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WIN 100m of SpanSet rope!!

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It's Freshers at the moment and many University clubs are working hard, encouraging a new generation of people to our sport - well done to you all!

Back in the day, I was one of those freshers yet, despite some fun trips and so much effort by BUSS, not many of the intial intake became active cavers and longer term club members.  So what is it that persuades 'newbies' to carry on caving after those first few trips?  For me it was the 55ft pitch in Pool Sink - OMG was it hard to climb that ladder on the way out  :o, I was so, so tired.  I'd never had to push myself like that before, but I did it and the feeling of achievement was huge - I was hooked  ;D

Tell us what you enjoyed about this new sport to keep you coming back for more, what/who inspired you? - what got you hooked?! Repetition is fine - maybe everyone will have similar reasons, not a problem. 

Post your entry on this thread, I'll choose my favourites for a shortlist then over to
If you'd like to add photos please see here on how to do it:

If you are struggling (as there are problems posting photos which we are looking into) PM me and I will add them to your post.

One entry per caver.  Closing date Sunday 17th October 10pm

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Many thanks to SpanSet for the fab shiny prize  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Lots more info on the rope here: (thanks to Pete K for the review which I am shamelessly using  :thumbsup: ;D

Good luck!!

Hopefully the entries will make useful reading for those involved in promoting caving :)
Maybe folks will want to discuss this topic further - great, however please not on this thread, start a new one, ta  :thumbsup:

Firstly I would have to say that if I did not look like my Dad then one would think I was from the milkman, everything about caving he hates, Tight spaces, spiders or any creepy crawly, in certain countries snakes. I on the other hand seem not to have a problem with any of those things.
I first went caving as a venture scout aged 17, first cave being Goatchurch, for which I still have an affection for even though it is to all intense and purposes a cave that is the initiation for many. for me it offered & still does a lot of variety in a relative small cave, apart from water it has about everything else, and about the right amount to spike novice/YP interests.
I was told to bring warm clothing which I did, a white woollen jumper with leather patches on the shoulders and elbows, I thought it was perfect, apparently my mum thought otherwise when I returned home.
Back in 1980, the standard beginners light was a hat mounted carbide light. I am glad we have moved on and most cavers these days have some sort of LED light.
The cave itself, I can remember walking into the entrance passage think "this caving lark is alright", I wouldn't say at that point I had the caving bug, that would come many years later, jobs, family, children and not living in a caving area. apart from the few times I went as a venture scout, I did not get back into caving until I was invited to drive a scout minibus to the Dordogne, since then I have not looked back, apart from doing a lot of the must do caves in the UK, I have also had the opportunity to go on overseas expeditions discovering new cave and new passages, and I think that is the bit that really excites me now, going where no one has been before, and just maybe no one will go to again in my lifetime.
The other part of caving that I really enjoy is caving with YP, showing them the wonderful underground, hoping that they will take it up as a hobby, when they can look after me underground, 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.

What got me into caving were really two things:

Firstly I have noticed from a very young age that I'm claustrophobic and don't like enclosed spaces especially around my head.
I always wanted to try caving as I have been fascinated by the underground and exploring the underground which we normally don't really see. Well claustrophobia put a little stop to that and I had to attend public caves instead rather than venturing deeper into the passages.
Over the last year and a half I've managed to slowly breach this fear of enclosed spaces and have been through some very tight stuff which in the past would have resulted in a massive panic attack. There are still a lot more goals to conquer such as Chamber of Horrors (Giant's Hole) and Porth Crawl (Carlswark Cavern) to keep pushing boundaries and become more comfortable

The other reason I started caving was that I am a keen walker and climber and have climbed some of our countries highest points. I thought what about the lowest points? Caving gives us this unique opportunity to reach depths only a few have managed to see. We are 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 but with safer equipment!
I've had the chance taking part in a dig recently and just knowing you are the first person for potentially thousands if not million of years to shift that mud/clay to push into unknown territory. This is something which I find amazing and keeps me going underground!
We are very lucky in the Peak District of having such huge systems which you can spend hours underground in!

Highlight so far for me has been an impromptu trip down Titan cave and out via JH. Titan has been on my to-do list as soon as I started caving but always put it off as I wanted to get more comfortable with SRT. As the opportunity arose I couldn't say no and it was the most memorable experience to date!

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I only went caving as my housemate insisted he was going. He was probably 5'6" and 19 St and I genuinely couldn't imagine him fitting in a cave. Understandably he was indignant at my laughter and he insisted I come along. I remember turning up to a car park outside a pub, a large white van whipped in, the side door slide open and a large man said 'Get in.' That large man reflected about 10 minutes into the journey 'Huh, I guess we could have been kidnappers and you'd have still got in' and proceeded to crack jokes in the poorest of tastes. An early sign that I had found my people.

We did Giants upper series and sure enough, my friend got stuck in a vice. About 15 minutes of good natured encouragement and effort gave way to fear and genuine panic. Everything switched to 'calm him down, let him deflate his chest and get him out'. I was asked to talk to him while they set up a counterbalance with a suspiciously placed bolt in the ceiling (this had happened before). We looped the rope under his arms but he didn't budge. So the gangly brigade (myself and the other large man) positioned ourselves to lift. We cycled through lifting, shifted him left and right, had breaks to calm him down and after an hour and a half he finally came free.

In the effort to unstick him I fell down into the crabwalk and a welly made a solid bid for freedom. A couple of choice words were let out by our glorious leader (Rob M) but it was a quick fix - it was an odd sensation being lifted like a briefcase. We got out and cancelled callout with a minute to spare, I heard the very angry female voice berate Rob and the relief that had been beaming from his face was replaced with sheepishness. We got changed and piled into the back of the van. We then got tailed by the police on the way back to sheffield were pulled over for suspicious behaviour. Safe to say when he caught a whiff of the smelly damp cavers (including the one sat in his pants because he forgot spare trousers) he didn't feel the need to investigate further.

Me and my friend went to the pub later that week to say thank you and bought a few drinks for the leaders. Good natured ribbing, drunken rambling and a proper pub atmosphere (with people that weren't me singing!) made me feel right at home. Plans were made and I never looked back, community with a shot of adrenaline!

PS Here's Badger's article btw

Russell Myers:
1968 - 16 year old callow youth in Skipton Venture Scouts enthralled by caving tales with the CPC from my slightly older cotemporaries. After much nagging I got on a caving trip with them - Bar Pot into Gaping Gill . 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.
A surge of adrenaline brought things into focus, it was mind blowing and one of those brown trouser moments!
I was accompanied by Laurie Todd and Alec Bottomley and after overcoming my fear and wrestling with the swinging, swaying ladder to the bottom we set off to Stream Chamber to meet the other half of the CPC coming the other way down Stream.
The late Tom Austin adopted me and off we went to the Main Chamber - another mind blowing moment. I was hooked!
The long haul to the surface (I felt I did my share) left me cream crackered in the shakehole but ravenous for more. I have never forgotten that trip and kept a lifelong interest in caving leading to some amazing experiences and forming lifetime friendships.     


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