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The Grand Circle

Agen Allwedd is one of those caves that has never particularly inspired me. The last major trip I did in there was about 5 years ago while I was at Reading University, and included a tour of The Grand Circle as well as a diversion to see the then recently discovered Trafalgar Series formations. The trip completely exhausted me, and have been in no rush to repeat it since. However memories are a funny thing, and the monotony of Southern Stream Passage didn’t seem that bad in hindsight. Rich hadn’t done the route before so it became fairly high on our to-do list. Also to annoy Oli, this seemed like a good time to do it while she’s in Syria.

We gathered a motley group together including an ACC fresher, Sam (officemate and fellow moulin abseiler) and Stephen (a CSS/BEC member who happened to be staying at Whitewalls when we arrived). The trip went well and we only briefly got lost in the connection between the two streamways – luckily Stephen recognised the right passage. The freezing deep water in The Narrows was by far the grimmest section…swimming in caves is horrible at the best of times. The Southern Stream Passage on the way out knackered fresher Sam, but we all made it out in a reasonable time of 8hr20. If I ever do the Grand Circle again, then I’d probably do it clockwise –  psychologically it would probably be less tiring more than anything due to not having to crawl in water at the end of the trip.