The place is located near Castleton in the Peak district and just on the beginning of the cool Winnats pass. Speedwell Cavern is one of the four show caves located in Castleton and this is probably the scariest to visit. It is dark and crowded in the channel and only the boat's small lights lit up the sides when you glide slowly down the cavern.
The guide tells funny stories about the place and how they blew and chopped their way through the tunnel in search of lead. Already after about 10 minutes the end of that tunnel is reached and you enter a cave with a 'bottomless' pit on the other end. It had apparently been around 150m deep but the miners have long filled it with stone so now it is barely 20m. There are also some stalactites and stalagmites, and a sign showing how much more of the whole underground system there is still out there to explore. Actually it was not to long ago, 1999, that the largest natural shaft in the UK was found there. Reaching a depth of 141.5 meters (464 ft).
The whole tour was very interesting to see and wow what a job it must have been to work so far down and in those tight spaces.
Down the street there is another cavern called Blue John. That cavern has its name from the semi-precious mineral Blue John, which is still mined in small amounts outside the tourist season and made locally into jewellery. The deposit itself is about 250 million years old.
The soft pictures (not to say bad quality) below are a result of high ISO, as I didn't have the flash with me.
|The beginning of the tour|
|Her we are in the tunnel, pretty dark ;)|
|The cave at the end of the tunnel|
|Info about the whole cave system|
|Some kind of moss groving in the shine of the light|
|The boat setting off into the darkness|
|The 106 stairs down and up to surface|
|And of course Winnats pass|