A Clifton Gorge Ringside Cliffhanger
“Raf’s whole being was shaking, not because of a fear of heights, but for what he was about to do.”
The world stood still as Raphael watched the box containing an engagement ring careering down the side of the cliff. “You can imagine how I felt,” he said, “pretty wretched.”
That Saturday morning Raf Woolf and his girlfriend Amy Colson had set off to climb the Avon Gorge in Bristol, the best city crag in the world. Raf is a romantic. Halfway up the cliff he had intended tying a ribbon around a platinum and diamond engagement ring and hanging it up so Amy could find it … but it didn’t quite work out like that! In mitigation an embarrassed Raf told me that it had been a “pretty scary climb”, and getting rather late in the day.
When they reaching the top they made themselves safe, Raf tying himself to a tree. He was happy and elated; now was the moment! He reached in a pocket for the ring-box lovingly wrapped with that ribbon and began to open it. Somewhat graphically, he described the action as “unfurling a toilet roll.”
Raf’s whole being was shaking, not because of a fear of heights, but for what he was about to do. Alas, the small box slipped from his trembling hands, rolled down the hill and disappeared over the cliff. Desperately he donned a head torch and abseiled down, frantically searching for the errant ring.
Above him, Amy could see what was happening, but couldn’t really understand what was going on. “What are you doing?” she screamed. Raf shouted back the first thing that came into his head … that he’d dropped the car keys.
Despite frantic efforts in the near darkness, it was proving to be a hopeless task. “To hell with it. Now was the moment. I went back up, sorted the ropes and sheepishly said to Amy that I had a confession to make. When I told her my intentions and then losing the ring, she sobbed. Will you marry me anyway? I asked, which made her cry even more, and a little noisily, but she managed to say yes!”
Raf and Amy decided to return early the next morning and retrace their route up the cliff. Raf said, “Quite frankly, as we abseiled down the Gorge, I didn’t hold out much hope in locating the ring. Half way down, and after about two hours searching I DID find the empty box.”
In the meantime Amy’s dad, Bill Colson, was trying to contact help via the Internet. What followed admirably showed what could be achieved with cooperation between detectorists. Via a convoluted route involving Ken Watson, a helpful member of Cardiff Scan Club, Bill found just the man!Continue reading “A Ringside Cliffhanger”