UK Caving

WHERE THE CAVES ARE - The Caving Regions => Mendip => Topic started by: PeteHall on June 28, 2020, 11:36:52 am

Title: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on June 28, 2020, 11:36:52 am
From the CSCC website, as of 27 Jun 2020 16:29

Quote
Caves Known To Be Closed
The following caves are known to be closed due to coronavirus:

- Fairy Cave Quarry Caves
Fairy, Hillier's, Shatter, Withyhill, etc.

- The Charterhouse Caves
GB, Longwood, Rhino, Charterhouse, etc.

- St. Cuthberts

https://cscc.org.uk/wiki/doku.php?id=access:access_news (https://cscc.org.uk/wiki/doku.php?id=access:access_news)

Ironically, all caves where access is directly controlled by cavers...
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mrodoc on June 28, 2020, 12:11:54 pm

Quote

Ironically, all caves where access is directly controlled by cavers...

But you do need to add 'on behalf of the landowner' who you definitely want to keep onside.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on June 28, 2020, 12:23:49 pm
True, but who actually made the decision, the cavers or the landowners?

Martin Grass has made it clear that he doesn't think people should be caving and two of the three areas are where he has a direct influence.

The third area is controlled by the Charterhouse Caving Company, known to be one of the most draconian on access, yet other sites owned by the same landowner are not closed...
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on June 28, 2020, 01:54:32 pm
If you have a " management " committee as Fairy Cave Quarry does and to a point Charterhouse as a landowner you might expect them to manage and make decisions based on their experience and what they see on the ground as it were. The Hobbs family still own FCQ and access there is based entirely on their goodwill . If the management committee wishes to be cautious ( ie not rock the boat ) and maintains access for cavers and climbers that must be a good thing. MG does have connections with FCQ as part of the MC also as a single keyholder for Reservoir Hole. ( on behalf of Longleat Estates ). He is also part of the BEC who owns St Cuthberts. Having known MG for a few years I have learned to respect his views. He has a cautious approach which I have sometimes fallen foul of . Personally I would not want to keep those balls in the air at once satisfying cavers and landowners alike. In good time things will return to normal. The caves noted above will remain closed until they meet government standards which are applicable to all cavers on Mendip rather than a select few caving with a person from their own household.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 28, 2020, 01:55:43 pm
Half of them are leader only anyway.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: CandnPearce on June 28, 2020, 02:29:34 pm
so are all the caves closed going to reopen on 4th of July then? as that is when 2 households may meet indoors so governments standards are applicable to all mendip caves, never mind that the government already stated that caving could restart ... 
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: tim.rose2 on June 28, 2020, 05:32:53 pm
Access to Fairy Cave quarry itself is clearly not an issue as it has been open to climbers since 5th June...

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/crag_access/fairy_cave_quarry_reopening-720349?v=1

I'm guessing that must have been approved by the land owner / management committee?  My experience is that there is far more foot fall from climbers than cavers in there (particularly this time of the year).

Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: Sid on June 28, 2020, 05:52:53 pm
What better time to watch and enjoy

https://youtu.be/TWnujR06HZ0
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: menacer on June 28, 2020, 06:15:33 pm
Access to Fairy Cave quarry itself is clearly not an issue as it has been open to climbers since 5th June...

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/crag_access/fairy_cave_quarry_reopening-720349?v=1

I'm guessing that must have been approved by the land owner / management committee?  My experience is that there is far more foot fall from climbers than cavers in there (particularly this time of the year).

Inconvenient truth 😆


Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 28, 2020, 08:09:14 pm
The climbers were already back in there before that.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on June 28, 2020, 09:14:27 pm
Maybe it's much easier to social distance whilst climbing than being confined in a cave ( doh ! ) The climbers I saw at FCQ were maintaining distancing rules. Although certain permutations of groups could actually go caving surely its fairer to wait until we can all return to caving equally.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on June 28, 2020, 09:28:12 pm
Although certain permutations of groups could actually go caving surely its fairer to wait until we can all return to caving equally.

Shall I wait for my obese friend to loose some weight too, so we can all go caving equally? Or my mate who broke his arm, do we need to wait for him to get better?

What about my caving mate in Sweden, do I need to wait until he's in the country so we all have a fair chance?

