Author Topic: Concreting Drws Cefn  (Read 178881 times)

Online Ian Adams

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1150 on: June 13, 2016, 02:29:45 pm »
Alex +1

 :thumbsup:

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Online royfellows

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1151 on: June 13, 2016, 02:37:42 pm »
Conservation reasons? - Is it fair to punish the many for the actions of the few?

This says a lot in a few words.
An old saying occurs, "Whatever you like to do there is always going to be a few people who will spoil it for the rest of us" or similar words

That's if everyone lets them
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Offline PeteHall

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1152 on: June 13, 2016, 02:48:07 pm »
I expect this to be ignored like all my other posts but it may explain why I have never been a fan of gates of leader based systems:

My main issue with a leader system is that it spoils one of the best aspects of caving which is exploration. I hate being led about caves, I want to explore on my own, perhaps push that one passage that people before me have never bothered going down. To me being led around a cave is akin to being a tourist not an explorer so for me that situation is never acceptable, I don't want to be just a tourist gorking at formations I want to explore.

That's also why I dislike gates where the keys have to be filled out by filing forms in triplicate, sending them money and waiting weeks to find out, that is another obstacle for the main aspect of caving which is exploration and this cave, this cave is still to be explored. Please stop putting barriers in the way. Perhaps the owner wants it locked because someone dug it without his permission but maybe a better compromise is a good will trespass fee to access this entrance not a bar that can never be opened except in emergency. (Even if I would likely fit under it). Still blocking the entrance with an easier to remove obstacle is no compromise it still is blocked!

Conservation reasons? - Is it fair to punish the many for the actions of the few?

Completely agree. Caving is by its very nature about exploration.

Not everone will agree though. Many "club cavers" seem more than happy to be lead on trips by other club members, so no real difference to a cave with a leadership system.

One day, I hope to explore Draenen, but like many, I am put off by all the politics. Maybe in a few decades it will all have blown over and we can get on enjoying the cave.  :)
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Online alastairgott

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1153 on: June 13, 2016, 03:59:50 pm »
One day, I hope to explore Draenen, but like many, I am put off by all the politics. Maybe in a few decades it will all have blown over and we can get on enjoying the cave.  :)

Crack on and do it now, I went in almost 2 years ago, we only got past Indiana highway (as we went the wrong way at cairn junction and saw some very impressive [well preserved] cracked mud floors).

But still I'd go back as it gives you a thirst, not only to see more but a real thirst from how dry it is in there!

The pub being a, welcome and convenient, post caving treat.

Offline droid

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1154 on: June 13, 2016, 04:05:05 pm »
One day, I hope to explore Draenen, but like many, I am put off by all the politics. Maybe in a few decades it will all have blown over and we can get on enjoying the cave.  :)

It almost inevitably blows over eventually. New landowners/cavers and the situation resolves itself.

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Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1155 on: June 13, 2016, 05:57:49 pm »
Two of us did the round trip in the early days. Hadn't a clue where we were some of the time. Nice easy run down to Rifleman's is a good trip.

Online NigR

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1156 on: October 13, 2017, 12:56:58 am »
The good news is that Drws Cefn is still open and has not been concreted. The bad news is that the PDCMG are still hell bent on permanently closing the cave by whatever means they can get away with. The following item is included in the retiring Secretary's report due to be presented to this coming Sunday's meeting:

"As mentioned before the postponed meeting, feedback for the "light touch" closure of Drws Cefn was not well received by NRW. It was felt that we were receiving rather contradictory advice from the organisation who had not supported a hard solution on grounds of potential changes to airflow, but yet had not then supported a much more open approach, seemingly on the grounds of fear of vandalism. As a result it was suggested that placement of a surface grille, entirely in keeping with the bat workers manual and other best practice, may be the best solution and may not require licensing. A proposal along these lines will be brought to the meeting for discussion and potential approval before any further work proceeds in this area."

Loosely translated, this is what Fleur is saying:

NRW know full well that if they give approval for this (or any open cave on access land) to be blocked then it will immediately trigger a full scale judicial review (something they very wisely wish to avoid at all cost). Hence they initially turned down the PDCMG's preferred "hard" option - a massive reinforced concrete wall blocking the entire passage, built to last forever and a day - and then told them not to bother applying for a license for a "light touch, more open" approach - a steel scaffold bar across the passage concreted into solid buttresses on either side. So now the PDCMG will have to make do with a mere grille on the surface, concreted into place all around.

This latest option will, of course, have the same desired effect as the earlier ones: closing the cave for all eternity and denying cavers entry to the longest system in Wales via a perfectly good entrance on Open Access land.

This action is being taken in accordance with the PDCMG's avowed "Single Entrance Policy", something which has been ruthlessly enforced ever since the cave's discovery in 1994. The second entrance was concreted back in 1999 and the PDCMG have been trying to do the same to Drws Cefn for the last eight years. Presumably, they will seek to inflict the same fate upon any further entrances that come their way.

The hope, no matter how slim, still exists that sanity might yet prevail.

If it does not, then all I will say is this:

Better get those mixers up and running right this minute 'cos you will need an awful lot of concrete!!

« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 01:08:21 am by NigR »

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1157 on: October 13, 2017, 02:06:54 am »
One day, I hope to explore Draenen, but like many, I am put off by all the politics. Maybe in a few decades it will all have blown over and we can get on enjoying the cave.  :)

Seconded. I will not go down Draenen as the current access situation is a national embarrassment and I am not happy with the idea of going in either entrance. I would not want to give validity to the current PDCMG mess by applying for a permit, but I don't want to go in the second entrance either where a sensible access arrangement has not been made (but I totally understand the point of view of people who do either of those things and I do not judge them).

Online NigR

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1158 on: October 13, 2017, 02:53:53 am »
Fair comment, Andrew and I respect your viewpoint. When you say "the second entrance" am I correct in assuming you mean Drws Cefn, which is in fact the third entrance (the actual second entrance was concreted shut by PDCMG in 1999)? If so, I can assure you that we did everything in our power to come up with any form of access agreement (never mind a sensible one!) but PDCMG would not budge a single inch. CSS had met with precisely the same response to their entrance at the Nunnery and, in retrospect, we were foolishly optimistic to think we could have done any better. Believe me, this organisation is impossible to deal with in its current form!

It is indeed a great shame that you feel unable to visit Ogof Draenen at the present time and you are clearly not alone: during a 23 week period extending from early spring until the end of August a mere 16 parties recorded their trips in the original entrance logbook and there was never more than a single party in the cave on any one day. Absolutely appalling figures for a system 70+km in length no matter how you try to view them!
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 03:11:23 am by NigR »

Online alastairgott

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1159 on: October 13, 2017, 11:20:53 am »
During a 23 week period extending from early spring until the end of August a mere 16 parties recorded their trips in the original entrance logbook and there was never more than a single party in the cave on any one day. Absolutely appalling figures for a system 70+km in length no matter how you try to view them!

You say that Andrew is clearly not alone. Yet you quote figures for spring and summer.
 Firstly, what is the significance of a 23 week period? it's not 5 months and it's certainly not 6 months.
 Secondly, spring and summer are slack months for caving. If you touch base with pretty much any club with a hut in the country they will tell you that they're less busy in these months.

I'm not sure how your figures compare with the three counties, I'd estimate that there were probably more trips into the three counties. (by a sheer guess on the permitted caves, I'd say treble).
 However, without the figures I cannot comment, but if the figure were only treble (68 trips). For the amount of entrances they would be absolutely appalling figures.

Online NigR

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1160 on: October 13, 2017, 11:54:22 am »
The figures are for a 23 week period because that is the time since the pages were last changed in the logbook when a friend of mine checked them for analysis.

"Official" figures will in all probability be announced by the PDCMG Permit Secretary at Sunday's meeting. Based on past experience, there will have been a spate of trips in the weeks prior to the meeting and the party line will be trotted out that "visitor numbers are on course to meet the yearly average" or somesuch. This happens every time (in some years the figures have been conveniently massaged by directing traffic from events such as student gatherings into the cave).

The reality of the situation at Ogof Draenen is that hardly anyone ever goes down there, quite possibly for the same reasons outlined by Andrew earlier. For example, in another thread on this forum the trip to Dollimore's via the Last Sandwich was described as a "trade route". Well, visits there average out at about one per month at best: busy trade route isn't it?

Offline Rhys

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1161 on: October 13, 2017, 12:03:05 pm »
The figures are for a 23 week period because that is the time since the pages were last changed in the logbook when a friend of mine checked them for analysis.

"Official" figures will in all probability be announced by the PDCMG Permit Secretary at Sunday's meeting. Based on past experience, there will have been a spate of trips in the weeks prior to the meeting and the party line will be trotted out that "visitor numbers are on course to meet the yearly average" or somesuch. This happens every time (in some years the figures have been conveniently massaged by directing traffic from events such as student gatherings into the cave).

The reality of the situation at Ogof Draenen is that hardly anyone ever goes down there, quite possibly for the same reasons outlined by Andrew earlier. For example, in another thread on this forum the trip to Dollimore's via the Last Sandwich was described as a "trade route". Well, visits there average out at about one per month at best: busy trade route isn't it?

Serious question; Do you truly believe that visitor numbers are actually massaged? Why on earth would anyone do that? Who gains? What would they gain?

It seems like a paranoid conspiracy theory to me.


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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1162 on: October 13, 2017, 12:20:57 pm »

It seems like a paranoid conspiracy theory to me.


This is a general comment, not one necessarily relative to the thread, but intended as a 'reality check'

The word "conspiracy" more often than not included in a sentence with words such as "paranoid" or similar.
Conspiracies are very real, they happen, and anyone who cannot immediately think of one of several that have been blown open cannot be following the news.
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Online NigR

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Re: Concreting Drws Cefn
« Reply #1163 on: October 13, 2017, 12:40:50 pm »
Rhys,

Yes, I do believe that visitor numbers have been massaged in the past. Obviously, it is the PDCMG who stand to gain most from this in terms of credibility. In reality, many cavers (as exemplified by Andrew and Pete above) have been put off visiting Ogof Draenen due to the toxic nature of the political situation brought on by the intransigence of the PDCMG over the years. As you might recall, we used to have a string of counters throughout the system to keep track of caver traffic (and were heavily criticised by the PDCMG for doing so, despite it being a very useful tool). Nowadays, we just don't bother: there would be so few hits that it simply would not repay the time and effort involved.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 12:55:58 pm by NigR »