I'm not sure pooling all the wealth of the UK's national caving bodies into a single pub in a single region (that could potentially run at a loss given it has just shut down anyway) is the best policy :P
Especially given that cavers probably wouldn't even bother going to that often anyway (given social changes etc. - would you believe that an increasing number of student cavers don't/barely drink!), and *definitely* if expecting to be priced at anything like what cavers expect for accommodation, or relying on famously tight-fisted cavers to spend money...
I'm not sure it would be the best policy either, but it would certainly be worth giving it some serious consideration.
Comparing the UK's current rate of inflation with the current interest rates our investments are making already represents a financial loss to British caving.
I wasn't particularly thinking of the general caving population using a National Caving Centre, whether that be the Hill Inn or any other such location, as an alternative to staying in club huts, though there are plenty of people, myself included, who would be willing to pay the going rate for B&B type accommodation and/or camping.
I can see all sorts of potential benefits of the Hill Inn becoming a National Caving Centre:
1. The perfect location for our annual Hidden Earth Conference and other such potentially profit making caving related events, thus saving the significant costs and headache of having to find and rent a school or other such venue, with no neighbours to annoy.
2. An equally ideal location for the British Caving Library, thus saving the current rental costs of Glutton Bridge (though I'm sure Jenny and Mary might have something to say about it).
3. Secure, regulated accommodation in the heart of the UK's biggest caving region for youngsters who don't have the benefit of having family members who are cavers. This could reduce the significant burdens placed on clubs and their members to accommodate youngsters and take them caving.
4. A central location for outdoor pursuits instructors from all around the country to utilise for the very important activities that encourage youngsters into the sport, which I'm sure the BCA Y&D group could support. This could also include a central equipment store for such activities.
5. Provide employment and accommodation for someone to run the place.
6. Provide valuable income for the local community.
7. Provide a central location for the Northern Section of the CDG to have a compressor and charge for refills?
8. Provide an excellent location for those that do like a pint and an affordable pie and pea supper after a caving trip.
Currently the vast amounts of what is effectively our money is tied up in poorly performing bank and building society accounts and is doing nothing for British caving.
The GPF, with over £150K sat doing nothing in its various accounts, give less money away to expeditions than they collect from selling raffle tickets and bloody post cards FFS!
It wasn't that long ago that the BCRA came cap in hand to the BCA wanting money because they didn't want to dip into their equally significant reserves.
If I'm not mistaken there is a very large amount of money sat doing nothing that was donated via someones Will to help set up a National Caving Centre.
It's time we got it spent.