Sunday 13 December 2009

Ogof Draenen - Gilwern Passage

I had a call from the two doctors indicating that they would like a days caving on Saturday, to loosen them up for an orienteering regional championship on the Sunday. We met up in Luigi's as is tradition before heading up to the car park to change in the sub zero temperatures. We headed down to the entrance and had a moment or two of trepidation when we could not open the padlock, had we got the right new combination? After a bit of faffing we were in and we headed up towards Gilwern passage, through the boulder choke and into the passages beyond. We decided to have a play round in the passages in this area before we tried once more to get through the Breadfruit Boulevard duck. Alas it was still silted up and Brendan too fat to get through, so we returned taking a few photos on the way out.

Rachel in the Hearts of Olden Glory Streamway

Rachel and Richard in the Hearts of Olden Glory Streamway

Rachel in the Hearts of Olden Glory Streamway

Present: Rachel Dearden, Richard Dearden, Brendan Marris

Thursday 10 December 2009

Wolf Mountain Cave

Wolverhampton will shortly have a new cave system with approximately 300 metres of passage.  The system will be located in the newly relocated Wolf Mountain indoor climbing centre and will be open to the public early in the New Year.  Currently half of the system is in old centre and half in the new.
Brendan and Keith visited both halves of the cave and discussed Club access - especially for potential new members.
We'll arrange a Club visit early next year.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Ogof Dydd Byraf

Saturday 21st November 2009
Brendan and I were invited by Heather to join a NWCC dig in ODB.  It's a good caving trip just getting to the dig site via ladder pitches, traverses, boulder chokes and crawls.
The dig is in the roof of a large phreatic tube which descends steeply and then levels out.  It is currently approximately 30 metres long.
Unfortunately there is no air flow in the dig and carbon dioxide accumulates in the bottom and after about 3 hours digging and 2 metres of progress we had to abandon operations.
The dig team:  Brendan, Heather and Keith + members of NWCC, CCPC and Craven PC.

Monday 16 November 2009

Ogof Cnwc

A quick trip to Busman's Holiday in Daren Cilau via the alternative Ogof Cnwc (Price's Dig) entrance. Plenty of muddy crawling and awkward squeezing, but this entrance series is much less painful than the other option.

Present: KE, BM, CW

Saturday 31 October 2009

Tunnel Cave, Swansea Valley

This was to be our second attempt to provide a trip into DYO of the North Wales cavers. Yet again the weather foiled our plans and we instead had a trip into Tunnel Cave through Cathedral showcave. A trip up to Christmas Grotto and Steeple Aven proved a poor substitute for DYO.

Keith in Steeple Aven

Keith and Evan (on the boulder) in Steeple Aven

Heather in a phreatic tube near Steeple Aven

The Team: Brendan (report), Heather & Keith + Evan (NWCC)

Sunday 25 October 2009

Titan, Peak Cavern, Derbyshire

A fantastic abseil down Titan (145 metres deep) and then out via JH, Speedwell and Peak Cavern. Sorry no photos.

Attended by: Keith (report) & Steve + members of NWCC & CCPC

Sunday 18 October 2009

Ogof Hesp Alyn, North Wales

An 8 hour trip to the first sump and back. This was the first visit to this system by Brendan and myself. I was a cave I had wanted to visit ever since I started caving when on one of my first visits to the WMCEG I heard people talking about it. Heather very kindly arranged it and Alan was our guide. The deal being that I would rig the 80' pitch which I agreed to as it would be more good training for Titan the following week.
Well after waiting for 20 years what was my opinion? It is another Welsh classic, that is one likes mud, crawls, muddy crawls, pitches, muddy pitches, and yet more mud. The mud is of varying consistency but near to the end of the trip it is thick and sticky and clogs ascenders, making the return more than a little sporting. Definitely one for the mud aficionados in the club.

