Intake Dale Mine

Discussions following on from the Bradwell Catchment Symposium and after reading reports from the 80's of natural rift and chambers, EPC members have re-descended Intake Dale Mine and embarked on exploring it further.

 Intake Dale Main Chamber


Intake dale mine 

Dylan Kocher, John Pemberton, Sam Pemberton, Luke Caffrey


Intake dale mine is something I have only seen from the surface. It's quite a sight and has one of the best lids for any cave/mine in the region. Masterfully fabricated by Portobello Engineering it could be mistaken for a door ripped off the end of a tank. Behind its heavy doors lies a 70m engine shaft where all regions of the mine can be accessed John's mission is to cap a boulder above hobgoblins' way and possibly push a connection up into Brexit rift connected the midlevel mine to the natural bellow. With all other members of our crew feeling the effects of winter in full swing opted to take a weekend away from the usual projects and have some fun showing Intake Dale to the rest of us whom have never had the pleasure. A proposed exchange trip(the first in intake dale) with Rob and John dropping the Engine shaft whiles Luke Sam and myself enter through the higher opencut entrance. Luke leading the pleasant journey down the two pitches both needing care to be taken as Intake is somewhat fragile to put it delicately. Once off the rope we reach a junction at a drafty vein. The way down leads to mineworking’s with a much worthwhile chamber past Brexit rift. This is our first stop. Free climbing down we reach the scaffold choke dubbed Brexit rift. The route on is completely hidden blending in with the boulders and odd scaffold. A tight crawl where a haste is rewarded with threaded steel smashed in your shoulder. On the other side a small natural chamber that slopes to the lower level. Once we are though we all pause to listen for John and Rob. Luke and Sam start to hear movement resembling high heels on the cobbles Jon and rob must be getting adventurous beneath us.

Cut to John and Rob. They removed the boulder easily and got through into a small, natural boulder choke but all ways on are closed. It doesn't lok goes and without hearing the others they decide to take some photos and head up.

Once finshed the tour of the Eastern Intake mine the fun scramble up to Blackjack Choke ensues. Series of free climbs from the top of the entrance of Brexit rift lands you into a small chamber with a scaffolded hole. Completely stable bomb-proofed route through the boulder choke. This is all a lie don’t touch anything! The consensus portrayed by the team, however in reality its not the best nor the worst so exercise caution. Continuing forward reaching the engine shaft Rob and Jon succeed in a tight passing at the exchange. Up and out we go. A reasonable accent of fifty or so meters leading to the bosom of a great lid and of course a happy Rob and Luke smiling away. Rob and JOhn pass us and head out the other way, compleing not only the first ever through trip but also the first ever exchange!

Congratulations to Luke and Rhianna! Introducing us to the newest addition to Team Awesome Waverly Cafferty.

-Dylan Kocher


Present: Jon P, Jim T, Chris H, Rob E and Joe B

We started the evening in the Anchor to receive congratulations and prizes for the Peak District Cave Exploration Prize to which the DCA and Derbyshire Geotechnical kindly donated. It was decided we ought to have a photo of the occasion which took around half an hour of snapping away before anyone was convinced we’d got a decent picture of us misfits (we hadn't).

The plan was to head to IDM where Jon, Jim and Chris would make their way to the Tap Room to take some photos, while Rob and I would keep heading further to check outs some potential leads in the roof beyond Don’t Flatten Me. Katie had taken a trip into this part of the mine earlier on in the week and there were apparently reports of the ginging around the pitch down out of the Tap Room disintegrating with a loud rumble. We wouldn’t be getting far if that had decided to fail catastrophically, so we were going to make an assessment of that first.

