There are many interesting sites in the United Kingdom for caving enthusiasts and there are many caving or potholing clubs you could join if you are really interested in the sport. Caving is classed as an extreme sport, not so much because the sport carries extreme risks with it, but more because accidents, when they do happen, generally have devastating consequences. The main reasons fatalities in caving are caused is by falling, especially when it is very difficult for a rescue operation to be put into place to assist the injured person, and flooding.
Most caving and potholing clubs in the United Kingdom will be able to give you caving lessons before you start actually caving. This will enable you to become familiar with the different types of equipment, as well as help you get to know your own strengths and weaknesses. A very important part of caving is to know your own limits, as exhaustion is very common.
All cavers need to be fully committed to conservation. Caves all have intricate systems of micro biology within them, as well as bats, and care must be taken not to disturb this. Most caves also contain water, and all water needs to come to the surface somewhere, so it is very important that this water is not in any way polluted by visiting cavers.
Caves also have intricate shapes, clay and crystal formations that have taken millions of years to form. These are, however, very brittle and a simple trip or nudge could break them, thereby destroying millions of years of work. Often, certain areas of caves are not accessible to cavers due to issues concernng conservation, and this is something any good caver will fully respect.
Caves in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, caves open for exploration can be found in Yorkshire, the Peak District, South Wales, the Forest of Dean, Mendip, Devon and Assynt. Each of these areas also has at least one caving club that you could join.
Caving should always be done with a group of people, preferably at least four. This is to do with safety: in case of an accident, one person can stay behind with the injured party whilst the other two try to get help. This means that no one needs to be left on their own in a cave, which carries additional risks with it.
It is important to remember that in the United Kingdom, caving is classed as an extreme sport and hence requires specialist insurance if you are to undertake it. If not, any accident caused by caving will not be covered by your insurance and you will be liable for the medical costs yourself.
Other than that, caving is a fantastic and physically demanding sport that is enjoyed by many the world over. It allows people to push themselves to their limit in fascinating and interesting environments. The two main elements that are followed by cavers are safety (through equipment and team work) and conservation – the needs of nature come before the needs for enjoyment.
Do you fancy going caving in the UK? Cottages in Yorkshire make the ideal holiday accommodation in the county and are the perfect place to relax after a day of activity. Visit the Owners Direct website and check out the available country cottages for you.
Creative Commons photo by Jim Champion