Here is a very incomplete list of some of the trips the Eldon have been up to recently.

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Report by Jase Rider
Cavers: Jase Rider (EPC), Bob Toogood (EPC), Dunka (EPC), Dave Gledhill, Bernie Maddison, Jon Jones (DyO leader), Mike McCombe (DyO leader)

Dunka and myself set off for a wet and windy South Wales on Friday evening and arrived in the remote village of Ystradfellte sometime after 10pm. We were soon joined in the New Inn by Bob, Dave and Bernie who had been caving in Daren Cilau during the afternoon. As Dunka pointed out, this pub won't win “pub of the year”, although it did sell beer so it can't be that bad!

Saturday morning, Dan Yr Ogof show cave. We were greeted by Jon and Mike who are leaders for the system. Whether we would be able to do the trip or not hung in the balance due to the unsettled weather. At the end of the show cave (Bridge Chamber) Jon checked the water levels - they were high - but it was deemed just about okay to do the trip (although the decision was made to do a round trip rather than attempt to get to the far end of the cave which was our original intent).

Water levels were up and the first few lakes were deep much to Dunka’s displeasure (he was carrying a heavy chain we'd been asked to carry to the further reaches of the cave which will be used to construct a new ladder).At Lake 4 we turned off right away from the river. Larger passageway gradually gave way to hands and knees and so on to the beginning of Long Crawl. This is a mixture of hands and knees and flat out crawling in a small round phreatic tube which leads to the head of a pitch with a fixed ladder down in to Gerrard Platten Hall. Beyond Gerrard Platten Hall the cave really starts to get exciting with large phreatic passageway - much of it very well decorated. We soon came to Crystal Pool which we traversed on a fixed line to take a detour up Flabbergasm Oxbow - excellent formations including straw columns.

Retracing our steps back to Crystal Pool we carried on up Grand Canyon and passed the interesting Candle Wax formations (see photo below). After a short bit of easy caving we reached Cloud Chamber (huge collections of long straw stal appear like clouds in the roof of the cavern). A slightly tricky climb then leads to the Green Canal which is long and deep (and cold!). By now I was carrying the chain. I stuck a couple of empty plastic bottles in the tackle bag and tied the whole lot to a conveniently left rubber inner tube to float it through the canal. After the canal we followed Go Slower Passage eventually leading to Bat Chamber which is where we left the ladder chain. From here we retraced our steps, but not quite as far as the Green Canal. From here we turned right and soon the passage fell away into the depths of a large chamber - "The Abyss". The climb down into the chasm is part handline, part ladder (recently installed by Jon and Mike – very nice job). We were now in the lower series of the system and the awkward 'Camels Back' was followed by some fine phreatic tubes, large and clean washed, some with more recent vadosing in the floor. Parts of this section can flood to the roof as fresh foam on the roof testified. After a nice bit of caving we were back at Gerrard Platten Hall, and we carried on out the way we had come in, via Long Crawl and eventually out through the lakes (fortunately they hadn’t got any deeper while we had been in the cave). This had been an excellent trip in an outstanding cave – I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t done this trip yet.

 

After a pint and a chat with Mike and Jon, we went back to Ystradfellte and walked down river to have a look at the impressive entrance to Porth Yr Ogof (see photographs below). We finished the evening by having a few pints in the New Inn (which luckily was a bit more 'happening' than the night before!).

 

Straw columns in Flabbergasm Oxbow

 

Green Canal

 

Jase Rider and candle wax formations in the Grand Canyon.

 

Bob, Dave and Bernie at Porth Yr Ogof.

 

 

 

Porth Yr Ogof entrance chamber.

 

Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC), Simon Hodgson (potential new member), other non-EPC novices


I was running a novice trip anyway on this Saturday and since Simon was new to caving and wanted a novice trip I invited him along. We met at the Woodbine cafe in Hope and had a look at the weather forecast and a chat about water levels. Water levels had dropped from very high levels the week before but heavy showers were forecast for later in the afternoon. With that in mind we decided that the Giants entrance series would be a good choice. This would allow us to monitor water levels in the cave and exit would always be possible if necessary. After getting kitted up at the Giants car park we headed to the cave to find the stream with a good amount of water for the season. We headed in looking at various cave features on the way and soon were down at Garlands Pot. I lowered the team down Garlands and we went for a brief look down the Crabwalk. We turned around at Chert Hall and Simon and the rest of the team came back up Garlands Pot on a ladder. From there we headed back up to Base Camp Chamber and Simon and I went up the upper stream passage to visit the downstream end of Sump 1. After climbing into the roof we traversed in the roof of the upper stream passage to the P-bolts at the end where I lowered Simon back down to Base Camp Chamber. On the way out we made the short detour to visit the upstream end of Sump 1 before exiting.

A good trip. Simon got his trip underground and it was good to see him moving well through the cave. I hope that he will continue his association with the Eldon.

Simon Hodgson on the ladder at Garlands Pot.

Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC) and Phil Baker (Masson Caving Group)

We chose Grange Rigg Pot after reading the description in Mike Cooper's excellent book 'Not for the Faint-Hearted'. However, the weather forecast was for mid-afternoon rain so we had to get a move on. By late morning we were striding up through Trow Gill and up towards the entrance to Bar Pot. The Gaping Gill winch meet was on and we could see a small village of BPC tents scattered around the top of GG. The diagram that Mike provides in his book saw us to the entrance to Grange Rigg without any problems and we got kitted up. Standing at the entrance, where two surface streams join to tumble underground we decided that Grange Rigg was probably a cave where the lower reaches could flood dramatically. With this in mind we wanted to be out by 3 O'Clock and set ourselves a turn-around time accordingly. Two hours in, allow three hours out and we wouldn't get stuck! We dropped into the comfortable sized entrance and followed the stream down to a traverse and the top of the first pitch. This 14m pitch is a clear hang down a fine shaft and lands in the streamway at the bottom. A narrow passage leads down to the head of the second pitch (3m) and a short crawl leads to the third pitch (5m). This is descended in two parts with a ledge halfway down and the top of the pitch is particularly awkward. We spent a lot of time looking for a way down the fourth pitch (11m). It turns out that there are three options for the fourth pitch and we explored all these and more before finally descending the correct one on 8mm Spits. From the bottom of the fourth a low crawl leads to some egg-timer shaped passage. By the time we reached here our two hours were up and we turned around. Everything was fine on the way out and we were greeted by fairly persistent rain on the surface. Shame not to have reached the bottom of this one but plan to return on a drier day. An exchange trip between Grange Rigg Pot and Christmas Pot would be excellent.

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