News

Access to Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 1 entrance

The following information has been released by South Wales Caving Club regarding a revised access route to the entrance of Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 1. Due ...
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Presenting caving’s future

Third year PR students at UWE Bristol were asked to come up with ideas for raising the profile and diversity of the BCA in the wake of the Thai rescue story. BCA newsletter editor David Rose reports back on the opening presentations. ...
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Descent 265 now available

If it looks like you’ll be restricted to armchair caving over the festive season, make sure you get the latest copy of Descent to keep ...
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Getting some elfy exercise

Chesney the Chipmunk and Valentine the donkey go caving in Reigate. Peter Burgess was there to record the occasion! Cavers do some pretty daft things ...
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Warning – access to caves around High Birkwith Farm in doubt

Jeff Wade abseiling in Calf Holes, Yorkshire Dales. Photo courtesy of Rob Eavis
High Birkwith Farm is now under new ownership and potentially this could cause problems for access to Calf Holes, Browgill, Old Ing, Birkwith, Dismal Hill ...
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Collapse at Cascades Entrance, Co. Fermanagh

The Speleological Union of Ireland has warned of safety concerns after two trips into Cascades Caves in Co. Fermanagh were cancelled on Saturday. The boulder entrance squeeze is ...
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Ritual protection in the Chaldon Quarries – health and safety in the 16th century

For the first time, curious chalk inscriptions on the walls of an ancient stone quarry in Surrey are being systematically recorded, as part of a wider research project to better understand the long and hitherto hidden history of this important source of stone for London. Many of the chalk inscriptions have been identified as ritual protection marks (RPM) ...
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Scotland dig in to take third win

The tenth J'Rat digging award has gone north of the border - for the third time in ten years. The 2018 winning entry was Uamh ...
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Dispatches from one of caving’s Rising Stars …

One moment Angharad Brewer Gillham was sitting behind a desk in Switzerland. The next, she's in South Africa on the prestigious Rising Stars expedition helping ...
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Descent 265 Coming Soon

Descent 265 will be winging its way to you very soon! If you’re not up to date with your subscription now’s the time to remedy ...
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Book review: Styx

As part of a new series on classic caving books, both fact and fiction, Linda Wilson reviews Styx, a 1982 adventure novel with a surprisingly ...
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Landowners speak out on Twll Du closure

Twll Du before and after. Photo courtesy of Caves and Cave Diving on Facebook
The Ogof Draenen landowners have spoken for the first time following Cadw’s announcement of the closure of a controversial access into the cave system. The ...
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How to check caving conditions from the comfort of your bed!

CPC Webcam at Horton
Why not check out Dales water levels before you decide whether to get up? Craven Pothole Club have gone live with a River Ribble monitoring webcam in Horton. Anyone viewing the sites will be able to view live feeds of river conditions to give an indication of how high water levels are ...
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Book review: Underground Adventure

As part of a new series on classic caving books, both fact and fiction, Alan Jeffreys takes a look at Underground Adventure by A Gemmell ...
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Hold the front page: caving’s moment in the international spotlight

British cavers suddenly found themselves on the front pages of the world’s media through the Thai cave rescue drama. Journalist Sharon Wheeler takes a look ...
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The BCA is missing you – here’s how to get the newsletter!

Last night the latest BCA newsletter should have popped into your inbox, but the chances are it didn't. Despite earlier appeals here and elsewhere only 8% of the BCA membership are currently signed up to receive the newsletter by email - some 520 members. The good news is caving clubs are doing rather better, with 170 so far signed up. If you didn't receive it and would like to in future read on ...
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From Thai heroes to diggers to tiny stalactites – the best of Hidden Earth 2018

Darkness Below's roving reporter Peter Burgess provides a flavour of the busy weekend at the 2018 Hidden Earth conference which boasted a wide range of ...
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Hidden Earth 2018 video salon

Making videos underground is becoming easier with very compact and versatile equipment within many cavers' budgets, but making GOOD videos is still as much a ...
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How to piss off the French in one easy lesson – and why voles are important

Linda Wilson picked up some intriguing tips at the British Cave Research Association's 29th cave science symposium as well as drinking plenty of tea ...
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News: J’Rat 10th anniversary digging award 2018

31st August 2018 is the tenth anniversary of Tony Jarratt’s death and we would like to calculate how much new cave passage has been found in ...
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News: Descent 264 Now Available

