Derbyshire Caving Association Information Circular 2000/5, Aug./Sept./Oct. 2000


Council Meeting: Saturday, 11 November at 10am. Monyash Village Hall

The Hall will be open from about 9.30am. with tea, coffee & biscuits on tap. The Old Smithy Cafe, next to the Pub, does an excellent breakfast from 9am. The next DCA meeting will be the AGM 2001:

Saturday, 17 February 2001, 10am at Monyash Village Hall


If you have any information to pass on or have any queries, please contact the Conservation & Access Officer direct: Tony Gibbs, Tel. 01709-559858 or E-mail. t.gibbs @

Care should be taken in Oxlow because of unstable deads. The lower part of the material held back by steel girders at the head of the slope following the entrance pitch is unstable due to the action of water. Further down the slope the left hand wall has a section which may detach itself - it would seem prudent to keep to the right when descending the slope.

The slope below Pitch 3 has been equipped with an "unofficial" handline for some time. The bottom bit has now gone AWOL. so an "extra" 10m of rope is needed to male up the shortfall. To do the job properly, ie rig the entire slope with your own rope (not relying on what's there) needs 55m (ref. CCPC Peak Rigging Guide).

Note that DCA itself does not instal fixed ropes and does not attempt to check any which are in place. You use fixed ropes left in caves at your own risk!

There is evidence of organic pollution in Knotlow Mine, particularly in the water that enters from the level leading from Fourways to the Knotlow Farm Engine Shaft. In consequence oxygen levels are depleted (<18%) and carbon dioxide correspondingly high (> 2%). On 3rd July a sampling trip was made, entering via the Climbing Shaft, and the change in air quality was apparent from the bottom of the second pitch, alarm levels being reached by the chain. However, up to this point there was no smell, so no-one should rely on smell alone as an indication of bad air. A faint smell was apparent at the foot of the Engine Shaft, but the coffin level leading to Fourways had a dreadful smell and organic slime, sufficient to deter any exploration.

The Environment Agency are making strenuous efforts to find the source of this pollution [probably a cattle parlour as the effluent seems to be of bovine origin] and why it seems to suddenly appear at about the same time every year. The warning signs placed by the Environment Agency are still in place and cavers are again advised not to visit Knotlow and to either avoid Hillocks or to exercise great care, particularly in the lower levels.

There was a report of a "smell" in Hillocks in 21st. September but a visit on 1st. October reported it clear. "Slime" has been reported at the foot of the 210ft. Shaft recently. Please keep reporting incidents, even if you think we know about the problem already, as we need to have an ongoing record of what happens in the mine and when the problems appear.

It was reported to DCA on 16th. June that two bin-bags, tied at the neck and containing foul-smelling animal remains, were at the bottom of the Eldon Hole and it was first thought that they had been "dumped" from the top. The bags had apparently been in Eldon for some time, although the first report to DCA was 16th. June. When investigated the sacks were found to contain unidentifiable remains, variously described as puppies or rabbits and the body of a young dog, not bagged, was nearby. On 8th. July Members of Crewe C.P.C. shovelled the whole foul mess into a barrel, together with sundry other rabbits, etc. which had fallen down the shaft in the usual course of things, and removed the lot. The remains were then disposed of at an authorised tip. Thanks are due to the Crewe members who dealt with this thoroughly unpleasant task.

Further enquiries disclosed that some time earlier animal remains scattered around the base of the shaft had been placed in bags by caver(s) "digging" at the bottom of Eldon. It was apparently not possible to remove the bags on the day this was done but instead they were left for an unknown length of time. Other cavers, unaware of the origin of the bags, became extremely concerned and, quite correctly, reported them to DCA.

Points arising from this:


If you come across a DMM Eco-hanger which you think may be loose, (or any other suspect anchor, fixed aid, etc.) please contact DCA Equipment Officer, Mark Lowe MLowecave @ or inform Jenny: Tel. 01335-370629 or E-mail. jenny.potts @

Devonshire has a dangerous area of roof about 15 to 20 feet past the Miners Pillar on the way in. This is NOT the area previously taped off, which should be avoided anyway, but a new area. At the point where you need to stoop a little to walk down the passage beyond the Pillar the roof is now very bad with a block apparently becoming detached. Warning Notices are being placed.

Ralph Johnson reports that the remains of old fence (posts and wire) have been removed from Eldon Hole. There is still some "scrap metal" to be removed, this can be done when the remains of the gate are removed - this will take an angle grinder. New stainless steel back up stake fitted at Maskhill. Also removed and disposed of some old (v. rusty) scaffold poles that were there. (Possibly left when the collapse at the foot of the entrance shaft was repaired?)


DCA Editor, Alan Keen, would welcome contributions for No. 108, which we hope to have ready by mid-November. Deadline for articles this time is 1st. November. E-mail. alan @


A strange-looking lock with its key was left at the Monyash "Ice cream shop" several months ago by a caver. It was to be collected by someone called Alan(?) but the label with the name attached has now disappeared and, as no-one has called to collect it, it has been handed over to DCA. If you think it's yours, please contact Jenny Potts.


Earlier this year the NCA commissioned the Charities Aid Foundation "To carry out a functional analysis of British caving and report on that analysis to the BCRA and NCA Councils and to suggest possible structures for the future of British caving.". The final report "British Caving - A Functional Analysis" is now available on the NCA web site at and can be viewed by following the link on the banner on the index page.


A report came from CNCC on 25th. September to say that the area below the Great Aven in Simpsons Pot, Kingsdale has now collapsed completely. During the summer a pile of large boulders and mud fell from beneath the huge jammed boulder which forms the 'floor' on which you land when descending the Great Aven pitch, threatening to block the way down into KMC. Now the very large boulder perched just above the squeeze down at the base of Simpsons/Swinsto final pitches has fallen, cutting off this way on. Philosophers crawl is now almost certainly blocked. Potential through trippers should be aware that the normal Simpsons/Swinsto through trip is now impossible. Keep an eye out for the notices have been posted in Inglesport and Bernies giving updates on the situation.

There has been some movement at the bottom of the Fall Pot boulder choke in Lancaster Hole. Great care should be taken when entering or leaving the Main Drain by this route. The choke is being washed out by floods and is very unstable. The results of a collapse here could be dire!


6 October 2000

Hon. Sec./Treas., Jenny Potts, 3 Greenway, Hulland Ward, Ashbourne, Derbys. DE6 3FE. Tel. 01335-370629

E-m: jenny.potts @