UK Caving

ORGANISATIONS => BCA => Topic started by: Andy Sparrow on February 06, 2014, 03:28:45 pm

Title: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Andy Sparrow on February 06, 2014, 03:28:45 pm
Taken from the current CNCC thread:

The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.


The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 


Examples, please....

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples, please....

Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Burt on February 06, 2014, 03:46:48 pm
I'd bet that more people are introduced to caving as a hobby via a commercial experience of some sort, than are introduced by other means. I have no stats to prove this, but just by virtue of commercial novice trips vs private novice trips, I'd bet this is true.

As for dozens of unecessary bolts...."for the convenience of commercial operators"... the vast majority of commercial trips are level 1 which would not involve bolts or pitches.
Title: re: BCA resources directed towards 'instructed caving'
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 06, 2014, 03:51:54 pm
I have no doubt whatsoever that you are spot-on Burt with your bet that more people are introduced (now, and historically) to caving as a hobby via a professionally led/instructed experience, than are introduced by other means.

In another relatively recent thread someone asked whether children should be taken caving - perhaps a better question would be "Should UK caving have a future or should it just become extinct?". If you've got under 18s going caving in a C21st litigious world then presumably you'll need provably competent people to take them. Hence professional certification.

It would be helpful to get a fix on the demographic for UK caving and its various bodies.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Peter Burgess on February 06, 2014, 03:56:52 pm
As the first non-commercial caver to contribute to this topic, my observations is that most of the membership applications to my club from raw beginners never mention any commercial introduction. Most are from people looking to move on from other interests such as diving or climbing, or want to join because a friend of theirs is already a member.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'instructed caving'
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 06, 2014, 03:58:46 pm
... most of the membership applications to my club from raw beginners never mention any commercial introduction.

Is it a question on the application form?

[For the record I got into caving after having been professionally led in my youth].
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Peter Burgess on February 06, 2014, 04:06:22 pm
Not directly, however the four most pertinent "boxes" are:

FOUND WCMS VIA:
REASON TO JOIN WCMS:
OTHER CLUBS:
EXPERIENCE:

... which give an applicant scope to point out anything they consider relevant. Occasionally one or two might mention a "course" but it's rare.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'instructed caving'
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 06, 2014, 04:08:11 pm
The most common answer I get when I ask people "Why caving?" when I meet them is that they "watched Descent".
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Peter Burgess on February 06, 2014, 04:13:32 pm
I am sure quite a few might say "I found this hole, and felt an urge to find out what was down there" or something along those lines.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: bat on February 06, 2014, 04:20:38 pm
Iv a suspicion that the Scouts might be a one of the ways that a lot of people start caving however I don't know where they fit in the commercial, non-commercial professional, non-professionally groups. Certainly lots of under 18s start caving in the Scouts

Most however are happy to use the bolts
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'instructed caving'
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 06, 2014, 04:23:55 pm
They'd fall under the instructed caving heading, I reckon: hence the totally misleading and skewed categorisation of "commercial caving". "Commercialism" is a highly negativised emotive term - it's used by people who have a poisoned agenda, imo.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Andy Sparrow on February 06, 2014, 04:29:08 pm
Iv a suspicion that the Scouts might be a one of the ways that a lot of people start caving however I don’t know where they fit in the commercial, non-commercial professional, non-professionally groups. Certainly lots of under 18s start caving in the Scouts

Some scout groups use scout instructors, and some use commercial providers.   It's unlikely any club applicant will say that their experience was commercial.  They might say scouts, or with the school, or at a centre.  The provider may have been purely commercial, a charitable body, or a subsidised local authority centre.  This is why it's more meaningful to talk in terms of instructed caving, rather than commercial caving.  Commercial caving is only an element in the broad spectrum of instructed caving.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Peter Burgess on February 06, 2014, 04:30:17 pm
Instructed caving can be done for altruistic and non-altruistic reasons. There is quite a difference between the two, even if the outcome might be broadly the same.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: jasonbirder on February 06, 2014, 04:30:27 pm
I've got zero agenda about commercial caving - I cave with loads of people involved in Commercial Caving as instructors...in fact without them i'd hardly have anyone to go caving with!

BUT, i'm pretty sure none of our group got into caving having first tried it with a commercial instructor.

I think lots of people get a first taste of Caving with a Commercial guided trip...but from our (admittedly small) sample that doesn't necessarily translate into active cavers...

Maybe that'll change in the future if more novices come into the sport that way...

But my experience is most of the active cavers I know got into it via the club route...via Uni clubs or the "gave it a go myself" route
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Jopo on February 06, 2014, 04:31:21 pm
Surely most cavers come via university clubs. I would be astounded if this contention is true:

I have no doubt whatsoever that you are spot-on Burt with your bet that more people are introduced (now, and historically) to caving as a hobby via a professionally led/instructed experience, than are introduced by other means.

Perhaps a more pertinent question is how many of those who are taken caving by a paid instructor actually ever go again.

5, 10, 15, ?%.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Peter Burgess on February 06, 2014, 04:33:20 pm
BUT - none of this relates to why the topic was set up.........
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pete K on February 06, 2014, 04:46:33 pm
The BCA is not just one unit of people that has to choose what topic to discuss at a particular meeting. There are committees charged with operating the award schemes, club training, equipment, expeditions etc... Each committee reports up the chain to BCA exec. The only individual with a direct mandate to represent the 'commercial' or better said - professional caving group is the training officer. Others on the exec may be qualified cavers but their role on the exec is concerned with other matters. Therefore, if we consider the training officer is the only representative professional caver in the whole exec I'd say we were in fact well underrepresented in terms of numbers.
A disproportionate amount of time is devoted to professional caving by the committees responsible for it!

I'm not aware of a single bolt placed in the Peak for a commercial reason that does not get used by any and all cavers. Besides, our registration fees contribute towards the bolt fund so are we not entitled to a bolt or 2?
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'instructed caving'
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 06, 2014, 05:05:04 pm
Surely most cavers come via university clubs. I would be astounded if this contention is true:

I have no doubt whatsoever that you are spot-on Burt with your bet that more people are introduced (now, and historically) to caving as a hobby via a professionally led/instructed experience, than are introduced by other means.

You may be correct that "most cavers come via university clubs".

Equally Burt may ALSO be correct that "more people are introduced to caving as a hobby via a commercial experience of some sort, than are introduced by other means".

The two statements are not opposed to each other, they can both be true.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: TheBitterEnd on February 06, 2014, 05:14:48 pm
Surely most cavers come via university clubs. I would be astounded if this contention is true:


I really don't think so. I know plenty of cavers who never went to university. It may be around 50/50%
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 06, 2014, 05:25:41 pm
BUT - none of this relates to why the topic was set up.........

It does, largely as many of the commercial (I suspect they'd prefer 'professional' as it has better connotations) contributors to the thread thus far have claimed that they are responsible for the majority of introductees to caving as a long-term pursuit and they thus hold the key to the future of caving as an activity. We can all give anecdotal evidence to to support or refute this. My own observations would be that most current committed cavers came via the student club route; they may or may not have had an earlier school trip, but that seems not have been a factor. I could also point out that few, if any, of the people that I have regularly caved with came via their route - but then as virtually of this group are over 50 they may not be representative  ;)

What I dislike about some of our commercial brethren is their sense of entitlement. As someone who has devoted a fair amount of time to cave conservation I get, shall we say, peeved, when I hear talk about our caves as resources to be exploited rather than assets to be preserved and I get even more peeved when the BCA virtually instructs* us to attempt to renegotiate long-standing access agreements to let them in. Fortunately the one agreement which causes most hassle in this regard not only has a cast-iron landowner but is also non-negotiable for the next century.

In this respect, I find it fascinating that the thread which sprouted this one indicates a disagreement between BCA and CNCC as the CNCC move towards facilitating commercial access to towards having commercial members is so similar to the BCA moves to facilitate commercial access. It is this 'slippery slope' which so concerns the likes of ex-sumper who doesn't want to find that he suddenly has to pay a significant fee to go digging. I think he'd be even more miffed if such changes also led to his digging team needing a 'qualified' leader.

*only a slight exaggeration.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Bottlebank on February 06, 2014, 05:28:11 pm
Quote
I'm not aware of a single bolt placed in the Peak for a commercial reason that does not get used by any and all cavers. Besides, our registration fees contribute towards the bolt fund so are we not entitled to a bolt or 2?

If I remember rightly in Giants there are a number before you get to Garlands, if you know where to look. Whether they were placed under the bolting scheme or not I don't know, but they were put in for commercial caving.

So far as I know they are still there.

And for the record I don't care how people come into caving, no one knows, the likely answer is it's a combination of routes including commercial caving at various levels. So what, as long as they do keep coming.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 06, 2014, 05:29:55 pm
Besides, our registration fees contribute towards the bolt fund so are we not entitled to a bolt or 2?

If those bolts are placed specifically for you guys then their placement may not be in the best interests of cave conservation and so the answer cannot be an unqualified one.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pete K on February 06, 2014, 05:35:38 pm
Graham all bolts are affronts to cave conservation, even the ones non-professionals use. I don't think anyone will win that argument.

The bolts at Garlands are regularly used by all types of cavers, way more so than any paid group. I can't think the ones you refer to. If it's the Chert Hall route then I have seen the spits keep multiplying as they fail up there because the DCA has chosen not to P bolt that route because it is mostly a professional circuit.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Bottlebank on February 06, 2014, 05:44:57 pm
I didn't mean the ones at Garlands, I meant the ones in Upper East Passage and the aven above base camp chamber.

Perhaps they're no longer there or perhaps you haven't looked hard enough :-)
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Peter Burgess on February 06, 2014, 05:49:19 pm
And for the record I don't care how people come into caving, no one knows, the likely answer is it's a combination of routes including commercial caving at various levels. So what, as long as they do keep coming.
Well, if professional cavers persuade us that their operations are essential for the long-term future of the activity, they can justify more influence on the way we do things than might otherwise be the case.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 06, 2014, 05:55:07 pm
Graham all bolts are affronts to cave conservation, even the ones non-professionals use. I don't think anyone will win that argument.

Everything is to some degree a compromise. The original point of the p-hanger program was that it facilitated both conservation and safety by eliminating bolt-rash and the use of dangerously worn spits. Sadly it has not achieved one of its original design criteria as it has not been possible to routinely drill out and replace worn p-hangers in the same drill hole.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pete K on February 06, 2014, 05:56:21 pm
I didn't mean the ones at Garlands, I meant the ones in Upper East Passage and the aven above base camp chamber.

