~ Getting started in caving ~
by Lizzy das Neves
What is caving all about?
Caving is becoming more and more popular, as people discover the underground
world. It's not a sport that can be described in a couple of words. Caving
trips can involve scrambling, walking, crawling, climbing, sliding and
even swimming through caves, with passages as big as a mansion or some
as small as a chimney.
It doesn't matter if you are afraid of confined spaces or don't use the
gym everyday, caving can be for everyone ranging from walking trips through
massive limestone passages to sporting caving trips that involving climbing,
crawling, and stomping through fast flowing water. There's something for
The best thing is first to Join a Club! You
can apply to join our club if you are 18 or over and the info
Check out some pictures from one of our recent provisional's
and beginner's weekends.
What kit will you need?
Starting off caving, the best option is to hire or borrow some kit. You
will need the following:
~ A one-piece oversuit (made of proofed nylon or
pvc), a helmet and head lamp and a belt.
Things you can buy to start off, or that you might already own:
~ Wellington boots - with a good grip! Old warm clothing, like thermals
and warm trousers and a fleece top, to wear under the oversuit. Don't
wear jeans or anything else made of cotton - they are cold when wet.
We have a few lightweight lamps and helmets for
hire for beginners available on a first-come-first-served basis. Ask about
these when you are arranging your visit.
Otherwise, Simon and Anne Amatt (Club members) in
Abercraf (just down the road) have Lights, Belts and Helmets for hire
for £2.50 for the day or £5.00 for the weekend. All proceeds
go to Cave Rescue. or ring them on 01639 730336
simonamatt AT btinternet.com
Adventure (at the bottom of the hill) can hire you pretty much all
the basic kit you need for about £10 for the weekend. 01639 730518
Caving trips can involve anything between 4-8 cavers per group, depending
what sort of trip you're doing. The most important part of a trip is that
it is safe and enjoyable. ~ Always make sure that you join a reputable
club and learn caving with experienced people.
In preparation for your trip there are a few items
that are a good to take underground in a small tackle bag: An extra light,
something small and light like a Petzl Tikka, a bottle of water, some
small snack food like chocolate. If you are doing longer trips or trips
involving getting wet, it is always advisable to take some extra dry clothing
(keep it in a dry bag) and a balaclava.
Through these group trips you can meet new people
and build up friendships. Since starting caving I have met lots of amazing
people and have been more involved with the club, which has lead to becoming
a member and attending loads of social events, and even going on club
So what's next?
If you're interested in caving and perhaps joining our club, please
get in touch with our Membership
Secretary who will be able to advise you as to the best time to
visit. We have Provisional Members' and Try Caving weekends from time
to time, so take a look at our Calendar.
Check out some pictures from one of our recent
and Beginner's weekend.
Caving is a separate website and a great resource to help you find
a suitable Club to join near where you live, and explains loads of stuff
Feel free to email me, Lizzy at:
lizzy AT swcc.org.uk
if you have any questions or just want a chat about caving or
Club life in general!
Go caving without leaving your seat - have a look the Virtual
Tour of the awesome caves right under our cottages - Ogof Ffynnon
Ddu - The Cave of the Back Spring.
And by the way, you are very unlikely
to get claustrophobic or in fear of your life or stuck! Which is what
most people imagine will happen!