Saturday 21 March 2015

The Waterfall Series. A Heavenly Caving Trip In Ogof Draenen

Brendan had mentioned a couple of times that he fancied going back to visit the 'Waterfall Series' in Ogof Draenen. An area of the cave he hadn't visited for several years.
Tony and Rob had expressed an interest in the trip and Jess and I liked the sound of it so our team of five was formed.
Brendan arrived at ours trying that old chestnut of he'd forgotten his wellies, but I was having none of it and produced a spare pair for him ;)
 We met up at Luigi's for breakfast with Rob and Tony before heading off to Pwll Du where we kitted up in sunshine for a change.
The entrance series was drier than I've seen before on my previous visits and it made the crawl in almost pleasant.
We soon dropped through the rift and made our way down the 4m roped climb to Cairn Junction. Here we headed left, past Big Bang Pitch, and over the choked boulders in to walking passage with the occasional crawl.
 This turns in to a rift and deteriorates in size until becoming an awkward thrutch through to the foot of an overhanging roped climb next to an inlet.
I went up first trying not to look at the rusted mallion and then rigged our ladder to drop down for the others.
We continued on through the stream passage until reaching another dubious looking rope climb which I popped up whilst the ladder was retrieved from the first pitch.
With everyone up we were rewarded with some very delicate gypsum formations at the end of Outcast Passage. Carefully we made our way past following the passage to a climb up on the right were the going became mostly crawling.
 At one junction we squirrelled around at multilevel before continuing past a dig bucket and up through an awkward squeeze on an uphill slope to more of the same.
Eventually we entered a stooping rift and a couple of traverses before finally being able to stand upright again in Knees Up Mother Brown. We continued along this impressive flat roofed phreatic passage to its junction with Lost river passage and on to 6th Heaven where I could wait no longer and opened up the camera box to take in the beautiful aragonite formations.
Our exit was laid back due to Brendan wanting to take a couple of choice photographs and me wanting to photograph everything! We exited to a twilight sky with not a sign of hail, snow or gail force winds (for a change!) and finished the days adventures with a couple of drinks in the Lamb and Fox Inn.

Tony and Rob in 6th Heaven Chamber (Photo Mark Burkey)
Jess admires the aragonite formations (Photo Mark Burkey)
Jess in 'Knees Up Mother Brown' (Photo Brendan Marris)
Gypsum Flowers (Photo Mark Burkey)

Jess In Outcast Passage (Photo Mark Burkey)

Looking to the Big Bang Pitch (Photo Brendan Marris)

Present: Rob Campbell, Tony Ferran, Jess Burkey, Mark Burkey & Brendan Marris

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