Whilst in the district of Cam Thuy, we spent some time talking to villagers and trying to locate any caves in the area. There was a large entrance visible across the valley, about 100m above the valley floor. There seemed to be no-one available to tell us about the cave, so we decided to make our way there and have a look.
Crossing the cultivated valley floor was fairly straightforward, and we then took what looked to us the best line through the vegetation covered rubble slopes. The going was very difficult. We made some height and were trying to find a way to cross to the entrance when we heard lots of shouting from below. Eventually a trio of youths appeared with the idea of showing us the correct way to proceed. Sharp knives are of course very useful for cutting through the sharp bushes. They lead us to a dodgy looking traverse which we declined, and then dropped back down to intersect the large footpath up from the valley floor! We climbed a loose slope into an entrance 25m wide and 20m high. It continued to slope steeply to the back wall, with slippery lichen covered rock. One of the lads proceeded to show us his superior climbing techniques using plastic sandals. He ascended about 20m higher in the left corner on almost vertical slippery rock. Sweeney made a brave attempt to follow, before sense prevailed. A fall from there would be very serious, a 20m vertical drop followed by a steep slope for another 20m. Whilst in the entrance a very large owl was disturbed which circled the entrance and then departed. The locals informed us that at the top of the climb, there was a very steep descent!
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