walkers, getting changed again in the public loos, with Derek out in the rain, we all retired to the Pen-y-Ghent cafe for a brew.

T.U.G. 2 1/4 hrs.

Paul Lydon

Alum Pot, Sunday 9th. March

By Sunday morning Jenny, Paul, Derek and myself had been joined by Mark S. and Mike C.

After yesterdays heavy rain the water levels had dropped in some places and we decided on a visit to the Alum area. Jenny went off walking whilst the rest of us tried to dodge other groups and rig some of the system's routes.

Derek, Mike and Mark rigged the long side of the Main Shaft whilst Paul and myself, entering almost literally over the heads of another group, rigged Dolly Tubs direct and continued on down the Greasy Slab and on over the Bridge.

Paul stopped here so I rigged a very wet 50' pitch and descended to join the other three at the bottom. Diccan waterfall was as impressive as ever but after a quick look around we headed out from the spray and noise of the sump area.

Derek went out by the Direct route with Mike following to derig. The rest of us back via the Bridge and the Dolly Tubs after watching, with some consternation, a novice party having some real problems on the 100' Tree pitch. Mark even had to tell one girl how to use her prussiking gear correctly!

Anyway everyone, as far as we know, survived and we soon had our gear out of the cave. Then a quick change and back to the YSS before heading home later in the evening.


Nenthead weekend. 22/23 March

Unfortunately I was not able to arrive until the Saturday evening but I then joined Pete W, Paul L. and Lesley in the Miners Arms bunkhouse.

The other three seemed to have had a good trip into Smallcleugh Mine earlier in the day but the weather was so good that everyone was lured back to the surface to enjoy the sun.

Sunday, after a frosty start, turned into another hot and sunny day so everyone went off walking. Pete and Paul westwards towards Cross Fell whilst Lesley and myself drove down to Cow Green Reservoir. Our walk proved a very interesting sight seeing trip, mainly on the Pennine Way, with views of High Force and Cauldron Spout. It also proved very energetic as I found to my cost the next day.

Lesley set off home that night whilst the other three of us headed down for the YSS and a visit to the Helwith Bridge.

Next day Pete and Paul did a through trip in Yordas.

I nursed a swollen knee, thanks to the previous days walk, so once they were out of the cave and we had called at Bernies I headed home for some rest and recuperation!


South Wales - Bank Holiday weekend 3-6th May

OFD I, Sat. 3rd. May

Saturday morning saw me as the solitary representative of the Club but eventually in the early afternoon Paul L. and Lesley arrived, after a long detour via Bristol!

We decided on a trip into OFD1 as we were not sure of the water conditions elsewhere. Changed down by the roadside and then once in the cave we did the usual tourist route, in via the Escape route and once we found the water levels were low we came out down the streamway. A great sporting trip of around two hours.

Later that evening we were joined by Mark S. and Mike C. and next morning by Pete W. OFD II, Sun. 4th. May

Sunday we had planned a visit to the Columns as it was an official "open day". However there was one problem - no warden available.

Luckily being an SWCC member of some repute? I was co-opted as an 'acting' warden and once supplied with a key, we 6, along with 5 Speleo Rhal and later another group of 6 headed into the cave around 11am and via the Labyrinth in to the lower gated entrance to the Columns area.

With a few minor diversions we found and unlocked the gate and then through or bypassing the wet crawl all arrived at the still superb Columns.

I was surprised at their condition for I remember the floor being dry and badly damaged, it certainly looks a lot better since the work to pond up the water and control access.

After everyone had had their fill of the Columns we came out and locked the gate.

Through the Labyrinth to the Arete where Paul joined another group heading out. The rest of us headed down to Crossrift and on to the OFDII Traverses to go and visit the Great Oxbow series formations.

Spent an hour in the area before deciding we were getting close to our callout time so we turned around and headed out through Edwards Short Cut. Here Pete gave us a classic demonstration of how to climb a slippery rift before we all continued up through Gnome Passage and out of the cave by 5pm.

A very enjoyable trip looking at some of OFD II's best formations.

I then packed up and headed home leaving the others to another possible days caving of which I have no record.

