In case DTT does not make it out today here is what occurred in
Draenen at the weekend.
Jon Cooper .
After a spot of holiday caving in the Picos, it was time to get back to the real stuff, pushing nasty grovelly leads in South Wales. Me and Gavin had planned an assault on Yellow van, whilst Rob Garrett was desperate to cave anywhere. Gavin's car was unco-operative so me and Rob formulated a less ambitious plan of furtling about around Hall of the One and the start of Luck of the Draw. Only problem, no key, which was solved by Huw Jones kind offer of dropping in on the Lamb and Fox car-park on his way to Daren. Huw brought a pal (Sue) and they wisely changed their plans to come with us for a tourist trip into Dogleg.
The trip in was excellent, with a running commentary on how each section was found and in no time we were at the Hall of the One. We bade farewell and good luck to Huw and headed into furtling site No.1, which was a passage off the Hall of the One just to the left (South) of Nicola's Grotto Passage. This had been looked at by Kev and some pals from Bracknell, but they had neither surveyed it, or pushed all the leads to their conclusions. In particular somewhere in there was a sandy/muddy dig with a view through to a good-looking continuation. The place turned out to be a 3d maze whose most numerous feature was sandy/muddy digs with views to passage beyond. We set about a number these. The digging was easy and most things were rapidly turned into interesting squeezes in next to no time. Hopes were highest when a fifteen foot committing thrutch in a rift popped out over a 2m climb down with ways on in all directions. We leapt down the rift, turned the first corner and tripped over my prussik bag, which I'd left in the previous limit of exploration. Arse.
Eventually Kev's promising dig was located at the end of a short crawling section. The dig was a slightly more than body sized tube partially filled with a crust of mud over pebbles the consistency of catlitter, though without the cat-turds. Despite the ease of digging, we forced our way through as soon as it was barely passable, to find a small chamber with a dig upwards and a short squeeze to a larger chamber. This would have looked really good, if it were not for the scuff marks on the far side of the squeeze which were suggestive of not entirely virgin territory. Rob was through first and tried to convince me that the numerous foot prints were all his own. The debate was sealed by the permanent survey station, left by Nathaniel Mumford, Fleur Loveridge and Jonathan Cooper when they found Top Hole chamber off the Dogleg Complex.
To show we were not too perturbed by this blow to our enthusiasm, we pushed a couple of leads that had been left in the chamber to no way on type conclusions, and surveyed back through Catlitter Crawl. This felt like a mistake as it was a bit tight but it was negotiated and surveyed back to the cairn at the start of Nicola's Grotto. (About 100m, with 50m or so of unsurveyed 3d maze for any keenies). This left time for a quick tourist trip to Nicola's Grotto itself (Perfection in Miniature) and a swift exit was made to get to the pub (Two and a half hours from camp!!). Met up with Huw again at the Lamb and Fox where we swapped holiday snaps and reminisced about expedition. He'd also met some Shepton cavers who have started a dig from the crawl that ends in Circus Maximus and have made about 15m of progress, though not sure where to.
Rob has been converted to the Cult of Draenen, and would like to point out that his house in Malvern is not a huge distance off the road from Oxford to South Wales, so is uniquely well placed for trips in that direction in exchange for cups of tea/somewhere to stay on the way there/back. JC
; Catlitter Crawl ; Off Hall of One between Nics.Grot.Pass and Luck of Draw ; First entered by Kev Welsh and BracknellCC ; Connected with Top Hole (Dogleg Complex) 30.8.97 Jonathan Cooper, Rob Garrett ; Surveyed From Top Hole to Hall of One JC (Book), RG (Instr) ; Grade 3 (with estimated clino readings) plus some Grade 1 ; Survey out of cave *equate catlitter.0 tophole.1 *equate catlitter.9 nicgrotto.1 *begin catlitter 0 1 7.35 12 0; 0=PSS in Top Hole Chamber (Tophole.1) 2 1 1.75 156 -3 2 2a 3 256 45; Gr.1 Squeeze into roof. No way on. 2 3 6.43 2 0; Catlitter Crawl (Squeeze) 4 3 2.57 274 -4 4 5 9.42 125 0; 5=PSS 5 5a 2 160 0;Gr.1. (Squeeze up into Unsurveyed Chamber) 5 6 4.31 13 2 6 6a 5 150 0; Gr.1 (Low route to Unsurveyed Chamber) 6 6b 5 330 5; Gr.1 (Crawl to mud filled rift) 6 7 7.41 35 5 7 7a 5 198 5; Gr.1 7a 7b 4 150 10; Gr.1 (High route to Unsurveyed Chamber) 7 8 16.13 35 10 9 8 7.52 193 -3; 9=PSS at start of NGP (nicgrotto.1) *end catlitter