UK Caving

WHERE THE CAVES ARE - The Caving Regions => Wales => Topic started by: NigR on July 04, 2014, 05:47:11 pm

Title: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 04, 2014, 05:47:11 pm
http://cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/pdf/PDCMG-140601-July%202014.pdf (http://cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/pdf/PDCMG-140601-July%202014.pdf)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 04, 2014, 06:38:12 pm
That's nice. What does the landowner want?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on July 04, 2014, 07:02:28 pm
Sounds fair to me - wait and see what comes of the renegotiation I suppose
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 04, 2014, 07:04:57 pm
Who are the CCC executive? Is that all those elected at the AGM (who are still in their post) or a subset e.g. Secretary/Chairman/Treasurer/a.n.other? The constitution doesn't make it entirely clear. Thanks.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 04, 2014, 07:20:57 pm
Who are the CCC executive? Is that all those elected at the AGM (who are still in their post) or a subset e.g. Secretary/Chairman/Treasurer/a.n.other? The constitution doesn't make it entirely clear. Thanks.

They are listed here (except the webmaster who is not actually a committee member)

http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/ccc_officers.html (http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/ccc_officers.html)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 04, 2014, 07:22:13 pm
Thanks Ian.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 04, 2014, 08:26:01 pm
From what was posted a few days ago, I gather it was a democratically reached decision to block the entrance, the opinions of various clubs on the management committee being sought and acted upon.

The CCC letter reflects the opinion of the CCC executive. The opinions of all the CCC member clubs were not directly sought in this matter as far as I know. The rules state that this is not actually necessary and that the executive can act as it sees fit within the rules of the council. Had they been canvassed, the member clubs may well have provided backing for the opinion expressed in this letter, but as it stands, we have, rightly or wrongly, a decision reached democratically versus an opinion which has been reached without consultation. Fair enough - many things are done on our behalf without consultation and it would be daft for absolutely everything that has to be resolved to be done by seeking wider views.

What I think people should do very carefully, is consider the balance of on one side, a recent decision reached by discussion between various interested parties on the management committee, against on the other side, the less democratic resolve of an executive committee acting simply with the authority of having been voted onto an executive, and without the proven backing of the clubs the council represents.

The case being made in the letter would carry more weight had a wider discussion taken place within the CCC member clubs. Sadly, and I can only speak from my own observations, this did not happen. I can't say what WCMS position might be as we weren't asked to offer one, and haven't discussed it.

If the case being made in the letter is sound, then nobody should fear asking for wider opinion from the represented clubs.

So summarising, I am not making a case for or against either the blocking or gating, but do question who has the greater authority in this matter, and whether CCC could have opened up a wider discussion on this, beyond the very brief notes that appear in the 2014 AGM minutes.

It's the sort of letter that had I sent it, I would expect a "mind your own business" kind of response.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 04, 2014, 08:40:14 pm
Sounds fair to me - wait and see what comes of the renegotiation I suppose

What renegotiation?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 04, 2014, 08:48:08 pm
Peter,

I appreciate what you are saying.

The PDCMG are also made up of other clubs and groups - did they also canvass all their members too ?

So far as "democracy" goes, I think both the PDCMG and the CCC have behaved in precisely the same manner in that, having been elected, they have made a decision and acted accordingly. I don't think any "body" would make much progress with any agenda if there were to be a referendum every time....

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 04, 2014, 08:51:49 pm
That's part of what I said Ian, but we all know this is a very contentious issue, which, personally I think deserved a wider discussion within the member clubs. It may well have provided a stronger proven backing for the letter than it actually has. As it is, the management committee members did have an opportunity to vote as club reps, and as such their decision has a proven mandate. The decision was made 6 moths ago, I believe? That's plenty of time to send out an email to all CCC member club secretaries asking for any thoughts to be fed back over a couple of months, and for that strength of backing to be used to make the case stronger. I am not even suggesting a referendum - just for views to be sought so that they can be taken into account if relevant.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 04, 2014, 09:41:34 pm
I take your point Peter.

I think the decision to concrete the entrance was taken a number of years ago (I am sure I will be corrected if that is wrong). I understand that the timing of the concreting is to be this summer.

I think the issue and credibility of "club reps" was called into significant debate in the former thread and I am sure you will join me in believing that there would be little value re-visiting that ?

Sometimes elected bodies need to act reasonably quickly .....

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 04, 2014, 09:45:41 pm
I see the Drws Cefn decision was voted on very recently - not back in November (my mistake) - but the letter says it was discussed back in November, so still plenty of time, even after the CCC AGM to put out feelers. Just because some people had reservations about how representative delegates are, doesn't take away from the fact that there was a vote, and an opportunity for views to be expressed.

And anyway, regardless of all this, is it not the job of Regional Councils, by and large, to step back from clubs and access bodies, and only get involved when invited? Did PDCMG invite CCC opinion on this?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 04, 2014, 10:40:46 pm
To address your two points;

1) An elected body (use the UK government as an example), once elected, is expected to act in the interests of those who elected it (them). Of course they should try to act in the best interests of everyone (even those who did not vote for them) but clearly (the nature of politics) you cannot please all of the people all of the time. There is no requirement nor expectation that an elected body must consult with the "electorate" after they have been elected.

The CCC considered an issue and came to a decision on a course of action that it believed to be correct. The CCC did not feel it necessary or productive (especially given the nature of the political issue surrounding this case) to solicit opinion beyond the elected committee members.

Except in very extenuating circumstances, I don't believe any other "body" would act any differently.

2) The CCC took the view that the actions of the PDCMG contravened the constitution of both the CCC and the BCA. Furthermore, it took the view that the actions of the PDCMG were wholly detrimental to cavers in general as well as detrimental to the sport of caving.

It could be argued that the CCC would be derelict in their duty if this event were allowed to pass without challenge.

In conclusion, the CCC raised various issues and suggested an alternative that was entirely practical and one which ought to have kept "all sides" happy. It did so to protect the interest of caving (as a sport) and cavers.

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: jasonbirder on July 04, 2014, 10:48:15 pm
Quote
That's nice. What does the landowner want?

Not entirely convinced that's the only and ultimate point that's relevant...

Permanently destroying an important natural feature merely because you don't like people cutting across from the public footpath to look at/go into it isn't a proportionate argument...

A natural feature such as a major cave system, a crag, a river, a waterfall has a significance to everyone that extends far beyond the trivialities of what particular sheep farmer happens to control the grazing rights it stands on...by all means control access to it even forbid access to it...but permanently destroy it...an act of vandalism that is beyond the pale...and I shudder to think that there may be cavers that support such an act...

Its the equivalent of draining a lake because you don't want people cutting across your field to swim in it...



 

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Farrant on July 04, 2014, 11:29:23 pm
If we're going to reach any sensible long-term solution to this issue, both sides need to realise that this will involve compromises. Concreting the entrance isn't going to make the problem go away. Similarly, having an open entrance makes the present Draenen access arrangements nonsensical and upsets the landowner. As I see it, the only workable compromise is to arrange with the landowner to the installation of some form of gate, as the CCC proposes. This is probably the best solution on offer, particularly given the caves location on access land. Otherwise we'll just go round in circles again with the same issues coming up time and time again...

I would also say that the PDCMG is somewhat divided on this issue, by no means all are in favour of blocking Drws Cefn. Similarly divergent views are held in some of the constituent clubs.
 Andy
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: zomjon on July 04, 2014, 11:46:06 pm
As soon as I read NigRs original post, I wondered how long it would be before Graham or Peter Burgess replied! I know it was slightly provocative, but there does seem to be an element of dissatisfaction from Peter in anything to do from the recently elected committee of the CCC. I'm pretty sure that if we held a national referendum on the decision to cement a well established cave in this way, there would be a pretty strong consensus against it. So why the animosity towards anything that comes from CCC? And the immediate reference to the landowner from Graham, I think that we are all experienced enough to know how a landowner can be influenced by the 'in-group' - having just come from an evening of betting on chicken racing, how long before this thread has to be locked by moderators due to the unpleasantness that might follow?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on July 05, 2014, 12:16:54 am
As soon as I read NigRs original post, I wondered how long it would be before Graham or Peter Burgess replied! I know it was slightly provocative, but there does seem to be an element of dissatisfaction from Peter in anything to do from the recently elected committee of the CCC. I'm pretty sure that if we held a national referendum on the decision to cement a well established cave in this way, there would be a pretty strong consensus against it. So why the animosity towards anything that comes from CCC? And the immediate reference to the landowner from Graham, I think that we are all experienced enough to know how a landowner can be influenced by the 'in-group' - having just come from an evening of betting on chicken racing, how long before this thread has to be locked by moderators due to the unpleasantness that might follow?
Well said
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 05, 2014, 12:23:05 am
Except in very extenuating circumstances, I don't believe any other "body" would act any differently.

2) The CCC took the view that the actions of the PDCMG contravened the constitution of both the CCC and the BCA. Furthermore, it took the view that the actions of the PDCMG were wholly detrimental to cavers in general as well as detrimental to the sport of caving.

It could be argued that the CCC would be derelict in their duty if this event were allowed to pass without challenge.

In conclusion, the CCC raised various issues and suggested an alternative that was entirely practical and one which ought to have kept "all sides" happy. It did so to protect the interest of caving (as a sport) and cavers.

Ian

I agree entirely Ian. I thought the letter was very good. We are elected officers of the regional councils as the members think we would do a good job of representing the interests of it's members and caving in general. There is no need for a lengthy consultation process. If any issues arise anyone can come along to a meeting and discuss them with us. (Or contact us by email, etc.)

The only thing I disagree with in the letter is the use of a padlock, given the low usage of the entrance. Surely a gate just bolted shut and requiring the use of a 'Derbyshire Key' (ie:- adjustable spanner) would suffice. (It is near a public footpath, that's all.) There is no need for a padlock.

If the PDCMG just want to keep track of who's in the cave in case of a rescue call-out, then a log book inside the entrance would deal with that issue. Eg:- name of group, no. in party, intended route, etc. (It's a big system.)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on July 05, 2014, 12:45:37 am
Nobody has yet mentioned that the PDCMG meeting referred to took place a fortnight ago. The draft minutes are now available via the PDCMG website ( http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_Minutes_140622.pdf (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_Minutes_140622.pdf) ).

Neither has anyone yet picked up on Andy Farrant's earier mention of 'wilderness': that little-discussed concept, rather than what most would define as conservation, being the reason behind PDCMG's 'only one entrance' [lack of] access policy, as first propounded in the Conservation policy ( http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/envir.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/envir.htm) ).

Jasonbirder: Drws Cefn is on CRoW (common) land, but not by a path: it is in the side of a stream bed out of sight from all but a few spots. The 'landowner' is actually a Pwlldu Conservation Ltd, but the two directors do live adjacent to the land (one owns the pub, the other overlooks the Draenen entrance); whether they actually derive an income from grazing rights, I don't know.

Mel: the 'Derbyshire key' should certainly appeal - the PDCMG's main headache has always been the cost of replacing locks, whether they clog up or disappear. Also, there has always been a log book for use in Draenen - that's where the official usage figures come from...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 05, 2014, 04:26:10 am
Nobody has yet mentioned that the PDCMG meeting referred to took place a fortnight ago. The draft minutes are now available via the PDCMG website ( http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_Minutes_140622.pdf (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_Minutes_140622.pdf) ).

Neither has anyone yet picked up on Andy Farrant's earier mention of 'wilderness': that little-discussed concept, rather than what most would define as conservation, being the reason behind PDCMG's 'only one entrance' [lack of] access policy, as first propounded in the Conservation policy ( http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/envir.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/envir.htm) ).

Jasonbirder: Drws Cefn is on CRoW (common) land, but not by a path: it is in the side of a stream bed out of sight from all but a few spots. The 'landowner' is actually a Pwlldu Conservation Ltd, but the two directors do live adjacent to the land (one owns the pub, the other overlooks the Draenen entrance); whether they actually derive an income from grazing rights, I don't know.

Mel: the 'Derbyshire key' should certainly appeal - the PDCMG's main headache has always been the cost of replacing locks, whether they clog up or disappear. Also, there has always been a log book for use in Draenen - that's where the official usage figures come from...

Hi Martin. I've now had a look around their web site, minutes, access agreement, conservation policy, etc. and can see the history of all this.

Their conservation policy is very good but given the fact there has been a second entrance open for several years and no appreciable impact on the cave, maybe now is a good time to re-negotiate the single entrance policy that was written into the original access agreement (14 years ago!) with the current landowner? This seems to be similar to the situation up at Leck/Casterton with apparently no-one willing to approach the estate owners and do similar....  :sleeping:

BTW, the log book is in the original entrance, I believe, not the second one. There needs to be an additional log book in there if it is to be left open, gated or not. Just so the rescue peeps know who's in there and where they might be.

I note (from the minutes) that no concreting will be done until after this CRoW clarification business is completed. Maybe it's best it never is then, lol!

TBH, I think the whole area should be scheduled as a SSSI, there are two already thereabouts, they just need joining up and extending a bit. That would protect the whole area from OLDs/PDOs such as concreting entrances shut for no need.

NB:- Responsible cavers are the best people to monitor caves and the cave environment for the good of everyone. They have the expertise, experience and appreciation of the cave features that some other people are so concerned about. In the Peak, we monitor all the caves for NE, reporting back on on any issues. If we can't get into the caves, then they become of 'unfavourable' condition, because they can't be monitored!

Food for thought.... Regards, Mel.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 05, 2014, 07:29:41 am
Quote
That's nice. What does the landowner want?

Not entirely convinced that's the only and ultimate point that's relevant...

However, I do seem to be the only one who is addressing it.

As to Robin Griffiths' mention of a landowner being influenced by the 'in group' Frankly this is insulting. It demonstrates nothing more than that certain members of the 'out group' have failed to get their own way and are getting petulant. Whether Mr Griffiths is part of that group or not, I do not know, it is simply that this line is one of theirs.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on July 05, 2014, 07:31:12 am

Their conservation policy is very good but given the fact there has been a second entrance open for several years and no appreciable impact on the cave, maybe now is a good time to re-negotiate the single entrance policy that was written into the original access agreement (14 years ago!) with the current landowner? This seems to be similar to the situation up at Leck/Casterton with apparently no-one willing to approach the estate owners and do similar....  :sleeping:


This is totally off-topic but I'm following the Crws Defn debate with interest and can't help wondering what this strange statement by Mel is about. Nobody is willing to approach the landowner and do what? Renegotiate a single entrance policy? Renegotiate what?

The CNCC are in the middle of renegotiating the access licence with the owner of Leck Fell and there has been a recent change of CNCC Access Officer which occurred because people were very unhappy with the way the last one worked including his secrecy about his negotiations - we don't know what he was negotiating and he refused to tell us when asked. The new Access Officer has not yet met with the landowner's agent and it might be some time before he does.

Simon Wilson, EPC CNCC Representative.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on July 05, 2014, 07:37:38 am
Quote
That's nice. What does the landowner want?

Not entirely convinced that's the only and ultimate point that's relevant...

However, I do seem to be the only one who is addressing it.

As to Robin Griffiths' mention of a landowner being influenced by the 'in group' Frankly this is insulting. It demonstrates nothing more than that certain members of the 'out group' have failed to get their own way and are getting petulant. Whether Mr Griffiths is part of that group or not, I do not know, it is simply that this line is one of theirs.

By the "out group" I assume you mean all cavers other than the roughly four individuals of the "in-group". I think we are justified in being petulant.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Hughie on July 05, 2014, 08:06:09 am
Quote
That's nice. What does the landowner want?

Not entirely convinced that's the only and ultimate point that's relevant...

However, I do seem to be the only one who is addressing it.

As to Robin Griffiths' mention of a landowner being influenced by the 'in group' Frankly this is insulting. It demonstrates nothing more than that certain members of the 'out group' have failed to get their own way and are getting petulant. Whether Mr Griffiths is part of that group or not, I do not know, it is simply that this line is one of theirs.

As a tenant and landowner, I would wholeheartedly agree with Graham.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 05, 2014, 08:44:02 am

Permanently destroying an important natural feature merely because you don't like people cutting across from the public footpath to look at/go into it isn't a proportionate argument...

A natural feature such as a major cave system, a crag, a river, a waterfall has a significance to everyone that extends far beyond the trivialities of what particular sheep farmer happens to control the grazing rights it stands on...by all means control access to it even forbid access to it...but permanently destroy it...an act of vandalism that is beyond the pale...and I shudder to think that there may be cavers that support such an act...

Its the equivalent of draining a lake because you don't want people cutting across your field to swim in it...

I can see no reference to concrete in the Cambrian letter or PDCMG minutes. I don't know what sort of blocking works are planned for Drws Cefn, but suggesting that it will permanent destruction is probably a bit melodramatic.

Rhys

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 05, 2014, 09:10:49 am
OK - I am not anti-CCC by any means. As a club rep, I do take an interest in what CCC executive does on my club's behalf, and have every right and intention of clarifying anything I think needs clarifying. I hope that is simple enough to understand. I have not forgotten the new executive's stated intention to be more "democratic" - sometimes good intentions can come back to haunt you, and I don't want to see that happen.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 05, 2014, 09:12:44 am
And anyway, regardless of all this, is it not the job of Regional Councils, by and large, to step back from clubs and access bodies, and only get involved when invited? Did PDCMG invite CCC opinion on this?
Is this another question that is going to remain unanswered?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 05, 2014, 09:28:14 am
And anyway, regardless of all this, is it not the job of Regional Councils, by and large, to step back from clubs and access bodies, and only get involved when invited? Did PDCMG invite CCC opinion on this?
Is this another question that is going to remain unanswered?


It was answered here;



2) The CCC took the view that the actions of the PDCMG contravened the constitution of both the CCC and the BCA. Furthermore, it took the view that the actions of the PDCMG were wholly detrimental to cavers in general as well as detrimental to the sport of caving.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on July 05, 2014, 10:14:07 am
Quote
As to Robin Griffiths' mention of a landowner being influenced by the 'in group' Frankly this is insulting. It demonstrates nothing more than that certain members of the 'out group' have failed to get their own way and are getting petulant. Whether Mr Griffiths is part of that group or not, I do not know, it is simply that this line is one of theirs.

Ummm. That was zomjon! As far as I know I'm not in any group - in or out.

Robin
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 05, 2014, 11:28:55 am

Their conservation policy is very good but given the fact there has been a second entrance open for several years and no appreciable impact on the cave, maybe now is a good time to re-negotiate the single entrance policy that was written into the original access agreement (14 years ago!) with the current landowner? This seems to be similar to the situation up at Leck/Casterton with apparently no-one willing to approach the estate owners and do similar....  :sleeping:


This is totally off-topic but I'm following the Crws Defn debate with interest and can't help wondering what this strange statement by Mel is about. Nobody is willing to approach the landowner and do what? Renegotiate a single entrance policy? Renegotiate what?

Simon Wilson, EPC CNCC Representative.

Sorry, I perhaps wasn't clear with this, (it was late at night), I meant re-negotiate the single entrance policy so it is a multi-entrance policy instead, as there are already 2 entrances and have been for several years. Mel.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 05, 2014, 11:53:34 am
I can see no reference to concrete in the Cambrian letter or PDCMG minutes. I don't know what sort of blocking works are planned for Drws Cefn, but suggesting that it will permanent destruction is probably a bit melodramatic.

Rhys

Hi Rhys. There is info about getting a commercial quote for works on the  Drws Cefn entrance, info about waiting for the CRoW clarification process but still continuing preparatory work and they have also concreted the previous '2nd entrance', albeit apparently leaving an access hole for bats. (I would really like to see a photo of this.)

This is a nationally important site and I can understand the concern of the PDCMG, but as the letter from CCC shows, they would prefer it to be left open, just gated. Any gate installation will involve concrete or cement dependant on suitability. (I should know, I've installed countless ones.) The original insistence on only a single entrance was down to the landowner of the time the original access agreement was drawn up and signed in 2000. (I have a copy of that.) But things change with time.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: shortscotsman on July 05, 2014, 12:11:24 pm
Quote
[I would really like to see a photo of this

It is on the forum   posted by Rhys in
Wales / Re: Ogof Draenen  « on: April 08, 2010, 11:16:31 am »

..the link to Rhy's picture is
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4028/4501871035_ca31d5ee9b.jpg)

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 05, 2014, 12:50:58 pm
Quote
[I would really like to see a photo of this

It is on the forum   posted by Rhys in
Wales / Re: Ogof Draenen  « on: April 08, 2010, 11:16:31 am »

..the link to Rhy's picture is
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4028/4501871035_ca31d5ee9b.jpg)

Cool, thanx.  :thumbsup: So big enough for a bat, but not big enough to extract an injured caver from this extensive system. Hmm. 2010. A decent gate would have been a better solution. Better for bats, better for cavers.  :coffee:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 05, 2014, 01:13:43 pm
Regarding the concreting and sealing of the second entrance, here is a jolly account of the fun that was had by those involved (OUCC Depth Through Thought 9.14 16/6/99):

Chelsea Flower Show

On Sunday morning a select handful of landscape gardening enthusiasts assembled on the slopes of Pwll Du to seal the second entrance of Ogof Draenen. The Ground Force crew comprised Ali, Ben, a new MCC recruit, Ian W-J, and muggins here. The main problem was that the entire slope was becoming eroded. Most of the day was spent building a series of grassed terraces, graced with a ring of small hawthorn trees. In a few years, and providing it is undisturbed, it should make a fine shrubbery. One side of the shaft was also collapsing, and this was filled with some rolled up wire fencing and capped with rocks and turf. Making the entire shaft safe would have been quite an undertaking, which we were too undermanned to attempt.

The sealing of the man hole cover, which had been agreed at the last PDCMG meeting, did not take long. A layer of grease on the cover was removed, a new lock was placed, and the recess containing the door was filled with cement, leaving a hole for bats. The entire area was then turfed over.

Of course this work will be very easy to vandalise. The unstable nature of the slope means that anyone with a little determination could break into this entrance again. I hope no-one does.
 
Chris 'tropical fruit all round' Densham


In reply to Mel's last post:

There is indeed a locked gate as well, it is beneath the concrete and the turf. It is claimed that, in the event of a serious rescue, this entrance could be easily opened up to extract a casualty. Ali Garmin emphasised this at the latest PDCMG meeting, using it as yet another reason why Drws Cefn should not remain accessible to cavers.

Footnote:
For those who might be unaware of the past sequence of events, it could be worth pointing out that the second entrance was opened up by members of CSS, hence the title of the OUCC report.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 05, 2014, 03:56:25 pm
Quote
As to Robin Griffiths' mention of a landowner being influenced by the 'in group' Frankly this is insulting. It demonstrates nothing more than that certain members of the 'out group' have failed to get their own way and are getting petulant. Whether Mr Griffiths is part of that group or not, I do not know, it is simply that this line is one of theirs.

Ummm. That was zomjon! As far as I know I'm not in any group - in or out.

Robin

My apologies.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 05, 2014, 04:02:58 pm

Neither has anyone yet picked up on Andy Farrant's earier mention of 'wilderness': that little-discussed concept, rather than what most would define as conservation, being the reason behind PDCMG's 'only one entrance' [lack of] access policy, as first propounded in the Conservation policy ( http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/envir.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/envir.htm) ).


I agree that this point does need to be more widely debated and better understood.

In caving terms, I can think of a couple of parallels:

One is from the US where back in the day there were serious worries about linking the Flint Ridge system to the 'commercialised' Mammoth Cave. However, in the US 'wilderness' has a technical meaning in law which does not apply around these parts.

The other is Top Entrance to OFD2. It is well-known that quite a number of Welsh cavers regret the opening of this entrance, as it has undoubtedly contributed to the 'wear and tear' that the proximate parts of the cave have suffered since then.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 05, 2014, 05:52:39 pm
I conclude that PDCMG did not invite the opinion of CCC as Ian has taken the politician's route of either not answering the question or providing an answer to a question that was not asked. Why am I not surprised? I believe it is a fundamental principle of club caving in the UK that clubs and access bodies should be left alone to function as they deem best, without the uninvited nose-poking of regional councils.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 05, 2014, 06:16:20 pm
Quote
The CCC took the view that the actions of the PDCMG contravened the constitution of both the CCC and the BCA. Furthermore, it took the view that the actions of the PDCMG were wholly detrimental to cavers in general as well as detrimental to the sport of caving.

Quote
11.6. The Council shall have the right to suspend or expel an Officer or a Member, acting against the Aims and Objects of the Council, or its interests, after full consideration of the case at a meeting. The Member's existing rights and assets in the Council may be forfeited. There shall be the right of appeal to the Council at the next Annual General Meeting.

So, what happens now?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on July 05, 2014, 06:21:34 pm
Quote
The CCC took the view that the actions of the PDCMG contravened the constitution of both the CCC and the BCA. Furthermore, it took the view that the actions of the PDCMG were wholly detrimental to cavers in general as well as detrimental to the sport of caving.

Quote
11.6. The Council shall have the right to suspend or expel an Officer or a Member, acting against the Aims and Objects of the Council, or its interests, after full consideration of the case at a meeting. The Member's existing rights and assets in the Council may be forfeited. There shall be the right of appeal to the Council at the next Annual General Meeting.

So, what happens now?

The CCC executive get a vote of thanks for intervening in an act of anti-caver behaviour by some of its members?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 05, 2014, 06:33:26 pm
I conclude that PDCMG did not invite the opinion of CCC as Ian has taken the politician's route of either not answering the question or providing an answer to a question that was not asked. Why am I not surprised? I believe it is a fundamental principle of club caving in the UK that clubs and access bodies should be left alone to function as they deem best, without the uninvited nose-poking of regional councils.

Peter, how can anyone  provide an answer to a question that was not asked? I don't understand this!  :shrug:

In the Dales and the Peak regional councils ARE the access bodies. Officers of those  regional councils sometimes spend years negotiating reasonable access agreements. I think it's the same for Mendip too. I don't know much about the Welsh access situations, but am learning quickly.

At the end of the day it should be CCC who guides things in Wales. From their web site, (hope u don't mind CCC):-

"The Cambrian Caving Council is the National Association for caving in the Principality, it is comprised of caving clubs or similar organisations therein or organisations with major speleological interests or establishments therein. It represents their interests in Wales, The Marches and the Forest of Dean on a regional basis within the UK context, whilst maintaining its position as an independent autonomous body within the Principality. "

and:-

"It is a Constituent Body member of the British Caving Association of Great Britain, and is represented on its Committees, viz: Executive, Conservation & Access, Equipment, Training, Structure (and Legal & Insurance)."

Therefore I would defer to CCCs opinion and the letter sent to the PDCMG was perfectly reasonable and well reasoned. I suggest seeking the opinion of Natural Resources Wales would be a good idea too.

As I've said b4 this whole area seems as though it should be scheduled as a SSSI.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 05, 2014, 06:34:42 pm
The CCC executive get a vote of thanks for intervening in an act of anti-caver behaviour by some of its members?

Agree totally.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 06, 2014, 09:52:53 am
Mel - July 4th, 8:45. I refer you to my signature.

Did PDCMG invite CCC opinion on this? No. Don't worry, the answer is pretty obvious.

There is the potential here for a bit of a can of worms being opened. If a club (rather than an access group) have, through agreement with an owner, an obligation to look after an entrance which at some time might involve an unfortunate reduction or loss of caver access, will the CCC write a letter to them as well? Given that the club may only have the option of limiting use or having the place blocked if they don't? I refer readers to the question of whether owners' considerations are being ignored.

It is a very risky thing for a regional council to get involved in a club's or an access body's decisions if they haven't been invited to do so by that body.

Forget Drws Cefn for a moment, and put your own club in the unenviable situation of being pushed against your better judgement to either question the owners' requirements, or face hostility of cavers who aren't interested in your agreements with owners.

I suspect very few of those contributing here (including me) can be certain of what may or may not be possible here, but isn't it so easy to just criticise and show righteous indignation on what is unfolding?

Don't get me wrong - the loss of an entrance is not something I like seeing happen in any way.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on July 06, 2014, 10:12:35 am
Seems to me that there's a fundamental lack of trust between the Access group and CCC executive.

The Access group have come up with a solution to a problem; CCC don't appear to recognise a problem and reject the solution.

Have CCC been involved in any negotiations with the landowner? Do they know ALL the facts/problems?

Often, in solving a problem, a certain amount of pragmatism and compromise is needed. Something that is noticeably lacking in the 'Free Access for All' lobby.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 06, 2014, 10:31:01 am
Seems to me that there's a fundamental lack of trust between the Access group and CCC executive.

The Access group have come up with a solution to a problem; CCC don't appear to recognise a problem and reject the solution.

Have CCC been involved in any negotiations with the landowner? Do they know ALL the facts/problems?

Often, in solving a problem, a certain amount of pragmatism and compromise is needed. Something that is noticeably lacking in the 'Free Access for All' lobby.

Sigh, the PDCMG were forced into the current situation. (An access agreement signed in 2000 by the then landowners.) I believe the landowners have now changed. CCC are trying to relax the access terms in a very reasonable way. Was gonna say more, but I've got C&A work to do up the Peak, so I haven't got time for this.  I will talk to the CCC C&A officer about things when I get back.  :coffee:

Have fun arguing...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 06, 2014, 11:09:56 am
Quote from: mmilner
  I will talk to the CCC C&A officer about things when I get back.

You can call me pedantic if you like, but Cambrian CC doesn't have a C&A officer. According to the constitution, the title is Conservation officer. :-)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 06, 2014, 02:25:57 pm
Quote from: mmilner
  I will talk to the CCC C&A officer about things when I get back.

You can call me pedantic if you like, but Cambrian CC doesn't have a C&A officer. According to the constitution, the title is Conservation officer. :-)

That is true, Rhys.

However, I know for a fact that the present incumbent left his home at 7.45 a.m. last Sunday and travelled 80 miles down to West Wales specifically to sort out an access related problem, the results of which will be of benefit to all cavers. Are you suggesting that he should not have bothered simply because of his constitutional title?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on July 06, 2014, 03:53:49 pm
SNIP.............
Often, in solving a problem, a certain amount of pragmatism and compromise is needed. Something that is noticeably lacking in the 'Free Access for All' lobby.

There is no "'Free Access for All' lobby". We almost certainly have the vast majority who want to know what the law is and for all to stay within the law - that is all there is to it. You are deliberately misrepresenting the situation.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 06, 2014, 04:06:07 pm
SNIP.............
Often, in solving a problem, a certain amount of pragmatism and compromise is needed. Something that is noticeably lacking in the 'Free Access for All' lobby.

There is no "'Free Access for All' lobby". We almost certainly have the vast majority who want to know what the law is and for all to stay within the law - that is all there is to it. You are deliberately misrepresenting the situation.

But we know what the law is. The advice from DEFRA is perfectly clear, CRoW does not apply to caves.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 06, 2014, 05:00:10 pm
There are the "free access" Taliban and the "free access" diplomatic corps. I imagine the latter get very p'd off by the former. Anyway, this time CRoW is a diversion from the topic.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: paul on July 06, 2014, 05:01:25 pm
Global Moderator Comment Indeed. Yet again we are drifting off topic. Please try and keep to the subject.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on July 06, 2014, 05:57:38 pm
Peter: CRoW is very much on-topic for Drws Cefn and the 'landowner': the current 'landowners' have  leant heavily of the advice of PDCMG, bolstered by the dubious advice from BCA which has now been removed. If PDCMG do not appraise them of developments, perhaps CCC should.

Graham: Wales might take into account the mixed messages from DEFRA, but I think you are very much in the minority in thinking the situation is clear in England, let alone Wales. The Welsh Government has it under review...

Rhys: CCC has been moving away from its old disavowal of direct interest in access for some time, so your comment on lack of a Conservation AND ACCESS officer does indeed seem pedantic. I applaud the change in approach.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 06, 2014, 06:05:10 pm
Regional bodies, or at least CSCC, have been active in access matters for quite a while. I should know as they provided some funding for WCMS for entrance works a few years ago, which was very welcome. But that was by invitation; their involvement was not by imposition, or by them taking some form of moral high ground.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on July 06, 2014, 06:13:58 pm
Just a quick thought... Perhaps matters might be easier (yeah, right  :( ) if the body believed to be acting out of line by CCC (and a significant number of cavers) were called an access group, as opposed to a management group?
Perhaps CCC would vote to suspend the group, or constituent members, if they were deemed to acting contrary to the raison d'etre of the council?

For the record, are these entrances on CRoW land or not?
What are the current landowner views or reassesing the old agreement, especially in view of the remarkably low numbers of visits recorded?
How difficult is enlarging or merging SSSI?
Dependent on the QC's response, how difficult are the measures for exclusion under CRoW to put in place?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 06, 2014, 06:29:56 pm
For the record, are these entrances on CRoW land or not?

Drws Cefn is on CRoW land.

Nunnery (Second) entrance is on CRoW land.

Ogof Draenen is on private land.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 06, 2014, 06:38:49 pm
Isn't there some rule or other about interfering with natural features on CRoW land?

(Can't be arsed to look now, but Graham should be able to advise ;))
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 06, 2014, 06:44:09 pm
Isn't there some rule or other about interfering with natural features on CRoW land?

Yes, I believe there is.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 06, 2014, 06:44:34 pm
Well, Brains, here are the respective lists

http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/member_clubs.html (http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/member_clubs.html)

http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/com.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/com.htm)

So who is at risk of suspension, by way of your suggestion? And if a club that opposes the blockage wanted to remain in CCC would they be best advised to leave PDCMG?

Be careful what you wish for!



Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on July 06, 2014, 07:15:14 pm
Peter: There used to be a complete spectrum of involvement in access by regional councils from the CNCC - set up exclusively to mediate access - to CCC - renouncing any involvement; the DCA seems to have been a happy medium. Meanwhile, most cavers didn't really know but, not unreasonably, probably assumed (as BCA seems to have, too) that they could all act similarly, and on any topic involving caves and cavers in their region. Anyway, back on topic...

Still little discussion of the wilderness conservation concept applied to Draenen in their little-read Conservation Policy and Guidelines [ http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/plancons2003.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/plancons2003.htm) ]
Graham pointed out that this seems to be largely a transatlantic import (along with the example of OFD, which is highly debateable), and Wikipedia gives a good summary of the concepts as discussed for the surface [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilderness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilderness) ]. What is not emphasised there is the idea of remoteness, which I think is what its proponents in PDCMG espouse - their stand would have all entrances to the Three Counties system blocked except for Low Douk. Would that be reasonable?
Another parallel some have suggested is the climbing community leaving some crags without any fixed aids - ie maintaining a psychological edge (there is an aesthetic appeal too, I suppose) - in this case through physical endurance required to get to the far reaches rather than explicit risk. Is that desirable?

But the last paragraph of the Wikipedia article perhaps sums up  (for avoidable voids like Draenen) one extreme while skewing the other when it says: "applying any control to define nature unavoidably voids the very freedom and independence of human control that defines wilderness"
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 06, 2014, 07:27:33 pm
Thank you, Martin.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 06, 2014, 07:31:50 pm
http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_Minutes_140622.pdf (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_Minutes_140622.pdf)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on July 06, 2014, 07:39:05 pm
Well, Brains, here are the respective lists

http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/member_clubs.html (http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/member_clubs.html)

http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/com.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/com.htm)

So who is at risk of suspension, by way of your suggestion? And if a club that opposes the blockage wanted to remain in CCC would they be best advised to leave PDCMG?

Be careful what you wish for!
I would imagine CCC would decide upon that - either a complete censure of the group, or those constituents that could be shown to be acting contrary the wishes and needs of the cave, the caving community, BCA and CCC would seem starting points. If the management group is not fit for purpose, why be a member and bring discredit on your club?

I wish for nothing other than on going access for my fellow cavers in as free and easy a manner as is appropriate to the nature of the cave as a whole, with either natural or artifical control as deemed best in the individual circumstance. Blocking entrances or needlessly restrictive political interference on access does our pusuit no favours at all.
As cavers and underground explorers we should all be doing our very best to facillitate and encourage people into our sport, not making life hard - the trips thelmselves do enough of that to drive away people. No new blood = death of caving = nobody to speak for the trees caves (oops - drifted into Lorax territory!)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 06, 2014, 07:49:55 pm
Peter: There used to be a complete spectrum of involvement in access by regional councils from the CNCC - set up exclusively to mediate access - to CCC - renouncing any involvement; the DCA seems to have been a happy medium. Meanwhile, most cavers didn't really know but, not unreasonably, probably assumed (as BCA seems to have, too) that they could all act similarly, and on any topic involving caves and cavers in their region. Anyway, back on topic...

This does, indeed, take us rather off topic, however, the understanding that different regions do things differently has been part of British Caving ever since CSCC was set up to avoid CNCC's views being presumed to apply to all back in the 1960s.

Still little discussion of the wilderness conservation concept applied to Draenen in their little-read Conservation Policy and Guidelines [ http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/plancons2003.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/plancons2003.htm) ]
Graham pointed out that this seems to be largely a transatlantic import (along with the example of OFD, which is highly debateable), and Wikipedia gives a good summary of the concepts as discussed for the surface [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilderness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilderness) ]. What is not emphasised there is the idea of remoteness, which I think is what its proponents in PDCMG espouse - their stand would have all entrances to the Three Counties system blocked except for Low Douk. Would that be reasonable?

Well, I did try. :) I think your example is not wholly relevant as the Three Counties system was brought about by joining up discrete caves unlike Draenen where, essentially, the entire cave was explored from the one entrance.

Another parallel some have suggested is the climbing community leaving some crags without any fixed aids - ie maintaining a psychological edge (there is an aesthetic appeal too, I suppose) - in this case through physical endurance required to get to the far reaches rather than explicit risk. Is that desirable?

Why not, at least in this case, or should we insist that, for example, any long cave has a second entrance contrived 'for safety reasons'? I'm not wholly certain that the explorers of Charterhouse Cave or Dan yr Ogof would agree with you.

But the last paragraph of the Wikipedia article perhaps sums up  (for avoidable voids like Draenen) one extreme while skewing the other when it says: "applying any control to define nature unavoidably voids the very freedom and independence of human control that defines wilderness"

This is the one that gets me on my soapbox. The fact is that nowhere on the planet is wholly free of the activities of man. Nowhere. If taken to its logical conclusion, the attitude summed up in that sentence would have us shrugging our shoulders and logging the entirety of the rain forest, just because we can. Is that an attitude that we, as cavers, wish to encourage?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 06, 2014, 07:52:17 pm
We should be seeking to bring cavers and their clubs together, not driving them apart. Anything CCC can do to keep clubs working together DESPITE their differences must be the best way forward. I don't think this letter that started the whole topic goes anywhere near achieving this, although no doubt others may question that.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on July 06, 2014, 08:00:56 pm
The letter may have started this thread, but the matter has been festering in the dark for a long time before it was written. Perhaps the light of open debate will lead people to think clearly about all the issues, and look for a workable consesus. This will no doubt have wide repercussions throughout the caving world regardless of eventual outcome for this particular issue. If nothing else the letter shows some of the gulf in empathy that exists...
Get out of the trenches and play some footie while you still can
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 06, 2014, 08:05:09 pm
I can here the frantic digging noise of entrenching tools from 200 miles away!  :(
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on July 06, 2014, 08:14:52 pm
I can here the frantic digging noise of entrenching tools from 200 miles away!  :(
Sadly I fear that may be the case.
But we can only live in Hope - a beautiful bit of the High Peak, handy for for some wonderful caves....
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 06, 2014, 08:17:46 pm
Brains

What compromise is possible between a viewpoint that requires one entrance and one that requires two?

How does one fashion a cave with 1 1/2 entrances?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 06, 2014, 08:53:18 pm
The compromise is evidently simple;

1) The cave is currently freely open
2) The cave is concreted over

The compromise would be to gate it. Is that not precisely what was suggested by CCC ?

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 06, 2014, 08:55:50 pm
Does it work for the owner? Who is going to find out?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: TheBitterEnd on July 06, 2014, 08:56:32 pm
Isn't there some rule or other about interfering with natural features on CRoW land?

Yes, I believe there is.

Only for people exercising their right of access under CRoW, landowners are by-and-large free to do what they want within the limits which may apply from other legislation (planning, SSSI, etc.). It is no different to getting a builder in to build a wall in your garden, CRoW does not apply to the landowner in that sense.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 06, 2014, 09:08:08 pm
Does it work for the owner? Who is going to find out?

It's a compromise - don't deflect from Graham's question  ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 06, 2014, 09:17:26 pm
Does it work for the owner? Who is going to find out?

It's a compromise - don't deflect from Graham's question  ;)

Ian

It doesn't, in the sense that my view is that cavers need to work with landowners, antagonising them is not in our best interests. Others seem to disagree with that.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 06, 2014, 10:00:41 pm
..... my view is that cavers need to work with landowners, antagonising them is not in our best interests.

I completely agree.

 ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on July 06, 2014, 11:03:42 pm
If the landowner really feels strongly that Drws Cefn should be sealed then he should undertake the task himself.  Cavers dig caves open, they don't fill them in.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on July 07, 2014, 12:31:45 am
If the landowner really feels strongly that Drws Cefn should be sealed then he should undertake the task himself.  Cavers dig caves open, they don't fill them in.

Totally agree. So if current owner sells land after PDCMG have filled it with concrete, and new owner finds out - actually this is a scientific site and shouldn't have been filled. Who's going to dig the concrete out?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on July 07, 2014, 12:36:58 am
Graham: Thanks for your contributions on 'wilderness'. To respond:
My example of what the PDCMG would logically want for the Three Counties is obviously somewhat contrived but I think all the entrances there have been dug open and I know at least one of the PDCMG who was of the opinion that should an entrance be opened at the northern end of Draenen, the original entrance should be abandoned in its favour to make the southern regions even more remote...
Quote
should we insist that, for example, any long cave has a second entrance contrived 'for safety reasons'
No, but where other entrances exist I think Andy Sparrow has given the appropriate response.
Quote
This is the one that gets me on my soapbox.
So I see. I don't interpret the sentence in the same way as you, it seems, but I am neither qualified nor interested in discussing here the ideals or interpretations of anarchy or [abuse of] power. As for answering ludicrously off-topic questions...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 07, 2014, 12:41:32 am
Isn't there some rule or other about interfering with natural features on CRoW land?

Yes, I believe there is.

Only for people exercising their right of access under CRoW, landowners are by-and-large free to do what they want within the limits which may apply from other legislation (planning, SSSI, etc.). It is no different to getting a builder in to build a wall in your garden, CRoW does not apply to the landowner in that sense.

So it is the landowner that should be filling it in, not "cavers?"---
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 07, 2014, 07:42:57 am
My example of what the PDCMG would logically want for the Three Counties is obviously somewhat contrived but I think all the entrances there have been dug open and I know at least one of the PDCMG who was of the opinion that should an entrance be opened at the northern end of Draenen, the original entrance should be abandoned in its favour to make the southern regions even more remote...

However, no such entrance has been opened and that one person's view is not PDCMG policy is it.

"should we insist that, for example, any long cave has a second entrance contrived 'for safety reasons'?" No, but where other entrances exist I think Andy Sparrow has given the appropriate response.

As well as the example of OFD Top Entrance, the opening of which is undeniably regretted by some of those involved, I can think of other examples where active decisions have been made to not connect caves. Normally this has been for straight conservation reasons, to avoid turning delicate and relatively inaccessible passages into through routes, but the effect of keeping those areas relatively remote is also present. My point is that cavers do manage caves in these ways in other places and tacit agreement exists so to do. It is only cases such as Drews Cefn where a few individuals with a sense or entitlement feel personally aggrieved that these become high profile and contentious. I'll get back to this below.

Quote
This is the one that gets me on my soapbox.
So I see. I don't interpret the sentence in the same way as you, it seems, but I am neither qualified nor interested in discussing here the ideals or interpretations of anarchy or [abuse of] power. As for answering ludicrously off-topic questions...
<shrugs>You wished to discuss the underlying philosophy of wilderness it's a bit rich to complain now that it's off topic.

Anyway, to get back to the point that I mentioned above. The famous letter states two things:

The first is that Drews Cefn has had an open connection to Draenen for five years.

The second is its talk of "Years of opportunity to complete the cave survey, undertake scientific study ..." having been lost.

So where is the survey data collected these past five years? Does it not exist, or does the right of access only apply to caves and not to data about those caves? Bit hypocritically elitist if it's the latter don't you think?

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: TheBitterEnd on July 07, 2014, 07:48:24 am

Only for people exercising their right of access under CRoW, landowners are by-and-large free to do what they want within the limits which may apply from other legislation (planning, SSSI, etc.). It is no different to getting a builder in to build a wall in your garden, CRoW does not apply to the landowner in that sense.

So it is the landowner that should be filling it in, not "cavers?"---

Anyone to whom the landowner grants permission.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 07, 2014, 02:19:34 pm
Back from doing access work in the South Peak, something I have been combining with conservation work for several years! We have several different officers in DCA besides me. We have a projects officer, an access officer and Adam from PDHMS helps out with either C or A work as required. We all contribute as do several others (Boyd, Alan, etc.) who are not DCA officers to do our bit as necessary, we are not restrained by any 'official titles' If something needs doing somewhere in the Peak we will liaise together and get it done. (Funding permitted.)

Now then back to OD and the concreted over 2nd (Nunnery) entrance, this is how it should have been sealed:-

(http://www.darfarpc.org.uk/images/stories/Uploaded_Photos/JugholesAditEntranceGate.jpg)

Above: Dave Webb during the installation of the gate and surround. (Bolted shut as it's near a public footpath.) Jugholes Lower Adit Entrance near Matlock with a bat friendly gate. The hole left in the 2nd entrance of OD when it was blocked (see photo upthread) is wholly inadequate. The fact that it has been put in place shows they were aware of the fact that bats were present. See also this page:-

http://www.cavinguk.co.uk/draenen/draenen.htm#Conservation (http://www.cavinguk.co.uk/draenen/draenen.htm#Conservation)

As it says, it is a criminal offence to interfere with bats and I would say blocking the entrance of OD in this way would be most certainly have disturbed them as well as preventing them free and easy access. (Esp. given the there is a gate and several inches of concrete below the turf.) This and the Drws Cefn entrance should be dealt with in the same way. Nice bat friendly gates, bolted shut so no-one has to manage the distribution and maintenance of padlocks, keys, etc. Like I've said b4, happy bats, happy cavers. (Just leave a logbook inside each entrance so you know who's in the system and where in case of a call out.)

Regards Mel. DCA Conservation Officer. (Who also does loadsa access work to conserve access to caves in the South Peak, dealing with landowners like the National Trust where necessary.)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 07, 2014, 03:43:53 pm
From someone who has been wholly entrenched with an anti-gate opinion, I have now been persuaded by various arguments (and finally by Mel's post above - thank you) and I now favour a gate system as suggested by various people and most recently by Mel.

I think the Derbyshire key system is a perfectly reasonable compromise.

 :)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 07, 2014, 07:21:35 pm
From someone who has been wholly entrenched with an anti-gate opinion, I have now been persuaded by various arguments (and finally by Mel's post above - thank you) and I now favour a gate system as suggested by various people and most recently by Mel.

I think the Derbyshire key system is a perfectly reasonable compromise.

 :)

Ian

Thank you Ian.  :thumbsup: I should also point out that Adam (AR on here, I think) is the conservation officer for PDHMS, but also does (or organises) access work where it's needed. He's been involved in getting gates repaired and also cleaning graffiti from mines in the Matlock area.

This all sort of goes through DCA, but mainly just for funding (from DCA/BCA/NE) and so everybody knows what's going on. DCA doesn't 'control' anything, but we all work together to try and maintain reasonable access while at the same time taking conservation issues into account. It works well!

We have very good relations with NE, the EA, the NT, Staffs & Derbys bat groups, etc. too. Best to get everybody involved and keep everybody informed, that's we we have our twice yearly UCF (underground conservation forum) meetings. They're generally very constructive.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 07, 2014, 07:50:07 pm
It sounds like it all works well for you up there.

I'm guessing that in the Peak you don't have one group cavers determined to maintain a single point of access to a cave while a second group of cavers is determined to have multiple entrances to that cave. Unfortunately, as Graham pointed out elsewhere, there is no compromise position between these standpoints. So we have a stalemate situation which has existed for at least 15 years.

It might be that a "legal" confrontation with CROW thrown into the mix might sort this situation out once and for all. But I doubt it! ;-)

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 07, 2014, 08:17:42 pm
...  one group cavers determined to maintain a single point of access to a cave while a second group of cavers is determined to have multiple entrances to that cave.

Rhys


Seems to me that is precisely the problem. Nicely put Rhys  ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 07, 2014, 08:51:46 pm
How does the CCC manage to represent the interests of ALL cavers in Wales in that case? It cannot.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on July 07, 2014, 08:57:27 pm
There's a lot of people that are all for Democracy in Caving, as long as that democracy decides to do exactly what they want it to do.

If it doesn't, it becomes a tyranny in their eyes.

 :coffee:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 07, 2014, 08:59:16 pm
...  one group cavers determined to maintain a single point of access to a cave while a second group of cavers is determined to have multiple entrances to that cave.

Rhys


Seems to me that is precisely the problem. Nicely put Rhys  ;)

Ian

Group hug! :-)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 07, 2014, 09:02:21 pm
Unfortunately with a number of the CCC executive being quite vocal on what they believe should happen, it is not really possible for them to mediate between the cavers who want one entrance and the cavers who want two (assuming both sides would want this)  as it is impossible for them to claim to have no view either way.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on July 07, 2014, 09:15:57 pm
A few observations I would like to make...

It's been suggested that it is insulting and patronising to suggest that landowners do not know their own mind.  When it comes to caving related matters landowners are usually receptive to the advice and views of the caving community.  Let us imagine that the opening of Drws Cefn had been greeted with unanimous approval by local cavers, clubs and representative bodies, that the landowner had been advised that this was a wonderful development for exploratory caving, for sport caving, and a God send for potential rescue...   Would we now be faced with the prospect of a cave entrance being filled with concrete?

Moving on to the OFD Top Entrance question....  Yes, there are a few cavers who wish history could be re-written and that OFD 2 could be the preserve for a minority of elite cavers undertaking 10+ hour trips.  I think these people are utterly selfish.  What about the 1000s of cavers who have enjoyed this wonderful cave over the last nearly 50 years?  What about the pleasure generations of cavers have derived from enjoying the fantastic through trips from Top to Cwm Dwr or One? 

OFD and Draenen are both, by their nature, multi entrance caves.  The 'wilderness experience' of the few is achieved by denying this reality and depriving the majority of potential trips and experiences that would be of the highest quality.   Ogof Draenen could experience a renaissance of exploration, and quite possibly achieve the status of longest cave in the UK.

So here is the situation - Drws Cefn has been open for several years and is, presumably, occasionally visited.  What's the problem?  Why take these extreme measures to resolve a problem that isn't?   I wonder if this is why....  It must be a strange situation for the small group who are still active in the cave.  They have to cave for two hours on the way in, knowing they don't need to, and then the same again on the way out, always aware that they could shave two hours off the trip.   But they can't actually use the entrance can they?  Not after their crusade against it. But it's there... always there at the back of the mind, when staggering, already exhausted, down Elliptic Passage, that there's an exit 10 minutes away....     Solution - fill it, concrete it, unmake it.

If the landowner wants it closed, then let him do it, and if he's not sufficiently motivated to bother, then let the cave stay open.   That being the case it would be time for others to swallow their pride, use the new entrance, and quite possibly embark on a new wave of exploration that will extent their beloved 'wilderness' into new frontiers.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: AR on July 07, 2014, 09:22:33 pm
There's a lot of people that are all for Democracy in Caving, as long as that democracy decides to do exactly what they want it to do.

Or they don't know what they want  until the people who are fillling posts on councils because no-one else would do something they don't like at which point they start screaming....
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on July 07, 2014, 09:49:25 pm
Good point Adam.... ::)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on July 08, 2014, 12:49:04 am
Excellent and informative post by Andy.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Tony_B on July 08, 2014, 03:23:18 pm

Moving on to the OFD Top Entrance question....  Yes, there are a few cavers who wish history could be re-written and that OFD 2 could be the preserve for a minority of elite cavers undertaking 10+ hour trips.  I think these people are utterly selfish.  What about the 1000s of cavers who have enjoyed this wonderful cave over the last nearly 50 years?  What about the pleasure generations of cavers have derived from enjoying the fantastic through trips from Top to Cwm Dwr or One? 

I came late to this thread, and on reading the earlier posts I was going to make exactly this point. Andy got there first.

I'm aware that some of those who were involved in the opening of Top Entrance have subsequently expressed some regret that this was done. The caving purist in me used to have some sympathy with that point-of-view, and indeed I have quoted this in the past. However, as an SWCC member of nearly thirty years' standing, the uncomfortable truth is that SWCC would be nothing like the club it is today had Top Entrance not been opened. How many visiting clubs would use our HQ for weekend visits if through-trips involving Top Entrance were not available? How many of our members would have joined SWCC, or remained members, if Top Entrance didn't exist?

With Dan-yr-Ogof frequently flooded during the winter months, caving options in the Swansea Valley would be very limited if access to Ogof Ffynnon Ddu were only via OFD 1 and Cwm Dwr.

I'm not sure that the same arguments can be used with regard to Ogof Draenan/Drws Cefn, but the point needed making.   
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 08, 2014, 03:40:21 pm
Well said Tony_B, certainly my most memorable trips down there in the '70's & early '80's involved top entrance through trips :thumbsup:, the Ancient Brit would have been down a few quid too :)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Blakethwaite on July 08, 2014, 03:47:17 pm
But what may or may not apply to one cave ought not as a general principle to apply to all caves surely? Where do you stop? Remove all constrictions? Wheelchair ramps down to the deepest & darkest parts (being only slightly facetious)? Not everyone can get everywhere, me particularly, that's just the way things are.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 08, 2014, 03:51:48 pm
Wheelchair ramps down to the deepest & darkest parts

YES PLEASE, suit me in my present condition!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: (need someone to push the chair though) :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 08, 2014, 03:56:53 pm
I'm not sure that the same arguments can be used with regard to Ogof Draenan/Drws Cefn, but the point needed making.

The major similarity between OFD Top Entrance and Drws Cefn is that they were both originally opened up in order to enable exploration within the respective caves to progress at a reasonable pace.

In fact, the sole reasoning behind the connection of Drws Cefn to the main system was to further the exploration of the cave, which had been in a state of almost total stagnation for a considerable period.

Our intention was not to merely create another through trip and this was strongly stressed at the time. Perhaps now is as good an opportunity as any to emphasise this point for the benefit of those who might not be familiar with the events of five years ago.

Make no mistake, it is the (potential) exploration of the cave that is the root cause of all these problems, absolutely nothing else. Anyone who is closely involved (on either side of the wire) is acutely aware of this fact and has been from the very outset.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 08, 2014, 04:32:55 pm
The major similarity between OFD Top Entrance and Drws Cefn is that they were both originally opened up in order to enable exploration within the respective caves to progress at a reasonable pace.

In fact, the sole reasoning behind the connection of Drws Cefn to the main system was to further the exploration of the cave, which had been in a state of almost total stagnation for a considerable period.


Aah, much like Garden Path in Lathkill Head, at the request of the landowner this is access restricted for research and scientific study puposes only, neither DCA nor any other body have any intentions of sealing it in any way. This section of the system is accessible via other routes but not easy.

Your statement implies that this entrance to O.Draenen  is now redundant and that there is no more need for it as all exploration using that entrance has been covered, are you sure?, who is to say?


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Tony_B on July 08, 2014, 05:17:23 pm
Where do you stop? Remove all constrictions? Wheelchair ramps down to the deepest & darkest parts (being only slightly facetious)? Not everyone can get everywhere, me particularly, that's just the way things are.

I've used exactly that argument against things like additional fixed aids, in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and elsewhere. But that's not quite the same as the issue at hand here. With regard to Drws Cefn, Nig R has said that the additional entrance was created specifically to facilitate exploration at the further reaches. That's not the same as making caving easier. Top Entrance was - so I believe - opened for much the same reason and a by-product of opening that up was to create a number of options for sporting through-trips that have been popular with cavers ever since. 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 08, 2014, 05:42:38 pm
Your statement implies that this entrance to O.Draenen  is now redundant and that there is no more need for it as all exploration using that entrance has been covered, are you sure?, who is to say?

Sorry, Bograt. You have completely misunderstood what I have said, in fact your interpretation is almost the complete opposite to what it should have been. Did you read all my post? Perhaps it is my fault for trying to be too diplomatic.

Drws Cefn is far from being redundant and there is every need for it to remain open in order to help realise the full potential of the cave. Up until now it has hardly been utilised to even a miniscule fraction of its capacity. Exploration has scarcely begun, never mind being completed. This is precisely why the controlling clique of the PDCMG are so opposed to Drws Cefn as an entrance and are determined to see it obliterated from the face of the landscape for all eternity.

There you go, is that any clearer?

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 08, 2014, 06:28:32 pm
Aah, much like Garden Path in Lathkill Head, at the request of the landowner this is access restricted for research and scientific study puposes only, neither DCA nor any other body have any intentions of sealing it in any way. This section of the system is accessible via other routes but not easy.

Are you sure that Garden Path isn't on CRoW access land? 'cos if it is then Tim Dick & Harry will be along demanding it's opened up before long.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on July 08, 2014, 07:11:46 pm
Drws Cefn is far from being redundant and there is every need for it to remain open in order to help realise the full potential of the cave. Up until now it has hardly been utilised to even a miniscule fraction of its capacity. Exploration has scarcely begun, never mind being completed. This is precisely why the controlling clique of the PDCMG are so opposed to Drws Cefn as an entrance and are determined to see it obliterated from the face of the landscape for all eternity.



Are you saying (or implying) that PDCMG are deliberately making exploration more difficult?

Bizarre.....
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on July 08, 2014, 07:24:28 pm
From an outsiders viewpoint, I would say yes, that is the perception I have :(
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 08, 2014, 08:04:49 pm
Are you saying (or implying) that PDCMG are deliberately making exploration more difficult?

I'm pretty sure that is not the intention of PDCMG. However, it may well be a side-effect of the single entrance policy.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 08, 2014, 08:11:13 pm
From an outsiders viewpoint, I would say yes, that is the perception I have :(

Same here. It could be said the original entrance isn't required any more, esp. as it is batproof (like many other cave entrances in the area I have recently learned). Find out who owns the land which Drws Cefn is on, (CRoW land as it is registered common land), negotiate a nice caver friendly access agreement, install a bat friendly simply bolted shut gate and jobs a good 'un.

Exploration and surveying can then continue without all the politics.  :coffee:

However, it may well be a side-effect of the single entrance policy.
Rhys

Yep.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 08, 2014, 08:22:58 pm
Same here. It could be said the original entrance isn't required any more, esp. as it is batproof (like many other cave entrances in the area I have recently learned). Find out who owns the land which Drws Cefn is on, (CRoW land as it is registered common land), negotiate a nice caver friendly access agreement, install a bat friendly simply bolted shut gate and jobs a good 'un.

Exploration and surveying can then continue without all the politics.  :coffee:


If only it were so simple! A few clarifications:

All the present entrances, blocked or otherwise are owned by the same landowner.

Taking the original entrance out of use would hinder exploration in other parts of the cave such as the northern extremes and the southern end of the main streamway.

My understanding is that the blocked second (Nunnery) entrance was never an open entrance which bats could use. It was just a smooth soil hillside. I may be wrong on this though. I think it was the Cambrian CC conservation officer who first dug it, so he may be able to confirm.

I was always led to believe that non-bat friendly gate of the original entrance was not an issue because there is a bat friendly entrance a few metres away around the corner from it.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 08, 2014, 09:50:58 pm
If only it were so simple! A few clarifications:

All the present entrances, blocked or otherwise are owned by the same landowner.

Taking the original entrance out of use would hinder exploration in other parts of the cave such as the northern extremes and the southern end of the main streamway.

My understanding is that the blocked second (Nunnery) entrance was never an open entrance which bats could use. It was just a smooth soil hillside. I may be wrong on this though. I think it was the Cambrian CC conservation officer who first dug it, so he may be able to confirm.

I was always led to believe that non-bat friendly gate of the original entrance was not an issue because there is a bat friendly entrance a few metres away around the corner from it.

Rhys

OK, fair points Rhys, but in which case why was Nunnery fitted with a bat hole!  :shrug: I have been told that underneath the turf there is several inches of concrete on top of a locked gate with a 4x4 inch hole in it with a drop underneath it , all specifically for bats to use, albeit totally inadequate for it's intended purpose. (See my photo upthread for a decent bat friendly gate.)  :-\

PDCMG have said they can unblock it if was required to facilitate a rescue. If they'd have just installed a proper bat friendly gate on it, they could have just undone a padlock instead of having to dig back through all the concrete, etc.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 08, 2014, 10:24:22 pm

OK, fair points Rhys, but in which case why was Nunnery fitted with a bat hole!  :shrug: I have been told that underneath the turf there is several inches of concrete on top of a locked gate with a 4x4 inch hole in it with a drop underneath it , all specifically for bats to use, albeit totally inadequate for it's intended purpose. (See my photo upthread for a decent bat friendly gate.)  :-\

PDCMG have said they can unblock it if was required to facilitate a rescue. If they'd have just installed a proper bat friendly gate on it, they could have just undone a padlock instead of having to dig back through all the concrete, etc.
Again, it all sounds very sensible and simple, the reality is much more complex...

I think cavers were probably far less aware of what was and what wasn't bat-friendly than they are today. I can't recall whether the Nunnery gate was the design of PDCMG (or its forerunner organisation) or the people who dug the entrance open. Either way, after use of the Nunnery entrance was forbidden, a simple gate with a padlock proved inadequate at preventing break-ins. A period of lock chopping, swapping and sabotage occurred before a more "semi-permanent" solution was employed.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 09, 2014, 12:44:34 am
Drws Cefn is far from being redundant and there is every need for it to remain open in order to help realise the full potential of the cave. Up until now it has hardly been utilised to even a miniscule fraction of its capacity. Exploration has scarcely begun, never mind being completed. This is precisely why the controlling clique of the PDCMG are so opposed to Drws Cefn as an entrance and are determined to see it obliterated from the face of the landscape for all eternity.



Are you saying (or implying) that PDCMG are deliberately making exploration more difficult?

Bizarre.....

Yes, that is precisely what I am saying.

(Yes, it is bizarre isn't it? Good to see that you agree with me!)

I'm pretty sure that is not the intention of PDCMG. However, it may well be a side-effect of the single entrance policy.

It is the explicit intention of the PDCMG (or, to be more precise, the controlling OUCC-UBSS-MCC axis) to limit exploration within the cave, especially in one particular direction (i.e. to limit it for anyone other than themselves).

The single entrance policy (although originally at least partly introduced on idealistic conservation and pseudo-aesthetic grounds) is still being used as justification for what they are doing but is now acting purely as a smoke screen to mask their true motives (i.e. to safeguard what they regard as their own prime interests).

This has been the case for a long, long time and pre-dates the discovery of Drws Cefn by a considerable period.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 09, 2014, 07:42:45 am
It is the explicit intention of the PDCMG (or, to be more precise, the controlling OUCC-UBSS-MCC axis) to limit exploration within the cave, especially in one particular direction (i.e. to limit it for anyone other than themselves).


Interesting. Please provide an explicit quote or something to back this statement up.

I'll point out that I'm not attempting to argue any particular viewpoint myself, just attempting to introduce some sort of balance. In the interests of a fair debate, an accusation like that really needs substantiating.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on July 09, 2014, 07:49:56 am
There is a compromise solution, one which adheres to the policy of single entrance.   Drws Cefn could be fitted with a gate that only opens from the inside.   That way all access is through the old entrance, subject to the access conditions.  There would be no short cut to vulnerable areas, but there would be an alternative exit.   The rescue option would also exist.