Perhaps they're no longer there or perhaps you haven't looked hard enough :-)
Ahh, I'm with you. You confused me because they're no where near Garlands. Again, I see far more club groups up the Spiral than led groups. As for Upper West, I don't know the origin of the bolts but I think they where placed as training bolts (badly as it's a poor ladder hang) and I do use them a lot professionally with newbies before going deeper. Better to practice there than snarl up Garlands.
Anyway, we digress, back on topic.....
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 06, 2014, 06:00:41 pm
To my mind the one development that has done more to facilitate the long term health of caving has been the growth and success of CHECC.

Thanks to the friendships they have made through this, many of our younger members now have extensive contacts throughout British caving and get to share experiences and knowledge for more widely than before. A number of our ex-students are now actively serving on committees on non-student clubs, are actively caving (and digging) with them on a very regular basis.

This is all to the good - and we never talk about the nudity (Descent, last issue, page 17, all we said was how remarkable it was that the bloke on the right was underground and isn't it about time he bought some new kit.  :blink:)
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Andy Sparrow on February 06, 2014, 07:14:43 pm
This is all very interesting but I'm still waiting for exsumper to answer my questions.....
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: damian on February 06, 2014, 07:43:34 pm
This is all very interesting but I'm still waiting for exsumper to answer my questions.....
So am I , Andy, which is why I am sorry to be somewhat highjacking your thread. However some points have arisen that I think need comment.

Despite what a few people will try to have you believe, there is absolutely no intended (or, I believe, unintended) "commercialisation" of BCA. BCA (as NCA before it) has had a Training Committee which deals with everything to do with caver training on BCA Council's behalf, including recreational and professional training.

This is one of a number of Committees that do all sorts of things on behalf of cavers, including: conservation & access work across the country; negotiating and providing insurance to allow us all to go caving and club committees to be able to function; providing attractively priced web space to members; installing and testing bolts across the country; testing ropes & equipment; keeping abreast of legal developments that may affect our ability to go caving; representing cavers at a national level with Bodies such as Natural England, Defra etc; representing cavers in Europe and the rest of the World; supporting a national caving library; supporting university caving; encouraging newcomers into the sport; keeping an eye on current issues such as WNS in bats, radon and fracking; liaising with the media to further our interests. Virtually all of this is done by hard-working volunteers and has absolutely nothing to do with professional caving.

In fact I suspect virtually the entire evidence for the assertion about BCA's commercialisation comes from the appearance of a draft statement on "commercial caving". This simply seeks to remind members that BCA's constitution states that we should always seek for the widest possible access when negotiating agreements. Specifically it points out that there are potentially many different types of what is often termed "commercial caving" and it may be that a landowner may be willing to allow some of these, but they don't necessarily realise they exist unless it is pointed out to them. It absolutely totally does NOT, as Graham claims*, instruct anyone to renegotiate any agreements.

This vaguely 10-line statement represents a tiny fragment of the work BCA has done in the last few years and in no way represents "commercialisation".
* albeit only slightly exagerating!
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: damian on February 06, 2014, 07:54:56 pm
Oh and just incase there is any doubt, BCA's qualifications are entirely self funding (and have always been). In theory they "break even" but in fact this has seen a surplus every year since BCA's inception. Despite theoretically breaking even, the net overall contribution of the professional schemes to BCA's (recreational) coffers is something in the region of £20k.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 06, 2014, 08:11:07 pm
Taken from the current CNCC thread:

The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.


The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 


Examples, please....

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples, please....

"The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers".

Examples. The national bolt scheme and the national cave leader scheme.  The developement and operation of both of these schemes were and are largely financed by ordinary cavers. They are to a great extent, mostly for the benefit of the commercial sector.

On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples 2 As far as pointless and unecessary bolts paid for by the BCA is concerned. Hunters Hole springs to mind.  It is arguable whether the re-bolting of many of the routes in Thrupe Lane Swallet was necessary; For some of which natural belays exist .

The prize for the cave with the most ludicrous, uneccessary, and pointless bolts, installed by a commercial operator; is won hands down by Mangle Hole.

For those who don't know Mangle Hole; it consists of a narrow rift angled at forty five degrees, the descent of which leads to a series of chambers.  To demonstrate how ludicrous the situation is, I present  the following anecdote:

In the nineties I did a solo trip into this cave to dive the sumps. For the descent of the cave I used a handline, whilst simultaneously carrying full cave diving equipment;including bottles!; in three tackle bags suspended from a sling around my shoulders. Thats how necessary some of these stupid bolt routes are!! :wall:

The prize for the cave with the most uneccessary bolts installed by and for the benefit of a commercial operator has to has to go to Gough's Cave in Cheddar. For the numerous pointless bolts installed within.

Pray tell if any of the examples I have given are factually incorrect?

over to you Andy
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 06, 2014, 08:36:10 pm
This is all very interesting but I'm still waiting for exsumper to answer my questions.....

In fact I suspect virtually the entire evidence for the assertion about BCA's commercialisation comes from the appearance of a draft statement on "commercial caving". This simply seeks to remind members that BCA's constitution states that we should always seek for the widest possible access when negotiating agreements. Specifically it points out that there are potentially many different types of what is often termed "commercial caving" and it may be that a landowner may be willing to allow some of these, but they don't necessarily realise they exist unless it is pointed out to them. It absolutely totally does NOT, as Graham claims*, instruct anyone to renegotiate any agreements.



Rubbish  Commercialisation has been part of the agenda all along. First you tried to destroy  the influence of clubs, second you then tried to destroy the amateur ethos.

As an example of this,

In the nineties It was announced that the BCA had purchased a large number of SRT kits for the purpose of facilitating club training days. Not an unreasonable request!

As club cave rescue rep, I wished to run an SRT training day for  my club and asked to borrow them. I was told that despite my extensive experience, this would not be possible because I didn't have a CIC or similar qualification.

I'm not interested in the rest of the crap you've spouted, In common with a lot of other cavers I'm just sick of the Hypocrisy, lies, deceit, and pathetic games, engaged in by some of the more senior representatives of our national and regional caving bodies!

However you describe it; Both the CNCC and BCA have been  promoting and suggesting  to landowners "Cash for Access" !!!!!!

The ordinary caver doesn't want it! It'll destroy caving as we all know it!

So cut it out or fuck off!!! :icon_321:

P.S.
If you think this a little harsh or unfair, just reflect on the fact that the cash for access issue has only come to light as a result of recent activism on this forum!!   Prior to this, the only cavers that knew amateur caving was being sold down the river  were officials of the BCA/CNCC!!  :spank: :furious: :spank: :furious:
 




Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Andy Sparrow on February 06, 2014, 08:51:20 pm
Taken from the current CNCC thread:

The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.


The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 


Examples, please....

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples, please....

"The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers".

Examples. The national bolt scheme and the national cave leader scheme.  The developement and operation of both of these schemes were and are largely financed by ordinary cavers. They are to a great extent, mostly for the benefit of the commercial sector.

On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples 2 As far as pointless and unecessary bolts paid for by the BCA is concerned. Hunters Hole springs to mind.  It is arguable whether the re-bolting of many of the routes in Thrupe Lane Swallet was necessary; For some of which natural belays exist .

The prize for the cave with the most ludicrous, uneccessary, and pointless bolts, installed by a commercial operator; is won hands down by Mangle Hole.

For those who don't know Mangle Hole; it consists of a narrow rift angled at forty five degrees, the descent of which leads to a series of chambers.  To demonstrate how ludicrous the situation is, I present  the following anecdote:

In the nineties I did a solo trip into this cave to dive the sumps. For the descent of the cave I used a handline, whilst simultaneously carrying full cave diving equipment;including bottles!; in three tackle bags suspended from a sling around my shoulders. Thats how necessary some of these stupid bolt routes are!! :wall:

The prize for the cave with the most uneccessary bolts installed by and for the benefit of a commercial operator has to has to go to Gough's Cave in Cheddar. For the numerous pointless bolts installed within.

Pray tell if any of the examples I have given are factually incorrect?

the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients

Hunters Hole - the only cave on the list which is ever likely to be used by the 'commercial' sector.   I am probably the most regular 'commercial' user of this cave - amounting to about 10 times a year.  Hunters Hole is Mendip's most popular SRT training and practice cave and as such is used regularly by club cavers, who, without doubt, represent the largest user group for this cave.

Thrupe Lane -  You seem to be making the mistake of assuming that if the installer is a club caver, and a professional instructor, their only possible motive for undertaking the work is personal gain.   You really think that instructors are running commercial trips into Thrupe Lane?  It's far from an ideal venue, and one that I gave up using about 20 years ago.

Mangle Hole - the same observation applies.  You are again assuming that if the installer is a club caver, and a professional instructor, their only possible motive for undertaking the work is personal gain.   But, please, use some common sense - is anyone really going to use Mangle Hole as a 'commercial' venue?  It's a ridiculous concept.

Gough's Cave - most bolting was done by members of Cheddar Caving Club in order to create a venue for club training.  This venue is very rarely made available to instructors. 

So in conclusion your assertion that the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clientsis factually far from correct.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pitlamp on February 06, 2014, 09:03:42 pm
I am not against instructed caving; many of my friends make a living in this way and they're very good at it. The ones I know are just ordinary cavers anyway. I'm pretty sure they also include conservation education as standard when dealing with clients (which I mention to make Graham feel a bit happier).

What I do find slightly concerning is an assumption that people who gain qualifications to allow them to lead less experienced people are somehow superior to regular club cavers. I don't think this is a problem at all within our own community but it may be how uninitiated outsiders see the situation. As a result it may be that people who act as instructors are the first to be consulted by the media for example, whenever there is some newsworthy caving related happening. If that's the case then such instructors have quite a responsibility to give a well rounded response, taking into account the overall caving community's interests. I have to say that, in my experience, that does generally happen.

But the real forcing ground for speleological endeavour remains the many clubs and individual cavers who do it very competently, as a pastime. Happily, that's exactly where many instructors originate anyway. I suspect BCA's attitude has always (rightly) been "Can we afford not to deal with commercial caving interests?".

The issue about the numbers of folk entering caving via a commercial operation is not an easy one. When many people who use this forum started caving there were hardly any instructors! The proportion of entrants from an instructed beginning is probably much higher among younger cavers. In some cases they may have had no choice in this - for example many university unions seem to be insisting on student clubs having the involvement of a professional caver, even though the clubs may be entirely competent to look after their freshers themselves. (Perhaps it's yet another classic example of people mixing up the true meanings of "professional" and "competent".) But let's not blame our caving instructors for this - it's more to do with the silly way our legal system "works" in this country these days.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 06, 2014, 09:06:39 pm
Taken from the current CNCC thread:

The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.


The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 


Examples, please....

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples, please....

