Underground, overground

We were up in Monmouthshire for Emma’s birthday weekend (her joint party is still a couple of weeks away). The day itself looked decidedly grey so we picked a random nearby indoor tourist attraction to visit: Clearwell Caves. I had been caving there a long time ago as a scout. This time, there was no overalls and helmet, we just went around the show caves. As a natural cave system expanded by mining activity they were more extensive than I was expecting. Not on the scale of Dan-yr-Ogof but the snippets of local history made it interesting enough. Tickets can now be bought online at a small discount (which appeared to be news to the guy manning the entrance) and Emma was sufficiently taken to want to return and explore deeper.

The next day, Christine’s parents had paid for those of us with a May birthday (Emma and I) to canoe down the Wye. It was a fairly sedate affair, just covering the four or so miles from Monmouth down to Whitebrook with a stop off in Redbrook for ice cream on the way. With the current in your favour, paddling was really only required to stay on course with the main obstacles being fishermen and the bottom of the river! We managed to get stuck on top of a weir at one point but eventually freed ourselves. My highlight was seeing a kingfisher: a first for me.

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