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 09, 2014, 09:13:44 am
There is a compromise solution, one which adheres to the policy of single entrance.   Drws Cefn could be fitted with a gate that only opens from the inside.   That way all access is through the old entrance, subject to the access conditions.  There would be no short cut to vulnerable areas, but there would be an alternative exit.   The rescue option would also exist.

As a COMPROMISE solution, I think it has merits. Digging trips to the south east areas would have a reduction in overall time and difficulty due to the short cut to get out. Vulnerable areas would be easier to access due to the total trip time to reach them and return to the surface being reduced, but perhaps not to the extent that footfall would massively increase.

Would either camp be happy with this option?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: JessopSmythe on July 09, 2014, 09:35:28 am
Would either camp be happy with this option?


The problem is, if they're not, one side has already shown their willingness to remove locks and/or gates. I seem to recall a certain protagonist being found in the area of the Nunnery entrance with the necessary equipment to remove the concrete cap. Whatever kind of compromise is reached will be invalidated by the few who will decide it doesn't apply to them.
Both sides appear to be so deeply entrenched that a true, workable, compromise seems unlikely.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 09, 2014, 09:42:08 am
Well, clearly both camps (and landowner) would need to agree to the compromise or it would be a non-starter!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 09, 2014, 12:49:54 pm
Whatever kind of compromise is reached will be invalidated by the few who will decide it doesn't apply to them.
Both sides appear to be so deeply entrenched that a true, workable, compromise seems unlikely.

I think you are right and I think that there are an equal number of the "few" on both sides. I think the "middle ground" is by far the largest demographic.

I have changed my view from "Keep it open" to "Gate it" as MMilner suggested.

Perhaps others might ease up a little too ?

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 09, 2014, 02:00:02 pm
It is the explicit intention of the PDCMG (or, to be more precise, the controlling OUCC-UBSS-MCC axis) to limit exploration within the cave, especially in one particular direction (i.e. to limit it for anyone other than themselves).


Interesting. Please provide an explicit quote or something to back this statement up.

I'll point out that I'm not attempting to argue any particular viewpoint myself, just attempting to introduce some sort of balance. In the interests of a fair debate, an accusation like that really needs substantiating.

I have ample evidence to substantiate what I have said, otherwise I would not have said it.

However, perhaps now is not the best time to place it within the public domain whilst there is any talk of compromise in the air.

Both sides appear to be so deeply entrenched that a true, workable, compromise seems unlikely.

I have changed my view from "Keep it open" to "Gate it" as MMilner suggested.

Perhaps others might ease up a little too ?

OK, here you go.

Personally, I have always preferred that the cave be kept open in its natural state and I have not changed my views on this.

However, both in order to facilitate the reaching of a compromise solution that will benefit all cavers and to ensure that the cave is not permanently sealed, I would happily go along with something along the lines suggested by Mel and agreed by Ian (i.e. the cave is gated, access being administered by use of a "Derbyshire key" with a logbook to record all trips).

Should it be shown at some time in the future that the entrance is being overused, I would not be averse to the fitting of a combination lock so long as the number remained readily available.

Finally, I would prefer that any gate be fitted a little way underground so as not to detract from the natural beauty on the surface. This should not be a problem as there is a sharp dogleg partway down the entrance climb (it is at this point that the bulk of the projected concreting is planned to take place).



Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 09, 2014, 02:40:14 pm
However, both in order to facilitate the reaching of a compromise solution that will benefit all cavers and to ensure that the cave is not permanently sealed, I would happily go along with something along the lines suggested by Mel and agreed by Ian (i.e. the cave is gated, access being administered by use of a "Derbyshire key" with a logbook to record all trips).

Should it be shown at some time in the future that the entrance is being overused, I would not be averse to the fitting of a combination lock so long as the number remained readily available.

Finally, I would prefer that any gate be fitted a little way underground so as not to detract from the natural beauty on the surface. This should not be a problem as there is a sharp dogleg partway down the entrance climb (it is at this point that the bulk of the projected concreting is planned to take place).

How about the compromise suggestion put forward by Andy Sparrows whereby Ogof Drws Cefn is used as an exit only? What are you views on that?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 09, 2014, 03:20:27 pm
However, both in order to facilitate the reaching of a compromise solution that will benefit all cavers and to ensure that the cave is not permanently sealed, I would happily go along with something along the lines suggested by Mel and agreed by Ian (i.e. the cave is gated, access being administered by use of a "Derbyshire key" with a logbook to record all trips).

Should it be shown at some time in the future that the entrance is being overused, I would not be averse to the fitting of a combination lock so long as the number remained readily available.

Finally, I would prefer that any gate be fitted a little way underground so as not to detract from the natural beauty on the surface. This should not be a problem as there is a sharp dogleg partway
down the entrance climb (it is at this point that the bulk of the projected concreting is planned to take place).

How about the compromise suggestion put forward by Andy Sparrows whereby Ogof Drws Cefn is used as an exit only? What are you views on that?

The exit only option did indeed come under consideration during our attempted negotiations with the PDCMG (under the auspices of Cambrian Caving Council) five years ago but was quickly dismissed as being of limited usefulness and intrinsically unworkable.

From our own viewpoint, such a system would clearly fail to fulfil Drws Cefn's primary function of aiding exploration to the fullest degree. Specifically, you would still be forced to waste valuable time and effort at the start of each trip pointlessly grinding over the same old ground.

Also, there are the practicalities of where you would leave your car on the surface to consider.If you left it at Keeper's Pond you would have a long walk to begin your trip, if you left it at the Lamb and Fox you would have an even worse walk in shitty caving gear when you are knackered. Not insurmountable by any means if you are just doing a five hour through trip but fairly unappealing after a 14 hour digging or surveying trip.

For their part, the PDCMG dismissed the idea for two reasons.

Firstly, they do not want any more entrances at all, particularly in the SE quadrant of the cave.

Secondly, they pointed out (quite rightly) that such a system would potentially be open to the utmost abuse. For example, there would be nothing to stop anyone from leaving the gate open at the end of a trip (after exiting) so that another party could go into the cave via that entrance the following day or later in the week. Also, there would be nothing to prevent a party from sending their fastest members into the cave via the old entrance and then opening the gate from the inside for everybody else.

Finally (and we were in semi-agreement on this), such a system would lead to a plethora of through trips (all in the same direction) so creating yet more unnecessary footfall within the cave along one particular route.

What do I think now?

Well, I would say that all the points I have mooted above are still as relevant now as they were then.

But (as someone said to me the other day concerning the potential gating of Drws Cefn at all), it would certainly be preferable to concrete!


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Duncan Price on July 09, 2014, 03:45:03 pm
For what it is worth, I cannot see any good reason why the Drws Cefn entrance cannot simply be gated and locked either with the same lock used for the Ogof Draenen entrance or both entrances be fitted with combination locks or "Derbyshire key" fastenings.

Although I haven't been down Ogof Draenen for some time (in part due to all the politics surrounding the place).  I have done some original exploration in the cave, participated in the survey work, helped dig open the Nunnery Entrance and also dug at Ogof Drws Cefn when the land around it was owned by the coal board.  I've done through trips from both the 2nd and 3rd entrances to the 1st one.  The first one is a bit short in terms of through-trips, the second didn't take 5 hours.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 09, 2014, 04:08:52 pm
I've done through trips from both the 2nd and 3rd entrances to the 1st one.  The first one is a bit short in terms of through-trips, the second didn't take 5 hours.

The second through trip you mention (Draenen - Drws Cefn or vice versa) would only take 5 hours or more if you went somewhere else en route (e.g. one of the round trips). Going slowly, it could easily be done in not much more than 2 hours and you could make it much shorter than that if you really wanted to. That is why it is not a particularly attractive tourist trip as such and should in no way be compared to OFD along those lines. The 5 hour figure given earlier was just to provide contrast to the length of time required for worthwhile working (digging and surveying) trips, all of which would still extend well into double figures even using Drws as both entry and exit point.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 09, 2014, 10:48:14 pm
I was not at the last PDCMG meeting and have only in last few days noticed this thread.

I have looked at the minuets of the last meeting - there is no mention of concreting the entrance to Drws Cefn.   (aside from the CCC letter)

I have not been to every meeting since the connection was made to Draenen but looking at previous minutes I can see no mention of concreting the entrance to Drws Cefn.   I see only a gate mentioned.

I have heard rumors of an intention to concrete the entrance, and had I been at the recent meeting I would have sought clarification of PDCMG's intentions regarding access to Draenen via Drws Cefn. 

What angers me is that it seems to me the PDCMG Committee seem to think they can decide amongst themselves to concrete the entrance without any consultation with member clubs.

A resolution was passed many years ago, almost as soon as the connection was made, giving PDCMG the 'power' to control access to Draenen from any second (or subsequent) entrance.   I forget the exact words but since they are very much what I scribbled on a bit of paper at the time I know what they were intended to mean at the time.   That PDCMG controls access (by any means it sees fit???) not the Committee.

There has been no vote to concrete the entrance.   Cwmbran would certainly have voted against this as would many others.

There has not even been discussion about concreting the entrance at any meeting I've been to since the gate was agreed upon.

If it is true a commercial company has already been approached regarding alterations to Drws Cefn then it is true that PDCMG Committee is acting according to its own agenda.   It is not even interested in the opinion of member clubs as it has never asked the question.

I can have no confidence in such a Committee.   There is a case for the existence of a new CMG that represents the interests of cavers in general, rather than an elite few.

Also.  IT IS IMPORTANT that once a new surface entrance is made to a system, (especially one like Draenen) that it be left open for rescue purposes.   Its existence can save lives and money.

To concrete the entrance to a cave that that is a little bit older than the existence of the PDCMG is an act of vandalism in itself.   Hence the current PDCMG constitution in itself should be sufficient to prevent this happening.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 09, 2014, 11:18:10 pm
What angers me is that it seems to me the PDCMG Committee seem to think they can decide amongst themselves to concrete the entrance without any consultation with member clubs.

A resolution was passed many years ago, almost as soon as the connection was made, giving PDCMG the 'power' to control access to Draenen from any second (or subsequent) entrance.   I forget the exact words but since they are very much what I scribbled on a bit of paper at the time I know what they were intended to mean at the time.   That PDCMG controls access (by any means it sees fit???) not the Committee.

See the access agreement with the landowner of the land where (now 3) entrances (original one gated, 2nd one blocked)  reside:-

http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_lic_red.pdf (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_lic_red.pdf)

Section 2.10. Entrances 2 and 3 are on CRoW land.

PDCMG seem to not be bothered about changing the status quo by possibly renegotiating things with the landowner. Not sure why, but it is being looked into by peeps in the know... The decision of the QC regarding CRow access to caves will be important as a starting point. The plans to block the 3rd entrance have been put on hold by PDCMG (see the minutes) until this opinion has been received. Nuff said.  :coffee:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Tony_B on July 09, 2014, 11:28:42 pm

If it is true a commercial company has already been approached regarding alterations to Drws Cefn then it is true that PDCMG Committee is acting according to its own agenda.   It is not even interested in the opinion of member clubs as it has never asked the question.


I can't verify Alkapton's statement, and to be honest I had been trying to keep out of this as much as possible, but...

A few years ago when the Drws Cefn issue first blew up I was, at the time, Chairman of SWCC. When the PDCMG convened a meeting to discuss the matter, an SWCC member asked that the club committee form a view on the issue and brief the club's PDCMG rep accordingly. We held a sensible and reasoned discussion, at which the club rep was present, and took a vote (in SWCC committee) as to how we wanted our vote (at PDCMG) to be used.

After the PDCMG meeting, SWCC took some flak from a prominent member of the PDCMG for voting as we did. Some of that was directed at me personally, the clear implication being that I should have directed the SWCC committee to vote in a particular way. This struck me as a rather odd interpretation of democracy.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on July 10, 2014, 12:11:49 am
Quote
http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_lic_red.pdf (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_lic_red.pdf)

So the owner stated as Pwlldu Conservation Limited is a person who owns the land and has set this legal entity up to negotiate with PDMCG? Am assuming this is the case and is totally separate from PDMCG.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 10, 2014, 12:43:32 am
The decision of the QC regarding CRow access to caves will be important as a starting point. The plans to block the 3rd entrance have been put on hold by PDCMG (see the minutes) until this opinion has been received. Nuff said.

You need to read the relevant section of the minutes (8. AOB) very carefully. It does indeed say (in two different places) that Chris Seal (CSS rep) "suggested" that no further action should take place before the QC's decision is known. In fact, great efforts were made to persuade the Secretary to agree to this but she steadfastly refused to do so, merely saying (as stated in the minutes) that nothing was likely to occur before then due to the timescale involved. She also went to great lengths to make it clear (again as stated in the minutes) that preparations would continue regardless.

I received the following verbal report from Paul Shea (GOG observer) later the same evening:

"They are busting to concrete Drws, absolutely gagging for it, no chance at all of them changing their minds, CRoW review or not."
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavemanmike on July 10, 2014, 01:10:49 am
maybe the pdmcg should get a vote of no confidence by the relevant parties. just a thought
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 10, 2014, 01:17:43 am
maybe the pdmcg should get a vote of no confidence by the relevant parties. just a thought

Who are the relevant parties Are they Here??
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 10, 2014, 08:11:38 am
maybe the pdmcg should get a vote of no confidence by the relevant parties. just a thought

Read the access agreement. The only relevant party is the landowner who owns all the land with the 3 entrances on it. If he won't change his mind there's not much you can do.

PDCMG are using the presence of bats to exclude cavers from new entrances as well, under the excuse that the cavers will disturb the bats. As I've said before if they put another crappy structure in Drws Cefn like the one they placed over the Nunnery (2nd) entrance, that will disturb the bats more than cavers ever will. (Especially given the proven low footfall...)  :coffee:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 10, 2014, 08:35:33 am
(Especially given the proven low footfall...)  :coffee:

Mel, I agree with the jist of what you're saying, but this "proven low footfall" is not a reliable statistic. Ogof Drws Cefn may well have been open for a while, but its use has never been officially sanctioned by PDCMG or the landowner. Nor has it been publicised as available for use. Most cavers will have respected this situation and stayed away - I've never used it. If the entrance were brought into official use, footfall would quite likely increase dramatically. Through-trippers would use it and diggers/touristers would use it to access the south east areas. More use of the entrance is exactly what Nig et al are trying to promote, after all!

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on July 10, 2014, 09:03:37 am
(Especially given the proven low footfall...)  :coffee:

snip..... If the entrance were brought into official use, footfall would quite likely increase dramatically.

Have you got a reason for that?

Quote
... More use of the entrance is exactly what Nig et al are trying to promote, after all!

Rhys

Are you sure about that?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: braveduck on July 10, 2014, 10:07:08 am
If any entrances  to any cave  are concreted shut , it should be done by the land owner, if any cavers are involved ,they should be thrown out of BCA and have their caving insurance revoked !
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Badlad on July 10, 2014, 10:48:25 am


The PDCMG single entrance policy must be flawed.  The cave is clearly a multiple entrance system and already has three known entrances.  There will probably be more.

King Canute tried and failed to hold back the tide.  I think the PDCMG will fail to maintain a single entrance too.  The tide of exploration is strong and they are up against a cavers desire to explore, without which remember, the cave would never have been discovered in the first place.  The reputation of the cave itself is already tarnished with many years of bad feeling and that is doing no one any good.  Time for someone in the PDCMG to stand tall, swallow some pride and put an end to this bitter divisiveness.  Whoever does this will certainly earn my respect and that of a lot of other cavers too.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 10, 2014, 11:35:54 am
If any entrances  to any cave  are concreted shut , it should be done by the land owner, if any cavers are involved ,they should be thrown out of BCA and have their caving insurance revoked !

Now let me get this right. you are saying that any cavers who are involved in complying with a landowner's wishes on how to manage his caves should be thrown out of BCA.

Is that right?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on July 10, 2014, 11:57:23 am
If any entrances  to any cave  are concreted shut , it should be done by the land owner, if any cavers are involved ,they should be thrown out of BCA and have their caving insurance revoked !

Now let me get this right. you are saying that any cavers who are involved in complying with a landowner's wishes on how to manage his caves should be thrown out of BCA.

Is that right?

You know perfectly well the Braveduck isn't saying that. He thinks that cavers should not be filling caves with concrete.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 10, 2014, 12:20:14 pm

Now let me get this right. you are saying that any cavers who are involved in complying with a landowner's wishes on how to manage his caves should be thrown out of BCA.

Is that right?


Did the landowner stipulate a "wilderness" policy too ?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 10, 2014, 12:26:10 pm
I blocked an entrance once with concrete. There was a perfectly logical reason for doing so. It stopped a spate of break-ins and vandalism. There was another highly visible entrance, visibility which deterred the idiots, that could be used so access was still possible. Once the attention given to the blocked entrance faded away, the owner was happy for us to install a much better gate which has survived for many years. I don't feel I did anything against the policies of the NCA (as it was) or anyone else. The whole thing was done in collaboration with the owner. Had we not blocked the entrance our way, the owner most likely would have taken a gurt big digger up there and made much more permanent job of it.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 10, 2014, 12:56:32 pm
(Especially given the proven low footfall...)  :coffee:

snip..... If the entrance were brought into official use, footfall would quite likely increase dramatically.

Have you got a reason for that?

Quote


... More use of the entrance is exactly what Nig et al are trying to promote, after all!

Rhys

Are you sure about that?

I can't predict the future, but I gave some plausible reasons in the post you quoted as to why footfall might increase.

Also Nig has said of Ogof Drws Cefn:

Up until now it has hardly been utilised to even a miniscule fraction of its capacity. Exploration has scarcely begun, never mind being completed.

As well as this, it's being stated that use of the entrance is to be legitimised for the good of all cavers etc. I think the intention is for the entrance to actually be USED! If it is open and legitimised, it will be used.

Anyway, this is silly. My concern was that Mel was quoting a "fact" about proven footfall which is far from proven. It's not her fault; she's been fed a line.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on July 10, 2014, 02:11:07 pm
There's been a fair bit of that in this thread and others about Draenen, Rhys. Along with a lot of total crap, supposition dressed up as other peoples actions/intentions, spin and hidden agendas on the part of the multi entrance lobby.

The single entrance lobby don't post here so don't know if we'd be treated to the same from them.

It's not what their objectives are, I just don't like the way they go about things.

Be careful what you believe people.

Sent from the 'middle ground'. (see one of Ian's earlier posts)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 10, 2014, 02:23:25 pm
  I think the PDCMG will fail to maintain a single entrance too. 

I think you're right that, in the end, the time will come when the single entrance policy falls. However, at the present time, the constituent clubs that make up PDCMG have voted to enforce that policy - and they have the support of the landowner. Democracy and the current interpretation of the law is on their side.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 10, 2014, 07:33:43 pm
OK read the access agreement with the landowner.   Is that meant to justify a little clique concreting an entrance? NO, it definitely does not do that.

It shows that the landowner didn't want entrances added to Draenen (I wonder why) But an entrance has been added.

The landowner was happy for it to be gated, and it was gated for a short time until either Travelers removed it for beer tokens or diggers removed it for access or someone removed it to piss off the landowner enough to get the entrance concreted. 

My point is PDCMG were in compliance with the access agreement only until the gate was removed.   After that time access to Ogof Draenen is completely uncontrolled.   This is certainly against the landowners wishes.

Speaking to the son of one of the landowners the issue is not one of "There shall only be one entrance", it is one of control, of being safe.

The complete failure of PDCMG to replace the gate, the failure to put a log book in the right place with respect to Drws Cefn, the total failure of PDCMG to control access to Draenen just goes to prove how completely incompetent the PDCMG Committee is.

Is this delay just a deliberate ploy to get the landowner so pissed off that "There is only one entrance to Draenen" lobby get to party with concrete again?

No!  we need a competent Management Committee that complies with the landowners wishes.   Not a bunch of University jerks who think that "Wilderness" when applied to a European cave has some actual meaning.   At no time when in Draenen are you more than a mile from another human being.   "Wilderness" means nothing.   What does mean something is SSI.   That means something, it means the place is important.    Wilderness, what is that? Tundra? Antarctica?   The Gobi Desert?   It don't mean a hole in the ground that takes less than a day to reach the furthest point.   We is cavers we don't care about meaningless terms the same way elitist snobs do - we care about reality.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 10, 2014, 07:48:12 pm
And if there is any doubt, I contend that the PDCMG, or rather its Committee, has broken more terms of the present access agreement than any digger ever has.

Shame upon them.

May they all resign and crawl back into whatever holes they crawled out of.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 10, 2014, 07:56:30 pm
Oh, and don't forget, PDCMG Committee do not give a shit about caver safety.

They will only maintain the fixed aids they have installed.    They will not maintain the fixed aids cave rescue installed (Darling Rifts - Big Bang for example).

In other words they are only interested in the fixed aids they (the elite) use.   Not those that are there for us mere mortals.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 10, 2014, 08:24:58 pm
Alkapton, you are a club rep on PDCMG aren't you?

How about you gather some like-minded club reps together and vote some other officers in next time the opportunity comes around. It's in your power...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Olaf on July 10, 2014, 08:26:14 pm
Skimming through this thread and all the shit people throw at each other based on rumours and anecdotes, does anyone really wonder why Draenen is so little visited? According to the letter that initiated this discussion, less than 200 people go to one of Britain's longest caves every year, and rightly so! The bottom line of this whole discussion is "Stay away from Draenen! And stay well clear of cave politics!"...


And it's really no surprise that one of the two parties, in this case the "single-entrance-party", completely ignores this thread/forum...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 10, 2014, 08:32:47 pm
I am usually an observer.    Only if O. Clarke is absent will I take place of Club Rep.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on July 10, 2014, 08:58:24 pm
Skimming through this thread and all the shit people throw at each other based on rumours and anecdotes, does anyone really wonder why Draenen is so little visited? According to the letter that initiated this discussion, less than 200 people go to one of Britain's longest caves every year, and rightly so! The bottom line of this whole discussion is "Stay away from Draenen! And stay well clear of cave politics!"...


And it's really no surprise that one of the two parties, in this case the "single-entrance-party", completely ignores this thread/forum...
The absence of a decent survey doesnt help anyone either...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 11, 2014, 09:08:57 am
Global Moderator Comment  Now, I know that some people consider that the lack of a survey and the entrance issues are inextricably linked, but they are two quite separate aspects to the overall problem. I've set up a survey thread so we can discuss that issue all over again! Please let's try to keep each thread on those specific topics.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on July 11, 2014, 11:43:14 am
In answer to the oft-asked question "what does the landowner want"

Quote
Speaking to the son of one of the landowners the issue is not one of "There shall only be one entrance

The landowners have always said that they want what the majority of cavers want. As early as the meeting of 26 Nov 2000 it was minuted on item 6. "A request for a second entrance" that "The landowners ... will support the group in whatever decision it makes".

Unfortunately, Pwlldu Conservation Ltd has assumed, or been been persuaded, that the PDCMG is a body truly representative of those who might like to cave under their (and others) land, which it probably isn't, as Alkapton suggests (although describing them as "just a bunch of University jerks" does not do justice to the other club members and observers who still try to provide some balance). It was set up to legitimise the diggers' initial unauthorised activity on Coal Authority land, widened in scope to include other clubs active in exploration then and since but, intentionally or not, with a built-in voting majority to the original group which have managed to entrench their will, largely through lack of any curb on time that voting officials can serve and some lack of commitment from the (few) local clubs.


Olaf: it is indeed sad that the PCCMG have shrunk from open discussion of their case (although not above unpleasantness behind the scenes, as TonyB, for instance, recalled), but they have expressed their love of wilderness...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 11, 2014, 12:21:20 pm
In answer to the oft-asked question "what does the landowner want"

Quote
Speaking to the son of one of the landowners the issue is not one of "There shall only be one entrance

The landowners have always said that they want what the majority of cavers want. As early as the meeting of 26 Nov 2000 it was minuted on item 6. "A request for a second entrance" that "The landowners ... will support the group in whatever decision it makes".

Unfortunately, Pwlldu Conservation Ltd has assumed, or been been persuaded, that the PDCMG is a body truly representative of those who might like to cave under their (and others) land, which it probably isn't, as Alkapton suggests (although describing them as "just a bunch of University jerks" does not do justice to the other club members and observers who still try to provide some balance). It was set up to legitimise the diggers' initial unauthorised activity on Coal Authority land, widened in scope to include other clubs active in exploration then and since but, intentionally or not, with a built-in voting majority to the original group which have managed to entrench their will, largely through lack of any curb on time that voting officials can serve and some lack of commitment from the (few) local clubs.


Olaf: it is indeed sad that the PCCMG have shrunk from open discussion of their case (although not above unpleasantness behind the scenes, as TonyB, for instance, recalled), but they have expressed their love of wilderness...

Martin, thanks for reposting this. I must apologise that some of your comments ended up in the survey thread where they don't really belong - I'll remove them from there now you've re-posted, if that's okay with you.

I agree that the PDCMG voting practices in the past were a little shady and it wasn't clear who actually was eligible to vote for officers at an AGM. I was under the impression that this had been nailed down though in recent years, under the present secretary. Is this not the case? As regards time limited posts, I agree it is healthy for posts and officers to rotate a little. However, I'm not aware of any caving committee that insists on this within their rules/constitution. It's not uncommon for some people to serve indefinitely.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on July 11, 2014, 12:56:41 pm
Rhys: Yes, please do edit the post in the other thread to keep it on topic.

On voting rights, yes, attempts were made to clarify these when it was obvious that gross irregularities had happened on key occasions, but I think my point about the iniquitous distinction between a Survey Offiicer (vote) and a Survey Recorder (no vote)  stands.

On time limited posts, it has to be said that few cavers want to serve on committees at all and the many who don't should appreciate the efforts of those who do. Long service can lead to valuable insight and guidance for newcomers, but we have also seen recently in both CNCC and CCC how it can become inward-looking and self-serving. In the wider world, of course, overlong service tends to associate with dictatorship. 

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 11, 2014, 01:25:41 pm
If you could expand on how previous officers of Cambrian CC have been self-serving, that would be most enlightening. It's quite an accusation to make.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 11, 2014, 01:48:55 pm
Going off-topic a bit here, Rhys.

Do you want to start another thread?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 11, 2014, 02:05:53 pm
Going off-topic a bit here, Rhys.

True. Perhaps if Martin wishes to substantiate his allegation he could do it in a new thread.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on July 11, 2014, 02:14:40 pm
Sorry, neither of the survey roles have voting rights according to the latest constitution.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on July 11, 2014, 02:53:12 pm
If you could expand on how previous officers of Cambrian CC have been self-serving, that would be most enlightening. It's quite an accusation to make.

I think all the spleen vented on this forum already says says quite enough: better a curtain be drawn over the past and a new start made.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 11, 2014, 02:55:10 pm
Maybe serious unsubstantiated accusations should be DELETED forthwith, especially if the person making them doesn't want spleens to be vented more than has been done already?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on July 11, 2014, 03:09:27 pm
Ah, I see what you're getting at - I meant PDCMG, not CCC. Apologies all round.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 11, 2014, 11:36:02 pm
(Especially given the proven low footfall...)  :coffee:

Mel, I agree with the jist of what you're saying, but this "proven low footfall" is not a reliable statistic. Ogof Drws Cefn may well have been open for a while, but its use has never been officially sanctioned by PDCMG or the landowner. Nor has it been publicised as available for use. Most cavers will have respected this situation and stayed away - I've never used it. If the entrance were brought into official use, footfall would quite likely increase dramatically. Through-trippers would use it and diggers/touristers would use it to access the south east areas. More use of the entrance is exactly what Nig et al are trying to promote, after all!

Rhys

I've just been reading this:-

http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/Secretary%20Report%20100703.pdf (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/Secretary%20Report%20100703.pdf)

and found this:-

"Since late 2009 Stuart France has installed 8 caver counters within Ogof Draenen
(see CSS newletter 53(2) March 2010). These are located in the Entrance Series,
Gilwern Passage, Indiana Highway,Round Trip, Rift Chamber, Lucky 13, Drws
Cefn, and Wessex.
"

So I would say it is a bit more reliable than you say. You can reach it through the oucc web site here:-

http://www.oucc.org.uk/draenen/draenenmain.htm (http://www.oucc.org.uk/draenen/draenenmain.htm)

There is some very informative stuff on there, though it seems to stop after 2010.

Regards, Mel.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 11, 2014, 11:49:01 pm
My point is that if you change the status of Drws Cefn, this is quite likely to have an effect on footfall. None of Stuart's counters have been operational during a period in which Drws Cefn is a "legitimate" entrance.

But, whatever - I've given an alternative view. If you don't like it, fine.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 12, 2014, 01:25:59 am
Ogof Draenen is a World Class cave system.   Arguably (possibly) it is the largest system in the UK and I think still in the top 20 of caves world wide, and a potential to become a much bigger system.

I have heard the son of one landowner speak with pride about the visits cavers from far off lands (specifically China, now a good few years ago) have made to Draenen.

Looking at the log book it is remarkable how few people visit Draenen.  It is even more remarkable how few foreign expeditions are made to the cave.   

Unfortunately the lack of a log book at Drws Cefn means it is impossible to say how many people have used that entrance.   Specifically it is impossible to say how many cavers have made one of the through trips now possible in the cave.   The only thing we can be certain of is that any caver who has made a through trip has not made an entry in the log book, presumably for fear of possible sanctions from PDCMG.

The number is far greater than one, and far less than 1000.    I would not be surprised if the actual number were close to twice the number who have done a circular trip, simply because it makes sense to learn the two halves of a circle before trying the whole thing.

Most visiting cavers will want to do a through trip.    There is nothing terribly sensitive that can be damaged by the inexperienced making such a trip.   

The argument that Drws Cefn allows quicker access to sensitive areas of the cave is completely bogus because one of the caves' most sensitive areas is entered just before the 'official' entrance series ends.   Good management has meant (with the exception of an unfortunate accident many years ago - possibly before the introduction of tape) no damage has occurred.

Greater footfall in Ogof Draenen would not be a bad thing.   At least one landowner would quite like to see greater use of the cave, especially if it means greater use of his pub, or increased bragging rights (eg. "I just had an expedition of 20 cavers from Viet Nam visit.").   Unfortunately the existence of Draenen has not increased his trade to any real extent.

The issue is one of good cave management.   Do people want to visit sensitive areas?   Do most just want the "Trade Route"?    Do we need to take action to protect a certain area of cave?

Good cave management is not concreting an entrance so nobody can use it.   Good cave management is controlling the use of entrances.    In this case that has not even been attempted.    Placing a log book in Drws Cefn would not have encouraged greater use of the entrance, it would have made an accurate count of caver numbers possible and a better idea of the areas of cave visited.

In the hypothetical event Drws Cefn be gated complete control can still be kept of visiting cavers movements within the cave.   Many access controlled caves have far greater access control than Draenen.

PDCMG know who has a key.   They require that visitors make an entry in the log book.   The key can be taken away for any infringement to the access agreement.    So presumably in the case of a gated Drws Cefn the PDCMG would know exactly who has visited Strawberry Fields.   

In order to protect, say Strawberry Fields, the PDCMG might want to say one of the following i) Please do not enter Strawberry Fields.   ii) We have a leader system for that part of the cave,   iii) Please keep numbers in a party below a certain number, or some other suitable restriction.

Concrete might seem an easy answer, but it is the worst possible answer.   Even worse than doing nothing at all.   And given that what, four years? have passed with nothing at all happening it seems a worse answer by the second.

Cavers will respect restrictions, some might even relish the thought of becoming a 'leader' for particular section(s) of cave.  Access Management - Cave Management, should amount to the same thing, should be intelligent Management.   Concrete is neither Management nor intelligent.

Greater footfall would be a good thing not just for Welsh Caving but for Ogof Draenen itself - if properly managed.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 12, 2014, 03:04:23 am
My point is that if you change the status of Drws Cefn, this is quite likely to have an effect on footfall.

You keep harping on about this projected increase in footfall, Rhys. Tell me, why do you regard this as being of such significance? As Alkapton points out, increased footfall in the cave as a whole cannot really be regarded as such a bad thing, surely? At the present time, an average of only five or six people a week are going down there. Do you honestly think that a system of such complexity and size could not cope with an increase on that? Of course it could, easily. And, in the future, any extra footfall would be even more spread out because there will be more cave to visit and more entrances to enter it by (believe me, there will).

So far as Drws Cefn goes, there is nothing of any significance that could be damaged or destroyed so long as people respect the tapes and exercise basic care whilst caving. In this respect, it is no different to anywhere else in the cave. If anything, it is better protected than a lot of places. One of the very first things we did five years ago (immediately after making the connection) was to devote several trips specifically to not only taping the new stuff but also vastly improving the taping on the Draenen side (in anticipation of increased traffic). We even made a point of recruiting other cavers with special knowledge of modern conservation techniques to help with this to ensure we got it right.

If you are going to use the fear of increased footfall as justification for concreting Drws Cefn then you might as well go the whole hog and concrete the original entrance too. You will then have a perfectly preserved 70 km cave system (with the exception of everything that has been destroyed over the last twenty years) for generations to come. (Well, at least until the next new entrance is found!)

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 12, 2014, 08:33:07 am
You keep harping on about this projected increase in footfall, Rhys. Tell me, why do you regard this as being of such significance?


I couldn't really care less. But, the Cambrian CC letter cites low footfall as a reason for not blocking the entrance. Mel and others have picked up on this spin. It's not the footfall, but the spin that concerns me. That's all.

The Cambrian CC letter is a bit of a dog's breakfast in many regards. If they'd stuck to the key, strong message of open access and multiple entrances - which is a popular principle, they'd have been better off. However, they've engaged in spin and relied on flimsy arguments; damaging their own credibility in the process.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 12, 2014, 09:43:02 am
The Cambrian Caving Council represents all caving interests in Wales, not just the "strong open access" camp.

Suggesting a gate instead of concreting the entrance is a reasonable compromise which could solve the "problem" for both "camps" and facilitate access for the "middle ground".

A win/win/win scenario ....

What's wrong with that ?

 ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 12, 2014, 09:51:59 am
The proposal isn't a bad one. Just lose the spin.

You may be able to justify calling it a compromise solution, but I don't imagine single entrance people will see it as a compromise. What's in it for them?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 12, 2014, 09:58:43 am
The Cambrian Caving Council represents all caving interests in Wales, not just the "strong open access" camp.

Suggesting a gate instead of concreting the entrance is a reasonable compromise which could solve the "problem" for both "camps" and facilitate access for the "middle ground".

A win/win/win scenario ....

What's wrong with that ?

 ;)

Ian

On this forum I speak just for me. But this is how I see it:

The landowner, who has the right to decide, does not want another entrance to Ogof Draenen to be open and used.

Gating 'contentious' entrances in Wales seems to lead to a high degree of vandalism, breaking of gates and the requirement to replace locks at frequent intervals.

Thus the proposal would seem to be Lose/Lose for the landowner and for the caving body responsible for maintaining any gates and locks.

So that's what I see is wrong with that

...

;)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: jasonbirder on July 12, 2014, 11:19:02 am
Quote
The landowner, who has the right to decide, does not want another entrance to Ogof Draenen to be open and used.

A landowner who doesn't want canoeists on his stretch of River doesn't have the right to dam the river or drain it to prevent people canoeing on it...he has the option of taking action against people who use his land without permission...

A landowner who doesn't want people climbing a crag on his land doesn't have the right to dynamite it to a pile of rubble to prevent people climbing on it...he has the option of taking action against people who use his land without permission...

A landowner who doesn't want tourists walking up to appreciate an ancient stone circle on his land doesn't have the right to demolish the stones/drag them away and destroy the monument merely to stop people coming and admiring it...

Do you see where I'm going with this?

As one of the UK's major Cave Systems is undoubtedly on a par with a cliff...a stretch of river...a stone circle...so why should the land owner have the right to eradicate part of it by filling it in with concrete...and laudable though acceding to landowners wishes may be...why on earth would any caver want to be party to it...other than childish contrariness...or petty minded stubbornness...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 12, 2014, 11:55:56 am
I'm baffled by how the non-caving(?) landowner decided to opt for concreting, he must have listened to 'advice' from a caver??
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 12, 2014, 12:16:59 pm
The landowner, who has the right to decide, does not want another entrance to Ogof Draenen to be open and used.

Quote
A landowner who doesn't want canoeists on his stretch of River doesn't have the right to dam the river or drain it to prevent people canoeing on it...he has the option of taking action against people who use his land without permission...


Depending on circumstances, he may well have the right to wall off access routes.

A landowner who doesn't want people climbing a crag on his land doesn't have the right to dynamite it to a pile of rubble to prevent people climbing on it...he has the option of taking action against people who use his land without permission...

He may well have; I take it you've heard of quarries?

A landowner who doesn't want tourists walking up to appreciate an ancient stone circle on his land doesn't have the right to demolish the stones/drag them away and destroy the monument merely to stop people coming and admiring it...

Again, he may well, depending on circumstances, have the right to wall the land off.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Well, you've laboured the point enough. You are wrong, though. AFAIK there is no plan to destroy Drews Cefn, merely one to put in place a wall that might just be proof against most attempts at vandalism.

As you will be aware, gates in Wales seem to be prone to vandalism; recent threads on this very site demonstrate that.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 12, 2014, 12:57:05 pm
I'm baffled by how the non-caving(?) landowner decided to opt for concreting, he must have listened to 'advice' from a caver??

It does seems to take quite a stretch of the imagination to believe  that the landowner came up with this all by himself and then approached the PDCMG and asked them to concrete it especially  as it seems to align perfectly with their "wilderness" policy and single entrance policy.

To answer the point made by Rhys - "what's in it for them?" (referring to the single entrance people) - well, I can say a few of things;

1) They are likely to be a small minority of the caving community (probably similar to the opposite camp)
2) The CCC are trying to put the best interests of "cavers" to the forefront (not either niche party)
3) The single entrance people can, of course, ignore Drws Cefn and use only a single entrance (and, bingo, they have what they want)

Is it really necessary to seal off an entrance to such an important cave to satisfy the whim of so few ?

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Duncan Price on July 12, 2014, 01:05:27 pm
...None of Stuart's counters have been operational during a period in which Drws Cefn is a "legitimate" entrance...

Stuart's counters have been operational during a period in which Drws Cefn is an entrance.

There's enough data to show that logbooks are not a reliable source of "footfall."

http://www.chelseaspelaeo.org.uk/Newsletters/Vol52/Vol52_No5_May2010.pdf (http://www.chelseaspelaeo.org.uk/Newsletters/Vol52/Vol52_No5_May2010.pdf)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 12, 2014, 01:10:29 pm
...None of Stuart's counters have been operational during a period in which Drws Cefn is a "legitimate" entrance...

Stuart's counters have been operational during a period in which Drws Cefn is an entrance.

There's enough data to show that logbooks are not a reliable source of "footfall."

http://www.chelseaspelaeo.org.uk/Newsletters/Vol52/Vol52_No5_May2010.pdf (http://www.chelseaspelaeo.org.uk/Newsletters/Vol52/Vol52_No5_May2010.pdf)

Agreed.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on July 12, 2014, 01:14:32 pm
Reading the article written by Fleur Loveridge,  it is clear that the PDCMG voted in favour of closing Drws Cefn and THEN approached the landowner .....

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 12, 2014, 01:21:35 pm
My point is that if you change the status of Drws Cefn, this is quite likely to have an effect on footfall. None of Stuart's counters have been operational during a period in which Drws Cefn is a "legitimate" entrance.

But, whatever - I've given an alternative view. If you don't like it, fine.

Rhys, I appreciate what u r saying but:-

1. Drws Cefn has never been a "legitimate" (officially accepted) entrance. However, it has been open for several years.

2. How do you know that " None of Stuart's counters have been operational"? I have not been "fed a line". I am going off Dave Tyson's (CCC) letter to Fleur (PDCMG). I am also in contact with Stuart. (CCC). How do you know that you haven't been "fed a line"? Ah, I have just seen Duncan Price's post, so they have been operational then! So Dave Tyson's statements were reflective of the facts...

3. Nunnery entrance should be re-opened and a bat/caver friendly gate fitted without a padlock to minimize admin, just bolted shut with a logbook inside.

Some great posts have been made above by the likes of Alkapton and NigR. Following on from them I find it terrible that the grade 5 survey seems to have stalled, (I think in 2005, IIRC), As was posted above, this is a world class cave and exploration and esp. surveying should have been encouraged, not discouraged as it seems to have been. About 26km of cave was surveyed to grade 5 by OUCC, before it was stopped for some reason. A great shame.

It appears the landowners son supports further exploration and it would be great if more use of the local pub was made by thirsty cavers, which would support the case for more open access too. More cavers = more trade for the pub!

And as I've said before concrete is not a solution, a proper bat/caver friendly gate requiring a 'Derbyshire Key' is and won't need people to vandalise it, cos it just needs an adjustable spanner to open!. This isn't rocket science, you know. Just needs a few people to work together for the good of everybody.

The PDCMG are 'conserving' the cave for who? What scientific work has actually been carried out down there? What studies of sediments? What dating of Speleothems? What studies of bat roosts/numbers? What observations of air flows through the system?

In the Peak we have bolted down entrance gates where necessary + installed logbooks to monitor visits, air quality, etc. (They DO get filled in!)) Access is otherwise generally open to all.

And another entrance to OD will of course be made eventually, esp. if Drws Cefn is made inaccessible to cavers. It is inevitable and understandable!

Regards, Mel.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 12, 2014, 01:28:36 pm
 :weep:
I'm baffled by how the non-caving(?) landowner decided to opt for concreting, he must have listened to 'advice' from a caver??

He listened to 'advice' from the PDCMG.

AFAIK there is no plan to destroy Drews Cefn, merely one to put in place a wall that might just be proof against most attempts at vandalism.

As you will be aware, gates in Wales seem to be prone to vandalism; recent threads on this very site demonstrate that.

The plan is to "permanently seal" Drws Cefn. There are references to this throughout the PDCMG minutes (although these are, not surprisingly, sparse) and within internal communications sent to member clubs since 2010.

This will be done by blocking the entrance in two places. Firstly, at the surface, leaving only space in a grill big enough for bats. Secondly, partway down the entrance shaft where there is a marked dogleg, again leaving a small letter box sized hole in the concrete for  only bats to get through.

A gate is not part of the plan and never has been. By its very nature, a gate can be opened to permit access and it is this, above all else, that these plans have been formulated to prevent.

So far as Drws Cefn is concerned, the PDCMG have no desire whatsoever to control access, merely to deny it.

Reading the article written by Fleur Loveridge,  it is clear that the PDCMG voted in favour of closing Drws Cefn and THEN approached the landowner .....

This is correct.

(Apologies if some of what I have said here overlaps some of the other recent posts but all of those have gone up since I started typing this!).



Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 12, 2014, 01:35:46 pm
Nig: Thanks for posting some details of what is actually physically planned for Drws Cefn. I'd not seen the plans and too many people are guessing at what is intended.

Mel: I'm not going to attempt to explain the footfall/counters issue to you again. Read what I said and think about it. In my view, you're swallowing lines from Cambrian CC without questioning them.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 12, 2014, 02:10:44 pm
:weep:
I'm baffled by how the non-caving(?) landowner decided to opt for concreting, he must have listened to 'advice' from a caver??

He listened to 'advice' from the PDCMG.


Not being familiar with the recent (25yrs) developments in the region, I am not really in a position to comment, but I'm going to anyway;

It seems to me from the trends on this thread that PDCMG is run by a bunch of control freaks that have very little understanding of the ethos of cavers and caving.

The use of the word "wilderness" is an Americanism, and its application to anywhere in the U.K. is totally ridiculous.

The landowners have been been taking advice from p*ll*cks and should be made aware of this, maybe from a sober and well organised group of PROPER cavers who are willing to take on the job of managing access to the approval of the majority of RESPONSIBLE cavers.

Concreting is not a permanent solution, anyone with access to a good Hilti drill and the right chemicals can soon make it go away, maybe causing more damage than the original plan for prevention.

I am not sanctioning any of these actions, just pointing out possibilities.

By the way, how can it be claimed that the system is internationally important without an easily available detailed survey to prove it?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 12, 2014, 02:41:20 pm

It seems to me from the trends on this thread that PDCMG is run by a bunch of control freaks that have very little understanding of the ethos of cavers and caving.


Do you know any of them? I doubt it. I suggest you get to know anyone before using such terms about them.

The landowners have been been taking advice from p*ll*cks and should be made aware of this, maybe from a sober and well organised group of PROPER cavers who are willing to take on the job of managing access to the approval of the majority of RESPONSIBLE cavers.

Just make sure that you are not wearing a monkey mask when talking to them, they tend not to like that.

By the way, how can it be claimed that the system is internationally important without an easily available detailed survey to prove it?

Good question. Ask those people who have the data, just don't bother asking any of those who helped with the survey but have not been allowed to see it.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 12, 2014, 03:05:16 pm

It seems to me from the trends on this thread that PDCMG is run by a bunch of control freaks that have very little understanding of the ethos of cavers and caving.


Do you know any of them? I doubt it. I suggest you get to know anyone before using such terms about them.


As stated, just going by the trends on this thread, don't really want to know anyone who wants to concrete a cave.

The landowners have been been taking advice from p*ll*cks and should be made aware of this, maybe from a sober and well organised group of PROPER cavers who are willing to take on the job of managing access to the approval of the majority of RESPONSIBLE cavers.

Just make sure that you are not wearing a monkey mask when talking to them, they tend not to like that.

That sounds like the voice of experience, have you tried it?
 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 12, 2014, 03:40:44 pm


Just make sure that you are not wearing a monkey mask when talking to them, they tend not to like that.

That sounds like the voice of experience, have you tried it?

Not me, no, but I am less certain about other people who might post on this site.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Hughie on July 12, 2014, 03:42:53 pm


As one of the UK's major Cave Systems is undoubtedly on a par with a cliff...a stretch of river...a stone circle...so why should the land owner have the right to eradicate part of it by filling it in with concrete...and laudable though acceding to landowners wishes may be...why on earth would any caver want to be party to it...other than childish contrariness...or petty minded stubbornness...

The landowners insurers may well consider it a perceived risk and consider it requires additional means of security.

Don't think it won't happen - it is.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on July 12, 2014, 04:25:00 pm
CBA to trawl through all this bumf, but sure I saw a bit stating the owners son said they wanted what was best for the cave, on the basis of advice of cavers or some such... I may be (probably) am not getting that not quite right, but it does seem the advice the owners are getting is very partisan, and not really what might be best for cavers, caving and the cave?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 12, 2014, 04:35:49 pm


Just make sure that you are not wearing a monkey mask when talking to them, they tend not to like that.

That sounds like the voice of experience, have you tried it?

Not me, no, but I am less certain about other people who might post on this site.

 :lol: :lol: Some of them may not need masks!! :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 12, 2014, 04:46:17 pm

The landowners insurers may well consider it a perceived risk and consider it requires additional means of security.

Don't think it won't happen - it is.

It depends upon who the insurer is, a soon to be published document from DCA (Pete Mellor, legal officer) should clarify to all concerned that cavers do it at their own risk.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 12, 2014, 04:58:33 pm

The landowners insurers may well consider it a perceived risk and consider it requires additional means of security.

Don't think it won't happen - it is.

It depends upon who the insurer is, a soon to be published document from DCA (Pete Mellor, legal officer) should clarify to all concerned that cavers do it at their own risk.

The Cambrian CC letter to PDCMG linked at the top of this thread suggests other wise. They advise the landowner that there might be legal repercussions on them should an accident occur within the cave.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 12, 2014, 05:19:47 pm

The landowners insurers may well consider it a perceived risk and consider it requires additional means of security.

Don't think it won't happen - it is.

It depends upon who the insurer is, a soon to be published document from DCA (Pete Mellor, legal officer) should clarify to all concerned that cavers do it at their own risk.

The Cambrian CC letter to PDCMG linked at the top of this thread suggests other wise. They advise the landowner that there might be legal repercussions on them should an accident occur within the cave.

All the more reason for closer co-ordination between regional bodies, Pete's document has been drawn up using a good deal of legal advice and consultation with landowners, BMC, and insurers, although it is at the moment a DCA publication, maybe the BCA may take it on as a national recommendation.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 12, 2014, 05:45:44 pm

The landowners insurers may well consider it a perceived risk and consider it requires additional means of security.

Don't think it won't happen - it is.

It depends upon who the insurer is, a soon to be published document from DCA (Pete Mellor, legal officer) should clarify to all concerned that cavers do it at their own risk.

The Cambrian CC letter to PDCMG linked at the top of this thread suggests other wise. They advise the landowner that there might be legal repercussions on them should an accident occur within the cave.

All the more reason for closer co-ordination between regional bodies, Pete's document has been drawn up using a good deal of legal advice and consultation with landowners, BMC, and insurers, although it is at the moment a DCA publication, maybe the BCA may take it on as a national recommendation.

I am willing to wager that Pete's document, a copy of which passed near here recently but I haven't read it, is rather more nuanced than the one-line summary that you gave in your previous post.

Further to that, there is the kind of advice the Hughie says is being given to landowners elsewhere by their insurers. Now, if you were a landowner, whose advice would you take, that from the people who want to use your land or that from the guys who'll foot the bill should anything go wrong? Hmm, tricky that.

But, further to that, liability notwithstanding, there are landowners who, whether they can be held liable or not, do worry about people coming to harm on their land, especially children, and so will actively work to make things safer if they can.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 12, 2014, 09:35:40 pm

The landowners insurers may well consider it a perceived risk and consider it requires additional means of security.

Don't think it won't happen - it is.

It depends upon who the insurer is, a soon to be published document from DCA (Pete Mellor, legal officer) should clarify to all concerned that cavers do it at their own risk.

The Cambrian CC letter to PDCMG linked at the top of this thread suggests other wise. They advise the landowner that there might be legal repercussions on them should an accident occur within the cave.

All the more reason for closer co-ordination between regional bodies, Pete's document has been drawn up using a good deal of legal advice and consultation with landowners, BMC, and insurers, although it is at the moment a DCA publication, maybe the BCA may take it on as a national recommendation.

I am willing to wager that Pete's document, a copy of which passed near here recently but I haven't read it, is rather more nuanced than the one-line summary that you gave in your previous post.

Further to that, there is the kind of advice the Hughie says is being given to landowners elsewhere by their insurers. Now, if you were a landowner, whose advice would you take, that from the people who want to use your land or that from the guys who'll foot the bill should anything go wrong? Hmm, tricky that.

But, further to that, liability notwithstanding, there are landowners who, whether they can be held liable or not, do worry about people coming to harm on their land, especially children, and so will actively work to make things safer if they can.

Apologies for not stating in full Pete's document, this was for expedience, for your information, me and the missus own around 100 acres of the Peak District, used extensively by "adventure groups". NFU insurance covers us for most of this, regional secretaries interpret it differently, Petes work should clarify and standardise this.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 12, 2014, 09:48:53 pm

The landowners insurers may well consider it a perceived risk and consider it requires additional means of security.

Don't think it won't happen - it is.

It depends upon who the insurer is, a soon to be published document from DCA (Pete Mellor, legal officer) should clarify to all concerned that cavers do it at their own risk.

The Cambrian CC letter to PDCMG linked at the top of this thread suggests other wise. They advise the landowner that there might be legal repercussions on them should an accident occur within the cave.

All the more reason for closer co-ordination between regional bodies, Pete's document has been drawn up using a good deal of legal advice and consultation with landowners, BMC, and insurers, although it is at the moment a DCA publication, maybe the BCA may take it on as a national recommendation.

I am willing to wager that Pete's document, a copy of which passed near here recently but I haven't read it, is rather more nuanced than the one-line summary that you gave in your previous post.

Further to that, there is the kind of advice the Hughie says is being given to landowners elsewhere by their insurers. Now, if you were a landowner, whose advice would you take, that from the people who want to use your land or that from the guys who'll foot the bill should anything go wrong? Hmm, tricky that.

But, further to that, liability notwithstanding, there are landowners who, whether they can be held liable or not, do worry about people coming to harm on their land, especially children, and so will actively work to make things safer if they can.

Apologies for not stating in full Pete's document, this was for expedience, for your information, me and the missus own around 100 acres of the Peak District, used extensively by "adventure groups". NFU insurance covers us for most of this, regional secretaries interpret it differently, Petes work should clarify and standardise this.

Sorry, Bograt, that wasn'lt a criticism of you, it was in effect, a simple 'wait for it'. I think you will be interested in the quite brief comment that Pete makes about CRoW as well. 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on July 12, 2014, 09:57:45 pm

The landowners insurers may well consider it a perceived risk and consider it requires additional means of security.

Don't think it won't happen - it is.

It depends upon who the insurer is, a soon to be published document from DCA (Pete Mellor, legal officer) should clarify to all concerned that cavers do it at their own risk.

The Cambrian CC letter to PDCMG linked at the top of this thread suggests other wise. They advise the landowner that there might be legal repercussions on them should an accident occur within the cave.

All the more reason for closer co-ordination between regional bodies, Pete's document has been drawn up using a good deal of legal advice and consultation with landowners, BMC, and insurers, although it is at the moment a DCA publication, maybe the BCA may take it on as a national recommendation.

I am willing to wager that Pete's document, a copy of which passed near here recently but I haven't read it, is rather more nuanced than the one-line summary that you gave in your previous post.

Further to that, there is the kind of advice the Hughie says is being given to landowners elsewhere by their insurers. Now, if you were a landowner, whose advice would you take, that from the people who want to use your land or that from the guys who'll foot the bill should anything go wrong? Hmm, tricky that.

But, further to that, liability notwithstanding, there are landowners who, whether they can be held liable or not, do worry about people coming to harm on their land, especially children, and so will actively work to make things safer if they can.

Apologies for not stating in full Pete's document, this was for expedience, for your information, me and the missus own around 100 acres of the Peak District, used extensively by "adventure groups". NFU insurance covers us for most of this, regional secretaries interpret it differently, Petes work should clarify and standardise this.

Sorry, Bograt, that wasn'lt a criticism of you, it was in effect, a simple 'wait for it'. I think you will be interested in the quite brief comment that Pete makes about CRoW as well.

YUP, we are all awaiting CLARIFICATION.-----
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on July 13, 2014, 12:41:27 am
Now THAT is one of the best examples of nested quotation I have ever seen.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 13, 2014, 05:24:33 pm
I have a favourite saying:  “Those who forget the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them in the future”.

After talking to an old caver who has no interest in getting embroiled in the present argument I feel it necessary to remind people of certain mistakes in the past for the repercussions are still being felt today.

As Graham has mentioned several times there was a lot of damage done in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, because of the opening up of Ogof Ffynnon Ddu top entrance, and that several members regret being involved in opening up top entrance, but what most people don’t realise is the fact that back in those days when top entrance was dug open, there was no conservation policy implemented, and no taping done for several years after the opening up of top entrance, and also it was total mayhem in those days, and the cave was swamped with large groups of people from all over the country. Just to give you some idea of what things where like back then, soon after the opening up of top entrance no gate had been fitted at the time, and on one weekend three 56 seater couches of people from Lancashire arrived at the South Wales caving club, and all went underground over the time they stayed at the club, some did trips on more than one day, that's 168 people going into Ogof Ffynnon Ddu plus the other people who came from other parts of the country going into Ogof Ffynnon Ddu top entrance, so you could easily say there was at least 400 people underground from the Friday to the Sunday period,  with no conservation tape installed anywhere, that's why Ogof Ffynnon Ddu suffered so badly in those early days, as there simply was no thought regarding conservation, or any thoughts regarding limiting the numbers of people in each group.
 
 
This has never occurred in Ogof Draenen because taping was started soon after the cave was discovered, and a gate was installed when the breakthrough occurred which was stolen from Blaen Onne Quarry Pot, by the members of the Morganwg caving club, and the likes of ***** are pontificating over the immoral act of people removing the gate off Ogof Draenen, well people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Also who did the Morganwg caving club apply to, to get permission to dig in Ogof Draenen before they broke through, the answer is nobody.   Just as members of Cwmbran Caving Club before them had applied to no one to dig the cave.   The Coal Authority owned the land at that time and it was just dug from day one when it was just a rabbit hole, without any permission from anyone, so where did the land owners wishes come into the equation when the Morganwg Caving Club where digging there, and who gave the Morganwg Caving Club permission to install a gate on land which was not owned by them?   As at the time the Coal Authority was not contacted to ask permission to install the gate, it was only when the land was bought by the present owner(s) that it was pointed out to him that he had a cave on his land, and he was guided by the dictators who sit on the PDCMG, who are currently holding up exploration to places like Luck of the Draw, by maintaining a single entrance policy.

As there is nothing going on in this area (Luck of the Draw), I don’t see the likes of ****, or any of the Oxford lot, or indeed ***** or any of the Morganwg lot pushing Luck of the Draw, the only thing these numpty’s are pushing is their luck, and the sooner the PDCMG is disbanded the better. As caving is supposed to be about encouraging exploration, and the only way to do that is by allowing the people with the digging skills to get access to the end as quickly as possible, so that more time can be spent digging at the current end instead of wasting time and energy travelling in and out from the original entrance, as very little has actually been done in Luck of the Draw since it was discovered because of the policy of the PDCMG. 

I think the same could be said about other areas of the cave.   I am saddened that there is still no exploration beyond Rifleman’s Chamber, by now there should be an entrance to Draenen somewhere in the Afon Llwed valley.  I wonder what the size of Draenen would be today if it were sighted in say Yorkshire or Derbyshire – even the Mendips where digging seems to be encouraged, not actively discouraged.

This will no doubt be contested by certain people – but it is the truth.   At one of the first PDCMG Meetings I attended I read a piece of paper that had the past PDCMG ‘rules for digging’.   Gingers Quarry was mentioned by name as a place ‘Thou shalt not dig’.  For those that don’t know, Gingers Quarry is miles from any land owned by Pwdd Ddu landowners.   It is between Blaenavon and Abersychan.  PDCMG today recognize they can have no say over what happens on other peoples land, but their attitude to what happens on other peoples land is all too clear.  They wish to prevent any further digging in the area.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 13, 2014, 06:21:17 pm
Interesting names have been removed.   I was not intending to get personal though it could have been read that way.   It is the attitudes I'm fighting - not the people themselves - just their attitudes.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: prahja on July 13, 2014, 07:03:17 pm
Well, thanks to Alkapton - clearly one of the hard cavers pushing the end and who is obviously intimately involved with the background and must clearly know the individuals involved, I think we can thank him for such an authoritative and comprehensive summary from one of the leading lights of Welsh caving.
Thanks!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavemanmike on July 13, 2014, 07:05:00 pm
Interesting names have been removed. 

someone been OVER moderating again :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 13, 2014, 07:13:56 pm
Interesting names have been removed. 

someone been OVER moderating again :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:

PM Alkapton if you want the names.

The individuals he named no longer post here and won't be along to defend themselves. I think it's only fair their names aren't thrown around. The rest of his post is intact - Alkapton and I have been in communication with each other and he's happy with that approach.

If you wish to discuss moderation policy, send me a PM.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 13, 2014, 07:27:33 pm
Well, thanks to Alkapton - clearly one of the hard cavers pushing the end

Sorry, thought it was obvious at the start of the post, I was talking to an old caver who knows.   He thought this worth saying and I agreed with him, so I said it.  He is not someone who likes to be public, simply an old caver who saw what happen happen.

I like to learn from the old.  That way any mistakes I make are mine and not the same those of someone before me.   That way I learn.

Removal of names is OK I don't want to get personal, and I too lazy to have completely rewritten something I agree with.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: prahja on July 13, 2014, 07:42:07 pm
Alkapton - apologies
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 13, 2014, 08:09:00 pm
A gentle reminder; from our forum use terms:  http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=1872.0 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=1872.0)

"What is a bannable offence?

...

*Arguing with moderator's decisions on the public forum. Feel free to contact the mod team if you disagree with a decision but do it privately. If you're banned then use the email contact form."
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: prahja on July 13, 2014, 08:21:05 pm
Hi Rhys - if that is aimed at me, please reinstate my edited comments - I dont believe they come under any of those terms but I edited my original comments as I want to bow out of this thread and not to argue with such well informed individuals who know far more than me about the potential of the cave and the digging potential of the Dollimore's and Rifleman's.
I dont want it to appear that my deleted comments were trolling or abusive....
If not, then :-) all round....
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 13, 2014, 08:23:55 pm
It was not aimed at you :-)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on July 13, 2014, 08:53:58 pm
Oh lord... Draenen entrances again. People love to be outraged. It's good fun, and much easier than accepting nuance.

Lots of people commenting on this thread, but few people who actually have an interest in Draenen. I suspect from looking at the log book I may have made more trips down there than anyone else over the last few years and I'm one of the vanishingly few people who actually dig there. I suggest you don't actually get too outraged from what is said on ukcaving because it's very skewed.

The PDCMG dudes have (I believe) stopped frequenting ukcaving because of the amount of unjustified hate that gets slung around. It's like reading the Daily Mail on here sometimes. But they're perfectly nice people and certainly not power-crazed morons. Don't like their decisions? Vote against them.

The CCC letter I find utterly bizarre.

The "legal advice" that they're giving out seems extremely dodge. As well as it being incredibly inadvisable to throw around legal advice if they haven't had professional advice on the subject (which surely they haven't), it seems an immensely bad precedent to start volunteering blame for accidents based on decisions about access.  Does that mean if someone goes down Drws Cefn following CCC's request to keep it open and snaps a femur there that the CCC committee are taking personal responsibilty for it? Because that seems like the logical conclusion.

This paragraph alone leads me to suspect that the current CCC committee are a bunch of chimps who have no idea what they're doing.

I also object strongly to the final sentence "We are sure these are the sentiments of the majority of British cavers". The arguments on here are proof that this is a divisive issue and that it would be very difficult to establish that there is any sort of majority view. I'm fairly sure that this isn't the sentiments of a majority of British cavers, and I'm definitely sure that the CCC has no way of being sure.

If there's any sort of majority in my experience, it's that most cavers can see arguments for and against a second entrance, and their overall view is a) boredom with the issue; and b) hope that a reasonable compromise can be reached without further damage to the reputation of cavers and relationship to the landowner.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on July 13, 2014, 08:58:20 pm
and he was guided by the dictators who sit on the PDCMG, who are currently holding up exploration to places like Luck of the Draw, by maintaining a single entrance policy.

The PDCMG are hardly dictators, given they've been voted for democratically by the clubs with an interest in Draenen. But I think we've been through all that before...

Luck of the Draw probably isn't worth digging, at least compared to many other sites in Draenen. (Disclaimer: I'm not a geologist so I may be making some mistakes here, but I think this is correct). It's relatively small and was formed fairly early on in the cave's history, before the massive development of stuff like War of the Worlds / MS&D / Beyond a Choke.

If you dug at the end of Luck of the Draw, chances are you'd only find more Luck of the Draw, whereas the missing kilometres heading towards Pontypool are to be found elsewhere.

I think the same could be said about other areas of the cave.   I am saddened that there is still no exploration beyond Rifleman’s Chamber,

Riflemans is a bad choice of example too. It's a long trip, pretty squalid and difficult to make much progress, which is probably why it hasn't gone anywhere much yet. It wouldn't be helped in the slightest by an extra entrance policy because it's in the other direction from Drws Cefn and not near anything else you could connect to the surface.

It's also completely wrong to blame PDCMG for people not digging in Draenen. Hardly anyone does any digging in Wales. None of the major Welsh systems have had any significant extensions for years. If it wasn't for Tony Donovan the Descent Wales pages would be empty.

How much stuff have you found Alkapton?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 13, 2014, 09:19:09 pm
If there's any sort of majority in my experience, it's that most cavers can see arguments for and against a second entrance, and their overall view is a) boredom with the issue; and b) hope that a reasonable compromise can be reached without further damage to the reputation of cavers and relationship to the landowner.

Your input to the debate is appreciated, Rich. Thank you for contributing.

Tell me, do you regard the proposed concreting (permanent sealing) of Drws Cefn as being a "reasonable compromise"?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 13, 2014, 09:21:09 pm
However democratic PDCMG might be there has never been a vote to concrete Drws Cefn, only to control access via a gate.   To the extent that PDCMG Committe are demanding the concreting they are dictators.  They have no mandate to do that,  End of story afaic.

