Saturday 22 November 2014

When Frag met Darmon - Welsh Fail - November 2014

We should have gone to Bulgaria, it all went tits up - so he turned up in Manchester.

If you ever get the chance to meet Darmon Richter he just oozes adventure and mischief with his tales of his international urbex travels, totally a charming chap with none of the bravado bollocks.

Urban Spaceman AKA The Driver and I picked our worldly traveler from the once mighty Trinity Street Station, Bolton - now nothing more than a depository for the local rail "cattle trucks".

Mr Richter had been at it all night with a bit of overground and a lot of underground so we whisked him off to Wales for a bit of a leisurely autumnal drive, breakfast (ish) and some hill walking come disused mine mooching.

We all had a similar goal and off we went looking for tunnels in a hillside, avoiding the lingering school parties and landowners wandering the area, we haphazardly went about our quest.


Urban Spaceman at this point set his stall out and mocked as Darmon and I entered the first tunnel with a rapid duck of heads and what felt like icy water up to our waists with thick mud at our feet. I think the words "cracked cunts" ran thru Urban Spaceman's mind at this point.

Fuck me that water was cold - shit dead end. My legs burnt from the cold water.

Another tunnel, more water, blocked.

Up to a icy cold waterfall, Darmon was like a ferret on heat, I think at this point he was just moving at this speed to fight off the onset of potential hyperthermia - tunnels, rocks, tunnels, oh down to another tunnel, this one looked interesting and down we went....

Fuck, more water and again up to our waist - oh, the water felt not as cold this time - arrrr, it was just we had lost the feelings in our legs.

Keep on moving we did, Urban Spaceman just sat, pointing at tunnels and vaping and laughing under his breath.

This next tunnel went on and on and into the hillside until the tunnel opened in to a vast cavern. Stretching up above above us and then we then looked down into the blackness. We shone our torches down into the vast pit below, we couldn't see the bottom. Darmon and I looked at each other in silence and spun the torches around, this place was vast and deep. We needed to go on to find our final goal.

A historic rusting chain clung to the wall of the cavern, we could grab hold of this and step from the cliff edge and pull ourselves onto a narrow path on the left edge of cavern. It should be easy, rusty chain, pull yourself across, spread your legs, carefully position your self on the ledge and your home - pass the tripods, get your back against the wall.

Oh, the drop 150 ft ? 250 ft, who knows, it was big - no room for mistakes, one slip, one wrong grip it would be game over with no if and buts your dead.

We stood and looked at the job in hand, the drop, the narrow landing spot, "well?", "this is not good or clever", "we can go back", "this is not good at all", "its game over if you put one foot wrong", "no pressure, we don't need to do this".

We stood for what seemed like 10 minutes, eyes up, down, torches all around.

Looking at Darmon  I finally passed him my tripod and firmly grabbed the aged rusting chain and stepped gingerly across the gaping chasm with chippings of stone loosening beneath my feet - made it, back against the wall. Darmon looked in my direction, I'm not sure what was going thru his head "fuck he's done it" or "good to see chicken arse finally got the bottle" - he swung across with his usual ferret like speed.

The ledge we found ourselves on now was about 2 ft wide with an incline into the darkness, we pressed on for a further 40 ft or so until the ledge simply ended and plunged with another killer straight drop to the bottom of the cavern.

Same shit in reverse, except with a little more confidence back to the surface to find Urban Spaceman chuckling at the two filthy wet explorers stood before him.

Welsh Slate

Light was failing and we made our way back down the hillside, we found a further entrance this time on the right part of the cave system we wanted but this was sadly for another day....

Returning back to Manchester we dropped Darmon back at his digs and agreed to finish the job in hand on his next visit.

So I'm going to notch this one down up fail of the year 10/10.

Big thanks to Urban Spaceman for the wheels and timekeeping on the surface and Darmon for showing me that I'm not totally past it ( I did stuff like this in my teens) and taking me far outside my comfort zone.

I got home, examined the multiple tears in my clothes, the cuts and bruises all over my arms and legs - right Call of Duty or iron a shirt for work tomorrow?

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