Descent 288 is coming soon and maybe things aren’t so F*ing Hopeless, after all!

The time has come, the caver said, to talk of many things: of kit and digs and caving trips, of places we have seen, so make sure your subscription is up to date, as otherwise you might miss out on all the big news!

Descent has been on quite a journey over the years, with many changes along the way, and there are more to come, as Chris Howes will explain in the editorial.

The panel has deliberated, and the votes are in! Find out which books made the Tratman Award 2020 shortlist and, more importantly – which one won! You can also pick up plenty of tips for what to read next and what treats to ask Santa for at Christmas. And if you end up on the naughty step, you can always just buy yourself a present.

There have been many different strategies for coping with the perennial problem of how best to care for our caves and karst, and how to find ways to reduce human threats. Dave Gill takes at look at this thought-provoking issue.

In the recent heatwave, cavers enjoyed the cool of the caves and the relief of night air at the 18th International Congress of Speleology in the Haute Savoie region of France. In this issue, you can find out what they got up to. There’s also a piece on the pre-Congress cave photography camp in the Ardèche that offered a wide range of opportunities to cavers from all over the world.

Frank Pearson concludes his coverage of how Fing Hopeless Pot was discovered and explored. Despite the name, it seems that things are never really hopeless! You can take a look at the survey, too. In addition, the north of England has seen yet another new cave discovery so join the explorers for a trip down Draughting Hole.

On the cave science front, John Gunn has come up with an explanation for the unusual flood pulses recorded in some Peak District caves.

The Descent caption competition comes to a close and there’s a winner who takes home a high-quality Petzl caving light. Find out if you’re the lucky person! For everyone else, it’s time for a wry smile or a groan or two.

We hope that taster gives you the incentive to either take out a new subscription or renew your old one, so don’t hang about, head over to Wild Places Publishing, who’ll be delighted to welcome you on board!