Author Topic: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project  (Read 3575 times)

Offline Pete K

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Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« on: October 18, 2019, 11:20:40 am »
Over the last few months, the Derbyshire Caving Association has been negotiating with the landowner at Peakshill Farm to reopen access to Snelslow Swallet. One of the tasks we are required to do before any open access can return is to clear out all the digging gear and old timber platforms that remain in the cave. There is quite a large volume of rotten wood in the form of ladders and platforms that is at risk of falling down on top of visiting cavers. Following on from Nige Atkins’ negotiations with the owner, DCA now has permission to undertake this clear up operation and we are hoping to get it done before winter really sets in.

There will be 3 days of work happening at the cave in the coming weeks. DCA need your help!

Nov 8th – Prep day. Rigging and cutting down the old platforms. No volunteers currently required as this will have to be a small team. Speak to the Projects Officer if you are desperate to help and have a high level of skill on a rope and experience with using cutting tools only.
Nov 9th & 10th – Hauling. We’ll need as many cavers as possible to help us haul the rubbish out of the cave from the surface shaft on the hill above. Once this is complete, we will need to carry the stuff over 2 fields to the usual car park area where we will have arranged for a skip to be delivered.

If you can help, please get in touch with the Projects Officer at projects@thedca.org.uk stating if you can do the Saturday, Sunday or both. Please do email as well as comment here as it makes it a hundred times easier to deal with everyone. We will need around a dozen folk on each of the weekend days to make this viable. If we can’t get enough, we’ll have to postpone until the spring, so please help if you can. You will need a harness and helmet and your own gloves. About half of the volunteers will need to be underground, so caving kit is required. The cave is not tight, wet or muddy. SRT kit essential for underground work. More details will be sent out to those who register to help. We could also do with a good supply of builders’ 1-tonne bags, the kind gravel gets delivered in. If you have any at home, please bring them along.

Please remember that the cave is not open access yet and we need to complete all the things that the landowner asks of us. Please do not consider sporting trips down there until DCA have announced that access is open again or you risk jeopardising 6 months of work. The cave has been off limits for a long time, a few more weeks won’t hurt. There are several dangerous platforms and constructions that need to be removed before it is safe for cavers to have general access. If we accomplish this together, we will have Snelslow reopen this year and hopefully follow that with Christmas Swallet in 2020.
https://peakdistrictcaving.info/home/the-caves/castleton/snelslow-swallet


Pete Knight
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Offline owd git

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2019, 09:12:22 am »
bags sorted Pete, how many do you need?? cant commit myself yet  but will fetch / arrange bag delivery. ( will fix Dev during next week, :thumbsup: ) ric'
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Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2019, 09:21:30 pm »
bags sorted Pete, how many do you need?? cant commit myself yet  but will fetch / arrange bag delivery. ( will fix Dev during next week, :thumbsup: ) ric'
Cheers Ric. We are after as many as we can get, some for hauling stuff out in and some for moving the smaller bits of debris efficiently across the fields. In my mind I was hoping for 8+
Pete

Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2019, 09:28:29 am »
I have to say my inbox has been sadly nearly empty on this. We're getting access back to the whole cave if we can get this done, come on people, there must be more out there who can help with this? It's likely to be well into 2020 before we get the chance to do this again.

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2019, 10:59:07 am »
Hey Pete, I can't do the Saturday due to work but I'd be up for the Sunday.

J
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Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2019, 12:52:02 pm »
Hey Pete, I can't do the Saturday due to work but I'd be up for the Sunday.

J
Ace!

Offline not_a_climber

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2019, 04:16:04 pm »
Just emailed - opposite to Jack so I'll be there Saturday but in work Sunday.

Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2019, 04:31:12 pm »
Hey Pete, I can't do the Saturday due to work but I'd be up for the Sunday.

J
Jack, can't find an email for you. Can you PM one so I can add you to the group email I send out about the job? Ta

Offline Samouse1

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2019, 07:57:55 pm »
Probably can throw some (3 or 4) MUSC bodies plus a rubble bag at it on the Saturday if we’re welcome! Will email to sort everything too

Offline AR

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2019, 08:40:22 pm »
I'm not sure whether I'll be fit enough to help much, but if I can I'll try and get over on Saturday afternoon
Dirty old mines need love too....

Offline wellyjen

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2019, 09:36:22 pm »
I've signed up for Saturday.

Jen
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Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2019, 06:37:45 am »
You lot are awesome. We're now in a position to do this job with plenty of assistance. I'll email out on-mass sometime this week with further details. Thanks!

Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2019, 10:17:26 am »
Morning everyone, it’s the day before this all kicks off now. I have assembled an email list and have sent this message plus a few others out about job. If you are reading this but did not get the email, just pop me a message so I know you are coming too.

Firstly, sorry for not responding to every email or message I have been sent, I have read them all but I’ve just started a new job and I’m frankly manic!
Secondly, I have lost track of who is coming and when as there have been so many email exchanges and messages now. I’m effectively planning on a ‘whoever is in the car park for 9:30am ‘ approach to managing this.

Tomorrow’s team for setting up will be erecting a tripod over the shaft, pre-rigging the cave and cutting down all the rotten digging platforms and ladders.
Unless you have already agreed to join us on Friday, we do not need any more people. If you have, I’ll see you in the car park between 9:30am and 10:00am please.

Saturday is the big day. Possibly 20 of us are coming, so it is entirely possible we can get this job boxed off in 1 day and I can have a lay in on Sunday. Just a reminder to everyone coming to car share if possible, bring helmet and harness even if planning on a surface role, bring caving gear for underground work and please be at the car park 9:30am to get ready in time for a 10am sharp briefing.
Watch your emails Saturday night for an update on the progress or possibly even a cancellation of the work day if we are all done Saturday.

