05 June 2014

Watery explore

That flooded chamber in Rhosydd just looked too tempting. But I wasn't wearing a wetsuit at the time, and these underground chambers are deep, cold and not always easy to get out of. So not a good idea to chance it! But as soon as my wetsuit had been repaired and tested, I wanted to go and try them out. Fortunately, my colleague and fellow Thursday Nighter Dave was quite up for stuff like that. So the weekend after my dip in Cwm Idwal we headed for Rhosydd again. There were four of us: Thursday Nighters Dave and Paul, and Rich, who was visiting, and then me. We decided to head to it from the other direction than the previous time. I'm not quite sure why, but I was glad we did. We headed up a path of which we were not quite certain it lead to where we needed to be, but which offered amazing views on the beautiful valley. I knew it was; the path we were on was a bit below the old tramway to Croesor. It was a beautiful day! Rich decided to do most of the trip topless, and ended up sunburnt rather than the more likely hypothermic.

By a stroke of luck we ended up where we needed to be. Suddenly the ruins of Rhosydd's entrance appeared! It took me a while to recognise them, as the only other time I'd seen them it had been pouring with rain. So Rich zipped up, and Dave and I got into our wetsuits. Paul would stay dry. He was keener on taking pictures of us freezing our bums off than to join in! And soon after the long walk into the adit we got back to the flooded chamber. I there put on more clothes (in the form of neoprene gloves) while for some strange reason Dave and Rich started taking clothes off. It wasn't going to be warm water! But Rich didn't want to wear his oversuit, and Dave didn't want to wear wellies. Paul and Dave set up the camera, and then we were go! And cold it was!

It was easy to get out on the other side. Once there, we posed a bit for pictures. This was an unusual opportunity! And with Dave and Paul being professional and amateur photographers respectively, it was done well. Paul took several pictures of us in the opening, and also several of Dave shining his torch into the water. Dave later stitched these together with amazing result. See below!

Pic by Paul and Dave

The we went on. There was another chamber behind the one we had just crossed. Not all of it was flooded; there was even a short level going off to the side. Clearly, not many people had been here! No well-worn tracks. But not much in the way of artifacts. So time to move on; we made sure we could get back out once we got in, and then we were off again! The next one wasn't so easy to get out of. Dave had powered ahead, and was shouting at us it wasn't easy, but that there was a nice spike just out of reach. Did we have anything to lassoo around it? Soon he swam off with my belay belt. And that did the job; in a jiffy he was out!

The next room had a slope up, but there was nothing to see in it. Time to move on! Rich had started to shiver heavily; he was dressed only in a 2mm wetsuit with fleece sleeves and legs. Not enough! Dave's hands were cold by now; I was the only one with neoprene gloves. These things are worth their weight in gold on days like these! But we moved on. Next chamber! That one had a convenient rusty chain at its exit, which allowed us to clamber out. On the other side, there was no such thing. The men wanted to give up. Rich was close to hypothermia, and Dave was quitre alright but not too keen to jump into water he wouldn't be able to get out of. But I didn't want to give up now! I found a foothold, and was convinced Dave could pull me out were I not able to do that myself. We tried it; it worked! So I swam off. The chamber I lowered myself into had a bit of a funny shape; we couldn't see if anything lead on from there. So I wanted to investigate.

I swam around the corner. It stopped! No levels goin on, not above the water line, anyway. I clambered out of the water to have a higher viewpoint, but nothing to see. I could go back! I was glad we explored all the way to the end. Not good to get 80% of the way! And Dave had no problems pulling me back onto the shore. We started to make our way back again. By the time we got back to Paul Rich was half frozen. I was alright! But we got out soon, to bask in the sunshine.

Paul then revealed why, as he hadn't gone swimming, he had lugged such a heavy bag up the hill. All sorts of unusual photography kit came out! He had some fun with the ruins in the sun. And we then had a bit of a scamper too. A lot to see!

Amazing view onto the valley and the Cwmorthin tips in the distance from the Rhosydd tips

Rusty stuff and cottages

Rich looking happy

After a while we changed back to civilian gear and headed back to the cars. That took a while. A lot to see on the way! The Croesor entrance, for instance.

This is on the way back (hence the civilian  outfit). I'm standing on what I think is walls formerly supporting a winch which operated the incline below. Pic by Rich

We wondered if we could see the other Rhosydd entrances. And yes we could!

The ruins at the Croesor entrance

Some gratuitous thistles

By the time we were back at the cars we were hungry, so we headed for the nearest pub for food and a pint, to be enjoyed in the sun. A very good day altogether!

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