Bagshawe Cavern - Alan Brentnall
After a weekend's worth of rainfall saturating the hills of Bradda Moor from the back end of Hurricane Kate, putting the kibosh on any Peak trips, the storm called Barny came through to top up the water levels. We had a planned trip into Bagshawe Cavern on Tuesday night - would it be a "short trip", or would the levels be low enough to let us get something done? Not only did we have a trip into Baggers, but Mickey Campbell emailed me to let me know that he would be taking a troop of scouts down there at the same time. If the water was up, would there even be room for all of us?
I drove over Bradwell Moor and down to Bradda, turning right into Granby Road to see a series of tail lights stationary, just outside the Bagshawe car park. Grid lock? Not quite, as, eventually all the cars except a couple managed to get in. Our group added up to ten cavers, which included a couple of Chapel resident members from Wessex and UCET who had decided to tag along. Following Mickey's scouts down the Mulespinner steps, it became apparent that quite a few of my group hadn't been into Bagshawe before, so, to take advantage of the large group in front, I pointed out the stope, the slickensides, the stone stemples and the work that EPC had done to make the entrance steps safe enough to satisfy Dave Carlisle, the mines inspector.
To give the scouts a chance to disperse, we visited the "No Admittance" stope, where the test bolts are kept, and Calypso's Cavern, to see the pretties, before heading down to the Dungeon and on towards the Cave of Worms. There was a great amount of water here, indicating that the water had been backed up from the live streamway at least as far as the Dungeon, and the crawl forward from Worms junction appeared to be fully sumped. However, when we arrived at the Hippodrome, we were able to descend down the Sands and through the duck to the live streamway with no trouble whatsoever.
Returning up the slippery slope, we took a left at the big junction of the Hippodrome, past the Glory Hole and the Snake's Pyjamas, and looped back round to the big passage to the Cave of Worms again, before climbing up into the Hayloft, and dropping back down just before the junction. In the Bowling Green afterwards, everybody agreed that it had been a splendid trip; far better (and further) than any of us had expected under the circumstances.