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Hazardous pastimes high risk caving

Caving can be quite a thrilling experience; the recreational pastime of exploring wild caves can certainly spring a few surprises as the unknown beckons within these ancient natural creations. Seen as a mixture of different pastimes all at once - an original outdoor activity, physical exercise and of course exploration.

Unusually for an outdoor activity that has been labelled an "extreme sport", caving is suitable for either lone explorers or teams. The activity also not only builds your strength physically but also mentally, as it often requires teamwork to successfully navigate a number of the bigger and more daunting challenges throughout the world.

Initially becoming popular throughout the 1940's and 1950's, caving has seen a significant increase in the amount of people, through the betterment of safety equipment and so on, willing to test out the last unexplored regions of the planet in the name of exploration.

We sought out one of the UK's leading indoor caving centres, the XC, to learn more about the feelings that cavers, both experienced and beginners, gain from time within the last frontiers on Earth.

SRB: Have you found that people use the XC as preparation for bigger caving challenges outdoors?

XC: We have found some customers do use the caves when preparing for outdoor sessions. We have actually had film crews using the XC cave's in preparation for this and to do some filming in.

SRB: Why would people choose to use XC over something that could be considered more challenging within natural caves?

XC: Many people who come to the XC use our system as it covers many aspects of a natural cave but does not pose the isolated risk. Our caves are as challenging as most caves due to the layout and manoeuvres needed to pass through many areas.

SRB: How popular have you found caving to be amongst beginners? Is it more popular with, for example, the younger generation?

XC: The XC caves are open to every generation, the age restriction is minimum age of 8 because of the physical demands. We very rarely have groups of middle-aged customers. However we do have many children and parents attending our sessions as well as many different corporate groups for team building exercises.

SRB: How would you describe the experience of caving at the XC compared to being within actual caves?

XC: I would describe the XC caves fantastic for those who want a physical and mental challenge of a surreal adventure. Without the risk of being lost never to be found again. There is 100% no chance of a cave-in. It also helps those who are too tight for time to go spelunking in the real world.

Thanks to Michael Collier, Duty Manager at the XC Climbing Centre, for taking time to talk to us.

Read more about caving insurance.
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