By Twebber – pictures by Imo

Imo had a calendar of caves she wanted to do, one of those was Holme Bank Chert mine.

This is in Bakewell and one section is flooded. You can spend a long time wandering around the old mine galleries looking at the industrial archaeology, Winches, Railway trucks etc, but its been a couple of months since i did any diving so I wanted to get wet.

We arrived, picked up the key and unlocked the gate. While waiting for Imo to turn up and looking at the rain, I came up with a cunning plan.

Why not get changed in the mine?

So we took our stuff just inside the mine to a dry spot and got kitted up out of the rain.

While carrying my dive kit down to the start of the flooded section, James nearly walked into the water. There is no flow down here and the water is clear, so with no ripples on the surface its almost impossible to see that there is water.
Having got myself kitted up, I sank into the cold clear water. A quick check, does all the breathing equipment work and do I sink? This was the first time i’d been diving using no lead to make me sink and apparently i’m dense enough not to need any. So I surfaced to pick up my reel of line and say good bye then headed off into the darkness.

Ran out 30m of line from my new reel and checked the markers were pointing out, then carried along swimming along the in situ lines. I got to the far end of the flooded section, took my fins off, and started wandering the dry levels. After A couple of “erm which way did i come from” moments at the many junctions, I came across the railway wagon. This is only 20m from the entrance, so I made my way back to where i’d left my fins and got back in the water.

Enjoyed the large flooded chambers with stripy limestone walls, tried a few ‘lost line’ drills, found my line and came back to the surface.

Given the water is 7C I was a bit cold by this point, so i started to get dry and drank hot stuff. 20 mins later the dry party returned from their wanderings and we all went to the pub.