Sunday, 2 March 2014

OFD 1 to Cwm Dwr for the Burney Clan

When I first started caving and reported home with stories of terrors and tears, my eldest brother brushed off my tales and informed me he went caving once when he was young and it was pretty easy. Determined to show Paul that what I get up to most weekends was not quite the same as the ‘caving’ he did as a 10 year old boy, I kindly signed him up to the club as a special Christmas present. On receiving the gift, Paul told me he didn’t want ‘just a normal novice trip’ and fancied something a little tastier, so a through trip from OFD 1 to Cwm Dwr was proposed.

The first achievement of the day was managing to get Paul awake in time for Brendan arriving (who himself was a little late as a result of sleeping through his alarm). We met Jess and Mark at South Wales Caving Club and introduced Paul to the tradition of tea drinking and pre-trip faffing. Once changed, we walked down the hill to OFD 1, by which time Paul was looking rather apprehensive. We headed straight to the streamway to find the water levels were high but just about acceptable to continue, which made for a sporting start to the trip as we wadded our way upstream. Upon leaving the water we went to boulder chamber and through the choke followed by The Connection. The Letterbox proved a bit of a challenge for me, as even with the assistance of a sling to stand in, it was almost at shoulder height and I required a pull on the arms from Brendan and made a wellie shaped imprint on Mark stood below, to get up and through the slot. Once through the crawls we arrived at the top of the Diver’s Pitch where it was revealed that a dislike of heights was a Burney family trait. With some assistance from Mark we made it down the climb, although Paul’s legs were doing a bit of an Elvis shake which he conveniently blamed on low blood sugar!

Our route took us past Piccadilly, along Upper Piccadilly Streamway, through the boulder choke and Cmw Dwr Jama to the crawls. Paul was beginning to tire but kept pushing through the crawls and out to the climb. With a final little shove from Mark below, out he popped out from the concrete pipes and back into the daylight.

Traverse in Cwm Dwr
Chloe on a traverse in Cwm Dwr

Cwm Dwr
Chloe and Paul at our alternative route out of Cwm Dwr

Cwm Dwr
Chloe and Paul at our alternative route out of Cwm Dwr

Everyone enjoyed the trip although Paul admitted he felt a little too battered and bruised to return underground for a while. Most importantly for me, he has a new found respect of what his little sister does at the weekend!

Present: Paul Burney, Jessica Burkey, Mark Burkey, Brendan Marris with report by Chloe Burney

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