Without a word Ned opened his bag and pulled out a coil of rope, near the bottom of that tree you will find a steel pin driven into the ground and there is a round hole to thread the end of this rope through.
Harry said, ‘I’ll do it’ pulling the rope through until it was nearly all through, there was a knot with two loops at the other end,
‘This is called a boson’s chair,’ said Ned you put one leg through each loop and the knot at the front, then we hold the rope and let it pass through the Anchor ring as you climb down.’ It was a scramble rather than a cliff face descent, still a daunting task, for anyone who has not done anything like this before. We could see Maurice going faster as he reached the last few rocks. His foot slipped off and he came only to be held by the rope. Once he regained his footing we eased the rope for him to go down the last ten feet, stepping out of the rope loops he shouted.
‘Rope’s free send the next one down’ very soon all the boys were down leaving Ned to come down last. He hauled the rope up but instead of stepping into the loops he coiled it up and placed it in his bag, walked around a bush then down a gentle sloping path and around the corner without the boys seeing him, then stood looking up ‘Where’s Ned’ He said without turning they said ‘he’s still up there.’ ‘Well we’ll just go on without him it will soon be dark’ the four boys shouted NO! Then they looked around to see a grinning Ned.
‘How did you get here?’ Asked a chorus of boy’s voices, ‘changing the subject,’ said Ned, ‘Did you enjoy the descending scramble?’
Each one wanting to describe their feelings about the descent, you can talk on the way back to camp. We don’t need a leader if you stick to this path.
It was like following a group of parrots squawking at high pitch each one trying to shout louder than the others. The hour it took to get back to camp flashed past as they followed the stream bed even missing the camp entrance. Rupert shouted ‘stop! We have passed a cliff on our left I’m sure that it is the one opposite our camp, I will run back and check, be back in a couple of minutes,’
Then Harry pointed up stream ‘Look there is Roger the stag, he is looking our way it must be time for them to drink and feed.’
‘We all move backwards away from them’ said Ned as he whistled to let Roger know that everything was fine. Gradually the young deer walked behind Roger towards us. Rupert guessed what was happening seeing the group walking backwards he hurriedly filled the water bucket and pans before the deer take over and muddied the water. They hurried into camp to find a fox cub tangled in the guy ropes. Peter asked if he could draw it before we released it back into the forest. It took only a few minutes to sketch it, and then off it went to join its mother.
Maurice and Peter had drawn the short straws, a medium sized bag of potatoes and two peelers and a small dish of water. The other two boys started to laugh until they had to peel the carrots and turnips, when you have finished chop them small and put them in the big pan of water to boil ready for the next stage. A level teaspoon of salt to bring out the full flavour, soon the pot was boiling without the lid.
Peter said I’ll pick the nettles for the tea.’
‘I’ll cut the bread and butter it,’ said Harry.