Monday 29 December 2014

Ogof Craig-a-Fynnon Where We Flu through the Promised Land!

Having gorged on turkey and mince pies for the whole of December Jess and I were ready to try and work off some of the seasonal fare.
We'd both come down with colds but were raring to get back underground. Brendan joined us at Luigi's where we started the day with a good breakfast before heading in to Craig-a-Ffynnon.
We were at the Hall of the Mountain King in under an hour and it was beginning to look like we would fly through the planned trip to the Promised Land. The Severn Passage crawls began to take their toll as we dragged the tackle bags and boxes through with us. On we plodded through the Fourth Boulder Choke and to the head of the Promised Land pitch. I had thought this was a straight forward drop, but it turned out to be a somewhat over complicated traverse to an awkward overhanging, but short ladder pitch.
Reaching the main junction I soon forgot my coughing and spluttering as I took in the impressive passage. We went left first to take a look at the Pagoda before continuing on through the Promised Land.
Brendan hadn't been to this part of the system for over a decade, but a couple of things stood out in his memory; the first was an awkward tight drop down a rift.
I took a couple of tries at this, indeed finding it both tight and awkward. After a couple of failed attempts Brendan went first so that if I got stuck I'd have someone to push off!
Eventually I managed to contort my way through and Jess followed with no problem. The other obstacle Brendan recalled was a very awkward climb for which we fashioned slings and boxes to assist us.
Once past this we were soon in beautiful passage adorned with stunning gypsum crystals. At the end of the system we found a tight rift which we could see opened up the other side of, but this was far too tight for any of us to attempt.
We had used up several hours getting this far and it turned out to be a real struggle to make it out for our call out time which were eventually exited slightly late for. Brendan rushed down to the car to let Keith know we were out safely.
After wrestling with the frozen lock I eventually re-grouped and we changed quickly in the frozen night and headed off for showers and the tea pot at the SWCC.

Jess at the Pagoda formation - Photo by Mark Burkey
Pristine passage way at the end of the Promised Land - Photo by Mark Burkey

Jess admires formations in the Promised Land - Photo by Mark Burkey

Mark Burkey in The Promised Land - Ogof Craig A Ffynnon
Mark Burkey in The Promised Land - Ogof Craig A Ffynnon - Photo by Brendan Marris

Mark Burkey in The Promised Land - Ogof Craig A Ffynnon
Mark Burkey in The Promised Land - Ogof Craig A Ffynnon - Photo by Brendan Marris

Present: Brendan Marris, Mark Burkey & Jess Burkey

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