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

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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.

Report by Alan Walker
Cavers: Rob Wallis (EPC), Alan Walker, Chris Moorcroft

A beautiful sunny late September Saturday saw Rob Wallis, Chris Moorcroft and myself Alan Walker speeding down the M50 for a long overdue visit to the caves of South Wales.

Although there had been a serious amount of rain during the week with more forecast for the weekend and we had a permit for Ogof Draenen, a perfectly safe and sensible cave to explore under such circumstances, the lure of the aquatic delights of Little Neath River Cave became the chosen trip for the day, after all there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and we all had wetsuits.

After a quick check to make sure there was actually some air space at the entrance we changed next to the farm whilst the farmers wife made constant excuses to stand around outside and watch.

All my previous trips here have been at Easter when the waters of the river Neath are either frozen, necessitating smashing ones way through icicles into the low river bed entrance or in such high flood that the whole cave is submerged. We were therefore pleasantly surprised to find the water warm and only a little higher than normal, just enough to make it "sporting".

After the low wet entrance crawl, and helmet off duck carefully negotiated to avoid any obstacles of the bloated, rotting, fleecy variety we followed the main downstream passage to the Bridge cave sump and the start of the long canal, a 500 foot low crawl in the stream leading to the massive passages beyond. The river entering here was enormous, much higher than any of us could remember and there was some confusion whether this was in fact the right place. Either way the crawl appeared to be sumped so a retreat to the bypass passage was made and we soon found ourselves romping along the main stream way over some awesome cascades to the down stream sump.

On our way back Chris and I decided to inspect the long crawl from the upstream end, Rob sensibly waited behind to inform next of kin of our demise etc. I reached a point where with helmet off and nose on roof I thought I could see the end, so a very swift return (we were swept along like two corks) was made to collect Rob to complete a most excellent round trip.

On exiting we found the day still glorious so a quick excursion was made into Bridge cave just to complete the perfect day, topped off later with lashings of cake and tea, chips and beer.

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