I know a certain cave that has a howling draft.  Actually I know at least two this applies to.  It definitely connects to Draenen, nothing else could account for the draft.

First people willing to shift scaff through what is an 'orrible crawl and install it will no doubt get to be the ones to make a mega connection to what is now the very far end of Draenen.  The cave in question is well the other side of Blaenavon to Pwll Ddu.   Diggers need encouragement in an area of great potential and f-all digging at the moment.   This neglect of potential simply would not occur in other areas of the country.   I has to wonder why.

I've never dug in Draenen, never been able to even get to the far ends.   Have dug in Afon Llwyd valley don't understand why nobody puts the effort in (well I do understand - its not easy digging).   At least I put some effort in which is more than most in the area.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 13, 2014, 09:31:50 pm
Are "far ends" a good thing or a bad thing? Do we need to preserve "far ends" or eliminate them as quickly as we can? A generic question, not solely applicable to this cave. It seems some people see "far ends" as bad things that need more entrances so we don't have to endure the horrible things that they are. Maybe Drws Cefn is a good entrance to keep. But what if a few more were added to the list? Would the challenge of the cave become too limited? Is there an optimum number of entrances for any particular cave?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 13, 2014, 09:38:58 pm
Maybe "they" think Porth yr Ogof has the optimum length/entrance ratio?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 13, 2014, 09:42:04 pm
Ironic that a cave with that ratio has such an appalling fatality record. Yes, I know you can't compare it with Draenen.......
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on July 13, 2014, 09:54:26 pm
If there's any sort of majority in my experience, it's that most cavers can see arguments for and against a second entrance, and their overall view is a) boredom with the issue; and b) hope that a reasonable compromise can be reached without further damage to the reputation of cavers and relationship to the landowner.

Your input to the debate is appreciated, Rich. Thank you for contributing.

Tell me, do you regard the proposed concreting (permanent sealing) of Drws Cefn as being a "reasonable compromise"?

Hah, I didn't say I was in favour of a reasonable compromise  :)

I don't know... I wouldn't personally be against a gate, probably with the default position of no access as previously agreed. Anyone who wanted that changed could then argue their case. I can't see much to be gained from concrete.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on July 13, 2014, 10:00:50 pm
Sorry, only just catching up with this.

A quote from Alkapton a page or so ago :-

"a gate was installed when the breakthrough occurred which was stolen from Blaen Onne Quarry Pot, by the members of the Morganwg caving club, and the likes of ***** are pontificating over the immoral act of people removing the gate off Ogof Draenen, well people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. "

Morgannwg Caving Club had nothing to do with the removal of the gate from Blaen Onnen Quarry Pot.

It seems a waste of time telling you to get your facts right given the sheer number of things you get wrong in your posts. The problem is that they'll be picked up as fact by other people who have no real knowledge of the cave, area, history, politics, such as mmilner.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 13, 2014, 10:05:13 pm
I find I have to agree with Casterete (forgive spelling.. please edit so it right).   A simple cave has an entrance at the top where water goes in and one at the bottom where water comes out.

I cannot really conceive how a cave with only one entrance can be formed in the real world.   (OK, perhaps sea cave, or lava tube, but not in an area of kast).

As an explorer Norbert wanted to trace the entire flow of water in a cave, from entrance to exit.   I think most 'exploration' cavers want to do exactly the same thing.   Most caves do have far ends, that's where diggers are mostly found doing what they do, the ultimate aim of any dig must be to find the far end of a cave which is either going to be a change in geology or a surface exit, or an impassable obstruction.

Diggers do not design caves, that has already been done by nature.  They just provide access to otherwise inaccessible passage.

What are your very favorite caving trips?  Through trips have to be right up there, they are the most satisfying.   Having to cover the same passage twice on one trip never feels as good.

A system should have as many caver entrances as nature intended.   The speleologist is the one who wants to know what that number is.  Artificially joining two systems is a very understandable cheat that can have no harm in itself and is probably not far different to the natural design.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 13, 2014, 10:10:42 pm
Nature does not have "intentions". Only people have those. Nature, by and large, leaves us with caves that have no entrances. Think about it. It is only cavers (or humans) that decide, or argue about, how many entrances they want to have into a cave.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on July 13, 2014, 10:14:22 pm
Could you acknowledge my previous post please Alkapton, perhaps with an apology?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on July 13, 2014, 10:15:18 pm
Nature does not have "intentions". Only people have those. Nature, by and large, leaves us with caves that have no entrances. Think about it.
I think a caveat like "useable to us" could be thrown in there?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 13, 2014, 10:18:40 pm
Sorry, only just catching up with this.

A quote from Alkapton a page or so ago :-

"a gate was installed when the breakthrough occurred which was stolen from Blaen Onne Quarry Pot, by the members of the Morganwg caving club, and the likes of ***** are pontificating over the immoral act of people removing the gate off Ogof Draenen, well people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. "

Morgannwg Caving Club had nothing to do with the removal of the gate from Blaen Onnen Quarry Pot.

It seems a waste of time telling you to get your facts right given the sheer number of things you get wrong in your posts. The problem is that they'll be picked up as fact by other people who have no real knowledge of the cave, area, history, politics, such as mmilner.

I will withdraw my accusation against Morgannwg Caving Club and I apologize profusely for making that accusation.   All I know for certain is the Draenen gate is the old Blaen Onneu gate.   I should have thought a bit more before plagiarizing someone elses words.  I have done what you accuse mmilner of doing and not checked everything in that post.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Cripplecreeker on July 13, 2014, 10:20:35 pm
The CCC letter I find utterly bizarre.

The "legal advice" that they're giving out seems extremely dodge. As well as it being incredibly inadvisable to throw around legal advice if they haven't had professional advice on the subject (which surely they haven't), it seems an immensely bad precedent to start volunteering blame for accidents based on decisions about access.  Does that mean if someone goes down Drws Cefn following CCC's request to keep it open and snaps a femur there that the CCC committee are taking personal responsibilty for it? Because that seems like the logical conclusion.

This paragraph alone leads me to suspect that the current CCC committee are a bunch of chimps who have no idea what they're doing.

My thoughts exactly. This sort of nonsense does nobody any favours.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 13, 2014, 10:26:23 pm
Nature does not have "intentions". Only people have those. Nature, by and large, leaves us with caves that have no entrances. Think about it.
I think a caveat like "useable to us" could be thrown in there?

Exactly that, the digger makes the inaccessible entrance (or passage) accessible.    Without that happening you won't get new cave.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on July 13, 2014, 10:31:00 pm
Thank you for that Alkapton. I know exactly who removed the gate from Blean Onneu but I'm not naming names and none of them are caving anymore.

If you'd like to know more about the ins and outs of all this crap with Draenen, I'm sure we'll bump into each other at some point.

Cheers,
Huw.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 14, 2014, 01:39:03 am
If there's any sort of majority in my experience, it's that most cavers can see arguments for and against a second entrance, and their overall view is a) boredom with the issue; and b) hope that a reasonable compromise can be reached without further damage to the reputation of cavers and relationship to the landowner.

Your input to the debate is appreciated, Rich. Thank you for contributing.

Tell me, do you regard the proposed concreting (permanent sealing) of Drws Cefn as being a "reasonable compromise"?

Hah, I didn't say I was in favour of a reasonable compromise  :)

I don't know... I wouldn't personally be against a gate, probably with the default position of no access as previously agreed. Anyone who wanted that changed could then argue their case. I can't see much to be gained from concrete.

Well, the prospect of a gate that opens at all (even one that is kept permanently locked) is positively liberal by the PDCMG's usual standards. No chance whatsoever of them agreeing to that then!

However democratic PDCMG might be there has never been a vote to concrete Drws Cefn, only to control access via a gate. To the extent that PDCMG Committe are demanding the concreting they are dictators.

This is incorrect and requires clarification. There has indeed never been a vote to concrete Drws Cefn, the only vote ever taken being that there should be no access to Ogof Draenen via Drws Cefn. No agreement was ever reached (or voted upon) concerning controlling access via a gate. That is the last thing the PDCMG want to see happen, they want Drws Cefn closed for good with no access at all. However, they are far too clever to demand that the cave be sealed themselves, they know that if they did then another vote would be needed, one they might lose. Far easier (and safer) to pass it off as the wishes of the landowner and claim they have no choice but to carry these out. No vote necessary and they can act with total impunity. Job done!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 14, 2014, 07:10:51 am
Trouble is, people who talk to landowners whilst wearing monkey masks never actually discover what they want.

They can then only speculate.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: braveduck on July 14, 2014, 11:45:12 am
More rubbish from Graham !
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 14, 2014, 11:51:04 am
It is always an excellent sign when Graham is forced to rely on misinformation gleaned from urban myths to provide the thrust of his argument.

Regarding speculation as to what the landowner in this instance might want, there is none in the slightest. The landowner has said that he wants Drws Cefn to be permanently closed. From the outset, he made it abundantly clear that he would act in accordance with the wishes of the caving community. The PDCMG have told him that those wishes are that Drws Cefn should be concreted and he has simply been true to his word in agreeing to that.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 14, 2014, 11:54:46 am
Did you talk to the landowner whilst wearing a monkey mask, Nig? The mental picture I have of the alleged incident is hilarious.

If not, please clarify.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 14, 2014, 12:47:59 pm
No, Rhys, I did not talk (or attempt to talk) to the landowner whilst wearing a monkey mask. In fact, I do not possess a monkey mask. Do you?

As I said, an urban myth blown up out of all proportion.

All that happened was that the landowner saw us getting changed to go digging one night. He was bound to recognise me and as there was an old haloween mask lying around in the car I put it on and gave him a wave. Not the smartest move on my part, I know, and one I instantly regretted. I subsequently apologised for my actions and was told that my apologies had been accepted.

Sorry if the reality is not as exciting (or as amusing) as you had been led to believe.

But that is often the way isn't it?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 14, 2014, 01:26:57 pm
I have accused nobody. Why should I? The participants in the incident all know the facts.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 14, 2014, 01:51:03 pm
Graham,

As one of "the participants in the incident", the facts (from my viewpoint) are as briefly outlined above. Are you suggesting that this is not the case? Indeed, that I might be lying? Because if you are then please have the decency to come out and say so directly rather than continuing to make snide remarks and suggestions.

Although bemusing, it is also highly encouraging that you are going to such lengths to derail this debate by dragging up an event that occurred (and was swiftly concluded) more than five years ago.

Getting desperate now, are you?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: braveduck on July 14, 2014, 02:30:54 pm
He is desperate as always !
 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alkapton on July 14, 2014, 03:04:26 pm
I wish to make it clear my post yesterday was 95% cut and past from an email I received from someone who is known and respected.

I should either have tidyed up more than just grammar and spelling, or put the bulk of it between quotes.   

Too many pain killers and too many other problems caused me to not think at all.

Thank God someone had the sense to remove names.  My knowledge simply don't go back that far.   Apologies for being a lazy plagiarist.   I am not normally a mouthpiece.   

Its not even that I didn't think about it, but was too zonked to recognize 'stupid move' when I saw it.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 14, 2014, 03:32:02 pm
No, Rhys, I did not talk (or attempt to talk) to the landowner whilst wearing a monkey mask. In fact, I do not possess a monkey mask. Do you?

As I said, an urban myth blown up out of all proportion.

All that happened was that the landowner saw us getting changed to go digging one night. He was bound to recognise me and as there was an old haloween mask lying around in the car I put it on and gave him a wave. Not the smartest move on my part, I know, and one I instantly regretted. I subsequently apologised for my actions and was told that my apologies had been accepted.

Sorry if the reality is not as exciting (or as amusing) as you had been led to believe.

But that is often the way isn't it?

Thanks for that Nig. I suppose the obvious question is: Why would you be worried about the landowner recognising you?

In answer to your question, I don't currently own a monkey mask.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 14, 2014, 04:15:50 pm
As has been well documented in the past on this very forum (go back and search through the threads around five years ago), I had encountered the landowner under similar (although not identical) circumstances relatively recently and I was trying to keep my head down on this occasion. Having failed miserably, the mask was just picked up on the spur of the moment as an admission of defeat, a bit of a laugh, that's all.

Any more questions, Rhys?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 14, 2014, 05:22:55 pm
I have no more questions for now, thanks. I'll let you know if I think of any more.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on July 14, 2014, 08:23:11 pm
I have a question, Nig: did you laugh like a drain once the landowner had gone?


Because I would have.... :lol:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 16, 2014, 03:04:23 pm
Now, if we can let my past misdemeanours fade into the background for a while.........

Just to clear up a point that was raised near the beginning of this thread;

And anyway, regardless of all this, is it not the job of Regional Councils, by and large, to step back from clubs and access bodies, and only get involved when invited? Did PDCMG invite CCC opinion on this?

Cambrian Caving Council was initially invited to become involved by my own club, GOG, not long after we made the connection between Drws Cefn and Draenen in 2009. CCC then proceeded to play a prominent role in attempting to reach a compromise solution and provided assistance, in both practical and financial terms, for the fitting of the gate on Drws Cefn.

The renewed involvement of CCC should therefore be viewed as a continuation of this process, rather than as a completely new initiative. Although GOG have not made a formal request for assistance on this occasion, we do fully endorse the efforts being made by CCC at the present time.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 16, 2014, 03:30:38 pm
Finally. Although, technically, I think it might require both parties to invite "mediation", not just one. But that's perhaps a technicality in this instance as one party is not a CCC "member", but a management group.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 16, 2014, 05:57:44 pm
Finally. Although, technically, I think it might require both parties to invite "mediation", not just one. But that's perhaps a technicality in this instance as one party is not a CCC "member", but a management group.

I wonder if the members of the PDCMG have insurance, because if they keep on insisting on blocking entrances where bats are known to be, with inadequate access for the bats, they could be prosecuted. Just a thought...  :-\
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavemanmike on July 16, 2014, 06:22:14 pm
is this management group (pdcmg) a self appointed management  group
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 16, 2014, 06:40:08 pm
is this management group (pdcmg) a self appointed management  group

This is the best answer I can give you:-

http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/history.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/history.htm)

Other peeps know more about this than I do, but it doesn't say who exactly proposed the cmg, so guess there are minutes for the original meeting... somewhere...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 16, 2014, 07:03:35 pm
is this management group (pdcmg) a self appointed management  group

No. The officers of the group are elected by member clubs. The landowners recognise the group as being who they want to deal with.

More stuff on the website if you wish to research it:
http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/com.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/com.htm)
http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/cons.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/cons.htm)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavemanmike on July 16, 2014, 07:12:48 pm
cheers peeps :) :)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 16, 2014, 07:17:58 pm
I wonder if the members of the PDCMG have insurance, because if they keep on insisting on blocking entrances where bats are known to be, with inadequate access for the bats, they could be prosecuted. Just a thought...  :-\

The PDCMG are well aware of the bat question. Originally, they tried to use bats as added justification for their decision to prevent access to Drws Cefn. This soon backfired on them and it is safe to say that were it not for the intermittent presence of our flying furry friends, Drws would have been sealed several years ago. Even now, though, they are persisting in trying to use the bats towards furthering their own ends. Firstly, by telling the landowner that it is he who will be liable to a £20,000 fine if any bats are disturbed by cavers and, secondly, by using the threat of such a fine as a deterrent to any subsequent attempts to reopen the cave.

is this management group (pdcmg) a self appointed management  group

The founder member clubs of the PDCMG (one of whom was my own club, GOG) were all originally invited to become involved by Morgannwg Caving Club (who had made the initial major breakthrough and discovered the first wave of extensions). The intention was to prevent a repeat of the Craig ar Ffynnon situation where all access (and hence subsequent exploration) was controlled by (and essentially restricted to) the chosen few. Although laudable at the time, the PDCMG has today evolved into something far, far worse than anything that existed in the Clydach gorge under the auspices of John Parker and Jeff Hill.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavemanmike on July 16, 2014, 08:19:10 pm
cheers nig
 thats very informative and explains a lot, especially  for us "none locals"
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 16, 2014, 08:48:16 pm
Now, this thread is about access, so Mr Rogers would have us believe that an access system where member clubs hold their own key to the (single) entrance  is "far, far worse" than a system of leadership with a single key (to the single entrance) that had to be collected from Jeff Hill on the day of the trip.

...m'kay
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 16, 2014, 08:55:07 pm
Graham, you beat me to it!

I was going to warn Cavemanmike just to beware and not take as gospel truth anything that anyone says about this issue - you need to question everything!

I've no idea what the officers of PDCMG have said to the landowners about bats, so it's difficult for me to make a judgement on that - I'm sure Nig has his sources though.

However, the comparison of PDCMG to the situation at Ogof Craig a Ffynnon is overblown and melodramatic - if you ask me.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavemanmike on July 16, 2014, 09:31:21 pm
cheers boys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 16, 2014, 10:10:00 pm
I've no idea what the officers of PDCMG have said to the landowners about bats, so it's difficult for me to make a judgement on that - I'm sure Nig has his sources though.

My sources are local cavers who have spoken directly to the landowner (on more than one occasion) and have been told precisely what I have stated (i.e. he has been informed that if cavers disturb any bats it is he who is liable to the fine).

However, the comparison of PDCMG to the situation at Ogof Craig a Ffynnon is overblown and melodramatic - if you ask me.

I opted for OCaF as a deliberate comparison purely because it was used as such in the extensive preliminary discussions that took place prior to the formal inauguration of the PDCMG. Morgannwg Caving Club (wisely) went to great lengths to promote a more equitable system of access for OD than had ever existed at OCaF and nobody (least of all myself) would argue otherwise. (Read what I wrote, Graham).

However, the most important point to emphasise is that (despite their differences) the governing bodies of OCaF (in the past) and OD (today) have one major thing in common: they are both dictatorships. At least you knew where you stood with OCaF, John and Jeff made no attempt to hide behind a thin veneer of "democracy" as does the PDCMG. Yes, Parker might well have been true to his word and blown up any connection to OCaF if it had occurred, but I never heard him threaten to concrete any entrances and I do not believe he would have done so. Why? Because (as Andy Sparrow said) proper cavers dig caves open, they don't fill them in.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 16, 2014, 10:17:42 pm
... they are both dictatorships....

Give it a rest, Nig, FFS. Cut out the spin-doctoring and stick to your key messages; Exploration and access. You'll retain far more credibility and people might actually believe what you're saying.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 16, 2014, 10:35:27 pm
... they are both dictatorships....

Give it a rest, Nig, FFS. Cut out the spin-doctoring and stick to your key messages; Exploration and access. You'll retain far more credibility and people might actually believe what you're saying.

Credibility? Hardly.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 16, 2014, 11:02:16 pm
What part of my last post do you not believe, Rhys?

Tell you what, I'll just stick purely to solid facts in future should I?

OK, here's one for starters:


From PDCMG Minutes June 2012

Ali Garman (Fixed Aids Officer) is planning the engineering. Soon a date and working parties will need to be arranged to carry out the work. Fleur Loveridge/Ali Garman to organise via email/doodle polls.


You know, before I read this I didn't even know what a doodle poll was. Now that I do, I am almost stunned into silence. (Almost, but not quite!). A doodle poll (for the benefit of anyone else who may also be floating in a placid sea of ignorance) seems to be a sort of online calendar where you can sign up to participate in a particular event on a set date and/or time. The particular event in this instance being, of course, the projected filling in and sealing of Drws Cefn.

So, there you go, folks. Keep watching out for the big announcement then get online as soon as you can to get a prime position at the next concrete party, they are bound to be in high demand!

Absolutely unbelievable.




Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 17, 2014, 12:33:09 am
I wonder if the members of the PDCMG have insurance, because if they keep on insisting on blocking entrances where bats are known to be, with inadequate access for the bats, they could be prosecuted. Just a thought...  :-\

The PDCMG are well aware of the bat question. Originally, they tried to use bats as added justification for their decision to prevent access to Drws Cefn. This soon backfired on them and it is safe to say that were it not for the intermittent presence of our flying furry friends, Drws would have been sealed several years ago. Even now, though, they are persisting in trying to use the bats towards furthering their own ends. Firstly, by telling the landowner that it is he who will be liable to a £20,000 fine if any bats are disturbed by cavers and, secondly, by using the threat of such a fine as a deterrent to any subsequent attempts to reopen the cave.


Yes Nigel, Stuart told me of this. I would refer the PDCMG (not that they follow this forum) to the
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981:- http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69). The  £20,000 fine is for disturbance or damage to sites, so if the landowner approves the blockage works they might be liable to it, but not if they do nothing! Cavers visiting the cave are not causing damage or disturbance to the site, they are just passing through and obviously aware of the protection status of bats.

If they (the PDCMG) mess with the entrance and affect the access for bats, then they might well be in trouble, (not the landowner), esp. now this is all out in the open on a public forum. Print out all the minutes, etc. you can can find and keep it as evidence. If the landowner does allow this sort of thing to go ahead however, THEN maybe they would be liable, but only because they gave permission for the works (disturbance) to take place.

Nowt will appear to be done until after the CRoW clarification, but tis best to be prepared. Take pics of the entrance now and where you think the works will take place. Make a note of any bat droppings you see, (don't disturb the bats though, as you probably know), but any evidence of their presence collected would be good.

In the Peak, bats help us keep caves OPEN, not closed! And protect access for cavers too... Good luck with it... I will help any way I can.  :)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 17, 2014, 08:16:28 am
What part of my last post do you not believe, Rhys?


The bit I quoted. It was quite clear.

Tell you what, I'll just stick purely to solid facts in future should I?

OK, here's one for starters:


From PDCMG Minutes June 2012

Ali Garman (Fixed Aids Officer) is planning the engineering. Soon a date and working parties will need to be arranged to carry out the work. Fleur Loveridge/Ali Garman to organise via email/doodle polls.


You know, before I read this I didn't even know what a doodle poll was. Now that I do, I am almost stunned into silence. (Almost, but not quite!). A doodle poll (for the benefit of anyone else who may also be floating in a placid sea of ignorance) seems to be a sort of online calendar where you can sign up to participate in a particular event on a set date and/or time. The particular event in this instance being, of course, the projected filling in and sealing of Drws Cefn.

So, there you go, folks. Keep watching out for the big announcement then get online as soon as you can to get a prime position at the next concrete party, they are bound to be in high demand!

Absolutely unbelievable.

Cavers are now using online calendars; Absolutely unbelieveable!!!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 17, 2014, 08:29:59 am
Mel, your concern for the bats is to your credit. My understanding is that PDCMG have had professional advice regarding bats (minutes make reference to bat consultants), so I don't think they're operating blindly or recklessly in that regard.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: graham on July 17, 2014, 08:45:29 am

Tell you what, I'll just stick purely to solid facts in future should I?

OK, here's one for starters:


From PDCMG Minutes June 2012

Ali Garman (Fixed Aids Officer) is planning the engineering. Soon a date and working parties will need to be arranged to carry out the work. Fleur Loveridge/Ali Garman to organise via email/doodle polls.


You know, before I read this I didn't even know what a doodle poll was. Now that I do, I am almost stunned into silence. (Almost, but not quite!). A doodle poll (for the benefit of anyone else who may also be floating in a placid sea of ignorance) seems to be a sort of online calendar where you can sign up to participate in a particular event on a set date and/or time. The particular event in this instance being, of course, the projected filling in and sealing of Drws Cefn.

So, there you go, folks. Keep watching out for the big announcement then get online as soon as you can to get a prime position at the next concrete party, they are bound to be in high demand!

Absolutely unbelievable.

Cavers are now using online calendars; Absolutely unbelieveable!!!

Amazing, isn't it. Cavers using modern technology (like t'internet) to communicate. You'd have thought, from Mr Rogers' melodramatic comments about dictatorships etc that, instead, Ali Garman would just be rounding up a few slaves with his whip & getting the work done that way.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 17, 2014, 10:47:57 am
In the Peak, bats help us keep caves OPEN, not closed! And protect access for cavers too... Good luck with it... I will help any way I can.  :)

Thanks, Mel.

Your help, advice and expertise are all very much appreciated.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 17, 2014, 11:48:33 am
Mel, your concern for the bats is to your credit. My understanding is that PDCMG have had professional advice regarding bats (minutes make reference to bat consultants), so I don't think they're operating blindly or recklessly in that regard.
In fact, the secretary's report attached to the Nov. 2013 minutes refers to a licence being applied for from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) - presumably seeking legal permission to modify a recognised bat site. I'm guessing that this licence will come with conditions which must be met and may well involve an inspection by the authorities.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on July 17, 2014, 11:57:40 am
It seems to me, after hearing comments from both sides, and then filtering out all the bluster and rhetoric, that both CCC and PDCMG are likely doing things intelligently and rationally (but with differing objectives), but the issues are being complicated by those individuals intent on trying to screw the reputation of whoever they see as the bad guys.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavemanmike on July 17, 2014, 04:00:18 pm
It seems to me, after hearing comments from both sides, and then filtering out all the bluster and rhetoric, that both CCC and PDCMG are likely doing things intelligently and rationally (but with differing objectives), but the issues are being complicated by those individuals intent on trying to screw the reputation of whoever they see as the bad guys.

thats one of the most rational things posted on this thread for a while
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 17, 2014, 05:04:38 pm
Mel, your concern for the bats is to your credit. My understanding is that PDCMG have had professional advice regarding bats (minutes make reference to bat consultants), so I don't think they're operating blindly or recklessly in that regard.

Rhys

Thanx Rhys. But I draw everyone's attention again to the two photos below. The first is a proper bat friendly gate,  :thumbsup: just bolted shut cos it's near a public footpath:-

(http://www.darfarpc.org.uk/images/stories/Uploaded_Photos/JugholesAditEntranceGate.jpg)

This is the Nunnery entrance to OD,  :thumbsdown: hardly any resemblance at all:-

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4028/4501871035_ca31d5ee9b.jpg)

I will ask my bat contacts about this when I get chance, but given the fact that there is a gate and several inches of concrete below the turf this is NOT bat friendly, (how is a bat supposed to fly through that hole, it's only 3x3 to 4x4 inches across), so I would call into question any advice they had received.  :coffee:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: MarkS on July 17, 2014, 05:44:14 pm
Out of interest, what was access for bats like before Drws Cefn was connected to Draenen? Was there already a small connection they could get through or was it sealed to bats as well?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mmilner on July 17, 2014, 06:04:00 pm
Out of interest, what was access for bats like before Drws Cefn was connected to Draenen? Was there already a small connection they could get through or was it sealed to bats as well?

Yes, they got in via Nunnery entrance. I also believe there is a way into the cave near the original entrance gate. (Which itself is 'batproof'.) It is acknowledged in various docs that bats were present before the Nunnery entrance was closed, hence the tiny token hole for bats they left in it, probably just to satisfy 'the authorities'. Not for conservation reasons then.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on July 17, 2014, 06:11:54 pm
So what's the minimum size hole a bat can get through?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 17, 2014, 06:19:51 pm
Mel

It's probably worth you contacting PDCMG directly on this issue - they'll be able to tell you the scope of the advice and the bat licence they've applied for. I suspect it just relates to Ogof Drws Cefn, not the Nunnery, but I don't know.

As I've said up-thread, the Nunnery was blocked in that fashion some 15 years ago or so and I don't believe there was any bat access there at all before then - you'll need to ask the diggers about that. I believe Stuart France was one.

Rhys

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on July 17, 2014, 06:39:40 pm
So what's the minimum size hole a bat can get through?
It depends on the species, but they can squeeze through some pretty tiny gaps. Regardless of that though, I believe it is recommended best practice that they are able leave a roost on the wing. That is, through a fairly big vertical grille. Some useful pictures and stuff here: http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/batwork_manualpt4.pdf (http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/batwork_manualpt4.pdf) - jump to page 116.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on July 17, 2014, 10:51:47 pm
My understanding is that the blocked second (Nunnery) entrance was never an open entrance which bats could use. It was just a smooth soil hillside. I may be wrong on this though. I think it was the Cambrian CC conservation officer who first dug it, so he may be able to confirm.

As I've said up-thread, the Nunnery was blocked in that fashion some 15 years ago or so and I don't believe there was any bat access there at all before then - you'll need to ask the diggers about that. I believe Stuart France was one.

I was not involved in the opening up of the Nunnery entrance from the surface and only visited the site once before it was dug. There were no signs of any potential cave passage visible, although there were a few larger boulders dotted about (rather than it being a totally smooth soil hillside). Prior to this, Stuart France, Mark Withers and I had begun digging from within the cave, initially being spurred on by the multitude of dead flies lining the walls. We also tried to get a vocal connection back to the surface and failed. Our dig was soon abandoned as it was proving too difficult and dangerous having to go almost vertically upwards. I do not recall seeing any evidence of bats at that time.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 26, 2015, 10:42:32 am
In fact, the secretary's report attached to the Nov. 2013 minutes refers to a licence being applied for from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) - presumably seeking legal permission to modify a recognised bat site. I'm guessing that this licence will come with conditions which must be met and may well involve an inspection by the authorities.

Rhys

The most recent application for a bat license was submitted on 07 July this year and was rejected by NRW on 02 September.

Had this application been successful there is little doubt that Drws Cefn would now be permanently sealed.

In a letter to NRW dated 22 August it was stated;

"We have currently organised the team of volunteers (that prepared the grille design) to undertake the work on the weekend of the 12th September and we really hope to be on site for this date."
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on September 26, 2015, 11:29:02 am
It was my understanding that the permanent closure of Drws Cefn was being held in abeyance following a very recent meeting between the PDCMG, the CCC and the BCA.

What changed ?

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 26, 2015, 12:15:28 pm
PDCMG never actually agreed to hold back from concreting Drws Cefn despite entering into a supposed mediation process with CCC and BCA.

In fact, Sue Mabbett (SWCC club rep) proposed a motion at the latest PDCMG meeting in June (not long before the actual license application was submitted) as follows:

"We proceed with closing Drws Cefn to meet the landowner's wishes; that mediation as requested by CCC proceeds as long as there is no proviso that current closure is stopped by this mediation."

The initial meeting between PDCMG, CCC and Andrew Hinde (BCA) took place on 23 August and the second is scheduled for 27 September (i.e. tomorrow).

Of course, no mention of these well advanced plans to seal Drws was made at the first meeting and one can only assume that tomorrow's meeting would have been very short indeed had NRW been successfully deceived into approving the license application.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on September 26, 2015, 12:45:15 pm
Sorry, I don't think I am understanding this properly;

The meeting with the BCA between PDCMG and CCC was initially agreed at the CCC AGM in March 2015 between Stuart France and Fleur Loveridge.

The sole purpose of that meeting (which Andrew Hinde BCA & NE) agreed to host was to look at Drws Cefn and look to find a solution that would be acceptable to all parties.

The mediation meeting went ahead and my understanding was that no further action was being taken pending a consideration of process. In particular, it was discussed that the entrance would not be sealed and consideration was being given by the PDCMG to a lockable gate. The meeting was adjourned to a later date (which you have given) to re-visit the position to discuss further progress.

Your post seems to suggest that the process of sealing the entrance was already fait a'compli .

If that is true it would appear that the meeting with Andrew Hinde and the CCC was duplicitous which seems unlikely.

Are you able to say who made the comment you have quoted and what is their connection to the PDCMG/CCC/BCA arbitration process ?  (ie. has someone gone behind everyone else's back?)

(I appreciate you may not wish to name names but anything would be helpful to better understand what is going on here)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 26, 2015, 01:58:38 pm
Are you able to say who made the comment you have quoted and what is their connection to the PDCMG/CCC/BCA arbitration process ?  (ie. has someone gone behind everyone else's back?)

(I appreciate you may not wish to name names but anything would be helpful to better understand what is going on here)

Ian

The quoted comment in my initial post (from the letter to NRW dated 22 August) was made by the bat consultant (who shall remain nameless for now) involved in the license application.

He went on to say:

"Unfortunately I am now on leave until 7th September and won't be available to respond further. If you have any further queries regarding the design could you please copy correspondence to Fleur Loveridge (email above). I will respond to you as a matter of priority on my return, but given our proposed start date this does not leave much time."

PDCMG had been assured by an employee of NRW that there should be no problem whatsoever with their license application and they confidently expected it to go though without a hitch. As I have already stated, had this been the case then the cave would have been concreted on the weekend of 12/13 September.

In fact, the final touches were scheduled to take place on 27 September (i.e. tomorrow, the same day as the next meeting with Andrew Hinde).

"Duplicitous" did you say?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on September 26, 2015, 08:03:28 pm
Well ... you aren't making it particularly easy to solve your riddles ....

I appreciate your unwillingness to "name names" but it does seem that you are actually saying that the PDCMG never had any intention keeping to their promise of mediation.

In fact, your timeline suggests that, while on the one hand the CCC and BCA were being led to believe (by the PCDMG and Fleur in particular) that they were considering mutually acceptable options; on the other hand they already had in place (and were executing) the sealing of Drws Cefn.

Even though you stated you were not willing to "name names" you have (perhaps unwittingly) quoted Fleurs name as the side-kick of the unnamed consultant. In fact, it was Fleur herself who agreed to the mediation at the CCC meeting and who was also present at the BCA meeting with Andrew Hinde.

If I am understanding you correctly then you are making one hell of an allegation.... that the CCC and the BCA have been duped into believing Drws Cefn would not be sealed pending a mediation process whereas, in fact, the PDCMG had no intention of ever even considering such a process notwithstanding they agreed to it and were involved in it to "string everyone along". 

We shall no doubt find out at tomorrow's meeting ....


Ian

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 26, 2015, 09:37:35 pm
Ian,

I am willing to name plenty of names but I will do so as I see fit.

Also, I am making no allegations whatsoever, merely stating the facts.

Rest assured that I have firm evidence in my possession to back up everything I say.

As for solving any riddle I might appear to be posing (which was never my intention), you seem to be doing quite well.

Regards,

Nig
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on September 26, 2015, 11:01:41 pm
Well, if what you say is correct it shines a very dim light on the integrity of the PDCMG and I do hope you are wrong about this.

I would especially expect the chairperson or secretary to stay ahead of something like this happening ... I don't like where this is leading at all ...

Mmmmmmmm

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 27, 2015, 11:36:57 am
Well, if what you say is correct it shines a very dim light on the integrity of the PDCMG and I do hope you are wrong about this.

Sadly, the lack of integrity shown by PDCMG (and one of its Officers in particular) beggars belief.

I am still in the process of analysing much of the material in my possession and, quite frankly, am shocked at the extent of what is being unearthed.

Future revelations will appear here in due course and I expect everything to be placed into the public domain in the not too distant future.

For now, anyone who is attending Hidden Earth today might like to seek out Stuart France (Cambrian Caving Council Conservation & Access Officer) and ask him for an information sheet. I believe the intention is also to put one on public display, so if you do not see Stuart in person just keep your eyes open around the halls.

For anyone not attending the Conference, just PM me your email (or postal) address and I will ensure you have one sent. (Or just contact Stuart directly.)

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ogof anghenfil on September 27, 2015, 05:53:42 pm

"Duplicitous" did you say?
This has been so obvious for years.
Time for the PDCMG committee to be voted out. :thumbsdown:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 28, 2015, 09:46:05 am
Thanks to those who have contacted me directly and requested an information sheet. Your interest is much appreciated. I believe Stuart is preparing a modified version and that this will be posted on the forum in due course. Anyone who has asked for a sheet should by now have received something from myself to tide them over. If not, just let me know.

As I noted yesterday, I am still collating much of the documentation in my possession and this will take time as it is so extensive. However, I am fairly confidant that I should be able to get something together to post here later in the day.

Watch this space!


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on September 28, 2015, 08:24:18 pm

"Duplicitous" did you say?
This has been so obvious for years.
Time for the PDCMG committee to be voted out. :thumbsdown:

Most cavers are happy with the PDCMG, though it would be easy to get the opposite impression from reading UKC because of the wild conspiracy theories and baseless accusations thrown around at a bunch of volunteers by Nig and Jackalpup.

The PDCMG committee have long given up trying to discuss the issue on ukcaving because it's impossible to have a civilised discussion, so anything you read on hear is going to be pretty one-sided.

See you on page 456.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: molerat on September 28, 2015, 08:55:02 pm

"Duplicitous" did you say?
This has been so obvious for years.
Time for the PDCMG committee to be voted out. :thumbsdown:

Most cavers are happy with the PDCMG, though it would be easy to get the opposite impression from reading UKC because of the wild conspiracy theories and baseless accusations thrown around at a bunch of volunteers by Nig and Jackalpup.

The PDCMG committee have long given up trying to discuss the issue on ukcaving because it's impossible to have a civilised discussion, so anything you read on hear is going to be pretty one-sided.

See you on page 456.

Really??

Every caver I have spoken to about this issue is alarmed by the situation. No reasonable caver relishes the prospect of blocking cave entrances and none of us want the practice to spread.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 28, 2015, 09:17:15 pm
"Wild conspiracy theories and baseless accusations" you say, Rich?

OK, try this for size:

Every single thing I am going to put into the public domain will be in the form of hard evidence, selected quotes and excerpts at first, ultimately entire documents.

Let me say that again in case you missed it first time around:

Every. Single. Thing.

Just wait and see.........
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on September 28, 2015, 10:11:33 pm
Every caver I have spoken to about this issue is alarmed by the situation. No reasonable caver relishes the prospect of blocking cave entrances and none of us want the practice to spread.

If every caver you've spoken to is "alarmed" then you have a a very homegenous (and a bit hysterical) group of friends.

Most cavers (>80%) I know are too bored about the situation to express a preference, and the rest a) have an opinion one way or another but b) want the situation resolved amicably.

Blocking an entrance does not mean that you have lost access to any cave. All the cave is still accessible, you just have to be a bit less lazy to get to it. What does lose access to caves is annoying the landowner, something Nig & co have been doing pretty well.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Badlad on September 28, 2015, 10:28:19 pm
As we left the trade hall at Hidden Earth on Sunday I noticed an A3 poster had been put on public display on the blocking up of the Drws Cefn entrance.  This information included the licence application to block the entrance, Natural Resources Wales' rejection of the licence and drawings of the proposed concrete and steel blockage.

These details appear to be out in the public domain, where can they be viewed in full? 

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on September 28, 2015, 10:52:10 pm
"Wild conspiracy theories and baseless accusations" you say, Rich?

OK, try this for size:

Every single thing I am going to put into the public domain will be in the form of hard evidence, selected quotes and excerpts at first, ultimately entire documents.

Let me say that again in case you missed it first time around:

Every. Single. Thing.

Just wait and see.........

Nig, you're such a tease!

"Selected quotes and excerpts" - sounds like you're going cherry-pick a few statements out of context. If you've got this devastating evidence of the dastardly machinations of the PDCMG, why not post it in its entirety now?

You have produced "evidence" on this forum before. I seem to recall you'd managed to get some caver counter data and cross-referenced it against the log book. It didn't prove anything but it did creep everyone out.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: braveduck on September 28, 2015, 11:03:30 pm
Any caver using concrete in this way should have their BCA insurance removed !
 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on September 28, 2015, 11:09:38 pm
Every caver I have spoken to about this issue is alarmed by the situation. No reasonable caver relishes the prospect of blocking cave entrances and none of us want the practice to spread.

If every caver you've spoken to is "alarmed" then you have a a very homegenous (and a bit hysterical) group of friends.


It seems to me that there is no group more 'homegenous' than the minority determined to deny the reality that Draenen is by nature a multi entrance cave.  I have spoken to many, many cavers from all regions of the UK about this issue over the years and I have yet to encounter any individual who supports the policy of concreting Drws Cefn.     
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on September 28, 2015, 11:58:21 pm
Every caver I have spoken to about this issue is alarmed by the situation. No reasonable caver relishes the prospect of blocking cave entrances and none of us want the practice to spread.

If every caver you've spoken to is "alarmed" then you have a a very homegenous (and a bit hysterical) group of friends.


It seems to me that there is no group more 'homegenous' than the minority determined to deny the reality that Draenen is by nature a multi entrance cave.  I have spoken to many, many cavers from all regions of the UK about this issue over the years and I have yet to encounter any individual who supports the policy of concreting Drws Cefn.   

I can guarantee you that you know many cavers that support closing Drws Cefn. If you haven't had conversations with them about it it's probably because it's the most boring subject in the caving world and is only argued over by internet geeks (like me).
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on September 28, 2015, 11:58:49 pm
I think that the majority of people walk away from anything that smells of shit-stirring, regardless of whether it is based on the truth or not. That's why the majority are fed up with this, or if they aren't, soon will be.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 29, 2015, 03:26:56 am
"Wild conspiracy theories and baseless accusations" you say, Rich?

OK, try this for size:

Every single thing I am going to put into the public domain will be in the form of hard evidence, selected quotes and excerpts at first, ultimately entire documents.

Let me say that again in case you missed it first time around:

Every. Single. Thing.

Just wait and see.........

Nig, you're such a tease!

"Selected quotes and excerpts" - sounds like you're going cherry-pick a few statements out of context. If you've got this devastating evidence of the dastardly machinations of the PDCMG, why not post it in its entirety now?

Sorry, Rich. You will have to be patient.

Why confine Christmas to a single day when you can make it last all year long?

For now, just looking back at a quotation given earlier causes me to pause for thought:

"We have currently organised the team of volunteers......to undertake the work on the weekend of the 12th September......."

Not peeved that you were forced to make alternative plans for that particular weekend are you, by any chance? Never mind, get your name on the list now and you can be first in line next time around, a couple of days' fun in the sun guaranteed. I've heard they even give out free fruit drinks whilst you sit around waiting for the concrete to dry!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on September 29, 2015, 09:01:21 am
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have recently supplied me with a large amount of information concerning Ogof Draenen and Drws Cefn. These documents were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and would be made available to any UK citizen if requested.

For those who did not see my information sheet displayed at the 2015 Hidden Earth Conference about the construction of a thick re-inforced concrete wall intended to stop cavers entering Drws Cefn as of mid-September, you can read about it here:

http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnsummary.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnsummary.pdf)

During the conference there was another scheduled meeting between Cambrian Caving Council (CCC) and the Pwll Du Cave Management Group (PDCMG) mediated by the British Caving Association (BCA) concerning Ogof Draenen and Drws Cefn.   I was there representing CCC.   The previous meeting had been held at Ingleborough towards the end of August when PDCMG made no mention to us of the construction of any concrete wall, let alone that they had already asked NRW in July for permission.

The documents only recently disclosed to me by NRW, however, show that PDCMG were intending to start drilling the cave walls to insert high tensile steel rebar on that very same weekend that they were talking to us in Yorkshire in only general terms.  Cavers have to thank NRW for their circumspection and care in assessing the proposal that was put to them, and also for then reaching the common sense conclusion that concrete is not conservation.

Fleur Loveridge, representing PDCMG, twice gave me her commitment in our meeting at Hidden Earth that she would not submit any future licence application couched in similar terms to the one turned down in September.  Instead she would take the opportunity created by NRW’s refusal of a licence to find a more acceptable way of making progress other than for her group to build concrete obstructions in caves.

Fleur maintains that the PDCMG has been, and will be, representing the best interests of all cavers and does not need any outside assistance at the present time. Hence forthcoming talks will be held purely between the PDCMG, the landowner and NRW to clarify how the concrete wall proposal came to be rejected and what alternatives may be acceptable.

Under these unique circumstances, I think it is fitting to ask that Fleur and everyone she chooses to involve in her new quest to honour the undertakings she has given me so as to work towards a sustainable solution to their current problems.  May I also ask those who are on the outside of this process to respect it.

PDCMG’s regular 6-monthly meeting arrives in late November when I imagine that some new proposal satisfying all the stakeholders will be formally adopted by the group.  CCC wishes to hold further talks with the PDCMG during December, and we then expect to be able to enter the new year with much more confidence.

Stuart France
Conservation/Access Officer
Cambrian Caving Council (CCC)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: crickleymal on September 29, 2015, 09:23:07 am
I think that the majority of people walk away from anything that smells of shit-stirring, regardless of whether it is based on the truth or not. That's why the majority are fed up with this, or if they aren't, soon will be.

LIKE
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: danthecavingman on September 29, 2015, 11:56:52 am
Every caver I have spoken to about this issue is alarmed by the situation. No reasonable caver relishes the prospect of blocking cave entrances and none of us want the practice to spread.

If every caver you've spoken to is "alarmed" then you have a a very homegenous (and a bit hysterical) group of friends.



It seems to me that there is no group more 'homegenous' than the minority determined to deny the reality that Draenen is by nature a multi entrance cave.  I have spoken to many, many cavers from all regions of the UK about this issue over the years and I have yet to encounter any individual who supports the policy of concreting Drws Cefn.   

Blocking entrances, particularly in a permanent fashion with concrete and rebar is abhorrent. Mediation and sensible discussion should be able to prevent such situations arising.

Dan.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rhychydwr1 on September 29, 2015, 12:06:22 pm
I believe in cave gating.  After a few months I can remove it and add it to my collection.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 29, 2015, 12:19:49 pm
As we left the trade hall at Hidden Earth on Sunday I noticed an A3 poster had been put on public display on the blocking up of the Drws Cefn entrance.  This information included the licence application to block the entrance, Natural Resources Wales' rejection of the licence and drawings of the proposed concrete and steel blockage.

These details appear to be out in the public domain, where can they be viewed in full?

As you can see, the A3 poster (albeit in a slightly different format) can now be downloaded directly by following the link contained in Stuart's post.

So far as the full details of the rest of the documentation are concerned, it has always been my intention to ensure that everything should be placed within the public domain in its entirety. This is still the case, despite my being subjected to intense political pressure during the last 24 hours not to do so.

As things stand, however, I do indeed accept that there are solid reasons to hold back from my chosen path for the time being. The most telling of these is that we are becoming increasingly aware of the possible severity of the implications contained within the documentation. I ran some of the documents (by no means all) past an acquaintance of mine who has a legal background and he was, quite literally, astounded. Referring specifically to the actions of one particular individual, he stated that "the material provided demonstrates a level of dishonesty I have never before seen in anyone else, anywhere, ever." In light of this I do need a little time to consider any other options that might be open to us, both in the short and longer term.

So, for now, the truth is not out there yet.

But, rest assured, eventually it will be - for all the world to see!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on September 29, 2015, 12:26:28 pm
As we left the trade hall at Hidden Earth on Sunday I noticed an A3 poster had been put on public display on the blocking up of the Drws Cefn entrance.  This information included the licence application to block the entrance, Natural Resources Wales' rejection of the licence and drawings of the proposed concrete and steel blockage.

These details appear to be out in the public domain, where can they be viewed in full?

As you can see, the A3 poster (albeit in a slightly different format) can now be downloaded directly by following the link contained in Stuart's post.

So far as the full details of the rest of the documentation are concerned, it has always been my intention to ensure that everything should be placed within the public domain in its entirety. This is still the case, despite my being subjected to intense political pressure during the last 24 hours not to do so.

As things stand, however, I do indeed accept that there are solid reasons to hold back from my chosen path for the time being. The most telling of these is that we are becoming increasingly aware of the possible severity of the implications contained within the documentation. I ran some of the documents (by no means all) past an acquaintance of mine who has a legal background and he was, quite literally, astounded. Referring specifically to the actions of one particular individual, he stated that "the material provided demonstrates a level of dishonesty I have never before seen in anyone else, anywhere, ever." In light of this I do need a little time to consider any other options that might be followed, both in the short and longer term.

So, for now, the truth is not out there yet.

But, rest assured, eventually it will be - for all to see!

Cambrian Caving Council have a legal and insurance officer, me.

roy@royfellows.uk

However, apart from giving 'opinion' if requested, I would like to stay out of any arguments due to my position relative to charitable organisations.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 29, 2015, 12:36:46 pm
Hi Roy,

Yes, I would welcome your opinion, either privately or publicly.

Best bet is probably for you to liaise with Stuart as you are both officers in Cambrian and are most likely in fairly regular contact concerning other matters anyway.

Feel free to contact me directly if need be.

Thanks,

Nig
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on September 29, 2015, 01:45:12 pm
Not peeved that you were forced to make alternative plans for that particular weekend are you, by any chance? Never mind, get your name on the list now and you can be first in line next time around, a couple of days' fun in the sun guaranteed. I've heard they even give out free fruit drinks whilst you sit around waiting for the concrete to dry!

I would not have been part of any concreting plans. I'm not even all that fussed whether Drws Cefn stays open or not. I just don't like seeing hate campaigns against fellow cavers and people jeopardising access to Draenen as a whole.


I ran some of the documents (by no means all) past an acquaintance of mine who has a legal background and he was, quite literally, astounded. Referring specifically to the actions of one particular individual, he stated that "the material provided demonstrates a level of dishonesty I have never before seen in anyone else, anywhere, ever."

Never, anwhere, ever? This seems very unlikely hyperbole unless you've uncovered plans by the PDCMG to murder anyone going into Drws Cefn with an axe.

Or maybe you've realised you don't actually have anything which is why you haven't released it.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: PeteHall on September 29, 2015, 02:14:46 pm
I just don't like seeing hate campaigns against fellow cavers and people jeopardising access to Draenen as a whole.

I haven't seen any "hate campaign", I have seen many very concerned cavers, desperate to prevent the permanent destruction of a cave entrance.

Had "fellow cavers" engaged with the land owner in a positive way, rather than feeding the idea of permanent closure with a reinforced concrete plug, I'm sure an amicable agreement could have been reached as has occurred all over the country at other sensitive locations.

The biggest jeopardy to cave access in general is "fellow cavers"  :wall:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: meanderthal on September 29, 2015, 02:46:42 pm
The biggest jeopardy to cave access in general is "fellow cavers"  :wall:

And one of the worst in this case is Mr Nig...  :coffee:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 29, 2015, 02:59:04 pm
I ran some of the documents (by no means all) past an acquaintance of mine who has a legal background and he was, quite literally, astounded. Referring specifically to the actions of one particular individual, he stated that "the material provided demonstrates a level of dishonesty I have never before seen in anyone else, anywhere, ever."

Never, anwhere, ever? This seems very unlikely hyperbole unless you've uncovered plans by the PDCMG to murder anyone going into Drws Cefn with an axe.

Or maybe you've realised you don't actually have anything which is why you haven't released it.

Apart from the fact I do not think you necessarily need to be inherently dishonest in order to murder someone with an axe, you have not got the thrust of the point I was trying to make. My friend was merely giving me his honest opinion of what I showed him based upon his own experience. Nothing more, nothing less.

As for your attempts designed to goad me into releasing our material before we are ready? Well, keep trying if you like, I am finding it increasingly amusing. It clearly indicates that you can have no conception whatsoever about what is contained therein and that is most reassuring. Believe me, Rich - if you knew what we had you would immediately be joining those beseeching me to do the complete opposite. Be careful what you wish for!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: meanderthal on September 29, 2015, 03:18:45 pm
I'm not even all that fussed whether Drws Cefn stays open or not.

I'm not sure he's that bothered...?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: crickleymal on September 29, 2015, 03:45:24 pm
Can't we just close this thread until something actually happens e.g. NigR finally publishes something or the relevant parties say something public. Otherwise it just deteriorates into tit for tat as it's doing now.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: menacer on September 29, 2015, 04:48:05 pm
I believe in cave gating.  After a few months I can remove it and add it to my collection.

Knock Knock (http://www.sherv.net/cm/emoticons/jobs/police-smiley-emoticon.gif)
 ;)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 29, 2015, 09:51:17 pm
Just to flesh out some of the information already in the public domain:

We know for certain that the concrete wall was designed by someone on the PDCMG committee, most likely one of the elected Officers.

A message to NRW in reply to a query concerning the design stated:

"To give you some background, the proposed grille was designed by a member of the caving group who is an engineer and the concept for the design was agreed by NRW. If you need further information on this could you contact Fleur Loveridge on the above email."

This message was sent to only one other Officer of the PDCMG apart from the Secretary. As this person possesses 'past form' when it comes to designing and installing concrete structures in order to prevent access to caves we have a pretty good idea as to the identity of the unnamed engineer.  However, we could be wrong and I am not prepared to name him in public until any element of doubt is totally removed. If he would care to own up and step forward to receive any kudos that may be due to him that would be much appreciated. It will at least save us the effort of having to delve any further.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Inferus on September 29, 2015, 10:23:58 pm
Can't we just close this thread until something actually happens e.g. NigR finally publishes something or the relevant parties say something public. Otherwise it just deteriorates into tit for tat as it's doing now.
It's not degenerated to any great degree as yet, fairly benign in comparison to some threads on here! I'm not a regular Welsh caver but I've found it interesting reading what has been put so far. Keep it going I say.

To put my 2p in; not that the PDCMG are bothered because they "think" they represent the interests of "all" cavers, I find it somewhat bewildering that anyone or any group could propose such a hideous construction (or should that read; destruction of cave).
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on September 29, 2015, 11:58:39 pm
I'm going to make an argument for closing Drws Cefn (because it's been a while since we've done this). It's fine if you have a diffo opinion but please remember if you're e.g.  a northern caver who has never visited Draenen but feel allergic to closing bits of cave, the many club reps who voted to close the entrance probably thought about the issue rather than going on a random power trip or decided they actually hated all cavers.

Drws Cefn is not in a terribly useful bit of the cave. The main entrance is located centrally, whilst Drws Cefn only knocks off a bit of time if you're going to the SE of the cave. I reckon you can traverse between the main entrance and where Drws Cefn enters in under an hour if you're a fairly speedy caver.

However, if you're a beginner then distances take a fair bit longer to cover and Drws Cefn being open does make bits of the SE of the cave a lot more accessible. This is the bit of the cave where the most extensive and delicate formations live. Having to go the longer way from the main entrance does add a natural barrier of some caving experience. So the main argument for closing Drws Cefn is conservation.

I like Draenen but some bits of it are pretty boring and are only tolerable by caving fast. The through trip between the main entrance and Drws Cefn is pretty much a tour of the most tedious bits. So if you're feeling awfully sad about this potential loss, you're not missing much.

The far SE end of Draenen is pretty remote (I think it's the furthest distance-wise you can go underground from an entrance in the UK?) and some cavers prefer it that way. Whether this is a good argument is a matter of taste but doesn't make someone evil for holding it (it's worth considering how different an experience caving in Ffynnon Ddu would be if OFD II / Cwm Dwr had never been opened up).

Closing entrances, even with concrete, isn't permanent and cavers/landowners might decide in the future to open things back up. A locked gate might be a compromise but given how keen certain parties have been to remove gates / break padlocks / steal bat counters etc. and risk losing access to Draenen altogether doesn't give a lot of confidence that it would stay in place.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on September 30, 2015, 12:29:17 am
Yeah, but NRW don't like it, and see it as having an adverse affect on air movement, and on bats. Maybe a gate might be better, and could give Tony some more scrap metal purloining opportunities.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on September 30, 2015, 12:32:23 am
Don't worry Tony, I'll give you an alibi..
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 30, 2015, 02:07:12 am
Yeah, but NRW don't like it, and see it as having an adverse affect on air movement, and on bats. Maybe a gate might be better, and could give Tony some more scrap metal purloining opportunities.

Tony doesn't want them for scrap metal, he really does collect the bloody things! Bit of a weird hobby if you ask me but there you go.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on September 30, 2015, 08:52:33 am
This is basic. Drws Cefn is a cave. We are cavers, and we want caves to be open. Although some of those who support closing Drws are my friends, fellow alumni of OUCC, with respect, I think they are deeply, appallingly wrong. I am utterly dismayed that any cavers should wish to block a cave - especially one that happens to lie on CROW land. It has been open for years already, without any conservation catastrophes taking place. It isn't a particularly easy trip: it imposes its own access restrictions. Those who seek the challenge and "wilderness experience" of a trip to the end of Draenen from the original entrance are still free to pursue this, in much the same way as they can try an OFD one to three and back trip: knowing Top Entrance is there does not detract from this. (I once supported the wilderness argument in a letter to Descent, but I have changed my mind.)

Why should Draenen be treated differently from the Three Counties system? Would anyone argue we should close all the entrances to Easegill - Link -Pippikin except Top Sink? Because the logic of closing Drws is exactly the same. Caves are where you find them. This one happens to have two entrances. That's just the way it is. 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: PeteHall on September 30, 2015, 11:02:35 am
Having to go the longer way from the main entrance does add a natural barrier of some caving experience. So the main argument for closing Drws Cefn is conservation.

Nothing natural about reinforced concrete.  :thumbsdown:

It's naturally a multi-entrance cave system
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on September 30, 2015, 11:28:02 am
Actually, to be strictly accurate, nature determined at some time that it was a no-entrance cave. Only human intervention has resulted in this situation changing.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 30, 2015, 12:12:16 pm
Very good point, Peter.

Perhaps we should fill ALL the entrances in and just put it back to how it was.

And, of course, never go looking for other entrances ever again!

Without doubt, the Ultimate Conservation Plan.

Do you think this might provide the solution we are all searching for?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on September 30, 2015, 12:15:59 pm
I am not answering that, as my point was merely to point out that artificially blocking an entrance is no more natural than artificially digging one out. One is simply the reverse of the other.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on September 30, 2015, 12:22:44 pm
I am aware of a number of instances where deliberately blocking has been deemed by cavers a sensible thing to do, for a variety of reasons. Whether a specific instance can be justified or not is simply down to those who are fully aware of the reasons and can make the best judgement. Those who are not involved or who have never been there, and may never do so, ought to let those who are involved work out what to do.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on September 30, 2015, 12:27:31 pm
Nothing natural about reinforced concrete.  :thumbsdown:

It's naturally a multi-entrance cave system

Drws Cefn isn't natural either. It was blasted open. It's no more natural than a borehole.

There are many other cases where bits of cave have had restricted access for the good of the cave. Asking cavers to walk a bit further to visit bits of a cave is not such an onerous restriction. cf the Columns in OFD, Dan yr Ogof, St. Cuthbert's...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on September 30, 2015, 12:56:57 pm
Quote
Drws Cefn isn't natural either. It was blasted open. It's no more natural than a borehole.

There are many other cases where bits of cave have had restricted access for the good of the cave. Asking cavers to walk a bit further to visit bits of a cave is not such an onerous restriction. cf the Columns in OFD, Dan yr Ogof, St. Cuthbert's...

But you are asking a lot more than to walk a bit further or cave a bit longer. To get at the current entrance is a right faff:

First you need several weeks notice.
You also need to send an envelope that contains a 20 pound cheque (who uses cheques nowadays?).
A jiffy bag - I actually Googled that one to find out what it was.
A self addressed envelope.
A club letter head.
A few first class stamps.
And hope it all does not get lost in the mail!

All this just to go caving...

Surely the keys should be held at the pub and/or at various club huts. I know the land-owner wishes it to be locked but it does not have to be such a pain to get the keys?

That is my main problem, though of course the second entrance is a big secret so I have no idea where it is anyway.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 30, 2015, 01:32:40 pm
Drws Cefn isn't natural either. It was blasted open. It's no more natural than a borehole.

Interesting that you feel the need to deliberately put out totally false information in order to bolster your argument.

The entrance to Drws Cefn is a completely natural feature (a small vertical pothole) that became infilled with glacial deposits at the end of the last ice age. These deposits were then removed to reveal the open cave passage which lay beneath. Further on, this passage was indeed enlarged artificially during the course of its exploration but this is no different to what you find with many caves, including the original Ogof Draenen entrance.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on September 30, 2015, 01:44:11 pm
Quote

Surely the keys should be held at the pub and/or at various club huts. I know the land-owner wishes it to be locked but it does not have to be such a pain to get the keys?

That is my main problem, though of course the second entrance is a big secret so I have no idea where it is anyway.


 :smartass: Since you may be one of the few who do not know the location of the entrance to Drws Cefn
Purely in the public interest here it is in an interactive map.  :clap2:
http://www.ogof.org.uk/Clydach-Gorge-Cave-Location-Map.html (http://www.ogof.org.uk/Clydach-Gorge-Cave-Location-Map.html)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on September 30, 2015, 01:48:04 pm

But you are asking a lot more than to walk a bit further or cave a bit longer. To get at the current entrance is a right faff:

First you need several weeks notice.
You also need to send an envelope that contains a 20 pound cheque (who uses cheques nowadays?).
A jiffy bag - I actually Googled that one to find out what it was.
A self addressed envelope.
A club letter head.
A few first class stamps.
And hope it all does not get lost in the mail!

All this just to go caving...

Surely the keys should be held at the pub and/or at various club huts. I know the land-owner wishes it to be locked but it does not have to be such a pain to get the keys?

That is my main problem, though of course the second entrance is a big secret so I have no idea where it is anyway.

This a serious question.

Is everything above for real?
A club letterhead?
So if you don't belong to a club its hard luck

No wonder there is falling out amongst cavers. I appreciate the need to protect certain sites and the necessity for access controls, but really!
Sorry about my ignorance of such things but I am a mining man
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on September 30, 2015, 02:01:41 pm
But you are asking a lot more than to walk a bit further or cave a bit longer. To get at the current entrance is a right faff.

It used to be the case that you could phone up for permission and the code and then access the cave using the padlock combination. It worked pretty well - some security with minimum inconvenience for cavers and was the most open of all the big Welsh systems (bar Daren maybe).

Then we had to change to a lock because liberties taken by certain parties regarding events discussed in this thread pissed off the landowner (cheers dudes). It is indeed a right annoyance and is worth bearing in mind if you think the PDCMG are not trying to get access for cavers and fighting over Drws Cefn is of no consequence.

Several local clubs possess keys. I'm not sure what the deal is with lending them out is but you might just be able to ask. Failing that ask on here if someone fancies a trip. Probably easier than sending an SAE.

The Drws Cefn location isn't a secret; you can find it on the PDCMG site: www.pdcmg.org.uk/SF%20DRWS%20CEFN.pdf (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/SF%20DRWS%20CEFN.pdf) (SF = Stuart France?) But bear in mind the landowner has asked no one to go down it so if you do you are risking even worse relations and access to Draenen as a whole.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on September 30, 2015, 02:05:19 pm
[quote  The Drws Cefn location isn't a secret; you can find it on the PDCMG site: www.pdcmg.org.uk/SF%20DRWS%20CEFN.pdf (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/SF%20DRWS%20CEFN.pdf) (SF = Stuart France?) But bear in mind the landowner has asked no one to go down it so if you do you are risking even worse relations and access to Draenen as a whole.
[/quote]

It is also on Open Access (CROW) land!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on September 30, 2015, 02:18:01 pm


 bear in mind the landowner has asked no one to go down it so if you do you are risking even worse relations and access to Draenen as a whole.

Hey Rich, how about a compromise solution in the form of an exit only gate at Drws Cefn?  No short cut to the heart of the cave, no second entrance as per landowner's wishes.   Saves a bit of face on both sides, and finally resolves the issue to most people's satisfaction.   It works at Fairy/Hilliers on Mendip. 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on September 30, 2015, 02:18:57 pm
This a serious question.

Is everything above for real?
A club letterhead?
So if you don't belong to a club its hard luck

No wonder there is falling out amongst cavers. I appreciate the need to protect certain sites and the necessity for access controls, but really!
Sorry about my ignorance of such things but I am a mining man

Looks like Alex is mistaken or a bit out of date:

http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/access.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/access.htm)

Further details of current access are available to member clubs; all others should contact the Access Officer in order to apply for a key: applications should come with only the stamp for a large envelope and an address label (jiffy bag not required)).

Hopefully access will be made easier in the future. Before that can happen we should look for some sort of resolution with Drws Cefn and for everyone to calm down a bit. This will definitely not be helped by people going down Drws Cefn. We could lose all access to Draenen. We really don't want another Ogof T1 situation.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on September 30, 2015, 02:31:16 pm
Looks fair enough.
As an outsider looking in its difficult to make any assessments of the situation if opposing arguments are being misrepresented. This will usually end up going tit for tat anyway.

Thank you.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on September 30, 2015, 02:39:07 pm
It must have changed since I was there in Spring then. I certainly did have to do all that. Infact it still says I need to do all that looking at this website:

http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/cave_access.html (http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/cave_access.html)

Which is where I looked as its the first thing that comes up regarding access on a Google search.

