Depth through thought

OUCC News 4th November 2009

Volume 19, Number 13

DTT volume 19 (2009)

DTT Main Index

OUCC Home Page

Editor: Andrew Morgan

Upcoming trips:

DTT is old enough to drink!

Just a quick note to point out that DTT reached the age of majority on 23rd October this year having started way back in 1991 in the Temple Bar off Cowley Road. I had an idea that, as we had two main groups of cavers building up, we might end up never being able to enjoy the full flood of the caving exploration that those groups had started to do in the UK and which was building apace at the time. So why not have an official organ, on an informal and regular basis, to back up the occasional big reports? It was an idea that couldn't wait to get going and, with Tim's inimitable enthusiasm organising it, it built up with amazing speed. Everyone was enthusiastic to submit their weekly stories of daring-do...and now it's such an amazing experience to be able to look back at those early pages.

I hope that it survives for a long, long time to come!

With kind regards to all,

Joan (OUCC's informal seamstress)

Cave Maps of South Wales

I came across this nice website that shows the locations of the caves in South Wales and has an interactive map of Dan-Yr-Ogof.

3rd Week South Wales Weekend

Andrew Morgan

After most of us had been woken up by the booming laugh of Pete D downstairs (which wasn’t a bad thing!), we assembled for breakfast and went for the ritual of deciding with whom, and where, caving would be done. There was a good turnout for the weekend with a good mix of old lags, caving virgins, and those somewhere in between. We finally decided that two groups would go into OFD Top Entrance, and one group into OFD 1. Chris Densham suggested I should take a group into the delightfully named Ogof Rhyd Sych, but like being picked for football at school, I was the only person left over once all the groups had been sorted. Instead I was going on Chris’ trip with Natasha and Jamie to Pant Mawr Pot, which I was excited about as I hadn’t been there before, and it wasn’t OFD Top Entrance that I have been to many times before! Well, we intended to go to Pant Mawr Pot… if we could find it on the moor Chris warned!

After getting changed at SWCC and looking at the map we headed off up the hill for the walk to the cave. It was pretty misty: would we find the cave, would the hour walk be in vain, and would we find our way off the moor? The mist seemed to keep rapidly lifting, and then rapidly returning fo much of the walk, but Chris seemed to know where we were going. We had a look at the top sink for OFD, as we were passing it. I always find stream sinks fascinating, and spent a while staring at it! As we were near the top of hill the mist seemed to completely clear, and we had really good visibility, and could see mountains a fair way in the distance. Chris spotted where the cave was and we headed over to it. The entrance is quite impressive - a deep shake hole. A life line was rigged down the hole and to the edge of the entrance pitch. At the bottom of the entrance pitch we were in quite a large chamber and it was quite impressive looking up the entrance to daylight, and watching Chris and Jamie descend the ladder. Once we all grouped together we headed on into the cave, and into a fine streamway. After some splashy excitement we found ourselves at the 1st boulder choke, and it took us a few minutes to find the right way through it, and regain the streamway. We climbed up to some side grottos and saw some amazing formations, including some crazy helictites that looped in all directions and were possibly the best I have seen. After continuing along the streamway we met another choke and climbed up into an impressive large passage, then eventually dropped back to the main streamway before reaching the terminal sump. All the foam on the walls made me crave a beer. Mmm, beer. We made good progress out of the cave, probably because we were all thinking about beer, or maybe because we wanted a bit of daylight to find our way off the moor. I found climbing the ladder knackering for the last few metres, although it was only 15 metres. I obviously need more practice!

Once out the cave we derigged and started to make our way back. The light rapidly faded, and the mist got thicker. Our lights were just reflecting off the mist so we could only see about ten metres ahead. Would we get lost in the mist on the moor on Halloween, and get attacked by witches and ghostly hounds? Obviously we didn’t as I am writing this after the weekend. We weren’t quite sure where we were at a few points, but eventually we saw lights that we thought was the SWCC hut at Penwyllt. Unfortunately as we headed down a track we realised it wasn’t, and had to walk up hill for a bit with our legs becoming weary. Eventually we saw the SWCC loom up ahead of us – a very welcome sight. We finally got beers that evening, but had a walk for a while to get them too!

On Sunday there were two groups, due to others unfortunately having to go to the meeting. Lorna took one group on the classic tourist route to the Trident and out via Edward’s Short Cut. Chris Day, Jamie, Andrew and I took a copy of the survey and went into Top Entrance with the aim to get familiar with some of the passages near the entrance, and have a look at the labyrinth. We didn’t get lost in the labyrinth, but I’m sure we discovered some new passages and chambers that weren’t on the survey… We went along some nice passages near the columns, and then headed out.

Thanks to Lorna for organising the weekend, to Chris for leading the Pant Mawr Pot trip, and to everyone else for making it a cracking time.