Author Topic: How to catch the caving bug.  (Read 371 times)

Online Duck ditch

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How to catch the caving bug.
« on: July 15, 2020, 08:24:16 am »
Encouraged by a work colleague. I started caving in dry grots, a site helmet and hand held torch. I didn’t like the fact you had to move your head to see. 
Pete had a miners helmet and a lead acid battery pack cadged off a miner in castleford he knew.
I wasn’t prepared to fork out actual cash for caving.
We did Dow, borrins moor and goyden.  Caves we didn’t need equipment for.

Next was Providence Pot. So in dry grots we climbed down the entrance Awkwardly with my hand held torch. We explored Providence thoroughly no knowing the way to dowbergill passage.  I had memorised the description so how could we go wrong?

Eventually we dropped into dowbergill passage and set off for Dow Cave.  My 3 jumpers were sodden and heavy, but our lucky break was that the steel toe cap of boots fell off so after some debate we turned round.  Guessing that we weren’t half way yet.  Anyone who knows dowbergill will realise what a lucky decision this was.

On the climb out of dowbergill and into providence I placed my light on a ledge but knocked it off. It rattled down the climb creating a dodgy connection that required both hands to keep it on. Luckily Pete’s light was working perfectly and because we had explored providence well, we didn’t get lost.

I caught the caving bug on reaching daylight. Next week I had bought helmet,light and wellies.  2 weeks later a wet suit.  Ladders were to follow before finally joining a club Some time later due to reading the description of lost johns.

Anyone else care to divulge how you caught the caving bug?

Offline Groundhog

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Re: How to catch the caving bug.
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2020, 08:38:57 am »
I don't remember "catching the bug". I was always fascinated by caves from a very young age. My father took us down show caves like Blue John and Treak Cliff which I loved. At 13 or 14 my school pals and I were part of the Alderley cowboy scene before they blew up the entrances. Then we discovered Castleton, first Suicide Cave then Giants. That was it, we were hooked.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: How to catch the caving bug.
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2020, 08:41:09 am »
Reading classic caving books from the local library as a child; Underground Adventure, Potholing Beneath The Northern Pennines, Life & Death Underground, Pennine Underground, etc. Really wanted to go caving then, this only being reinforced by a couple of fortuitous show cave visits.

Then a mate and I found out that one of our teachers was a caver. We gave him no peace until he took us - and to be honest we both have a massive amount to be grateful to him for, as we went caving with him a fair bit after that. Much later, once we were old enough (16), he pointed us at the Craven Pothole Club. We were well looked after in a rough and tumble way and learned a great deal about caving and life in general. This, together with good experiences in the few other clubs I'm also a member of, leaves me convinced that cavers who never join clubs are missing out on many of the good things which caving brings in life.

Offline Brains

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Re: How to catch the caving bug.
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2020, 10:35:55 am »
I was interested from an early age, with a descent of Grimes Graves at about 5 years old, and later a steady diet of classic walking, climbing and expedition books. Friends of my parents would save me cuttings of A Harry Griffins column from the papers. As I grew up walks and cycle rides in the Hertfordshire countryside seemed tame, so with a school friend we headed to the lakes for a walking/camping holiday. Luckily my senior school also ran week long YHA trips to the Lakes at Easter. My interest in geology was fired with three years in University, but it wasnt until later that I got back into hill walking, then climbing in a big way. One wet summer we sat in a typical Peak greasy spoon, drinking mugs of tea and looking at the rain through misty windows, when someone suggested caving as a wet weather alternative. Lamps and hats hired from Caving Supplies, dry grots sorted and off to P8 and Giants. The fuse was lit and I soon acquired skills and kit, joined a local club and have loved it ever since. A trip to the pseudo-siphon in the Berger was a highlight, amongst many excellent trips. Family, life, and general stuff have slowed me from my initial ambitions, but they are still there now. No mater how well I know Lancaster - Easegill, I feel the need to explore it further, and a love of dirty old mines has crept in as well. Seeing snottites for the first time was amazing, and secondary copper is always a delight. Bring it on!

Offline Simon Beck

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Re: How to catch the caving bug.
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2020, 12:19:31 pm »
Probably when my Geography Teacher told us about the Mossdale incident at age 12.

Offline paul

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Re: How to catch the caving bug.
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2020, 12:37:10 pm »
Many years ago I was living in North London and a school friend had an interest in geology and he had visited Cheddar and seen cavers. This made him curious, being from London he had little knowledge of caving and he asked them what they had been doing. He did some research in the library when he got back and he persuaded another school friend to go with him on another trip on their mopeds to Mendip as that was the nearest place with any caves. They had a visit to Goatchurch Cavern wearing their motorcycle helmets and cheap headlamps they had bought somewhere. They had a great time.
They told me about their caving trip and how good it was. I also knew nothing about caving (although I remember 'spelologie' had been mentioned during French class in some book or other) but I asked if I could join them on the next trip.
At the following Easter holiday we road our motorbike/mopeds to Mendip and stayed in Cheddar youth hostel and had trips to Goatchurch again, plus Swildons, Cuckoo Cleeves, Stoke Lane Slocker.
That was it for us, we were hooked. We bought a ladder each giving us three altogether and some rope and had trips to the Peak and the Dales sticking to whatever caves we could find that would be doable with our three ladders.
Realising we would need more gear (and probably more knowledge as well) to visit more caves, we joined a caving club and went on many more trips.
The other two eventually lost interest, but I didn't  and eventually moved to the Peak District.
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!


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