7 July 2013 (Sunday) - Lydden Spout

I felt rather iffy last night and as the rest of the world celebrated at a festival in a nearby park, or at a surprise birthday party or at a family wedding I had an early night. I slept right through until 6.30am when "Furry Face TM" jumped onto my chest and started scratching. I wish he hadn't.
I got up, did my morning ablutions and checked the world via Facebook. It would seem that there is a youth theatre in Ashford. I never knew that. We regularly go to the one in Maidstone as they put on some excellent shows. Unfortunately the Ashford group's next showing clashes with something else in the diary. Such is life. I shall have to keep an eye on their website and look out for future productions.

Whilst I waited for er indoors TM" to emerge from her pit I played with the geocaching website. After yesterday's mission to Pluckley I have now found every cache within a radius of five and a half miles of my house. With the long summer evenings coming up over the next couple of months I might just start planning one or two evening walks just to widen that radius a little bit more. After all there are only six more to find to expand that radius of found caches to six miles. In fact I've planned one such walk for Wednesday evening. If any of my loyal readers fancy an evening's gentle stroll, do come along.

And talking of gentle strolls, Chippy arrived,and we set off (via Singleton) to Folkestone where the tribes gathered at the Admiralty before setting off for a spot of tunnel-ratting at Lydden Spout. Steve had gone on as an advance party and sorted out parking spots, and soon we were walking along the tops of the White Cliffs to our old stomping ground.
The sealed cover to the old plotting rooms had been ripped off, and we were soon down the ladder and noseying about in the old underground rooms. It never fails to amaze me just how quickly it gets cold and very dark in those tunnels. I really need to get a better torch, and I hadn't been down the hole for more than a few seconds when I clouted my head.

I came out of these tunnels earlier than everyone else to take over dog-sitting duties; it's not fair to attempt to take the three smallest of our party down the holes. And once everyone else had had a good explore we moved over to the old derelict gun emplacements. To the untrained eye there's not a lot to see now. However if you know where to look and are of a rather daft disposition there are about a hundred yards of tunnels just underneath these emplacements that can easily be entered and explored. And one of those sets of tunnels can easily be exited as well. There was another tunnel that I was told was too small for us to get into. Pah! It wasn't too small to get into at all. However getting out again took some doing.

We found the geocache which had been placed nearby in the last week, and ate our picnic lunch before embarking on the next mission. If you are prepared to do some scrambling and you know where to scramble, there are hundreds of yards of tunnels that can be accessed from the side of the White Cliffs. You need to go down a rather (very) steep slope for about a hundred yards, then clamber along a ledge for ten yards and heave yourself up a very steep incline. There is a rope to help you up the last part. When you get to where the rope is anchored you find a small hole into the cliffs. Anyone with any sense would look at that small hole and turn around. Mind you anyone with any sense probably would never find that small hole in the first place. On clambering into that small hole you'll find a rock fall which would persuade most people that they should turn back. But us tunnel-rats aren't like most people. And once we'd got over the second rock fall we were into a veritable warren of tunnels.

I had very mixed feelings when I when into these tunnels on the cliff edge. For some months I'd been planning to put a geocache in these tunnels. I would give the tunnel entrance as the starting co-ordinates, and would use a series of arrow painted with ultra-violet paint to lead the cacher deep into the tunnels and up a flight of stairs to where I would hide a cache in a rather tricky location. Scoring the cache as 5/5 it would have been rather unique. However I should have been quicker. The cache up at the gun emplacements might be fifteen minutes scramble away, but it was only sixty eight metres (as the crow flies). According to geocachical rules this is one hundred metres too close, and so my little scheme was scuppered. On the one hand I was a tad miffed that my plans had failed (I know of nowhere else where I might put such a cache). On the other hand I was rather relieved because cache maintenance would not be easy. And also I'd need permission to hide the cache on the railway's land. After several months the railway people had still not replied to my emails. Oh well; such is life. I shall just stick a cache up a nearby tree instead and see if anyone breaks their neck climbing after that one.

By now we were rather worn out, and little Sid was beginning to flag in the heat of the hot day, so we started to wander back to the cars. Or that is the drivers wandered back to the cars; everyone else wandered to the pub whilst the drivers brought the cars up. The Royal Oak in Capel is an odd place. When you walk into the place you get definite vibes of it being "a local pub for local people", but I've always found them to be friendly and welcoming. Take this afternoon for example. Little Sid is a chunky-monkey. Pugs aren't built for heat; and I was carrying him as he was worn out. The pub staff had seen us coming, and actually met us as we arrived with a bowl of cool water for the poor little pup. It's little things like that which make me want to go back there again.

With pints drunk we set off home. It seemed odd to be home before 4pm on a Sunday; but it was good to have a little slobbing about time; even if we did have to put up with next door clanging on the piano. I don't really mind them having a piano - as far as I'm concerned their piano gives me and my dog carte blanche to make as much noise as we like. mind you, it does seem odd that for all that they clang on their piano they never seem to show any improvement on the thing.

I checked my emails again. A new geocache had gone live on the other side of town. We rushed out in the vague hope of a First to Find - we were third. FTFs go fast in Ashford. And with er indoors TM" off bowling I settled down in front of the telly for an evening's DVD-a-thon. I needed to do something restful - I've had a busy day...

As always there are photos of our day on-line.

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