Ever wondered how it would feel to travel to the middle of the mountain by boat? Well now you can stop wondering and just enjoy the ride in the Speedwell Cavern. The main cavern, the Bottomless Pit, can only be reached by boat going through an underground canal, so if you are claustrophobic or scared of boats you might want to reconsider this adventure.
As I mentioned before, in the Peak Cavern blog entry, you can buy the tickets to both caverns at a discount price. Just ask for the ‘Family’ or ‘Combined ticket’ options at the ticket office. Both caverns are within a walking distance from each other so there is no need to move your car. However, there is a car park right next to the Speedwell Cavern, so if you wish you can leave your vehicle there.
The cavern is a lime stone cave which was in the past used as a lead mine. When entering you will be equipped with a lovely hard hat, which later on will prove to be vital for your safety (especially if you are tall).
After a short talk given by the guide we descended a long staircase leading to the boats. It was a bit slippery and wobbly, so it took a while until everyone was seated. While we were moving through the dark tunnels the guide was entertaining us with the history of the mine and funny anecdotes which made the ride even more enjoyable.
The trip lasts for a while and you have to stay alert most of the time as in some sections the ceiling is so low you might bump your head (hence the hard hats).
Eventually we have reached the shores of the cavern. One by one we rolled out of the boat and continued through the main entrance. The cave is very impressive as the ceiling is very high and covered with entrances to smaller, unfortunately unreachable for us, narrow corridors.
You can admire various stalactites and stalagmites but most importantly you can see the extremely deep vertical shaft, called the Bottomless Pit which is one of the deepest ones in Britain.
All in all, the Speedwell Cavern may not be something for everyone but most definitely it is a unique place to visit.