Agen Allwedd The Grand Circle – 22nd May 2022

Dai MacDonald
Gareth Farr
Louise Lucas

I arrived at Whitewalls first, then had the message I’d been waiting for, Gareth and Louise would be late, so I made a coffee, rolled a cigarette, and walked across the tram road a little and sat in the sun.

As I walked back to Whitewalls I could see Louise getting out of the car. We got kitted up, sent the call out, and made our way across to Aggy. Louise was excited to get into Aggy again, the last time she was in was on a newbies trip before joining the club.

We made steady progress through the entrance to Baron’s Chamber, but as usual we were all sweating by the time we got into Baron’s Chamber. After a quick drink stop we were off, and heading for Main Stream. Louise had a slip on the hand-lined section in Keyhole Chamber, but got herself back up and across fine. A little longer than I remember we were at North West Junction, we were all on guard as this section is really slippery. There definitely seems to be a theme emerging, Louise falls into water. We made speedy progress towards Deep Water, which is Gareth’s and my furthest point from the last trip we did here. Without hesitation I waded in getting to waist deep, as described in journals and online, and then Gareth asked “is it getting any deeper”, and as I was replying “I don’t think so” I slipped down to shoulder depth and started struggling to catch my breath, so I headed back still trying to catch my breath. We had a quick talk about the best way to approach it, then Louise opted for swimming so far and trying to stand, and she couldn’t reach the bottom after swimming out a short distance, so turned around and I helped her back to shallower water. We talked a little more, but being completely unsure of how long we’d be swimming for, and how we’d feel swimming fully kitted up, we all agreed the best thing to do was head back the way we came. Just before heading back Louise stayed true to form and had a dunk again, while trying to help her, Gareth had a soaking as well. Heading back was fine, apart from us all being a bit miserable after another failed trip here, because of this we just headed straight out.

As I got out of the cave there was a guy asking, do I knew if the small phreatic tube outside connects into Aggy, I said it didn’t as far as I know, and asked “why’s that” he said his dog has gone into it, as I walked over to him, Louise and Gareth got out. We tried looking in with our lights, whistling, calling, and putting food down, but there was no sound at all. He said he’d called Cave Rescue, so they were on their way. We said we’d head back and ask some advice about it and maybe see if anybody else can head over to help. Once at Whitewalls the police and cave rescue arrived, so we left them to do their work, and we headed home. Once home we heard the news that the dog was safe and with his owner again.

Aggy, Inner Circle 17th April 2022

Aggy, Inner Circle 17/4/2022 by Dai MacDonald

Dai MacDonald
Gareth Farr

Gareth and I arrived at Whitewalls with a stubborn white fluffy dog laying in the middle of the road, even after Gareth got out to coax it out of the way, it just walked along the middle of the road. We parked up, eventually, and got changed, sent the call out message and were ready to leave when Tom and Maxine pulled up outside Whitewalls. We were both planning an Inner Circle trip, so decided to head in together. Tom and Maxine got ready quickly and we were on our way across the tram road.
Once in the cave we made quick progress through the entrance series into Baron’s Chamber, where we stopped momentarily to catch our breath and have a quick drink. In no time at all we were at the Second Choke, and into Keyhole Chamber. We each had turns in leading and all managed well, although I’m sure I suggested a wrong turn or two, but we were soon at North West Junction. From here we headed for Turkey Pool, but on the way through Turkey Streamway Maxine said she’d like to call it a day, she had been caving the day before and felt really tired. We parted ways, with Tom and Maxine saying they’d have a look at Beehive Chamber before they left, and Gareth and I heading for the Inner Circle. Soon we found ourselves at Turkey Pool, I managed to traverse it, only getting my legs wet, Gareth traversed it as well but got a bit wetter. The rest of the way was no problem, and soon we were at the rescue dump around the Inner Circle. We stopped here for a snack and a drink, then made our way around the inner circle clockwise…so we thought! Before we knew it we were in the Swiss Village, this threw us completely, and we both started looking at the survey and scratching our heads. We retraced our steps and made a few more wrong turns, then decided we would call it a day and start heading back out. For the best part we were okay, but we made a few wrong turns on the way out as well, mainly me I think, but soon we were in the entrance series, and then at the logbook. We checked for Tom and Maxine, they were both ticked out, so we signed ourselves out for 1805, and headed back to whitewalls to get changed just in time before the rain started. Overall a great trip, and worn out for a trip to OCAF the following day.

