Cave Exploration – OFD

OFD Formation - The Judge

OFD Formation – The Judge

For some time now,  I had been ‘pestering’ my caving mentor Al to go caving but work / family commitments always seemed to get in the way. Then all of a sudden, Al asked if I was free to go caving at the weekend and all of  sudden we were off to South Wales to do a through trip in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu (OFD) which is one of the deepest and longest caves in the UK.

We met up with another caver (Phil) on Saturday at the South Wales Caving Club Hut and after a introductions and a few cups of tea we were soon kitted up and heading off to the top entrance of OFD. The entrance to the cave is gated and locked (permits and keys available from South Wales Caving Club) but once inside it was clear that this was going to be a spectacular trip!

The start of the trip was simple enough and involved clambering over boulders to pass through some pretty large chambers and it wasn’t too long before we passed the Trident and Judge formations and then things stared to get a little interesting. Apparently we were off to the Maypole inlet to met the main stream way. The climb down was absolutely amazing and for once I was glad of my large midriff which just seemed to jam in all the right places.

Once at the main stream way things got very wet indeed and it wasn’t too long before I ended up neck deep in water much to Al’s and Phil’s amusement but after that I can certainly say my bridging technique became much improved. The whites in the Marble Series were fantastic and it wasn’t too long before we had to make a decision on whether to push on to the bottom entrance or exit to Cwm Dwr. After a bit of passage searching, it was decided to exit through Cwm Dwr (to be honest I think Phil and Al were having difficulty locating the correct passage to take us to the bottom exit). This route has endless low passages that require a great deal of crawling action. After much grunting and groaning (at least from me) we soon arrived at the exit and made short work of the little pitch to leave Cwm Dwr.

Boy what a trip! Lots of new caving techniques learnt, exploration of some great passages and chambers and I was aching from head to toe from the demands of the trip. Would I do it again – without a shadow of doubt when are we going.

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