After deciding we (myself and Rob) needed to get out and do some caving, we opted for the Peak District and eventually plumped for the top entrance to Lathkill.
The decision was made late, gave little time for preparation so we had no map, no survey and no description. What could go wrong?
We parked up and strolled in the dark along then above the dale. At the point where the footpath swings away, we headed over to the field in question and spent a while walking along before realising we had come too far. Eventually and thankfully we found the small lidded entrance quite close to the wall! We did have worries that we might not even get underground at one point.
Tied rope to a solid metal stake, dropped down the short ginged shaft, through a wriggle to another drop rigged from calcite and a spit, this lands on a sloping ledge with two p-bolts, quickly followed by a deviation. From here it opens out and descends in to the very spacious and decorated Waiting Room. From here we poked around in the choke to find a way downwards to a brief crawl that emerged in Lathkiller Hall.
At the base was a climb down a loose choke to a pool and possibly the way in to the downstream series (we later concluded). Heading along the hall it degenerates in to a flat out grovel. It looked like it fizzled out, we headed left, also looked like it fizzled out, explored something to the right and yes, also no good. With no description we weren’t sure where to go.
I slumped as best you can in a flat out passage, not sure if I was either unfit or the CO2 levels were up slightly. We retreated, content with our little reintroduction trip. Stopped at the Duke of York for refreshments on the way home.
Looking at the description it looks like we needed to find a down and under squeeze or a squeeze / 90° downwards bend. We think this might be near a formation we spotted but didn’t go right up to.. At least next time we’ll be much faster and know where we are going.