Saturday, 7 November 2015

Ogof Yr Ardd / Pen Blwydd yr Ogof

For the SWCC fireworks weekend we planned on the little visited 'Birthday' cave behind the Rhongyr Isaf outdoor centre.
We arrived to a packed out SWCC on Friday evening and after a very wet and windy night kitted up and drove down to the lay-by near the outdoor centre.
We stopped off to ask permission at the house and were led straight to a thick patch of brambles. It was quite obvious that no-one had been in this cave for a while. We were advised that after all the rain we should be very careful as the lower passage can back up becoming hazardous and promised we would keep to the higher passage.
After only 20ft I arrived at a tight slot in the phreatic shelving and quickly found myself dangling in mid air with my ribs unable to pass the constriction. Brendan slid through and said that it was indeed rather snug and went off to find the other entrance for me.
I headed back up and waited for a while till I saw Brendan's helmet and went to meet him. The second entrance is a cascade over very loose boulders which had given way as Brendan had ascended.
Carefully we made our way down the slope and on through the fragile limestone till we reached the head of the 13M pitch. Water was belting down this and so we used an alternative higher window to rig from.
At the base of the impressive pitch we found the way on blocked by a thunderous waterfall. We soon realised this wasn't really the place to be after a few days of heavy rain. We had planned to take a shot of the ladder pitch, but with the spray and misting it would be near impossible.
On the way out I had another go at the first entrance and found that it was an easier task to scrape my ribs through on the way up than down.
Back at the hut Brendan found that his ankle had bruised quite badly, so changed and warm we partook in a few medicinal beers before curry and fireworks ensued :)

Present: Mark Burkey & Brendan Marris

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