The UK was proud to host the 5th European Speleological Congress during August 2016. This week-long festival of British caving was a huge success and attended by around 1300 delegates from 36 countries around the world, not just in Europe.
The main event was held in the Yorkshire Dales at the Dalesbridge Centre near the village of Austwick as well as pre- and post-congress camps in various caving regions of the UK. 176 pitches in over 30 of Yorkshire Dales' finest caves were rigged by various UK clubs for the duration of the event using rope provided by Spanset and Teufelberger. Almost 700 caving trips took place around the Dales with an estimated 400km prusiked during the week. In addition to this the Craven Pothole Club set up their winch over the impressive Gaping Gill and transported delegates up or down the 100m from the main chamber 400 times.
Aside from the caving, 110 lectures and 11 field trips took place with a large range of talks on discovery, science and archaeology by speakers from all over the world offering something for everyone. You can read the session abstracts online.
Competitions were also popular from the custom-built scaffolding rig in the centre of the site including SRT races, timed prusiks, knot tying and more. The photo, art and survey salons attracted a very high standard of work. Click here for more details of the winners.
Each evening was filled with entertainment from bands, discos and quizzes with over 130 barrels of beer being consumed.
A massive thank you to all the organisers, all of whom are volunteers, for making the event such a success. Click here for a full list of the volunteers.
Please join our Delegates Facebook Group and leave comments and photos of the event.
Enjoyed your visit? Come to the UK's annual caving conference...
Hidden Earth takes place each September in different parts of the UK and is a weekend of lectures, workshops, competitions and drinking! See the Hidden Earth website for further info.