Chris Brady, Barry Burn, Gareth Jones, Huw Jones
By Huw Jones
Photos – Barry Burn and Huw Jones
It was a very cold day (2-3 degs) but that didn’t keep us out of the water. Barry even went for a swim in the White Horse Pool!
The river was up a bit and flowing into the Main Entrance. We checked out the White Horse Pool first. Barry spontaneously decided to take a dip, something he regretted going by the look on his face when he came back out!
Then we headed into the Right Hand Series, where Gareth went through the Letterbox – you can’t really go to Porth for the first time and not do the Letterbox! We made our way to the Great Bedding Cave and admired the deep, clear water in the main canal. Heading downstream, we stopped to admire a seriously large tree trunk that had been washed in and wedged on the right. Then it was through the low (but very wide) bit, which was interesting due to the high water conditions, to the twin large entrances, which are the normal recommended downstream exit points. We were now close to the resurgence pool and me and Gareth tried to reach it for a look but the next section was even lower and after a low crawl on our hands and knees in the river, we could see that the water was up to the roof ahead and so turned back to the others.
We went out of one of the nearby entrances and walked down to the resurgence to have a look from outside. On the bench overlooking the resurgence is an entrance that none of us had been in before so we checked it out. A very short hands and knees crawl leads to a decorated walking passage that, in one direction, connects into the main cave via a very low, muddy and wet section. No one was going through there in today’s high water conditions so we made our way overland back to the Main Entrance, checking out the various other entrances on the way.
In the Main Entrance again and back into the Right Hand Series, we took a different passage into the Great Bedding Cave and then turned up The Creak, where we took a detour to check out Hewyl’s Grotto, where we encountered more refreshingly freezing cold water to crawl through! Returning, we made our way further along The Creak and after a quick look in The Maze, made our way back to the Main Entrance. We crossed over and took the longest of the passages that connect to the Upper Stream Passage. Somehow, one of Chris’ elbow pads fell off here and must have been washed away before any of us spotted it as we could find no sign of it after a good search! Chris and Barry returned to the Main Entrance, while me and Gareth went a little way downstream and then made our way back upstream via the oxbow, which had a very strong flow of water, and then out of the Tradesmans’ Entrance.
By this time the car park was very busy so we took advantage of the screens to get changed behind. A pint was decided on and we drove to Ystradfellte and went to the New Inn, which we’d heard had been taken over and was better than it used to be. It was obvious as soon as we entered that it was now very much a food pub and we were there at Sunday lunchtime! There are only a few tables and we ended up sitting around a tiny table by the door. Everytime someone opened the door, an icy blast froze Chris and Barry, who were sitting on that side!
An enjoyable trip, Gareth did really well on only his second caving trip, not seeming to mind the cold water or crawling around with no knee pads! Thanks to Chris for driving.