Different people have different circumstances, it is not the job of an access controlling body to try to second guess everyone's circumstances and restrict access on the grounds that some people might not be able to go caving.

It is the job of an access controlling body to ensure access is provided as freely as possible.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 08:23:04 am
I think you'll find most of them were set up to restrict access - to reduce chances of the "general public" hurting themselves, or damaging the cave, & some were to keep certain people out.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on June 29, 2020, 08:42:43 am
From the BCA constitution:

Quote
4.6. Where caving bodies have control of access delegated to them by the owners, such access should be obtained and granted as freely as possible for all responsible cavers, within the terms of those agreements. When obliged to make new agreements, the appropriate body should endeavour to ensure that this freedom is maintained or improved.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 08:56:01 am
That was written long after most access bodies were set up. The BCA has no say in how they actually run (hence the use of "should").
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on June 29, 2020, 09:27:52 am
If the ACB's can't agree with the BCA constitution, perhaps they should not be members of the BCA? :doubt:
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 09:29:00 am
Maybe they're just there for the insurance...
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: JohnMCooper on June 29, 2020, 09:33:19 am
I'm informed the Mud Sump in Swildon's is open for Round trips :bounce:
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on June 29, 2020, 09:34:55 am
What a pool of negativity this forum has become. It seems the frustrations of Lockdown has not brought people together but divided them. All of the old caving myths and arguments have been revived to be chewed over time and time again. Shall we all start arguing about ladders verses SRT now. I have been involved with certain Mendip caves for 55 years. Of course, that counts for nothing now as people like me have been consigned to history as old " stick in the muds ". Reluctant to see change. The younger generation of cavers come along and feel they have the God-given right to do and go anywhere they like. Private land has no meaning for them. There is a cave there so I will ruddy well go there. They do not see the complex negotiations that go on between landowners and access management. You have access at FCQ negotiated and maintained after the caves were closed for many years. Currently access is all about complying with government advice regarding Covid -19. That's not to be trivialized by replies I have seen here. Management is about maintaining access in the longer term. Its not there to willy nilly let everyone come and go as they want. If a cave is gated its because the landowner wishes to protect his asset and reduce the risk of litigation. Gates are not there to keep genuine cavers out. Some of you would have no gates at all. Anyway its an old argument and just not worth resurrecting again. In my view the caves that require leaders are usually delicate and fragile places. Leader is a misnomer anyway. Really leaders are cave wardens there merely to protect the landowners asset and hopefully preserve something worth seeing for future cavers. Even some will see that as a problem. Yes funny that. A cave an asset. Well, I am sorry that's just how some landowners see them. They have a right to feel that asset is protected. If it was me I would drop a ruddy great boulder on some cave entrances and say sod to the lot of you.
Clearly some do not understand the difference between caving in the north and caving in the south. We don't have huge barren moors down south we have small fields usually in agricultural use and some very old fashioned farmers highly protective of their old ways and customs. Anything that appears to threaten that ( real or perceived ) will be met with hostility. We also have ex-industrial sites where landowners still have to maintain health and safety. Some may be SSSI's where further restrictions apply. Also, we have highly advertised and popular visitors sites where any negative publicity resulting from caver actions will be seen as damaging. It's a difficult mix and negotiations for continued access have to be done carefully and patiently. Farmers here will not be lectured to.
What a stupid thing to say that Mendip is controlled by  "Martin Grass sycophants." That clearly emphasises the attitude of somebody totally ignorant of Mendip and its ways. Personally I would not wish to do anything that Martin Grass does as I would quickly lose patience with all of the ignorance and hostility. Still what do I know? Its a brave new world now where the younger generation think that they know it all. Carry on then. Go and shout at few local farmers and trample over their land. There might be a dead rotting cow down that entrance next time that you go there. Or a very large boulder.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 09:45:10 am
Every generation is the same, just some of the issues change. It is interesting how similar the current political situation & attitudes are to the period between the death of Victoria & the start of WW1 (actually, with the pandemic, the end of the war - which is definitely a better place to be than before).
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: 2xw on June 29, 2020, 09:48:43 am
The "younger generation" presumably meaning those who are in their 40s and 50s currently 😂
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 09:52:20 am
You may joke (although I believe some are still in their 30s)...
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: 2xw on June 29, 2020, 09:57:56 am
I think it would be a lot easier to accept these explanations about complex negotiations and the land being agricultural if it weren't the same people over and over again restricting access in Draenan, Charterhouse, whatever. It's not "Mendip Cavers" it's the same group of people. It's pretty naive to assume it's all being done in good faith.


