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Titan - Speedwell Cavern -- 20th Jun 2009

Group: Mary, Paul, Ian, Dave , Geoff (WCMS), Keith (YSS), Roy (MCG)

This trip was organised as part of the 2009 NAMHO conference and we grateful for the sterling work of rigging and organising done by the Masson Caving Group and others. We parked in the Speedwell Cavern car-park in dull but dry weather and met up with the other delegate, Geoff and shortly after by Roy from MCG and Keith from YSS. We kitted up and at this point Geoff discovered he had accidently brought his wife's wellies which were several sizes too small. After a bit experimentation it was found that Geoff could use Dave's wellies, Dave could use Ian's and Ian could use Geoff's wife's wellies. Having sorted out tackle sacks we all squeezed into Keith's 4x4 for the trip up the top field with the Titan shaft. We donned SRT gear and headed for the shaft.

The engineering work on the shaft is pretty impressive and after a bit of mucking around with sacks Roy and then Keith set off down the 50m pitch on a new 10mm rope (fast!). The rest of us then piled down and collected in the passage leading to the window at the top of Titan shaft.

There were a few diggers heading down first and then Roy followed by Geoff. The 80 metre pitch down to the event horizon was both scary and impressive, but with a standard Oldham lamp was is difficult to pick up a lot of detail on the way down. The weight of the rope below meant that you have exert quite a force on the stop handle so the rope moved though without too much friction. We all got down without the stop's getting particularly hot (phew!).

The rebelay`under the event horizon was passed without any issue and the 60 metre pitch was straightforward apart from a bit of messing around getting off the rope (it could have been a tad longer). With everyone down apart from Keith and Mary, they decided to come down in style by doing a tandem descent using the main and diggers rope.

At the bottom the party headed down the squeezes through the boulder ruckle, along some low crawls, down some scaffold stabilised drops and into the far sump extensions. Onward led to a junction and turning right headed towards stemple highway an awkward muddy traverse with fixed lines. A little further on was the base of JH mine were a stop for lunch seemed sensible. There was some interesting hydraulic engineering to divert water through a set of pipes presumably to keep the bottom of Leviathan pitch drier. After lunch we headed onward along a passage, though on old gate (open) apparently put in to protect the dig and down the access hatch to Speedwell. A couple of diversions were made to look at old graffiti and also the access passage to Peak cavern and the white river series. Heading downstream in increasingly deep water we reached an interesting steel wire traverse over 'the whirlpool' and a waist deep walk towards the bung. Water levels were fairly low. Heading along the tunnel towards Speedwell cavern we spotted lights at the tourist platform and surprised the guide and a party of visitors. We were offered three places on the boat, but in the interests of solidarity we stuck together and waded the 500m of passage to the stairs and out into the daylight.

A fantastic trip which went like clockwork. A bonus was the cars, which had been left in the car park for well over the time permitted (and without a ticket) hadn't been wheel clamped :-)

Total trip time about 5 hours