Author Topic: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?  (Read 11136 times)

Offline The Old Ruminator

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What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« on: September 08, 2012, 11:37:17 am »
As a matter of interest. ::)

Time Machine.

Is it considered to be a passage or a chamber ?

How do you define " biggest " ?
Internal volume ?   Span ? Height x length x width ? Just floor area ?


Is it simpler to not use the term biggest and just refer by other means resulting in several categories ?

One for the statisticians.

Offline graham

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 12:06:11 pm »
Interesting one, isn't it.

I think a chamber should show either one of two things (or both): a significant enlargement compared with the passages leading to and from it and/or a place where width and length are more comparable (difficult to define exactly) than in a normal passage.
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Offline Les W

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 01:29:21 pm »
Until the latest find in Reservoir, GB Main Chamber was accepted* as the largest chamber in Britain    :smartass:

*Certainly by softy southerners, over to you Pitlamp...  ;)
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Offline droid

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 02:56:01 pm »
It hasn't been found yet.

My bet is somewhere west of Titan/Leviathan.
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 02:57:33 pm »
Les - if you really have now found the biggest chamber - you have my warmest congratulations.

I was so pleased when I first heard about it. Many years ago when I was caving actively with the Wessex (before petrol became exhorbitantly expensive) I expressed a wish to have a trip down Reservoir one night in the Hunters'. Quite a few of the local caving "experts" scoffed and said we'd got no chance as Willie Stanton wouldn't co-operate. So I wrote to Willie and, 3 days later, back came the most civil and helpful letter. We were round at his house a couple of weeks later collecting the key and he couldn't have been more encouraging. Obviously we were extremely impressed by the digging efforts in there and when we told him so afterwards, his eyes shone! That was the only time I ever met Willie Stanton but I was left with a real impression of a genuine bloke. It would have been grand if he hadn't passed away before the big new chamber was discovered.

Anyway, well done all concerned. It's things like this which have led to my losing interest in overseas trips. There's just so many exciting caving challenges to take up in Blighty.

Offline graham

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2012, 03:06:09 pm »
Les - if you really have now found the biggest chamber - you have my warmest congratulations.

I'm sure Les won't mind me saying that he was not involved. The main diggers were The Old Ruminator, MRODOC and a bloke called Nigel who doesn't post on here.

I was so pleased when I first heard about it. Many years ago when I was caving actively with the Wessex (before petrol became exhorbitantly expensive) I expressed a wish to have a trip down Reservoir one night in the Hunters'. Quite a few of the local caving "experts" scoffed and said we'd got no chance as Willie Stanton wouldn't co-operate. So I wrote to Willie and, 3 days later, back came the most civil and helpful letter. We were round at his house a couple of weeks later collecting the key and he couldn't have been more encouraging. Obviously we were extremely impressed by the digging efforts in there and when we told him so afterwards, his eyes shone! That was the only time I ever met Willie Stanton but I was left with a real impression of a genuine bloke. It would have been grand if he hadn't passed away before the big new chamber was discovered.

Willie was indeed a top bloke and a role model for cave diggers everywhere.

Anyway, well done all concerned. It's things like this which have led to my losing interest in overseas trips. There's just so many exciting caving challenges to take up in Blighty.

Thought from your point of view travel south of the Trent counted as 'overseas'.  ;)
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Offline Roger W

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2012, 03:32:25 pm »

How do you define " biggest " ?
Internal volume ?   Span ? Height x length x width ? Just floor area ?

Good question.  How do you compare a relatively narrow rift of stupendous height with a considerably lower but much wider chamber?

I suppose - said he, dangling pendantically - you really ought to go for volume.  But caves don't normally come as perfect paralellopipeds, and the measurable (length x width x height) can only be an approximation unless you can get one of those laser-scanning devices in and measure things properly.  Even trying to calculate an approximate volume raises questions like "how high up do you measure the width?" and "exactly where does the chamber start and finish?"

