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Up for grabs ? SpanSet IRATA course (Hidden Earth Grand Prize)


Where could an IRATA course take YOU?

As part of the fantastic UKC competitions at Hidden Earth, I was lucky enough to win the Grand Prize of an IRATA course, donated by SpanSet.



However, after much deliberation (and procrastination), I have decided to re-donate this prize to a more worthy cause: someone who will be able to gain more from it than I could.

Perhaps you are looking for a new career in rope access? Or are you in need of requalification? Maybe you simply want to gain some valuable new skills?

This prize is worth upwards of ?700 :)o) and will provide the lucky recipient with a week-long course based at SpanSet?s training centre in Middlewich, at the end of which you will (hopefully!) gain an IRATA qualification.

In order to be in with a chance of winning this amazing prize, you will need to do the following:

1. Pledge a make a donation to CHECC and/or CRO should you be the winner (you can PM me with details of this if you prefer)
2. Reply below on this thread to tell us what you would gain from the course and why you think you deserve the prize.

I will then judge the worthiest cause.
The deadline for entries is midnight on 31st December - you could be starting the new year on the way to a new career!
NB. If there are insufficient entries, I reserve the right to extend this deadline.

Good luck!  :D :beer: (y)

'SpanSet design, manufacture & supply Height Safety, Lifting & Load Control products at their custom built Cheshire plant. SpanSet products ensure the highest level of safety. We also train people how to use our equipment, safely.  We offer a wide range of Rope Access and Height related safety training courses including IRATA levels 1,2 and 3; Confined Spaces; Working at Height; Height Safety for Industry/Emergency Services/Military; Safe Lifting & Rigging; Load Control + much more.  Our modern, extensive training facility offers state of the art classrooms with multimedia touchscreens, excellent indoor rope access training area + various purpose built outdoor training structures'.


owd git

Active member
I never wanted, or expected to use the ' like button'.
I HATE the use of such short cuts of replying to a thought ,or a description ,or idea!!
I shall apologize and hope for an opportunity to make
amends. Sorry. O.G.


I understand there is some flexibility yes - Pegasus can probably tell you more.

Sent from my Moto G (5) using Tapatalk



Active member
Sorry we will not be training you, but should you call past on your way North or South I am sure I can arrange a consolation piece of rope if that would suit.

Thanks also for putting this up again as an opportunity for someone else.

SpanSet will be happy to continue the offer leaving it open for use at some convenient point until the end of 2019.

Don't forget it is an offer of a new course or a refresher if you already have a ticket and wish to upgrade or re certify.
The lucky recipient will benefit from training in a great environment with dry and warm areas indoors complemented with higher more exposed areas outdoors for a touch of realism.
Tea, coffee etc is always on to aid the information sinking in and lunches are included.
All you need is to win and sort out travel or accommodation local to Middlewich which we can advise on if required.

Thanks again to Cat and Good Luck to all who enter.

Pete K

Well-known member
Right, I'll chuck my hat in as I've been wanting to do an IRATA course for a while now.
I'm a cave instructor predominantly. Over the last year I have begun expanding my skills to move into doing inspections for ropes courses and zip wires. One of the things I've had to do is convert my single rope cave skills over to 'working' 2 rope skills. With more opportunities opening up to me in this sector, I need to get properly schooled in the work at height ways. I'm happy on rope and with self-learning but have always appreciated the value of expert training to avoid the pitfalls of bad habits, and because of this, I've wanted to put myself through an IRATA course for some time. I had even budgeted for doing one in the new year but sadly my van was written off while parked and I was injured and out of action for a little while. As you may know with the world of insurance, you never get back what you really need to replace what you lost, so my course fund had to go into paying for the difference for a replacement vehicle. That's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it's just set me back a while on the master plan.
I use my rope skills as a volunteer with the DCA (as Project Officer and a bolt installer) and DCRO and I'm sure that this extra knowledge could be useful in those circles.
I'm sure that there will be hard up cavers/students here who are more deserving of the prize, so to offset that, I'll pledge to donate ?200 to the CRO team of your choice, or split that between teams.


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Wardy said:
Sorry we will not be training you, but should you call past on your way North or South I am sure I can arrange a consolation piece of rope if that would suit.

Thanks Wardy, that's very kind - I'll be in touch next time I'm in the vicinity  :beer:

Pete K, thanks also to you for entering :clap: Sorry to hear about your van/injury. I hope your IRATA dreams come true soon in one way shape or form.


