28 February 2023

Glaciology, sexism and racism

 Since a while, the School of Ocean Sciences has a body that to address issues of diversity in the wider context within the school. It's called "Ocean Colours" and once in a while we have a meeting, with one or several presentations, and hopefully a lot of discussion. I remember a meeting where someone introduced us to lots of scientists of colour that we might name-check in our lectures, to break the centuries-old habit of only doing that with straight white men. These, after all, have a way of coming out on top when everybody else falls by the wayside. But not on our shift!

The day came that I would give a talk. There was a small database of ready-made talks, and one of them was about glaciology, sexism and racism. As I am the module lead on our only glaciological model, I felt like it was up to me to take that and run with it. 

The day was coming closer and closer and I was still busy with my teaching and my academic integrity obligations! In the end, I prepared it the day before. Not ideal! But that is how such things often pan out. 

The presentation came in three parts. It started with the gender imbalance in glaciology. Nobody is surprised about that. It's a science! You don't find science with gender balance very often. Maybe biology is ahead, but glaciology is quite close to physics, and that says it all. And not everyone thinks high latitude fieldwork is for women. But we have spoken about the gender balance in our field before. 

“Peter and Dagmar Freuchen,” by Irving Penn (1947).Photograph by Irving Penn / © The Irving Penn Foundation. Seemed a good illustration of gender expectations at the time...

The original presentation I was using cited a 2010 article about gender balance in glaciological journals; it showed that authorship is predominantly male by quite a large margin. I wondered if anything had improved since then, and totted up the first authors in a recent issue of the Journal of Glaciology. Still 80% male first authors! 

There might be an additional complication glaciology has that says it doesn't have, and it is remote fieldwork. I know that that can sometimes go wrong, both from the media and from friends. If someone is sexually harassing you and you really I have no way of getting away from them, that is worth them when it is just in the office or something. I thought I'd look up some literature about this, but I was a bit shocked by the sheer amount there is. I let that speak for itself!

A topic in the original presentation did I decided was a bit less important was names. Quite some unsavoury people have been engaged in exploration and research, and have, as a result of that, had landmarks named after them. And the suggestion was that that legacy could be broken by renaming them. Many of these landmarks would have an original name given by the local population, rather than by European travellers. Not all, of course; for instance, a great name in historical glaciology is Louis Agassiz. One of the landmarks named after him is a lake that stopped existing almost 12,000 years ago. That wouldn't have an original name anyone would be able to remember. But Agassiz turned out to be a man with quite problematic views. A medal named after him has already been renamed; should the lake follow? But this renaming is more an issue for nation states and whoever else is in charge of defining names. Not really something the glaciological community can do much about!

The second main topic of the presentation of us racism. The regional presentation did not go into ethnicity of authors of glacial logical journals, but I suppose that might be a bit tricky. What it did go into was that Arctic indigenous peoples, and indigenous people in or near mountain ranges, suffer disproportionally from melting ice. I did not think that case was strongly made. Which doesn't mean it's not true! But it also claimed there is no way for indigenous people to be involved in glaciological research. And I knew that that wasn't quite true.

When I leave the Norway, some of my colleagues formed the Secretariat of the Arctic Council. And that council was specifically set up to make sure that indigenous people are included in, and benefit from, glaciological research. All countries with Arctic territories are members, and organisations that represent all the indigenous peoples (as far as I know). And they try to achieve exactly what the presentation suggested isn’t being tried to achieve. And how is that going? To be honest, I didn’t have the time to properly find out. But I did see they managed to negotiate legally binding agreements. I checked one out; it obliged the signatories to encourage the involvement of indigenous peoples in all aspects of Arctic research. So that is easy to comply with! But one has to start somewhere.

It looked like the present day situation was affecting the functioning of the Arctic Council, though. The various member states rotate position of chair, and the current chair is Russia. And I drew the conclusion that that was the reason that on the front page of the Arctic Council website, it says "the Arctic Council is pausing all official meetings of the Council and its subsidiary bodies until further notice". A big spanner in the works! We’ll have to see how this pans out. But clearly a start has been made… 

26 February 2023

Starting to rebuild wood pile

My garage was getting empty! Which is not very worrying; spring is clearly in the air, so I won't need to regularly have the woodstove on for much longer. But I would like that pile to be restocked for next season. So when we drove to the Gwydir forest, and we came past a hotel (or something like that) that was clearly undergoing some renovations, and that had a big pile of waste wood in front of its door with a big sign saying "free wood" my interest was piqued.

