Monday, 15 January 2018

OFD1 to Cwm Dwr

OFD1 to Cwm Dwr – Sun 10 December
Team: Jo White, Helen Hooper, Andy Jones, Darren Mackenzie, Lee Smith, Ariana Preston
Time: 4 hours

New SWCC provisional member Ariana Preston tells us about her first OFD through-trip. All photos by Darren Mackenzie

Our second day in Wales proved to be even snowier than the first - just a few miles down the road recorded the most snowfall in the UK, almost 12 inches! We were intending on heading to Dan Yr Ogof but high water levels and travel proving tricky meant that we headed back into OFD instead.

The walk down to OFD1 entrance.
The walk down to OFD1 was amazing in the snow - what a beautiful spot the SWCC clubhouse is in - although it was a relief to get out of the freeze and into the relative warmth of underground!
Along the Main Streamway in OFD1

The previous day I had managed to repeatedly dunk and splash my entire self into the pools along Marble Showers like some sort of aquatic masochistic, so I was absolutely loving the addition of the scaffolding poles to shimmy across on this trip. I still managed to get seemingly damper than everyone else!
Trying to avoid a sink in the drink

I soon managed to warm up by posting myself through through the Letterbox, where I deployed a most inelegant manoeuvre akin to some sort of flopping manatee.

After honing this 'ocean creature in distress' inspired technique exiting via the Cwm Dwr crawl the day before, I was able to deploy it once again en route to the divers pitch. In those tight squeezes I began to regret every extra biscuit I have ever stolen from the office kitchen. It was all alright in the end though and I quite enjoyed the climb down the pitch, although I did manage to get fully splashed once again. I must just really like a wet look.
Breathing in and squirming along through the Letterbox
Possibly my favourite thing about exploring OFD was seeing how much the character of the system changes - emerging from twisting crawls to canyon like chambers was thrilling to experience for the first time. It would be great to spend some more time looking at the formations too; I was totally hypnotised by the pulses of shimmering water flowing down Heol Eira.
Heol Eira

Looking down Heol Eira - the Snow Road.

I really enjoyed how different physically it was to explore when compared to the caves in the Dales which I am used to - I loved the sheer length of the stream ways, and climbing as opposed to SRTing. It's tantalising to think that there still so much left that I haven't visited yet - heading back is top of my trip wish list for 2018!

1 comment:

  1. Ariana/Lee,

    I think I met you in Yorkshire last summer? Thanks for sharing your experience! Good to see new members enjoying OFD and posting on the blog!