What did you do guys?


Next DCA Meetings

Sat. 28th. June

Sat. 15th. November



DCA Council Meeting - Sat. 15 November 2003

DCA AGM 2004 - Sat. 21 February 2004


If you have any queries or problems relating to access or conservation in the region you can e-mail all the DCA Conservation and Access team members on access@theDCA.org.uk. Team members are:

Conservation & Access Officer, John Taylor: Tel. 01663-734918, Mob. 0786-6705149, E-m. jtaylor@uk.tiauto.com

Access Officer, Iain Barker: Tel. 0114-2530112, Mob. 0771-0689704, E-m. iainbarker@peakland.freeserve.co.uk

Conservation Officer, Dave Webb: Tel. 0115-840-1109, E-m. david.webb12@ntlworld.com


Ralph Johnson reported on 29th. May, ". . . an incredible amount of damage in Eyam Passage. This is NOT accidental damage - the culprits must have gone in equipped with the necessary tools. It would appear that this vandalism has occurred within the last few days." Further investigations by Dave Webb and others disclosed a section of false floor hacked off with a lump hammer and broken pieces scattered across the passage. Carleswark Cavern is part of an SSSI and a protected site so the damage is being taken very seriously and has been reported to English Nature. At present the broken pieces have been stacked at the base of a stalagmite and cavers are asked NOT to remove them from the cave.

Jez Parr, of Edale YHA, reported on 30th. May, "I had a group (from Edale YHA) visiting the Resurgence Entrance of Carleswark Cavern, to try the duck at the far end. We left some caving kit INSIDE the entrance chamber at the resurgence. It took us 10 minutes to do the duck and return; on our return the kit had 'gone'. Pass the word to all parties please - the thieves have returned to Stoney Middleton."


Jez Parr was again the unlucky victim of thieves on Friday, 18th. July between 2pm and 4pm. They smashed a lock to get into the car, slashed two tyres and got away with the only wallet which had been left in the boot. A local farmer saw a blue van stop briefly. The stolen cards from the wallet were used in a Safeway store to buy 150 worth of goods before the cavers were even out of the cave to discover the theft.

Please be warned that thieves know all the usual spots where cavers park and are known to hang about watching for the chance to move in. If they think there is anything of worth left behind, you won't keep them out of your vehicle and they will do damage getting in. The best defence is to leave someone on guard in your car, preferably with a mobile and a notebook to take down suspicious vehicle numbers.


Dave Edwards reports: "On a training trip on 12th June a large loose block was spotted at the start of the traverse from the 3rd Water Cavern to the 4th Water cavern. This block appeared to be a tempting belay point to rig a traverse line along the ledge. As it was hovering above the start of the traverse it offered a serious hazard to cavers beneath or attached to this block. A small nudge moved this block easily and it now rests on the floor at the start of the traverse. A consequence of this gardening activity is that the traverse now has good thread anchors at both ends to rig a quite satisfactory traverse line to protect the bad step if required (approx 25m rope)."


Thanks to Mark Bennett and Adrian Kirk who have repaired the damage done by vandals to the wall alongside the gate to this gave. As the cave is in a Nature Reserve under the control of Notts Wildlife Trust, and in the Pleasley Vale SSSI, DCA is responsible for keeping the cave securely gated in order to maintain access for cavers. A reminder that if you want to visit the cave the key is obtainable from Mark Bennett, 11 Booth Crescent, Bull Farm Estate, Mansfield, Notts. NG19 7LQ. Tel. 01623 462460.


It has been reported that Neptune Mine entrance has collapsed. The entrance is in the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve and permission is needed from English Nature before any work can be done.


It has been reported that the levels near the Via Gellia road in the vicinity of Good Luck Mine have ben gated and padlocked. This is thought to have been done by the Arkwright Society.


Note that you may be asked to leave if you are seen near the mine. The DCA Handbook has the note: "Trips undertaken without prior permission of Chatsworth Estates are unauthorised."



There have been a various reports recently of problems with the pull thro's installed by DCA in Nettle Pot and Oxlow Cavern. Ralph Johnson has now checked the situation himself and reports back: Nettle Pot Far Flats: The pull thro's jam when you attempt to use them so action will be taken to sort this as soon as possible. We will keep you informed.

