Craig a'Ffynnon access

CCC has decided to change the padlock. There are 30+ official keys in circulation mainly held by clubs and going back maybe 20 years.

The new lock will be the same key as fits Ogof Cnwc (the Daren Cilau No.2 entrance) itself in use for 10+ year and should be installed sometime on Monday 18th July. There are also 30+ keys in circulation for Ogof Cnwc. So on 18th July you would need to take both old and new, and thereafter just the new one. Clubs or cavers wanting keys should contact Malcolm Reid (the former MLCMAC access officer) or get one through Chelsea Speleo Soc (Adrian Fawcett or me). Groups staying at Whitewalls can be provided with a set of local cave keys for the duration of their stay by prior arrangement.

An update on MLCMAC. The former cave management committee was effectively left in limbo when NRW withdrew from funding, running and chairing it. The group has now been adopted by Cambrian Caving Council where the plan is to let it run as a subcommittee comprising its the previous members (but not NRW staff) and welcomes anyone else expressing an interest in helping look after the caves on its patch. NRW's cave management agreement with the landowners (Beaufort Estate) essentially ended when NRW defaulted. The established position of the estate, as stated to me in various meetings over the years, is that they approve of responsible bona fide caving activities on their land and cavers themselves must assess what 'responsible' implies and act accordingly. We hope to be able to re-affirm this simple and pragmatic position in a meeting with the estate later in the summer and reach a clear understanding with them that CCC will take responsibility where NRW left off.
 
Well, the new lock of 18th July didn't last long before commanding unwanted attention. Someone has given it a good hammering last weekend, and also they bent the internal locking bar beyond redemption which jammed the gate in a semi-open position, i.e. with only a 5 inch gap, by means of sledge hammering the gate or such like. Things are back to normal now, so the new key will still get you in.

Please lock the gate behind you while you are in the cave. Remember this is not an OFD-style gate where a key isn't needed to exit. There are some tools by the logbook which will get you out of the cave if you lose your key while caving or if the lock fails. But do not regard this as a substitute for a rescue callout arrangement if you fail to return on time.

After encountering any issues, please will visiting cavers please get back to me asap.
 

mudman

Member
Not the brightest then to be wielding a sledge hammer with the state of the rock above there.
Any theories as to why OCAF has suddenly started to get this unwelcome attention? The gate has been there for decades without any problems, is it because the lock has been changed and some scroat with an unofficial key now finds their access blocked?
 

nickdegarepitt

New member
Very disappointing that this happened, all these idiots needed to do was contact a local club and we would happily sort a trip out into other caves to gain experience and then take them into OCAF

I agree with mudman’s comment, they may have an unofficial key for the old lock and obviously came tooled up to try and get in.

These idiots ruined my planned trip into OCAF yesterday, nearly ruined a trip for two cavers visiting from Germany and caused no end if inconvenience to Stuart who has had to make a new bar and make a couple of trips to the cave to ensure the entrance is secure.

Thanks for sorting Stuart
 

The Old Ruminator

Well-known member
Went up to OCAF this last weekend. We had a twenty minute fumble opening the lock and removing the bar. That mainly because we did not know how it worked. Hopefully this photo will help. More issues at the end of the trip. You need the key in to close the lock. Having done that we had a problem getting the key out again as it got stuck. A snap shut lock without the key would be better but then we are fumble fingured old folk.

 
Went up to OCAF this last weekend. We had a twenty minute fumble opening the lock and removing the bar. That mainly because we did not know how it worked. Hopefully this photo will help. More issues at the end of the trip. You need the key in to close the lock. Having done that we had a problem getting the key out again as it got stuck. A snap shut lock without the key would be better but then we are fumble fingured old folk.

The new locking bar is the same, in principle, as the old round bar version which got damaged in the vandalism incident and had to be replaced. Presumably Old Ruminator has not been in the cave during the past 10+ years so as to have grasped the principle of it. Prior to that the padlock went through a hole through a very short fat bolt which was extremely awkward to remove especially if the lock was the snap-shut type with a Yale type key.

The new T-bar, as seen in the photo, has a Derbyshire Lock at the top end which can be removed by anyone stuck in the cave with 2 spanners which are provided next to the logbook. The bar of the 'noughties' had welded nuts at the top end and could not be removed by people in the cave if the lock failed or they lost their key while caving.

