Another message about COVID caving

Ed W

Just appeared on the CSCC website;

Dear Southern Cavers,
Well it looks like there may be light at the end of the lockdown tunnel as the vaccination programme proceeds at pace and warmer weather is on the way. I know we have all been frustrated with most of us stranded above ground for the best part of a year, but I am sure we can look forward to greater flexibility to get underground in the not too far distant future.
The crisis is still far from being over, and I would like to encourage us all to continue to follow the government guidance on travel and exercise. I am aware that there is a great deal of debate about the minutiae of the wording and differences between the guidance supplied by government and the legislation covering the COVID lockdown. I am also aware that this argument has been used by some cavers to justify travelling significant distances to go caving. It should be noted that there have been cases of police fining people who have travelled to Mendip and Portland, any arguments over whether this action is legal or not will have to be taken up with the Justice system and at the very least will result in a great deal of hassle for anyone involved. Possibly more significant however is the potential impact upon the close relationships that have been built up over the decades with the local community who may well take a dim view if they regularly see cavers who have obviously travelled some distance. This will especially be the case if a COVID outbreak occurs in a caving area. It also goes without saying that a rescue would both provide great practical difficulties to MCR as well as being detrimental to the standing of cavers with the local communities.
CSCC is not in the business of deciding who can and cannot go caving, but please think carefully about the potential wider implications of your actions. It appears that there is not much longer to wait, we have done pretty well up to now and a little patience may have great benefits in the future.
All the best, and hope to see you underground before much longer,
Ed Waters (CSCC Chair)


Active member
I'd second EdW's comments about upsetting locals. There aren't any caves near us but there's a lot of walking. Despite Covid, huge numbers of people from local towns and cities head our way looking for green spaces. Personally, I'm neutral. I think the risk of transmission in the open air is low. However, I'm definitely in a minority and many of my neighbours are (loudly) hostile to people driving to our area from without.

In the long term, there is no threat to access for walkers. However, caving is currently much more vulnerable to shifts in landowners' opinion (in some parts of the country) and it would be sensible to avoid unnecessarily antagonising locals.


Well-known member
I think you're right Speleofish. It's more about perceptions than hard data - but in a pastime which relies so much on goodwill, we do need to be mindful of locals' impressions of us rather more than walkers do.