Oxlow Cavern: The pull thro' up to Pilgrims Way has been checked and is working properly


A visiting caver reported on 8th. June that there was CO2 present in the lower reaches of Water Icicle Mine. "A very noticeable layer between 'good' and 'bad' air almost immediately the shaft meets the cave passage, especially on the way out. Seems weird for the prusiking to get easier the further up you go!" This is despite the new grille shaft top, which is very disappointing. (A visit to Knotlow Cavern on 19th. July found no CO2 problems, at least as far as the top of the Waterfall Pitch, although it was commented that there was a "smell".) The various shafts which seem most liable to this problem: Water Icicle, the Knotlow and Whalf Shafts and Robins Shaft Mine, have all been fitted with shaft top grilles instead of solid lids and all should now have a notice just inside the entrance advising you of symptoms you may experience if there is excess CO2 so that you know to exit the mine quickly. Please, if you encounter this problem in a new site or if the advisory notice is not there, contact the DCA Conservation & Access Team.


The Handbook Updates have now been printed and the complete Handbook, updated to April 2003, is on sale from Jenny Potts for 3.50. DCA website is at www.theDCA.org.uk



Sun. 5 May, 2002

General poking around in the various holes in and around Cressbrook Dale. Loads of holes investigated before ending up at Neptune Mine. Most levels investigated before an increasing amount of loose deads stopped progress. An enjoyable day had by all.

Tim, Helen, Pete H. & Ross


Mon. 6 May, 2002

Entering via the climbing shafts the first (50 ft.) and 2nd. (25 ft.) pitches were easily passed, a scramble down through boulders and chambers led us to the top of the 3rd. pitch: "Waterfall Shaft". This was rigged by Tim, who half-way down discovered that the 21m. rope was not long enough, so a quick prussik back up and ... err ... "minimise" the rigging, soon saw us all at the bottom. We had a quick look down the Coffin Level before returning to the Hut for tea and biccies.

Tim, Helen & Pete H.
Note: at least 30m rope useful for Waterfall Pitch.

Sat. 6 July, 2002

Entered via Climbing Shaft, with the two easy pitches, then descended through the boulders to the Waterfall Pitch. The traverse at the top of that pitch was good fun. At the bottom, Waterfall Chamber, we headed down the (rather damp) coffin level to Fourways - smelling foul - and then on to Chapel Dale Level. An excellent stream passage to a blockage, where we found a weasel-type creature. Headed out without difficulty, apart from knocking knees on the narrow entrance shaft!

Darryl & Andy Manners


Sat. 11 May, 2002

Saturday evening quick trip to Aldery Cliff. Now diggable at the bottom of the ladder pitch.

Mick Hogg & Coke

Sun. 23 June, 2002

Aldery Cliff revisited. Now the water has gone this is a pleasant dig. Only dry mud and a spiral ladder to contend with. Ken expertly banged the large boulder and we followed the mud filled rift inwards, opened up another 5 ft. and removed all spoil to surface. Coke did a Herculean job hauling all the buckets to the surface and off-loading. Visited by Fred on his marathon walk but he wouldn't pay the tea prices. To be continued.

Ken, Coke, Boo & Pete Wag

Sun. 30 June 2002

Si Brooks, Pete Wag, Ken and Mick C to Aldery. Surveyed new part of dig (last survey Nov. 2001) - some good progress made. Several buckets of mud and rocks removed and another good day's progress made.

Si Brooks

Sun. 14 July, 2002

Ken, Boo and Waggy to Aldery Cliff. Waggy furkling in top rift. Ken and Boo detting big boulder in bottom


Sun. 28 July, 2002

Boo and Ken for the last two weekends digging Aldery Cliff Fissure Cave. We could do with a gang to haul debris out. Any offers welcome.

Ken & Boo

Sun. 4 August, 2002

Coke and Ken to Aldery Cliff. As expected, after last week's rain there's water at the bottom of the dig but Waggy's rift is still dry. So Coke and myself hauled debris out. P.S. Boo wimped out.



