System News

This section of the website gives you items that are news worthy in the system whether its new discoveries, breakthrough information, project updates, special events etc.

The Pilkington Series in Speedwell Mine is a series of extensive mine workings that rise up from the Speedwell Far Canal to large cavity with a blocked mine shaft to the surface. James Pilkington in his book, A view of the Present State of Derbyshire, 1789; describes some caves in and around Derbyshire.

Backwater Aven is located at the western end of the Long Bypass, in area surrounded by The Bung and the Far Canal. This was first dug in 1992 for a short while before leaving for grander projects. A return in July 2011, resulted in a new extension. The story about the dig can be found in Issue 154 of The Derbyshire Caver, published Feb 2020.

This was orginally posted on UK Caving.com by Pete Knight, and with his permisson, this has been posted on this site. All pictures by Pete.

I just thought some of you might be interested in this observation about the water levels in Peak. A few of us had a visit to the Cavern today (5th April 2018) with a vague hope of going up Victoria Aven and taking some pics. 

Jim Lister and team have been working beyond Ink Sump for the last sixteen years. Using a substantial amount of scaffolding in the vertical boulder choke in the roof of Dooms Retreat, Jim has been creating a safe route through it, with the aim of breaking into new ground.

The breakthrough finally came during the autumn of 2016 when Jim spotted a small chamber through a small gap but after breaking through it was found to be a large void, the far wall being created by a fallen boulder the size of a small house.

The Peak Cavern Showcave tour currently ends at the top of Devil's Staircase in a passage called Pluto Dining Room, a fence crosses the passage and stops tourists passing this point. Cavers use a gate for access beyond this point. This point wasn't always the end of the showcave, prior to 1989, the tour used to drop down the staircase through into Five Arches. The path traverses the passage, crossing the River Styx in four places until it reached the junction of Buxton Water and Speedwell Water, in the area below Victoria Aven.

Titan Lid Update: (From Dave (Moose) Nixon)

For those who plan to visit Titan, there is a new surface lid to the Titan entrance which just covers the opening in the concrete lid. It swivels around the bolt holding it down and is therefore easier to open and close when inside the shaft top. It also can't blow down in high winds. This lid doesn't lock so please close it when it's not in use. The internal lid remains the same and should be locked once you have completed a trip.

The Whirlpool is normally a neck deep pool in normal water conditions, it has its name due to unwary cavers falling in, then being spun around in a Whirlpool effect. This whirlpool effect is created when the water that is flowing from Whirlpool Rising meets the main streamway. A fixed traverse line has been installed previously to facilitate passing this pool.

Following the heavy rainfall in February 2011, a large amount of silt has been moved from Main Rising / Whirlpool Rising and deposited at various points downstream and this has also filled the Whirlpool up so this is currently a knee deep walk.

In November 2008, after a big flood, part of the wallows was filled with silt (fine sand) so instead of it being a wet stoop, it was crawl over the silt. The movement of sediment is a natural occurrence from Treasury Sump, down Upper Gallery, through Mucky Ducks, The Wallows, Five Arches and eventually out through the resurgence. This occurs during flood conditions when the water from Speedwell overflows into Peak.

Well, after the flood at the start of February 2011, Treasury Sump flowed resulting in the silt been scoured out once again, so this is now wet stoop again. This silt has been deposited in 1947 Chamber and in Five Arches. Subsequently following this flood, Treasury Sump is wide open again for divers.

In October 2010 a film crew gathered at the old Titan dig compound to shoot a piece for the BBC magazine programme “The One Show”. Previously Dave (Moose) Nixon and Graham “Grum” Wolstencroft had spent some time on maintenance and safety at the site allowing the main crew to descend with its presenter, the intrepid Dan Snow.

Gavin Newman filmed and Moose and Dan dangled. Lighting technicians, producers, assistants, SRT and safety experts all fussed around to get the best out of what time they had.

Dan was in safe hands but his relief on returning to the safety of the window was tangible.

An unusual 4WD vehicle housed a beefy 30kw generator.

