Abseiling in Champagne

Part of my birthday surprise trip to the Champagne region of France was a visit to a Champagne Cave (cellar). The difference was that, in this case, it was apparently necessary to abseil down a rope into the lower levels. Here's a certificate that proves that I really did do it, too!

This part of the trip was organised by Damian from Grape Escapes - it was one of their Champagne Escapes packages.

Trevors abseiling certificate in French

Click on an image to enlarge

This was part of a trip to the Lecherc Briant Champagne house. Apparently, it is possible to descend into the deepest cellars by abseiling only rather occasionally, and it was only by luck that we were able to fit this into our visit.

The building itself is rather a stange shape, and stands on a corner in the back streets of Epernay.

Trevor outside Lecherc Briant Champagne House

To prepare for the descent, we had to wear training shoes and put on an overall which, interestingly, zipped up from the ankles to the throat. (Two zips, of course!)

The other people in the group were on a "hen party" from England. Quite noisy!

Trevor preparing for abseiling Tracey with overalls

A view down the hole in the floor. Yes, we're going down there! At least there were strip-lights in all four corners or the shaft to light your way.

A shot of me putting on the harness. As someone remarked at the time: "It's hard to take yourself seriously when you're wearing what is essentially a nappy."

Hole in the floor Trevor donning harness

A couple of shots of me, now in full harness and clipped to the rope, being positioned over the hole in the floor. The instructor, with the green shirt and Dumbledore-style beard, spoke little english, so my instructions were being translated on the fly!

Trevor over the shaft Trevor preparing to lower himself

Down I go. Now I'm suspended over a 100 foot drop with nothing but a length of string to support me!

You can just see the other instructor. This was an accompanied descent, and there was a safety rope attaching my harness to the instructor's harness.

Trevor half-way through the hole Trevor in the shaft with instructor

A couple of shots part-way down the shaft. Note that the first one is taken in the sloping mirror so helpfully provided to make it even easier to seen just how far down it is...

Trevor down the shaft (in mirror) Trevor further down the shaft

And down, and down, and down....

Trevor yet further down Trevor almost dissappeared in the shaft

Now I'm at the bottom. Can you see me? Thought not!

And back at the top again, after climbing a 140 or so steps. Definitely much easier going down!

Trevor at the bottom Trevor back up the stairs

Now it was Tracey's turn. Like me, she was suited up, and struggled into the nappy-like harness.

Tracey preparing for abseiling Tracey in the harness

Connecting up the pulley arrangement (surely this thing has a proper name?) to the rope.

Tracey being prepared Trevor preparing for abseiling

A couple of shots of Tracey suspended over the shaft. Note thick gloves to avoid rope burns.

Tracey over the shaft Tracey being lowered into the shaft

Tracey in the shaft. Don't look down! Too late....

Tracey back up again, after climbing all those stairs. Just a little out of breath. Now it's time for a class or two of champagne!

Tracey in the shaft Tracey back upstairs, a little out of breath

Home Page | Photo Gallery Introduction | Gallery 20
© 2007 Trevor Hopkins. All rights reserved. Webmaster Last updated 6 August 2007