Sat 28th. September, 2002

Had a look at Aldery Cliff dig, still about 18 inches of water in bottom, so went on up road to other small pot at base of cliff with a view to enlarge it so as to see if bedding plane at bottom was going. Only to find it partly filled in, so dug it out and found two bags of bones - fortunately not human remains! Anyway, tidied top and put grid back.

Ken & Paul B.


Sun. 12 May, 2002

Pete Wag and Paul Lydon to Whalf Pipe. First placed bolts missing from Knotlow Engine Shaft as requested by Ralph Johnson, then rigged Whalf Pipe Engine Shaft and descended Climbing Shaft.

Had shouting conversation with Tim, Helen & Pete H. from bottom of Engine Shaft while they were on surface and agreed to leave Climbing Shaft rigged for them. Pete ascended the Engine Shaft and de-rigged - Paul returned back up Climbing Shaft. (Found in situ rope on bottom pitch of Climbing Shaft.)

Paul L.

Went over to Knotlow to replace missing bolts from the Engine Shaft as requested by Ralph Johnson, only to find Waggy had already done it (see above). Had a shouting conversation with Pete Wagstaff and Paul Lydon from top of Engine Shaft, while they were at the bottom, and they agreed to leave the Climbing Shaft rigged so we descended the Engine Shaft.

Tim descended first, only to make a complete fool of himself by getting off the rope at the wrong passage! After much swearing and moaning he was back on the rope for a further 50 ft. into the proper "Meccano Passage". A grotty, tight, wet, grim crawl eventually saw us at Hillocks Engine Shaft. Then back up the climbing shafts and out to a fine sunny day. All in all a very good trip. T.U.G. 2 hours.

Tim, Helen & Pete (Deep Penetration Ltd.)


Sat. 18 May, 2002

Winston's Birthday! (11) Trip over to Edale for Kinder trek, grim low cloud and drizzle, pint in pub, then great blue skies as soon as we headed back to the Hut!

Helen, Derek, Steve W. & Win

P. 8

Sun. 19 May, 2002

Went down P.8 using SRT with Pete H. for the practice.

Paul Lydon

Sun. 15 September, 2002

What a delight to carry only one tackle bag with a ladder and 20m of rope for an easy trip to P.8. New prospective members Tosh and Carmel joined us for a ladder trip down the stream route. The second pitch is not ladder-friendly but both Tosh and Carmel coped well. Only one other party down exploring the low route while we pushed the high route.

Down to the main sump with very low water levels. Tosh managed to cave with one of Pete Wag's dodgy connected lights (see Lesley, Ireby Fell) although this time it was intermittent.

Followed the other party out and then wandered over to P.7 for a look at the locked lid. P.6 was then visited and looks like a promising site with vertical rifts enticing the diggers onwards but the silt running in at high water levels does look like a major headache. Stacked bags at the first vertical bit shows how much effort some people have already put in. This dig makes Owl Hole seem attractive. T.U.G. 3 hrs.

Pete Wag, Kenny, Boo, Robert (Tosh) & Carmel Swan


Sat. 25 May, 2002

Paul Lydon, Paul Thorne, Vince, Steve, Emma, Rob. Almost to East Canal (too wet to do last bit). Nice trip. Windpipe unpleasant, as usual.

Paul Thorne

Tues. 9 July, 2002

First trip. Did the round trip - took about 4 hours. Was dreading the Windpipe , but not half as bad as I thought it would be. Wet and cold by the end of it but really enjoyed it. Thanks to Alan and Karen for making it "fun" and being so encouraging. T.U.G. 4hrs. 20mins.



Sun. 25 May, 2002

Pete W., Paul T., Vince, Rob, Steve but only one daft enough to go through Meccano Passage and back! (me). Descended Main Engine Shaft to about 120 ft. down, then swing off to another parallel route, fitted with P-hangers, but not listed in Peak Rigging Guide. Comes out in roof of "Main Chamber" next to where Engine Shaft comes in. Needs about 75m rope total plus about 8 krabs. Now makes 4 different routes!

Paul T.


