After many false starts, the world-famous Caminito del Rey is finally being made safe so that many more people can enjoy this thrilling walkway – thankfully we got to bag this a couple of times over the years by using our Via Ferrata and Climbing gear to gain access, we were able to enjoy this unique place.
Box Freestone Mine is located on the outskirts of Box village, just off junction 17 of the M4. Again like so many of our trips, this one was conceived in the pub with emails going out the very next day. Several weeks later here we were, getting ready to enter these vast underground tunnels.
This limestone quarry has been mined since Roman times though this came to halt during the very early 70s. Now its visited by intrepid explorers and the curious – buying maps from the local pub, the very good Quarrymans Arms (who looked after us once we’d finished our adventures) and is also the place where you can pick up the key to gain access to the mines.
The tunnels are vast and if I remember correctly, are broken up in to three distinct areas Northern, Southern and one other area which I can’t remember!
We had a great time, the mine is very impressive – there were discarded tools, old wooden cranes, graffiti going back to when the mines were mined and areas of tunnel that were collapsed.
We were underground for a good few hours before finishing up at a place called the Cathedral, natural light teeming in from the hole above – its only whilst you have someone stood there that you get a sense of how large this space is.
We exited the mine into someones garden (a seriously impressive garden it was too) and headed straight to the pub – not more than 100m from where we came above ground.
A great session in the pub was the perfect end to the day with most of us opting for the very quaffable mole beer!
Hearing some of my good friends were visiting other good friends(!) I decided to jump in the car and gatecrash the party and pleased I did. We had great food and many laughs, catching up on each of our lives – it was good to see everyone.
Earlier today we decided to go for a walk along Brighton Pier – typically, it being a bank holiday weekend, it was teeming with rain!
Having had a great evening with friends in the Somerset Village of Box, I set off bright and early the following day to return home to London. Twenty minutes in and already the electronic signs on the M4 were saying ‘Severe Delays’ at the next junction…
Not being in any great rush to get back to London I opted to turn off the M4 and pretty much ‘follow the sun’ back to London – not looking at the map, just following my instincts and the road ahead. What should’ve been a couple of hours journey time ended up being about five hours – a thoroughly awesome five hours, which lifted my spirits greatly – it was much-needed and made me wonder more about sometimes just doing something with no end goal and seeing happens.
I actually ended up in the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, spending a couple of hours enjoying the early morning sunshine amongst (I’ve since found out) the largest stone circle in the whole of Europe. It was really special and having been known to hug trees in the past, couldn’t resist touching these ancient monuments and wondering about all that has gone before these great monuments.
Not being much of a religious person, I ended up visiting the church in Avebury, taking pictures of the church and its gravestones very near this monument built by our ancient ancestors.
This morning really brought home how amazing we all are and how lucky we all are to have these reminders of previous lives. It also made me think of a walk I’d done with the boys a couple of years back – Op Rafter, where we also came across an ancient stone circle…
Saw this really great time-lapse video on Twitter this morning and it really resonates with me – I love the idea of just heading in a direction, keep walking – one foot in front of the other.
That and finally being able to grow a great beard!
Back in 2011 I was fortunate in that I was able to go on a world-wide trip, taking in many continents and experiencing many rich cultures. Seeing the above time-lapse made me think about a time when I was in Noida, Delhi taking photos of pilgrims on their own epic walk…
I really do fancy going on an epic walk somewhere.
I had to get back to Delhi – I had my ticket to leave Varanasi, sometime around 1pm Sunday. India has a huge train network, probably the biggest rail network in the World – it’s certainly India’s largest employer. When it works, it’s fantastic and certainly a great way to see the country though when it goes tits-up, it really does!
Booking tickets is fairly straight forward if you’ve an Indian credit card or family member who can book you a ticket online. Otherwise it means joining the queue at the station and waiting in line. Not speaking the language there’s an almost 100% chance you’ll get something wrong which will see you starting the whole process over again.
They also have something called the ‘waiting list’ where you buy a ticket though you’re not assigned any seat – the idea being that…