Monday, 12 August 2013

An Ogof Ffynnon Ddu Trip


I'd only ever done through trips in OFD in the upstream direction, so it would be interesting to see how hard the route-finding for our planned downstream (OFD Top to OFD 1) trip would be today.

Kathryn, Anya, Jess, Serena, Adrian, Olly and I slogged up to the top entrance, half of us poaching, trussed up in neoprene and PVC oversuits. Some highly sweaty caving brought us to the very shallow Salubrious streamway and a certain amount of relief. Soon enough we were at the top of Maypole Inlet. I was last down the climb into inlet, and without a rope it was more slithery than I remembered. The inlet itself wasn't carrying much water, and we followed it down into the main streamway which was also low.

An hour or two of pure unadulterated merriment followed as we splashed down OFD's amazing stream passage, those of us in wetsuits jumping  (and occasionally being pushed into...) the deeper pools. Sooner than we might have liked, we left the streamway and entered the maze of higher level passages that bypass the sumps and lead into the downstream streamway in OFD 1.

The first obstacle here was the Divers Pitch. Sat at the bottom watching the others climb up one by one, I mused that on the surface, I would be terrified about such a climb and it would seem like a foolhardy thing to do. Then it was my turn. In the dim light, with water falling onto me, clad in a restrictive wetsuit, oversuit and wellies, I climbed up as if it was the most natural thing to be doing in the world. The mind works in strange ways sometimes...!

The route through to the OFD 1 streamway was navigated without too many issues, mainly by following the polish. The Letterbox was successfully exited by all - the best technique being to squirm out on your back but head first. We exited from OFD 1 after a very fine 6 hours underground.

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