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Ogof Capel

Having made my first trip into this superb cave with a mate in Sept I decided that it would make a good solo trip. I packed a bit of extra gear in case I had a problem as well as sorting a reliable overdue call out.

There is nowhere to get stuck and it would be pretty hard to fall over so I reckoned it would be extremely likely that I would require any assistance. The choke is pretty well scaffoldded and if it went it would probably be the whole thing so a call out wouldn't be necessary.

I packed my camera, tripod and video to give me something to do down the cave and drove to the car park. Got kitted out and then drove back home to pick up a key component. Fortunately home is only a 15 min drive away in fact there is over 100 miles of cave within a 15 min drive ...Walked down to the cave then went back to the car to get my video camera. With no one else around I needed to be doubly incompetent.

Anyway with my sh*t finally together I clambered up the 3m entrance ladder. A few meters in there is a scaffolded dig through clay and boulders. Pushing all my kit in front of me it took a while to negotiate (but not as long as it must have taken to dig) After a few meters the dig breaks into natural passage again with the stream flowing down from the breakthrough choke down into the old sump2 (the original way in) The choke has some serious I beam steelwork holding everything at bay and curiously there is some polythene sheeting but I am sure it has a fine purpose. After 3 body lengths of awkward scaffolded choke I reach the gate and struggle with the gritty lock.

Eventually I entered the initially stooping wide stream passage. Dodged some straws and discovered my new wellies were leaking...sadly onto the wet sockless foot. A large flowstone formation prompts a short crawl in water. Alternatively you could go over the top but this would take out a number of 1.5m heli straws so I went under. The cave is now doing a vadose canyon thing with straws forcing a bit of a thrutch in the narrow trench.

After a bit of climbing in and out of the trench to negotiate formations the passage becomes a walking not sure of the technical name type with big 1.5m heli stals hanging from the roof. An awesome display of helictites rise from a shelf and in a crack some rather rare blue helictites reside. Selinite crystals encrust the rock giving the place a magical sparkle. Then the stals fade away and you get to the duck. This is fine if you like long cold ducks and as long as you’re good at swearing its easy.... but you will need to curse on the way through. Hands and knees crawling past forests of straws and more awesome helistals and then a short narrow rift leads to a big l shaped chamb4er with big stalls and an awesome 4m heli column. Then we get a bouldery rift with some sand filled side passages and a giant pagoda thing slowly cascading down a wall. After a bit there is a squeeze that I didn't enter as I had no one to kick me free.

The cave is drafting like a bugger and seems to be heading for a large surface shake hole. On the way out I did the duck 3 times trying to film it but kept turning the camera off half way through. My wet sockless foot went totally numb and remained so for some time.

Reckon it’s about time we had a South Wales meet because there is loads of world class cave down here. I can get to Yorkshire in about 4.5 hours in my shitty fiat and now petrol’s gone down so much it may as well be free, I can't think of any good reasons why not...

Trip Date: 1st February 2009
Added: 17th February 2009
Reviewer: Frank Longwill
Hits: 1593
Language: english


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