News: BCA November 2017 Newsletter Now Available

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

David Rose has now taken on the job of newsletter editor and the editorial introduces him and his background. He hopes to use the newsletter to stimulate debate and make BCA more accessible to cavers.

In the Chairman’s Piece, Andy Eavis pays tribute to Robin Weare’s work as temporary newsletter editor then talks about the drive towards seeking recognition for BCA’s view that the Countryside and Rights of Way act (CROW) applies to caving and how there needs to be a strong focus on conservation. He is also keen to raise caving’s profile with the general public.

The results of the recent ballot regarding constitutional change are set out, as we have already reported, although only percentages are reported, not actual voting numbers. Tickets for the Kendal Mountain Festival are still available and can be obtained here. The programme includes the work of British cave photographers, Mark Burkey, Stu Gardiner and Nicky Bayley. More information is given about the Royal Geographical Society event on London on the long weekend of 1st – 4th December. Entitled “A Golden Age of Cave Exploration & Science”, this will showcase 50 years of British exploration and science both at home and abroad. Advance booking is strongly advised.

Andy Eavis bows out as BCA chair at the 2018 AGM and a replacement is being actively sought. In addition BCA is looking for a secretary to take over from Nick Williams in 2019 and Nick is also hoping to step down as Insurance Manager as soon as a replacement has been found. A new treasurer is also being sought, as Robin Weare is only continuing in the role on a temporary basis. If you are interested in any of these roles, please contact the BCA.

A new entrance to Ogof Draenen in South Wales has been opened. This is believed to be on the same land as the other entrances, but the article makes no mention of the landowner’s attitude to this or whether the entrance was opened with his permission, although much is made of the fact that the entrance is on CROW land. The piece also recaps the controversial history of the Drws Cefn entrance. Tim Allen gives a recap of his work as CROW Liaison Officer. There appears to have been little progress, and the report makes a regrettable personal attack on one of the civil servants at DEFRA. This approach is unlikely to win friends and influence people and it’s hard to believe such attacks can help negotiations or don’t reflect badly on BCA at a time when it appears to be trying to exert a positive influence on the image of caving.

The newsletter welcomes BCA’s new administrative assistant Claire Peacey and gives a rundown of the latest Ghar Parau grants. Information is given on two new caving books: the latest edition of the Northern Caves guidebook covering the Three Counties System and the Northwest, as well as volume two of Caves and Karst of the Yorkshire Dales, edited by Tony Waltham and David Lowe. In a further piece by Andy Eavis, he sets out some thoughts on why caving needs a national body and draws some parallels with the British Mountaineering Council.

The newsletter finishes off with some useful information on the issue of carbon dioxide (CO2) in caves and mines put together by former Legal and Insurance Officer Bob Mehew, which presents a table of CO2 levels and their common symptoms. The problem is more prevalent than many have thought, and it would be useful for all cavers and diggers to familiarise themselves with the effects of CO2 underground.

BCA newsletters are a valuable and informative resource for all cavers and copies can be viewed on the BCA website. If you have any articles or notes for the newsletter, please send them to the newsletter editor.