Reading University Caving Club


RUCavers is on Instagram

We are excited to announce our club is now on Instagram! Here is a sneak preview of some of the things we have been up to lately:

We’ve uploaded photos showing some of our highlights from the last year, particularly our summer trips to Ireland and Austria, as well as some of our term-time trips to various places in the UK. We’ll be adding some more photos soon, so watch this space!

RUCC’s Adventures in Austria

After all of our exciting adventures in Ireland, we thought it was time to venture even further afield!

So a group of us went to Austria… Among other things, we went to Eurospeleo – a huge gathering of cavers from all around Europe and the rest of the world – and took part in many of their activities. After that we joined the Dachstein caving expedition – a long-standing group of cavers, who’s primary aim is to discover potentially one of the top 10 deepest caves in the world, by attempting to find a connection between a cave high up in the mountains, and the famous Hirlatzhöhle in the valley.

There were many exciting discoveries – you can find out more about these by coming to our Fresher’s welcome presentation on Thursday 27th September!

While we were in Austria, we:

Prospected for new caves…

Appreciated the amazing views of mountains, lakes and rivers…

Enjoyed fantastic Austrian hospitality at the Wiesberhaus…

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Home during the Dachstein Exped

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Visited the picturesque historical town of Hallstatt…

Descended down into Tiergarten, an ice cave…

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Entrance to Tiergarten, Austria and 2018.

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Ascended a mountain by going up a Via Ferrata route (sort of like climbing, but more exciting – if a little scary at times…!)

Walked on a glacier…

Visited a giant ice cave…

And explored the oldest prehistoric salt mine in the world, learning about all the amazing tools and techniques they invented – as well as enjoying the fast slides, the train out of the mine, and the funicular rides!

This was another brilliant trip, and has filled us with inspiration for the coming year!

RUCC’s Adventures in Ireland

As part of our celebrations of our 50th anniversary as a club, we thought it was time for us to venture a bit further afield… We’d been talking vaguely about going to Ireland for ages, but somehow it never quite materialised – until one day we miraculously found it was happening!

While we were there, we:

Admired the wonderful green landscapes…

Stayed at the legendary caving hut The Hoo – a very welcoming place, and home of the toilet with the best views in Ireland!

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Staying at The Hoo in Ireland, July 2018

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Explored some amazing horizontal caves…

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Caving in Ireland, July 2018

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And some stunning vertical ones…

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SRT in Ireland, July 2018

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Went to a cave in a pub! Our lifetime ambitions are now fulfilled…

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A cave in a pub! Ireland, July 2018

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Swam in a lake in the rain, next to a prison (don’t ask…!)

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Swimming in the lake, Ireland July 2018

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Climbed up a mountain…

Went to a gig in a cave!

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A gig in a cave! Ireland, July 2018

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Had a giant bonfire…

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Bonfire at The Hoo, Ireland July 2018

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And returned back to Britain in the sunset…

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Sunset ferry back from Ireland, July 2018

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All in all it was a fantastic trip! A huge thanks to Jo, for all her efforts organising everything, and many thanks also for the fantastic hospitality offered by everyone we met in Ireland! I’m sure we’ll be paying them another visit in the not too distant future…

RUCC @ SCHECC, 9th – 11th March 2018
RUCC @ SCHECC, 9th – 11th March 2018

RUCC @ SCHECC, 9th – 11th March 2018

By Harvey Connolly

After the bombast, Brexit costumes and bitter cold of last year’s CHECC in Yorkshire, we recently gallivanted over to the event’s southern subsidiary, excitingly named…..Southern CHECC. Our journey to the South Wales Caving Club began with us squeezing ourselves and our kit into a single car, inducing a sense of artificial claustrophobia which would serve as a great warm-up for the coming caving, and began bombing toward the Welsh border, discussing en route how SCHECC would compare to its big brother event, speculating that it would seem more subdued for the smaller scale, more reminiscent of a busy regular caving weekend than the out-and-out chaos of CHECC proper. Although, given the latter arguably peaked with a mass of semi-naked spelunkers dissolving into an intoxicated vortex of moshing, seeming more ‘subdued’ wouldn’t be particularly difficult.


RUCC @ Technical Speleological Group, 23rd – 25th February 2018
RUCC @ Technical Speleological Group, 23rd – 25th February 2018

RUCC @ Technical Speleological Group, 23rd – 25th February 2018

By Harvey Connolly

Toward the end of February, we set off on our third club trip of the year, bound for a destination we seldom have an opportunity to visit – Derbyshire, and more specifically, the town of Castleton, where the headquarters of the Technical Speleological Group resides. After collecting and packing the weekend’s equipment into the minibus in terrifyingly efficient time, we set off on our northward journey, falling just short of the initial ETA which would have permitted us time to grace some of the town’s many pubs, but otherwise making good time.

The Technological Speleological Group (or TSG) itself is housed in a building which, one could argue, has experienced a gradual degradation of purpose over the years; from its noble origins as a chapel, the structure eventually found itself converted into a garage and, finally, a base for cavers from which they can marauder outwards across the hills in search of the surrounding subterranean systems. Arriving just after 11pm, we descended from the minibus into the biting chill of the February night, and gradually began the transfer of our supplies into the hut which would serve as home for the following few days. Entering through a main door treacherously located on a roadside between two blind bends, visitors find themselves in a concreted space equipped to store and clean caving gear, before a door atop a brief flight of stairs leads to the hut proper. Here, the large central room has an elevated second tier running three sides of its perimeter, only accessible by ladder, which seems to be used to store various miscellanies, paint cans and stray equipment. With showers on one side of the room, a door on the other leads to a short corridor; from here, it’s possible to access the kitchen, and the flight of stairs which lead to the cosy bunkrooms and a lounge area, kitted out with sofas, surveys, and a myriad of old literature on cave science and past escapades. Here, we considered our options for the weekend to come, relaxing and unwinding after our journey.


