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Caving Jack Pot

Listed under Caves & Caving in North West England, United Kingdom.

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Photo by ralphjohnson
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Also called P8 this is probably the best “novice” trip in The Peak District. Park in the small parking area opposite Perryfoot Farm, Sparrowpit and pay a small trespass fee at the farm before changing.

Head east along the valley to the large sink hole where the stream disappears down a hole supported by concrete. Make certain you select the correct sink hole! the route is way marked but these are somewhat indistinct. The entrance is a slippery climb down and this is normally wet. Follow the stream to Idiots Leap (2.5 m) which is normally equipped with a fixed rope. If not either fix one or climb down the right hand wall on reasonable holds (easier climbing out!).

Continue downstream to the first pitch which can be tackled direct in VERY dry weather but it is safer to descend two metres then traverse round by following the line of bolts. There are now two choices.

Continue downstream which is now a little tighter to the second pitch (6 m). At the foot of this either climb up and join the alternative route OR in dry weather continue downstream until a tight crawl on the left leads to the Main Stream Passage.

I prefer the alternative route from the foot of the first pitch which is to climb up to the level of the line of bolts then, by stepping over the stream canyon a low passage leads to a high level route to the alternative second pitch (6 m). There are a couple of holes on this route waiting to trap the unwary and these are best protected by arranging a traverse line.

From the foot of the pitch cross the chamber, a rift passage known as Gour Passage on the left, tight in places, leads to the aptly named Mud Hall. After crossing Mud Hall a climb down leads to the Main Streamway where a larger stream is met and where the alternative route from the bottom of the second pitch comes in.

Heading downstream in dry weather the water is about chest deep but this can be avoided by traversing above the water on an obvious line of ledges but there are a couple of awkward sections. In wet weather the high level route is the best option.

Continue to follow the stream down an easy climb until you reach the sump which can only be passed by experienced cave divers since it is constricted and visibility is poor (i.e. non-existent!). Twice in living memory this sump has dried up and it has been possible for non-divers to access the passages beyond which are large and gloomy, they are definitely NOT the place to be if there is even the slightest possibility of rain.

The trip takes 2 – 3 hours and is an amazing introduction to caving but I recommend the system is tackled with an experienced caver since it involves vertical drops and in wet weather it can become a serious proposition. Rescue teams have been called out many times to this system to assist the unwary!

Written by  Ralph Johnson.

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