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Amy Owen fills us in on the Underground Sleepover at Corris Mine Explorers, a subterranean experience that made a big impression.

We took part in the Underground Sleepover for my boyfriend’s birthday and it’s a gift I’m pretty sure he’s never going to forget. We’re really into walking and anything else that gives you a rush (we’ve recently been skydiving). I really didn’t anticipate any adrenaline from this activity, mainly because I had no previous experience underground and didn’t really know what to expect. We were so wrong!

We were lucky that we were in a group that we were all at similar fitness levels and quite like-minded. It meant we were able to push ourselves without making anyone feel out of their depth. As we explored the mine, our guide Mark told us heaps about the history of the place and pointed out interesting historical features. I’d expected this kind of stuff, but I had not expected some of the other things we got up to.

We explored many chambers within the mine, climbing on ropes, squeezing through tiny gaps and crossing narrow ledges with a ridiculous amount of fall beneath. When we turned our lights off it was so dark, pitch black, darker than you’ve ever seen. Sometimes, you’d hear rumbles and wonder where the slate would fall next. It’s an exciting feeling with an element of fear, which is the perfect recipe for adventure! Mark was amazing, he really encouraged us and made the whole experience fun. He was always honest and made sure we knew about the potential dangers. The highlight was when he let off fireworks in one of the chambers.

When it came time to bed down for the night, I actually slept quite well (apart from the snoring). I only took my sleeping bag and didn’t bother with a camping mat. It’s quite strange down there, but we had a candle lit for the majority of the night so it wasn’t completely dark.

Tips if you’re thinking of taking part this year. Make sure you take three pairs of socks: one for the night, one for when you get up the next day and one in the car. This activity is not designed for people with long nails. Ouch! Don’t wear any jewellery, once it’s gone, it really will be gone. Go with an open mind and don’t be afraid of pushing yourself. You’ll be amazed by what you can achieve. And finally, always listen to Mark. He is King of the mine and knows all its secrets.

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