Friday 28 December 2007

Ogof Capel, Clydach Gorge, South Wales

This cave is one I have wanted to visit ever since I bought my first copy of the South Wales guide book, but until recently it was only accessible to cave divers as just inside the entrance are two sumps. Now a new route dug through a boulder choke in Ogof Gelynnen allows entry to this spectacularly decorated cave to non divers. The cave is gated and access is strictly controlled to preserve the delicate formations. The upgrade of the Heads of The Valleys road to a dual carriageway threatens this cave, as the unstable entrance passages pass less than 10m below the current carriageways. Due to heavy rain on the day we turned back at the ducks and took photographs on the way out.

Chris viewing formations in the Ogof Capel streamway.

Formations in the Ogof Capel streamway.

Chris views formations in the Ogof Capel streamway.

Formations in the Ogof Capel streamway.

See more Ogof Capel photos here 

The team: KeEd, BrMa & ChWe + Rachel & Richard from WMCEG

Sunday 16 December 2007

Peak Cavern, Castleton

The trip was to be to Neil Moss Chamber and we made an uneventful progress through the muddy ducks to the start of Pickering's Crawl that leads to the Chamber. Brendan being navigationally challenged missed a squeeze up and continued to lead the more gullible in the party through some horrendous squeezes into a long crawl following a howling draught. (After looking on the survey later, there should be some reasonable sized passages / chambers there to look at on a future trip). John and Graham were having nothing to do with this and waited while we returned. The climbs up the mud banks now followed with people taking one step forwards and two backwards fighting their way up the slippy banks. Horizontal squeezes up in the air and rope climbs followed to add interest and sport to the trip. Everyone got through even if they had to have a couple of goes. A break was taken in Neil Moss Chamber followed by some photos, before we made the easier down hill return to Pickering's Passage. Having plenty of time to spare we then went to the Surprise View. A trip down to the sump was made before we headed back out the cave and froze as we headed back to the TSG hut.

The impressive phreatic section of the main streamway.

The group assembled on the calcite slope in Moss Chamber.

John Smith views the formations in Moss Chamber.

John Smith climbs the calcite slope in Moss Chamber.

The team: JeHa, BrMa, CaNo, HeSi, GrSm & JoSm

Saturday 1 December 2007

Ogof Draenen

This was to have been a trip to Craig A Ffynnon, but without a key for either this or Agen Allwedd we turned our attnetion to Draenen. Intermittent very heavy rain outside the made the entrance series a little moist in places so there was no chance of our party overheating. The rope climb down into the main cave provided a sporting diversion for our damp group of intrepid cavers and raised the adrenalin levels of some members. Once we were all safely down we headed to Gilwern Passage. At the boulder choke we spilt the party, with Brendan returning and taking photos with one group while Keith took the rest to continue to the Hearts of Olden Glory Streamway. We all met up at Wonder Bra Bypass and headed out together.

Jessica viewing formations in Gilwern Passage.

James viewing formations in Gilwern Passage.

Heather by the cascade inlet in Gilwern Passage.

Heather in Wonderbra Bypass.

See more Ogof Draenen photos here 

The team: KeEd, JaHa, JeHa, BrMa, HeSi & ChWe

Sunday 18 November 2007

Dan Yr Ogof

Mark had not been able to make any of the previous Danny trips and was feeling a little left out, so knowing we were in South Wales for the weekend, requested a trip on the Sunday. A round trip with an excursion up Bog Passage was planned, Mark going out and buying a wetsuit so he could go through the Green Canal. I awoke on Sunday morning to hear the Welsh sunshine pattering on the window. It had rained a good part of the night and on arriving at Danny, the river was well up. With it still raining it would be foolish to spend too much time in the cave, we meet up with a couple of diggers who loaded us up with scaffold bars to ensure that we did not float way through the lakes. A quick dash through the cave was made to Corbels Chamber before we returned. The lakes were now another 3 inches higher, and would have sumped by the end of the afternoon. A little time was spent taking pictures in Lake 1 before returning via Hereford for a meal and pudding served in a fish bowl.

