News: BCA July 2017 Newsletter Now Available

The British Caving Association Newsletter for July 2017 is available on the BCA website.

The newsletter contains a report of the 2017 AGM and Party Weekend held in Castleton in June, which involved both alcohol and caving as well as BCA business! The draft minutes of the AGM are now available on the BCA website. Various constitutional motions were put to the AGM and the resulting constitutional changes will now be put to the membership by ballot. For full details of these, check out the online newsletter. In a departure from previous practice, ballot papers will be distributed by email. The ballot will open by early August and will close by mid-September, with the results being declared at BCA’s Council meeting on 7 October. An update on the process can her found here. In a change to the original ideas, ballot returns by email (as well as by post) will now be possible. It will help the balloting process if as many members as possible register for BCA Online  and provide up to date contact details.

Following the AGM, Nick Williams has taken over from Simon Brooks as secretary of the association, and Legal and Insurance Office, Bob Mehew joined the BCA Executive. Training has now been separated into two distinct areas: recreational (looked after by Nigel Atkins) and the Qualifications Management Committee (chaired by Graham Mollard) dealing with BCA’s various certification schemes. For those interested in this area, there’s a useful explanatory article in Descent 257. BCA Chairman, Andy Eavis has put out a call for more volunteers to help with the running of BCA and in particular to take on the roles of Equipment and Techniques Office and Treasurer, as Robin Weare’s term is finishing in six months.

In December, BCA, in conjunction with BCRA, will be putting on a weekend event at the Royal Geographical Society in London, starting on Friday 1st December with a series of public lectures by Frank Pearson who will talk on UK caves and the history of their exploration; Dick Willis on British International caving history; Howard Limbert on Vietnam and particularly Hang Soong Don and Gina Mosely who will talk on the history of British cave science. A pay bar will be available all evening. Tickets are available from Eventbrite or on the door but advance booking is recommended. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday are also available and can be booked in advance. Please direct all enquiries to [email protected]. There will be eight individual sessions each day on themes of science, cave exploration at home and abroad as well as general cave-related topics.

Hidden Earth will be taking place this year on the weekend of 29 Sept to 1 Oct 2017 at Churchill Academy in the Mendips. Keep an eye on the Hidden Earth website for further details.

Those of you who have seen a bunch of cavers done up in full gear (including SRT kits) on their TV screens recently when watching BBC dramas such as Poldark, Line of Duty and Ripper Street can now find out exactly what’s been going on in a piece by Alan Jeffries of the Grampian Speleological Group.

For general information and updates from BCA, you can now follow the association on Facebook. The newsletter also has a piece on the age profile of BCA members following some recent number crunching. Legal and Insurance Office, Bob Mehew, provides an update on Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults, which gives useful information on this important area.

There’s a reminder that BCA’s Webservices provides web hosting at a reasonable cost for members, and income generated by this helps to cover some of the cost of the various sites hosted for regional councils, special interest groups and others. BCA’s Webmaster, Dave Cooke, takes a look at some of the statistics on use of the website, which has recently seen a major overhaul. You should also find that the website now works well with your mobile and tablet, so do take a look.

Robin Weare provides a summary of the possible impact of Corporation Tax on caving clubs. This is well worth a look for all clubs and the treasurers as it provides valuable insights into a complex area.

And finally, there’s a possibility that 2021 will be declared the International Year of Caves and Karst, as an outline proposal has been submitted by the UIS to UNESCO, based on the 100th anniversary of the publication of Eduard Martel’s book Nouveau Traité des Eaux Souterraines (New Treatise on Underground Waters). Watch this space for more details! The latest UIS Bulletin Volume 59-1 was published in June and can be downloaded from the UIS website.

BCA newsletters are a valuable and informative resource for all cavers and copies can be viewed on the BCA website. The online format is attractive and easy to read with handy sidebar links to any section that particularly interests you. Robin Weare, who has done an excellent job as editor, is stepping down, having been in the role since 2014. If you have any articles or notes for the newsletter, please send them to the newsletter editor..