And don't be surprised that a younger generation might want change when a significant proportion of them are banned from some caves for moral and political (not legal) reasons. You wouldn't like to be banned just cos you're over 50.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 10:03:33 am
Except it's not just the same group of people, there may be individuals involved in several of them, but they aren't in the majority.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: 2xw on June 29, 2020, 10:07:05 am
Maybe you're right and they do represent Mendip Cavers then
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 10:17:13 am
They do seem to represent many of the cavers who opened up the caves, but not those who just want to go caving (who are actually the majority, but not generally on committees).
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: Bob Mehew on June 29, 2020, 10:18:24 am
That was written long after most access bodies were set up.
I am afraid not.  It was lifted from the NCA constitution so could have ben written before such bodies were set up, given NCA dates back to the late 70s.  Indeed given so much of the BCA constitution was a straight lift from the NCA constitution, it makes me wonder whether the whole thing is fit for purpose these days.  However we did manage to get the veto clause excluded. 

But I note that it remains in the CSCC constitution as an option for a club to use.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on June 29, 2020, 10:21:23 am
If this general statement is a fact let us have some instances.

" And don't be surprised that a younger generation might want change when a significant proportion of them are banned from some caves for moral and political (not legal) reasons. You wouldn't like to be banned just cos you're over 50 . "
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 10:27:21 am
There are several under 16s, who are better cavers than many committee members, who would like to go down GB.

On the access bodies - they still decided to form before they agreed to be part of the NCA / BCA.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on June 29, 2020, 10:32:46 am
There are several under 16s, who are better cavers than most committee members, who would like to go down GB.
One such U16 is currently arranging a Charterhouse trip with me for August when he turns 16. Just hoping the CCC re-open the caves in time, based on updated gov guidance allowing people to meet indoors.

Quote
On the access bodies - they still decided to form before they decided to be part of the NCA / BCA.
I would question if the landowners and/ or land use is the same now as it was when the ACB's formed and whether they still fill the need that they were formed to fill?
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 10:36:55 am
Generally they want someone to take responsibility for the entrance(s). They don't have much involvement in how that's done (although they may have stipulated originally).
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on June 29, 2020, 10:43:51 am
So the ACB's are pretty much at liberty to deal with the entrances as they choose, which links nicely back to the BCA constitution "as freely as possible for all responsible cavers"
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 10:47:14 am
Except they exist to protect the caves & the landowners, not just the interests of cavers...
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: Fjell on June 29, 2020, 11:00:18 am
Coming from a farming family and having had various farmers as neighbours I can assure you they spend most of their time bitching about each other and obsessing about making money (or often the opposite). Cavers are a micro-issue unless they interfere with money, get in the bloody way or (don’t go there) try and tell them what to do. No-one tells any farmer what to do, especially when they cock something up. They only do what is really a shit job to get away from people telling them what to do.
At the other end of the scale are landowners in the Dales who have tenants. These are the sort of people you can chat to on the sidelines of school rugby matches. They are very aware their whole position is somewhat under threat. They are thinking bog management will fruitfully replace grouse. I see them going fell running even. All highly discussible.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on June 29, 2020, 11:37:46 am
An interesting thought Mikem might want to look up. I think that the Leicester spike resulted in infections in a meat processing plant. The Sunday Times quoted the conditions there as dark, high humidity and low temperature ( this hearsay as I have not checked ) . Ring any bells ?
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: Fjell on June 29, 2020, 12:07:53 pm
An interesting thought Mikem might want to look up. I think that the Leicester spike resulted in infections in a meat processing plant. The Sunday Times quoted the conditions there as dark, high humidity and low temperature ( this hearsay as I have not checked ) . Ring any bells ?

The CNCC booking system which in principle allocates one group a day to a cave seems a good idea doesn’t it in that light? Maybe CSCC could apply it to Swildons etc? I’m sure the chap who wrote it would be only too willing to help if you asked really nicely.
I would think a 24 hour gap between people would probably do the job sufficiently. If not you could allow bookings every other day. Short of a vaccine that works for old people, what option do you have for years to come?
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on June 29, 2020, 12:17:41 pm
Maybe CSCC could apply it to Swildons etc?

