Author Topic: Old cavers  (Read 1384 times)

Offline Phild

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Old cavers
« on: January 05, 2022, 06:12:16 pm »
I was just pondering how many older cavers are still active. A member of the Eldon Bob Toogood started caving in the 50,s. He was on the Peak trip where Neil Moss was trapped and helped in the rescue attempt. Just recently we did a trip to bottom Giants and back over the top. Bob confessed he was a little tired, but I pointed out, “ Bob you’re over 80”! In between Bob has done most of the severe trips in the UK and many in  Europe, been a leading UK climber and alpinist, as well as represent England at cross country and fell running. He’s also been the world 10k road running champion. Anyone else in the caving fraternity can match that?

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2022, 06:34:53 pm »
I was just pondering how many older cavers are still active. A member of the Eldon Bob Toogood started caving in the 50,s. He was on the Peak trip where Neil Moss was trapped and helped in the rescue attempt. Just recently we did a trip to bottom Giants and back over the top. Bob confessed he was a little tired, but I pointed out, “ Bob you’re over 80”! In between Bob has done most of the severe trips in the UK and many in  Europe, been a leading UK climber and alpinist, as well as represent England at cross country and fell running. He’s also been the world 10k road running champion. Anyone else in the caving fraternity can match that?

What are we classing as "old"   :-\   ;)  Roy Fellows would be a good match
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2022, 06:42:07 pm »
The late Gilbert ("Bert") Bradshaw - Easter Grotto discoverer - still went caving in his 80s. He came in second in a Three Peaks fell race.

The late Geoff Workman was still actively digging in Stump Cross Caverns well into his 80s. He didn't hold any running records; he held records for very long caving trips!

Offline kay

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2022, 11:06:11 pm »

What are we classing as "old"   :-\   

Given that most of the cavers I know are in their 70s, I think 80 is the minimum age that you could consider old.

Offline braveduck

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2022, 11:58:09 pm »
Like I say to the diggers ,Don't use scaffolding to hold digs up before you are 60.
So that when it needs replacing you will be too old to do maybe . :dig: 

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2022, 08:34:46 am »

What are we classing as "old"   :-\   

Given that most of the cavers I know are in their 70s, I think 80 is the minimum age that you could consider old.

Yes there are not many youngsters at it
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Offline Badlad

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2022, 09:00:24 am »
Bob is a legend. 

Might be worth noting some stats on the age demographic of the BCA membership (pre covid).  The median age was 50.  27% were over 60.  18% over 65.  The over 70s increased over the three years of the survey.

Looks like caving is attractive to older folk.

Offline wormster

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2022, 10:12:55 am »
Old cavers don't die, they just turn into fossils  :tease:
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Offline mrodoc

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2022, 11:27:35 am »
I am second youngest in my team being only 71.  I am not as speedy as I used to be and some of the stuff I did when I was younger I quail at!

Offline SamT

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2022, 12:54:57 pm »
I bumped into Bob Toogood just before Christmas in a bike shop, he was collecting his (electric I think) Mountain Bike have had it serviced. 

Was good to see him looking and sounding fit and well.

Wasn't so long ago that he was in hospital a bit unwell.

Legend doesn't come close...  :bow:

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Offline royfellows

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2022, 02:10:05 pm »
I find that I can still do everything that I was able to do when younger, indeed in the martial arts field things that I couldn't do then!
I just do less of it, or have to pace myself. In my younger days I didn't have to stop, - work, I could go all day until 22.00 with just brief snacks etc.

However, when I do stop, I can get back on line in about 5 minutes with whatever.

I think it’s a prime case of the very wise adage, stay active, and you stay fit and live longer.
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Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2022, 05:39:48 pm »
Bob is a legend. 

Might be worth noting some stats on the age demographic of the BCA membership (pre covid).  The median age was 50.  27% were over 60.  18% over 65.  The over 70s increased over the three years of the survey.

Looks like caving is attractive to older folk.

Why are youngsters not getting into it ?   :-\
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2022, 05:52:33 pm »
Several of the bigger Dales clubs seem to have had a steady influx of excellent younger members  for quite some time. Becoming increasingly student friendly and having club cottages may be at least partly responsible.

Offline mikem

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2022, 06:24:44 pm »
22.5% of the population are over 60, so it's not as bad as it sounds. Not many under 18s join clubs & they make up 21.3%

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2022, 06:22:06 am »
There are, of course, obstacles to minors joing clubs, which are imposed by others not involved in caving.

Offline Badlad

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2022, 09:10:04 am »
There is a lot of competition from outdoor activities for any interested youngster.  Tens of thousands each year get to try caving as an instructed trip usually through school, outdoor activity centres, scouts, cadets etc.  A small number will be attracted to the sport of caving but there are numerous barriers to participation for them.  I suspect it is far too easy for them to be sidetracked into a different activity which is simpler to participate in.  If they do get to uni, and that uni has a caving club, then that early interest may attract them to join, but not everyone goes to uni and not all unis have a caving club, and of course by that time the interest may be lost.  Ideas such as the adventure academy are needed to address this element of early participation capture but that needs rolling out across the country supported by a huge volunteer resource that is where it will likely struggle.

