Sunday 21 June 2015

Keyhole surgery in Craig y Ffynnon

After a lovely night’s sleep at the campsite (my air bed turned itself in to a ground sheet), we set off for Craig y Ffynnon.
I appeared to have somehow been nominated leader, think Chloe organised that , though she kindly opened the renowned awkward lock for me, annoyingly very easily, can’t be that bad I thought.
I led the way towards our intended destination the promised land. I got to the 2nd boulder choke but couldn’t remember the way on left or right? Then Brendan hinted trying looking up! To thank him I offered to take the tackle bag (with ladder & rope that we’d need for the pitch in to the promised land), up through the choke.
All up through the choke, we were greeted by a blank hall of mud which everyone got through without ending up in walking in wet socks. At some point this became travertine passage & we went over the gower pools, pausing to look at the formations, fortunately or unfortunately neither Mark or Brendan had brought camera, so we continued on to the impressive hall of the mountain king.
Lighting angles and no of flash guns were discussed, before making ur way to bypass 3rd boulder choke. Then some crawling and some more crawling followed by.... guess what??? more crawling! It was a lot longer than I remember, as had I remembered I won’t have offered to take the bag again.
Finally on to walking passage towards 4th choke. At some point it was discussed that we’d change our destination to Heligtitie passage as time was getting on and people were feeling tired.
1/2 way through the 4th boulder choke Bonner and Marc were feeling the effects of Andy G’s Aggy trip, Brendan volunteered to go back with anyone who didn’t want to continue, so Bonner & Brendan headed out to enjoy the nice crawling sooner than the rest of us, but did take the bag!
Out choke 4 we got in to walking passage and big chamber filled with dry mud covered boulders, but soon to come to the start of some formations which develops in to the stunning heligtite passage. Even though I’d been before I’d forgotten just how beautiful it was, which apparently is easy to do, isn’t it Jess?  Marc was pleased he’d slogged on to see the passage, I think with the help of a supermarket energy drink called “I can’t believe it’s not Lucozade”!
We made good progress out, I only went wrong once coming back through the 4th choke but otherwise uneventful, apart from playing a bit of stuck in the mud where Chloe tried to lose a welly which had the rest of us (well me anyway) in stiches. The mud assisted the slide back through the 2nd boulder choke and we were soon back at the junction to the north west inlet for a bit of a swim to remove some mud.
At the exit Mark suggested I should try doing the lock, can’t be that hard right? The others carried on down the sunny hill side, Mark & I stayed in the shade & breeze of the cave mouth, while I faffed with the lock eventually getting it closed & able to remove the key. We then got in to the sun, but just as I started to defrost I realised I’d left my car key inside the cave entrance!
 Back up the hill I went in to the cold draft, I think I invented a few new swear words trying to get the pesky padlock undone, finally got that off but couldn’t get the corroded bit of bent bar out the hole in the door, I eventually got it free with the help of more swearing, car key retrieved, all I had to do was lock the door again! I managed this using the element of surprise, turning the key & removing it in one action.
By the time I got back to the cars, Chloe who was car sharing with me, had changed out of her wet caving gear and had been lent a towel by Mark. This would have been a rather unusual site for any non-caver passer by; to see a lady in a towel and a load of blokes standing round in a random layby! Lol. Although I’m not sure it would be the first time we’ve baffled the locals with our strange dress sense and probably won’t be the last either!

Trip report by Loz

Present : Loz Appleby, Mark Burkey, Mike Bonner, Marc Carney, Brendan Marris, Chloe Burney

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