Author Topic: DYO  (Read 5242 times)

Offline Bratchley

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Re: DYO
« Reply #50 on: December 20, 2018, 11:25:48 pm »
Tony...we're you not digging for another entrance in the dry valley,? This would have taken you a few hundred meters beyond the far north choke and not the missing miles that you desired?
If your shaft had succeeded you would have left a route directly back to dyo and some of its best formations in the uk such as The Mostest.

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Yes, we did have a dig in the dry valley. The site in question is, as you very well know, close to the sink at Waun Fignen Felen, and therefore quite a long way from the Far North. Still a lot of cave to be found there. The essential difference is that we kept DYO caves fully informed of what we were doing and of our intentions should the dig ever 'go'. Your approach was somewhat different - perhaps you would care to enlighten us?

Tony, out of interest and for the sake of transparency, what were your intentions should your dig ever 'go' into the back of DYO?

Judging by the outcome of the dig mentioned in the Darkness Below article, I'm assuming you'd have needed to blast it shut otherwise DYO's insurance would've made them gate the showcave.


The dig went to 40m deep and with some interesting passage but sadly - and frustratingly - petered out. It never found any proper horizontal passage and to be perfectly honest the idea that it would end up anywhere near the known extent of DYO never even occurred to any of us. It's a long way from the known cave and even if it had 'gone' big-time it would have ended up on the other side of the Far North Choke. Have you ever been to the Far North? Go and have a look and your question is answered. Ever since the choke was first found in 1968 cavers have been trying to find a way through it. That's fifty years.

I've certainly been to the choke many times, bigger chokes have been passed, especially when both ends can be reached. That's not relevant to my point anyway.

The point I was trying to make was, had your dig gone big time and you'd have been fortunate enough to have broken into the showcave through some magical aven and bypassing the choke, do you think that we would be in the same position as now? Where your dig becomes the only entrance and all recreational access through DYO main entrance stops...

Would that be OK? How would you have dealt with that?

Regardless of the outcome, the difference on the face of things is little. Neither dig had NRW permission, just your one wasnt the one that got close enough to the main cave. No matter the intentions, both technically *could* have and I'm sure neither of you would have stopped short of the main cave had you reached it.
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Offline Tony_B

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Re: DYO
« Reply #51 on: December 21, 2018, 07:40:34 am »
The point I was trying to make was, had your dig gone big time and you'd have been fortunate enough to have broken into the showcave through some magical aven and bypassing the choke, do you think that we would be in the same position as now? Where your dig becomes the only entrance and all recreational access through DYO main entrance stops...

Would that be OK? How would you have dealt with that?

Regardless of the outcome, the difference on the face of things is little. Neither dig had NRW permission, just your one wasnt the one that got close enough to the main cave. No matter the intentions, both technically *could* have and I'm sure neither of you would have stopped short of the main cave had you reached it.

In short, the answer is that at the time we were digging in the dry valley there were none of the tensions that currently exist. The situation now is very different to how it was then.

Offline Tony_B

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Re: DYO
« Reply #52 on: December 21, 2018, 08:43:36 am »

In S Wales we now have four of these groups, none of which now report on their meetings, and few of which reveal the identity of any of their members. The PDCMG used to be quite democratic (albeit jerrymandered) but has ceased to publish details of its meetings or show any interest in maintaining its website; the MLCMAC has a more attractive website, but says virtually nothing about  its composition or meetings - we just get to see who the secretary is because it is part of his website [http://mlcmac.org]; the OFDCMG [http://ofdcmc.org.uk/] has an attractive website, but only names its secretary; while the DYOCAP has an excellent website [http://www.dyo.org.uk], but reveals the identities of none of its officials, nor of when the meeting which started this thread took place.

I suppose we must trust that these shady operations really do aim to help all cavers get into dark places rather than just keep them in the dark about what is really behind all this. But S Wales does seem to be like a black hole into which caving news disappears with only faint echos of any activity emerging.

I didn't get the chance yesterday to respond to Martin's point, and as a long-term member of the DYO CAC (now CAP) I will attempt to answer the questions raised by his post.

