Eldon Hole, Derbyshire by Denis Bushell

Eldon Hole: Denis (10th October 2016).

One of my first trips with Tatham Club was Eldon Hole. Tony Collins, Club President, told me of the dig and showed me some J Lloyd diagrams from 1777! Why would this man lie about a master cave below the Main Chamber as depicted in Lloyd’s diagrams. No point in those days. Eldon’s 70m entrance of open rift pot is as impressive as any Yorkshire shaft.

The day was dry, I took two 50m ropes, no need, 15m down it was pre-rigged. Thirty years earlier I went down on ladders. What a slog reaching the base. The awkward squeeze into the Main Chamber had been tidied up with an in-situ ladder. From this chamber an ascent up into Miller’s Chamber and still ascending into Damocles Rift is usual route but today I was here to look at the dig. Stirling work, credit to the diggers. Took pictures and headed out on the nylon highway, not the steel road of the past.

Question! I found a frog in the dig. It was green and healthy, not white like cave-dwelling creatures. A fall down the main shaft would be instant death. Question! How did this frog arrive there? Is there an unknown passage albeit being small? Or has it come from the illusive master cave stream on the other side of the dig? If so it would give great impetus to this epic challenge.

Eldon Frog

Frog placed in my helmet for rescue. I think he must have smelt or seen daylight through the air slots in the helmet: plenty of movement on release. He hopped off. In hindsight I should have put a tracker on him.