What to do and when if you want to go caving.
As long as possible in Advance
Trips need Drivers. Without enough people to drive the minibus, nothing will happen. Once you have drivers, or the expectation of drivers, start a list collecting names. 12 people is a good number in a 15 seater minibus, before having to resort to such faff as the roof rack (though this is not too much extra effort if you have the leaders and a good plan for the weekend).
- Trips to the Wales and Mendips involve about 4hrs drive, and are good for non-SRT trips.
- Trips to Yorkshire and Derbyshire involve about 6 and 5hrs drive respectively, and are better for SRT trips.
A trip to Mendips / Wales is possible with just one driver, wheras a solo driving trip to Yorkshire would be extremely unpleasent. Of course, you ideally want many more - as the driver could become ill over the weekend.
Get cave permits
Permits for the classics (Lost Johns', Gaping Ghyll, can be tricky to get if you wait until the term itself. As soon as you have a plan, get the permits!
- The CNCC website is a fantastic resource for finding out what the access requirements are for Yorkshire caves.
- Derbyshire tends to be turn up and pay the landowner a fee
- Wales and Mendip vary between open access, permits, and fees.
Google for up to date info.
The Term Before
Book the Minibus.
For a weekend trip, our typical times are from 17:00 on Friday to 23:59 on Sunday.
Book a hut
Choose a hut, and book it. The various region club's websites are are pretty good, and often have a booking calendar. The wardens are usually pretty good at email.
Our general hut preference is as follows:
- Yorkshire Greenclose (NPC) for general caving, BPF (RRCPC) if one intends to do Saturday trips in Easeghyll
- Derbyshire The TSG, followed by the Orpheus.
- Wales WSG for general caving, CSS (Whitewalls) for Aggy.
- Mendips Belfry (BEC) for party atmosphere, SMCC for its fine collection of spoons, or Wessex to shave 5 minutes off the walk to Swildons.
2 weeks in advance
The minibus booking should have been processed, and the person making the booking should have received a confirmation email. CHECK THOSE DATES! Don't end up with a minibus supposedly returning at 11:59am on Sunday, or one that you can only pick up at 6am on Saturday!
Make sure everyone knows the time to meet at stores, what caves we're doing etc. Make sure fresher's get a nice email explaining what to bring and what to expect.
Make sure that everyone releases that they're coming at this point; that everything is booked & that all is go! Try to get as many people as possible to pack on this Tuesday. It makes Friday a lot less hectic.
The Fateful Friday
Well before 5pm
- Make sure you've packed kit for everyone who didn't pack kit for themselves.
- Pick up keys from SAC; probably filling in some forms at the time. They'll tell you what and where. Check the minibus over before the SAC closes so you can try for a replacement if its broken.
- Submit an 'Activity Registration' on eActivities. This requires a list of people going on the trip.
- Pick up any hut keys if they've been posted down. Or make sure you have any pin codes for doors or lock boxes and know where the hut it (get a postcode, have a scout on streetview).
Just before leaving
- Sort out the freshers. Someone should be down at stores to open up, make sure everyone packs everything necessary & etc.
- Make sure you've got everything. Here's a rough guide: ThingsToBring...
- Pick up the minibus (you'll need a driver). Make sure they sign the hire form, and do all the magic checks. Its acceptable to drive over to outside stores before doing all the checks - but at least make sure it has 4 wheels + etc.
On the way
- Shopping. This is a dark art. Its tricky to give a complete 'typical' shop list as tastes change, offers come and go etc. Never the less, here is a rough guide: ThingsToBuy Aim for less £5 per person per day. Don't forget to check what was left over from the last weekends, and also to occasionally buy the non-perishables (spices, pepper, etc.)
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