Llygad Llwchwr 1 – 17th September 2022

Dai MacDonald
Gareth Farr
Adrian Brown
Pete Jones
Paris Oomadath
Gavin Thomas
Nathan Davies

Trip report by Dai MacDonald.

Photos by Dai MacDonald and Paris Oomadath

It was a typical autumn morning, bright sunny sky, but a crisp feel to the air. Gareth and I arrived early, meeting Adrian and Gavin on the roadside. Paris and Nathan sent a message to say they’ll be late, so we decided to have a look at some other cave entrances in the area while we waited. On returning to the car we met Pete, who we didn’t realise was coming.
Once the last two had arrived Adrian told us we’ll just be doing Llygad Llwchwr 1, as the entrance for Llygad Llwchwr 2 had had a collapse around the entrance mud banking.
As soon as we were all ready, we headed across the fields to the entrance, past a large old lime kiln. Initially I thought Adrian was joking about the entrance, and had to ask if we could use the resurgence one, but no the small hole about 2m up the slippery rock face was the main one. With a strap as a handline it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

At the entrance

Soon we were all shuffling along the small passages leading to river chamber 1, but on the way it’s amazing to see the amount of calcite throughout this cave. River chamber 1 is an impressive sized chamber, with some pretty phreatic sculpting of the rock.

After a quick soaking, we were off again. Everywhere you look in this cave there’s holes and ways on, it’s like a labyrinth of passages. Next up was boulder chamber, where Adrian pointed out the key stone holding a huge mass of boulders up, before reassuring us the cave doesn’t start until you’re fully in the water, so off we went towards river chamber 3. This chamber carries a strong flow of water, and also has the sump to Llygad Llwchwr 2. The decoration of formations was phenomenal in there! Next we were squeezing through a nice tight section, which for the two newbies would’ve been quite a shock. Almost out the other end and Gavin got stuck, unable to get any push with his feet, so I put my foot behind his boots and he was soon moving again. I noticed we were up on a ledge with no obvious way down, “this is the jump into the water, isn’t it?” I asked, “it is yeah” Adrian replied. Most of us jumped, but Paris opted for the ladder, she hurt her ankle just before getting to the jump. All down and soaked, we were off into deeper water for a swim. The water was shockingly cold, and the screams coming from everyone else reassured me I’m not the only one feeling it. Soon we were climbing up to clitoris passage, and laughing at its unique formations, before taking another swim in the cold water.
Until we were on the way out I hadn’t really felt cold, but while making our way out there was a bit of waiting, just because there was 7 of us.
We re-emerged into what was still a stunning afternoon. Once changed we were treated to a brew from Adrian’s Kelly kettle, and some local welsh cakes.

Some pictures from the trip. Photos by Dai MacDonald and Paris Oomadath. Click any one for a slideshow.

Video of the trip by Dai MacDonald.

For further videos by Dai, please visit Dai’s and Gareth’s YouTube channel, D&G the great indoors.

Agen Allwedd – 11th September 2022

Dai MacDonald
Gareth Farr

Having not had a long trip in a while, both of us were keen to get a good few hours in the great indoors, so we decided on Southern Stream in Aggy, kind of scouting for the Grand Circle trip as well.
We both started the day not really wanting to do Southern Stream because of the descriptions we’d heard, but undeterred we went for it anyway. The entrance series to Aggy is always one I enjoy, it’s just such a good mix of caving straight through the gate. Soon we were in Baron’s Chamber in the normal sweaty mess, but we took the top half of our oversuit down until we got to Southern Stream, so cooled down quickly. Main Passage is always going to hold a special place in my mind, it was the first real big passage I got into, and it still impresses me!
There’s no messing about with Southern Stream really, from the beginning it’s stooping and crawling over, around, and under boulders in the shallow streamway. The main difference as you get further into it is that the streamway gets narrower.
With time still good, we decided to have a look for Priory Road, and possibly get to Severn Beach. As the streamway starts to get a lot narrower we found the roof tube that leads to Gothic Passage, and then easily found Priory Road. By this point our time was getting past the halfway mark, and we were in the ribbed vault, so we decided a time to turn around, and headed forward a little more. Before long Gareth’s battery was dropping his light, and we’d left our bags back a bit, so we decided to head back now.
Battery changed and we were on our way back out. Southern Stream really took its toll on Gareth and I, and the tiredness was starting to show with lots of bumps, scrapes, and slips from both of us. By the time we were climbing out into bigger passage, we were both extremely sore and fatigued. There was no hanging around, our time was getting close to our expected time out. Just before we got to Baron’s Chamber we met 4-5 cavers doing an evening music room trip. Back at Baron’s Chamber we couldn’t even stop for a breather, so just pushed through the boulder choke to the exit.
This trip well and truly kicked our arses, down to the last moment, but we both loved it, and are looking forward to getting to the end of priory road next time.

Eglwys Faen Kids Trip – 10th September 2022

Dai, Tynisha, and Dominic MacDonald

Today was a special day for me, the first time I took my kids caving, besides Dan Yr Ogof showcaves.
Before we got started I had to pick up the key for Aggy, for a trip tomorrow. I never seem to have enough time to talk to Brent when picking keys up, he’s got some fascinating stories!

Finally we were on our way to whitewalls, and on arrival we had some lunch. Bellies full and a nice chat with John, the Whitewalls warden, and we were on our way. After a few “are we there yet” we got to the main entrance. While reassuring both my kids that there were definitely no bears in the cave, we made our way in, and headed for the eastern series. We explored a nice amount of the eastern series before looking at all the other entrances. Once done there we decided to come out of the waterfall entrance, and then walk around to the main entrance on the surface. Once there I had to reset our call out, giving ourselves another two hours to explore the warren and eastern series. My son was not a fan of the cheese press, but loved climbing the ladder to get to the warren. Crawling through the warren took it’s toll on my kids knees, and before long we were heading back out of the warren to the ladder back down. It was a lot easier helping both down than I thought it would be. Back out on the surface and there was one question on my lips “so would you both like to try it again?” and both without hesitation snapped back “yeah!”, so hopefully we’ll have a lot more trips in the future.