10/04/2019 - Luke, Rob, Jeff

After finishing Wham engine the previous week, much to my relief due to the crumbling nature of the mine, our attentions were drawn back to Portaway Mine. Rob and I had previously descended the entrance, gone westerly down the vein and brought this to a conclusion. Whilst exiting, I had shoved my head in to the easterly continuation of vein only to find it went on, but thrutchy and in need of some rope to get down to potential lower levels. So todays task, was to crack on and continue this rifty vein, this time joined by Luke.

Walking across the field Luke thought he saw a black panther ´or large dark fox´ in a quarry, we looked but the beast had gone...

We prepared the entrance, Rob descended first rigging on down, and soon all three of us were at the bottom in the easterly heading vein, thrutching our way along to not the first, but the second pitch down, looking of about 10m. The first we wanted to do later as it looked less enticing. Rob did the anchors and kindly he let me go down first. I think he had already clocked what was down there! There wasn´t much to see. At the bottom a bedding of soft orangy clay type mud was present, which we had also seen on the previous trip in the westward direction. For us it was interesting as this layer could give reference to other caves and beddings of a similar nature putting us on the same level.
Right at the bottom was a pool of water, west was tight and east even tighter. I came back up.

Jeff on the first descent down the second pitch

Rob had headed over the top of the pitch I was now ascending, and he went off to see what lay ahead. He climbed about and up a ramp of boulders, which he seemed to think was a blocked shaft coming in. Although it did sound like a drawn conclusion, as he came back down fairly sheepishly not to move any of the suspended boulders. At the base of this potential shaft we were now about 50m from the entrance pitch and it had a feel of being slightly more natural. But even after a good poke all about there was no indication of natural passage heading off from the vein. In the mean time Luke hadn´t been sat waiting, but had climbed up above the second pitch gaining a higher level, but this soon closed down.

Jeff looking like he's enjoying Derbyshire caving :-)

We started to head back to the entrance. Rob went down the first pitch that we had traversed across initially, and this dropped down to a similar level to the previously explored pitch, once again with the band of orange clay. We spent a bit of time analyzing the draft, which was noticeable, but we concluded almost certainly circular due to our hot and steamy bodies.

We surveyed out and derigged, making it back in time for the pub this time. A few were chopping at the bit for a pint, as on some of the previous trips we had gone dry.

A nice mine, if a bit on the tight, horizontal, thrutchy side. Nice entrance shaft with a railway sleeper wedged half-way down!


Luke showing it's easy to be this awesome
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