Outdoor World

Caving: ‘The last true UK wilderness’

Ari Cooper-Davis Image copyright Wild Wookey Image caption The caves at Wild Wookey in Wells, Somerset, are a popular destination

The rescue of 12 boys and their football coach in Thailand has highlighted the risks of caving – but also Britain’s expertise in the field.

Two British expert cave divers, John Volanthen and Richard Stanton, were the first to find the sons who had been trapped underground for nine days.

There are up to 4,000 regular cavers in the UK. Many say that despite the risks, accidents are rare. So what builds it so popular?

“I was lying on my back and moving through a pool of water, with a stone ceiling merely above my face, ” says David Morgan, recalling one of his strongest memories of caving as a child.

“The sense of achievement of getting out the other side without panicking is tangible to this day.”

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