Oh well I had a good scavenger hunt finding all the bits.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 30, 2015, 02:44:55 pm
[quote  The Drws Cefn location isn't a secret; you can find it on the PDCMG site: www.pdcmg.org.uk/SF%20DRWS%20CEFN.pdf (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/SF%20DRWS%20CEFN.pdf) (SF = Stuart France?) But bear in mind the landowner has asked no one to go down it so if you do you are risking even worse relations and access to Draenen as a whole.

It is also on Open Access (CROW) land!
[/quote]

That is quite correct, although the prime movers behind the concreting of Drws Cefn are equally steadfast in their opposition to CRoW being applied to caving.

In fact, this could partly explain why they were so determined to get it all over and done with at the present time. Once caving does come under CRoW (as it surely one day will) they would find it increasingly difficult to get their way.

Thanks to Rich for the link to Stuart's 2009 presentation on Drws Cefn, I hadn't viewed it for a while. Perhaps one point to note is that the gate is no longer there and has not been for more than five years now. I suspect (but it is only a hunch) that it may have found its rightful resting place in Tony's Official Cave Gate Museum mentioned earlier!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on September 30, 2015, 02:51:35 pm
It must have changed since I was there in Spring then. I certainly did have to do all that. Infact it still says I need to do all that looking at this website:

http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/cave_access.html (http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/cave_access.html)

Which is where I looked as its the first thing that comes up regarding access on a Google search.


I feel that the access position needs clarification, I find myself looking at two different hymn sheets.
As a member of CCC I am unhappy with this.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on September 30, 2015, 02:55:40 pm
Spending more time coming to an amicable arrangement, and less time rubbishing the motives of those one doesn't agree with, might help to bring a resolution closer. One can only dream.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on September 30, 2015, 03:00:42 pm
Sorry but I am all questions

I still note that there are clubs that only allow access to people who are members of other clubs, and yet BCA membership which includes the insurance is open to all.

Why is this?
can someone please enlighten me
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on September 30, 2015, 03:26:59 pm
Sorry to just correct myself the cheque is for £10.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on September 30, 2015, 03:35:11 pm
Spending more time coming to an amicable arrangement, and less time rubbishing the motives of those one doesn't agree with, might help to bring a resolution closer. One can only dream.

My exit only gate suggestion is serious, and represents a compromise solution.  I'm still waiting for a response from the main protagonists in this thread....
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on September 30, 2015, 03:41:15 pm
I think Andy's idea should be considered sensibly and responded to. 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on September 30, 2015, 03:47:55 pm
There is an issue of principle here: Drws is on CROW land. The prospect of cavers voluntarily restricting access - even by means of an exit only gate - does not sit well with a campaign to get caving recognised as a sport to which CROW applies, which is, we should remember, now BCA policy, endorsed by a referendum.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on September 30, 2015, 04:02:35 pm
I think Andy's idea should be considered sensibly and responded to.

The idea of ANY kind of gate has been rejected by PDCMG!
Their only option has always bee total sealing of any other entrance.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on September 30, 2015, 04:04:01 pm
I think a practical suggestion such as Andy's is more likely to produce a result than yet another mud slinging CROW discussion.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on September 30, 2015, 04:09:51 pm
There will never be a compromise solution for this that both sides like, but if we can find one they both hate we may be getting somewhere.    Nig and Rich, thoughts on the exit only gate please!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on September 30, 2015, 04:21:27 pm
Isn't the nature of a compromise something that neither side wants but that both sides can live with?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on September 30, 2015, 04:27:56 pm
Andy,

(I know you invited Nig & Rich to address this and no doubt they will).

The suggestion of a gate (padlocked, combi-locked, one way locked etc.) was discussed in 2010 (on here) and rejected pretty much by both sides.

The NRW raised the issue of the (non-existent) gate within the PDCMG application and asked for it to be re-considered. They suggested that, should there be a cave-rescue incident, there would be understandable pressure to cut the grille open which would, in turn, disturb the bats unduly.

Personally, I have always thought it is utter stupidity (if not criminal) to knowingly seal an entrance/exit that could be used to save lives.

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on September 30, 2015, 04:35:18 pm
It's never been a problem at OFD where you need a key to get in but don't need one to get out. A one-way door doesn't mean that a rescue team can't get in, as one should assume they would have been given a key to open it from the outside in emergencies. Plus, if a member of a team in trouble was able to get out quickly via an "exit only" door, they could raise the alarm quickly, and inform the rescue warden which entrance is the one to use for speedy attendance.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on September 30, 2015, 04:48:02 pm
There are some good "common sense" suggestions being made here.
Unfortunately common sense and Drws Cefn are not words that seem to work together.   :wall:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on September 30, 2015, 05:01:49 pm
Peter,

I didn't oppose a gate, I opposed "sealing"  :kiss2: :kiss2: :kiss2:

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on September 30, 2015, 05:04:50 pm
Oh yes so you did. No worries.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Cookie on September 30, 2015, 05:52:46 pm
There is an issue of principle here: Drws is on CROW land. The prospect of cavers voluntarily restricting access - even by means of an exit only gate - does not sit well with a campaign to get caving recognised as a sport to which CROW applies, which is, we should remember, now BCA policy, endorsed by a referendum.

I don't want to start a long debate, I just want to correct a commonly held fallacy. This is a procedural point, not a political one.

To campaign for CROW is not BCA policy because to do so would be against BCA's current constitution.

Only once the constitution has been changed can it become BCA policy. Only then can BCA start campaigning.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on September 30, 2015, 06:08:12 pm
Where's me popcorn?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on September 30, 2015, 07:49:06 pm
I remember all this from years ago!

The digging open of the Drws Cefn entrance was done in such an antagonistic fashion that it all ended up with the landowners saying:

"if no agreement is obtained which ensures that no future attempts to reopen or add additional entrances to the one agreed and which is also acceptable to us, then it is our intention to close all entrances to the Ogof Draenen system from the beginning of April. The Ogof Draenen system has been evolving for millennia and if this generation of cavers cannot agree between themselves then it may be best for it to return to its previous state for a future generation." (Descent (213), April/May 2010, p.19)

In the subsequent issue of Descent it was confirmed that ongoing access to the cave had been secured on the basis that access should "be via the original entrance to the cave."

Retaining an awkward and uncomfortable entrance to a cave has a great benefit in terms of protecting the cave from those who are less competent as cavers and might otherwise not be discouraged from entering. It has also been argued that the one major conservation mistake made at Ogof Ffynnon Ddu was to open the Top Entrance and that, given a second chance, the same would not be repeated . . .

However, at the end of the day, the Drws Cefn entrance now exists - so should it be sealed closed with concrete?

My view is absolutely not. There is no guarantee as to how long the scaffolded shaft through the existing entrance will hold up. Certainly, similar caver engineering work in Ogof Craig a Ffynnon has had to be replaced on a number of occasions due to boulder collapses taking place.

So, now there is an emergency exit available I would strongly advise using it as such. Close the gate with a padlock or other locking device and place a copy of the key with the owner of the Lamb & Fox (provided the publicans are still interested landowners or willing to help) under the strict instructions that it is to be issued for use in a genuine emergency only.

Then go caving and forget about it all!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on September 30, 2015, 07:55:28 pm
Hey Rich, how about a compromise solution in the form of an exit only gate at Drws Cefn?  No short cut to the heart of the cave, no second entrance as per landowner's wishes.   Saves a bit of face on both sides, and finally resolves the issue to most people's satisfaction.   It works at Fairy/Hilliers on Mendip.

(I should point out I'm not speaking for the PDCMG committee. I'm merely the BEC rep and a regular Draenen caver. So persuading me probably isn't going to do all that much...)

I could live with it if I thought it could get enough support (and we could stop talking about Drws Bloody Cefn) but it's not very easily achievable. There are a few obstacles:

I understand the landowner wants it closed permanently. There is a perception on here that the landowner will do whatever PDCMG/BCA ask him to but this isn't true as far as I know.

The PDCMG clubs have already voted on the issue and come to a decision and no one is keen to revisit all that pain.

Individuals unknown have been smashing or swiping gates / padlocks / bat counters etc. which makes a gate not very desirable by people who might have to replace it.

Maybe the NRW process will force a compromise; we'll see.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on September 30, 2015, 09:29:06 pm
Hey Rich, how about a compromise solution in the form of an exit only gate at Drws Cefn?  No short cut to the heart of the cave, no second entrance as per landowner's wishes.   Saves a bit of face on both sides, and finally resolves the issue to most people's satisfaction.   It works at Fairy/Hilliers on Mendip.

(I should point out I'm not speaking for the PDCMG committee. I'm merely the BEC rep and a regular Draenen caver. So persuading me probably isn't going to do all that much...)

I could live with it if I thought it could get enough support (and we could stop talking about Drws Bloody Cefn) but it's not very easily achievable. There are a few obstacles:

I understand the landowner wants it closed permanently. There is a perception on here that the landowner will do whatever PDCMG/BCA ask him to but this isn't true as far as I know.

The PDCMG clubs have already voted on the issue and come to a decision and no one is keen to revisit all that pain.

Individuals unknown have been smashing or swiping gates / padlocks / bat counters etc. which makes a gate not very desirable by people who might have to replace it.

Maybe the NRW process will force a compromise; we'll see.

In answer to the 'obstacles' you list:

I understand the landowner wants it closed permanently.
 
He's waited 5 years for that to happen, there has been no progress, and the saga continues.   Perhaps what he really wants is for cavers to stop arguing and find a way to resolve the issue?


The PDCMG clubs have already voted on the issue and come to a decision
   
Yes, 5 years ago, but nothing was done, and caver opinion has probably shifted significantly.   If you, as a regular Draenen caver, could live with an exit only gate, then why can't others?


Individuals unknown have been smashing or swiping gates  
Yes, there are some militant local cavers who strongly object to the actions of PDCMG.  An agreed compromise should defuse some of the anger and hopefully put a stop to that sort of nonsense.

And, like you say, we could all finally stop talking about Drws bloody Cefn!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: shortscotsman on September 30, 2015, 09:35:02 pm
Sorry but I am all questions

I still note that there are clubs that only allow access to people who are members of other clubs, and yet BCA membership which includes the insurance is open to all.

Why is this?
can someone please enlighten me

Whilst not a club member but a DIM member of BCA ,  I applied for access to Draenen and it was refused. Apparantly it was against the culture of South Wales.  PDCMG is not alone in this.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on September 30, 2015, 10:03:59 pm
Sorry, Andy. I have not been deliberately ignoring you but have been out of reception since early this afternoon. I accept that your suggestion of an exit only gate is designed to help and I do appreciate your efforts. If you recall, we discussed this some time ago (both on the forum and in private) and my position has not changed. In short, I do not think it would work for a multitude of reasons. I can list these again for you when time permits but this will have to suffice for now.

I have some questions for Rich as BEC rep on the PDCMG:

Were you, as a club rep, made aware of the nature of the intended blockage (i.e. a solid concrete wall) along with the precise details of its construction and the scheduled timetable involved?

If so, did you pass these details on to your club committee?

When were you informed by the PDCMG Secretary that the licence application had been rejected by NRW?

Put simply:

Did you know what was going on, did the BEC know and when did you find out it wasn't going to happen?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on September 30, 2015, 10:17:23 pm
Sorry but I am all questions

I still note that there are clubs that only allow access to people who are members of other clubs, and yet BCA membership which includes the insurance is open to all.

Why is this?
can someone please enlighten me

Whilst not a club member but a DIM member of BCA ,  I applied for access to Draenen and it was refused. Apparantly it was against the culture of South Wales.  PDCMG is not alone in this.

Thank you

A club or organisation which is a BCA Access Controlling Body cannot refuse access to a BCA member.

Act
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on September 30, 2015, 11:20:06 pm
Sorry but I am all questions

I still note that there are clubs that only allow access to people who are members of other clubs, and yet BCA membership which includes the insurance is open to all.

Why is this?
can someone please enlighten me

Whilst not a club member but a DIM member of BCA ,  I applied for access to Draenen and it was refused. Apparantly it was against the culture of South Wales.  PDCMG is not alone in this.

Thank you

A club or organisation which is a BCA Access Controlling Body cannot refuse access to a BCA member.

Act

Although I do solo caving trips myself, I'm not convinced you'll find many cave access bodies prepared to condone such activity within the caves they control. The point being you need a viable call-out arrangement, in case something should go wrong during the trip, and some caves may be considered unsuitable for solo caving with minimum party sizes being set under the access arrangements - although, in practice, this really depends more on the caver concerned, how much experience they have and how well equipped they are for the trip, than the cave itself, I feel.

If a group of responsible cavers, who are not members of any caving club in particular - and years ago at Warwick we favoured signing in as NCIP (No Club in Particular) - but are direct individual members of BCA, should seek permission to enter Ogof Draenen, then I doubt whether a reasonable application would be turned down.

When a couple of university club members and myself decided to do Pippikin Pot in January 1981, we first of all watched Sid Perou's film from a VHS tape to see how horribly tight it is. Afterwards, we drove up to the Dales, spoke with the farmer on whose land the cave is situated and he permitted us to change in his pig sty (I seem to recall it was) and then go down. The only hassle we had was when some group turned up on the moor outside the entrance, having 'booked' the cave for their exclusive use, apparently, and started quizzing us as to what we were doing there . . . We told them we had permission to go down, which we did have, probably referred to 'NCIP', and then just let them in first . . .
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 01, 2015, 11:03:48 am
Just a reminder to Rich (PDCMG BEC rep) that he is yet to post an answer to my questions from yesterday evening.

Whilst waiting for Rich to respond, I have been having a think and have decided to pitch the selfsame questions to every member club of the PDCMG. (Many thanks to Rich for his assistance in giving me this idea). In fact, I have received a most satisfactory response from one club's rep already.

So, if there are any other PDCMG Club Reps out there reading this, please do feel free to contact me directly as this will save me the effort of having to contact you. Your answers can be made either publicly or privately and I will of course respect any request you might care to make regarding their confidentiality.

Thank you.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 01, 2015, 11:18:30 am
I think those to whom NigR is addressing this should be in discussion directly with PDCMG and not someone on a message-board!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: zomjon on October 01, 2015, 11:23:50 am
Hi Nig, in your reply to Andy's well meant resolution to this unhealthy mess, you mention you have a number of arguments why it is not an acceptable compromise. When you have time, (as I am sure is the case with Rich) I am sure quite a few other people as well as myself would like to read your thoughts.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 01, 2015, 11:58:29 am
Hi zomjon,

If you look back at pages 4 & 5 on this thread and study my replies # 96, 115 & 117 you should find what you are looking for.

However, bear in mind that I wrote those posts well over a year ago. In light of the move towards CRoW (as mentioned by David Rose) I am less keen on a gate of any type now (other than a simple cover to stop sheep falling down) than I was then.

Hope this helps.

Nig
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on October 01, 2015, 12:08:41 pm
I think those to whom NigR is addressing this should be in discussion directly with PDCMG and not someone on a message-board!

I completely dis-agree.
If PDCMG have contacted and got approval from member clubs then that is valuable information.
If they have not, then that also should be generally known.

It is a shame that PDCMG will not give answers here, their apologist running dog Rich is not empowered , authorized or capable of answering.
He is not in possession of the current facts and is really only able to give his own view.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 01, 2015, 12:24:28 pm
Well, those people have a choice - to take my advice, or yours. It's not up to me or you to tell them what to do!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on October 01, 2015, 12:28:11 pm
The exit only option did indeed come under consideration during our attempted negotiations with the PDCMG (under the auspices of Cambrian Caving Council) five years ago but was quickly dismissed as being of limited usefulness and intrinsically unworkable.

From our own viewpoint, such a system would clearly fail to fulfil Drws Cefn's primary function of aiding exploration to the fullest degree. Specifically, you would still be forced to waste valuable time and effort at the start of each trip pointlessly grinding over the same old ground.

Also, there are the practicalities of where you would leave your car on the surface to consider.If you left it at Keeper's Pond you would have a long walk to begin your trip, if you left it at the Lamb and Fox you would have an even worse walk in shitty caving gear when you are knackered. Not insurmountable by any means if you are just doing a five hour through trip but fairly unappealing after a 14 hour digging or surveying trip.


This is Nig's argument against the exit only compromise.   
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 01, 2015, 01:04:47 pm
No, Andy.

That is only part of my argument and you know it.

Go back and read the rest of it again (or re-post it all in full if you prefer).

Perhaps it might be opportune to remind you (and anyone else who may be proposing other such 'alternative options') that if the PDCMG had managed to get away with what they were trying to do then you would not be having the luxury of discussing this now. Drws would be permanently sealed by a massive steel-reinforced concrete wall with a sign outside listing the penalties anyone would be subject to should they ever interfere with it in any way.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on October 01, 2015, 01:30:54 pm
No, Andy.

That is only part of my argument and you know it.



No I don't know it and if you are implying that I selectively quoted you, Nig, you are mistaken.     I copied and pasted your post because you seemed disinclined to do so yourself and if I missed a section I'm sorry.  It would have been simpler if you had taken two minutes to do the job yourself.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 01, 2015, 01:52:43 pm
Andy,

If you look back at my post, you will see that the second part consists of me listing the reasons given by the PDCMG as to why they thought such an idea would not work and my agreement with at least some of them.

As I said, if you would like to quote this as well that would be fine.

Time is at a premium right now and I simply do not have enough available to be treading over the same old ground over and over again.

Sorry.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on October 01, 2015, 02:13:51 pm
Secondly, they pointed out (quite rightly) that such a system would potentially be open to the utmost abuse. For example, there would be nothing to stop anyone from leaving the gate open at the end of a trip (after exiting) so that another party could go into the cave via that entrance the following day or later in the week. Also, there would be nothing to prevent a party from sending their fastest members into the cave via the old entrance and then opening the gate from the inside for everybody else.

Finally (and we were in semi-agreement on this), such a system would lead to a plethora of through trips (all in the same direction) so creating yet more unnecessary footfall within the cave along one particular route.


The second section of Nig's old post which he was too busy to re-post himself.   


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on October 01, 2015, 04:02:38 pm
I am surprised that very few of the recent exchanges on this thread have yet addressed any aspects of the enormous attempt at dissemblance revealed by the conservation licence submission to National Resources Wales by 'the landowner' (Peter Jones - why no mention of Pwlldu Conservation Ltd?) via a few PDCMG 'officials'. [http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnsummary.pdf in Reply #284]

They say: 'Drws Cfen (sic) cave entrance is in a remote part of the site and cannot be supervised Mr Jones, the landowner. Access to the cave system cannot be monitored and is attracting undesirable activity' They know very well that there are cave counters that can monitor access, but if it can't be monitored how do they know it is being used at all?. Mr Jones can see the path over 'his' private land to the current entrance but not 'his' CROW land, but does he really want to supervise it? Isn't the PDCMG supposed to be there to mediate and monitor caver activity and views so he doesn't need to?

How could they straight-facedly represent a metal-lined slot in a metal facing on a sandwich of two concrete block walls cored by reinforced concrete as a grille, and add insult by giving a reference to the Bat Worker's Manual?
[http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/batwork_manualpt4.pdf]

How could a barrier clearly designed for perpetuity and in contempt of the guidlines set out in Bat Worker's Manual be represented as a solution to 'retaining access' (albeit 'of bats, but not people')?

How could disturbance to the limited usage by bats at Drws Cefn be portrayed as a threat to the bats at the Siambre Ddu SSSI midway between Drws Cefn and the current Draenen entrance when Megadrive, the passage that most cavers will pass twice in a visit to the cave (some like Rich [Reply #300], perhaps, considering it a tedious area to be passed at speed) is almost directly underneath the SSSI and is the area of the cave with the most reported bat activity?  [see Kendall & Guilford: http://bcra.org.uk/pub/docs/downloads.html?f=cks112017 (http://bcra.org.uk/pub/docs/downloads.html?f=cks112017)] If Drws Cefn were open, I suspect that an entrance to entrance through trip via the streamway (not Megadrive) would become the most popular trip, and would really aid bat conservation by reducing disturbance of the area most heavily used by bats.

Why is there no mention whatsoever of the real reason behind all this, Wilderness Conservation where 'overuse will be minimised by selecting areas for their remoteness'? [http://pdcmg.org.uk/BL%20drews%20cefn%20impact.pdf] Doesn't fit well with Welsh Government/NRW intent to improve access and increase outdoor (sensu lato) recreation, perhaps?

Why is the slight balance (7 to 5) of the vote in 2009 that "There should be no access to Ogof Draenen though Drws Cefn" nowhere acknowledged by the PDCMG or its apologists (not to mention that at least one club has changed its stance on closure to openness since then)? Note that Andy Sparrow's suggestion of engineering an exit [Reply #317] is not rejected by that vote.


As for not even revealing to the mediation meeting, let alone the PDCMG members themselves, that plans had already been submitted for an unmediated 'final solution'...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on October 01, 2015, 04:32:21 pm
As for not even revealing to the mediation meeting, let alone the PDCMG members themselves, that plans had already been submitted for an unmediated 'final solution'...


Martin,
the PDCMG members voted 10-0 in favour of the mediation process with the caveat that the blocking of Drws Cefn must go ahead and the mediation process must not hinder it.  Seems to me they knew exactly what they were doing when Fleur and Charles met with the BCA & CCC for talks.

Also,
NRW dropped the "Bat licence application" in part stating that they believed the true purpose of the application was to prevent caver access to Drws Cefn and not for the benefit of Bat conservation (ie. the application was disingenuous).

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on October 01, 2015, 04:35:38 pm
Thank you for this important contribution Martin. These are hugely important questions, and some of the evidence you present is quite shocking. I think the time is coming when those in possession of the many documents which chronicle this affair must put them in the public domain, so that everyone can see the full facts. Then - and only then - it will possible for people to reach judgments about what has happened so far, and what should be the way forward.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on October 01, 2015, 05:05:25 pm
Hi.

I'm reluctant to enter this discussion as I'm not keen to get in to endless debate.  But I will make as few points having attended the PDCMG meeting for many years as the Chelsea Rep.

1.  The members of PDCMG themselves have widely differing opinions about the rights and wrongs of closing Drws Cefn.  Yes, the 2009 EGM vote was for closure (and personally I have never visited or exited via Drws Cefn as I have to respect the vote of the committee I'm on). 

But everyone should be clear the vote was won by the narrowest of majorities (7-5 and if you only consider only the Club votes it was 5-5). Many of the posts on here gives the impression that the PDCMG was or are united in their approval or a decision to close - far from it!

2. The most recent PDCMG meeting (Summer '15) agreed to enter a mediation process - currently underway.  Hopefully a compromise will be found and if that involves a gate, so be it - it's worth that to reach consensus.  It's important to realize that just winning a narrow vote back in 2009 whilst arguably democratic wasn't what was needed.  PDCMG needed much wider support for a lasting solution - which in hindsight it's clear it didn't and still doesn't have and hence the need for compromise. 

Personally, I think some on PDCMG fail to realize that this isn't about simple slender "majority-rules" politics but about "consensus" politics.   In other words, we need the vast majority to accept a solution for it to work; for whatever access conditions there are, etc and for the landowners rights to be respected.  You need a large majority of cavers to support a solution for the minority realize that they are in fact a very small minority and for them to toe the line.

3. I have raised this quite a few times at recent PDCMG meetings but to little avail - it could probably do a wider airing (as I'm not a legal expert).  I'm very uncomfortable about the idea of blocking Drws Cefn in such a way that it is no longer a viable escape route.  In the event of an accident from anywhere SE in the Draenen, it effectively means that PDCMG have added over an hour to the time taken to raise the alarm for a rescue which may be time-critical e.g. the recent rescue of the guy with diabetes.  If someone dies and a coroner's inquest debates whether the casualty could have lived if the alarm had been raised earlier, then there's a risk of prosecution following; gross negligence isn't something PDCMG or anyone else can get liability insurance for.  In other words by knowingly blocking an escape route, could those responsible for blocking go to prison?  Certainly landlords have in recent years for blocking fire escape route - in fact in a very recent case, there wasn't even a fire - just the act of blocking escape routes (as well as not fitting smoke detectors, etc).  In my opinion PDCMG should seek legal advice before going ahead with closure on this point and also to be fair should inform the landowners if they think there is a potential risk of liability.

4. The most recent PDCMG meeting (Summer'15) also decided it didn't want mediation to be conditional on stopping plans for closure.  So in that sense, I knew work was continuing ongoing in the background.  However they've taken so long to getting anything done about closure and there was no indication back to the Club Reps that closure was imminent.  And I don't recall being informed the application had been submitted.  So to answer NigR's question to Rich; No, as the CSS Rep, I didn't see the plans or forms submitted.  Also I wasn't informed of NRW's rejection until the 24th September - disappointing as I now learn that NRW informed the applicants on Sept 2nd.  And especially odd given I received an update from PDCMG on the mediation progress on Sept 7th that made no mention of the news of NRW's rejection.  I am disappointed and feel let down the Committee's recent demonstration of its ability to keep its constituent clubs (i.e. those that vote them in!) informed in a proper and timely manner. 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on October 01, 2015, 05:16:30 pm

the PDCMG members voted 10-0 in favour of the mediation process with the caveat that the blocking of Drws Cefn must go ahead and the mediation process must not hinder it.
Just to be clear the accuracy the minutes of Summer 2015 PDCMG meeting is currently in dispute - and minutes don't get signed off as true and accurate record until the following meeting (Nov'15).  I do not agree that there was a vote was for closure; it was would be remarkable if all clubs (with 5 Clubs previously opposed) had now suddenly voted 10-0 in favour! 

The vote was that mediation should go ahead but it should not be conditional on stopping plans for closure.  There is a big difference!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on October 01, 2015, 05:51:38 pm
Thank you Cseal for your clarification  :)

the exact wording of the motion was;

...the mediation as requested by the CCC proceeds as long as no proviso that current closure is stopped by this mediation

Proposed by Sue Mabbett and seconded by CS (perhaps yourself?)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Farrant on October 01, 2015, 06:12:47 pm
I would like to add, that being a member of PDCMG, I have never voted in favour of blocking Drws Cefn (I was unable to make the last meeting), so as Chris says, it is by no means a united committee. 

Whilst there are pro's and con's to opening a second entrance, my personal view is that the amount of traffic down the cave is not sufficient to warrent closing the entrance, and in-cave conservation measures can be put in place. It is a shame that the current landowner has been persuaded that a single entrance policy is the only valid solution. After all, Drws Cefn was a cave in its own right prior to the present landowner acquiring the land, and it is on CROW land. If it is permanently blocked, there are a number of other draughting holes in the cliff Drws Cefn is in, not to mention many other places where alternative entrances could  be engineered. I don't think the caving community should be advocating the use of reinforced concrete to block any cave.

The most pragmatic solution to the current impasse would be to gate the entrance with a lockable, bat-friendly gate, such that if things change in future (or in emergency), then access can be easily reinstated. Gaining a common consensus for this approach is far more likely to be successful than concrete. I hope that everyone on both sides can desist from antagonising the situation further and allow mediation to take place. 
 Andy
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on October 01, 2015, 06:37:01 pm
The situation would be defused if there was a belief that members of PDCMG would not rush to seal the entrance
as soon as attention turned away.
With the lack of OFFICIAL comment, that trust is not present, and people feel that the issue must stay in the spotlight.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rich on October 01, 2015, 08:10:47 pm
I have some questions for Rich as BEC rep on the PDCMG:

My attempts to calm things down a bit clearly haven't worked very well and I don't think I'm helping matters so I'm probably not going to come back to this thread. Much as I would like to debate Drws Cefn (can we officially rename it Drws Bloody Cefn or DBC?) 24-7 I do have other things to do. Like go down the pub.

While I was pointing out I was not speaking for PDCMG committee I said I was BEC rep - I should also point out I'm not taking an official line for the BEC before anyone gets annoyed. These are my personal views as a Draenen caver and In the event of e.g. a new vote I don't know what the BEC committee might decide.

In the interests of transparency and avoiding conspiracy theories I will attempt to answer Nig's questions:

Quote
Were you, as a club rep, made aware of the nature of the intended blockage (i.e. a solid concrete wall) along with the precise details of its construction and the scheduled timetable involved?

If so, did you pass these details on to your club committee?

I couldn't make the spring committee meeting so I don't know whether it was discussed then. At previous meetings (e.g. the previous autumn) it was made clear that DBC would be closed permanently as per the landowner's wishes and the previous vote. Concrete was probably mentioned. Given that the closing itself is the contentious issue I don't see that it makes a lot of difference to cavers what the structure of the blockage is other than whether it is intended to be permanent or not. The nature of the closure has been discussed here ad nauseam so shouldn't be surprise to anyone.

I think generally the timetable for closure of DBC was "as soon as possible" from what I remember from the previous meeting. I would not have been surprised to have found it closed before the last meeting. The minutes of the latest meeting say that mediation would proceed without any requirement to stop the closure so I don't see why any timetable would surprise anyone.

Quote
When were you informed by the PDCMG Secretary that the licence application had been rejected by NRW?

Put simply:

Did you know what was going on, did the BEC know and when did you find out it wasn't going to happen?

24th September an email was sent round about the rejected license. Maybe some reps were missed out or need to check their spam folder. It is not something that has been kept secret.

I think it has been demonstrated on here that there are pros and cons to whether DBC stays open and it ought to be possible to discuss this without demonising one side -- see for example Andy Farrant's and Chris Seal's entirely reasonable viewpoints.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 01, 2015, 09:05:42 pm
Thank you, Rich.

Your answers are most illuminating.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on October 01, 2015, 10:56:39 pm
In the new Descent, there is an interesting article about the opening of a new entrance to Torca la Vaca, a big cave in Matienzo, and then its re-opening following a flood. The article states that "the new entrance cut out a good four hours caving from the original one and enabled deeper exploration trips to take place more easily."

It then adds that two of the first people to take advantage of this once the new entrance was re-opened were... Fleur Loveridge and Pete Talling. They happen to be extremely vehement advocates of closing Drws Cefn in order to preserve Ogof Draenen's "wilderness experience". I would like to publicly ask them: what's the difference between Cantabria and Wales? Why this double standard? How can they condone what has happened in Torca la Vaca?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on October 01, 2015, 11:28:40 pm
Not seen this descent, I was not aware who went down the second entrance after me, I was the one who actually went down that first and made the connection along with Chris and Ali, after finding a new cave in Spring with many others. The third which may be the one descent refers to was dug out from the inside whilst exploring a rift and popped out on the surface, it was an accidental discovery rather than a deliberate one. I am afraid I don't know too much more about the third entrance as I was not on that trip.

In Spain provided you stay in the permit area their is never an issue. The landowners in Spain are very friendly and don't seem to care in-fact they often want to show you cave entrances. If only we had same relationship here without all the f**cking politics. That's why there is no concreting caves or ripping off gates (though we don't have gates) we all actually work together out there!

I sort of understand why they are concreting the entrance, I certainly don't agree. The landowner asked them to but if we worked together we would not be in this situation in the first place, we should be trying to convince the landowner that is not the way forward.

Off to bed now...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 02, 2015, 12:31:36 am
I don't read Descent but I would like to second David's questions to Fleur and Pete.

As Alex quite rightly points out, there would be no ripping off of gates if they were never fitted in the first place!

Alex also says "they are concreting the entrance" but this is incorrect. The PDCMG were indeed planning on doing so, and in a highly duplicitous fashion too. Fortunately, NRW saw through the numerous blatant lies they had been told in connection with the licence application and swiftly prevented it. Having now studied the material presented with the application in greater detail, it is becoming increasingly hard to understand how the PDCMG ever thought they could fool NRW so easily.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: menacer on October 02, 2015, 08:34:42 am
Matienzo is probably the best reported, documented, openly inclusive, multi club,  caving areas in the world.
 
it needs one person apt at collating and centralising the info
It needs one person to collect the campfees or tackle fees
It needs one person to organise the permit and write the report with the spanish authorities.

there are no landowner issues, cavers are allowed to develop their own relationships with landowners, cavers are allowed to pursue
alternative entrances, cavers are trusted with the ability of their own teams, there is no endless political discussion on whether your way is better than my way, it seems to be accepted that people are different and have different ideas.
All work to the end goal and enjoys discovering km of new passage in Spain every year.
No one has died ( any more tham an average rate) , no landowners are running around threatening hypothetical closures, the caves arnt full of piss and wee, formations near the entrances are still there, the caves are open access to everyone with gps coordinates, no locals fall down new entrances, everyone just gets along.
What a funny old world.



Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on October 02, 2015, 09:04:35 am
Quote
Alex also says "they are concreting the entrance"

I don't think I said they are concreting the entrance only that they don't do it in Spain.

Just to correct myself now I am awake however, My first paragraph is wrong though I went down the 3rd entrance the 4th was dug out from the inside. I now realise that the article is probably talking about the 40 day dig of the big mat calf holes entrance which is the second entrance.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on October 02, 2015, 09:40:05 am
Quote
Matienzo is probably the best reported, documented, openly inclusive, multi club,  caving areas in the world.

100% agree, but I do think we are (me included) are going off topic now...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 02, 2015, 09:48:03 am
Alex,

You did say:

"I sort of understand why they are concreting the entrance......"

Look at the first sentence of the last paragraph in your post please.

You then go on to say:

"I certainly don't agree".

So, let me ask you a couple of questions:

If a group of cavers were going to concrete the entrance of a cave somewhere in Yorkshire would you understand that too? Presumably, you would still not agree with their actions BUT would you actually try to do anything to stop them?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on October 02, 2015, 10:05:43 am
Sorry in which case I meant to say why they wanted to concrete the entrance. Nig you know my answer to that question, of course I would stand against it but what I am saying is things should not have got that bad in the first place so that the landowner got peeved off and wanted to close the entrance. However, for historical accuracy it has happened in the Dales without a massive fallout though. For example, valley exit to King pot, which was a second entrance to that cave, but I think the caving community agreed with that one without a world war 3. I would not have agreed to it though.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on October 02, 2015, 10:09:07 am
Alex also says "they are concreting the entrance" but this is incorrect. The PDCMG were indeed planning on doing so, and in a highly duplicitous fashion too. Fortunately, NRW saw through the numerous blatant lies they had been told in connection with the licence application and swiftly prevented it. Having now studied the material presented with the application in greater detail, it is becoming increasingly hard to understand how the PDCMG ever thought they could fool NRW so easily.

It may not be over yet... My reading of Stuart Francis' exerpts from the licence application suggests to me that the land owners simply applied for the wrong type of licence. The response says "Should you still wish to undertake these works, you would need to apply for a European Protected Species development licence..."

I don't think there's a particular reason why a well drafted submission for the correct type of licence will not be approved. The fact that the aim is to block access for cavers is not relevant to NRW - provided it provides adequate bat access. I wouldn't claim to be an expert in the field, but I have recently been granted one of these licences. The work I'm doing doesn't have bat conservation as as aim, I simply want to demolish a house (and build a new one). So long as potential new roost sites are provided in the new build, I can do what I want.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 02, 2015, 10:57:53 am
It may not be over yet... My reading of Stuart Francis' exerpts from the licence application suggests to me that the land owners simply applied for the wrong type of licence. The response says "Should you still wish to undertake these works, you would need to apply for a European Protected Species development licence..."

I don't think there's a particular reason why a well drafted submission for the correct type of licence will not be approved. The fact that the aim is to block access for cavers is not relevant to NRW - provided it provides adequate bat access.

Rhys

I can confirm that the quote Rhys gives is quite correct, I am looking at the actual rejection letter from NRW (dated 02 Sept) right now.

It also says:

"The species specialist has had several conversations with your ecologist and with Fleur Loveridge to try and establish the exact purpose of your licence application and the proposed activities under it. They have established that although the method statement states that a grill would be installed across the entrance to the cave, the support design drawings indicate that a cast concrete/block work wall with HT steel reinforcement will be built. The construction of a wall, with unknown effects on air movement, is not an appropriate subject for works under conservation licence.

The specialist has been unable to establish a clear conservation argument for obstructing this cave entrance. They also understand, through conversations with Fleur, that the reason to obstruct the entrance is to stop cave access.

In view of the application being for works not clearly detailed in the method statement and are not related to the conservation of bats, we are withdrawing this licence application."

Put simply, NRW saw through the many inaccuracies contained in both the licence application itself and the support material submitted with it. The application was made on supposed conservation grounds and NRW realised there were in fact none at all and that the real reason was purely to prevent access to the cave.

We have since been informed by another qualified bat consultant that the alternative type of licence mentioned could be even more difficult to obtain should a future application be made.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on October 02, 2015, 11:11:06 am
As we left the trade hall at Hidden Earth on Sunday I noticed an A3 poster had been put on public display on the blocking up of the Drws Cefn entrance.  This information included the licence application to block the entrance, Natural Resources Wales' rejection of the licence and drawings of the proposed concrete and steel blockage.

These details appear to be out in the public domain, where can they be viewed in full?

I'd quite like to see the full version that was displayed. Does anyone happen to have a copy?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 02, 2015, 11:40:25 am
Rhys,

If you contact Stuart for a copy of the original poster I am sure he will be able to provide you with one. Will a PDF file suffice or are you after a printed one to put on display somewhere?

As an addendum to my previous post, it is perhaps worth noting that Section C of the Licence Application Form (in front of me now) consists of a Declaration to be completed by the applicant.

Directly above the space for the applicant's signature it states the following:

"Applicants should note that it is an offence under section 17 of the WCA and under regulation 57 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 to knowingly or recklessly provide false information in order to obtain a licence."
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on October 02, 2015, 11:54:04 am
If you contact Stuart for a copy of the original poster I am sure he will be able to provide you with one. Will a PDF file suffice or are you after a printed one to put on display somewhere?

A PDF or other image file will be fine thanks. I wasn't able to get to Hidden Earth and was worried that I might be missing out on pertinent information by not seeing that version.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on October 02, 2015, 02:29:37 pm
Nig, would the PCDMG members who had been pushing for the concreting of Drws have been informed on 2 September? And if not, when would they have known?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 02, 2015, 08:52:57 pm
Apologies for the slow response, I have once again been out of reception range.

The rejection letter from NRW (timed at 9.34 a.m. on 2 September) was sent initially to the landowner and bat consultant. Judging by the general trend of the correspondence we have been examining, we are surmising that Fleur Loveridge (PDCMG Sec) would have been informed by one of them not long afterwards. She would then have passed the news on to the rest of her cabal fairly quickly. However, we have seen no firm documentary evidence to back up this theory. The earliest relevant document we possess is timed at 3.35 p.m. on 4 September and this leaves not the slightest element of doubt that Fleur was fully aware the application had been turned down.

So, to sum up the answer to your question:

We think they most likely knew on the morning of 2 September, we know they knew by the afternoon of 4 September.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 02, 2015, 10:23:34 pm
To save anyone else the effort having to search around for it:

On 7 September Fleur Loveridge (PDCMG Sec) sent a message to all Member Clubs and Officers which began:

"My apologies for taking a couple of weeks to get back to you all regarding the recent meeting with the CCC and the BCA. Given the meeting was at least in part about working towards greater trust ........."

and then later on included the following:

"....to what extent this can be achieved in the immediate future will depend on the licencing process."

(Please note: in both quotations above, the emphasis is most definitely mine!)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on October 03, 2015, 12:49:39 am
Sorry, NigR, I don't think I know you, but do you actually play a part in South Wales Caving Politics ?.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 03, 2015, 01:36:37 am
Hi bograt,

I am but a humble caver finding myself in my present position through no real fault of my own (other than having had the good fortune to discover a small amount of new cave passage).

Any part I might be playing in South Wales Caving Politics is a most unwilling one, I can assure you.

Regards,

Nig
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 03, 2015, 11:01:51 am
To bring the chronological sequence of events regarding the rejection of the licence application to some form of conclusion (at least temporarily):

As Chris Seal made clear in his post a couple of days ago, the majority of PDCMG Officers and Member Clubs (those outside the inner power base elite) finally became aware that the application had been rejected on 24 September.

In a message timed at 9.32 a.m. Fleur Loveridge (PDCMG Sec) begins:

"A further update is overdue on the situation with respect to licencing, Drws Cefn and the CCC."

She goes on to say:

"I must report that our licence application has not been successful."

and lists the supposed reasons for this.

Some of these are at complete variance with those given by NRW, but I will look at this aspect in greater detail later.

For now, I would like to ask Fleur to publicly answer the following question:

Why did you make those you are responsible to wait twenty days (possibly longer) before imparting such important information?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on October 03, 2015, 01:19:24 pm
Its a crying shame that we have to have all this. If an outsider was looking in at all this they would seriously wonder about us all.

Do we HAVE to have all this, the damned silly politics and scheming behind others backs.
For Gods sake we are just cavers, we not the Mafia, the Secret Service or some right wing outfit!

Remember a posting form "Disgusted from Cornwall", well the bloke was half right about it all.
What the hell is wrong with us?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Cap'n Chris on October 03, 2015, 01:57:57 pm
Do we HAVE to have all this, the damned silly politics and scheming behind others backs.
For Gods sake we are just cavers..

Indeed. We are "just cavers". I suspect bickering is unavoidable in any activity based around a club system - it is tribal, like football; it not a single happy family. I suspect, too, that it is a fanciful contrivance that there is such a thing as a body of UK cavers; it may instead be a loose swarm of highly focussed individuals, many of whom won't be in the same room as each other.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: jasonbirder on October 03, 2015, 02:53:44 pm
Quote
Remember a posting form "Disgusted from Cornwall", well the bloke was half right about it all.

I agree with you about everything you say Roy...and the whole PDCMG situation is disgusting....

But surely someone from Cornwall lecturing other cavers about free and open access is a little bit rich!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on October 03, 2015, 03:26:34 pm
Quote
Remember a posting form "Disgusted from Cornwall", well the bloke was half right about it all.

But surely someone from Cornwall lecturing other cavers about free and open access is a little bit rich!

Agreed. But his crew do rock the boat down there, no doubt about.

Hope you keeping well Jason, long time etc
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Frosty on October 03, 2015, 09:25:10 pm
From reading between the lines surely fleur needs to consider her position and stand down?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: frank on October 03, 2015, 10:17:03 pm
from reading some of this thread ( its boring and i can't be bothered to try and read it all) and also various experiences within the caving world over the last 20 years maybe the question we should actually be discussing is this…

What changes to the structure of caving can be made to prevent cavers acting like total bell ends?

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ogof anghenfil on October 03, 2015, 11:57:46 pm
The next meeting of the PDCMG on the 22nd November will be fun.
Book your seats now.  :spank:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 04, 2015, 01:29:29 am
THIS IS WHAT THEY WERE GOING TO DO TO DRWS CEFN


1. There will be minor excavation to the floor of the cave to create foundations.

2. Holes will be drilled horizontally and vertically into the natural cave walls (for the reinforcing steel bars to be fitted later in the construction period).

3. Construct the inner block retaining wall.

4. Insert the steel reinforcing bars and wire them together.

5. Place a 5mm steel plate on the outside of the steel bars (to be sandwiched between the inner and outer concrete walls).

6. Build the outer concrete block retaining wall.

7. Fill the void between the two retaining walls with concrete. This will solidify with the steel bars and steel plate to make a very strong core to the wall.

(Taken from the "Method Statement" accompanying the licence application).


AND it would have been done by CAVERS


ALL in the name of CAVE CONSERVATION
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rhychydwr1 on October 04, 2015, 07:47:16 am
Does not sound very bat friendly.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 04, 2015, 01:04:35 pm
Does not sound very bat friendly.

Throughout the 44 page Method Statement, great emphasis is placed upon how bat friendly this concrete and steel structure purports to be. There is a slot towards the top for bats to get through and Stuart describes this in greater detail in his downloadable information sheet. It can also be clearly seen in the PDCMG engineering drawing contained therein. Martin Laverty touches upon the real reasons behind all of this in his informative post of several days ago. As we know, NRW were not fooled and put a stop to it all by turning down the application before work could commence.

I have come across a reference to the bat opening in the documentation concerning the plans for its actual construction. This should really have been included it in my list last night so will be numbered accordingly:

8. The bottom and right hand sides of the bat opening will also be lined with steel plate in order to prevent an intruder easily chiselling away the walls of the opening.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rhychydwr1 on October 04, 2015, 04:51:16 pm
Good, it is bat friendly after all.  Now all I am waiting for is the gate to be installed  ;D
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 05, 2015, 02:30:17 am
AND THIS IS WHEN THEY WERE GOING TO DO IT

(All taken from the aforementioned Method Statement)

Timetable of works

It is proposed to undertake the work on the weekend of the 12-13th September 2015. The timetable below covers a period around this weekend to allow for changes or extensions to these dates, but are within the favourable season for working at hibernation sites.

The work is programmed over 2 days with the construction of the two retaining walls(with fittings for the steel bars) scheduled on day one followed by the concrete fill on day two. It may be necessary to pre-drill the holes for the steel bars prior to the main two day construction but this will be done within the timings below and following the checks and exclusion work by the ecologist.

Development Activities and Timing

22 Aug 2015
Possible pre-drilling holes in natural rock for steel bars

29 Aug to 13 Sept 2015
Construction of retaining walls

30 Aug to 27 Sept 2015
Concrete fill and installation of bars/grille



(The significance of some of these dates will become increasingly apparent as more information is gradually revealed).





Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on October 05, 2015, 09:03:47 am
So are you saying it's already been done?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on October 05, 2015, 10:45:19 am
So are you saying it's already been done?

No not done, that was the timetable PDCMG had set to do the blockage.
The application for permission was refused when NRW saw through the bat license application.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 05, 2015, 10:53:10 am
Sorry, droid but I thought the answer to your question had already been made abundantly clear earlier. However, I fully realise the convoluted nature of the timeline and associated events may be proving somewhat difficult to follow, particularly to an outsider, so let me try again.

Put simply:

No, it has not already been done and hopefully never will be. The timetable of works lists the projected dates and, as you have noticed, these have all now passed.

But, it most certainly would have been done if NRW had not been on the ball and seen through the fallacious licence application.

Just to recap:

The original licence application form, along with a covering letter and Method Statement was submitted on 7 July. On the application form it is stated by NRW:

"We aim to process applications within 30 working days of receipt of all the information requested".

A letter of acknowledgement from NRW to the landowner dated 15 July says:

"CONFIRMATION OF RECEIPT OF APPLICATION FORM - Your Ref 66643

Many thanks for your licence application form that we received on the 08/07/15. Going by the 30 working day processing period that we state on our application forms, if you've not had a response from us by 19/08/15 please get in contact with us. Please note that we do try to turn licences around more quickly than the 30 working days where possible."

Fleur Loveridge (and those few others in the PDCMG who were fully conversant with what was really happening) expected the application to go through without any problems whatsoever. The teams of willing volunteers were all lined up ready to go once the green light was given and they confidently expected to be drilling the first holes in the walls of the cave on 22 August as planned.

(Thanks to Wayland Smith for answering droid's question quicker than I could. I was already composing my reply and will post it in full anyway as it does expand upon several salient points.)



Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on October 05, 2015, 11:59:27 am
The question now is where do we go from here?

PDCMG have been thwarted in their mission to permanently seal the cave.   I get the impression that attitudes have shifted, and the slender majority of PDCMG that supported permanent closure have become a minority, but we are probably a long way from PDCMG actually approving any sort of access through Drws Cefn.  Presumably now they will opt to install a more conventional gate/bat grille, which will be kept locked, and without access.    The militant local cavers will probably remove said gate/grille, and we will be back to the present situation of open cave, with no official access. 

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 05, 2015, 12:39:38 pm
Andy,

Our investigations and revelations are still very much ongoing and it would be unwise for anyone to predict any specific course of events until they are complete.

The current situation is extremely fluid and I would suggest that it might be safest not to make all that many assumptions at the present time.

I do, of course, share your concerns but I am not as pessimistic as yourself.

I would like to think that what is happening now can certainly help create a framework upon which to build in the future.

Let's just hope my optimism is not unfounded.

Nig





Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on October 05, 2015, 09:38:10 pm
Good, it is bat friendly after all.  Now all I am waiting for is the gate to be installed  ;D

Earlier I mentioned the view that was reached at Penwyllt concerning the perceived inadvisability after the event of opening Top Entrance to Ogof Ffynnon Ddu. I recalled this discussion from the time in April 1992 when I met and filmed Charles George and John Osborne, who were instrumental in discovering the passages behind the entrance, but most importantly without use of the entrance.

This has spurred me to hunt around online and in so doing I have found the perfect piece, which puts the whole situation that the Ogof Draenen cavers are now facing into a historical perspective as relates to Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and Dan-yr-Ogof. Remember, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. I'll post the piece in two parts, with thanks to the original author in advance (see if you can guess who wrote it, but without cheating!), and I'll give the credit and source at the end:

CONSERVATION OF RESOURCES

In this age of supposed increased public awareness and conservation have we, as cavers, our priorities right? There are several ways of ruining a cave, e.g. quarrying it away or by slow despoliation from litter and vandalism. We have a conservation officer to look after the major issues such as the first example, but there is no answer to the second.

From the moment a cave or passage is laid open it treads a path of destruction. The purists, e.g. the biologists would say that once the cave is entered the whole biological equilibrium is upset; this is no doubt very true but this aspect is completely drowned by all the other demands made on the cave. Litter may disturb the biological equilibrium but a solution may partly be found in education. Vandalism is the more gross sense as e.g. the breakage of formations can never be rectified so the utmost care must be advocated. No one likes to tread a path set out by tapes as at ‘Flabbergasm’ or the ‘Columns’ but we must face up to the fact that all cavers are prone to slips or moments of unawareness. So anything that reduces the risk of damage is to be upheld.

No one appreciates the beauty of a new passage more than the original entrant but once the subsequent tourists flock in the damage accelerates. With at least a threefold increase in numbers participating in the sport by the end of the century the pressures and damage will greatly increase.

Where the passage or cave is difficult of access, either from natural or by imposed rules from without, a second entrance has inevitably been sought. This device upsetting the natural equilibrium enables the caver at his physical limits to achieve greater extensions with less effort. To support this view the accident risk is pointed out and this together with the demand of the majority of the caving world to share in the finds results in an efficiently dug second way in.

(to be continued)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on October 05, 2015, 10:37:44 pm
So, did anyone manage to guess the name of the author correctly in advance . . . ?

CONSERVATION OF RESOURCES (cont.)

Typifying these trends are Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and Dan yr Ogof. When Dip Sump was passed, true there was a just accident risk and the Cwm Dwr second entrance was needed . . .  . Then the Clay Series, etc. was found upstream and this necessitated a third entrance. Via these entrances great progress was made, the accident risk was slashed and perhaps most important of all unlimited vandalism has occurred. Today, therefore, the Columns are but a shadow of their former glory; White Arch Series has been ruined and various other formations have been either broken or caressed by muddy hands and boots.

Dan yr Ogof in contrast stands comparatively untouched.

It is frequently banded about that "when we’ve got the second entrance we’ll push...", e.g. the Far North. But Dan yr Ogof even more so than Ogof Ffynnon Ddu could not stand the increased pressures. The straws are far more vulnerable and Flabbergasm in particular would soon cease to exist (the tapes have already been abused). A similar forecast could be predicted for the Grand Canyon and Cloud Chamber. As it stands the cave itself and the weather are the ultimate conserving agents and this equilibrium should not be upset.

There was no need for Ogof Ffynnon Ddu II Top Entrance. The accident risk could have been partly removed by marking out a site and blasting in quickly should an emergency have occurred. The deterrent to cavers of the long trip back to Cwm Dwr would have stimulated caution and enabled only a minority to despoil the upper reaches of the cave.

But the clock cannot be turned back, at least, not for Ogof Ffynnon Ddu. Dan yr Ogof still has a chance, but a second entrance would be the last straw.

At the moment the trip to the Far North is the finest trip in the country. Let’s keep it that way and leave something for the cavers of 20 years’ time to see and find. Let’s try and learn from the too expensive lessons of Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and remember that damage caused by cavers is as important to rectify as that of a quarry.

MARTYN FARR

(South Wales Caving Club Newsletter No. 71, February 1973, pp.12-13)
(  http://swcc.org.uk/aboutswcc/newslett/archive/Newsletter72.pdf (http://swcc.org.uk/aboutswcc/newslett/archive/Newsletter72.pdf)  )
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 06, 2015, 12:08:20 am
DESIGNED TO LAST BEYOND OUR LIFETIME


(From the Method Statement)

Habitat/Site Management and Maintenance

The site will continue to be managed by Pwll Du Conservation Ltd. under the directorship of the land owner Peter Jones. Pwll Du Caving Group will continue to administer the recreational use of the site by cavers.

The design, construction and materials for the grille are extremely strong and have been selected for their resistance against deterioration from corrosion and erosion in the harsh (wet) cave environment.

The life expectancy of the grille is 50-100 years based on similar types of cave installations (which are routinely used to protect and manage underground sites).

Pwll Du Conservation Ltd. will be responsible for repair of the grille when it deteriorates or if it is damaged.



A LEGACY LEFT IN CONCRETE AND STEEL FOR CAVERS YET TO COME


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Cripplecreeker on October 06, 2015, 12:20:25 am
Hi NigR,

Will your next post be written entirely in bold as a measure of your outrage?

Cheers,

George.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 06, 2015, 12:34:13 am
Hi George,

No, that will be enough for now I reckon.

Cheers,

Nig
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bazdog on October 06, 2015, 01:24:10 am
No one appreciates the beauty of a new passage more than the original entrant but once the subsequent tourists flock in the damage accelerates. With at least a threefold increase in numbers participating in the sport by the end of the century the pressures and damage will greatly increase.
  (South Wales Caving Club Newsletter No. 71, February 1973, pp.12-13)

 written 42 years ago and quite possibly off with the prediction??

The wall sounds pretty expensive, where do the PDCMG get there money from?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on October 06, 2015, 04:46:28 am
Martyn Farr hit the nail on the head.

Won't make a gnat's bollock of a difference though: the activists are activated.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on October 06, 2015, 07:32:28 am
Martyn Farr hit the nail on the head.

Won't make a gnat's bollock of a difference though: the activists are activated.

The irony is that Martyn is now Chairman of Cambrian CC and his right hand man, the Conservation Officer, is the main "open entrance" activist. Still, those words were written some time ago - before I was born, even.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on October 06, 2015, 03:26:40 pm
The wall sounds pretty expensive, where do the PDCMG get there money from?

The PDCMG accounts are published on the website: the usual source of PDCMG's funds is donations from member clubs, and it can't be said that some of its officials don't put their money where their mouth is either. The Cambrian Caving Council also helps out with money and conservation materials (even gates, on occasion...)

I presume that the material costs for the wall would have been paid by PDCMG, and that they would have provided free labour. I wonder if the landowner would have contributed?

I don't recall seeing any mention of paying for the services of the bat consultants they used to prepare the licence (the PDCMG's own Biological Recorder was bypassed, although I believe he has all the qualifications...). But, thereagain, the PDCMG line is that they are only assisting the landowner so

https://companycheck.co.uk/company/03494984/PWLLDU-CONSERVATION-LIMITED/summary  (https://companycheck.co.uk/company/03494984/PWLLDU-CONSERVATION-LIMITED/summary) may have paid, or maybe the consultants provided their services on the understanding that it was for the good of bat conservation...

I suspect cavers as a whole won't get any answers until the November meeting of PDCMG, if at all. Sad, all round...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 06, 2015, 11:39:49 pm
Just to expand upon a few of the points mentioned by Martin:

The PDCMG have often professed to be short of money, one example being several years ago when the Treasurer was forced to ask member clubs for an extra donation in order to help finance the sealing of Drws Cefn (only a couple of clubs actually responded).

It does say in one of the PDCMG Secretary's Reports that she was considering approaching BCA for a grant from their Emergency Conservation Fund in order to speed things up by employing a qualified bat consultant but I do not know whether she ever actually got around to doing so.

Although highly flawed in terms of content, the Method Statement is a nicely produced, highly professional looking document. Several field visits had already taken place and more were planned over the course of the next two years as part of the monitoring process once the cave had been blocked. Certainly, all this work can not have come cheap.

The actual materials required to build the steel and concrete wall are not as expensive as first appears so it is perfectly feasible that those members of the PDCMG who were involved might simply have had a whip-round amongst themselves. Or, as Martin suggests, the landowner might have decided to foot the bill himself.

What I can confirm is that there is no specific mention of the financial aspects involved in paying for either the construction materials or the services of the bat consultant to be found in any of the written material we have examined to date.

So yes, it's all a bit of a mystery really............
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on October 06, 2015, 11:49:10 pm
Is the landowner the same person that owns the adventure centre?

Not sure if there's any significance if he is... but worth asking.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on October 07, 2015, 12:14:11 am
Robin - Yes, the Pwll Du Adventure Centre is owned by Peter Jones, the director of Pwll Du Conservation Ltd most in contact with PDCMG.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on October 07, 2015, 12:25:06 am
Hi Martin, for 'landowner' purposes here, its in relation to Pwll Du Conservation Ltd. rather than the adventure centre I guess. Is there some sort of mission statement ? Google doesn't bring much back apart from the company check stuff.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on October 07, 2015, 01:34:12 am
Robin - I'm not aware of Pwll Du Conservation Ltd. ever doing anything anything other than buying the land off the Coal Authority some 17 years ago. Both directors live next to the land, so I guess they just like looking at it, and perhaps rent a bit out to a neighbouring farmer or apply for grants to conserve it (I remember seeing that the Welsh Government refused such an application some years ago)...

It would be great if they did actually speak up and explain themselves rather than having the PDCMG secretary act for them.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on October 07, 2015, 07:52:43 pm
Any remaining members of the PDCMG, either Officers or Club Reps, who have not already seen the Licence Application form and Method Statement associated with their proposal to permanently block Drws Cefn with a substantial reinforced concrete wall may contact me via the CCC website to obtain these documents, so as to prepare themselves for these being published in the near future.  I intend to make these documents, which I obtained from NRW under the Freedom of Information Act, available in full to everybody by Saturday morning via a follow-up post to the forum containing download links.

Meanwhile, here are some important points worthy of your consideration:

We are where we are on Drws Cefn.  Due to bats being a European Protected Species (EPS), there are strict legal constraints on what can be done inside the cave or near to its entrance now.  This may or may not please the people on the various sides of this cave access debate.  I am putting together a layman’s guide to the legalities, as I see them, so that cavers can focus themselves upon what is feasible, indeed on what is to be the likely outcome, and hence they can adopt realistic expectations of what sustainable solutions may be available.  I will publish this guide as another download link on the forum when it is ready.

At Ogof Draenen, I believe we have a management group that remains committed to an absolute ideology, including many academically talented individuals who, unfortunately, have proved to be politically inept and whose judgement is flawed.  This is evident from the group’s carefully-crafted Method Statement and the equally careful reply from Natural Resources Wales (see post #284).  NRW declined to process this licence application any further because it talked first about fitting an entrance grille to protect bats but later on it morphed the initial grille idea into a contractual obligation on PDCMG to build a massive concrete wall to keep cavers out for up to 100 years.  As NRW pointed out, building such a thing inside a cave is a completely inappropriate activity under a conservation licence, hence the Drws Cefn licence application did not even need to be processed, and so NRW “withdrew” it.

NRW has the statutory duty to operate conservation policy nationally.  The NRW staff are capable, thoughtful and highly professional people, as were those employed by the former CCW.  We owe them a great deal for their guidance and contributions to caving over the years.

The bats now happen to own Ogof Draenen.  Effectively, the bats did a "land-grab" at Drws Cefn six years ago and their "house deeds" are now filed on the NRW "Land Registry".  As I have said, we are where we are with this and nobody can turn back the clock.  First and foremost, NRW will protect the right of the bats to occupy their new home, to have a peaceful family life, etc.  That priority will override the debate on how many entrances best suit this cave or what kind of caver access control might be most appropriate (if indeed any is needed at all).  If NRW does not approve a development scheme then nothing will be allowed to proceed on the ground.  So there is no point in proposing, then arguing over, schemes which are doomed from the outset.  Hence I feel there is a need for cavers in general, and the PDCMG in particular, to gain some deeper insight on EPS law before attempting to move on from the current situation that we all find ourselves in.
   
Stuart France
Access/Conservation Officer
Cambrian Caving Council

 


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on October 07, 2015, 10:05:07 pm
I've come across some helpful guidance online, c/o Neath Port Talbot County Borough:

Bats and the Law

All UK bat species are protected by European and UK legislation: the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 ( http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/490/contents/made (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/490/contents/made) ) and amendments and Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 ( http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69/contents (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69/contents) ). This affords complete legal protection to all bats and their roosts.

Offences:

    To kill, injure or handle a bat
    Disturb bats when they are roosting
    Obstruct, damage or destroy the places
    where bats live
    (this applies even if the bats are not in residence)
    Possess, control, transport, sell, exchange or
    offer for sale/exchange any live or dead bat or
    any part of a bat
    Keep bats in captivity

If any activities are undertaken that result in any of above an offence would be committed under the law. If prosecuted fines of about £5,000 (per bat) can be applied or 6 months imprisonment.

Exceptions:

There are a number of exceptions where such activities can be undertaken without an offence being committed:

    If there is no reasonable alternative you can tend to an injured bat in order to release it when it recovers, or again if there is no reasonable alternative you can kill a bat if there appears to be no reasonable chance of recovery. Before doing either you should check with an expert to identify any alternatives.

    If any actions or works, such as household maintenance or development work, are likely to impact on bats then a (derogation) licence may be able to be obtained from Natural Resources Wales. This will allow works to be undertaken, dependent upon the implementation of certain conditions and methods of working. Mitigation may be required to be provided, especially in the case of developments, where for example roosts are removed. New roost spaces are normally required to be provided if any are lost.

Further Information:

    Bat Conservation Trust ( http://www.bats.org.uk/ (http://www.bats.org.uk/) )
    Natural Resources Wales
        ( http://naturalresources.wales/splash?orig=/ (http://naturalresources.wales/splash?orig=/) )

Ref: http://www.npt.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=12111 (http://www.npt.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=12111)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: And on October 07, 2015, 10:54:27 pm
Hi bograt,

I am but a humble caver finding myself in my present position through no real fault of my own (other than having had the good fortune to discover a small amount of new cave passage).

Any part I might be playing in South Wales Caving Politics is a most unwilling one, I can assure you.

Regards,

Nig

Lol, NigR appears to be the most political caver in the UK despite claiming he is against caving politics!

Drws Cefn was connected to Draenen to make a political point, knowing full well it would antagonise the landowner.

The PDCMG may not doing themselves any favours, but its hard to tell what is really happening, as all we are seeing is the spin - doctors view from the other side as part of their political game in the power struggle. As we've seen on here, any opposing opinions or even compromises are challenged zealously.

Hopefully when the political dinosaurs hang up their lights, the UK caving scene will be a much better place.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on October 07, 2015, 11:22:56 pm
Apparently Ogof Draenen is designated as a Regionally Important Geological Site (RIGS) ( http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/plancons2003.htm (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/plancons2003.htm) ) which affords the cave statutory protection under the Town and County Planning Act 1990 ( http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990/8/contents (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990/8/contents) ).

I'm not sure what view Monmouthshire County Council and/or Torfaen County Borough Council take in such matters, but another council has the following policy:

A development proposal that may significantly affect the nature conservation interest or value of a local nature reserve (LNR), site of importance for nature conservation (SINC) or a Regionally Important Geological Site (RIG) will be permitted only:

    (i) if it can be shown that the reasons for the development or benefits to the local community from the development outweigh the interest or value of the site, or

    (ii) any harm can be overcome by mitigating measures, secured through conditions or planning obligations.

So, the question would be whether the development in opening a new caver entrance to Ogof Draenen satisfies the requirements under the Town and County Planning Act 1990 and the status of the cave as a RIGS, as interpreted by the relevant local council, and, given the development took place without the permission of the landowner (and within the period of the RIGS designation?), whether remedial action can now be taken under the act to secure the entrance for emergency use only, subject to obtaining the necessary licence from Natural Resources Wales.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 07, 2015, 11:38:27 pm
Drws Cefn was connected to Draenen to make a political point.........

