Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Aggy for the evening 13.10.15

SWCC: Stewart Avey, Paul Tarrant, Claire Vivian.
Guest: Rory Parker.

At SWCC we are definitely keen and flexible at short notice. This was going to be a first Craig a Ffynnon trip for Adrian, but due to work commitments, he couldn't make it. Tabitha also had to drop out due to illness. And a too close encounter between a knee and a concrete floor for Claire, thanks to a pair of skates, also almost jeopardised the trip.
Paul, Stewart and Rory

But we still had a team eager to go caving so with some slight rearranging, and removing bandaging in Claire's case, we had a first trip into Agen Allwedd for new provisional member Stewart Avey and his friend Rory Parker. It was also going to be Rory's first time underground, so excitement was in the air.

It was a slightly chilly evening as we  arrived at Whitewalls. The walk in as it was getting dusk was nice and pretty and took around 25 minutes, plenty of time to warm up those muscles. Given Claire's general inability to open locks on cave gates, Paul was sent ahead with the key.
Paul at the Aggy entrance 

We were soon moving along at a steady pace in the entrance series. Rory was enthralled and not daunted on his first visit to a cave. And Stewart was also incredibly keen. The Aggy entrance series is fairly strenuous from the start with some short traverses, crawls, brief flat-out sections, climbs and then a boulder choke. It provided a good introduction to caving skills for Rory. We saw numerous bats along the way and reached the impressive Main Passage in around 45 minutes. We then continued along this as far as the entrance to Southern Stream Passage. After the smaller proportions of the entrance series, both Stewart and Rory were amazed at the size of Main Passage and thoroughly enjoyed the walk down it.
Rory's first crawl
Stewart testing his traversing skills

Some more traversing
Rory, Stewart and Claire in Main Passage. Photo: Paul Tarrant.
Main Passage is BIG. It's possibly 10m by 10m in a lot of the early sections and over 1200m long. We stopped to look at the selenite crystals in the dried mud floor and occasionally saw bats zoom past overhead. Paul stopped for a few photos to test his flashguns and then it was time to head back out (photos to follow). Stewart is a keen photographer and is eager to go back and take some photos of his own. He would welcome advice on cave photography. Is there anyone out there willing to help out?? Please get in touch!
Admiring Selenite crystals
The impressive Main Passage (Photo: Brendan Marris)

All along Stewart and Rory were highly interested in the cave and it was a pleasure to cave with them (though perhaps Stewart's seemingly unending supply of chocolate bars and sweets, may also have had something to do with that...).

By the time we returned to the entrance Stewart and Rory were feeling sufficiently tired after their trip. They had performed very well and are already looking forward to their next trip.

Rory in a narrow section in the entrance series.
A happy new caver

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