Society Of Lancaster University Graduate Speleologists

Wye Valley, October 2015.

The Wye valley was resplendent in autumn colour; it was sunny and warm (in the day time) but there were only four of us there. Illness and holidays intervened equally to keep the numbers low. On Saturday we enjoyed a lovely walk through the ancient forest to Symonds Yat. Here we watched a kayak slalom contest while munching our lunch, before continuing our stroll up the river and back. Unfortunately, back at the campsite Sue had a nasty fall, so along with George she went home to recover. Now we were down to two! However that evening in the local pub we were joined by Phil, Elaine, Dick and Dave Mullin for a nice meal and a few beers.

Sunday morning it was just Ken and Anne, so we went climbing at Symonds Yat and enjoyed a few classic routes. In true Daykin style, we walked back to camp in the dark (only getting a little bit lost!). At night the woods are positively creepy, with grunting and rustling and crashing in the undergrowth; the area is now home to a goodly population of wild boar, and even though they are rarely seen, we weren’t sure whether to walk quietly in the hope that we would, or stomp noisily to avoid startling one!

Later we discovered that most of the guttural grunting is uttered by rutting Fallow deer: we watched a large herd near the campsite, being marshalled around by a very vocal male.

We stayed on for the rest of the week, enjoying the fine autumn scenery and visiting all the major crags. We drank coffee in Tintern, walked stretches of the Offa’s Dyke footpath, and even walked through a kilometre- long disused railway tunnel, (after squeezing through the railings!).

Wye Valley is a great place to visit at this time of year.

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