Oct 12 24
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Ogof Draenen was the destination for Sunday’s caving trip. As with all good caving trips we met Brendan, Jess and Mark, all from Dudley Caving Club, in Luigi’s cafe in Abergavenny. After a marvellous breakfast, Richard and I set off to Whitewalls to get the cave key and soon enough we arrived at the carpark near the Lamb and Fox getting changed to go underground.

We set off into the cave and before too long Brendan and I became aware that we were well ahead of the other three. We stopped and I retraced my steps to find Richard bidding farewell to Mark and Jess. Unfortunately Mark had been unable to get through a squeeze in the entrance series. After a quick discussion, we continued into the cave.

Draenen is a really great cave. It’s not particularly threatening in terms of difficulty and it has lots of variation in terms of scenery and terrain. We’ve also had some really great adventures there, both in 2008 and 2010. This time our trip wasn’t quite as long, but at 8hrs 30, we still had a pretty good day out.

Our aim was to reach Coldfinger, named after its amazing shade of blue, in the Wyvern Series. Brendan had visited Wyvern Hall before, so route finding was probably going to be ok until then, but that still left a description that stretched to a couple of pages of A4. We carefully followed the description relatively successfully, being really careful to look around at every junction… particularly those junctions that had six ways on! Eventually we got to a place called Pond Life (at least we think we were there) and found lots of nice helictites and formations that we photographed. Then we continued to try and find our destination. After some time we concluded that the description hadn’t been written by someone who’d actually been there and we resorted to exploring all side passages in the area.

Richard looking at an odd formation in Pond Life (photos courtesy of B. Marris)

In Pond Life (photos courtesy of B. Marris)

Richard …again… in Pond Life (photos courtesy of B. Marris)

Time was running short, Brendan and Richard went off to have one last search of a side passage, and just managed to find the Blue Room before it really was time to head out. So, without pictures of the Blue Room, and without locating the Coldfinger, we made our way out of the cave.

Despite the fact we didn’t reach our destination, the trip was fun and we all had a pretty good day’s exercise. Perhaps we’ll go back sometime… although Richard and Brendan noticed a few more tricky obstacles between the Blue Room and the Coldfinger… so maybe not.

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