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