A First Experience of Caving

Wise folks preach how the persistent, eventually, reap rich rewards. But people cannot persist beyond a few attempts or days, or—at best—years at any task ...and wise words never make much sense anyway.

Caves, however, led me down a world created and decorated by water over hundreds, thousands and millions of years. On one hand, the water was carving through the rock—resolute, unceasing—, finding new ways to gush ever lower : and on the other hand, drops of water were literally giving birth to rock on fragile stalactites.

My first caving experience was a packed affair: with quick tours of caves over a fantastic weekend in South Wales. For fear of either understating the experience or garishly overusing adjectives, I’ll refrain from describing the trips down the caves themselves. It is safe to say that I enjoyed every aspect of the trip, immensely.

It was also nice to get out of London and find an excuse to snuggle into a sleeping bag ; and quite an experience changing on the road while it was freezing outside ; and of wading into a pool of cold crystal-clear water on the ground above some caves. Moreover, the trip to and from Wales, and Staying at the CCC cottage, were all positive experiences, and I got to meet very nice people. I’m glad that Annette introduced me to caving and the members of CCC.

Since this was a first-experience, it was understandably a blur: full of new experiences and lots of things to learn quickly. Next time, I hope to be able to pass through the caves more slowly: the stillness in a cave is something I’d like to spend more time with, and perhaps find some calm in myself while at it.

written after Shoban's first visit to Croydon Caving Club

Shoban Shah