Author Topic: The Derbyshire Caver, Issue 154  (Read 453 times)

Offline DCA

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The Derbyshire Caver, Issue 154
« on: February 21, 2021, 12:22:07 pm »
Just in time for our 2021 AGM tomorrow evening, the latest issue of The Derbyshire Caver, No. 154, has just been released. Despite the restrictions and lack of solid caving imposed by Covid, we've managed to put together another issue, which we hope will be of interest to all. Print copies will be mailed out tomorrow morning, but the digital version can be downloaded here:

https://thedca.org.uk/publications/newsletters

The issue also details the new Peak District Caving Info website, which has had a complete revamp in recent months, and which we hope you will all find useful and entertaining:

https://peakdistrictcaving.info/

As with all these things, we depend on cavers out there to provide us with news, opinions and interesting features, so please get your thinking caps on. We don't want to have to wait another six months for what should be a quarterly release. And we hope to see all our members at tomorrow night's AGM. If you plan to attend, please let us know in advance via: secretary@theDCA.org.uk

Thank you all

DCA
Derbyshire Caving Association

Online Mrs Trellis

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Re: The Derbyshire Caver, Issue 154
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2021, 11:41:47 am »
The Pilkington stuff is fascinating. What a shame they didn't have GPS in his day.
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Offline pwhole

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Re: The Derbyshire Caver, Issue 154
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2021, 09:52:24 pm »
I know - I still shudder to think of them lugging a heavy chain up the side of Winnats behind Speedwell to stake out and sight the level bearing on the surface.

His description of the route down is spot-on though, at least until he gets to the streamway. Then it all seems to get a bit hazy and he's suddenly at the Bottomless Pit. I have to assume that the 'original' Assault Course passage end was already buried beneath the streamway floor when he visited, though it's unclear when that was exactly. Eede's Grove was the mine shaft he actually dropped, and I think that was bought by Oakden and co when they opened up the system, so it's certainly around 1780. But I suspect from his description that he went via the 'Trevor Ford' passage, rather than taking the tubes to the Whirlpool and then back down the streamway.

I went in with Nigel Ball a few years ago, and he dug out the very top of the Assault Course passage where it meets the streamway - wearing a facemask and a small cylinder. I had to stand on his back tp keep him underwater while he dug! But he did open it up a bit, though it was obviously pointless to go any further - it was just to prove the point really that it was there under the backfill. I'm surprised Pilkington (or anyone else for that matter) never mentioned the Pit Props section, as it surely must have already been in work by then. The significance of a 40m branch to the canal being blasted (of equal proportions to the main canal), seems to have passed most historians by, especially when you think what's beyond it. Most of the ore came from there, for one thing. I remember coming out of there once with Wayne after a digging session and we bumped into some students coming from JH or Titan in the branch canal, and they thought it was the Bung connection. We told them it was next turn right, and they all trooped off. No-one asked where we'd been - they never do.

Also - Pit Top Passage, as the top of the Bottomless Pit, is the closest part to Pilkington's series, above the canal. The choke at the end is just waiting to be dropped, and it has flowstone amidst the deads. I have asked once about having a go, but it just got a chin-rub in response. There's really only one way to do it, and it would be quite loud. But it if it didn't work, it would still just be a choke.
If it did work...there's plenty of stacking-space too :-\

Offline Jenny P

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Re: The Derbyshire Caver, Issue 154
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2021, 01:22:25 pm »
Somewhere I have another item from Pilkington which I don't think is from his book.  I had it as, I think, an extract from a magazine or some such which was sent to me for the Orpheus C.C. Library back in the 1970's by Ray Mansfield.  Ray used to send me photocopied oddments about Derbyshire caves he'd come across, always carefully bound in a cardboard cover with a neatly typed label on the front giving its origins.

I seem to recall this Pilkington extract (from nearly 50 yeasrs ago now!) as being about entering the big chamber after the crawl above the streamway in Speedwell.  I'll see if I can find it when I'm next allowed to visit the Orphues Library at the Hut and, if it is a separate item, I'll forward a scan on for the Derbyshire Caver if people find these old records as fascinating as I do.

 

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