Frequently Asked Questions... (see also Terms & Conditions)
Are the activities COVID 19 secure?
All our staff are double vaccinated. Climbing and abseiling are outdoor activities where social distancing is possible and are therefore considered to be COVID-safe. We consider caving to be an indoor activity and therefore subject to any restrictions and recommendations that may apply at the time. You have the option of wearing a mask for caving as will your instructor if this is requested.
Where are you based?
In the Mendip Hills of Somerset, near Cheddar Gorge. Our activities run in various venues within 6 miles of Cheddar. Cheddar is an excellent base for your visit to our area. There are many accommodation options ranging from campsites, to cabins, to hotels and a an excellent selection of restaurants to choose from.
Public transport is very limited in the Mendip area. We are not insured to transport customers in our vehicles. We strongly advise that customers without vehicles consider their travel logistics before booking. Full day sessions using different venues are especially difficult to organise.
Are the activities dangerous?
The activities and the venues used have an extremely good safety record. Minor bumps bruises, scrapes and scratches are to be expected but anything more serious is very, very rare. In over 20 years of operation not one of our several thousand clients has yet broken a bone. Hazards do exist on the crag and in the cave, and we do expect our clients to observe the safety rules that have contributed to our excellent record. All our venues have trip and slip hazards and we expect our customers to conduct themselves with due caution. We cannot accept responsibility for death or injury unless a court of law judges that said injury or death results in part or whole from our negligence.
How many can participate?
We have the equipment and capacity to manage large groups. We have, for example, accommodated a group of over 60, with one half of the group caving while the other half climbs.
Can people with special needs participate?
Very often, yes. Contact us and we will do our best to facilitate and include.
Who can participate?
Our sessions are open to anyone with a reasonable level of mobility, physical fitness. (The sessions are not ideal for anyone who is severely claustrophobic, very overweight and physically unfit, or suffers from a serious medical condition).
What do I need to bring on my trip?
For climbing and abseiling clothing suitable for for the weather conditions. Training shoes or walking boots are suitable. For caving wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes, that you do not mind getting slightly dirty. Bring at least two warm layers for your upper body. An old pair of gardening cloves will save your nails from damage. Cotton and denim are not recommended as they do not retain warmth when wet. Ideal clothing would be tracksuit trousers, thermal vest and fleece or woollen sweater. Please remember to bring a towel and a complete change of clothes if you are visiting Swildon's Hole.
Suitable footwear in caves is very important as floors can be slippery and some climbing is involved. We recommend Wellington Boots with a snug fit and a good tread. (Walking boots, work boots or army boots can be used but they do not grip well on smooth surfaces). No trainers please. We can provide Wellingtons but we need to know what sizes are required.
What equipment is supplied?
We provide all essential specialist equipment. For caving this includes:- a modern comfortable caving helmet, a bright reliable lamp, a cavers belt and a water resistant caving over suit. We can provide Wellington boots but we need to know what sizes are required. For climbing we provide a modern comfortable harness, lightweight helmet and climbing shoes (from size 5 upwards). For abseiling we provide a modern comfortable harness and lightweight helmet.
Will we get wet?
Climbing and abseiling you will only get wet if it is raining and you have not brought appropriate clothing! Dry Caving can still result in dampness (usually the bit you sit on) and you might like to bring some spare clothing. If you are visiting Swildon's Hole you will get soaked from head to foot, so don't forget a complete change of clothing!
Will we be joined by other customers?
If you are climbing or abseiling you may sometimes be joined by a small number of other customers. All caving sessions are exclusive as specified in our covid secure policy.
Will the weather affect the activity?
It may. Caving in Goatchurch Cavern will not be affected but very occasionally Swildon's Hole becomes too wet, especially for younger children. If this is the case we will use an alternative cave. Abseiling can be done in any weather but climbing isn't much fun on wet rock. If the forecast looks bad for climbing we may suggest postponing, changing the start time, or switching to an alternative activity.
How small are the cave passages?
That depends on you. If you are confident and you want to try squeezing, you can. If you are not so sure about it there is usually another more spacious alternative.
Are the activities very strenuous?
Climbing and abseiling are not. Caving is a very physical activity but easily within the capability of anyone with average fitness (or even average unfitness) There are plenty of rest-stops, and the instructors are very well practiced in providing a push or a pull when it is most needed.
Will we be in safe hands?
Absolutely the best. We only use the most seasoned, experienced instructors - experts we completely trust with your safety and our reputation. All our instructors are fully qualified and we are licensed by the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA). Please also remember we have been doing this a long time - we are all very, very experienced!
Do you offer discounts for larger groups?
All groups from youth organisations (schools, scouts, colleges, etc) are eligible for a special discounted rate as part of our commitment to support adventure activities for young people. For other groups making large or block bookings we can offer discounts in some circumstances.
What is the minimum age?
We don't have rigid age restrictions but based our experience these are our recommendations:
Dry Caving (Goatchurch Cavern) - 8 years.
Wet Caving (Swildon's Hole) - 12 years.
Rock Climbing - 8 years.
Abseiling - 12 years.
These are only guidelines! For more advice and information contact us.
What is the maximum age?
Our current record stands at 80 years old!
Can we do a weekend course?
Yes, you certainly can. We can tailor the activities to suit you. Caving is our speciality and we often run bespoke caving weekends which includes training in caving techniques.
What other caves could we visit?
For groups who have completed the double day of caving the natural progression is a longer trip in Swildon's Hole. This will take you down to the sump, where the brave can dive through to the caves beyond. There are many other caves in the Mendip region which we can take you to - each with their own challenges and fascinating features.
Is there somewhere we can have lunch?
Some options are available locally.