Whatever day you attend, bring gloves, any other PPE you can (specs etc..) and any bowsaws, 1-tonne bags and ground anchors you might have lying about at home!

Can’t wait to get this moving! See you all over the next few days.
Pete

Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2019, 07:25:49 am »
No doubt you’ll all be aware of the weather over the last 24 hours. Roads are still shut and there is a lot of standing water around.
The cave is a swallet, all be it with a modified drainage catchment. There is a good chance that the normal route into the cave will be unpassable until later today.
I would not wish for anyone to struggle a long way through the road network or take risks to arrive at this project today.
If you are still coming today, please be careful. If you could text me or reply to the email if you are coming, then I know who to expect and can plan what we can be achieved. At the very least, I will be over there to carry the scaffold sections and erect the tripod. The skip is coming at some point too. If the water levels are safe, we will continue with the plan of cutting down the timbering. If not, we could descend from the tripod and do a bit there or just admire the water pouring in from the regular entrance.
I’ll be there 9:30/10am as planned to unload some gear. Let me know if you’re coming.
Pete
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 07:41:48 am by Pete K »

Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2019, 05:03:38 pm »
Evening
We had a good crew turn up for prep day. The tripod is up and has been tested. The cave is rigged. Most importantly, almost everything has been cut and kicked down and dropped to the base of the shaft. There will be one stubborn cable to chop tomorrow on the way down, but other than that, loads can begin to be hauled out almost straight away.
Plenty of chopping up and lashing of loads to be done at the shaft bottom, so please bring caving kit if you’re fit and able.
Arrive from 9:30am, briefing at 10am sharp in the car park.
Everyone will want wellingtons on, even if surface based, it is very wet and muddy in the fields. Will likely be very cold too on the surface, so dress well!
See you all in the morning.
Pete

Offline owd git

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2019, 08:46:46 pm »
 Bags arriving tomorrow Pete. see you at car park . time is short  and can't offer more than gawping at Garlands and running,  catch me on way out if needed   :thumbsup:  Ric'
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Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2019, 04:57:35 pm »
Evening all. After a fantastic effort in very cold and muddy conditions, the job is done.
Everything was hauled out and dragged over the fields and loaded into the skip. There might be the odd random bit of timber or metal left underground, but the place is significantly clearer and much better looking for it. We’re not quite there on the access green light, but DCA will get that finalised asap and let everyone know through the usual channels.
I just want to say thanks to everyone who came out on Friday and Saturday, and those who were planning on attending Sunday that are no longer required. Without your time and effort, DCA could not achieve even a tenth of what it does, you’re all brilliant and I love working with you on these projects.
Just one favour to ask now. If anyone who was planning on coming tomorrow fancies an hour’s job….. and has a roof rack, there is the scaffold sections from TSG still at Giant’s car park. It would be supremely helpful if a couple of people would be able to collect that and transport it down to Castleton. I have a mountain of kit, tools and ropes to wash tomorrow, so it would be a real bonus not to have to go out for the scaff.
There are 3 x 3m sections which will need to go on a roof, but the other 5 shorter sections and the feet could go in a car/van.
If you can help, please let me know tonight and I’d be thoroughly appreciative.
Once again, thanks for the help and the company.
Pete

Offline Mr Dinwiddy

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2019, 05:14:40 pm »
If you have any photos they would be appreciated- only when you get a minute. Thanks

Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2019, 05:32:35 pm »
Yep, I have a few and a couple of vids. Will probably get them up here tomorrow.

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2019, 10:04:28 pm »
As it happens.. I might be heading to hathersage on sunday morning with a table on my roof rack.. can then carry on to giants and bring back the scaff. got an estate so can fit a fair bit in with the seats folded down. Will be on my own so hopefully can load/unload ok. Will there be anyone at tsg about 10/11

Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2019, 10:07:15 pm »
Hi Sam. Not sure about TSG but have this covered now anyway. Thanks though.

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2019, 11:48:17 pm »
No worries.. good effort to all those involved..

Offline Pete K

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2019, 11:23:34 am »
Just a few pics to give everyone an idea of the amount of rubbish that the volunteers dragged back out to daylight yesterday. More pics and a writeup will follow in due course.

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2019, 12:24:20 pm »
Does anybody know if the digging project in the seventies / eighties were documented anywhere? We have references for the digging that started in the mid-sixties through to 1970. This is documented in the BSA bulletins, the references are in the Caves of the Peak District or on the DCA Cave Registry if cavers are interested. These references only document’s the exploration prior to the 2nd pitch.

What i am trying to find out if the rest of the exploration has been documented anywhere? This being the discovery of the 2nd pitch, the main chamber, the digging / mining of the shaft in the roof from surface and the continuous digging within the swallet until it was abandoned as a dig.

I know some of the names of cavers who were involved in it but can only get hold of one of them, this being Terry Worthington. Dave Arvescough was one of the main cavers behind it but he isn't reachable at the moment. I have corresponded with Terry who says Dave Warriner and Ron Hammond may have been involved. As anybody got email / contact details for the latter two, send me a PM if so. Do you know others who were involved.

If it isn't documented, I am hoping to get something together to be published alongside the article being written about the recent conservation work.

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Snelslow Swallet - DCA Project
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2019, 12:37:19 pm »
You have an email with potential contact details for RH and a way of possibly getting in touch with DW.
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