The lamps used at the head of the shaft were 2 x 2.5kw MSR (medium source rare earth) which gave a light output at the same frequency as daylight, but with a brilliance roughly equivalent to 25 x 500Watt halogen lamps! Also suspended lower down in the shaft were 2 x 200w lamps powered off 30v batteries through inverters. They combined to make Titan appear as on a sunny day with the “roof” open!

Dave Webb October 2010

Throughout October 1999 to June 2003 a 45 metre shaft had been sunk mainly through solid limestone, and a 15m adit had been driven to the “Breakout Window". One of the main reasons for undertaking this ambitious project to intersect the top of Titan was to facilitate exploration of the passages leading off from the main shaft. West Passage was just one of several “leads” that awaited a determined push.

In May 2004, following a 12 month break, the team reassembled to push the short passage leading into the choke going west from the base of the surface shaft: the project was full of promise, leading as it did into a blank area on the map. Four years later, and at a vertical depth of around 35 metres we finally admitted defeat and handed victory to the energy- sapping boulder choke. The Titan Compound was abandoned to the elements, local wildlife and visits by cavers embarking on a trip into Titan.

As part of obtaining the necessary permissions from Natural England and others (officially known as the consent process) the site had eventually to be returned to agriculture and levelled as near as possible to its original contours. On a sunny weekend of October 16th-17th 2010, a team led by Moose spent two days undertaking the clear-up and capping work.

Day one was spent taking down the barbed-wire surround, the winch and headgear and removing the trusty Lister diesel engine that has powered the winch for nearly a decade. The little dry stone wall around it was left to provide temporary shelter for visitors waiting to be called over to the shaft for the descent into the hillside.

Day two saw the arrival of a JCB and a procession of 4x4 vehicles and trailers carrying the concrete rings necessary to build up the shaft-head prior to backfilling from the rather large spoil heap. This took most of the day and the activities attracted a steady stream of onlookers and helpers all of whom had at one time or another been associated with the dig.

Dave Webb. November 2010

In October 2011, a BBC Scotland documentary on free-climbing was filmed around the 200 ft high entrance.  See New Climbing Route for more information.

 

Dave Willams has completed a number of aid climbing routes across the roof of the Peak Cavern Vestibule. These have been undertaken over the last four years. For more information, see Dave Williams blog.

Dave MacLeod and Alan Cassidy, two of Scotland's best rock athletes travelled south of the border in search of bold new routes. In an astonishing week, they attempt two innovative first ascents - one deep underground, as they climb out of Jingling Pot and the other in the huge Peak Cavern. The film shown on BBC2 Scotland, The Adventure Show - Climbing...No Limits follows them as they inch their way from darkness into light.

This program was shown on BBC 2 (Scotland) on the 12/04/12 at 8pm.

Report by Alan Brentnall (Edited by Wayne Sheldon)

On Tuesday 18th December 2012, a production team from the BBC went into Peak Cavern to undertake some filming for the Horizon Series. The documentary was about hydrolic fracturing or Fracking and the filming itself started with a session up at Mam Tor where the shale is very evident. After this, they arrived at the TSG, got changed into caving equipment and headed up to Peak Cavern, and made their way to Surprise View. They were lifelined down Surprise View, prior to heading downstream to The Tube, to film part of the documentary on the underground geology.

My earliest memory of caving beyond the show cave of Peak Cavern was an EPC trip which I did in the mid-Eighties. This was what we would nowadays call a “tourist trip”, involving a romp along the Upper Gallery, a visit to Buxton Water Sump, a dive through Lake Sump, a visit to Far Sump, a trip around the Galena Circuit and, oddly enough, a trip to the emergency dump at Picnic Dig. I say oddly enough, because it has vanished from the itinerary of a modern day tourist trip, but we certainly covered it then.

The weekend of 13th and 14th February 2016 saw the completion of the long running repair work on the entrance shaft of Titan. All the rigging and repair gear has now been removed and the shaft is clear.

News Flash

Victoria Aven Safety Notice - 18_08_2021

It has been reported to the Peak Cavern keyholders that there is a damaged section of rope in Victoria Aven along with a loose boulder so DO NOT CLIMB UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

We are in the process of arranging to re-rig the pitches and to assess whether the loose boulder needs to be removed.