1980 - 1989
1980 The Eastwater entrance shaft was stabilised with a new metal framing. Major extensions were made to Reyfad in Co Fermanagh. The Mulu ’80 expedition discovered over 50km of cave including Sarawak Chamber, the largest in the world.
1981 A fixed high level traverse rope was installed across Mud Hall in Gaping Gill. Roaring Hole was opened up. The Far Sump in Peak Cavern was passed by Martyn Farr only to find that the miners had been there before him. Ink Sump in Peak Cavern was passed, this was later to become the site of the most extensive dig beyond a sump anywhere in Britain. There was a 50 hour rescue from Southern Streamway in Agen Allwedd. Uamh an Claonaite became Scotland’s first mile long system. After being found in 1979, Pozu del Xitu was explored to a final depth of 1139m; the first British exploration to go below 1000m. The Jean-Bernard became the deepest cave in the world at 1460m.
1982 Renold’s Rift (named after C Reynolds!) in Longwood August was extended to give new depth record for Mendip of 173m. Wookey 25 was pushed to 60m deep. Charterhouse Cave was discovered. BCRA Transactions was renamed Cave Science.
1983 Gaping Gill and Ingleborough Cave were connected at Radagast’s Revenge after a dig and two divers made the through trip in each direction. The start of the West End Series was discovered in Eastwater. Gordon Warwick well known geomorphologist and a founder member of CRG died. A joint expedition by LUSS and SEII pushed Sima 56 in northern Spain to –1169m in another major British success. Roppel was connected to Mammoth/Flint Ridge to makes the longest cave system in the world at nearly 500km.
1984 A metal tube was installed in the entrance to Stream Passage after the BPC had dug it out when it became blocked. The Wretched Rabbit entrance to Easegill was dug out. Rift Pot was discovered and connected to Large Pot. Sid Perou’s Speleogenesis film and his Lost River of Gaping Gill - Part Two outlining the actual connection, were shown on TV. A dry route was dug out to connect Peak and Speedwell Caverns. As a result of the drought Sump 1 in Swildon’s became a duck. More extensions were made in the West End Series in Eastwater. Major extensions were also made in Agen Allwedd and Ogof Daren Cilau. The discovery and exploration of Ogof Llyn Parc consolidated the inclusion of North Wales on the caving map. Scotland Underground was published.
1985 The sump at the bottom of Notts Pot was passed to gain entry to Notts II. The upstream Gavel Pot sump was dived to 63m deep. Whernside Manor ceased to offer caving courses. Knock Fell Caverns, the most complex maze in England, was discovered. Divers found the “Lost River of Cheddar” in Gough’s Cave. Oliver Lloyd, one of the more colourful Mendip caving characters died. There was a major attempt to dig Sump 2 in St Cuthberts. The end of Wookey was pushed to a depth of 68m using Trimix. The landowner refused all access to Lamb Leer after a dispute over payments for access. Time Machine Passage, the largest in Britain, and St David’s Sump were discovered in Ogof Daren Cilau. Marble Arch in Co Fermanagh was opened as a showcave. The first British caving expeditions left for China.
1986 CRO attended a total of 6 rescues involving 24 cavers in one day in May due to flooding. ULSA found a major extension in Penyghent Pot. Jingle Pot and Hurtle Pot were linked by divers. Divers at Gough’s Cave found the main river and one of the larger chambers under Mendip (Lloyd Hall). Downstream Daren Cilau was connected by a dive to Elm Hole in the Clydach Gorge giving one of the longest through trips in Britain at nearly 5km. Long term digging led to the establishment of the Hard Rock Café in Daren Cilau. Major extensions were made in Daren Cilau heading back towards Agen Allwedd. Some formations were seriously damaged in Ogof Craig-a-Ffynnon by a gang of Hells Angels. The first Irish Caving Symposium was held. The fissure which had prevented entrance to Lechuguilla Cave, the best decorated cave in the world, was finally passed .
1987 There was a breakdown of the access agreement for Casterton Fell after the owners requested that CNCC collect £2 per head when issuing permits. Dave Elliot’s SRT Rigging Guide to 25 Dales caves was published. A planning application was submitted to turn Bar Pot into a showcave by fitting scaffolding staircases down the two pitches. There was a nine-day diggers camp in Daren Cilau which resulted in more extensions in Daren and Agen Allwedd but still no link. Cliff Cavern was climbed in Speedwell after a major siege. Nobert Casteret died.
1988 A new access agreement for Casterton Fell was made between the landowners and RRCPC not CNCC. Hagg Gill was discovered but details were not published until a new entrance had been opened up. Fresh attempts by divers to penetrate Malham Cove began in earnest. A forty-five metre bolt route put up beyond Far Sump in Peak Cavern entered major high level extensions. Diggers bypassed sumps 1 to 3 in Agen Allwedd in the continuing search for a connection to Daren. Cenotaph Aven was climbed in Eastwater.
1989 Pippikin sump was connected to Gavel/Lost John’s sump. The Trident formation in OFD was repaired after the end had been broken off. The dig in Welsh’s Green Swallet on Mendip went. Wookey Hole was bought by Madame Tussauds. The downstream Lancaster Hole sump was dived and led to a large flooded passage. Sump 1 in Swildon’s became a duck yet again due to the dry weather. Much exploratory work was done in Peak Cavern beyond Far Sump. Conservation guidelines were published for Peak Cavern. A British team in Mulu extended Blackrock Cave which they had found the previous year, and extended Clearwater Cave making it 11th longest in the world.