An unusual start to a mine trip, walking through the children’s play area next to the Artists Corner car park in Matlock Bath to descend a short ladder, which really should have been 2 feet longer to avoid having to lower oneself onto the first rung! Luckily there were no kids about to witness our descent.
The team consisted of Robin, Larry, Sean, James and me.
The shaft leads to the start of the longest coffin level in Derbyshire (365 m) and we spent 3 hours navigating its full length either stooping or crawling in 6 inches or more of water. Sean had forgotten his knee pads which was a major mistake!
The pick marks along the entire length of the main level and the side passages were truly amazing and the calcite crystal formations were stunning.
We also had to negotiate a couple of bold steps over deep shafts, some completely filled with water and one just a black hole of unknown (to me) depth which I ending up jumping over in a not very controlled manner.
On the return journey along the main level we checked out a side level and at the dead end I went to take a photo and realised I had lost my phone. Much swearing ensued, but luckily I had taken a photo just before we took the side turning and returning to the main level Robin spotted it in the water covered in silt but still in working order.
After this we returned to the entrance shaft and back to the cars.
After examining the damage to Sean’s knees while drying out and getting changed in the car park we fininshed with tea and cake at the Old Tor cafe in Cromford.
Unlike my previous two MSG trips I had a completely uneventful drive home as there were no named storms to contend with this time. Also, after drying out on a tea towel on the radiator for 24 hours, my phone is back to full working order.