Attended by: Keith (report), Brendan & Heather + Alan (NWCC)

Saturday 10 October 2009

Ogof Pasg and Ogof Foel Fawr, Herbert's Quarry, South Wales

Having found the entrance and then quickly finding the pitch, I rigged the life line off a nice piece of stal, and the ladders off a large flake of flowstone on the left hand wall very near the start of the slope. Now this isn't the best of ladder pitches as it slopes away from you and can't see the bottom, and when you climb down there is a section of about 5 rungs where you can't grip the ladder so you have to be very careful. If I go again I would use SRT - it would be easier. After a quick wade through the canal and a bit of crawling we arrived at a chamber where the survey says 'continue through a dig in the floor' well don't do what we did and go down the slope as it goes nowhere - just go straight on and you will come to what can best be described as a low tight duck, where I got a very wet ear. Just past here is the fallen slab which trust me isn't for larger people. You have to take your helmet off otherwise you can't see anything as your head is sideways. We were through into Ogof Foel Fawr. The exit from here is fairly straight forward and before we knew it we were out. All we had to do now was walk around the hill and retrieve the ladder.

Attended by: Andy G (report) & Mel

Ogof Pen Eryr, Llangattock

West Brecon CRT rescue practice. Brendan was the casualty! For those who have visited this cave you will appreciate that getting a stretcher through the system is a real challenge. We started at the second corkscrew but abandoned the practice before getting to the first one - this would have been very interesting!

Attended by: Keith (report) & Brendan
Viedo of Pen Eryr trip from 29th Aug:

Sunday 4 October 2009

Eldon Hole, Derbyshire

An SRT training trip in preparation for Titan. I rigged the West Wall route and Steve de-rigged while Brendan decided to take photos instead from North Gully. This was a real confidence booster.

The team: Keith (report), Brendan and Steve

Saturday 19 September 2009

Ogof Dydd Byraf, North Wales

A well-attended club trip courtesy of Heather. ODB is a compact but interesting and well decorated system. Everyone agreed this was an excellent trip.

The team: Cara, Keith, Jessica, Brendan, Heather, Lewis & Chris

Sunday 16 August 2009

Agen Allwedd, Llangottock

Richard, a friend of Chris', had been caving a couple of times and was looking for a more tasty trip and so off to Aggy we went. Our plan was to do the Inner Circle route and so off we set. By the time we reached Coal Cellar passage it was clear that we would need to return so Richard could get his train back, so we fell short of our objective.

The team: Brendan (report), Chris & (Richard - a friend of Chris')

Saturday 8 August 2009

Dan Yr Ogof

Now this in my opinion is a cracking cave with plenty of variety. The trip starts off by entering the lakes which are quite deep - up to your neck if you're lucky, and if you're not and you're short then you best learn to swim. Once you're through the lakes the rest of the cave is fairly straightforward: walking, climbing and of course the Long Crawl – which wasn’t too bad. The best part for me was the 'Green Canal'. This is a notorious tackle eater where more than one person from our club is known to have lost tackle. This obstacle is tackled by wearing an inner tube and swimming or bouncing your way off the walls to the far end - Great fun.
The adventure didn’t end after we had left the cave and were on our way home either, but that's a story for another day!

Approaching the rising

The Battleship

Cascade in the Lower Series

Go Slower Passage

The team: KeEd, AnGr (report), BrMa & MeWa

Saturday 18 July 2009

Ogof Draenen, Wyvern Hall

We had hoped to extend the club dig this weekend but the wet Summer meant that this had to be postponed.  The Wyvern Series is an area of this extensive system that none of us had visited before.  Unfortunately we ran out of time before we got to the end but, as you can see, Wyvern Hall is well worth a visit.  It was also an opportunity to take some video in the entrance series and try out the latest video lighting - a LED Lenser P7.  I'm so impressed that I've bought another one.

The team: KeEd (report), BrMa, DeRo & ChWe

Saturday 11 July 2009

Wapping mine/Cumberland Cavern, Jugholes and Carlswark Cavern

This trip was arranged for new member Tony to give him a taster of what caving is about.  We started with a nice simple mine called Wapping Mine which is basically a walk about with a small amount of climbing which leads you up into Cumberland Cavern. From here we moved on to Jug Holes mine which proved somewhat of a challenge to get to as they have blocked off Salters Lane at the Matlock end, so if you intend to visit Jug Holes don’t approach from the Matlock side of Salters lane. This was a little more challenging for Tony as we used the shaft to abseil into the mine and there was a bit more climbing and squeezing involved. From here we drove to Carlswark Cavern and did the short through trip by going in via Eyam shaft and coming out of the Gin entrance. The water levels in Carlswark were the lowest I had ever seen them (much to my disappointment).