Descent 264 is now available! If a copy hasn’t arrived with you, it’s time to head over to Wildplaces Publishing to subscribe now or if ...
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News: Repairs to the Hunter’s Lodge Inn Sink vandalism

Following the horrific vandalism in Mendip's Hunter's Lodge Inn Sink two years ago, cavers have worked hard to repair as much of the damage as ...
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Book Review: The Archaeology of Darkness

By way of preface to Archaeology of the Caves of Ireland in 2012, archaeologists Marion Dowd and Robert Hensey brought together a number of specialists ...
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Book Review: The Anomaly

TV archaeologist Nolan Moore is in search of a mysterious cavern in the Grand Canyon, discovered in 1909 by Kincaid, a man who returned with ...
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From foot fungus to explosions under the stairs

Compare that with a Go Pro. The biggest Housing with one loading gave 5 minutes of film. With Guy Meauxsoone in Greece ( 1983) fiiming "Drowned river of Daracos". In fact Paul Atkinson did the cave diving filming as both Guy and I were novice divers.
Camera expert Sid Perou looks back over a career of often dramatic and sometimes risky filming adventures, including the risk of foot fungus, and explosions under ...
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News: 1960s Mendip dig makes it into print

Accounts of an archaeological dig on Mendip have appeared in print – 50 years after initial discoveries took place. Picken’s Hole is a small, partially ...
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British Cave Research Association Newsletter September 2018

In this newsletter ... * Annual General Meeting * Notice: Ghar Parau Foundation * BCRA Annual Review 2017 * Keeping in touch with BCRA Annual ...
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Film Premier: Tales from Cuthbert’s by Andy and Antonia Freem

Andy and Antonia have been making films for some time now, mostly about caves and caving. Many of their previous productions can be found on ...
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Hang Son Doong- the cave that built a village

Veteran caving film maker Sid Perou has teamed up with photographer Ryan Deboodt to produce a compelling thirty nine minute film about the discovery of the world's largest cave passage in Han Son Doong cave in Vietnam, the resulting development of tourism in the area and the beneficial affects not just for the local population but also for conservation. Shot on location earlier this year the film follows the impact of the area of the Vietnam war, early discoveries by British and Vietnamese cavers and includes stunning footage of the cave. Watching the film it's hard to believe Sid's contribution to the film, comprising over 50% of the footage, was shot using just a £400 handy-cam and a zero budget! ...
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News: Descent 264 Coming Soon

Descent 264 will be with you very shortly! If you’re not up to date with your subscription don’t forget that the lovely folks at Wildplaces ...
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Breaking News: British cave divers also rescued four trapped Thai rescuers in Tham Luang Cave

Photo courtesy of Chris Jewell
When Rick Stanton and John Volanthen surfaced in Chamber 3 of Tham Luang Cave on day 6 of the rescue to find four people waiting for them they first thought they'd somehow found the boys of the trapped Wild Boar team. In fact they'd discovered four lost Thai rescuers who had been trapped by the rising floodwaters. In the chaos of the early days of the rescue the absence of the men had been unreported and so had not been noticed by the Thai authorities and or the outside world. What followed was a dramatic and unparalleled "snatch" rescue mission perfectly conceived and executed as they dived the four men through three sumps to safety ...
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Site news: Sign up to receive email alerts each time we post a new article

We've just added a new feature to the site. Email alerts are a quick and easy way to get an email notification each time we ...
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Behind the scenes with the BCRC at the Thai cave rescue – Part Two

Emma Porter, the BCRC secretary, set up the crucial main communications centre so she had live contact with the divers and the surface support team. She was assisted by Graham Smith (right) from the Midlands CRO.
In the second part of Darkness Below’s interview with BCRC chair Peter Dennis, he tells Linda Wilson and Sharon Wheeler how disaster struck during the preparations for the final rescue dives. ...
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Behind the scenes with the BCRC at the Thai cave rescue – Part One

Peter Dennis, chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, is interviewed on BBC’s Newsnight by Evan Davis, with John Volanthen’s images of the stranded boys in the background.
While the eyes of the world were on the divers taking part in the Thai cave rescue, an unsung band of volunteers were beavering away behind the scenes to ensure that the divers had all the kit and assistance they needed. Peter Dennis, chair of the British Cave Rescue Council, tells the backroom story to Linda Wilson and Sharon Wheeler ...
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Review: Cave and Karst Science, August 2018 Issue

