by Jane Bradbury
Always on the lookout for caves new to CCCC club members, I had managed to secure a guide for Dan Yr Ogof (DYO), Robin Weare (Hades). With 8 members potentially wanting to do the cave, we needed another guide. So, after asking round in the hut, we discovered that Brendan Marris was happy to take a group in although there were some raised eyebrows when our two guides discovered that none of us had a wet suit. Unfortunately, after organizing everything, I was not feeling up to the DYO lakes so decided to go for a walk with Mark Manning instead.
The caving party, meanwhile, went into mega faff mode. First of all, one member found he had no wellies (Mike had a spare pair). Then the same member found he had forgotten his BCA card (Robin accepted my word that he was insured). Finally, when the team reached the cave, two members (the wellie-free member and Mike) found they had left their battery packs at the SWCC hut. So, it was midday before the two teams entered the cave.
Mark and I weren’t underway much earlier, maybe 11 am. We walked from the hut down through the woods to DYO and then up the ridge to Fan Hir and Fan Brycheiniog.What had looked like a rather dismal day turned into a lovely day as we hit the ridge. The cloud began to blow off, lingering at the sharp edge of the ridge and filling the valley as we gained height. By the time we were at the summit, we could see for miles. From here, the slightly lower point of Bannau Sir Gaer beckoned so we dropped down to the col before climbing back up. From here we struck out SW down the shoulder of the hill, heading for the river flowing from the col we had crossed. This was rough, tussocky, pathless ground but eventually, we hit the track heading back to DYO through fantastic limestone scenery, pockmarked with shakeholes, some full of water. After what seemed a long while, we started to descend towards DYO along an old mining track and then it was just the walk back through the woods. A mere 21.6 km but I am not sure if Mark will be coming on another Jane walk. He spent a long while sitting on the wall at the SWCC hut with his head in his hands!
So what about the cavers? Team 1 (Brendan, Rob Jones, Sam Rivers) crossed lakes 1 to 4 and then spent their time poking about in DYO 1. Team 2 (Robin, Mike Clark, Reynard Speiss, Bill Buxton and Rob Wake) carried on through Wigmore Hall and Long Crawl into DYO 2. Here, they visited Flabbergasm Oxbow and Flabbergasm Chamber, Crystal Pool, Grand Chamber, Monk Hall and Cloud Chamber (fantastic, says Mike) before reaching Green Canal where they turned round. On the way back, they also had a poke into some of the side passages in DYO 1. Team 1 managed to exit the cave before locking-up time but team 2 were a little bemused to discover they were locked in. Unfortunately, Robin did not have the necessary key to get out of the new cavers exit! Luckily, he did know where the old cavers exit was so eventually everyone piled out among the plastic crocs and dinosaurs near the river. A bizarre end to a fantastic trip.
For a fuller report on the DYO trip, see http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php/topic,8835.0.html