First, a history lesson: for many years access beyond the showcave in DYO was managed by SWCC. The club ran a leader system under which caving clubs were allowed a number of guest leaders, who could apply for this status once they were able to demonstrate knowledge of the cave. This was seen as being somewhat inequitable, and an attempt to change the rules was rather badly handled. The showcave management took back control and created the DYO Cave Advisory Committee (CAC). It was formed of (mostly local) cavers and representatives from the showcave, the BBNPA and the CCW, the precursor to today's NRW. Elsie Little was the Secretary of this and wardens will recall applying to her for permits. The position of Chairman was always held by a caver, the cavers on the committee were elected at wardens' meetings, and while this was ostensibly democratic the meetings consisted of a very small pool from which to elect committee members. In effect, those with a desire to look after their own interests in relation to DYO access were able to gain a seat on the CAC, and the body was viewed with some degree of suspicion by cavers from outside the Swansea valley. In 2005 I was invited to stand for election to the CAC and despite some concerns about committing to this (I was dad to a newborn) I was duly elected.

For some while I was a thorn in the side of other cavers then on the committee. There were differences of opinion on a number of issues and I did my best to represent what I thought were the views of the active caving community, particularly with regard to matters like the provision of fixed aids within DYO. A significant cave rescue in 2008 caused some waves; Elsie Little was dismissed as Wardens' Sec and I was asked to take on the role. With a brief interlude, I have held that position ever since.

Unfortunately matters became increasingly difficult. There were a number of breaches of the cave's conservation rules and despite our best efforts the showcave owner felt that the cavers on the panel were toothless in dealing with this. In addition, members of the committee were on the receiving end of abusive emails regarding conservation matters and in the end the showcave scrapped the CAC and reformed the body as the CAP. The essential difference is that while previously cavers were elected on to the committee by wardens, cavers on the CAP are appointed. In reality there is very little difference; the members come from the same small pool of those with an interest in the cave.

There is no great secrecy about who sits on the CAP. I am happy to be the public face of this to cavers, but it would be remiss of me to mention the other cavers involved without their permission - as mentioned above, panel members have in the past been on the receiving end of unwarranted and unacceptable abuse. The minutes of meetings are not published because matters are discussed that are potentially commercially sensitive, from the showcave's point-of-view, but if anyone wants information about issues pertaining to caving in DYO then please feel free to get in touch. There is no intention to be in any way secretive and indeed my view is that cavers should be more involved in the decision-making process; as mentioned above, there have been times in the past when the cavers on the CAC/CAP were seriously out-of-touch with the views of active cavers.

With regard to access to the cave; visiting clubs can request a trip and I will do my best to find a volunteer Warden to take them. BCA insurance is a prerequisite. Anyone who wants a Warden permit can apply for one but will need a recommendation from a Warden who has accompanied them into the cave. It's important that anyone leading trips into the cave understands the flood risks and the conservation issues, and the showcave want the reassurance that only responsible cavers have access to their property. Such applications are rarely refused: I can't remember anyone being declined, although two cavers have had permits withdrawn for serious breaches of the cave rules. Despite the complaints of some the system is not onerous; the showcave have every right to protect their business and their property and cavers should consider themselves extremely fortunate that caving access is as readily available as it is. In reality, the biggest restriction on access to DYO is the Welsh weather - between October and April you need a sustained dry spell for safe access to be possible and even in the summer months access is by no means guaranteed. If anyone wants more information, please get in touch.             

     

Offline 2xw

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Re: DYO
« Reply #53 on: December 21, 2018, 10:05:59 am »

Given your commitment to non-secrecy, any chance of sharing who wrote this article, and what their purpose was in writing it?

All it seems to have done is to generate negative publicity for the showcave and cast the management group in somewhat of a bad (hypocritical) light.

Offline Tony_B

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Re: DYO
« Reply #54 on: December 21, 2018, 11:01:17 am »

Given your commitment to non-secrecy, any chance of sharing who wrote this article, and what their purpose was in writing it?

All it seems to have done is to generate negative publicity for the showcave and cast the management group in somewhat of a bad (hypocritical) light.

I don't know who wrote it. Best ask Darkness Below, who credited it to an 'Administrator'. My understanding is that the information was provided by the showcave, but I reiterate that there is nothing new in any of it. Those of us who have been into the cave in the last two or three years have seen the metal grille and the explanatory notice. As far as I am aware none of the cavers on the CAP contributed; the one who was contacted made suggestions which were largely ignored.

The allegation of hypocrisy towards the DYO CAP can only be levelled by those not in possession of the full facts. I'm not going to fuel the flames any more but I say again that there are a unique set of circumstances around the dig at Nant y Gwared that do not apply to other projects in the DYO catchment and beyond.     

Offline Tony_B

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Re: DYO
« Reply #55 on: December 21, 2018, 11:54:07 am »

So, it's a rumor that someone has restarted a dig. Has anyone bothered to actually go and check this? Is someone actually digging again, or is it still abandoned?