All of which is, of course, well known to all readers of this forum.  Even with well-known large chambers like the big ones in GG and GB, no-one seems to have accurate estimates of the volume to allow meaningful comparisons to be made instead of the usual rude comments...   ;)

Anyway, it sounds as if your new chamber is up with the best of them!
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2012, 05:15:13 pm »
Graham - it's well known that anything south of Castleton is France.  ::)

Offline bograt

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2012, 05:38:42 pm »
Traditionally, the standard unit for chamber size is "St Pauls Cathedral" (or was it York Minster?), as applied to GG all those years ago. :)
As is the standard unit for area measurement "The size of x football pitches" or "the size of Wales". :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Offline cavermark

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2012, 10:13:27 pm »
Definition is the current problem. Most "chambers" will have a passage leading from them - we need to decide at what point a passage becomes a chamber (perhaps an certain increase from an average cross sectional area?). When this is decided it can be applied to all candidates for comparison.
Once we know where our "chamber" starts and finishes we can compare longest, widest, highest dimensions and volume of course.
Best way to measure volume - get Kevin Dixon in with his laser scanner!

http://www.mulucaves.org/wordpress/news/sarawak-chamber-the-worlds-largest

Offline ChrisJC

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2012, 09:20:42 am »
I presume we are excluding man excavated chambers, otherwise some slate quarry chambers make places like the Time Machine appear piddlingly small. And Titan appear piddlingly shallow.

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Offline mrodoc

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2012, 01:50:05 pm »
Les - if you really have now found the biggest chamber - you have my warmest congratulations.

I'm sure Les won't mind me saying that he was not involved. The main diggers were The Old Ruminator, MRODOC and a bloke called Nigel who doesn't post on here.

I was so pleased when I first heard about it. Many years ago when I was caving actively with the Wessex (before petrol became exhorbitantly expensive) I expressed a wish to have a trip down Reservoir one night in the Hunters'. Quite a few of the local caving "experts" scoffed and said we'd got no chance as Willie Stanton wouldn't co-operate. So I wrote to Willie and, 3 days later, back came the most civil and helpful letter. We were round at his house a couple of weeks later collecting the key and he couldn't have been more encouraging. Obviously we were extremely impressed by the digging efforts in there and when we told him so afterwards, his eyes shone! That was the only time I ever met Willie Stanton but I was left with a real impression of a genuine bloke. It would have been grand if he hadn't passed away before the big new chamber was discovered.

Willie was indeed a top bloke and a role model for cave diggers everywhere.

Anyway, well done all concerned. It's things like this which have led to my losing interest in overseas trips. There's just so many exciting caving challenges to take up in Blighty.

Thought from your point of view travel south of the Trent counted as 'overseas'.  ;)

Willie was always very helpful with me and I admired him greatly. The 'bloke called Nigel' is my brolther in law and he reads the forum Graham :spank:. He is our version of Mr Gadget what with his lighting systems, digging techniques and fixed aid construction amongst many other things we don't know what we would have done without him.

Offline Muddy Funkster

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2012, 02:46:12 pm »
Time machine is classed as a passage but it has the feel of a chamber. For clarification do people know what all the current records are? Looks like the current definitions state

Biggest chamber = Frozen Deep
Biggest shaft = Titan
Biggest passage = Time Machine
Biggest vertical entrance = Gaping Gill ?
Biggest horizontal entrance = Porth -Yr - Ogof
Longest constricted entrance = Daren Cilau
Most remote location = Spade Runner
Longest Sump = ?

Anyone else care to correct these or add to the list?

Offline graham

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2012, 03:32:37 pm »
Willie was always very helpful with me and I admired him greatly. The 'bloke called Nigel' is my brolther in law and he reads the forum Graham :spank:. He is our version of Mr Gadget what with his lighting systems, digging techniques and fixed aid construction amongst many other things we don't know what we would have done without him.

Sorry Pete, sorry Nigel, I was not implying that your role was any less than any of the others, I am well aware that from the first, when you sorted out the syphon tubing, that you were playing a very important part in the enterprise. I just had never seen you on here.
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Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2012, 04:43:26 pm »
Nigel is rather reclusive. I have annoyed him incessantly for two years by taking his photo. As Peter states he is the clever one in the group and seems to be able to come up with anything we ask of him. He has also built his own caving lamp which to me looks better than anything on the market. I am not actually sure what my strong points are ---

Offline mrodoc

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2012, 04:51:54 pm »
Nigel is rather reclusive. I have annoyed him incessantly for two years by taking his photo. As Peter states he is the clever one in the group and seems to be able to come up with anything we ask of him. He has also built his own caving lamp which to me looks better than anything on the market. I am not actually sure what my strong points are ---

You turn up every week and keep us amused and cheerful - for a start. You are also an indefatigable researcher in whatever field you are in whether it's old postcards, bottles, wrecks or caves :smartass:.  And you've been on 999 - but we won't talk about that!

