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Carlswark Cavern

18th January 2015 - Olly King

A trip organised by Lauren, a visit to Carlswalk would start a late new caving year for some of us! A rather nice winters drive took us to Stoney Middleton where we met up with Colum, Gary, Phil, Charlotte, Kelly, Alistair and Dave in the lay-by opposite the curry house. A quick discussion to devise some sort of plan, a shuffle of cars, and then we set off for Eyam Dale shaft. Now Kelly was not trained with Single Rope Technique so we dropped an electron down the shaft and sent Lauren down first. This is where, it would seem, we hit our first snag! The guide suggested an 11m ladder was required, so naturally, I thought there would be no problems using a 10m ladder. However, when Lauren shouted up and suggested the ladder was short by a fair bit more than a meter it was clear something had gone slightly wrong! Never mind, being on a life line I lowered her the rest of the way without issue.After about 4 others descended, including Kelly who, despite making lots of noise, did very well at this point! The rest of us got a bit fed up with life-lining so being the only one with a stop I decided we could all descend without the hassle of a ladder and pull my stop up for each person thereafter. Job done in half the time!Back in to the small constriction from the shaft (which I do not remember from my previous trip for some reason!) everyone was waiting in the first small chamber, and were keen to move on! So off we all crawled. I had asked Colum to take me back to the Start of Dynamite, which depending on my mood once I got there would determine whether I would brave the leg braking bendy squeeze in to Dynamite series proper. So I shouted ahead to anyone who might want to join us. Lauren, Alistair, David joined us on our diversion. Lots of crawling, and we found ourselves in the eternal circle, a stream way that has many confused! Basically a circular route where people seem to struggle to find the exit from which they had arrived, a small opening obscured by a boulder. We then got to Dynamite passage and after a couple of squeezes found ourselves in Dynamite chamber, a rift with the first technically awkward squeeze (for tall not so thin folk!) I had conquered some months previously. Lauren poked her head in, but there was a fair bit of water so decided not to attempt it. I decided not to even bother looking, and I don't think any of the others were really in the mood either! We decided to complete the eternal circle and head back towards Eyam passage and towards the exit. I was surprised, upon arriving at Oyster chamber to see the others were waiting for us! I honestly thought they would be in the pub but clearly Kelly hadn't had enough water yet! We took it in turns to check out the sump (resurgence) and a small calicite feature then of course there was the obligatory welly wetting! From here we headed in to a rather nice walking height Phreatic tube and then some old man workings to the gin entrance. A walk along the a tiny path half way up the cliff overlooking the main road, and a rather nice winters view, dropped us down back to the sub station and some warm clothing, coffee. It would be rude not to have a drink in the local pub, so a drive to the miners arms, followed by a quick snowball fight finished off a rather nice day out! 

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