Last Wednesday, 9 July, I went to Poole’s Cavern with Glossopdale Women’s Institute. It’s well worth a visit – a great cave, good info from the guide, and really easy for those less mobile with not too many steps, and flagstoned walkways and handrails throughout. I borrowed Chris’ camera because it has an infrared setting, so I could take pictures in the low light of the cave.
We had an early start; we set off about 8:30am. We were trying to beat the rush – apparently every school in the High Peak decided to take its kids to tour that cave that very day. Schools tend to start later here than what I’m used to, more like 9am than 7, so we got there for when the cave opened at 9, and got the first tour, and just were vaguely aware of the first lot of kids being around. Phew.
Pictures from the cave …
It’s been awhile since I did one of these gallery things – remember to click on the first photo and then use the right arrow on the right side of the screen to see each picture one by one, and the full caption I’ve written at the bottom.
The tour started with a few words from the guide, George, under this natural shelter just outside the cave.
The first formation inside was nifty – you get three versions of it. Here it is with the flash…
… here it is without flash, just with their colored lights on it …
… and here it is once more with the infrared setting.
We went into the second cavern, which is absolutely vast. On the other side of the railing is the riverbed for a section of the River Wye
just a couple of miles from its source. How much water is in it depends on how much rain there’s been lately; I didn’t see any water in it at all. (Wye apparently comes from the Latin for Wandering.)
A better shot of the riverbed. You can also see the well that somebody long ago dropped right in the riverbed, which I thought was odd. Anyway, this water is very calcified; once, some eggs were laid in that well and left there, and after the calcified water ran over them for about 7 years, they looked some 20,000 years old.
The lion – and that’s the lion’s eye on the floor. Apparently he had a bad cold and sneezed one day. 😉 Ah, cheesy cave humor, always requisite.
A closeup of the lion’s eye. Stalactites are formed from drips slow enough to let the minerals/etc build up coming down from the ceiling; stalagmites are formed when the drip is faster, and the minerals accumulate on the floor. In the case of the lion’s eye, the drip has sped up and started drilling a hole in the stalagmite. Freaky!
The pride and joy of Poole’s Cavern – a 7 foot stalactite. It should be closer to 10 feet, but early cave explorers took home chunks as souvenirs, as was the norm back in the day. The bottom chunk was actually buried outside the cave and found a few years ago; it’s now set on the floor below the rest of itself for safekeeping.
There was a special name for this; I forgot it. Anyway, the water flows from one pool to another, down and down. It looked cool.
It looks like a jellyfish.
Again with a flash. Also, you’re seeing the first of the poached egg stalagmites here.
When they’re very short, they look like their name (poached egg stalagmites). These grow at a shockingly rapid rate of 1 cm/year. The color has apparently been attributed to attributed to minerals leached from lime-burning on Grin Low above.
A whole gallery of poached egg stalagmites to look at above the walkway.
And in infrared.
More curtaining/drapery, as they call it.
I’ve added this to my computer wallpaper rota.
Mary Queen of Scots is said to have embraced this formation and declared it the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen. Our guide suspected that may have had less to do with its innate beauty and more to do with it signalling the end of her rather more arduous tour of 4.5 hours sloshing through the river (apparently the flagstoned walkway and handrails postdate the 1600s by a year or two), so she could finally go home and get a cup of tea.
More curtaining in the final chamber.
The group I went with – eleven of us from Glossopdale Women’s Institute.
The only L-shaped picnic tables I’ve ever seen in my life.
It was a truly gorgeous day.
After the cave, we split into three groups – convenient, since we’d come in 3 cars and all. One lot went off hiking up the hillside over the cave. I’d have liked to join them, but since I’d dressed for the 45F/7C cave, it worked out for the best that I didn’t; I was sweltering before too long without exertion. I shall drag Chris and we’ll hike that woodland another time (and I’ll dress less warmly!). Another lot went off to a fine lunch at the Old Hall Hotel. My carload wandered off to the Buxton Pavilion Gardens for a compromise between the two: a stroll instead of a hike, and a light lunch instead of a fine lunch.
Pictures from Buxton Pavilion Gardens …
Impressive weeping willow at Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens.
Meandering through Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens.
The ducks were out in force at the duck pond.
These hanging baskets were new – and strangely in autumn colors.
We went through the greenhouse there – and found this plant with orange flowers and black leaves! How strange! It’d be great for Halloween.
We also spotted these bizarre flowers, possibly a variety of lily, that look like each flower is really three nested flowers. All the flowers were like this, so it wasn’t that one had just grown strangely.
I also spied these for the first time – actually blue flowers! Most flowers aren’t blue, they’re purple, so these caught my eye. Since then – five days ago – I’ve been seeing them everywhere, in gardens all over, including in blue. I think everyone ran out last week and bought them to plant in their gardens, just to keep me off kilter. 😉
All in all, a lovely day out!