The August 2018 issue of Caves and Karst Science is now available. Volume 45, Number 2 carries five main articles; the first being a subjective ...
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Event: BCRA 29th Cave Science Symposium, Full Programme

The British Cave Research Association is pleased to announce the final details of the 29th Annual Cave Science Symposium to be held Saturday 13th October, ...
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Hidden Earth 2018 – Meet the Darkness Below Team

The Darkness Below team will be out in force at Hidden Earth 2018 in less than two weeks time, and we'd love to meet as ...
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Training: Cave Surveying Group Therion Training Course

The BCA Cave Surveying Group have just announced an Intermediate Therion training course. The scope of this training course is to improve the skills of ...
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News: Denisova Cave Find Provides Remarkable DNA Result

The result is astonishing: Denisova 11 comes from an individual who had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father ...
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Review: Descent 263 Now Available

Descent 263 is now available! If you’re not already got your copy, we hope this short round up will tempt you to subscribe now, so ...
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Newsflash: Doolin – St. Catherine’s link collapses

News has reached us from Doolin, Co. Clare, that the connection between St. Catherine's Cave and Doolin Cave has collapsed "just before the pretty grotto." ...
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British Cave Research Association Newsletter July 2018

In this newsletter ... * British Caving Library Updates * BCRA Publicity Officer * AGM Notice * 29th Annual BCRA Cave Science Symposium * BCRA ...
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News: Descent 263 Coming Soon

Descent 263 will be out soon so now’s a good time to check if you’re up to date with your subscription! The hard-working folks at ...
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Appeal: South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team seeks £1,000

Appeal: South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team seeks £1,000
Following the amazing success of the recent Tham Luang cave in Thailand, one of the British cave rescue teams, responsible for getting some of the ...
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After The Tham Luang Rescue – Taking Stock

With the Thailand cave rescue operations now completed with the 100 % successful evacuation of all casualties and rescue divers, Darkness Below presents some reflections on this incredible “good news” story. Before reading further, however, let us remember Saman Kunan, the Thai volunteer diver portrayed above, who lost his life while preparing the cave for the evacuation operation. There is nothing more noble than this: that someone will risk their life, and be prepared to lose it, in the course of helping to save the life of someone else.

...
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News: Tham Luang Nang Non cave rescue successfully completed

Photo courtesy of Chris Jewell
We can now confirm that all twelve of the boys and their coach have been successfully rescued from the cave. As well as one of ...
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Newsflash: Seven boys are now out of the Thai Cave

It has now been confirmed that the seventh boy is out of the cave and the eighth is nearly out. If the rescue controllers have ...
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News: Newly Discovered “Tally Marks” in Church Hole, Creswell

Creswell Crags is an Site of Special Scientific Interest on the border of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The beautiful limestone gorge cuts through an area of ...
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News: The first four of the boys are out.

Various contradictory reports are circulating regarding the emergence of two of the boys. Reuters, citing a local official, says that the first two members of ...
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News: Thai rescue now underway.

Photo courtesy of Chris Jewell
Overnight an international team of  divers entered the cave, beginning the operation to bring the trapped boys and their coach out of the cave. At ...
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News: Thai Rescue Update

Former Thai navy SEAL Saman Kunan
Tragic news came from Thailand today of the death of retired Thai Navy Seal Saman Kunan who ran out of air on a dive to ...
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Thai rescue update – two more British cave divers en route to Tham Luang cave as part of larger team

Photo courtesy of Chris Jewell Two more British cave divers, Chris Jewell and Jason Mallinson are joining the ongoing rescue effort in Thailand, along with ...
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Latest media briefing from the British Cave Rescue Council

Attached below is the latest update regarding the British involvement in the Thaiand Cave Rescue. Any press enquiries shoud be directed as detailed in the briefing note.   BCRCMediaBriefingReport3_Thaicaverescueincident_020718 ...
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Missing Thai boys and coach found alive – rescue moves to next stage

It's probably fair to say that people across the world, not just cavers, are breathing one the largest collective sighs of relief for many years ...
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Newsflash: Thai boys have been found alive in Tham Luang Cave Rescue