Mark in lake 2 of Dan Yr Ogof.

Chris and Mark in Bridge Chamber.

See more Dan Yr Ogof photos here 

The team: BrMa, MaRo & ChWe

Saturday 17 November 2007

OFD 1 - Waterfall Series and the Round Trip

We head to Penwyllt in a convoy of cars to find workmen at the bottom of the hill doing work to the telegraph poles. The engineers vehicles are blocking the road and there seems to be little prospect of them moving quickly, so Chris and myself decide to walk up to the Club to get a key for OFD1. 15 minutes later as we walk past the quarry, the fleet of cars pass us after eventually being let through. We head into the cave via the streamway and then go up the traverse into the Waterfall Series to avoid climbing up the waterfall. An hour or so playing in the maze of passages up there saw us return down the waterfall and then complete the round trip via the escape route.

Dan viewing formations on the route up into the Waterfall Series

Dan viewing formations on the route up into the Waterfall Series

Jessica and Mark in the Rawl Series.

Jessica in the main OFD 1 streamway.

See more OFD 1 photos here 

The team: BrMa, KeEd, JeHa & DeRo, MaRo & ChWe + New member Dan

Saturday 10 November 2007

Swildon's - Short Round Trip, Priddy, Mendips

I awake to the soothing sound of birds chirping and the first rays of the days sunshine streaming through my window. I turn to look at my clock, to my horror see that I should now be picking up Keith and Del, from West Bromwich, an hours drive away. A mad dash and I am on the road making apologetic phone calls to Keith and Jessica. We arrive in Wells nearly an hour after our planned time, making a trip into Bat Products to meet with Jessica and part with some of our hard earned cash. We then proceed to the City Arms to partake in a full English breakfast with complimentary jam doughnuts for afters. Our plan was a trip into GB cavern and we do a tour of the caving huts trying to find a key to the cave. All attempts fail and instead we fall back on to plan B - The Swildon's Short Round Trip. All the troubles have plenty of airspace, and bar Brendan having a little moment in the Birthday Squeeze the trip goes without a hitch. Jessica tackled the sump with style and found it to be the best part of the trip.

Derek heading down from the landing to the streamway.

Derek heading down from the landing to the streamway.

The team: BrMa, KeEd, JeHa & DeRo

Sunday 28 October 2007

Deja Rue - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu

We decided not to dig on the Saturday as it was raining when we arrived, more was forecast overnight and we had a few no shows. On Sunday, as we had the heaviest rain overnight since the Summer floods and yet more people dropped out of the original dig team, we decided after a little faffing and tea drinking to explore a remote area of OFD. Jessica had fared well on the hard trip of the previous day, so we headed off deep into OFD to a maze of passages that lie underneath the Great Oxbow series. This allowed us to show Jessica all the tourist areas on the trade routes into the cave, as well as to involve the exploration of some of the cave that we had not visited before. Even with the detours we made good time into the cave and within two hours we were exploring a rarely visited area. A very nicely shaped and well decorated passage - Deja Rue was explored and photographed. At one point in this passage we could peer up into an aven, the top of which, some 60 feet higher is a traverse in the Great Oxbow, that John Smith used to take great delight in sending people across. Near the end of Deja Rue was a small stream inlet which quickly turned into a flat out duck. Keith and myself went through and were quickly followed by Jessica. This led into a massive maze of passages that we were only able to partly explore due to time, looking at the survey there is a great deal more to go at in that area, we are sure to return. On our return we paid a visit to the dig, we were wise to have not tried to pump out and dig, as the whole cave was now flooded up to the middle pool!

Jessica near the end of the downstream passage.

Jessica in Deja Rue.

