Saturday, 7 April 2012

OFD Through Trip

Having been led around parts of the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu by Keith, Brendan & John on various forays, (& being totally baffled by the extensive passageways) the last couple of months have seen Jess and I frequently off to South Wales to try and piece together some of the numerous routes, culminating in our attempt at a through trip of the system this weekend.Getting to South Wales Saturday morning, we cooked ourselves a fry up and began picking people’s brains for tips on navigation in OFD 1 ½. Having done most of Top section and Cwm Dwr we were confident on their navigation, but had heard of people struggling to find the connection through to Boulder Chamber in OFD1. After lots of advice (none matching anyone else’s!) we decided that worst case scenario we could always re-trace our steps and go out Cwm Dwr.
Our route took us in top entrance, past White Arch, down Edwards Shortcut, Crossrift, Maypole inlet and in to the stream way.
Jess absolutely adores the big pots in the floor and was thrilled after the Great Oxbow that they seemed to be every few meters and gaining in diameter. At one particular pot, where I had to leap across, Jess decided enough was enough and it would just be easier to swim the rest.
After Marble Showers we were through the connection and up the divers pitch to the crawl where I had managed to go around in circles on a previous trip with Keith. It was fairly straight forward this time, with only one slight error where I came out at the old pitch head and had to back up to where Jess had found the letter box.
Posting ourselves through we were then in uncharted territory for us….well Jess has actually done a through trip from bottom to Cwm Dwr before, but as anyone who knows Jess can testify this wasn’t likely to be of much help.
We went off searching passageway for the way on & after a dead end soon found our way through to pwll twll, then on through a slot in the wall to a large drop. We had been advised that at this point we should turn around and look for a way down through some boulders to a safer route, which Jess spotted straight away. Again in a large chamber at the bottom we searched a couple of passage ways before deciding on the correct way through and were soon at the junction for the connection. I sat down and said to jess that I was sure we should have passed a very distinctive formation before the start of the connection and she laughed and pointed above my head and asked if it looked anything like the one above me…Doh!
After some very stunning passageway we soon popped out at the start of the boulder choke and having had a quick look at dip sump made our way through and into OFD1. A quick splash down the stream way and we were out having completed our objective. On something of a high we hardly noticed the walk back up the hill to the club.


Mark about to go through the letter box

Present Mark Burkey & Jessica Harding

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