Dollimore Series, Ogof Draenen

Trip Report, 24/3/97

Gavin Lowe

Charles [Bailey] and I had a trip to Dollimore Series on Saturday. Our main target was the choke at the end of Grotto Passage. Charles suggested digging at the base of the choke, which wouldn't have been my first choice, but turned out to be an excellent piece of choke reading, as this route proved to be fairly open. After a couple of hours digging we were through, emerging through some fairly typical Dollimore Series formations. The passage continued for about 40m to a nice grotto -- nice enough for us to remove boots and gloves before crossing. Unfortunately, the passage choked about 10m beyond. I dug the choke a bit, but it wasn't looking promising -- a lot of fairly open breakdown, calcited together; digging further may be possible, but access and clearing spoil are difficult. There's a lot to be said for taping off the grotto completely, but in any case, don't cross the grotto unless you're ready for a serious dig. We checked a few other leads in the area, but nothing went.

We then went for a wander down Into the Black. Nothing obvious to go at. The end choke looks less promising than I remember it. Has anyone climbed up to the two windows on the right and the one on the left, about 50m past Dogleg?

We then went to Yellow Van, but had an apathy attack at the first choke. However, the passage seems to change character markedly at that choke -- you climb up into a higher passage, and you lose the draught. Do you drop back down to the lower level further on (the survey data suggests not)? My thinking is that YV is a flood overflow, and so it might be worth following the route the water takes (i.e. the bottom!), especially as the overflow route presumably rejoins the main route beyond R'n'R choke [end of Into the Black]. The obvious place to dig would be at the base of the choke, to the left, which seems to be where the draught is coming from.