A pilgrimage to St Pauls Dome and the Inner Circle
As the previous trip earlier in the year only got us as far as Turkey Pool, we were determined that our second outing into Aggy would see us reach the inner circle. We gathered at the car park in good time to make this happen and after a number of unscheduled delays we eventually made our way to the entrance.
Double checking that nobody in the group needed to be anywhere later that evening we swiftly made our way in through the entrance series to Barons Chamber.
Dropping off the main passage into the stream way we made our way to the 2nd boulder choke, where it seems I may have attempted to eliminate Andy G from the group by sending him up into a small choked dead-end – Immediately it all came back to me and I spotted the correct way through and (with only the soles of his boots visible, but his vocal cords still in perfect working order), Andy G was freed from his confined space with the help from Brian and a bit of elbow grease. We continued to make easy work of some climbs down and a short traverse into the main streamway where (with a few slips here and there) we soon arrived at Turkey Pool. At reaching this point we were all feeling positive and continued on our quest to reach the Dome, still making good progress with both time and navigation through Selenite Needle Passage to the entrance to Inner circle. We approached the circle anti-clockwise and with energy levels flagging and the two fairly steep scree slopes to tackle we were all relieved when we reached the Dome of St Pauls.
On our return journey, full of good spirits, it seemed that I may have missed a turning and lead the group into a dead-end passage, with us all crashing into the back of each other! I assumed we must have gone wrong somewhere?? We retraced our steps, but on crawling down the adjacent passage I was convinced we’d never come in this way? Eventually we decided to return to Eastern Avenue and retrace our steps, and sure enough we were originally heading in the right direction and It was me that had missed the small opening on the floor back into Selenite Needle Passage!
With the prospect of making it out before sundown we made easy work on our return through the passages and with a few rest stops here and there we were soon on the last leg of the Main Stream Way… this somehow seems to become longer each visit and with it being Marc C's first visit he was convinced we must have gone wrong somewhere - he was convinced that it didn't seem this long on the way in. We checked the survey and reassured him we weren't lost 'but couldn’t quite pinpoint where we actually might be on the map' Luckily, shortly after this we came to the T junction that leads back into Barons chamber and back into the entrance series.
Emerging from the cave to what seemed to be a nice Summer evening we made our way back slowly to the cars. Brian & Andy G were to leave us at this point and Myself and Marc C headed down to the campsite to meet the other groups. Thankfully they had been waiting patiently for our return so that we could all go out and enjoy a curry together.
Trip report: Mike Bonner
Present: Mike Bonner, Andy Grimes, Marc Carney, Brian McDaid