Report by Steve (Stik) Rider
Cavers: Rob Wallis (EPC), Alan Walker, Chris Moorcroft, Steve (Stik) Rider (EPC), Jase Rider (EPC), Mike Salt (EPC)
This was a great chance for some of the young ones to cave with some of the old ones (metaphorically speaking, of course). An easy trip to OFD (top ent) on a misty Sunday morning in September - organized by Rob Wallis and supported by Al Walker and Chris Moorecroft - was an ideal opportunity for Jase Rider, Steve Rider and Mike Salt to see some very big passages - unlike the usual stuff we get in the Peak District.
After marveling at the SWCC operations we set off for the top entrance. Rob and Al did mutter something on the way up about it being a little difficult to find the way on from Big Chamber Near The Entrance, but it took 40 mins, some paperwork and the re-retracing of steps before we eventually arrived in the tremendous Gnome Passage. From there we took the ‘short cut’ before finding the Crossroads and the start of Maypole inlet.
Given the local weather forecast an up stream trip was opted for, so when we had completed the decent into the main drain we turned left. The water was indeed high and it demanded some effort to remain upright in the stream way at times. The plan was to get up to the main inlet waterfall, but after much ado - including the miscalculation of the depth of a pool which Mike quite hilariously covered himself in, we turned back short of our goal. Again, the weather conditions dictated this as it was decided that the stream level was on the up - and none of us fancied getting trapped beyond the sections which can sump.
Back at Maypole inlet there was more fun and games when Jason decided to leave the safety of the Maypole inlet climb and opted for a leap of death back into the main stream. After checking that there was no damage to the stream way we carried on - with Jase in some pain.
The route back took us past The Trident and The Judge which are spectacular stal formations, before climbing out of the Salubrious passage in to the top of Chasm - yet another huge passage.
Before long we were back at the Big Chamber Near . . . etc and out into the murky afternoon.
Our decision to leave when we did was justified when within minutes of exiting the cave the heavens opened and literally put 6 inches of water on the floor. No doubt this would have made the main drain difficult if not impassable.
After changing and commenting that we could just do with a good old Peak District crawl we departed for coffee at the nearby Dan-y-Ogof show cave café.