Monday, 9 January 2012

Back to 'Herberts'

Another dose of misery over the weekend with a return to the bottom of Ogof Gwynt yr Eira ('Herberts' is one of several names used for the site and relates to the nearby Herberts Quarries). Once again it was to carry a cyclinder for Martin Groves who has been making a determined effort to push the sump at the bottom of the cave. Martins wife, Krysia, once again joined in the fun and the three of us gradually descended to the bottom of the cave whilst desperately trying to avoid kicking rocks on top of each other (there is a lot of loose rock in this cave!). The fun factor was increased further by the addition of some large pieces of scrap metal in the form of old car brake discs - Martin had found a use for these as useful line belays in the silty floor of the flooded cave passage!
Martin emerging from the direction of the sump.....

.... with another bag of sand and mud!
Progress in this sump is slow. The body sized passage needs digging out which is done by Martin inserting himself feetfist and then getting into a postion to fill a sandbag, which is then dragged back out of the sump, through an airbell and back to base. The non divers then drag it bag and stash the dirt out of the way. Meanwhile all the diving is in zero visibilty - the helmet lights are completly useless underwater!

The hope has been the sump will soon surface, but alas its not looking promising. So far Martin has managed to push the sump for about 10-12m, but a return to air space is not looking too good at the moment.

So if a non-caver is reading this blog I guess the question is why???!!! The answer is in the desire to explore, to reach new cave. This site offers great potential, but its possition on a geological fault line is hindering that push into the fabled 'Llygad llwchwr' master cave. Llygad Llwchwr is the source of the Llwchwr river and is where the water in this cave goes. Between the two caves is five miles - potentially a massive undiscovered cave system!
At the top of pitch 2 of 'drop the Dead Donkey' piches.

Getting on and off this pitch involves trying not to dislodge too much loose rock.

Other cavers are looking to 'dig' at the bottom of the cave, but seem a bit adverse to SRT (single rope techniques) and have started putting in fixed ladders.

So at least one more dive in the sump remains, but if that doesn't go the question is where next? Anyway it was another great trip with good company - there is something about a good dose of misery!

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