Digging Week 'The Other Side'

words by Tony Baker
pics by Martin Hoff

27th August - 3rd September 2006

Aside from the work done during digging week at Chas's Old Dig and Zach's/Gents' Dig, described elsewhere on the website, several trips were made to the other side of the valley.
Rusty Horseshoe Dig
Tony Donovan, Paul Quill and others have recently started work here again, and two trips were made at the start of digging week. A lack of stacking space had long been the obstacle here but an alternative route to the sharp end has been engineered, making the site a realistic proposition once more. An efficient digging/hauling system was used and a great deal of spoil removed, but there is much still to do, although the site holds great promise.
Pwll Porth Du
This site, near Waun Fignen Felen, has been receiving regular attention from Tony Baker, Martin Hoff, Paul Meredith, Ben Stevens and Gary Vaughan over the last couple of years. With most of the team away doing other things only one visit was made during digging week but some valuable progress was made. A planned follow-up later in the week was abandoned due to a lack of personnel and some absolutely foul weather.

Ben among loose boulders in Pwll Porth Ddu


Twll Tal-Draenan
Not to be confused with Tony Baker and Martin Hoff's ongoing pet project, the sink at Twyn Tal-Draenan, this is an impressive section of cave that was described by Stuart France in an SWCC Newsletter in 1989. A fresh investigation of this site was long overdue and a team of five trekked over and, having removed two dead sheep and one (extremely fortunate) live one, began work on an interesting-looking hole in the floor. However, heavy rain before a follow-up trip provided an active stream that served only to prove a connection with the low, unpromising passage lower in the cave and the conclusion was reached that prospects here are not good. Pictures below:

Ben in the main chamber

Ben again, but wetter

Paul Craddy enjoying it all

Ben again, but posier

Stevie climbing out of Twll Tal-Draenan



'Harvey's Hole'
This site, originally dug by Peter Harvey, involves a clamber down from the entrance into a short and very interesting section of cave with two possible ways on. Paul Quill, Tony Baker and Dan Sullivan investigated both options carefully before choosing the right-hand passage. The approach to the 'digging face' was enlarged, and on a follow-up trip in October '06 Tony and Dan moved significant quantities of mud from a low bedding plane, in an attempt to reach a point at which the roof appeared to rise. However, further work by Dan and James Squires in November saw them reach this point only to find that the passage ahead was completely filled with mud, and the depressing conclusion was reached that this site was not a realistic proposition.

A more detailed report on the work done during digging week will be published in a future edition of the SWCC Newsletter.

Tony Baker.