Saturday 25 February 2023

Stoke lane stocker the return


Mark, George, Loz and Jas

As Some may know, my caving partner in crime, George, took a bit of a tumble a couple of years ago, and so we have been doing regular trips getting him back up to full strength. Whilst discussing what to do this weekend he mentioned that he wouldn’t mind going in to Stoke Lane as he fancies diving in there in the future. It’s been 9 years since I last took a camera in there, in fact that trip was one of my first blog posts on UKC, so I agreed to play guide if he agreed to put up with photos….so our plan was made. 


I emailed out to ‘The Dudley’ to see if I could recruit a couple of others and we were joined by Jas and Loz.


We had all decided on wetsuits under our caving suits and were glad we did when we reached the entrance to find the water tumbling down over the lip. George had been to take a look a couple of weeks ago and said that levels had been a lot lower then, but I assured the group that I had previously done the trip at much higher levels and the weather had been settled the day before and no rain was forecast.


On the way in the going was straight forward and the heavy camera box floated gently beside me for much of the entrance series, and through to the Nutmeg grater.  After squeezing through the short contortion, we reached the duck before the sump. The water levels, as expected, were up and the duck itself required a short splutter of water over the face to pass. I headed through first, followed by George, Loz and Jaz. The sump pool looked as uninviting as ever and we nearly lost Loz when she saw the muck floating on the surface. I had brought a mask so went through first, then passed the mask back and was followed by a spluttering Loz, then George and finally Jas.


There ensued a couple of hours of photography in the stunning Bone, C.B, Main chamber and throne room before heading for an uneventful, though arduous against the water, exit.


    C.B Chamber


   Main Chamber

   The Throne Room


                Stoke 2 Main Stream Way


                Entrance to Bone Chamber


   Bone Chamber

Thursday 16 February 2023

Finding All Bran in OFD

Having found myself with an unexpected day off, I decided to join Mark and Mr. Edwards on one of their jaunts into OFD for some route finding. The destination was the Nynth Bran Series, which has a lot of passages, but is slightly off the beaten track and rarely visited. 


We squirrelled up and down passages, trying to make sense of the survey and trying to dissuade Mark from disappearing into the tighter, more dodgy sections, until we ran out of time. We came very close to the Prokoviev series, which brought back a few memories! (See blog from ages ago). 


We left a large section of the Nynth Bran series to explore another day, and headed back via the Labyrinth (hint - it wasn't the shortcut I thought it was) to exit the cave into sunlight.

Trip report Jess

Present: Mark, Keith and Jess

Saturday 11 February 2023

Craig a Ffynnon

A trip into Craig a Ffynnon was to be our next trip this year. The plan being to reach the Hall of Mountain Kings. After meeting for breakfast at Luigi’s, we headed in and enjoyed the decorated ceilings that greet you early on near the entrance. We continued our way through to the bottom of the ladder where we rigged a simple lifeline to assist our progress up to the bottom of the corkscrew. Alex made good work of leading us up and out into the main chamber, which at this point it was a slip and slide all the way to the hall. After staring at the magnificent formations for a while, Alex and I crawled our way into the next section for an explore, until turning back to meet back up with Lucy who we’d left having a picnic back in the hall of mountain kings. On our return to the corkscrew, we passed several members of the ‘Caver Keith’ fan club that had travelled up from Cardiff Uni for the day. We stopped and chatted for a while then went our separate ways. On our return to the entrance, and as water levels were looking favourable, we also ventured into the Northwest Inlet for the first time too. This was another successful trip that resulted in a post trip debrief with Ronald at the golden arches! 

Trip Report: Mike Bonner

Photo: Alex Hayes

Present: Alex H, Lucy, Mike Bonner

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Caver Keith Tackles the Birth Canal in Cwm Dwr Quarry Cave

Another mid-week trip with the usual team of Keith, Mark and Loz.

Loz, "When shall we three meet again? In passage, chamber, Keith's a pain?"

Mark, "When shenanigans are done, When all hope is lost and gone."

Keith, "That will be ere the set of sun."

Loz, "Where the place?"

Mark, "Birth Canal Series."

Keith, "There to shake hands with death."

With apologies to William Shakespeare.

This time our plan was to go into the Cwm Dwr entrance of OFD to explore the Sand Banks area and as much of the Birth Canal Series as possible. All objectives were met and we even had time to make a short video.

Keith exiting the Birth Canal

And here a short teaser for the upcoming video.

Here's the completed video.