With social, sporting caving less doable than usual - at least with the people I'd like to cave with, we decided to do some surface explores and poking of heads into things.
Here's the entrances we visited, we didn't really "go" in any of them - but we now know how and how not to get to them:
Middleton Dale Mine Level 5 - Fingal's Cave
Nice cleft. Broken glass on floor. Evidence of mining. Miney-crawl squeeze goes onwards but doesn't inspire adults.
Middleton Dale Mine Level 4 - Triple Hole
I'd quite like a look at the main bit of this. The bit closest to the path is used by activity centres as a "warm up" for carlswark, but the rest of it is suggested to link to stuff, though no links have ever been proven...
Ivy Green Cave
Many here will know, but this cave is the setting of probably the creepiest story in the Peaks, and I'm keen to visit. It's a "proper" climb to cave, which is then a 200m flat out crawl, but we spotted a okish bolt and a shonky bolt, so we'd probably rig SRT up to it, after lead climbing it on trad.
Middleton Dale Mine Level 10
Immediately below Ivy Green, on a shelf, is an obvious hole leading to a pleasant series of chambers where pick marks and possibly blasting holes can be seen.
Middleton Dale Mine Level 3
Uninspiring section higher up the cliff - headed back into a crack. Loose ceilings and pretty dull.
Keyhole Cave aka the balcony aka various names
We didn't do the through trip, but this 3 entrance mini cave is one of the best value microtrips in the dale.
Immediately to the right of the most right hand Keyhole Cave entrance, is the uninspiring-looking Cavalier's Hole belly crawl.
Carlswark Resurgence Entrance
A obvious path from near the Gin entrance leads down a tiny scramble, past something interesting looking and into a flat area surrounded by crags. The resurgence is at the back corner.
When we were there, it was empty, echoy and looked surprisingly big immediately inside.
Unnamed phreatic tube
About 30m west of the Resurgence, and 20m south west of the Gin Entrance, an obvious phreatic tube by the path down gives at least 8m of passage and potential for more - in the style of Carlswark's phreatic tubes. Surely explored for years, but curiously not referenced anywhere.
Carlswark Flowerpot Entrance
Samantha hadn't seen this, so I showed her the splat-a-rat tube and we debated about how easy or hard it might be to return up it.
Middleton Dale Mine Level 12 - King's Level
We went looking for this, but didn't find it. In 2017, the DCA noted this 37.4m cave's entrance was blocked at present - so I feel a bit better havin lost it. It is however possible that the co-ordinates are in the wrong place. I was looking (facing uphill) on the right said of the Eyam road near road level.
We then stomped up from the Layby up the new Eyam Dale House Cave Path just far enough to find Fireset Shaft and to prod its lid and poke our noses down. Could be a historic objective one day, and a scaff bar deviation would be required.
This was a bugger to get to, and wasn't worth the ascent. Large entrance area leads to unappealing looking flat out it. Maybe one day.
Merlin Mine Top Entrance
The route we took to this was non-optimal. A clear entrance by a fallen tree in the cliff lead swiftly to the pitch, rigged with 3 p-anchors.
Merlin Mine Main Entrance
Main as this is, and obvious as well, the front door is surprisingly small. Having said that, inside it is salubrious and is definitely likely to see a trip from me soon. One thing that struck us was that although Merlin Mine is supposed to connect to Carlswark, its entrances are very high up.
The path to the entrances is the first obvious path on the lefthandside of the Eyam Road, about 100m before the Carlswark Eyam Dale shaft one. The path curves back to the left as you head up the hill.
Layby Pot - Oildrum Entrance
A small path leads up to a single Oildrum covered with a lid.
Layby Pot - Main Entrance
A small path leads to an obvious looking cave at the back of the cliff hidden from the road by a lump. Turns into a pitch straight away. P-anchors present.
Clearly esoterica. A single rusted unusable spit is visible. Descends some distance. Is probably slightly further from the road and up the hill towards the cliff than Grid Reference.
You know you've got here when you question your life decisions, get stung by nettles, fall over and see two buckets and a hole. It seems to be free climbable, but maybe there was a bolt for a handline. The nicest approach is from more or less opposite hanging Flat Mine.
Clearly a wet weather bouldering venue with a small crawl. Judith 's opinion: "uninspiring toilet crawl, not much to recommend"
Hanging Flat Mine:
Although it's not well hidden, this entrance is surprisingly hard to find. There's more potential here for small trips. Judith fell for the game of "Catch!!" much to my mirth, and we explored the artifact-ridden mini level.
The walk to this was vile. A tree clearly marked with reflective paint helped in no way whatsover, so lots of slip sliding in the darkness up vertical brambles occurred. This was made up for when we found the entrance: covered in brambles and stuffed full of cave spiders. I believe there are supposed to be good reasons to return, but I'm not convinced.
Hale Bopp pot:
We had a good look for this, assisted by the GPS and I feel like we were where entrance should be, but maybe a collapse/landslide has covered the entrance? We didn't try digging. We didn't find it.
Further up the hill than we first believed, the entrance was marked with scaff bar. Quite soon in, the entrance dig looked sketchier than a Donald Trump colouring book and went through a low bit. We decided we'd find out if it was worth it first.
This location has disputed location, but we found the hole on the metres to the left of the Horseshoe Quarry approach path. We then went looking for the "other" location (possibly Hobbit Hole) but got bored when we discovered it was at the bottom of some cliffs.
We had a good nosey into Bagshot Row - a pleasant dig in a phreatic tube. Nothing particularly to recommend a trip, but quite a pleasant crawl if you're passing.
We found the main Yoga Cave entrance with its dedicated path from the climbing area, close to the cliff bottom, and dropped into the impressively large and decorated toad hall. For the proximity to the road, and entrance, this was a great discovery.
Judith explored one of the digs (but decided to turn about at an interestingly supported boulder) and I may have found another entrance (I found leaves) but I didn't see fresh air.
Probably worth a return visit. There's much more to it and supposedly a through trip?
After a huge amount of faff, we found Streaks cave. For the record, the way to access this is from the road, not from above which is cliffs, or the side, which is undergrowth.
Contrary to the name, Streaks Cave has the most miney looking entrance in the history of mines. However it is actually a cave that has been mined. It's Much Taller than you're expecting and occupies a huge vertical void. T'Owd Man was clearly up there cause there are stemples in places where logic says there shouldn't be.
An inviting looking (but poorly protected) crawl lead away above a drop - possibly to a second entrance, because there's supposed to be a through trip in this.
Streaks Pot Lower Entrance
After a huge amount of faffing, and wandering up and down the hillside, we found Streaks Pot lower entrance. I guess it's obvious it's there, but I still can't believe we didn't see it for so long a very short distance up the hillside from the roadside in a slight depression.
I put my head down the pleasant shaft to the tight bellycrawl and decided it'd be something for another day.