As always, many thanks to All who take the time and trouble to enter the competitions - and thanks of course to SpanSet for the prize.
Check out their website for all matters, Height Safety, Lifting and Load Control - equipment and training www.SpanSet.co.uk
I enjoyed reading all of the entries, so all make the 'shortlist' - my competition, my rules
Below are some of my favourite snippets. So many of you touched on aspects of caving that resonate with me - friendship, pretties, helping photographers, being cold and muddy but still coming back, BUSS, the smell of caving gear, exploration, carbide lamps, Goatchurch (my first trip), Casteret (what a book) and meeting people through caving where 'the rest is history', eh Badlad
- I did chuckle at ImperialCollegecaver and their love of mapping (as I'm blummin rubbish at drawing up surveys).
Caving should perhaps work more closely with (poach from!) the climbing community as many cavers find their way to the underground from climbing.
A special mention to The Old Ruminator for his beautifully written post ad to Franklin for the poem Badger
- one of my proudest moments has got to be taking a young quadriplegic cerebral palsy scout caving (see report Y&D on BCA website & the operation he had to be able to walk). The joy on his face was priceless and worth him receiving a piggy back ride from swildons to the wessex, not that he had any energy by then to walk 5 metres.
Such experiences I would never have had if it was not for caving.amboman
- ....entering territory where miners hundreds of years ago have descended with very basic equipment and candles and it feels like a little treasure hunt following in their foot steps....nearlywhite
- .....I never looked back, community with a shot of adrenaline!Russell Myers
- The talk beforehand was of the "big pitch" 110 feet on ladders. To a teenage mind 110 feet horizontal didn't look that far. Stepping off the top of the pitch onto the ladder I looked down and saw twinkly little lights but couldn't comprehend what I was looking at.PeteHall
- Within my first 36 hours, I'd been to 4 caves, I'd seen the huge Gorge in GB, I'd done my first SRT trip, I'd done my first ladder and I'd joined my first dig! By now I'd definitely got the bug! I later confessed to my climbing mates that I'd turned to the darkside and I never looked back. aricooperdavis
- I'm absurdly grateful to EUSS for the chance to discover such a life-affirming sport!Brains
- the smell of damp caving kit reminded me of the experienceHenry.M
- (Ok maybe I wasn't best pleased by the ice rain on Leck Fell, where we had just failed to find Notts Pot, but I still came back!)The Old Ruminator
- Yes I guess you have to find a reason to be a caver. A sadly misunderstood minority. That matters not. Its what you find in it that counts. How you fulfill your humble ambitions in an ever more complicated world. Caving provides simplicity, self awareness, challenges and escape. You can be the great explorer of caverns unseen, untrod and still be home in time for tea. Nothing else on this earth will give you that.mrodoc
- Then I met the Old Ruminator and the rest is history!andrewmc
- Long story short: it's all Ari's fault JoshW
- laid flat out in freezing cold water nagging me to keep his flashguns out of the water and pointed in the direction for 'just one more shot'Franklin
- Climbers Go Caving: Fragments from a distant memory - Bull Pot of the Witches, Early Spring 1980.
Low cloud, rain, snow melt;
Rivers up, path turns stream,
Crashing hole beneath trees, where
Rolling roar, spray and mist rise.
Steep path down, down deep rift
And down again to green light, fallen trees and falling river;
A gap: a vortex of water and too close rock,
Closer still and all wet, cold.
Rock falls back and opens
To depth width, height,
Stray shapes, shadows and glimpsed forms.
Earth all unknown.
The membrane slips away,
Below, contours drop into dark space:
There is nothing there.
("The die was cast"
)Wardy - shortlisted but won't win!
- The environment was all new to me, if it wasn't the water, it was the noise, if it wasn't the waterfall it was the spray, if it wasn't the climbs it was the pretties and if it wasn't the big stuff it was the squeezes, it was just so different.vinylspike
- Over the next 5 or so years within BUCC and also Cerberus and Wessex, that pattern of inclusivity was maintained and strong friendships created. We all looked after each other.Alex
- when I fretted I would be told "Don't worry there's no heights, it's depths".Duncan Price
- Not wanting to get a job at 21 I decided to do a PhD. and got a place at Birmingham with a ready-made circle of caving friends in BUSS.ImperialCollegecaver
- Today, after eight years of caving, my interest is as high as it ever was, and one of the aspects of exploration I enjoy the most is the mapping and cartography. I can't imagine why.tim.rose2
- I've now caved in most parts of the country, seen some incredible places and met many incredible people, but those damn caves of Portland still draw me back time after time and I can't for the life of me understand why - as far as caves go they're bloody awful!sgw105
- We had a lot of laughs during the trip and by the time we got out I was asking when we could go again next!! So much for ‘I will go, but I Won’t like it’! langcliffe
- I realised I wanted to go caving after reading Casteret's "Ten Years Under the Earth"
So over to Random.org...
and the winner is Henry.M - congratulations!!
Please PM me to arrange collection/caver post