Caving in under Pressure
I love caves. The first one I visited was Dan-Yr-Ogof show caves in mid-Wales. I can't remember much about it now except for it being full of stalactites and stalagmites, plus the kind of still pools you never get in the outside world. It would have quiet too if not for the load of school kids trooping through (ancient dinosaurs outside too, selling tickets to visitors). Next on my list was Wookey Hole, which is a misnomer (Star Wars fans) as there were no hairy beasts within, except for a visiting family of Big Feet, all the way from Hobbitville, New Jersey.
Cheddar Gorge was both a disappointment in the main area and a joy in the smaller caves. All upward pointing columns had been removed and the entire floor area was turned into concrete (fine for health and safety reasons, to stop idiots stumbling as they made their way along, staring at the ceiling and the remaining stalactites but artistically unsatisfying). The smaller caves were mini-me pools, with miniature projections up into the air and down towards the ground.
I fancied getting lowered down Gaping Gil, the UK's deepest cave but it was closed for renovation when I was there. Tintagel has a sort of cave running under it but it is more an open-ended tunnel (both ends). Close to the Waterfall Walk in The Upper Vale of Neath, near Swansea is another cave that disappears underground, only to appear a quarter of a mile away.
The caves I would really have loved visiting were abroad, including the giant geode somewhere in Almeria, Spain (seen photos of two people squashed inside, a bit like the Japanese underground really but better views). Lechuguilla, part of the Carlsbad cavern system, has crystal growths that make it look like a gigantic chandelier and I think it might even be called that as well as other formations, like straws (hollow calcite tubes) and curtains but most caves have these or variations. Really spectacular is the Naica, Mexico cave, with crystals up to forty feet long, if not longer and as wide as a man is high. Up until I saw photos of this area, Disney's 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth,' was the closest I ever got to being blown away by cave imagery, even though this was an artificial special effects and these columns were real.