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October Trip to O.F.D.3

By Martin Webster

Early on Saturday October 12th 1968, Dave Irwin, Dave Yendle, Dave Turner, Bob Craig (SMCC) and myself set out for South Wales with the intention of finding our way to the O.F.D. streamway.  After 2½ hours of driving through torrential rain, and getting lost in Mid-Wales, we arrived at the S.W.C.C. cottage.  At this point “Wig” and Bob Craig decided to fester for the day because, so they thought, the chances of getting into the streamway would be pretty remote due to the heavy rain.  So, after a fruitless half-hour of trying to change their minds, the rest of us changed and staggered off up the hill to the O.F.D. top entrance.  Two of us had been down before but the way to the ‘3’ streamway had not been visited, so armed with only a rather lengthy piece of rope, and a lot of hope, we strode forth into the abyss!

After about 20 minutes we entered passages which were unknown to us.  Large corridors stretched away in all directions, and short drops and climbs made the caving quite interesting.  Some way ahead we could hear voices, and suddenly a hairy apparition appeared before us.  Apparently he too was looking for the ‘3’ streamway.  When we mentioned we had removed our rope from a rather difficult climb, at what is known as ‘The Chasm’ (we had pulled the rope down after us) but thought we could climb back up, he looked rather worried and asked who were we expecting to come and rescue us.  With this he rushed off and announced to the rest of his party that a group of ‘weegies’ had arrived!  Our thoughts can be imagined, when, 20 minutes later the same apparition re-appeared and announced that he had crippled himself against a rock!

After what seemed an age, it became obvious that the other party didn’t know the way either, so we went up one of the wide side passages that we had seen.  The way we had gone seemed very promising and after a short while came across a S.W.C.C. party who cheerfully stated we were on the right track, but only half-way there.  With renewed spirit we hurried on; up climbs; down climbs, through boulder piles.  One of the main obstacles was a vast rift, darkness below and darkness above, and in our case, three quaking cavers trying to traverse along the middle.

The ‘3’ streamway could be heard a long time before reaching it, so it was no surprise when we reached our goal.  It took 2½ hours for the return trip and we emerged from the cave after a serious, but very enjoyable 7 hour trip.