See more OFD 2 photos here 

The team: BrMa, KeEd & JeHa

Saturday 27 October 2007

OFD1 to Cwm Dwr

This was supposed to be a digging trip that I had arranged to go on, but due to the weather and people not turning up we decided to go caving instead. The trip was to be OFD1 to Cwm Dwr - a through trip (I had been in OFD1 and Cwm Dwr before but not a through trip). Nicole from SWCC decided to lead with Keith and Brendan prompting if she made a mistake. The 'Letterbox' was good fun, and it looked strange to watch some one disappear into what seemed a solid wall of rock from below, mind you the clay crawl wasn't much fun as I counted buttons which had obviously got ripped off a previous cavers over-suit on the way through (so you can guess how tight it was) and poor old Brendan, his long suffering camera box got its own back by giving him a black eye. To be honest I enjoyed the trip and its well worth doing if you get the chance - and the best days "digging" I'd done for a long time!

Mel crawling through the letterbox - Wow look at those nails!

Jessica in the sandy passages near The Smithy.

See more Cwm Dwr Pictures here 

The team: AnGr, BrMa, KeEd, MeWa & JeHa + Nicole from SWCC

Sunday 7 October 2007

Calf Holes to Brow Gill

This was the chance for the novices to take us caving and lead a trip! Provided with an OS map, together with a description and survey of the cave, the group sorted the tackle, James rigged the pitch under our watchful eye, James and Jessica did some life-lining and then Jessica, Heather and Deanne led the way through the cave to daylight. 

The team: MiCl, EmPo, HeSi, JeHa, JaHa & DeWi

Saturday 6 October 2007

Bull Pot of the Witches, Dales

The opportunity to put some ladder climbing skills into practice and to explore downstream. Deanne whizzed up the ladders, Jessica looked liked she'd spent the day in a mud bath and James decided he wanted a jet washer! 

The team: MiCl, EmPo, BrMa, DeWi, JeHa & JaHa

Sunday 30 September 2007

Basic SRT training

Some basic SRT training was provided by Mike and Emma at Total Access, including going up, going down and changeovers. 

Jessica at a re-belay being supervised by Emma

Those who took part: MiCl, EmPo, AnGr, HeSi, JeHa & JaHa

Saturday 15 September 2007

Brickworks Dig, Penwyllt, South Wales

We have started to back-fill some of the passage as well as removing the railway track from the main sump pool and partially filled it in. The dig is now about 3 feet longer - we have begun to dig out below the arch that we discovered last time. It is also a few feet deeper. More details on the dig page. 

The Dig Team - Sunday 16th September 2007
Left to Right - Chris Webb, Keith Edwards (rear), Heather Simpson, Derek Robertson, John Smith

The dig team: KeEd, BrMa, DeRo, HeSi (Sun only), JoSm & ChWe + Piers from SWCC (Sat only)

Saturday 1 September 2007

Tunnel Cave and OFD 2, South Wales

Chris and myself took the opportunity to join the WBCRT practice in Tunnel Cave. Four hours were spent bringing a casualty through the cave and then out of the show cave. After having ice cream and tea, Chris and myself headed up to Top Entrance to search out and explore the Bedding Chambers.

Chris views the formations in Shale Chamber.

See more OFD 2 photos here 

The Team: BrMa & ChWe

Wednesday 29 August 2007

Eldon Hole, Derbyshire

This was arranged as a SRT training trip for Mr Webb, who unfortunately couldn't make it on the day - something called 'work' got in the way. Marris and Edwards decided to carry on anyway as we both needed to do some shopping for new shinny caving gear as well as needing to bush up our SRT skills. We descended the main shaft and also ascended the inner chamber, but decided against ascending Damocles Rift. Brendan rigged and de-rigged which meant that Keith got to use his camera! You will notice that Brendan is sporting his new caving helmet and speleo lighting system. Keith is sporting his new over-suit but as Brendan is a less experienced photographer than Keith he seems to have got him in silhouette!

Brendan on the descent of the West Wall.

