BCRA Newsletter

In this newsletter: BCRA Caves and Karst online seminars, Publications, Membership Renewals, AGM Report, Cave Studies Booklets, BCRA’s Facebook page.

BCRA Caves and Karst online seminars

BCRA is arranging a series of monthly online seminars for 2021 in support of the International Year of Caves and Karst (IYCK).

IYCK is an initiative of the International Union of Speleology (UIS) which aims to use the year to increase understanding of caves and karst both amongst cavers and amongst the wider community. For more information just type IYCK into your browser. BCRA and BCA are partners in the project and, as a contribution to the IYCK, BCRA will be arranging a series of online seminars that will emphasise the scientific importance of caves and karst and ways in which BCRA supports cave research. The intention is to run the seminars on the second Monday of each month commencing in February.

If you would like to offer a talk on a science topic that you think would be of interest to a broad caver audience then please contact John Gunn with a title and a few words about your suggested content.

The first two seminars will be…

Monday 8th February 2021. “One in a million: new insights into the Pleistocene fossil sequence from Westbury Cave, Somerset” by Danielle Schreve, Professor of Quaternary Science, Royal Holloway University of London.

Monday 8th March 2021 “Castleton, Derbyshire: The world’s most complicated simple karst hydrological system?” by John Gunn, Honorary Professor, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham.

The first talk will highlight the important resources contained within cave sediments and how the information that can be gained from these sediments can aid our understanding of fast changing palaeo-environments and palaeo-climates during glacial/interglacial episodes. Understanding the past is key to our understanding of the future! The second talk will examine the complexities of underground water movement in limestone areas and will show how data collected within caves contributes to understanding the flow from springs and flow in the rivers that they supply.

Further updates, and details of how to join these seminars, will be issued soon and posted via this mailing list. You can also check the Google calendar on our home page, or look at our Facebook page.

In addition to the online talks, we are hoping to hold a field meeting in June to mark the IYCK but it is not possible to say, at the moment, if this will be able to go ahead.


Cave & Karst Science 47(3) didn’t quite make the Christmas post, but it should be arriving on doorsteps any day now. It is now available online.

CREG journal 112 was published at the beginning of December and is available online and on paper. We still have copies of BCRA Review 2019, which you can order online, and it is also available as a free download.

We have reduced the price of our two volumes of Caves & Karst of the Yorkshire Dales to £15 including UK postage. These can be ordered online, with 20% discount for BCRA members.

Membership Renewals

Membership renewals are now due. This year, we decided not to send any renewal letters on paper. Members will, in due course, receive an individual email reminder. However, you do not need to wait for that.

Just go here and follow the links. At the moment, our membership is still handled by the British Caving Association, but members have been telling us that BCRA should have more of its own identity on its membership form, and we will be revising our operations during 2021. It will eventually become possible to subscribe to multiple periodicals (e.g. CREG journal, BCRA Review) on your BCRA form, and we will be introducing additional payment methods. Individual members will still need to be members of BCA, and we will collect your BCA fee on the BCRA form. More on these changes later in the year.

AGM Report

Our AGM took place at the Science Symposium in November 2019, which we held online via Zoom. The symposium was a great success with over 180 people viewing it live, which is several times the number that have ever attended a physical meeting. The AGM was also very well-attended, the Zoom format made it possible for members to easily ask questions during the meeting, using the “chat” facility. The meeting passed the proposed motion to update our constitution, which increases the number of Council members and the number of members we can-co-opt to Council. The Council members for 2021 are listed at the bottom of the Contact page, on our web site. We thank Paul Hardwick, who is stepping down, for his contributions over the last seven years.

Cave Studies Booklets

I mentioned, last summer, that we had two booklets in the pipeline – ‘Exploring the Limestone Landscapes of Arnside and Silverdale’, by Phil Murphy, and ‘Cave Formation and Development’ by John Gunn and Andy Farrant. These are expected to appear some time in 2021. Two previously planned additions to the Cave Studies series, on the Gower peninsula and the Brecon Beacons have unfortunately been considerably delayed by a lack of volunteer effort, but we have been taking steps to try to get these back on track.

BCRA’s Facebook page

Our Facebook page is seeing an ever-increasing number of readers – over 1800 at the last count – and is becoming more important as a news outlet for BCRA. As with all forms of social media the Facebook page will only be successful if members post material likely to be of interest to readers, so please consider doing this.

David Gibson, BCRA Hon. Secretary