Sun. 2 June 2002

Wet, muddy and 'orrible. Those participating: Waggy, Coke & Ken. The cups of tea and coffee were nice though.


Sun. 8 September, 2002

Kenny and myself over to Owl with section of extending ladder. Used this to reach the small tube in the cliff face, above and to the right of the Owl Hole Dig.

Kenny removed rocks and debris from this and managed to penetrate some 2m to where the passage appeared to split and get smaller. Passage could be seen to continue - small, minimal prospects for further extension.

Meanwhile I removed many buckets of mud and several large rocks from the dig. Passage is now some 2m beyond Chamber and is 1.6m high and about 0.9m wide and continuing. Fill a mix of rocks and coarse, sandy sediments. Kenny and myself then joined forces to remove more mud and rocks before dual lamp failure prompted a return to the Hut.

OK, the site is a bit of a "poo mine" but the passage looks good and is continuing.

Si Brooks & Kenny


Fri. 7 June, 2002

Walked from the Club over to Water Icicle. Descended shaft. All routes explored. T.U.G. 2 hours.

Tim, Helen, Pete, Jo


Fri. 5 July, 2002

Took me and my Shepton friend Andy Manners down to West Chamber. Cave was quite dry (even though it's been chucking it down for 2 days!). First proper rigging trip for me. Excellent!



Sat. 6 July, 2002

A quick "pike" by any standards in the Ashwood Dale area to the west of Buxton. Alec, Sally and myself drove into Ashwood Dale and parked just west of the cement works. Walked up to find Ashwood Dale Cave, which proved to be in a different location from the grid ref. in the "Caves of the Peak District". Cave more or less as described and offers minimal prospects for further extension. Cave is heavily used by local youths as a "smoking den" and thus is somewhat full of rubbish and quite unpleasant.

To find cave come through tunnel under the railway (footpath) and on far side ascend directly up steep slope to find cave high on valley side. Obvious entrance on small platform is 1.5m wide by 1.2m high and finally closing as a rubble choked crawl - no draft, formed on vein.

(New) Ashwood Dale Cave No.2. NGR 072728

(a.k.a. Cottrill's Cleft)

Continuing some 300m to the west of Ashwood Dale Cave, along the railway line (naughty!) is an obvious entrance in the rock face to the north of the line. This leads to a small fissure cave 5.7m long that could be dug. Yet another cave that does not appear in Caves of the Peak District. Once again, cave popular with kids.

Named after A.T.Cottrill who spotted cave from road (A6) to demonstrate the "piking" advantages of buying a high driving position "Discovery". This cave is doubtless known to others.

N.B. Both Ashwood Dale Cave and Ashwood Dale Cave No.2 formed along fissure/vein at 350o.

Si Brooks Ashwood Dale Caves Surveys on p. 14


Jun. 7 July, 2002

Old fogies and kids reunion trip to Dowel. Anna, Tommy and Mick down Dowel Resurgence, then down to the end of Etches Cave, also with Ruth and Anna. Good air flow noticed. Sterling surface support from Lily, Bev. Julie, with valued expert advice from Tim Holmes and Johnny Hall.

Mick P.


Sun. 14 July, 2002

Better late than never! Tim H, Helen B, Paul L, Boyd P. While Boyd returned to the Cottage to retrieve forgotten SRT kit, Tim rigged West Route and Helen and I followed, observed by a bevy of walkers. Tim set up rope to prussik up to Millers Chamber as Boyd arrived. All climbed up to Millers Chamber with me thinking this was Damocles Rift! Tim continued up the in situ rope to the real Damocles Rift, followed by the others. Exited v. hot after prusik.

Paul L.


Sat. 20 July, 2002

Barry, Paul & Maz B, Alan J, Karen H & Alan J. Snr. Trip down Carleswark. In Eyam Dale Shaft, through to Dynamite Series. 2 Alans back out shaft, rest through Main Passage to Gin. More water than normal beyond Noughts and Crosses but main drag slightly lower than normal. Good trip. T.U.G. 3 hrs.

Alan J.


