On 13th November the South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team (SMWCRT) were made aware that several members of the Team & Gwent CC were assisting in a search for a missing dog above Blaina on the mountain between there and Cwmtillery. This search went on for the best part of the day and involved South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) and a number of members of the local community.  At around 3pm that day the dog was located using thermal imaging cameras.  It was reported that the dog was down a very narrow rift, but could not be seen. The Fire Service began an attempt at reaching the dog, but the rift was deemed too narrow and when the light began to fade they stood down for the evening. 

On the morning of the 14th SMWCRT made contact with SWFRS to offer assistance. After a few delays waiting to be formally called out to assist, a small team was assembled to make their way towards the scene and rendezvous with some cavers on the ground. Several assessments of options were made.  The incident was formally handed over from SWFRS to SMWCRT at 3:30pm but with continued assistance from them to help ferry equipment to the top of the mountain.  The fire service stood down altogether as darkness approached.  The initial Team was backed up by some more local cavers and another Warden, with ‘Control’ being administered from afar.


By 6pm the rift (only about 10 inches wide at its widest point) had been cleared of surface vegetation and was rigged for a decent. One of our smaller team members made it to the bottom of the rift (about 20ft deep) twice but with very little room to move in, the smaller horizontal rift at the bottom could not be reached which is where it is believed the dog had crawled into.  After trying for an hour the dog could not be encouraged out onto the floor of the rift, no signs of the dog could be heard or seen and the Team on site had to make a tough call to end their attempts as nothing more could be done.   The dog, a 12yr old West-Highland Terrier called ‘Tilly’, will be greatly missed by its owners.  In all 10 members of the Team were involved on site and behind the scenes.   Thanks to everyone involved or was put on standby. 

The BBC covered this incident with the following link