"I took Martyn's Intro to Cavern course in October 2010 with a mind to improving my overhead environment skills for wreck penetrations. As a trimix diver and PADI instructor I have taken many diving courses in the past, and can say without question that this straightforward, two day course has expanded my perspective on diving more than any other.
Martyn's gentle introduction to the underground world builds confidence and awareness, teaches the importance of self-sufficiency and sensible equipment configuration, and has not only furnished me with the concepts and practices to be able to conduct overhead wreck penetrations safely but has also opened the door to the astonishing world of cave diving and underground exploration.
I had little interest in this prior to the course, but Martyn's enthusiasm and experience is obviously infectious - I have been reading his beautifully written, highly informative books constantly since the course, and am excitedly looking forward to the Intro to Cave course that I start in two weeks time. I fully intend to follow that with full Cave - I'm hooked! I would unreservedly recommend Martyn's teaching to anyone, whether they wanted to improve their all-round diving skills or take their first steps in exploring the astonishing world beneath our feet."
November 2010 London
"Over the last couple of years I have done the Cavern, Intro Cave and Full Cave courses with Martyn. At first my buddy and I didn't really have any intention of doing all the courses. The Cavern Course seemed appealing just as something different, and an interesting way to learn new skills... However on completion we found it was all that and more. So it was from that first brilliant experience that we ended up returning to Martyn again and again.
There seem to be a lot of big egos within the diving community and Martyn is definately not amongst them, you would be hard pressed to find a more humble, relaxed, and approachable guy. I think that Martyn has a unique teaching style, so that you are being taught things constantly without really realising that you are learning. He lets you come to your own conclusions and then make your own decisions, gently nudging you in the right direction when you are way off the mark. He will quite often sit in the background while you and your fellow students argue the pros and cons of a particular action, quietly pondering your arguments. It is no wonder that we often refer to him as Yoda.
The courses themselves all follow a similar pattern, with a bit of background, history and geology thrown in with theory and the all important practical. Briefings are thorough and you won't ever find yourself not knowing what is expected of you as you begin a dive. On Martyn's courses you will find that you have very full days, but without feeling too rushed around. You'll also see a fair bit of beautiful South Wales, (if you can keep up with him... both driving and lugging your kit over fields to obscure holes in the ground). A debriefing in the pub is a nice end to the day, and while totally informal, you probably learn as much there as when on the course proper. Martyn has a cheeky sense of humour too, but you'll have to work on him a bit to get him to reveal it...
If you are contemplating any training of this type I wouldn't only recommend being taught by Martyn, but I'd ask you why would you consider doing it with anyone else? The training is absolutely first class and the satisfaction gained from his courses is second to none."
New Zealand 2010
"I recently attended Martyn's Overhead environment course at Crickhowell. I can't say how much I enjoyed the course and learned so much from it. Martyn's wealth of knowledge really comes across in his teaching and his calm manner when explaining the fndamentals of the overhead enviornment/cave diving. I enjoyed it so much that I sigend up straight away for intro cave coming up in January. I enjoyed diving in the Scillica mines but didn't enjoy the walk! One fundamental piece of advice I would give to anyone considering the course, don't take too much gear!"
Birmingham October 2010
"I completed the Cavern, Intro Cave and Full Cave courses with Martyn Farr. Using the skills and knowledge I acquired, I have gone on to dive cave systems throughout the UK and across the world. I found that the skills I learnt completing the courses with Martyn within UK cave conditions have enabled me to approach, with confidence, all subsequent cave dive conditions I have experienced in the UK and abroad.
Martyn’s attention to detail within the courses and the vast experience he can reflect on, combined with practice and assessment in the actual cave environment, proved immensely beneficial and differentiates and elevates the learning experience from any other diving course I have completed. The overhead environment skills I learnt were directly applicable to open water wreck penetration and improved the safety of my diving, my equipment configuration and my awareness in the environment.
Thank you Martyn, for improving my existing skills and opening up a whole new world of diving to me!"
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor,
BSAC Open Water Diving Instructor
Full Cave Diver London 2010
I chose to learn cavern diving in the UK because as the saying goes if you can dive in the UK you can dive anywhere. The last thing I wanted to do was learn in warm water and to have my course and knowledge based on that style of diving, which wouldn't apply in cold UK waters.
My cavern course opened my eyes to a lot of flaws in my diving and how I believed I was taking precautions when wreck diving. On the second day an exercise was carried out in complete darkness. Trying to follow a 6mm line wearing 5mm gloves I realised that what I thought I knew beforehand about over head diving was of no real use.