The day after I drove to my periodical therapy session. And on the way back I decided to just stop and have some of it. It would only take a few minutes, and I wasn't timetabled immediately after returning to campus. It was lovely unpainted wood! Quite a lot of it still had the laths attached, but I can just take the whole thing home, separate the laths, and use them as kindling, while using the beams as logs.

It wasn't until Thursday I actually unloaded it into the garage. It is good to see it a bit less empty! And who knows; that pile might still be there when I have my next therapy session. Then I can just do it all again!

24 February 2023

White Nemesis or white friend

Ever since she moved in with me, my cat has been having trouble with the neighbouring cat. It was her territory first! And she is not going to give up. She will make a point of ostentatiously marking her territory while my cat is looking on from the safety of the conservatory. And they regularly fight.

Last autumn, I suddenly found her looking at a different cat from the safety of the conservatory. A big white male. She seem scared of him too! And when he was seen in the area a bit more often, he acquired the nickname White Nemesis. I could often hear him meowing outside my window.

One day he appeared sitting on the I-beams of Neuadd Ogwen's porch-to-be. Nemesis, the neighbour's cat, and my cat were looking at him from a safe distance. He seemed to be quite comfortable. And he came in for some snuggles. 

White nemesis, watched closely by original nemesis

A week or so later I was in the garage when I heard his meowing again. When I looked outside I saw he was on his beam again, but my cat was actually within the same enclosure, and seemed very comfortable with that. She was only a few metres away! I was wondering if they were becoming friends.

Even later, after dark, I even caught them sitting not much more than a metre away from each other, showing no signs of stress. This was good…

Maybe not such a nemesis after all!

A few days later I saw him when I was leaving the house in the morning. He was really up for some snuggles! And given that my own cat seems to like him I was too.

Quite liking the cuddles

I've been daydreaming a bit! He may be a stray. And he seems to like hanging around my house. And my cat likes him. Maybe he could move in!

I should be careful, though. She might like him as an occasional visitor, but would she like him as a house mate? Is he really a stray? I suppose after asking on Facebook, the only thing you can do is catch him, take him to the vet, and have him scammed for a chip. But that would also be the quickest way of making enemies. No one likes to be shoved into a travelling basket! 

For now I'll just see how things develop. I hope I will one day catch them touching noses. That would really mean they get on! And intact male is a bit of an unlikely friend for a spayed female, but if it floats their boat…

23 February 2023

Walk in Gwydir Forest

After New Year's Eve, it took a while to manage to meet up with that crew again. Things seemed to be particularly busy for Sue and Dean, and I didn't manage to convince Martin to catch up over a cup of tea either. So when at some point Sue finally texted to ask if anyone was up for a walk and some food afterwards, I was really happy. Even happier when Martin also turned out to be interested.

Martin picked all of us up at around 1 pm, and drove us to Betws y Coed. Sue and Dean had somehow not managed to have lunch yet, so they first had to get to a sandwich shop. But then we were on our way! The idea was to walk to Llyn Parc, and then loop around the east to get back to where we had started. And most of that worked well! 

We got to the lake the scenic way. And it is a nice lake! By its end, we had some honey cake I had brought. And then we tried to make the loop. That is where things didn't quite work out; we didn't venture far enough east, so we missed out on gorgeous views over the Conwy Valley. But it still was a nice walk.

Llyn Parc

When we got to the pizzeria, we saw that there might be a chance we could eat indoors. At this pizzeria, you can't take that for granted! We have sat outside several times here already. But inside is nicer in February. And the pizza is reliably marvellous! And I can also reliably bring half of it home. 

When we walked back to the cars I said I really hoped next time there wouldn't be and almost two months gap between seeing each other socially. They all agreed! And I hope time will reveal that we can make that happen…

22 February 2023

Foel Grochan

When our plan to go underground over the Christmas break didn't work out, Lydia and I picked a weekend in February instead. We checked if the likes of Kate, Miles, and Sharon were available, but none of them were. But one of our other students, Toby, was around and was up for it. And then we needed to decide on where to go. With not an awful lot of time to spare we decided on Foel Grochan. Lydia had been there and thought we would like it too. It wouldn't be a technical trip; no SRT kit needed. But it is in the Aberllefenni area, and there the slate vein is as good as vertical, which leads to very spectacular chambers. I had barely been there!

