So what is it about holes in the ground that fascinates me so much? So... what shall I say. I could talk all night about caves I have been to, how tight that squeeze was and how immense that chamber was, how tortuous that passage was, or how high the water was... it’s a bit like asking a fisherman about the last fish he caught (or nearly caught!). the squeeze is always that bit tighter, the chamber even bigger, the passage even more tortuous... and you wouldn’t really want me to drag on about things like that, because you see, caving is one of things you just get passionate about – (or not), you either love it or hate it, you get hooked or you get clean away and never come back. So forgive me if I get a bit over enthusiastic, because I was one of the ones that caught, hook, line and sinker!
Seriously, though caving has enriched my life and has given me so many new opportunities and a completely different perspective on life. It has given me the chance to travel and see parts of the world I had dreamed about and others that I hadn’t!
It was a dark and stormy night..... Well, I was in a pub in Leeds, England and just chatting to friends, generally about what we had been up to since we had last met up. I was doing my Post Grad teaching cert then in French and Outdoor Pursuits and we had been away all week on a camp so I had done quite a lot – and talking about kayaking and climbing and night navigation is a bit like talking about caving and fishing... I think I was waxing lyrical (well, exaggerating) about some of our exploits, one of the guys asked if we’d done any caving. I said no but that I wouldn’t really want to go caving because I didn’t like being in enclosed spaces (I gave lifts as the example as do 90% of people that say they wouldn’t like to go caving. He said that it wasn’t like that and you shouldn’t ever say you don’t like something until you’ve tried it, to which I had no response because he was exactly right. ( First way that caving has changed my outlook on life – a few simple words in a pub!)
Then it was a dark and stormy night....there I was, getting changed at the back of a car in the middle of nowhere, in the dark, with the freezing cold wind whistling round the proverbial, into some vile smelling old overalls, wellies and various other well used grungy polypro. A tramp across the fell led us to the cave. Well I was completely bowled over, what an amazing world to enter into, how would you ever believe that so much beauty lay under our feet? The challenge of wading through streamways, crawling on all fours, climbing over boulders, negotiating a flat out crawl known as the Cheesepress and just seeing the form of the rocks was exhilarating. In the pub afterwards, my friend asked me if I had enjoyed caving and to be honest I had to think about it because I was still numb (with cold) but also the sheer effect it had on me had left me reeling! So began my life as a caver – I was reborn!