Paul Tarrant, Dan Thorne, Claire Vivian
When the weather has been bad, and the river is bound to be high, where better to go for an evening trip than OFD1? To go along the Escape Route and watch the water from a safe distance was on the agenda tonight.
We met at 7pm and headed in to OFD1. The first indication of high water was the raging river flowing in to the area below the Fault Series. I had not seen this flowing before, let alone have whitewater. The closer we got to the Toast Rack, it was noticeable that the sound of raging water was actually behind us, rather than ahead. Strange. Standing on the edge of Pluto's Bath, things were far quieter than normal. Popping around Pluto's Bath for a quick look, the reason for this became apparent. There was foam everywhere and the river had backed up in to the bypass. There was a mass of black water flowing in to the sump and the water was now moving up the passage towards Pluto's Bath.
Moving on to The Step, the alcove you usually drop down into to measure the depth of the water could not be seen, water was flowing over the top of it. The whole cave seemed to be vibrating with the sheer force of the water.
We crossed Bolt Traverse and entered the RAWL series. There were more small cascades than normal here. But it was when we reached the scramble down towards Low's Passage that the difference was more noticeable. Shortly after passing the climb up to Starlight Chamber we could hear a river thundering away in the distance. There was a raging torrent at the bottom of Low's Chain. It was pure whitewater with waves breaking on the left-hand-side of the passage.