Rob and I trotted down the dale ahead of the others naively assuming we’d have great success, (we needed all the time we could grab) and flipped the lid on the engine shaft. Rob did some dodgy knots and we dropped down to the rebelay. I had been into this part of the mine before, but had somehow forgotten all of it and couldn’t remember what was supposed to be a pitch and what was easy to use as a handline. This led to me down climbing the last pitch and flopping out in the Tap Room where I joined Rob. He was staring down the aforementioned suspect pitch, with the general assessment being it was definitely missing a few key blocks and was terrifyingly overhanging - one nudge and the whole lot could come down… Undeterred, we blindly carried on towards our objective.

Chris in the Taproom peering down the loose pitch. Photo by Jon P

We crawled through into Don’t Flatten Me, which contains the most incredible physics-defying cantilever block seemingly held up by nothing. The first aven was a few metres beyond this, above a section of natural off to one side where it looked as though a passage may be heading off in a bedding above. Rob shimmied up the rift to investigate, but unfortunately it did not amount to anything and appeared to just be a cavity only intersected by the miners. 

We continued along to the current extent of the rift where exploration ended. Rob had previously been along the cartgate under where we stood and had found it fallen it at the end. We considered the possibility of climbing over the blockage and continuing along the rift at a higher level. I went first this time and awkwardly shuffled my way upwards to get a better view of the way on. Ahead, in the direction we wanted to go, the rift widened and the floor dropped away to around a 4m drop. It looked featureless and terrifying. Rob became impatient with my floundering and started to climb up behind me. He climbed in to a narrower section above, deciding it would be easier up there and, whilst showering me with loose rocks, bridged over the drop. In a fairly hair raising move where I envisaged him falling on my head and taking me with him, he made it into the gap at the far side, but this unfortunately did not continue above the blockage. 

Terrified above the drop at the end. Photo by RobE

Our disappointment was tempered only by the realisation we’d actually make it back to the pub in time for last orders. So, with that in mind, Rob pulled the disto out, we surveyed our way back to the last survey station near Don’t Flatten Me and quickly made our way out. We joined the others in the engine shaft, where we found Jon and getting cosy by both dangling on separate ropes and climbing together. This proved to be a great decision as we were out in double quick time to make the Anchor. 

Present: Rob Eavis, Rob Middleton, Jon Pemberton, Ben Marks, Helen Fairclough

This week’s Thursday night outing saw us head to Intake Dale Mine. After a few miles of careful driving on icy roads, I finally made it to the layby on the hillside at about 1845, where I met up with the others in the freezing cold. A quick and chilly walk down to the engine shaft was had – and to our surprise a rope was already rigged in the shaft – oh well, that meant we could have two ropes to speed things up a bit! Rob Eavis tied a poorly dressed figure-8 onto the belay bar, and was soon met by criticism from Jon over the lack of a backup anchor! Ironic considering how vehement he was on ditching his SRT kit as soon as he could and freeclimbing/ hand line traversing along some of the sketchiest mined passage I have been in…

A quick descent was had by all to a landing around 25m down from the shaft lid. The most dangerous part of this was the ice around the lid - It was slippery when trying to get in. We then made our way down a few pitches and into the ‘Taproom’, and on to the horrible ‘Taproom Traverse’. This is a fairly constricted traverse with no ledges, requiring a good deal of upper body strength to pass it and not end up falling down and getting wedged in the tighter part of the passage. To get onto the traverse in the first place, you must pass through a precarious funnel of stacked deads to make things even worse! After this traverse, yet more traverse lines over dark voids and false floors are ‘enjoyed’ before the next few pitches. We finally arrived in ‘Isolation’, a brown chamber with not much to write home about. The next few chambers were similar, however one had an excellently scary looking slab the size of family car which had departed from the roof and was wedged up by one small boulder. Rob Eavis and I thought it would be a great idea to pose for some photographs underneath this slab, and it occurred to me that the longer Jon took fiddling with his camera and flashes, the higher our chances of being squashed were! After some morbid conversation between myself and Rob over who would get splattered first, Jon finally gave up with his photographs – the weather conditions were a bit misty inside his camera lens apparently!!!