• Hello From Descent

    The publication date for issue 289 is the 10th of December, meaning subscribers should receive their copies during the week leading up to that date. It is also available from caving suppliers such as Inglesport and Starless River, or from our new website

    New Descent board here:

Dad and lad caving

Londoncaver

New member
So...I've been out of caving for a decade and now have an 8 year old. I'm visiting the Brecon area shortly, and thinking a father and son trip down Porth-yr-Ogof might be a good idea (obviously not the resurgance!). Plus maybe Bridge. I plan to run this cautiously and keep it very child-centred, fairly short and fun.
Does anywhere local rent kid-sized gear (I know Dragon is long gone), or are we going to be improvising with a wetsuit, old fleece, skateboard helmet and Petzel?
I've done a reasonable bit of local caving (15 years active in a local club), I'm still reasonably fit and I'm planning to do a careful solo recce. But is there anything else I've missed (particularly anything specific to these two caves)?
 

Paul Marvin

Member
Londoncaver said:
So...I've been out of caving for a decade and now have an 8 year old. I'm visiting the Brecon area shortly, and thinking a father and son trip down Porth-yr-Ogof might be a good idea (obviously not the resurgance!). Plus maybe Bridge. I plan to run this cautiously and keep it very child-centred, fairly short and fun.
Does anywhere local rent kid-sized gear (I know Dragon is long gone), or are we going to be improvising with a wetsuit, old fleece, skateboard helmet and Petzel?
I've done a reasonable bit of local caving (15 years active in a local club), I'm still reasonably fit and I'm planning to do a careful solo recce. But is there anything else I've missed (particularly anything specific to these two caves)?

If bridge doesn't get your lad interested nothing will its a great little appetizer , could also consider a trip which is walk in walk out at Dinas silica Mine to see he likes mines as well also town drain a bit further along than bridge then there little Neath River Cave but that may give him the willies at a young age ( dont do during heavy rain though )
 

Katie

Member
Hi Londoncaver,
We have been taking our kids caving since they were really little - now they are 4, 6 and 8. Although mostly Derbyshire based so no help on the local aspects!
We haven't really bothered with 'proper' caving kit. Ours wear fleece onesies or just old warm clothes, and then either waterproofs or a cotton boiler suit depending on the trip.
They wear bike helmets or woolly hats, again depending on the trip and wellies.
One thing we have found is that as well as a head torch ours really like a hand torch - they can shine it directly at things that interest them, poke it in puddles, wave it around etc.
I think we forget pointing a head torch where you want it to shine is not always easy without practice!
Although we do often end up caving out with the hand torches in pockets once they get bored of them!
Take snacks - ours love a picnic underground  :)
Hope you both have a lovely time!
 

PeteHall

Moderator
Bridge is good fun with a little one and PYO.  (y)

Eglwys Faen(?) Is also a nice one for the whole family. I'm sure there are more, but I'm not particularly familiar with the region as far as kids trips are concerned.

If you're stuck for kit, I'm about 10-15 minutes from the M4/ M5 junction and happy to lend a kids oversuit (warmbac xs) and helmet/ light in exchange for a small donation to cave rescue. Obviously you'd need to collect and return afterwards.
 

Londoncaver

New member
Thanks for all these great tips and suggestions - it's so good of you all, and so supportive. I'll let you know how it goes after Easter.  Pete - I have sent you a DM. 
 

Londoncaver

New member
So thanks to a very kind equipment loan from Pete, T (8) and I (a lot older) headed off for some subterranean adventure in the Ystradfellte area.
First up, Dinas silica mine. Lots of anticipation - putting on child-sized proper caving gear was a big hit, then a bit of a hike to find it (it's a few years since I was last in the area). And then we had the excitement of climbing over the fence, heading past the warning sign and letting our eyes adjust.
T was very enthusiastic - he's really interested in history, and does lots of industrial archaeological poking around on a footpath near our house that used to be a rail line. So old workings and abandoned equipment were exactly his thing.
We made steady progress, stopping to look at all the bits and pieces, checked out the flooded section, and made our way to the end of the explorable mine. It was a really good selection for a first underground venture
Next up - Bridge cave. We went for a look at the river disappearing underground further downstream. Then it was gear on, and into the cave.
We pushed gradually through the entrance crawl, with a bit of mild grovelling in the puddles, and made our way carefully through the boulder choke to the scramble down into the streamway.
We ventured into the stream, but the water was fairly high, and T's wellies soon flooded. As his feet chilled it was obviously turn-around time. We made a successful exit and warmed up in the car.
T's still highly enthusiastic, and we'll definitely give caving another go when we have another opportunity (Porth-yr-Ogof or Eglwys Faen, I think). Thanks everyone here for your support and advice, and (especially) Pete for the loan of the gear.
 

tomferry

Active member
So thanks to a very kind equipment loan from Pete, T (8) and I (a lot older) headed off for some subterranean adventure in the Ystradfellte area.
First up, Dinas silica mine. Lots of anticipation - putting on child-sized proper caving gear was a big hit, then a bit of a hike to find it (it's a few years since I was last in the area). And then we had the excitement of climbing over the fence, heading past the warning sign and letting our eyes adjust.
T was very enthusiastic - he's really interested in history, and does lots of industrial archaeological poking around on a footpath near our house that used to be a rail line. So old workings and abandoned equipment were exactly his thing.
We made steady progress, stopping to look at all the bits and pieces, checked out the flooded section, and made our way to the end of the explorable mine. It was a really good selection for a first underground venture
Next up - Bridge cave. We went for a look at the river disappearing underground further downstream. Then it was gear on, and into the cave.
We pushed gradually through the entrance crawl, with a bit of mild grovelling in the puddles, and made our way carefully through the boulder choke to the scramble down into the streamway.
We ventured into the stream, but the water was fairly high, and T's wellies soon flooded. As his feet chilled it was obviously turn-around time. We made a successful exit and warmed up in the car.
T's still highly enthusiastic, and we'll definitely give caving another go when we have another opportunity (Porth-yr-Ogof or Eglwys Faen, I think). Thanks everyone here for your support and advice, and (especially) Pete for the loan of the gear.
Really glad to hear you have enjoyed dinas mate how was it for litter inside ? Just the usual near the entrance or has it been strewn inside . Bridge cave is a good fun as well so what will it be caves or mines ?:sneaky:
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
...T was very enthusiastic - he's really interested in history, and does lots of industrial archaeological poking around on a footpath near our house that used to be a rail line. So old workings and abandoned equipment were exactly his thing...
Glad to hear he enjoyed it. Sounds like some slate mine (quarry) exploring may be something else to consider in future, there should be some with a sense of adventure and industrial artefacts while keeping the balance of safety and supervision
 
Top