In the interests of honesty and full disclosure: at the meeting of the DYO CAP on 4th Nov this year it was suggested that the dig at Nant y Gwared had been surreptitiously restarted. There is - as far as I can tell - no direct, reliable evidence of this. However the Swansea valley is not a large area and people see things. Sometimes they put 2 and 2 together and make 5. Or even 6.

The cavers on the CAP who dig (most of us) made the point that if the dig had been restarted then it would be obvious. The NRW and BBNPA are very sensitive to this issue, as of course is the landowner who came close to prosecution, and my personal view is that I think it unlikely that anyone would chance their arm re-opening this project, given the history and the potential consequences.   

Offline MarkS

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Re: DYO
« Reply #56 on: December 21, 2018, 12:11:50 pm »
As an essentially impartial observer (I've visited DYO once and don't regularly cave in the region), there do seem to be two aspects that have been raised here but not responded to, answers to which would seem to go a long way to simplifying the issues.

PeteHall has repeatedly asked why the current un-gated second entrance (the resurgence) is not a problem insurance-wise, but why a second un-gated entrance would be. If the resurgence is a problem, it would seem alternative insurance is required now (which could then cover any other entrances), and if it is not a problem then presumably an additional entrance would also not be a problem insurance-wise.

alastairgott has also repeatedly asked why the gate that has been installed at the end of the showcave can't just be locked. Wardens with keys are required to access the show-cave as things stand, so carrying 1 extra key would not seem too much of a hassle, and would seem to pre-emptively solve the issue of any potential additional entrances.

I'm not suggesting an additional entrance would be a good thing. It just seems these are two straightforward questions, answers to which would enable the insurance problem (seemingly the focus of the darkness below article) to be separated from the more complex issues of the ins and outs of the merits of single or multiple entrances, or working out exactly whose digs have what permissions. :shrug:

Offline Rhys

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Re: DYO
« Reply #57 on: December 21, 2018, 12:36:37 pm »
The resurgence entrance is not the same as an entrance elsewhere on the mountain. The resurgence lies within the showcave complex and is easily monitored by CCTV etc. Perhaps the insurers (if they even know about it) might consider it less of a risk.

Offline Rhys

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Re: DYO
« Reply #58 on: December 21, 2018, 12:48:17 pm »
The insurance "issue" is probably a red herring, in any case. If the showcave owners want to deny caver access, for whatever reason, they can and they will. It wouldn't be the first time.

Offline Simon Beck

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Re: DYO
« Reply #59 on: December 21, 2018, 01:59:31 pm »
No permission required but all trips must be warden-led? Kind of a contradiction if you ask me. Non of my business to comment, I don't cave in that region, but sounds like a bloody monopoly to me.

Clearly you don't cave in this part of the world or you'd understand what this means. 'No permission required' means that you don't need to arrange trips in advance with the showcave (unlike some others). A Warden can arrange to take a party according to his/her and their availability and just turn up and wave their permit (or collect a key, if the showcave is closed.) Hope this clarifies the meaning.

Thanks for spelling it out to me, albeit there really wasn't any need. But like you say, as a northern caver the two pretty much mean the same thing

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: DYO
« Reply #60 on: December 21, 2018, 02:00:56 pm »
PeteHall has repeatedly asked why the current un-gated second entrance (the resurgence) is not a problem insurance-wise, but why a second un-gated entrance would be.

Wild guess: cave divers are a different breed from random members of the public (aka cavers) as they are highly trained and capable technicians whereas the latter can be a danger to themselves.

If the showcave owners want to deny caver access, for whatever reason, they can and they will. It wouldn't be the first time.

Presumably not easily done with regard to divers though. Your turn.

Offline MarkS

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Re: DYO
« Reply #61 on: December 21, 2018, 02:13:00 pm »
PeteHall has repeatedly asked why the current un-gated second entrance (the resurgence) is not a problem insurance-wise, but why a second un-gated entrance would be.

Wild guess: cave divers are a different breed from random members of the public (aka cavers) as they are highly trained and capable technicians whereas the latter can be a danger to themselves.

See reply #46, hence my question:

...it makes no difference to the insurance issue whether a potential second entrance is beyond a sump or wherever; if it is opened, insurance cover will be withdrawn until the grille at the end of showcave is locked.

Although Rhys has provided a possible reason.

Offline Alex

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Re: DYO
« Reply #62 on: December 21, 2018, 02:13:29 pm »
Quote
Quote from: Cap'n Chris on Today at 02:00:56 pm
Quote from: MarkS on Today at 12:11:50 pm
PeteHall has repeatedly asked why the current un-gated second entrance (the resurgence) is not a problem insurance-wise, but why a second un-gated entrance would be.

