Bagshawe Cavern - Alan Brentnall

Saturday, 7 January, 2017

Lots of things were happening at the Chapel the morning after the January meeting, two visiting groups heading into Peak Cavern, along with Jess's diving party, a huge group heading out to work on the digging project (NNNPD) and a small group of five of us headed over to Bradwell for a very pleasant visit into Bagshawe Cavern.

Present on the trip were Alastair, Irene, Cat, Adam and yours truly.

For a change, we had the whole place to ourselves so we took it easy and had a good look round. First we took in the old Mulespinner Mine which forms the entrance stope and steps beneath the EPC Coe, with its nice stone stemples, contemporary concrete slab ceilings (in response to the mines inspector's request), its huge steps and its lovely example of slick'n'sides near the base of the entrance steps. Then we headed past the "Do Not Enter" barrier to take a look at the well-mineralised extension to the entrance stope, with its false floor, examples of "under-stoping" and its test-bed for P-bolts.

We then followed the phreatic passage which old Mr Revell enlarged before World War I, when he was developing the show cave, as far as the turn off to Calypso's Cave, which we entered via the steps to look at the pick-dressed walls and the speleothems. Irene and I examined some of the more accessible pretties while the three young'uns went on and climbed the calcite slope to the bitter end of the cave. Carrying on, we noted the way into Agony Crawl, but left this for a future date, and went down the steps to the Dungeon Pitch. The previous month, when I led a school group from Macclesfield into the cave, this shaft had been half-full of water, but today it was dry, with no water in sight, although that doesn't mean that there would have been air space all the way through to the Lower Series, as we had had quite a bit of wet weather recently, and it does take some time for both this section and the subsequent lake to lose its standing water.

After a brief look at the climb up to and down from The Hayloft, we tackled the Cave of Worms, after which Alastair demonstrated his crawling prowess in the parallel tube. Soon we were by the gate into the New Series, which also links to the Full Moon Series, although the Snakes Pyjamas route (also gated) is the preferred way in, for conservation reasons. At the Hippodrome, Cat, Alastair and Adam carried on down the slope to the duck and the main streamway while Irene and I turned the loop past the entrances to the Gloryhole and the Snakes Pyjamas back to the main passage, where the other three caught up with us, having also nipped down the Gloryhole for a quick look. They then set off out of the system, intent on paying the diggers a visit, while Irene and I made steady progress back to the surface.

Always an interesting trip, I enjoy looking round Bagshawe, and it was nice to take some time and have a good look around. I shall probably suggest we go back to visit the Lower Series on one of our Tuesday night trips.