Andrew “Zeb” Zerbino
Photographs by Barry Burn (Click on image for larger view)
With BCC headquarters situated near the lovely surroundings of Clydach Gorge and The Llangattock escarpment – the obvious choices for beginners trips are Ogof Clogwyn or Ogof Egwlys Faen. However after much debate – Mostly between me and Barry we had decided the give Porth Yr Ogof, Ystradfellte a go.
Today’s new recruits were my friend of 26 years Jenny and her wonderful Fiancé Cheryl. Neither of them was overly fond of the idea of caving but Jenny gave in to my frequent requests and they decided to come along for the ride.
After an extremely late night the night before where we watched Eurovision, drank beer and ate possibly the most amazing tapas board I had ever created – we somehow were up and rearing to go by 8am!
After meeting Barry and Zeb – We began our journey to the Neath valley while we discussed the days trip with our somewhat petrified yet enthusiastic guests and handed them some surveys to show them where we were visiting.
For anyone who has never been to Porth – be warned. You can guarantee the moment the sun is out, the whole of South and Mid Wales descend upon it like seagulls do to a dropped cheese sandwich, parking becomes a game of nerves and then once you finally park you’ll then be scrambling around the car for the £4 in change you need for the meter.
After a quick change in the car park (there are changing facilities available for public use) we were off to explore the depths of Porth Yr Ogof via the main entrance. By this point it was very clear that our previously enthusiastic Jen and Cheryl were having second thoughts but they continued into the cave and began to enjoy themselves and we took a short climb up that led to Upper Stream Passage and then out by one of the other entrances.
Re-entering via the Main Entrance again, we found some relatively squeezey bits near the entrance to the right to clamber through then headed to Upper Stream Passage. We exited the cave at this point then we went back down to the main entrance to take a look at the now somewhat busy White Horse pool. We then headed to The Maze and then slid into The Creek. It was at this point that Barry suggested we get the camera back in action and sent me down the wet underpass to take some photographs.
As we took a walk up the passage to the Great Bedding cave – I found myself some well polished rock and decided to use it as a slide. Sadly my antics resulted in me sliding down too fast and smacking my bottom on a rock just as a group of young cavers on an outward bounds trip came walking around the corner.
After a stooped walk through the Great Bedding Cave – Barry took Jen and Cheryl out while myself and Zeb went to take a look at the resurgence which was choked with trees however Barry has since informed me that more recently, it has gained a sheep.
We concluded our trip by having a walk to The Blue Pool where someone who shall not be named dragged me in, a posh picnic of cheese and olives out of the back of the Land Rover and a beer in the pub down the road.
For me Porth is not on my list of favourites. There are too many visitors and not enough mud and tight spaces for my liking but if you’re a beginner or taking beginners out then jump at the chance as it gives you pretty much everything you need for a introduction trip.
Jen and Cheryl must have enjoyed it – They’ve come back for more!