Author Topic: Redhurst Swallet  (Read 665 times)

Offline A_Northerner

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Redhurst Swallet
« on: July 01, 2020, 09:21:38 pm »
Does anyone have any info on Redhurst Swallet? I've read the SSSI audit and CotPD entry which piqued my interest in the cave, but it doesn't seem very often visited due to its floody nature. I'd quite like to take a trip to Pink Chamber towards the end of summer if the weather permits, does anyone have any experience of the trip? Is it a "once in a decade drought" sort of trip or will standard dry summer allow a full exploration?
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Offline Jenny P

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2020, 03:45:53 pm »
My club, Orpheus C.C., produced the first survey of this place in the 1960's and at that time the Pink Chamber trip was a "once in a decade" - but changes in the weather pattern may have altered this.  There was a small extension found later close to the entrance by Darfar P.C. but I haven't seen any details about it in any publication.  The Swallet is very susceptible to flooding and entrance quickly becomes completely impassable.  It now has a grid over the entrance to prevent floods filling the entrance with debris - if this grid is left off, the entrance quickly fills with chunks of tree, and on one memorable occasion in the 1960's a toilet seat and a dead chicken.

Water tracing I did in 1971 proved that the water sinking at Redhurst resurged at Ilam Risings - coming out of the Main Rising under the footpath.  (It's all written up in the OCC Journal Vol. 5.)  There have also been a number of attempts to dive the Ilam Main Rising but all end up at impenetrable chokes or narrow bits.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2020, 04:16:00 pm »
Jenny beat me to it - I was going to point you towards the Orpheus.

However, your query made me wonder what happened to the caving records of the late Mel Milner, who was a Manifold Valley expert. I bet they contain a lot of interesting material. Does anyone know?

If nothing's ever appeared in the Manifold Caver journal over the years (and I'm sure Jenny is right on that) then I wonder if there was anything published in parallel with Orpheus literature in a BSA or CRG publication (before they merged to form BCRA in the early 70s)?

There is some useful information about various sinks which drain into Redhurst Swallet (and thus might help answer your query) on page 453 in Trevor Ford's book: "Limestone and Caves of the Peak District" (1977, Geo Abstracts Ltd, Norwich). There's also a good reproduction of the original Orpheus survey on page 452.

I think "richardg" on this forum knows that area well; hopefully he'll not mind my suggesting you could send him a PM.

If you do get down there, it'd be interesting to learn (on this forum) how you get on.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2020, 04:32:02 pm »
If you read between the lines, this dive log from James Cobbett in 1969 says a lot about the variability (and unpredictability?) of the water in Redhurst.

Reference is CDG Newsletter 11 (April 1969) page 11.

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2020, 04:56:15 pm »
There are some papers from what later became Darfar Potholing Club - it had several names - in the British Caving Library.  (The club was disbanded after Mel's death.)  However, they aren't in a complete journal or series of Newsletters but are various items dating between 1980 and 1995.  What we have is a series of photocopies of pages.

Unfortunately, when Mel died suddenly in July 2015, her effects were cleared by the housing association which owned her flat before her fellow cavers had a chance to visit to retrieve any of her papers so a great deal of important material was lost.

However, there is the Cave and Mine Conservation Audit for the Manifold and Hamps Valleys, 2nd. Edn. 2007, which Mel produced for DCA.  This 79 page book has sections on the geology & geomorphology, hydrology, archaeology and biospeleology of the Manifold and Hamps Valleys and the caves therein plus numerous maps, surveys and photos, including details of Redhurst Swallet.  This is available for a free download from the DCA website at www.theDCA.org.uk and it's well worth reading as it's a really comprehensive document and a fitting memorial to her.

Offline Martin Wright

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2020, 05:11:30 pm »
Just to add, in respect of Ilam Main Rising, that this has been dived for 271m and goes deep, maximum depth 54m, and has also been linked to the next rising along, known as Ilam Ripple Rising.
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Online Tseralo

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2020, 05:34:15 pm »
If you do head up there let me know, I'm keen to have a look at the caves up there has not been to any of them.

