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New Cave found on the Blorenge! Ogof "Hammer"

Another new cave has been found on the Blorenge. On Sunday 23rd October, the day after the Draenen Rescue Practice, I'd arranged to go digging with Martin Beale (CSS) and Duncan Butler. A number of factors including lack of sleep, excessive alcohol intake, wet gear and apathy changed plans. Duncan and I needed to retrieve some gear left at Ogof Cwmwl Ddu which we had spent 8 hours in the day before. So a plan was hatched to go to the cave with no vowels and retrieve our gear while Martin would then walk back to Whitewalls.

Arriving at Ogof Cwmwl Ddu, we mooched around for a few minutes while retrieving gear and tiding up the site. Martin asked about other shakeholes on the hill so we strolled over to another nearby depression only 50m away and had a look in the bottom. Initially I'd remembered this as having a flat floor but a couple of minutes hacking nettles with a saw, uncovered a small hole which took a small amount of water. Clearly another hole under here but with the proximity to Ogof Cwmwl Ddu there didn't seem much point looking any further. I mentioned another huge shakehole up near the trig point so we arranged to look at that before Martin went ton his way back to Whitewalls.

On the way up to the huge shakehole, Duncan stopped to have a look at some rocks at the back of a small bluff. He sounded optimistic but it was hardly a shakehole. After literally a minute digging he could see down into a black void about a foot by six inches wide at the surface. Martin, being observant, spotted that there was a piece of scaffolding holding the top wall back. Enthused by this a further couple of minutes digging had uncovered a couple of flat rocks capping a shaft being held up by some kind of metal mallet, Martins "scaffold".

While Duncan returned to the car for his caving gear, Martin and I stuck a tape down the shaft and measured it at 5.8m deep. On Duncan's return we quickly slide down the shaft and exclaimed it opened out. On reaching floor he shouted back that it went off everywhere and that he was off! After much shouting and general enthusing it became clear that he was in a chamber some 20m x 10m (perhaps) with another smaller chamber underneath this accessible by scrabbling down a small climb.

We knew that Ogof Cwmwl Ddu was on the interface between the Millstone Grit and limestone so sent Duncan off in search of limestone. In short he didn't find any. The whole of this cave is located in Millstone Grit and is therefore some kind of Surface Discontinuity. We guestimate that the limestone is something in the region of 40m lower than the lowest point in here, so digging would be pretty challenging. However what this does mean if that there is something happening below the Blorenge....

by Henry Bennett