Sidetrack Cave 3/10/20

Arriving at the quarry layby, Larry and myself geared up and headed over to the bolted descent to the correct quarry tier on the north side of Eldon quarry. Having scouted the location after a recent previous nearby trip to Oxlow; Larry came prepared with a ladder and belay line and after minimal faffing we had dropped down to the nearby the entrances. After taking in the massive quarry void behind, discussions then centred on the tight crawl ahead and exactly how much freedom of movement was going to be possible.

Not wanting to dwell too much on the undertaking ahead, Larry set off and we were in the tight flat out crawl. After a bit of effort the most difficult section was over and more head movement was possible. The flat out crawl continued for some time with some interesting formations. Although ‘roomier’ in places the domed floor was challenging at times, requiring some pre-planning of body position and continued as such until the Little and Large Airbell ‘avens’ were met.

The continuation seemed easier and by the time a junction was met progression (taking the left) was mostly by crawling which sped up progress. Eventually the junction at the Litton stroll was met with relief. There was much to see here in both directions with fine stal, curtains and formations. Very delicate calcified dry pools and fine layers of crinoid fossils protruding. The connections to the flat out walk were seen but being very muddy and tight were less than appealing. The return journey seemed somewhat faster with less rests, with daylight visible for last and tightest section. My biggest concern for this section was then the cave spiders on scalloped ceiling being rather too close.

Back out in the open on a particularly grim and wet derbyshire day, we waved at some unsuspecting and surprised walkers on the quarry floor [Ed-and had a little fun with the double echo] and made our way up the ladder with ease. Trying to avoid transferring a whole body covering of mud onto our still nice and clean SRT gear we’d left by the entrance.

The trip concluded at the Greyhound, meeting with Dave and a few from the DCC out from another trip. A nice trip and well worth the effort of crawling for an hour plus, a lot of dedication must have gone into the digging. 

Nathan

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