What political point was I trying to make?

Drws Cefn was connected to Draenen purely so that the system could be extended and ultimately realise its full potential.

As an added bonus, it would also enable the survey to be completed and, hopefully, published.

We have no interest in trying to control access to Draenen or anywhere else, so where do the politics come into play?

As for being "the most political caver in the UK"? Well, I am deeply honoured by your accolade. That is very kind of you but I am not so sure I deserve it, the only post I hold (and have ever held) being that of Hon. Sec. Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros (my main job being to chase up folk who haven't paid their subs).

You mention the "power struggle" but what is this a struggle for exactly? I believe in open access and, as I have already stated, neither myself nor my club wants to control access to anywhere, ever. I can't see much power coming my way as a result of that approach. Can you?

I do agree with your final sentence though!

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: danthecavingman on October 07, 2015, 11:45:20 pm
Here's a simple solution.

Cavers, PDCMG, Landowners, etc, etc, accept that Ogof Draenen is a multiple entrance cave. An all encompassing access policy is agreed for all entrances on the landowners land and caving goes on as normal....
Same lock, same key, all entrances, permits or permission required as currently. The cave won't get anymore trashed, no bats will be upset, potential digging trips / exploration to one end of the system might be a bit easier....
Pot, Kettle, Black, the original entrance was dug on Coal Board owned land WITHOUT permission and perhaps if the original digging team had stuck to the rules then Draenen would be sat there still undiscovered.
Imagine with hindsight how much easier the discovery of Draenen might have been from what is now Drws Cefn....

Just my thoughts and will appreciate any criticism if I have got my facts wrong....

D.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 08, 2015, 12:14:14 am
Dan,

Yes, hindsight is wonderful isn't it? Only problem is that the chances are nobody would ever have dug Drws Cefn had Draenen not been discovered first.

Your facts re. the digging and discovery of Draenen are totally correct, it was all done without the landowner's consent. In fact, the first gate was installed prior to the landowner even being informed that a major cave system had been discovered!

The solution you are suggesting now is precisely what we were looking for back in 2009 but the PDCMG would not budge an inch. We even put a gate on Drws ourselves, you might recall!

Nig
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on October 08, 2015, 01:29:58 am
DISCOVERY OF OGOF DRAENER/DRAENEN

The credit for discovering Ogof Draener is given by Theo Schuurmans in 'A Caver's View of the Clydach River' (2nd edition, 1987, p.139) to Cwmbran Caving Club. Cwmbran Caving Club was formed in early August 1967 and Ogof Draener, as the cave appears to have been initially known, first appears in Tim Stratford's guidebook 'Caves of South Wales' (1st edition, 1978, p.22, etc.), along with Theo's later publication. Theo Schuurmans was a Cwmbran C.C. member.

When I first entered Ogof Draener during 1986–7, with John Adams waiting outside, there was a pile of short scaffolding bars just inside the cave mouth. I think these must have been put there a few years earlier by Cwmbran Caving Club members in readiness for a dig which never finally materialised. After passing the bend to the left I came to a large flat slab of rock, to the back of which it was possible to get your feet down a rift of sorts until you were stood upright on boulders beneath your feet. The draught was incredibly strong. I thought the dig could be a protracted one and there was the slight possibility that the draught was being driven by chimney effect – between the cave entrance and some sort of opening amongst the boulders at the foot of the hill. However, I thought that this was a very good dig with great potential, but that at the time I had far too much on my hands, recording, publishing and pursuing the discoveries which had taken place at Llangattock, to mount such a dig myself – especially if the dig turned out to be particularly successful! I told John Adams that I thought it was a very good site, but I don't think he returned to dig there afterwards and neither did I.

As far as formal permission goes and, indeed whether any cave explorers have ever obtained 'permission' to carry out a dig, I visited Pwll Du again on 17th June 1988 in order to look for the site of the Garnddyrys-branch entrance to the Pwll Du Tram Tunnel. I'm pretty certain that it was on this day I went into the Lamb & Fox Inn at Pwll Du and met Brian Lewis for the first time. I had a drink in the pub and I bought Brian a drink, describing to him what caving is about and my interest in the Pwll Du Tram Tunnel. Brian was in quite an isolated spot up there at the time with his pub and said to me that he would be very pleased if cavers could find a tunnel near the pub. He thought that it would be good for business and also for general interest in the area – which otherwise seemed largely forgotten at the time.
 
So, Brian took me outside the pub to the land between the pub and the then Gloucestershire Centre building, effectively the hill above Ogof Draenen, and showed me where he thought the entrance to an old mine working was probably located. He was keen for me to start digging there. Using old Ordnance Survey maps I also managed to locate the site of the Garnddyrys-branch entrance to the Pwll Du Tram Tunnel.
 
Now, I don't know what rights Brian had to the land in proximity to his pub in 1988, but given that the land was completely unfenced at the time, Brian was the closest human occupier of the land on which the entrance to Ogof Draenen is situated. And I certainly obtained permission and encouragement from Brian for cavers to go and look for new tunnels in the vicinity. I do understand that when the Morgannwg Caving Club members started their digging work in Ogof Draenen in 1991 they regularly drank in the Lamb & Fox Inn. So, as far as I can see, permission was obtained from the nearest land occupier for the digging which ultimately resulted with the discovery of the Ogof Draenen cave system.

Later, between Christmas 1989 and New Year 1990, I took Hugh Penney up to the entrance of Ogof Draenen to show him the site with its powerful draught as a potential dig. I had been based in Cardiff between 1987–9, living at Galston Street where Peter Bolt was also based and Lou Maurice later resided. I joined Morgannwg Caving Club at the time. I seem to recall Hugh Penney was also a Morgannwg member but have no idea as to whether he passed on the details of the Ogof Draenen dig to other Morgannwg members such as Peter Bolt, etc.? However, the connection is there.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: jasonbirder on October 09, 2015, 08:53:01 am
Quote
Hopefully when the political dinosaurs hang up their lights, the UK caving scene will be a much better place.

Long may those that continue to push for more/easier/better Cave access for ALL Cavers remain active on the scene...it'll be a sad day when schemes to block caves and deny access are allowed to pass unchallenged!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on October 09, 2015, 09:43:01 am
Do we HAVE to have all this, the damned silly politics and scheming behind others backs.
For Gods sake we are just cavers..

Indeed. We are "just cavers". I suspect bickering is unavoidable in any activity based around a club system - it is tribal, like football; it not a single happy family. I suspect, too, that it is a fanciful contrivance that there is such a thing as a body of UK cavers; it may instead be a loose swarm of highly focussed individuals, many of whom won't be in the same room as each other.

I had quite a rant about the politics, didn't I?
This was not aimed at any specific individual, but a collective.

I have to answer the point in that regardless of any "club system" caving is not a competitive sport like football so there is no need at all for the silly politics.

How have we got like this?
If this question can be answered we will be half way to turning things around
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Sparrow on October 09, 2015, 10:37:22 am

How have we got like this?
If this question can be answered we will be half way to turning things around

Because some of us love caves, and some of us love caving.  The two are not always compatible.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 09, 2015, 10:38:54 am
Some of us love both!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on October 09, 2015, 04:43:17 pm
---8<---
...4. The most recent PDCMG meeting (Summer'15) also decided it didn't want mediation to be conditional on stopping plans for closure.  So in that sense, I knew work was continuing ongoing in the background.  However they've taken so long to getting anything done about closure and there was no indication back to the Club Reps that closure was imminent.  And I don't recall being informed the application had been submitted... 
I should correct my previous statement - looking back through emails, Club Reps were informed on Aug 17th that the application had been submitted.  Apologies for not remembering when I wrote the previous entry. 

However it remains true (as per NigR's questions) that we were not informed of the detail within, planned dates for work to begin, only told about NRW's rejection much later, etc.
Title: Documents
Post by: Stuart France on October 09, 2015, 06:33:50 pm
(1) The reinforced concrete wall diagram scanned to PDF by someone on 30 July 2010 (i.e. five years ago).  This was an attached file accompanying the email disclosed below:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnclosuredrawing.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnclosuredrawing.pdf)
The second email attachment, not reproduced here, is simply a single sheet cave survey highlighting the route used (Main Entrance to Drws Cefn) for a bat surveying trip undertaken on 7 December 2014.

(2) The contracted bat consultant introduces himself and the project to the bat specialist in local NRW office by email on 9 February 2015:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/antonkattanemail.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/antonkattanemail.pdf)

(3) Drws Cefn Licence Application Form as submitted to NRW on 7 July 2015:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnapplicationform.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnapplicationform.pdf)

(4) Drws Cefn Methods Statement, the details accompanying the licence application form on 7 July 2015:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnmethodstatement.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnmethodstatement.pdf)

(5) Materials used in a poster at Hidden Earth conference on 26 September 2015 containing a quote from the licence application along with the body of NRW's letter "withdrawing" the licence application:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnsummary.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnsummary.pdf)

The above materials were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Cap'n Chris on October 09, 2015, 07:22:38 pm
Some of us love both!

Indeed, to such an extent it's all we want to do.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Cap'n Chris on October 09, 2015, 07:30:18 pm
(3) Drws Cefn Licence Application Form as submitted to NRW on 7 July 2015:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnapplicationform.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnapplicationform.pdf)

Companies House online shows no listing for Pwll Du Conservation Ltd.. Is it a genuine company?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on October 09, 2015, 07:32:26 pm
Some of us love both!

Indeed, to such an extent it's all we want to do.


Both correct but neither go far enough  :doubt:

..... It has repeatedly been shown to be the case (this thread is a rather glowing example) that some people wish to impose their "view" on other people who may not (or do not) have the same "view(s)".

 :-\ :-\ :-\

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Cap'n Chris on October 09, 2015, 07:34:46 pm
Both correct but neither go far enough  :doubt:

..... It has repeatedly been shown to be the case (this thread is a rather glowing example) that some people wish to impose their "view" on other people who may not (or do not) have the same "view(s)".

Indeed. Many ACBs have a view that imposts itself on the freedoms of others who have differing views; however, BCA has a fundamental principle that ACBs have the right of veto, in its most pure form if they also happen to be the landowner.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on October 09, 2015, 07:37:00 pm
(3) Drws Cefn Licence Application Form as submitted to NRW on 7 July 2015:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnapplicationform.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnapplicationform.pdf)

Companies House online shows no listing for Pwll Du Conservation Ltd.. Is it a genuine company?


It does - it is here;

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/03494984 (https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/03494984)

 ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Cap'n Chris on October 09, 2015, 07:42:12 pm
 :bow: Thank you, searched using two words rather than one. Mea culpa.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on October 09, 2015, 07:42:43 pm
(3) Drws Cefn Licence Application Form as submitted to NRW on 7 July 2015:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnapplicationform.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnapplicationform.pdf)

Companies House online shows no listing for Pwll Du Conservation Ltd.. Is it a genuine company?

Yes it is, no gap Pwlldu.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on October 09, 2015, 07:43:09 pm

 BCA has a fundamental principle that ACBs have the right of veto, in its most pure form if they also happen to be the landowner.

Well, that is an interesting point that could no doubt become moot for a lengthy (and heated) period but it would take us off topic  :blink:

.... To stay on topic - I am not certain that the (above) principle applies where the landowner has been influenced by a controlling body (especially influence that opposes the BCA's constitution) ...  (I think that is probably back on topic  ;) )

 :-\ :-\ :-\

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 09, 2015, 07:53:24 pm
And who keeps telling us that the landowners have been unduly influenced? My feeling is that it is those who have a reason to make us believe that this is so. Unless you are directly involved, and know the owner personally, I suspect nobody can claim to really know whether this is true.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on October 09, 2015, 08:04:43 pm
I am waiting for someone to post some explanatory pictures:
"Grill", "Concrete wall", "Duck"

You couldn't make some things up
 :lol:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on October 09, 2015, 08:04:52 pm
I wonder what the professional services involved in preparing that application cost, and who has paid for it?
I would not think that the Bat person did the work for free.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on October 09, 2015, 08:41:43 pm
And who keeps telling us that the landowners have been unduly influenced? My feeling is that it is those who have a reason to make us believe that this is so. Unless you are directly involved, and know the owner personally, I suspect nobody can claim to really know whether this is true.

It seems a fundamental principle of 'debating' these topics that you accept uncritically those opinions that support your a priori conclusion, and reject those opinions that don't. This 'debate' is a prime exponent of this principle.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on October 09, 2015, 09:43:47 pm
And who keeps telling us that the landowners have been unduly influenced? My feeling is that it is those who have a reason to make us believe that this is so.


At this risk of this thread deteriorating (as so many predecessor threads have) ….

Firstly, I am intrigued at your interpretation of my post to which you are responding.

Secondly it was, as I began with, a general observation to Chris’s interpretation (or selective quotation – take your pick) of the BCA’s principles/constitution.

And, thirdly, I was being suggestive, not definitive.

I am glad, however, you have made your position(opinion) very clear though.


It seems a fundamental principle of 'debating' these topics that you accept uncritically those opinions that support your a priori conclusion, and reject those opinions that don't. This 'debate' is a prime exponent of this principle.

Since you quoted Peter’s post to make this response, it appears that you have done precisely that which you have suggested others are doing (which is also interesting).

Additionally, I would ask you to recall some previously (well discussed) matters;

1)   The original agreement with the landowner(s) was with the “diggers” and was informal. (cited in at least one of the many previously threads)
2)   The PDCMG went over the heads of the “diggers” and proposed a formal agreement to protect and preserve the cave (again, heavily discussed previously around 2009-2010) which began with a gate and is currently (2015) a concrete seal.

During the process of the previous “debates” (nicely phrased Dave) it was abundantly clear that most people were entrenched in their views. Certainly, I can confirm I was entrenched in my view that it should stay “open” and certainly I rejected contra-arguments. Having realised that this was happening (I cannot recall what the trigger was but it was probably someone posting to that precise effect) I (I can only speak for myself) changed my “entrenched” view and began to accept that a compromise would be a solution that would benefit both sides – that compromise being a “gate”.

As much as I like your use of the Latin a prori, I regret it is not accurate to everyone posting and certainly not against myself.

I do accept, though, that it is still pertinent to some people on this thread.

 :)

Ian

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on October 09, 2015, 10:10:44 pm
And who keeps telling us that the landowners have been unduly influenced? My feeling is that it is those who have a reason to make us believe that this is so. Unless you are directly involved, and know the owner personally, I suspect nobody can claim to really know whether this is true.

It seems a fundamental principle of 'debating' these topics that you accept uncritically those opinions that support your a priori conclusion, and reject those opinions that don't. This 'debate' is a prime exponent of this principle.

For clarity's sake, I think it would be helpful here to go back to Descent (213) for April/May 2010 (p.19), where extracts from a statement from the landowners, read out at the Cambrian Caving Council AGM on 7th March 2010, are given:

"We wish to make it absolutely clear that this latest entrance was opened and extended without our knowledge or permission and whilst it is on open access land the only rights it provides to cavers and others is the right to go on foot onto access land.

Open access land has additional responsibilities for the landowner including the minimisation of risk to the public and other users. The closeness of a scheduled ancient monument, the entrance area being highly visible from a well used footpath and a possible effect on the local bat population have been major concerns from the start of [our] being aware of this latest entrance.

The increased activity in this area has already created notceable and documented damage to a supporting wall of the Hill's Tramroad, the previously mentioned scheduled ancient monument. [In a visit with] Stuart Reid of CCW [Countryside Council for Wales] . . . further indications of access through additional parts of the supporting wall are already present.

The wider caving community has benefitted from over ten years of free access to Ogof Draenen as a result of the license between us and the PDCMG with regard to the management of access to, and conservation of the cave system for the benefit of current and future generations of cavers.  . . . [We] find it hard to understand any conservation benefits in having an additional entrance . . . The license was drawn up to coincide with the landowners wishes for the above and our intention of having only one agreement between the caving community for any and all entrances to any caving systems on our land . . .

We do continue to support the PDCMG and in conjunction with the recent supportive statements from the CCC and BCA do not intend [to] revoke or change the current license with the PDCMG."

In the same article it is indicated that the single-entrance policy is "a condition of the licence."
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on October 09, 2015, 10:51:28 pm
I can't help comparing this dilemma with a problem we had in Derbyshire, 'Garden Path' was opened to allow access to the further reaches of Lathkill Head, for diggers to bypass all the time consuming bits.-- sound familiar??-- .
When the original explorer (RIP) decided to give up, it was left to DCA to decide on a plan of action with other significant parties (landowner, tenant, E.N., etc-) to decide a plan of action.
The final agreement to suit all parties was that the entrance should be gated with access allowed for 'research and scientific purposes', being administered by DCA.
The interpretation of 'research and scientific' is left in the hands of Derbyshire Cavers, and is quite wide in interpretation-- ;)
Derbyshire and the Peak District doe's not have any subsidiary bodies looking after caves in their little manor, I suggest the other regional bodies get their act together!.

Just noticed that this post overlapped with another ;--

We do continue to support the PDCMG and in conjunction with the recent supportive statements from the CCC and BCA do not intend [to] revoke or change the current license with the PDCMG."

Have we access to 'the current license with the PDCMG' - ?.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 09, 2015, 11:22:56 pm
Ian the second half of my post was as important, if not more so, than the first. It really sums up how I think about so many things that get posted here. Sometimes the most basic and simple logic can reveal a lot. So often we are expected to believe something simply because someone writes it down. If you don't know someone or haven't actually spoken to them in confidence, or don't have a very reliable source of what they actually think, then it is wrong to claim something about what they think or their motives. I have plenty more salt from which to take huge pinches.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: crickleymal on October 09, 2015, 11:41:01 pm
If they're going to close the entrance then they should fit a grill or preferably two. But to do a proper job they should be capable of stopping ursine creatures, i.e.  bear grills.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on October 10, 2015, 02:15:23 am
I can't help comparing this dilemma with a problem we had in Derbyshire, 'Garden Path' was opened to allow access to the further reaches of Lathkill Head, for diggers to bypass all the time consuming bits.-- sound familiar??-- .

. . .

Derbyshire and the Peak District doe's not have any subsidiary bodies looking after caves in their little manor, I suggest the other regional bodies get their act together!.

. . .


I think the word 'little' might be the key to this!

Local access control to caves in Wales started with Dan-yr-Ogof, which was developed into a show cave between 1937-9 and had been open for just two months, with 5,000 visitors in the first week, when World War II broke out. The cave then went off limits, commandeered by the army, and became an art treasure and TNT store until the end of hostilities.

After the war the show cave electrical cabling was unserviceable and cavers from the newly (Easter 1946) formed South Wales Caving Club made ad hoc visits, along with efforts by the Cave Diving Group. By Whitsun 1964 legal and financial difficulties had been overcome and the show cave reopened, forming a cooperative arrangement for access with the South Wales Caving Club. This mutual arrangement lasted very well until April 1995 when Sophie the cave rescue golden labrador came along, which, having 'saved' the life of a trapped workman in the show cave, gained her due publicity across the media and, in the process, the ire of local cave rescue 'experts'. As a direct result SWCC were out and an independent wild cave management committee was set up in their place: Pwyllgor Ymgynghorol Dan-yr-Ogof. However, today, even the latter has become defunct and the current access system for the wild cave beyond the show cave is through the Dan Yr Ogof Conservation Advisory Panel
( http://www.dyo.org.uk/constitution.html (http://www.dyo.org.uk/constitution.html) ).

Ogof Ffynnon Ddu I was first entered in August 1946 and access to the cave arranged with the landowner by SWCC members. Today, access to the cave is arranged through the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu Management Committee
( http://swcc.org.uk/caving/access/ofd.php (http://swcc.org.uk/caving/access/ofd.php) ).

Access to the Llangattock caves only became regulated in October 1959, once the land surrounding the cave was designated a Nature Reserve and the Nature Conservancy felt that the newly extended and extensive cave system needed to be 'protected'. Various advice was given and a body set up - the Agen Allwedd Cave Management Committee (AACMC) - based around the main clubs interested in the cave system.

However, by the time Daren Cilau was extended during 1984-5, the AACMC was being run by people who you barely saw on or beneath the mountain and we now had a major new system on our hands. I got together with six other members of Chelsea Spelaeological Society and drafted a discussion document, dated 9/4/1985: Proposal for the Formation of a Daren Cilau Management Committee. The aims we put forwards were:

1/. To preserve the cave wherever possible for future generations of cavers and for future scientific research.

2/. To help establish and maintain emergency supply dumps inside the cave and assist in preparing contingency plans to cope with potential rescue situations, in association with the established cave rescue organisation.

3/. To encourage the exploration of the cave system and the recording thereof.

4/. To encourage the co-ordination and dissemination of information about the cave.

Because of the difficult nature of entry to the cave system, we did not feel it necessary to promote the idea of any kind of 'access control' system and it was only after a second non-diving entrance was mined open via Price's Dig (Ogof Cnwc) in September 2002 that a gate with a lock and key was put onto the hitherto open-access cave Price's Dig.

Our proposal, coupled with the rescheduling of the Mynydd Llangattwg S.S.S.I., led to moves in October 1986 for the reforming of the Agen Allwedd Cave Management Committee to oversee the conservation of and access to all the caves on Mynydd Llangattwg. The traditional meeting place for the original group was the large hall-like room upstairs at the back of the Britannia Inn in Crickhowell. The change was also perhaps helped along after the death of Hereford Caving Club stalwart Roy ('The Baron') Machin on 27th May 1986, following a long illness. Apart from his early exploration efforts in Agen Allwedd he had been chairman and secretary of H.C.C. for many years and a member and warden of the Agen Allwedd Cave Management Committee since the time of its formation.

A draft constitution for The Mynydd Llangattwg Cave Management/Advisory Committee was produced in late 1986 with much assistance from Frank Baguley. Following the document’s refinement through lengthy discussions and various written proposals, the Mynydd Llangatwg Cave Management (Advisory) Committee was inaugurated with an open meeting and election in the large meeting room at the back of the Britannia Inn on 16th April 1988.

The people elected to the new management committee for the first session, to run from 1988–90, were: Steve Ainley, Phil Checketts (records officer), Martyn Farr (information officer & diving warden), Clive Gardener (scientific officer), Bill Gascoine (secretary), Kingsley Hawkins, Sean Heaver (scientific officer), Jeff Hill, Arthur Millett, John Parker, Ian Rolland and Steve Tomalin. The principle had moved from clubs to cavers most actively involved with the cave systems being managed, which I think was a most productive and worthwhile development.

The first meeting was called for 7.30 pm on Friday 6th May 1988, also at the Britannia Inn. The chair was taken by Ian Tillotson for the Nature Conservancy Council and Doreen Gascoine agreed to be the permit secretary for Agen Allwedd. Ian Rolland and Steve Tomalin were appointed wardens for Agen Allwedd; Kingsley Hawkins and John Parker wardens for Ogof Craig a Ffynnon, with Jeff Hill managing access to the cave; Clive Gardener and Arthur Millett wardens for Daren Cilau; and Steve Ainley warden for Ogof Capel and the Clydach Gorge. In future the committee would serve for two years and its members then seek re-election at a subsequent open meeting, if they so desired. The new body was launched with the inaugural aim of ensuring the continued conservation of the mountain and its caves.

I won't go into how the Ogof Draenen cave management body developed, but it was a natural progression from the bodies outlined above. The Pwll Du Cave Mangement Group, if not to everyone's personal satisfaction at all times, has provided a most practicable solution for the extensive (and by no means 'little') Ogof Draenen system in managing the several aspects of cave exploration, science, recording, safety and sporting access.

I'll highlight here the fact that access to Ogof Draenen via a combination lock, which was relatively free and open for all cavers 'in the know', trusted to complete the cave visitors' book properly, only became more stringent, with a specific key being required for access, as a direct result of the drive to create an alternative new entrance - which is the subject now being debated.


Title: Who discovered Ogof Draenen?
Post by: Stuart France on October 11, 2015, 10:56:36 pm
The very start of the cave was dug out by two members of the Cwmbran Caving Club in the 1960s who enlarged a rabbit-size hole in the grass that was draughting very strongly.  I'm not going to name them here but I know who you are!

A low passage led to that first left corner after one metre, then soon to what is now a drop between boulders from which the draught emerged.  Passing those boulders wasn't possible initially until a certain local chemistry teacher gave them a dose of jollop.

Subsequently, a dog got stuck in there, and the locals after a long effort rescued the dog, according to a history given to me by someone involved.  The locals therefore think that they or the dog discovered the cave.

Much later on some cavers from the Cardiff area continued Cwmbran's dig and they think that they discovered the cave.

The rabbits think they were first in.

But then there are nuts stashed much further into the cave (I'm talking about squirrels here).

Of course the bats discovered the big stuff first, via very different routes, unless you know otherwise...

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Les W on October 12, 2015, 12:09:45 am
Pretty sure Arctic bears (now extinct), were in there during the last Ice Age...  :tease:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on October 12, 2015, 12:14:54 am
and possibly Lynx?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Les W on October 12, 2015, 12:31:21 am
and possibly Lynx?
Not sure about Lynx, but we found Arctic Bear teeth in the area of Perseverance II and bear hibernation nests were also fond in the same vicinity. Arctic bear were in the area during the last ice age, according to experts...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on October 12, 2015, 12:49:11 am
You're saying that bears were actually sleeping and having dental surgery inside Ogof Draenen at Perseverance?  Isn't that right next to the second entrance at The Nunnery, or did the bears use the third entrance at Drws Cefn, or the secret entrance that only the bats (possibly) know?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: slurp on October 12, 2015, 01:30:59 am
The whole of this debate seems to hold no interjection from the people who are trying with vehement to block off the enterance.
 Given the obvious political upheaval and unrest that their actions have caused within a Welsh community (cavers,landowners,and third parties) maybe the question should be: Is the influence of antagonistic behaviour towards a closed community, from three hundred miles away really tollerable.And should it be allowed to continue when the local community really only has the interests of caving, preservation and the furthering of exploration at heart. :bounce:   
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on October 12, 2015, 08:32:43 am
I've been worrying all night about all these huge bears getting into the cave.

Were they environmentally responsible bears using LED lights or were they on carbide lamps?  We know they left their teeth behind in the cave.   That's not very eco-friendly.   Did the bears dump anything else in the cave, or did they know what they were doing caving-wise?

But surely, the crucial question that cavers need to ask themselves is:  did these bears have permission from the PDCMG to go caving?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: tony from suffolk on October 12, 2015, 09:15:31 am
Well, we know they didn't shit in there; they tend to do that in woods apparently.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: crickleymal on October 12, 2015, 12:52:31 pm
I've been worrying all night about all these huge bears getting into the cave.

Were they environmentally responsible bears using LED lights or were they on carbide lamps?  We know they left their teeth behind in the cave.   That's not very eco-friendly.   Did the bears dump anything else in the cave, or did they know what they were doing caving-wise?

But surely, the crucial question that cavers need to ask themselves is:  did these bears have permission from the PDCMG to go caving?

See, I told you that they needed bear grills!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on October 12, 2015, 02:22:28 pm
If you talk to certain Brynmawr C C members, they'll tell you that they dug out Draenen from the surface! The chemistry teacher, mentioned by Stuart, told me that he used to find lots of new caves in the area but they would later be rediscovered by Cwmbran, who would name them, thinking they had found them first. The difference is that Cwmbran were good at writing down and publishing what they were up to. Brynmawr have always been very bad at this. As someone said recently 'If you don't write it down, you didn't do it.'

Cwmbran dug Draenen in the eighties but seemed to be following a rift back out towards the surface. Isca C C (a breakaway from Cwmbran) members were involved around this time and produced the first (that I know of) survey of the cave.

Brynmawr dug it later in the eighties and started heading in what turned out to be the right direction. Most, but not all involved, lost interest when some, including the 'local chemistry teacher' thought the draught might be circulating around a slipped chunk of the hillside.

It was not long after this that 'some cavers from the Cardiff area' thought that the draught was just too strong to be a localised circulating affair and with the limestone dipping all the way to Pontypool, started digging in earnest. Over the next two and a half to three years the cave was taken from about 6m long to about 70m, before the breakthrough into the main cave occurred.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on October 12, 2015, 05:52:25 pm
Not sure about Lynx, but we found Arctic Bear teeth in the area of Perseverance II and bear hibernation nests were also fond in the same vicinity. Arctic bear were in the area during the last ice age, according to experts...

I was on a trip years ago when we found a tooth (probably bear) in Agent Blorenge streamway.  Guessing it was washed down from closer to the surface.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Les W on October 12, 2015, 06:04:31 pm
It is probable that the bears were coming in the Nunnery, which was almost certainly open back then.
We sent the teeth off to the Natural History Museum and they identified them as the now extinct Arctic Bear.
We asked for the teeth back but they seemed to have "misplaced" them and we never did get them back.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: adrian paniwnyk on October 12, 2015, 06:53:50 pm
On a walk on Gilwern Hill Paul Stacey and myself bumped into an old chap gambling across a dodgy traverse on the side of the hill. Informed us in no
uncertain that under this hill was the longest cave in Britain! The problem is that this was the early 90's and Ogof Ddraenen was at this point only a few meters long. Seems to fit in with what Huge says that that Ddraenen was explored from the inside out. What this chap told us could of course be a tall
story but it has been proved eerily true.   
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on October 13, 2015, 12:32:46 am
Sorry Adrian, what I meant was that I've been told by a couple of Brynmawr members, on separate occasions, that they dug the entrance to Draenen open.

I wonder if the bloke you met was Brent from Brynmawr C C. He reckons he doused the system years before it was dug open so knew exactly what was there!

P.S. Was in Pwll Dwfn at the weekend and your 'incident' in there came up in conversation!  :blink:

Huw Jones.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: adrian paniwnyk on October 13, 2015, 08:51:00 am
I have been to the bottom of  Pwll Dwfn two or three times since the 'incident' where I fractured my skull so mentally I think I am over it.
But still have mild tinnitus in one ear due to damage to the middle ear. Can't do twisting and turning fair grounds with out feeling sick either ,
though not too sure this is anything to do with the accident. All of this completely  off topic!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rhychydwr1 on October 30, 2015, 03:45:31 pm
Things have gone very quite recently.  I wish Nig would pull his finger out and fit the new gate.  I cannot wait to add it to my collection.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on October 30, 2015, 04:00:42 pm
I agree. They are letting us all down at the moment. It was quite entertaining a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, who actually owns the land and how did they come to own it?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: meanderthal on October 30, 2015, 04:03:03 pm
I agree. They are letting us all down at the moment. It was quite entertaining a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, who actually owns the land and how did they come to own it?

Nig, thats why he wants to gate it  :o
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on October 30, 2015, 04:28:51 pm

Anyway, who actually owns the land and how did they come to own it?

Its all there in the documents that Stuart France was so kind as to obtain for us under the Freedom of Information Act

Pwll Du Conservation Ltd own the land, they purchased it from the Coal Authority who retained mineral rights. The concreting would be a mineral trespass (Countess of Lonsdale V Tesco 2005) but I doubt that the Coal Authority would give a damn.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on October 30, 2015, 05:01:07 pm

Anyway, who actually owns the land and how did they come to own it?

Its all there in the documents that Stuart France was so kind as to obtain for us under the Freedom of Information Act

Pwll Du Conservation Ltd own the land, they purchased it from the Coal Authority who retained mineral rights. The concreting would be a mineral trespass (Countess of Lonsdale V Tesco 2005) but I doubt that the Coal Authority would give a damn.

OK, thanks. It's obvious why the Coal Authority would own bits of land that they no longer want and would be quite happy to get shut of but who are Pwll Du Conservation Ltd. and why did they want to buy it?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on October 30, 2015, 07:12:44 pm
There are only two dwellings at Pwll Du Simon, the pub and the farm. The people who live and work at the two, bought the land from the Coal Authority, via Pwll Du Conservation Ltd, which I assume they set up to limit their liabilities.

So, basically, the (very) few locals at Pwll Du, bought the land they live and work on.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on October 30, 2015, 07:52:51 pm
The Coal Authority owned vast tracts of land in the Blaenafon area, many square miles. The CA's raison d'etre seemed to be to sell off the land owned by it's predecessor, the National Coal Board. The land around Blaenafon was split up into a number of parcels, which were sold off individually. I think the very first parcel to be offered was the top of the Blorenge hill, which was bought by a consortium of hangliding/paragliding enthusiasts.

It was suggested that the Pwll Du parcel be bought by cavers, to ensure continued access to Draenen and many thousands of pounds were pledged. I don't know the exact figure but it shouldn't be difficult to find out. When it became known that the local residents wanted to buy the land, I think it was felt that this would probably be the best thing. They were friendly towards cavers, cavers wouldn't have any of the potential hassles associated with owning land and a bidding war between the residents and cavers seemed a bit silly.

It seems that Pwll Du Conservation Ltd tolerate (are happy with?) cavers accessing Draenen but only through the original entrance (which is not on access land) and only via the established, approved route. It's only cavers they allow on that land and they do not want anyone to wander off the path, which means the other small caves near the Draenen entrance, are out of bounds. They also seem not to want cavers to enter/exit Draenen at night it sets their dogs off. It seems they do not want any surface digging on their land and do not want cavers to access Draenen via Drws Cefn, which is on access land. Obviously anyone can wander around The Tumble (where Drws Cefn is located) but other than cavers going to or from Drws Cefn, I would assume the numbers that leave the tramway to be virtually zero.
Title: Re: Documents
Post by: NigR on October 30, 2015, 09:17:17 pm
(1) The reinforced concrete wall diagram scanned to PDF by someone on 30 July 2010 (i.e. five years ago).  This was an attached file accompanying the email disclosed below:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnclosuredrawing.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnclosuredrawing.pdf)
The second email attachment, not reproduced here, is simply a single sheet cave survey highlighting the route used (Main Entrance to Drws Cefn) for a bat surveying trip undertaken on 7 December 2014.

(2) The contracted bat consultant introduces himself and the project to the bat specialist in local NRW office by email on 9 February 2015:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/antonkattanemail.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/antonkattanemail.pdf)

(3) Drws Cefn Licence Application Form as submitted to NRW on 7 July 2015:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnapplicationform.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnapplicationform.pdf)

(4) Drws Cefn Methods Statement, the details accompanying the licence application form on 7 July 2015:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnmethodstatement.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnmethodstatement.pdf)

(5) Materials used in a poster at Hidden Earth conference on 26 September 2015 containing a quote from the licence application along with the body of NRW's letter "withdrawing" the licence application:
www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnsummary.pdf (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk/drwscefnsummary.pdf)

The above materials were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Simon,

As Huge has said, there are two Directors of Pwll Du Conservation Ltd; the landlord of the Lamb and Fox public house and the owner of the nearby farm. If you download and examine Document 3 above, you will see that it was the latter who signed the Bat Licence Application (designed to pave the way for Drws Cefn to be permanently concreted) that was subsequently turned down by NRW.

Also, as Huge has seen fit to remind us that the original Ogof Draenen entrance is indeed on private land whereas the Drws Cefn entrance is on open access land, it is perhaps worth pointing out that the already concreted (although perhaps not quite so permanently, or so we are told) Second Entrance is on open access land too.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on October 30, 2015, 09:34:30 pm
Just trying to provide some unbiased, spin free information. 😊
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on October 30, 2015, 10:29:33 pm
That's fine, Huge. I'm very much in favour of the dissemination of as much truthful, accurate information as possible.  :)

If I might enlarge upon an earlier point you mentioned, the walk down the valley from the tram road (past Drws Cefn entrance) to the next bridge down is certainly worth doing, although a little rough underfoot in places. As you say, all on open access land and available to anyone who might fancy a short stroll a little off the beaten track. Well recommended!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on November 01, 2015, 10:08:56 am
I have run short of arctic bear jokes for the time being.  But a local caver did point out to me though that they (the bears) loved Draenen because of all the bats, eating several kilos of them at one sitting.

Well, six months is a very long time in politics. We've learned about a cloaked, if not top secret, application filed in July to build an underground concrete wall that would flatter a bank vault.  It's been rejected by NRW as the Statutory Conservation Body for Wales as inappropriate to conservation.  Cambrian and PDCMG met for a friendly chat over chocolate digestives and coronation chicken sandwiches on the possibly neutral territory of Natural England's premises in Yorkshire in late August. Cambrian and PDCMG met again for a less friendly chat in late September (no sandwiches) after the licence detail and outcome had become known the week before due to a Freedom of Information Act request that I made to NRW (available at www.walesunderground.co.uk (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk))

Now the BCA has now come out of its closet and started discussing Drws openly (see pg 5 of the minutes of their October council meeting at http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php (http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php)).  BCA haven't quite "got it" yet, bless, as they don't figure that NRW can veto any action on the ground, thus everyone else has to accept NRW's view of the world first and then adapt whatever it is that they favour personally to fit in with that after.

Only three weeks to go to the next PDCMG meeting, it seems, but other than the note buried on page 6 of the disputed draft minutes of their June 2015 meeting (see www.pdcmg.org.uk (http://www.pdcmg.org.uk)) there is not much publicity around for it.  Can anyone confirm it is on Sunday 22 November 2015 Salisbury Community Hall, Govilon, and starting at 10am like the previous meeting?  Is anyone going to it?


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 01, 2015, 03:15:40 pm
The points that stand out to me in the BCA Draft Minutes for the Council Meeting held on 10-10-15:

Drws Cefn

NW: Surely the only people entitled to act legally in this matter are the landowners.
RW: Essentially the people who dug Drws Cefn have taken over CCC and are pushing forward with this. They now seem to be operating outside Cambrian's constitution, but that is a matter for the Cambrian AGM rather than here. The landowner has said they do not want two entrances and people need to accept this.

. . .

AH:  Hopes that both parties in the Drws Cefn dispute understand AH's role and that he is not going to make any decisions about who is right and wrong. There is some hope that the matter is going to be brought to a sensible conclusion, mainly due to NRW's intervention in refusing to grant the application from the Management Committee and the landowner. As an outsider looking in, AH feels that if the two sides fail to come to an agreement at this point in time, then this will represent a huge failure of credibility of the institutions involved.

NW: Nick Williams
RW: Robin Weare
AH: Andrew Hinde
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 01, 2015, 03:29:00 pm

RW: Essentially the people who dug Drws Cefn have taken over CCC


That's not true  :blink:

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 01, 2015, 03:50:01 pm
RW: Essentially the people who dug Drws Cefn have taken over CCC and are pushing forward with this. They now seem to be operating outside Cambrian's constitution, but that is a matter for the Cambrian AGM rather than here. The landowner has said they do not want two entrances and people need to accept this.

That would seem to me to be an inflammatory, and potentially libelous statement.
Being included in the written minutes suggests that the BCA are accepting the statement as fact.
    
If I were a member of the CCC I would be looking for a public retraction.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 01, 2015, 04:50:26 pm
Attention should be paid to the fact that the extracts I have posted in the forum above, based on information and a link already provided to forum members, are from BCA Draft Minutes, for which the following rider is provided by BCA:

Quote
Please note that the most recent Minutes are usually in draft form until they have been approved by the next Council Meeting.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 01, 2015, 05:45:31 pm
RW: Essentially the people who dug Drws Cefn have taken over CCC and are pushing forward with this. They now seem to be operating outside Cambrian's constitution, but that is a matter for the Cambrian AGM rather than here. The landowner has said they do not want two entrances and people need to accept this.

That would seem to me to be an inflammatory, and potentially libelous statement.
Being included in the written minutes suggests that the BCA are accepting the statement as fact.
    
If I were a member of the CCC I would be looking for a public retraction.

There is a claim here that a statement is 'potentially libelous', except to be libellous it would have to state the name(s) of the individual(s) who have been concerned with opening a second entrance to Ogof Draenen, who have allegedly 'taken over CCC', and nowhere can I see any such names in the draft minutes.

Perhaps those most involved in CCC at present would like to elaborate and/or declare any interest (or otherwise) - specifically as relates to actions/support (or none) provided towards opening a second entrance to Ogof Draenen?

Otherwise, we'll just have to wait for the outcome of the forthcoming PDCMG meeting to see what accommodation can be made between the various interested parties in this highly important access v conservation issue.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 01, 2015, 06:29:29 pm
Clive,

Let me first say I know Robin to be a man of integrity and I don't doubt his integrity.

Personally, I believe there may be a misunderstanding - that is all.

At the time the CCC went through a change I can say (with absolute certainty) that it did so because there was a consensus not enough was being done for the benefit of caving access across Wales (and I mean the whole of Wales).

My personal interest(s) are in North Wales and I can say (again with absolute certainty) that I have never been into Drws Cefn or lifted a finger nail of soil out from anywhere in Draenen.

At the material time, I believe that a minimum of six of the eight CCC officers had no vested pro-access interest in Drws cefn and it may well have been seven.

Since then there have been a few minor changes to the CCC officers with one new officer having a vested interest in Mid-Wales as well as generic access across Wales (Drws Cefn excluded).

So far as I am aware, there is only one person with a vested interest in Drws Cefn and that is the CCC Access & Conservation officer specifically because it is within his mandate to look for preserving access (a duty which he has successfully pressed forward with at a number of sites).  I have no knowledge as to whether he has ever been involved at a dig there or anywhere else in Draenen (it has never been discussed).

Every single caver in the UK probably has an interest in at least one cave or area? I think that is fair comment?

I can say, therefore, (with certainty), that the "Draenen Diggers" have not taken over the Cambrian Caving Council.

Ian Adams
(CCC Treasurer)

* Edited because a number of characters appear as "?" instead of what they actually are when posted
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on November 01, 2015, 06:51:28 pm

RW: Essentially the people who dug Drws Cefn have taken over CCC


That's not true  :blink:

Ian

No it's not.

Stuart France was responsible for secretly digging open the Nunnery entrance. I'm not sure if he had any involvement with Drws Cefn but I seem to recall that radio location was carried out - a speciality of Stuarts.

Is it a coincidence that three of the most vocal posters to this forum against the PDCMG, all now hold posts at the CCC and that the CCC committee members views on Draenen seem to be very homogeneous. Is it also a coincidence that, after the AGM where the current regime got itself elected, the couple of voices left which were not necessarily aligned with the rest, were removed from their posts/made to feel uncomfortable and were replaced by people with the same view?

Not wishing to be sued for libel, I have stuck to the facts as I know them and just asked a couple of questions.

I may not like the way they seem to have gone about things, but the current CCC regime have done lots of useful things, which I thank them for. When it comes to Draenen, there is obviously a huge conflict of interest and I think this should be taken into account when reading any posts on here by them or anyone who appears to be very close to them.

I even share their views on Drws Cefn, to some extent. I don't want it to be permanently blocked and would rather it be gated and brought into use under the same arrangements as used for the original entrance.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 01, 2015, 07:12:32 pm
Stuart France .... I'm not sure if he had any involvement with Drws Cefn ...

I think I said the same except I have never had a conversation with him where it was discussed so I cannot say either way.


Is it a coincidence that three of the most vocal posters to this forum against the PDCMG, all now hold posts at the CCC

Three?   The only vocal poster (so far as I am aware, is myself).  A "coincidence" is a misnomer, it's a little extravagant (to say the least) to suggest that an entire Access body was taken over because of one controversial entrance. It happened as I outlined already. 

From my own perspective, the work of (the late) Elsie Little was paramount to me which expressly included access arrangements for North Wales (and is now embodied successfully within the CCC through the Access Trust CAL). I have been much more vocal about this in North Wales (at meetings and so forth) than I have been about Drws Cefn on UKCaving.


Is it also a coincidence that, after the AGM where the current regime got itself elected, the couple of voices left which were not necessarily aligned with the rest, were removed from their posts/made to feel uncomfortable and were replaced by people with the same view?

You might want to revisit that view.

No one was removed from their post.

So far as I am aware, only one elected officer left and it was fairly quickly after the AGM and I can say there was no opposition to him when he stood again for his office (and was unanimously voted in). When he resigned, if he did so because he was uncomfortable then that was a decision for him - certainly no one on the committee (so far as I am aware and unless/until he says to the contrary) in any way made him feel unwanted. Personally I respect him and was saddened at his departure.

It is true that one member did vocalise his thoughts against the new committee members but, so far as I am aware, that was all resolved and he remains a valued member of the CCC.

I hope that clarifies the position.

Ian.


* modified again because some characters appear as "?" after posting
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Huge on November 01, 2015, 08:39:22 pm
I was writing my post while Clive and yourself were writing yours Ian so did not see them before posting mine.

I won't be getting into an argument with anyone, in fact I'm trying to cut through all the spin (not necessarily aimed at you Ian) so the issues can be discussed clearly.

Just for clarification, the three posters here who are now at Cambrian are yourself, Stuart and Martin Laverty.

From what was posted on here it is clear that the previous newsletter editor did not leave his post voluntarily.

Martin Laverty replaced the previous Cambrian Cave Registrar when he left.... Martin has done a fantastic job with the Registry.

I was not aware of the other dissension/resignations you have referred to.

If I've got the wrong end of the stick then you may have an image problem as I don't seem to be the only one. Even before the AGM where you were all elected, I was told in conservation, that there were plans for big changes at Cambrian and that Draenen was 'going to get sorted out'.

Having said all that, I fully agree that you and the other CCC committee members have done a great job (except in regard to Draenen) in the time you have been in post.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 01, 2015, 08:59:42 pm
Just for clarification, the three posters here who are now at Cambrian are yourself, Stuart and Martin Laverty.

Thanks for the clarification Huge.

I am pretty sure that Stuart didn't post at all until recently and certainly not until well after he was appointed CCC Access and Conservation officer.

I don't know about Martin but can tell you he was not part of the changes at the CCC when they occurred.

For my own part, I have been vocal about the goings on at Drws Cefn for years (since 2010?).


From what was posted on here it is clear that the previous newsletter editor did not leave his post voluntarily.

He was not an elected officer and he left by mutual consent after disagreements on how the newsletter should be presented. The issue (if you want to call it that) had nothing to do with Drws Cefn or even Caving politics.  It was purely editorial conceptualism that caused it. Of course he may wish to post to the contrary if he feels differently.

??  you may have an image problem ?

I am aware that some people seek to undermine the work that the CCC are undertaking. Please be assured that the CCC has the best interests of all cavers at heart and, especially, the best access arrangements for cavers and landowners. Of course there are always going to be instances where there is a problem and Drws Cefn is by no means a small one.

Regards,

Ian.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 01, 2015, 09:20:42 pm
RW: Essentially the people who dug Drws Cefn have taken over CCC and are pushing forward with this. They now seem to be operating outside Cambrian's constitution, but that is a matter for the Cambrian AGM rather than here. The landowner has said they do not want two entrances and people need to accept this.

That would seem to me to be an inflammatory, and potentially libelous statement.
Being included in the written minutes suggests that the BCA are accepting the statement as fact.
    
If I were a member of the CCC I would be looking for a public retraction.

There is a claim here that a statement is 'potentially libelous', except to be libellous it would have to state the name(s) of the individual(s) who have been concerned with opening a second entrance to Ogof Draenen, who have allegedly 'taken over CCC', and nowhere can I see any such names in the draft minutes.

Perhaps those most involved in CCC at present would like to elaborate and/or declare any interest (or otherwise) - specifically as relates to actions/support (or none) provided towards opening a second entrance to Ogof Draenen?

Firstly, it should be noted that Drws Cefn is the third entrance to the Ogof Draenen system, not the second. As I pointed out last night (and was emphasised by Huge today), that honour lies with the Nunnery entrance which was concreted shut back in 1999 or thereabouts.

Secondly, I would like to say I am pleased that Robin Weare's comment at the latest BCA Council meeting has been brought to the forum's attention as it has saved me the trouble of doing so. When the minutes were first shown to me I was appalled by Robin's remark and my immediate reaction was exactly the same as that of Wayland Smith i.e. that it was a potentially libelous statement. Likewise, I was equally amazed that none of the other attendees at the meeting should question it and that the BCA Secretary should see fit to include it in the draft minutes, thereby giving it credence.

OK, let's put the record straight shall we?

The names of the current Officers of Cambrian Caving Council are listed on the CCC website and are there for all to see.

Drws Cefn  was extended and subsequently connected to Ogof Draenen by members of Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros, notably myself (Nigel Rogers), my wife (Mary Rogers), Paul Shea and Chris Bradley.

If anyone would care to take a look at the list of CCC Officers they will find (hardly surprisingly) that our names are not included.

So far as the actual digging goes, I can categorically state that Stuart France was not involved. Stuart does not like tight places and there was no point even telling him about it until after we had made the initial breakthrough as he would have been unable (and very probably unwilling!) to make any worthwhile contribution. His first practical input to our efforts was to assist John Stevens with the survey. Yes, we did borrow Stuart's radio location gear but that did not help in the slightest. As was well documented at the time, we made the vocal connection by the simple expediency of shouting from either side!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on November 02, 2015, 12:46:20 am
Quote
RW: Essentially the people who dug Drws Cefn have taken over CCC and are pushing forward with this. They now seem to be operating outside Cambrian's constitution, but that is a matter for the Cambrian AGM rather than here. The landowner has said they do not want two entrances and people need to accept this.

1 Ian and Nig have now refuted the first assertion. I agree with Huge that a coup appeared to take place in 2014, but I had no knowledge of it until being sounded on the possibility of taking over the Cave Registry when the previous incumbent unexpectedly resigned. I understand that he gave no explanation for his resignation to the CCC; the handover to me was perfunctory, at best, and I would really like an explanation.
 
2 Secondly, RW appears to be unaware that the last CCC AGM altered para. 4.2 of its constitution, at my suggestion, to say:
That any rights held by the owners and tenants of property or mineral rights to grant or withhold access be respected. Where clubs, singly or jointly, have control of access delegated to them by the owners, such access should be obtained and granted as freely as possible for responsible cavers, within the terms of those agreements. When obliged to make new agreements, the appropriate body should endeavour to ensure that this freedom is maintained and improved.

The previous version was similar to the BCA's corresponding para. 4.6 that, as DW acknowledges [BCA minutes, 10/10/2015: 9a ], may priviledge landowners over the law:
That the owners and tenants of property containing caves have the right to grant or withhold access. Where caving bodies have control of access delegated to them by the owners, such access should be obtained and granted as freely as possible for all responsible cavers, within the terms of those agreements. When obliged to make new agreements, the appropriate body should endeavour to ensure that this freedom is maintained or improved.

Incidentally, SM at the last PDCMG meeting [minutes 21/6/2015: 3.a).v) ] was also apparently unaware of this; the secretary should have corrected her, as she had been at the CCC AGM.

3 I don't wish to labour the point, but Drws Cefn is on CRoW land, so it would not necessarily be legal to honour the landowner's wishes. Quite apart from the PDCMG having a history of not necessarily honouring the landowner's wishes, and perhaps misrepresenting cavers' wishes to him  on occasion (I was a club rep on the PDCMG for many years...).

I would also point out to those who accuse the CCC of interference with PDCMG that the CCC constitution includes these paragraphs:

3.6       To support clubs and cave access bodies in obtaining, maintaining, and improving access arrangements in Wales, the Forest of Dean and the Marches

4.1       That there shall be respect for the autonomy and independence of action of Individual Members and Member? Clubs, provided that these are not against the Aims and Objects of the Council.

4.3       The individual members, member clubs and organisations support the policies of the Cambrian Caving Council.

and the PDCMG constitution includes:
4.10 The wishes of the following bodies which exist in the area shall be acknowledged, respected and appreciated:
Commoners Associations, Welsh Water, Local Residents, the British Caving Association, BCRA, Cambrian Caving Council, the Brecon Beacons National Park, Natural Resources Wales and other statutory bodies

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 02, 2015, 07:28:30 am

He was not an elected officer and he left by mutual consent after disagreements on how the newsletter should be presented.

I'm not sure how the secretary reported my departure to you at the time, but that is putting rather a positive spin on the event!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 02, 2015, 10:34:56 am

There is a claim here that a statement is 'potentially libelous', except to be libellous it would have to state the name(s) of the individual(s) who have been concerned with opening a second entrance to Ogof Draenen, who have allegedly 'taken over CCC', and nowhere can I see any such names in the draft minutes.


No it wouldn't.
Libel can be implication, plenty of case law to see.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 02, 2015, 01:20:18 pm

There is a claim here that a statement is 'potentially libelous', except to be libellous it would have to state the name(s) of the individual(s) who have been concerned with opening a second entrance to Ogof Draenen, who have allegedly 'taken over CCC', and nowhere can I see any such names in the draft minutes.


No it wouldn't.
Libel can be implication, plenty of case law to see.

If you want to invoke implication then it would have to be clear who, specifically, was being implied and Cambrian Caving Council is quite a large organisation.

In any case we have yet to see a full refutation in respect of "individual(s) who have been concerned with opening a second entrance to Ogof Draenen", because irrespective of whether Drws Cefn is the second, third or fourth proposed new entrance to Ogof Draenen, the principle that is being argued here is whether it is better to open access wherever possible to a cave, for the ease of trips being carried out inside the cave, or whether it is better to keep access down to a single entrance in order to better conserve the cave. The past example of Ogof Ffynnon Ddu has already been cited, with published supporting evidence from Martyn Farr.

There is another aspect which has not even been considered yet, which is that, unlike OFD, there is no regularly occupied caving cottage and club in the vicinity of the cave entrance at Pwll Du, whereby a noticeboard and callout system can be set up for visitors to the cave. So, in the event of any individual or caving party not returning from their intended trip inside the cave, it is likely that, apart from any callout arrangements the person or party may (or may not) have made, the only on-the-spot guide as to where they may be in the enormous system (70km+) is the entry they are expected and trusted to make in the cave visitors' logbook. However, if you try to operate such a system with two entrances then the practicalities become significantly more involved and logging in and out satisfactorily becomes a problem.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rhychydwr1 on November 02, 2015, 01:39:25 pm
Things have gone very quite recently.  I wish Nig would pull his finger out and fit the new gate.  I cannot wait to add it to my collection.

Look what I have done, got the politicians ranting again  :o
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 02, 2015, 01:59:53 pm
Looking at the exact wording in the draft minutes I think your right Clive on this one, although it is a misstatement.

I am now thinking about the implications of the application to NRW by the landowner.

Taking the application and methodology statement together I see prima facia evidence of a criminal offence, although I sincerely hope that nothing comes of this. However, there is a principle in law that the you cannot contract out of law, or contract to an illegal act. I suggest that when this application was sent in to NRW then all moral, legal, or constitutional obligations by any organisation to support the landowners wishes ( with respect to sealing ) ceased?

Actually, the thread title is a misnomer as there has not been any concreting and looking at the current state of play, there never will be.

Wouldn't it be better if we all shook hands and quietly put the matter to bed and let PDCMG sort out any issues internally?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rhychydwr1 on November 02, 2015, 02:02:21 pm

[snip]


Wouldn't it be better if we all shook hands and quietly put the matter to bed and let PDCMG sort out any issues internally?

NO! NO! I am enjoying his.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 02, 2015, 02:08:12 pm
Things have gone very quite recently.  I wish Nig would pull his finger out and fit the new gate.  I cannot wait to add it to my collection.

Look what I have done, got the politicians ranting again  :o

I once saw a fellow undergraduate at university 'tell off' our (revered) film studies lecturer with the exclamation, "But, I'm not interested in politics!"

The film studies lecturer quite succinctly observed in reply with words to the effect: "The very fact of living is a political act!"
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 02, 2015, 02:59:20 pm
Things have gone very quite recently.  I wish Nig would pull his finger out and fit the new gate.  I cannot wait to add it to my collection.

Look what I have done, got the politicians ranting again  :o

I once saw a fellow undergraduate at university 'tell off' our (revered) film studies lecturer with the exclamation, "But, I'm not interested in politics!"

The film studies lecturer quite succinctly observed in reply with words to the effect: "The very fact of living is a political act!"

Disagree, and loath it.
Already made clear.

Speaking for myself I attempt to be totally impartial and I am on CCC representing a charitable organisation which will not get involved in club politics and as such will abstain from voting on any issue perceived as being political.

As CCC legal and insurance officer any opinions expressed will be impartial even if its what the inquirer does not want to hear and if that at some future date makes my position untenable I will resign.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 02, 2015, 03:01:49 pm
The caving world needs more Roys.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on November 02, 2015, 03:17:30 pm
 

[snip]


Wouldn't it be better if we all shook hands and quietly put the matter to bed and let PDCMG sort out any issues internally?

NO! NO! I am enjoying his.

 :clap2:

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: crickleymal on November 02, 2015, 03:22:28 pm
Trouble is the cost of so many bags of popcorn
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: ChrisJC on November 02, 2015, 06:45:30 pm
I've lost the plot - where are we talking about again?

Chris.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 02, 2015, 06:57:06 pm
It's the ongoing battle between the shit-stirrers and the shit-shovellers.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 02, 2015, 10:40:23 pm

There is a claim here that a statement is 'potentially libelous', except to be libellous it would have to state the name(s) of the individual(s) who have been concerned with opening a second entrance to Ogof Draenen, who have allegedly 'taken over CCC', and nowhere can I see any such names in the draft minutes.


No it wouldn't.
Libel can be implication, plenty of case law to see.

If you want to invoke implication then it would have to be clear who, specifically, was being implied and Cambrian Caving Council is quite a large organisation.

Cambrian Caving Council is not "quite a large organisation" at all. There are only nine Officers in total, their names being listed (as previously stated) on the CCC website and (coincidentally) in the latest newsletter I received earlier today. Now, three of these Officers (Dave Tyson, Ian Adams, Roy Fellows) are based outside of South Wales and (also as has already been stated) their principal interests lie elsewhere. So that leaves a maximum of six people (Martyn Farr, Stuart France, Richard Hill, Martin Laverty, Vince Allkins, Barry Hill) Robin Weare might have been referring to as "the people who dug Drws Cefn" who have supposedly "taken over CCC". As I thought I had made clear last night, Drws Cefn was dug by four people, none of whom are any of those mentioned above. Although he may not actually name them, Robin's statement certainly implies that some of the current CCC Executive actually helped dig Drws Cefn and this is simply just not true.

Looking back at the minutes of the CCC AGM in March 2014 it is interesting to see that Robin stood for the position of Chairman but was defeated by Martyn Farr in the first election of the day. Scanning down the subsequent elections, it is perhaps even more revealing that Robin personally nominated three further candidates, each of whom also lost (including Bernie Woodley who was defeated by Stuart France in the election for Conservation and Access Officer).

I have never met Robin but I have heard lots of good things from various quarters concerning the work he did for Cambrian during his tenure as Treasurer and I really do hope that the grapes will taste less sour for him as time slowly passes.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 03, 2015, 01:20:59 am

. . .

Scanning down the subsequent elections, it is perhaps even more revealing that Robin personally nominated three further candidates, each of whom also lost (including Bernie Woodley who was defeated by Stuart France in the election for Conservation and Access Officer).

. . .

Well, I've certainly not seen any conservation argument coming across in this debate from the Cambrian Caving Council so far, however it looks from the above as if there could be a potential candidate for fulfilling such a role.

In Parliament, MPs are expected to make a declaration on issues where they have a vested interest and, if appropriate, stand down from committees and business where there would otherwise be a conflict of interest. In this respect Cambrian Caving Council is no different and the question at the moment seems to be whether the 'organisation' has allowed itself to be taken over for the benefit of those with vested interests to pursue.

There are far more than nine people, of course, who comprise the membership of the Cambrian Caving Council.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 03, 2015, 02:37:34 am
Yes, it is indeed the clubs who make up the membership of Cambrian Caving Council and they hold an Annual General Meeting at which elections take place to elect serving Officers for the forthcoming year. So, if you don't like the way things are now you can campaign within your own club and try to persuade your representative at next year's AGM to vote for someone more to your liking. What could be simpler?

The reason you have not seen any conservation argument from CCC to provide justification for concreting Drws Cefn is that there isn't one! We were subjected to all this nonsense six years ago when Ben Lovett went to great lengths to show that there would be a conservation meltdown of unprecedented proportions if Drws was allowed to remain open for even a couple of months. Well, guess what? It is now sixty-four months since the gate on Drws was removed and no untoward damage whatsoever has taken place, anywhere in the system. The entrance has been completely open all this time and has been used by many cavers on a regular basis with no negative effects at all. Even the PDCMG realise this now, hence their shift of focus to that of merely having to comply with the wishes of the landowner.

For the umpteenth time, other than the satisfaction of following a common sense course of action designed to benefit cavers and caving in Wales for generations to come, none of the current CCC Officers have the slightest vested interest in keeping Drws Cefn open. Like I said, if you don't believe me and think otherwise then just turn up at the AGM next March and get rid of the ones you deem most guilty. Problem solved!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 03, 2015, 08:22:14 am
Well, I've certainly not seen any conservation argument coming across in this debate from the Cambrian Caving Council so far....


Why would you?

The conservation argument from the PDCMG has been disingenuous.

The Cambrian Caving Council is in the business of promoting caving as a sport and recreation (not preventing it).

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 03, 2015, 08:45:31 am
I hope CCC would always look sympathetically at any issue a member club was involved in, which was primarily one of promoting the conservation of a site managed by said member club. Ian's comment could be considered a bit worrying if not. The balance between promoting access to enjoy the sport should always be sensibly balanced by one of protecting the caves themselves. Any representative body that disregards this is not fit to "govern".
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 03, 2015, 09:49:07 am
So far as Drws Cefn is concerned, the conservation aspects were analysed and discussed in intricate detail six years ago. Elsie Little gave us much valuable advice at the time so you can rest assured that CCC were indeed closely involved from the very beginning.

The situation has been closely monitored ever since and I have neither heard nor seen a single instance of any damage to anything anywhere in the entire system. If anyone thinks otherwise and can give me a specific example to the contrary then please contact me at the earliest opportunity and I will ensure that it is checked out.

In more general terms, every active caver in Wales knows that CCC give high priority to every possible aspect of cave conservation and to suggest otherwise is absolutely disgusting.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 03, 2015, 09:52:36 am
I wasn't suggesting anything specifically. I was expressing a hope. It's called seeking reassurance. As the master of implication, of course, NigR might not appreciate any other way of expressing oneself.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on November 03, 2015, 12:08:15 pm

Well, I've certainly not seen any conservation argument coming across in this debate from the Cambrian Caving Council so far, however it looks from the above as if there could be a potential candidate for fulfilling such a role.


Conversation arguments were put forward six years ago in favour of two entrances at the EGM.  I made some of them :)  In particular most damage is done by 2 types of cavers a) novices / non-cavers, and b) tired cavers.  The first is solved with gates/leadership arrangements etc (and non-cavers only tend to explore the immediate entrance area).  The second type is us (cavers) and the more likely in Draenen; it's mostly a case of simple wear and tear, rub points (e.g. muddy brown Indiana Highway) and roughly proportional to how many times a cave passage is visited.  When a caver is tired or even worse in a hurry to get out, they're more clumsy, don't tend to be as good at staying within tape-lines etc.  Also when rushing the way out, they've seen everything on the way in already, so possibly take less care.  So you have a choice of X trips per year with each trip visiting each passage twice (there AND back) with an increased chance of damage on the return trip i.e. 2X visits per passage.   Or X+delta trips per year between entrances with each passage in between visited once.  [Delta is the number of extra trips due there now being a popular round-trip.  The evidence so far is that delta is low; PDCMG annual reporting logs the  number of trips per year and it's gone down in recent years if anything]. 

Anyway this was all debated six years ago; of course I accept there are other worthy arguments/opinions - such as Ben Lovett's not in favour of two entrances - but I don't accept it's universally agreed that two entrances always makes things worse.  There's many caves with lots of natural entrances.

