The Club was formed on 12 November 1966 at a meeting of 14 outdoor enthusiasts held at the Oak Tree Inn in Richmond. It was initially known as Swaledale Outdoor Centre and its purpose was to encourage and provide outdoor activities in the Yorkshire Dales area. It was intended to acquire a headquarters hence the word Centre.
From its formation the Club used the George and Dragon at Hudswell as its headquarters. It met there on a Sunday evening for social evenings, sing-songs and slide lectures. The club equipment was kept in a building at the rear of the pub and a bunkhouse was created for members to sleep overnight if required.
For a couple of years the Club rented an old farm above Healaugh called Nova Scotia. It was converted into a bunkhouse and was used for some weekend events but it was too near to Richmond to be a mountain hut and too far away to be constantly used.
In 1975 a joiners shop and three garages in New Road Richmond were purchased for £4,200 and over two years, through voluntary effort, these were converted into the current clubhouse. The Clubhouse was financed by grants from the Sports Council and Richmondshire District Council and by loans from members and money from fund-raising events.
Adjacent to Swaledale is the country’s prime area for caving; the Yorkshire Dales. SOC cavers regularly venture west to explore underground. Local visits are also made to the caves and mines of Swaledale. All levels of trips are undertaken from easy / beginners to some of the most challenging caves in the country. We also make weekend visits to other parts of the UK and occasional longer trips abroad.
Beginners are welcome and are introduced to new aspects of caving as their experience grows. This is backed up by indoor wall sessions where the vertical techniques of ladder and lifeline, single rope techniques (SRT) and rescue practices can be learnt.
Club Contact Information
Find Caving Clubs In The UK
Check out our caving club directory to discover caving clubs across the United Kingdom.