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BBC documentary unearths UK's biggest cave


Potholers have discovered the UK's biggest cave - almost as high from floor to ceiling as the London Eye - beneath a hillside in the Derbyshire Peak District.

 

Tonight on Inside Out, BBC One Yorks & Lincs viewers will be able to see the first film of the huge cavern, carved out over millions of years by water eating into the local limestone.

 

A BBC team led by Inside Out presenter Morland Sanders and producer Mike Jackson abseiled into Titan with specialist cameraman Rob Franklin.

 

They were guided by Dave Nixon, the local potholer who is the UK's leading underground explorer. He found Titan, the biggest underground discovery ever.

 

Until now, Titan has only been within reach of the relatively small number of expert cavers who knew of its existence.

 

Inside Out's TV lights revealed a huge chasm containing a massive waterfall plunging deep below ground level.

 

Titan is nearly 200 feet higher than the previous record holder, Gaping Gyhll in the Yorkshire Dales.

 

Morland Sanders said: "It was in many ways a terrifying experience but the size of the cave is truly awesome."

 

Dave Nixon and a group of Peak cavers found Titan near another huge cavern, Leviathan, after finding an account by an obscure 18th century academic, James Plumtree, in a university library.

 

In 1793 he wrote a paper which described a network of caves which went beyond the well-known Speedwell cave system near Castleton.

 

Dave Nixon realised the entrance must have been blocked by a rockfall and set out to find it.

 

When rocks were removed, it opened the door on a long forgotten system that eventually led the group to Titan.

 

They spent three years removing another fall of boulders before finally gaining entry into the bottom of the cavern.

 

Dave Nixon's team have now completed a man-made shaft that allows cavers to reach the roof of Titan, from which they can abseil into the cave.

 

This saves a five-hour underground journey that was a challenge even for expert potholers.

 

Inside Out, BBC One, Monday 6 November 2006 at 7.30pm

 

AB2

 

 

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Category: Yorks & N.Midlands Regional TV; E.Yorks & Lincs Regional TV
Date: 06.11.2006
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