Sun. 28 July, 2002

Tim, Helen & Pete (Deep Penetration Ltd.) finally got underground about midday. lots of messing around before finally running out of rope at the bottom of the 6th. pitch (bugger). A return is planned! Cave: 1, cavers: 0

Sun. 4 August, 2002

Maskhill again! Tim, Helen, Pete (Deep Penetration Ltd.) Return trip to Maskhill to open up a can of "woop ass". Took enough rope this time to make the traverse over the top of Maskhill's 6th. pitch to drop into Oxlow West Chamber. Back out to a dull, grey day. T.U.G. 5 hrs.


Sat. 3 August, 2002

Pete Wag, Bell, Lesley Yuen, Steve White, Doug Jackson (Lost World) & Paul Lydon. Steve, Doug and Paul went down the Climbing Shaft while the others went down the Engine Shaft. Eventually all met up at the bottom. Some had a root round the mine workings while others re-ascended and descended again. Eventually everyone out at about 7:15ish. Late start due to spending all morning sorting out ropes for the Berger trip. At least we didn't run out of rope this time!

P.S. bottom pitch of Climbing Shaft still had in situ rope dated 03/00.

Paul L.

Sun. 22 September, 2002

Down Climbing Shaft and showed Tosh the start of the connection to Hillocks and Knotlow. The air seemed very thin as every climb and crawl left us both short of breath. Out the same way and again, heavy breathing all the way out. Tosh managed his first SRT trip very well. T.U.G. 2 hrs.

Pete Wag & Tosh


Sun. 4 August, 2002 Berger training? Steve White & Paul Lydon. St off to Hitch 'n' Hike for Steve to purchase a tackle bag and carbide set-up for the Berger. Then went down P.8 to wash off mud from yesterday's trip and for Steve to christen his new lamp.

Paul L.


Sun. 11 August, 2002

Went for a look at the Cales Dale "collapse" spotted by Pete W. yesterday. This is right at the top of the dale as the path turns up to Cales Farm, where the crag is formed on a prominent mineral vein. The damage, caused presumably by a powerful localised storm, is quite astounding - a gully about 8 ft. deep by 10 ft. wide has torn the path away and spread out into an apron of debris right down to the dale bottom. The amount of water that did this must have been quite a sight to behold. The question is, did it all come down from the valley by the farm, or out of the floor of the gully at the foot of the crag, which seems possible? Worth a look.

Boyd, Selina, Cedric & Mick P.


Sun. 22 September, 2002

Trip to Lathkiller Hall with Alec and Sally. Sally's first SRT trip. No problem - nice trip.

Simon, Alec & Sally


Tues. 24 September, 2002

Evening trip down Cumberland/Wapping to see the remains of the crystals, which in some places are still good. Lots of passages to explore but decided on a second trip to Devonshire. The most effort was up the road to the entrance. Standard trip with no crawling so out for a quick pint in the Fishpond. T.U.G. 3 hrs.

Pete Wag & Tosh


Sat. 2 November, 2002

Went on me own digging. In less than an hour broke through to another chamber. Gallons of water came pouring out. Made a quick exit, had a fag and went back. Water down to a trickle. Broke a bit more away and gallons more water came pouring down. Made another exit. By this time water was trickling out of the entrance.

P.S. If you want to know where, you will have to come digging tomorrow.



If you are intending to go on an away trip, please contact Pete Wag. or Boyd in advance so that accommodation can be organised.
Aug. 30/31- North Wales. Oread Cottage.
Sept. 13/14- Yorks. Birks Fell (Sun) / Langstrothdale.
Sept. 27/28- Yorks. Lancaster Hole / Pippikin.
Oct. 3/4- BCRA Hidden Earth. Gloucestershire.
Oct. 11/12- Yorks. Juniper Gulf / Long Kin West.
Oct. 18/19- Derbys. OCC Yearly. Long Rake (Bradwell)


Bookings are coming in fairly regularly now so we'll try to keep the list on the Cottage notice board up to date.
Aug. 2-10- Shepton members staying (2)
Aug. 9/10- Bracknell & District C. C. (9)
Sept. 7-14- Karen's group (10)
Oct. 18/19- OCC Half-Yearly. Members
Oct. 25/26- Toby C. C. (9)

If you do want to bring out a large group, please check with Jenny first to make sure there's no clash.