Keith Edwards on the ascent.

The Team: KeEd & BrMa

Monday 27 August 2007

Dan Yr Ogof, South Wales

Having completed many trips in DYO neither Marris nor Edwards had ever managed to visit a area of the system known as Dali's Delights. This situation was rectified on this trip. The route to Dali's involves going through the lower series to the Abyss after the Long Crawl. A rope climb near to the Abyss leads up to this region of the cave which is renowned for its rock sculptures. The area also has a number of very tall avens.

Keith in Dali's Delight - Dan Yr Ogof.

Keith in Dali's Delight - Dan Yr Ogof.

Keith in Dali's Delight - Dan Yr Ogof.

Keith in Dali's Delight - Dan Yr Ogof.

See more Dan Yr Ogof photos here 

The Team: KeEd & BrMa

Sunday 19 August 2007

Gaping Gill, Clapham, Yorkshire

After a trip down the Main Shaft courtesy of the Craven Pothole Club winch, the route we followed was: Mud Hall (to experience the mud traverses), Mud Hensler's Crawl (to show Del wat real caving is all about), Hensler's Stream Passage (very nice), Hensler's Passage, The Blow Hole (an entertaining squeeze), New Hensler's Crawl, bottom of Bar Pot, Sand Cavern, some of North West Extension (more mud) and back to the Main Chamber for a ride out.

The Main Chamber during the winch meet.

Derek in Hensler's Master cave

Derek in Hensler's Master cave

Derek in Hensler's Master cave

The Team: KeEd, BrMa & DeRo

Sunday 29 July 2007

The Great Oxbow Series, OFD2, Penwyllt, South Wales

A trip to a very pretty part of the cave along with a short excursion to explore passages between the corkscrew climb and Swamp Creek. Rigging the sky-hook pitch provided entertainment for several minutes, but it was well worth the effort as the photos show.

Derek viewing formations in the Upper Oxbow.

Derek viewing formations in the Upper Oxbow.

Derek viewing formations in the Upper Oxbow.

Derek viewing formations in the Upper Oxbow.

See more OFD 2 photos here 

The Team: KeEd, BrMa, MaRo, DeRo & ChWe

Saturday 14 July 2007

Lost Johns Cave, Leck Fell, Yorkshire

With the amount of rain that had fallen of late, and was still falling as we set off, the only possible route down the cave was via the dry pitches: Hammer, Mud Pot, Centipede, Candle and Shistole. We looked along Battle-Axe Traverse and heard the water thundering below before setting off back up the pitches. When we surfaced after about four and a half hours the rain has stopped and the sun was sunning. Definitely a system to return to.

Rachel ascends Mud Pot in Lost Johns.

Rachel ascends Mud Pot in Lost Johns.

Rachel ascends Centipede Pot in Lost Johns.

Rachel ascends Centipede Pot in Lost Johns.

The Team: KeEd & BrMa + Colin, Rachael and Richard from WMCEG

Wednesday 20 June 2007

Huglith Mine, Shropshire

A rare trip into a mine for Keith and Brendan using Silly Rope Technique. Thanks go to members of SCMC who arranged and led the trip.

Mineral deposits in Huglith Mine.

The Team: MiCl, KeEd, BrMa, MiNo, EmPo, GrSm & JeSm + SCMC Members

Saturday 9 June 2007

Mazeways - Dan Yr Ogof

A trip to Mazeways. The place is super fantastic - totally out of this world, a maze of phreatic tubes in beautiful limestone that meander, criss-cross and go up and down. We took a picture or two, fortunately for Chris I filled the memory card before hypothermia took over.

Chris Webb in a phreatic tunnel in Mazeways.

Chris Webb in a phreatic tunnel in Mazeways.

Chris Webb in a phreatic tunnel in Mazeways.

Chris Webb in a phreatic tunnel in Mazeways.

See more Dan Yr Ogof photos here

The Team: BrMa & ChWe