"The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers".

Examples. The national bolt scheme and the national cave leader scheme.  The developement and operation of both of these schemes were and are largely financed by ordinary cavers. They are to a great extent, mostly for the benefit of the commercial sector.

On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples 2 As far as pointless and unecessary bolts paid for by the BCA is concerned. Hunters Hole springs to mind.  It is arguable whether the re-bolting of many of the routes in Thrupe Lane Swallet was necessary; For some of which natural belays exist .

The prize for the cave with the most ludicrous, uneccessary, and pointless bolts, installed by a commercial operator; is won hands down by Mangle Hole.

For those who don't know Mangle Hole; it consists of a narrow rift angled at forty five degrees, the descent of which leads to a series of chambers.  To demonstrate how ludicrous the situation is, I present  the following anecdote:

In the nineties I did a solo trip into this cave to dive the sumps. For the descent of the cave I used a handline, whilst simultaneously carrying full cave diving equipment;including bottles!; in three tackle bags suspended from a sling around my shoulders. Thats how necessary some of these stupid bolt routes are!! :wall:

The prize for the cave with the most uneccessary bolts installed by and for the benefit of a commercial operator has to has to go to Gough's Cave in Cheddar. For the numerous pointless bolts installed within.

Pray tell if any of the examples I have given are factually incorrect?

the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients

Hunters Hole - the only cave on the list which is ever likely to be used by the 'commercial' sector.   I am probably the most regular 'commercial' user of this cave - amounting to about 10 times a year.  Hunters Hole is Mendip's most popular SRT training and practice cave and as such is used regularly by club cavers, who, without doubt, represent the largest user group for this cave.

Thrupe Lane -  You seem to be making the mistake of assuming that if the installer is a club caver, and a professional instructor, their only possible motive for undertaking the work is personal gain.   You really think that instructors are running commercial trips into Thrupe Lane?  It's far from an ideal venue, and one that I gave up using about 20 years ago.

Mangle Hole - the same observation applies.  You are again assuming that if the installer is a club caver, and a professional instructor, their only possible motive for undertaking the work is personal gain.   But, please, use some common sense - is anyone really going to use Mangle Hole as a 'commercial' venue?  It's a ridiculous concept.

Gough's Cave - most bolting was done by members of Cheddar Caving Club in order to create a venue for club training.  This venue is very rarely made available to instructors. 

So in conclusion your assertion that the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clientsis factually far from correct.

Nicely finessed Andy. So you never had anything to do with installation of any of these bolts then? :thumbsup: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 06, 2014, 09:19:25 pm
To my mind the one development that has done more to facilitate the long term health of caving has been the growth and success of CHECC.

Thanks to the friendships they have made through this, many of our younger members now have extensive contacts throughout British caving and get to share experiences and knowledge for more widely than before. A number of our ex-students are now actively serving on committees on non-student clubs, are actively caving (and digging) with them on a very regular basis.

This is all to the good - and we never talk about the nudity (Descent, last issue, page 17, all we said was how remarkable it was that the bloke on the right was underground and isn't it about time he bought some new kit.  :blink:)

Graham: I couldn't agree more.

With regard to student nudity However I wouldn't dare comment; Lest I be accused of being an old lech. Mrs Exsumper is also a deft wielder of a Wok! ;D
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 06, 2014, 09:24:32 pm
I am not against instructed caving; many of my friends make a living in this way and they're very good at it. The ones I know are just ordinary cavers anyway. I'm pretty sure they also include conservation education as standard when dealing with clients (which I mention to make Graham feel a bit happier).

I am not against instructed caving either. However, I am against the way that it is carried out by certain 'qualified' people. I can attest to intentional flouting of access agreements and when I make the point about 'assets' to be expolited, I am merely reporting conversations that I was party to.

What I do find slightly concerning is an assumption that people who gain qualifications to allow them to lead less experienced people are somehow superior to regular club cavers. I don't think this is a problem at all within our own community but it may be how uninitiated outsiders see the situation. As a result it may be that people who act as instructors are the first to be consulted by the media for example, whenever there is some newsworthy caving related happening. If that's the case then such instructors have quite a responsibility to give a well rounded response, taking into account the overall caving community's interests. I have to say that, in my experience, that does generally happen.

Most of the 'legends' of British cave exploration had little if anything to do with paid instruction. I suspect that the reasons for this can be found in Chris Bonnington's autobiography. Worth reading anyway.

But the real forcing ground for speleological endeavour remains the many clubs and individual cavers who do it very competently, as a pastime.

Happily, that's exactly where many instructors originate anyway.

Ironic, isn't it.

I suspect BCA's attitude has always (rightly) been "Can we afford not to deal with commercial caving interests?".

This is a two-way street and the traffic most be carefully monitored.

The issue about the numbers of folk entering caving via a commercial operation is not an easy one. When many people who use this forum started caving there were hardly any instructors! The proportion of entrants from an instructed beginning is probably much higher among younger cavers. In some cases they may have had no choice in this - for example many university unions seem to be insisting on student clubs having the involvement of a professional caver, even though the clubs may be entirely competent to look after their freshers themselves. (Perhaps it's yet another classic example of people mixing up the true meanings of "professional" and "competent".) But let's not blame our caving instructors for this - it's more to do with the silly way our legal system "works" in this country these days.

The legal system in the UK works well, which is why the Jib Tunnel case failed against Dr Farrer but succeeded against the Scout Association. The University Union thing is a red herring, as anyone who knew the Bristol safety officer who was made redundant a few years back will tell you. Jim had no problem with the way UBSS operated. Others use the law as an excuse, 'cos it certainly ain't a reason.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 06, 2014, 09:25:38 pm
To my mind the one development that has done more to facilitate the long term health of caving has been the growth and success of CHECC.

Thanks to the friendships they have made through this, many of our younger members now have extensive contacts throughout British caving and get to share experiences and knowledge for more widely than before. A number of our ex-students are now actively serving on committees on non-student clubs, are actively caving (and digging) with them on a very regular basis.

This is all to the good - and we never talk about the nudity (Descent, last issue, page 17, all we said was how remarkable it was that the bloke on the right was underground and isn't it about time he bought some new kit.  :blink:)

Graham: I couldn't agree more.

With regard to student nudity However I wouldn't dare comment; Lest I be accused of being an old lech. Mrs Exsumper is also a deft wielder of a Wok! ;D

Alex, yours is one of the clubs that I had in mind, as to the other, as I said we never talk about it.  ;)
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: damian on February 06, 2014, 09:26:18 pm
Rubbish  Commercialisation has been part of the agenda all along. First you tried to destroy  the influence of clubs, second you then tried to destroy the amateur ethos.
If by "destroying the influence of clubs" you mean allowing individual members to vote but still allowing clubs to veto anything in a separate vote, then maybe. I sort of take your point about SRT kits, but that is a fairly isolated example and certainly doesn't point to BCA becoming massively commercial. Also, at the risk of being fussy, in the 90s it was NCA not BCA.

Quote
I'm not interested in the rest of the crap you've spouted, In common with a lot of other cavers I'm just sick of the Hypocrisy, lies, deceit, and pathetic games, engaged in by some of the more senior representatives of our national and regional caving bodies!
With respect, that's not very nice. I don't think I have every lied, been hypocritical or played "pathetic games" while involved in BCA. Everything I have ever done has been precisely as I have believed BCA Council (as the senior democratic body) wishes me to. In my time as secretary (5 yrs I think) I am not aware of any attempt by Council to hide anything ... and I'd have a pretty good idea if it did. We publish everything, allow anyone who wishes to to attend our meetings, invite voting representatives from all the Regions and Constituent Bodies and are generally as open as I think it is possible to be.
Quote
However you describe it; Both the CNCC and BCA have been  promoting and suggesting  to landowners "Cash for Access" !!!!!!
Quote
P.S. If you think this a little harsh or unfair, just reflect on the fact that the cash for access issue has only come to light as a result of recent activism on this forum!!   Prior to this, the only cavers that knew amateur caving was being sold down the river  were officials of the BCA/CNCC!!  :spank: :furious: :spank: :furious:
I have said it before, and I'll say it again. BCA does not equal CNCC. We are separate bodies and in fact constitutionally BCA is not allowed to interfere in CNCC's affairs at all. This is exactly the same with CSCC, or indeed any other Region or Constituent Body. BCA has not suggested or promoted cash for access, nor I suspect will it ever.
Quote
So cut it out or fuck off!!! :icon_321:
I'll ignore that particularly unpleasant line.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 06, 2014, 09:33:16 pm
I am not against instructed caving; many of my friends make a living in this way and they're very good at it. The ones I know are just ordinary cavers anyway. I'm pretty sure they also include conservation education as standard when dealing with clients (which I mention to make Graham feel a bit happier).

What I do find slightly concerning is an assumption that people who gain qualifications to allow them to lead less experienced people are somehow superior to regular club cavers. I don't think this is a problem at all within our own community but it may be how uninitiated outsiders see the situation. As a result it may be that people who act as instructors are the first to be consulted by the media for example, whenever there is some newsworthy caving related happening. If that's the case then such instructors have quite a responsibility to give a well rounded response, taking into account the overall caving community's interests. I have to say that, in my experience, that does generally happen.

But the real forcing ground for speleological endeavour remains the many clubs and individual cavers who do it very competently, as a pastime. Happily, that's exactly where many instructors originate anyway. I suspect BCA's attitude has always (rightly) been "Can we afford not to deal with commercial caving interests?".

The issue about the numbers of folk entering caving via a commercial operation is not an easy one. When many people who use this forum started caving there were hardly any instructors! The proportion of entrants from an instructed beginning is probably much higher among younger cavers. In some cases they may have had no choice in this - for example many university unions seem to be insisting on student clubs having the involvement of a professional caver, even though the clubs may be entirely competent to look after their freshers themselves. (Perhaps it's yet another classic example of people mixing up the true meanings of "professional" and "competent".) But let's not blame our caving instructors for this - it's more to do with the silly way our legal system "works" in this country these days.

Sorry John:  I have to disagree with the opinion you express in your last paragraph. As we have seen with the CNCC Cash for access fiasco. Commercial instructors will always be looking to their own financial interest! Rather than the interests of ordinary cavers.  The University training situation can solely be laid at the BCA's door, due to their active promotion of commercial training qualifications and quite deliberate denigration of other training routes; e.g. learning by experience or from training provided by experienced amateur cavers or clubs. 

