Author Topic: Newtocaving vs Startcaving  (Read 2183 times)

Offline Big Bad Botch

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Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« on: November 17, 2018, 02:46:26 pm »
I was checking the Peak District website for something work related, when I started procrastinating and had a look at their section on caving. To my surprise, this was quite good, with some good links (the BCA, DCA, BCL etc), and seemingly fairly informed.  For newcomer info however, as well as a link to the BCA website with an instruction to follow the new to caving links for leaflets etc (I believe this should now link to newtocaving.com, but I can't find any links anywhere), it also had a link to startcaving.co.uk.

Having looked at both, I am a little perplexed. They are both very similar, with well designed sites offering the same kind of information for beginners. The main difference I noticed was an alternate (reduced?) set of clubs listed on startcaving. I have a vague memory of being contacted to put our club on startcaving not long after we were listed on newtocaving. I think I declined because I didn't feel like adding any more banners to our website (especially seemingly redundant ones). Perhaps other clubs thought this too, and this has contributed?

I guess my question is: why do they both exist? From my perspective, they were set up at around the same time. Are they some proxy battle in a war between our UKC overlords and some unseen opponent? Or just coincidentally filling the same niche? It's worth mentioning that newtocaving is now the BCA certified site, so is presumably in the top spot

If anyone has any idea I'd be interested. Or perhaps I've just let off a proverbial firework in an animal shelter, in which case I look forward to 7000 replies

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2018, 05:20:46 pm »
Weird to not have heard of it. I note a comment on the 16th August 2017 from a Mr Robin Stiffin (I believe from the Masson) that goes;
'Plenty about draughting, but didn’t read anything about bad air, especially in some English caves, where some readers will start their caving. Or is that just a Derbyshire peculiarity….'
This made me think it originated in America (along with other text) but then startcaving.com looks nothing like it. Perhaps an abandoned project?

There's some strange stuff on that website:
The first aid bit appears very American with 'freedom' units flying around everywhere, also has a discussion in it. Not to mention it has a section on hyperthermia... Its burns section refers to the dangers of carbide and leaking batteries without mentioning friction burns. It also doesn't mention how to call cave rescue or that there is one.
A fair few typos here and there but it's clear someone's put a lot of effort in.

This bit did make me laugh:
The Forest of Dean boasts the Otter Hole near Chepstow with its many spectacular decorations, as well as the Slaughter Stream Cave which is 12km (7.5 miles) long. The large entrance to the show caves of Peak Cavern (15km; 9 miles) makes them the most famous in Derbyshire, but there are many lesser known cave systems that are also quite easy to explore.

There's a lot wrong with that - besides the point that Mendip gets two paragraphs in the same section. Mind you the rest of the world gets the same treatment with only Deer Cave being mentioned in Mulu for example.

They seem quite enamoured with Carbide and seem slightly behind the times equipment wise... (note the 'and'!).

Still fair play for making the website, and there are elements of this that are missing from newtocaving - the cave diving write up and the amount of explanation on certain things are good, clearly a work of passion. Seems a shame it isn't one collaborative project.

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2018, 05:42:33 pm »
They seem quite enamoured with Carbide and seem slightly behind the times equipment wise... (note the 'and'!).

Just slightly out of date...

"Several mechanical devices used for belaying are available on the market. The two most common are the Stict plate and the Edelrid-Bankl plate."

Apparently (because I am too young to have even been alive when the Eldelrid Bankl plate was made) these were all the rage in the 70s...

This particular paragraph is wonderful:
"It is their efficiency that at times makes these mechanical devices dangerous. It is the tendency of the belayer to step the rope slippage and hold the fall. When using these plates, it is often too easy for a belayer to lock up the rope completely. If the rcpe is locked up completely early in the fall, the total force will be absorbed instantly, putting extremely high stresses not only on the falling climber but also on the rigging. Tie-off anchors and other components in the system have been known to fail under these high stresses; whereas in a body belay the rope always manages to slip slightly, thereby adding to the dynamic qualities. Therefore, it is our opinion that the body belay should be the first choice when a belay is needed, unless the belayer has had sufficient practice with a plate to make safe use of it."

Some of it looks (from typos etc) like it has been scanned from a book? Lots of letter replacements that come from incorrect optical character recognition.

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2018, 05:43:00 pm »
I was checking the Peak District website for something work related, when I started procrastinating and had a look at their section on caving. To my surprise, this was quite good, with some good links (the BCA, DCA, BCL etc), and seemingly fairly informed.  For newcomer info however, as well as a link to the BCA website with an instruction to follow the new to caving links for leaflets etc (I believe this should now link to newtocaving.com, but I can't find any links anywhere), it also had a link to startcaving.co.uk.