The configuration of torches and knives is some thing I will be using in open water diving, as these simple placements of equipment make so much more sense from a convenience point of view as well as a safety one.
I believe its important to learn from some one who is well known and respected when it comes to cave diving as you are relying on them to keep you safe now and in the future, when you only have your experience to rely on.
The cavern diving course will help you build confidence and illustrate techniques you can use in your every day diving.
Since completing the course I have gained a new respect for cave diving... how it continues to evolve and change, learning from mistakes of others and a lot more besides.
After completing the cavern diving course and learning so much more than I thought was possible to gain from it, I am looking forward to seeing what new skills and technique I will learn from the introduction to cave diving course. I originally thought it was just a case of ticking the boxes and passing an exam but there is much more to it.
Stuart Hughes Chester: February 2012
Overhead Environment Cavern Diving Course December 2011
Why? A yearning to respond to that increasingly insistent little “come to me” voice, echoing from inside all those wrecks, caves, mines: - from all those places under water that gave you the feeling that you had to ignore their beckoning, and just not go there. The realisation that there was exciting, challenging diving available in Britain in the “close” season, whole new, dark, enclosed world offering a buzz of exploration and achievement, so much more than the routine trip to the inland dive site.
Encouragement from a mutual friend whose description of back to back Cavern and Intro courses with Martyn were so compelling that they overcame a deep rooted scepticism of diving courses, honed over the years by some distinctly unpleasant experiences.
So the darkness was really beckoning. It might be possible to access this world without screwing up, looking like an idiot, and above all without putting anyone, including ourselves at risk. We booked the initial Overhead Environment Cavern Diving Course.
It was only a two day course. It seemed to be over in minutes, while learning years’ worth of knowledge and skills. It wasn’t easy physically or mentally but it was pitched exactly right for an introduction to an unforgiving environment.
All misgivings about courses were completely unfounded. Did we screw up? Oh yes! Some major, some minor, but never, at any time, did we feel like idiots. The message was clear, problems even mistakes will happen, stop; sort them out; learn; and make sure they never happen again.
The overall feeling from the course was one of privilege to be in a position to learn from the awesome experience that Martyn has accumulated and genuine gratitude that he is prepared to pass it on to others with so much insight and enthusiasm and in such a clear calm and effective way.
Like so many others who have had this taste, we are hooked. The next course is already booked.
Iain Dredge & Dave Menzies Oldham
"I attended the Overhead Environment Cavern Diving Course at Farrworld primarily to learn about Cavern Diving. I was very pleasantly surprised to find I learned a whole lot more than expected and gained knowledge and skills that will no doubt come in very useful in my normal diving, particularly in wreck diving and in more challenging environments. Martyn brings his wealth of experience to the course and his calm and structured delivery makes the course both interesting and fun. I will certainly be back to continue my learning into the full cave environment."
Kevin Phillips, Sandbach 2012
After starting to get into dry caving in amazing caves in Tasmania (Australia) over the last couple of years, I decided it was finally time to get into cave diving – there is just so many undived sumps you can look at before you feel the need to dive them! So I did what most people who want to learn cave diving do – I went to Florida to do my Full Cave course and to Mexico to learn sidemount techniques. But soon I realised – even though I had great instructors and the caves I dived were amazing – that this is not going to teach me to dive the sort of sumps I will find deep down in a Tasmanian cave....so after some research I found that the only person who is both experienced at diving such sumps AND passing on those skills through great instruction is Martyn Farr.
Luckily I was able to squeeze in two days of instruction with Martyn on a work trip to the UK. During these two days Martyn did a great job at building on the skills I learnt in previous courses and complementing them with skills necessary to safely dive sumps under typical conditions found in the UK and Wales. We spent a lot of time discussing the pros and cons of different techniques and gear configurations used for different styles of cave diving and practising these techniques at local dive sites. And at the end of the day we discussed the dives of the day with a good Welsh Ale at the local pub. From all the diving courses I have done so far this was by far the most I learnt in any diving course in two days!
If you intend to do any training in this type of diving I can fully recommend you to take a course with Martyn – the next time I'm in Europe I will definitely travel via Wales again to learn more...
Andreas Klocker Austria 2012
I had first heard of Martyn Farr, the “legendary cave diver”, over 20 years ago, when I was a keen caver. I had read of his and others’ exploits in cave diving in his book “The Darkness Beckons” and had always wanted to meet the man in person. Having learned to dive in 1994 and having, over the years, progressed to being a diving instructor, I finally enrolled on a Cavern Diving course with Farrworld, Martyn’s trading company, after seeing him deliver an inspirational speech at the 2010 Dive Show in Birmingham, after which I did actually get to meet the legend in person, and had him sign my copy of his book.
