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 Ogof Nadolig (Christmas Cave)

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Ian
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PostSubject: Ogof Nadolig (Christmas Cave)   Tue 20 Jan 2009, 11:55 am

Location
SJ190 655 Cilcain, Flintshire

Directions
Make your way to the sewage works at Cilcain and park in the woodland recess just before the road terminates. Walk directly up the hill through the trees fro around 100feet and you will find a large spoil mound. The ungated entrance (down a tube) is here. The gated entrance is some further 100 feet directly left and is very difficult to find being a “manhole cover” type entrance in the woodland floor.

Access
Un-gated at the first entrance / no permissions required
Gated but unlocked at the 2nd entrance (upper)

Suggested Equipment
Electron Ladder (to reach the lower series only)

Length
1000ft (estimated)

Flood risk
None known

Cave Attributes
30ft vertical descent by the ungated entrance with a knotted rope. 30 foot maypole descent entrance via the gated entrance. 2 levels of cave, An active dig, very squeezy and sporting in places, evidence of mining activity.

Description
Entering via the gated entrance you drop down 30 feet and slip into a small chamber which leads to another slightly lager chamber. Here the passage way forks into a high and squeezy natural crawl or a continued duck into a larger, silt filled phreatic passage.

The larger silt filled phreatic passage is adorned with milk tear drops hanging from the ceiling and would have been substantial before the glacial sediment filled the tunnel. There are some nice, but small, formations here. Additionally, there appears to be evidence of past digs at both the left side of this tunnel as well as the far end which extends only around 50 feet before becoming totally choked.

Returning to the previous chamber, taking the high squeezy crawl, you pass over a small pot (with a gap at the bottom just large enough for a small adult to slip into feet first (but is unexplored beyond that point) and continue around tight but natural cave passage way to a very wide but very low flat out belly crawl.

This low, but wide crawl pops out into another natural phreatic passageway.

Just before “popping out”, there is an awkward offshoot to the right which takes you to a small chamber which could once have been a mine shaft (now collapsed/filled).

Having “popped out”, the passage (which is heavily silted) continues as a hands & knees crawl for a short time (with a flat out belly crawl turning off to the right which re-joins the same passage further down) until you arrive at a large chamber where the floor slopes away at 60 degrees for around 20feet then drops down a pot of around 15feet.

This pitch is doubled roped and can be descended without equipment but may prove tricky to ascend in reverse. Novices should be lowered down using one rope as a safety rope.

At the bottom of the pitch the passage turns left and right.

Turning right, you must very quickly negotiate a very tight squeeze (window) which places you in a new passage which heads upwards to the right at around 30 degrees and, on the immediate left, is a significant hole with scaffold bars across the top.

Turning right (and upwards) the tricky crawl takes you to a terminal chamber with roots in the roof and evidence of collapse. In the bottom, far right of this chamber is an apparent way to progress downwards but is somewhat blocked although this may be passable with a little work.

Returning to the squeeze window and the hole on the immediate left, an electron ladder cane be rigged here to take you to the lower series of this cave.

At the bottom you find yourself in a chamber where you can either continue or take a duck down to the right. The duck down to the right takes you to a clearly mined area now mostly filled with deads and of limited interest.

Ignoring the duck and proceeding onwards takes you to a steep (and muddy) incline upwards into another chamber which appears to be backfilled and may well have been another mineshaft to the surface.

There is evidence on this level of the glacial floor level.

Returning to the 15 foot double roped pitch; turning left instead of right takes you along another phreatic passage with a right hand, hair pin crawl around 40feet onwards. This hair pin crawl appears to be a mined passage but is little more than a flat out crawl which appears to terminate some 100 feet upwards.

The main passage continues in nice formation until a “T” junction is reached of a passageway which is easily walkable. Turning left here takes you, around, 50 feet to an active dig (accurate at time of writing) where two twins are known to have been digging out a significant phreatic passage for around 12 years. This appears to be very exciting. It is worth noting that this dig passes underneath a very dangerous rift (which is well signed).

Turning right at the “T” junction quickly brings you to the base of the un-gated entrance where a knotted rope assists an easy freeclimb up the tube and out.

Unexplored Passages
1) The very tight, feet first, small adult sized crawl at the bottom of the small pot just with in the high awkward crawl.
2) Possible passage in the terminal chamber heading downwards in the far right corner

Digs
1) An on-going dig of the significant phreatic passage near to the un-gated entrance (currently operated by a 3rd party)
2) A long abandoned dig to continue a phreatic passage entered via the upper gated entrance

Links
Wirral Caving Club

Chris Cowdry

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Last edited by Ian on Wed 21 Jan 2009, 12:09 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Ogof Nadolig (Christmas Cave)   Tue 20 Jan 2009, 12:11 pm



The section accessed via the gated entrance




The "mid" section accessed by the open entrance (connected to the upper section)

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PostSubject: Re: Ogof Nadolig (Christmas Cave)   Tue 20 Jan 2009, 12:20 pm



The maypole at the gated entrance




An easy squeeze near the upper entrance




The tunnel (upper) with the long abandoned dig





The awkward squeeze to the flat out crawl section

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PostSubject: Re: Ogof Nadolig (Christmas Cave)   Tue 20 Jan 2009, 1:58 pm



The stage immediately before the flat ourt crawl




The flat out crawl




The connecting pitch between the upper and mid levels




The connecting tight squeeze leading to the hole (requires electron ladder) to the lower series

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PostSubject: Re: Ogof Nadolig (Christmas Cave)   Wed 21 Jan 2009, 8:03 am



The exit (or entrance to the mid level)

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