Saturday 22 November 2014

Northern Lights Series OFD II

Jess and I were joined by a poorly sounding Brendan on Saturday morning for the drive down to South Wales.
We had a brief stop to pick up an 'on the road breakfast' at a garage on the way and were at the club and ready to head underground for just before 11am.
Jess chose the trip and John (an SWCC member looking for something to do) decided to join us.

As we made our way through  to the cross rift it became obvious that Brendan was a little more under the weather than he'd realised. With nose running and bloodshot eyes he headed slowly out to go and nurse both himself and the teapot back at the club.
John had last been to the Northern Lights series over a decade before and Jess and I had been a few years ago. Because Brendan knew the route we hadn't bothered to bring any survey with us, but before departing Brendan had given us a quick description of the route in and we were pretty confident that we could find our way.
Jess led us through to midnight passage where John and I took over the route finding past the pull through to the upper oxbow series, through wet crawls, Mudlust hall, Moonmilk revelry, across an awkward exposed climb, sand crawls and down a body sized tube until we were at the very wet dogleg crawl which would lead us in to the rest of the series.
Here John decided he would need to start heading out as he'd promised to play taxi driver for his daughter. After saying our goodbyes Jess and I continued through the cold water to a rope climb up in to a roof tube. Although we were pretty sure the way on was straight ahead we wanted to explore every passageway as we went, so followed the passage in to opposite direction down a slippery climb in to a water filled tube.....
"I'm pretty sure we've just done a round trip", I called to Jess and soon emerged at the foot of the rope climb we had just done! ;)
On we went exploring as we went all of the passage in the area through to 'The Blockhouse' Where we heard another party coming through. Together we explored the furthest reaches until the other group began heading out and Jess and I took a few photo's as we retraced our route.
Brendan had explained there were two routes in to the system, the one we had taken and a tight rift. He had advised we try the tight route on the way out as if I didn't fit on the way in it was a long way to retrace our steps. Finding the rift I headed down first and found it not too bad at all.
Route finding became more interesting on the way out until we found the body sized tube we'd come in through. Picking up the Moonmilk Revelry we were back in familiar territory and after grabbing a few more photographs we headed out to meet up with Brendan for a good dinner in Abercrave.

Jess in Moonmilk Revelry

Jess in Keyhole passage

Jess entering through the wet dogleg

Present: Mark Burkey, Jess Burkey, Brendan Marris and John SWCC

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