Days Three and Four: The adventures begin

Day Three: Webbos Nature Trail:

After a long sleep I awoke to the sound of Bob Dylan and Stevie, warbling in harmony, brothers in drug-taking and chorus, banging Mr Tambourine Man into oblivion. Anyhow, by 1200hrs we were off in the direction of the Couey Lodge, keen to find the gaping doline we intended to descend later in the week. But first I wanted to see some of the Pyrennes, so off the French/Spanish border and the Lepineux shaft. Found the shaft, the memorial to Loubens, a fire salamader, a couple of lizards and plenty of snow. The area was absolutely gorgeous !

Apparently lots of skiers fall down caves in the winter!

Random sign seen at the side of the road.

At the designated parking spot for the Couey Lodge, the boys spread out and moved off into the woods. After and hour nobody had found the bugger so Webbo and I consulted the map, walked 200m up the road, found the obvious track and followed it straight to the cave mouth ! It was a big bugger, full of snow with a cold draft rising from its deep bowels..........Let battle commence !!

Temperature inversion

Temperature inversion seen on the way to the cave

Pic d'Anie

The Pic d'Anie as seen on the way to the cave

With the cave found we could concentrate on getting some supplies in. First we needed caving kit, so off to deepest Frog-land to purchase 20kg of carbide (like), new oversuits and wellies (AP!) and Petzl Tikkas (Thank god you did Webbo !). Then, a classic Pendle Supermarket Sweep ! £125 on biscuits, crisps, chocolate, crackers, wine at 1 euro a bottle and feck all else ! Back to our plush HQ for a fantastic chicken dinner (3 hrs late!), our first decent meal in four days....followed by:


Will Swampster do the following...............?

  • Eat a whole 12 inch apple tart in half an hour ?
  • The beast weighs 1.4kg and was due to feed the 5 of us (or 15 normal folk). If Swamps cannot manage this bet he owes Pendles finest 80 Euros (x10 cost of pie).

    Well, after 30 minutes, Swamps managed 2/3rds and crusts. Oh dear.........Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    What now? Options.............

    1). Pay up like a man
    2). Tell everyone to piss up a rope for their 80 Euros
    3). Fall on your sword.........

    Make a second bet. Mmmmmm, like what ?

    "Ok" says Swamps, "I'll drink a pint of Weaners piss"

    "Done!", replied Pendle Boys.

    Weaner duly supplied a pint of steaming golden urine. It stank like a polecat. Swamps insisted the beverage be chilled for his delight.....ok.

    Sadly, Swamps had second thoughts about this one. A few options were explored before the crazy fool settled on eating an onion boiled in Weanski's home brew.

    Minutes later a decorative copper saucepan from the living room full of stinking frothy bodily waste avec onion was on the go. Before he could change his mind, Swamps was served said item on a plate.

    Excited onlookers strained the see the beast peel the horror - and eat a mouthful.......

    Arrghhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!!

    No need

    The freak then said that it wasn't cooked enough ! ! ! ! ! !


    See the pictures here ! ! (not suitable for those with a delicate constitution)

    Day Four: The Raptor Cannon (First trip in the PSM):

    The rain of humiliation greets Swampys dawn. As the mists of drunkeness disperse and the cold light of day exposes his true position in the Pendle hierarchy, it becomes clear to the beast, that he is sitting at the bottom of a very tall and steep mountain......................


    Sat. breakfast
    Webbo opens the jar of Nuttela.
    "Uurgghh," comments Swamps, "chocolate for breakfast."
    "You can talk !" retorts Bloomster ! ! !

    Comment observed by AP

    The Gouffre de Pierre Saint Martin, EDF Tunnel.

    Saturday was tops. Late start then off to Sainte-Engrace to see a man about a cave. The bottom of the PSM to be precise ! The man was a crofter, through and through. His blue SCNF trousers hadn't ever seen a washing machine and his greasy orange shirt poked through his flies. Apparently he was the hardest caver ETA had ever had !

    Still, Webbo conversed with him whilst I had a look around. There was a dog in his wood-burning oven, gently baking, 3 raptor rifles and Webbo pointed out a cannon, used to get flocks of raptors, or extra large ones that have fed on the flayed and decayed bodies of errant Spanish cavers, determined to claim the PSM for themselves.

    We filled in his insurance forms, lied and said we were competent then drove to a convenient parking place. Kitting up in the pissing rain, we began our trudge to the cave entrance, the EDF Tunnel.

    The walk was long and arduous, not helped by my body still being busy digesting late-night chicken dinners and requiring vast amounts of energy to do so. Entrance was made into the Gorge d'Arphidia, leading (apparently) straight to the cave by the shortest route, but the path soon ran out and we became entrenched in our first battle with French scurf !

    Two hours later we emerged from the gorge just as 10 Spanish cavers sauntered past on the obvious path………….bugger !

    The EDF tunnel was reached and we headed in ahead of the bemused Spaniards, the condition of the tunnel was ok, having been much talked up by the Craven, and the Salle de Verna was fucking massive (as expected). And full of boulders (again, much expected). We could see jack-shit in the huge thundering maelstrom of spray thrown up by the PSM river crashing down the Verna cascades, so we headed upstream to impress the Swamp monster a little bit more (this was his first foreign caving trip!)

    Upstream was monstrous, monstrous caving in monster monster passage. It was all fecking huge and very impressive………….then the roof lowered and we had to scramble around one side into a superb bit of river cave, the PSM river racing alongside, deep blue and very very powerful. What a place !

    Back at Beard HQ the order of the day was veggie curry, fried rice and wine at €1.80 a bottle ! Only the good stuff for us !


    The Catholic bell tower that bonged the hour, every hour, sometimes up to 38 times !