The Sword in the Stone Page 2

First light saw us nosing the Jeeps up a steep logging track half a kilometer distant from the site we`d identified on the map. The forest was heady mixture of pine, beech and oak that you only see in real ancient woodland punctuated heavily with limestone stacks and boulders
that had weathered away from the main cliff face, a glance uphill and to the right as the track wound its way upwards tantalisingly revealed the odd glimpse of several small caves and hollows undercutting the main jutting outcrop. Everything looked just right and with the Jeeps parked we had our kit together in record time.

Chris pulled out the map once more and with Rick and myself we traced a possble route upwards, skirting the base of the cliff and then left into a narrow boulder filled gulley which would place us overlooking the circular feature we`d ID`ed earlier back at home. Twenty minutes later saw us at the top of the cliff staring into this natural rock ampitheatre
it was roughly 150 feet across by about 100 deep almost completely enclosed with just a very narrow entrance towards the river. We climbed over and down and by now the sun was getting up making the going a little easier and we began to search our way down to the bottom. I was using my Fisher 1266 with 10.5 coil that I always use for woodland hunting and was quietly pleased with the complete lack of modern junk as I picked my way down.

My first find came quickly, a deep strong signal from a patch of limestone scree slope revealed a nicely patinated medieaval bronze buckle from the late 1500`s in nice undamaged condition, then all went quiet until I worked my way down to the very bottom of the slope. There was iron here, not very much but old handmade cut nails the usual square headed stuff found all over and after digging a few I opted for searching another section of scree, looking up I could see my friends searching above and below me coming from opposite sides of the slope below the rock face.

We were about 15 minutes into our search and a glance across to my pals I could see they were both well engaged in digging.
Trying to find a spot to settle on I climbed up and out of the basin to approach from the open valley end and I could now hear Chris working his way along 30 feet below me.
I had just topped an outcrop when a few choice german expletives split the silence , something along the lines of " I dont ******** believe it!!!"

I peered over the top of the stack I was standing on imediately to where Chris stood 30 feet below, an almighty grin split his face.
150 feet away Rick hurriedly decended an extremely steep scree, sometimes on his feet but mostly on his backside, looking for all the world like some outlandish downhill skier, finally windmilling to an abrupt halt with an impressive out of control powerslide that dumped him headfirst into the tangled vegetation at the screes bottom.

I rapidly backtracked and clambered down to where Chris was laughing almost hysterically now after catching Rick`s decent.
Pulling himself together as Rick arrived Chris motioned with digging tool to a huge rock outcrop standing proud of the rock face split with a vertical faultline about 8 feet long.
The crack was developing where a 20 ton slab of limestone was shearing away from the rock face leaving a narrow gap you could just about get your arm into.

It was from this gap that Chris had got a huge iron signal and clearing away the leaf debris he could feel a long piece of iron which he was convinced as far as he was concerned was a sword but temptingly almost at the full extent of his arm`s reach and completely unyielding.
We quickly removed some more loose leaf debris and rubble and worked a maglite into the crack which suddenly revealed a stack of long iron objects all roughly bundled on top of each other.
These were all firmly wedged, the slab had obviously shifted over the years jamming the objects in the crack very firmly, added to the fact that a small bush was growing out of the top of the slab, its roots completely entangling the objects in the crack.

Ok dont say we dont come prepared, out came a pocket folding saw and 10 minutes with this tool put paid to the offending roots at last giving a better view of the objects jammed in the crack.

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