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What Lies Beneath?

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Recently, The Adventure Service Director and Senior Outdoor Instructor, Terry Harris-Ellis, completed his level one Local Cave and Mine Leader Assessment. This qualification enables Terry to lead groups of our fantastic Adventurers on trips underground in the Peak District.

As part of the assessment, knowledge is required to understand the geology and natural history of caves, including how and when limestone (the most abundant type of rock found in caves) was formed and identifying different varieties of fossils preserved in limestone. Terry also had to learn the history of mining which was one of the main industries in the Peak District with the extraction of Galena or as we know it Lead Ore.

One of the largest sections of training was the use of ropes to ensure the safety of all our Adventurers. This involved detailed understanding of various knots and rigging systems.

On the day of the assessment a group of Adventurers, supported by Mala and Annie, met with Phil Baker (Assessor and Technical Advisor for the day) before joining Terry for a trip underground at Giants Hole in the Peak District.

Giants Hole is known as a swallet cave system, meaning it has a stream running into it. This stream slowly formed this particular cave system over millions of years.

Gearing up for the trip included wearing caving suits, helmets, head torches, wellington boots and caving belts, before venturing deep into the system.

En route, a short climb led to a higher elevation called the “West Passage” where everyone completed a circular squeeze crawl followed by a short climb back down into the main passage.

The main passage continued on to a feature called Gardoms Pot, this three metre wide expanse can be followed for a more extreme expedition. During the trek many features were observed including fossilised Criniods (a distant relation to star fish but more plant like) and evidence of volcanic activity in the form of a lava flow.

Terry concluded “this was a great day, which we can now undertake on a more regular basis, keep your eye on The Adventure Facebook feed for more pictures of our explorations!!”.

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