Living up to my new acclaimed title of ‘diving bitch’, I agreed to help Benji by carrying dive bottles to Main Rising. Which, overall ended up to be quite a short, but fun trip with good company.
The trip involved myself and Benji, as well as Corin and Molly who all awoke a bit bleary eyed one Saturday morning – Molly being particularly grumpy as per. But still we arrived at the Speedwell car park in good time (0900 hours). There was a bit of a wait as the boat we were on left at 0945 so we sat and rested before getting dressed. A couple of us were dreading it slightly, but I was quite looking forward to it. I didn’t let slip that I was more excited for the boat trip but hey ho.
The bag was surprisingly heavy, but I have carried heavier so it didn’t phase me, just knocked me out of balance a couple of times. None the less, we were soon on the boat, destination: The Bottomless Pit (or Speedwell cavern as one of the guides called it *Humpf*). This took about 20 minutes until everyone was off and getting into the far canal.
This was nice and easy going for around 10 minutes, passing 3 of the overflows that maintains the level of the canal. Just before the gate that is located at the bung, there is the remains of one of the old miners boats which was a sight to behold. However, I was at the front where the water was crystal clear so would have had a better view of it than those behind who nearly walked into it.
Until the Pit Props, water hadn’t actually entered my wetsuit so I was reasonably warm. Too warm. Which lead me to jump into the water and immerse myself so that I warmed up. Forgetting about my lamp which is suffering from an illness and not wanting to work, it started to complain, and did so for the duration of the trip. I was worried that it was going to die on me, but today was not the day!
Anyway, a nice scramble in the Speedwell streamway meant that we were at the base of Main Rising within 45 minutes of entering the boat. We waited for Benji to get suited and booted before then going off to do our own thing. It was cool watching him descend down into the stygian deep before he was gone, hopefully to be seen again!
I wasn’t up for sitting around for an hour and there was a lot to explore, so I led Corin and Molly for a tour of the other reaches of Speedwell.
Starting off closest to Main Rising we had a visit to the miners passage and Cliff Cavern. Saw some new additions but always like to see the beer bottle carved in (originates from the belief that alcohol stopped miners from getting lead poisoning. A lot ended up dying of alcohol poisoning anyway.). I have always been to the bottom of Cliff Cavern and had a look, and done the whole wow thing, but never gone up to the top. This was, again, going to be one of those trips. I had a drink of water, said “wow” and headed back to the main streamway with the others.
Our next stop was to head up the ladder further downstream and have a gander at secret sump, not really impressive?? Although apparently it goes quite deep. I made some subterranean mud flows and then our next stop was to the bathing pool. This was way more impressive because it is much larger and has that nice tropical blue that just got darker as you stared deeper down into it luring you into its depth like a sirens call to a sailor.
Corin jumped in straight away and me being slightly more hesitant gracefully slipped in as I have a strange fear of open water. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of the bathing pool and fear instantly gripped me. The pool was suddenly ten times larger and I was there in the middle, I could feel the tendrils of the great Leviathan wrapping round my legs, ready to drag me down to my doom. I fought the beast with all I had, never to be disturbed again. I awoke from this fantasy and realised I had just crawled onto the side, never to venture out into rough waters again.
On the way out back to the streamway I managed to give both of my knees a good wack which wasn’t pleasant considering I had no knee pads on. But I quickly sorted myself out and was down in the streamway with our next destination being Leviathan. At this point we only had 15 minutes before Benji was due out, but considering he needed some time to sort his head out, we committed and was soon at the foot of the ladders up. I gave Molly some help as she ascended the ladders but soon we popped out of the hatch and were at the foot of Leviathan.
This chamber always fills me with a sense of Awe as you just look up to its great height like a ginormous stomach within the Earth. It is a part of probably one of my most favourite trips in the Peak District (JH), however, at the moment it seems like I have a lot of favourite trips in the Peak District, but this is definitely up there in the higher elite.
Time was nearly up so we had to start making haste back to Benji who would most likely be sat waiting for us, Molly kicked me in the face coming down the ladders and we were soon back to him within 10 minutes. It turned out he had been out 15 minutes, so we hadn’t kept him waiting long.
Bottles in bags, bags on backs and back down the streamway we went! This next bit I always like which is when you get to the Bung and can smell the outdoors, despite being so far underground, as a result of the ventilation system in the show cave. It just reminds me of the world going by above my head and I am here underground in a completely different world. One that I find so peaceful.
We left the bags at the bung and decided to show Corin Block Hall and the lower bung streamway before heading back and walking along Far Canal. We arrived to The Bottomless Pit just as a tour group were entering, which I respectably turned my torch off for, but ended up with several people all putting their flashlights on right in my face. I managed to scare a couple to my delight before getting out of the water and waiting for the next boat back.
The boat back was fun as we got to just put the bottles in the boat and hold on to the back. This meant getting quite cold but I can easily block that out being from the North and all that. It was really quite peaceful and felt as if I was floating on a cloud, so I let that feeling take over until I snapped back to reality and was ready to climb the 106 steps back out to the surface. This was probably the most challenging bit!
I didn’t reach Goblin Town *sniff sniff*