Adam Knapp (Morgannwg Caving Club)
We planned to do a round trip in OFD1 today taking Tristan for his first visit to OFD. For this trip we were joined by a Morgannwg member, Adam Knapp who was returning to caving after long absence.
The plan was to follow the Main Streamway to Lowe’s Chain, then via Lowe’s Passage and Chamber up to the Rawl Series, down Helterskelter to the Wire Traverse and out via the Dugout and the Escape Route.
We all met up bright and early at Penwyllt and completed the ticket and gained a key for OFD1 then headed off to change in the layby down the hill. Adam put us all to shame presenting a svelte, dapper image in his brand new, shiny oversuit as we headed off down the hill to the cave.
We made swift headway via The Font and The Toastrack (why is it called that)…
Until just before ‘The Step’ where we pushed Tom up the awkward climb up to Column Passage to rig a handline before following him and then along to see the impressive Column formation. We spent a short time taking some photographs and let the impetuous youth crawl off through the wet duck that leads to The Eagle’s Nest before heading back and into the streamway.
From The Step it is upstream to Lowe’s Chain and the Rawl Series via some spectacular passages and formations before arriving at The Wire Traverse. It was here that disaster struck as I watched that our second born was progressing safely on the traverse I heard a gently bishing and bashing followed by a soft splash far below. My camera had been attached to my belt and somehow detached itself to fall to the streamway far below. All thoughts of the offspring’s safety vanished as I thought of what my other half would say when I told her I’d destroyed my Christmas present.
After we got off of the traverse, I consulted the survey and a new route was taken, via the Maypole Chain down into the streamway where we all walked back up stream looking for a small black box in the swirling waters. I was just thinking that this would be hopeless when I caught site of the red wriststrap flapping in a small pool. It was found and amazingly still worked. Good cameras these TG-4s, I can thoroughly recommend them.
So back downstream from here and down the Toastrack where our impetuous youngsters decided to cool off in Pluto’s Bath before we headed out.
All in all, although a near disaster with the camera, a really enjoyable trip.