Best Wishes
Alex
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: damian on February 06, 2014, 09:39:07 pm
The University training situation can solely be laid at the BCA's door, due to their active promotion of commercial training qualifications and quite deliberate denigration of other training routes; e.g. learning by experience or from training provided by experienced amateur cavers or clubs.
Perhaps you ought to read the leaflet of Guidelines to Uni Clubs ... it says virtually the opposite of what you have just implied BCA say.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 06, 2014, 09:44:44 pm
Rubbish  Commercialisation has been part of the agenda all along. First you tried to destroy  the influence of clubs, second you then tried to destroy the amateur ethos.
If by "destroying the influence of clubs" you mean allowing individual members to vote but still allowing clubs to veto anything in a separate vote, then maybe. I sort of take your point about SRT kits, but that is a fairly isolated example and certainly doesn't point to BCA becoming massively commercial. Also, at the risk of being fussy, in the 90s it was NCA not BCA.

Quote
I'm not interested in the rest of the crap you've spouted, In common with a lot of other cavers I'm just sick of the Hypocrisy, lies, deceit, and pathetic games, engaged in by some of the more senior representatives of our national and regional caving bodies!
With respect, that's not very nice. I don't think I have every lied, been hypocritical or played "pathetic games" while involved in BCA. Everything I have ever done has been precisely as I have believed BCA Council (as the senior democratic body) wishes me to. In my time as secretary (5 yrs I think) I am not aware of any attempt by Council to hide anything ... and I'd have a pretty good idea if it did. We publish everything, allow anyone who wishes to to attend our meetings, invite voting representatives from all the Regions and Constituent Bodies and are generally as open as I think it is possible to be.
Quote
However you describe it; Both the CNCC and BCA have been  promoting and suggesting  to landowners "Cash for Access" !!!!!!
Quote
P.S. If you think this a little harsh or unfair, just reflect on the fact that the cash for access issue has only come to light as a result of recent activism on this forum!!   Prior to this, the only cavers that knew amateur caving was being sold down the river  were officials of the BCA/CNCC!!  :spank: :furious: :spank: :furious:
I have said it before, and I'll say it again. BCA does not equal CNCC. We are separate bodies and in fact constitutionally BCA is not allowed to interfere in CNCC's affairs at all. This is exactly the same with CSCC, or indeed any other Region or Constituent Body. BCA has not suggested or promoted cash for access, nor I suspect will it ever.
Quote
So cut it out or fuck off!!! :icon_321:
I'll ignore that particularly unpleasant line.

Oh the irony! the crux of my criticism in the BCA's eyes, being that in the nineties they were the NCA and not the BCA.

Encapsulates the attitude of the officers of the BCA perfectly: Thanks Damien  :thumbsup:

For your information this isn't about being nice ;D This is about a lot of cavers being very angry that their so called representatives are fucking up their greatest love! :thumbsup:
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 06, 2014, 09:49:38 pm
I am not against instructed caving; many of my friends make a living in this way and they're very good at it. The ones I know are just ordinary cavers anyway. I'm pretty sure they also include conservation education as standard when dealing with clients (which I mention to make Graham feel a bit happier).

I am not against instructed caving either. However, I am against the way that it is carried out by certain 'qualified' people. I can attest to intentional flouting of access agreements and when I make the point about 'assets' to be expolited, I am merely reporting conversations that I was party to.

What I do find slightly concerning is an assumption that people who gain qualifications to allow them to lead less experienced people are somehow superior to regular club cavers. I don't think this is a problem at all within our own community but it may be how uninitiated outsiders see the situation. As a result it may be that people who act as instructors are the first to be consulted by the media for example, whenever there is some newsworthy caving related happening. If that's the case then such instructors have quite a responsibility to give a well rounded response, taking into account the overall caving community's interests. I have to say that, in my experience, that does generally happen.

Most of the 'legends' of British cave exploration had little if anything to do with paid instruction. I suspect that the reasons for this can be found in Chris Bonnington's autobiography. Worth reading anyway.

But the real forcing ground for speleological endeavour remains the many clubs and individual cavers who do it very competently, as a pastime.

Happily, that's exactly where many instructors originate anyway.

Ironic, isn't it.

I suspect BCA's attitude has always (rightly) been "Can we afford not to deal with commercial caving interests?".

This is a two-way street and the traffic most be carefully monitored.

The issue about the numbers of folk entering caving via a commercial operation is not an easy one. When many people who use this forum started caving there were hardly any instructors! The proportion of entrants from an instructed beginning is probably much higher among younger cavers. In some cases they may have had no choice in this - for example many university unions seem to be insisting on student clubs having the involvement of a professional caver, even though the clubs may be entirely competent to look after their freshers themselves. (Perhaps it's yet another classic example of people mixing up the true meanings of "professional" and "competent".) But let's not blame our caving instructors for this - it's more to do with the silly way our legal system "works" in this country these days.

The legal system in the UK works well, which is why the Jib Tunnel case failed against Dr Farrer but succeeded against the Scout Association. The University Union thing is a red herring, as anyone who knew the Bristol safety officer who was made redundant a few years back will tell you. Jim had no problem with the way UBSS operated. Others use the law as an excuse, 'cos it certainly ain't a reason.

I think I may have met Jim or one of his colleagues quite recently! lets just say that he wasn't very complimentary about the former senior police officer who may or may not have made him and his colleagues redundant?
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 06, 2014, 09:58:06 pm
Taken from the current CNCC thread:

The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.


The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 


Examples, please....

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples, please....

"The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers".

Examples. The national bolt scheme and the national cave leader scheme.  The developement and operation of both of these schemes were and are largely financed by ordinary cavers. They are to a great extent, mostly for the benefit of the commercial sector.

On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples 2 As far as pointless and unecessary bolts paid for by the BCA is concerned. Hunters Hole springs to mind.  It is arguable whether the re-bolting of many of the routes in Thrupe Lane Swallet was necessary; For some of which natural belays exist .

The prize for the cave with the most ludicrous, uneccessary, and pointless bolts, installed by a commercial operator; is won hands down by Mangle Hole.

For those who don't know Mangle Hole; it consists of a narrow rift angled at forty five degrees, the descent of which leads to a series of chambers.  To demonstrate how ludicrous the situation is, I present  the following anecdote:

In the nineties I did a solo trip into this cave to dive the sumps. For the descent of the cave I used a handline, whilst simultaneously carrying full cave diving equipment;including bottles!; in three tackle bags suspended from a sling around my shoulders. Thats how necessary some of these stupid bolt routes are!! :wall:

The prize for the cave with the most uneccessary bolts installed by and for the benefit of a commercial operator has to has to go to Gough's Cave in Cheddar. For the numerous pointless bolts installed within.

Pray tell if any of the examples I have given are factually incorrect?

the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients

Hunters Hole - the only cave on the list which is ever likely to be used by the 'commercial' sector.   I am probably the most regular 'commercial' user of this cave - amounting to about 10 times a year.  Hunters Hole is Mendip's most popular SRT training and practice cave and as such is used regularly by club cavers, who, without doubt, represent the largest user group for this cave.

Thrupe Lane -  You seem to be making the mistake of assuming that if the installer is a club caver, and a professional instructor, their only possible motive for undertaking the work is personal gain.   You really think that instructors are running commercial trips into Thrupe Lane?  It's far from an ideal venue, and one that I gave up using about 20 years ago.

Mangle Hole - the same observation applies.  You are again assuming that if the installer is a club caver, and a professional instructor, their only possible motive for undertaking the work is personal gain.   But, please, use some common sense - is anyone really going to use Mangle Hole as a 'commercial' venue?  It's a ridiculous concept.

Gough's Cave - most bolting was done by members of Cheddar Caving Club in order to create a venue for club training.  This venue is very rarely made available to instructors. 

So in conclusion your assertion that the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clientsis factually far from correct.

You appear to have ignored or forgotten the pointless or uneccessary bolts part of my post.
Which is most certainly factually correct! As for not using some of these sites for commercial gain perhaps you should consult with your colleague capn chris and at least start singing from the same hymn book.

I'm also quite interested as to why both of you only started posting at the end of quite a long running discussion. Did you get the nod from colleagues Up North?  :lol:
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: JessopSmythe on February 06, 2014, 10:07:25 pm
Quote from: exsumper
This is about a lot of cavers being very angry that their so called representatives are fucking up their greatest love! :thumbsup:
Really? This thread appears to be about a handful of angry individuals. I speak to a lot of cavers in the real world away from the internet and I'm struggling to find any evidence that backs up your outlandish claim above.

If there really are "a lot of cavers" then they'd have a strong mandate to elect like minded individuals to the relevant committees and get things run the way to that suits them. The fact that they don't seem to be able to do that would suggest that there aren't as many angry cavers as you think. In fact my biggest source of anger is your consistently unpleasant attitude towards anyone who doesn't agree with your take on life, the universe and everything. Perhaps you should take some of your own, so pleasantly worded, advice

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pete K on February 06, 2014, 10:10:49 pm
 :clap2:
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Andy Sparrow on February 06, 2014, 10:16:30 pm
Taken from the current CNCC thread:

The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.


The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers. 


Examples, please....

 On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples, please....

"The point I'm making is that the BCA appears to spend a disproportionate amount of its time and resources promoting the interests of the commercial sector rather than that of ordinary cavers".

Examples. The national bolt scheme and the national cave leader scheme.  The developement and operation of both of these schemes were and are largely financed by ordinary cavers. They are to a great extent, mostly for the benefit of the commercial sector.

On Mendip dozens of uneccessary bolts (paid for by the BCA)  have been installed on little used and pointless esoteric SRT routes, the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.

Examples 2 As far as pointless and unecessary bolts paid for by the BCA is concerned. Hunters Hole springs to mind.  It is arguable whether the re-bolting of many of the routes in Thrupe Lane Swallet was necessary; For some of which natural belays exist .

The prize for the cave with the most ludicrous, uneccessary, and pointless bolts, installed by a commercial operator; is won hands down by Mangle Hole.

For those who don't know Mangle Hole; it consists of a narrow rift angled at forty five degrees, the descent of which leads to a series of chambers.  To demonstrate how ludicrous the situation is, I present  the following anecdote:

In the nineties I did a solo trip into this cave to dive the sumps. For the descent of the cave I used a handline, whilst simultaneously carrying full cave diving equipment;including bottles!; in three tackle bags suspended from a sling around my shoulders. Thats how necessary some of these stupid bolt routes are!! :wall:

The prize for the cave with the most uneccessary bolts installed by and for the benefit of a commercial operator has to has to go to Gough's Cave in Cheddar. For the numerous pointless bolts installed within.

Pray tell if any of the examples I have given are factually incorrect?

the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients

Hunters Hole - the only cave on the list which is ever likely to be used by the 'commercial' sector.   I am probably the most regular 'commercial' user of this cave - amounting to about 10 times a year.  Hunters Hole is Mendip's most popular SRT training and practice cave and as such is used regularly by club cavers, who, without doubt, represent the largest user group for this cave.

