Refreshers' South Wales Trip


Saturday

On Saturday morning before we went caving, we decided who was going to which cave. There were 2 refreshers going to OFD1 with Briony. Rosanna and Jacob were each leading a group in OFD2. Rosanna’s trip was described as nice and with lots of photo taking, and Jacob’s trip was described as a shitty crawl to nowhere. Of course, I decided to go with Jacob.

So, after getting lost on the way to finding the cave (thanks Cardiff for showing us the way), we got into the cave, with a group of about 10 of us, 5 with Rosanna and 3 with Jacob. We took some photos in Big Chamber Near The Entrance, then Jacob started to lead myself, Will and Natalie into the cave. We went through the Railway Series, which was the shitty crawl to nowhere, but there were some really cool figurines and a train track at the end, made of clay by previous cavers. Once we went back, we wandered a bit, got a bit lost looking for Edwards Shortcut and the Crossroads.

We came to a junction where there was a difficult climb or a passage to the left. Not knowing exactly where we were, and not fully understanding the description of the cave, we decided to try to climb. Jacob got up with no difficulties, and Natalie took a bit longer but managed it. I didn’t. Thank you Will for letting me stand on your shoulders as Jacob helped to pull me up. Sorry also for the panicking. So, once we all got up this 3-4 metre climb, we discovered a short crawl that led to a steep drop. Jacob went first and was a bit scared at the drop, so we quickly went back. Then we had to get down the climb that we went up. This was also scary and difficult, but we managed it in the end with no injuries.

We decided to go down the other passage to see where we were, and not long later we met with some Kent University Alumni, who we followed for a bit. We then went back to near the entrance and met with Rosanna’s group. We decided to go to see the small columns, but it took us a long time as Lydia and some others wanted to take photos of myself, Jacob and Natalie. We got to the small columns, and they were very pretty, and we took some more photos. We then left the cave.

Upon reaching the caving hut, we then discovered where we got lost, and the shitty climb we did was called Presidents Leap.

Sunday

On Sunday, a group of us – Natalie, Marion, Zara, Will, Jacob and myself went to OFD1. Some of us tried to lead, as well as Jacob, who knew the route best. Everything was well at the start. We got into the cave, but then chose a wrong turning, and went into a difficult crawl, which was pretty, but there were a lot of crystals underneath, which was particularly difficult for those without kneepads.

We left that crawl, and Jacob led us to what he thought was a different entrance to Airy Fairy; it wasn’t, so we continued and found another traverse. We all did this traverse, which was fun, and continued through the cave.

We got to Pi Chamber, and no one could really see the Pi symbol on the wall, but it was a nice cavern. We then decided to return, as we were getting a bit tired.

On the walk back from the cave to the caving hut, some of us decided to walk a little further to see the view from a hill. It was a very pretty view, but we did not stay long enough to see the sunset.

Overall, it was a very good weekend, one that challenged me slightly, and was scarier than some of the other trips I have been on before.

By Louise Ranken, 05/02/17