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Caving / Potholing - Training, Clubs and Gear plus Cave Diving & Canyoning

Caving is the well known sport of exploring caves where as the term speleology is the scientific study of caves. It seems to be an activity that you either love or hate. The challange of exploration attracts many, but small dark holes deep underground are certainly not for everone!
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Caving or Potholing? - Caving is a worldwide term for the activity of exploring caves where-as potholing is an English term for exploring vertical caves. It is however still a form of caving.

Every cave is different and cavers all enjoy the exploration of each individual cave. It is even more exciting when you are exploring new caves not knowing what you are going to find. These days to find new caves you are likely to have to do some digging or diving. Depending on the cave a cavers will need some climbing skills, be happy to squeeze through tight spaces or not mind getting wet.

As with all adventure sports, it is important to be properly equipped. Clothing which can protect from abrasion, a helmet and lights source are essential. It is also important to have another two or three backup light sources. The type of clothing will also depend on conditions in the cave - warm or cold. Here local knowledge is an important factor. Other equipment includes ropes, first aid kit, food and bathroom supplies to remove all personal waste from the cave.

The main safety issues with caving are hypothermia, falling, physical exhaustion along with the added dangers of being caught out by flooding. To combat these proper training and well maintained equipment is a must, along with local knowledge and a weather check for rainfall to ensure there is not a flooding risk. It is also important to notify someone outside the cave with your intended return time and details where you are going. It also helps to have at least 4 in your group. This way if someone falls, one person can stay with the casualty while the other two go for help.

It is very important to remember that the caves and the species living in them are a fragile environment and great care must be taken not to damage or contaminate the cave.


Cave diving gives the opportunity to find beautiful caves which are rarely seen. They often contain unique flora and fauna and have undamaged features such as stalactites and stalagmites. The technical diving aspect is also a challenge in its own right.

It is potentially dangerous though and is often considered to be one of the most dangerous sports in the world. It must be said though that most of those who died did not have the specialized training or appropriate equipment.

In an emergency a diver cannot ascend directly to the surface and may have to travel some distance through the cave. The diver can also be hampered by areas which are difficult to move through, strong currents and low visibility. This is not a sport for the unprepared or inexperienced diver.


This is a fast growing sport with new routes appearing all around the world suitable for all ages and abilities. The routes can be very easy or technically difficult but emphasis is on fun!

Canyoning includes walking scrambling climbing abseiling jumping, swimming and in remote areas, navigational skills. Equipment is a combination of climbing gear, helmets and wetsuits. Specialist equipment is also now being produced.

It can be dangerous in that escape out of the sides is often impossible and after heavy rain, flash flooding and deadly currents are a very real possibility.




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