“What else could we be doing on a Wednesday eve?”
A short trip into Shakespeare’s Cave – Wed 11th April 2018
Dave Gledhill and Huw Jones
By Dave Gledhill
After conducting a bit of *ahem* husbandry in the local caving area it was decided beforehand that a trip into Shakespeare’s was needed afterwards to make the drive out on a Weds eve worthwhile. It had been a few years since Huw had been in and a first for me, although I had heard of the place to be ‘sporty’ and wet.
We decided the quickest way down into Cwm Pica would be down the old water culverts which proved to be hilarious due to slippy moss and a nice amount of water flowing. The Cwm had an eerie feel with a low cloud base and fog setting in at last light as we made our way down to the cave entrance, slipping and falling into thorn bushes made this trip even more fun!!!…..’’FUN’’ Sarcasm aside, it was a nice walk down in the early spring air and fog and felt more expeditious. We entered the valley floor and jumped into the stream which flows past the entrance. Yet again a few more slips before we arrived at the cave entrance.
Huw posed for a quick photo on my camera which didn’t really come out that well. Camera stowed and in we went, stowing our kit on a mud bank in an old swirl pool to the left as we went .
‘’You lead Dave….can’t get lost’’ Huw said. He was right! There’s no option of where to go really but never mind. Small sharp scallops on the wall indicating some fast flow of water and you could see why, water levels definitely seemed slightly up but not as high as what it had been as when we got to the first duck the foam level from the previous flood was well above the duck level which in turn would have sumped. It was now I started to regret never having a caving wetsuit in my whole caving career. The duck was cold but easily passed but with some heavy panting and a fair amount of expletives from the pair of us which would have made Roy Chubby himself proud.
The going eased off slightly again with a mix of sideways crawling in water to sideways standing but thrutching (why not…it’s Wednesday) until another duck was met, kind of like an ‘S’ bend but with obstructions on the floor which leaves the onlooker to view a hilarious helmet sticking out of the water with lips pouting acting as a snorkel whilst you try a navigate a way through!
Duck passed and back to some more fun stuff. At least the cave is clean hey.
Another duck was met, this time with what can only be described as a tooth of rock sticking down in the water meaning a full submersion is required. Rising out of the water on the other side like a hippo going after a crocodile (albeit colder) I was glad I had stocked up on Clogwyn Gold previously that evening. Further on we found a mud bank to the left which had paw prints…confusing! (Huw managed to find a video later on that night where a family had taken their dog into the cave suitably equipped with protection and buoyancy).
We met a junction, to the left is a tight passage leading to the sump and on the right is a muddy tube bypassing the sump. We chose left initially and I decided to get down and dirty again and thrutched along sideways on my side think to myself with glee ‘’woohoo it’s just like Daren Cilau’’ only to turn round and see Huw walk through the constriction to which he added ‘’I just walked through that one Dave’’…..
The sump was met and the hand line was still in place but I opted out….and I mean opted not chickened *ahem* purely because I didn’t have any neoprene on……I promise. We wriggled back to the junction and took the muddy tube of fun. It really was a bit muddy and crawly with and awkward boulder climb upward which both me and Huw past with the style and grace of drunk giraffes and it was here that Huw decided that he would be going through a nasty duck and out via the sump instead of coming out this way again! And which he did, I waited for him to lip snorkel his way through an awful looking duck until he reached the sump at which point I shuffled round and reversed back through the bypass which was just as lovely as I had remembered 3 minutes previous. Good times.
We established a vocal connection before I heard a deep breath and the splashing/booming noise of Huw swimming the sump. We convened at the junction and made our way out of the cave with all the fun of the previous 25 minutes but in reverse!
We made it out the cave in just over 10 minutes funnily enough and I posed for a few photos by the entrance before we headed off back up to the old train line to get dry and changed. Opting for a more fun scramble option up an old scree slope (next week Crib Goch)
It sounds like I’ve slagged the place off but for only 35 or so minutes it’s a really fun little cave! I’d probably do it next time in summer after a full trip in the gorge.
Huw at the entrance before going in – Photo-Dave
Looking from Cwm Pica into the gorge – Photo-Dave
Dave looking back into the entrance after the trip – Photo-Huw