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A Right Charlie in the Chocolate Factory

Wardy

Active member
It seems to have been a long winter of digging, a bit of a marathon and everyone can get a little jaded.
Maybe these are the times you are most vulnerable.
When you're not quite fully focused and random suggestions sneak in like a sly whisper, before you know it you've been twirled.

Chris's suggestion of something different for a change of scene appealed, just a quick trip to look at something he said calmly.
Virtually ensnared I remembered to ask where, but I was pretty committed and so the words "Hesp Alyn" only just registered, it could have been a different galaxy for all I cared.

Things at work had been pretty hectic and I had packed my stuff without really thinking where we were going, I just knew that I needed to be ready - I could think of the trip once underground.
I arrived at the bridge and parked up - I was last. The head chocolatier, Chris and Bryn the apprentice were obviously way more eager than me - even subconsciously I was dragging my feet!
Kit on I realised I had forgot to bring anything to put my key and phone in - I then realised where I was going and the enormity of the mistake dawned.
Some caves you can put your key in your pocket or round your neck on a cord, but not Hesp Alyn, it would need a fully rated chocolate proof, sludge resistant, gloop free environment or it would never work again and then I would feel a right oompa loompa!

The walk to the entrance is really nice at this time of year, the leaves just coming out, lots of bird song and a small lazy trickle of water still in the river bed.
Only the destination really let it down to be honest, otherwise it would have been a perfect evening.

Entrance pitch duly laddered and descended I realised that many people disrespect this cave with lots of abandoned kit, rubbish, and old digging stuff strewn in the initial chamber - the cave really needs adopting, but who wants an offspring (or even a dried up spring!) like this in their family?
The way on is hands and knees with occasional stooping and some small pools, but at this time of year it is a wet wallow to the main junction.
What was really nice was that the winter drips have added a delicate layer of pristine white calcite on top of the mud - like a white chocolate on top of the thick layer of cadburys.
From the junction the way on over boulders was still damp, so a graceful combination of climbing and skating ensued.
The phreatic tubes that follow are really nicely formed and I never cease to grin when I see the eyehole through a switchback - lovely feature.
The gravel that floors them though is less attractive, sticking to the cadburys like an abrasive topping.

The rope climb up is not technical, but is delightfully tenuous when fully lubricated in light brown sauce.
A quick sluice in the canal, as too much chocolate can stick in your throat and refreshed we arrived at the pitch.
A little trickle of water enters here in winter and you descend down a clean chute with a reminder of the real filth just to the edge of your periphery vision.
The following pitch / climb lands you in a boulder chamber, with a small undercut climb landing you reassuringly back into the production areas.
The next small pitch has been rigged to perfection spicing things up like a chilli infused bar - desperately slippy at the top, bolts too far forward and way too low for comfort, its not like an accident waiting to happen, more a certainty that you might avoid by accident.
The Health and Safety standards in this factory have definitely been fudged.

The chute from the bottom of the pitch delivers you to the Birth Canal - a really slippy tube - and as I arrived at our destination I really wished I'd never been born!
This was definitely the main production area.
The floor was a foot deep in a perfect whipped mousse, still being processed by a hard working team of worms.
The walls and roof were coated in a rich sauce that any school dinner lady would have been proud of and like a young pupil I recoiled in horror.
While the chocolatier looked at an appetising small tube, I felt it was less promising and so dismissing the flaky lead I pushed on down a dismal crawl with the apprentice, giving up pie eyed somewhere near Mississippi.

Back at the dig the chocolatier was revelling in it, but it was after eight and we just had to go.

All safely back through the birth canal I took on the entertainer role as a treat for the others - clawing my way up the fondant slope until just before the pitch, where I gracefully peeled away and slid back down. I thought 3 times was enough, not wanting to overplay the joke and succeeded on my 4th attempt.

There are quite strict controls on the way out of the factory to stop people stealing the chocolate, but I was far wiser and managed to carefully conceal a gargantuan quantity up my sleeves, in my wellies, under my knee pads, inside my gloves, in my ears, up my nose, in my hair and most devious of all I stashed a bit in my eyes - no one would see it there and I definitely couldn't see. For additional stealth I disguised the mighty Scurion with a healthy smear of ganache and blundered my way out.

As we emerged into the cool clear evening I was pretty sure I could see the milky way, but free at last the celebrations distracted me and I wandered back to the car.

The trouble with these early season trips is that the the whole place is just too wet to appreciate, reminding me of the last time I went there with Chris.
I made a mental note to delete his contact info from my phone and shovelled the sludge that contained my caving gear into the car.
Once home there was just time for that perfect nightcap, the ultimate pre bedtime drink - a pale ale obviously.
Definitely not a hot chocolate as anyone who knows me is aware that I hate chocolate.
Wonder what it is about Hesp Alyn that I am not so keen on?
I dare say given 12 months I will have forgotten though and the chocolatier will return, smelling of roses with promises of delights.

To be continued.........
 