Offline Rob

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2012, 06:03:00 pm »
...
Biggest horizontal entrance = Porth -Yr - Ogof
...
I think it's actually Peak Cavern, with probably the only UK record that will never be beaten.
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2012, 06:24:27 pm »
Time machine is classed as a passage but it has the feel of a chamber. For clarification do people know what all the current records are? Looks like the current definitions state

Biggest chamber = Frozen Deep
Biggest shaft = Titan
Biggest passage = Time Machine
Biggest vertical entrance = Gaping Gill ?
Biggest horizontal entrance = Porth -Yr - Ogof
Longest constricted entrance = Daren Cilau
Most remote location = Spade Runner
Longest Sump = ?

Anyone else care to correct these or add to the list?

I'd not necessarily agree with the above, especially as you give no evidence.

In case it helps, I think the longest sump in the UK is probably that one in Ireland which Artur was exploring before he died not long ago. I can't remember it's correct name without looking it up but there was a piece on it in Descent at the time.

At the end of the day though, who really cares about statistical minutiae, especially when they're easily disputable. What actually matters is the quality of the caves up and down the UK. We've got many fantastic caves; let's celebrate them rather than getting overly pre-occupied with statistics (as they do in certain other parts of the world).

By the way, Rob's perfectly right about Peak Cavern.

Offline Muddy Funkster

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2012, 07:40:41 pm »
I quite like the stats actually :)
I also enjoy a quality caving trip too.
Best of those two worlds. Didn't claim they were correct though, only what I thought them to be. That's why I asked people to correct them and you did so thanks.

Offline mikem

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2012, 07:49:01 pm »
Sorry Pete, sorry Nigel, I was not implying that your role was any less than any of the others, I am well aware that from the first, when you sorted out the syphon tubing, that you were playing a very important part in the enterprise. I just had never seen you on here.
Nigel's first post was the video of "The Frozen Deep"

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Offline ianball11

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2012, 08:55:47 pm »
Time machine is classed as a passage but it has the feel of a chamber. For clarification do people know what all the current records are? Looks like the current definitions state

Biggest chamber = Frozen Deep
Biggest shaft = Titan
Biggest passage = Time Machine
Biggest vertical entrance = Gaping Gill ?
Biggest horizontal entrance = Porth -Yr - Ogof
Longest constricted entrance = Daren Cilau
Most remote location = Spade Runner
Longest Sump = ?

Anyone else care to correct these or add to the list?

I'd not necessarily agree with the above, especially as you give no evidence.

In case it helps, I think the longest sump in the UK is probably that one in Ireland which Artur was exploring before he died not long ago. I can't remember it's correct name without looking it up but there was a piece on it in Descent at the time.


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Offline mrodoc

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2012, 10:50:53 pm »
One of the bigger chambers in the UK is in Devon but, because it is mostly underwater is not recognised as such. Pridhamsleigh 2 is about 40 metres across at the base and drained would be at least 50 metres high so I reckon it is up in the top ten. Because of its size the visibility is stupendous as well.

Offline mrodoc

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2012, 10:54:42 pm »
And here is the smallest part of the chamber. Photo taken from a ledge above the lake with a flash bulb fired a few metres below the surface:


Offline Les W

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2012, 12:04:41 am »
In case it helps, I think the longest sump in the UK is probably that one in Ireland which Artur was exploring before he died not long ago. I can't remember it's correct name without looking it up but there was a piece on it in Descent at the time.

Which is in the ROI and not in the UK at all...
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Offline Anon

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Re: What is the UK's Biggest Chamber ?
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2012, 06:03:25 am »
What about Powells Lode?

Most remote could potentially be Interdiction/Too Long Gone in Penyghent?