Brynmawr Caving Club is based in Brynmawr, Gwent, South Wales, right in the middle of one of the best caving regions in Britain. The caving areas in the immediate locale are the Clydach Gorge, the Llangattock Escarpment and the Central Northern Outcrop. All of these contain some fine caves, some of which are among the finest and longest cave systems in the British Isles. Such caves as Agen Allwedd (Aggy), Ogof Y Daren Cilau, Ogof Craig A Ffynnon, Ogof Carno and Ogof Draenen are all at the most fifteen minutes drive from the town centre. The club has always been most active within these areas but also travels further afield to the other South Wales caving areas as well as regular trips to such places as Yorkshire.
Next meetings: Tuesday 4th October – Hobby Horse Tuesday 1st November – Hobby Horse Tuesday 6th December – Hobby Horse We meet on the first Tuesday of the month. New members are always welcome, experienced and inexperienced alike, just come … Continue reading
Tom Williams and Huw Jones
When Huw suggested an after work trip, I assumed it would just be a quick, easy trip. The type I am usually accustomed to after a hard days grafting. How wrong I was…
After multiple attempts of navigating through the brambles, we were finally at the entrance. Helmets on and we took our last glimpse of daylight before we got moving. The entrance rifts didn’t feel as tight as I’d been told they were, horror stories of people not being able to lift their legs up enough to get back out were going through my head. But before long and without too much faff we were at the top of the pitch.
What a nice pitch it was. Trusting myself to the rope felt a bit unnatural but a few tentative seconds later and I was on my way down. It was good to finally use the rope I had got at a bargain price at the Cave Rescue Auction back in June, I still haven’t found a use for the pulleys though…
Soon enough we were in the streamway. A quick food stop and onto the appropriately named Midsummer Night’s Streamway. The formations and scalloping of the passage are stunning. It was all fun and games until we came to Hammer Passage and then the ominously named guillotine climb. Named, we guessed, due to guillotine nature of the rock, looking ready to come down with a swift chop. From there on it was crab walking interspersed with the occasional climb up slippery, sharp walls only to have to climb down again a few meters later, then having a flat out crawl through the streamway. It was sporting to say the least! It was a relief to see the end sump as Midsummer Night’s Nightmare Streamway had certainly lived up to its name, completely writing off my pair of kneepads in the process. After planning a through trip from Shakespeare’s to Llanelly Quarry Pot, we made good time back to the junction with the entrance, for more food and water before going to the more enjoyable end of the cave.
The highlights of this end of the cave included some amazing formations, including the Michelin Man, which actually looks like what it’s named after, unlike most formations. Ryan’s Duck was great fun, and quite possibly my favourite part of the trip, with the exception of abseiling down the main pitch. We failed to find our way to the Blue Sump, then we headed back towards the entrance, with a vow to return to find the Blue Sump and to explore the Totem Avens.
We made our way back to the entrance pitch. I was really starting to feel fatigued from the extreme nature of the downstream section of cave. Next came the dreaded climb back up the pitch and the tight entrance rift.
After a lot of swearing and struggling we were finally on the surface and on our way back to the cars. By the time we had gotten to the cars, it was just past 11, the quick easy evening trip I’d expected had turned into a 5 hour epic trip. Feeling reinvigorated by the cool night air, I felt like I’d be able to do it all again straight away!
The cave is definitely a collectors piece, especially the downstream section but I am glad to have made it all the way. I don’t intend on returning there in the near future, upstream on the other hand is certainly worth a revisit! All in all a very good, hard trip. Thanks to Huw for suggesting it and for rigging the pitch.
- Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 1 Round Trip (Again)
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- Craig a Ffynnon, Helictite Passage, 5th choke and The Promised Land – 29th May 2016 by Tom Williams
- Craig a Ffynnon North West Inlet 29th May 2016 by Vicky Blumel
- Porth yr Ogof, 15th May 2016 by Victoria Blümel
- Will’s Hole, Sunday 1st May 2016 by Barry Burn
- Upper Dinas Silica Mine, 1st May 2016 by Barry Burn
- Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 1 – Waterfall Series, Sunday 10th April 2016 by Barry Burn
- Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 1, Sunday 20th March 2016 by Barry Burn