Depth through thought
OUCC News 28th April 2010
Volume 20, Number 3
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Editor: Andrew Morgan firstname.lastname@example.org
Draenen access (from http://www.wildplaces.co.uk/news.html)
Descent (213) contains a report on access to Ogof Draenen, specifically concerning the entrance dug at Drws Cefn without the landowners' knowledge or permission and placing all access at risk. Here is the update from the Pwll Du CMG:
After a period of uncertainty regarding future access to Ogof Draenen, the PDCMG can now confirm that ongoing access to the cave has been secured. However, the conditions attached to this access are that it is only to be via the original entrance to the cave. Any further attempts to open or otherwise use other entrances to the cave on land owned by Pwll Du Conservation Ltd will result in termination of the current access agreement. We therefore ask all cavers to respect the terms of access.
For info, Hidden Earth this year will at Leek High School, 24-26 September 2010. The website, as ever, is hidden-earth.org.uk
A message from the DCA (27/4/10): Report From: Brendan Sloan (SUSS):24/04/2010.
The boulder choke at the bottom of the fixed ladders in JH, leading through to the boulder piles has seen significant movement. A large area of roof now looks very unstable, and there has been a lot of rock fall into the passage. The scaffold frame looks to have bent and shifted. The floor is now highly unstable, with a constant flow of small rocks with the water, and larger stuff moving if stood on. We cleared the passage below, but there was too much loose stuff for us to tackle today and it is still on the move.
Update 25/04/2010: Nigel Ball and Dave Shearsmith were at Boulder Piles today and witnessed a boulder approximately 0.5 cubic metre fall from the choke while they were below it in the main passage. They had not been through the choke so it must have been dislodged buy the JH stream which flows down through it. BEWARE!
As a precaution it is advised that you hold off from through trips from Peak until it can be sorted. DCA is arranging for a warning notice to be put on JH and a warning should also be at the top of Titan. Please ensure that this information is circulated as widely as possible to club members.
[22/4/2010] Last time I tried to do this trip, it involved wandering for hours in miserable rain through a very dull pine forest, and not finding the cave at all. Chris D suggested it as the Sunday trip for his OMC caving weekend, so after a 2nd breakfast (2nd for me, anyway) out on the picnic tables at the WSG, we made our way over to Penwyllt.
This time I had made up a guide sheet - one side, the necessary bits of the 2.5 inch map, with "how to find it" instructions, the other with the cave description. With that, the careful instructions given by Steve West and, especially, Chris's having been there not too long ago, and the clear sunny weather, I reckoned we had a fighting chance of actually finding the entrance this time.
It is quite a long walk. Up the tram road, past the OFD sinks, to a big green metal container (of what?). leave path (not doing this is where we went wrong last time), up to the ruined wall, follow it down and then up to the next rise. The entrance "can then be seen", well, if you know exactly where it is, and have really good eyesight. It really is right in the middle of lots of bugger all.
By now it was about 1.30, and I had left a 7pm call out (Steve West was staying in Penwyllt overnight, so was OK to extend beyond the usual 5pm). The team showed various levels of unkeenness about climbing a ladder down away from a nice sunny day into a hole in the ground, so it was about 2.30 before we were all down. Time would be short!
What a great cave, though - superb big stream passage; interesting boulder chokes giving moderate but not frustrating amusement... and wonderful formations. Especially fine was the helictite chamber found up a climb of the main passage between first and second boulder chokes. For an open cave, it all felt relatively untouched and new... the walk-in must lower the traffic enough to keep it well preserved.
We got pretty well to the end of the cave, to where it starts to narrow down, by 4 o'clock, which was deemed to be turn-round time. A pleasant ramble back to the entrance followed - like most stream caves, the water and rock scenery was seen to best advantage when going upstream. Not surprisingly, the spur of daylight, warmth and an eventual beer got everyone up the ladder in good order, and we were back at Penwyllt by about 6.20.
An excellent trip, and really good to do such a top-class cave for the very first time in my 31st caving year!