“We won’t go down Friday night, we’ll get up early and go Saturday morning”. I said to the wife. And that’s how I ended up trogging down the motorway at half past seven in the early morning light, heading for darkest North Wales, Creggan Fechan in particular.
The last time I was down there, was on the occasion of the immortal “Rescue that never was” in 1964, when half the cavers in England searched the holes and pubs around Maeshafn looking for two “lads” who had disappeared, leaving their rucksacks outside a mine entrance. They turned up later in Weston super Mare.

On this occasion we were going for a trip down Pool Park; a cave broken into by miners in the 1600’s. The only snag was the entrance, a 300ft. shaft, fortunately the club who had dug it out, had bought the old Craven winch. This solved the problem of getting down and back up again. The bad news was the price, which, due to inflation and landowners insurance, had gone up to £4.00. So trusting myself to a Troll harness (how trusting can you get?). I clipped on and floated down the Walled shaft (well, lets say walled for 7Oft.)

It reads well this, but what really happened was I couldn’t clip the cows tail on , so rather than hold everyone up I whipped round to Dick Wade, waiting, shivering, behind me and said; “You go first Dick, while I set this rig up.” Ah but, ah but, ah but.” mumbled Dick. Too late, he was clipped on and down the shaft in no time. He was so keen, he’d disappeared by the time I got down next. After the shaft, one goes down four fixed ladders for a depth of l50ft. into a mine level (canal), where one wades along in the thigh-deep (if you’re lucky Ed.) cold water, until after a quick wriggle through a shored boulder choke, you arrive in real cave.

Here the old miners had written their names on the roof when they had first broken through in 1662. Unfortunately we couldn’t do the round trip that the North Wales Caving Club had planned because of flooding, but we still enjoyed the passages we covered. We had gone down the last of three parties as we were taking photos, but we met up with the other two parties as we went along.

Quite an entertaining trip, though I must admit I had second thoughts on the way back up the entrance shaft, when the winch engine throttled back 30ft. from the manhole entrance.

Our thanks must go to the North Wales Caving Club for arranging the trip, the winch, and the campsite, next door to the Three Pigeons pub.

Jim Newton.

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