I find it interesting that a few under 18s that I have known have become very competent cavers at quite an early age, even to the point of doing British grade fives and major European caves with ease.  However, all of these have had caving parents or guardians.  There must be huge potential in youth caving which is seldom realised.

Anyway I appreciate I am answering a question about young cavers on a thread entitled 'old cavers'.  Apologies to the OP


Offline mrodoc

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2022, 11:21:14 am »
The age difference is having an effect on Club Journals. Most of the contributions to the last Belfry Bulletin were from septuagenarians! As I said in my editorial most people can't write much more than a Twitter post nowadays. They don't seem to get the fact that social media including this forum are evanescent.   There is a great divide occurring between those born into the internet era and those born prior to it.

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2022, 11:43:23 am »
The age difference is having an effect on Club Journals. Most of the contributions to the last Belfry Bulletin were from septuagenarians! As I said in my editorial most people can't write much more than a Twitter post nowadays. They don't seem to get the fact that social media including this forum are evanescent.   There is a great divide occurring between those born into the internet era and those born prior to it.

Couldn't have put that better myself . :down:
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Offline skippy

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2022, 12:35:35 pm »
There is a lot of competition from outdoor activities for any interested youngster.  Tens of thousands each year get to try caving as an instructed trip usually through school, outdoor activity centres, scouts, cadets etc.  A small number will be attracted to the sport of caving but there are numerous barriers to participation for them.  I suspect it is far too easy for them to be sidetracked into a different activity which is simpler to participate in.  If they do get to uni, and that uni has a caving club, then that early interest may attract them to join, but not everyone goes to uni and not all unis have a caving club, and of course by that time the interest may be lost.  Ideas such as the adventure academy are needed to address this element of early participation capture but that needs rolling out across the country supported by a huge volunteer resource that is where it will likely struggle.

I find it interesting that a few under 18s that I have known have become very competent cavers at quite an early age, even to the point of doing British grade fives and major European caves with ease.  However, all of these have had caving parents or guardians.  There must be huge potential in youth caving which is seldom realised.

Anyway I appreciate I am answering a question about young cavers on a thread entitled 'old cavers'.  Apologies to the OP

Going back to Badlads reply, This is something I have given lots of thought to when thinking of ways to recruit into a club. However the above is not just restricted to the younger end.
These days, there is so much opportunity to 'try' adventure sport...at a price. By way of example, I have a friend who considers himself as an 'Adventurer'.  Said person partakes in a different activity each weekend however he pays for his adventure using guides each time. One week they can be diving, next week kayaking and so on. Now I have no problem with this as I have several friends who depend on this type of 'adventurer' as a way of income.
I have questioned the person as to why he wont commit to one sport and maybe contribute back to their chosen sport(not in a financial sense). The response has always been that they have disposable income and if they can pay, they will continue to do something different every week without commitment to a club/friends and the necessity of having to maintain the equipment required. Also as someone else is partly responsible for their safety, they feel comfortable.
Personally, I find it quite a clinical attitude as the element of 'adventure' is in someone else's  hands.

Getting back to the OP, the CPC has had an increase in membership during the last few months. Most of the new members have all been over 50 and in one case over 70. For the most part, they have been (very) active cavers in their youth...and now wish to return to the sport.
This is fantastic and they have all acted with competence while on club trips....However, I do get excited when we get applications from potential members who are under 45 ;D

Offline Chocolate fireguard

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2022, 12:58:12 pm »
The age difference is having an effect on Club Journals. Most of the contributions to the last Belfry Bulletin were from septuagenarians! As I said in my editorial most people can't write much more than a Twitter post nowadays. They don't seem to get the fact that social media including this forum are evanescent.   There is a great divide occurring between those born into the internet era and those born prior to it.
I don't think some of that is fair.
I had a decent education and got a 1 in English Language "O" Level in 1962, but even 10 years later when I was writing research reports I struggled to get motivated and some of the stuff I turned out was pretty poor. Now I do much better. I imagine it has something to do with the extra 50 years of practice.
Older people  are , well, older.

Evanescent eh? There's posh!

Offline Rachel

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2022, 04:45:27 pm »
I suspect that older (retired) folk have more time on their hands, both for caving and writing long articles. Juggling a full time job with caring for young children and elderly parents is quite effective at leaving younger cavers with fewer opportunities for either activity.

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2022, 06:13:54 pm »
I am second youngest in my team being only 71.  I am not as speedy as I used to be and some of the stuff I did when I was younger I quail at!

Yup just like 50 years ago us older folk in the group still have to look after young Doc.


Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Old cavers
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2022, 06:28:08 pm »
At approaching 75 I do more caving now than ever I used to do. Back after many years to some of the longer Welsh caves though having to keep a sensible pace. The issues with being an older caver are one of balance and concentration also one of not quite knowing where your limitations lie. Certainly squeezes are harder not that I am bigger than 50 years ago but the rib cage gets less mobile and squeezes feel tighter. Motivation is another issue. I love the digging and taking photos ( would you believe ?). I have over 2,000 images from last year worth saving despite the pandemic. Being fit at 75 is as much luck as anything else. Keeping going keeps one fit but many health problems can end it all. I go year by year and hope to still be caving at 80. If I can keep my patience intact I hope to be splattering the forum with images for years to come.

A thoughtful selfie taken this week.


 

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