However as mentioned previously my biggest concern is potential for the legal liability issue in closing an escape route - and I compare this to landlords that block fire-escapes (and going to prison!).  It's not something one can cover with insurance.  In the event of an serious accident or fatality where the blocked escape route delays the call-out shout, then I don't think a judge will look kindly on PDCMG or the landowner's actions.   It's different if an entrance has never been opened up (people wouldn't be held responsible for not opening up escape route), but once it's open (and especially once it's been so for a while) then I think those taking action to close it are culpable - certainly morally and quite possibly legally.  Not a lawyer and so only my layman's opinion - but I strongly urge both to get legal advice on this point.  I certainly would if I was the landowner.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 03, 2015, 01:44:57 pm
However as mentioned previously my biggest concern is potential for the legal liability issue in closing an escape route - and I compare this to landlords that block fire-escapes (and going to prison!).  It's not something one can cover with insurance.  In the event of an serious accident or fatality where the blocked escape route delays the call-out shout, then I don't think a judge will look kindly on PDCMG or the landowner's actions.   It's different if an entrance has never been opened up (people wouldn't be held responsible for not opening up escape route), but once it's open (and especially once it's been so for a while) then I think those taking action to close it are culpable - certainly morally and quite possibly legally.  Not a lawyer and so only my layman's opinion - but I strongly urge both to get legal advice on this point.  I certainly would if I was the landowner.

In general, as cavers, we go to great lengths to convince and reassure landowners that they will not be liable for caving incidents that occur under their land so that we can go about our hobby freely. If it were the case that they were liable following an incident, the easiest and legally safest course of action for the landowners would be to prevent any caving access at all - I don't think this is what you want, but it could well be an outcome if you pursue this argument and I think it's a very dangerous route to follow. Surely, the basis by which we undertake caving is that we accept the risks of each trip (and the possibilities of rescue or not) each time we undertake a trip. It would be extremely selfish and foolish to undertake a trip, knowing the risks, and then crying about it to the landowner when things go wrong. You enter the cave, you accept the risks as they are on the day.

There are many good reasons why Drws Cefn could or should be used as an entrance, but this rescue/safety/liability reason is not one.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 03, 2015, 01:51:42 pm
Conversation arguments were put forward six years ago in favour of two entrances at the EGM.  I made some of them :)  In particular most damage is done by 2 types of cavers a) novices / non-cavers, and b) tired cavers.  The first is solved with gates/leadership arrangements etc (and non-cavers only tend to explore the immediate entrance area).  The second type is us (cavers) and the more likely in Draenen; it's mostly a case of simple wear and tear, rub points (e.g. muddy brown Indiana Highway) and roughly proportional to how many times a cave passage is visited.  When a caver is tired or even worse in a hurry to get out, they're more clumsy, don't tend to be as good at staying within tape-lines etc.  Also when rushing the way out, they've seen everything on the way in already, so possibly take less care.  So you have a choice of X trips per year with each trip visiting each passage twice (there AND back) with an increased chance of damage on the return trip i.e. 2X visits per passage.   Or X+delta trips per year between entrances with each passage in between visited once.  [Delta is the number of extra trips due there now being a popular round-trip.  The evidence so far is that delta is low; PDCMG annual reporting logs the  number of trips per year and it's gone down in recent years if anything]. 

If access via Drws Cefn was allowed by the landowner and its use legitimised, then "delta" could well increase quite markedly. There are lots of cavers out there (including me) who have never used Drws Cefn, because we don't want to cause trouble on the ground and we are respecting the current official access agreements. Usage levels could be quite different under a different regime.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 03, 2015, 02:21:08 pm

However as mentioned previously my biggest concern is potential for the legal liability issue in closing an escape route - and I compare this to landlords that block fire-escapes (and going to prison!). 

This comparison is entirely misplaced. The blocking of a fire escape is a serious breach of Health and Safety legislation, the blocking of an underground access/exit is a completely different matter. Questions of legal liability in event of a accident would not arise.

However, such a blocking would undoubtedly attract a lot of criticism if it hampered a rescue.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 03, 2015, 02:25:42 pm
And there is a world of difference between blocking an exit on the quiet, preventing egress by a party which thought it was accessible at the time they entered, and blocking an exit and making it known to everyone that it had been blocked and that exploring a cave using another entrance was at the explorers' risk.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on November 03, 2015, 02:27:34 pm
In general, as cavers, we go to great lengths to convince and reassure landowners that they will not be liable for caving incidents that occur under their land so that we can go about our hobby freely. If it were the case that they were liable following an incident, the easiest and legally safest course of action for the landowners would be to prevent any caving access at all - I don't think this is what you want, but it could well be an outcome if you pursue this argument and I think it's a very dangerous route to follow. Surely, the basis by which we undertake caving is that we accept the risks of each trip (and the possibilities of rescue or not) each time we undertake a trip. It would be extremely selfish and foolish to undertake a trip, knowing the risks, and then crying about it to the landowner when things go wrong. You enter the cave, you accept the risks as they are on the day.

There are many good reasons why Drws Cefn could or should be used as an entrance, but this rescue/safety/liability reason is not one.
That is IMO missing the legal point entirely.  It's has nothing to do with whether caving is safe or dangerous sport.  It has nothing to do with what measures cavers should take to make caving safer.  It has nothing to do with assuring landowners about their limited liability in the event of caving accident under their land - in this case it is not the action of cavers that's the issue but the landowners themselves.  The insurance policy PDCMG has, is about protecting the landowner from events below their land, not cavers from the actions of landowners.  Also insurance doesn't cover certain things - gross negligence is one of them.  It may perhaps have a little to do with cavers accepting the risks beforehand - I can see some debate on that point. 

It has everything to do with whether someone blocking an escape route takes on legal liability for their actions?  Fatal accidents are normally followed by Coroner's inquests.  Coroners look at the circumstances and also whether an accident was preventable.  At that point, they will no doubt learn that a previous option - which would have got help to the cavers sooner - was knowingly blocked.  What's the inquest's conclusion?  I'm not sure; they certainly issue reports/recommendations on preventing future deaths - http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/coroners/#a28 (http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/coroners/#a28) 

And if the Coroner does suggest it could have been prevented; then does that open the door for a private prosecution from the bereaved family?  Point is - I don't know but there's a lot of potential for liability but I can see enough potential not to be  comfortable with outright closure (one-way exit is fine) - at least not without some expert opinion first.  Also unless we're absolutely sure that there's no issue, I feel it should also be made clear to the landowner what the concern is so that they can think about it too and make up their own minds whether they need legal advice  (and to be clear I don't think having a Ltd company owning the land helps for this type of liability - I think the Directors have personal liability).

That's why I feel legal advice would be a good idea - perhaps something BCA can help with (e.g. as with CRoW study)? It's a general issue with closing any potential escape route.  Perhaps there's case law from blocked emergency escape routes from mines?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on November 03, 2015, 02:40:10 pm
If access via Drws Cefn was allowed by the landowner and its use legitimised, then "delta" could well increase quite markedly. There are lots of cavers out there (including me) who have never used Drws Cefn, because we don't want to cause trouble on the ground and we are respecting the current official access agreements. Usage levels could be quite different under a different regime.
Agreed.  I too have never been to Drws Cefn but would if the issue were resolved and access legitimised.  I'm not sure it would double though.  I can see both points of view - it was just that Clive G mentioned he hadn't seen any conservation arguments in favour of keeping it open.  Of course the ultimate conservation is to close all entrances/exits.  Taking measures to protect / conserve wild places is often a case of finely balanced arguments in favour and against (e.g. some people feel taping paths through caves spoils the natural wilderness although I feel on balance it preserves caves in the natural state).
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on November 03, 2015, 02:55:41 pm

However as mentioned previously my biggest concern is potential for the legal liability issue in closing an escape route - and I compare this to landlords that block fire-escapes (and going to prison!). 

This comparison is entirely misplaced. The blocking of a fire escape is a serious breach of Health and Safety legislation, the blocking of an underground access/exit is a completely different matter. Questions of legal liability in event of a accident would not arise.
I'm not entirely sure.  I don't think it's a Health and Safety at Work (HSE) issue (unless someone runs professional trips in Draenen).  Although interestingly in this case, the land is owned by a company not a person - so company law will still apply I presume? (even if it's not a place of work) 

And in the case of landlords, they're often not companies either but individuals renting out their property.  I think the landlord's issues don't always relate to HSE law but more likely to laws about duty of care for those on your property in general (and no doubt laws specific to renting such as yearly gas safety checks).  If a tile falls the roof of your house and hits someone, it's an accident and you're liable but luckily you're covered by house insurance. If you dig holes all over your garden - say for an extension - and a burglar falls and hurts himself, you're also liable but not covered by insurance (as you knowingly left a danger on your land).  It doesn't matter that the burglar shouldn't have been there.  What matters is you didn't put signs up,  put fencing around the danger etc.  So in this case, is the landowner knowingly adding to rescue time?  Yes.  Do the cavers going in to Draenen know this.  Yes (mostly at least).  Was the fatality preventable - the Coroner may possibly say yes - and the fall-out consequences that follow.  That's my concern.

Point is - as far as I know - none of us on here are legal experts (apologies if you are - I've no idea about people's expertise on here).  So I would prefer to hear "you have nothing to worry about" from someone with legal expertise in criminal / duty of care/ negligence law.  Has BCA ever looked at the legal consequences of closing entrances (as opposed to opening them)?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on November 03, 2015, 03:30:43 pm
Merely as an aside, the Wapping / Cumberland system at Matlock in Derbyshire used to have a top entrance that the landowner backfilled. After some initial misunderstanding and liason the cycle of reopening and closing ended with it being closed (filled in). The system is now only accessible from the lower end.
Perhaps someone with more lnowledge could fill in the gaps should any questions arise - it was many years ago and I only followed the story through newsletters etc
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 03, 2015, 03:51:51 pm
This threads really going off at a tangent!

HSE is Health and Safety Executive, responsible for enforcement of certain health and safety legislation, while other agencies responsible for other.
Blocked fire escape by employer is H and S at Work, by landlord is fire safety. Health and safety has become a general use cover all term.

If you can turn the concreting that didn't happen and never will happen in to a Heath and Safey issue best of luck
 :lol:

Company law is very complex and could fill several pages, but all the answers are there on the web.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on November 03, 2015, 04:12:39 pm
This threads really going off at a tangent!
I'm at a loss to understand how expressing a concern I have about a potential closure is going off topic.  Anyway I'll be very happy if it doesn't ever happen and we all reach a compromise :-)
And also happy not to debate the law further - I've expressed my concern about liability (especially given I'm a member of PDCMG), others seem more relaxed about  - but AFAIK none of us are experts and so endless speculation won't help.

Now to go seriously off-topic - have you seen the new co-ordinate mapping system ;)  All locations on Earth can be located by a 3-word combination (defining a 3 metre square).  See https://map.what3words.com/ (https://map.what3words.com/)
and a write-up at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/nov/01/meet-me-there-what3words-redefines-geolocations (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/nov/01/meet-me-there-what3words-redefines-geolocations)

I'm not exactly sure which 3x3m Drws Cefn is located in.  Is it one of these?  ;D
fizzle.tech.outwards
passes.committee.slip
adventure.reckons.spouse
regress.headache.clubs
discouraged.landlords.funnels
amounting.grudges.issuer
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Martin Laverty on November 03, 2015, 04:59:20 pm
Spookily, I would say that the entrance is at what looks like an unsightly concrete block with a hole in it at trim.unsightly.ghost
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Badlad on November 03, 2015, 05:30:25 pm
Global Moderator Comment Please start a new topic if you want to explore the 'what3words' location system. Thank you

Second thoughts - I've done it already  ;D
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 03, 2015, 06:57:12 pm
If access via Drws Cefn was allowed by the landowner and its use legitimised, then "delta" could well increase quite markedly. There are lots of cavers out there (including me) who have never used Drws Cefn, because we don't want to cause trouble on the ground and we are respecting the current official access agreements. Usage levels could be quite different under a different regime.
Agreed.  I too have never been to Drws Cefn but would if the issue were resolved and access legitimised.

I would be very interested to hear the actual reasons from both Rhys and Chris as to why they might want to visit Draenen via Drws Cefn if access were to be legitimised.

Would it be just to do a different through or round trip? Or is there a particular part of the system you would like to visit but are put off from doing so due to the distance involved and time it takes from the original entrance? A digging or surveying project you would like to undertake perhaps?

Please do tell.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 03, 2015, 07:22:39 pm
I would be very interested to hear the actual reasons from both Rhys and Chris as to why they might want to visit Draenen via Drws Cefn if access were to be legitimised.

Would it be just to do a different through or round trip? Or is there a particular part of the system you would like to visit but are put off from doing so due to the distance involved and time it takes from the original entrance? A digging or surveying project you would like to undertake perhaps?

Please do tell.

Perhaps one of the above, maybe all of the above, maybe none of the above, maybe I won't ever use it. Who knows. I haven't decided yet.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 03, 2015, 07:44:20 pm
Not only does the caving world need more Roys. it also needs more Rhys's.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 03, 2015, 07:44:47 pm
Point is - as far as I know - none of us on here are legal experts (apologies if you are - I've no idea about people's expertise on here).  So I would prefer to hear "you have nothing to worry about" from someone with legal expertise in criminal / duty of care/ negligence law. 

Well, Roy is the Cambrian CC Legal and Insurance Officer, currently. I don't know if he has professional qualifications, but presumably his opinion carries some weight in this area.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 03, 2015, 08:40:00 pm
This topic is about the blocking off an entrance to a significant cave system, I would like to bring it back to the basic reasons, I would also like personalities and politics to restrain themselves, I hope to take it through in stages,  - ;

1; Why was the proposal to block the entrance made  ?

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 03, 2015, 09:13:33 pm
This topic is about the blocking off an entrance to a significant cave system, I would like to bring it back to the basic reasons, I would also like personalities and politics to restrain themselves, I hope to take it through in stages,  - ;

1; Why was the proposal to block the entrance made  ?

OK, I shall restrain myself and answer in as non provocative a way as possible:

On conservation grounds.

(Have you downloaded and read the Method Statement produced by the bat consultant yet? If not, I suggest you do so. The conservation argument is rammed home from start to finish, all of it being completely fallacious.
 
Fortunately, NRW were not fooled by any of it, saying in their rejection letter to the landowner:

"The species specialist has had several conversations with your ecologist and with Fleur Loveridge (PDCMG Sec) to try and establish the exact purpose of your licence application and the proposed activities under it.

The specialist has been unable to establish a clear conservation argument for obstructing this cave entrance. They also understand, through conversations with Fleur, that the reason to obstruct the entrance is to prevent cave access.")

Does that answer your question?

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 03, 2015, 09:22:47 pm
OK, answer, 'On conservation grounds',

Next question;

By who ?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 03, 2015, 09:26:27 pm
OK, answer, 'On conservation grounds',

Next question;

By who ?

The licence application to NRW was made by the landowner.

(The completed application form can also be downloaded and examined if so desired.)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 03, 2015, 09:41:21 pm
Application made by the 'landowner' on 'conservation grounds', - right?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 03, 2015, 09:44:41 pm
Application made by the 'landowner' on 'conservation grounds', - right?

Yes, correct.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: ChrisJC on November 03, 2015, 09:53:03 pm
My round Tony - another one of the same?, and some more popcorn?

Chris.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 03, 2015, 10:08:54 pm
Who advised the landowner, or was he a specialist?

(Relevance ChrisJC ?? this appears to be an irrelevant injunction, if you do not have anything factual to add, please stay out, I am trying to establish the facts--)

I told you, personal / politic are not in my agenda, you have just demonstrated where your ideas are, the British Caving World is watching. ---.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 03, 2015, 10:18:15 pm
To resume the debate;

Who advised the landowner, or was he a specialist?

So far we have got as far as;

'The application to block the entrance was made on conservation grounds by the land owners'-

Sorry about the bolds, Chris confused me--
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 03, 2015, 10:20:45 pm
Who advised the landowner, or was he a specialist?

The PDCMG have advised the landowner concerning Drws Cefn ever since it was connected to Draenen.

Presumably, he was also advised by the bat consultant with regard to the licence application prior to submitting it.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 03, 2015, 10:29:03 pm
So - PDCMG advised the landowner to concrete up the entrance on 'Conservation Grounds'?---

Just asking, otherwise questions will go further.-.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 03, 2015, 10:44:17 pm
So - PDCMG advised the landowner to concrete up the entrance on 'Conservation Grounds'?

So far as I am aware, yes.

The PDCMG have always wanted Drws Cefn permanently closed and they did not hesitate in using their spurious conservation arguments to influence the landowner from the outset. The sketch for the proposed concrete wall dates from July 2010 and it was designed by a member of the PDCMG. It is therefore logical to assume that the PDCMG did indeed advise the landowner that this was the best way of dealing with the situation.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 03, 2015, 10:54:57 pm
So - PDCMG advised the landowner to concrete up the entrance on 'Conservation Grounds'?

So far as I am aware, yes.

The PDCMG have always wanted Drws Cefn permanently closed and they did not hesitate in using their spurious conservation arguments to influence the landowner from the outset. The sketch for the proposed concrete wall dates from July 2010 and it was designed by a member of the PDCMG. It is therefore logical to assume that the PDCMG did indeed advise the landowner that this was the best way of dealing with the situation.

 :lol: :lol: :lol: Lovery, Thanks NigR - Anyone with answers to my questions like to respond? - Don't forget, no politic, no personal---
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 03, 2015, 11:19:26 pm
:lol: :lol: :lol: Lovery, Thanks NigR - Anyone with answers to my questions like to respond? - Don't forget, no politic, no personal---

Sorry, bograt but I answered your questions as best I could.

Neither the PDCMG Secretary nor the landowner see fit to post on this forum. As they are the only people who can truly answer your final question it might be best if you asked them yourself.

Contact details for the former should be on the PDCMG website whilst those for the latter are contained within the previously mentioned licence application form.

If you could share any answer you might receive with the rest of us that would be much appreciated.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 08:29:47 am
I think there is more than one answer to Bograt?s question ?..

A number of reasons have been proffered as to why Drws Cefn should be sealed and they include;

Landowner wishes
Conservation of speleotherms
Protection of the ?wilderness experience?
Protection of bats


A number of reasons why Drws Cefn should remain open have been put forward and they have all been rejected;

Allows the opportunity to reach further parts of the cave in less time (tourist trips and digging)
Allows easier access for emergency services
It?s on CRoW land and should not be obstructed

Additionally, any and all compromise suggestions (ie. different types of gate etc.) have been rejected.

(The two lists are not comprehensive)


Some years ago the landowner pretty much demanded that the ?caving world? sort out the disputes otherwise he would remove access (fair enough). Now the landowner wishes to remove access ( fair enough again).

The PDCMG have an obligation to act in the best interests of all relevant parties (in the constitution) and herein lays the problem.

There has been zero consideration for any party other than the landowner and they have totally mis-managed their obligation going so far as to dupe other parties into believing  in their sincerity to reach a compromise while clandestinely proceeding with a concrete plan.

It is also perfectly clear that the landowner is being manipulated by the PDCMG insofar as they are apparently guiding him through the different disingenuous processes required to find a way to seal the entrance. Let me explain;

The landowner has no obligation to explain his own actions ? if he wants the entrance closed he can say ?I want the entrance closed?. That did happen at the start. However, we (the rest of the world outside of PDCMG) are now expected to simply accept that the landowner cares about the conservation of the cave to the degree that he will get a licence to concrete it. Not only that, we are expected to believe he has developed a sudden interest in the rights and protection of bats. Not only that, we are expected to believe that the landowner has concerns about ?speleotherms? and protecting the wilderness experience for cavers.

See how mind bogglingly stupid that is?

The PDCMG have apparently not once tried to find any solution other than concreting the entrance and have staunchly rebutted every compromise suggestion. Instead they have apparently guided the landowner through a web of deception of lies and deceit to the disadvantage of the caving community.

Previously there were complaints (on here) that everyone had become entrenched with their views (on both sides) and it was easy to see how true that was. Personally, I took a step back, recognised that and changed my view from ?keep it open? to ?gate it?.  It is clear that I have been the only person to revisit my thinking and reconsider . I don?t see why I should make this concession in the face of such continued lies, treachery and deceit and I am now considering returning back to the ?keep it open? view.

Lastly, as for arguments that ?it?s too bad? for a caver who needs help because it?s their fault they went so far in and they knew Drws Cefn was sealed and knew emergency services couldn?t get in; legal issues asides, that?s a totally and utterly stupid thing to say and do. How outrageous that the emergency services should be put to so much extra difficulty in rescuing someone (possibly resulting in further injury or death) just because some pompous, self-righteous idiot(s) want to concrete it.

I hope that people who hold that view don?t have any friends or family injured underground who can?t then be extracted with due swiftness and treated (well, I hope that for everyone).

What a sorry state of affairs.

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 08:33:39 am
I hope you can provide a good defence for the personal comments you have posted Ian. Calling someone a pompous self-righteous idiot is probably not a clever thing to do if you want a resolution.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 09:05:33 am
Concreting a caf? entrance is manifestly an extreme action.

Common sense dictates that such an action should only be taken in extreme cases.

There are no extreme issues here.

I don't see any resolution at present, it is clear that the PDCMG have had only one agenda. Until they decide to look at alternative ways forward it seems that the rest of us are pretty much stuffed.

I think I have amply demonstrated that the landowner has been led and I am stood on firm ground with my comments.

Thank you for your comment Peter, I appreciate your concern for my well being  :)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 09:07:58 am
Perhaps I should have said not a clever thing to do if WE want a resolution.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 09:20:50 am
I thought I had been very clear in explaining that the PDCMG have rejected every possible compromise suggestion and persevered with their sole objective of concreting the entrance even to the point of duping the other parties involved (BCA, CCC, cavers etc.).

I am sorry if that was confusing ...


Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 04, 2015, 09:24:43 am
Many access controlling bodies who in the past refused entry have been persuaded
to change their mind when approached correctly.
Look at the work of  Cave access Limited.
http://rakelane.anduin.org.uk/cal/index.html (http://rakelane.anduin.org.uk/cal/index.html)
and Cambrian Mines Trust
http://www.cambrianmines.co.uk/ (http://www.cambrianmines.co.uk/)

These are "new players" perhaps they could talk to the land owner without his strings being pulled by PDCMG

(Yes I do know the connection with CCC. )
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 09:28:08 am
Well, all I can say is that if I was in the position of whoever was planning to block an entrance, and I was called a pompous self-righteous idiot and it was implied that my interest in the rights and protection of bats, and concerns about speleothems and protecting the wilderness experience for cavers, were somehow not genuine, I would tell you where to go with your comments! That's why such comments are not helpful, no matter how intransigent the other party might seem to be.

Wayland Smith appears to concur. There has been some excellent access work done this year, as he points out.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 09:56:07 am
You seem to have mis-understood Peter ....

My comments were not directed at the landowner (perhaps a little mischievousness on your part?).

As for Wayland Smith's post - it seems that you have not tied together an earlier post I made;  I stated that my principle concerns with cave access were in North Wales and, specifically, the continuation of the hard work Elsie Little had undertaken. For the sake of clarity I will expand (Elsie was, of course, also involved in the Drws Cefn saga and it relates here).

After the change in officers at the CCC; the Access officer (Stuart), the Secretary (Dave) and the Treasurer (myself) considered how best to pursue the access agreement(s) Elsie Little was working on. In no small terms Stuart spent a lot of time and effort meeting with the landowners. Between us we considered the best way forward was to create a trust to facilitate the access - to this end we approached a person whom we knew had experience and held esteem and credibility within the caving community (Roy). He was formally appointed at the last AGM as an officer of the CCC.

It was specifically Roy's experience in access/trusts management that we were looking to embrace; what better way than to invite Roy to the council?

Of course, I would love the "model" to be used at Draenen too.

As you appear to laud this model, I assume you are also in favour?

 ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 09:58:39 am
Does it matter who you were directing comments at? Clearly at the people you would like to persuade to change their attitude. My comments stand. And thank goodness you are using Roy as the model for working something out.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 04, 2015, 10:05:00 am
I do however suspect that Roy would not be acceptable to PDCMG as a negotiator.
His record is opening up sites, not closing them.   :lol:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 10:08:57 am
Roy seems a pretty pragmatic guy. I wouldn't like to guess what he might come up with if asked to get properly involved.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 04, 2015, 10:33:23 am
Lastly, as for arguments that ?it?s too bad? for a caver who needs help because it?s their fault they went so far in and they knew Drws Cefn was sealed and knew emergency services couldn?t get in; legal issues asides, that?s a totally and utterly stupid thing to say and do. How outrageous that the emergency services should be put to so much extra difficulty in rescuing someone (possibly resulting in further injury or death) just because some pompous, self-righteous idiot(s) want to concrete it.

I hope that people who hold that view don?t have any friends or family injured underground who can?t then be extracted with due swiftness and treated (well, I hope that for everyone).

A nice bit of melodrama and emotional blackmail there Ian ;-)

When you say "emergency services", what you mean is "cave rescue team". That team is made up of cavers who sit within all camps in this debate. I'm pretty sure that if an incident occurred and it was felt best for the casualty that they be extracted via Drws Cefn, that wall would be brought down relatively rapidly. I'd guess that a small team with the right tools could dispose of it within a couple of hours - we're talking about a reinforced block wall, not tons of readymix. In the scale of a protracted rescue, a couple of hours is nothing. Of course it would be better if it didn't require a demolition team but just a key. However, as we know, Nigr was previously caught red-handed breaking in to a "rescue-only" entrance.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 10:36:37 am
Rhys,

That is probably the most fundamentally stupid post you have ever made.

It is utter stupidity to knowingly delay a rescue team.

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 10:40:22 am
Would you hold SWCC to account, Ian, if they had, many years ago, deliberately decided not to dig out Top Entrance, knowing how close the passage was to the surface? Because whether the blockage is soil and rocks, or concrete, the resulting delay to a possible quick rescue is the same regardless. And how many other caves have potential entrances which you seem to think should be opened up just in case?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: meanderthal on November 04, 2015, 10:48:07 am
Rhys,

That is probably the most fundamentally stupid post you have ever made.

It is utter stupidity to knowingly delay a rescue team.

Ian

Have you read all of Rhys' posts? I'm sure he's said stoopider... ;-)

Ian, you seem to be in an aggravating mood today. No one is saying a concrete wall will aid a rescue, simply that it would cause little delay in the grand scheme of things as getting a casualty to Drws Cefn will take far longer than demolishing the 'wall'. Rhys finished his point by stating a gate with a key would be a preferable option! (Just to be clear, I am not on the side of closing the entrance)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 04, 2015, 10:54:43 am
Rhys,

That is probably the most fundamentally stupid post you have ever made.

It is utter stupidity to knowingly delay a rescue team.

Ian

Thanks!

I don't think it's a great idea to build this wall, but I can totally understand why PDCMG and the landowners felt they had to.

Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on November 04, 2015, 10:57:57 am
My two cents worth...

When I looked at the plans for the wall, it looked like they planned to make it practically indestructible, without explosives a rescue team (who generally won't have phumatic drills or C4 in the stores, I know we don't) would take a heck of a long time to get through. More than "a couple of hours".

As for Peters argument, that's just silly its like saying lets not build a fire escape as it was no more dangerous when there was not a fire escape.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 11:04:52 am
It was simply a logical development of the argument Ian was making. I can easily see why Top Entrance being opened makes sense from a rescue perspective, but you don't hold someone to account because they decide to leave a potential entrance blocked.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 11:11:08 am
It isn't being left "blocked".

It is being filled in with concrete ...


Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 11:12:17 am
I know the difference in process. That's academic when it comes to an evacuation.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 11:14:17 am
Anyway, Ian, it was your argument that has provoked comments. So don't be surprised when people question your logic.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rhychydwr1 on November 04, 2015, 11:25:48 am

[snip]

 However, as we know, Nigr was previously caught red-handed breaking in to a "rescue-only" entrance.

NO!  I did know that.  Please tell me more.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 11:32:58 am
I know the difference in process.


Don't make provocatively misleading posts then.


Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 11:40:18 am
I don't seek to provoke or mislead, only to question and clarify. There needs to be a lot more of this to balance the nonsense that gets written from time to time.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 11:42:29 am
What I can predict, however, is that silly arguments WILL provoke action from moderators, as has been demonstrated in the past. So why not calm down, and continue with some decorum. That would be nice.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 04, 2015, 11:45:24 am
Don't make provocatively misleading posts then.

It isn't being left "blocked".

It is being filled in with concrete ...

The plans were to build a reinforced wall. Not fill it with concrete. Just saying...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 11:52:30 am
Fair point Rhys  ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on November 04, 2015, 11:53:17 am
Is Drws Cefn fairly remote?

Is it, for example, more than an hour's drive from a major conurbation?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 04, 2015, 12:02:45 pm
Is Drws Cefn fairly remote?

Is it, for example, more than an hour's drive from a major conurbation?
It's not remote. It's about 10 minutes from the road. Less than an hours drive from Newport, Cardiff, Bristol...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 04, 2015, 12:30:34 pm
As my name is coming up I can confirm that if required I could visit the landowners or anyone else as a mild detour from one of my visits to Dinas. I am somewhat puzzled by the silence from the parties involved, what with speculation running rife etc.

Its not going to die down and go away.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 04, 2015, 01:11:15 pm
I made the suggestion Roy as a conversation point.
I think that political unless PDCMG invited someone as mediator then either CCC as overall body for Wales or BCA as the UK body would need to step in
and request a third party to review the situation. Then make a ruling.

It does seem that as six years have elapsed with Drws Cefn open and no (apparent) problems
then the original decision to block the entrance needs reviewing.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: mudman on November 04, 2015, 01:27:15 pm
Don't make provocatively misleading posts then.

It isn't being left "blocked".

It is being filled in with concrete ...

The plans were to build a reinforced wall. Not fill it with concrete. Just saying...

Or to fill it with a reinforced concrete wall perhaps?

Semantics...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on November 04, 2015, 01:40:02 pm
Is Drws Cefn remote? What a strange question. It's true it's not far from a road, which ini itself can be reached in an hour from some large cities. But it happens to be on land designated as open access under the CROW Act, and that means anyone - anyone - has a right in law to visit it.

Does it also mean that cavers have a lawful right to explore it? Some of us, supported by my sister Dinah Rose QC's legal opinion, are convinced it does. This is the issue of principle here - and it's the only one.

I happened to go on a trip down Drws recently, and continued on for some hours to a reasonably distant part of the Draenen system. Several things struck me.

The first is that Drws itself no pushover, with some crawls that are quite tiring, especially on the way out after a longish trip. You also need to carry water: it gets hot in there. This is a cave that imposes its own access restrictions. It will never be a novice free-for-all.

Secondly, the condition of the Draenen system beyond the Drws junction seemed excellent.  There is a lot of tape marking off areas in need of conservation and it has been respected. The formations looked in pristine nick. I first saw some of them five years ago. There was no evidence of deterioration since.

Finally, I could see no earthly reason why any caver worthy of the name could possibly want to seal it up. It's a useful way in to one of Britain's greatest cave systems, which still has huge potential for extensions - if it weren't for the fact that anyone who wants to dig at the far end faces a journey of really daunting length. It's 7km as the crow flies from the end of Draenen to the resurgence. One day, trips to the far reaches will, hopefully, be a lot longer still.

The bats looked fine, too. How can any caver not support a campaign to keep this entrance open, and to be available to all?     
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 04, 2015, 01:49:46 pm
How can any caver not support a campaign to keep this entrance open, and to be available to all?   

 :wall: We await an answer from PDCMG on that one.  :wall:

By the way, an excellent post.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on November 04, 2015, 02:01:58 pm
Cavers = Own worst enemy!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 02:22:31 pm
How can any caver not support a campaign to keep this entrance open, and to be available to all?   


+1   :thumbsup:

Excellent post David, thank you  :)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 02:29:03 pm
This is the issue of principle here - and it's the only one.

So what was the issue at Drws Cefn before the issue of CROW was brought to our attention, when all the problems first started? I don't think it was CROW, and those original issues have not gone away. It seems to me that you are using this issue to bang your CROW drum again. Of course that is your right, but don't obfuscate things, because as far as I know, the CROW act has NOT yet been officially acknowledged by anybody to apply to entering caves. So it has no relevance.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 04, 2015, 03:08:35 pm
Excerpt of relevant clauses of the PDCMG constitution;


3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
 3.1 To advise and promote the conservation, management, scientific study and exploration of the caves of the area and 
       access to them.
 3.2 Conservation is a primary objective.
 3.3 To advise cavers in the responsible use of and access to the area.
 3.4 To encourage a free exchange of information between interested parties. 
 3.5 To control access to Ogof Draenen. 

4 DUTIES The Group shall:
 4.1 Invite a suitable independent chairman. To encourage continuity and stability the chairman's position should be 
       retained until the chairman resigns or there is some other compelling reason for a successor to be appointed.
 4.2 Maintain access to the caves of the area, and in so doing will afford full consideration to the conservation and
       protection of their scientific and other features.
 4.3 When required or requested, advise the landowner(s) on all matters relating to the speleology of the area, the   
       management of those interests and on related matters which may at any time be referred to it by the landowner(s),
       with reference to their responsibilities under The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 and the Environmental Protection
       Act 1990, part vii. 
 4.4 Appoint an Hon. Secretary, Treasurer, Permit Secretary, Conservation Officer, Biological Recorder and Geological 
       Recorder.
 4.5 Consider suggested work which may have an impact on the caves and their environment, having particular regard for 
      conservation requirements. If any major work is undertaken the Group will monitor this for its duration and any ensuing
      effects.
 4.6 Consider reports from the officers and the members of the Group and make any recommendations thereon.
 4.7 Fill occasional vacancies among the Officers from club representatives from the Group, or if not available, from outside.
 4.8 Deal with any matters not provided for in the constitution, so long as they are consistent with the objectives.
 4.9  Render a written report of the business undertaken during its two years in office to the Biennial General Meeting.
 4.10 The wishes of the following bodies which exist in the area shall be acknowledged, respected and appreciated: 
        Commoners Associations, Welsh Water, Local Residents, the British Caving Association, BCRA, Cambrian Caving   
        Council, the Brecon Beacons National Park, Natural Resources Wales and other statutory bodies.   
        NRW is responsible for the issue of licences to carry out activities affecting some species (e.g. bats) given special 
        protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.   


If the caving world considers that the concreting proposal contravenes any of these clauses, I suggest a motion of censure and intervention by a more 'senior' body (e.g. CCC, or BCA).
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 04, 2015, 03:27:45 pm
<snip>
The bats looked fine, too. How can any caver not support a campaign to keep this entrance open, and to be available to all?   

While your layman's comments about the bats are unlikely to convince the statutory bodies or a concerned landowner, your other observations are valid and helpful. Just the sort of thing that will win people over. There is no need to fall back on spurious rescue/safety/liability questions!

Thanks
Rhys
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 04, 2015, 03:35:22 pm
Is Drws Cefn remote? What a strange question. It's true it's not far from a road, which ini itself can be reached in an hour from some large cities. But it happens to be on land designated as open access under the CROW Act, and that means anyone - anyone - has a right in law to visit it.

Does it also mean that cavers have a lawful right to explore it? Some of us, supported by my sister Dinah Rose QC's legal opinion, are convinced it does. This is the issue of principle here - and it's the only one.

I happened to go on a trip down Drws recently, and continued on for some hours to a reasonably distant part of the Draenen system. Several things struck me.

The first is that Drws itself no pushover, with some crawls that are quite tiring, especially on the way out after a longish trip. You also need to carry water: it gets hot in there. This is a cave that imposes its own access restrictions. It will never be a novice free-for-all.

Secondly, the condition of the Draenen system beyond the Drws junction seemed excellent.  There is a lot of tape marking off areas in need of conservation and it has been respected. The formations looked in pristine nick. I first saw some of them five years ago. There was no evidence of deterioration since.

Finally, I could see no earthly reason why any caver worthy of the name could possibly want to seal it up. It's a useful way in to one of Britain's greatest cave systems, which still has huge potential for extensions - if it weren't for the fact that anyone who wants to dig at the far end faces a journey of really daunting length. It's 7km as the crow flies from the end of Draenen to the resurgence. One day, trips to the far reaches will, hopefully, be a lot longer still.

The bats looked fine, too. How can any caver not support a campaign to keep this entrance open, and to be available to all?   

This posting makes some very important points.

Originally, open access land under the CROW Act allowed all sorts of activities, with various provisos, but, for some unknown reason, access for the purpose of caving wasn't included. Has this now been corrected?

Although a landowner might seek to control actions on the surface, I've never heard of a landowner being able to control digging operations underground, unless access is gained via the likes of a show cave. I think you'd actually need mineral rights to even be able to consider doing this and, even then, I'd be surprised if cave digging - without removing anything from the cave - could be prohibited, especially where the cave is a natural formation that wasn't known to exist at the time when the mineral rights were originally granted.

In the case of Drws Cefn I seem to recall this site was originally a Chelsea Spelaeological Society dig where operations were halted at the time of another contended entrance being opened into Ogof Draenen via the Nunnery, which I once had the experience of digging open from inside the cave, after some rubbish had been tipped down in an attempt to block it from outside. Were Chelsea members working inside the cave or was Drws Cefn dug open from the surface? Prior to the discovery of the main Ogof Draenen system I don't recall there having been any cave known at Drws Cefn . . . Indeed, what does the name translated into English mean?

So, the legal question here is, if Drws Cefn was dug into from the surface, was the original surface dig started with the landowner's permission and why did CSS subsequently stop operations at the site?

My concern is that there is a published instance where people realised that, conservationwise, it was a mistake to open Top Entrance at Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, because of the increased caver traffic that resulted and thereby changed (for the worse) an otherwise remote part of the cave system.

I can recall in the further reaches of Daren Cilau, during the first exploration, walking along floors covered in crystals and was quite surprised only a few weeks later to see how the crystals were gradually becoming muddied from people's footsteps. So, I put taped footpaths down to limit the damage and help leave some of the cave as we first found it. Within a year or two all you could see along the taped paths was an ordinary mud floor, with no apparent 'damage', except, every single crystal had been trampled into obscurity, compared against the taped-off floor to the sides, which still sparkled.

In another nearer part of the system, Jigsaw Passage, at first just one person (and that was all it took) crossed the taped path until eventually the passage became more of a quagmire than anything resembling the cracked-mud floor, with a stream trickling along the middle, we had seen on first entry. Agen Allwedd Main Passage is another classic example here of where attrition through time has ultimately reduced what was once quite a striking selenite-crystal-adorned cracked-mud flooring into a routinely-traipsed mud flooring with little to show for its original splendour.

I suspect the number of cavers visiting Ogof Draenen is less than those who have visted Agen Allwedd Main Passage to date, but, with the passing of time, the closer a section of cave passage is brought to a surface entrance the more heavily it will start to show the signs of caver wear from human feet and hands.

My concern is that I'm having to come along here to represent these points, but there doesn't seem to be anyone involved in the Cambrian Caving Council at present interested in putting forward the arguments for conserving caves for future generations - in as near their original condition on discovery as practically possible - whilst not restricting those who are sufficiently athletic, capable and keen to pass earlier technical obstacles and challenges of skill in the caves.

How about someone, instead, finding a bottom entrance to Ogof Draenen, as near to Pontnewynydd as possible, so then there would be one-way through trips - which would be the optimum for cave conservation, so long as no one then came along and started 'fastest time' competitive races through the cave!

This is where I feel the emphasis on cave science and bringing aspects of cave science to the layman caver has been diminished in recent years and the sport of caving and notion of unobstructed access has been allowed to dominate over the idea of treating caves as a scientific resource to be studied as well as visited, for teaching us more about the natural world in which we live.


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 04, 2015, 03:42:49 pm
You can be sure, Clive, that when those that need to acknowledge it, recognise that CROW applies to caving, there will be a great metaphorical tooting of horns on UKCaving. I haven't noticed it so I suspect nothing has changed as yet.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 03:47:12 pm
.... There doesn't seem to be anyone involved in the Cambrian Caving Council at present interested in putting forward the arguments for conserving caves for future generations ...


You have already addressed this and it has already been answered.

Additionally, as sympathetic as I am to your examples (as I am sure the vast majority of us are) you have described every cave in the United Kingdom (to one degree or another). The only solution to your examples would be to seal off every cave permanently (which is just incredulous isn't it?).

Alternatively we have to accept that humans will cause some damage/wear (call  it whatever you like); that is the nature of human beings. Of course we all want this to be kept to a minimum.

Concreting an entrance is an extreme action and there are no extreme issues at Drws Cefn. In fact, there is nothing remarkable about it that would/could or should afford it any additional protection over the majority of caves in the UK.

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 04, 2015, 04:27:14 pm
Clive G
Drws Cefn
In English is ...Back Door   :smartass:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 04, 2015, 05:10:20 pm
A few legal points re mineral 'rights'

They are not actually "rights" but ownership, often referred to as "mineral estate"  which usually either exists (when under separate ownership to the land) as manorial rights which date back to feudal times, or as rights by deed which became separated from land ownership ( called a "severance" ) when the land was sold but the vendor retained ownership of "all mines and minerals". Often ancillary rights such as dumping spoil, laying roads etc will be described in the conveyance, but its all subject to compensation to be paid to the landowner.

How this effects natural caves is a difficult one as I am turning up case law but all is greatly overshadowed by the Countess of Lonsdale V Tesco which has caused quite a stir.
 
My opinion at this time is that any digging, provided that nothing is sold commercially, is outside the scope of separate mineral ownership. But any pouring of concrete or laying of services etc is a mineral trespass. I see the logic as being acts which deny the mineral owner the ability to extract for own purpose. Same as occupation of land denies the owner the free beneficial use of it.

For what its worth, any "cave" which has had "minerals" (as defined by the Town and Country Planning Act) extracted and sold commercially is now legally a "mine" and will come under mineral ownership.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 04, 2015, 05:44:51 pm
If CROW were to apply to caves tomorrow, there is still no guarantee that it would save access to Ogof Drws Cefn. It seems likely that a conservation exemption might be applied for to close or limit access. Also there's the potential argument over whether the cave is a "natural feature"; given that the entrance was, I believe, at least partially exavated from the surface. CROW may not be the silver bullet some people hope for...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on November 04, 2015, 05:55:22 pm
It was dug into - but then, so were many caves where CROW should apply. Starting with, say, Lancaster Hole. The dig there was short and easy. But it wasn't an open shaft on the moorland. If CROW is finally accepted as applicable to caving, there will be a long list of entrances which at present have permit systems or other access restrictions, but will be open access. 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 04, 2015, 06:22:08 pm
It was dug into - but then, so were many caves where CROW should apply. Starting with, say, Lancaster Hole. The dig there was short and easy. But it wasn't an open shaft on the moorland. If CROW is finally accepted as applicable to caving, there will be a long list of entrances which at present have permit systems or other access restrictions, but will be open access.

This is a very valid point.

I have a feeling that, should this happen, then more caves will be simultaneously designated as SSSIs and thereby protected and managed under other legislation.

At one point in time some people were quite sure that connecting the open-access cave Daren Cilau with the National-Resources-Wales- (then CCW-) gated cave Agen Allwedd would result with Daren Cilau 'having to be gated'. My personal thought under such suggestions was that any gate should only be placed at the point of connection. I think this sort of outlook from the cave management side has played a significant part in the connection failing to materialise so far.

Unlike Drws Cefn, any link between Agen Allwedd and Daren Cilau is likely to happen so far into the two systems to be of little consequence cave conservationwise, but there is definitely a school of thought around that proposes you can't have a managed, gated cave with open access elsewhere . . . ! My view is that each potential new entrance should be judged on its merits and only gated if it is necessary to protect the cave and/or novices who might otherwise enter and come to harm inside. For example, youths 'sliding down' a fixed SRT rope, without having any equipment or the climbing ability to get back up again.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on November 04, 2015, 06:54:09 pm
We are where we are on this.  The bats now own the cave territory, and what scope there is for moving in any particular direction is limited by Species law.

NRW told PDCMG in their licence rejection letter (available on walesunderground.co.uk) that the only way on from here, if they want action on or in the ground, is to apply for an EPS Development Licence.  NRW closed the door on an EPS Conservation Licence back in September.  But getting an EPS Development Licence involves passing a strong public interest test.

As someone pointed out earlier, a Development licence might be straighforward to obtain to re-roof your house, since homes falling into dereliction are clearly not in the public interest.  But I am struggling to see how any of "the landowner's personal wishes", "the landowner can't see the Drws entrance from his house", "maintaining a wilderness experience", "protecting stalactites" that are OK anyway, "having a single entrance policy", "voting to close Drws in 2009", etc, are strongly in the public interest.  And if that public interest test fails then any licence application will fail with it.

I understand that the Drws dig was started by a member of the PDCMG themselves in the 1990s.  Nobody has had an accident there in the 20 years since.  Drws is not easy to find.  It is not on a public footpath.  The visitor traffic has been very low.  The whole cave is in a good state of preservation.  Multi-entrance caves are being managed successfully, like Daren Cilau which has one gated entrance and one open entrance (plus diving).  So where is the public interest in doing anything at all with Drws?  Leaving it as it is could be the most attractive option to NRW from a Species viewpoint, which is what most concerns them.

Turning Draenen into an SSSI is well nigh impossible. There are several SSSIs over Draenen already and all of them would need merging into one, as well as scheduling of extra land.  There are a large number of landowners as the cave goes under part of Blaenavon town.  All of these landowners would need consulting.  It would be very messy and very expensive and I doubt if NRW has either the will or the money to go down that route as it won't see a conservation gain to justify the spend.  From a pure conservation and Species viewpoint, things must look fairly OK to NRW as they stand.

Suppose then that a Development licence in the Drws context turns out to be just as elusive as the Conservation licence.  Where does that leave everyone?

If PDCMG wants to have a single-entrance or wilderness policy then they could seek to shut the original entrance, since there is no bat issue there - being a solid gate since the 1990s - and have Drws as their single entrance.   But if the landowner doesn't want people to use Drws, and supposing the use of the other entrances has ended, then the only way into Draenen will be Drws, which would then appear to be trespass.  We should return to Roy's pertinent comments.   Against whom might such a trespass be?  The surface landowner or the minerals owner?  And if the latter, could it be sorted out, as nobody has asked them as far as I know, and would they care?

There are more questions than answers, but in seeking answers we must consider only the options which really are available, and getting an NRW licence to modify Drws Cefn might not be one of them.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 04, 2015, 07:18:41 pm
A pertinent question then is  :-
Are the mineral rights to the area separate from the land ownership, and if so who owns them?
This then may be something that "Cave Access Limited" could seek to take over.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 04, 2015, 08:38:29 pm
Bit of a tangent, but it might prevent other 'tangents'.

How about cutting out the personal insults?

Unless, of course, you are prepared to call someone 'pompous' and 'stupid' to their face

Just as thought.... ;D
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 04, 2015, 09:19:51 pm

Unless, of course, you are prepared to call someone 'pompous' and 'stupid' to their face



I am, and, on enough occasions, have done  ;)


Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on November 04, 2015, 11:29:34 pm
A pertinent question then is  :-
Are the mineral rights to the area separate from the land ownership, and if so who owns them?
This then may be something that "Cave Access Limited" could seek to take over.

I did have a look at the Land Registry in 2014 and I came up with the documents links now added to the www.walesunderground.co.uk (http://www.walesunderground.co.uk) page.  It's not easy to use the LR's search facility, for an amateur like me, for instance getting the map which corresponds to a land title.  But on the face of it, the Coal Authority does seem to have retained the mineral rights, encapsulated in some convenants and other legalese beyond the scope of the documents I got from the LR.

The problem with buying land without mineral rights is that the buyer ends up being responsible for the land surface (fencing, old quarries, public safety and the like) while the mineral owner hangs on to the rights to extract and sell minerals and do whatever else the various convenants allow them to do.  So buying land without mineral rights seems a bit pointless to me if the objective is to protect caves and access to the caves therein.

Cave Access Ltd was brought into existence to place certain risks inside a limited company to the maximum extent possible rather than have it remain with individual people.  The liability of the company and its directors is very limited.

Unincorporated bodies, like most caving clubs, regional councils and the BCA, are just bunches of individuals who are jointly and severally liable for damages when things go wrong.  So Cambrian felt unable to take on this risk as it would have made the eight Cambrian executive officers personally liable for claims (assuming the BCA insurance failed to cover everything) concerning the mines access agreement.  PDCMG is unincorporated but it has named trustees who would be first port of call, I imagine, for paying any damages personally if things went wrong legally with caving in Draenen and the BCA insurance did not cover it all.

So if someone or some group sets up a new access agreement with the Draenen mineral rights owner(s) or indeed the surface landowner(s), they would be well advised to set it up inside a limited company.  Obviously Draenen has nothing at all to do with Cave Access Ltd which was set up specifically for the Welsh mines project, and we don't have any other plans for our company.

One of the 'problems' with Draenen is how big it is.  There are quite a few landowners, and cavers will pass underground from one landowner's territory into another.  The cave actually goes underneath a housing estate in Blaenavon.  Imagine whose house and land you are then under at Riflemans Chamber and how many landowners' land you may have crossed through to get to Riflemans.  PDCMG, as far as I know, has only dealt with the one landowner with the entrance, but each subsequent landowner as the cave extends out that owns their mineral rights may rightly claim the ad coelum et ad infernos principle applies to them too.

No doubt Roy can explain further or correct me on this as he has much more experience of using such companies in connection with underground access and mine conservation projects.




Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on November 05, 2015, 08:49:41 am
My understanding of the Draenen system is that it passes close to the surface at numerous locations. Taking up Stuart's last point, are there potential entrances (shakeholes near known passages that head towards the surface) on CROW open access land which is not owned by the person who owns Drws - and where the mineral rights have not been allocated?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Judi Durber on November 05, 2015, 09:03:16 am
Quote
ad coelum et ad infernos
  =  to heaven and hell


Now there is a quandary what happens if you are not in the belief that those two places exist  :-\  are they places recognised in 'Common Law'?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 05, 2015, 09:51:59 am
Someone called

A few more legal bits.
Companies
A company is a separate legal entity in the same way as a person and its directors or ordinary employees but represent the most senior level of management.
Ownership is in the shareholders who own proportions of the company relative to their proportion of the shares but a company limited by guarantee has no shareholders and therefore no ownership, it is in truth 'independent' in the absolute sense. In UK law there has to be at least one human being on the board of directors, the others can be other companies which can include 'shell' companies that have no tangible assets. Both Natural Amenities Ltd (Dinas) and Cave Access Ltd are in effect shell companies.

Limited liability means what it says, the liability of shareholders is limited to their investment, the liability of the company is limited to its assets. Company limited by guarantee is limited to the financial guarantee pledged by its subscribers, usually a nominal figure such as one pound each.

A company can be charged with a criminal offence and fined, its directors charged and fined or jailed same as any other person, on occasion an offence such as a breach of the Trade Descriptions Act for example an employee and the company can both be charged with the same offence.

In reality some companies are so complex and large that its impossible to sometimes identify which human individual is responsible for what. Limited companies have always been, and always will be, the ideal vehicle for fraud.

Mineral Ownership
As I posted before, this can be in separate hands to the the land ownership due to manorial mineral rights or due to a 'severance' when land is sold but the vendor retains ownership of "all mines and minerals". In this case although the separate mineral owner will have the right of extraction its a general principle that he also has the right to do anything ancillary to this right such as erecting buildings, dumping spoil, laying roads etc, but subject to paying a fair compensation to the landowner.  The catch is that the mineral owner also has the liabilities. So when mineral rights are sold as separate to land ownership the purchaser inherits all the existing rights together with everything relative to past mining activity and also the liabilities. So if an open shaft is deemed a Statutory Nuisance the responsibility for fencing it falls on the mineral owner. If someone injures themselves falling into an open level its mineral owner who is liable.

In truth, there is a legal time bomb ticking away relative to mineral ownership when it is in separate hands to the land ownership. There was a deadline for registering manorial rights by Oct 2013 and the Land Registry is still clearing the backlog. In many cases mineral ownership was seen as worthless, in fact a liability as explained above, that was until Countess of Lonsdale V Tesco where the fallout caused many mineral owners to start seeing ?1 notes dancing in front of their eyes.
Expect to see a test case in the near future!

The effect of all this on natural cave systems is in truth unclear at this time except on the principle of the above action, in that the pouring of concrete, laying of services etc within a natural cave system is a mineral trespass and could attract damages under tort where mineral ownership is in the hands of a third party.

I have advised my associates of a possible legal argument regarding actual ownership of a cave, but have recently been advised of a possible precedent et which would effect those legal arguments and need to do more research. There is nothing on the Internet which leaves me to believe that it didn't reach as high as Court of Appeal or Lords and as such would not form a precedent. (Both of these have now been replaced by the UK Supreme Court)

What I can say without any doubt is that in the event a natural cave has been the site of economic mineral extraction at any time, then that cave will fall under mineral ownership.

Its fair comment to say that the situation is extremely complicated.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on November 05, 2015, 11:15:42 am
My understanding of the Draenen system is that it passes close to the surface at numerous locations. Taking up Stuart's last point, are there potential entrances (shakeholes near known passages that head towards the surface) on CROW open access land which is not owned by the person who owns Drws - and where the mineral rights have not been allocated?

Need any help with radio location? (Which you can do under CRoW without needing any extra permission)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 05, 2015, 12:09:13 pm
My understanding of the Draenen system is that it passes close to the surface at numerous locations. Taking up Stuart's last point, are there potential entrances (shakeholes near known passages that head towards the surface) on CROW open access land which is not owned by the person who owns Drws - and where the mineral rights have not been allocated?

Need any help with radio location? (Which you can do under CRoW without needing any extra permission)

Yes please, Simon. Any assistance you might be able to offer on this score would be very much appreciated. There is one site in particular where it would be particularly useful.

Regarding David's query concerning the allocation of mineral rights, Stuart's Land Registry links might help.

So far as potential future entrances go, there are many places throughout the huge catchment area (on land owned by various different people) which could provide alternative routes into the Draenen system. I am personally involved in projects at three such sites and am aware of several others (there will be more I do not know about).
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 05, 2015, 12:33:26 pm
Also there's the potential argument over whether the cave is a "natural feature"; given that the entrance was, I believe, at least partially excavated from the surface.

I have been pondering on this one.
As I dont even know the exact location I need help on this one, so:
Question: Is the dug out excavation horizontal or vertical, i.e. a climb down to get in, and if so what depth is it approximately please?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 05, 2015, 01:35:04 pm
According to the land owner of the original entrance and his agreement with PDCMG.
There can only be one entrance, the one he controls.
I can not see how anyone can claim ownership of the whole system if access is available from other land owners property.

What if more entrances are discovered and he closes the original out of spite.
Where would that leave PDCMG? 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 05, 2015, 01:48:52 pm
Also there's the potential argument over whether the cave is a "natural feature"; given that the entrance was, I believe, at least partially excavated from the surface.

I have been pondering on this one.
As I dont even know the exact location I need help on this one, so:
Question: Is the dug out excavation horizontal or vertical, i.e. a climb down to get in, and if so what depth is it approximately please?

The entrance is undoubtedly a natural feature, being a shallow pothole that became infilled with glacial debris.

It was excavated vertically downwards and diagonally inwards as the depth increased.

Today, it is a downwards freeclimb c.4-5m deep.

The entrance was originally discovered by CSS and although I did visit it once whilst it was being dug it had already reached its current depth, so I cannot say what type of material was removed or what gaps might have already existed.


What if more entrances are discovered and he closes the original out of spite.
Where would that leave PDCMG? 

It would leave the PDCMG as a cave management group without a cave to manage.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on November 05, 2015, 05:13:30 pm
Agreed.  I too have never been to Drws Cefn but would if the issue were resolved and access legitimised.
I would be very interested to hear the actual reasons from both Rhys and Chris as to why they might want to visit Draenen via Drws Cefn if access were to be legitimised.

For a very long time I had been arguing for a compromise solution - namely an exit-only gate with permission granted occasionally by PDCMG for use an entrance for special purposes (e.g. surveying trips, rescue, bat counts/scientific).  In which case I doubt I'd use it much, if at all - perhaps for the occasional round trip or allow for quicker exit when in the eastern sections.

However if - I understand Stuart's arguments correctly - then even an exit-only gate is unlikely to be acceptable to NRW (and/or CRoW).  So if it were open and legal, I would use whichever entrance was best suited for where I was heading - original entrance for Gilwern, Rifleman's etc. and Drws for Megadrive, Big Country etc.  Thus minimizing any additional wear and tear I'd add by traipsing the well-trodden route in between.  And there's always a risk of overstepping a tape etc - of course never intentionally but mistakes happen (especially when tired or in a rush).

I know it's open now and so I could use it now- but I've chosen not to.  I may not like the PDCMG's 2009 vote - but I will honour it especially as I'm the club rep on it for CSS. 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Bob Mehew on November 05, 2015, 07:54:21 pm
Quote
ad coelum et ad infernos
  =  to heaven and hell


Now there is a quandary what happens if you are not in the belief that those two places exist  :-\  are they places recognised in 'Common Law'?

See https://www.supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2009_0032_Judgment.pdf (https://www.supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2009_0032_Judgment.pdf) for how the law moved on from the 13th century.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 05, 2015, 08:30:40 pm
Agreed.  I too have never been to Drws Cefn but would if the issue were resolved and access legitimised.
I would be very interested to hear the actual reasons from both Rhys and Chris as to why they might want to visit Draenen via Drws Cefn if access were to be legitimised.

For a very long time I had been arguing for a compromise solution - namely an exit-only gate with permission granted occasionally by PDCMG for use an entrance for special purposes (e.g. surveying trips, rescue, bat counts/scientific).  In which case I doubt I'd use it much, if at all - perhaps for the occasional round trip or allow for quicker exit when in the eastern sections.

However if - I understand Stuart's arguments correctly - then even an exit-only gate is unlikely to be acceptable to NRW (and/or CRoW).  So if it were open and legal, I would use whichever entrance was best suited for where I was heading - original entrance for Gilwern, Rifleman's etc. and Drws for Megadrive, Big Country etc.  Thus minimizing any additional wear and tear I'd add by traipsing the well-trodden route in between.  And there's always a risk of overstepping a tape etc - of course never intentionally but mistakes happen (especially when tired or in a rush).

I know it's open now and so I could use it now- but I've chosen not to.  I may not like the PDCMG's 2009 vote - but I will honour it especially as I'm the club rep on it for CSS.

The way things are shaping up in respect of the CROW Act, I think any gate should be applied at the closest practicable point to the place where Drws Cefn was broken through into Ogof Draenen. The gate would belong to and be managed by the Pwll Du Cave Management Group and the terms of use of the gate should be democratically and reasonably set by the group.

Personally, I'm not in favour of making easier ways into caves purely for the sake of facilitating access, because, when you're young and fit enough (or old and fit enough!), so long as there are no restrictions within the cave, it should be your skill and determination that takes you to the places you wish to visit underground. Irrespective of the arguments put forward, the areas around the entrances to major cave systems are those which become most heavily worn by human presence. If you want to conserve a cave and thereby delay the wear and tear in its remoter regions, then the remoter regions are best left as remote as possible, as long as is possible.

So, whether the gate should be for emergency use only, as I have suggested, an exit only, or a freely passable in/out gate, is up to the cave management group to determine and all reasonable people, who are at all interested in leaving something behind of the unspoilt cave wilderness for future generations to enjoy, should be prepared to find it in their hearts to co-operate.

With certain cave systems, such as at Ogof Draenen (Pwll Du Cave Management Group), the Mynydd Llangattwg Cave Systems (Natural Resources Wales), Ogof Ffynnon Ddu (South Wales Caving Club) and Dan-yr-Ogof (The National Showcaves Centre for Wales), because of the complexity of the systems concerned, their scientific importance, the presence of significant spelothems and other cave formations, and the requirement for fixed aids (which have to be monitored and maintained), it is best that these systems are managed by groups democratically set up for the purpose, even if open-season, free access to all comers should not be practicable as a result. However, no reasonable access request should be denied.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 05, 2015, 09:42:20 pm
Reading Roy's various (and very illuminating) posts, it seems that the PDCMG may require the consent of the mineral rights owner before they can interfere under the ground.

Why not just leave it as it is?

Do we really need more empire building, especially on CRoW land?


Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 05, 2015, 10:00:09 pm
Agreed.  I too have never been to Drws Cefn but would if the issue were resolved and access legitimised.
I would be very interested to hear the actual reasons from both Rhys and Chris as to why they might want to visit Draenen via Drws Cefn if access were to be legitimised.

For a very long time I had been arguing for a compromise solution - namely an exit-only gate with permission granted occasionally by PDCMG for use an entrance for special purposes (e.g. surveying trips, rescue, bat counts/scientific).  In which case I doubt I'd use it much, if at all - perhaps for the occasional round trip or allow for quicker exit when in the eastern sections.

However if - I understand Stuart's arguments correctly - then even an exit-only gate is unlikely to be acceptable to NRW (and/or CRoW).  So if it were open and legal, I would use whichever entrance was best suited for where I was heading - original entrance for Gilwern, Rifleman's etc. and Drws for Megadrive, Big Country etc.  Thus minimizing any additional wear and tear I'd add by traipsing the well-trodden route in between.  And there's always a risk of overstepping a tape etc - of course never intentionally but mistakes happen (especially when tired or in a rush).

I know it's open now and so I could use it now- but I've chosen not to.  I may not like the PDCMG's 2009 vote - but I will honour it especially as I'm the club rep on it for CSS.

Thanks for your thoughtful response to my question, Chris. Most revealing! It is a pity that you do not say you would want to use Drws Cefn in order to extend the cave (which was, after all, the sole reason why we opened it up) but I accept that we cannot all have the same interests. I do agree with you so far as the conservation benefits are concerned (minimising the wear and tear on certain areas and helping to avoid the damage caused by tired cavers), although we did not dig Drws specifically for either. In fact, both benefits were first pointed out to me by Elsie Little when Cambrian Caving Council initially became involved and helped us fit the gate on the entrance back in 2009.

I quite understand your reluctance to enter the system through Drws at the present time and I respect the reasons you give. One thing you (or anyone else who may find themselves in a similar moral dilemma) might like to consider is that there is nothing to stop you from visiting this part of the cave via the original Ogof Draenen entrance. You could tag it on to the standard Round Trip to avoid having to totally retrace your steps and so long as you did not go up the short climb immediately after the final crawl you would not even see daylight, thereby retaining your 'wilderness experience' if you are that way inclined. Well worth thinking about!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: And on November 05, 2015, 11:16:37 pm
Lastly, as for arguments that ?it?s too bad? for a caver who needs help because it?s their fault they went so far in and they knew Drws Cefn was sealed and knew emergency services couldn?t get in; legal issues asides, that?s a totally and utterly stupid thing to say and do. How outrageous that the emergency services should be put to so much extra difficulty in rescuing someone (possibly resulting in further injury or death) just because some pompous, self-righteous idiot(s) want to concrete it.

I hope that people who hold that view don?t have any friends or family injured underground who can?t then be extracted with due swiftness and treated (well, I hope that for everyone).

What a sorry state of affairs.

Ian

Have you been down King Pot in East Kingsdale? I wonder if cavers were as hysterical as you back when Valley Exit was blocked.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cseal on November 05, 2015, 11:26:16 pm
Personally, I'm not in favour of making easier ways into caves purely for the sake of facilitating access, because, when you're young and fit enough (or old and fit enough!), so long as there are no restrictions within the cave, it should be your skill and determination that takes you to the places you wish to visit underground. Irrespective of the arguments put forward, the areas around the entrances to major cave systems are those which become most heavily worn by human presence. If you want to conserve a cave and thereby delay the wear and tear in its remoter regions, then the remoter regions are best left as remote as possible, as long as is possible.
Perfectly reasonable argument - for most caving trips.  However I would reflect that the Grade V surveyors were extremely fit - having conducted many 1000's of man-hours to survey Draenen.  Typically a trip was - from memory - of order 15hours.  Saving 2hours 'commuting' per surveying - means 2 hours more actual surveying per trip, which means fewer trips overall.  Multiply that by the many caving trips needed (100's from recollection) and it's a very significant demand to make on anyone.  So I wasn't arguing for the benefit of less fit cavers - but for benefit of very fit cavers and other special purposes.