The CSCC does not control access to Swildon's.

It has also made absolutely no effort to enable safe (or any) access to the sites it does control during the Coronavirus outbreak. The only statement on the subject is that "all the Mendip Huts are closed and are therefore unable to issue keys." This neglects the fact that many Mendip clubs do not have a hut, so all keys are held by members. I am also unaware of any reason why individuals more generally should not hold their own personal CSCC key as this does not seem to be addressed on the CSCC website. Either way, I know many people do...
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: MarkS on June 29, 2020, 12:21:55 pm
It strikes me as very odd that the CSCC site (https://cscc.org.uk/access_guide2/cscc_access_guide_view.php?Site=204) states that Fairy Cave Quarry has been open to climbers since June 5th, but that "Taking into account the current government, BCRC, MCR & BCA regulations, advice & permitted activities and the nature of the caves in the quarry, Fairy Cave Quarry remains closed for caving.".

I'm not sure what BCA or BCRC "regulations" (have there been any?) this refers to. The guidance from each (since mid May) suggests that caving is assumed to be taking place as far as I can tell.

If questions are being raised over access and restrictions, perhaps it is in the CSCC's best interests to be clear and open as to why such restrictions are in place?

In the Dales and in the Peak District I am aware of multiple sites that are (or have been) closed due to COVID-19, and the regional councils have been very open and clear as to why. I have no reason to question them. However, if they started quoting BCA/BCRC guidelines as to why caving on their land wasn't OK, but that it was OK for climbers, I would be pretty irritated and would be asking questions.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: Cavematt on June 29, 2020, 12:29:53 pm
The chap who wrote the CNCC's online booking system was also BCA's webmaster for the last year. He resigned from that role recently following the CSCC proposals which specifically aimed to abolish his role (i.e. to get rid of him), and various CSCC supporters, one in particular, who spent several months deliberately obstructing him from supporting the BCA's much needed modernisation. A little off topic, but I would be very surprised to see the CSCC approaching him for use of the online booking system anytime soon  :lol:
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: Fjell on June 29, 2020, 12:42:04 pm
Like I said, really really nicely.......
Correct me if I err, but my understanding is that CNCC in no way controls access, but agrees to help out the landowner meet their objectives implementing an access agreement via things like provision of a booking system to enable cavers to spread the load sensibly. It is of far more use to cavers than anyone else. Can be booked mere seconds before entering the cave if you have phone reception. Anyone can use it.
There is no reason that booking system couldn’t be used for Mendip caves to assist with self regulation if there was a problem with numbers. All that is required is self-discipline and consideration for others.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on June 29, 2020, 12:58:58 pm
perhaps it is in the CSCC's best interests to be clear and open as to why such restrictions are in place?

To be fair, while the CSCC has done nothing to enable access, it has also done nothing to prevent access, so we should probably give them a break on this particular point.

All the restrictions in place have sod all to do with the CSCC, they are each the work of separate Access Controlling Bodies (albeit that some names may appear in more than one organisation...)

This is possibly one of the issues in Mendip, there are who knows how many ACB's in the region. I'm not sure if there is even a list anywhere?
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: Badlad on June 29, 2020, 01:28:02 pm
The CNCC were considered an Access Controlling Body at the time when most access agreements were aimed at member clubs.  That has changed.  CNCC likes to think that it represents all cavers who cave in, or visit the north, club, independent or otherwise.  We work with landowners, land managers, authorities and others to facilitate the best access we can on behalf of cavers.  Of course we do other things too like all the conservation work, anchors, training, PR, etc.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: Hunter on June 29, 2020, 01:59:42 pm
Just going off at a slight tangent but still relative with regard to the same individuals being on several of the Mendip access organisations.
Rather than scorn their input and decisions maybe ask yourself why it is those same people and I would suggest it is because no one else is prepared to take it on.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 02:22:56 pm
On the Leicester spike - the mayor was on radio today claiming they had done more testing than most other areas, so a rise in cases discovered was almost inevitable. A chicken processing plant in Anglesey also had an outbreak amongst staff - very similar working conditions again. (The Weston super mare hospital closure contained their problem.)

& the CSCC post doesn't refer to BCA regulations, it's talking about government ones, the BCA input would come under the advice headline.

