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DAREN CILAU

The short extension found at the end of Frag Street on the 9 day camp looked so promising that at Easter Clive Gardener, Peter Bolt and myself went back to push it.  Henry Bennett came in too but 300ft in through the entrance crawl the mournful cry "Mark….I've just shat in my furry suit!" was followed by a hasty exit.

After a few hours of digging through a shattered, draughting bed we'd gained about 30ft and things looked long term and fairly hopeless.  We persevered however and a couple of hours later we were rewarded by a small, open passage ahead.  This led up a sloping crawl to the base of an aven.  40ft up this we gained access to a tight high rift with a good draught which was heading east into the blank area between Daren and Craig a Ffynnon.

We were held up about 100ft further on with no obvious way ahead.  Eventually I found a tight rift ending in a formidable squeeze which was finally passed by a committed Clive pushing with his feet against my nose (well it comes in useful sometimes!).  The way on was open in big rift passage and we stormed past a couple of boulder constrictions and up a tight version of the Cuthbert’s entrance rift. The way on continued large but progress was made difficult by the large number of boulder chokes, several of which we had to dig through.

Finally, after a total of 1200ft we ended up in a large collapse chamber with the way on blocked by fallen roof crud (Rock Steady geological phenomenon found extensively in the lower reaches of Daren along with 'Choked Bastards', 'Staled up Herberts', 'Hanging Laxatives' and 'Crystal Crinkly Bits').  The passage heads parallel with the Kings Road and lines up with Half Mile passage.  The draught would suggest a separate entrance in the Clydach Gorge.  The floor deposits are of a thick grey mud which I haven't seen elsewhere in the cave.

Two weeks later we returned in force to push the end of the chamber and after several hours of hard work we gave up, the draught emitting from a tight crack in the floor.  The way on would appear to be in passage buried below the chamber.

The place lives up to its new name of Remote Chamber and a trip from the Daren entrance to here and out again without doubt is the most strenuous in the country.

After several weeks layoff we returned to the Hard Rock Cafe on July 3-5, banging in Red River passage (Clive's project), and digging the formidable Agen Allwedd Passage chokes where the spoil heap has now gone up to an estimated 400-500 tons.  Clive and I only managed to remove a trifling 2-3 tons in 2 hours.  The rest of the trip was used to make a photographic record of lower Daren on a 2 1/4" Hasselblad.

An uneventful exit from the cave was followed some hours later by the removal of my appendix – food for thought if it had gone while we were still down the cave!

Gonzo.

Hunter's Hole

J’Rat et al have put a lot of work and chemical persuasion into Sanctimonious Passage in Hunters Hole recently.  They made a breakthrough which leads to a static sump.  Apparently the air was bad due to carbon dioxide and bang fumes and Tony nearly met his end.  Steve Milner went down on 8th Aug to dive the sump but could not get through the squeeze. Tony emptied the bottle near the sump (now dried up) to try and clear the fumes.

Austria

Bob Cork has returned after the BEC's first week in Austria.  They have rigged Wiesalmschacht up to last years limit and ran out of rope.  More rope has now reached the team and so they should be well into new ground by now.  Hirlatzhohle has been extended and a connection with it now has a potential depth of 1200m.

Bob says that they also rigged Orkan Hohle as far as the 10th pitch and that its looking good with bigger size passages than usual for Austria and a potential of 1300m.  A full report in the next BB.

He also said that it took a while to patch up relations the Austrians particularly due to the graffiti and rubbish including carbide everywhere which was left by the last people out last year

Goatchurch

Andy Sparrow and other BEC members have pushed the 'Final' chamber beyond the "Drainpipe" and have entered a new chamber.  They decided to dig here as they followed the draught all the way to this point from near the entrance.  As Andy reported in the log, "After an hours work the roof fell out of the dig and onto Sparrow's head - he retreated bloodily and left Tom to squeeze up into the echoing void above - results as follows:-

 

New chamber is quite pretty and has two obvious leads/digs - not bad for six hours digging!  (AND OUT IN TIME FOR THE PUB!)

Ogof Capel

Of interest to the Daren & Aggy - watchers - welsh cavers have pushed Ogof Capel towards Perseverance Passage.

Agen Allwedd

Sump 4 has been passed by Ian Roland to a short large passage ending in a boulder choke.