This course is suitable for those of you who have never been caving before. The only pre-requisite is a good level of fitness as you will have a strenuous day underground.
You are provided with the over-suit, boots, knee pads, harness, helmet and head torch... you bring the rest! Bring a change of clothes and a towel in case you get soaked.
As you can imagine caves and mines can be hostile environments, with an average temperature of only 10 degrees Celcius all year and often wet and drafty. To protect yourselves from this and help you enjoy the experience underground each person will need to provide themselves with the following minimal personal clothing, to be worn underneath the specialist caving equipment. This includes one or two thick fleece tops, fleece trousers (synthetic track suit bottoms with thermals will suffice), thermal undergarments, thick warm socks and a warm hat.
Please do not wear cotton tops or bottoms as the material stays cold and heavy when wet. Don't forget you'll also need a change of clothes and possibly a towel after the session. Remember to dress warm.
All safety equipment required for the trip and general technical gear, such as emergency kits, safety ropes, ladders and anchors are supplied by the local operator.
As caving is a physically demanding activity it is advisable that everybody eat a hearty breakfast before and provide themselves with food for the underground trip such as chocolate or flapjacks, and a small energy drink. Sandwiches and crisps do not travel well underground. You may wish to bring a hot flask and nibbles for afterwards.
Meet at the Training Centre at 9am (start times may vary by up to 30 minutes during busy times but this will be confirmed the week before). The Training Centre is open from 9am for course participants to come in and grab a drink. You will spend a good 30 minutes ensuring everybody is suitably kitted out with all of the technical equipment they need for the day.
At 10am the caving begins.
Depending on weather, group experience and size of group we select a local venue and then head out to the best location. This could be a 10-minute drive, it could be half an hour. Sometime you need to walk for 15-20 minutes to get to the caving site. Bring some decent trainers or walking boots.
4pm-4.30pm: Depending on where you go caving, you usually head back to the Training Centre for a de-brief, pack away the equipment ready for cleaning and grab another cup of tea before finishing up the course and heading home.