Agen Allwedd – Sunday 30th January 2022

Dai MacDonald, Gareth Farr

By Dai MacDonald

Today Gareth and I headed back to Aggy, with the dig at the closest point to Daren Cilau as our target. As usual we were late leaving, it’s always one or the other of us, and it was a cracking day, crisp but sunny. We parked at Whitewalls cottage and were amazed how quiet it was, so we wasted no time and kitted up. Gareth dropped his phone and smashed his screen, he’s a tad clumsy.

We got into the cave at roughly 12:20pm and made good steady progress through the entrance to Baron’s Chamber, but about 80m into the entrance Gareth dropped his drink bottle and split it, so had to leave it for us to collect on the way out. We headed off to the right at the first junction along Main Passage, faultless past Bastard Passage and Flood Passage, but we had to search around for a while to find the entrance to the Second Choke. Gareth heading to high, and myself to low, eventually Gareth found it and we were off again. We stopped a few times here and there for Gareth to have a drink from his filter, which we always carry with us just for times like this. In no time at all we found ourselves at North West Junction, and we were off into a section we didn’t know, Main Stream Passage. The description we had warned of how slippery it is and as we entered it Gareth and I jokingly said “This is the lethal bit now isn’t it?” And with that I was almost flat on my back in the streamway, a very good save! It was steady progress along Main Stream Passage, it was slippery, no more so than any other streamway we’d come along already though. We passed Maypole Dig, but didn’t spot Chocolate Passage. I really liked the way the passage was changing to more of a phreatic passage now as we headed through Wormcast Passage to Deep Water.

We got to Deep Water and instantly before the water was even over my feet I was sinking in the silt, like quick sand almost, and I must admit it unsettled me a little as we were just about to wade into Deep Water. I went in first, with the floor slowly sinking away from under me, plumes of silt turning the black opaque water brown. I gingerly put one foot in front of the other and felt my way through as Gareth started to follow me. Gareth called out to say he wasn’t to sure about carrying on, we’d both spotted the undercut on the sidewalls and had images of Porth Yr Ogof’s resurgence. I spotted the water lapping at a bank in the middle of the passage, so called to Gareth to say it levels out. We pushed on through, only reaching waist deep, but immediately were confronted with another section that appeared the same. We stuck to the left hand side, a skinny, sloping, soft silt bank that slowly disappeared into the black opaque water, the silt wasn’t even visible. Once again Gareth said he wasn’t sure if he was comfortable with carrying on, but I said I’d push forward just to see how it felt underfoot. I got to just above my belt deep, the bank almost completely disappearing in towards the left wall, but continuing downwards, while it seemed to constantly be eroding from the silt dispersing under my feet, all added up to me backing out and agreeing we’re better off heading back the way we came. At the next club meet we’ll ask for advice and go from there.

The way back went absolutely fine. We stopped at North West Junction for something to eat, and I got quite cold while we stopped, but quickly started warming up again on the return journey. We got out at roughly 4pm to the sun just about to set, and as we were walking back we bumped into Paul, also from BCC on his way back to Eglwys Faen to retrieve his kids’ trainers. We got changed, had a cuppa and a pot noodle, then headed home after another great day in the great indoors.

Agen Allwedd – Inner Circle, Saturday 20th November 2021

Dai MacDonald, Gareth Farr, Dave Gledhill

By Dai MacDonald

Photos Dave Gledhill

We met outside Whitewalls for roughly 9am. It was mine and Gareth’s first trip to the Inner Circle, and our first with Trigger. As we pulled up there was two Shetland pony’s trying to scrounge snacks from anybody that was willing to give up their lunch. We got chatting to another couple of cavers who were off into Aggy as well.

We made it into Aggy for about 10:30, and made good time through the entrance series to Barons Chamber. We all emerged from the First Boulder Choke hot and sweaty, so we stopped for a drink and a quick look at the survey. We carried on along the main passage until we met the streamway junction on the right, and made our way to the 2nd Boulder Choke. We had cooled down a lot by this point and we were making good progress. The traverse was really slick, so we all kept a firm grip of the hand rope. Next we were onto the two short climbs, the first drop down was pretty easy, about 2m, and the second was more of a swing around a corner. After the North West Junction it was onto Turkey Streamway and to Turkey Pool for a good soaking, no surprise it was cold! We were fine though, we still had ground to cover, so we kept moving. The trip was faultless through Hawkins Horror, Sand Caverns and into Selenite Needle Passage. Trigger mentioned that it’s Selenite Needle Passage that left him wandering up and down Sand Caverns before, so I think the entrance is firmly printed in his head now. Once we’d gotten into the Inner Circle Trigger headed off on his own just to double check the route, and Gareth and I used the chance to have a quick drink and snack before Trigger got back, and when he did he was still unsure if we were in the right place, so we headed off together, and it turned out we were in the right place. We followed the Inner Circle anti-clockwise until we got to Swiss Passage, where we stopped for a few photos, then onto the Dome of St. Paul’s. Once back around to the beginning of the Inner Circle, we stopped for some snacks and a drink before heading off again. I felt a little chilly as we started walking again, but soon warmed up.