Well-known member
Why me?
I?ve been caving for the past 10 years, my first trip was into Lancaster Hole in January 2009 with York University Cave and Pothole club. York did an amazing job training up a young person who was slightly scared of heights. Fortunately, not long after starting I realised that I was neither Claustrophobic nor scared of reasonable heights. I had some great years with York university learning about rigging, rescue and rope care.
Outside of University, I have been trying to progress a career in Finance with arguably mixed success. So, in my honest opinion, its probably time to try a different tack. I know quite a few cavers who have gone into the rope access business and have a friend who runs a business getting boats delivered by professional Skippers, so i'm almost certain I will be able to find a way of using a Level 1 course.

It would be great to get into an industry where I can use the skills I have gained in the last ten years and build on them.

I don?t typically visit many caving areas outside of Derbyshire, but on a visit to Gloucester earlier this year. I rediscovered there were other caving regions (tongue in cheek, Honest!), and indeed other Cave rescue groups. The weekend I attended was the Dachstein training camp organised by Joel Corrigan and went through the skills needed to be of more use to an expedition and not just a dead weight.
Joel had decided to base the weekend at Gloucester Cave rescue base which was a fine venue for the purposes of the weekend. The base itself was well equipped, but before that weekend I scarcely knew it existed. That?s probably more of a reflection on me than of the group?s activities.
For the question of pledging to donate to CRO I will use the broad definition of Cave Rescue Organisation(s) and will aim to have a series of events around the country.
You?re probably thinking, there are 15 different CRO organisations, you?re not going to tour all of them and give them all money? You?ll probably be right. My idea is that I visit some of the areas the smaller Cave rescue groups cover, bring a barrel of beer and invite people to join. Quite simply if there?s enough people drinking, some money should be made. If I don?t get enough people to justify a Keg, then I?ll make sure that each CRO organisation gets at least ?20. But there?s potential to double or treble that figure (which would see somewhere between ?180 and ?540 raised for CRO?s across the UK).
I?ve either never caved in these areas, or so infrequently that I?ve forgotten about them, so it?s an excuse to get out and see more caves? Cornwall, Cumbria, Devon, Gloucester, Midlands, North Wales, Scottish, South East CRO and Swaledale Mountain Rescue.

Many of you will know me as a member of the TSG, and so will probably be pleased to know that I?m trying to get out of the area, even if for just the 9 times above.


I am more than happy to donate some of my time to CHECC, this would more than likely be at Northern CHECC and would likely be helping out with teaching Cave surveying alongside one of the more experienced Cave Survey Group people. I?m not the greatest at drawing, but that?s for the individual surveyor to embellish their drawings. As the amount of time is limited on a weekend, I?m more than happy to help to run a follow up session. Pres and sec, I?m sure I?ll see you guys soon to rattle out some details.

At the end of my second year of University in 2010 I did some work experience around the corner from the Spanset head office in Middlewich in fact it was on the same industrial estate, I?m going to be honest I don?t know if you were using the Middlewich site at the time. This year after Spanset generously donated gear to help with the SRT rope course at Hidden earth, I briefly visited the site on my way up the country to return the equipment. Getting lost on the way and walking round the whole building before finding the office entrance I can say their facilities look the business.
I?ve been to quite a few events supported by Spanset now and it?s impressive the amount they support the caving community.  (y)


This seems well timed given my recent life choices.

I've been working as a tour guide at Peak Cavern for almost 10 months now, virtually since I finished uni, but I've recently given notice (I'll probably stay on part-time as it's fun) to give me time to do a driving course, my IRATA Level 1 and go on expedition in Austria in February. Ditching my regular income might not have been the wisest decision, but I'm sick of working every single weekend as it means I hardly get to go caving outside of Derbyshire.  :cry: Despite being a TSG member I have a craving to go somewhere other than filthy Peak District mines. :tease: I lie dreaming of clean Yorkshire potholes and Welsh labyrinths when I am yet again awakened by the need to go to work on a Saturday.

I've been talking to a lot of people in the outdoor industry and rope access about their jobs recently and after some toing and froing I decided to try for rope access, as while ropeys I spoke to did complain about working away and having unpredictable incomes, they did mostly seem to be getting the freedom they want: to work less, and cave more. I'm not sure how long I could manage a typical full-time job with 4 weeks off a year as that clearly does not give time for the digging, travelling and caving expeditions that I have planned.

Some professional training in rope techniques might in turn help me with teaching SRT to SUSS freshers, and I have joined DCRO this year where it might eventually come in handy. These are bonuses, but really I want to work in rope access so I have more free time to spend underground.

I've saved a little towards my impending unemployment so I'll happily donate ?120 to CHECC if they think it would be useful, else a rescue team, preferably UWFRA who pulled some friends of mine out of prov this year.


New member
I couldn't pass up the chance, though I note some other very worthy causes have already posted above.

