Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Score - Ogof Draenen - The Worm That Turned

Another trip that I last did about ten years ago. It takes about this length of time to forget the really nasty bits of the trip. We met in Luigis to be joined by Ian who was going off with Jess for some navigation practice in OFD Top Entrance, and Carl who would be joining the Draenen trip. After a leisurely breakfast we split up and agree to meet up in Abergavenny at 6pm. The weather is hideous and we change in pouring rain and head down through a rather aqueous entrance series. After signing in a Cairn Chamber we head down Wonderbra to Tea Junction and then along a short distance to enter Back Passage. I had forgotten how bad the crawl is, I should have known that something called Back Passage would be a pain in the arse. The first section is a low crawl over dried mud, the second half becomes completely flat out and you are fighting your way through. For the larger chested of us this was like a continuous squeeze forcing our way over the very grippy floor. The tightest bit was just at the end and Mike was sent on ahead to shout words of encouragement from the other end. Once through we were in a small chamber at the end of Crystal Cruncher passage where some pleasant hand sand knees crawling over dried mud floor took us past walls and ceilings covered in gypsum crystals. In places these had fallen to the floor and covered that too. We were soon in The Score where the passage changes in size to the proportions one generally expects to see in Draenen and we headed to the very end of the passage towards our objective of seeing some impressive formations at the end. We headed down One Night Stand with our secret weapon Mike up front to check out the squeeze that would lead to the final section of passage and our target for the day - The White Wormery formations. Mark and Brendan were a little held up by a squeeze that was not the tight squeeze and so Mike went on a few minutes ahead of the rest of us. He reached the real squeeze and by the time we had caught up with him he was returning to tell us that he could not get through and we would have no chance at all. We made our way out taking some photos and video as we went.

The Score - Ogof Draenen
Carl and Mike in The Score - Ogof Draenen

The Score - Ogof Draenen
Carl and Mike in The Score - Ogof Draenen

The Score - Ogof Draenen
Carl and Mike in The Score - Ogof Draenen

The Score - Ogof Draenen
Carl and Mike in The Score - Ogof Draenen

The Score - Ogof Draenen
Mike in The Score - Ogof Draenen

As we returned to the surface the storm had give way to sunshine, it was a relief to emerge onto Pwll Ddu in such pleasant weather. We headed up the hill to the carpark, by which time a large black cloud had popped up. As we changed, the torrential rain turned to hail, it was just like changing in February. I am sure that the carpark has its own weather system.

Present: Mark Burkey, Carl Knott, Brendan Marris and special guest Mike Green from Gloucester S.S.

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