Ogof Hesp Alyn (
In the last newsletter I was disappointed to see no one had
written up a report on 0.H.A. Moral: If you want something doing, do it
yourself. Consequently I sat down to write it up, as this is the major cave in
While not being a
particularly pleasant cave, a trip does provide a unique, very sporting &
memorable experience. This place provides everything necessary for a days
entertainment; flooding hazard, duck, boulder obstacles, squeezes, slippery
rifts to thrutch up & slide
down all too quickly, a deep canal, and finally a pleasant little series of
pitches. Sounds great, doesn’t it? The only trouble is the system is phreatic
and while being of somewhat unique interest, everything is covered with a
glutinous, thixotropic mud which swallows up ladders & cavers alike, and
makes the whole cave doubly arduous. For the highlight of the trip, try and imagine negotiating a flat out squeeze through a cold liquid 10 inch
deep bath of thin gritty toffee, dragging two ladders & a rope each weighing at least 50 lbs. due to their
accumulated weight of mud. All this tackle was because as usual the fatties had
dumped their tackle when the going got hard. (Before the editor makes any
silly, supercilious comment, I always carry
at least my share of the tackle.) - (Methinks
something annoyed Peter on this Hard Trip. ed.)
The cave starts reasonably enough with an entrance which surpasses Gordon Batty’s best efforts. This one was a manhole cover set in a neatly pointed brick lined shaft situated adjacent to the river Alyn.
Just inside the entrance the
1st. obstacle, a partial duck, has unfortunately been chemically enlarged which
has destroyed an original, aesthetic characteristic, a pity. A scramble over
boulders leads to large phreatic passages, the walls of which are lined with
glutinous mud and the occasional little glass jar, flood tell tale. All these
incidentally, were full!! Apparently the cave floods from the bottom up and
stays flooded for days or even weeks on end.
A flood must have occurred since the last visit as the passage soon blocked and had to be dug out,
mainly by Hugh. After this the going became easier, and two boulder problems
occurred which were laddered to make it easier for subsequent members.
It was with some relief that a small canal was reached, as we were able to lighten ourselves & our tackle by washing off some of the mud. The canal had a particular twist to it, with a choice of a little drop into deep water, or an awkward squeeze just above water level. Neither Frank nor Keith liked this for some reason. Soon a series of slippery exposed traverses led to the top of the first pitch of about 70 feet, which was split into two parts. It was here that various club members went out in order nut to have to carry tackle, presumably as they had been weakened by their efforts so far.
Those of us that descended the 70 foot pitch found a further pitch of 25 feet, followed by another drop of 20 feet laddered from rocking boulder. From this the way on was duwn a mud funnel for which a hand line is essential. The furthest limits of exploration are then reached, which are rather inconc1usive, offering alternative choices of wet mud filled chokes. Personally, a slow exit was made as my light chose to go out, which made the greasy mud traverses particularly tricky and as usual the last people out had to carry all the tackle. As the trip was some months ago I’m not sure exactly who was on it, although I think the party comprised:- F. Croll, K. Lewis, A. Hall & his mate Bob; M. Taylor, H, St.Lawrence, W. Holden & myself.