Cribarth Sink Cave

Cribarth Sink Cave

3rd Nov 1998
Having explored a number of sites in the Dan-yr-Ogof catchment area during the proceeding year, with limited success, the digging team of Bernie Woodley, Martin Groves and Tony Donovan turned their attentions further South to the Cribarth area. Several reconnaissance trips in the autumn of 97 quickly ruled out the potential of the two short caves known to exist on Cribarth. Cribarth Sink (833143) presented a far more interesting prospect. This site was dug in the 70's by Steve West and Bob Radcliffe but the shaft had collapsed after a couple of metres. From the outset it was clear that initial exploration would be quite a technical operation, requiring careful shuttering of the choked shaft as the limestone cliff was followed downwards.

Click here to look at the survey in more detail.

Work started in earnest on 21/2/98 with Bernie and Tony systematically excavating and shuttering the shaft as they descended downwards. After 9 trips, together with a number of midweek trips to build up the supply of shuttering, a break through at the bottom of the shaft was immanent. On the 18/4/98 Clive Jones, Bernie and Tony broke through into a chamber at the bottom of the shaft. A total of 35m of passage way was explored ending in a clay choke. Martin and Tony passed the clay choke in just two trips to find 55m of passage which terminated in a choke at the end of a Northward trending fault passage. At a higher level the passage could be followed further Northwards but again ended abruptly in a choke. The way on was found by following a draft emanating out of a slump in the floor. Digging revealed a 10m pitch which was descended on 4/7/98. Martin followed the passage Northwards and after some digging encountered a squeeze beyond which the passage could be seen to continue. Meanwhile Bernie began digging at the foot of the pitch, from where a strong draft could be felt. Tony, sufficiently put off by the squalid nature of the pitch, set about digging a by-pass and successfully made the connection back to the lower level fault passage. Another 2 trips to Bernie's dig revealed another 92m of passage which is comprised largerly of inlets which converge on a 5m pitch which becomes too tight at the bottom. Efforts are now being focused on the most Northly part of the cave where a couple of squeezes have been enlarged and some progress made.

Most of the cave was surveyed by Julian Carter, Chris Rayner and Martin in a single trip on 12/10/98, a few of the inlets have yet to be surveyed. The cave has a total length of about 210m. There are no obvious short term prospects and the cave remains an intriguing place and she is not giving up her secrets easily. Where the cave is going is anybody's guess. The site has never been dye traced and this must be viewed as a priority.