Steph Dwyer

Steph Dwyer’s Great Place is underground, literally.

Among the UK’s foremost cavers, Steph and her partner, Mike Bottomley, recently took over Settle-based Yorkshire Dales Guides, which allows them to combine their passion for underground exploration and the outdoors with a viable business.

Yorkshire Dales Guides takes people out into the countryside of the Lakes and Dales, teaching and facilitating activities from climbing to orienteering, caving to fell walking.

Steph and Mike are both members of the Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation with Steph holding the post of underground controller. They are experienced cave explorers, being key members of the Ario expedition which connected up previously unknown passageways to result in the deepest cave system in Europe, in the Picos de Europa mountains of Northern Spain. The expedition was featured in a film called The Ario Dream, which won the People’s Choice award at Kendal Mountain Festival in 2017.

Said Steph: “We love the Dales and Lakes and wanted to base ourselves here for the outdoors activities and caving in particular. I have a masters in psychology, but when I started looking for jobs it quickly became clear that I would be facing a big commute only to sit in an office. We infuse psychology through our practice and wholeheartedly promote getting outdoors as a brilliant way to boost mental and physical wellbeing, self-esteem and resilience.

“We grabbed the opportunity to run our own business with both hands and make a living while staying in the Dales. It is the perfect way to marry our love for adventure with promoting mental well-being.”

Creative champ Steph Dwyer