azziria: (cave)
Day 5

In your own space, share something non-fannish you are passionate about with your fannish friends. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

I think that most people on my friends list know that my big passion these days is offshore sailing, but before that it was caving (or spelunking, for those of you across the Pond).

I started caving in my late teens, and it pretty much consumed my life right up until I got pregnant with my first child. It gave me everything I was looking for - a close-knit 'tribe' to belong to, the excitement of risk and of pushing myself, and the kick of doing something that most people found slightly (or very) odd and didn't understand. I caved mostly in the Yorkshire Dales, and spent a lot of summers on expedition exploring new cave in the Austrian Alps (that's me in my icon, abseiling into the entrance of 164, a cave we were exploring in the Austrian Totes Gebirge mountains). I love sporting wet caves and big shaft systems best. I've seen some strange and beautiful things, and I've stood where no-one on this planet has ever stood before. I've also faced some dangerous situations and handled them; that's a good thing to know about yourself.

These days my passion is offshore sailing. The sailing I love isn't gentle sailing from one marina to another, sipping G&Ts while moored each evening. The sailing I love is the more serious stuff, the long passages, the night watches (I *love* night sailing). I get the same things from my sailing as I got from caving - the tribe, the excitement, the pushing my limits, physical and mental. My idea of heaven is beating to windward in a Force 6 with waves crashing over the deck. At that point you really know you're alive :)

Snowflake Challenge Day 5
azziria: (cave)
God, how I miss doing this!


Jul. 26th, 2011 06:39 pm
azziria: (cave)

So I've just seen the trailer for James Cameron's film Sanctum and really, all the years I've been caving without ever realising that it was quite so thrilling or that cavers were quite so good- looking...

Hilarious, seriously *g*

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

azziria: (cave)
I haven't done much caving recently, not since having the kids. Very small children and caving trips don't really mix too well. And I thought I didn't really mind.

On Tuesday I got underground - Upper Long Churn, not exactly a taxing cave - and it suddenly hit me how much I've missed this. The smell, the sounds, the quality of the light - cave passage viewed by flickering carbide flame. I got a rush just being there, right then, down one of the easiest things in the Dales. And afterwards I stood in the bar with a pint chatting to other cavers, some very old friends, some new, but all - I realised - my people. How could I have forgotten this?

It's like a drug. You think you've kicked it, think you can take it or leave it. But I realised on Tuesday that I've missed it so much. I still really want to do this. It's not nostalgia - I don't want to be me as I was before the kids, doing this. I no longer want to do difficult or squalid stuff. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I just want to do some of the classic trips: a Swinsto pull-through, one of the finest sporting stream pots in the country; Black Shiver Pot, with a classic deep and airy final pitch; a visit to Gaping Gill main chamber, the size of St Paul's Cathedral, with Fell Beck thundering into it from the surface with a deep rumble that you feel before you hear it as you approach along the cave passage; a trip to the magnificent Duke Street at the bottom of Ireby Fell Cavern; a wander through the caverns of the Easegill system. I want to knock off some things I haven't done yet, like the superb shaft of Juniper Gulf, or finally bottoming Rowten (having been thwarted three times for reasons not of my making).

It still grabs me. I still need to do this.

DH feels this way too. We've strayed away from something that was important to us, and we're poorer for it. So while we're still young enough and fit enough, we're going to try to do something to remedy the situation.
azziria: (cave)
"Why exactly do you do it?"

And the answer is... )
azziria: (cave)
Winter caving )
azziria: (cave)
I've just been reading about the problems and differences of opinion surrounding the making of the film of Joe Simpson’s book Touching the Void. (If you haven’t read the book, go and do so now - I don’t know if I’ll go and see the film, but the book is just an amazing story.)

Some thoughts on danger and mortality )
azziria: (cave)
Trawling through some stuff this morning I came across this pic, which brings back some very happy memories.

Read more... )


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