Thrupe Lane -  You seem to be making the mistake of assuming that if the installer is a club caver, and a professional instructor, their only possible motive for undertaking the work is personal gain.   You really think that instructors are running commercial trips into Thrupe Lane?  It's far from an ideal venue, and one that I gave up using about 20 years ago.

Mangle Hole - the same observation applies.  You are again assuming that if the installer is a club caver, and a professional instructor, their only possible motive for undertaking the work is personal gain.   But, please, use some common sense - is anyone really going to use Mangle Hole as a 'commercial' venue?  It's a ridiculous concept.

Gough's Cave - most bolting was done by members of Cheddar Caving Club in order to create a venue for club training.  This venue is very rarely made available to instructors. 

So in conclusion your assertion that the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clientsis factually far from correct.

You appear to have ignored or forgotten the pointless or uneccessary bolts part of my post.
Which is most certainly factually correct! As for not using some of these sites for commercial gain perhaps you should consult with your colleague capn chris and at least start singing from the same hymn book.

I'm also quite interested as to why both of you only started posting at the end of quite a long running discussion. Did you get the nod from colleagues Up North?  :lol:

Whether or not the bolts are necessary is not the principle issue.   The issue is that you said the installation of which appear to be largely for the convenience and entertainment of commercial operators and their clients.   This statement is not true.   The only cave on the list that I was personally involved in eco-bolting is Hunters Hole.    Cap'nChris is one of the most dedicated and active club cavers in the Mendip region and he is also a professional instructor.   Believe it or not, Alex, a caver can be both, and can bolt a cave purely for the benefit of the caving community, rather than for financial reward.  Did I get 'a nod from my colleagues up north?', no, Alex, it was a bigot from down south who prompted me to post.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Burt on February 06, 2014, 11:18:26 pm
hey, cool it down guys. There's kids in Africa starving right now!!!



we are the world........
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 07, 2014, 10:24:40 am
Quote from: exsumper
This is about a lot of cavers being very angry that their so called representatives are fucking up their greatest love! :thumbsup:
Really? This thread appears to be about a handful of angry individuals. I speak to a lot of cavers in the real world away from the internet and I'm struggling to find any evidence that backs up your outlandish claim above.

If there really are "a lot of cavers" then they'd have a strong mandate to elect like minded individuals to the relevant committees and get things run the way to that suits them. The fact that they don't seem to be able to do that would suggest that there aren't as many angry cavers as you think. In fact my biggest source of anger is your consistently unpleasant attitude towards anyone who doesn't agree with your take on life, the universe and everything. Perhaps you should take some of your own, so pleasantly worded, advice

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

I think you'll find that a lot of cavers don't want cash for access. If I need to be unpleasant to stop it so be it! Some people do find the truth unpalatable.

Have a read of the original post this one is a spin off from if you wish to see a lot of angry cavers!  :hug: :kiss2:

Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 07, 2014, 10:27:36 am
The University training situation can solely be laid at the BCA's door, due to their active promotion of commercial training qualifications and quite deliberate denigration of other training routes; e.g. learning by experience or from training provided by experienced amateur cavers or clubs.
Perhaps you ought to read the leaflet of Guidelines to Uni Clubs ... it says virtually the opposite of what you have just implied BCA say.

Its not what they say, its what they do that matters!
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: JessopSmythe on February 07, 2014, 12:34:53 pm
Its not what they say, its what they do that matters!

A very good point
So - apart from saying a lot, what have you DONE to improve the situation you're so worked up over
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 07, 2014, 12:58:47 pm
Its not what they say, its what they do that matters!

A very good point
So - apart from saying a lot, what have you DONE to improve the situation you're so worked up over

Helping to uncover it in the first place. That's a start, and asking my club secretary to write a letter of complaint. As I'm not a member of a CNCC member club that's about all I can do.
If you can't see what's wrong with "cash for access" you'll never understand!
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Smiley Alan on February 07, 2014, 02:18:22 pm
If you can't see what's wrong with "cash for access" you'll never understand!

 im pretty  sure i can see whats likly to happen and it  seems pretty obviose to me that the commmerical guys should'nt be charged  more for access than ordinry cavers but i  think the problem is lots of people think they should pay more . i do'nt think they have  thought it through , as its easy to see what will end  up happening .
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: JessopSmythe on February 07, 2014, 02:27:43 pm

If you can't see what's wrong with "cash for access" you'll never understand!

That may be true but you'll never get anyone to understand if all you do when they question or disagree with you is throw abuse and insults around.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 07, 2014, 07:25:20 pm
Rubbish  Commercialisation has been part of the agenda all along. First you tried to destroy  the influence of clubs, second you then tried to destroy the amateur ethos.
If by "destroying the influence of clubs" you mean allowing individual members to vote but still allowing clubs to veto anything in a separate vote, then maybe. I sort of take your point about SRT kits, but that is a fairly isolated example and certainly doesn't point to BCA becoming massively commercial. Also, at the risk of being fussy, in the 90s it was NCA not BCA.

Quote
I'm not interested in the rest of the crap you've spouted, In common with a lot of other cavers I'm just sick of the Hypocrisy, lies, deceit, and pathetic games, engaged in by some of the more senior representatives of our national and regional caving bodies!
With respect, that's not very nice. I don't think I have every lied, been hypocritical or played "pathetic games" while involved in BCA. Everything I have ever done has been precisely as I have believed BCA Council (as the senior democratic body) wishes me to. In my time as secretary (5 yrs I think) I am not aware of any attempt by Council to hide anything ... and I'd have a pretty good idea if it did. We publish everything, allow anyone who wishes to to attend our meetings, invite voting representatives from all the Regions and Constituent Bodies and are generally as open as I think it is possible to be.
Quote
However you describe it; Both the CNCC and BCA have been  promoting and suggesting  to landowners "Cash for Access" !!!!!!
Quote
P.S. If you think this a little harsh or unfair, just reflect on the fact that the cash for access issue has only come to light as a result of recent activism on this forum!!   Prior to this, the only cavers that knew amateur caving was being sold down the river  were officials of the BCA/CNCC!!  :spank: :furious: :spank: :furious:
I have said it before, and I'll say it again. BCA does not equal CNCC. We are separate bodies and in fact constitutionally BCA is not allowed to interfere in CNCC's affairs at all. This is exactly the same with CSCC, or indeed any other Region or Constituent Body. BCA has not suggested or promoted cash for access, nor I suspect will it ever.
Quote
So cut it out or fuck off!!! :icon_321:
I'll ignore that particularly unpleasant line.

So how do you explain this then damian?

http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=about:documents:council_meetings:council_minutes_2013-10-05_draft.pdf (http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=about:documents:council_meetings:council_minutes_2013-10-05_draft.pdf)

From Appendix 1 Why do you think that Both the South Wales Caving Club and the Charterhouse Caving Committee put the same interpretation on the proposals as I do then??
Are they Unpleasant too?

As I've said numerous times before! I only get  unpleasant when people try to deceive or lie to me. When you and your CNCC/BCA colleagues criticise me for getting a little tetchy, you need to remind yourselves that manners are a social contract and only apply when both parties behave in an open and honest manner and treat each other with respect!   Lies, deceit and indulging in political games, negate that contract.

How do you think that Landowners will feel when they find out that the BCA have been playing underhand tricks with them? They'll think that the BCA have nothing but contempt for them and are treating them like cunts!

And before anyone starts saying that I shouldn't be saying this on an open forum. Landowners aren't stupid and will find out what the BCA are doing anyway! If anyone would like to see quite how comtemptuos the BCA are treating landowners read the following from the CSCC Minutes

10) BCA Rep’s Report
10.1 BCA draft report on commercial caving, this was discussed in some detail, it
was agreed the document needs to be clear that there are different types of
commercial caving and clearly differentiate between commercial caving for profit
and commercial caving for safety and for training. It needs to be clear to both
cavers and non-cavers. It needs to be worded carefully so it does not become a
means by which landowners can deny access. There was agreement with and
support for the comments made by the Charterhouse Caving Company. CSCC has
concerns about it being published and turned into a leaflet and made available to
landowners as it would raise awareness of commercial caving to landowners and
potentially create access issues which currently do not exist. It was agreed that the
document should not be published in any form and only be made available
internally as information to aid C&A Officers or others when negotiating access.

Damian
Just a few tips to recap

Treat everyone with respect and in an honest and open manner and you won't have any problems! :thumbsup: And don't treat landowners and ordinary cavers like cunts!!!




Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Peter Burgess on February 07, 2014, 07:47:34 pm
I didn't notice any personal insults or disrespectful comments in the SWCC or CCC letters. Just properly reasoned concerns. Nothing unpleasant there at all.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 07, 2014, 08:03:11 pm
I didn't notice any personal insults or disrespectful comments in the SWCC or CCC letters. Just properly reasoned concerns. Nothing unpleasant there at all.

Good evening Roger
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: damian on February 07, 2014, 09:01:45 pm
From Appendix 1 Why do you think that Both the South Wales Caving Club and the Charterhouse Caving Committee put the same interpretation on the proposals as I do then??
Are they Unpleasant too?
No. They are polite. You apparently are not.
Quote
How do you think that Landowners will feel when they find out that the BCA have been playing underhand tricks with them?
You are seriously playing with the truth. How on earth can you possibly say BCA has been underhand when about 12 months ago it launched a consultation, received large quantites of replies, then pulled together a draft proposal, which was again put our for consultation. Following this there were a fair number of replies, which were discussed at a meeting, decisions were made and the full Minutes of the meeting will be published on the internet. I'm struggling to see anything underhand in that.
Quote
Just a few tips to recap
Treat everyone with respect and in an honest and open manner and you won't have any problems! :thumbsup:
I can't quite believe I'm reading this!
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 07, 2014, 09:04:30 pm
How on earth can you possibly say BCA has been underhand when about 12 months ago it launched a consultation, received large quantites of replies, then pulled together a draft proposal, which was again put our for consultation. Following this there were a fair number of replies, which were discussed at a meeting, decisions were made and the full Minutes of the meeting will be published on the internet. I'm struggling to see anything underhand in that.

I look forward to seeing the minutes of that meeting. I hope that this time the concerns raised by CCC Ltd and by SWCC and echoed by CSCC have been properly addressed.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: damian on February 07, 2014, 09:10:27 pm
Graham - I will be writing to you the week after next (once the draft Minutes have been approved by the rest of Exec, and I have a week off work) to give you some feedback. Thanks for your patience on this one!
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 07, 2014, 09:12:03 pm
Graham - I will be writing to you the week after next (once the draft Minutes have been approved by the rest of Exec, and I have a week off work) to give you some feedback. Thanks for your patience on this one!

