After spending all week looking forward to seeing Leo again, I was bitterly disappointed to find the cold, knife sharpening sociopath we all knew and loved had been replaced with a seemingly happy and content creature recently returned from fun midweek escape to an Edinburgh event called Fringe with his girlfriend Lydia…

Never the less I found Will’s sense of humour on the long drive down to the SWCC hut made up for it. Once at the hut everyone was enjoying some dusty spirits that Chris and H had found in Adam Spillane’s attic, they were actually quite nice. Then being an old man I went to bed early.

In the morning Louise asked me to look after some tasty looking sausages on the hob, I finished cooking them and decided to eat them all. Turns out they were Rostam’s Tesco’s finest Gluten free sausages, I felt quite bad.

For a good taste of alpine caving before the Tresviso expedition. South Wales was the perfect choice of location for the final SUSS expo training weekend. In the true spirit of expedition caving we decided to go to Draenen without any kind of plan of what to do or where to go when we arrived. I think the idea was to treat the cave as completely unexplored then find our way out after attempting to get ourselves lost. (*Disclaimer* I’m sure someone actually knew what they were doing, Sheffield Union)

Entering the cave through Draenen’s only entrance, like the ghosts from Pacman, we found our way through the entrance series. Regrouping was difficult as it turns out suss’s best one (Olly) Is incapable of raising his voice above 60 decibels. Enough waiting and Botch running around trying to find people we all met up again in the end.

After all 7 of us regrouped in a large chamber, I realized there was something very different about this trip. And then it clicked, no women, well well.

More wandering later it turns out Draenen is quite big, I think the cave creates more passage the further you go. I’m not going to describe it all, this isn’t that kind of rant/trip report.

Here is a generic south wales cave description (Jethro Language):

Dry, bland colours, crawl, a flat bit, tight, big again, climb over boulders, trickle of water, some pretty stuff, squeeze through rift, lots of junctions, warm, sweaty… you get the idea.

In expedition mode (apart from the surveying bit) we endeavoured to explore any and all side passages we could find. Getting bored of this Glen, Ben, Max and I decided it was time for a rest and waited while Botch, Olly and Connor climbed into a 1.4 m high by 0.8 m wide side passage that extended inwards and went around a corner.

They were gone quite a while, so we got bored and decided to entomb them by piling lots of large rocks (up to 20 kg and 7.6 dm^3) into the entrance of the side passage in an attempt to confuse them. Olly was the first to arrive at the newly built wall, we could see his light peaking through the gaps in our wall, after a few moments of inspecting the wall the penny dropped “ohh”, Olly said.

As the SUSS version of Jesus Olly had no problem getting out of the blocked cave passage, removing one of two blocks from the top of the wall he hovered through the small gap and we reblocked it ready for Connor and Botch.

Arriving at the wall Connor seemed more perplexed at the susspiciously man-made barrier blocking his way, after a critical review of his predicament with botch and hearing the sound of our quiet sniggering they slowly came to the same conclusion as Olly. We then dismantled the wall and tried to put everything more or less back the way it was #caveconservation.

On the way out we decided to go a different way. Botch exclaimed, “Let us walk down this really long passage, if anyone sees red and white tape, that means we’re going the right way” after walking probably about 0.5 – 1 km we did find red and white tape, however, one by one we became less convinced this was actually the right way and with our expedition hats on we decided to turn around before our turn back time and go back the way we came before we missed our call out.

More caving: see description in paragraph 10. Group successfully exits the cave.

On the way back we went via Asda to get Rostam some new sausages. There was a decent selection, for a while I struggled to decide between Cumberland and garlic and herb. In the end, I went for the Cumberland ones. Olly said, “I want some crisps”, so we went to the crisps section where he spent some time trying to choose a flavour. To Olly’s dismay, most of the packets came as multipacks, I suggested it might be better for him to buy a multi-pack so he did. On the way to the tills we went past the bakery section where I spotted some caramel cream pies, they were sort of like banoffee pie but without the banana, amazing I thought. Finally, we caught up with Connor who was planning to purchase some plain de chocolate.

And that was the end of our trip, I hope you enjoyed reading this rant on the new ULSA website. Why not stay a while and browse our extensive library, photo gallery and view our upcoming trips.