The club will hold a Try Caving event next month

The club will hold a Try Caving event next month

A caving club is celebrating its 50th anniversary by opening a new training area at its Yorkshire Dales base.

The Yorkshire Subterranean Society will unveil its new rope training facility this weekend.

The two-storey extension to its Helwith Bridge headquarters contains a warm, dry area with platforms, beams and bolts to allow up to six cavers at a time to practise modern caving techniques.

The club secured a £20,000 National Lottery grant for the new practice area, as part of the London 2012 Olympics legacy fund.

The facility will be available to all cavers. The new extension will be on view at a special event this Saturday at the society’s base, a converted school near Horton in Ribblesdale.

A YSS spokesperson said: “Throughout its history the Yorkshire Subterranean Society has regularly held coach trips to caving areas from Pontefract to the Yorkshire Dales and Derbyshire providing an affordable way for cavers and walkers to access the outdoors.

The society is based at Helwith Bridge, in the shadow of Pen-y-ghent

The society is based at Helwith Bridge, in the shadow of Pen-y-ghent

“In the 1980s they purchased an old school building in the Yorkshire Dales, with Sport England assistance, and developed this in to the headquarters they have today. The society has conducted a number of foreign expeditions to caving areas across the world.

“The Yorkshire Subterranean Society through the British Caving Association’s Try Caving initiative has helped hundreds of people experience caving since 2007.”

It will be holding another Try Caving event on 1 November.

Member Chris Tate said: “Over the last 50 years we have aimed to make caving accessible to people through our regular coach trips, from 1964 to 2006, to the Yorkshire Dales; affordable accommodation in the heart of Yorkshire caving country; caving expeditions and more recently through our successful Try Caving events.

“That aim has seen our members explore the deepest caves in the world and have been part of record breaking achievements. Our new facility continues the tradition of introducing people to the sport.”

Damian Weare, British Caving Association secretary, said: “British cavers are at the forefront of exploring the world’s greatest caves and it is fantastic to see the sport recognised by Sport England.

“We are very grateful to Sport England and the YSS for providing a first-class facility.”

MP Julian Smith, in whose constituency the club is based, said: “I want to congratulate the Yorkshire Subterranean Society on their 50th anniversary and it is particularly fitting they are marking it by opening their new training facility.

“I have been determined that the benefits of the 2012 London Olympics should be felt across my constituency and this is a great example of how the legacy is making a difference here. “The new facility in Settle will help ensure the society goes from strength to strength in its next 50 years.”

More details are on the club’s website.