Dan Yr Ogof, which translates into English as “under the cave”, is more commonly known as the National Showcaves. This vast complex of caves covers over 16 kilometres in an underground stretch in southern Wales, a shorter section of which is open to the public. The rest of the extensive cave system is available only to experienced “cavers”, due to it being designated as a national nature reserve.
The cave was first really explored by the local Morgan brothers, Jeff and Tommy, in 1912. Their equipment was very limited, including only a few candles, ropes, and a single revolver pistol – they were completely unsure of what to expect. Their first exploration was stopped by an enormous underground lake, which the brothers later crossed by using a coracle (a small, lightweight boat shaped like an upside-down umbrella). Later that expedition they encountered three more lakes and crossed them all in the same manner. The brothers turned back later when they were stopped by a tight crawlspace.
THE LONG CRAWL
This protracted tunnel became known as the Long Crawl, and was not conquered until 1963 by Eileen Davies, a member of the Swansea University Caving Club. Some claim, however, that Peter Ogden, a member of the same club, had passed this point only a year earlier. Exploration has been continued by other cavers over the years, leading to the current 16 kilometre span. Some of this space had to be reached by cave diving, using scuba equipment. One of the divers, Martyn Farr, wrote about his experiences and claimed that he believed the system would eventually be found to reach over 150 kilometres long.
The caves were used by the producers of Doctor Who to shoot scenes featuring in the Pirate Planet serial, which aired on television throughout late 1978.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Carmarthenshire, Wales, SA20 0NT
+44 (0)1550 760 257
- Address: A4067, Swansea, Powys SA9 1GJ, UK
- GPS: 51.83146656552079,-3.68694876381835
- Phone: 0044 (0)1639 730 284
- Part of UK: Wales
- Sat Nav Postcode: SA9 1GJ
- Entrance Fees: Charges Apply
- Disabled Access: None
- Visibility from Road: None
- Image Credits: GeoPictures.net