A trip up the NCC Shafts, Peak Cavern - Charley Cooley

Saturday, 4 October, 2014

On Saturday, Phil and I had arranged to be digging in JH, however......Due to the rather heavy precipitation (combined with the fog I encountered on my journey to the Hut), we decided instead to have a wander into Peak and elected to have a look at the NCC Shafts as I had only been as far as Galena Chamber previously. We passed Irene in the Great Cave (who was busy with a group of customers) and made our way down the slide and into the cave "proper". I noted that the water running into The Halfway House was very low so in we went and got quite a long way before having to turn back due to not having gills. On the way back Phil pointed out some interesting writing on the wall that looked to have been done hundereds of years ago, judging by the level of illiteracy. We headed upstream now, stopping occasionally to have a poke at various low level cavities before bearing towards Surprise View and then turning right along the slippery passage into Galena Chamber, meeting up with some very muddy young ladies coming back the other way!

Phil led the way up the rope and we made slow but steady progress up the various pitches until we reached a massive chamber that had the downpitch ropes on.
By this time I was tiring, (having not done any caving since my trip into Winnets Head went viral back in August, combined with having 10 days doing absolutely nothing in Mallorca followed by a full week back at work!) so I layed down and relaxed as Phil went up the first section of the pitch to the shelf and back. We headed back down to Galena Chamber and at the end of the passage turned right to descend the ladder at Surprise view. Once again the water level was low so we went down the Main Streamway past Tom Brown's inlet and on into the airbell where the floor started to become very loose silt (and the water extremely cold!!).

On the way out we stopped at the Buxton Water sump to get clean (we both had new harnesses on, though it was impossible to tell due to the claggy mud!) and found that to be a trickle so we had to once more wander into "previously uncharted waters" until it was deep enough to enable us to get clean (in a non-Brokeback Mountain kind of way!!!!) A most excellent alternative to a day's digging with the added bonus that the sun had come out by the time we emerged.