Sunday 28 June 2015

Pushing up Daisies on Ystradfellte Common

Using the 'better' weather for an opportunity to visit some of the smaller caves we opted on the Sunday to head to the Parish of Ystradfellte and to the common land that overlies the passages of Little Neath River Cave and overlooks the Nedd Fechan valley below. We parked in the centre of Ystradfellte and headed up the lane to the common in a light mist in search of a shrubbery.

Ogofau Gwynion

With a wide entrance reminiscent of the Cave of Caerbannog we approached with caution, knowing of the tales of the killer rabbit we clutched our Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch and approached with trepidation. Fortunately the killer rabbit was not resident having gone to visit the cheese shop in the village. The large entrance chamber is open to the outside and acts as a sheep shelter, the floor liberally covered with a thick layer of evidence. At the back of the chamber a crawl through leads to a second chamber with mounds of red sand in the floor. From this Jess followed a long low passage on the left until it eventual ended in an old dig. We then turned our attention to "F.B. Chamber" not sure what the F.B. stand for but maybe Frank Baguely or Fat Bas@@@d?? The route to this was a flat out tight crawl with a "hump back" of rock in the floor. We all tried but non could pass to we then headed out to have a look at Ogof Gwynion No.2 a short section of low passage ending after 20m.

Ogof Gwynion 1
Jess in the entrance chamber of Ogof Gwynion No. 1 - Photo Mark Burkey

Ogof Gwynion 1
Jess in the Second Chamber of Ogof Gwynion No.1 - Photo Brendan Marris

Ogof Shar Wlad

The weather has now improved as we walked around to find Ogof Shar Wlad, neatly hidden at the base of a small quarried face of rock. We lifted off the covering rocks from the entrance and dropped down the entrance shaft taking care not to dislodge rocks onto those below. This is a very short cave, much shorter that the survey gives an impression of. We explored all passages including the "Main Passage" which is a steeply descending scree slope that is reached via a flat out crawl that provides entertainment as you speed down head first.

Ogof Gwynion 1
Jess Ogof Shar Wlad - Photo Mark Burkey

Ogof Pant Y Llyn
Jess Ogof Shar Wlad - Photo Brendan Marris

Ogof Dan Y Rhedyn

The final cave of the afternoon was Ogof Dan Y Rhedyn - The Cave Below the Ferns. We lifted the covers off the shaft and rigged a ladder and lifeline off a combination of natural belays and the rusty scaffold bars across the top of the shaft. The whole shaft is loose and at the bottom it lands at the top of a large scree slope. We headed down to meet in the main chamber of the cave before we split up and headed in different directions to explore the cave. Half an hour was spent exploring all the cave including a flat-out dig in the downstream end of the cave that appears to be longer than shown on the survey.

Ogof Gwynion 1
Jess upstream in Ogof Dan Y Rhedyn - Photo Mark Burkey

Ogof Dan Y Rhedyn
Mark in the Main Chamber Ogof Dan Y Rhedyn - Photo Brendan Marris

The Ex-Frog

On heading back to the bottom of the entrance shaft we found Jess with what she insisted was a DEAD FROG found in this very establishment not an hour ago.

'E's just pining for the Fjords' she was told.

'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This Frog is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!

'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't Trod 'im to the Rock 'e'd be pushing up the daisies!

'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig!

'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!


Present: Mark Burkey, Jess Burkey and Brendan Marris

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