Monmouth 02/05/2008


Woke up about 7am got myself packed and set off for Monmouth in the car. It was a very easy journey, got to the bunkhouse and Ross was out shopping so I washed and hoovered the car and fixed the mountain bike. Ross arrived and then Marco in his spaceship. Myself and Ross went for a run and then we all went into town and popped into a pub and then I drove us back fast with 3 portions of fish and chips. We then started to play poker. I didn't do so well but after the initial game I won the big game when folks went all in. Lots of folks had arrived by this time, Brian, Matt, Carla, Georgina, Nicola, Geoff in his seleca, Dave, Sitar, Charlotte, Jay, Rob, Simon, Lydia, Daniel, Helen, Rob, Anna, Lauren, Raj, Marnie, we drank quite a bit more before retiring to our bunk rooms.
Kayaking was on the agenda today up bright and early and we went round the corner to the farmhouse for a very nice breakfast. Then I drove Geoff to a car park in Monmouth were we got kitted up for either Kayaking or Canadian canoeing down the Wye. It was a long route but very doable with few bits of white water. We had a lovely stop at a pub at symonds Yat for lunch or beers in my case. Out then and back to the bunkhouse for showers. A game of kicking the rugby ball the length of the field ensued, with me and Jay narrowly beating, Ross and Rob. Though I bruised my ribs a bit with a diving catch. We were then treated to a rather nice BBQ cooked in the open and then we later retreated inside to first climb under the table in the main room, getting quite a bit of bruising, then the assembled company took to playing drinking games as you do.
Up early for caving. I took Bryan and Daniel as well this time to the symonds rock car park and we got kitted out for Caving with overalls and helmets and torches. I also had elbow knee and shin guards and neoprene gloves to protect me. It was a slow trek down to the caves but it was slippy due to recent rain. When we got to the cave we had a nice surprise as the chap said we could just dive in and explore so I did just that plunging into the cave till myself Daniel, Simon and Lydia between us found the way out again. We had a great time, I was chasing a bat at one point and Lydia found a hibernating one, Nicola, Carla, Brian, Jay, Geoff, Carla, Sitar were along but they didn't have the advantage of the body armour to propel them speedily through the tunnels. So I was able to cover quite a bit of extra tunnel, exploring a dead end then retreating. After a few hours of that I was quite tired and a bit bruised around the chest from scrambling through small gaps. The chap did give us a challenge at the end, but I couldn't get my helmet through the gap so I had to retreat. Afterwards I gave folks a lift to the bike shop, but I hadn't brought my bike so myself, Geoff, Nicola and another girl had a nice pub lunch in Monmouth before heading back and being first at the showers. Then a bit more football kicking in a revenge match. We headed off then by car to Monmouth and had a beer in the pub, before moving on to the Pizza Express. We sat on two big tables but had quite some difficulty getting served, they especially struggled with my request for dessert instead of main course. We had an extra drink in a local pub before Matthew gave us a rather speedy lift back to the bunkhouse.
Up early again, and I had a full car this time as I took Geoff, Daniel and Bryan to the Symonds rock car park, Followed by Simon & Lydia. We got there fine and met up with Rhyss our instructor for the day and got our Helmets. And took a lot of ropes down. Rhyss strung up 3 routes and as we were all experienced belayers he let us belay each other. The climbs were fairly interesting not too difficult but pretty interesting. The rock certainly presented challenges not present in an indoor environment and the last few we did was extremely long, it was a bit unnerving looking down. After the route we were treated to a spectacular view down the Wye Valley when we retrieved the rope systems. Back then to the bunkhouse narrowly missing charlotte on the way back in the narrow lane. As we all pretty tired we decided not to stop for lunch but head straight home. I had to have a five minute kip in a service station where I saw Geoff and another car load of 8thdayers taking a break the trip back was uneventful after that.



8th Day UK