Online al

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2020, 07:43:31 pm »
I visited Redhurst last week to replace the bolt in the gate - don't forget your adjustable spanner!

The gate's been doing great service keeping the bulk of flood debris out of the cave since it was originally installed by Crewe CPC in 2005 - but it the ravages of 15 yearsworth of winter floods are showing - so please be gentle with it, and look after the bolt and replace it afterwards.

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Offline A_Northerner

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2020, 09:17:06 am »
However, there is the Cave and Mine Conservation Audit for the Manifold and Hamps Valleys, 2nd. Edn. 2007, which Mel produced for DCA.  This 79 page book has sections on the geology & geomorphology, hydrology, archaeology and biospeleology of the Manifold and Hamps Valleys and the caves therein plus numerous maps, surveys and photos, including details of Redhurst Swallet.  This is available for a free download from the DCA website at www.theDCA.org.uk and it's well worth reading as it's a really comprehensive document and a fitting memorial to her.

Thanks Jenny, I read through the Audit as well - fantastic booklet and as you say a real testament to Mel's passion for the area. I was seeking an anecdotal appraisal of the cave from a more recent visitor that could give me an idea of what it's like down there/what to expect, as the technical info often doesn't supply this.

It's a shame, as Mel would definitely have been able to supply this. Sadly our caving careers only overlapped by a couple of years and I met her just once or twice.

I'm surprised Redhurst wasn't brought up during the previous two summmers when there were extensive discussions on the forum during the extended droughts, about which trips would be the best use of the dry weather. "Halley's Sump" in the P8 Third Streamway was open so I'm sure Redhurst would have been a go-er. I think I'll shelve it for another climate change-induced dry spell, probably late September by this Summer's standards!
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Offline Pipster

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2020, 01:06:16 pm »
I visited Redhurst - perhaps 10 years ago? The months leading up to our visit had been much drier than the average summer (whatever that is now!). In fact, that summer had seen very little rain up to that point; none of those major flooding events that other summers have had!

There was still a couple of ducks if I recall correctly. One duck, had an eye-hole above that could be passed through, but others found it easier to totally submerge (where it enlarged in size underwater) and pop up on the other side. It was somewhere near here, where a climb up is reached, and looking back down makes you realise if the sump rose at that point (which it does) would lead to a very serious predicament!

We almost reached Pink Chamber - somehow lost the route, but from reading the description afterwards again in the pub, we must have practically been right next to it! To be perfectly honest, there was a last-minute-forecast update, of a very small chance of a small thundery-downpour much later that evening (after we'd planned to be out), so we opted for a quick in-out. Even with the forecast good for the actual trip (with some leeway too), I think it still played on our minds a bit (it did mine anyway) - and distracted us a bit towards the end of the cave. As it happened, a thundery-downpour never materialised.

Some returned a couple of days later, and made it to Pink Chamber with no problem at all - a couple of days later the weather broke - big time!



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Offline Pipster

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2020, 01:08:20 pm »
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Offline A_Northerner

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2020, 04:07:54 pm »
Thanks for the info Pipster, sounds quite good but a very dry spell definitely required then! Probably quite hard to tell since the sumps will only dry up to a point. Presumably it didn't take the entire summer to dry up to the point of passability.
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Offline nigel n

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2020, 04:12:38 pm »
I went there a few times around ten years ago.  The first two sumps seem to dry out fairly quickly after say a couple of weeks of dry weather.  The third one takes a good bit longer but almost almost seems to dry out by the autumn most years much like the sumped part of Merlins at Stoney.  I am pretty certain it would have been dry in the recent dry spell and I certainly know people who have been to the end of the cave in a dry June.  On a solo trip I wandered about in the far reaches for ages but did not actually find the pink cavern!

Offline Fishes

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Re: Redhurst Swallet
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2020, 04:52:07 pm »
I think members of Darfar visited some of the further sections in recent years using pumping in dry weather. I'll see if I can dig out any contact details.

My understanding is that Pink Chamber can only be accessed in severe drought
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 05:08:59 pm by Fishes »

 

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