Caves were once used as a means of survival. However, caves today have largely become the source of outdoor pursuits which has grown out of the study of Speleology.
Caves were once used as a means of survival. However, caves today have largely become the source of outdoor pursuits which has grown out of the study of Speleology. Cavers are looking to test their limits, improve their physical fitness and to witness the caves majestic natural beauty. It is not an activity that should be taken lightly; it is one with many risks including falling rocks, flooding water and physical dangers which can, at times, be fatal.
So, with these risks in mind, as you can imagine, my first time was terrifying. It was not just the caves I was scared of; I was also concerned about the guys I was caving with. Of course, the guys were all lovely; they just seemed very adventurous, very macho and very confident.
It didn’t help that I embarrassed myself straight away. We had just arrived at the site and I commented that I couldn’t see a cave. I had half expected it to look like something out of The Lion King with a huge opening at the bottom of a hill where we could stand up and just look around. How wrong I was.
Caving for beginners
To get into the cave we first had to descend down into an old water well using a wrought iron ladder which was very rusty and very slippery. From there, the cave got smaller and darker; we were forced onto our knees and stomachs in order to squirm our way through the small gaps to emerge in a larger opening. Sometimes we even had to swim to pass into another passage.
Nothing was pushed upon us, we could do as much or as little as we wanted but once I was inside I was happy to give anything a shot. At one point we had to do a duck, which involved fully submerging ourselves in water and swimming under a rock to be able to get into the open again. It was slightly terrifying but very rewarding, especially when you were greeted with an amazing array of stalactites hanging above you.
Caving is challenging but that’s the part I loved the most. I went with a friend and we were both surprised at being able to stay relatively calm. Even in situations where we were forced to crawl through tiny spaces with our faces pushed into the mud to enable us to squeeze through. The guys did reiterate that if you were to panic, your body starts to swell up and this is not very beneficial when you are trying to fit through a small gap.
Yet, despite my initial reservations and slightly sticky moments, I loved it. We were able to explore incredible natural routes and tunnels, usually formed by water, which link together forming a passage through the caves. The natural beauty was simply magical; we were looking at formations that would have taken tens of thousands of years to create.
So if you fancy trying something a bit out of the ordinary that really pushes you mentally and physically, then I would highly recommend you give caving a go. The experience is like something out of this world.