I think I may be getting old!
With Trudes away in Texas I’ve made full use of her absence to do some of the stuff she doesn’t really like me doing, namely crawling around old fortifications and tunnels.
Back in at the beginning of July I took a few friends back to Lydden Spout to revisit the plotting rooms, magazine stores and the deep shelter, I did two of the sites but decided against the magazine store, firstly because I’ve done them a fair few times now, and secondly because I remembered that the last time we went it was something of a struggle to haul myself out again. I also don’t recall the climb back up from the deep shelter being quite so difficult, by the time I got back up to the top of the cliff I needed a full contingent of Sherpas to bring me oxygen.It also took me an extra couple of days to recover from the day.
the rest of the month has been filled with cinema trips to see Man of Steel and the usual gaming club night, I’ve been introduced to a new table top wargame called Flames of War, it’s a second world war themed game with tanks and stuff, the infantry models are about a third of the size of a 40k marine and are going to be a fiddle to paint.
Not much else has happened, getting lots of pup cuddles who have decided that I am a suitable surrogate whilst Trudes is away.
Today, Sunday 28 July was another day out, this time it was a second walk from Dover to Saint Margarets. I arranged to meets the group at the carpark behind Dover castle because it meant that they could just drive straight down the motorway to the castle. I got the bus from Folkestone to Dover and then from Dover to the castle. The rest of the party had already arrived at the carpark and we were soon on our way to the cliff top. One of the guys was a chap that I’ve known for as long as I have known Dave and Tina and it was great to see Steve, as we walked we chatted about comics and their tie-in films, collectible toys and what we would like to have in our collections. Being caught up in conversation we suddenly realised that the rest of the ramblers were actually nowhere to be seen, we thought that some of them were ahead of us so a quick call was made and we learned that they were still at the Langdon Visitors centre (oops). fortunately it didn’t take long for the group to be reunited and we were off again.
The last time we were all in the area I tried in vain to find a deep shelter referred to as Langdon Hole. Over the last year I have been scouring the internet to find info on the location of the shelter and eventually I found a fairly accurate location that I could program into my GPS, this came up trumps and it didn’t take long at all before we found something that resembled an entrance, albeit somewhat tenuous. being the
stupid daring types we made our way in, oh dear! the first thing that was immediately clear was that several years of mudslides and rain washing mud into the entrance had now turned the stairway into a slope and this meant that we had to climb down very slowly and carefully to prevent one of us slipping and sliding to the bottom, which would have resulted in a rather nasty injury. once we reached the bottom of the slope we had a fairly impressive underground complex to explore. we found a slope that headed up to a different passageway. The slope was steep, very steep, so one of the other guys and me decided to throw caution to the wind and climb up to see where it went. looking back this was a bit foolhardy because of the incline either of us could have slipped and fell back to the bottom injuring ourselves badly on any number of metal stakes that were sticking out of the ground, I think they may have been retaining pegs for the stairway that was once there. After several minutes we made it to the top only to discover that our climb had been fairly worthless as the passageway was only about ten feet long before ending in a collapse. So we now had to face a treacherous climb back down, believe me I’m not exaggerating when I say treacherous, fortunately I only had one slight slip but no real tragedy occurred. Once we we safely down we headed off to join the others who were having a shot at exploring a small tunnel, two feet square is fairly small, I gave it a go but could quite get the right angle so I had to clamber back out, that was an effort in itself. Having explored the shelter we made our way out, a bit of a struggle, and settled down for a spot of scoff. whilst we were enjoying sarnies and soaking up the spectacular views across the channel it suddenly hit me that when we went into the shelter the weather was overcast and a bit dull, now it was clear blue sky and glorious sunshine. With scoff done we headed off to find another target, this being Fan Bay deep shelter, again I had set the coordinates into my gps, this time it wasn’t so big a pay off. Despite the device indicating that we were almost on top of the site, no entrance could be found. Dave and I had a bit of a wander in the hope of locating the shelter but we had no luck, well at least none finding the shelter. We did, however, find a hole that we thought could be what we were looking for so I headed off to bring the others over. when we all reached the hole Dave was already in the process of exiting, he’s bloomin’ keen that chap! I set about making my way in, what I didn’t realise was that the mud in the entrance was rather slick and before I knew it I was heading in rather quicker than I thought, as I fell I was extremely lucky not to hit my head on a rock or brickwork. I did end up flat on my back and winded, given the noises the others were making it must have sounded a lot worse than it actually was. I took a few seconds to get my breath back and compose myself before heading further in to what turned out to be a magazine store, one of three in fact. Once again I struggled to exit this tunnel and I was getting just a tad bothered. but I wasn’t going to be beaten by a tunnel and with a bit of help I managed to scramble out (phew). Just as we were heading away we stumbled across a second hole and in we went, another mag store. In one respect it may not have been a bad thing in failing to find the deep shelter as I have since learned that the stairway at the entrance is much worse that Langdons shelter and is pretty much an underground slide. Considering that we’ll take a sturdy rope with us for the third attempt.
We picked up our trail and headed toward Saint Margarets with a brief stop to consider investigating what may be an observation post but the “Keep Out” sign and the fact that we would have been easily seen from the house that sits on the land led us to decide to respect the privacy of the land owner and head up to the South Forelands Lighthouse. We didn’t visit the lighthouse, instead we went in search of a deep shelter that we had visited on our previous trip only to find that it now had some very sturdy looking bars across the entrance, curses to the health and safety nutters. We now headed to the plotting room that was also part of our last visit. The H&S bunch had also visited the plotting room but the locals had taken the liberty of removing the padlock. So with this being the last site on our tour we decided to give it a go. Dave was first in and I went second, unfortunately the recent addition of the bars had rendered the hole just a little bit to small for me. So, taking the sensible option and knowing my own limitations I gave it up as a loss. The others managed to get in, except for Steve who was happy to hold on to one of the two dogs that were with us, I held the other and got some lovely cuddles from the dog in return. Finally we were done and we headed into the village of Saint Margarets in search of a pub whilst we waited for the bus back to Dover.
Eventually the bus arrived and we were on our way home, everyone except for me got off the bus at the back of the castle, I stayed on and went into Dover to catch the bus through to Folkestone.
Aching, covered in mud and sore I realise that it may not be much longer before I won’t be able to do these explores, one incident of getting almost stuck worried me a little and as I write this the reality of what we would do if one of our numbers were to be badly hurt in these relatively inaccessible places, an ambulance crew would probably not be able to extract someone depending on their injuries, despite that I have no immediate plans to stop exploring completely, I think I will probably take a step back to better assess the situation before throwing myself in.
I have just over a week before Trudes is back from the US and I’m off to London to see Pacific Rim with the Mikeys on Wednesday, that should be fun