This is a story of wickedness, depravity and betrayal on a scale never seen
before. Nothing will prepare you for what you are about to read. Be afraid be
very afraid. Warning, if you are of a sound disposition do not read on.
In a land far away (some called it middle earth others call it Wales)
a group of EPZ stalwarts faced what was to be their toughest test yet,
The Challenge of the Two Towers.
It started one dark and misty Sunday morning just a few short days ago.
The quest (nice word isn't it) as we have come to know it would take us
to heights we had never imagined. We would see and experience many things
some of which I share with you, others are too horrible to mention.
We arrived at camp fully prepared or so we thought. We stood in awe at
the foot of the first tower, Raglan Castle a name that will haunt us for
the rest of our lives. As the light grew stronger (not really) we prepared
to move off. The journey or quest (there, I mentioned it again) as it
came to be known had commenced.
Before going further you need to know about our group, a motley bunch
of hobbits, dwarfs and evil doers if ever you saw them. They are pictured
||Back, left to right Wormtongue (Gerry), Arwen 1 (Sue).
Saruman (Ade). Frodo (Dave), Legolas (Mal) Front, left to right Aragorn
(Rob), Arwen 2 (Gill), Arwen 3 (Alethea), Arwen 4 (Mari), Gandalf (Brian)
It is here I should apologise to the readers. There are 4 Arwens in the picture.
This is due in part to Arwen being a common name in middle earth and secondly
I couldn't find any other female names to use.
But I digress. Back to the quest, great positioning of the word quest here,
what to you think?
We wandered the castle grounds constantly on the lookout for Orcs but
were not able to capture the images we so desperately sought. We didn't
have time to waste and the sky was getting ever darker. Those with courage
and faith took to the steps of the Tower. How brave they looked as they
climbed ever higher. We had been warned there were many steps, possibly
thousands and those who had remained behind felt a twinge of sadness as
there friends fell from view
.It was hours before they returned but we were glad to see them. Now
we could go for coffee. The story goes a bit a limp here but bear with
me it will pick up again later. During our coffee break it was apparent
that we had not all come prepared. Some had no coffee. When faced with
such a life and death situation you turn to friends for help. Some in
our group gave freely but others not so. I myself was forced to beg on
the streets of Raglan for a cup of water.
Lunch was taken at the Crippled Well within the shire. A delightful meal had
by all but time was slipping away and we had to move on. Some were not strong
enough to leave the shire and we parted company with them here. Crossing the
border to get to our second challenge was a high risk adventure. Those from
middle earth showed signs of fear as it is still legal to shoot them with a
bow and arrow in the shire of Hereford.
As we approached our second tower at Goodrich Castle the remaining members
of the group were in high spirits. Some wandered the laneway looking for shrubs
and pointing out which plants they recognised. It was clear that some had eased
the pain of this challenge with alcohol or drugs, or possibly beef or lamb from
lunch. Oh look it's a potato and look some rape seed and over there some peas
echoed the length of the track which leads to the castle.
Of those remaining only four managed to reach the top of the second tower.
By this time the wind and rain had set about us with some strength. It
was time to take shelter. We raced for cover in the castle chapel. As
we entered this scared and beautiful place we were greeted by the site
of a stained glass window the likes of which had never been seen before,
its colour and definition beyond imagination. Some in the group thought
it old but I knew the truth. This was a Nicola Woodcock or was it Wooduck
or Woodgate I knew it to be so and wanted everyone else to know. So I
told them over and over again until I made myself even more unpopular
This was indeed a special place and as we waited for the storm to pass
we washed our chattels in a special chattel washing place (You had to
be there to understand this bit) then realising that we had not taken
an afternoon break. We headed for the coffee shop at Helms Deep near the
Fangorn Forest just left of the Caverns of Isengard, 500 yards from the
Pass of Caradhras. After a time of story telling and putting the world
to right it was time to head for home and Middle Earth. This quest was
over ( just when you thought I couldn't squeeze another one in) Where
next for this band of well worn travellers, Talybont Anyone ?
This article was written by Gerry (On behalf of the Magnificent Ten)