Wild guess: cave divers are a different breed from random members of the public (aka cavers) as they are highly trained and capable technicians whereas the latter can be a danger to themselves.

See reply #46, hence my question.

Quote from: Tony_B on Yesterday at 10:05:11 pm
...it makes no difference to the insurance issue whether a potential second entrance is beyond a sump or wherever; if it is opened, insurance cover will be withdrawn until the grille at the end of showcave is locked.

Although Rhys has provided a possible reason.

Then why is a second entrance beyond a sump such a problem? Unless as others say it's not an insurance thing after-all and as usual with Wales the whole thing has been blown out of proportion.

A second dry entrance would solve the Welsh weather issue, if it was not beyond a sump and then it would not matter if the Showcave locked their entrance.

However, I will say the diggers should still get the SSSI permission and the surface landowners (which it appears they had originally??) to avoid breaking the law.
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Offline Tony_B

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Re: DYO
« Reply #63 on: December 21, 2018, 03:25:53 pm »
Since I went out this morning several others have stepped in with sensible responses. Particular thanks to Rhys for his two posts that have saved me answering those correspondents.

Look, I could spell things out on here more than I have, but it would only be pouring petrol on to flames where some of you are concerned. Read back through my previous contributions. I reiterate once more: there are issues surrounding the dig at Nant y Gwared that do not apply to digs elsewhere, or, for that matter, to the sump in the resurgence.

The insurance issue has been highlighted by the article in Darkness Below, but the DYO management have been clear on this for a long time, so it's not news. But you can be sure that it is not the only aspect of this whole sorry episode that troubles the showcave owner.

One more thing that I ask contributors to be aware of: the management at DYO are all too aware that this thread exists and have seen everything that is written. Whatever your views, please respect the fact that most of the caving community quite like having access to a cave as wonderful as DYO, and would be very unhappy were that access to be lost. Trust me that we have come very close to the edge on this before. Before you click 'post' on your next words of wisdom, just reflect on that. Thanks.     
 

Offline ogofmole

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Re: DYO
« Reply #64 on: December 21, 2018, 03:46:19 pm »
Quote
Whatever your views, please respect the fact that most of the caving community quite like having access to a cave as wonderful as DYO, and would be very unhappy were that access to be lost. Trust me that we have come very close to the edge on this before. Before you click 'post' on your next words of wisdom, just reflect on that. Thanks.     
 

Very well put, Ashford has allowed easy access to us cavers who just enjoy caving.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: DYO
« Reply #65 on: December 21, 2018, 04:02:43 pm »
I think the real issue here causing the heated discussions has nothing to do with access to DYO. It is the blatantly biased reporting on darknessbelow.

The article has deliberately stirred up a non-current issue, claiming access is likely to be lost due to insurance restrictions.

Credible arguments have been made to address the insurance issues and have gone unanswered, adding to the speculation that this is not the real issue for access. Rhys has since confirmed that insurance is a red herring.

In summary, DYO management have their own reasons to oppose a particular dig that may enter their business premises, which seems fair enough. The unnamed administrator at darknessbelow has taken the opportunity to scare-monger and stir trouble, likely to cause people to say/do things they regret.

The real jeopardy for access at DYO is the inaccurate and irresponsible reporting of an apparent non-issue by darknessbelow.

The anti-access brigade seem hell bent on creating access problems, presumably so that they can say 'I told you so'  :wall:
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Offline Damo

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Re: DYO
« Reply #66 on: December 21, 2018, 04:04:10 pm »
Quote
Whatever your views, please respect the fact that most of the caving community quite like having access to a cave as wonderful as DYO, and would be very unhappy were that access to be lost. Trust me that we have come very close to the edge on this before. Before you click 'post' on your next words of wisdom, just reflect on that. Thanks.     
 

Very well put, Ashford has allowed easy access to us cavers who just enjoy caving.

I completely agree with this. I personally have never had any issues with the access arrangements in place and the showcaves staff have always been very welcoming and helpful. To lose this access would be very sad indeed.


« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 04:29:52 pm by Damo »

Offline Rhys

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Re: DYO
« Reply #67 on: December 21, 2018, 04:12:04 pm »
Rhys has since confirmed that insurance is a red herring.



I haven't actually confirmed anything. I said "probably". And it' s just my opinion. I'm not in a position to confirm anything. I'm not involved in any way.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: DYO
« Reply #68 on: December 21, 2018, 04:18:31 pm »
Rhys has since confirmed that insurance is a red herring.



