Archive for March, 2014

Snakes and Ladders

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

P1070198With a damp weekend forecast for the Wales trip to Nant Peris, the idea had been put forward to do Snakes and Ladders in the Dinorwic quarries. Opinions varies from 'sounds like a giggle', to 'I'm not touching that with a barge-pole' and 'I'm never going to drink again', but in the end Pete, Rob, Simon and Carmen set off to have a look.

We arrived at Dali's hole to see a procession of 13 heading towards the first tunnel and fearing that it would be a slow day if we were stuck behind them, we quickly dumped the sacks, got into waterproofs, geared up, and overtook them at the tunnel entrance. We needn't have bothered rushing when we saw that the other half of the student coach load were already queueing up at the initial snake, all intent on climbing a chain in the best ethical style. After watching half an hour of dogging it was clear that we'd be waiting a long time, so decided to skip this bit for later and go and find if there was a way to re-join the route. This turned out to be pretty easy as it was where we'd just dumped the sacks…

P1030609The next tunnel (squeeze) took a bit of finding, but once through and out the other end we were at the base of Australia – a massive quarry. A bit of a scramble round and we were at the foot of the first ladder. This was about 45 degrees against and along the back wall. There was a bit of a wobble to this, but getting to the top it was clear that the mud was doing a good job of holding it all together.



Ladders and platforms proceeded to take us further up, with a few missing rungs along the way. Eventually topping out at the old mine buildings – still in pretty good nick. A small wander further and we were looking down the massif hole that is The Lost World. 2 abs down snakes got us most of the way down with a few ladders for the rest. P1070200The first of these was a bit unnerving as it didn't seem like it was attached, but after gingerly going down a few rungs it was clear that it was just the top section that the wobbly. A further tunnel then took us through to Mordor.

There are options to go further down, but as we'd only have to retrace our steps we decided to head up and out via the half-ladder-half-rope route. Quite a few rungs on this one were missing, so rope had been used to improvise new one. Surprisingly solid once your stood on them. From this level there are various tunnels heading back to viewing galleries from The Lost World faces.

P1030662In previous years, those stupid enough could have a go at The Bridge of Death, but luckily this had died over winter so was no longer an option. Route over, there was just a trudge back down to the path to go and do the first snake we'd missed out. By now the hail and the lightening had passed !

P1030664This very entertaining start to the day out up a freezing chain was completed, each by their own style of aiding, lay-backing, monkeying and basically thrutching your way up. Definitely a giggle.


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