Hello to all freshers and welcome to the bit especially for you!
QUBCC is a small/medium sized club and as such provides a more friendly and relaxed atmosphere than some of the larger clubs at Queen’s, so it is easy for freshers to get in on the action.
Caving at Queen’s revolves around practices at the PEC climbing wall every Wednesday night and (more importantly) getting out of the city for weekends to a caving area. The first trip of the year, the Freshers' weekend, is in early-mid October and is held with the freshers firmly in mind. See below for more information:
Trip Schedule 2011-2012
Ok, after much crying and a barrage of crap exuses for not going on trips we've decided to warn you well in advance, so take note...
P.S. If you can't go but are unable to think up an excuse try our handy Tony Furnell - Random Excuse Generator
- 5th Oct – Belfast Activity Centre. Artificial cave trip
- 12th Oct – Belfast Activity Centre. Artificial cave trip
- 14-16th Oct – County Fermanagh. Fresher's trip
- 4th-6th Nov – County Fermanagh. Trip 2
- ?th Dec – Christmas dinner, not booked yet but could be a top notch home-cooked meal...
- ?th-?th Dec – Trip to Doolin, Co. Clare (TBC)
- 30th Dec-1st Jan (ish) – New Year's party in Boho (TBC)
- End of Jan – Post-exams trip to Mendip (TBC)
- Around February – Trip to County Fermanagh
- 17th March – St Paddies Day, Yay absinthe! - pub crawl somewhere in belfast!
- Easter Weekend, April – The Irish Student Caving Forum. Not to be missed!
- June (ish) – Big Yorkshire trip (TBC), start saving now!
- Summer – Foreign trips; tag along with some more experienced groups (TBC)
This list is subject to change without notice at any time on any day. Even Tuesday. Don't look away now, it could change any second.
- 6pm Meet in the Union for a quick pint (except the drivers, usually)
- 7pm Head off to Fermanagh in the lovely, shiny, well-kept cavers' cars! (drink optional but recommended)
- 9.30pm Hit the local pub in Boho or Blacklion, for some much needed alcoholic refreshment
- 1.30am Land back at the luxury accommodation for bed/more bevvies
- Midmorning-ish Get up and eat a horrible fry cooked by other, similarly hung-over, caver
- 12 midday (!) Getting underground by now (a proud QUBCC tradition)
- 6pm Resurface and eat proper food at local chippy/café. Cleaning yourself is optional.
- 8pm To the bar!
- 2am Stagger back to accommodation, followed by drunken revelry
- 5am Bed/floor (depending on how far you make it)
- 8am Get up and go caving (not likely)
- 11am Emerge from your own/some one else's bed (more realistic)
- 2pm Caving (but notably less taxing than Saturday's)
- 7pm Head back to Belfast having had the time of your life
- 9pm Crash into proper bed and sleep in through lectures next day
- a sleeping bag and roll mat/airbed (essential), the warmer the better
- warm set of clothes and coat/jacket
- head gear optional (i.e. a warm hat)
- some snacks e.g. a pot noodle/chocolate may come in handy
- money for the pub (there are no holes-in-the-wall machines for MILES, come prepared)
- money for food (we usually club together a couple of quid for breakfast food)
- carry-out (beverages from the off-licence, for those not in the know)
- sense of humor
- ear plugs – many cavers snore loudly!
- a few pairs of old socks
- track-suit bottoms/combats – NOT jeans as they get wet and cold
- couple of old t–shirts preferably long sleeved or sweatshirts
- footwear: wellington boots are the best by far (they only cost about £6-£7 if you dont own any) or old, strong walking boots will usually do, but are not recommended (Doc Martens are not suitable and especially not old trainers – no grip)
- don’t use anything you want to wear in public again – footwear in particular gets trashed
- wetsuit may occasionally be useful if you have one – but not essential by any means
- binliners to hold dirty gear
- mars bar or two
- towels (2 is a good number)
- I'm claustrophobic. How could I go caving?
The number of times I've heard this is absolutely staggering. What a crap excuse! Most caves are roomy affairs, with no/not many tight squeezes, and those that there are, are short. Besides, going through a squeeze is no worse than lying underneath the clothes in bed. I don't know anyone who has ever gone caving and got so freaked by squeezes that they didn't enjoy themselves or come back for more.
- How long do you spend underground?
This varies from the easiest of caves for freshers (about 15mins) right up to the mindnumbingly difficult mega-advanced trips (8 hours and up). OR if you are an armchair caver (see the Armchair Cavers' Corner for more info) more time is spent at the entrance.
- What equipment do I need?
Nothing out of the ordinary, but layers of old warm clothes is the general rule. Full equipment list for first time cavers is above this FAQ.
- Do you need to be able to swim?
No, although there are sometimes parts of caves, which require wading, swimming is rarely necessary and when it is, lifejackets can be provided for the nonswimmers in the club (including some members of the committee, who would probably drown in a half-pint of beer).
- Is it dark?
Surprising though this may seem, I was actually asked once whether in caving we go beyond the areas which are lit. The vile offender was quickly beaten up followed by a savage retort of "thats what the light on yer head is for".
- Will I get drunk?
It certainly is a possibility. This question is difficult to answer, a better question would be will I be sober?
- Where will we stay?
Luxury accommodation has long been QUBCC's watchword, normally four stars (thats what we can see through the hole in the roof). Usually when in Fermanagh, we stay in a lovely rural cottage tailored to the drunken caver's every whim, or more often than not, the scout hut in Cladagh Glen, outside Blacklion.
- How much does it cost?
Not enough for what you will get for your money: chauffeured down to Fermanagh (or Clare), top quality accommodation (see earlier), free hire of all caving equipment, some food, our own in house comedians and the added privilege of getting to cave with me (for no extra cost). Usually £20 for a weekend in Fermanagh and £30 for a weekend in Clare.
- Must I join at the Freshers' Bazaar?
It's highly recommended! New members are very welcome to come down during the year to the PEC climbing wall, and join up there or get in contact with any of the committee, however joining at the Freshers' Bazaar costs £2 whilst any other time costs £3 (for QUB students).
- Is there a social side?
No. (only joking). Yes! We head out to the bar at least once a week, after every Wednesday practice for a start, and most weeks another time as well - find out more at the Freshers' Bazaar/practices.
For some more FAQ's, try here.