Most ACBs require insurance, so BCA has a list of them.

Also, the CNCC booking system does not apply to majority of the most popular caves in the Dales.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on June 29, 2020, 03:06:14 pm
Most ACBs require insurance, so BCA has a list of them.
Is this public? I can't find it...

Quote
Also, the CNCC booking system does not apply to majority of the most popular caves in the Dales.
Because they are open access and do not require any permission to descend?
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: bagpuss on June 29, 2020, 03:44:29 pm
The caves noted above will remain closed until they meet government standards which are applicable to all cavers on Mendip rather than a select few caving with a person from their own household.

Interested to know what you mean by government standards, I noticed some show caves are reopening from July, of course it doesn't mean that just because they are opening the risk is lessened, as it will be an economical decision, however they will have far more footfall than Mendip caves. If the virus is to be with us for a long time is it not better to have discussion about how access can be managed to more popular caves such as Swildon's and what steps cavers should take to protect themselves etc? I'm not caving at the moment, so purely asking hypothetically.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 04:02:15 pm
Most ACBs require insurance, so BCA has a list of them.
Is this public? I can't find it...
Not as far as I'm aware, but clubs that are also ACBs pay an extra, but reduced subscription, so it must exist.
Quote
Quote
Also, the CNCC booking system does not apply to majority of the most popular caves in the Dales.
Because they are open access and do not require any permission to descend?
Because the landowners don't require someone else to manage the cavers. Most of the ones that are on the system are those that require permits.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: Bob Mehew on June 29, 2020, 04:31:29 pm
Most ACBs require insurance, so BCA has a list of them.
Is this public? I can't find it...
Not as far as I'm aware, but clubs that are also ACBs pay an extra, but reduced subscription, so it must exist.
The detail is in BCA's membership database.  BCA's privacy statement restricts its usage.  (Though this has made me wonder how BCA justifies listing member clubs.)
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on June 29, 2020, 04:42:09 pm
Hopefully clubs have ticked a box saying they want to be listed, so potential new members can see them...

Think there are just under 20 hut owning clubs in country, so numbers of ACBs is probably in range of c.30.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: JohnMCooper on July 01, 2020, 04:27:31 pm
Having spoken with Dot Eastwater Cavern remains closed and she doesn’t want cavers coming around, so can CSCC please update accordingly.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on July 01, 2020, 04:39:21 pm
Eastwater already has been added (as has North Hill Swallet)
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: domestos bend on July 02, 2020, 11:58:47 am
Swildons is an interesting one as I am guessing it will be the mendip cave that gets the most traffic as things unlock. What are the chances of picking up covid from a panting carrier who has eaten his twix sat in the water chamber? Nose in the mud sump airspace? 
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on July 02, 2020, 12:37:39 pm
I doubt sump air space is likely to be worth consideration as the only closed air bell is between sump 2 and 3. Very few people go that way...

Even on a busy day in Swildon's, the only usual bottleneck is at the 20. There is a large passage upstream and a few wide bits downstream to wait.

Personally, I'm not too worried.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: JoshW on July 02, 2020, 12:38:53 pm
Even on a busy day in Swildon's, the only usual bottleneck is at the 20. There is a large passage upstream and a few wide bits downstream to wait.

Personally, I'm not too worried.

not to mention usually a decent draft through that section to "refresh" the air
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on July 02, 2020, 02:10:13 pm
Swildons is already open & various trips have been done, including the short round.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on July 02, 2020, 03:19:10 pm
I'm aware of two groups going to Swildon's tonight, so if anyone's worried about it being busy, choose a different day :)
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on July 02, 2020, 06:47:20 pm
Will be down Swildons next week. :beer2:
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on July 03, 2020, 12:48:22 am
Look out for the new road sign!

No idea how long it's been there as I've not been down since January I think, but made me smile tonight  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: Cap'n Chris on July 03, 2020, 07:43:50 am
A timely reminder that there's a fair amount of flytipped detritus which needs removing from the cave. Some of it has been there for decades.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: JamesM on July 04, 2020, 11:26:18 pm
Look out for the new road sign!

No idea how long it's been there as I've not been down since January I think, but made me smile tonight  :thumbsup:

It was there three weeks ago when I did the short round trip
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: bagpuss on July 05, 2020, 12:00:27 pm
Swildons is already open & various trips have been done, including the short round.

