Local Cave Leader Training For Scout Leaders


Well-known member
Pete K said:
In reply to Bograt.....
Masson Mine is not inspected on behalf of PICA. I believe that since the landowner is unknown or permission not obtainable, we could not use the inspection anyway.
The Scouts have organised their own inspection as is their right. I'd love to speak to someone who can put PICA in touch with the owner as we may have demand to bring it into our inspection scheme.

The majority of the Masson system is under ground owned by the Pughs (Heights of Abraham), unfortunately the quarry and its entrances are under ground owned by someone else; when it was up for auction enquiries were made to try and find out who but this was refused on grounds of client confidentiality; frustrating but the auctioneers were right to take that line if the client so wished. It's not changed hands for a long time so the Land Registry don't have ownership details. Should I win the lottery I'll ask Bagshaws if the owner is still interested in selling....

Pete K

Well-known member
Cheers for the info AR, that was roughly what I understood of the situation.
The Scouts must know who controls the entrance and the mine, otherwise their inspection and insurance is probably invalidated.


bograt said:
Not sure if Masson comes within the PICA mines inspection remit, maybe someone can clarify?, its all to do with professionals earning money to take folks down old mines...
Something the Scouts don't have to worry about, since they are all volunteers, and do not gain financially by their endeavours.
Do the scouts leaders explain to parents that they are taking their children into mines that the BCA  LCMLA panel do not feel are safe for paying customers? I do love the idea your safer the more you pay.

Paul Smith

New member
phizz4 said:
When I did my ML and SPA assessments, the course leader was an MIA, but all of the other assessors with us had the ML and/or SPA qualification.

They shouldn't have been working on a SPA assessment unless they hold a MIA. It is a simple as that, I would bet that the paperwork submitted to Mountain Training doesn't show this! As a long standing Mountain Training provider, who just so happens to sit on the Quality Assurance panel, I know exactly what would happen if a SPA holder did appear as an assessor on course!

It is slightly different with regards to the walking courses, there are minimum requirements for people working on training and assessment courses, but its the course director who makes the judgement on who to use, and also the Course director should also have spent some time on the ground with each of the assessment candidates.

The current staffing guidelines are here - http://www.mountain-training.org/england/course-staffing And do make some interesting reading.

Paul Smith

New member
Remember in this country you don't need to hold an NGB award to take a group out on the hills, down rivers or in a cave. (Mines of course are slightly different), for commercial enterprises with under 18s there is a requirement to be Licensed through the Adventurous Activities Licensing Scheme (Scouts, Schools, Clubs providing activities to their own members etc are excluded by this) but AALS defines 4 methods of defining competency:

1. A reconsigned qualification (SPA, LCMLA)
2. An alternative qualification (Military?, Foreign NGB?)
3. A site specific sign off by a technical advisor - in some ways the Scout scheme is probably closer to this method, as they probably have a friendly CIC Tech Advisor on side, this is certainly the case for paddlesport, climbing and mountaineering, and have an risk assessed and appropriate trickle down scheme in place.
4. Experience - always fun to try and define this one.

But the fact of the matter is that if anything goes wrong, the first question in court will be - What happened? Followed shortly afterwards - And what did you do about it? This will be the same whether you hold a NGB or not.

Paul Greenfield

New member
I totally agree with all Paul`s points above. I have an AALS license and must prove the competance of all my staff.
The easiest way to demonstrate this competance is if all staff have the relevant N.G.B. qualification and a current logbook to show they are an active caver. 
If they dont have an N.G.B. qualification, I can have them assessed (ratified) by a Technical Advisor.
AALS (Licensing Authority) list the minimum qualifications for a T.A. in each activity in an `Instructor`s Matrix`.
The minimum qualification to be a Technical Advisor in caving is the C.I.C. ( in climbing its the M.I.A. etc.)
In Scouting, each Scout County appoints its own independant advisor / assessor for each activity.
In Scouting this assessor  (Technical Advisor) should have the LCLMA level 1 or 2.
LCLMA 2 is the appropriate qualification to lead a party underground in a limited number of well known caves, "their LCLMA list"; it is not the right qualification to make judgements on the competance of others to lead groups underground.
It also appears that an LCLMA 1 or 2 holder can authorise other Scouts Leaders to take youngsters into caves that are not on his (the assessor`s) LCLMA approved list of caves. This is where the credibility of the Scout system breaks down.
As far as I can tell, in the outdoor commumity (voluntary, commercial, amateur, professional) Scouting is the only group that still uses the `wrong` qualification to select their Teachnical Advisor.


Active member
yes it would be great in an ideal world if anyone leading parties underground including scouts held the nationally recognised qualification, we don't live in an ideal world
yes it would also be great in an ideal world that whoever is assessing whether it be a cic or a scout assessor assessed to the same standard. we don't live in an ideal world
TSA does have a system in place it is if administered correctly quite in depth,
for example I was helping this weekend to train one of our current cave leaders who at the moment has a permit for horizontal caves, he wants to progress to ladder and lifeline, so to swildons 20 to practise, the normal mayhem of rigging, 2 srt no problem, and one ladder and lifeline in place, they would not only failed our assessors requirements but I would have completely re rigged for taking scouts down, the lifeline was off only one bolt, the ladder did not rigged with a releasable belay but even worse they had put the tether over the top of one of the srt ropes had it been a really busy weekend would have hated to see the condition of the srt rope with the constant sawing of the wire tether across it, :read: :mad:
should I complain, who too, who would listen,
but suppose that was a scout permit holder, ah we here a different story cause there system cant be any good cause I got assessed by lcmla level 2, who if I showed him that would not have passed me.
scout system may not be as good as cic,n( I am not suggesting a cic would rig it like this) but the standard of rigging seen on many occasions especially at swildons 20 is not good

cap n chris

Well-known member
badger said:
the standard of rigging seen on many occasions especially at swildons 20 is not good

Not good is being quite diplomatic. You could be blunt and say that very frequently it's poor, bad, appalling, etc.. What compounds the mischief is that the Mendip caving scene prides itself on its continued use of ladders (remember it is the mid-1800s on Mendip at the moment, according to the Elliot quotation) and this being the case, you'd have considered it a reasonable supposition that for a region that uses ladders so much, the rigging of them would be down to a fine art, an exemplar, textbook examples etc..  The other thing which is bewildering is the pitch itself, rigging into a waterfall. This is contrary to all established practice, is dangerous, and inexplicable. Rigging for SRT into a waterfall is a death trap.

A bolted traverse around the right hand wall, or left, or both, would avoid this. The regional council should consider the installation of bolts to this effect as a pressing matter.


Hi Badger. You will not be surprised to know, I re-rigged the ladder before I left, so it was under the rope and no longer rubbed (couldn?t leve it like that). Still on one bolt but not much I could do about that without more kit.