After buying SRT kits during the Gapping Gill winch meet weekend Rob and Tony had put the time in practising on the windmill and were now looking to complete their first SRT trip underground. As the club were heading for the Brickworks dig for the weekend we decided that a trip into Pant Mawr Pot would be an excellent diversion from the main effort of the dig itself and give Rob and Tony an opportunity to chip some of the paint of their new gear.
Four of us set out from the South Wales Club Hut heading for the pitch head some 4 Km further up the hill: Brendan, Tony, Rob and myself. As we approached the entrance shaft the sun disappeared and it started to drizzle with rain so I quickly began to rig the pitch so we could get underground into shelter. At this point Brendan announced that he had forgotten his helmet and so he would have to stay on top.
This is an ideal introductory cave for SRT as there is only one pitch with two simple rebelays; one on the slopping ground leading down to the main shaft, and a large Y hang directly above the shaft itself. This meant that Brendan could supervise Tony and Rob whilst remaining safe himself as it was their first descent by rope into a cave.
Once down the entrance shaft we removed our SRT kit and stowed them away at the bottom of the rope as we would not need them again until we were ready to head back up to the surface. We immediately consulted the survey and read the brief description and then headed downstream through a very large passage to our first boulder choke. We navigated through the choke and followed the main streamway passing through an area decorated with straws and stalactites into Sabre passage where a large sabre like stalactite gives the passage its name.
We decided to follow the passage through to the end sump and explore the other routes off to the sides on our way back so we didn’t run out of time and headed through the third boulder choke past the fire hydrant and followed the passage through into a rift like passage and on to the final sump. I stopped short of the final sump as the water was getting deeper and unlike Rob and Tony I was caving again in the morning and didn’t want to get my feet wet if I could avoid it.
On the way back out we explored the Graveyard, the Vestry, and the Organ Loft and spent ages looking all over for the Chapel. But despite all of us reading and re-reading the description and exploring every possible chamber we simply could not find it.
At the bottom of the shaft I whistled up to Brendan who was slowly roasting in the sun and once we had put our SRT kit back on and ‘buddy buddy’ checked each other we headed up the rope and back out into a very hot summer afternoon. We walked back down the hill to the club hut wondering whether Brendan had really forgotten his helmet or whether he had actually planned to leave it behind.
All in all it was an excellent day exploring an interesting cave system.
Trip report by Andy K