Back in 2012, I was lucky enough to travel to Peninsular Malaysia on a field trip as part of my Environmental Science degree. I was assigned to one of ten field work groups, researching funnel web spiders. Despite this being a highly interesting topic, there was one other research group which clearly stood head and shoulders above the rest; the canopy access group. This group would ascend gigantic dipterocarp trees and map the plant life - epiphytes - which lived in their crowns. At the time I was caving with Plymouth University's Adventure & Expo club, and despite being based in Devon had been able to get a basic grasp of SRT through attending the CHECC forums. I implored the academic supervisor to let me swap into their group and, after explaining my (admittedly limited) SRT experience, was made group leader. Later that year I got to lead a team climbing these giants, and one time while surveying an orchid high up in the canopy, a rhinocerous hornbill came and landed in the tree next to me; a truly unforgettable experience.

I went on to excel at my degree and secured a job in Geographic Information Systems, which I am still working in today. I love my job making maps and analysing lots of data but, like many graduate environmental scientists I suspect, it sometimes feels like I've fallen in to a trap working behind a desk when I should be out climbing trees and counting beetles. I had wanted to complete my Basic Canopy Access Proficiency (BCAP) course during my final year at uni but, alas, I wasn't able to afford the fee. It's still on the to-do list, along with my ML assessment; a ticket back to the outdoors. I would hope to use an IRATA qualification to begin working outdoors; initially volunteering through surveying sea bird colonies and retrieving radio tags from abandoned peregrine nests, and then moving back into academia, combining canopy access with another passion for mapping forest canopies using drones and remote sensing.

In my ninth year of caving, I still feel relatively inexperienced in SRT compared to many of my peers. On my next caving expedition in 2019, I would love to feel more confident as this remains a skill gap for me. I do help out with basic up-down SRT guidance with my club, but would love to be able to more confidently demonstrate advanced ropework to freshers and new cavers.

I was involved with the CHECC committee for several years (2014 - 2017) and with Devon Cave Rescue in 2014 (alas, I now life in East Anglia). I would be able to make a financial contribution towards cave rescue or CHECC (I'm running the Ingleborough marathon for CRO in 2019), or even better a time contribution as I'm saving for a big caving trip in the new year.

Thanks for listening and good luck to all of the other entrants!



New member
Firstly well done CatM for winning this course originally, I?m relatively new to caving so I don?t know how you won it but I?d love to find out more. And thanks for choosing to donate it for another competition as well to help someone else out with their dream.

Big thanks to Spanset for sponsoring the original competition that you won. They sound like a generous company and from reading past posts I can see provide a lot of support to the caving community. I?d be very excited to be trained by them if I was lucky enough to win.

So as I have alluded to already, I am relatively new to caving although I have been lurking on this forum for a while, reading about other people?s adventures and getting lots of inspiration to make my caving dreams bigger. I particularly enjoyed reading about the expeditions this summer and maybe it?s something I can one day get involved with, it?s hard to believe that there are still so many unexplored places on the planet. I?d love to be part of a new discovery in some way. I have recently started caving with the Wessex Cave Club, having been introduced through a friend. I have loved all the experiences I?ve had so far and my membership form is filled in ready to join in January (their membership year restarts then). My friend bought me wellies for my recent birthday and acquired an oversuit for me which was donated by a friend. I?m saving hard for an undersuit as my current setup does get a bit chilly at times.

I currently work as a tree surgeon and have experience with conservation scrub management as well. I?m comfortable on ropes and have taken a few qualifications to enable me to do my current role. However I?m really struggling to fund additional training qualifications which would open up more work opportunities for me. It?s a viscous circle, as more work would enable me to afford to develop myself further. I?ve been looking around tree surgery for a while now to see where I could expand and rope access is an industry I?ve been looking at joining. Just funding the the training has been holding me up.

I?ve been volunteering with local wildlife groups and have started working towards my bat roost visitor license. I?m doing this because I want to give some time back into doing good for the environment and I had been told tree skills are sought after and would be really useful in the work with bats.

I?ve mentioned I?ve got a lack of funds but because this is such a great opportunity I would like to offer to donate ?200 and let CatM choose where this goes. I?d like to suggest that it is split between CHECC and a cave rescue organisation but ultimately I?m just happy for the money to go into the caving community.

I don?t find talking to new people particularly easy and making friends isn?t always successful. However since going caving I?ve been so fortunate to meet great people that I can?t believe I didn?t take the plunge earlier to get involved. My nervousness with people held me back but I?m working on it and I?m going to use the positive experiences from caving to boost 2019 and onwards.

Good luck to everyone in this competition and look forward to meeting more cavers in person in the future.


