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Radical Sports: Caving
  • Radical Sports: Caving

Radical Sports: Caving


An introduction to the sport of caving, for youngsters between the ages of ten and early teens, by Chris Howes

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Radical Sports: Caving

Caving is part of the Radical Sports series of books published by Heinemann for children from ten to early teens. This hardback book by Chris Howes is an ideal introduction to the sport.

The contents include information on preparing for a trip, what to expect, clothing and equipment, parts of a cave, reading a survey, international exploration and where to find further information.


VAT is not charged on UK publications. Orders to the EU are posted without tax paid: you are responsible for VAT and any other charges on delivery. We will be unable to refund you in full if you refuse delivery or the charges are not paid.

Product Details

Data sheet

20cm x 27cm
New or used:
Book: new
37 photographs and diagrams
Publication date:
Published by Heinemann as part of the Radical Sports series
Chris Howes

From the cover:

Who was Edouard Martel?
What is a karabiner used for?
What is a boulder choke?

The Radical Sports series is an introduction to the world's most adventurous and radical sports. Each book provides the beginner with all the essential information needed to do the sport competently and safely, as well as looking at the prestigious competitions and their stars.

Each book contains:

  • Advice on equipment
  • Safety tips
  • Simple skills
  • Useful contacts
  • Glossary and index

Don't be left behind – go for it!

Non-UK orders

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We regret that due to the volatility of Royal Mail postage charges, we have been forced to remove the option for two-year subscriptions. We have also been forced to remove the option for economy mail to the EU, given indications that Royal Mail intends to remove this service.

All international mail is now being despatched in paper wrapping using Royal Mail customs and address labels mandated by them. We also regret this means we can no longer indicate the last issue of your subscription on the mailing sheet or supply a reminder to renew with the final edition. Please track your own subscription ending or check with us at any time. Subscriptions begun since September 2021 have a comment added in your account (under the tab for the order) which records the final issue to be supplied.


On 1 July 2021 the EU removed all exemptions for tax and customs duty on low value items posted from the UK to the EU, meaning that although VAT is 0% on books and magazines in the UK, it is charged within the EU and the VAT (potentially plus a handling fee) now apply to all orders to the EU.

Ideally, the VAT should be paid at the point of posting, but doing so requires registration with an agent to handle the payments, and this is incredibly expensive and not financially viable. To be clear, all small publishers in the UK are in the same position and we are unable to post any items to the EU with VAT or other duties paid.

Ordering any item from Wild Places, including a Descent subscription, requires that you accept responsibility of paying the VAT and any other local charges on delivery.

To be clear: Wild Places will NOT cover any charges levied by your country; it is your responsibility to accept these when placing an order.

We apologise for the situation, but it is outside our control. We will maintain a link from the left-hand column on the home page with the latest updates. If you are an existing subscriber to Descent and have not replied yet to our enquiries concerning your deliveries, please make contact.

NOTE: Subscribers in Norway or Switzerland (which are outside the EU) should place your order on the Subscription International page or contact us first.

In 2003 a softback edition of Caving was published in the UK: ISBN 0-431-03697-7.

A hardback edition with a 'library binding' (a stippled finish to the cover) was published in the USA in 2003 with changes in text to reflect the different approach to the sport on that continent: ISBN 1-588-10626-8.

Also in 2003 a Swedish language edition was published by Bonniers under the title Grottkrypning, with all reference to the author and photo credits removed from the cover and contents. Relatively few of these editions are presumed to exist, as the publication breached contracts and most of the print run was subsequently pulped.

Descent (169), December 2002, p33, by Sally Lindsay

CAVING is part of the Radical Sports series of titles and is intended as an introduction to caving for children aged ten to early teens. However, I feel that it would probably appeal most to the lower end of that range and, in fact, it holds plenty of interest for younger children – my son and daughter, both aged eight, thoroughly enjoyed it.

I found the book visually appealing; it is colourful, with good quality paper and a robust binding. As you might expect in a children’s book, the typeface is clear and reasonably large. Similarly, the language is simple and straightforward, though manages to avoid being patronising. The layout is good and has plenty of variety. There are photos throughout the book, illustrating equipment and showing cavers in many different situations: all the photos are relevant to the text and have clear captions. Additional information, such as safety tips, is given in well-placed boxes; my children liked the bat symbols used as bullet points. Each double-page spread features a new topic, holding the reader’s interest and making the text easy to follow. It reads well, either approached in a conventional cover­-to-cover manner or by dipping in for information on a particular topic. The overall effect is modern but not gimmicky, a refreshing change from many books written for this age group.

The book concerns caving as a sport, rather than being simply about caves, though various specific locations are mentioned. Subjects covered include a little history, advice on how to get started, clothing and equipment required, skills and techniques, underground features, route-finding and international exploration. The text emphasises the fun and excitement of caving – while never forgetting safety, which is mentioned under several headings. The conservation message also comes across strongly. There is an explanation of how caving can have many aims and can therefore be carried out in different ways. My children’s favourite part of the book is a cave map in the section entitled Finding Your Way, which really caught their imagination. They were also intrigued (predictably) by the pages that describe the discovery of new caves.

All the main caving terms are highlighted in the text and defined in a glossary, thus avoiding the need for constant explanations which would disrupt the narrative. Other useful information includes addresses of caving organisations, ideas for further reading (and major websites to consult) and an index.

The more I looked at Caving, the more impressed I became with the way in which it gets its message across, educating while entertaining. The book achieves its aim of giving children a thorough introduction to the sport and is likely to leave them wanting to experience it for themselves. Caving would make a good present for children of non-caving friends or relatives, as it answers many of the most frequently asked questions and explains the appeal as well as the methods of caving.

Note that this is the UK edition, using British spelling and terminology; a different edition was published for the North American market (ISBN 1-588-10626-8).


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Radical Sports: Caving

An introduction to the sport of caving, for youngsters between the ages of ten and early teens, by Chris Howes

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