Thank you.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: bograt on February 07, 2014, 11:05:36 pm
 :clap2: :clap2: :clap2: Having spent over 40years in caving politics, I admire the way this thread is going, and hope we can educate the less informed!! :) ;D
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: mmilner on February 08, 2014, 01:43:33 am
I look forward to seeing the minutes of that meeting. I hope that this time the concerns raised by CCC Ltd and by SWCC and echoed by CSCC have been properly addressed.

Ditto. I see from the new BCA web site (very nice btw) that the 5th. October 2013 minutes are still only the draft version. It is 8th Feb 2014 now and the most recent meeting was on 11th January 2014. Why is it taking so long to get the minutes out?  :shrug:
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Les W on February 08, 2014, 09:09:55 am
Ditto. I see from the new BCA web site (very nice btw) that the 5th. October 2013 minutes are still only the draft version. It is 8th Feb 2014 now and the most recent meeting was on 11th January 2014. Why is it taking so long to get the minutes out?  :shrug:

I don't know the answer to that question, but I would assume that the Secretary having a full time job teaching, coupled with a new baby, will be having some demands on his time...
I shouldn't think the minutes are his highest priority...  :unsure:
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Jopo on February 08, 2014, 09:21:35 am
In the climate of this thread I will probably get shot down for being thick but for my clarification.

When did the BCA become the Governing body for British caving instead of the Representative body.
Is the BCA constitution available online - cannot see it on the website.

Jopo
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Les W on February 08, 2014, 09:31:37 am
In the climate of this thread I will probably get shot down for being thick but for my clarification.

When did the BCA become the Governing body for British caving instead of the Representative body.
Is the BCA constitution available online - cannot see it on the website.

Jopo

Hi Jopo
The constitution is in the Documents section:
http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=about:documents:bca_constitution (http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=about:documents:bca_constitution)

As to BCA's status, it isn't at all clear from the constitution, but it seems to say that it "represents" cavers so I guess its the representative body
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Stuart Anderson on February 08, 2014, 09:39:54 am
Ditto. I see from the new BCA web site (very nice btw) that the 5th. October 2013 minutes are still only the draft version. It is 8th Feb 2014 now and the most recent meeting was on 11th January 2014. Why is it taking so long to get the minutes out?  :shrug:

I don't know the answer to that question, but I would assume that the Secretary having a full time job teaching, coupled with a new baby, will be having some demands on his time...
I shouldn't think the minutes are his highest priority...  :unsure:

Ok, here goes. Ready for the flaming of all flamings and I want to be clear I'm in no way taking a pop at Damian, who I sort of know and have had the occasion to cave with at times and is a very decent bloke...

When my kids were on their way I took myself away from all my outside obligations because I knew full well that I wouldn't or couldn't devote the time needed to deal with them sufficiently.

Even though I'm somewhat critical of BCA (and CNCC) my grievance is with that particular body or the particular office. It's not with the individual, which is why when some of the name calling that goes on here, it is very much out of order. That said the vast majority of people do seem to hold the officers and officials of the named bodies with some due deference and respect for what is a difficult job - even though I can feel very strongly about a topic. With this in mind I feel that it is a two way street and that officials should probably execute the duty to which they've obligated themselves to do.

And no, I couldn't do a better job. I have young family and specifically dropped outside interference so I don't end up doing a half-arsed job of it. Under the circumstances Damian does do a good job - four months does seem a stretch though.


Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Les W on February 08, 2014, 09:42:09 am
But it's not four months. The minutes were only approved at the January meeting...
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Stuart Anderson on February 08, 2014, 09:44:45 am
But it's not four months. The minutes were only approved at the January meeting...

I stand corrected. One month. Thank you.

Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Gollum on February 08, 2014, 11:02:39 am
I didn't mean the ones at Garlands, I meant the ones in Upper East Passage and the aven above base camp chamber.

Perhaps they're no longer there or perhaps you haven't looked hard enough :-)

Yes they are still there and there are others within other systems in Derbyshire which were placed to reduce groups blocking pitches like Garlands in Giants. There was a time caving was very popular and instructors tried to find venues and pitches that were out of the way of recreational/club cavers i.e Hells Well in Devonshire Mine and the pitches in P8 before the first pitch.

I am a caver who instruct for a living who is fed up of arguing with instructors and cavers when we should be working together for the good of caving.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: nickwilliams on February 08, 2014, 01:08:43 pm
In the climate of this thread I will probably get shot down for being thick but for my clarification.

When did the BCA become the Governing body for British caving instead of the Representative body.
Is the BCA constitution available online - cannot see it on the website.

Jopo

'Governing Body' is a term used by the Sports Council (or whatever they are called this week) to describe those who it sees as their contact points with a particular sport. They will only deal with one GB for each sport nationally, and if you are not able to call yourselves a GB then they won't consider you as the representative body for your sport.

In the sense that BCA acts only on the instructions of its members, and is constitutionally barred from telling them what to do, it's not a body which actually does any 'governing'.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: damian on February 08, 2014, 07:40:16 pm
BCA Council Minutes undergo a clear, defined process agreed and debated over a period of about 12 months and then approved by an AGM. Basically Minutes are published in draft only once they have been approved by Executive. FWIW I spent Saturday 11th January at the Council Meeting (including 6hrs travelling too!) and then spent most of Sunday 12th typing up the Minutes and dealing with actions arising from them. They were finished and circulated to Executive two days later (14th January) after I'd finished proof-reading them. I am still waiting for one person's approval before I can publish. As soon as I do, I will.

As for the October Minutes, they were approved at the January meeting and I could have altered them immediately after on the website. However I knew the website was going to switch to an alternative version and I'd have to do it again, so I decided not to bother. The new website came on line a week ago and I confess I'd forgotten. I'll do it now.
When my kids were on their way I took myself away from all my outside obligations because I knew full well that I wouldn't or couldn't devote the time needed to deal with them sufficiently.
And I tried ... I made very clear that I wanted someone else to take on the Secretary's role when I was up for re-election last year, but in the absence of anyone else being willing, was forced to continue. I AM stopping at the end of this term and if nobody's there to take over, BCA will not have a secretary.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 08, 2014, 07:45:05 pm
I AM stopping at the end of this term and if nobody's there to take over, BCA will not have a secretary.

Do so. That is often the only way to get someone else to volunteer.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Stuart Anderson on February 08, 2014, 07:49:38 pm
I AM stopping at the end of this term and if nobody's there to take over, BCA will not have a secretary.

Do so. That is often the only way to get someone else to volunteer.

Well fair play to you for doing so, both staying for one more term, and for devoting yourself to some family time.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pitlamp on February 09, 2014, 10:11:49 am
I've indicated this to you personally but I think it's important to do so publicly; THANK YOU Damian for all your excellent work, on behalf of me and my many caving friends.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: prahja on February 09, 2014, 11:48:09 am
Well said John - I'm a bit shocked at the way this thread is going.... getting quite personal.
From all the cavers who sit back and hate being on committees - thanks Damian and the rest....
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Jenny P on February 10, 2014, 07:26:25 pm
I've indicated this to you personally but I think it's important to do so publicly; THANK YOU Damian for all your excellent work, on behalf of me and my many caving friends.

Hear, hear!  Damian is doing a sterling job.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 12, 2014, 02:46:47 pm
Quote
Just a few tips to recap
Treat everyone with respect and in an honest and open manner and you won't have any problems! :thumbsup:
I can't quite believe I'm reading this!

Why not?  If the BCA and CNCC had been open and honest about plans for extending access agreements to commercial outfits, there would be no problem.  Its only now that we almost know the truth!

As I've said so many times previously, I only get irate when I'm lied to and deceived!

Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Jenny P on February 12, 2014, 03:27:15 pm
In the climate of this thread I will probably get shot down for being thick but for my clarification.

When did the BCA become the Governing body for British caving instead of the Representative body.
Is the BCA constitution available online - cannot see it on the website.

Jopo

'Governing Body' is a term used by the Sports Council (or whatever they are called this week) to describe those who it sees as their contact points with a particular sport. They will only deal with one GB for each sport nationally, and if you are not able to call yourselves a GB then they won't consider you as the representative body for your sport.

In the sense that BCA acts only on the instructions of its members, and is constitutionally barred from telling them what to do, it's not a body which actually does any 'governing'.

I think the problem is that the Sports Council is unable to conceive of a sport which is not competitive.  In the majority of sports the "governing body" is the one which sets the rules for competitions, league tables, etc.  The GB also tends to say that, unless the person is a member of the GB and pays a sub. to them, they are not eligible to take part in any competitions arranged by the local league.  (e.g. you must have paid a sub. to the Badminton Association of England in order to be eligible to play in your club's team in the South Derbyshire Badminton League - which means the club puts pressure on its members to pay up because it wants to have the strongest team and win all the matches.)

In the days when caving was given grants by the Sports Council (or SportUK, SportEngland or whatever it changed its name to) grants could only be given to the "Governing Body" - so NCA became de facto the GB as far as the sports council was concerned.

A useful safeguard is that if your sport has a GB then if there is legislation which may affect your sport you have the right to kick up a fuss and be listened to.  This has worked in our favour when Health and Safety attempted to insist that training in SRT could take place only if the trainee was lifelined.  NCA, together with other sports which used SRT-type practices, were able to persuade the powers that be that this was OK for industry but was not suitable for our particular situation.

We were also able to use the "GB" status of NCA when the Adventure Activities Licensing legislation came into being.  It meant cavers could decide in consultation how we wished to set up training schemes for instructors, as opposed to having them imposed upon us by officialdom.  We were also able to insist that there should be no requirement for ordinary cavers to be "qualified".

The point is that BCA, as a strong representative (or governing body) for caving, is our best defence against officialdom.  But that depends on ordinary cavers supporting BCA and making their wishes felt in a sensible manner and accepting that there will be some issues on which we disagree and also accepting that if we take part in a democratic process BCA will do its best to put forward a concensus view where possible.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Jopo on February 12, 2014, 06:07:59 pm
Thanks for the extended reply. Lot in it but just af point

Quote
In the days when caving was given grants by the Sports Council (or SportUK, SportEngland or whatever it changed its name to) grants could only be given to the "Governing Body" - so NCA became de facto the GB as far as the sports council was concerned.

How then do the BMC, to some degree a similar organisation (and perhaps smarter when it came to CROW), quite clearly state on their website:

Quote
The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) is the representative body that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, including ski-mountaineers. The BMC recognises that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.

Jopo
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Jenny P on February 13, 2014, 12:51:22 pm
Maybe they are just smarter at wording than BCA has been!