Breaking news: All 12 boys and their football coach have been found alive after nine days missing in caves in Thailand, the regional governor says ...
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News: British Cave Divers join Thailand cave rescue

In a race against the clock three British cave rescue divers and their equipment left Heathrow just after 9pm last night on a flight to Thailand ...
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News: Chaldon Quarries, Surrey – Radiocarbon Dating Results

In January 2018, we reported that the Wealden Cave and Mine Society had been awarded the opportunity to get free radiocarbon dating work performed on ...
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NAMHO 2018 – Lecture Review

The 2018 annual conference of the National Association of Mining History Organisations was hosted jointly by Gloucester Speleological Society, Royal Forest of Dean Caving Club, ...
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Event: The 12th Balkan Cavers’ Camp, 2nd to 8th July 2018

The Romanian Speleological Federation is organising the 12th Annual Balkan Cavers' Camp which is being held between the 2nd to the 8th of July 2018 ...
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Review: Descent 262 Now Available

Descent 262 should have landed on your mats and in the shops by now! If you’re not a subscriber, we hope this short round up ...
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Linda Wilson picked up some intriguing tips at the British Cave Research Association's 29th cave science symposium as well as drinking plenty of tea ...
Read More
31st August 2018 is the tenth anniversary of Tony Jarratt’s death and we would like to calculate how much new cave passage has been found in ...
Read More
Descent 264 is now available! If a copy hasn’t arrived with you, it’s time to head over to Wildplaces Publishing to subscribe now or if ...
Read More
Following the horrific vandalism in Mendip's Hunter's Lodge Inn Sink two years ago, cavers have worked hard to repair as much of the damage as ...
Read More
By way of preface to Archaeology of the Caves of Ireland in 2012, archaeologists Marion Dowd and Robert Hensey brought together a number of specialists ...
Read More
TV archaeologist Nolan Moore is in search of a mysterious cavern in the Grand Canyon, discovered in 1909 by Kincaid, a man who returned with ...
Read More
Compare that with a Go Pro. The biggest Housing with one loading gave 5 minutes of film. With Guy Meauxsoone in Greece ( 1983) fiiming "Drowned river of Daracos". In fact Paul Atkinson did the cave diving filming as both Guy and I were novice divers.
Camera expert Sid Perou looks back over a career of often dramatic and sometimes risky filming adventures, including the risk of foot fungus, and explosions under ...
Read More
Accounts of an archaeological dig on Mendip have appeared in print – 50 years after initial discoveries took place. Picken’s Hole is a small, partially ...
Read More
In this newsletter ... * Annual General Meeting * Notice: Ghar Parau Foundation * BCRA Annual Review 2017 * Keeping in touch with BCRA Annual ...
Read More
Andy and Antonia have been making films for some time now, mostly about caves and caving. Many of their previous productions can be found on ...
Read More
 Veteran caving film maker Sid Perou has teamed up with photographer Ryan Deboodt to produce a compelling thirty nine minute film about the discovery ...
Read More
Descent 264 will be with you very shortly! If you’re not up to date with your subscription don’t forget that the lovely folks at Wildplaces ...
Read More
Photo courtesy of Chris Jewell
When Rick Stanton and John Volanthen surfaced in Chamber 3 of Tham Luang Cave on day 6 of the rescue to find four people waiting ...
Read More
We've just added a new feature to the site. Email alerts are a quick and easy way to get an email notification each time we ...
Read More
Emma Porter, the BCRC secretary, set up the crucial main communications centre so she had live contact with the divers and the surface support team. She was assisted by Graham Smith (right) from the Midlands CRO.
In the second part of Darkness Below’s interview with BCRC chair Peter Dennis, he tells Linda Wilson and Sharon Wheeler how disaster struck during the ...
Read More
Peter Dennis, chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, is interviewed on BBC’s Newsnight by Evan Davis, with John Volanthen’s images of the stranded boys in the background.
While the eyes of the world were on the divers taking part in the Thai cave rescue, an unsung band of volunteers were beavering away ...
Read More
The August 2018 issue of Caves and Karst Science is now available. Volume 45, Number 2 carries five main articles; the first being a subjective ...
Read More
The British Cave Research Association is pleased to announce the final details of the 29th Annual Cave Science Symposium to be held Saturday 13th October, ...
Read More