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Gagendor Social Meet – North Wales – 13th/14th June

In an attempt to make meets and trips more appealing to all the idea was suggested at the AGM to have weekends set in the year to new or different sites to our usual South Wales caving haunts and hopefully get the members out and about and underground. June was always going to be a tough month for most of us who work in the industry but, that being said, a small group of us made it up to North Wales for a play in the Slate

Day 1 – Exploring Something New

After driving up on Friday evening in good time we settled into our rather pleasant bunkhouse accommodation in Dolgellau. Having made the most of the saved hour or so from having to go too far north there was plenty of time to unpack and re-pack for a few trips underground on Saturday. We had a bunch of 10 instructors with us form the college so we deiced to split up with Rob, Em and Simon all heading for the Croesor to Rhosydd through trip and me left taking our bunch for a play in Wryrsgan Mines.

The complex of Wrysgan is probably well used by local centres and groups and is split up onto 6 floors. I have been poking my head in and out of various entrances / adits over the years when climbing and exploring in the Moelwyns but never properly equipped.

Armed with a survey and ‘approved’ routes I set off with our chaps to realize that I had forgotten all of their cows tails! Fail 1 of the day. Lucky I had some tricks up my sleeve and got them all across the wire cable traverse lines and to an area of safety. We then spent a good hour poking around and looking for passages and trails through the mines to lead us out on floor 1 at the bottom. Trip 1 done. After lunch we re suited up and headed back into the welcome breeze of the mine higher up to find a route up to level 6.

We had a good explore and even tried to descend all the way to floor 3 in a hope to get a round trip in but failed about 20m from the connection as we hopelessly looked at endless dead ends and loose slate. Back out it was.

All in all, a fun and good day exploring and then a fun trip through the open Adit / incline that sticks out way above the parking. At the same time as re appearing into day light we also saw Rob, Em and Si who were safely out of the CRTT – back to base for a debrief and BBQ.

Day 2 – the through trip with company.

Having done the through trip before and knowing that the guys had made it through in one piece the day before meant that the Sunday trip would / should be a doddle!

Hooking up with Dan and Lisa on Saturday night and then Ben on Sunday we prepared for the muggy climb up to the entrance. In addition to our original party from our first trip into the mine in May 2013 was an instructor from the college and also a work friend of Bens.

The 6 of us made good time, good progress and eased through all the bridges, zip wires and dodgy canoeing to reach the connection. Then it went a little wrong, but we got out in the end! Complete in just a few hours I was a little less impressed with the trip the second time but the place is still awesome and inspiring.

Good times and also time to start planning the next Gagendor Weekend away!