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All Posts

Legacy Logs

All pages containing trip logs (among other things) from the old wiki have been preserved (complete with formatting) in the legacy section of the archive.

The CUCC Blog

South Wales

3-5/12/21 After an incredibly long and foggy journey, we arrived at the remarkably well-equipped South Wales Caving Club hut late on Friday evening. Games included the novel squeeze through a church pew, which Wassil managed to take a step further by upending said pew and performing an inspiring vertical slot, provoking some appreciative creaks from the centuries-old wood. Rising early at 2pm, a group consisting of myself, Wassil, Campbell and CUCC photographer-in-chief Rudi first tackled bridge cave, a fifteen minute drive from the hut. The cave begins with some crawls leading to a boulder choke before dropping to a streamway. It then opens into a sizeable cavern with an upper ledge running to the eponymous bridge, which looked like an absolute death trap. Further into the cave we discovered a squeeze which Wassil insisted we all insert ourselves into feet-first, “for the experience”. Having firmly established that this went nowhere, and even if it did that none of us would be getting there in a hurry, we followed the ever more constricted streamway to its terminus at a sump before returning to the surface. Having explored the nooks and crannies of the surrounding valley, containing a river which passed underground via a large waterfall, we decided to pass on the other local caves – including the uninvitingly-named Town Drain – and head back to the hut to attempt Ogof Ffynnon Ddu (The Cave of the Black Spring). Having finally reached Bottom Entrance after an unnecessarily long schlep which was mainly the result of our atrocious navigational skills and inability to follow the most basic instructions from several bemused passers-by, we spent the remaining few minutes before our call-out expired exploring the reaches of OFD I. Descending several flights of ladders, we progressed along lovely long, wide and walkable passages which run to a beautiful streamway with walls of black stone laced with white quartz(?) veins. The stream itself rarely reached above the waist, yet contained several deep pots which were crossed using a fixed metal bar. Attempts at traversing usually ended in soggy disaster. After passing the “Step” and reaching the “Dip Sump”, which provides one route into the rest of the system, we returned along the streamway, pausing for several photo opportunities before climbing back out of Bottom and returning to the hut. On Sunday morning me, Rudi and Campbell actually did wake up very early to accompany a small group of Bristol cavers headed by Ash on a through trip from Cwm Dwr to Bottom Entrance. The Cwm Dwr series begins with a pretty hairy descent through an almost vertical concrete pipe before immediately constricting into a set of crawls and squeezes which eventually lead to some deeper chasms headed off by the Boulder Choke. The many diverging routes within this frustrated attempts to find the correct path for quite a while, but we eventually managed to continue down to the main streamway, passing some impressive rock formations and entering the “lake”, a muddy passage whose ceiling-height water marks displayed the former extent of the reservoir which once supplied the local farmhouses until the 1960s, when a group of cavers drained it and single-handedly depopulated the valley. Our journey ended once more at the main streamway, which we followed back along the route of the previous day’s expedition into OFD I. After ascending into the brilliant sunshine of late afternoon, we returned to the hut to shower and pack kit before hiking up to the ridge above the hut to catch a brilliant sunset. Once the other group had returned from their OFD trip, we finished the final few kilograms of pasta and crumble before loading the cars and returning to Cambridge for a stunning 10:30pm arrival – props to Alice for some insane driving. Thanks all for another excellent trip!

-- Joel Stobbart, Jan. 17, 2024. Category: Caving