All in all the trip went really well in and out. We met the other cavers, that we’d spoken to in the morning outside whitewalls, just after coming back through Hawkins Horror, some cheerier than others. We got out of the cave for roughly 1630, so a great 6 hour trip.

This trip was really good caving, with no huge amounts of crawling or squeezing, mainly a lot of wide open passages, and although it’s not the most decorated cave, there’s still more than enough to keep you stopping for a look every so often. As well as actual calcite and selenite formations, the scalloping throughout this trip is absolutely gorgeous and not to be forgotten!

Agen Allwedd, Thursday 25th January 2018

A joint trip with Bristol and District Caving Club

Thomas Williams, Huw Jones, Dave, Nigel and Tich (BDCC), Jennie (CSS)

An evening trip along Main Passage with Bristol and District C C and Jennie from Chelsea S S. We met up at Whitewalls and it was nice to get changed inside as it was very, very cold! It was Nigel’s first trip in Aggy and Tich’s first caving trip of any kind as he normally sticks to exploring mines!

We had a steady trip in through the entrance series, where there were lots and lots of bats. After a break in Baron’s Chamber for photos, we carried on along Main Passage, where Jennie and Dave checked out a small side passage on the left. We split up here and Nigel, Tich and myself carried on along the impressive passage, admiring the mudbanks and selenite crystals. We passed the entrances to Southern Stream Passage and Trident Passage and carried on to the Music Room. There were more bats, all along the passage. Returning, we met the others at the Southern Stream junction and all started out as a group. Further along, another small side passage was spotted and this was checked out by Jennie and Tom, while the rest of us waited in the Main Passage. When they returned a short time later we carried on out, where it was now even colder!

We were all very grateful to Jennie for the hot tea back at Whitewalls and didn’t say no when she offered around some Tennessee Honey (of the Jack Daniel’s variety!)

It was a great trip and it’s always nice to cave with people from other clubs. Many thanks go to Jennie for her hospitality! Hopefully there’ll be more joint trips to come.

In Whitewalls before the trip

In Whitewalls before the trip

Evening Trip to Agen Allwedd Music Hall 02/01/2018

Thomas Williams
David Gledhill
Richard Gledhill

Trip report by Dave Gledhill

Fresh year and with fresh weight gained from turkey, beer and other festive goodies we decided a short trip in Aggy was in order to burn off a few calories on the walk to and from the cave itself. Plus Tom had a brand new yellow suit from St Nick’s sack to get dirty.

It was good to be back in Aggy after mine and Tom’s trip back in October when we did the Classic Inner circle trip. But this trip was one I’d wanted to do since 1998 which was the last time I had done it as a young gobby teenager refusing to get in the entrance when Richard had taken me for my first caving trip. Eventually he coaxed me in and the rest is history I suppose.

Storm Eleanor was looming as we met at 3pm so a nice coffee and chat was enjoyed first in Richards van before we braved the elements to get kitted up. Heading off along the tram road, it was clear that being underground was going to be a welcome relief from the weather.

Sliding through the gate and into the entrance series we went. Conversation was flowing as was the stream! The water levels were certainly up as were the bat roosts. There was hundreds of them so we carefully picked our way through the series and poor Tom got a family lesson from us both for which I’m sure he’s thankful…..

We slid and crawled our way through the first choke and emerged into Baron’s chamber. Being a nice relaxed evening trip we stopped here for 10 minutes and discussed renewable energy (you can’t beat caving chat!)

Heading off down Main Passage we could hear Main Stream passage thundering away in the distance as we passed the junction for it on the right, we headed off up to the left and entered Main Passage proper. This is the one part of the cave I always remembered from when I was a kid. The hard glacial deposited mud with its perfect cracks, I would have loved to been the first to stomp down there when it was pristine. More bats were found but hanging in some strange places, like very close to the floor on boulders? Scared of the higher roosts maybe.

Reaching Music Hall we admired the newer music stand which had been dragged in a few years ago and headed off to the Cliffs Of Dover to have poke around.