I picked Lydia and Toby up from Bangor, and then we set off south. It is a fair drive! When we got there, we saw some people clearly getting ready to go underground as well. Lydia recognised them; they were members of the Aberystwyth University caving club. That was nice!

It turned out to also be practical that they were there; Lydia had told me that the trip features a hand line. I had assumed that hand line was fixed. What she meant was that you need to bring a rope to serve as a hand line. None of us had done that! But we could use the Aberystwyth rope. Sorted.

Before going in. Pic by Toby.


They went a bit ahead of us. We got kitted, and I made sure to drink a flask of coffee. We also ate the honey cake I had made. I needed that after the long drive!

The walk to the entrance was short and scenic. When we got in we decided to first explore the entrance level. It looks quite old! And the spaces you look into are amazing. With the vein being vertical, the chambers are so high!

When we had seen it all we went back to the Aberystwyth hand line and went down. We descended a huge chamber, and then slipped out of it through an almost-gated passage on the left.

The big chamber in which you descend to the level with the round trip. Pic by Toby.

One of the first things we got to was a ladder down. That's where we caught up with Aberystwyth again. And then there was another ladder! I took the opportunity to eat something. Lydia and Toby worryingly didn't carry bags. Don't these people eat and drink?

The next level quickly revealed its next treasure. A structurally sound catwalk! We had seen remnants of Victorian catwalks on the higher level; these didn’t look inviting at all. If at all physically possible. But this one looked very 20th century, and we all went to the other side. And not much further down the level we found a train Lydia had spoken of. 

A fairly modern catwalk

Looking back across Catwalk Chamber


Passage. Pic by Toby.

A while later we came to a chamber with a big rusty crane. We made sure to properly admire it! 

Crane with caption. Pic by Toby.

The flooded chamber the crane lives in. Pic by Toby.

A while later we came to daylight. That already signalled our way back up and out. It seemed early! But we explored a passage that went in the opposite direction, and that lead us out of the hillside, overlooking the valley with another Aberllefenni mine on the other side. That was lovely!

Coming out into daylight on the way back.

Modern ladders

Unexpectedly coming out onto the hillside

More Aberllefenni quarries on the other side

Soon after that, we came into another big chamber that came up to the surface. And we saw two people there. We had a chat; they turned out to be Shropshire cavers. Lydia and Toby made sure to get their contact details so they could perhaps organise their caving club doing a Shropshire trip. I was mostly distracted by the amazing fossil ripples in the wall of the chamber!

We walked back to the almost gated passage, fuelled by Toby’s jelly babies. And then it was just a matter of clambering in the walking out! That Aberystwyth had taken their rope away didn't hinder us.

Coming out again

It was quite early! Which was fine. We just changed back into civilian gear and drove home. Another fairly long drive! But worth it. This is indeed a lovely place! 

21 February 2023

Deeper into PMIP

Last year I mentioned I would focus my teaching in our Climate and Climate Change module on periods climate models have picked as potential analogies for our near future. As I write this, atmospheric CO2 is at approximately 420 ppm. In a normal interglacial period, it is 280 ppm. You have to go millions of years back to reach a value as high as 420. And you have to go even further back to find the values that are expected for the year 2100. If you want to chase the values we might reach if we end up in a high emissions scenario, you have to go tens of millions of years back.

I mentioned all this before. This year I'm teaching that again. But if I teach something for the first time, I am never satisfied with it! So this year I am spending quite a lot of time reading up more on these time periods, and what the modelling attempts tell us. What are the things the models are struggling to reconstruct? What are the things the models can't agree on? These are probably the aspects of our climate system we struggle to catch in equations, or of which we don't have sufficient understanding yet.

There are still some serious issues with faithfully reproducing these times. Ocean circulation still seems to be difficult to get right. Just how much warming you get from a certain increase in greenhouse gases as well. And the temperature contrast between the equator and the poles also seems to be difficult. So these would be among the things that can still throw us a curveball.

It is a fair bit of work, but it is fascinating stuff! And my guess is that next year I will do it again to make the series even better…

20 February 2023


I know it technically isn’t spring at all! But there are so many ways in which it seems to be already.

We have so much daylight already! At 7 am it is light. And it stays light after six. The cat has noticed this too; she goes outside more now than she used to in the past months. And she has started basking in the comfortable chair in the conservatory! She hasn't done that all winter. 

As good as light at 7 am!

I already took this picture on February 5!

I have also already had my first lunch in the garden. The neighbour’s dog immediately noticed that and went in for some cuddles! Many more lunches like that will follow.

