After a couple of days at the camp Lieutenant Blanc had identified a number of other individuals who were as determined as himself to escape. The problem was how.
The camp was built as a rectangle within a shallow valley with the east side against a sheer overhanging cliff so there was no possibility of climbing this. The other three sides were a solid stockade 3 metres high with a walkway on the outside and this was enhanced by having abatis inside at the bottom. Each of the two corners had a covered tower manned by a sentry with a swivel gun and plenty of ammunition. The entrance/exit was on the north side close to the tower and consisted of two pairs of gates.
Going over the walls had been considered, but no timber long enough was available, the timber for the musket stocks was already pre-cut. Tunneling under was out of the question as rock was not far below the surface except at the lowest point leading from the cliff to the western wall. Presumably at some time a stream had flowed along here. The distance from anywhere concealed from the guards was too far to dig quickly.
Raymond suddenly had an idea and went to the Captain.
“I’ve had an idea of a possible escape route, but I need candles”
“Hmmm, if we are very careful with our supply we could spare some, what’s your idea?”
“Well at some stage water flowed though this valley and it must have come from the cliff. This is limestone country and water carves tunnels through the rocks starting somewhere higher on the surface. Behind the bushes at the bottom of the cliff there are small holes and perhaps they could be widened by digging to allow a man to enter and see if there is a way through the passages and out. We’ve a couple of miners here and I’m sure they will give it a try."
“OK, we’ll try it, but don’t get your hopes up.