Our club weekend started with……yep you guessed it, a fine breakfast at Luiggi’s where Brendan, Keith, myself, Jess, Chloe and Loz met up before heading off for the Ogof Draenen car park.
For those that don’t know my first trip in to Draenen lasted only about 20min’s as I was turned around at the awkward rift in the entrance series and so began my obsessive year of dieting!
The flat out entrance crawl, squeezes down body size holes in water and scaffold choke were all as much fun as I remembered, then came the awkward rift……I have to say I don’t know if it is that I am somewhat more experienced or the 3 stone less of belly that made the difference, but I slid through and hardly touched the sides. As it turned out that was a mistake that would cost me the next 11 hrs of my life ;)
That first time I hadn’t made it through Brendan had been on a mission to find a formation called ‘Coldfinger’, an unusual blue stalactite deep within the cave, as fate may have it this was also the objective of that days trip.
Our route took us through Carpet crawl, white arch passage, Lamb and Fox chamber, up to Indiana Highway, along Megadrive, the Nunnery (our first glimpse of something other than muddy boulders for some time) through the chapel choke and then dropped down in to the Wyvern series and on to Wyvern Hall. From here we went in to a Labyrinth of rift passages to finally emerge in Ponderosa before heading back through some flat out crawls to ‘The Blue Room.’
Here Brendan, Chloe, Jess and Loz paused to take some photographs of the unusual blue formations whilst Keith and I went off in search of the elusive Coldfinger formations. Unfortunately after a half an hour of searching we still hadn't managed to hunt it down! Defeated we headed back to the group down the unstable slope, almost taking down a large boulder on our way. By now we were several hours in to the trip so it was decided we should begin the long slog out.
Brendan had navigated brilliantly in to the system and as we made our way out we each seemed to recall a different part of the passage and amazingly we again navigated our way without issue.
After 12 hours of caving we finally made our way out through the frigid water and mud of the entrance series to a cold and frosty night sky.
It was midnight before we made our weary way to White walls and 2 am by the time everyone was fed, watered and ready for bed.
A great club trip only marred by the fact I didn’t manage to find my objective. So who is up for round two of finding that elusive Coldfinger ;) ?!?!
Pictures by Brendan Marris
Present: Brendan Marris, Keith Edwards, Chloe Burney, Laura Appleby, Jess Burkey and Mark Burkey