Caving is not an expensive sport as you would think. To get into the beginner caves in the Peak District all you’ll need is some waterproof clothing, a pair of sturdy wellington boots or high ankle boots, a helmet and most importantly a head torch.
Once you descend into caves after a few metres it’ll become darker and you could easily loose your bearings. It is therefore important to carry a reliable torch as well as a backup in case you experience a malfunction.
Make sure that you wear warm clothing which you don’t mind getting dirty. Once you decide caving is something you would want to pursue you could invest in an oversuit which will protect you from dirt and keep you somewhat dry.
What to expect
Caves come in various sizes, some are small enough for you needing to take a deep breath in to squeeze through, some which are big enough to house the Blackpool tower from tip to foundations (Titan).
You don’t need to be an athlete to go caving as there are caves suitable for everyone. Some caves require you to crawl flat out for the duration of the visit whereas others require you to crawl, walked stoop or even ascent/descend ropes in order to progress. You’ll certainly know if the trip has been treacherous as you might ache the following few days.
However, caving skills are best developed by observing more experienced cavers – this is one of the great advantages of caving within a team. Each buddying caver will find their own unique style of caving depending on the type of caves they like and their own body shape.
Like any outdoor activity caving has its own associated hazards. When entering abandoned mines there is a risk to come across open shafts, loose rocks or deep water pits which need to be navigated safely. Weather also plays an important role as flooding does affect some of our local caves however these sites are marked accordingly and not usually attempted by the beginner. Reading guidebooks prior to attending a cave is very important as well is taking a cave survey to keep your bearings.
The British Caving Association (BCA) is very direct in recognising the dangers and who is responsible for mitigating the risks, as their participation statement demonstrates;
“The BCA recognises that caving, cave diving and mine exploration are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.”