Present: Rob, Jon, Sam, Luke, Joe, Ben and Fabian


Following a last minute change of tonight’s plan due to the wet stuff causing us some problems with Plan A, it was decided to have a reconnaissance trip down Gentlewomen’s Shaft and inspect the reported collapse in Youd’s Level (AKA Ringing Rake Sough).

Ben and myself arrived rather early in the Artists Corner car park and the rest of the team was slowly arriving, pre-beers were enjoyed and everyone piled into Rob’s car to head up towards the lay-by and progress was made towards the entrance shaft.

After descending the tight shaft the team met up in the first chamber and started to make steady progress towards the old mine workings as well as the ascending and descending chimneys and shafts.

With Luke leading the way, he ultimately arrived at the first wet squeeze and started to grovel his way through using the handily supplied tools before shouting back “This looks shit!” as he looked into the second squeeze. After a few minutes of digging and deepening the passage he slithered through and emerged on the other side. I got myself thoroughly stuck whilst trying to get through this squeeze and had to rely on Luke trying to pull me out yet the rocks under my back and arse prevented this from happening. A little wiggle and I managed to get through.

Rob, Jon and Sam must’ve been thirsty as they decided to tackle this squeeze face down and have a little rehydration stop on the way. 

Rob suggested a little detour to inspect a nearby Jigging Box which was in very good condition and it’s always exciting to find evidence of T’Owd Man. We continued further downstream and started to follow the obvious stream way towards what seemed like a dead end. After a little bit of poking and digging Rob and Luke managed to squeeze through and were met with a further collapse which seemed impassable. 

Luke looking into the collapsed section

We know that at some point there may be difficult sections requiring some digging in order to breach through into the coffin level. Without being fully aware of the extent of this collapse nor having visited it from the other side it was decision time: spend time and continue to dig or start retracing our steps and head out. The consensus was let’s leave and come back from the other side at a later time. 

"My precioussss"

Before attempting the first squeeze everyone spent a good few minutes digging the wet passage slightly deeper, creating a trench to reduce the water level and generally make it more appealing. Everyone passed with ease as this section was now incredibly easy. The way back through the maze of interconnecting passages and chimneys certainly is more technical from this direction and climbs felt slightly more exposed and all footholds seemed to have disappeared.

Joe loving the climbing sections
Joe loving the climbing sections

The ascend up Gentlewomen’s Shaft certainly split the prepared from the unprepared of the team, “Team Pantin” made it out very easy whereby “Team Hardcore” took their sweet time to make progress as getting into an efficient position to prussik is extremely difficult in such a narrow shaft.

Joe and myself were the last out and after derigging the pitch made swift progress towards the waiting and warm team, jumped in the boot and went to the car park to get changed into dry clothes. Thanks to Ben for bringing the post-trip cakes.

Jon thankful for Ben's Post-trip cakes

A certainly interesting trip although being a dead end for now, a little bit of work would make this an amazing Peak District trip to go onto everyone’s to-do list.


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