UnderWorld 8 (Bonus)


Done it!

So... The Dartmoor Striders very kindly offered to let me tag along on their assault on this final Underworld cache. When we met at the parking place there were six of us in three cars. One strider remained in the car, and then there were five.

Five of us strode off down the path to the Y-shaped tree and the start of the Death-Defying Descent, where one strider returned to the car with Small Dog. And then there were four.

Four of us managed the descent on a combination of boots and bums (using the word "managed" in its loosest possible sense) and arrived at the most unassuming little hole in the slope where the three Striders confidently said "here we are!"

"Really...?!" Well, don't judge the portal to hell by its sweet little porch.

Yours truly slithered through the mouth of the cave closely followed by Strider Jr. And...


"Torch trouble!"

A-ha... We believed him (!) and kindly offered him my spare so shortly thereafter we were three, as Mrs Strider remained at the cave mouth. A confident slither through the first real squeeze meant that soon Will and I sat bent into funny angles looking at the next squeeze while Mr Strider tried attacking Squeeze#1 from different positions before finally being defeated. And thus, we were two.

Will and the only remaining adult sat bent in the darkness looking at the next squeeze. It was very squeezy. Tank found little important jobs to do, like deciding where to put his phone (it had the instructions on it), finding a pen, deciding where to stash his bag, and discovering that this squeeze was harder with a helmet than without. These jobs were all strikingly transparent strategies to conceal being a Big Girlie Wuss, but once all such distractions were exhausted, we decided that I'd press on and call back to describe to Will what he could expect.

What Will could expect was to be half-submerged on his stomach in freezywater while sliding like a chemically disoriented otter around and under the pointy rocks in the roof of the tunnel. At least, if he adopted my style.

To his credit, Will had the good sense to decide that sliding head-first into a freezing and dark gullet with no idea where it headed or how to reverse was, and I paraphrase of course, a Bloody Stupid Thing To Do. Instead he agreed to stay where he was in case I needed to shout for help in a big manly voice (for which read in case I became overwhelmed with flouncy-blouse panic and needed someone to talk me down again.

And then we were one.

So... alone...

And on pressed the Tank. He can't really recall the twists and turns of the rest of the journey due to using all of his cortex telling himself distracting stories of being at home drinking tea and eating a sausage sandwich. The only things that persist in his memory are:

1) It being really far.
2) There being suddenly a very loud waterfall sound. That sounds exactly the same as gallons of rushing water racing down the tunnel like Indiana Jones and the Idiotic Quest for Tupperware.
3) Choosing the wrong side of a divided tunnel and only realising that when it became too pinchy on all sides to be correct and having to back up quite some way to find the right way.

By this time the shine on the adventure was rather overwhelmed by the crushing imperative to findthebloodythingandgetout. Happily, just as I was looking at the instructions and deciding I had quite a way to go I looked to one side and found the cache! THANK YOU GOD!

And there I took pictures of the cache and my Clearly Enjoying It expression, and turned around to tackle the nagging fears that I might never find my way out and that the Dartmoor Striders were not responding to my calls*.

Thank you WillDeBeast for a truly horrible cache ;O)

Find 1001.

*Dartmoor Striders, to their credit, were entertaining parallel concerns that I was not responding to them...!