Mandale Mine 16/9/20

Myself, Larry, Andy H, Ian, Renuka, Peter and Fabian met at the lower carpark at the eastern end of Lathkilldale, ready for an easy ‘bimble’ into Mandale Mine. The plan was to enter via the Incline Level and get as far as the waters would allow and then try to exit via the aqueduct level.

I’ve been in on two prior occasions and these proved to be very different. The first was a short but extremely wet trip where the space between the surface of the water and the roof was making it progressively hard to keep our faces out of the water, the second trip was a lot further in as the waters weren’t nearly as high.

On this trip it was even dryer and so quite a long trip was afforded. Nice formations and some fun scrambling brought us to a descent into a narrow opening in the floor which I couldn’t remember and so must have been under water. Sliding through this took us to some unexpected traverses over very deep flooded winzes. I managed to get through the first by doing the splits and feeling quite surprised my legs were long enough.

After a second traverse there was a larger chamber which had an active stream running into it. Renuka mentioned that it was nowhere near as forceful as it was the last time she saw it.

Beyond this were two apparent ways on the bigger looking one however closed down almost immediately. A smaller stooping and crawling ‘sough’ continued for quite some way with sloped and vaulted slabs in places forming the ceiling. It was decided to turn around when we encountered wooden stemples which had obviously slipped lower and had the look of hanging death about them.

On the way back, after accidentally taking a harder climb up to the way out (!), Larry slithered into a very tight and muddy flat-out crawl. We were unable however, to locate the way into the aqueduct level. Since the trip had proved to be a lot longer and involved than was envisaged, it was decided to leave this to a later date. It would probably be sensible to enter by the aquedauct level next time.

After a quick look in the tail of the sough which emerges into the river (which was very dry as well), we changed and myself. Renuka and Larry had a drink or two at the Lathkill Hotel.


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