News 2013

Caving news received too late for inclusion in Descent ...

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Access review

AN article on p36 presents an analysis of cave entrances in Northern England and whether they lie within CRoW land, prompted by a current investigation by cavers into whether the existing belief is correct that the Act does not permit access for caving by right. At least one online official FAQ is specific that it does not.

An interesting announcement was published by the Welsh government (www.wales.gov.uk) in November (though only briefly: it was taken down at the time of going to print; links to it remained in place as did a page of questions). This stated that ‘a review of existing legislation and guidance relating to access and outdoor recreation’ was to take place, specifically mentioning ‘activities such as walking, angling, caving, canoeing, climbing, and wild swimming’. The thrust seems to be to change legislation to permit such sports and ‘secure better access to the outdoors for recreation ... and provide clarity and certainty over where people can go and what they can do there.’

The review will be worth watching closely, as it could open doors for the sport of caving, and the announcement will presumably reappear in due course. (Descent 235)

Kendal Underground

NEWSDESK in the October 2013 edition of Descent reported on the forthcoming Kendal Mountain Festival which, for the first time, will include an Underground Session on 16 November. Details were sparse as that issue went to print, but these have since firmed up. The session is being presented by caving cameraman Gavin Newman with, now confirmed, the two main features are by Steph Dwyer on the Ario Caves Project and Chris Jewell on Sistema Huautla. In addition, a number of caving films will be screened and – excellent news – Lyon is sponsoring the event so prizes and Petzl giveaways are promised. For further information and to book a ticket, visit the Kendal Mountain Festival website. (Descent 234)

Protect a cave petition

LIZ Price contacted Descent with news concerning Kanthan Cave in Malaysia, site of endangered cave life on the Red List. The Lafarge company wishes to quarry the area, however, which would cause the destruction of the cave and a nearby monastary. The local government is awaiting an environmental impact statement. In the meantime, activists have raised a petition [as of 2015, no longer online] to show the government the level of concern. (Descent 234)

Corrosion cracking

BOB Mehew notes that chloride stress corrosion potentially causing cracking in stainless steel anchors has become a significant concern and a report has been prepared covering details of the mechanism by which it occurs. Download the Word document – comments are welcome by e-mail: rope [at] british-caving.org.uk. (Descent 234)

Daren collapse

A TRIP into Daren Cilau over the weekend of18-19 May found that a large section of roof approaching 2m long and 1m thick had collapsed in Acupuncture Passage, preventing anyone passing it even after a long day’s digging. The section had previously been thought to be stable and it is unknown whether any collapses have occurred further into the cave, where more dubious areas are known. It would not have been possible to dig the collapse from the far side and rescue from beyond this well-travelled section would have been problematic. The indications are that Acupuncture is still moving, so until further notice please do not enter this area. (Descent 232)

Good news at Cwmystwyth

THERE is better news conerning the historic mining area at Cwmystwyth in Mid Wales which, under ownership of the Crown Estate, has seen a great deal of work fencing off surface remains, though with a loss of access to the mines. In March, the Cambrian Mines Trust was registered as a charity and on 20 May the complete area of about 138 hectares was transferred to the trust, which has commended the Crown Estate for its actions. The trust is now the absolute owner of the site, including mineral and sporting rights, so we hope to see access for mine exploration resume. (Descent 232)

Suicide Cave

THE pitch at the back of Suicide Cave on the Peak District is reported to be unstable (again). While on the pitch, two cavers saw a crack in a boulder open, felt a slab move and heard a noise; the area is notorious and great care should be taken as, if the boulder falls, it would produce a cascade-like effect when it lands on the suspended choke below. (Descent 231)

Rock Dove Cave

FURTHER to the report on p6 concerning a discovery made while a contractor laid a sewer pipe, the cave has been named Rock Dove Cave. More information has been released indicating that the cave is very well decorated, but will be totally sealed by the developer. Initially, plans indicated that new housing would have overlain the cave, but after complaints it appears that the complex will be redesigned to avoid this. (Descent 231)

Dave Allsop

WE regret to report the sudden death of Dave Allsop on 13 March, aged 77. He was a respected Peak District caver known in the past for, among other things, his involvement in cave rescue. Our commiserations go to his family. (Descent 231)

White Nose reaches Mammoth

FURTHER to the report on White Nose Syndrome on p4 of this issue, an infected bat has been found in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky for the first time. The Northern Long-eared Bat was discovered in Long Cave, which is not connected with Mammoth Cave. Tours through Mammoth Cave will continue, though all visitors are screened and have to walk on decontamination mats as they enter the cave. Descent (230).