Sunday 28 July 2013

Giants Hole , Bring your own flippers

Well I new from the start that this trip may not go ahead, due to the fact that we have had a long dry spell and the ground had become rock hard, so any rain we would have wouldn't be able to soak into the ground, it would flow straight into the streams and rivers, and guess what its poured down for the last two days.
So on arriving at the car park for Giants I wasn't surprised to see a pond, but we all got changed and headed off to the entrance, hmm streams flowing well into the entrance, not looking good ,
sump one had started to back up towards the blasted passage - definitely not looking good,
on through the blasted passage we went, then  met the "Guinness" full width across the passage and flowing quiet well and the roar from Garlands Pot was horrendous,
we got to garlands and it was like a mini Niagara falls , a quick look over the edge revealed about two foot of water in the pot, hmmm going to be sporting down the Crabwalk -" DING" sensible head kicked in - I have novices with me time to get out.

So that was that and off to Carlswark Cavern we went, where I used slings and belts to fabricate harnesses so that I could lower everyone down Eyam Shaft on a fig of eight, we had a short play in there for an hour, then i showed everyone where the resurgence entrance was, but that was now under about two feet of water.
To end our short caving day I sent the novices off into Merlins Mine to have a wonder around all by themselves, while I got changed and has a nice cup of tea ... in the pouring  rain.

Present: Andy, Mell, Becca, Tango Man Phil, and Rain maker Ian

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Ogof Y Ci - Where The Sun Don't Shine

Making the most of the fine weather we decided to visit another wet cave where we would benefit from water that was a little less chilly than normal. Parking up the road from the farm we took a short walk through the farmyard, around the barn and then down into the gorge. The middle entrance was located between boulders a few metres away allowing us to get out of that horrid sunshine stuff. A short scramble down the polished boulders took us into the rather nice main stream passage. We decided to head upstream first as our plan was to exit via the lower downstream entrance. We soon met a low flat out crawl in the stream, but like most of the low wet sections, there was a dry bypass to it. The passage was more pleasant than we had expected and were greeted with much less crawling than expected. We took our time exploring all the side passages and oxbows and eventually reached a sand filled passage at the end of the cave. The survey we had was incomplete and so we missed one of the passages that branch off towards the end of the cave, something to come back to another time. We then headed downstream taking photos as we went. We passed the middle entrance and continued to follow the water through flat out crawls until we reached a maze of passages near the lower entrance. We first headed out of the dry upper entrance, after which Mark headed back in the lower wet entrance and then came back out the upper entrance.

Ogof Y Ci
Jess in a smaller passage - Ogof Y Ci

Ogof Y Ci
Jess in the main streamway - Ogof Y Ci

Ogof Y Ci
Jess in the main streamway - Ogof Y Ci

Ogof Y Ci
Jess in a side passage - Ogof Y Ci

Ogof Y Ci
Mark in the main streamway - Ogof Y Ci

A fun cave that was more extensive and pleasant than we had originally anticipated.

Present: Brendan Marris, Mark Burkey and Jessica Harding

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Porth Yr Ogof - Caving in the heatwave

In the middle of the July heatwave we decided to visit one of the highlights of wet South Wales Caves. We parked quite a way from the cave and clad in wetsuits we headed on a long walk with the sun beating down on us. We arrived at the cave to find perhaps twenty groups of children being led in the cave, it was manic. Heading into the Main Entrance we headed into the left hand series and into Upper Stream Passage where we took photos. We then followed the water to have a look at Sump Four and then down towards Sump Five. We then backtracked to the Main Passage inside the entrance and crossed into the Right Hand Series, entered via The Letterbox, just for fun. We headed down to the Great Bedding Cave, before heading back to the entrance to put on our buoyancy aids. We then followed the river all the way through the cave.

