• 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:




Jamie is a 12 year old quadriplegic cerabal palsay lad,  up to a few years ago he was wheel chair bound, but an operation on his spine has  given him the ability to walk. When I say walk it is a not walking as we do but with lots of help and crutches.
we at our scout team do presentations to scouts, and one night saw us give Jamie?s  scout troop the presentation, which was followed by a trip to the mendips,
scouting is  all about being inclusive and  we in our team do not want to say no to anyone wanting to try caving, we set about plans to get jamie underground.
Firstly we had to find out about what Jamie was able to do, and reassure Jamie?s parents he would be safe. As one of the more experienced of our team it was decided I would be the one to take Jamie underground, and off course with so many first trips Goatchurch  was the location, other considerations which we had to think about was Jamie would not be able to use his crutches underground,  we decided to put Jamie in a full body harness and attach a tape sling to the back (like reins on very young children). The walk up to Goatchurch went without too many issues, that was until we got to the steps from the stream up to the cave entrance, where a piggy back was just the thing to overcome this.
My first thought taking Jamie underground would be down the main passage, down the giant stairs , along and then out tradesman exit. But with an open mind to see how things went. The trip was a lot more successful  than this reaching water chamber and out, with one very happy beaming and tired Jamie.
The next day we tackled something slightly shorter, but a bit more of a challenge, swildons, short dry and out wet. 
So that for me was a fantastic achievement,  and  so to the next year  and another trip,
This time with water levels in swildons being very low, we decided to push the boundries a bit and to see how far we could get in swildons, obviously some serious obstacles to overcome none more so than the twenty. The speed Jamie went across the fields we all had to run to keep up with him, that kid can move fast on those crutches. Again we had the same set up with the full body harness and tape sling. In short dry and off to the twenty, One of our team had gone ahead and rigged the twenty with a tyrolene which we used to keep Jamie out of the water, and on down to double troubles. this is where we had to say end of cave as Jamie had started to run out of energy and getting a little chilly. Return trip was by the same route. By which time Jamie had used all his energy so a piggy back across the fields was necessary, plus it sped things up to get him into dry clothes.
The next day saw him back to Goat church down to boulder chamber in via the tradesman exit, and then out by going up giant steps and out main entrance, Once again one very tired but very happy young boy.
It was a great privelage to be part of showing a young person the beauty of the underground world and a young person who is a lot less physically able than many and  showing the spirit of never giving up.


Well-known member
I reckon that's the best thing I've read on this forum for a very long time.

Well done all.