Day 192 Mile 192: Running Around with Saints & Elephants. Today is the fest of St Benedict of Nursia. He seems to have been a moderate and cheerful sort of fellow, often depicted wandering around with; a broken cup, a snake, a stick, a raven, a bell and a bush (although sadly almost never all at the same time!). More importantly he is also venerated as the patron saint of cavers. Living in North Wales we are blessed with large amounts of rock, and caves so I worked out a route to visit some.
Elephant’s Cave is so named in that the opening looks a bit like walking between the legs of an elephant. The main part of the cave which is visible today is manmade, having been quarried out for limestone along a natural weakens and vein of suitable rock. The legs of the of the fossilised pachyderm are a result of the ‘Pillar and Stall’ method, which, as the name implies, involves mining out large ‘Stalls’ and leaving ‘Pillars’ to support the beds of unwanted rock above.
At the back of this is the Builder’s Grave a natural fissure in the ground leading to a second cavern, which was collapsed by Dante Roberts the then owner of Tyn-y-Coed quarry. In the 1970’s the Elephant Cave dig that was in the right hand wall of first cavern revealed a dog leg passage leading to outside the cavern. It was named Brenda’s Stream Passage after the seven year old daughter of Dave Jones [1946- 1997] who put forward a theory that ‘The Builders Grave, Brenda’s Stream Passage, and other signs of natural cavities, perhaps also including Ogof Hanner Dydd were part of the Elephant Cave System This has yet to be successfully navigated but it is highly likely that a route will be found, whether it is wide enough to afford a person remains to be seen. The proposed exit for this system can be found in the precipitous cliff face between the north toll gate and Pen-trwyn. At Ogof Hanner Dydd (the midday cave) it is said that at twelve noon on the days of the Spring and Summer equinoxes, the sun shines directly into the mouth of the cave.
As a result of the fact that the GPS tracking I’m using to log these runs does not work underground, the fact that I am on my own and the fact that a subterranean route has not been discovered I visited both ends of this system by running in a superterranean manner!
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 1677.1 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
Thanks as ever for all the support!