Quote
So, whether the gate should be for emergency use only, as I have suggested ...
We're agreed.  Except it seems things have moved beyond that option (i.e. NRW now effectively blocking any works blocking the entrance - I assume this includes a wall with a gate) and of course the potential of CRoW to apply.

Thanks for your thoughtful response to my question, Chris. Most revealing! It is a pity that you do not say you would want to use Drws Cefn in order to extend the cave (which was, after all, the sole reason why we opened it up) but I accept that we cannot all have the same interests...
Only because I didn't think of saying it :)  Also I haven't really been involved in much of the digging effort in Draenen (unlike Daren).  I was on the discovery trip for Baron Von Carno but it was almost too easy - about 15minutes digging for 3km reward  of virgin passages ;D [Annoyingly the special edition on Draenen gives credit to the Grade 5 surveyors for all of Baron Von Carno - but they found the second section of Carno which we didn't spot - but not the original find after Violet Passage in to Violate Passage, Kebabarama Drama, Stream of Running Commentary, etc.].
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 05, 2015, 11:55:00 pm
There you go then, Chris.

All you've got to do now is keep Drws open and you can have a repeat dose of those thrills of exploration, still plenty to be found in the south-eastern sector of the cave you know.

And, of course, you can also use it to help John Stevens get that Grade V survey you mention finally completed and published!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 05, 2015, 11:55:32 pm

. . .

So, whether the gate should be for emergency use only, as I have suggested ...
We're agreed.  Except it seems things have moved beyond that option (i.e. NRW now effectively blocking any works blocking the entrance - I assume this includes a wall with a gate) and of course the potential of CRoW to apply.

. . .


Thanks for that.

I'm not proposing blocking the entrance to Drws Cefn.

The bats at Pwll Du already have a well recognised roost in Siambri Ddu and Drws Cefn simply forms a more recent new addition which can quite happily be left open. The gate I am proposing "should be applied at the closest practicable point to the place where Drws Cefn was broken through into Ogof Draenen" - where the latter is a separate cave system.

Reducing caver passage through Drws Cefn to a minimum, except for essential trips, would help facilitate the use of the cave by bats as a roosting site.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 06, 2015, 01:15:26 am
I shouldn't have to bother correcting this deliberately misleading nonsense (particularly as Clive used to be a caver himself and really should know better) but I cannot let it pass or someone might be foolish enough to actually believe it.

Drws Cefn and Ogof Draenen are two entrances into the same cave system and to say that "the latter is a separate cave system" is completely erroneous. Yes, it is perfectly reasonable to refer to it as the "Draenen system" but this is purely because it was originally explored via that particular entrance. The connection point from Drws Cefn was merely a more recent blockage (a false floor) in an already formed cave passage. Anyone going there for the first time now would be totally unable to tell where this was unless they were shown by someone who knew, it is a single section of natural passage.

So far as the idea of a gate at the connection point goes, we suggested this ourselves six years ago but the PDCMG would not countenance it.

Best of luck getting this new proposal past NRW. Once you succeed in finding a qualified bat consultant willing to take it on, be sure to tell him there are downloadable examples of both the application form and the method statement on Stuart's website demonstrating exactly how NOT to go about it!


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 06, 2015, 02:10:34 am
I shouldn't have to bother correcting this deliberately misleading nonsense (particularly as Clive used to be a caver himself and really should know better) but I cannot let it pass or someone might be foolish enough to actually believe it.

Drws Cefn and Ogof Draenen are . . .

They can't be the same cave, they've got different names.

I made this point to clarify that you don't need to put a gate on the entrance.

I'm still a caver and didn't rejoin UKCaving for insults like this. There are all sorts of ways of putting people down and trying to make them look small and I've seen enough having been going underground since I was aged around 4 years old. The latter commenced as a solo exploration, until someone who thought they ought to be telling me how to progress down the uneven-floored passage caught up.  :)

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 06, 2015, 02:26:45 am
I made this point to clarify that you don't need to put a gate on the entrance.

We already know there is no need for a gate on the entrance. There is no need for one at the connection point either. But if you want to put one there then that is your choice. Like I said, best of luck!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 06, 2015, 02:40:26 am
I made this point to clarify that you don't need to put a gate on the entrance.

We already know there is no need for a gate on the entrance. There is no need for one at the connection point either. But if you want to put one there then that is your choice. Like I said, best of luck!


The way things are shaping up in respect of the CROW Act, I think any gate should be applied at the closest practicable point to the place where Drws Cefn was broken through into Ogof Draenen. The gate would belong to and be managed by the Pwll Du Cave Management Group and the terms of use of the gate should be democratically and reasonably set by the group.

Personally, I'm not in favour of making easier ways into caves purely for the sake of facilitating access, because, when you're young and fit enough (or old and fit enough!), so long as there are no restrictions within the cave, it should be your skill and determination that takes you to the places you wish to visit underground. Irrespective of the arguments put forward, the areas around the entrances to major cave systems are those which become most heavily worn by human presence. If you want to conserve a cave and thereby delay the wear and tear in its remoter regions, then the remoter regions are best left as remote as possible, as long as is possible.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on November 06, 2015, 09:34:22 am
I've already pointed out that two of the most active supporters of concreting Drws, Fleur Loveridge and Pete Talling, were among the first to take advantage of the new entrance to Torca la Vaca in Cantabria, which has greatly facilitated pushing the far reaches of this system. The same issue of Descent that reveals this fact also contains an interesting report on the opening of a new entrance to the famous Padirac cave in France, which enables non-divers to visit the far reaches of the main streamway.

Two months ago, I was part of the Ario Caves Project expedition in the Picos which pushed upstream and downstream in the main streamway of the c. 700 metre deep Verdellengua system. To get to this we used the C4 entrance and the 600m of pitches behind it - because it is a much easier proposition than the original, dangerously loose and very tight C3. 

Drws should be seen in a similar light. It is a valuable resource for cavers, and we should embrace its use. It can make digging the far reaches of Draenen a lot more feasible. Those who want the full-on Draenen experience can still have it as desired. Drws is on CROW land and it should be open to all, so Clive, I respectfully disagree with your suggestion for an internal gate at the Draenen junction. And as I pointed out in an another earlier post, Drws itself is no pushover. It's not quite in the same league as Daren, but it's a trip likely to leave you achey and stiff the next day, unless you are exceptionally caving fit. Nobody has ever suggested gating Daren. Why should Drws be any different? 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: MarkS on November 06, 2015, 09:52:07 am
Nobody has ever suggested gating Daren. Why should Drws be any different?

Just to play Devil's advocate, I think I'm right in saying that Ogof Cnwc (has?) had a gate on it for years?

I generally support open access to caves, but I suspect the conservation argument around Draenen that may not be so relevant to Torca la Vaca or C4 is simply based on the number of visitors to the site. I suspect the same argument would largely be the justification for the gating of the Columns in OFD?

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Olaf on November 06, 2015, 10:16:09 am
I really don't want to be involved in the "ongoing battle between the shit-stirrers and the shit-shovellers". However, since people have already claimed that "no substantial damage has been caused" in the years Drws Cefn has now apparently been open, one might also point out that "no substantial benefits have been achieved" in the same time: I don't think it helped to make any survey of the cave available and I don't think any significant new finds were recently reported from Draenen either. If those were really the sole reasons for digging it open, I think there shouldn't be any objections to closing it again, as long as access is still easily available through the official entrance.

Anyway, I'm off to go caving rather than arguing. This whole shit-storm is really putting me off from getting involved in Draenen altogether, and I think quite a few others will think alike. It's just that those who are put off will mostly likely just ignore this thread as another pointless exercise in shit-shovelling and shit-stirring...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 06, 2015, 10:38:38 am
Nobody has ever suggested gating Daren. Why should Drws be any different?

Just to play Devil's advocate, I think I'm right in saying that Ogof Cnwc (has?) had a gate on it for years?

Yes, Ogof Cnwc is indeed gated but the key is available (on a permanent basis if so desired) to any bona fide caver. If you would like your own key just contact Stuart France and he will sell you one. The gate also opens from the inside so if you just want to do a through trip from the Daren direction you do not need a key at all.

My feelings on gated caves are well known and I remain unconvinced as to the need for one on Cnwc. When Stuart contacted me several years ago and asked if I would assist in enlarging and securing the connection point I only agreed on condition that either the gate was removed or access be made readily available to any caver who might request it. He has been true to his word so I can have no complaints on that score.

However, Cnwc is on open access land and I feel that if CRoW is proven to be applicable to caving then some modification to the present system would be necessary, possibly the removal of the gate completely or maybe replacing the padlock with a 'Derbyshire Key' (spanner and bolt) type setup.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on November 06, 2015, 12:37:18 pm
Or a combination lock, with the number known to all cavers. Just to keep the local tykes out. (If that is the reason for the gate).
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 06, 2015, 02:19:46 pm
Yes, a combination lock would be fine so long as there was a sign or suchlike at the entrance describing how to get hold of the number at short notice (website perhaps?).

What has surprised me is how few cavers (both clubs and individuals) have taken advantage of the relatively liberal access arrangements at Cnwc, the number of permanent keys issued being exceedingly low.

A similar situation exists at Craig a Ffynnon where, despite having to jump through a few more hoops, a key is a lot easier to obtain than at many places. We spent years fighting tooth and nail with John Parker and Jeff Hill for people to be allowed to visit the cave and now it is open hardly anyone seems to want to go down the place!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 06, 2015, 02:40:35 pm
Combination locks are useless. They need to be in a position where they can be seen in order to enter the correct number. Putting them in such a position renders them easily accessible to whatever tool an idiot wants to deploy to remove it.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 06, 2015, 03:16:26 pm
Thanks for the advice, Peter.

Have you any experience of the 'Derbyshire Key' system?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 06, 2015, 03:17:30 pm
Yes, thanks.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 06, 2015, 03:32:17 pm
So do you approve of it or is that "useless" as well?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 06, 2015, 03:35:37 pm
It has its place and is appropriate where those who look after local access arrangements want to deploy it.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 06, 2015, 03:38:47 pm
Combination locks are useless. They need to be in a position where they can be seen in order to enter the correct number. Putting them in such a position renders them easily accessible to whatever tool an idiot wants to deploy to remove it.

If somebody wants to break in, they'll find a way to break in.

A combination lock is more secure than nothing at all and less secure than a reinforced block wall - possibly a suitable compromise and not entirely useless.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 06, 2015, 03:44:33 pm
Yes its all a matter of how much those charged with looking after a gate want to spend (time and money) fixing the work of morons. There are ways of putting locks on gates such that they are easy to work, but difficult to remove without a key.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 06, 2015, 03:48:12 pm
That said, the lock should always be the weakest element of a gate as gate repairs are much more of a faff to deal with.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 06, 2015, 03:55:24 pm
Combination locks are useless. They need to be in a position where they can be seen in order to enter the correct number. Putting them in such a position renders them easily accessible to whatever tool an idiot wants to deploy to remove it.

If somebody wants to break in, they'll find a way to break in.

A combination lock is more secure than nothing at all and less secure than a reinforced block wall - possibly a suitable compromise and not entirely useless.
Probably the first time the word "compromise" has appeared in this thread and which is accepted as a useful concept by everyone. :bow:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 06, 2015, 04:05:35 pm
Probably the first time the word "compromise" has appeared in this thread and which is accepted as a useful concept by everyone. :bow:


It isn't actually, however Rhys's post is very sensible  :)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 06, 2015, 04:06:46 pm
Well, thank you for checking. It must have been an entertaining 10 minutes!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 06, 2015, 04:30:46 pm
Peter,

Since I had already suggested a gate as a compromise, it wasn't hard to recall that fact without reading anything.

I am sorry you have difficulty either reading or remembering what you have read .....

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 06, 2015, 05:07:58 pm
No need to apologise!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 06, 2015, 05:16:57 pm
You might have 'suggested' a gate, Ian, but was it accepted by everyone?

Sorry, I cannot be arsed to trawl throught reams of po-faced rhetoric to check.....
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 06, 2015, 05:59:24 pm
People either want nothing, (an open entrance)
Or a concrete and steel wall!

The only person who wants a gate is the one who stole the original!  :o
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 06, 2015, 06:07:38 pm
You might have 'suggested' a gate, Ian, but was it accepted by everyone?

At the time, the point I was making was that the PDCMG were so entrenched they would not consider a compromise of any type. The CCC (Stuart) suggested a gate (which they ignored). I suggested a gate on this forum when someone announced (quite rightly) that all sides were entrenched. Now Rhys has suggested a gate too.

 ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Fulk on November 06, 2015, 06:26:43 pm
Quote
I am sorry you have difficulty either reading or remembering what you have read .....

Ian

Well, having 'sort of' followed this thread for some time now, I am sorry that anybody should make such puerile, asinine, ignorant and patronising comments about somebody else's contribution.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 06, 2015, 06:49:50 pm
I hope that the people posting on here don't have access to firearms
 :lol:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 06, 2015, 06:56:08 pm
I hope that the people posting on here don't have access to firearms
 :lol:

Some do, but luckily not the main protagonists  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Besides, you'd have to have a reason and a target ----- :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: ChrisJC on November 06, 2015, 06:59:51 pm
A combination lock was used at Cwmorthin for a number of years. The number was easily obtainable via a phone call or PM on a website. But it was replaced a large number of times because of hooliganism, and simply mud getting into the gubbins. I believe it is permanently locked now but I'm not sure.

The Derbyshire Key or Box Key has shown to be a good compromise.

Chris.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 06, 2015, 07:12:01 pm
I hope that the people posting on here don't have access to firearms
 :lol:
I imagine some have lost the will to live, so you have every reason to be concerned.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 06, 2015, 07:29:31 pm
I hope that the people posting on here don't have access to firearms
 :lol:
I imagine some have lost the will to live, so you have every reason to be concerned.

Good old Peter
 :lol: :lol:

At least I have lightened things up, so I cant be all bad.

EDIT
At least I haven't turned it into a lamp thread
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 06, 2015, 08:18:56 pm
Now Rhys has suggested a gate too.

Have I? I don't remember doing that.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 06, 2015, 08:24:36 pm
You are living in the distorted reality of UKCaving, Rhys. Whatever you do, don't let it suck you down!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 06, 2015, 08:36:17 pm
At least it's much more polite on here now.
In the old days it would have been dummies out the pram and handbags at dawn!  :clap2:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 06, 2015, 08:49:24 pm
Now Rhys has suggested a gate too.

Have I? I don't remember doing that.

Very strange indeed, I was absolutely sure you had made a post suggesting precisely that.

However, I have spent 10 minutes reading through it all and I cannot find it. 

It is quite evident I have difficultly reading and/or difficulty remembering what I have read.

My apologies Rhys.


Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 06, 2015, 10:05:52 pm
Now Rhys has suggested a gate too.

Have I? I don't remember doing that.

I think it must have been the following suggested compromise:

Combination locks are useless. They need to be in a position where they can be seen in order to enter the correct number. Putting them in such a position renders them easily accessible to whatever tool an idiot wants to deploy to remove it.

If somebody wants to break in, they'll find a way to break in.

A combination lock is more secure than nothing at all and less secure than a reinforced block wall - possibly a suitable compromise and not entirely useless.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 06, 2015, 11:36:15 pm
Could be. I was thinking about Ogof Cnwc there.

Sent from my GT-I8160 using Tapatalk 2

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on November 08, 2015, 12:19:13 am
NRW funded and NRW staff made the Ogof Cnwc gate in their workshop in Abergavenny. The decision to have a gate was made by the MLCMAC which is an NRW committee chaired by NRW. Talk to NRW if you don't like things the way they are there.

Send 10 pounds to the current CSS secretary to get a Cnwc key - not me - and it is refunded if you return the key. CSS is administering the access scheme because the land is outside the NRW NNR and CSS negotiated with the landowner.

The number of trips in Cnwc (and thus onward into Daren) is quite small.  With caves, it is sometimes easiest to count the number of days and separate hours per year on which there is any activity.  There are 365 days in a normal year, as we all know, and 8760 hours, which you didn't know, and half of those hours are at night, which you did know if you thought about it. So a site that claims to get ~4000 visitors per year means one person an hour, for every daylight hour of the year, on average.  I do visitor counting for a living, in case you had not already guessed.  It is not easy to count individual cavers as they don't always move purposefully, so here we will look instead at the spread of their 'activity' as logged by counters across recent years.

It is rare to find a caver in Ogof Cnwc/Busmans:
2011=49 days and 90 separate hours with any activity recorded
2012=51 days and 83 hours
2013=39 days and 67 hours
2014=36 days and 57 hours (to the end of October when I stopped monitoring)

You'll see that a lot of the time the separate-hours is about two times the days-with-activity (implies one group per day doing entry-exit via Cnwc).  I can also see the days on my database with only one hour of activity (implies a through trip). The bulk of the activity over the above 4 year period is 10am to 10pm.  Some 52% was on Saturdays, 22% on Sundays, and midweek was fairly evenly spread.

The reason hardly anyone has gone into Drws Cefn these past years despite it being wide open is because Draenen politics is all so toxic and not wishing to offend the landowner.
2011=13 days and 19 hours
2012=13 days and 19 hours (a complete coincidence as they fall on a different pattern)
2013=7 days and 8 hours (to the end of September when I stopped monitoring)

The bulk of the Drws activity was 10am-7pm.  Some 41% was on Saturdays and 14% on Sundays, but bear in mind the statistical sample size here is tiny.

So Drws was occupied for less than 20 hours in a typical whole year, and the majority of trips were the in-out kind rather than through-trip kind.  We're talking of one Drws trip of any sort per month on average. An enormous miscalculation or misrepresentation has been made about Drws Cefn, and the extraordinary lengths, the craft and the intrigue, to keep cavers out of there are thus out of all proportion to the reality.

According to PDCMG's own logbook figures, only about 200-300 person-visits are made via the approved original entrance per year in recent years, which is an astonishing statistic given the cave's great length. There really isn't enough caving activity going on in Draenen to justify anyone 'managing' anything, while what's been happening in Drws doesn't even register on the scale.  Would it all be better run informally?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on November 08, 2015, 09:37:03 am
Stuart, that is a very valuable post, with some really astonishing information.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: rhychydwr1 on November 08, 2015, 09:48:37 am
Nobody posted on Saturday.  I was quite sad.  I thought the thread had died   :down:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on November 09, 2015, 10:25:04 pm
Trust me, it hasn't died.  You've not read PDCMG's emails with NRW's staff yet, or got an answer as to why PDCMG didn't consult their own Biology Officer - who is a professional bat consultant in the local area - for some input or comments before submitting their bat licence application to build that re-inforced concrete wall inside Drws Cefn.  So come to the meeting on 22 Nov.

Someone asked me privately a month or so ago, before all those hungry bear jokes, was there any strategy to sort this mess out?

Well, I think there is, or I have got one, anyway.  The steps in it are as follows:
1) Find out what NRW wants, what it will permit to be done at this site, if anything.
2) Find out if there is any overlap between the above and what the landowner wants or will now accept
3) Go back to 1 if there is no overlap.  If we have arrived back at (3) too many times then exit with the status quo applying (Drws has to stay open, while landowner doesn't consent to its use) and think of something else like talking to the mineral rights owner or start a court case on "CRoW Access"...
4) Assuming common ground exists, PDCMG then to hold an open meeting to discuss the common ideas of landowner/NRW agreement and recommend best way forward to all cavers interested in caving in Wales.
5) Send out an email to all the Cambrian club committees (not just a vote amongst the few PDCMG member clubs that still bother to attend their meetings) so as to obtain the most general consent to the proposal.  Clubs and individuals might have to be prepared to compromise and alter their positions a bit for the common good, please.
6) If there is no pretty general agreement between all the clubs active in Wales, then go back to (4).  If we have revisited (4) too many times then get rid of the failed management committee.  Then repeat from (4) onwards with a new management committee (which in turn can be got rid of until there is near total agreement between all clubs on what needs to be done).
7) Put into the effect the agreement made between everyone interested in the future of caving in Wales.

So where are we at right now?  PDCMG is said to be meeting NRW in early November.  That's step 1.  Presumably they will then talk to their landowner, step 2, assuming he was not at the NRW meeting too.

The PDCMG have an open meeting scheduled (in theory) for 10am on Sunday 22 November in Govilon (step 4) but there is nothing definite on the PDCMG website about any such meeting yet.  I suppose it is pointless, in a way, to advertise an open meeting until PDCMG are clear that step 3 has produced enough common ground that could be agreed upon by the wider caving community, otherwise it is just more prancing around in a donkey costume.



Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: ChrisJC on November 10, 2015, 08:18:09 am
Articulate and erudite. +1.

Chris.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on November 10, 2015, 03:13:37 pm
Quote
Articulate and erudite. +1.

Chris.


Unfortunately I am Nautilus myself, so you won't get anything like that from me :)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavermark on November 10, 2015, 08:32:47 pm
There are a limited number of places in the UK where one needs serious fitness, stamina and motivation to reach the end point, making it a unique and possibly once in a lifetime experience. As opposed to anyone being able to nip in and out quickly and easily for instant gratification. This thread is just such a place.  :)

Seriously though, the concept of an extensive cave system with only one dug out entrance holds a lot of appeal in terms of the challenge presented and the experience for those capable of getting to the further reaches (and of the cave protecting it's own further reaches from damage, to an extent). Similar to going on expedition somewhere where there is no mobile phone signal - you have to be more self reliant. Digging new entrances is of course what cavers generally do - it does speed up exploration, surveying etc., but also the potential for damage. New entrances do remove some of the challenge and special nature of trips to the far reaches, even just knowing they are there for rescue. Draenen was at one time perhaps the only cave UK where this really remote experience was still a possibility. I suspect that opportunity has passed, with the new entrances and talk of digging other new ones all over the system. Perhaps it was a romantic view, it's clear many cavers don't see it as a worthwhile objective, maybe the further reaches of Daren or DYO will be as remote as you can get in the UK.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Farrant on November 10, 2015, 10:18:33 pm
The challenge is still there, just use the appropriate entrance. The end of the cave is still as remote from the original entrance as it ever was. And I have to say if I had to be rescued from the far reaches of Draenen, I'd be more than happy to be extricated out of a nearer entrance, and I daresay the rescuers would feel the same way! :)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on November 10, 2015, 10:21:14 pm
It would be a pity if exploring Draenen or any of the other long caves in South Wales was only a once in a lifetime experience for anyone.  It is still a very long way to Cantankerous Surveyors Series starting from Drws and a very serious undertaking, and of course the cave has lots of potential still on that Eastern side.  See the latest CCC newsletter for the article on "A River Disappearing" for the geology of the Afon Llwyd valley that Draenen feeds into.  It's still more of a challenge to go to Dweebland and back in a day if anyone really wants to test themselves!  I don't think it's right though to think of caves as a kind of an underground gymnasium for fitness or speed tests, after all you can go running on the hills or endurance swimming or cycling whatever to do that.

One of the implications of my statistics published the other day is that the PDCMG officers themselves are no longer very interested in exploring or extending Draenen.  They're part of the low levels of activity just as much as anyone else is.  I suspect some of them haven't been in Draenen for years except to change logbook pages or bits of rope or padlocks.  The Grade 5 survey isn't published because of various disagreements over access and other matters.  It's not a happy situation however you look at it, and having people plot for five years block up a cave with a particular design of concrete wall, shows how out of hand it all has got.

All I'm trying to achieve is a sensible compromise settlement to end all the aggro, then we can all go and enjoy ourselves doing some interesting caving and maybe discoveries in there.  I'm not bothered if the mechanism is that 7-step plan or something else.  Is it really too much to ask people to turn over the page and just be reasonable?

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: And on November 10, 2015, 10:40:00 pm
Maybe there is less exploration in South Wales because new cavers  have been put off by all the politics. At Hidden Earth it was interesting to hear about all the exploration in the UK - many involving cross club cooperation. In contrast one of the CCC officers was putting up posters about Draenen access- did many people at HE give a s***?

In South Wales they have to make access easier for digging so old cavers can get in. The title of the topic is quite apt as some of the old codgers would like a nice easy concrete path along the cave...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 10, 2015, 11:20:31 pm
There are a limited number of places in the UK where one needs serious fitness, stamina and motivation to reach the end point, making it a unique and possibly once in a lifetime experience. As opposed to anyone being able to nip in and out quickly and easily for instant gratification. This thread is just such a place.  :)

Seriously though, the concept of an extensive cave system with only one dug out entrance holds a lot of appeal in terms of the challenge presented and the experience for those capable of getting to the further reaches (and of the cave protecting it's own further reaches from damage, to an extent). Similar to going on expedition somewhere where there is no mobile phone signal - you have to be more self reliant . . .

Perhaps it was a romantic view, it's clear many cavers don't see it as a worthwhile objective, maybe the further reaches of Daren or DYO will be as remote as you can get in the UK.

At the end choke of Updweeb in Dweebland, Daren Cilau, you are 6.5 km (4 miles) from the quarry entrance and, bearing in mind the obstacles which have been passed to arrive there, I reckon at the most remote underground site both beneath Llangattock Mountain and in the British Isles.

Of course, it's not quite so far if you want to learn to dive a 500m-long sump and enter via Terminal Sump at the World's End!

The second dry entrance via Price's Dig/Ogof Cnwc, however, is even further away.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on November 10, 2015, 11:27:48 pm
The Grade 5 survey isn't published because of various disagreements over access and other matters.

This is indeed a crying shame, it has been seen time and again that a quality survey once published is rapidly and comprehensively put out of date by new finds and exploration. To date I have only had one limited trip into the system, but would like to see more of it, and a good survey would make such a journey more interesting for me
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavermark on November 10, 2015, 11:28:37 pm
.....  It is still a very long way to Cantankerous Surveyors Series starting from Drws and a very serious undertaking, and of course the cave has lots of potential still on that Eastern side.  See the latest CCC newsletter for the article on "A River Disappearing" for the geology of the Afon Llwyd valley that Draenen feeds into. 
Wasn't there suggestion in earlier posts by nigr that more entrances will be dug... which would change this? or was he just being provocative?

...All I'm trying to achieve is a sensible compromise settlement to end all the aggro, then we can all go and enjoy ourselves doing some interesting caving and maybe discoveries in there.  I'm not bothered if the mechanism is that 7-step plan or something else.  Is it really too much to ask people to turn over the page and just be reasonable?
Sounds reasonable.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on November 11, 2015, 12:07:12 am
Are there any other systems in the UK whereby finding another entrance into would be provocative ? Seems things have got a bit wrong with this cave if that is the case.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 11, 2015, 12:37:18 am
The Grade 5 survey isn't published because of various disagreements over access and other matters.

This is indeed a crying shame, it has been seen time and again that a quality survey once published is rapidly and comprehensively put out of date by new finds and exploration. To date I have only had one limited trip into the system, but would like to see more of it, and a good survey would make such a journey more interesting for me

This isn't the only cave survey to have fallen into the black hole of 'caving politics' . . .

Just try finding a copy of sheet 3 of the original Daren Cilau 1:1,250 survey. No doubt certain people have up-to-date copies, but if everyone else did then, no doubt, the Daren Cilau - Agen Allwedd connection would be 'obvious' to everyone else and might (horror of horrors  :o ) be dug through by one of 'them', instead! And you could still end up qualifying as everyone else, even if you did a significant amount of the surveying work . . . Cliques or what I don't know.

. . .

It's still more of a challenge to go to Dweebland and back in a day if anyone really wants to test themselves!  I don't think it's right though to think of caves as a kind of an underground gymnasium for fitness or speed tests, after all you can go running on the hills or endurance swimming or cycling whatever to do that.

. . .

In December 1987 I was late entering Daren Cilau for a timed synchronisation with cavers in the further reaches of the cave, hoping to achieve a 'tapping connection' through the rock with them. So, I managed to get from the quarry entrance to Beyond Time, at the lower end of the Time Machine, in 1 hour 40mins (and some people take 2 hours in the Entrance Series alone). This was something of a record and, amazingly, 15 minutes later I heard cavers tapping away in Pain Killer Passage, beyond the Divers' Last Stand. This was so extraordinary that I ultimately ended up deciding to go and meet them:

Quote
"I left my oversuit and knee pads in Beyond Time and went on to quench a deep thirst at Crystal Inlet. It seemed a good idea to continue to the Hard Rock Cafe where I met up with Mark Lumley and Rich Blake who were on their way to the Restaurant camp. There was nothing for it but to offer to help them with their large packs. En route to the new advanced Restaurant camp we cleared boulders from previous rock-breaking work in the rift above Acupuncture Passage, thereby opening the connection with Catnap Rift and Terrapin North. It took us 2 1/2 hours to reach the Restaurant from the Cafe where a superb meal was laid before us just after midnight. At 2.20 am I departed on a 1 hour 20-minute journey to the Cafe, where Barbara Hamilton, James Longbottom, Hugh Penney and Simon were in residence. After a welcome cup of tea the exit journey, following 16 hours underground, was completed at 7.34 am." (Clive Gardener, 1994)

Much of the trip was solo, so you can see from the above that to cave for a further 2 hours beyond the Restaurant camp, to get to the end of Spade Runner, and around another hour to Updweeb at the northern end of Dweebland, is not really a sensible day trip, unless you feel like rushing in and out without seeing much en route and knackering your joints, knees and elbows in the process.

. . .

In South Wales they have to make access easier for digging so old cavers can get in. The title of the topic is quite apt as some of the old codgers would like a nice easy concrete path along the cave...

Well, you can (almost) tell by the date above that I've got my free bus pass by now, but then so are certain other cavers similarly entitled who are also commenting in this strand, too!

But, is it 60+ old or 60+ young?!  :beer2:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavermark on November 11, 2015, 08:53:40 am
Are there any other systems in the UK whereby finding another entrance into would be provocative ? Seems things have got a bit wrong with this cave if that is the case.
Depends on your viewpoint - is there a value in leaving  a few parts of some UK systems as remote places - necessitating underground camping or really long trips... or do we make everywhere physically accessible to everyone, just because we can?
That logic could extend to enlarging all squeezes, removing awkward boulders that need climbing over, etc. etc.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 10:05:55 am
A railway was built to the top of Snowdon to make it easier. What other mountains need a similar feature?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Alex on November 11, 2015, 10:19:29 am
It was built to make money, actually.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 11, 2015, 10:36:04 am
A railway was built to the top of Snowdon to make it easier. What other mountains need a similar feature?

Yes there is a railway up Snowdon which you can use if you wish.
There are also many other routes of varying difficulty for those that want them.
There does not seem to be any lack of people wanting to visit the summit (or other features) just because a railway "spoils" the wilderness experience.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 10:40:00 am
When is the tourist café going to open at the end of Draenen? After all, there might be a demand for one. There is one at the top of Snowdon.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on November 11, 2015, 10:48:58 am
When is the tourist café going to open at the end of Draenen? After all, there might be a demand for one. There is one at the top of Snowdon.
Not before there are sufficient visitors to make it pay...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 10:51:08 am
Ah! Chicken and Egg. That's not the café menu, by the way. There is clearly a demand for easier access. Let's be proactive and get the café built now, before the rush starts. And a railway tunnel to the end might be worth considering too.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on November 11, 2015, 10:54:47 am
Not sure the business plan would get by the small business advisor at the bank...

BTW the Snowdon railway and buildings were built as part of a mining venture, later renovated for the hordes of the great unwashed
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 10:57:42 am
And in case it isn't obvious, I am pushing the argument for easier access to its logical conclusion. If it's OK for cavers to press for easier access, is it OK for non-cavers too? After all, why shouldn't everyone have the privilege of getting to the end without too much difficulty? Where is the limit of what is acceptable in terms of access? To say only cavers should have access is to admit that a certain degree of wilderness experience ought to be preserved. What's wrong with keeping access to the end limited to those with the stamina and willpower to undergo a long and arduous caving trip, even if it does exclude a significant number of us?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 11, 2015, 11:28:00 am
.... If it's OK for cavers to press for easier access, is it OK for non-cavers too? ...

Yes.

There are many show caves (some with very easy access for children and disabled). It seems a tad unlikely that "Cavers" wanted these for "Cavers".

Probably financed the same way as Snowdon railway (ie. speculatively) which addresses your "chicken and egg" problem.

 ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 11, 2015, 11:32:09 am
I think there is a big difference between an alternative, but still strenuous entrance and a tourist walk in. (Which I hope no one is proposing at Draenen.)
Some caves lend themselves to "public availability" for example would anyone suggest closing Peak cavern or Wookey?
(Ok I know someone will!)  :wall:
What about allowing access at Wookey to areas only available to a handful of divers? I think it is a good idea but others (divers) were irate.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 11:38:02 am
The pertinent question in my thoughts above is "Where is the limit of what is acceptable in terms of access?"

This is the question that is pertinent to Draenen. Bearing in mind that access can range from one entrance only, to multiple entrances, right through to major civil engineering to open up the cave to non-cavers, what is acceptable? Each cave will have a different level of acceptability on access. If some caves are acceptable as show caves with trains and boats, then equally some caves are only acceptable as extreme wilderness sites. Why cannot Draenen be the UK's prime example of the latter? If not, then which cave?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavermark on November 11, 2015, 11:59:07 am
The pertinent question in my thoughts above is "Where is the limit of what is acceptable in terms of access?"

This is the question that is pertinent to Draenen. Bearing in mind that access can range from one entrance only, to multiple entrances, right through to major civil engineering to open up the cave to non-cavers, what is acceptable? Each cave will have a different level of acceptability on access. If some caves are acceptable as show caves with trains and boats, then equally some caves are only acceptable as extreme wilderness sites. Why cannot Draenen be the UK's prime example of the latter? If not, then which cave?
I suspect reaching a consensus on that final question in the UK caving world is very unlikely. Even if an agreement to limit new entrances to a system was reached democratically, would people who held a different opinion respect it?
(Speaking hypothetically - not saying that's the situation at Draenen)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 12:00:46 pm
.... If it's OK for cavers to press for easier access, is it OK for non-cavers too? ...

Yes.

There are many show caves (some with very easy access for children and disabled). It seems a tad unlikely that "Cavers" wanted these for "Cavers".

Probably financed the same way as Snowdon railway (ie. speculatively) which addresses your "chicken and egg" problem.

 ;)

Ian
All show caves started out as wilderness caves, Ian. A human somewhere along the line decided to change the accessibility to some degree.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 12:02:41 pm
The pertinent question in my thoughts above is "Where is the limit of what is acceptable in terms of access?"

This is the question that is pertinent to Draenen. Bearing in mind that access can range from one entrance only, to multiple entrances, right through to major civil engineering to open up the cave to non-cavers, what is acceptable? Each cave will have a different level of acceptability on access. If some caves are acceptable as show caves with trains and boats, then equally some caves are only acceptable as extreme wilderness sites. Why cannot Draenen be the UK's prime example of the latter? If not, then which cave?
I suspect reaching a consensus on that final question in the UK caving world is very unlikely. Even if an agreement to limit new entrances to a system was reached democratically, would people who held a different opinion respect it?
(Speaking hypothetically - not saying that's the situation at Draenen)
A further question, therefore, is how can we stop certain people taking such a militant stance rather than accept the views of others. Speaking generally.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavermark on November 11, 2015, 12:11:31 pm
42 ?  :shrug:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 12:22:26 pm
Sending in the Vogons might work, I suppose. Know any good poems?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 11, 2015, 12:44:34 pm
All show caves started out as wilderness caves, Ian. A human somewhere along the line decided to change the accessibility to some degree.


That was precisely the point Peter.


A further question, therefore, is how can we stop certain people taking such a militant stance rather than accept the views of others. Speaking generally.


Another excellent question.  Would one possible answer be to not try to dictate to people (since dictating as such can be interpreted as a “militant stance” – precisely what you are trying to avert)?


Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 12:47:32 pm
I don't consider that an answer to my question, Ian. What we are trying to avert is an indefinite stand-off.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 12:53:27 pm
All show caves started out as wilderness caves, Ian. A human somewhere along the line decided to change the accessibility to some degree.


That was precisely the point Peter.
Then you are missing the point, Ian. Which is that every cave has an artificially imposed level of accessibility that provides an experience that varies from electrically lit fairy grottos to utter remoteness. To artificially alter a wild cave to a show cave is in essence no different from adding multiple entrances to make a cave less remote. There are probably show caves where the change is regrettable and some where it is not. Likewise there are total wilderness caves that have been made more accessible by artificial means. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it is not. It is utterly desirable to me that somewhere in Britain, a cave is designated as completely a wilderness experience as possible, and is accepted as such by everybody.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 11, 2015, 01:31:33 pm
I think we are at cross-purposes Peter.

It is incredulous to think that Draenen could be a show cave. There is no apparent way to adjust any of the entrances sufficient to facilitate a show cave.

However, you raised the issue of whether non-cavers could have a say on the destiny of a cave and I highlighted Show Caves as being an example where they do (regardless of whether you or I would have done the same).

With respect to the “militant stances” to which you alluded – I was suggesting that both sides of the Drws Cefn saga could arguably be trying to dictate to “others”. I was suggesting “not dictating” as one possible redress to your question “how do we stop militant stances?”

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 11, 2015, 02:15:09 pm
REMOTENESS

I interviewed the surveyor of Agen Allwedd, Harold Lord, in November 1987 and we discussed the psychological aspect of caving and breaking new frontiers:

Quote
"There's no doubt that the modern caver has got a far tougher psychological approach to caving than they had in my day. In the same way that we in the 60s and 70s had got a far tougher approach to caving than they had in the 50s and before the war. You know, I mean, Eric Hensler has been hailed as being a great caver when he pushed Hensler's Passage. I mean in fact he didn't do anything; he didn't dig out Hensler's Passage. He just was intrepid enough to actually lie on his belly and crawl. This was unheard of in caving in those days! Which is why Hensler's Passage, which was a doddle in the 60s – let alone in the modern day – was left so long unexplored.

The same can be applied to all the great cave pushes that have been made. It's purely a question that as time goes by people become more intrepid*; they become more conditioned to more arduous situations; they become more familiar with them and perhaps a little bit contemptuous of their forebears who turned back. I suppose I was the same and have little doubt in the future there will be people who will press on where the present day cavers have turned back. I think this is the way things develop – in all sports  . . . The four-minute mile was something that people dreamed about: most people can seem to be able to manage it alright now – it’s only the same principle." (Harold Lord, 1987)

* The limiting factor being the level of 'fear' which is perceived at the frontier. Conquering the fear yields the results - the degree of difficulty is relative to the observer's viewpoint and this will change with greater perception and awareness. Physical fitness and agility also play a part, which require regular caving to be upheld and this may not be practicable as aging and caving-related injuries take their toll.

In surveying Summertime, Harold discovered a close proximity of one passage with the Entrance Series, but after considering what such a connection would have done to the remoter, unspoilt region of the cave, Harold drew the end of the passage going off in a different direction on the finished survey. He was thereby able to inform me that the CSS/BCRA 'Grade V' survey had used his drawing of the Summertime passages - and, to his consternation, without credit! To this day, the Summertime Series in Agen Allwedd remains a relatively unspoilt part of the cave system and gives caving visitors a similar experience to those who originally discovered the passages.

Now, from back in 1982, I can remember how remote it felt when you got to the inside end of the Daren Cilau Entrance Series and there was just the Old Main Rift and Old Main Chamber . . . In fact, because the two of us had gone in to do a climbing project in the rift passage, I didn't even get to the Old Main Chamber! Then I can recall how remote you felt at the end of Epocalypse Way in Far Epocalypse. This was later topped by climbing down the ladder pitch into White Passage, which felt, at the time of the first exploration into the passages beyond, like 'landing on the moon', literally.

Now, using the survey, a dig was commenced to bypass the Daren Cilau ladder pitches, until someone pointed out what this would have done in terms of conservation and wear and tear to the remoter parts of the cave. One day in November 1985 there was a long delay at the 65 ft pitch, where at one point 27 people were waiting to go up. Many turned back for an alternative Epocalypse Way trip – muttering that they never wanted to do the pitches anyway! However, Paul Seddon and the late Rob Palmer, who I caved with that day, patiently waited for their turn to go over. So, we all agreed not to bypass the ladder pitches.

The 'tapping connection' I mentioned early this morning would, if dug through, bypass the Bonsai Streamway and Hard Rock Extensions in making access to the Restaurant camp relatively straightforward. However, there are outstanding formations in the Divers' Last Stand, including, not far off route, The Little Gem and the Blue Greenies, that would have been made into a regular trade route. Although the late Ian Rolland, who found the way into this part of the cave would have been quite happy for the bypass to be dug open, so people could see more easily what his team had found, I was quite happy to go along with the Rock Steady Crew, who wanted to preserve the remoteness experience at the Restaurant camp and beyond, and leave the connection undug. This also left the stunning formations for those prepared to make the detour in a quite remote part of the cave. What better way is there to conserve things, as opposed to setting up man-made gates, 'leadership' schemes and access rules and regulations for the power-minded to police and regulate?

I can also remember the remoteness felt at the Restaurant camp when I woke up one morning in October 1990, not relishing the early start we had planned for our exit, but then, upon hearing that the stream had risen almost to the bottom of Jacob's Ladder, and our exit (Ankle Grinder Passage) was now a sump, had a very welcome lie-in instead!

So, these remote limits are all part of extending the human consciousness of what is and what isn't possible. If you diminish the 'fear' factor too much in your mind, then it's quite possible to fall off the end of the plank, beyond which no one else has gone, and not come back again. Yet, years later, such limits will be passed by every man and his dog, almost without batting an eyelid.

If you remove the physical obstacles that are enabling intrepid people to, psychologically, do 'harder' things, then I'm not sure you're necessarily contributing to the development of human physiological capabilities.

In addition, leaving future cavers something of the remoteness and beauty that we experienced in the caves, upon first entry, must also be a gift that is worth passing on?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 02:17:07 pm
I think we are at cross-purposes Peter.

It is incredulous to think that Draenen could be a show cave. There is no apparent way to adjust any of the entrances sufficient to facilitate a show cave.

However, you raised the issue of whether non-cavers could have a say on the destiny of a cave and I highlighted Show Caves as being an example where they do (regardless of whether you or I would have done the same).

With respect to the “militant stances” to which you alluded – I was suggesting that both sides of the Drws Cefn saga could arguably be trying to dictate to “others”. I was suggesting “not dictating” as one possible redress to your question “how do we stop militant stances?”

Ian

Look up "Devil's Advocate".
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 02:21:16 pm
Actually, it was more of a thought experiment.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 11, 2015, 05:20:15 pm
Are there any other systems in the UK whereby finding another entrance into would be provocative ? Seems things have got a bit wrong with this cave if that is the case.
Depends on your viewpoint - is there a value in leaving  a few parts of some UK systems as remote places - necessitating underground camping or really long trips... or do we make everywhere physically accessible to everyone, just because we can?
That logic could extend to enlarging all squeezes, removing awkward boulders that need climbing over, etc. etc.

The answer is simple: ignore the existance of the other entrances. Then you can still do your 'mega-trip'.

Enlarging squeezes etc is a bit of a red herring.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 05:25:40 pm
Is that like pretending to do a through trip in a cave with one entrance, by simply imagining that on the way out you are actually in another part of the cave, and pretending that the exit is not the same as the entrance?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Fulk on November 11, 2015, 05:52:53 pm
droid quote:
Quote
The answer is simple: ignore the existance of the other entrances. Then you can still do your 'mega-trip'.

Superficially that sounds quite plausible; but, for example, having 'done' Simpson Pot to the downstream Master Cave sump on ladders before Valley Entrance was opened up, I feel that there is now a big difference in any trip down Simpson (even if one were to do it on ladders, it would not be the same psychologically knowing that – if anything went wrong – there's an easy way out at the bottom).
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: MarkS on November 11, 2015, 05:56:15 pm
The answer is simple: ignore the existance of the other entrances. Then you can still do your 'mega-trip'.

That's an interesting comment, and one that's been made by several others I think.

Doing a trip from OFD I to the Smith's Armoury and back out feels very different from a trip into the further reaches of Daren and back to me, but both could feasibly take a similar time. In OFD you can easily exit at several points and the same would go for the Easegill traverse.

I think that both types of trip have their merits, but I wouldn't say they are equivalent.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 11, 2015, 06:06:50 pm
I remember Cap'n Chris did an epic trip in Goatchurch. I think there's a video somewhere. Anybody can pretend they are in a remote place. It's all a matter of degrees.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 11, 2015, 06:14:02 pm
Good points, and ones that I accept totally, having done the Swinsto/Simpsonns exchange.

But these entrances exist. Now. The remoteness has already been compromised. If having multiple entrances is the nature of the cave, who decides to ignore that and make parts of it artificially remote?

That's a rhetorical question. I haven't an answer to it.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: ChrisJC on November 11, 2015, 06:49:07 pm
BTW the Snowdon railway and buildings were built as part of a mining venture, later renovated for the hordes of the great unwashed

I doubt the factual accuracy of that statement:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowdon_Mountain_Railway

No mention of mines.

Chris.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 11, 2015, 07:19:17 pm
By the time the Railway was started, the mining industry in N. Wales was in decline. And the location is wrong. Ther'Miners Path' gives a clue as to the location of the Snowdon mines.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on November 11, 2015, 09:05:28 pm
There is a grain of truth in there as it was allegedly a miner from Clogwyn Coch Mine that first started a refreshment hut on the summit.

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.climbers-club.co.uk/journal/original/1963%2520Journal-p70-77.pdf&ved=0CCoQFjADahUKEwj4vIT9oYnJAhVB2xoKHV-dBPc&usg=AFQjCNEhPSYwvVdd59FAQYgqRfsBU6DaiA&sig2=XBOiklqrewknV-aXoG9HXA (https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.climbers-club.co.uk/journal/original/1963%2520Journal-p70-77.pdf&ved=0CCoQFjADahUKEwj4vIT9oYnJAhVB2xoKHV-dBPc&usg=AFQjCNEhPSYwvVdd59FAQYgqRfsBU6DaiA&sig2=XBOiklqrewknV-aXoG9HXA)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: ChrisJC on November 11, 2015, 09:13:17 pm
By the time the Railway was started, the mining industry in N. Wales was in decline. And the location is wrong. Ther'Miners Path' gives a clue as to the location of the Snowdon mines.

To be fair there is a mine on the 'railway' side of the mountain at Clogwyn Coch / Llyn Du'r Arddu, and of course the railway does go close to the Llanberis Copper Mine. But not connected.

The mine at Clogwyn Coch isn't gated or concreted either!!!

Chris.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on November 11, 2015, 10:14:17 pm
..  and it must be mentioned that Clogwyn Coch is rumoured to connect to Britannia on the other side of Snowdon!! - which is gated these days ?? Certainly back in the day, there were some underground stopes down which the unwary could easily fall down.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 11, 2015, 11:03:04 pm
.....  It is still a very long way to Cantankerous Surveyors Series starting from Drws and a very serious undertaking, and of course the cave has lots of potential still on that Eastern side.  See the latest CCC newsletter for the article on "A River Disappearing" for the geology of the Afon Llwyd valley that Draenen feeds into. 

Wasn't there suggestion in earlier posts by nigr that more entrances will be dug... which would change this? or was he just being provocative?

No, I wasn't being provocative. In fact, I have been making a great effort recently not to be so - I am just as keen as anyone else that this should all be satisfactorily resolved.

What I actually wrote with regard to further entrances was as follows:

"So far as potential future entrances go, there are many places throughout the huge catchment area (on land owned by various different people) which could provide alternative routes into the Draenen system. I am personally involved in projects at three such sites and am aware of several others (there will be more I do not know about)."

To elaborate a little, all of the digs I mention could eventually connect with the main system but none are by any means certain to do so and, even if they did, the journey time to the area of the cave mentioned by Stuart would not be shortened in the slightest. So, to answer Mark's question, nothing at all would change on that score.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 12, 2015, 12:05:23 am
I consider this thread is serving to illustrate the already many times made observation of the differences in attitude between the main UK caving regions;

In the CNCC area; e.g.-Easegill - Discover a major cave, blitz the system, find and open up as many entrances as you can to ease access to aid exploration, push - push - push, discover - discover - discover -----.

In the DCA area; e.g.-Peak - develop an existing cave, link it with another existing cave, -- push, discover and open up other entrances, push - push - discover - discover ----.
                   OR; e.g.- Lathkill, - push - push, open another entrance, push - push, open another entrance - discover - discover---

In the CSCC area; Push - push - discover, push - push - push - discover, push - push - push - push - discover - discover - discover, I am not aware of a circumstance down there where an easier entrance to a system would make discovery an issue--- but I am sure they would sort it out pretty quick!!--

In the CCC area; We have found a major cave, we are burn't out, we control it, we are not willing to give easier access for others to push or discover any more-----.

I post this to point out the differences in regional ideologies, and encourage folk to pick the bones out of it ----.
 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 12, 2015, 12:15:22 am
BTW the Snowdon railway and buildings were built as part of a mining venture, later renovated for the hordes of the great unwashed

I doubt the factual accuracy of that statement:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowdon_Mountain_Railway (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowdon_Mountain_Railway)

No mention of mines.

Chris.

The first time I went up Snowdon was using the Pyg (or Miners') Track:
http://www.eryri-npa.gov.uk/visiting/walking/mountain-walks/pyg-track (http://www.eryri-npa.gov.uk/visiting/walking/mountain-walks/pyg-track)
which I recall being told was used by the Snowdon miners, so I think there's been some confusion here between the railway and this path, which was actually used by the copper miners:
http://www.mountainwalk.co.uk/mine-buildings-on-snowdon.html (http://www.mountainwalk.co.uk/mine-buildings-on-snowdon.html)

For us, on our trip in 1968, the railway was a false oasis. I was aged 13 at the time and my brother, aged 10, became tired on the way up - so my father promised him a trip down on the train, once we got to the top . . . However, I don't think this plan had been thought through very well, since the railway ends up down in Llanberis, which is a long way by road (at least 5 miles) from the car park at the bottom of the Pyg Track, where our car was parked!

Fortunately, everything resolved itself quite satisfactorily in the end after a mist came down and we lost the track. I ended up ascending a steep bank of loose shale in the process of trying to spot the elusive summit. Everyone else decided that this bank of cascading shale was too steep, the wrong way and they weren't going to follow and so that was the end of my 'first ascent' of Snowdon - a short distance from the summit - along with the train trip as well.

Thereby we walked back down to the car, admiring the tenacity of the miners once again and slightly regretting a 'shortcut' we took down a steep bank into rough ground, to cut out what appeared to be a 'longer' route via the miners' track* . . . It wasn't - always believe the miners!

* I've interchanged the Pyg Track and Miners' Track, which are actually two different routes. I'm pretty sure we went up the Pyg Track, but by the time I've checked up which track we came down on editing will have ended.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavermark on November 12, 2015, 12:44:20 am

To elaborate a little, all of the digs I mention could eventually connect with the main system but none are by any means certain to do so and, even if they did, the journey time to the area of the cave mentioned by Stuart would not be shortened in the slightest. So, to answer Mark's question, nothing at all would change on that score.
Thanks for the clarification.  :thumbsup:

Bograt - I think you're over generalising ideologies - every area has people with a range of views on access (look at the CROW debate!). An example in the Peak that springs to mind - if someone dug a new entrance direct into the new extensions of Water Icicle from a different landowner's land and made it open access, how would that go down?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 12, 2015, 12:50:07 am
I consider this thread is serving to illustrate the already many times made observation of the differences in attitude between the main UK caving regions;

In the CNCC area; e.g.-Easegill - Discover a major cave, blitz the system, find and open up as many entrances as you can to ease access to aid exploration, push - push - push, discover - discover - discover -----.

In the DCA area; e.g.-Peak - develop an existing cave, link it with another existing cave, -- push, discover and open up other entrances, push - push - discover - discover ----.
                   OR; e.g.- Lathkill, - push - push, open another entrance, push - push, open another entrance - discover - discover---

In the CSCC area; Push - push - discover, push - push - push - discover, push - push - push - push - discover - discover - discover, I am not aware of a circumstance down there where an easier entrance to a system would make discovery an issue--- but I am sure they would sort it out pretty quick!!--

In the CCC area; We have found a major cave, we are burn't out, we control it, we are not willing to give easier access for others to push or discover any more-----.

I post this to point out the differences in regional ideologies, and encourage folk to pick the bones out of it ----.

A load of inflammatory tosh, I'm afraid.

Keep looking and you'll find something in the end. If it's not sufficient (or somebody else pipped you to it) then simply keep on looking until you finally find 'the Holy Grail' . . .

I think John Parker had the best outlook on such matters: "If you want to dig, go and find your own dig somewhere else!" But, this hasn't been the way that digging has been treated in Ogof Draenen, with all comers being welcomed to try their luck.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 12, 2015, 01:03:31 am
I consider this thread is serving to illustrate the already many times made observation of the differences in attitude between the main UK caving regions;

In the CCC area; We have found a major cave, we are burn't out, we control it, we are not willing to give easier access for others to push or discover any more-----.

I post this to point out the differences in regional ideologies, and encourage folk to pick the bones out of it ----.

Bograt, you have summed up the current situation with regard to the PDCMG / Ogof Draenen almost perfectly (it is a little more complicated but not much). Your words could also be equally as well applied to the situation that used to exist over at Craig a Ffynnon with John Parker & Jeff Hill. (Perhaps most ironic of all is the fact that the PDCMG was initially set up as a democratic response to OCAF so that there would not be a repeat at Draenen!). However, I am not so sure the same thing ever occurred anywhere else in the CCC area, although a lot of the major discoveries (Aggy, OFD, DYO) were before my time.

Interesting to see that Clive now thinks Parker had "the best outlook" because that certainly wasn't his view back in the day when he used to come digging down Craig a Ffynnon with me on a pirated key!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 12, 2015, 02:40:17 am
I consider this thread is serving to illustrate the already many times made observation of the differences in attitude between the main UK caving regions;

In the CCC area; We have found a major cave, we are burn't out, we control it, we are not willing to give easier access for others to push or discover any more-----.

I post this to point out the differences in regional ideologies, and encourage folk to pick the bones out of it ----.

Bograt, you have summed up the current situation with regard to the PDCMG / Ogof Draenen almost perfectly (it is a little more complicated but not much). Your words could also be equally as well applied to the situation that used to exist over at Craig a Ffynnon with John Parker & Jeff Hill. (Perhaps most ironic of all is the fact that the PDCMG was initially set up as a democratic response to OCAF so that there would not be a repeat at Draenen!). However, I am not so sure the same thing ever occurred anywhere else in the CCC area, although a lot of the major discoveries (Aggy, OFD, DYO) were before my time.

Interesting to see that Clive now thinks Parker had "the best outlook" because that certainly wasn't his view back in the day when he used to come digging down Craig a Ffynnon with me on a pirated key!

I caved on Jeff Hill's key, with his blessing, until a 'rat' told him I'd been digging in the cave without his knowledge. In fact, I'd been sounding out a potential dig in the Fifth Boulder Choke, which was some distance from Daren Cilau and still had a significant amount of large cave passage to offer in between.

So, when I was actually ready to formally ask Jeff for permission to dig, Jeff told me that he already knew and said, "No, but I'll still let you have a key to the cave so long as you promise me, on your honour, not to dig in the cave again."

I kept my word to Jeff and I don't recall doing anything with you in the cave prior to this other than watching you climb climbs that went nowhere because John Parker had already written them off first. If you used a pirated key then this is news to me, since Jeff was always very generous with giving people whom he trusted a key to get in.

Bob Dearman was the caver probing around in the 5th Choke with me - which is the only 'dig' I've ever considered working on myself in the cave - until the 'rat' squeaked to Jeff. And, I can confirm, this did not please Bob at all.

I've always approved of John's approach because it kept the riffraff out and allowed us to open up Daren Cilau from the Daren Cilau entrance - rather than our entering a new cave system to discover that it had already been found from the Craig a Ffynnon end, which, as things turned out in the end, it wasn't.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 12, 2015, 03:15:14 am
If anyone is in touch with Bob Dearman perhaps they could elicit a response from him, since I seem to recall that when Bob subsequently went back without me (was that on your 'pirated key', Nig?), owing to my keeping my word with Jeff, and parked in the usual limekiln pull-off for the cave, whilst he was underground someone either slashed the car tyres or smashed a window and stole items from inside. A right 'Welsh' welcome, if there was one.  :thumbsdown:

Over to you Bob, for whatever you can recall of this . . .
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 12, 2015, 03:35:02 am
I've always approved of John's approach because it kept the riffraff out............

Just a tad elitist that, don't you think?

I can see why you are singing the praises of the PDCMG now!

As for your other selected memory and subsequent BS? Fine, believe it if you like but that wasn't the way it was and you know it.

(And why on earth someone I do not know and have never met would be going in the cave on my key, I have not the faintest of faint ideas!)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 12, 2015, 04:45:35 am
I've always approved of John's approach because it kept the riffraff out............

Just a tad elitist that, don't you think?

I can see why you are singing the praises of the PDCMG now!

As for your other selected memory and subsequent BS? Fine, believe it if you like but that wasn't the way it was and you know it.

(And why on earth someone I do not know and have never met would be going in the cave on my key, I have not the faintest of faint ideas!)

I'm referring to the likes of the Hell's Angels bikers that came along and chopped off a few stals and burnt some paper in the entrance section to the cave. Chris Howes has the pictures - I helped him get them.

If you earnt Jeff Hill's respect and trust then you could have a key to Ogof Craig a Ffynnon anytime you asked. I thought that was how you got in, but without telling him you were doing all the climbing projects in the cave?

This confrontational in-your-face approach is not one that is particularly welcome in the North Eastern outcrop, so why not make people happy and concentrate instead on your own chosen area, eh? Why, for example, has there been no progress with the cave system behind Llygad Llwchwr in the limestone to the north of Brynamman?

Or, do you prefer shouting BS at everyone in preference to having the patience to wait your turn for the evidence from the other person who was present when I went underground with you, apart from when we met during those couple of climbing trips you did in the cave that yielded nothing?

Last time I met you I absolutely refused to assist with knocking about a pointless dig at the end of the beautiful cave Ogof Capel in the Clydach Gorge. You seemed to have no appreciation of the damage that such a dig would cause to the formations in so close proximity to passing cavers on regular diging trips.

The Ogof Capel that I saw and photographed within a month of its discovery was a one- or two-trip-only cave. I was the first thin person to push into the final rift at stream level and high level in the roof (in that order) and I can tell you that both leads were impassable as a tall thin narrow rift, as far as the eye could see, and, had any credible cave digger been to the spot and checked for themselves, only a cave vandal would have suggested pushing the site as a long-term regular dig.

No wonder there is little appreciation in your attitude and opinions of the deleterious effect that digging Drws Cefn through to Ogof Draenen would have.

And the trail of caving goodwill devastation in the North Eastern Outcrop also includes the Carno Adit - but I'll stop here for now and leave the stage clear for Bob Dearman to comment on the 'rat' that scuppered our potential digging contribution in Ogof Craig a Ffynnon.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 12, 2015, 08:19:18 am
This discussion has suddenly become very interesting! Clive should put all this together and do a presentation at next year's Hidden Earth.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 12, 2015, 08:33:30 am
It is incredulous to think that Draenen could be a show cave. There is no apparent way to adjust any of the entrances sufficient to facilitate a show cave.
Of course a show cave does not need to use an existing or even a natural entrance. There are examples of show caves with entirely artificial entrances, shafts with lifts, canals etc etc to gain access for visitors. Perhaps we should be careful what we (don't) wish for here.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 12, 2015, 09:25:09 am
This discussion has suddenly become very interesting! Clive should put all this together and do a presentation at next year's Hidden Earth.

This is all very interesting stuff, however, it's possibly getting a little removed from Ogof Drws Cefn and is not likely to help solve the problem there; not that this thread will ever solve that problem. So, carry on if you wish...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 12, 2015, 11:13:52 am
I've always approved of John's approach because it kept the riffraff out............

Just a tad elitist that, don't you think?

I'm referring to the likes of the Hell's Angels bikers that came along and chopped off a few stals and burnt some paper in the entrance section to the cave.

If you earnt Jeff Hill's respect and trust then you could have a key to Ogof Craig a Ffynnon anytime you asked. I thought that was how you got in, but without telling him you were doing all the climbing projects in the cave?

Last time I met you I absolutely refused to assist with knocking about a pointless dig at the end of the beautiful cave Ogof Capel in the Clydach Gorge.

Clive,

Your bitterness is taking over and is making you very confused.

You were not referring to the Hell's Angels. How would Parker's approach of limiting access to people he knew and not allowing anybody else dig in there have helped keep them out? They just ripped the gate off anyway! Seems to me it is just ordinary cavers, those who had neither the means nor the inclination to ingratiate themselves with Parker & Hill, you are talking about here.

Whatever you say now, you knew full well that everyone had copies of the key and you were quite happy to make use of one when it suited you. Please stop trying to make out you were whiter than white because you were not.

Last time we met I was going to Price's Dig (Cnwc), not Capel, and I seem to recall that the reason you wouldn't come was due to the fact you were sulking because I hadn't travelled over to Whitewalls to see you sooner. Just to put your memory back on track, that would have been around six years ago and earlier in the week you had left a telephone callout with me for a mega solo trip you were doing down Daren and I tried to dissuade you but you wouldn't listen. Remember?

Anyway, as Rhys says, this is all very amusing but is way off topic.

At least we now have another spurious (although, when you think about it, possibly more honest) reason for gating caves to add to all the others - keeping out the riffraff!  ;D



Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 12, 2015, 12:14:50 pm
I am still following this thread with interest.

From my hopefully impartial standpoint I think I point I should make is that every single site, whether natural cave or abandoned mine, is totally unique and carries its own unique set of issues and considerations which I feel should be reflected by the owners or controlling body.

As far as ease of access goes, I see a balancing thing where the balance should be tilted on the side of leaving as much alone as possible.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 12, 2015, 01:45:50 pm
I've always approved of John's approach because it kept the riffraff out............

Just a tad elitist that, don't you think?

I'm referring to the likes of the Hell's Angels bikers that came along and chopped off a few stals and burnt some paper in the entrance section to the cave.

If you earnt Jeff Hill's respect and trust then you could have a key to Ogof Craig a Ffynnon anytime you asked. I thought that was how you got in, but without telling him you were doing all the climbing projects in the cave?

Last time I met you I absolutely refused to assist with knocking about a pointless dig at the end of the beautiful cave Ogof Capel in the Clydach Gorge.

Clive,

Your bitterness is taking over and is making you very confused.

You were not referring to the Hell's Angels. How would Parker's approach of limiting access to people he knew and not allowing anybody else dig in there have helped keep them out? They just ripped the gate off anyway! Seems to me it is just ordinary cavers, those who had neither the means nor the inclination to ingratiate themselves with Parker & Hill, you are talking about here.

Whatever you say now, you knew full well that everyone had copies of the key and you were quite happy to make use of one when it suited you. Please stop trying to make out you were whiter than white because you were not.

Last time we met I was going to Price's Dig (Cnwc), not Capel, and I seem to recall that the reason you wouldn't come was due to the fact you were sulking because I hadn't travelled over to Whitewalls to see you sooner. Just to put your memory back on track, that would have been around six years ago and earlier in the week you had left a telephone callout with me for a mega solo trip you were doing down Daren and I tried to dissuade you but you wouldn't listen. Remember?

Anyway, as Rhys says, this is all very amusing but is way off topic.

At least we now have another spurious (although, when you think about it, possibly more honest) reason for gating caves to add to all the others - keeping out the riffraff!  ;D

Descent, No. 71, July/August 1986, p.8

I repeat, I had no problem borrowing a key from Jeff Hill when I wanted one.

If I came in with you on one of your trips into the cave, which I could well have done, and you had organised the access, then I would have gone along with whatever access arrangements you made.

If you were doing a dig in the cave (just prior to the Fifth Boulder Choke) and asked me to assist on my way to scout around in the Fifth Boulder Choke, then this could well be the arrangement you recall. But, if it happened, I have no recollection of such a trip taking place more than once, other than meeting you on one or two earlier occasions when you were climbing in the cave.