The Committee

Chairman: Boyd Potts, 3 Greenway, Hulland Ward, Ashbourne, Derbys. DE6 3FE. 01335-370629 e-mail via dca@theDCA.org.uk
Secretary: Pete Wagstaff, 43 Sandbed Lane, Belper, Derbyshire. DE56 0SJ. 01773-826920, e-mail. pete@orpheuscavingclub.co.uk
Treasurer: Tricia Webber, 38 Wheeldon Ave., Derby, DE22 1HN. 01332-362568, e-mail. Tricia@mcgregor-corporate.co.uk
Librarian: Simon Brooks, 11 Margery Close, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1GZ. 01335-346411 e-mail. Simonj.Brooks@btopenworld.com
Hostel Warden: Dick Marley, 15 Elmwood Road, Streetley, Sutton Coldfield, B74 2DF. 0121-353-1504 e-mail. Richard.Marley@btinternet.com
Tackle Master: Tim Holling, 35 Burdock Close, Oakwood, Derby, DE21 2BX. 01332-830460 e-mail. caver@ntlworld.com
Caving Secretary: Boo Webster, Flat 56, The Firs, Ashbourne, Derbys. 01335-343606, E-mail. Boocaver@hotmail.com

Committee Members:

Doug Hobbs, 40 Madison Ave., Chaddesden, Derby. DE21 6JA. Mob. 07960-781148, e-mail. doughobbs@ukonline.co.uk
Paul Lydon, Hefford House, Main St. Winster, Matlock. DE4 2DH Tel. 01629-650482, E-mail. paul@palydon.demon.co.uk
Hostel Booking Secretary: Jenny Potts, Greenway, Hulland Ward, Ashbourne,Derbyshire. DE6 3FE. 01335-370629 e-mail. dca@theDCA.org.uk

OCC Reps. to DCA Meetings:

Dave Jones, Cedar House, Burton Rd., Streethay, Lichfield, Staffs. WS13 8LS. 01543-263082, e-mail. dj.cedar@clara.co.uk
Mick Hogg, 32 Birchley Heath, Nuneaton, Warwicks. 01827-713958
Heather Lomas, Cedar House, Burton Rd., Streethay, Lichfield, Staffs. WS13 8LS. 01543-263082 e-mail. via dj.cedar@clara.co.uk
Boyd Potts, 3 Greenway, Hulland Ward, Ashbourne, Derbys. DE6 3FE. 01335-370629
Boo Webster, Flat 56, The Firs, Ashbourne, Derbys. 01335-343606
Pete Wagstaff, 43 Sandbed Lane, Belper, Derbyshire. DE56 0SJ. 01773-826920, e-mail. pete@orpheuscavingclub.co.uk

OCC Rep. to BCRA Meetings:

Jenny Potts, 3 Greenway, Hulland Ward, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 3FE. 01335-370629

OCC Rep. to DCRO Meetings:


Tackle Store Keys Held by:

Tim Holling, Boyd Potts, Si Brooks, Boo, Paul L.(addresses above) Ken Morton and Mark O'Keeffe

Library Cupboard Keys Held by:

Simon Brooks, Boyd & Jenny Potts, Doug, Dick Marley, Boo, Dave Jones, Pete Wagstaff, (addresses above) and Alan Jones & Russell Carter.

OCC website at http://www.orpheuscavingclub.co.uk


We aim to get the next issue out in early September. so deadline for the next issue will be 31 August 2003

Please send your news, views, etc. to Jenny by snail-mail or e-mail. (If you send by e-mail we are happy to accept text files or Word files) - we will accept your article written on the back of a beer-mat if necessary - just get writing!
You can send printed photos or we can accept e-mailed pictures now. If you want to try this, give Jenny a call first to warn of a large file coming.

Send your offerings to:

Jenny Potts, 3 Greenway, Hulland Ward, Ashbourne, Derbyshire. DE6 3FE. E-mail. dca@theDCA.org.uk<

In the next issue:

Owl Hole, the survey, the Aldwark & Parwich caves, plus (held over from this issue) more discoveries from the Chiltans.