If it's open what's the situation regarding the changing barn? I'm currently not caving, but doesn't thought not need to be given regarding communal changing? Do we have any local guidance for Mendip? I've not seen anything since the May statement by MCR.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on July 05, 2020, 12:21:55 pm
The Wessex is opening outside facilities for members and guests of members, so that's where I changed.

Not sure of the status for the changing barn, but will see if I can find out next time I'm in Priddy, unless anyone can confirm before?
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: nearlywhite on July 05, 2020, 03:03:39 pm
That was written long after most access bodies were set up. The BCA has no say in how they actually run (hence the use of "should").

If they want to be members of the BCA then they do, doesn't matter what predates what. If they want insurance then they probably do as there aren't many alternatives. The requirements are pretty insignificant however. I do suspect that may change - ACBs should have a requirement of transparency, openness and democratic engagement. They pretty much all do this anyway as it's the easiest way to get cavers to have a stake in an access agreement and not try to bypass it (though I'm aware of several that still do). ACBs can exist outside of the BCA without issue - and I know of some (that generally control mines) that do.

As for examples OR - the Charterhouse issues were caused by a complaint made by an under 16, whose local area was mendip, not being allowed to go despite having bottomed the berger the previous summer. All because someone actually decided to enforce the rules. Fortunately all the other ACBs in the country are less restricting in what they do.

Apologies dragging the thread back there. Nice to know caving is resuming on mendip - someone will have to try and drown me in swildon's come August.

Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on July 05, 2020, 05:20:42 pm
You may struggle, it being fairly dry at the moment...
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on July 05, 2020, 05:29:10 pm
Sump 2 and 3 still have some water in :)
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: DanWyatt on July 07, 2020, 04:48:20 am
Some friends and I are planning to make a trip to swildons tomorrow, but I thought I should just check if anyone knows if the changing barn is open?

If not does anyone have any suggestions on somewhere else that could be used for changing afterwards?

Cheers
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on July 07, 2020, 07:21:54 am
I've heard nothing to say it isn't open and there is no sign or note or anything there to say that you shouldn't use it. There is no sign or note on the box where you put your money either, so I would assume that it is ok.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: darren on July 07, 2020, 08:50:58 am
I've heard its open.

The alternative is cavers changing on the green.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: mikem on July 07, 2020, 10:32:24 am
Which the villagers aren't keen on.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: DanWyatt on July 07, 2020, 11:16:19 am
I figured that was likely the case but thought it's worth double checking.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: andrewmc on July 09, 2020, 06:57:35 pm
I have been told that St Cuthbert's is now open (delayed slightly due to a stuck padlock which had to be replaced?) although as a warden-led cave, this obviously depends on the willingness of wardens to lead trips. I wouldn't expect 'normal' service.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on July 09, 2020, 07:10:25 pm
Just back from Swildons. Two other parties down. Hopefully a few photos. Wessex CC members plus a guest can use the open-ended washing hut for changing then walk over the fields. Honesty box in the club porch.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on July 10, 2020, 06:57:41 am
I feel a photo splodge coming on ---- :)
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: darren on July 10, 2020, 08:00:09 am
Wessex CC members plus a guest can use the open-ended washing hut for changing then walk over the fields. Honesty box in the club porch.

As many guests as you want, just no guest groups.

Don't restrict yourselves to changing in the washdown area, feel free to get your kit off anywhere in the carpark and lawn area
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: JohnMCooper on July 10, 2020, 09:15:17 am
Just remember there is CCTV recording you 8)
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on July 11, 2020, 08:15:49 pm
Good news:

Quote
CHARTERHOUSE CAVING COMPANY LTD

RE-OPENING THE CAVES 13th JULY 2020

 

Following the updated advice from government, the BCA and the BCRC, the company is able to recommence visits to the caves under its management from Monday 13th July 2020. Visits are, of course, subject to the normal requirements of the access agreements and also to the additional recommendations listed below.

Until further notice each club is asked not to issue more than one key for each cave on any one day.Social distancing and hygiene protocols must be followed when issuing and returning both keys and permits. It is recommended that visitors use hand sanitiser before and after unlocking and locking cave gates.No cars are to be parked at Charterhouse Farm by request of the owners and no changing is to take place there. Parking for G.B. and Charterhouse must therefore be in the layby by the field entrance on the road.It is recommended that you have a plan "B" if you are likely to meet other cavers underground.Ash dieback is affecting trees throughout the Mendip area. Take care when using the permissive path through Longwood Valley especially in high winds.

