Author Topic: The Mossdale tragedy  (Read 2804 times)

Offline andychapm

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The Mossdale tragedy
« on: March 20, 2017, 01:06:05 pm »
Mick Melvin has recently compiled a comprehensive overview of the Mossdale tragedy in 1967, featuring a number of first hand accounts from people involved with the rescue

http://www.michaelmelvin.co.uk/hwcpc/mossdale/index.html

I think Mick has created a highly important resource regarding a tragedy which has had so much effect on the caving community, with its repercussions still being felt today.

Offline Beardy

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 01:40:43 pm »
Thanks for posting - a really interesting read
B

Offline ianball11

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 04:02:13 pm »
What a resource, thank you.
ib

Offline Alex

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 06:50:10 pm »
Aye thanks for posting not had time to read it all yet.
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Online nickwilliams

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 07:32:47 pm »
Ray Kershaw did a really good Radio 4 documentary on this back in 2008.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b009fwy6
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Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 07:52:39 pm »
Many thanks for this excellent piece of work. I found it a fascinating read and, being old enough to remember this tragedy from the perspective of a fellow caver and personally knowing some of the folk who sadly lost their lives I found it a very emotionsl read. Many thanks.
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Offline Mattrees

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 10:26:59 pm »
I think Mick has created a highly important resource regarding a tragedy which has had so much effect on the caving community, with its repercussions still being felt today.

A fascinating read.

Excuse the ignorance of a too-young, non-Yorkshire caver; how do we feel the repercussions today?

Not trolling, I'm genuinely trying to understand how it affects us now.

Offline Alex

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 10:56:34 pm »
Well all the people affected for one, like Tony from Suffolk. Second is there is no 'official' access still due to this.
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Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 11:17:40 pm »
It was a huge thing in the news media. It affected public perception and was detrimental to caving for a long time. As Alex said it affected access and held back the exploration of the whole Black Keld system.

Offline ZombieCake

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 11:26:22 pm »
Quote
how do we feel the repercussions today?
As an intermediate age caver - not old enough to have been there and not young enough for it to be new on my radar - happened c. 20 yrs before I was caving I have some contemplations:
There must have been the thrill of exploration followed by the unimaginable horror of the draft of air and rumbling of water and the inevitable.  A weather eye is perhaps kept by most cavers more than before.
I think there may also be a more subliminal effect due to the name. A few years previously Neil Moss met an untimely end in Peak Cavern, Derbyshire.
It still chills people to this day and perhaps there is a greater respect for natural forces.

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 11:52:15 pm »
Thank you for posting this link, that's an incredible bit of work. I've encountered many referenced to this incident without ever having really understood it.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 07:38:16 am »
Whilst Mick was conducting his research, Andy Chapman interviewed Frank Rayner, who was a member of the original search party, about his memories of the incident. It's a truly harrowing account, and can be found in the British Caving Library Audio Archive.

Offline Madness

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2017, 12:55:43 pm »
Thanks for posting the link.

Though I'd previously read material about the Mossdale Cavern Tragedy, I found this to be a much larger collection of material and found it a very interesting and thought provoking read. I believe the tragedy is something that all cavers should be aware of and this resource will help achieve that.

Offline Flotsam

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2017, 01:23:50 pm »
One positive aspect these days is that weather forecasts are far better now. I remember going to do Langcliffe Pot in the early 70's, just after changed and about to go down, the heavens opened it absolutely bucketed down.

Offline robjones

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2017, 08:31:54 pm »
Both Mossdale and the death of Neil Moss were pretty recent when I became interested in the underground in the mid to late 1970s. Media and popular books regularly harked back to the two tragedies in that decade. Even today, physically stuck and floods continue to rank higher in the general public's consciousness (thanks in no small measure to the media) of caving risks than falls when clambering around - which is a much more frequent cause of accidents.

Whilst I'd read 'Race against time', various Descent articles, and Jim Eyre's memoirs, I found the online series of articles to be incredibly informative and moving. Thanks to the compiler's research and hard work, I now have a much more rounded appreciation of the tragedy.

Mike Boon really did write well, didn't he?

And on the subject of weather forecasts, I remember changing in Kingsdale, looking over the wall, and seeing a 12 inch wall of brown water filling the dry beck, advancing at the pace of a brisk walk. We duly revised our plans for the day and ever since have been much more cautious about checking forecasts.  ;)   

Offline langcliffe

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2017, 10:08:30 pm »
Even today, physically stuck and floods continue to rank higher in the general public's consciousness (thanks in no small measure to the media) of caving risks than falls when clambering around - which is a much more frequent cause of accidents.

Possibly, but flooding has accounted for five deaths in the UK since 2000, compared to one death caused by falling.

Offline Alex

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2017, 12:54:51 pm »
On forecasts, we were planning to go down Goyden digging. 12 hours after the last rain fell, but we did not get far as the whole cave was full of water and what was more the water level was still going up!

Weather and it's effect on caves can still be quite unpredictable. Just because its a dry sunny day does not always mean the cave is safe, especially of course with the Great British weather changing as it does.
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2017, 06:18:40 pm »
One positive aspect these days is that weather forecasts are far better now. I remember going to do Langcliffe Pot in the early 70's, just after changed and about to go down, the heavens opened it absolutely bucketed down.

Yes - but a negative aspect is that we are now getting greater rainfall amounts in the Dales. Someone I know has been keeping records of temperature and rainfall since 1955. I don't want to steal his thunder (as I think he's going to publish something about this soon) but these data clearly show there's been increasingly more rain compared with 6 decades ago.

The message remains: take great care!

Offline Topimo

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2017, 09:08:47 pm »
One positive aspect these days is that weather forecasts are far better now. I remember going to do Langcliffe Pot in the early 70's, just after changed and about to go down, the heavens opened it absolutely bucketed down.

Yes - but a negative aspect is that we are now getting greater rainfall amounts in the Dales. Someone I know has been keeping records of temperature and rainfall since 1955. I don't want to steal his thunder (as I think he's going to publish something about this soon) but these data clearly show there's been increasingly more rain compared with 6 decades ago.

The message remains: take great care!

An inconvenient truth.

Offline ianball11

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2017, 09:42:18 pm »
Fascinating if inconvenient!

Offline droid

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2017, 05:34:59 am »
Problem is not so much general rain which can be quite accurately predicted in weather forecasts but the heavy localised downpour which can't....
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Offline Flotsam

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2017, 09:02:14 am »
Weather forecasts are never 100% accurate but general areas where it might rain within 6,8,12 or 24 hours. It's obviously impossible to predict the position of a particular shower or how much rain will fall. I think in general terms it would be possible to predict with reasonable certainty that there will or won't be a heavy downpour in Yorkshire, today or tomorrow, and plan accordingly.

Offline kay

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Re: The Mossdale tragedy
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2017, 11:30:52 am »
Weather forecasts have improved enormously since the 60s, both in quality and in availability. It was difficult planning even a family picnic when you were reliant on catching the morning radio bulletin or reading the forecast in the(printed) newspaper.
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