Eight of us met up on a cold December evening on the hills above Matlock. For myself, Sam & Fabian this was our very first caving trip. Everyone geared up, with kit gratefully being loaned to us newbies as needed. We then trekked off on the relatively short walk to the main entrance located in the 2nd Water Cavern. We then split in to 2 groups with Larry taking us 3 novices into the Lower Series first and Nigel, Jenny, Sean & Andy going off to explore the Upper Series.
Larry had already rigged up the entrance pitch and Sam bravely volunteered to head down first. All lowered down we made our way to the first small chamber, followed by a squeeze and a traverse in the first impressive large cavern. We continued to steadily make our way forward on the through trip with evidence of the previous mine working all around. Larry ‘kindly’ allowed us newbies to crawl through in to the last large cavern as he strolled through the much larger passage to the side! Again, lots of evidence of the old mine workings, with the sleepers , track and decaying mine car still in place. We crawled out of the adit entrance, the second group not yet having caught us up.
Our group headed back up the hillside, taking a look down the shaft that connects through to the adit entrance in the process. Back at the main entrance cavern, still no sign of the other group so we went for an explore in the Upper Series. Larry lead the way down the shaft using the knotted rope. Once all down, a little bit more confident us newbies had a little explore around, going off to the left as we head down. Fabian found us a way through and as we continued on. We found ourselves at the beehive slopes and slid our way down to the streamway below. We followed the stream down as far as we could before turning back. For the return, trip we followed the streamway up. A breeze was felt and we’d managed to end up back near the start, having managed to do a lovely little loop round.
All clambering out, we found the other group had de-rigged the Lower Series entrance and so headed back to the cars to meet up with them and for those who wanted a quick detour for drinks at the Miners in Winster.