Saturday, 28 March 2015

Like a streak of lightning through Middleton Dale

With only occasional visits to Derbyshire, we had got into a habit of visiting just a select few classic sites, and so we picked out Streaks Pot from the guidebook - something a little different to have a try out. After breakfast in Morrisons we sent Jess off on her bike and then headed to Stoney Middleton following instructions for Mark's Sat Nav, that must have been in 'Taxi Driver' mode as it took us on a tour of the Peak District. We finally arrived in Stoney Middleton and then took the GPS and had a walk to locate both entrances. This duly completed we kitted up and headed to the Top Entrance. A short crawl led to a fine 11 metre pitch that we laddered , and then down we went led by Mike down through rifts and shafts to meet a squeeze at the bottom, that features as the cover photograph for the Derbyshire guidebook. I took two attempts to get through and then we crawled to meet the trickle of water that made stream at this point. Mark then led the way to the upstream passages calling us all through as he had scouted some fine locations for photos. We explored up to Lu-blu sump and then took a handful of photos on our way back to the junction at the bottom of the entrance series.

Upstream in Streaks Pot
Lucy upstream in Streaks Pot

Upstream in Streaks Pot
Lucy upstream in Streaks Pot

Upstream in Streaks Pot
Mike upstream in Streaks Pot

From here there could only be one way on it was an awkward squeeze up between blocks, followed by more awkward squeezes as we worked our way by trial and error through Nervous Breakdown to meet the stream proper on the other side. This was followed until we paused at a inlet where the water increased and progress was decidedly aqueous. With more rain forecast we wanted to be sure we were on route before heading any further downstream. We identified our location as Donkey Dong Inlet (the Donkey Dongs hanging from the roof). We then headed with a little trepidation towards the Mousehole, which we thought from the name was going to be the deal breaker of the trip, but we must have passed it without realising. Spirits raised now as we knew we would not have to retrace our steps, and we headed to Route 66. Here we made a navigational error and headed through a tight awkward squeeze into a boulder choke with no way on. We backtracked to a junction and then found the right route. Following the draught up a tube to the lower entrance we encountered the tightest squeeze of the day as we broke through into the bottom of the short entrance shaft. In summary - a fine through trip with plenty of squeezes, crawls, mud, water and tight bits - whats not to like?

Present: Mark Burkey, Lucy Collins, Mike Bonner and Brendan Marris

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