Sunday, 8 March 2015

Caving Under a White Moon on the Black Mountain

After a slightly delayed start we drove to Herbert's Quarry, changed in the driving rain and then trudged across the mountain to Foel Fraith. After about 50 minutes we arrived at the tiny shakehole that contains the entrance and after removing the cover descended the very short entrance drop to enter a comfortable crawl that rapidly turned to a rift passage and reached the head of a pitch. We only needed one ladder as it was shorter than described in write-ups and descending it we landed on a large pile of enormous boulders in an impressive passage. This choked quickly both ways, but a route led off on the left down a pile of boulders. This led into a tall passage that reached a rock pillar at a T junction. This was a loop route and we dropped the gear and completed the loop passing the drop down to the Lower Series. Grabbing the gear we dropped down the rifty tube rigging a short ladder for the last 3m which drops into open passage. We then headed off to explore all the passages in the Lower Series, heading down into some unpleasant tubes and crawls, to ensure that nothing was missed. One route was nearly the undoing of us as we came upon a squeeze that was not very tight but certainly awkward. We struggled getting through, but hey these things are always easier going back aren't they? This one was certainly not and we really had to fight going back through.
Some photos were taken in the lower series before we headed back up to find the turning to the 21m high Canyon Passage with an impressive choke and natural rock bridge at the end.

Lower Series - Ogof Dan Y Lleuad Wen
Mark in the Lower Series - Ogof Dan Y Lleuad Wen

Lower Series - Ogof Dan Y Lleuad Wen
Mark in the Lower Series - Ogof Dan Y Lleuad Wen

Lower Series - Ogof Dan Y Lleuad Wen
Mark at the Lower Series climb - Ogof Dan Y Lleuad Wen

After all our exploring of the smaller passages and tubes we were running low on time and made our exit with a couple of areas still left to explore another time.

Present: Mark Burkey and Brendan Marris

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