Various locks and the old bar had been partially hacksawed at various times over the past decade, hence the brand new tougher lock now which DOES work smoothly. The key is captive in the lock unless you have locked it successfully. I have encountered people of limited intelligence before who don't understand they can't get their key out of this type of tumbler lock unless they have actually locked the lock!

This type of lock is also used at Ogof Draenen, OFD (3no), Tunnel Cave, Ogof Capel and Ogof Cnwc with no design/mechanical issues arising.

It amazes me how people can find something to grumble about just for the sake of finding some criticism. Please just get a life.
 
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The Old Ruminator

Well-known member
Certainly not a grumble. I dont see how you misconstrued my piece as I did admit to be old and fumbled. ( and probably of limited intelligence as you helpfully explained ). I added the piece to help others of low intelligence and senility as there are a few of us about. Yup I find getting the lid of a jam jar an issue too. Dont be so " spikey " Stuart and yes I am very happy with my life too thanks.
 

nickdegarepitt

New member
The new locking bar is the same, in principle, as the old round bar version which got damaged in the vandalism incident and had to be replaced. Presumably Old Ruminator has not been in the cave during the past 10+ years so as to have grasped the principle of it. Prior to that the padlock went through a hole through a very short fat bolt which was extremely awkward to remove especially if the lock was the snap-shut type with a Yale type key.

The new T-bar, as seen in the photo, has a Derbyshire Lock at the top end which can be removed by anyone stuck in the cave with 2 spanners which are provided next to the logbook. The bar of the 'noughties' had welded nuts at the top end and could not be removed by people in the cave if the lock failed or they lost their key while caving.

Various locks and the old bar had been partially hacksawed at various times over the past decade, hence the brand new tougher lock now which DOES work smoothly. The key is captive in the lock unless you have locked it successfully. I have encountered people of limited intelligence before who don't understand they can't get their key out of this type of tumbler lock unless they have actually locked the lock!

This type of lock is also used at Ogof Draenen, OFD (3no), Tunnel Cave, Ogof Capel and Ogof Cnwc with no design/mechanical issues arising.

It amazes me how people can find something to grumble about just for the sake of finding some criticism. Please just get a life.
Really Stuart was there need for such a reply, I agree the OCAF lock can be a pain to lock when heading out especially when it is freezing outside, my hands freeze as I have to take my gloves off to lock the gate, just a minor inconvenience but when it happens the air turns blue like my fingers!
 

mrodoc

Active member
Well I must say OR is a bit of an idiot. He thinks you have to put linseed oil on bats to stop them squeaking in the winter.
 
So, someone phones me to report the vandalism. I go to the cave on the way home from work. I can't get it open as both the old locking bar and the old padlock are damaged. The gate is jammed 5 inches ajar and it won't move either way. Shall I just leave it like that?

No, I went back to work and made a brand new locking bar (now incorporating Derbyshire bolt at the other end for the first time) and borrowed a disc cutter. Back to the cave, removed old bar and lock. Fitted temporary padlock borrowed from work. By now 10pm.

Phone call next day. German visitors and BCC can't get in. 2pm Went to collect a spare 'proper' lock. 3pm Went to cave and let the Germans in. Fitted the right lock.

Following Monday, went to cave to check up on things and leave a couple of spanners by the logbook in case anyone stuck on the inside needs to free the locking bar.

That's what I would call more than just a "minor inconvenience"!

If anyone wants to pay for an OFD style gate with a lock on the outside and handle on the inside and install it then be my guest. It would best to incorporate a bat access slot too which is absent in the present design which goes back perhaps 50 years.
 

The Old Ruminator

Well-known member
Well I have been caving today so I asked them what they thought of me. I think that " dopey " was the kindest reply. Certainly bereft of any logic or common sense as my many injuries testify. Even may be a bit dim when it comes to intelligence. Sadly this has come to a great shock to me as I had thought that I was held in high esteem in the caving world. The irony is that I never touched the lock at OCAF the others were fumbling around. They knew full well that it would be well beyond my comprehension. My good friend Mr O'Doc suggested that all might not be well in my brain due to the many bends that I had diving. I may be looking for residential care shortly as the incontinence is becoming a problem too. A really sad week so far for me.
 
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