I completed the two day course, which involved both simulated and real cave scenarios. I subsequently progressed my cave diving training further, and just over a year later I completed the Intro Cave course also with Martyn. This course took place entirely in real cave conditions that were in no way simulated or staged: this was the real deal. The experience gained in both of the courses has given me an awareness and a presence of mind that surely only comes with training of the highest quality, from someone who has the respect and admiration of so many, such is Martyn’s reputation in cave diving circles. His endless patience and his calm, methodical approach to the subject imbues you with confidence in his supreme ability in this challenging field of diving. Humble in nature, somewhat self-effacing and with a genuine interest in the experiences of others, Martyn displays great deference to some cave divers that he has trained, some of whom have gone on to discover and explore some of the farthest reaches of passage that have ever been explored by man. He is, in my opinion, the very epitome of professionalism.
Martyn has a range of products for sale that he has developed himself, and he also offers selected products from other manufacturers that have stood the test of time and have a proven record of reliability, though there are no pushy sales techniques employed in offering these.
The hospitality shown to students in Martyn’s own home, by himself and his wife Helen, also an accomplished cave diver in her own right, coupled with his relaxed but businesslike approach to instruction, is a breath of fresh air in an industry that is often more interested in numbers than people.
I would wholeheartedly recommend Farrworld to anyone who is considering a cave or cavern diving course; you can be sure of world-class training and a service that is second to none.
Ivan Woolley April 2012
Simon Scott September 2016
I did the Cavern Course with Martyn to find out what it was all about. I enjoyed the course a great deal was introduced to some new skills and planning considerations and after a few months realised I wanted to find out more. So, I enrolled on Intro cave. Martyn’s enthusiasm and careful analytical approach once again was so infectious whilst making me consider tirelessly the potential outcomes to my actions both above and below the water line in a Cave environment. Well now, I’m hooked! I look forward to starting the Full Cave Course with him and all being well will join him on this in France in 2017.
Alex Denny October 2016
"I took the Overhead Environment Cavern Diving Course with Farrworld in
October 2016 and was a little nervous about what was in store. It was
certainly reassuring to be diving with Martyn, who quite literally wrote the
book on cavern and cave diving in the area. Both Martyn and his wife Helen
made us very welcome.
At that time of year, the course is often run in and around the Dinas Mine
in Wales, rather than a natural cave, and this was the case for my course.
This didn't diminish the experience at all, though. The mine is a
fascinating place to go diving and is eerily beautiful. It's got several
layers and you are able to explore the top levels in different directions
while remaining nice and close to the air above. The whole weekend was a
fantastic experience and has given me a real taste for these overhead
“I have been diving for over 20 years and caving has been something that has been a new interest over the last two or three years. My first caving trip was in my local cave, Pridhamsleigh, where I saw the lake which requires a dive to get to Prid 2, a seed was sewn that perhaps I could combine diving and caving. Martyn’s reputation and experience precedes him, all reports of a course with him had been superb. So I booked to do Intro Cave with him in Wales and I was not disappointed. Despite his years of experience and multitude of cave-diving achievements he is a humble person with a quiet demeanour and a great sense of Welsh humour. He is an excellent instructor with a wealth of knowledge, who, no matter what your preceding experience or background you will certainly learn from one of his courses. Even if you just want to extend your open-water diving skills I would whole-heartedly recommend doing a course with Martyn”
Dr Craig Holdstock
Anaesthetic SpR and Hyperbaric Doctor DDRC
Should a diver standing in the foot hills of this sport, wish to develop their skills to levels providing safety in the over head environment, whilst sharing the direction and company of a world class pioneer of the open circuit branch of the sport, Martyn Farr is available for approach.
Martyn maintains a robust uncompromising approach towards teaching, reflecting the very nature of the caving environment we as students choose to enter. Those putting themselves forwards for this challenge should therefore be in no doubt that they need to deliver their level best at each stage of the course, in order to achieve satisfactory completion.
As a student I discovered Martyn had developed a seeming sixth sense in his awareness of the progress of each student, with absolutely nothing escaping appropriate post dive analysis and development.
Upon successful completion of Martyns courses, you can be affirmed a validated skill set respected by all figures within the community, offering an ability to plan dives following in the early fin strokes of the caving sports founding fathers.