Tradesman's Entrance - Porth Yr Ogof
Jess entering Upper Stream Passage - Porth Yr Ogof

Upper Stream Passage - Porth Yr Ogof
Jess in Upper Stream Passage - Porth Yr Ogof

Upper Stream Passage - Porth Yr Ogof
Jess in Upper Stream Passage - Porth Yr Ogof

Towards Sump 5 - Porth Yr Ogof
Jess in the low passage that heads to Sump 5 - Porth Yr Ogof

A nice cave for a hot sunny day.

Present: Brendan Marris, Mark Burkey and Jessica Harding

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Eglwys Faen & Pen Eryr: Caving's too tight to mention

Not having any work this week, and we'd had a txt from Chloe asking to let her know if anyone was caving on Tuesday, Jess fancied a play in Eglwys Faen. I mentioned to Brendan we were doing this and he said he'd be available and we could combine it with a jaunt around Ogof Pen Eryr.
We met at the very sociable time of 10am for a Luigi breakfast before heading off for the Car park.
We quickly found the entrance in the cliff face and followed Brendan through. After trying the Corkscrew Squeeze on both sides Brendan decided it was easiest done on his left and slid through. I followed with a fair bit more grunting, to be followed by Chloe who had 'a moment' getting her hips through, and then Jess.
After this the cave opened out to easier passage before reaching a boulder choke, then a slide over an awkward boulder. Brendan led the way, I tried a couple of times and couldn't get an angle that would allow me over. Chloe slid through to the one side with ease so I copied her example and slipped down to join them followed by Jess. After this it was easy caving with crawling and a corkscrew choke leading to larger passage and finally the terminal chambers where we paused for pictures. In reverse the slide over the boulder was much easier, but Chloe and I found the drop back through the entrance squeeze far more interesting. Jess led the way, making it look easy, followed by Chloe who again really struggled getting her hips through.
Time for the chunky caver next.... I tried every angle before realising there just wasn't going to be an easy way to do this. Coming up I'd been able to push off with my feet to get through, but going back gravity wasn't going to give the same umph. Jessica tried pulling on my wellies, Brendan tried stamping on my head. Jess wrapped my boots with a sling which just added to the feeling of being trussed like a hog for roasting and I realised I was going to have to do this myself. Trying my best to relax (which involved a slight quivering lip whilst breathing in followed by manic wriggling when all air had been expelled from my lungs) I gradually moved millimetre by millimetre until after a week or so I finally popped through. Brendan exclaimed that he was starting to get worried for a minute there....not for my sake....he would have been stuck on the wrong side and didn't fancy having to eat his way out! ;)
Jess and myself at the corkscrew squeeze
Jess in the corkscrew squeeze

Chloe crawling in to the final calcite chambers

Me in the final calcite chamber
Finally freed from the cave we all skipped down the hillside to the cars which we jumped in to drive up to White Walls and the second cave of the day Eglwys Faen. We entered via the large entrance and paused for a couple of pictures before heading off right in to the wet crawls to Glump Sump. After a poke around the passages we headed back to the main chamber and on through to the climb up to 'The Warren' where Brendan and I shot down the passage exploring with Jess and Chloe bringing up the rear. After a good poke around some of the interesting digs at the end of the passage we headed back with no sign of Jess or Chloe. There were only a couple of alternatives, both of which would dead end, so I wasn't too worried and decided to head back to the ladder to see if they were there. Arriving back at the entrance to 'The Warren' Jess gave me a stern telling off for shooting off. Chloe was complaining of her shoulder hurting and Jess had been worried that they may have needed to head out before us. Fortunately we had arrived back to re-group just minutes after them so it hadn't been necessary. I was given some evil looks when I suggested going out via the waterfall to take more pictures so we made our exit via the more straight forward main chamber.
Changing back at the car, whilst being eaten by midges, Chloe showed off the bruises she'd sustained whilst doing the earlier squeezes to her hip and shoulder which I have to admit were quite impressive and I could see why she had been in discomfort!
Main Chamber Eglwys Faen
Present: Chloe Burney, Brendan Marris, Jessica Harding & Mark Burkey