We also recommend that the following additional advice from the Secretary of the BCA is adhered to.

Plan for an alternative location if the location is already occupied, so as to minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus between groups;Noting that whilst some rural communities are content to see cavers, others may still be reluctant to have visitors, so check local information before visiting and take care when approaching any location;The ‘service’ provided by cave rescue organisations may be reduced and could take longer to arrive at the scene of an incident, so cavers and mine explorers should special care to reduce the risk of a call out;Follow government guidance on contact with shared tackle, hand washing / use of hand sanitizer and maintain an appropriate social distance where reasonably possible both above and underground, so as to minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus; andKeep a record for 21 days of whom you have associated with in case they subsequently realise that they are infected, so as to facilitate the government’s test and trace program.

 Pete Hann

Chairman, on behalf of the Directors, CCC Ltd, July 11th 2020

 Circulation:

CCC Ltd member club representatives

Charterhouse Cave Leaders

Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on July 12, 2020, 09:10:22 am
Caving kit packed for Tuesday. :beer2:
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on July 12, 2020, 11:12:27 am
Light charged for tomorrow  :)
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on July 12, 2020, 02:10:24 pm
It's fairly safe to say that most of Mendip is open to caving following whatever guidelines are in place nationally and locally. Possibly Eastwater remains closed at the landowner's request but the key collection notice was in the lane on Thursday. For the moment it is best to remain unobtrusive. A rush of applications for leader caves would not be appreciated as a gentle phase into caving is best. In any case, a willing cave leader ( warden ) will still have to volunteer to take a trip and that might be an issue for further delay.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: PeteHall on July 12, 2020, 04:05:13 pm
Don't know how other leaders and wardens are doing, but I've already got two Charterhouse trips booked in for August, which is as much as I'll have time for, for a while unfortunately.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on July 13, 2020, 11:03:44 am
“In light of the latest easing of lockdown restrictions & announcements Fairy Cave Quarry Management Committee are re-opening access to the caves in the quarry from Monday 13th July 2020.

It is advised that any recommendation and advice from the Government, BCRC & BCA are followed along with the following:-

It is recommended that you use a hand sanitiser before and after handling padlocks and gates.

It is important to minimise risks as much as possible, therefore cave within your capability. Although MCR are operational it may take longer for a callout response from MCR and other emergency services.

To reduce the risk of meeting other cavers underground, bearing in mind the restricted nature of the caves in FCQ, it is suggested that a discrete note be put on the dashboard of parked vehicles with just the name of cave (or cave initials) and possibly the intended route (do not put times etc). It is recommended that you have a plan "B" if you are likely to meet other cavers underground.

Ash dieback is affecting trees throughout the Mendip area including in and around the quarry and car park. This can seriously impact on the strength and reliability of even large trees. An inspection of the ash trees will be carried out in the near future.

Wardens for the guided trips within the quarry may be limited due to wardens self isolating etc. Any requests for trips will be sent to the the wardens list as usual and it is up to the wardens whether or not they feel safe to guide a trip.

Fairy Cave Quarry Management Committee.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: JamesM on July 14, 2020, 11:40:01 pm
I've heard nothing to say it isn't open and there is no sign or note or anything there to say that you shouldn't use it. There is no sign or note on the box where you put your money either, so I would assume that it is ok.

When I spoke to the farmer a month ago,  he is happy for cavers to still use the changing barn as they don't go up there at all. Obviously at your own risk.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: The Old Ruminator on July 15, 2020, 12:35:12 pm
That still means walking across the road. If you want to be tactful change at the Wessex.
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: maxb727 on July 15, 2020, 01:11:09 pm
That still means walking across the road. If you want to be tactful change at the Wessex.
Just wondering what’s wrong with crossing the road?

I thought the Wessex was just for members and their guests as set out by the information sent out to members recently
Title: Re: Mendip Caves closed due to Coronavirus
Post by: JohnMCooper on July 15, 2020, 02:46:42 pm
Quote
I thought the Wessex was just for members and their guests

I can confirm that at present only Members and their personal guests should use the car park at Upper Pitts.