Lunch in the garden with bare trees

The trees are still bare. And that makes it actually a really good time of the year. You already have several of the advantages of spring, but the trees don't have their over-exuberant fresh green leaves yet. Perfect! And that won't last long. But in return we will get even longer and warmer days…

18 February 2023

Another attempt at smart watch

Last summer, my friend Monique gave me an old smart watch. I enjoyed it! But it didn’t live long. 

It took me a while to get my act together, but in the end I got myself another one. A refurbished Apple Watch. And my first outing with it was not a success; given that I normally wear old-fashioned watches that only need a new battery once every few years, I had not thought of charging it before I set off. I tried to log my commute, but it ran out of battery power pretty soon.

The next day it sort of worked! I did get a warning it was running out of power on my way home, and because of that it didn't quite log my entire commute. But it was close enough! When I got home, I immediately put it back in the charger. And when it was charged, at least I could effortlessly transfer my ride to my phone!

If I get used to charging it often enough, I will be able to log my runs and other types of exercise without having to bring my phone! And I expect that the GPS will work better. My phone has a bit of a habit of losing its positioning, especially if I take a picture along the way. And I like taking pictures along the way! So let's see how long I last in this century this time…

16 February 2023

Glorious commutes to therapy

The first time I saw my counsellor, we met in the afternoon. But the next appointment we made was early in the morning. She could accommodate me at 7:30! And I thought that was fine. It did mean, though, leaving the house before 7 am. That is quite early. And the first time it was still pitch dark at the time. But soon that changed!

The first four sessions were all in good weather. Some of them even in amazing weather. And when you have to leave the house before 7 am, you are not going to build in too much slack in the system. But I sometimes do stop and just take a picture of the amazing morning! I haven't arrived late yet. And once I get to our meeting spot, I can of course take as many pictures as I want.

What I discuss with my therapist is not really for this blog, but I thought I might share some of the morning pictures!

Nant Ffrancon in the early morning

View from Idwal Cottage; notice the little light on the flank of Tryfan

Llyn Ogwen under a full moon

Our Llanrawst stomping ground on a frosty morning

15 February 2023

Nick Beer 10k

After a rather pleasant Conwy Half Marathon, of which the most beautiful part was the overlap with the Nick Beer 10k, a lovely training run, and a look at the weather forecast for race day, I was quite looking forward to my first 10k since lockdown. And it was even going to get better: I would have supporters! Or at least one. Marjan had suggested she and Jaco come with me, as she had good memories of waving Jaco good luck at the start, having a nice stroll in beautiful Llandudno, and then being back at the finish on time to cheer him in. She suggested they together would do the same for me! But when the day came, Jaco couldn’t come, so it was just Marjan and me. And that is special for me, as I have been racing since 2011, but I very rarely have supporters. I think this was only the second time ever, and the first time was also Marjan!

We parked up half an hour before the start. I had brought some fake coffee and real cake in order to make sure I had some calories in my system. And in the start area I went for a last leak, and took off all my extra layers. You can just do that if you have a supporter! And the weather was gorgeous. 

At the start

Then it started. I felt good! So I decided to go quite fast from the beginning. I was doing about a km every 5 minutes, and that was uphill. Not bad!

I was cheerfully overtaking quite some women on the way up. Near the top there were four of us bunching together. I figured we would all really try to outrun each other! 

Notice the lovely weather and scenery

Between the 7km and 8km signs I wondered if that piece of cake had been such a good idea. But my intestines calmed down again. And I managed to get ahead of the other three women!

The we hit the promenade again. The last leg! I thought I had a little bit of acceleration in me. Not enough to overtake anyone, and nobody was threatening to overtake me, but still, it felt like the right thing to do. And I saw the counter had only reached about 46 minutes! Not bad. 

 Straining over the finish line

I came over the finish, and got my swag. Water, some snacks, and a memento. And then I went to find Marjan! That wasn’t hard. 

We walked back to the car, and decided to go for lunch. Marjan knew where the cafes were. We picked the first one we came across. I was still in my running kit, and a bit sweaty, but I still felt glamorous. Having posh lunch with a friend! 

When I came home I saw how exactly I had done. A time of 46:09, which was a PB on the 10k! That’s really good, given that it’s not a flat course. I had come in 14th woman (out of 240), and first in my category. Not bad! 