Bob Cromer

New member
It seems to have been a long winter of digging, a bit of a marathon and everyone can get a little jaded.
Maybe these are the times you are most vulnerable.
When you're not quite fully focused and random suggestions sneak in like a sly whisper, before you know it you've been twirled.

Chris's suggestion of something different for a change of scene appealed, just a quick trip to look at something he said calmly.
Virtually ensnared I remembered to ask where, but I was pretty committed and so the words "Hesp Alyn" only just registered, it could have been a different galaxy for all I cared.

Things at work had been pretty hectic and I had packed my stuff without really thinking where we were going, I just knew that I needed to be ready - I could think of the trip once underground.
I arrived at the bridge and parked up - I was last. The head chocolatier, Chris and Bryn the apprentice were obviously way more eager than me - even subconsciously I was dragging my feet!
Kit on I realised I had forgot to bring anything to put my key and phone in - I then realised where I was going and the enormity of the mistake dawned.
Some caves you can put your key in your pocket or round your neck on a cord, but not Hesp Alyn, it would need a fully rated chocolate proof, sludge resistant, gloop free environment or it would never work again and then I would feel a right oompa loompa!

The walk to the entrance is really nice at this time of year, the leaves just coming out, lots of bird song and a small lazy trickle of water still in the river bed.
Only the destination really let it down to be honest, otherwise it would have been a perfect evening.

Entrance pitch duly laddered and descended I realised that many people disrespect this cave with lots of abandoned kit, rubbish, and old digging stuff strewn in the initial chamber - the cave really needs adopting, but who wants an offspring (or even a dried up spring!) like this in their family?
The way on is hands and knees with occasional stooping and some small pools, but at this time of year it is a wet wallow to the main junction.
What was really nice was that the winter drips have added a delicate layer of pristine white calcite on top of the mud - like a white chocolate on top of the thick layer of cadburys.
From the junction the way on over boulders was still damp, so a graceful combination of climbing and skating ensued.
The phreatic tubes that follow are really nicely formed and I never cease to grin when I see the eyehole through a switchback - lovely feature.
The gravel that floors them though is less attractive, sticking to the cadburys like an abrasive topping.

The rope climb up is not technical, but is delightfully tenuous when fully lubricated in light brown sauce.
A quick sluice in the canal, as too much chocolate can stick in your throat and refreshed we arrived at the pitch.
A little trickle of water enters here in winter and you descend down a clean chute with a reminder of the real filth just to the edge of your periphery vision.
The following pitch / climb lands you in a boulder chamber, with a small undercut climb landing you reassuringly back into the production areas.
The next small pitch has been rigged to perfection spicing things up like a chilli infused bar - desperately slippy at the top, bolts too far forward and way too low for comfort, its not like an accident waiting to happen, more a certainty that you might avoid by accident.
The Health and Safety standards in this factory have definitely been fudged.

The chute from the bottom of the pitch delivers you to the Birth Canal - a really slippy tube - and as I arrived at our destination I really wished I'd never been born!
This was definitely the main production area.
The floor was a foot deep in a perfect whipped mousse, still being processed by a hard working team of worms.
The walls and roof were coated in a rich sauce that any school dinner lady would have been proud of and like a young pupil I recoiled in horror.
While the chocolatier looked at an appetising small tube, I felt it was less promising and so dismissing the flaky lead I pushed on down a dismal crawl with the apprentice, giving up pie eyed somewhere near Mississippi.

Back at the dig the chocolatier was revelling in it, but it was after eight and we just had to go.

All safely back through the birth canal I took on the entertainer role as a treat for the others - clawing my way up the fondant slope until just before the pitch, where I gracefully peeled away and slid back down. I thought 3 times was enough, not wanting to overplay the joke and succeeded on my 4th attempt.

There are quite strict controls on the way out of the factory to stop people stealing the chocolate, but I was far wiser and managed to carefully conceal a gargantuan quantity up my sleeves, in my wellies, under my knee pads, inside my gloves, in my ears, up my nose, in my hair and most devious of all I stashed a bit in my eyes - no one would see it there and I definitely couldn't see. For additional stealth I disguised the mighty Scurion with a healthy smear of ganache and blundered my way out.

As we emerged into the cool clear evening I was pretty sure I could see the milky way, but free at last the celebrations distracted me and I wandered back to the car.

The trouble with these early season trips is that the the whole place is just too wet to appreciate, reminding me of the last time I went there with Chris.
I made a mental note to delete his contact info from my phone and shovelled the sludge that contained my caving gear into the car.
Once home there was just time for that perfect nightcap, the ultimate pre bedtime drink - a pale ale obviously.
Definitely not a hot chocolate as anyone who knows me is aware that I hate chocolate.
Wonder what it is about Hesp Alyn that I am not so keen on?
I dare say given 12 months I will have forgotten though and the chocolatier will return, smelling of roses with promises of delights.

To be continued.........

Never had a bad trip in there -)
 

cavemanmike

Well-known member
I love the place. Proper grade 5 if you go to the end. Cracking write up Pete you just gota embrace the chocolate old boy 😉😉
 
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