UK Caving

WHERE THE CAVES ARE - The Caving Regions => Peak District => Topic started by: Pete K on April 05, 2018, 06:06:09 pm

Title: Halfway House, Peak Cavern 5-4-2018
Post by: Pete K on April 05, 2018, 06:06:09 pm
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. Walking up on the surface, the river was about 4-5 inches over the usual step and distinctly brown as expected. As we entered the gorge, the water from Peak Resurgence was running high but was nearly clear. The water from Slop Moll and Russet was high and brown. To me this indicated the flood from Peak was well on the way down but the slightly delayed Speedwell watercourse was still at higher levels, all be it probably also dropping now. The water levels in the Peak showcave had dropped sufficiently since the Cavern had to curtail the tours 2 days previously (3rd), although the staff were still clearing up a bit of mud from Lumbago that had appeared overnight. Apparently Speedwell had been flooded at the Bottomless Pit yesterday (4th) and that water probably came through overnight and topped up the pool at Lumbago. I'd heard from John that cavers had been turned back by water levels at the Whirlpool in Speedwell this morning.
We dropped in past the gate and down to the very quiet Halfway House at around 11am today and found the water was ponded wall to wall, about 8 feet deep possibly at the point the stream usually runs.

( ( 5-4-18 Halfway House ( by Pete Knight (, on Flickr
( ( 5-4-18 Halfway House ( by Pete Knight (, on Flickr

Realising the Victoria Aven trip was not on, we headed out and Irene kindly allowed us to pop up into the Krypton Series while Jarvis Cocker's crew were setting up his gig. A couple of hours later and we'd convinced ourselves to go back to the streamway and swim up to see what state the Wallows were in. Kind of a case of lets have a look as we might not get the chance again. After a rapid return to the vehicles and the addition of some neoprene, we were back up at the Halfway House for 2pm, 3 hours after the first photos.

( ( 5-4-18 (2) ( by Pete Knight (, on Flickr
( ( 5-4-18 (4) ( by Pete Knight (, on Flickr

As you can see the water has dropped somewhere between 1.5 and 2 feet over the 3 hours. In the hour we were further upstream we noticed a further drop of another half a foot at this point and the roof of the Halfway House passage was almost visible at water height. Between 2pm and 3pm we were up at Buxton Water taking some pictures. The water levels at the dam end were well flowing but not anything dramatic. The second half of the Five Arches walking upstream was mainly as it usually is all be it with about 6 inches of flowing water. I must admit that we took the opportunity to have a swim at the Halfway House before leaving as an alternative to the usual scrub down. Who knew when we'd get the chance again!
So no great surprises or insightful observations, it was just nice to see this process happening today and I thought it was worth sharing. Today's main lesson? Always take the little tripod caving, you never know when you might need it and you'll be glad to have it.

( ( 5-4-18 (16) ( by Pete Knight (, on Flickr.
Some more pics here if anyone is interested: (
Pics taken on an Olympus TG-4 with Manfroto tripod and lit with a mix of Scurion 1500 and Armytek Wizard v3.
Title: Re: Halfway House, Peak Cavern 5-4-2018
Post by: alastairgott on April 05, 2018, 09:45:27 pm
Pete, love the final photo. Awesome.

Also the water levels look... Interesting.
Title: Re: Halfway House, Peak Cavern 5-4-2018
Post by: pwhole on April 06, 2018, 01:49:40 am
Fabulous photos -and thanks for the report too - just the sort of info worth sharing :clap2:
Title: Re: Halfway House, Peak Cavern 5-4-2018
Post by: Rob on April 06, 2018, 08:49:31 am
Excellent record of your observations, and nice photos.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Halfway House, Peak Cavern 5-4-2018
Post by: Pitlamp on April 06, 2018, 09:16:49 am
I've dived into the Halfway House passage many times when it's been sumped like that, to dig at the end of the Styx Inlet Sump. In such conditions the water at the terminal choke in Styx Inlet does clear slowly, helping you see to work. This is why the main dive line starts in the Five Arches passage. Perhaps surprisingly, the current in the Halfway House passage was never a real problem for returning; this is because the outlet at end of the Halfway House Sump is so restricted the water is mainly just backing up.

Just a word of caution; diving in these conditions is only safely possible as a result of many years of careful observation of the area in high water. I'm NOT suggesting it's safe just to dive there without experience of this area and good knowledge of the characteristics of flooding in the system.

Very nice images Pete!
Title: Re: Halfway House, Peak Cavern 5-4-2018
Post by: Pete K on April 06, 2018, 10:24:46 am
Thanks guys. The pictures in the dam were a bit of a eureka moment in passing and certainly not what I had intended to shoot yesterday.
Title: Re: Halfway House, Peak Cavern 5-4-2018
Post by: TheMercury13 on September 30, 2019, 11:30:43 pm
Wonderful to see these pics! I went on the public tour before it was shortened in '90; my memories are hazy & I was curious to try remember how this area looks - obviously it was drier when the tourists pootled through ;D ~ Thank you :beer2:
Title: Re: Halfway House, Peak Cavern 5-4-2018
Post by: Peregrina on October 01, 2019, 10:33:10 am
It's underwater again now for the third day running.
Title: Re: Halfway House, Peak Cavern 5-4-2018
Post by: Tseralo on October 01, 2019, 10:52:27 am
Two big floods this year, the last one made some significant changes in speedwell and peak, it will be interesting to see if all the sediment the last one deposited is gone or if there is even more.

Hopefully the freshers can get in this weekend, the forecast doesn't look good