Caves of South Wales Dragon

Ogof Ap Robert

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Overview
Ogof Ap Robert is an interesting and sporty cave formed in a shakehole where a small stream meets a 10m high rock cliff. The water from the cave resurges at Ffynnon Shon Sheffrey some 2 miles away in under 48 hours.
Length 1015m
Altitude 517m
Grid SO 09959 13479
History
Ogof Ap Robert was originally discovered around 1948 by Cecil Cullingford. The cave was named after the son of the local farmer Robert. With the help of the SVCC a passage at the back of the entrance chamber was entered, but it was only in 1968 that a rock blocking the passage was removed to reveal a 7m climb down to reach a boulder choke. In 1987 GOCAF and GSS passed the boulder choke to reveal a quite extensive system.
Location
The cave is located on the moors above Trefil about 2km from the road in a large shakehole with a 10m cliff at its lower end.
Central Northern Outcrop Google map showing the location of Ogof Ap Robert and other caves in the area.
Location map - click marker to show entrance photo
Access
No known access restrictions.
Description
Ogof Ap Robert is a small swallet cave, where the stream disappears into the base of a 10m high cliff face in a shakehole. From the base of the cliff face two entrance passages converge in Cullingford's Chamber. Access to the cave is through an entrance above and to the right of where the small stream sinks and soon enters the chamber from where light streams down from the other entrance. From here a rift passage is followed with several short climbs to reach the area of the First Boulder Choke where a scaffolded crawl leads to the top of a scaffolded climb down through the choke. The passage beyond descends steeply with several short climbs and passes through the Second Boulder Choke that then leads to an awkward maneuver through a small window into a rift passage beyond. Here a hanger provides a belay for a short handline that may assist the awkward top section of the 3m climb. The Third Boulder Choke is passed through, slipping down over a boulder to reach an area of old fossil formations. Here Pretty Passage heads off on the right to close down after 10m while on the left an area of massive fallen boulders rise up to reach a large choke. Beyond these passages the Fourth Choke is reached where a climb down a final scaffold section leads below an aven to emerge into the impressive Toad Hall. By climbing up the aven before Toad Hall a balcony covered in large boulders is reached which can be followed round on the right to give a commanding view out over Toad Hall. From this balcony the Loop Route heads off to the right passing over a hole down to a lower passage and on towards and aven - Twyn Ceiliog which can be climbed and followed for about 30m. The Loop Route can be followed passing a route on the left that gains a window out above Toad Hall this continues until a climb down a large hole gives access to a lower passage that loops back past an obvious inlet on the left and then past an impassable connection to Toad Hall. Just beyond this, the passage passes below an aven before emerging at a short climb down back into Toad Hall. Toad Hall is large and impressive, being tall and lofty on the southern side while being lower and flat roofed on the northern side. Showers of water from the entrance stream fall from the aven on the southern side of the chamber making it quite atmospheric. Several passage radiate off the chamber and form part of the Loop Route previously described.
From Toad Hall the route on is through the boulders in the floor of the chamber on the left of the entrance passage where a crawl below the loose boulders that form the floor of the chamber leads via the Fifth Boulder Choke to a dry phreatic passage. This passage is followed for 30m to where a junction is reached on a large bend. Here the passage sweeps round to the right and leads in to the Burma Road, while taking the passage on the left leads after a short distance to a further junction. The Burma Road has impressive sediment deposits and the route gently meanders past a hole down on the right into Nant Goch Passage and then reaches a right hand corner. At the corner the passage height drops and a flat out crawl through a shallow pool where a small stream feeds the other end of Nant Goch Passage is found on the right. The passage becomes very lofty as soon as the pool is crossed and water falls in from several avens. Here a high level inlet - Y Llech Las can be climbed to a choke and a tight inlet passage. The main passage continues gradually decreasing in height until it sweeps right round a corner to reach a dig and a wet weather stream bed. On the left of the corner is a small rift passage which leads to a very muddy section of the cave - The Land of Arawn. It is clear that large sections of this lower section of cave fill with water in wet weather so care should be taken. The rift passage is muddy and can be followed for 30m via occasional flat out sections and squeezes to enter a final section of larger passage. This has a generous coating of fresh mud and ends as a choke on the right and a 6m aven on the left.
Back at the start of the Burma Road following the connecting passage on the left leads to a further junction, left heading to the Land of Hafgan and the right leads to further boulder chokes and a short pitch down to the small stream - Hans Bach.
From the junction heading left a passage is followed with a rift in the floor where the end of the Hans Bach stream can be seen flowing below. Some calcited areas on the right are passed before a small chamber is reached. Here a low passage leads ahead past an inlet on the left that closes down after 8m to eventually end at a flat out squeeze over a boulder beyond which the passage is choked. Back at the small chamber a 3m climb up reaches a muddy tube that heads off and meets a junction after 10m. Here the passage on the left chokes quickly while the route continues on the right to emerge in the top of a muddy chamber. A 3m climb down into the chamber gives access to a passage heading off on the opposite side. There is a slippy climb to reach it and the tight passage eventually closes down after 20m.
Back at the junction the right hand branch passes a calcite formation and leads through the Sixth and Seventh Boulder Chokes to arrive at a 6m ladder pitch through boulders that takes you into the Hans Bach stream. The stream enters the Eighth Boulder Choke, the current end of the cave. Upstream Hans Bach flows in a passage which can be seen from the higher level passages through several holes in the passage floors.
Tackle
Boulder Pitch 8m ladder plus belay.
References
Cambrian Cave Registry for Ogof Ap Robert
Caves of South Wales | Tim Stratford | ISBN: 1-871890-03-9 | Published by Cordee
The Caves of the Central Northern Outcrop | Tony Oldham
Warnings
The route beyond Toad Hall takes you under the boulder floor of the chamber which should be treated with care.
The cave has various stream inlets which in wet weather may make some of the low sections impassable. The lower sections of the cave will also flood in wet weather.
Disclaimer
The photographs and information of this page has been provided to help cavers planning trips. Caving can be a dangerous activity, if you are interested in exploring caves please join a caving club so you can enjoy a safe introduction to this sport. Local caving clubs are listed on the links page or you can visit try caving for more options.
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