If you say there was a rogue key or keys out there for pirate trips into Ogof Craig a Ffynnon, then how were these keys obtained - if such things existed?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 12, 2015, 01:50:25 pm
This discussion has suddenly become very interesting! Clive should put all this together and do a presentation at next year's Hidden Earth.

This is all very interesting stuff, however, it's possibly getting a little removed from Ogof Drws Cefn and is not likely to help solve the problem there; not that this thread will ever solve that problem. So, carry on if you wish...

I think we've gone off on some useful tangents from time to time, which do have a bearing on the Drws Cefn situation, however, you are quite right, it is now time we got back to the central question in hand:

What compromise are the opposing parties prepared to accept?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 12, 2015, 02:40:41 pm
I think we've gone off on some useful tangents from time to time, which do have a bearing on the Drws Cefn situation, however, you are quite right, it is now time we got back to the central question in hand:

What compromise are the opposing parties prepared to accept?
[/quote]

The first problem is that one group with a major interest will not come to the party!
PDCMG will not comment here, so the only information is from their minutes and F.O.I. requests.
We do see their apologists, but they have no authority when speaking.

We only hear the words of the landowner through the mouth of PDCMG I am not aware of any independent person or body reporting a meeting with him.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 12, 2015, 02:46:18 pm
As I recall, PDCMG reps DID discuss things here at one time, but the abuse heaped upon them has probably triggered the quite understandable decision to ignore this forum, and I don't blame them. Perhaps the ball is in the court of those who acted in a somewhat less than civilised manner, to make amends.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 12, 2015, 03:20:37 pm
As I recall, PDCMG reps DID discuss things here at one time, but the abuse heaped upon them has probably triggered the quite understandable decision to ignore this forum, and I don't blame them. Perhaps the ball is in the court of those who acted in a somewhat less than civilised manner, to make amends.

How do you make amends with someone who will not communicate with you?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Kenilworth on November 12, 2015, 03:27:50 pm
As I recall, PDCMG reps DID discuss things here at one time, but the abuse heaped upon them has probably triggered the quite understandable decision to ignore this forum, and I don't blame them. Perhaps the ball is in the court of those who acted in a somewhat less than civilised manner, to make amends.

How do you make amends with someone who will not communicate with you?

Privately, like a grown person.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 12, 2015, 03:38:30 pm
I have just quickly skim read a fair bit of http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=9097.0 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=9097.0)

If you look carefully you will see that many of the PDCMG "apologists" who tried to discuss the entrance in that discussion are no longer registered users of UKCaving, or are on pre-moderation. Whether that (removal from forum) is their decision or not I have no idea, of course. But don't expect anyone to respond here today if they are no longer involved in this forum for whatever reason.

Kenilworth is absolutely right. It takes a mature individual to take the initiative to make amends.

In the matter of Drws Cefn, I think it is fair to say that the debate here cannot ever be considered to show a true balance of differing views, if so few PDCMG-type people are either willing or able to contribute.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 12, 2015, 06:25:27 pm
. . .

Clive,

Your bitterness is taking over and is making you very confused.

. . .

Around the time we last met (summer 2009), I implored you not to push Drws Cefn through into Ogof Draenen. I could foresee the damage to Ogof Draenen that would naturally occur as a result and also to caving relations in the North Eastern Outcrop caving area. Things had already been bad enough with the Grade V survey disagreements, plus the digging open of the original second entrance on a steep and slippery section of hillside - that relied on a highly dangerous access track across the top of Pwll Du Quarry.

You were freely welcomed into Ogof Draenen by those whose efforts opened up the cave and, indeed, on this invitation (to reap some of the rewards offered through others' initial work and success), made significant discoveries inside.

But would you treat me as a friend and give courtesy to the explanation and request I was making?

Now, after I've entered this debate in the UKCaving forum thread, with the aim of putting some sensible reasoning forward, you have recommenced communications between ourselves by, firstly, insulting me and, secondly, accusing me of 'BS'.

No, it's not me who is bitter, just bemused to find someone who I regarded as a caving friend - even welcomed into Daren Cilau one week after our initial major breakthrough in 1984 - treat me in such an inexplicably contemptuous fashion.

No wonder people who don't know you so well have seen the only option as being to go for broke and seal Drws Cefn back up again, with concrete.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 12, 2015, 06:32:36 pm
We don't need lawyers or government agencies or access bodies to sort out this entrance. We need relationship counsellors and psychiatrists.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: bograt on November 12, 2015, 07:22:25 pm
We don't need lawyers or government agencies or access bodies to sort out this entrance. We need relationship counsellors and psychiatrists.


 :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 12, 2015, 09:28:23 pm
 :lol:

Well said, Peter!

Clive, this is all in your mind. You may well now wish you had said what you think you said to me back in summer 2009 but you quite simply did not. I had not told you we were digging there then so how on earth could you "implore" me not to make the connection when you knew absolutely nothing about it? Only a very small number of people were aware of our dig at Drws Cefn prior to the connection being made and, to put it bluntly, you were not one of them.

I fear that your contributions to this thread have been coloured by the personal animosity you clearly feel towards me and that is most unfortunate.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 12, 2015, 09:30:30 pm
Clive is a pretty level-headed guy. A tad weird, but so am I, and many more of us to boot. He's not the one we should be concerned about.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 12, 2015, 09:36:29 pm
A tad weird, but so am I,

Tell us more!
 :lol:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 12, 2015, 09:40:06 pm
I think that comment deserves clarification - Clive was not involved in the debates some SIX years ago, when the huge polarisation over the issue of NigR's new entrance was first mentioned here. The intransigence shown by the various quarters was set in concrete all those years ago, and was nothing to do with Clive. Back in the days when PDCMG "apologists" were happy to post here, there was a chance to discuss this intelligently. The people on the front line back then are the ones who should be reflecting on what has happened since.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Greg Jones on November 12, 2015, 11:05:48 pm
Purely to satisfy my own curiosity Peter, how many times have you been into Ogof Draenen? I think it's a reasonable question as you have soooo much to say on the subject.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 13, 2015, 12:10:12 am
:lol:

Well said, Peter!

Clive, this is all in your mind. You may well now wish you had said what you think you said to me back in summer 2009 but you quite simply did not. I had not told you we were digging there then so how on earth could you "implore" me not to make the connection when you knew absolutely nothing about it? Only a very small number of people were aware of our dig at Drws Cefn prior to the connection being made and, to put it bluntly, you were not one of them.

I fear that your contributions to this thread have been coloured by the personal animosity you clearly feel towards me and that is most unfortunate.

Entries from Clive's Telephone Log - 2009

18/6/09 afternoon 012** ***946 Nig R - OCAF TRIP 13/7/91 / PRESELI HILLS W/E 11-12/7 / OFD & HOSP. CAVE RESCUES - 1hr 5m 30s

30/6/09 morning 012** ***946 Nig R - PRESELI MNTNS VISIT? / OGOF DRAENEN NEW CTTE + 2ND ENT. / 'FAREWELL MEET' + CAVE FLOODING - 1 hr 2m

3/7/09 morning 012** ***946 Nig R - OGOF DRAENEN EXPLORN + 2ND ENTRANCE + NEW CTTE - 55m 36s

3/7/09 evening 012** ***946 Nig R - PDCMG Mtg on Saturday / ALAN RICHARDSON 'GOOD FRIEND' / WORKING ON E-MAIL - 23m

4/7/09 evening 012** ***946 Nig R - E-MAIL RECD OK - SENDING TO MARTIN LAVERTY / WILL CALL ON W/E AFTER MTG - 16m 17s

13/7/09 evening 029** ***819 Martin L. - PDCMG MTG + CG'S E-MAIL / NIG ROGERS + PRISCILLY MNTNS + DEAD DOG HOLE - 1hr 12m

My e-mail of 4/7/09 00:48 confirms that I was encouraging you to work through the Pwll Du Cave Management Group democratic structure - not to act unilaterally - and to that effect I was prepared to put forward an argument in favour of having an alternative emergency exit for Ogof Draenen, which is still the case.

I also proposed that people weighing up the factors concerned in coming to a final decision should carefully consider not only the somewhat empty term 'conservation', but also the concept of 'changing' the cave:

Quote
As an indicator of the impact made on the cave's features by caving visitors I feel that people should be measuring and considering the degree of 'change' which has or is likely to take place, rather than continue to use the somewhat empty word 'conservation', which is often bandied around in quite an arbitrary and meaningless fashion. To explore a cave is to 'change' it and to continue to explore a cave is to continue to 'change' it.

By 'change' I mean footsteps appearing on clay/mud floors where none had existed before, along with all the other 'conservation' difficulties – such as how best to mark trade routes around vulnerable cave deposits and speleothems. Although remoteness may at first appear to be a factor working in favour of avoiding 'change' from taking place at too great a rate, it is also a contributory factor to 'change', especially amongst the more experienced cavers when tiredness takes over at the end of a long, hard, working trip. Tiredness can cause no end of clumsy and potentially destructive movement through the cave, as can speed caving in order to travel to and from a deep-cave working site as efficiently and quickly as possible. But remember 'conservation' is about slowing down the rate of 'change'; whereas 'preservation' is about mothballing a find and preventing further 'change' from occurring.

Don't forget to distinguish between 'change' by human intervention and 'change' by the forces of nature, through the likes of occasional acute or chronic flooding or unstoppable tectonic forces . . . There's no point preserving a cave and preventing people from enjoying and studying its qualities, just for nature to wipe it and its formations out in a single huge (or not so huge) natural disaster. And is a so-called natural disaster a disaster at all? All caves are naturally in the process of formation and collapse – moving gradually from one state to the other – and those which we currently still have access to have just not yet totally collapsed.

If you didn't want the cave to be 'changed' then you should never have explored it in the first place. If you only want to 'change' the cave yourself and stop other people from 'changing' it as they see fit then you'd be acting in a selfish fashion. Bill Gascoine has said: "What's a thing of beauty if nobody can see it?"

In my e-mail, I also flagged up the danger of crossing the top of Pwll Du Quarry and the need for a restoration of the tramroad from Pwll Du to Garnddyrys.

Finally, the e-mail references an associated posting I made in this forum under the 'PDCMG meeting: Draenen access' thread:
http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=8463.msg111579#msg111579 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=8463.msg111579#msg111579)

So, if anything, I was prepared to offer support in the democratic decision-making process that was taking place in respect of new entrances to Ogof Draenen, which could help towards your interest in opening Drws Cefn, whilst flagging up the issue of wear and tear on the cave, but this was only ever intended to be through the auspices of the PDCMG meeting and not in any way support for a clandestine dig to be carried on in spite of others' (majority) views and wishes, including those of the landowner, which I recall imploring you not to do.

I most certainly did become aware of clandestine activities being carried out at Pwll Du, from certain information passed on to me by others at the time, and tied up one of your visits to the area with, I seem to recall, the difficulty in contacting you after I arrived at White Walls. This was having arrived at White Walls from the East End of London via public transport and a short lift in a car for the final stretch from Abergavenny, without the availability of my own car for getting around. This was contrary to a number of previous occasions when I'd met up with Mary (driving) and yourself at SWCC, etc., to take you onwards in my car to various caving dig projects. Certainly at the time we couldn't go in your car because you didn't know how to or wouldn't drive yourself. I had thought, from our prior telephone conversations (see above), that we would have been meeting up more reliably than actually turned out to be the case in practice, but you clearly had your mind elsewhere.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 13, 2015, 12:40:52 am
I think that comment deserves clarification - Clive was not involved in the debates some SIX years ago, when the huge polarisation over the issue of NigR's new entrance was first mentioned here. The intransigence shown by the various quarters was set in concrete all those years ago, and was nothing to do with Clive. Back in the days when PDCMG "apologists" were happy to post here, there was a chance to discuss this intelligently. The people on the front line back then are the ones who should be reflecting on what has happened since.

Thanks for your postings, Peter.

I had a presence in this forum prior to the Drws Cefn entrance being opened, certainly in the 'PDCMG meeting: Draenen access' thread, albeit now reduced to 'Guest' status owing to my original registration being automatically cancelled after a set number of weeks of inactivity, but I think it was the heated exchanges over work done on a loose boulder choke and a possible temporary closure at Swildons Hole, to help make the cave safer for everyone, that ultimately sent me packing!

Via the UKCaving search function I've been able to find the following illuminating posting I made right at the time when news of a new 'entrance' to Ogof Draenen first broke:

Wait and see, but in the mean time let us see if its a good policy or flawed, now that a third entrance exists.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but all I've read so far suggests that a hole has been knocked through into Ogof Draenen from the surface, prior to a 'new entrance' policy being agreed. I mean a burglar with a crowbar could do that to your house whilst you're away from home couldn't they?

As far as I'm aware a 'merits test' is being applied to this hole by the Cave Management Group, but calling it a third entrance at present somewhat presupposes the outcome of the 'merits test', doesn't it?

If you know which the relevants threads are it would be interesting to see whether there are more postings by myself present on this subject in a 'Guest' capacity.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 13, 2015, 01:09:35 am
Clive,

All your entries from "Clive's telephone log" refer to the motion proposed by Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros at the PDCMG meeting on 4 July 2009 and this is in the minutes of that meeting for all to see. I do recall keeping you informed about this in advance and your input was much appreciated. The "2nd Ent" you mention means precisely that i.e. the already concreted Second Entrance, not Drws Cefn which, as you now know, would soon become the third entrance.

However, all you have done here is merely confirm what I have already told you i.e. the previous conversation where you claim to have implored me "not to push Drws Cefn through to Draenen" simply did not take place. Once again, it could not have done so because you were completely unaware of the fact that we were digging there as I had not told you about it. Please take this on board and do not make me have to repeat myself yet again.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 13, 2015, 01:23:02 am
Purely to satisfy my own curiosity Peter, how many times have you been into Ogof Draenen? I think it's a reasonable question as you have soooo much to say on the subject.

My first trip into Ogof Draenen was on 5th November 1994, the CSS Bonfire Weekend, although I had heard about a South Wales cave having been extended on Saturday 15th October - at the International Dive Show, NEC, Birmingham - before deducing, and having confirmed (on 19th October 1994), that this was indeed Ogof Draener.

Subsequently, on personal choice, I did not try to dig in the cave, but contributed to a good number of Clive Westlake's photographic trips all around the system, which took place throughout the 1990s. On one tourist visit I successfully managed to lead a group around the newly opened 'round trip', before this became well worn and the route obvious. I also especially recall caving in Ogof Draenen on the 10th anniversary weekend and going to the explorers' party afterwards, at the Lamb & Fox, in October 2004.

I don't know the extent or otherwise of Peter's experience in the cave, but don't you think he's welcome to comment here if he has a valid point to make, which he feels is relevant?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 13, 2015, 01:45:41 am
Clive,

All your entries from "Clive's telephone log" refer to the motion proposed by Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros at the PDCMG meeting on 4 July 2009 and this is in the minutes of that meeting for all to see. I do recall keeping you informed about this in advance and your input was much appreciated. The "2nd Ent" you mention means precisely that i.e. the already concreted Second Entrance, not Drws Cefn which, as you now know, would soon become the third entrance.

However, all you have done here is merely confirm what I have already told you i.e. the previous conversation where you claim to have implored me "not to push Drws Cefn through to Draenen" simply did not take place. Once again, it could not have done so because you were completely unaware of the fact that we were digging there as I had not told you about it. Please take this on board and do not make me have to repeat myself yet again.

From the appended correspondence in my e-mail to you of 4/7/09 00:48:

Quote
----- Original Message -----
From: NIGEL ROGERS
To: clive-gardener@***.**
Sent: Friday, July 03, 2009 11:35 AM
Subject: Fw: PDCMG AGM - 4th July 2009

Clive,

Let me know if this comes over OK.

Cheers,
Nig
--- On Thu, 2/7/09, Martin Laverty <martinl@***.**> wrote:


From: Martin Laverty <martinl@***.**>
Subject: Fw: PDCMG AGM - 4th July 2009
To: "NIGEL ROGERS" <pwllswnd@***.**>
Date: Thursday, 2 July, 2009, 1:35 PM


ANdy Farrant has put the case for Drws Cefn....

and:


. . . not in any way support for a clandestine dig to be carried on in spite of others' (majority) views and wishes, including those of the landowner, which I recall imploring you not to do.

I most certainly did become aware of clandestine activities being carried out at Pwll Du, from certain information passed on to me by others at the time, and tied up one of your visits to the area with, I seem to recall, the difficulty in contacting you after I arrived at White Walls. . . .

. . . but you clearly had your mind elsewhere.

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 13, 2015, 02:22:35 am

. . . all you have done here is merely confirm what I have already told you i.e. the previous conversation where you claim to have implored me "not to push Drws Cefn through to Draenen" simply did not take place. Once again, it could not have done so because you were completely unaware of the fact that we were digging there as I had not told you about it. . .


Apart from the conversations we exchanged on the telephone, as logged (note the durations), it was when I first arrived in Wales that I learnt you hadn't been entirely open with me and this then put somewhat of a cloud over the weekend that I'd been anticipating and looking forward to spending with you. This is a cloud that got progressively darker and darker until we finally, very unfortunately, met.

And, actually, I was so unhappy and upset at the way you had treated me that we only met because you marched into White Walls as if you owned the place - not even being a CSS member - and searched around everywhere for me, without invitation, until you found me round the back of the outhouse, where I was sorting out my caving gear. It was a pretty frank conversation that followed and we have never met again since.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 13, 2015, 02:42:10 am
Clive,

You are making yourself look exceedingly silly now.

"The case for Drws Cefn" that Martin Laverty is referring to was put forward by Andy Farrant in his Geological Officer's report to the July 2009 PDCMG Meeting. Now, unless Andy had been told about our dig by one of the few people who knew about it (virtually impossible) or had been down there himself and had discovered that we were digging it (possible but unlikely), his reference to Drws is totally unrelated to our activities and is a complete coincidence. He has clearly chosen to make his comment as a response to the discussion that was taking place on this very forum concerning further entrances in general (begun, if I recall correctly, by Andy Sparrow).

Thank you for bringing it to my attention after all this time, it certainly makes for highly interesting retrospective reading!

Oh, and I'm sure Ship-badger has enjoyed hearing about your early Draenen experiences but that wasn't what he was asking was it? How about letting Peter answer for himself?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 13, 2015, 04:50:44 am
Why is the question to Peter relevent?

If you don't want 'outsiders' commenting, keep it on PM.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 13, 2015, 08:14:07 am
All other considerations aside, as OP on this particular thread I would like to make it perfectly clear that contributions from anyone at all are welcomed and encouraged. Posts from 'outsiders', as you call them, can be particularly helpful as they are able to view events more objectively than those more closely involved.

However, do you not think that Peter, through the sheer volume of his input, has made himself very much an 'insider' not only here but on many other related threads e.g. those appertaining to caving and CRoW? As such, I think Ship-badger's question was a fair one to ask but if Peter would prefer not to answer it that is fine with me too.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 13, 2015, 08:20:47 am
If you want to address any point that I raise, why not do so directly rather than link the credibility of my thinking to whether I have visited the cave? The only thing I am truly bothered by is the beligerence and uncompromising stances taken on this, not necessarily the merits of one or two entrances, although I do have views on this. It bothers me because such attitudes have no place in caving and if encouraged will start to impact more caves and cavers in other places. I don't need to be familiar with a cave to have a view on the infantile manner in which the whole thing has been discussed here. I have come across some pretty stupid people in my time, so in that regard I think I do have the right "experience".

For the record, I have been to Draenen. The cave is some considerable way from the Stump, and some time ago I made a conscious decision to concentrate my caving in the Swansea Valley area, and make the odd foray elsewhere from time to time.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Greg Jones on November 13, 2015, 04:31:56 pm
It seems that we might agree on something Peter, because infantile and stupid are two of the many words that have come into my mind whilst reading through your many posts.
Droid; the question was relevant because he has so much to say on the matter.
Clive; you are that rare thing, a caving snob.
I hope that one day the cave has as many entrances as Gaping Ghyll, or Easegill.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 13, 2015, 04:50:58 pm
Clive,

You are making yourself look exceedingly silly now.

. . .

What I've taken exception to is that whereas I was prepared to assist you in your interest in opening another entrance to Ogof Draenen, specifically with regard to access to the cave in an emergency, which I did in the form of the e-mail I wrote on 4th July 2009 (and I've still been prepared to support through this forum recently), working through the agreed process of the authorised cave management group, you were actually - at the same time - working to your own personal agenda, irrespective of anyone else's wishes, including my own, as expressed to you in our conversations, and also, most importantly, those of the landowner.

Having ended up teasing this out through provocations that have been posted in the forum, my view is you've done your best to alienate those who regarded you as a caving friend and opt instead for the 'no compromise' all-in-one-direction solution of open access and stuff the cave management group in the process.

On the basis of the situation so far, it wouldn't surprise me at all should Natural Resources Wales weigh everything up the balance and come down in favour of closing the access between Drws Cefn and Ogof Draenen. In the process, everything that those of us were moving for here, in terms of a compromise solution in the middle, will come to no avail, for the 'no compromise' all-in-one-direction solution will end up being the one selected as the only realistic outcome.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on November 13, 2015, 05:10:05 pm
Clive, there's no need to get so upset. But this is a matter of principle, and Nig is therefore justified in his attitude. That principle is that Drws is on CROW access land, and that means neither NRW nor anyone else has any right to determine whether nor not the cave should be open, and connected (as it obviously is) to Draenen.

Let's have a bit of backbone here, people. To hell with committees and bureaucrats. They have gummed up British caving for too long. If a cave is on access land, we should all be free to enter it whenever we please. In a handful of exceptional cases (Upper Flood, perhaps) there may be a case for restrictions on conservation grounds, and the Act makes this possible. But this does not apply in Draenen. As I wrote here not so long ago, the formations in Draenen beyond the Drws junction remain in excellent condition. As for the mud floors in areas not taped off: well, they are already despoiled, so that's hardly an argument to justify closing Drws. 
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: paul on November 13, 2015, 05:21:33 pm
It seems that we might agree on something Peter, because infantile and stupid are two of the many words that have come into my mind whilst reading through your many posts.
Droid; the question was relevant because he has so much to say on the matter.
Clive; you are that rare thing, a caving snob.
I hope that one day the cave has as many entrances as Gaping Ghyll, or Easegill.

Global Moderator Comment Ship-badger : This discussion has been pretty civilised for such a contentious subject so far. Please do not continue with your personal insults.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 13, 2015, 05:30:10 pm
It seems that we might agree on something Peter, because infantile and stupid are two of the many words that have come into my mind whilst reading through your many posts.
Droid; the question was relevant because he has so much to say on the matter.
Clive; you are that rare thing, a caving snob.
I hope that one day the cave has as many entrances as Gaping Ghyll, or Easegill.

Ship-badger : This discussion has been pretty civilised for such a contentious subject so far. Please do not continue with your personal insults.

Much appreciated.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Brains on November 13, 2015, 05:33:44 pm
That principle is that Drws is on CROW access land, and that means neither NRW nor anyone else has any right to determine whether nor not the cave should be open, and connected (as it obviously is) to Draenen.

Let's have a bit of backbone here, people. To hell with committees and bureaucrats. They have gummed up British caving for too long. If a cave is on access land, we should all be free to enter it whenever we please. In a handful of exceptional cases (Upper Flood, perhaps) there may be a case for restrictions on conservation grounds, and the Act makes this possible. But this does not apply in Draenen. As I wrote here not so long ago, the formations in Draenen beyond the Drws junction remain in excellent condition. As for the mud floors in areas not taped off: well, they are already despoiled, so that's hardly an argument to justify closing Drws.

It would seem to me as an interested outsider that the access thwarting body have shown comprehensively that they are not keen on access to their little empire  :(
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 13, 2015, 06:10:05 pm
Fair comment from Brains, but the whole thread is rather sad.

Anyone visiting this site as a newcomer thinking of taking up caving will probably forget all about it and take up Morris Dancing.

 :(
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavemanmike on November 13, 2015, 06:21:57 pm

Anyone visiting this site as a newcomer thinking of taking up caving will probably forget all about it and take up Morris Dancing.

 :(

that morris dancing can be a dangerous game.
 you could twist an ankle or something,
( especially if it involves a morris minor)  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 13, 2015, 06:27:44 pm
but still probably less dangerous than posting on this thread!
 :lol:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 13, 2015, 07:00:19 pm
That principle is that Drws is on CROW access land, and that means neither NRW nor anyone else has any right to determine whether nor not the cave should be open, and connected (as it obviously is) to Draenen.

Let's have a bit of backbone here, people. To hell with committees and bureaucrats. They have gummed up British caving for too long. If a cave is on access land, we should all be free to enter it whenever we please. In a handful of exceptional cases (Upper Flood, perhaps) there may be a case for restrictions on conservation grounds, and the Act makes this possible. But this does not apply in Draenen. As I wrote here not so long ago, the formations in Draenen beyond the Drws junction remain in excellent condition. As for the mud floors in areas not taped off: well, they are already despoiled, so that's hardly an argument to justify closing Drws.

It would seem to me as an interested outsider that the access thwarting body have shown comprehensively that they are not keen on access to their little empire  :(

On 14th July 1996 cavers held a meeting in Brynmawr to discuss the inauguration of the Pwll Du Cave Management Group, which had been suggested by the discoverers of the cave: the Morgannwg Caving Club. The Pwll Du Cave Management Group was formally constituted on 13th October 1996. (Descent 133, p.10)

By early 1997 the freeholder of the land - also the mineral rights owner - The Coal Authority - required a formal access agreement to be drawn up, to facilitate a future proposed sale of the land. The basis of this agreement was stated at the time to be: "gated, controlled access." (Descent 135, p.11)

With input from Boyd Potts and others, the terms of the licence were ultimately defined as being: "The licence will be issued to three trustees of the PDCMG and permits exploration, conservation work, dye-tracing and sampling for research, and specifically states that no other entrances shall be created." (Descent, 136, p.10)

Upon the land being sold to Pwlldu Conservation Ltd, the existing licence was effectively transferred to the new landowner, with a modification in some of the terms, which was announced at the PDCMG meeting on 9th May 1999. (Descent, 148, p.14)

Some people have suggested that concreting Drws Cefn closed might be considered a mineral trespass against the owner of the mineral rights. However, as can be seen from the above, on the basis that, in the first place, the current owner of the mineral rights set the requirement that there should be no other entrances created to the cave (on the landowner's land), it would appear that any trespass would be as a result of opening rather than closing a second entrance. This is perhaps why Chelsea Spelaeological Society members voluntarily halted their work at Drws Cefn before breaking through into Ogof Draenen.

Given the existence of a formal landowner's agreement, it is likely that Natural Resources Wales will be more inclined to support the proposal to uphold the landowner's wishes for the better management of the cave, than accept a somewhat loose interpretation of the CROW Act, whereby surface cave digging operations, as opposed to simple open-air exercise, are enabled to be carried out without the landowner's consent and permission. Such consent, however, can be granted retrospectively, as indicated by the Coal Authority's licence issued to the PDCMG.

Personally (and not getting too upset, David!), I would like to see the possibility of Drws Cefn being used as an entry/exit to Ogof Draenen in the event of an emergency - however provision can best be made for such an eventuality, subject to the degree of consensus cavers are able to reach here.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: ptpeaty on November 13, 2015, 07:31:46 pm


Anyone visiting this site as a newcomer thinking of taking up caving will probably forget all about it and take up Morris Dancing.

 :(

If anyone feels so inclined, please join my side, The Men of Sweyn's Ey Morris and Sword. we are based in Morriston Swansea and you can get our details from our website. We used to regularly entertain the Chelsea at their BBQS back in the 80s. It was the generation of good luck and stuff that helped the discovery of Daren Cilau!
Come join us and learn how to sup some ale!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavermark on November 13, 2015, 07:39:17 pm
"Try everything once, except incest and folk dancing"
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 13, 2015, 07:49:51 pm
Clive, there's no need to get so upset. But this is a matter of principle, and Nig is therefore justified in his attitude. That principle is that Drws is on CROW access land, and that means neither NRW nor anyone else has any right to determine whether nor not the cave should be open, and connected (as it obviously is) to Draenen.



That's assuming that this interpretation of CRoW is the one accepted by the powers that be.

That hasn't (yet) been established, so let's deal with what we have rather than what we wish we had.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 13, 2015, 07:55:39 pm
"Upon the land being sold to Pwlldu Conservation Ltd, the existing licence was effectively transferred to the new landowner, with a modification in some of the terms, which was announced at the PDCMG meeting on 9th May 1999. (Descent, 148, p.14)

Some people have suggested that concreting Drws Cefn closed might be considered a mineral trespass against the owner of the mineral rights. However, as can be seen from the above, on the basis that, in the first place, the current owner of the mineral rights set the requirement that there should be no other entrances created to the cave (on the landowner's land), it would appear that any trespass would be as a result of opening rather than closing a second entrance. This is perhaps why Chelsea Spelaeological Society members voluntarily halted their work at Drws Cefn before breaking through into Ogof Draenen."


Clive, thank you for some interesting points, however.

The legally of any agreement after the change of ownership would depend on whether or not there was specific mention of such agreement in the Contract of Sale to the present landowner. Obviously if so, it would form part of the contract. If not it would effectively expire on the transfer of the land.

Your second point has substance as the mineral owner is unchanged. I previously made the point that they would unlikely be interested in the concreting, even though it would constitute a mineral trespass. The facts you have described indicate that they were indeed interested in the past, so may well be interested at the present time, however what their attitude to concreting would be is anybody's guess, but my thinking on this is influenced by the response by NRW.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Andy Farrant on November 13, 2015, 08:16:31 pm
For info, from what I recall we stopped digging in Drws Cefn partly because some other cavers were making it clear they were not happy that we were digging there, and partly because I had better things to do (ie going caving).

As I've said, the most sensible compromise is to stick a gate on it, such that access can be maintained in future; concreting it is not going to solve the issue.

Perhaps everyone's efforts should be focussed on exploring what is a fantastic cave, rather than bickering on this forum. Draenen has many secrets still to be discovered, and not just in the exploration sense. It is also one of the oldest and most fascinating caves in the country with huge potential.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 13, 2015, 09:45:27 pm
"Upon the land being sold to Pwlldu Conservation Ltd, the existing licence was effectively transferred to the new landowner, with a modification in some of the terms, which was announced at the PDCMG meeting on 9th May 1999. (Descent, 148, p.14)

Some people have suggested that concreting Drws Cefn closed might be considered a mineral trespass against the owner of the mineral rights. However, as can be seen from the above, on the basis that, in the first place, the current owner of the mineral rights set the requirement that there should be no other entrances created to the cave (on the landowner's land), it would appear that any trespass would be as a result of opening rather than closing a second entrance. This is perhaps why Chelsea Spelaeological Society members voluntarily halted their work at Drws Cefn before breaking through into Ogof Draenen."


Clive, thank you for some interesting points, however.

The legally of any agreement after the change of ownership would depend on whether or not there was specific mention of such agreement in the Contract of Sale to the present landowner. Obviously if so, it would form part of the contract. If not it would effectively expire on the transfer of the land.

Your second point has substance as the mineral owner is unchanged. I previously made the point that they would unlikely be interested in the concreting, even though it would constitute a mineral trespass. The facts you have described indicate that they were indeed interested in the past, so may well be interested at the present time, however what their attitude to concreting would be is anybody's guess, but my thinking on this is influenced by the response by NRW.

Thanks for this.

On the surface of things it would appear that one licence ended and a new one was drawn up, except there was no break in the occupation of the cave by the Pwll Du Cave Management Group. In addition, it was originally explained that the licence was drawn up to help facilitate the sale of the land (Descent, 135, p.11). Prior to this the landowner did not object to cavers crossing their land to enter the cave or object to exploration or other research work being carried out within the cave system in the absence of any formal written agreement.

Subsequently, the Pwll Du Cave Management Group, which had received substantial pledges to enable it to buy the land on which the cave entrance is situated (Descent, 137, p.16), in the same way that part of the Blorenge mountain was ultimately purchased by The South East Wales Hand Gliding and Paragliding Club, with match funding from SPORTLOT (the Lottery Sports Fund for Wales), (Descent, 144, p.10) agreed not to counter bid for the land against the intending landowners, who were also the two closest occupiers of the land.

So, my thinking was that the licence terms have been amended, by mutual agreement with the new landowner, but, substantially and legally, the licence agreement is the one granted by The Coal Authority, reconfirmed by the new landowner as an integral part of the negotiations carried out at the time of the land sale.

Clearly, as you point out, the mention of the existence of the licence agreement in the Contract of Sale would be legally important and significant here.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 14, 2015, 08:28:28 am
Purely to satisfy my own curiosity Peter, how many times have you been into Ogof Draenen?
Clearly it was not purely to satisfy your own curiosity that you asked this question. I answered in good faith. What a shame this trust in you was not reciprocated. It's a sad day when we cannot debate something intelligently and with a degree of decorum.

I think someone else in the last couple of days suggested that we don't need management bodies, councils, etc and we would do far better without them. But I believe it is precisely because of important issues that cause divisions between cavers, and divisions between cavers and third parties, that we need such bodies. Who else is going to sort things out? And whatever "group" comes together to resolve things at Drws Cefn- and it certainly is not going to be resolved by people acting on their own- is that group not simply another "management body", however loosely incorporated?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: jasonbirder on November 14, 2015, 10:53:47 am
Quote
Clearly it was not purely to satisfy your own curiosity that you asked this question. I answered in good faith. What a shame this trust in you was not reciprocated. It's a sad day when we cannot debate something intelligently and with a degree of decorum.

Why is it not decorous to ask if you Have been in Ogof Draenen or if you regularly cave there or indeed, if you regularly Cave at all...it merely helps people position your opinion and involvement more accurately...

I would guess if you cave in South Wales semi-regularly you have a genuine interest in the topic...if you don't and don't intend to then its merely intellectual opinions and theorising...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 14, 2015, 12:07:22 pm
As I recall, PDCMG reps DID discuss things here at one time, but the abuse heaped upon them has probably triggered the quite understandable decision to ignore this forum, and I don't blame them. Perhaps the ball is in the court of those who acted in a somewhat less than civilised manner, to make amends.

How do you make amends with someone who will not communicate with you?

So far as communication goes, I personally contacted two PDCMG Officers via e-mail at the beginning of October and have yet to receive a reply from either. Again, how do you communicate with someone when they just ignore you?

Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: tony from suffolk on November 14, 2015, 02:29:06 pm

As I've said, the most sensible compromise is to stick a gate on it, such that access can be maintained in future; concreting it is not going to solve the issue.


That does seem to be a sensible compromise, certainly far more sensible than filling it in with concrete, but then there's the issue of how access is arranged. Perhaps the landowner could be convinced that this would be sufficient to deter the general public from wandering into it (although, given the nature of the entrance, it's pretty unlikely) & access gained with a "Derbyshire Key".

But no...
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Greg Jones on November 14, 2015, 03:30:06 pm
Might I suggest that today would be a good day to ponder the thought that there are people among us who wish to control far more in our lives than just where we go caving. There are likely to be French cavers who have lost loved ones in yesterday's atrocities. Let's give it a rest, just for today. Then we can get back to it tomorrow.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 14, 2015, 05:45:18 pm
Might I suggest that today would be a good day to ponder the thought that there are people among us who wish to control far more in our lives than just where we go caving. There are likely to be French cavers who have lost loved ones in yesterday's atrocities. Let's give it a rest, just for today. Then we can get back to it tomorrow.
I almost posted much the same thing earlier. However, I'll make the point I was gong to make as it seems even more relevant now Ship-badger has commented. I suggest a complete stop to pointless argument never mind for one day, and demonstrate at least to ourselves that we are capable of being civilised. It isn't difficult.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 14, 2015, 07:12:53 pm
Good idea, Ship-badger. Will resume tomorrow as you suggest.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 14, 2015, 08:02:01 pm
Your suggestion however, Peter, was total sh1t.....
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 14, 2015, 08:18:16 pm
It's my speciality, Droid!  ;)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 14, 2015, 08:42:43 pm
It's my speciality, Droid!  ;)


 :lol: :lol: :clap2:
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 15, 2015, 09:03:00 am
As I recall, PDCMG reps DID discuss things here at one time, but the abuse heaped upon them has probably triggered the quite understandable decision to ignore this forum, and I don't blame them. Perhaps the ball is in the court of those who acted in a somewhat less than civilised manner, to make amends.

How do you make amends with someone who will not communicate with you?

So far as communication goes, I personally contacted two PDCMG Officers via e-mail at the beginning of October and have yet to receive a reply from either. Again, how do you communicate with someone when they just ignore you?
Were you trying to make amends?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: zomjon on November 15, 2015, 09:32:24 am
Ding, the bell has sounded, and Peter is out of his corner. A quick right jab (Amends, my foot!!), no hanging back from our Pete here, he knows he has Nig on the ropes and wants to get in there for the kill. Break for a bit of mourning, done now, let's get back to the real afray. None of that Bolsheivik rubbish about complete stops to pointless arguments.
Come on Nig, off the ropes, throw a hook or two.
Edge of seat stuff, we look on horrified but at the same time baying for more blood!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 15, 2015, 11:40:58 am
It is a polite, sensible non-provocative question. It's not a question that NigR is obliged to answer and I have no problem if he doesn't want to because it simply seemed the obvious thing to ask. If someone doesn't reply to correspondence, perhaps there is a simple fundamental reason. And in the light of current affairs, perhaps a bit of reflection on how we relate to others with whom we have serious opposing views is no bad thing. Yes, there will always be the jokers who think all this is a bit of fun, but those of us who simply want to see cavers sort things out amicably and in a mature manner are not particularly amused.

Perhaps now is the time to stop arguing the merits of this or that access arrangement, and simply look at how to get those directly involved to discuss the whole thing as adults. Perhaps that requires an independent mediator?  Clearly, tit for tatting over blocking/not blocking hasn't worked in six years. That's as long as the second world war. Time for a change of approach.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 15, 2015, 12:51:48 pm
Were you trying to make amends?

No, I was asking the same questions in connection with the NRW documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that I have asked other members of the PDCMG, both in public on this forum and in private via e-mail. The difference here is that whilst I received answers to my other enquiries, in these two particular cases I did not.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 15, 2015, 01:09:38 pm
Perhaps now is the time to stop arguing the merits of this or that access arrangement, and simply look at how to get those directly involved to discuss the whole thing as adults. Perhaps that requires an independent mediator?


The conservation and access officer for the CCC asked the PDCMG to do precisely this with the BCA chairman acting as a mediator.

... It failed because of reasons already well voiced on here ...

 :(

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 15, 2015, 01:25:30 pm
Am I missing something here?

Is it not possible to ask these questions face to face at AGMs or the like?

Or have personal relations deteriorated to the point where the various parties cannot stand being in the same room.....
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 15, 2015, 02:19:01 pm
People with an interest in sorting this out, including PDCMG people, were at the Cambrian CC AGM in March. Yes, they do meet face to face. The situation was discussed and I recall some sort of action was agreed. Evidently the matter is not resolved. And I think there were other things that had to be discussed as well. The meeting did go on a bit, as I recall! One particular report was more like a presentation at a symposium - and far too long for an AGM.
But that is a digression.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ian Adams on November 15, 2015, 03:34:56 pm
As Peter says, it was discussed "face to face" at the CCC AGM. Of course, it was not expected that anything would be resolved "there and then". Instead, the PDCMG agreed to meet with the CCC at a later date with the BCA chairman officiating/arbitrating.

The meeting(s) went ahead but failed as already copiously stated within the thread.

 :(

Ian
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 15, 2015, 03:43:51 pm
When discussions to find a way forward fail, you can take two paths. You can tell yourself that the other party could have done better or you can tell yourself that you could have done better. Taking the former is the way to ensure a problem is never resolved. Taking the latter is the only way to get a problem resolved. This strategy must apply equally to both sides, or any solution is seen as a defeat or victory, depending whose party you are in, and the problem will come back sooner or later. The only long term solution that works is when both sides see it as a victory. It's the "win-win" outcome.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 15, 2015, 03:45:48 pm
Ian: Thank you for the clarification, and apologies for not trawling through the morass that is this thread for the above information.

Looks like a case of immovable object meets irresistable force..... :(

Peter: Again the voice of reason. An ideal which in this case, given the tone of this thread, is unlikely to be reached, sadly.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 15, 2015, 03:54:43 pm
Well, we are rapidly running out of raw material to stir, Droid! A bit more of my speciality can't do any harm.......  :-\
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 15, 2015, 05:17:27 pm
A bit more of your speciality might have prevented the problem in the first place.

No-one 'wins' in a situation like this.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 15, 2015, 06:00:59 pm
So it's my fault is it Droid? And how many times have YOU been in the cave? You have a message......
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Stuart France on November 16, 2015, 07:43:22 pm
PDCMG has confirmed on their website that the next meeting is on Sunday 22 November.  Below is the part of their Secretary's report, which is not on their website:

"With respect to the licensing and approach for Drws Cefn I can now report on a meeting held between myself, the ecologist, NRW and the landowner on 10th November.  The meeting discussed a number of issues related to the reasons for the licence rejection. These included:

- Submission of a conservation licence rather than a development licence. Previous advice from the then CCW was to submit a conservation licence. However, it is now preferable from NRW’s perspective to submit a development licence since the purpose of the work is not to conserve the protected species.

- Restrictions to airflow.  There were concerns about restricting airflow in the passage by construction of a solid wall. 

- Concern about subsequent vandalism to anything installed and the disturbance this might cause. 

The suggested route through these issues is to install a grille at (or in) the entrance. This will get round any concerns about airflow.  It will also offer a compromise to the caving community by installation of a less permanent blockage. This could potentially be changed in the future if the landowner changes his mind about access and the PDCMG desire it.  If this compromise could also be supported by the Cambrian Caving Council (as discussed at the mediation meetings) then it would reduce the risks of the grille being vandalised.   This approach was agreed by the landowner (who remains adamant that he does not wish to see access) and NRW and I hope it will also be agreeable to this Group and the majority of cavers. I hope it would also dispel concerns some people have about rescue.

If such an approach can be agreed by this Group and the CCC (in the spirit of our recent discussions) will support it then the next actions are to 1) prepare a design for the grille and 2) over the winter prepare and submit the development licence application. "

The PDCMG agenda at item 5 states:
"Update on Drws Cefn Licencing (to include discussion of emergency access/egress)"
which perhaps means creating a locked gate within a grille that is not available for general caving use.


Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: danthecavingman on November 16, 2015, 08:03:04 pm
This sounds like a very sensible compromise until any CROW issues are resolved....
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on November 16, 2015, 08:19:59 pm
If CROW access applies to caves, as many of us believe it already does, this proposal is unlawful. Those who fitted the grille would be damaging the cave environment with no legal backup. 

What justification, objectively, can it possibly have? Honestly? The "preserve the wilderness experience" argument has been abandoned. There is no evidence that Draenen has suffered from the small numbers gaining access through Drws.

Why would any caver support this? It should be resisted.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: danthecavingman on November 16, 2015, 08:38:07 pm
No justification but until CROW is challenged in light of caving access then the landowner should be respected....

I'm firmly in the no-gate open access camp but feel the need to tread carefully. Perhaps if the entrance is gated then it would be a good test case to get the gate removed on the grounds that it contravenes the CROW Act?

D.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: cavemanmike on November 16, 2015, 08:48:54 pm
No justification but until CROW is challenged in light of caving access then the landowner should be respected....

I'm firmly in the no-gate open access camp but feel the need to tread carefully. Perhaps if the entrance is gated then it would be a good test case to get the gate removed on the grounds that it contravenes the CROW Act?

D.

 i can see the logic and agree whole heartily .
and we have to start somewhere otherwise
we will get absolutely no where
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: droid on November 16, 2015, 08:50:19 pm
IF CRoW applies to caving.

So an action performed before that is confirmed would still be illegal? I think not.

Let's work with what we have, not what we wish we had.

It's a sensible compromise.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: PaulW on November 16, 2015, 08:59:29 pm
what are the size requirements of a grille to be suitable for bats?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: JohnMCooper on November 16, 2015, 09:37:10 pm
Look at jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/batwork_manualpt4.pdf (http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/batwork_manualpt4.pdf)

Under 10.5.3 it states:

Horseshoe bats need special consideration because
they may require an access hole large enough to
fly through. This should, wherever possible, be
modelled on the size and shape of the previous
access hole, but new holes should ideally be at least
400 x 300 mm for greater horseshoes and 300 x
200 mm for lesser horseshoes.

I believe Lesser Horseshoe are the ones involved in Drws Cefn.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: RobinGriffiths on November 16, 2015, 11:55:30 pm
No justification but until CROW is challenged in light of caving access then the landowner should be respected....

I'm firmly in the no-gate open access camp but feel the need to tread carefully. Perhaps if the entrance is gated then it would be a good test case to get the gate removed on the grounds that it contravenes the CROW Act?

D.

Who would instigate a test case? Cavers on access being withdrawn or landowner on trespass grounds? How much would it cost to fight/ defend? I'd put a tenner into the kitty on the access side.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 17, 2015, 07:11:41 am
IF     (and it is a long way from happening despite some peoples ideas or wishes.)
CROW legislation is altered to allow "caving."
It may not be retrospective, so caves with existing gates at the time of legislation may not have to remove them. (so called "grandfather rights")
It would be much better to maintain the status quo (no gate) than to hope to remove it later.

There has been much more discussion about how to use CROW to allow gating sensitive places, than removal of existing restrictions.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 17, 2015, 08:07:01 am
Some ten or so posts ago, Stuart France posts up what seems to be a possible way forward with a bit of jaw-jaw. Then David Rose gets on his CRoW hobby horse and now we are talking about cavers dragging fellow cavers into court. The whole world has gone mad. The idea of cavers getting fellow cavers into court is abhorrent. It is simply disgusting. What is wrong with you? I thought caving was an intelligent pastime.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on November 17, 2015, 08:10:03 am
IF     (and it is a long way from happening despite some peoples ideas or wishes.)
CROW legislation is altered to allow "caving."


You appear to have misunderstood the situation with CRoW. It is not alteration of the legislation that is being sought. It is only the interpretation by NE and NRW that is wrong. As I read the situation, NE are now refusing to say whether or not caving is covered and are fudging the issue with talk of daylight and other such nonsense.

As the NE interpretation stands at the moment it would appear that they say that entering caves is covered, they are only refusing to say how far into a cave CRoW extends.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 17, 2015, 08:51:11 am
 :smartass:
One thought that comes up relating specifically to Drws Cefn and Draenen

Administration of CROW access land in Wales is with Natural Resources Wales,  not Natural Elgland.
If Scottyland can have different rules that I understand include caving could this be a route to progress access in Wales?

Access land in Wales and Scotland
Natural Resources Wales is responsible for implementing the CROW Act in Wales.
The CROW Act does not apply in Scotland. In Scotland, Part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 came into force in February 2005. This established a statutory right of responsible access over most areas of land and inland water. See Scottish Outdoor Access Code.


http://naturalresources.wales/our-evidence-and-reports/maps/open-access-land-maps/?lang=en (http://naturalresources.wales/our-evidence-and-reports/maps/open-access-land-maps/?lang=en)
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on November 17, 2015, 10:15:15 am
Peter Burgess: a legal action, should one be fought, would not be a case of cavers dragging other cavers into court. It would be a judicial review of a decision made by an administrative body, namely NRW or NE, to approve/authorise the construction of a grille (in the case of Drws Cefn) or some other restriction imposed elsewhere.

It would ask the court to declare what it considers to be the CROW Act's meaning as applied to caves and caving. Unless it was overturned on appeal, it would be taken as binding nationally, and would mean that cavers could finally enjoy the same rights to explore caves on CROW access land which have been cherished by walkers and climbers since the Act became law.

It would, therefore, indeed have retrospective effect. In cases where the passage of large numbers really might have a damaging impact, the Act (as has been exhaustively discussed on this forum) would allow restrictions to remain in force. Having recently been on a long trip into Drws, and observed that the formations I saw in Draenen five years ago remain undamaged, I do not think such an exception could be justified in this case.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 17, 2015, 10:20:11 am
And who pays?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on November 17, 2015, 11:10:22 am
Are you offering to chip in, on the grounds that to have clarity would be welcome?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 17, 2015, 11:14:01 am
Throwing money and the law at a problem is the easy way out. Unfortunately it requires money, money that would be better spent on cavers not on lawyers. Trying to actually talk to people seems to be a huge issue for some. It's difficult, but the rewards are worth it. You should try it some time.

When discussions to find a way forward fail, you can take two paths. You can tell yourself that the other party could have done better or you can tell yourself that you could have done better. Taking the former is the way to ensure a problem is never resolved. Taking the latter is the only way to get a problem resolved. This strategy must apply equally to both sides, or any solution is seen as a defeat or victory, depending whose party you are in, and the problem will come back sooner or later. The only long term solution that works is when both sides see it as a victory. It's the "win-win" outcome.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 17, 2015, 11:25:26 am
If CROW access applies to caves, as many of us believe it already does, this proposal is unlawful. Those who fitted the grille would be damaging the cave environment with no legal backup. 

Just an observation (and speaking as a digger myself). CROW or no CROW, didn't digging out and blasting "damage" the cave?

Also:
- Restrictions to airflow.  There were concerns about restricting airflow in the passage by construction of a solid wall. 

Didn't digging out and blasting vastly alter airflow in the passage?

The diggers do not have the high moral ground here!
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: ALEXW on November 17, 2015, 11:32:45 am
It would ask the court to declare what it considers to be the CROW Act's meaning as applied to caves and caving. Unless it was overturned on appeal, it would be taken as binding nationally, and would mean that cavers could finally enjoy the same rights to explore caves on CROW access land which have been cherished by walkers and climbers since the Act became law.

That, of course, depends on the finding of the court. The court could find that CROW does not apply and therefore a precedent be set that prevents access.  It would be a brave man, or woman, who would claim to predict the findings of a court without cautioning that there could be various outcomes.
[/quote]
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Wayland Smith on November 17, 2015, 11:44:09 am
I would suspect that the difficulty (and therefore the cost)
would be in presenting the case in such a manner that the judges could understand what they were adjudicating
and why a change was in the public (cavers) interest.

Would the existence of DEFRA and other bodies as "experts" overwhelm a few bearded cavers?  :o
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 17, 2015, 11:55:50 am
Just a quick legal

Any precedent set by a court can be later overturned by act of parliament. This happened with radar detectors
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: ALEXW on November 17, 2015, 12:15:01 pm
http://www.wildplaces.co.uk/content/119-caving-and-crow (http://www.wildplaces.co.uk/content/119-caving-and-crow)

an interesting read, especially "An alternative view"
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 17, 2015, 12:46:08 pm
I don't want to become a bore but would like to make my position perfectly clear on all these discussions.

I voted against CROW initiative, not because I am coming from somewhere else but because I honestly see this as working against us.

CROW itself has worked against us and my personal freedom in practical terms is now worse not better
The grills were originally fitted on the levels at Cwmystwyth as a direct result of the CROW Act, fortunately this has now resolved itself putting us into an even better position than before, pure luck however.

New fences have sprung up everywhere like mushrooms, some of them quite 'aggressive' with the amount of barbed wire. Where land is covered by CROW while other is not under the same landowner, this appears to be where this has happened.

I am a member of CCC representing a charitable organisation which does not intend to involve itself in caving club politics, I myself have previously posted my personal view on this in no uncertain terms. I see the attraction of CROW being acknowledged in law to extend to caves, but I also see the reality of the situation in a different light.

I don't feel this this will be achieved and pursuing this will ultimately work against us just as I see the CROW Act itself working against us as I describe above.

Having said all this I am aware that democracy has spoken and accept that. Anything I add to discussions will be in an attempt to be helpful in a genuine way and from an impartial standpoint.

If a lot of this is not pertinent to thread I apologise.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Ed on November 17, 2015, 01:09:43 pm
Seems a case of uniformed land owners there.

On CROW land leaving features in their "natural state" removes liability of the land owner. Any actions by the owner to keep people out / off these greatly incases their liability. A number of jealously guarded and off limits grit stone outcrops and bouldering venues (on grouse moors) gained climbing access once the owners educated.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 17, 2015, 01:34:36 pm
Seems a case of uniformed land owners there.

On CROW land leaving features in their "natural state" removes liability of the land owner. Any actions by the owner to keep people out / off these greatly incases their liability. A number of jealously guarded and off limits grit stone outcrops and bouldering venues (on grouse moors) gained climbing access once the owners educated.

I think a bit of misunderstanding.
The fenced land is non CROW but previously without a fence there nothing to stop people entering that land, although they had no real right to do so.
It seems as though a statement is being made, "If you want to get legal then I will"

A bit like "The public path is over there, you have no right over here" which sometimes happens.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Clive G on November 17, 2015, 02:30:22 pm
If CROW access applies to caves, as many of us believe it already does, this proposal is unlawful. Those who fitted the grille would be damaging the cave environment with no legal backup. 

Just an observation (and speaking as a digger myself). CROW or no CROW, didn't digging out and blasting "damage" the cave?

Also:
- Restrictions to airflow.  There were concerns about restricting airflow in the passage by construction of a solid wall. 

Didn't digging out and blasting vastly alter airflow in the passage?

The diggers do not have the high moral ground here!

After Price's Dig/Ogof Cnwc was connected to Daren Cilau in September 2002 I had a telephone discussion with Martyn Farr on this very issue.

The diggers removed solid rock and clay fill from the point where the two caves were in close proximity to each other - confirmed by radio-location - until they broke through a final hollow calcite layer and a 'blast of fresh air' blew into their faces.

Quite harmless you'd think . . .

However, the aragonite formations in Epocalypse Way and Urchin Oxbow, Daren Cilau, just prior to Antler Passage, as well as the Antler and associated formations themselves in Antler Passage, depend for their stability on a specific air temperature and air flow rate, as might affect the balance of CO2 present in the vicinity.

So, it's not just passing cavers with muddy fingers that can be a problem, but also changing the air flow and altering the CO2 levels in the vicinity of cave formations that can also have a damaging effect - which is more likely to take effect over decades rather than days, months or years and so be less discernible to the naked eye of a passing caver.

What I wanted to see happen at Price's Dig/Ogof Cnwc was the gate to be put on the connection in such a way that it was hermetically sealed when closed - thereby maintaining the natural air-flow patterns in this (well-decorated) arm of the cave.

As things turned out the cave started closing itself in winter by creating a sump at the lowest point of the connection, although the connection since appears to have been re-engineered to avoid the sump from forming!

With Drws Cefn, as I understand things, there was no cave there originally - it has been totally dug open from the surface. So, if people are concerned about retrospective permissions, then they have to follow the procedure that was adopted at Ogof Draenen, whereby the dig was initially done with the knowledge and permission of the closest occupier of the land and, eventually, a written agreement was drawn up with the freehold owner of the land and mineral rights.

I supported the negotiations for an emergency exit to Ogof Draenen and it's those negotiations that are still in progress at the present time and remain to be resolved - albeit provocations have been carried out during the interim.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Simon Wilson on November 17, 2015, 02:33:13 pm
Seems a case of uniformed land owners there.

On CROW land leaving features in their "natural state" removes liability of the land owner. Any actions by the owner to keep people out / off these greatly incases their liability. A number of jealously guarded and off limits grit stone outcrops and bouldering venues (on grouse moors) gained climbing access once the owners educated.

I think a bit of misunderstanding.
The fenced land is non CROW but previously without a fence there nothing to stop people entering that land, although they had no real right to do so.
It seems as though a statement is being made, "If you want to get legal then I will"

A bit like "The public path is over there, you have no right over here" which sometimes happens.

My neighbour put up a new fence; I didn't see it as a 'statement' about anything other than he needed a new fence.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: NigR on November 17, 2015, 03:01:42 pm
Throwing money and the law at a problem is the easy way out. Unfortunately it requires money, money that would be better spent on cavers not on lawyers.

Money aside, do you not agree (as David suggested) that a final clarification of the situation regarding CROW and caving would be most desirable for all concerned, no matter which side of the fence they happen to be?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 17, 2015, 03:23:02 pm
It won't resolve the differences between you, the CRoWnies, and PDCMG. At the end of the day, the best outcome is one reached amicably. Legal clarification either way wouldn't be necessary if there were no dispute to haggle over in the first place. It is regrettable that David Rose has muddied the waters here with CRoW. It may have some relevance, but it is not addressing the fundamental problem between people.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: royfellows on November 17, 2015, 04:37:42 pm
Throwing money and the law at a problem is the easy way out. Unfortunately it requires money, money that would be better spent on cavers not on lawyers.

Money aside, do you not think (as David suggested) that a final clarification of the situation regarding CROW and caving would be most desirable for all concerned, no matter which side of the fence they happen to be?

I think that is very fair comment, and I must say put in a very balanced way.

Regardless of the cost, this is not going to end in any other way, I can see that now. But don't forget that the CROW Act itself could be amended at some later date. There is nothing new about conflicts between government and judiciary.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: John S on November 17, 2015, 05:02:29 pm

After Price's Dig/Ogof Cnwc was connected to Daren Cilau in September 2002 I had a telephone discussion with Martyn Farr on this very issue.

The diggers removed solid rock and clay fill from the point where the two caves were in close proximity to each other - confirmed by radio-location - until they broke through a final hollow calcite layer and a 'blast of fresh air' blew into their faces.

Quite harmless you'd think . . .

However, the aragonite formations in Epocalypse Way and Urchin Oxbow, Daren Cilau, just prior to Antler Passage, as well as the Antler and associated formations themselves in Antler Passage, depend for their stability on a specific air temperature and air flow rate, as might affect the balance of CO2 present in the vicinity.

So, it's not just passing cavers with muddy fingers that can be a problem, but also changing the air flow and altering the CO2 levels in the vicinity of cave formations that can also have a damaging effect - which is more likely to take effect over decades rather than days, months or years and so be less discernible to the naked eye of a passing caver.

What I wanted to see happen at Price's Dig/Ogof Cnwc was the gate to be put on the connection in such a way that it was hermetically sealed when closed - thereby maintaining the natural air-flow patterns in this (well-decorated) arm of the cave.

As things turned out the cave started closing itself in winter by creating a sump at the lowest point of the connection, although the connection since appears to have been re-engineered to avoid the sump from forming!


A few major facts you have wrong, Clive. Ogof Cnwc always had a good draught joining with Busman’s in Daren Cilau.

This maybe why it had a lesser horseshoe bat population of around 20 before the connection was dug. The connecting dig and sump bypass were only through boulders, clay and sand. Not through solid rock!

The gate was fitted with a good sized bat slot to maintain bat access and the draught they like to follow. If the draught has increased it has been positive for the bat population that now stands at well over 100! Making it a significant lesser horseshoe bat roost.

So a change in air flow (increase) can not always be deemed to be negative, in fact, I can’t think of one occurrence, I have been involved with where it has been so.

Where as, the sealed Draenen gate, now does not allow much air in and has changed the air flow in that region of the cave. The population of bats around the Big Bang pitch and Darling rifts is now almost zero. Where they getting in via the original entrance (over the wet choke to get to Darling rifts) or is it the air circulation that has made the difference. The key here is reducing draughts.

Dreanen has a problem with bats in that until Drws, we did not know how the bat population was getting into the cave. There are at least 3 if not 4 discrete populations, each with an unlocated route in.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: adrian paniwnyk on November 17, 2015, 05:36:54 pm
Concerning the original  Daren Cilau, entrance I imagine the original draught patterns changed when the quarries were excavated, long before cavers appeared on the scene.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: John S on November 17, 2015, 07:05:46 pm
Drws Cefn was a small open hole like several other small draughting holes along that side of the stream. It was dug originally in the days when the Coal Board owned the land. So the same kind of permission as Ogof Dreanen was in place.
 
The dig was just a case of following the draught and pulling out boulders. A larger gap at the rear was soon found and followed down and through to the second drop.  I cant recall at any stage that is was not just a case of removing boulders and clay, nothing else was needed. As the base of the second drop the cave went into a low crawl with a mud floor.

A pipe was installed to take water from the stream outside to blast the mud and sand. This washed forward and was heard to fall. Very enticing. The gap grew from a couple of inches to be squeezable. The way on was blocked by a single boulder that could be moved with your feet but it was to cramped for me going in head first. Someone smaller was needed.

As the pipe continued to wash out sediment it only needed a visit every month or so, to remove the larger gravel and cobbles.
By the time the land was sold to the present owner, no digging spoil was reaching the surface.
 
Some people have suggested that concreting Drws Cefn closed might be considered a mineral trespass against the owner of the mineral rights…... This is perhaps why Chelsea Spelaeological Society members voluntarily halted their work at Drws Cefn before breaking through into Ogof Draenen.

This is news to me, the real reason is a bit more obvious. We were already frequently using the Nunnery Entrance for our survey trips and did not wish to draw attention to that area of the mountain. There are a couple of other reasons but they are not relevant now.

Bats were probably already using Drws Cefn before we started enlarging it. It may have been one of the routes in for the bats we found in the Three Amigos Area of Dreanen.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: David Rose on November 18, 2015, 10:12:16 am
Peter Burgess, I object to the offensive and misleading comments you have been making about me. First you accused me of making a "disgusting" suggestion because I think it would be best for all concerned for the legal position on the CROW Act to be resolved, one way or another. You stated I want cavers to drag other cavers into court. That is untrue. As i have already said, a judicial review would not involve such a thing at all, but a review of the law and decisions made by a governmental body, NRW or NE.

Now you you accuse me of "muddying the waters".  I am doing no such thing. I am seeking, once and for all, to clarify them. The waters are muddy now because no one knows for certain whether CROW Act access applies to caving. I cannot imagine why you appear to think this is a good thing - hence my suggestion that if a legal action were to get off the ground, you might like to contribute to its cost. This isn't some irrelevant side issue. It is fundamental. However it is finally resolved, the legal position has immediate and direct applicability to Drws Cefn.

You will note I have not applied any rude epithets to you or your arguments. Perhaps you might care to learn from my example, and even apologise.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 18, 2015, 10:24:51 am
I stand by what I say. Read my comments as generalisations not as personal slurs. If you wish to take them on board then that's your choice, David Rose. If you have taken them as personal insults, then I apologise for not making it clear that they were not. The water-muddying comment concerned the fact that the topic is about the blocking of an entrance and the difference of opinion about its merits. Also, as a way forward seems to have been identified by Stuart France, it was hardly helpful to get your CRoW drum out again. CRoW is a general matter that affect many more caves. Please debate the merits of this elsewhere.
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Peter Burgess on November 18, 2015, 10:33:01 am
Some ten or so posts ago, Stuart France posts up what seems to be a possible way forward with a bit of jaw-jaw. Then David Rose gets on his CRoW hobby horse and now we are talking about cavers dragging fellow cavers into court. The whole world has gone mad. The idea of cavers getting fellow cavers into court is abhorrent. It is simply disgusting. What is wrong with you? I thought caving was an intelligent pastime.
It was not clear what the thinking was regarding the legal challenge being suggested. It could have been taken as the actions of individuals being challenged as illegal. "What is wrong with you?" was aimed at anybody who thinks taking civil action against fellow cavers is a good thing to do, not you personally. Is this clear now?
Title: Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
Post by: Rhys on November 18, 2015, 11:03:59 am
Some ten or so posts ago, Stuart France posts up what seems to be a possible way forward with a bit of jaw-jaw. Then David Rose gets on his CRoW hobby horse and now we are talking about cavers dragging fellow cavers into court. The whole world has gone mad. The idea of cavers getting fellow cavers into court is abhorrent. It is simply disgusting. What is wrong with you? I thought caving was an intelligent pastime.

Stuart France suggested a court case, in fact...

3) Go back to 1 if there is no overlap.  If we have arrived back at (3) too many times then exit with the status quo applying (Drws has to stay open, while landowner doesn't consent to its use) and think of something else like talking to the mineral rights owner or start a court case on "CRoW Access"...

The specifics of whether this case is a judicial review or "caver vs. caver" or "caver vs. landowner&q