I haven't actually confirmed anything. I said "probably". And it' s just my opinion. I'm not in a position to confirm anything. I'm not involved in any way.

Sorry Rhys, my mistake. You suggested insurance was probably a red herring.

Tony's later post suggests that this is correct (and I assume he knows), however there is no specific confirmation either way.
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Offline alastairgott

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Re: DYO
« Reply #69 on: December 21, 2018, 04:24:21 pm »
If you don't want to lock it, then the Derbyshire Key is always an option?

Have a section of Bar which can slide till it reaches a thread, use this as a bolt. When the bolt is shut you can then tighten it up, if there's a square in the grill cut out to allow use on either side it'll work quite nicely. Welsh cavers don't typically carry a spanner, so you've got a key that works most of the time. (just make sure it's not the same size as a scaffold spanner! will ensure maximal annoyance...).

Offline Joel Corrigan

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Re: DYO
« Reply #70 on: December 21, 2018, 06:40:34 pm »
I don't want to get involved with this thread as my own experiences with the committee & the person who gave the orders is somewhat more negative than most but I did have a message earlier from Ethel.Bangrod who has posted twice on the site & is apparently the editor-in-chief of Dankness Below. This read:

"Hi Joel, What's the deal with Richard Frost being banned?"

I refused to give any explanation to anyone I didn't know & I can barely remember the details anyway but worth being aware of this.  No idea who Ethel is but he/she knew enough about caving in the area to ask me for information...

Offline droid

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Re: DYO
« Reply #71 on: December 21, 2018, 07:07:17 pm »
I think the real issue here causing the heated discussions has nothing to do with access to DYO. It is the blatantly biased reporting on darknessbelow.



The 'stirring up' has taken place on here, not Darkness Below which *isn't* a discussion forum.

As usual, people have adopted entrenched positions and refuse to see any merit in the 'opposition' argument.


Deja vu.....all over again. CRoW, Draenen et al.
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Offline Tony_B

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Re: DYO
« Reply #72 on: December 21, 2018, 07:36:23 pm »
I don't want to get involved with this thread as my own experiences with the committee & the person who gave the orders is somewhat more negative than most but I did have a message earlier from Ethel.Bangrod who has posted twice on the site & is apparently the editor-in-chief of Dankness Below. This read:

"Hi Joel, What's the deal with Richard Frost being banned?"

I refused to give any explanation to anyone I didn't know & I can barely remember the details anyway but worth being aware of this.  No idea who Ethel is but he/she knew enough about caving in the area to ask me for information...

If Ethel.Bangrod would care to contact me I will be happy to give some details, providing I can see a constructive point in doing so. I was on the CAP at the time that he was banned, but I hasten to point out that this was a unilateral decision by the showcave management and not one that was discussed in a panel meeting, although I think we all knew it was coming. It would in any case be interesting to talk to someone from Dankness Below, because I don't believe the spoof news article has done anyone any favours here. It wasn't even funny. Maybe a subscription to Private Eye might help them understand satire.

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Re: DYO
« Reply #73 on: December 21, 2018, 07:54:55 pm »
Dankness and Darkness Below aside I was just thinking what a well behaved discussion this has been in the main.  Contributors have made valid points and they have been answered in a patient and courteous manner.  Many thanks to Tony B for persevering with the many questions those with genuine interest have posed.  In the past, threads of this nature have gone sour, often fuelled by the same few individuals.  This thread goes to show that sensible discussions can be had on quite emotive topics if people try to be civil to one another.  Long may it live.

Believe it or not I was a leader for DYO myself in the 1980's and had many many trips down there.  Even found some new stuff once.  Great cave and i'm sure that one day someone will find a whole lot more.

Offline Scrappycaver

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Re: DYO
« Reply #74 on: December 21, 2018, 07:59:58 pm »
Dankness and Darkness Below aside I was just thinking what a well behaved discussion this has been in the main.  Contributors have made valid points and they have been answered in a patient and courteous manner.  Many thanks to Tony B for persevering with the many questions those with genuine interest have posed.  In the past, threads of this nature have gone sour, often fuelled by the same few individuals.  This thread goes to show that sensible discussions can be had on quite emotive topics if people try to be civil to one another.  Long may it live.

Believe it or not I was a leader for DYO myself in the 1980's and had many many trips down there.  Even found some new stuff once.  Great cave and i'm sure that one day someone will find a whole lot more.
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I was banned after electing a friend as conservation officer..He then said he could no longer do this post while I was still caving in dyo. ..!! Some friend. Shortly after 3 others left over I'll feelings. I was banned for 5years which  has passed.


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