13 February 2023

Walking date

The time for a great reveal still hasn't come yet! But the dates haven't stopped. The last time I gave an update I had been on five dates with a particularly enjoyable man; by now this number has risen to 14. And during one of these dates we walked to Llyn Cowlyd. I hadn't been there in ages! And I must admit that the lake was not the main attraction, but still it was very beautiful. Stay tuned for more news…

12 February 2023


I think one of my colleagues introduced Padlet to me years ago. I figured it was a useful tool! It is in a way an online noticeboard; you can invite people to post things there. It is a way of asking students for ideas, which become visible to everyone, and are anonymous if they want them to be. But somehow I never got around to using it.

Then one day I was preparing for a tutorial within the science communication module. I had decided that what I wanted to practice with the students was taking data from sources, and then incorporating it in to your own narrative. The risk is that students will just list the information from the sources in order, and not actually create their own narrative. I thought maybe I could have them try and do this on Padlet. We would be able to discuss everybody's contributions! And they could be anonymous, which I thought might help get responses.

I first had to make one. This was my debut! But it isn't complicated, so it worked. I sent the invitation to the students a few days before the tutorial.

During the actual tutorial, it worked like a treat! None of the students had issues accessing it, and they were all happy making contributions. And having them on the screen allowed us to discuss them all; what were the strengths and weaknesses of the various attempts?

I may use this more often! I have the free version, so I am a bit limited, but I quite like what this does. I suppose it is quite typical that I am getting onto this bandwagon quite late! But not quite never… 

My very exciting first Padlet

11 February 2023

Cave rescue first aid night

The cave rescue team has a monthly training night, and in February the plan was to do some first aid. Especially now that we had a paramedic in the team. And we would meet at the headquarters of Llanberis mountain rescue. Probably because one over team is not only a professional first aid trainer, but also a LlMR team member!

When everyone we expected was there, we split ourselves into three groups: one group would practice the primary survey of a casualty, one would go through our search kits, and one would try out the new stretcher. The search kits, by the way, are the first aid kits we carry if we're still searching for the casualty. They mainly contain universally applicable medical paraphernalia, and stuff to keep the casualty warm and comfortable. Once we know where the casualty is and what their situation is, we can be a bit more targeted in carrying medical supplies to them!

I was teamed up with Sharon and Ron, and we did our rounds. I had practiced primary survey only recently, but I didn't quite know what we had in our search kits, and the stretcher being new, I hadn't tried that one yet. So it was quite useful!

When we were done, I managed to hand over three more medals. I hadn't put the entire box in my car as I didn't expect large numbers of people who were due one, but hadn't received it yet. Everyone in that category obviously doesn't show up very often, otherwise they would already have had it! One of the blokes I gave one to I hadn't seen in years.

I also took the opportunity to flirt a bit with our canine and honorary member Ralph. And then it was time to go home!

Gethin all stretchered up, with Ralph looking on

10 February 2023

Training run for the 10k

I had registered for another race! I had enjoyed myself running the Conwy half marathon, but some of the route is, to be honest, a little bit dull. That is basically the bit between Conwy Castle and the Great Orme. And as I had the racing bug, I checked for upcoming races. The nearest I could find was the Nick Beer 10k. That is a race that only goes around the Great Orme. So basically the ten prettiest kilometres of the Conwy half marathon! I registered.

I thought I should do a training run in the weekend before it. I wanted to run 10 K, with some verticality involved. And I decided to run to the Dinorwic surge pond (I'd biked it before). That's not quite 10k, but if you do the bit with the hairpin bends twice, it is! And it's not quite comparable; that route is about three times steeper than the Great Orme. But rather too steep than not sleep enough!

I parked up and started running at about 2:30. I knew I had quite a climb on my hands! But it felt good. And the views are lovely. There were quite a few other people on the road. Most of them walkers.

I got to the top, turned around, went back to the first sharp bend, ran back to the top, and then could just run all the way down again. Some cheerful cyclists I had met by the top, and who had probably stopped for a snack and some admiration of the views, came zipping past. 

I had intended to check whether I had indeed run 10k by the time I came back to the car, but the GPS signal had dropped, and my phone had only logged a kilometre or two of the route! So I don't know. But I have faith that my route planning was fine. And it had been my longest run since the half marathon, but I felt fine! I think I'm ready for that race…

View northish

View westish

By the fence, which is the end of the route

Summit selfie (2nd ascent)

09 February 2023

Two year cat anniversary!

As I write this, I have had my beautiful cat for two years exactly! Time flies when you're living with a lovely fluffball. 

