Persons on trip – Larry, Nigel, Sean, James, Robin
Assembled at Runaway Café Ashbourne for brekky (great recommendation Chas) then set of for the 20min drive to Hill Top Farm, overlooking the Dove valley, much loved by grockles.
We were met at the farm by Mrs Leason and after a while Mr Leason came and collected the £2/person fee.
After a bit of gardening around the lid, it was decided that Nigel would rig, that he did excellently, and that I would shepherd Sean slowly down the unique shaft that apparently follows a more Cornish model by being generally inclined at 45-60- degrees, although a little more vertical towards the end.
You can easily stand at all of the 5 or so re-belays so they can be passed easily by even novice vertical cavers. There is a quite a large level at about -30m that we must go and explore sometime but the main focus was the natural cave at about -90m. Here lies the impressively named Lord’s Chamber. There are several beautiful phreatic domes here and you can see the fossilised flow of the water by the large scalloped walls. There is a depth potential in this cave/mine of c200m to the valley floor.
After a quick bimble around here, myself, Robin and James descended the last 6m, where a short squeeze led to an even tighter climb and to the right of the squeeze, a large winze, with the usual rotten stemples, could be seen rising in to the blackness.
The ascent was organised with Nige and myself, above and below, shepherding Sean upwards and after a few spaghetti problems on the first up pitch, we made pretty rapid progress. In fact, so quick that we were able to get changed, boil a brew, have a chat, Nige had left and we were beginning to get worried by the time Robin and James reappeared after de-rigging.
The remainder of the party decamped to Wetton for tea and cake and were much entertained by the “typical committee meeting” from the Committee page on the website (https://massoncaving.com/group-committee/).
PS from Sean – The thing which surprised me was I was more nervous going down than up and I certainly sweated more going down. I found Deep Shaft (81m) less scary.