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Trip to Jugholes Cave -- 11th October 2012

Group: Roger, Dave

An while back the group had a look around Jugholes, but lack of a survey and lethargy meant that little was seen or done. So a return trip was well overdue and armed with a survey off the cave monitoring website (thank you) two of us headed off to Derbyshire.

Having parked up in a nearby layby we changed and walked over the fields towards the woods. The main Jugholes entrance came into view, recognisable from the trip a few years ago, but we had decided to do a through trip, entering via the adit. Further down the hill there was a steel hatch over a shaft, the remains of a building and further down the adit in a shallow dip. It wasn't blindingly obvious due to the copious vegetation, but once located we headed in, closing the gate. The entrance pipe led to a walking height passage with packwalls on either side, and a notice warning that a section of roof was unstable. A section ahead had been grouted with mortar and didn't look too bad, but we avoided touching it...

Carrying on a couple of old wagons on rails were passed and the 5th water cavern entered. This had a remains of wagon on the left and various holes in the floor which didn't look particularly interesting and probably were blind. There were some nice flowstone formations on one wall, after a quick look around we headed onward towards the 4th water cavern.

The passage ends at a jumble of rocks and the way on is an upward free climb over muddy rocks which are slippy, so care must be taken to avoid a fall. The route is fairly obvious, but there are plenty of little side passages to explore which are either dead-ends, too narrow or filled with deads. Eventually the chamber is reached and pushing uphill over rubble leads to walls coated with flowstone.

Heading down the cavern care must be taken as there was a drop on the RHS, but after a bit of grovelling the massive 3rd water cavern was reached. This had a mound of rubble in the centre, a few pools of water and more formations on the walls. The continuation to the 2nd water cavern (jugholes itself) is via a passage which was narrow in parts and led to a free climb which was fairly easy, but again you really don't want to slip... The climb exits behind a big boulder which has p-anchors and splits for a safety rope.

We headed along the passage and found the shaft leading to the upper series. This looks a bit daunting from the top, but its fairly easy to find foot and hand holes in the packwalling and descent without any problems - again a slip would be nasty as the drop is about 15'. The upper series is a bit of a rabbit warren. It took a while to find a way to the streamway by a route which involves a lot of slithering and backtracking. Once at the streamway we wandered around for a bit trying to match the terrain with the survey. We failed to find the icing sugar grotto, but found the beehive slopes etc. Following the streamway led to an area with incredibly sticky mud, but a slight backtrack and climb up meant we managed a slightly better route out, recognising a small cairn to one side of a passage near to another we built (and then demolished). Climbing up the chimney was dead easy and after a wander around the old miners workings we headed out.

After we had changed back at the car Roger couldn't find his tackle bag and then realised he had left it in jugholes so we had a quick trip back to retrieve it. Overall a nice easy trip with quite a few things to see, would probably need some rope assistance for anyone nervous of the free climbs.

Total trip time about 3 hours