What I wrote about the first anniversary still holds! She enriches my every day. And my every night as well, actually. I don't think there has been a single night in the past year where I was home and where she didn't sleep by my side! 

As a slightly early anniversary present she had her scratch post refurbished. And she has also really enjoyed her heated pad. That was nothing to do with the anniversary, but after initially taking to it like a duck to water, and then ignoring it for days, she is now using it as the standard snoozing spot.

She now also gives me little high-fives when she wants food! It is very cute. I have to make sure I don't end up having to report next year that she needs to go on a diet because these high-fives are too convincing and I give her too much food.

The one thing that still bothers me is that he is still over-grooming, and giving herself big bald patches. It probably means she still thinks I don't give her enough attention! I have been thinking about giving her a companion, but that might have to wait a while, as I will need to have some time to familiarise the newcomer with this household. So that might have to be a summer thing.

It is strange to think she has now spent more time living with me than anywhere else! I hope we will have many years together to come…

08 February 2023

Hendre Spar with Sharon

One of the ladies in the rescue team, Sharon, had told me quite a while ago that if I want to go underground, I should just give her a shout. She was up for going together! And since then she had asked me a few times if I was available for going on trip with her, but I had never been.

With Lydia I was supposed to go underground during the exam period, but that hadn't quite happened. So we still needed to sort that out! I bumped into her on the way to the interesting seminar about floating windfarms, and that very day we picked a weekend in which it was going to happen. We haven't decided yet where. But that very evening I asked Kate, Miles and Sharon if they would be available for that as yet undefined trip.

Sharon’s answer came quite quickly. She was working that weekend! But she wasn't working this one. Was I perhaps available for a trip that very next day? And it was a bit short notice, but I figured I was up for something. And one of her suggestions had been Hendre Spar Mine. I thought I had been, but years ago. I said yes! And made sure I got to bed early. She would pick me up the next day at 8 am.

When I saw her car turn into my street I noticed there was the handsome face of a dog looking out of the backseat window. That was bonus! Sharon explained that we could drive to the mine, walk the dog, go into the mine, and then go back to the dog. That way she would only be alone for a few hours, and she seemed to be totally fine with that. It sounded good to me!

We did as planned. Sharon navigated us to where we could park, and we had a little recce with dog and all. The entrance was very easy to find! And then we got dressed. The dog settled down for a nap.

The entrance is basically a hole in the ground with two ladders sticking out. We went down them, and got to a small passage with a sign indicating danger. Of course we went through. And then we just started to explore! Sharon remembered the place, but not in detail. We just made it up as we went along. We knew it wasn't a big mine, so we could just explore everything. Most levels were connected with ladders. Most of them in excellent shape!

At the entrance. Pic by Sharon

When you come out into a big stope. Pic by Sharon

Pretty cart. Pic by Sharon

Descending more ladders. Pic by Sharon

We came to one quite steep slope with a lot of loose rubble. It is a feldspar mine, and the ground is made up of crystals that look like coarse granulated sugar. You can slide down on that quite easily! And at the bottom of the slope there was a pipe you could hold onto, and at the top there was a chain, but in between there was nothing. And Sharon scaled the whole thing before realising she had done that before, and discovered that there was nothing worth seeing at the top. So I didn't bother!

We also came to an intriguing rope. And not much later, we reached the furthest point we could get too. We sat down for lunch. I was hungry!

During lunch we discussed whether we should try out that rope. If you approach it from the bottom, you have no way of knowing what it is attached to, and how. But we decided to trust it and prussick up. I went first. I decided that some of the karabiners were a bit rusty, but they would totally hold us. And I quickly checked where we would come out. I recognised a passage we had walked past on the way in, thinking we wanted to explore that at a bit later on! Sharon thought that all sounded fine, and followed me.

Ascending the mystery rope. Pic by Sharon

The last bit we explored. Pic by Sharon

When we came out of the passage we came across three other explorers. They just about said hello but nothing else! Strange people.

We made our way back without incident. Close to the entrance we passed one more ladder we hadn't gone down yet. We checked that out as well! It didn't lead to expansive workings, but we were glad we had seen them. And then we went out. And after a surface selfie we went back to the dog. She was very glad to see us again!

We walked the dog again; this time bringing a ball for extra excitement. And then we went back.

Given that it hadn't been a big mine, and we had started early, it wasn't very late when we got back. I decided to just go for a run. I still had energy! And although Sharon is going to join us on the trip with Lydia, I think we both enjoyed the trip, so we might do this again! And I might even get more kisses from the dog next time…