Mike had opted to lead a group into Eglwys Faen on Sunday and he and Lucy both liked the idea of a trip into ‘Aggy' on the Saturday. I still had no firm plans but had full permission from domestic chief of staff for the weekend so over a few pints of tea in the windmill I volunteered to lead us into Aggy and then make up the numbers for Mike on Sunday. Andy W had no plans for Saturday so the four of us decided upon a trip to the Music Hall and back.
We set off at 10:00 hrs from the CSS hut and arrived at the entrance in good time. We kitted up outside and then Lucy volunteered to lead us into the system with the brief that the way to the First Boulder Choke was to keep turning left.
We had a few concerns over the route description, the survey, and the actual route on through the choke and as Lucy called back to us that "it's getting very small and tight down here" she didn't see three big blokes look at each other thinking if the passage was tight for her how on earth are we going to get through. We retraced our steps and decided to look for another possible route forward and as we were doing so we heard voices in the dark. Unfortunately it was another DCC group who had followed us into the system and as they had been into the system before they went passed us and on down the route that Lucy had lead us into.
We waited for them to pass as we didn't want to play follow my leader, and then we continued to explore our way through into the main passage. Lucy had done the right thing by retreating when she felt it was too narrow to go on, but after passing through into the Baron's Chamber she realised that it was easier than she had anticipated. This was the whole focus of the trip for all of us really; having a go at leading a group along a passage that none of had any experience of and seeing where we ended up.
We headed along the main passage following our progress on our cave surveys and identifying the passages off to the sides that we wanted to spend some more time exploring on the way back. In the music hall we met up with the other group again and after exchanging some banter and groan worthy jokes we headed back to explore Southern Stream Passage.
We followed Southern Stream Passage for a short way and then took the side route off into Sandstone Passage but Mike was the only one who managed to pass successfully through the tube into the passage itself. After acknowledging that the round trip that continued on through Southern Stream Passage would be a committing venture, we headed back to the short drop down into Northern Stream Passage. This was smaller and had more water flowing through it and after a short distance along it we decided that we could all say we had been in the passage and as it went nowhere else but simply got smaller and smaller we would happily retreat back to the Main Passage.
We headed back out of the system and once back at the area of the First Boulder Choke we all felt that we had not quite done enough caving so we again so we proceeded to spend nearly an hour exploring all of the different potential routes out from the chamber before again hearing the approach of the other group. They passed out through the passage that we were just about to head down and we unfortunately had to follow them out. But we had done a lot more caving than they had!!!
Once back outside we headed back to the club hut and despite my keen attempts the others would not start "just jogging the last little bit back" to make our call out time, so we were over our allotted time by 2 minutes.
Overall a great day caving in great company and we all learnt a few things along the way!
Trip report: Andy Kempster
Present: Mike Bonner, Lucy Collins, Andy Williams and Andy Kempster