Underground in Brecon

We left Brighton on Friday night with our bearings set for the mendips. On arrival we hunkered down as forty mile an hour winds literally rocked us to sleep. In the morning we met Tim and as a three set off for South Wales.

It’s been years since I was in the Brecons, and as I awoke from my slumber in the back seat I could see we were surrounded by rolling green hills and Forrest. We eventually pulled up at the end of a lane at a quarry, a disused train station and a row of cottages. The South Wales Caving Club hut, our home for the next couple of days.

Once we got our bags inside we started to get kitted up and met the fourth member of our caving party Tarn. We all set off down the hill to OFD1.

Tim, who is our caving Yoda, led the way with Tarn, with Jess and I following. The first major difference to the few caves we’d done in the mendips was the size, standing upright and walking is a rarity, yet here there were large sections you could comfortably walk through.

If there was one way to describe this cave it’s sporting. We were underground for the best part of five hours and went as far as the … which has a lovely corner feature with flowstone, pools and crystals.

One unexpected feature of this cave was the cable traverses that were high above the stream below, I’m sure without this via ferrata it would have been brown pants time. Old pegs are still in situ, where I guess rope was used to assist the traverse.

Large parts of the cave ceiling were covered in white crystals which followed and splayed out from the fault lines. It created a map like network across the entire ceiling in places.

There was some great chimney climbing, where friction ruled over finesse, as I said earlier this was a very sporting cave. Our leaders were navigationally challenged a couple of times, which was fine by me as most of the time I had no clue where I was.

There was some great chimney climbing, where friction ruled over finesse, as I said earlier this was a very sporting cave. Our leaders were navigationally challenged a couple of times, which was fine by me as most of the time I had no clue where I was.

One of the final stops was to the stream, where a step was used to gauge the water level and safety of continuing down stream. As it turned out the bad weather that had rocked the can the night before had also brought with it a fair share of rain, and the steam was too high and strong to continue.

We exited the cave with the familiar taste of fresh air near the exit and the blinding daylight as our eyes struggled to adjust after a few hours darkness. I really enjoyed this cave, it seemed to have a bit of everything.

That evening was spent in front of the open fire, enjoying company and eating well (which was needed after all the hard work). We had a relatively early night, ready for tomorrow’s adventures.


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