Saturday, 14 December 2019

A DCC Christmas Adventure.....Nothing but Coal in the stockings for those on the naughty list!

After much debate it was decided that The Dudley Christmas trip would be in Agen Allwedd this year. As we had all been such good boys and girls we were fortunate to have none other than Santa himself lead our trip.....or at least that's what we thought!

On the adventure were: Chris Arnold, Mark Burkey, Loz Appleby, Keith Edwards, our latest recruit Daniel Ball and of course Santa himself.

Keith, Daniel and Mark started the day with our usual breakfast at Luigi's cafe, before heading over to meet up with the others at White Walls.

As the rain mizzled down we were fortunate to find the hut open and a few of us took advantage of this to change in the dry before the walk across the escarpment to the cave entrance.

As we entered the cave we could hear the sound of jingling bells and familiar echo of Santa's bellowing laugh as he came down the passage to meet us and let us know that as a special treat he would be leading the days fun and frolics.

The group made good time through the entrance series and paused for a quick photo of Santa in Barons chamber before heading onward.

We dropped to meet the stream way and happily plodded down the passage singing carols and telling Santa what we hoped would be awaiting us on Christmas morning. Our original plan had been to do the inner circle, but Santa eyes glazed over and took on an evil, somewhat manic look as he declared we had all been naughty boys and girls this year and it was in to the Coal Cellar passage for us!

Keith took the lead and it wasn't long before Mark, having partaken of one or two too many mince pies this season, was finding the rifts a little snug and dropped in to the water below to make his way forward. Even this eventually proved too small and he opted for the high level passage above the stream on muddy traverses.
Meanwhile the others continued onward slithering, sliding, climbing and squeezing their way along.
Surprisingly Santa seemed to have little trouble, although his suit wasn't quite fairing as well.
Mark had dropped back to the stream level to join Keith and was looking for the familiar squeeze out of the passage. Onward the group went for what felt like forever before Keith declared he'd had enough.
Santa, Mark and Loz continued onward and to their glee found the squeeze just 5 minutes further on. Loz went back to collect the others whilst Mark stripped to his under suit to try and enter the squeeze. On tiptoes he exhaled and pushed and squirmed and just as he was sure he would pop through, the boulders he had built up to stand upon toppled and he was left hanging in mid air with legs waving for five minutes before the others arrived to pull him back out!

Keith was next to try and squished and squirmed and with a well positioned shoulder or two popped up to the horizontal section of the squeeze. He was pretty knackered though and his legs fell down the rift and he lost momentum so slithered back down to the passage below.

Loz, not one to be beaten, climbed and kicked and thrutched and again with a little help from a shoulder, a knee and a foot in Santa's groin, managed to haul herself upward whilst Keith captured the moment for posterity on his moving pictures box.

Chris had more sense than the rest of us and didn't even bother with the obstacle and, as Daniel was resting up 50m further back down the passage, it was decided we'd all had as much fun as we could handle for one day and headed back to re-group.


Loz, Chris, Santa and Mark headed out and after a while Mark realised Keith and Daniel were no longer behind them so hung back to wait for them to catch up. Keith's angelic tones came floating down the stream, but it was quickly obvious that he wasn't singing Christmas tunes and was in fact calling for help. Daniel had managed to get a bit stuck at one of the snugger parts of the passage. Mark and Keith raced back, but fortunately after a few moments of festive reflection Daniel had managed to think small and wriggle through.

The rest of the exit was slow but uneventful, we even managed to grab a couple more shots of a slightly shredded Santa en route.

After 10hrs spent underground and feeling pretty weary we made our way back to the cars to change and head home.

I know I for one will be trying to get on that nice list next year, I certainly don't want coal again in my stocking!!!






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