Saturday, 22 August 2015

The Draenen Round.....Take 2

I'm not quite sure how, but for Saturday's trip I managed to talk Brendan in to having another crack at the Draenen round trip.

We had attempted this a few weeks before, but amusingly Brendan had been time keeper that day and nearing the half way point declared it 5pm and that we had spent too long route finding and would need to head back to be sure of making our call out time. It wasn't till back and changing at the car that we realised that Brendan's watch has a duel clock function and that we had actually been fine to have continued!

We had reached Haggis Basher Number 1, and I must say I hadn't been too gutted to turn around at this intimidating looking rift.
To calm my nerves I did a little research in to the trip and came across a trip report by Paul Fairman who is of similar chest size. Unfortunately this did little to ease my nerves, saying that the Haggis Basher was snug, but there was worse to come in the last boulder choke before Tea Junction. I put this to the back of my mind and figured I'd worry about it when I got there.

Brendan, Jess and I were travelling to South Wales together so there was no rush and after a leisurely start to the day we made our way in at around 11am. We paused for a quick photo in the phreatic entrance rift before continuing on to sign in at Cairn Junction. At the junction with Wonderbra  Bypass, Brendan and I dumped the camera gear.

We had no problem retracing the route we had picked a few weeks before and made our way to Lamb and Fox Chamber and up through Indiana Highway. Megadrive seemed to take less time than I remembered, but the next section through The Nunnery and Perserverance to Saint David's Hall seemed to take longer. We had no issues going through Squirrel Rifts and were soon dropping down to the tight passage to Haggis Basher Number One. I knew from previous experience that the only way to deal with these things is not to think about it and dived in first. It turned out that this crawl looks more intimidating than it really is and is only cozy at the very end and then not an actual squeeze.
Once all through we thought we'd have a look at an area described as having good formations and it did indeed (will have to take the camera all the way round next time!)
Next was Far Agent Blorenge, this large meandering stream passage is very impressive and again I wished I'd brought the camera all the way. At the connection to the Sewer we wasted a few minutes before Brendan spotted the climb up. The Sewer didn't disappoint and was both cold and very wet. The awkward climb again lived up to it's name. We missed the chimney up to bypass the 2nd sewer and were completely soaked making our way through.
As we made our way on to Tea junction we reached an awkward squeeze through boulders that I instantly recognised from Paul's trip report. There are a couple of boulders that dig in the ribs and no matter how you rotate there just doesn't seem to be a comfortable way through for the larger caver. Although tight and awkward it is only a pinch point and as long as you don't mind a light scrape of the ribs it's all over quickly.
At Tea Junction Jess waited whilst Brendan and I popped up Wonderbra to grab our camera gear.
Here we spent a little time grabbing a few shots before heading out for a good meal in Crickhowell before continuing on to the SWCC.

Jess in the entrance series

Jess at Tea Junction

Present: Brendan Marris, Jess Burkey & Brendan Marris

1 comment:

  1. Glad you got through the choke Mark! I was on that trip with Paul - it's a long way back if you can't make it through.