Wednesday August 28th 2013
Uamh An Claonaite
This classic stream cave definitely beat my expectations! After another bloody long walk up the path from the road and the second hill climb of the day (after investigating ANUS first) we arrived at the quite large shake hole. I was surprised that the altitude was not that much lower than Rana Hole we had done the previous Sunday.
An awkward slither down through some rather dodgy looking boulders dropped into a wide stooping height streamway - quite impressed so far. A short way along we met the first waterfall and, not wanting to get wet, we did the exposed high level traverse out over it and down again to the stream. More good passage lead to what we thought was the first sump, actually it was just a low bit to the left and the sump shortly followed.
After a bit of debate about what was the correct way on and a lot of moaning from me about not wanting my face in the water, I slithered under the left hand wall and into the sump by-pass. Actually it wasn't that bad at all - in fact I kept my body pretty much all out of the water. Only a couple of meters in, I ducked under a low (but still not too wet) wall on the right then popped up into kneeling height passage again, this time faced with what I thought was Sump Two but just more of Sump One. Matt followed shortly after and we easily found the by-pass on the left before dropping back down to easy hands and knees crawling in the streamway.
The passage enlarged and we met Bottomless Pillar Pool which indeed does have what looks like a bottomless pillar. Still not wanting to get wet I tried to traverse around the edge of the deep pool without success and with some thought about how deep the far side was I launched myself from the wall to find it was only waste deep. Of course Matt managed the traverse without any problems, so I pushed him in.
Next, a couple of smaller waterfalls lead into Cavity Wall Passage - a really unusual slightly slopping passage with some unusual formed rock where two different lime-stones meet. Not long after, we met the first of the water chutes. I now regretted not bringing my camera because they would have made for a great photo. A very steep slope with the stream running down one side landed in quite a deep pool but easy to traverse. This was quickly followed by an even more spectacular water chute with a similar climb down. Sump Two follows at the bottom but we climbed up again and through some easy large passage to another drop down to the very still Sump Three.
A quick food stop then a pretty swift exit. I wouldn't want to hang around if there was any chance of rain!