The Belfry, 3rd – 5th November 2017
The Belfry, 3rd – 5th November 2017

The Belfry, 3rd – 5th November 2017

By Harvey Connolly

This year, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to brave pastures new for more recently inaugurated members of the RUCC, with trips to seldom visited Derbyshire and Devon, but, with an annual tradition scheduled into the club calendar, we once again returned to our old stomping ground of Mendip, and more specifically, The Belfry, hub of the Bristol Exploration Club. Gathering on the evening of departure, our attempt to start our journey to the West Country was scuppered at the first hurdle, as we merrily piled our kit and equipment onto our hired minibus, only to find said bus completely unresponsive. A quick inspection revealed that a dysfunctional drive belt wasn’t having any our plans to leave as early as we’d hoped, but we were at least able to enjoy the university’s own Friday night firework display until our operational substitute arrived, ready to ferry us away to Somerset.

We arrived at The Belfry just after 10pm, having made remarkably good time with the drive, but upon entering, something felt…different. The Belfry, generally, is safely consistent in its atmosphere. The bunkroom, consisting of two tiered stretches of plywood serving as communal sleeping space, still had a ceiling decorated with faded beer mats and tap labels, chronicling the long history of the BEC’s pub adventures. The lounge area, complete with substantial wooden dining table, wood burning stove and dubiously acquired road and caving-related signs adorning the walls, had been altered slightly with the movement of the kitchen area into an adjacent room, freeing more space for a handful of plush sofas. But the change that struck us was how disconcertingly quiet the space seemed. The previous year’s firework celebrations had consisted of entering a room where a rabble of students were self-inflicting minor concussions with the slightly mad game ‘danger can’, before the weekend concluded with cleaning the fragmentary remains of a dozen smashed pumpkins from every conceivable surface across the hut (and the prone forms of several worse-for-wear residents on Sunday morning, too). Admittedly, it was relatively early by the standards of the average caving night, and after depositing our possessions on the crash-mats which were to serve as beds for the imminent future, we began our pilgrimage along the dark stretch of road connecting The Belfry to the well-loved local, The Hunters Lodge.


Harvey: His time at RUCC

I was entering my final year when I first stumbled across Reading University Caving Club; on a lap around the Fresher’s Fayre marquee, I spotted their stall nestled away between those of the other sporting societies, and unsure what to expect but fuelled by curiosity, I scrawled my name down on the club’s mailing list. After all, caving sounded novel, right? Something a little more intriguing than your average sports club? Several weeks later, I found myself piled onto a minibus bound for the Brecon Beacons, an array of equipment and supplies crammed into the seats around us. What was I expecting? I can’t say, but what I got has kept me hooked ever since!

Alongside the wonder of plunging into a stunning world of vaulted tunnels, subterranean streamways, and beautiful formations, I was gripped by a genuine sense of exploration during my first caving experience, the satisfaction of having strayed from the beaten path and being rewarded by an exhilarating sense of achievement and a tantalising first glimpse of a vast underground world, shrouded in a sense of mystery and the excitement of adventure……


Message From our President, Alex

Hello everyone! I would like to say thank you very much for the great turn out at the AGM, and a tremendous thank you to the old committee.

So, here is a list of our 2017-2018 committee,

President: Isabelle Farrugia
Secretary: Peter Banks
Treasurer Lily Hayward: O’Flaherty
Social Sec Harvey Connolly
Welfare Officer: Rosie Hoggard
Tackle Master: Alex Stephenson
Webmaster: Jeremy Holzke
Permit Officer: Christopher David Chapple Holt
Deputy Permit: Officer Patrick Hathway
Cake Sec: Ben Auton

A huge thank you again to everyone who came and congrats to our new committee



Unfortunately SCHECC next this weekend is now full.
However on the weekend after (Friday 10th – Sunday 12th) we will be going up to Yorkshire. Most caves typically require you to abseil into them (We provide training). If you don’t fancy this there are ‘conventional’ options available.

Also on Saturday 18th March, we have our AGM at Sweeny and Todd’s pie shop, come along to enjoy the evening or volunteer for one of the committee positions.

It’s really a rewarding experience being part of the committee, and it looks good o you CV. The positions available are:

President* – Coordinating everyone else,
Secretary* – Booking minibuses, huts etc,
Treasurer* – Budgeting etc,
Tackle master – Sorts the kit, charges batteries etc
Permit-Sec – gets the permits for the trips,
Social Sec – Organising socials,
Training officer – Organising the training,
Webmaster – Updating the website,
Cake Secretary – Making cakes.

We will give you full training and continued guidance/help as necessary provided for each position – you don’t just get thrown in at the deep end.

Note – Positions marked as * are for students who will be at UoR next year

If you have any questions about trips or committee positions, or if you want to go to Yorkshire and/or to run for one of the positions let the committee know.

Thanks, Jeremy


Would you like to help run the caving club next year?

On Saturday 18th march will be having our AGM at Sweeny & Todd to elect our committee for next year. The available roles are:

  • President*,
  • Secretary*,
  • Treasurer*,
  • Tackle master,
  • Permit-Sec,
  • Social Sec,
  • Training officer,
  • Web master
  • Cake Sec.

(Positions marked as * are for students who will be at UoR next year)

If you have any questions about it or want to run for one of the positions let the committee know.