Saturday, 6 February 2016

A Baptism of Fire and Water in OFD

It's always a pleasure to take someone new underground,  and their reaction to caving can rarely be predicted beforehand. Ed's first trip underground in Craig A Ffynnon last weekend was highly entertaining, as he pronounced the aqueous entrance series to be 'ridiculous' and the contortions of the boulder choke 'crazy'. Who would have thought he would be begging for more the next weekend?
Perhaps it was because we told him that not all caving trips are crawly and wet,  so in order to prove that,  we promised to take him on a lovely gentle trip into top entrance.
we also had Chloe and Mark II in the group,  I thought it would be nice to mix things up a bit and go via Big Chamber and the Labyrinth to Arete Chamber,  and then along Salubrious to the Trident and Judge.
memory for caving trips is of course legendary,  so when Brendan said "Ooh,  across the traversy bit? " I just smiled and nodded. And when Mark added "And over the big hole? " I was sure I'd remember it when we got there.
So Ed's lovely gentle introduction to OFD had him,  within the first half an hour,  traversing,  stepping over a bottomless pit onto a slippery climb, and clambering over boulders with no visible means of support. But it wasn't crawly or wet!  The daunting boulder slope down towards Cairn Chamber was however the final straw. Uncharacteristically quiet,  when he got to the bottom Ed proclaimed that the descent was 'worse than chucking myself out of a plane for skydiving ', and the only reason he'd done it was because there was no way he was going back the way we had come!
We reassured him that the worst was over and the rest was just (mostly) dry walking passage. And it really wasn't my fault that Brendan decided that Ed would look best standing right under the waterfall for a photo in Arete Chamber .
To finish the trip we took in the Trident and Judge,  Swamp Creek formations and the Corkscrew , and were still out in time for a shower and curry.
Can't wait to see if Ed is begging for  another trip for  next weekend!

Big Chamber Near The Entrance (Photo M Burkey)
The Bottom & Middle Of Arete (Photo B Marris)

Trip report: Jess Burkey

Present: Ed, Mark, Mark2, Chloe, Brendan & Jess

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