“The Key to the success of an Artificial Cave Complex is through the creation of the illusion of depth and danger in a safe environment”
Caving systems can be used as an educational tool or as a recreational activity. The challenge of navigating through a system of tunnels and passageways appeals to the minds of children, teenagers and adults alike.
The best caving systems consist of passage ways, chambers and unique features to create an atmosphere of exploration and give participants an adventure experience.
Highgate can provide you with a unique caving system to suit your target market’s needs, whether it be one of our own products or the Entre Prises Caving System.
Creating Perfect Passageways
In a natural cave there are sometimes regular sections that are
governed by the rock strata. In an artificial cave, passageways will
quickly turn and twist to help disorientate the visitor within a short section
and make the caver feel lost within an instant!
Throughout the experience, it can be possible to select between
different routes and passageways. All will have differing profiles and will
necessitate different activities and movement to proceed along them. If
required some will be constricted in cross section or will have awkward
tight bends. Highgate can design caving systems with sections that will
need to be approached in a specific body orientation in order to negotiate
the difficulty and add to the experience.
Incorporating Chambers and Features
Within the Entre Prises system most designs, a large central chamber is both the ‘goal’ of the exploration of the cave and also the ‘hub’ that is returned to as various passages are explored. Chambers can have columns, boulders and stalagmites on the floor and stalactites hanging from the roof, as well as cave paintings to enhance the experience.
Additional features such as Ball Sump Chambers can be added to your
caving system. These chambers have a wall that runs through the middle
of the chamber space. The wall is set right across the chambers and is
attached to the roof and to chamber wall. But the wall does not descend
down to the floor. This intersecting wall ‘hangs’ about 600mm above the
floor of the chamber. To pass from one side of the chamber to the other
side it is necessary for visitors to crawl under the intervening wall. To
make this challenge really interesting the base of the chamber is filled
with plastic balls of the type commonly found in soft play centres. To pass
from one half of the chamber to the other visitors have to immerse
themselves in the ‘pool’ of balls and dive through them, and under the
intervening hanging wall, in order to pop out in the other side of the chamber.
To add interest within passages and chambers, cave paintings and fossils can be added. This allows for user interest to be maintained and also creates an educational experience. The more times that a person passes though the cave system, the more detail that they will notice and hopefully, the more they will learn. It is proposed that the chambers will be enhanced with cave painting s and the cave passages will have fossils set in the wall of the cave passages.
Creating Caving Zones
Caving systems can be divided into zones that provide different caving experiences that can be enjoyed by different visitors. Each zone can be identifiable by different coloured markings (eg. Green for easy, red for difficult etc.) the coloured markings would be visible on the walls of cave passages at every junction. The instructors or visitors see the colour markings within the passages heading from a junction and they can then select the level of difficulty that they wish to follow.
The Easy caving level is suitable for first time cavers who are feeling a lot of trepidation about going ‘underground’. Participants can choose to go in, or come out, of multiple passageways and explore the cave with ease.
The Moderate caving level is created to provide a starter ‘caving experience’ that offers some of the fun experiences that caves can provide the first time caver without any intimidating aspects.
Even though the passage lengths are short there are a number of junctions where a visitor can turn around.
An Intermediate caving level provides a far more immersed caving experience.
Visitors will explore passages ascending and descending through the cave that require careful body orientation to comfortably pass through. The passages will not be tight but they may be awkward or difficult to negotiate for visitors who will only be able to pass along the passages if they consider orientating themselves carefully before approaching sharp bends.
The Advanced caving level is intended for visitors that are completely at ease in a small space environment. The walls of the caving system are not slippery and they will provide a good level of friction. With this level of difficulty the high friction will be invaluable as visitors will need to carefully need to wriggle forward up these confined tubes and explore the passages within the cave.
Caving for the Community
Caving appeals to a wide range of people and can be used as a great educational tool. When considering if a caving system is the right fit for your facility consider the benefits for each of the groups below.
Artificial caves are perfectly suitable for children from the age of five upwards, however children should be supervised at all times. Confident children will be able to move through the passages much more adeptly than adults, as the low passages and squeezes will not be as difficult for them.
Responsible adults will safely enjoy exploring the passages and caverns. Working together in groups they will experience the excitement and challenge of caving without having to confront the potential dangers. The cave is also designed to appeal to experienced cavers. Some of the obstacles in the caves will challenge genuine cavers whilst youngsters will find them very straightforward!
Public Service Training
The cave design can be suitable for training of individuals or groups that need to practice restricted access or confined space rescue or evacuation techniques e.g. Fire Services, Ambulance Services, Search and Rescue Groups.
If you are interested in learning more about Highgate Caving Systems please contact our office on 02 9999 0055 or send us and email at firstname.lastname@example.org