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

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