Saturday 3 October 2015

Underground - Overground in Porth Yr Ogof

Mike had fancied a day's exploring at Porth Yr Ogof and with some fine weather forecast for the weekend we made a trip there on the Saturday.
We had quite a bit of kit between the pair of us, with buoyancy aids, rubber inner tubes plus kit for the pitch entrances and also camera gear as well. We made a leisurely start and headed down, missing breakfast to arrive at about 10:30am. Loaded with gear we headed down to the main cave entrance to stash the buoyancy aids, as we would do the cold swims as the last part of the trip. We then headed out of the cave and over the road to the three vertical entrances - (G), (H), and (I) on the survey. A handline was dropped down the gated entrance (I) and Brendan descended to quickly check out where the two vertical entrances dropped in. The handline proved its worth on the climb back up and we then headed to the two other entrances, these being only a few metres apart and connect together underground after a short distance. It was clear entrance (H) was the one to use with ample natural belays to rig from. A rope was rigged down, to a ledge a short distance in, but no suitable belays could be found to rig a nice hang down the centre of the shaft. There would be a good amount of rope rub, so after a little deliberation we descended with the plan of not going back up the pitch. Once down we explored the area at the bottom and took photos of the Letterbox squeeze found close to the bottom of the vertical entrances. Brendan then headed back up the climb to surface, but Mike had difficulty with the climb, so the pitch was derigged and Brendan then returned down the climb.

The Letterbox - Porth Yr Ogof
Mike in the Letterbox - Porth Yr Ogof - Photo Brendan Marris

We then headed up towards the main entrance and explored all around the Maze area finding the two entrances in this part of the cave - (D1) and (D2). We exited entrance (D1) and then dropped down the tight entrance (D2) (it would be very hard to exit via D2). With all areas of the Maze explored we headed to the start of The Creek, where we first looked at the passage that leads to Hywel's Grotto. A flat out bedding crawl leads to a low crawl in a wet passage to reach Hywel's Grotto, a small chamber with calcite flows. Beyond this some more crawling took us over gours to reach the end of the passage. A couple of photos were taken before our return.

Near Hywel's Grotto- Porth Yr Ogof
Mike near Hywel's Grotto - Porth Yr Ogof - Photo Brendan Marris

Near Hywel's Grotto- Porth Yr Ogof
Mike near Hywel's Grotto - Porth Yr Ogof - Photo Brendan Marris

From the Creek we headed down to the Great Bedding, explored around the shingle banks before heading upstream to find the passage up to Cwm Port Inlet on the right. We followed the passage upstream, passing the inlet to the sumps and then continued along the low and unpleasant passage until we finally reached a nasty looking duck. After much procrastination we flipped onto our backs and with noses to the ceiling and passed the long duck to emerge in the deep water of the main stream. We quickly swam against the current past the White Horse to reach the bouldery floor of the entrance chamber. From here we headed to the right and explored the passages that led from the Tradesman's Entrance, finally heading upstream to exit the cave via Tradesman's.
All that was left to do now was the final swim out of the resurgence. We picked up our buoyancy gear and went above ground to the shakehole entrances - (I) and (J) on the survey. We entered the cave here, taking a quick look at the passages around these entrances before we headed downstream to see a glimpse of enticing daylight ahead. Kitted up with our floatation aids we swam the final few metres to emerge into glorious sunshine. We then had a look at the other entrances near the resurgence, having a little explore in entrance (M) which has some nice passage ending in a low wet approach to a shingle and rotting wood filled bedding. We then returned picking up the last of our tackle, having explored virtually all the passage that can be accessed without diving.

Present: Mike Bonner and Brendan Marris

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