Underground mine trips restarted

As members will be aware, PDMHS had to temporarily suspend underground trips last year because our existing insurance was not providing sufficient cover for underground activities. PDMHS needs more people to help us record, survey, and preserve the underground heritage of Derbyshire’s mines, so the solution we have decided on is the formation of an autonomous group within PDMHS. It will be called the Underground Exploration Group (UEG), and will apply for member club status with the British Caving Association and take part in the BCA Public Liability Insurance scheme.

Underground mine trip in the Derbyshire Peak DistrictMembership of the UEG will only be available to PDMHS members, but it will be free – though members must have BCA Public Liability insurance cover as a condition of joining the group. This can be purchased through the UEG at £17 per annum, through another BCA affiliated club, or directly from the BCA. Please note that the policy only provides Public Liability Cover, and is NOT personal accident cover. The cover is UK wide and is universally accepted as the ‘de facto’ underground insurance scheme in the UK – many mines and caves will not permit access without it. Further details can be seen at british-caving.org.uk.

PDMHS members who already have BCA insurance cover via another club, or directly with BCA, do not need to pay a second time. One payment to any club is valid anywhere – but UEG will need to see proof of cover (via a valid BCA Membership Card).

Temporary membership of the UEG will be available to PDMHS members wishing to try underground trips before committing to buying the insurance. BCA’s Temporary Insurance cover allows a maximum of four trips at no charge, after which members would be required to purchase BCA insurance cover for all subsequent trips.

PDMHS members who wish to join the UEG should contact the UEG Secretary, Martin Long, at ueg@pdmhs.com. Martin will get back to you with further information about what we need from you, and details of how to pay.

Assuming that the UEG’s application to join is approved by the BCA, we have provisionally arranged the following trips:

For more details of any of these trips (including meeting places and times), please contact meets@pdmhs.com. Booking is essential and BCA insurance cover is required for non-UEG members (we will need to see a valid BCA membership card before you are allowed underground).

Tuesday 9 January – Dunsley Springs Level, Via Gellia

Leader – Martin Long.

An evening trip suitable for novices. There are a number of features of interest in this level, such as the picked numbers on the wall (see Observations and Discoveries parts 20, 49 and 52). If time permits we will visit Spencers Level before moving on to the Barleymow for a post-trip pint. The trip is limited to 8 places.

Tuesday 23 January – Devonshire Cavern, Matlock Bath

Leader – Adam Russell.

This evening trip will visit the up-dip workings in Devonshire Cavern and will go to the limit of the accessible workings (see Mining History 17.2 for more details). This is a walking/crawling trip but as it involves some exposed traverses it is not suitable for complete novices. Optional post-trip drinks in the Fishpond. The trip is limited to 8 places.

Sunday 11 February – Mouldridge Mine, Pikehall

Leader – Arthur Wilson.

An easy daytime trip to this popular mine with plenty to see, suitable for complete novices. See PDMHS Bulletin 9.2 for more details about the workings. Optional post-trip drinks in the Miners Standard, Winster. The trip is limited to 8 places.

Tuesday 20 February – Hollow Phinnis Mine, Bonsall

Leader – Adam Russell.

This evening trip will visit one of the less well-known and consequently seldom-visited Via Gellia mines. It is suitable for novices but involves a short section of flat-out crawling to access the pipe workings. Optional post-trip drinks in the Barleymow. The trip is limited to 6 places.

More trips are being planned for April onwards. Details will be published on the website and/or in the next newsletter. Any updates or changes to these trips will also appear on the website.