Having looked at both, I am a little perplexed. They are both very similar, with well designed sites offering the same kind of information for beginners. The main difference I noticed was an alternate (reduced?) set of clubs listed on startcaving. I have a vague memory of being contacted to put our club on startcaving not long after we were listed on newtocaving. I think I declined because I didn't feel like adding any more banners to our website (especially seemingly redundant ones). Perhaps other clubs thought this too, and this has contributed?

I guess my question is: why do they both exist? From my perspective, they were set up at around the same time. Are they some proxy battle in a war between our UKC overlords and some unseen opponent? Or just coincidentally filling the same niche? It's worth mentioning that newtocaving is now the BCA certified site, so is presumably in the top spot

If anyone has any idea I'd be interested. Or perhaps I've just let off a proverbial firework in an animal shelter, in which case I look forward to 7000 replies

War - no absolutely not. Coincidence - yes.

I tried to contact Start Caving when it first appeared - no reply.

Was there not some controversy about where some of the info on Start Caving came from?

Whilst on the subject of New to Caving - it would be great if the CHECC website would include a link to and use one of our banners, thank you. 

https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=22143.0

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2018, 05:54:06 pm »
Weirdest bit so far on the Start Caving site:

"The type of cave and the planned route will determine the equipment you take along. After consulting with the leader, select the appropriate gear. it is a good idea to take a little extra in case of an emergency, but the key is to pack wisely. Too much equipment will weigh you down, slow your progress and make your caving trip a miserable haul. Please remember that your safety will often be dependant on your equipment – if you have low quality or old gear you may want to consider taking out a loan to buy replacements. Don’t forget to compare no credit check options (link to payday loans company) or interest free options (link to Lloyds Bank) before taking a loan."

I don't think it's any sort of scam because there's nothing special in the URL and why would you link to Lloyd's Bank? Still quite weird though...

Offline Badlad

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2018, 06:43:06 pm »
These are very different sites and at first I thought they may compliment each other.  Start caving has a huge amount of information including on equipment, digging and cave diving and doesn't appear to be strictly aimed at the novice.  Newtocaving has much more basic info aimed at giving clear guidance and inspiration to beginners.  I tried numerous times to contact the site authors without reply.  'Start' appeared shortly after 'New'  and I have never been entirely sure whether it was coincidence or not.

Shortly afterwards Chris Howes published an item in Descent magazine under the title "Respecting cavers' work" which suggested much of the content had been copied without permission and requests from a publisher to remove it had not been replied to.  He asked clubs to consider this information before adding links to the site.

In the next issue he stated, "Start Caving....  had extensively 'borrowed' its content from a book without the permission of the author or publisher.  Surprisingly, at the time of writing, it's still on line though its early rapid expansion appears to have ceased.  In case readers are in any way confused, we would like to make it absolutely clear Start Caving has no connection with the rather excellent Newtocaving which hasn't lifted any material without asking."

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2018, 07:45:11 pm »
I contacted The Peak District National Park and am pleased to say they've updated the listing with a link to New To Caving  :)

It also says:

'For further information visit www.british-caving.org.uk and follow the link "New to Caving?" Here you can download British Caving Association's two leaflets: "Try Caving" and "So, You Want to Go Caving."

I'm hoping it will be easier to find New to Caving on the BCA site and also to produce some updated leaflets by early next year.

I'm going to contact them again and see if I can get them to use some better photos.

Thanks to Botch for pointing this out in the first place  :thumbsup:  If you come across any other websites where we could place/improve a link to New to Caving and help inspire more folks to our sport, please let me know, thanks, Jane

https://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/visiting/getactive/caving

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2018, 08:35:34 pm »
Does anyone know who is behind this site?

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2018, 11:26:10 pm »
This site?  ;) Badlad and Pegasus.  :smartass:

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2018, 06:40:30 am »
This site?  ;) Badlad and Pegasus.  :smartass:

And the Mods and everyone who uses UKC :)

Offline wellyjen

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2020, 09:20:52 am »
Two years latter and it is still there. Is there any clue as to who is responsible for startcaving? It does have a feel of a site that has been cobbled together from other sources.
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Offline Badlad

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Re: Newtocaving vs Startcaving
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2020, 09:42:46 am »
I never found out who was behind it.  I made a number of enquiries at the time, as mentioned above, but received no reply.  I wonder if anyone else found out.  I haven't tried for a long time but it did seem very strange that someone would produce such a site and then go to lengths to hide their identity.  Makes no sense to me.

As for newtocaving.  Me and Pegasus set it up together with a professional web designer and the help of many other cavers.  We looked after it for three years and have now passed it over to the BCA.  It seemed the right thing to do as BCA IT modernised itself and need such a site and this was an 'oven ready deal' all ready to go.
 ;) :thumbsup:

 

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