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Beginner’s Guide to Caving: Explore the Underground World

Inglesport

Active member
We've just published the first of many of our forthcoming guides related to caving: 'The Beginner's Guide to Caving'.

beginners_guide_to_caving-fb_th.jpg


Might be interesting to the experts and veterans that patronise these hallowed forums, but certainly this guide is geared more towards those who are new or interested in the fascinating world of caving. 👍
 

tim.rose2

Active member
It is (sort of), but apparently Prid has moved 70 miles up the road and now on Mendip.
Probably worth mentioning the minor areas as well as the major ones - many cavers start off in those before discovering where the proper caves are.
 

2xw

Active member
That's pretty good! I'm a bit upset by only being allowed to cave for 100 hours a year, though. :(
1000 hours if you go in the mean Yorkshire Dales cave! I think that section was more to reassure people that's it's something to be aware of but not a massive issue (unless you're working underground or seriously digging)
 

Fred

Member
1000 hours if you go in the mean Yorkshire Dales cave! I think that section was more to reassure people that's it's something to be aware of but not a massive issue (unless you're working underground or seriously digging)
 

mikem

Well-known member
Not clear that this is for entire population rather than just cavers:
"In 2020 there were only 51 confirmed cases of Leptospirosis, and only 55 in 2021."
 

Speleofish

Active member
I think these numbers come from the UK Health Security Agency data for England - ie the whole population, not just cavers. I don't know how many active cavers there are in the UK but, if 50+ were catching leptospirosis each year, I think it would have made headlines...
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Apart from one or two extremely minor points which I don't agree with (or would benefit from being qualified with an additional note) I think this is pretty damn good! It's well set out, with just the right amount of information to get a newbie going on the right track. Nice pictures too. (Be good if they all had captions.)

But - well done Inglesport; nice one! (y)
 

PeteHall

Moderator
1000 hours if you go in the mean Yorkshire Dales cave! I think that section was more to reassure people that's it's something to be aware of but not a massive issue (unless you're working underground or seriously digging)
Not sure why it's even included in "beginners guide". This is something you learn about as you do more caving, but is of no significance to the beginner.

In a similar vein. The (unlabelled) table of death stats and misleading numbers for Weils disease are much more likely to put people off than reassure them.
 
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cap n chris

Well-known member
That's pretty good! I'm a bit upset by only being allowed to cave for 100 hours a year, though. :(
There's no legislation restricting people who cave as a hobby. Time limits only apply to people who are working. If you're a recreational caver you can do as you please.
 
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Inglesport

Active member
Devon is not mentioned and many well known cavers started there!
It is (sort of), but apparently Prid has moved 70 miles up the road and now on Mendip.
Probably worth mentioning the minor areas as well as the major ones - many cavers start off in those before discovering where the proper caves are.

The section about "where to cave" is thin, admittedly, but the blog post was already getting rather long. In any case, each area will have it's own, in-depth post in the near future i.e. a post for Caving in the Yorkshire Dales, a post for Caving in the Southwest etc. 👍
 

Inglesport

Active member
1000 hours if you go in the mean Yorkshire Dales cave! I think that section was more to reassure people that's it's something to be aware of but not a massive issue (unless you're working underground or seriously digging)

You are exactly right. We thought, to be thorough, it's best to talk about Radon exposure, but ultimately highlight that there's not much to worry about for recreational cavers.
 
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Inglesport

Active member
Apart from one or two extremely minor points which I don't agree with (or would benefit from being qualified with an additional note) I think this is pretty damn good! It's well set out, with just the right amount of information to get a newbie going on the right track. Nice pictures too. (Be good if they all had captions.)

But - well done Inglesport; nice one! (y)
Much appreciated, ta! The photos that don't have captions are from our own library/stock of images. Those that do have captions are shared from external Creative Commons licensed images. 👍
 

Inglesport

Active member
Not sure why it's even included in "beginners guide". This is something you learn about as you do more caving, but is of no significance to the beginner.

In a similar vein. The (unlabelled) table of death stats and misleading numbers for Weils disease are much more likely to put people off than reassure them.
We really deliberated over the safety section in the blog post for quite a while.

You've got a point – delving into detailed stats and risks of caving can be daunting for newcomers.

However, we found that safety and risk concerns are often the most searched topics and widely discussed among new or interested UK cavers. It seems that those with a budding interest in caving are eager to understand the risks involved.

We decided it was better to address these topics candidly, while also emphasising that, with the right precautions, caving can be remarkably safe. Our aim was to provide a balanced view rather than glossing over the realities. 👍
 

Tritim230

Active member
An excellent guide. Just a couple of comments. Shame the Forest of Dean isn't mentioned. It does have arguably the finest decorated cave in the UK, and the longest cave in dolomite and with a single entrance (unless I'm behind on stats 14.2km with one entrance - all cave).
On leptospirosis, I think this is far more likely to occur to open water swimmers. I spend most days a week in the open water (in skins, none of this wetsuit stuff), and fingers crossed never caught it. That includes many trips into a cave that occasionally Welsh Water deem is a suitable sewage overflow. The main thing, as with everything is caution. Where leptospirosis is likely to be present, don't cave/swim with deep wounds, and for smaller cuts (where blood is exposed to the bacteria), cover well. I recall the BCRA, or other, took pin prick blood samples (including mine) at a conference one year in the mid-80's. Does anyone have the results of that? It was published I think.
 

ChrisB

Active member
One comment: in guide for beginners, the only descender mentioned is the Rig, with a caption that it's for experienced users, implying it's not suitable for beginners. I've never used one, so no idea whether it is or not, but the words are contradictory.

River canoeists/kayakers are warned about leptospirosis, and a testing survey some years ago found that many more had antibodies than had ever noticed symptoms. If you do get symptoms, a prompt dose of intravenous antibiotics will clear it, but if you delay it can be very serious.
 

Inglesport

Active member
One comment: in guide for beginners, the only descender mentioned is the Rig, with a caption that it's for experienced users, implying it's not suitable for beginners. I've never used one, so no idea whether it is or not, but the words are contradictory.
Good point, well made. Have replaced the Rig with the Stop. 👍
 
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