Bagshawe Cavern

Saturday, 5 September, 2009
Present: Wayne Sheldon, Elaine Hill, Cara Allison, John Taylor (Eldon PC - guide)

After a week of general deluge we wondered how far into the system we would be able to get. As it was, whilst some areas were sumped off, we managed to get to most of the parts that John wanted to take us to.

After a brief talk through the plan, and John showing us where we were going on the survey, we set off underground. The first part of the trip is through mine, which later breaks into natural passage. The intention had been to do a couple of loops in the lower series, after descending The Dungeon. As it was, John went down the ladder and reported the area to be sumped, so he came back up and we went for plan B.

We headed off down Agony Crawl, parts of which fitted more snugly on some members of the group than others! We then descended into the lower series and down a fine, phreatic passage to view the other side of the sumped section. Following this there was some walking and crawling upstream, then a climb upwards and more flat out crawling through some beautifully decorated areas, including the appropriately named Straw Chamber. There then followed another loop to the Agony Column (there seems to have been a lot of 'agony' involved in the namings!) and back, then through the lake again, which was deep and ?refreshing? in parts. Finally we returned to the top of The Dungeon via a second wriggle through Agony Crawl.

After a brief stop, we set off for the Hippodrome and found that the passage beyond was sumped. However, we managed to transport some lead and scaffold poles a little closer to John's dive base. The final part of the trip led up Taylor's Way and into the Full Moon Series. This area of the cavern is extremely beautiful, delicate and well-decorated and therefore access is limited to experienced cavers only. Taylor?s Way is reminiscent of the White River series in Peak Cavern and equally vulnerable. After some 'oohs', 'ahhs' and taking the time to really enjoy the pretties, we headed for the surface at a swift pace as we were starting to chill.

An excellent trip. Many thanks to Wayne for arranging it and John for guiding. Bagshawe Cavern is well worth a visit! It is really varied and there is chance to do some 'proper' caving, rather than just dangling off ropes for a change.