A MARDY man who claimed to have found the entrance to Abergavenny’s secret network of tunnels has since returned from that underground labyrinth with a fantastical story to tell.

Semi-professional long-distance runner Johnny Turnip, alongside his mates Big Tony, and Puerto Rico Paul accidentally stumbled across a gateway to the tunnels during their bizarre quest to trap and tame a fairy.

Turnip claims that after following a hedgehog, he calls “the oracle of spikes” from the Swan Meadows to the Castle hoping that it would lead them to a fairy lair, they discovered “the entrance to the hidden realms of Abergavenny."

Turnip said, “If you think sticking to the 20mph speed limit is hard, try following a hedgehog. It’s a slow and laboured process, particularly when you’ve no idea where it's leading you. I don’t know if you’ve ever spent a lot of time around hedgehogs but they seem to have a massive attitude. It kept stopping, sniffing the air, and turning around to give us the eyeball. Prickly customers in every sense of the word!”

Turnip added, “To make matters worse, three grown men intently following a hedgehog single-file through town in the early hours is going to attract attention, especially with Big Tony’s history of badger baiting.

“It’s a good job the police are either all keeping a stern eye on their Twitter feeds or loading up in Maccy D or we’d have been nicked for acting like dick heads. That’s something that happened a lot back in the day I can tell you,” recalled Turnip affectionately.

A hedgehog
(Tindle News)

Turnip explained that after about three torturous hours of “walking like zombies” in the hedgehog’s trail, it led them to the entrance of the Castle and then shocked them all by simply rolling over on its back and dying.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Turnip, “We’ve followed that bloody thing for hours and then it had the cheek to die on us. Zero respect! Big Tony was fuming and went to kick it, but every living thing deserves respect, so I carefully put it inside a plastic bag and threw it in a nearby bush."

Turnip added, “Now that the only lead we had to find a fairy was as dead as a duck, we needed to use our heads and think on our feet.”

No sooner had they begun to argue about who was calling the shots when Turnip claims he noticed a green light hovering over a patch of leaves inside the castle walls.

“It was another sign from my ancestors,” claimed Turnip. “It was like a Willow O the Wisp beckoning us onwards. So we scaled the castle walls like we were teenagers again, but with bigger bellies and more mental health problems, and jumped down the other side to meet our destiny.”

After arriving at the part of the castle where they had seen the green light, the three friends sunk to their knees and began to frantically dig at the ground in the belief that they were burrowing into the kingdom of faerie.

“We were like demented rabbits,” recalled Turnip. “After getting about three feet down Big Tony started muttering how it was a lost cause and he was ready to wipe out the whole of Llanfoist for a good shovel. However, Puerto Rico Paul spurred him on by saying, ‘You’re old school Tone. Shovels are for ladyboys. We’re Mardy! Now dig bitch!’ It did the trick. Tone pushed us aside, bellowed like a wild pig, and set at that hole like a Jack Russell with his blood up.”

Turnip told the Chronicle that when they were six feet under, their raw and bleeding hands hit something hard and unyielding. Upon clearing the earth they came across a hatch door of sorts that was painted green and had a brass knob and plaque inscribed with the words, “Behold! You are now entering the Gateway into the hidden realms of the Gateway to Wales.”

Abergavenny Castle
(Tindle News )

Turnip said, “I’m no Shakespeare but as inscriptions on doors into other realms go, it lacked a certain poetry. The wording felt a bit clumsy, to be honest. Nevertheless. The hunt was on and with all three of us pulling on the big brass knob we gained entry quite easily.”

Behind the green door, the three friends found a spiral stone staircase leading deep into the bowels of the earth.

“Those steps went down as deep as the eye can see and sort of disappeared into the dark,” explained Turnip. “At first, we were all overcome with a sense of dread like you get when you wake up in the cells, hungover with no memory. I then had something resembling a panic attack and blurted out, ‘What if we never escape these tunnels or get to drink cold lager in the sun again?’ But then Big Tony said, ‘Bugger it! If there’s fairies down there, they owe us and I’ve come for what’s mine.’

“Encouraged by Tone’s ‘He who dares’ attitude we merrily implored him to “lead on” and strode, or stepped tentatively, because those steps were very narrow, into the great unknown.”

After about five minutes of descending into the pit of horrors, Big Tony hit another closed door. “He tried to force it, but this one was locked tight,” explained Turnip. “After raging against it for minutes, beating it with his fists and head butting it repeatedly, Big Tony slumped to the ground with his head in his hands, and although he won’t admit it began to weep and repeat over and over again, ‘Dear God, what have I done.’

"I’ve only seen him like this once before and that’s when he lost 20 grand on the Grand National. Puerto Rico Paul simply sneered and said, ‘Pull yourself together Anthony, you’re looking a bit flaky son.’ He then sparked up a fag, and the light from his zippo illuminated a riddle on the door I wish we had never solved. Because what we found beneath Abergavenny will haunt me to the day I die.”

To be continued …