Waterways Swallet

This week saw eight cavers squeezing vehicles into the steadily overgrowing cavers' car park in Waterings Wood, near Blore. Tonight's destination was Waterways Swallet, the spectacular downward spiral of passages and chokes which was engineered by Pete Dell and the other Keyhole Cavers earlier this century. After some fairly heavy showers over the weekend, we were all wondering if the pond might be up, and whether the trip would need to be called off, but a walk down the field revealed everything dry. We were good to go. Tonight we were lucky to have Dave Ottewell along with us.

The group included Keith Joule, Lisa Wootton, Emma Key, Dave Ottewell and me and we met at the copse / car park opposite Waterways Farm for a 6:30 start - but I messed up any chance of an early start by driving into a boggy ditch and it took Emma, Dave and me pushing, Lisa driving and Keith towing to get my (just bought) car back onto terra firma. Once parking arrangements had been sorted, we changed into our caving kit and walked down to look at the point where the water normally sinks. It was flowing, but very low.

Always a brilliant trip which never disappoints, action all the way to the bottom but care needed at all times. No place for novices and not for the faint hearted! With a depth of over 400 feet, this Staffordshire gem makes it into the top ten deepest caves in the Peak District area, along with Peak Cavern, Rowter etc, but, unlike the Castleton super caves, this one has not one bit of SRT - but you have to earn every inch of depth. As usual, we met in the car park in the little wood opposite Waterings Farm.