Trip: Ogof Ap Robert
Cavers: Dai Macdonald, Gareth Farr.
Written by: Gareth Farr.
A caving trip had been planned earlier in the week for us to go on Sunday, every Sunday being our caving day and Ogof Ap Robert was our choice of cave for this week.
Sunday morning came around quickly enough, we were running a bit late as I had slept in, but eventually just after midday we got to Trefil Village. We parked up by the quarry gate and proceeded to get changed into our gear, while getting changed we were approached by a man who was curious as to where we were going today, he said he was keen to have a go at caving so we advised him to contact BCC and after he and Dai had exchanged details we left him to carry on with his day and made our way to the cave.
Just over an hour later and after looking at some interesting shakeholes along the way we arrived at the swallet in which Ogof Ap Robert is located. The swallet is situated up on the moorland between the disused Trefil quarry and Trefil village and proved to be quite a walk to get to, but we were here and eager to get in.
The entrance used is located just up on the right hand side of the cliff face, we donned our helmets and made our way in. As soon as we were in the cave it became apparent that the cave passages go down quite steeply, and quickly, with several small climbs down some boulders and boulder fill we reached the first boulder choke. After coming out of the choke we made our way down a few more small climbs to reach the second choke, at the end of the choke there’s a climb which begins with an awkward little manoeuvre through a small hole in the righthand side of the passage wall and leads down into another rift. We had brought rope and hangers with us as there is a hanger in place at the top of the climb to secure a hand line to to help you down and back up, but a hand line was already in place and after checking to see if it was safe to use we made our way feet first through the small hole and down into the rift below. Shortly after we then came to the third choke and the fourth choke, the fourth choke contains a scaffolded shaft that goes down and comes out pretty much at the beginning of Toad Hall, which is the biggest chamber in the cave.
Just before you enter Toad Hall, there’s an Aven that we climbed up which leads you out onto a boulder balcony that overlooks the big chamber, after taking a minute to take in the view we moved on by taking the passage to the right of the balcony, this took us over a small traverse and onto a climb down through a hole and the end of the small passage, after a couple of more small crawls we emerged back into Toad Hall.
We took a short stop for a drink and change of batteries then entered a hole in the floor which is found just to the left around some boulders as you enter Toad Hall. The hole took us under the boulder floor of Toad Hall, we were pre-warned by Huw Jones of BCC that the boulders are known to move under there and if we do go through there then we were to proceed with caution! I took a quick look and decided that it looked ok to move on, after a short careful crawl under the floor we encountered a small squeeze which I tried to go down, but couldn’t get through, then after a few seconds it dawned on me that the way through the squeeze was only a few inches to the left of where I’d first tried squeezing through, eventually we made it through and into a nice little passage which we followed until we reached Burma Road.
As we made our way along Burma Road we quickly noticed how different this part of the cave was compared to what we’ve just gone through, with all the sediment banks and muddy floors it was a lot different. The mud, as with any cave that has mud in it, did provide a little bit of entertainment, with the slips, wellies getting stuck and just generally getting muddy! We made our way along this tidy sized, muddy passage until we came to a few muddy crawls and a squeeze, shortly after which we came to the end of Burma Road, we had a bit of a chuckle at ourselves covered in mud, then decided to call it a day and made our way back out.
As we had plenty of time left on our call-out we decided that on our way back along Burma Road we’d have a look in the ‘land of Arawn’, this was also a muddy passage which we were able to stoop along for a short while until we reached a few muddy crawls, at the end of the crawls we came to an Aven which is the end of the passage, at which point we turned back around and got ourselves even more muddy crawling back out.
On our way out we had a short stop in Toad Hall to take some videos, with the videos finished we made the rest of the way out. As we left Toad Hall and entered the fourth choke the draft from the entrance was very strong, which surprised me as we didn’t notice it on the way in. While coming back out we again found ourselves amazed at how steeply and quickly this cave ascends/descends.
After a short while we emerged from the cave to the usual smells of life above ground, we stopped for a quick drink then made our way back down off the mountain, while stopping to take a look at the shakeholes that were on our path back down.
About an hour after exiting the cave we arrived at the car, got changed and after a quick cuppa and a bite to eat we contentedly made our way back home.
The trip was only a short caving trip, but it was a really good trip into a cave that we’d not been to before. Ogof Ap Robert proved to be quite a sporting cave with the climbs, crawls and squeezes, and as for the mud? Well… that was the icing on the cake for me!!!! Now onto planning the next adventure underground!