Abime Du Fourneau. May. 87.

It came as quite a surprise to find by Friday of our week in Belgium there were only four females left keen to cave. We soon found ourselves changing and off to the hole
under the watchful eyes of Stuart, Carl, and Bob Johnson (YSS). We tried to persuade Sue to come but she had suffered enough earlier in the week. A 55ft. entrance pitch was soon rigged with a little assistance, and we were off on our adventure. A boulder choke led down to an unlikely way on — so we went that way. A short low wet bit led us to our first pretty bit — it was pretty because it was not muddy. The rest of the cave was mud, we laid in it, crawled in it, walked through it, and climbed up and down in it.

There was no mistaking that we had been caving. No one could accuse us of only sitting at the bottom of the pitch. The many cross rifts were very interesting, diaclases, as they are called. We found a suitable end when we’d had enough grotting - needless to say it did go further - but it looked horrible. The exit went as smoothly as the entry. It
was great to be able to wally about with no one breathing down your neck shouting “What are you messing about at?” On returning to the entrance chamber we heard the kerching of ladders. Expecting the return of the others we called out. No response. It soon became clear that the cavers above were about to haul our ladder out of the cave, and had already removed some of my SRT gear, which I had left at the bottom of the Pitch.

Ross called out in French, (I dare not ask what she said) - no response. They quickly disappeared leaving everything I needed to return to the surface, but I had lost all the surplus - even my cows tails. Stuart could not understand why I had not run up the ladder after them. My instincts of self preservation were paramount, besides I had to look after Ross, Celia, and Kay — well that’s my excuse anyway. We all exited without incident to see no sign of the thieves. The incident put a damper on what had been an excellent trip and had curtailed our visit. We didn’t look at the sumps near the entrance chamber. The others arrived just as we got to the car - the cavalry was late again.

Sue Johnson.

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