Caving in Brecon

by Jack Williams

I found everyone in cost cutter stocking up on supplies for the venture. I had come prepared with a
meen loaf of tiger bread, but you can’t refuse a pack of jammy dodgers. The journey down was
enjoyable, sitting between two kayakers is a mistake I won’t make again though, they talked about
catching some guy named eddy, then how screwed all of us (mostly Philippe) were on assignment
and dissertation deadlines.
After some time, we realised google maps was being a dick, but we wouldn’t be SUMC without a few
of us getting lost and arriving half an hour late, luckily the members from the South Wales Caving
Club whom would be taking us into the depths, Bob and Claire, are absolute dons. Bob took Victoria,
Philippe and myself whilst Claire took Brodie, Hugo, Julian and Chris. We entered the cave and
promptly found out this was no walk in the park, literally and figuratively, as we spent the first
section trying not to swim in a river. The section is meant to be done by bridging the entire way, Bob
with his lengthy tree trunk legs plowed on in front making it look easy, but without a brutal amount
of yoga and stretching any normal legs couldn’t get through without taking a fall or two. We stopped
every now and again so Victoria could empty her wellies and Bob could get hyped pointing out
calcite formations. We met the others for a brief intermission in an open chamber with a mix of
emotions, mostly awesomeness.
When we parted, Bob said he was going to lead us on a route he hadn’t been on for 20 years as it
has more advanced, harder climbing than other routes, I probably should have piped up and let him
know Victoria had no outdoor climbing experience, very little indoor, isn’t a fan of heights and that
taking her on a climbing orientated route in the wet and dark isn’t the best idea, but I decided to let
it slide. Mostly the journey was scrambling with the odd small climb, the hardest being a grimy but
cool 3m chimney climb with a nice drop beneath. The route ended in a chamber with some cool
looking crystal calcite pools. The way back had us crawling in some fun tight places, but this didn’t
stop Bob from picking up the pace as the thought of a nice cold beer fuelled his motivation. After not
enough time of worming through small tunnels and fending off Philippe’s advances from behind, the
route opened onto a high ledge with a via ferrata and lead us onto a cool simple traverse section.
One more tunnel put us on our hands and knees in uncomfortably deep water, where I received
more unwanted attention from Philippe, and made us sufficiently soaked for the walk back when we
We got back finding the other group around a warm fire, and swiftly removed our wellies to see
after 4 hours of being submerged in water our feet had aged 90 years and now had the texture of a
clean shaved scrotum. We all dried up whilst Bob cracked a tinny and Claire invited us back for a
second trip. A great introduction to caving and for only £10 you would be a fool to miss the next one.