What we’re all about
We are LUUCaS: the Leeds University Union Caving Society! We’re an active club that’s underground regularly, running trips all over the UK and beyond. From the Mendips in the south to the Dales in the north, we travel all over in search of adventure; including European jaunts to Spain and Austria. If you're looking to widen your travel experience in a unique and fun way, this is the society for you!
Caving is a cooperative sport where a group of people traverse the exciting and varied environments caves offer; we scramble over boulders, climb up walls and crawl through streams to explore these often forgotten piece of natural landscape. We also use ladders and rope to reach parts of the caves that would otherwise be inaccessible. These combine to make caving a challenging and compelling sport; with the rewards of seeing places rarely (if ever!) seen and having experiences you’ll never forget.
Thanks to being a branch of ULSA (University of Leeds Speleological Association) we also have access to a wealth of caving equipment and expertise from a variety of experienced members. So whether you’re a new or seasoned caver there’s no better way to cave than with us!
We run three types of trips:
- Day Trips – These are generally run once a week, usually on a Saturday. We drive out, spend the day adventuring underground and drive back: hopefully followed by a visit to the pub.
- Weekend Trips – Our most infamous and popular trips! Leaving Friday afternoon and returning Sunday evening; we all head to cave-heavy region of the UK and spend the weekend doing as much caving as we can, while spending the nights partying together at a caving hut (think a more chaotic hostel!). Breakfasts and dinners are all covered (including veggie and vegan options) by us so there’s no excuse to miss these great events!
- Expeditions and holidays – Once the holidays arrive it’s time to think about caving further afield. For those keen enough, thanks to the great links LUUCaS members have created over the years, there are opportunities to adventure into Europe and beyond. These trips promise more exotic climates, different activities (like via ferrata in Spain, 2016) and, in the case of expeditions, uncharted cave to be discovered. Spain, France and Austria have all been invaded by us this year and we hope that list continues to grow!
Caving and Canyoning abroad
This year we've been really active in getting our members abroad for adventuring that cannot be done in the UK! At the beginning of last summer we spent two weeks in Europe, from Spain to France, exploring and enjoying the caves and canyons they had to offer. This included trips to an underground ad-hoc sculpture park, some huge 5 meter plus plunge pool jumps and some great hiking to cap off visits to exciting and scenic areas. We had great fun on this trip and hope we can run another soon!
On the other side of foreign caving excursions is the aspect of caving some people feel is the most exciting: Expedition caving! This is where a group of cavers head to a part of the world filled with uncharted cave and go where no one's gone before. Ever! These trips are one of the few ways to discover parts of the world untouched by humanity; and by using compasses, tape and even lazer distance measurers we can record these caves in history for years to come.
Thanks to some of the great links LUUCaS and ULSA members have made over the years we are lucky to be able to join many expeditions around the globe, to places like Austria, Spain and Serbia. While these trips are grueling, week-to-month long excursions to remote and unfavorable climates; the great people you'll meet and new, pristine, caves you'll see will give you one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life!
Gear & Training
The club is well equipped to help cater to new cavers with a large store of equipment; from ropes and metal work to clothing and wellies. We’ll make sure you dress to cave practically and safely and make sure the equipment you’re caving on is in top condition.
We also offer regular training sessions at the Edge climbing wall at these times:
- Tuesdays 8pm-10pm
- Fridays 8pm-10pm(except of course when we’ve already left for a weekend trip!
We’ll cover the basics of safe rope ascent and descent, general caving advice and even teach you how to rig up ropes for cave exploration. These sessions are quite informal so come to learn or just to hang out. The first few training sessions will not require membership to attend so feel free to show up and say hello!
Some of us are considered ‘social cavers’. And why wouldn’t you be? Every training session precedes a pub session, and we’ll often be found drunk and jovial long into the night... and of course a venture further into town for dancing is usually a popular option!
Beyond this we are an active and adventurous bunch, many of us frequenting climbing & bouldering walls during the week. We also have been known to go paintballing, go karting, jumping on trampolines; the list goes on. We’re always looking for fun things to do, so let us know and it’ll probably happen! It’s always worth keeping up with us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/leedscaving/, for our more spontaneous meet-ups.
So now you’ve been sold on caving, how do you join us?
- Log in with your student account using the links above and purchase membership at the top of this page, via the ‘Shop Section’. It is £15 for the year and £8 for a semester. This gives you:
- Equipment use from our gear store, including ropes and appropriate caving clothing.
- Access to our training sessions for University of Leeds Students at the EDGE climbing wall, featuring a bunch of experienced and helpful members that will teach you everything they can about caving. Access is currently £5.50 persession for non University of Leeds students but we are currently working on a better access arrangement so our non Leeds Uni members.
- BCA (British Caving Association) Insurance, which covers your access to caves on private land and public liability in case something goes wrong.
It’s a steal for some of the best times you will have throughout the year.
-Join the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/leedscaving/ to keep up to date on the day to day goings on, plus reminders on upcoming trips and training sessions.
-If you are not a student at the University of Leeds, you are still very welcome to come caving with us! We've had students from other universities and non-students alike join us in the past, so just get in contact with us either via facebook or our email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you with more details on how to join.
If you have any questions please email us at email@example.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
Thanks for reading, and see you underground!
The Boring Bits
- 2014/15 Risk Assessment and Code of Good Practice are both available on the LUU classic website (the ones on there are last years version due to technical issues with the union website)
- The club does not recommend any personal liability insurer for caving in the UK, where there are well organised free rescue systems in place. Many members use Snowcard for foreign expeditions. Cover is available starting at about £10 a weekend if members wish to have Personal Liability Cover. If you have any questions please contact one of the committee, either by email, Facebook or at any training session.