BCA is the "representative" body for British Caving but, if government or officialdom want to interact with BCA then they may well want to regard it as the "governing" body and, if that's to our advantage then I don't care what they call it - as long as we, the BCA members, understand the position.

Not sure that the BMC was actually smarter re. CRoW but the legal situation was clearer for them than it is for cavers and, at the time, there was no push within NCA for the law to relate to caving as well as climbing.  Don't forget that this was the old NCA with no individual members, rather sketchy representation for clubs and very little in the way of public relations.  BCA should be rather better placed to represent its members' views and, since the subject of CRoW has been raised, BCA has set up a working party to look into the matter in England.  (Note that Wales has its own, quite separate legislation.)


Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Bob Mehew on February 13, 2014, 02:09:09 pm
Not sure that the BMC was actually smarter re. CRoW but the legal situation was clearer for them than it is for cavers and, at the time, there was no push within NCA for the law to relate to caving as well as climbing.

I have a recollection that the BMC did make representations during the passage of CROW through parliament and were advised that climbing was clearly permitted within the intended meaning of the act.  So they did not need to push.  If my recollection is correct, the advice that came back to NCA was that caving was not an outdoor activity since it was undertaken within caves, not on the outdoor surface of the land. The act was intended to focus on the outdoor surface of the land so the act would not apply to caves.  The view was taken that there was no point in pushing to get this changed since we had no powerful voice (like several Lords as the climbers had) which might be listened too.  (I emphases that I am reporting my recollection of what happened at the time, not on an interpretation of the meaning of the act.)   
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Jenny P on February 13, 2014, 03:03:33 pm
Indeed Bob, I am sure your recollection is correct.  However, it wasn't (and still isn't) completely clear - see below, from the "Commons Toolkit Fact Sheet 13, Public access to common land" published by Natural England in 2010:

13.4.2 The access afforded by CRoW
CROW provides the public with a right of access on foot only. This includes running, climbing,
photography, having a picnic, and bird watching. Wheelchairs are also allowed.

It does not include cycling, horse riding, camping, or rock climbing.


Note the parts I have underlined!

But I've already mentioned this in another thread and it's a diversion from the main subject of this one.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 13, 2014, 04:05:43 pm
So is it a fair presumption that CRoW does indeed allow for access on foot but once you're arrived at a cave entrance descending it is nothing to do with that legislation any more and is actually entirely open season since it's nothing to do with CRoW and furthermore trespass in a cave is such an arcane piece of legislation CPS wouldn't touch it with a bargepole?

This seems to be WAY off the OT thread.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Roger W on February 13, 2014, 04:08:47 pm
Could it possibly be that CROW was intended to allow people not only to walk along the straight and level but also to ascend the hills and fells (e.g. "climbing" say Skiddaw in the Lake District) but did not intend to include people drilling and bolting their way up overhanging rock faces?

 
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 13, 2014, 04:33:07 pm
So is it a fair presumption that CRoW does indeed allow for access on foot but once you're arrived at a cave entrance descending it is nothing to do with that legislation any more and is actually entirely open season since it's nothing to do with CRoW and furthermore trespass in a cave is such an arcane piece of legislation CPS wouldn't touch it with a bargepole?

This seems to be WAY off the OT thread.

CPS wouldn't touch it 'cos trespass is a civil matter. It may, just possibly, piss off a landowner sufficiently for them to take some action.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Bob Mehew on February 13, 2014, 04:39:15 pm
So is it a fair presumption that CRoW does indeed allow for access on foot but once you're arrived at a cave entrance descending it is nothing to do with that legislation any more and is actually entirely open season since it's nothing to do with CRoW and furthermore trespass in a cave is such an arcane piece of legislation CPS wouldn't touch it with a bargepole?

This seems to be WAY off the OT thread.
Yes (though others disagree) and yes in my view

Could it possibly be that CROW was intended to allow people not only to walk along the straight and level but also to ascend the hills and fells (e.g. "climbing" say Skiddaw in the Lake District) but did not intend to include people drilling and bolting their way up overhanging rock faces?
I accept this way off thread but I don't think CROW gives anyone the right to "affect the land" other than by leaving footprints.  So bolting a climbing face is out.  But I fear only the civil courts will give us clarity assuming the case addresses our concern.  As has been pointed out it is not criminal law unless it moves onto aggravated trespass. 

Any way back on thread, I would like to emphasis as a then active participant that the setting up BCA did not elevate commercial caving, though it did give it a niche in Associate membership and in Training Committee.  I accept that over the past year, it does appear that the BCA Exec have had to spend some time looking at commercial caving at, as I understand it, the behest of Training Committee.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 14, 2014, 05:29:34 pm

This seems to be WAY off the OT thread.
 
Any way back on thread, I would like to emphasis as a then active participant that the setting up BCA did not elevate commercial caving, though it did give it a niche in Associate membership and in Training Committee.  I accept that over the past year, it does appear that the BCA Exec have had to spend some time looking at commercial caving at, as I understand it, the behest of Training Committee.

Are any members of the CNCC on the training committee Bob?  What percentage of the training committee are commercial cavers? does the make up reflect BCA membership stats?
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pete K on February 14, 2014, 05:36:41 pm
It is hardly an effort to Google BCA, look at the lovely new site, click on 'Committees' then click on 'Training Committee'.
http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=training_committee:start (http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=training_committee:start)
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 14, 2014, 06:09:34 pm
It is hardly an effort to Google BCA, look at the lovely new site, click on 'Committees' then click on 'Training Committee'.
http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=training_committee:start (http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=training_committee:start)

Thanks for the link Pete. I can't see where it says if the committee member concerned carries out paid instruction. Perhaps you could advise?
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pete K on February 14, 2014, 06:17:19 pm
Nope. Not my place and I don't know most of them. Perhaps you should contact each of them directly.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: mmilner on February 14, 2014, 06:21:30 pm
It is hardly an effort to Google BCA, look at the lovely new site, click on 'Committees' then click on 'Training Committee'.
http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=training_committee:start (http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=training_committee:start)

Thanks for the link Pete. I can't see where it says if the committee member concerned carries out paid instruction. Perhaps you could advise?

Might this help? http://www.caveinstructor.org.uk/instructors (http://www.caveinstructor.org.uk/instructors) There's a heck of a lot in the 'Oop North' section...
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 14, 2014, 08:24:51 pm
Nope. Not my place and I don't know most of them. Perhaps you should contact each of them directly.

You just criticised me for not looking the answers up on your link? where the answers to my question are not to be found??
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Bob Mehew on February 14, 2014, 08:48:26 pm
A declaration of interest.  Sorry for it being long winded but I am deeply suspicious of ExSumper's hair trigger reaction of making a claim of misleading people to what ever some one might write.

In around 1995 I was asked because of my professional expertise to sit on a committee to discuss the problem of radon and how to deal with it.  I have not take any remuneration from that work although I gave some advice to people who were in a commercial activity related to radon.  Nor have I received anything (apart from brick bats) for the work of co-authoring the booklet Radon Underground.   

I have paid to go down show caves and know several guides who work in show caves.  I have never worked in or for a show cave.       

In 1999 I took on the post of NCA Treasurer.  In those days NCA received a grant from UK Sport and Sport England which supported the work of Training and Equipment & Techniques Committees.  Around 2002, the then Chair of Training, the Training Officer, was having difficulties keeping up his role so I stepped in so as to ensure the grant continued.  I continued as Acting Training Officer until around 2004.  I have never held a LCMLA or CIC qualification.  But I am friends with a number of LCMLA and CIC holders (and possibly enemies to some others).  I have never worked for an LCMLA or CIC.  Nor have I ever hired one to take me caving.  (I did as Acting Training Officer hire one CIC to draft the LCMLA handbook.)  (And for information, when we set up BCA we switched the funding of the LCMLA and CIC schemes such they became self funding - though in reality they have returned around a £20,000 'profit' to BCA's balance sheet.  I think I am correct in stating that BCA has not received a grant from UK Sport or Sport England.)

I was also Treasure of BCA and the Chair of Equipment and Techniques Committee.  I have also since about 2003 been the BCA Rope Test Officer.  In all of these roles I have only received expenses.

I think that covers my links with possible "commercial" caving.  Have I missed any thing?  If so it is an honest omission, though I don't expect ExSumper to accept that claim.

The chap who was Training Officer prior to me was a recreational caver, as I would claim I am (though some would claim was).  I think my successor held a LCMLA qualification, though he held it to provide a 'qualified' service to a youth group, not for profit.  And subsequent successors have also held LCMLA or CIC qualifications.  I note from well before 2002 and even now, nearly every region has found it impossible to get a recreational caver to become a regional training officer and represent that region at BCA's Training Committee.  I can't speak for the challenges faced by representatives of Constituent Bodies. 

From the list at http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=training_committee:start (http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=training_committee:start) I would estimate 100% of the members have links with "commercial" caving within the ambit I have covered above in my declaration of interest, but only around 50% are likely to have LCMLA or CIC qualifications.   

By the way ExSumper - what have you done for caving?  I won't suggest you volunteer to help out a region on Training since I suspect you would soon get lynched judging by the way you use this forum.

Apologies to all other readers for the ramble but as you might have guessed I am more than irritated by someone who can't do simple albeit it long winded home work.
Title: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pete K on February 14, 2014, 08:50:09 pm
Are any members of the CNCC on the training committee Bob?  What percentage of the training committee are commercial cavers? does the make up reflect BCA membership stats?
Sorry exsumper, it was the first question I was hoping to help you with. The identity of the members of TC is in the public domain. I'm not criticising, but I will not make comment or speculate on individuals and I won't talk about the people I do know. As I said before, quite reasonably, if you want information on the people involved you should Google it or do as mmilner suggested and cross reference the info yourself, that or contact them personally. I would imagine the % of professional cavers in TC is high because of the nature of the committee.
Sorry to be short in my responses but your style of blunt demands and rude bullying grates on me slightly.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: graham on February 14, 2014, 09:38:29 pm
I have paid to go down show caves and know several guides who work in show caves.  I have never worked in or for a show cave.

I have been paid to go down a show cave, though not as a guide (and not in the UK). </smug>
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: exsumper on February 15, 2014, 06:14:48 pm
A declaration of interest.  Sorry for it being long winded but I am deeply suspicious of ExSumper's hair trigger reaction of making a claim of misleading people to what ever some one might write.

In around 1995 I was asked because of my professional expertise to sit on a committee to discuss the problem of radon and how to deal with it.  I have not take any remuneration from that work although I gave some advice to people who were in a commercial activity related to radon.  Nor have I received anything (apart from brick bats) for the work of co-authoring the booklet Radon Underground.   

