I like to be different so I’ve compiled a ‘Ten activities I would most dislike to do before I die, but will do them anyway’ list.
I’m currently on number nine and, put it this way, I’m not sure I’ll live to put number ten into practice.
Here I am twenty feet underground Pot Holing, ME! I must be crazy, wait until I see my psychologist (if I survive).
‘Jayne, face your fears’, I can hear his voice now as I crawl on my hands and knees, practically wedged between roof and floor. ‘Don’t Panic!’ I repeat to myself. Suddenly I hear a thunderous noise.Boulders cascade in front of me, blocking off my escape. Now What?
Shining a torch on my map I realize there’s no route left apart from ‘THE CHIMNEY’ a vertical ascent needing calm nerves and even stronger muscles to negotiate. It’s a painstaking process requiring me to jerk my back off one wall, then inch my legs up the opposite wall to gain height.
Halfway up and exhaustion sets in. I close my eyes and rest for a few moments. I’m taking gulps of air to regulate my breathing when, a loud gushing noise assaults my ears. Oh No! The earlier landslide must have opened up an underground stream.
I have to get out. Can I make it in time? Stark fear rages through my body, my legs feel heavy and slow, my back ripped to shreds by the jagged rock wall.
I’m gasping, trying to quell mounting hysteria.
‘Nothing is beyond you, fear is just an emotion, conquer it’ my psychologists words of wisdom penetrate my mind and with a last spurt of energy I grab onto the edge and pull myself from the darkness below. Gaining freedom I shout ‘NEVER AGAIN.’
By Ruth Locker-Smith