For a couple of months I’d been able to see Gee’s calendar entry for Saturday 16 June 2018. It merely stated “Andy Birthday surprise 1” at 9am. I had no idea what the surprise was, only that we were going to Snowdonia for the weekend. On the Thursday before, Gee forwarded me the information for the activity and had I read the information properly I may have had a better idea, but instead I focused on the requirement of wellies and food for the day and remained perplexed.
We left on friday afternoon, a standard procedure for us and arrived on the side of Llyn Celyn at around 19.40 where we parked up for the night. After a quick meal, we headed for a walk along the lakeside in a lovely evening sunlight.
We woke up at around 0800 the next morning, and quickly got back on the road to complete the remaining 25 minutes. The route took us along the B4391 to FFestiniog which despite the low cloud, was a spectacular drive. I find that Wales never fails to impress, whatever the weather, but upon entering the car park I quickly realised it wouldn’t matter what the weather was doing, as we were going underground.
Gee had booked us on the most bad-ass adventure they offer: the Ultimate Xtreme. We spent approximately 5 hrs 30 underground tackling the full go-ape style course, lit only by our headtorches. GoBelow lease the World’s largest slate mine and have created safe routes around a small percentage of the mines 100+miles of tunnel networks across 15 or so floors.
The adventure started by walking down old rail tracks until we had dropped a few levels. After a few turns in complete darkness, we emerged in an opening 30m up on a large cavern wall. Following old routes, we traversed the cavern wall on these small planks of wood, before abseiling down to the cavern bottom.
Small walkways to traverse
Abseiling down to the cavern bottom
The route crossed many levels and a wide range of ‘obstacles’, from the world’s first underground zipline, the world’s first underground freefall, bridge crossings, via ferrata, balance crossings and a variety of other ziplines.
Original wooden bridge beam crossings
Walk the plank zipline
The whole day was really well led, and even with climbing experience and having done some via ferrata across europe, we both thoroughly enjoyed this great experience in the heart of north Wales. The group of 10 we part of were a great bunch from all over the UK, just showing what an attraction this.
Back above ground