Feel free to ask any further questions I've stuck this together quickly.
FIRST NAME/NICKNAME: Josh
PLACE: Horsham, West Sussex/ Phong Nha, Vietnam
PROFESSION: Caving safety advisor
1. When did you start caving?
I first started caving through the scouts as a youngster, and the first time I went I absolutely hated it. After a 4 year break after my first caving trip, I tried again, and a fella called Paul Dold spotted me and took me under his wing, spotting my willingness to lay in damp streamyway getting the flash angle right for 'just one more shot'.
2. Describe your first ever caving trip.
First trip, that I disliked, was Goatchurch - I was small, weak, frankly afraid of everything. I put up with it. The next day we went to Swildons and not liking the look of the entrance, plus in a fair amount of pain from the squeezebox the night before, I duly cried my eyes out until someone took me back to the van.
3. What’s your most memorable cave related adventure?
Getting stuck in bar pot - full trip report here: https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=19201.msg246897#msg246897
4. Were you interested in caves before you started caving?
5. What’s your earliest cave related memory/encounter?
crying my eyes out to avoid going in swildons.
6. What do you think first drew you to caves?
the chance of adventure, the opportunity to do something bit different.
7. Why do you cave?
One of the main reasons is the work out, using muscles that you don't use for anything other than caving. I'm a scout cave leader and I cave in order to introduce young people to a sport that has enabled me to start working the other side of the globe doing my favourite hobby. Caving offers me a place to retreat from the troubles of the world, and it just becomes about tackling each obstacle in turn with good friends.
8. Do you ever go into caves on your own? If so - why? How differently do you respond to a cave when you’re in it alone?
Yes, because nobody likes me. I have time to cave when others have work, and therefore I will go for caving trips solo. I'll be slightly less ambitious/more cautious if i'm on my own, knowing that my generous call out times would mean a long wait on my own, whereas with someone else there is the possibility to limp out with assistance.
9. What is a cave?
What is a cave to me or what is the Geological definition of a cave? The latter is a hollow within or between beds of rock, usually limestone. If the former, caves are a retreat, caves are my little slice of paradise.
10. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever found underground?
Whilst caving in vietnam I found a long piece of white thread in the water but it was moving about like a sort of worm type thing. I picked it up to examine it closer and it was definitely moving about. On discussions with my colleagues turns out it was a sort of tape worm for bats.
11. If you are a digger, explain the appeal of it.
started digging this window, with a lovely bunch of chums, and the main draw is the camaraderie, the feeling of all being in the sh*t together. Second to this is the potential for glory
and making a big connection somewhere. Digging again is a good workout, and an opportunity to move my fat ass.
12. If you are a diver, explain the appeal of it.
Starting to get into diving. I have done a reasonable amount of open water diving, and love the feeling of solitude. I love the idea of combining two of my favourite hobbies into one. Cave diving to me is the pinnacle of adventure, reaching somewhere that needs a combination of highly specialised skills narrows down the number of people that could ever get there, and that excites me. A key part of it will be the challenge.