The team: AnGr (report), MeWa & ToWh

Sunday 14 June 2009

Ogof Llyn Parc, North Wales

Heather and I went to Pool Park near Wrexham on Sunday 14 June, a very pleasant warm and sunny summer day. I was late meeting Heather, as the road at Much Wenlock was closed due to a rock fall. A winch trip had been organised for Cambridge CC by North Wales CC, to avoid the 100m climb in the entrance shaft. We did the round trip in the cave below the mine workings, including a detour up a small streamway which bypassed the "knotted rope" climb up a mud bank. The caves are reasonably well decorated with straws in many places and some stalactites.

The team: AnCr & HeSi

Sunday 7 June 2009

Blaen Onneu Quarry Pot, Llangynidr Mountain, South Wales

Because of poor weather at the weekend we selected this cave as it was relatively near, not affected by heavy rain and only a short walk from the parking spot. Unusually for South Wales this cave system has four pitches in it, two in the northern section and two in the southern section. The tackle coupled with camera box and video box made for some entertainment passing some of the squeezes and dug out sections which are tight enough even for the unencumbered. An interesting and challenging cave.

Keith Edwards at the Twin Peaks Pitch

Keith in the Northern Section of the cave

The team: KeEd & BrMa

More photos of Little Neath River Cave
can be viewed here

Sunday 10 May 2009

Little Neath River Cave, Upper Nedd Valley, South Wales

This was a second caving trip for Dean and a chance to take some photos and video in one of the most sporting caves in South Wales. We took a standard route into the cave, through The Canal and down to Sump 2. Our return was through the canal Bypass and then to fight our way against the flow of the water through the entrance passages. Although the helmet camera experiment failed some stunning video was taken with the waterproof camcorder.

Dean in the Canal

Dean in the Little Neath Streamway

Jessica Harding in the Little Neath Streamway

The team: KeEd, JeHa, BrMa & ChWe + new member Dean

More photos of Little Neath River Cave
can be viewed here

Monday 4 May 2009

Big Sink, Symonds Yat, Ross-on-Wye

Another major engineering feat in the Forest area. Lots of scaffolded climbs through tons of loose rocks lead to a nice SRT pitch into a big chamber, but after this the streamway in tight and rifty throughout. One for the cavers of slimmer stature.

The team: KeEd & BrMa + others

Sunday 26 April 2009

Pwll Y Pasg, Llangattock Escarpment, South Wales

A trip to explore some of the lesser visited caves. The cave is located in a shakehole and is formed just below the gritstone cover. Most passages are wide and flat so most of the progress involved crawling. The passage runs below an adjacent shakehole where we had to dig our way around the run in to find the further passages. We aborted our visit to the lower passages due to the sharp nature of the rock and our desire to protect our ropes.

Keith in the bedding plane crawls

Keith in Lost Pasage

The team: KeEd & BrMa

More photos of Pwll Y Pasg
can be viewed here

Sunday 5 April 2009

Brickworks Dig, Penwyllt, South Wales

A very successful weekend. The dig is now almost 3 metres longer and about a metre deeper.
More details on the dig page.

