Buttered Badger Potholing Club
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Science Goes to Rowter Hole

Mark W, Mark R
2ndJune 2014

Following an introduction through Henry Rockliff and Rob Eavis, we have recently been in touch with John Gunn of Birmingham University regarding some dye testing experiments that he has been planning with two students for this summer. John and the students decided that Rowter Hole was an interesting point to inject one of the dyes given the new streams wehave found and so arrangements were made to meet at 1700 in the Peak Cavern car park.

We had a quick chat about the best places to inject the dye and place the detectors. If I remember right he already had detectors in Main Rising, Bathing Pool and Whirlpool risings. One lot of dye was injected in Blue John Cavern earlier in the day and Mark and I were to do the work down in Rowter. Given that we still don’t know for sure if the water from Hypothermia is the same water we see in Bad Badger Choke we opted to place the Fluorescence in Hypothermia with a detector at the back side of the pitches. Just in case the hypothermia water never made its way down the pitches and into the newly named (by Jim Lister) Rowter Hole Sump we also injected some optical brightener into the stream at the head of the pitches.

Never having done anything quite like this before, John gave us a briefing on how best to handle the dye and detector and we set off for a nice easy trip. The first stop was Bad Badger Choke where we injected the optical brightener and hung around for a picture before placing the detector and making our way back out.

It was nice to mosey out at a leisurely pace and take in the cave and the work we have done these last few months. Of particular interest was the upstream continuation of the stream in Bad Badger Rift. Although we have had a very quick dig in here before, I think it would definitely be worth putting this on the ‘to do’ list for the future. It would likely involve further emptying Foster’s Faith from above rather than trying to dig through the blockage at stream level. This would have two benefits - it would make the digging safer and may open up a better route into Badger Rift for us - the walls of Foster’s Faith aren’t going to last forever! On the downside it would require sinking another shaft, or at least a wall or two.

Eventually we arrived back at Hypothermia where we removed the pipes diverting water down the old dig and allowed the water to flow down the wall and disappear into the floor. We set up a photo and Mark proceeded to empty nearly 1kg or Fluorescence whilst I took pictures. John had warned us that it would be spectacular but we weren’t prepared for the spectacle that ensued!

We filled the now empty tackle bag with as much rubbish as we could and left for not just beer but also food in the pub. Mission accomplished.

We will remove the detector on Thursday and post it back to John for analysis. I believe he will also be removing the detectors from the risings on Thursday too, so it shouldn’t be long before we have some answers

Mark R


Mark pours the Optical Brightening Agent into the stream just past Bad Badger Choke.
This is where our dye detector went too.


The dye out of Hypothermia