What is caving?
Essentially, caving is the recreational exploration of underground spaces. Each cave is very different so you may end up crawling, climbing, walking, abseiling, wading through streams or even swimming through passages to complete a trip.
Why should I want to go down that dark hole in the ground?
Not only will you see a part of the world that few people get to visit, but you will get to see some amazing things, such as stunning formations, chambers the size of cathedrals, impressive waterfalls…plus achieve things you would never have thought yourself capable of. It’s not a competitive sport so we always try to make caving as fun as possible, at the same time helping each other through the cave. The sense of achievement after completing a tough trip is second to none.
Is caving for me?
Having taken numerous freshers underground for their first time, it’s obvious that caving isn’t for everyone. If you’re claustrophobic or scared of the dark then it’s not for you. Though if you’re the kind of person that likes exploring, working in a team, meeting lots of new people and want to do something a bit different then you’ll probably love it.
If you’re still unsure, then why not give it a go anyway? At the start of the year we run special trips for people new to caving, to give them a taster of what its like. There’s no pressure for you to carry on caving if you don’t like it, but you might like to stay for the social aspects.
Is it safe?
Generally, yes. Like any active sport however, there are no guarantees. The major cause of rescues is flooding, but this can be avoided by monitoring weather forecasts and avoiding flood-risk caves during wet weather. Safety is a primary concern within the club, so trip leaders will never push people beyond their capabilities. Experienced members will always be on hand too to offer advice and anticipate any hazards.
What gear do I need?
If you’re caving with us for the first time then you won’t need to buy anything. The club will provide a helmet and lamp, belt, oversuit and wellies. You will need to wear old clothes underneath to keep you warm in the cave. The club also owns specific equipment for abseiling too (which we will provide tuition in how to use). If you find you want to carry on caving then we eventually encourage members to start buying their own kit.
Where are the caves?
The nearest caves are in south Wales, about 60-90 minutes away. Other areas in Britain we visit regularly include the Mendips, Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District. Members occasionally visit the limestone areas of north Wales, Ireland, Devon and the Forest of Dean.
How often are trips?
There’s usually a trip going each weekend, some just day trips while others we spend the whole weekend away staying in special caving huts. Trips underground are on average 3-6 hours, though the harder trips can easily exceed 10 hours. Some cavers even spend days camping underground. When not caving, we’ll be socialising with cavers from other clubs, so you’ll get to meet quite a few people from outside of Aberystwyth.
Will I be insured?
Yes. Personal insurance is included in the cost of the sporty card, though you don’t require the card to join the club. ACC is also a member of the British Caving Association, which provides third-party public liability insurance for cavers. Membership is £8/year for students, costed pro rata depending on when you join. You even get a card which enables you access into restricted locations.
How do I join?
The easiest way is to find us at Freshers Fayre or come to a social. You won’t regret it! If you have any more questions please do ask on Facebook, or come find us at one of our social events.