News: Tratman Award 2015

The Tratman Award, 2015

The Tratman Award has been awarded annually since 1979 to a caving-related paper-based publication in memory of E.K. Tratman, who died in 1978. It covers books, journals and articles published in a calendar year and is administered by the Ghar Parau Foundation, but judged by independent cavers; for 2015 these were Joe Duxbury, Ric Halliwell, Chris Howes, Alan Jeffreys and Martin Mills (though other opinions were also sought).

From an initial shortlist (to which titles were added and subtracted) the judges argued the strong and weak points of each title, taking into account the standard of printing and binding as well as the inclusion of an index where appropriate, the layout and the quality of writing. In alphabetical order of author, the final shortlist was:

One Man One PanMichael Adams: One Man One Pan

A wonderful, personal tale of exploring caves in China over the course of two early expeditions

Available from Blurb

Price £14.33

402 pages



Mines and Minerals of the mendip HillsPeter S. Burr: Mines and Minerals of the Mendip Hills

In a two-volume set, an incredible amount of research is packed into a thousand pages that is already the definitive work on the subject

Available from Mendip Cave Registry and Archive

Price £85

ISBN-13: 978-0-9531310-6-8 (Vol.1)

ISBN-13: 978-0-9531310-7-5 (Vol. 2)

2 Volumes, each of 500 pages


Ralph Crane and Lisa Fletcher: Cave. Nature and culture Cave, Nature and Culture

Cave is unusual in that it succeeds in crossing divides, merging legend and fact, science and art – any caver willing to be challenged with new ideas will enjoy this book.

Available from Descent

Price £15.95

ISBN-10: 1780234317

ISBN-13: 978-1780234311

224 pages

The Archaeology of teh caves of ireland

Marion Dowd: The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland

Marion’s impressive work on caves and archaeology in Ireland is extensive, interestingly written, beautifully presented and well indexed: a superb publication

Available from Descent

Price £40 (sale price, normally £50)

ISBN-10: 1782978135

ISBN-13: 978-1782978138

320 pages


Northern Sump Index 2015

Elaine Hill and Adrian Hall (comps): Northern Sump Index 2015

A description of ‘index’ hardly does justice to this invaluable resource from the Cave Diving Group; the amalgamated surveys at the rear were especially appreciated

Available from the Cave Diving Group

Price £26




NPC2015Dewi Lloyd (ed): NPC Journal 2015

After a 28-year break, this latest Northern Pennine Club journal brings a host of quality material to readers, providing a finely presented and valuable archive of exploration in the Dales

Available from Starless River

Price £16




Underwater potholerDuncan Price: Underwater Potholer

Simply a damn good read from this cave diver and explorer, written on a personal level.

Available from Whittles Publishing

Price £18.99 (also available as an ebook)

ISBN 13: 978-184995-158-6

224 pages



Aerial ropeways of shropshireMichael Shaw, David Poyner and Robert Evans: Aerial Ropeways of Shropshire

Another high-quality account from the Shropshire Caving and Mining Club; while the title might suggest a dry, obscure publication, it is eminently readable by any enthusiast

Available from Moorebooks

Price £12



68 pages, 87 photographs


Slovene KarstTrevor Shaw and Alenka Cuk: Slovene Karst and Caves in the Past

Past winners of the Tratman Award, Trevor and Alenka have broadened the appeal of cave history, making the text more accessible to a wider Slovene readership

Available from Moorebooks

Price £45

ISBN 13: 978-961-257-740-0

464 pages


After much discussion, made vastly more difficult by the high number of excellent publications considered, the Tratman Award for 2015 goes to Marion Dowd for The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland. Congratulations are due for her outstanding work ‘from which the sun shines’ to quote one judge, who also suggested that it ‘should act as a model for similar regional books in Ireland, the UK – and indeed Europe’, a sentiment backed by the other judges. The remaining works are all highly commended, in itself a prestigious achievement. The award is a piece of original artwork by Mark ‘Gonzo’ Lumley, which will be presented at EuroSpeleo 2016.

Correspondent: Chris Howes, on behalf of the judges