This is the kind of day it was: brilliant blue skies above lush green limestone dales. Hard to believe it’s the middle of November. I needed to get out and walk, by myself. To prove I could, as much as anything; like getting back on a horse after a fall.
I started from Wetton, with a vague plan to walk to Wetton Mill and have tea-and-cake and maybe find Thor’s cave (which turned out to not actually be named on the map, thanks ordnance survey, very helpful!) I was also foiled on the T & C front as the National Trust let me down. Tsk.
I was a bit confused. I found a cave, and assumed it must be Thor’s Cave (due to aforementioned unplottedness of cave, I was merely confused, rather than lost…) I did think it was a bit small and underwhelming, but, y’know, sometimes things are smaller than you expect them to be…
View from the wrong cave.
Happily, I did serendipitously stumble across Thor’s cave later on. Here it is. Possibly the most disturbingly vulval cave entrance ever… (I really wish I hadn’t had that thought, but since I did, you may as well share, no?)
As I have absolutely no sense, I decided it was a good idea to scramble up that steep slopey bit to the entrance and go and explore inside. It really is huge once you’re inside, and I felt I was having a Proper Adventure. To be honest, I was mildly astonished not to find a secret passage, smugglers and Uncle Quentin’s Secret Blueprints of Vital National Importance… I fully intend to go back with a torch one day and have a really good look. One day when my ribs have mended… It was very very slippery, and I was petrified that I was going to fall and do myself another injury.
View from the orifice.
Deep inside the cave. By this point, I was absolutely convinced I was about to have my own 127 hours moment. I promise next time I’ll tell somebody where I’m going…
You see, I’d realised that whilst scrambling up polished limestone with a slick surface coating of mud was not impossibly difficult, getting down it looked positively terrifyingly impossible.
I considered bursting into tears, waiting for a strong handsome man to come along, or amputating a limb. Each of these plans had its merits, but also certain drawbacks. In the end, I abandoned dignity and slid down, on my arse.
It was wet and muddy. At this point, I realised that I hurt quite a lot, and had run out of energy entirely, but still I had to walk a mile back to the car, up a muddy hill. I was pathetically slow, and late to pick up my poor abandoned children. I then forced practically everyone in the playground (Matthew, I am sorry you missed out…) to admire how utterly filthy I was.