Q: Am I suitable to be a caver?
A: Yes! No experience is required to join the club and our regular training sessions will teach you techniques and help you gain confidence in your ability. There are pros and cons to everyone's shape and size- if you are small you will be perfect for squeezing through tight spots and if you are tall you will have a better reach. If you are thinner you can slide squeeze through smaller spaces but if you are thicker you can have advantages doing traverses. Caving is not a competitive sport so there's no need to worry about who is the best. If you want to cave all you need is the desire!
If you have a medical condition which you are concerned may affect your performance you can still join, just make sure to include it on the forms and bring any necessary medication. If you have claustrophobic tendencies then you can't go caving, right? Wrong: many caves are large and open spaces which although underground, have an open and free atmosphere about them. Vertigo? There's no need to even step foot in the high up caves. The freshers' trips are a relaxed and gentle introduction to caving just to get you started, and you won't be made to do anything you don't feel comfortable with. You might as well give it a go!
Q: What exactly is caving?
A: Caving is an activity which involves climbing into caves to explore the naturally formed underground passages that lie beneath the surface, viewing first hand the beautiful and fascinating rock formations and mineral deposits in a hidden world. Going caving is an exciting and adventurous pastime which gives you an opportunity that not many people have. All caves are different, ranging from small wriggly passages to large open areas but there will always be mud... lots of mud.
Q: What do I need to bring on a trip?
A: The club provides all necessary caving equipment: helmet and light, oversuit, wellies, knee pads, belt, wetsocks, carabiner, ropes, SRT kit, etc. Food is also included in the cost. You will need to bring old clothes (not denim or anything heavy) for under the oversuit, a towel, toiletries, a change of clothes and a sleeping bag. You may also wish to bring a torch, extra snacks, and some cash for the pub on the way home!
Q: Is it safe?
A: Don't worry, you are in safe hands. The risk assessments and precautions taken by the club ensure that it is as safe as possible, however as with all activities like this there will always be a small risk factor and you should always take care. Our Training and Safety Officer helps to maintain the highest level of safety and there are multiple checks to make sure things don't go wrong. In the event of a mishap we have several first aiders in the club who know exactly what to do.
Q: Where do we stay?
A: We stay in caving huts, accommodation with bunkbeds, a shared kitchen, bathroom facilities and a communal room. In the evenings we enjoy sitting round the fire with a pint, playing caving games such as "the squeeze box" and perhaps swapping stories with other university clubs.
Q: Where do we train?
We currently train and the Simon Langton's Grammar school's climbing wall. The training date is yet to be confirmed, so keep an eye out on the calendar and our facebook page for details.