Dreanen the Dreary?

There seems to be a general opinion that Draenen is a boring cave rather like Aggy, certainly the main passage areas after the entrance series can seem pretty interminable with those ankle wrenching slimy boulders that prevent you from admiring the spectacular passages.

As the Club has recently acquired an official key I have been doing more trips in Draenen, the first being to take the KOF`s on my first route finding trip in August when we did Gilwern passage. In October I got a lift down the Cottage with George and Sahara P and as they were interested in going down Draenen I offered to lead to a part of the cave that I had only done once before ( and then at very at very high speed) that leads ultimately to the round trip.

The trip started off well with George leading through the entrance to learn it, we then successfully located and used the Wonder Bra bypass to get to Lamb & Fox chamber. At the top and to the right are the stairs that lead to raiders passage and the traverses, eventually we came to the end of the traverse line and following the instructions on the survey I turned left and went up a climb into a canyony sort of passage. After a few minutes of this I realised that this was not the way to Megadrive but was either canyons east or west, however we thought we would explore this area for a while as our main objective was to see more of the cave. Eventually a slight obstruction was reached so we decided to turn back and look for Megadrive, arriving back at our original point in, we reversed our route in and arrived back into the Canyon again, undeterred we repeated our route with exactly the same result. This went on for about half an hour when my bulb went!

By this time a slight sense of desperation was beginning to occur, so we begin to scout round a wider area, this however only served to enhance the confusion, we did find some very nice passages which I will revisit when I've got a new bulb. By now about an hour had gone by and the sense of frustration was beginning to grow, there was obviously some fundamental flaw in our perception of where our original route was in relation to the traverse line, so we returned to the bottom of our original climb to replay our way in, eventually we realised that we had inadvertently complete a circle and were looking for the way out in the wrong direction .After that breakthrough we then recognised a block we had climbed over just after the traverse and located the way out.

By this time we had been down about 4 hours and with me only having a side bulb we decide to exit, though leaving out the by-pass this time, exiting after a total time of five and a half hours.

The moral of the story is that Draenen need not be a boring cave at all -especially when you don't know when you don't know where you've come from.

Chris Crowley