Great Cave Surveying, Peak Cavern - Wayne Sheldon

Saturday, 23 January, 2016

Present: Wayne Sheldon and Ann Soulsby

The trip was supposed to be Cohesion Crawl surveying but Ann was feeling rough, full of cold again so we decided on an easier alternative which was one of my my backup plans. This trip was continuation of the surveying of the Peak Speedwell System where I am picking up unsurveyed parts of the system; one part of the system being the passages off the Great Cave. These have always been ignored by cave surveyors.

The first part of the cave to survey was Puttrell's Dig, high on the north-east side of Great Cave; this is an old DCC dig that was dug back in the eighties. This is a very interesting dig, it would be an easy dig but its very close to the floor of Cavedale, so this dig could easily open up into Cavedale which would be a bad idea for the showcave so digging was stopped. This was surveyed from the current digging face outwards onto the ledge, picking up the small aven above on route. The next port of call was an aven on the south-east side of Great Cave that JNC climbed back in the eighties, the bottom of the aven was positioned so its now tied into the survey. A line was then took across the chamber to the south-west side and a station was marked.

The first job was to pick some short passages below Puttrell's (Cave Dale 4) entrance which go under the choke. A station was marked at the bottom of the aven that rises to the Puttrell Entrance which will be surveyed at a later date. I returned to my marked station, and then surveyed to a three way junction, the left route goes behind the choke described above. A passage on the right is a reducing crawl to a short drop into a further passage that skirts the edge of the chamber behind the rocks / boulders (this wasn't surveyed). Straight ahead at the junction is a passage known as "As far as your eyes can see" which is an old dig of the Orpheus Caving Club back in the eighties. A stooping passage winds back in a westerly direction, eventually reducing to a flat out crawl through water to a further junction, right is blocked after a few metres while a tightish crawl on the left leads to a chamber into a small cross rift where there’s a calcite choke, emitting a tiny inlet stream.

The final part of the trip was to survey Orchestra Passage up to the balcony overlooking Roger Rains House, marking a station at the balcony so on a further trip I can pinpoint Roger Rains Aven, then I shot a line down into the main show cave to a known survey station in Devil's Kitchen.

A very worthwhile and productive trip.