A few pictures were taken, a few drinks had, so we decided to head off and make our way back out stopping regularly to savour the Main Passage and for Tom to have a poke around in Southern Stream Passage. Not tonight Tom but next trip maybe 😉

We exited the cave to heavy heavy rain but I suppose that’s the kit cleaned down ready for the next trip!

Tom in Barons chamber

Tom in Barons chamber

Richard emerging from 1st Boulder Choke

Richard emerging from 1st Boulder Choke


The Gledhills pretending to be able to read music

The Gledhills pretending to be able to read music

Richard and Tom in Main Passage

Richard and Tom in Main Passage

High Vis Tom sliding into the 1st choke on exit

High Viz Tom sliding into the 1st choke on exit


Agen Allwedd, Inner Circle – Sunday 8th May 2016 by Huw Jones

A great trip with Thomas Williams today – the Inner Circle in Agen Allwedd. It was nice to stretch the legs! We got underground at 10.20 and made our way through the Entrance Series, along the Main Passage for a bit and then down the Main Streamway to North West Junction. I’d taken a rope for the climb down from Keyhole Chamber but we found all the climbs around the Second Choke and Keyhole Chamber already had ropes on them so I left our rope there and carried on with a lighter bag! From Northwest Junction we turned up the finely decorated Turkey Streamway. After a refuelling stop near Turkey Junction, it was on to Turkey Pool. I managed to traverse across, not getting wet above the knees but Tom succumbed to what he said was the inevitable and slipped in up to his chest! A little after this we turned right through Hawkin’s Horror into Sand Caverns and soon turned right again into Selenite Needle Passage, which is festooned with crystals. This starts off as a crawl but after a bit turns into a lovely walking passage, with an easy-going flat mud floor.

At the end of Selenite Needle we reached a junction at the start of the Inner Circle proper. Left was our way on and straight on was were we would be returning from, to complete the Circle. We’d expected to take 6 hours to do the whole trip but a look at the watch showed we’d taken 3 hours just to reach this point and we hadn’t even started on the Inner Circle yet! We’d obviously been taking it a bit too easy so far! We picked up the pace and completed the Inner Circle in 45mins, which included going off to see the Swiss Village and a Mocha stop – yes really, Tom had brought a flask! There’s some truly huge passage up this way (plus some crawls just to even things out) and the Dome of St.Pauls has a very impressive ceiling.

The trip out went smoothly apart from me falling into Turkey Pool this time! We exited, to fabulous weather, bang on 5 o’clock after 6 hours 40 mins underground. Taking a tip from Huw Durban, I took a good supply of home prepared isotonic drink with me, which is very easy to make. I’m sure it made a difference, as I didn’t feel any real fatigue until about 5 mins from the entrance! A great trip – thanks Tom.

Sorry there’s no photos but neither of us took a camera.

Agen Allwedd, Sunday 15th September 2013 by Huw Jones

Kate Stephens, Huw Durban, Taylor Durban, Huw Jones

Photos – Huw Jones and Fraser Stephens

A pleasant trip along Main Passage, checking out the interesting little bits going off at the end. Places checked were the North Wing terminal choke, an unnamed side passage (on two levels, both with digs) and the nicely sculptured stream passage of Ace of Spades inlet. The starts of Aven Series and Africa Passage were also located. It was Taylor’s first trip in Aggy, Kate’s first trip since giving birth and my first proper caving trip for many years! Apparently it rained lots when we were underground but we missed it completely as it was fine and dry again by the time we came out.

Time In – 11:10am    Time Out – 4:50pm     Duration – 5hrs 40mins (A bit more than the 3-4 hours I was hoping for on my first trip back!)

On the walk to the entrance, brooding clouds threaten rain Photo - Fraser Stephens

On the walk to the entrance, brooding clouds threaten rain
Photo – Fraser Stephens


The team is accompanied along the tram road by the BCC Extreme Off-Road Papoose and Balance Bike Support Crew Photo - Huw Jones

The team is accompanied along the tram road by the BCC Extreme Off-Road Papoose and Balance Bike Support Crew
Photo – Huw Jones


Group shot in the Music Hall - L to R : Kate, Taylor, Huw D and Huw J (Huw J helmetless as lamp being used to light up boulders in background) Photo - Huw Jones

Group shot in the Music Hall – L to R : Kate, Taylor, Huw D and Huw J
(Huw J helmetless as lamp being used to light up boulders in background)
Photo – Huw Jones


Huw and Taylor Durban pause in the Entrance Series Photo - Huw Jones

Huw and Taylor Durban pause in the Entrance Series
Photo – Huw Jones

A short video taken during the trip.