Who are we?
SMCC (aka ‘The Shepton’) is a friendly, inclusive caving club based on the Mendip hills in Somerset. We’ve been at the forefront of caving in the UK since we were founded in 1949 and welcome new members of all abilities to join our growing membership of around 120.
Where are we based?
A fair proportion of our members are local to south-west England, but we have also members across the UK and beyond. Our home ‘The Mineries’ near Priddy, is the last surviving building of St Cuthbert’s Leadworks, see hut details for further information and facilities available.
What do we do?
We love exploring caves and mines too for good measure. We cater for all levels of experience and interest, from novice and family-friendly trips to more challenging ‘sport’ and vertical caving. Mendip is our home patch, but we run trips all over the UK (Wales, Peak District, Yorkshire, Devon etc) as well as summer holidays to sample some of the best caves (and beers) Europe has to offer. See our events calendar for details of our forthcoming home and away meets. We have a proud heritage of discovering new caves, and we’re still pushing back the frontiers with various local digs on Mendip and foreign expeditions, most recently to Thailand and Myanmar.
I’ve not caved before; how do I get started?
Just come along for a trip! We were all new once, and we’ve lots of experienced members who are happy to lead an introductory trip so that you can find out more about the sport and the club. There’s no charge, and we can also help arrange kit hire if required. (We’re not cave guides however; if you’re organising a stag/hen do or looking for a similar one-off experience then we recommend engaging the services of a professional cave instructor such as guys at CaveClimb or Wild Wookey who offer a range of excellent trips for groups and individuals).
I cave with a few mates, what’s the point in joining a club?
Some people are happy doing their own thing, but there are lots of perks of joining an established club including: access to caves that require keys or leaders; learning new skills (anyone for abseiling, photography, diving, surveying?); access to tackle and caving literature; opportunities to take part in cave exploration and expeditions; discounted fees when staying at our hut (£4/night); and, most importantly of all, making new friends with like-minded cavers.
Can I join if I’m under 18?
We’re keen to encourage the next generation of cavers and are one of the few clubs that welcome under-18s. We take our safeguarding responsibilities seriously, however, and so ask that junior members are accompanied by a parent or guardian when attending club activities.
How do I join?
Download and complete an application form, get it signed by an existing member and contact the membership secretary for approval at our next committee meeting. If you’ve not caved with us before then please click here to contact the membership secretary or via FaceBook in the first instance and we’ll arrange for you to come caving with us on one of our home or away meets so that you can see if we’re the sort of club you’re looking for. To foster a safe and friendly club environment we, like other caving clubs, operate a probationary membership system; new members typically spend 6-12 months as a Probationary member before becoming eligible for Full membership at our AGM in May.
How much does membership cost?
Annual subscription, including insurance cover from the British Caving Association: £50 (half price for student/junior members). Being part of the best caving club on Mendip: priceless.
If you have any questions, please click here to contact the membership secretary.