A day caving in Giant's hole, Derbyshire
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Be part of OutdoorLads' next caving trip, where we will descend Giants hole near Castleton, Derbyshire. This is one of the peak district's classic caving trips.
Giants cave is a former show cave which offers a lot more adventure beyond what would have been the end of the tourist route. From here there is an airy 20ft drop down, which we will place a ladder on. A rift at the far end disappears into the distance, beckoning us on. This enters the long and sometimes arduous crab walk, a tall but narrow passage, with many little cascades. Here we will negotiate drops and squeezes before finally breaking out into the larger lower passage.
From here a hand-line climb will bring us up into some large and breathtaking passages which eventually end at the infamous giant's wind-pipe. This is a low and wet flat out crawl (wetsuits a good idea!) which goes on for about 30ft, which will no doubt provide lots of fun. From here we then traverse over the rift passage we were in before - only we are now in the ceiling of the rift - before finding our way back down to stream level again and making our way out, back up the ladder.
What gear do we use / wear? We cave wearing a robust one-piece caving oversuit, wellies, gloves and a helmet with a headtorch attached. A full-length wetsuit is also a reasonable alternative (even for dry-ish caves) as long as you don't mind it getting scraped. A wetsuit under a caving oversuit is also a good option. Please review the full kit-list below and contact the event leader if you do not have the required equipment. Please also bring a caving/climbing harness or ask to borrow one well in advance.
Do I need prior caving experience? No, but this will be have a few challenging climbs and some large drop offs in places, so a head for heights and some climbing experience is a must. There will also be one quite low and wet crawl so be prepared for that "fun".
Will it be physically demanding? We anticipate spending 4 hours underground. There will be some scrambling up and down slopes and over boulders, and parts of the trip may involve some wet and narrow passages. There will also be a 20 foot ladder climb on a ladder (with a safety rope attached to your harness) near the start (with a climb back up the ladder to get out at the end).
Is caving safe? Caving is a very safe sport. Ropes and or ladders are used for ascending and descending sections of cave which are steep and difficult to climb, and the event leader will explain what precautions to take in narrow passages to avoid getting stuck. In the worst and very unlikely case, the cave rescue organization have ways and means of getting you unstuck (lubricant or other methods 😉). Please also read the safety information given below prior to the event and contact the event leader if you have any concerns or questions.
What if the weather is bad? The cave can be difficult to access in very wet weather. In this case an alternate cave nearby will instead be chosen, meet points will remain the same.
Photos: All photos by J Proctor and A Ritchie and used by OutdoorLads with full permission.
IMPORTANT! - Participation Statement
You MUST complete a Participation Statement, in addition to booking your event space before attending an OutdoorLads event. You only need to complete this Participation Statement once, not for each event you attend.
Please note that every person participating should be aware of (and accept) that those members perceived as ‘in charge’ or leading the event are not necessarily qualified, do not need to be qualified, and are not regarded by OutdoorLads, or themselves as ‘technical experts’ but are amateur cavers with some experience and who are happy to impart their knowledge. Any advice given should be considered with this in mind by the recipient.
In addition to the precautions taken by the event leader, all participants are expected to give due care and attention to their own safety throughout the event. In particular, participants are expected to move carefully through the cave system to avoid unintended slips / trips, participants must not hesitate to ask for help if they feel that they are struggling to keep up with the group, and participants who wear contact lenses are encouraged to contact the leader prior to the event to discuss what measures need to be put in place to deal with ingress of mud into the eyes. Any participant who has an open wound (even minor) at the time of the event should chat to the leader at the beginning of the event to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to reduce infection risk. Participants who suffer from vertigo or claustrophobia should make the leader aware of their condition prior to the event.
What to bring
If you do not have all the required gear please contact the event leader well in advance as we have some items we can lend.
Climbing or caving helmet.
Headtorch with freshly charged batteries that fits the helmet.
Gloves that you don't mind getting muddy.
Caving oversuit or full-length wetsuit. - We can provide these but PLEASE LET US KNOW SIZES BEFOREHAND IF REQUIRED!
Caving or climbing harness.
A spare torch, preferably a headtorch.
Food and drink in robust containers.
Suitable warm base layers to wear under the over-suit, or an under-suit if you have it.
Knee pads are also useful, you can get these at builders merchants. These are not essential but will make your life a lot easier.
Food & drink
It is common practice for caving to eat a large breakfast and skip lunch, as it is not that convenient to eat lunch whilst underground. So instead just bring some snacks in a robust box along with some water, no more than 500ml. Pepperami and chocolate bars make good snacks.