Jug Holes - Derbyshire

Dec 09

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A ladder pitch, low crawls and some climbing

Be part of OutdoorLads' next caving trip, where we will descend Jug holes near Matlock, in the south of Derbyshire. An interesting adventure through mines and caves. 

Jug holes is an enormous cavern, which has been half excavated by man, mine levels go off from here which we will explore before heading down a small drop that we will ladder, to explore the lower series first. A succession of large chambers separated by crawls and climbs in this half mined half natural passage eventually leads us to another entrance much lower down the hill. Unfortunately a grill blocks our way so we will return back the way we came.

Back in the main passage we will drop down another hole and explore a maze of passages all on a large slope, the floor of this passage being made from basalt from an ancient eruption, with some amazing green colours and some nice formations should we push the passage to the end. There is no way out at the bottom here so we will again return to the surface after a rewarding day's caving.

What gear do we use / wear?  We cave wearing a robust one-piece caving oversuit, wellies, gloves and a helmet with a head-torch attached.  As this is a dry cave a full-length wetsuit is not required, however you should bring warm clothing and a hard outer layer.  We have a number oversuits available to protect your outer layer, so please let us know your sizing.  Please review the full kit-list below and contact the event leader if you do not have the required equipment. Please also bring a caving/climbing harness or ask to borrow one well in advance, for the ladder climbs.

Do I need prior caving experience? No, but this will be have a few laddered climbs and some non-laddered drops in places, so a head for heights and some climbing experience is a useful. There will also be some low crawls and squeezes between rocks.

Will it be physically demanding?  We anticipate spending around 4-5 hours underground.  There will be some scrambling up and down slopes and over boulders, and parts of the trip may involve some narrow passages. There will also be a 20 foot ladder climb on a ladder (with a safety rope attached to your harness) near the start (with a climb back up the ladder to get out at the end, unless we can exit by the lower exit).

Is caving safe?  Caving is a very safe sport.  Ropes and or ladders are used for ascending and descending sections of cave which are steep and difficult to climb, and the event leader will explain what precautions to take in narrow passages to avoid getting stuck.  In the worst and very unlikely case, the cave rescue organisation have ways and means of getting you unstuck (lubricant or other methods 😉).  Please also read the safety information given below prior to the event and contact the event leader if you have any concerns or questions.

What if the weather is bad?  For this cave, the weather will not affect it, which is why we have chosen so we don't expect the venue to change.

Photos: All photos by A Ritchie and used by OutdoorLads with full permission. 

IMPORTANT! - Participation Statement

You MUST complete a Participation Statement, in addition to booking your event space before attending an OutdoorLads event. You only need to complete this Participation Statement once, not for each event you attend

Please note that every person participating should be aware of (and accept) that those members perceived as ‘in charge’ or leading the event are not necessarily qualified, do not need to be qualified, and are not regarded by OutdoorLads, or themselves as ‘technical experts’ but are amateur cavers with some experience and who are happy to impart their knowledge. Any advice given should be considered with this in mind by the recipient.

In addition to the precautions taken by the event leader, all participants are expected to give due care and attention to their own safety throughout the event.  In particular, participants are expected to move carefully through the cave system to avoid unintended slips / trips, participants must not hesitate to ask for help if they feel that they are struggling to keep up with the group, and participants who wear contact lenses are encouraged to contact the leader prior to the event to discuss what measures need to be put in place to deal with ingress of mud into the eyes.  Any participant who has an open wound (even minor) at the time of the event should chat to the leader at the beginning of the event to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to reduce infection risk.  Participants who suffer from vertigo or claustrophobia should make the leader aware of their condition prior to the event.

Mud sculptures encountered in one of the chambers
Exploring a side passage.
The climb/pitch down into the lower series
John showing how big the passage is in the upper series
Mud sculptures encountered in one of the chambers
Exploring a side passage.
The climb/pitch down into the lower series
John showing how big the passage is in the upper series