Kane Crawford

New member
Hi my name is kane, i am a 20 year old young man who is just coming to the end of a two year btec course on outdoor sports and looking at the first steps towards qualifying to be able to work at height.
It may seem an unusual direction for most to head considering the course I have taken, but I chose this course following leaving school as it suited my physical attributes and also it was as close to climbing that formal education in my area offered. The course provided a qualification that  shows I have a disciplined knowledge of the factors to consider whilst; planning, participating or leading others in several outdoor activities, as well as having the physical ability to do them. Evidencing my educational ability with this course was important to me as I have always found academic subjects challenging due to a bundle of specific difficulties (which i am happy to discuss more privately) and despite continually working hard, my results previously have never reflected the effort I had put in.
It has been clear from an early age that I am a practical 'hands on' type of person, who in comparison to those around me, I am underwhelmed by activities that others find exhilarating, for example, tandum sky diving was rather boring. Both my school and parents  stated at various times throughout my childhood how I would be good at working at height (cleaning skyscrapers or maintenance of windmill blades etc)....I am now at an age where I can accept they were right!!
My apparently fearless views were positively supported by parents who channelled my physical inquisition through various activities, eventually finding bouldering and now trad. I am a member of the Carlisle mountaineering group and enjoy climbing regularly amongst a group with an abundance of knowledge. I am currently trying to save enough for an
industrial ropes access course to enable the next step towards a career that would suit me and my college tutor, being aware of my situation, informed me of your kind offer. I would be very grateful if you would consider my application also. Please if you would like any further information do not hesitate to contact me. Many thanks kane


New member
Good evening all on this penultimate day to 2018!

I hope you have all had a very Happy Christmas and wish you all the Merriest of evenings tomorrow night heading into the New Year!

Now then, there appears to be alot of great entries from people before me on this thread and if I am not chosen as the lucky winner then I would like to take this opportunity to wish them every bit of luck on their exciting new opportunity!

So you ask 'what I would gain from the course and why I feel I deserve the prize'

A resourceful, diligent individual with a passion for working in a job at Height.
To date I have been pursuing a career following the outdoor industry, for this I studied at both college and university leading me to my latest position as Senior Instructor that I left in October. Since then I have taken a few months out driving minibuses. I am now ready to take on the next chapter in my career. During my time throughout this sector it has allowed me to develop strong problem solving skills as well as developing a professional manner with a range of clientele. Having spent 10+ years in this industry I am now looking to take a slight career change and the working at Height sector is something I feel I have previous experience in from both a professional and personal level. As I progressed into my career my interests and hobbies grew allowing me to gain invaluable experience to help build solid log books in climbing, caving and a variety of other outdoor activities that included rope work. I worked a period of time for a High Ropes construction company during which I spent my time using a variety of hand/power tools at heights which I thoroughly enjoyed. A change in life circumstances meant I needed to give up this position. In a previous job I have been involved in constructing a variety of climbing walls both at height and on the ground. I am also a full team member to the Cave Rescue Organisation in Clapham. In my own time I have always enjoyed getting involved with a variety of DIY projects. I feel I have gained large amounts of experience working on ropes in a variety of environments and feel that undertaking my IRATA would allow my professional and personal skills to become at one with each other. Being on the ladder 'pardon the pun' to working at heights for a career is something I feel would help me blossom as a human in the amazing world we live in and would help give me the direction into a new exciting career choice that I am currently looking for.

I hope to use my skills and experiences that I have learnt within the outdoors, towards making a ?real? difference to a business and having a positive impact in helping the company grow and develop. Having the starting steps on the IRATA ladder on my resume would certainly push me in the right direction in striving to achieve this.

So to conclude why I feel I'm maybe a worthy winner to this prize other than the above I am someone who will put 100% effort into anything I do, I am a very grateful gentleman who has never taken anything for granted but is fully prepared to invest time and energy into any new challenge I undertake.

Thank you for your time in reading about me and putting together this fantastic opportunity for a lucky winner. CatM I will PM re my pledge.


Thanks so much to everyone who has entered! I'm going to have a hard time choosing a winner...

I'm in the middle of battling what seems to be the plague at the moment so apologies for the delay but rest assured the lucky recipient (of the IRATA course, not my lurgy) will be revealed soon :)

Sent from my Moto G (5) using Tapatalk



New member
Hey guys.
Just wanted to update everyone,
I've made equal donations to CHECC, MCR and CRO for ?70 each
Just sorting some dates out for the course for after April.
So excited already to do the course!



New member
Hey everyone.
Just a message to say I?m really excited about the course tomorrow and have been really looking forward to it.