The view from Whitewalls (the CSS caving club hut) was looking particularly nice on Sunday morning… but we were heading underground anyway.
We decided to explore a little more of Daren Cilau, having only been on the through-trip route previously. Our first intention was to reach ‘Where the sun don’t shine’, which was perhaps a little ambitious, but we were happy to head in that direction and turn back early if necessary. Halfway through the Daren entrance crawl however, Brendan decided to turn around. He’d done no less than 4 caves the day before and was feeling rather tired. So, Richard and I continued with survey in hand and with the revised objective of reaching the Hard Rock Cafe. We made it through the entrance crawl, through Jigsaw Passage and into the Big Chamber Nowhere Near the Entrance and then into Valentine’s Chamber. From here we descended into White Passage and then climbed the 20 m fixed ladder that takes you back up into the roof. After a few downward rope climbs and more flattish caving, we arrived at the Time Machine, which is the largest void of passage in the UK. It was wide, tall and very long. We continued through and eventually got to the turn-off for the Bonsai Streamway, the walls of which are covered with helictites and crystals. This went on for quite a while, but eventually arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe. Here, Richard and I ate our well-deserved pork pies, that had been crushed to a pulp by the breast of a caver and warmed to body temperature for at least 4 hours. We also drank our ribena, which was slowly permeating the cardboard of the drinks container from the inside! The Daren entrance crawl has this affect on any food items carried in your suit.
We didn’t stay long before we turned back to head out. The way out seemed to fly by and soon enough we were at the Big Chamber Nowhere Near the Entrance. I’ll let Richard pick up the story from here….