How the trip will run:
We’ll meet together at the hut on Friday evening with enough time to try and make plans for the next day.
On Saturday we will head out caving in the surrounding area, and then return to the hut for a hearty dinner and plenty of drinks!
Sunday plans will depend on your personal level of hangover, but there will certainly be caving happening and possibly walks.
About the hut
Wessex is a cosy hut located close to the popular cave Swildon’s Hole. It has an SRT training platform outside, and plenty of room inside for socialising.
Will food be provided?
Yes, food will be provided on this trip. Breakfast will be provided in the morning, and on Saturday we will have a group meal cooked in the hut.
Food will not be provided on Friday, or on Sunday evening. You’re recommended to bring cave snacks and evening snacks
What do I need to bring?
You will need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow (optional but recommended), any caving kit you own, alcohol, snacks, and several changes of underwear as whatever you wear caving will get wet and dirty.
I’ve never been caving with you before, can I come?
We’d prefer to have caved with you before – or at least know you in some way before coming on this trip. It might be best – if you’re at all able – to come on one of our extra-welcoming trips before you sign up for this weekend to get a sense what we’re like as a group and whether you’ll get on with us.
I don’t have any caving kit. What should I bring? What should I borrow?
Part of the cost includes hiring use of the special equipment you’ll use. Here’s what you should bring:
- Some warm older/less nice clothes to wear as a base layer underneath the caving-specific clothes we will provide. Some examples
- Fleece jumpers
- Thermal base layers
- Outdoorsy t-shirts
Avoid anything made from cotton or untreated wool (such as t-shirts or wooly jumpers); synthetic fabrics that keep their warmth when wet work best here. You will be provided with a thick fleece layer and a protective outer layer to wear over this, so if all you have is cotton you’re better going without.
- Change of socks/underwear/replacement clothing. Anything you wear into the cave will likely be too wet and dirty to wear afterwards in the car, so make sure you have spare clothes for the drive home.
- Wellies (we do have spares if necessary, but the sizes and stock are limited). These aren’t special wellies – £12 wellies from go-outdoors or sparkling pink wellies with fur linings are great for caving.
- Any important medicines you take
- Contact lenses or string for your glasses.
- A full sealed snack you enjoy eating (eg a mars bar)
What will I be borrowing?
If you don’t already have them:
- Caving Oversuit to go over your undersuit
- Caving Undersuit to go underneath your oversuit
- Caving Helmet with Caving Headtorch and fully charged Batteries
We’ll also be carrying the appropriate group equipment.
What about the rain?
Doesn’t matter – it will happen anyway.
What activities will we do?
Primarily caving. There is the possibility of walks or other non-caving activities, but these will be arranged ad-hoc though – likely if weather messes up our caving plans.
Stuff you need to know
The cost of the trip includes club equipment use, food as mentioned above, hut fees, any cave trespass fees, and support with transport if you need it. Pretty much everything except the alcohol/snacks you bring.
Common Q & As
I don’t have any caving gear – will I be ok?
Yes. Part of the cost covers borrowing any the equipment you may need including light, helmet, oversuit, SRT kit and ropes. We may be able to lend a small number of wellies and undersuits too.
What SRT skills do I need to know?
SRT isn’t essential, there are plenty of caves in the areas which don’t need it.
I don’t drive can I come?
Yes. We will arrange lifts for people who can’t drive. Different people bring different skills – it usually works out in the end.
Can I bring a dog?
Dogs aren’t ideal for caving weekends; they can’t come underground with you so care would need to be arranged for them
What is The Caving Crew?
A BCA-affiliated Club of supportive, friendly people who like to encourage each other to cave and eat cake. Sometimes at the same time.
We support an open, inclusive and accepting atmosphere for all members, whatever their ability or ambition.
Can I come for the day?
This usually doesn’t work.
All plans are made the night before, usually changing 3-4 times during the night and changing at least once in the morning. This makes it extremely difficult to tell anyone where to be and when. It might be possible to come for the day, if you were prepared to arrive at the campsite at ~7am and were prepared for mountains of faff and uncertainty. If that was me, I’d probably conclude it wasn’t worth it.
You also will struggle because you have to drive home in the evening – rather than stay for any social bits where the group really gets to know each other.
I don’t really know anyone else?
We’re keen for everyone to feel comfortable in our group so we introduce people new to Caving Crew trips with an experienced “buddy” to help them find their feet and answer any questions. Everyone is extremely welcoming, and you’re likely to make some firm friends very fast.
I have unusual dietary requirements. Will I be catered for?
Yes. Whether you’re keen on eating meat with every meal, or you are a gluten free vegan who is allergic to cinnamon, we will make sure you’re well fed.
What if there’s bad weather?
Caving is usually a good sport if the weather isn’t great. However, if we will prepare some plan B’s in case of unexpected issues (such as really heavy rain). These could be:
- Go for a scramble
- Go for a walk
- Go indoor climbing
- Go to a museum or tourist attraction
- Go to the pub
Is this a for-profit, professionally guided event?
The Caving Crew is fully run by volunteers. No-one is paid for sharing their caving and rope skills amongst the group. Nobody is using or assumed to be trained to professional qualifications unless they tell you otherwise in writing.
Everyone that comes to Caving Crew events recognises:
“that caving, cave diving and mine exploration are activities with a danger of personal injury or death, and by taking part acknowledge they are aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.“
Got a question we haven’t answered?
Ask it on the facebook group and we’ll reply ASAP.