Wales I

Ben Banfield, Clewin Griffiths, Gergely Ambrus, Hannah Heyemann, James Huggett, Jutta Schnabel, Marc Labuhn, Paul Hutton, Rik Venn, Sandeep Mavadia, Thara Supasiti, Tim Osborne, Tom Brown

Saturday: OFD - Everyone

Cave: Ogof Ffynnon Ddu (Apparently it is pronounced oh-gof-fun-on-thee in Welsh) Depth: I'm not sure. Didn't go very far down but it is quite big, and still growing... Weather: sort of English like (you know what I meant) Hours spent underground: 5 hours Animals found: Some sort of bat in hibernation (my first encounter with a troglodyte)

Pok! An occasional echo rang though the darkness that engulfed our LED beams. My survival bag slided gently above my head, when my helmet hit the rock above. I checked to see if anything was damaged, especially rock surface. It has come to the point where I'm more worried about rock formations than myself (Sorry, that was a lie).

A few hours before, we had been in severe danger of caving before noon; only to be saved by a lengthy cave-finding ceremony. When we entered the cave from Top entrance, the immediate impression was spectacular (as far as LEDs could reveal)- Straight walls, cubical stones, white lines that ran along the wall, and a massive chamber. It was not long before we entered an even-more-massive chamber littered with thousand of loose rocks which had probably once been located 10 metres above our heads.

After scrambling over huge boulders and through tunnels, we encountered the "Cork Screw". The cave descended steeply to a drop, the safest route down was a squeeze that spiralled down to the bottom - hence the name. From there, the passageway forked into two. The left one led to a creek that ran into the main stream, our originally intended destination.

Initially however, we chose to explore upstream, and we were rewarded with a display of hundreds of clay snowmen, dragons, a Nessie with a smiley face all along a ledge located at the junction of two small streams (Ed: An Oxbow?).

Further down the stream, a tunnel led us into a mud chamber. There, two other routes marked by slimy muddy water branched off in opposite directions. One led to a tall cylindrical shaft with stoned waterfalls with an almost perfect circular wall, in contrast to a foul smell that lingered in the background.

Unlike this tunnel, a passage further along the main stream, was just large enough for human to kneel down. The floor was a slightly compact moist mud, allowing sliding with ease. Inside, the ceiling lifted up until one could stand. The white lines that ran along an arch ceiling, giving an impression of brick, created an atmosphere of a Roman dungeon. By now, I was so disorientated that I really began to regret not having look at the map before we started.

When we returned to the surface, I got lost again but this time, I managed to take Marc with me. It wasn't long before we managed to find our way out, following the resounding echo of the metallic door banging against its frame.

On the landscape we could see a storm was brewing in the distance. The rain already hammering down. Back in the van, we zoomed back to the WSG to enjoy mulled wine and live music, feasting on a Hungarian delicacy followed by a plum & apple crumble.

Thara

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