Saturday 10 January 2015

Chilling on Ogof Cnwc

With a fantastic turn out for the Whitewalls weekend, I was asked to lead a group of 5 in to Ogof Cnwc.
After playing taxi for the Daren Cilau trip guys (all 5 of them in one go), I drove Mike & Lucy while Carl took Pablo, I’d recommended driving up to the car park as there was a good chance it would be snowing when we came out.
This was to be Pablo’s introduction to caving in the UK, it had been hinted that it might be a little colder than Spain but he seemed keen, even bought his GoPro!
I’d only ever come out of Cnwc as part of the Daren Cilau through trip and only done that twice, but somehow managed to go straight to the entrance. Carl had already commented on how much he’d ‘enjoyed’ the walk up but it had become apparent we might need a translator, not for Pablo but Carl.
I led my willing victims in through the puddles to a climb down, the crawl in seemed longer than I remembered, nor did I remember climb down, but then with a bit more crawling I saw the plank of wood which I’d enjoyed sliding down on the way out on the previous trips and recognised we were at the top of the scaffold. The water level in the sump at the bottom was pretty close to the bottom of the scaffold and everyone did well to get through without getting soaked.
We soon emerged in to Price’s Prophecy, I realised this was the 1st trip I’d ever been on without someone wearing a Scurion, possibly why the formations seemed a bit darker than last time, but on the plus at no point did I nearly trip over in my own shadow ☺.
We went left to explore the passage way in the opposite way to Busman’s Holiday, heading towards a boulder pile which met the roof it seem this would be a short trip but then found a way through on in to a series of small boulder chambers linked by chokes. One of which involved folding yourself in half to get round a hairpin bend and in to a body length space, the way on blocked by a huge boulder, however there was enough room to stand up if you were able to, further contortion required and a climb up over said huge boulder.
The final little chamber had a nice little formation which Carl happy snapped with his phone, each of us posing, then a little photo bombing as Mike had got bored of doing back lighting and jumped in shot behind Pablo ☺.

After squirrelling about a bit we decided we had exhausted all obvious ways on, so headed back at a leisurely pace. The boulder choke which had required contortion on the way in was a little more interesting on the way out, I went 1st going head 1st off the top of the big flat topped boulder and did some sort of handstand which went better than planned (didn’t land on my face!). The others seemed to manage it no probs, even the awkward hairpin bend which I think is were Carl said something about how much he liked caving and couldn’t recall why he didn’t come more often (thought I might have remembered that wrong).
We pottered back to Price’s Prophecy reaching the turn off for prices dig, we decided we had time to wonder on to Busman’s Holiday and aimed to find the 1st ladder climb down. This involve more crawling than I recalled, this was supposed to be a nice easy trip! Carl, Mike and I pressed through the low crawl to the boulder chamber where we thought we should find the climb down through the boulders, but spent 20 minutes searching before returning back to the other two, we headed back to Price’s and made our way out.
We were out in day light and surprisingly no form of precipitation falling on us, so it turned out to be a nice chilled trip, with commentary from Carl about his love for caving, some of which Pablo recorded, plus Lucy’s unintentional amusing banter. I think Pablo enjoyed it as he asked lots of questions about the cave which I mainly didn’t know the answer to (sorry ask Brendan). Anyway thanks guys!

Present: Pablo Lukather, Mike Bonner, Lucy Collins, Carl Knott and Loz Appleby

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