Wild Underground / Caves and Caving by Neil Champion 2012 first pub Australia 2000 32 pp Glossy A4 format, glazed boards. Franklin Watts, London and Sydney. £12.50.
This book is a little short on facts. Page 5 states that cave exploring began 200 years ago but later on in the book (page 7), people were exploring Postojna Cave in 1213. I assume that cave explorers were in there first. Page 6 Refers to the largest cave in the world. I think largest cave chamber in the world would be a better description . Page 7 I think the first cave dweller was a China Man who lived 750,000 years ago, in the Zhoukoudian Cave system, in Beijing, China. It has been inhabited by various species of human being, including Peking Man (Homo erectus pekinensis) and modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens). Not some Neanderthal living in a cave in Jersey a mere 250,000 years ago. Page 8 mentions abseiling but not prusiking. How am I going to get back out again? Page 9 Says “The longest cave system in the world is in Kentucky, USA. The Mammoth Cave is an incredible 628 m long.” Well who about Optymistychna Cave in the Ukraine 2600 km long? Page 11 recommends Trainers for caving. I prefer something more substantial with a good grip like industrial boots. Page 12 recommend carbide lamps! Page 13 Going up and down. Help! No mention of good old Dr Karl Prusik. Page 14 “Only go into a cave with people who have been there before,” Bit of a puzzle. How did a cave get explored in the first place? Also, the most important thing is to leave word with a responsible person. Which cave you are going down and what time you will be out. Page 15 Caving Tragedy No mention of Floyd Collins. 17 Caving knots. No mention of the Bowline. Page 19 For a Grade 5 cave you will need a guide book. A vandal guide? Page 20 A siphon sucks water. The author really means a sump. Page 25 refers to the Cave of the Swallow. What is wrong with its proper name Sótano de las Golondrinas. Also the swallows are actually swifts.