I have paid to go down show caves and know several guides who work in show caves.  I have never worked in or for a show cave.       

In 1999 I took on the post of NCA Treasurer.  In those days NCA received a grant from UK Sport and Sport England which supported the work of Training and Equipment & Techniques Committees.  Around 2002, the then Chair of Training, the Training Officer, was having difficulties keeping up his role so I stepped in so as to ensure the grant continued.  I continued as Acting Training Officer until around 2004.  I have never held a LCMLA or CIC qualification.  But I am friends with a number of LCMLA and CIC holders (and possibly enemies to some others).  I have never worked for an LCMLA or CIC.  Nor have I ever hired one to take me caving.  (I did as Acting Training Officer hire one CIC to draft the LCMLA handbook.)  (And for information, when we set up BCA we switched the funding of the LCMLA and CIC schemes such they became self funding - though in reality they have returned around a £20,000 'profit' to BCA's balance sheet.  I think I am correct in stating that BCA has not received a grant from UK Sport or Sport England.)

I was also Treasure of BCA and the Chair of Equipment and Techniques Committee.  I have also since about 2003 been the BCA Rope Test Officer.  In all of these roles I have only received expenses.

I think that covers my links with possible "commercial" caving.  Have I missed any thing?  If so it is an honest omission, though I don't expect ExSumper to accept that claim.

The chap who was Training Officer prior to me was a recreational caver, as I would claim I am (though some would claim was).  I think my successor held a LCMLA qualification, though he held it to provide a 'qualified' service to a youth group, not for profit.  And subsequent successors have also held LCMLA or CIC qualifications.  I note from well before 2002 and even now, nearly every region has found it impossible to get a recreational caver to become a regional training officer and represent that region at BCA's Training Committee.  I can't speak for the challenges faced by representatives of Constituent Bodies. 

From the list at http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=training_committee:start (http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=training_committee:start) I would estimate 100% of the members have links with "commercial" caving within the ambit I have covered above in my declaration of interest, but only around 50% are likely to have LCMLA or CIC qualifications.   

By the way ExSumper - what have you done for caving?  I won't suggest you volunteer to help out a region on Training since I suspect you would soon get lynched judging by the way you use this forum.

Apologies to all other readers for the ramble but as you might have guessed I am more than irritated by someone who can't do simple albeit it long winded home work.

Bob: Thanks for your reply, contrary to what you write. I was asking straight forward questions related to the topic of this post, none of which were aimed at you! I believe what you say because unlike some of your CNCC/BCA colleagues you've never given me any reason not to.  You've always been straight and honest with me.  Which is all I've ever asked others to be!

I don't think that's too much to ask, and is the reason for any rudeness or lack of respect on my part.  I treat people how they treat me!

I laong with many others see the CNCC and BCA's push for commercial access agreements as being the potential death of amateur grass roots caving in this country!

I really don't see why the best interests of tens of thousands of amateur cavers should be put at extreme hazard, just for the short term financial benefit of a few <40? <100? caving instructors?

I would be genuinely interested to hear your views on how the BCA can justify this?

Best Wishes

Alex



Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Bob Mehew on February 15, 2014, 09:49:18 pm
I really don't see why the best interests of tens of thousands of amateur cavers should be put at extreme hazard, just for the short term financial benefit of a few <40? <100? caving instructors?

I can't speak for BCA but my guess is that they are bound to follow their constitution and the aims and objectives within it.  As a major contributor to that constitution (though it was mainly taken from NCA's) I am content that they should do so.  (If you want to change BCA's constitution, then you will need to overturn the attitude of most clubs.  I decided it was impossible for me to do so then.  But I am pleased I did manage to get the veto eliminated from it and the individual caver vote introduced, albeit along side the club vote.)

I will also say that yes professional cavers have presented problems as well as provided solutions and improvements to caving.  But I think recreational cavers have done far more harm to caving.  It is for all to work together to sort the problems out before WE do kill caving off.  (Though it would immeasurably improve cave conservation.)
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pitlamp on February 16, 2014, 08:31:49 am
Unusually, I find myself having to disagree with you Bob.

You said "recreational cavers have done far more harm to caving". This may be true in the case of a very small minority but doesn't represent cavers generally. If it wasn't for recreational cavers you and I would probably never have started caving in the first place. Caving has been developed by enthusiastic people doing it as a pastime since the 19th Century, long before some folk earned a living from it. We have a very great tradition of amateur caving in this country and we should celebrate it, rather than be denigrating it.

In the great scheme of things, the vast majority of British caving is done purely for the love of it and "professional" caving is a recent sideline. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this sideline but the mainstream (amateur) cavers have given far more - if you consider the last decade or two in its true historical context.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Bob Mehew on February 16, 2014, 09:55:59 am
You said "recreational cavers have done far more harm to caving". This may be true in the case of a very small minority but doesn't represent cavers generally.

I made the statement based on what I consider to be a fact that there have been far more recreational cavers who have caused problems than there have been professional cavers who have done so.  I hesitate to make an estimate on the proportion of problems to population but I accept that it is likely for both groups the proportion is tiny.  I am forced to concede that behind ExSumper's mutterings is a reasonable point; one caver (of either type)  could precipitate the wholesale closure of caves.  I make these comments not to denigrate caving but to try to ensure cavers recognise this dilemma and try to help dealing with it.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: jasonbirder on February 16, 2014, 04:23:50 pm
Quote
But I think recreational cavers have done far more harm to caving.

What a ridiculous statement...recreational caving IS caving...

Without Caving as a viable hobby and recreational activity...how many councils/QUANGO's/Schools/Charities etc would think to pay Professional Caving Instructors to take their pupils/charges on paid underground trips?

Without Caving as a viable recreational activity how many Professional Caving Instructors would there be??? None I know do it to pay for their Ferrari and mansion...(WELL maybe Cap'n Chris ;) ) most because they love caving and its a way to combine work and hobby in one...

There would be no new caves opened or extended as I've yet to meet anyone paid to dig...and where would all those surveys and guidebooks come from...

My vote for the daftest statement ever!



Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pitlamp on February 16, 2014, 06:15:23 pm
You said "recreational cavers have done far more harm to caving". This may be true in the case of a very small minority but doesn't represent cavers generally.

I made the statement based on what I consider to be a fact that there have been far more recreational cavers who have caused problems than there have been professional cavers who have done so.  I hesitate to make an estimate on the proportion of problems to population but I accept that it is likely for both groups the proportion is tiny.  I am forced to concede that behind ExSumper's mutterings is a reasonable point; one caver (of either type)  could precipitate the wholesale closure of caves.  I make these comments not to denigrate caving but to try to ensure cavers recognise this dilemma and try to help dealing with it.

I suspect it depends on one's perception of "causing problems". But I'm sure you and I can disagree over it without falling out in any way. I think you and I probably would agree with the view that it's time this forum had more posted on it about actual caving instead of some of the stuff we've had to endure over the last week or two.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: mmilner on February 16, 2014, 06:26:40 pm
I think you and I probably would agree with the view that it's time this forum had more posted on it about actual caving instead of some of the stuff we've had to endure over the last week or two.

Hear, hear. Bored of it now.  :sleeping: Anyone who isn't happy, go to meetings, put your views forward, help change stuff where necessary, end of... now to do some more work for the BCA CroW working party regarding Peak caves...
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Pitlamp on February 16, 2014, 06:37:11 pm
Sorry MMilner - I'd better qualify that. I wasn't referring to people who believe change is a good thing and are putting time and effort into trying to build a proper case. Whether or not I agree with them, they should certainly have the opportunity to try and convince others. What I really meant was I'd be glad to see an end to the overly acrimonious and at times unnecessarily vulgar type of posts we've seen quite a lot of lately.

Maybe it's a symptom of cavers' frustration at all the foul weather over recent weeks? Oh well, spring's not far away now.
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: mmilner on February 16, 2014, 06:40:36 pm
Sorry MMilner - I'd better qualify that. I wasn't referring to people who believe change is a good thing and are putting time and effort into trying to build a proper case. Whether or not I agree with them, they should certainly have the opportunity to try and convince others. What I really meant was I'd be glad to see an end to the overly acrimonious and at times unnecessarily vulgar type of posts we've seen quite a lot of lately.

Agree totally.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: jasonbirder on February 16, 2014, 10:24:35 pm
With reference to the above comment of mine...and other comments on this thread that were deleted...

As Graham's (more pointedly abusive) comment was completely removed...and mine merely edited (and hence having a moderator comment below) it does give the impression to anyone coming onto the thread that it was actually ME breaching forum guidelines for behaviour and etiquette...

As I didn't report Graham's thread to the moderator (As it reflected more badly on him than on me) would it be possible to re-instate?
Title: Re: BCA resources directed towards 'commercial caving' (spin off from CNCC thread)
Post by: Bob Mehew on February 17, 2014, 10:18:50 am
Quote
But I think recreational cavers have done far more harm to caving.

What a ridiculous statement...recreational caving IS caving...

Without Caving as a viable hobby and recreational activity...how many councils/QUANGO's/Schools/Charities etc would think to pay Professional Caving Instructors to take their pupils/charges on paid underground trips?

Without Caving as a viable recreational activity how many Professional Caving Instructors would there be??? None I know do it to pay for their Ferrari and mansion...(WELL maybe Cap'n Chris ;) ) most because they love caving and its a way to combine work and hobby in one...

There would be no new caves opened or extended as I've yet to meet anyone paid to dig...and where would all those surveys and guidebooks come from...

My vote for the daftest statement ever!
I think I will reply to this at the risk of going off thread.  Caving is made up of both recreational cavers and professional cavers (whether you like it or not).  The simple number of recreational cavers is much larger than the number of professional cavers.  And if we go back several decades, say to the sixties, when there were no professional cavers, we still had problems.  Hence my claim on a simple number basis, more recreational cavers have done 'harm' than professional cavers.  Whilst I accept the numbers are thankfully small and hence as a fraction minimal, there can be no denying that 'harm' has been done.  When I talk about 'harm', I don't just mean blocked access and upset land owners.  In particular, I would put it too you that we have loved some caves to death.  It is a real embarrassment when I look at pictures of locations of today and yesterday to see how much has been lost.  See http://www.the-loner.co.uk/CavePhotos.htm (http://www.the-loner.co.uk/CavePhotos.htm) for example.

My attitude to conservation has dramatically changed since I started caving in 1965 and with it I hope my impact.  I accept what you say (excepting the first and last paragraph of course) in that most of caving is conducted by recreational cavers.  Therefore it is up to recreational cavers to ensure they protect what they have found and not love it to death.  I just hope you younger ones can learn faster than I did.
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