I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a passage I found at the base of the Eyam Dale Shaft this week.
It was at the end of a Carlswark round trip (my first time in the cave), and I had been planning on having a look at the connection to Merlin's Mine. Unfortunately, the sandwich bag in which I had so lovingly tied my survey had given up on me during some soggy section of the trip and the survey had disintegrated into mush. I thought I'd still have a go at finding it anyway, relying purely on my memory of the survey from earlier.
What I did was: climb slightly up the base of the pitch to an opening on the opposite side to the passage leading into Carlswark. I then found a small squeeze-like opening which I slithered through, crawled left and then right to a larger chamber with some nice white stuff on the walls. I think there were maybe 2 of these, in the second chamber there was a hole at the back of it on the left with a puddle at the bottom and a stemple on top. This didn't look like it went anywhere, but there were footprints going down a hole straight ahead.
So I followed these, down a mud slide which was made even smoother by a flat rubber conveyor-belt type thing, into a very long, muddy and tight passage. I crawled through this, which and then up into a space where I wedged myself up the mud, into another passage which was even smaller, tighter, and muddier than the last one. We're talking thicker-than-mistral mud here. I went along here for a bit but it kept going and, feeling happy enough that I'd found the connection and remembering that there was a newbie diligently waiting for me to return to the base of the Eyam Dale shaft, I reversed backwards until I found a space to turn around in a funky head-over-heels maneuver. Getting back down the narrow vertical drop and back to the other passage was interesting - the lack of turn around space and slippery mud forced me to drop into a full on handstand before slithering into the other passage that way, feeling very much like the cave-wyrm my housemates keep warning me about.
Anyway, it was only after looking at a few surveys afterwards that I am now wondering if I did find Gimli's dream at all - the passage was far too narrow, long and muddy for what it appears to be. Perhaps I was instead in a different offshoot? But why were there such obvious footprints leading down into it? Does this passage have a name? Should I have taken a closer look at the puddle with the stemple?
If anyone could answer these questions I would be very grateful! I'm itching to go back and have a proper look next time.