Last week, I was in the Peak District participating in a combined Level 1 Cave & Mine Leader Award (LCMLA) for three days. The course was run by Adam Evans and in short, I had a great time, received fantastic instruction and gained lots of hints & tips on being a cave & mine leader. A summary of the three days is given below.
Day 1 – Getting The Basic Rights
After quick introductions it was time to get down to the main business of the day, which was to:
- discuss the Local Cave and Mine Leader Award Scheme;
- look at the personal and group equipment required for caving;
- leadership strategies based on CLAPS;
- getting help in an emergency;
- legal aspects of caving; and
- ropework and spotting.
The ropework and spotting exercises were carried out at Stony Middleton and we looked at suitable spotting techniques (SPLAT technique was real eye opener for me) and various ways of using a rope (handlines, belay systems etc) to protect a rocky step. The assisted handline, I’m sure is going to be a great tool in the future. Perhaps the light bulb moment for me was the abseil method known as ‘Angel Wings’, I had previously dismissed this as a suitable method for anything other than sloped ground but I am almost now a complete convert to this method of abseiling. The last session we did was on traverse lines and prompted a very useful discussion on ‘cowstails’ and the difference use of traverse lines between the Level 1 and Level 2 remits.
Day 2 Mine Exploration Day
Again this was a split day with the morning being a theory session looking at the following topics:
- legal issues surrounding mines;
- mine hazards; and
- history of mining in the peak district; and
Our practical session was split between Holme Bank Chert Mine and the Devonshire Mine, where we looked at navigating using mine surveys, leadership strategies, spotting techniques, rope work, history on how the mines were worked and what to do in an emergency. A thoroughly great afternoon of mine exploration.
Day 3 – Cave Exploration
The day started with a the following theory sessions:
- how caves were formed;
- effects of weather on caves;
- cave hazards;
- cave formations / fossils; and
- geology of the peak district
Again our practical session was split between 2 sites. These being Giants Hole and Suicide Cave where we looked at cave hazards (including flooding) and various tell tale signs of how caves were formed. At Suicide Cave, we looked at further spotting techniques and identifying hazards. Another great day of cave exploration.
I thoroughly enjoyed my caving course with Adam Evans, which was due to the selection of some great venues, his relaxed manner and the ability to quickly to adjust the course delivery to your needs. If you are thinking of doing your Local Cave and Mine Leader Training, then I would certainly recommend that you book your course with Adam. To find out more about the courses run by Adam please click here.