Heather - a sunstroke casualty

Del being rescued by Steve

The dig team: KeEd, BrMa, DeRo, HeSi, JoSm, GrSm & StWa (Sat. only) + Roger as tea-maker

Saturday 7 March 2009

Llanelly Quarry Pot, Clydach Gorge, South Wales

Well our first obstacle was to remove all the boulders from the entrance so that we could get in, even with the boulders removed I knew I was going to struggle to get in, but I rigged a hand line and eased my way down the rift followed by Mel. Then we came to a chamber with a large shaft which is where I was sure we had to go, but the guide book confused us a little and we decided the way on was around a tricky traverse on the left hand wall, which isn’t for the faint hearted and Mel was heard saying she needed longer arms and legs. Well we got it wrong, and the way on isn’t to follow the traverse, but to go down the large shaft as you enter the chamber, but it isn’t obvious, as you can't easily see the P hangers to rig from. Once at the bottom of the pitch we went upstream to Midsummer Nights Dream, which is well decorated before continuing on until we came to the Ryan's Duck where we turned back to go down stream as far as we could, before turning around to head out. Now getting out for me was a bit of a challenge to say the least, and take my advice – don’t try to climb up the rift wearing your SRT kit as you will only get stuck, and trying to remove it in the rift is somewhat awkward!!! 

See photos of Llanelly Quarry Pot here 

The Team: AnGr & MeWa

Ogof Capel, Clydach Gorge, South Wales

A return to Ogof Capel. Last time torrential rain was falling and sensibly the team turned back at the duck. This time we were able to get to the end of the system and take photos of the amazing formations near Tuppenny Ha'Penny choke.

Del crawls under a false calcite floor.

Keith views formations ion Slalom Passage.

Del views formations near the end of the cave

Del views formations near the end of the cave

See more Ogof Capel photos here 

The Team: KeEd & BrMa & DeRo

Saturday 21 February 2009

Dan Yr Ogof, Swansea Valley, South Wales

This was the Dan Yr Ogof trip that we had planned to do 4 weeks previously. This time the water levels were very low. The aim of the trip was to photograph Productus Passage above the Green Canal. Two members of the team took the lower route after the Long Crawl to the far end of the Green Canal while the other three followed the upper series and swum the Green Canal where unfortunately one member of the team found that a bag of SRT gear does not float!

Keith in one of the branches of Productus Passage.

Keith in one of the branches of Productus Passage.

Richard near the start of Productus Passage.

See more Dan Yr Ogof photos here 

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

Sunday 25 January 2009

OFD1, Penwyllt, South Wales

We diverted to OFD1 when an inch of rain fell overnight and made our planned trip to DYO impossible.The OFD1 stream was well up so we followed the escape route in and out of the cave.  This was our first trip to the impressive Starlight Chamber and we will return to take photographs.

Rachel in the bedding crawls approaching Starlight Chamber.

Rachel in the bedding crawls approaching Starlight Chamber.

See more OFD 1 photos here 

The Team: KeEd & BrMa + Rachel and Richard from WMCEG

Saturday 24 January 2009

Ogof Nant Rhin, Clydach Gorge, South Wales

Now this cave was recommended to me by another member of the club, so I decided I had to go and see what all the fuss was about. So there we were on a freezing cold Saturday morning, stood on a riverbank looking into what we hoped wasn't the entrance, as it was only a few feet higher than the river and had freezing cold water pouring out of it. It also looked fairly unstable with scaffolding holding up a fair amount of rock and soil. So of we went crawling headfirst into the unknown and by god that water was cold. A word of warning here - the guide book states not suitable for persons of larger than average build. What's average build? I'm 5ft 11 and weigh just over 12 stone, and I spent most of my time thrutching and squeezing myself along razor sharp phreatic shelves (don’t wear your nice new over-suit, it may get ruined) to get to Aven d`Oznog while Mel just whizzed along laughing, as she couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. mind you I must admit the lower level of the cave isn’t quit so tight, and has quite a few formations to see especially at the Garden of Delights. 

See photos of Ogof Nant Rhin here 

The Team: AnGr & MeWa

Sunday 11 January 2009

Parys Copper Mine, Anglesey

One of the largest turnout of members in recent years undertook an extensive tour of this fascinating and unusual system lasting nearly 5 hours.

Heather admiring some of the snotite formations.

Heather beneath a wall of stacked deads.

Heather, Keith and Rob by a flooded stope.

Team A: KeEd, BrMa, RoOl & HeSi + our guide Allan
Team B: MiCl, EmPo, GrSm, JoSm & DeWi + guides