Birmingham to Kendal
Updated: Feb 16
Following our trip in Croatia discovering yet more cave in Izvor Licanke, I was chuffed to have an article about it published in ‘Diver’ magazine and even more pleased to be asked to talk on the expedition on the Diver stage at the Birmingham Dive Show at the NEC.
The stage had hosted several of the diving world’s glitterati and it felt odd to be among them.
It wasn’t long before another incredible event cropped up and I was asked by Steph Dwyer to speak at the cavers session at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival.
In my lifetime I’ve dabbled in rock climbing and ventured up a few small mountains but never really progressed beyond that as caving and diving took over my life. I’m far more likely to be found crawling into a mountain than climbing up it.
I felt a little out of place at such a prestigious event. I took my copy of Sir Chris Bonington’s autobiography with me in the hope I’d get to meet him and ask him to sign it.
There we were, sitting in the VIP room and Sir Bonington and his wife were right there. Overcome by shyness (me, really?) I couldn’t bring myself to introduce myself nor ask him and I just sat there instead, head down and feeling very un-brave.
I don’t often get overcome by nerves and usually harness them to perform my best. The size of the audience really shouldn’t make a difference and I’m very much a believer that you should always put in 110% into your talk delivery whether you are talking to 4 people or 400.
The auditorium was packed and fully subscribed. There was a buzz in the air. Jason Mallinson was also talking about Thailand and as he was on later, I joked that Imogen and I were his warm up acts!
Imogen Furlong, whom I’d never met before was a lovely lady and excellent caver and delivered a great talk, which cannot have failed to motivate anyone to get underground.
I had the easy slot as I was showing my film premiere of ‘The Master Cave’, shot during real cave diving exploration and featuring never before seen parts of the cave thanks to the incredible Paralenz Dive Camera.
It is hard enough exploring virgin cave, never mind underwater with rebreathers, all of the team needing to dive and in 7 degrees of water. Filming exploration in action is not something that is done very often.
The evening was electric and I was proud to show the film that had been two years in the making and grateful to the whole Licanke team for helping me make it.
The film will be rolled out to the public audience later this year, so keep your eyes peeled!