Devon has a lot of great caves. One of the most famous is Kent’s Cavern, in which were found some of the oldest human remnants ever found in the U.K.
Interactive Travel doesn’t use Kent’s Cavern within it’s courses, but we do have access to some other caves that are ideal for ‘caving.’ There are many challenges for the students to overcome while caving, one of which is coping with areas that are extremely dark.
As you can see from the picture, another challenge is the muddy water which collects in the caves. There are also sections which involve some challenging obstacles that need to be climbed over. As with all of our activities, there is some initial training and guidance provided from a seasoned caver, who of course delivers the training in English. If any of the students don’t quite understand the training in English, bilingual leaders are always on hand (and taking part in the activities) and they will make sure that everyone understands the instructions and the safety rules.
The students are split up into groups of six based on their level of ability and need to work as a team in order to complete all of the challenges. When it comes to squeezing through very small spaces, there are a variety of different sized holes so that the student can choose which size they are most comfortable with. Near the end of the activity, there is a large underground lake which is a great experience, and can be enjoyed while the students take a well-earned break.
Each team has a designated leader chosen from the students, and it is this leader’s responsibility to pass on instructions to the others once they have initially navigated through a section of cave. Obviously, this is a great leadership and team-building exercise. Below you can see one of our students thoroughly enjoying the underground mud.
While in the caves, the instructors (who work permanently in the caves) will give lessons (in English) all about the geology of the area, how the water creates and continues to erode the caves, and how stalactites and stalagmites are formed (and which one appears on the ceiling, and which one appears on the floor.)
Caving is a great experience for our students and gives ample opportunity for them to practise listening to, comprehending and also speaking the English language.