Paying for dyo

old spot

Member
Just wondering what people think about the new charge for going into DYO and if people will pay the ?5 per head or just put more effort into digging on the black mountain?
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
There are numerous examples of caves where access relies upon a goodwill donation. Given it's 2022 ?5 is not a massive amount. As DYO is a full scale commercial cave it's not out of place for access to come at a cost. No precedents appear to be set by this.
 
As one of the 'conservation wardens' entitled to take other cavers around Dan yr Ogof, I've just received the detailed letter attached from Tony Baker, the DYOCAP secretary, which explains the background.  As this new charge affects everybody except the wardens, I'm publishing it here, and we'll put it on the Cambrian website shortly.
 

Attachments

  • DYOcharge.pdf
    132 KB · Views: 197

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
Sounds like a slippery slope to be avoided to me.

A landowner managed trespass fee is one thing.  Fee funding a caver group acting as agents for the owner is another. 

As stated the fee is for conservation, fixed aids, science and maintaining a rescue dump.  In other areas conservation is funded via regional councils and the BCA.  Similarly there is the anchor placement programme.  I understood there was money available to support science projects through the BCRA.  Rescue organisations are well supported by charitable donations for all their equipment and essential rescue dumps could be supported by this route.  Anyway just saying....
 

prahja

Member
If I was still a dyo warden this would stop me. What is the insurance and duty of care for wardens taking paying clients caving? (Sadly, I think I have done my last dyo trip via the show cave). Does bca insurance cover paid trips from wardens? Does the management group indemnify wardens on commercial trips?
 

Joel Corrigan

New member
I would like to set the record straight about something that was written in the explanatory letter that Tony Baker sent to the DYO Wardens.

"There is also a wider issue that requires some explanation. In 2008 two cavers were trapped in the
cave by flooding. Their enforced overnight stay while awaiting rescue was uncomfortable and the
cavers concerned subsequently made some (largely unjustified) criticisms of the provisions and
equipment in the ?rescue dump? they?d had to rely on, that had been installed and maintained by the
South and Mid?Wales Cave Rescue Team. The showcave management, concerned by the
consequences of further such incidents, had within weeks set up what is now known as the
entrapment camp ? several large drums full of food, stoves, fuel, shelters, supplies, first aid and
emergency equipment. They also installed a permanent communications link as well as power to the
site of the entrapment camp. This was funded entirely by DYO Showcaves Ltd, at a cost of several
thousand pounds."

Rich Frost & I were the two unfortunates who were trapped for the weekend (went in Saturday morning on an exploration trip & got out late on Sunday night).  I'll explain the set-up of the old rescue dump to give people a better idea. 

2 x large blue drums containing the following:

Warmth: 2 x car blankets. Orange survival bag (1 or 2 but can't remember). Food: Hexamine solid fuel that was so old that it had become mush & was useless.  2 x tins of Rice Pudding but no tin opener, no pans, no fuel for heating. T-light candles.  Various other items but nothing to eat, nothing to insulate from the ground, and nothing to maintain body heat.  I spent 24 hours or more sitting on the lid of a drum with my back against the wall.  We'd been totally submerged so hypothermia was a real concern & I'm not sure that Tony's use of the word "uncomfortable" really does justice to it.

The most absurd items in the drums were a bag of approx. 20 plastic knives, forks & spoons which were vital as we might not have survived otherwise!

I was wearing a Neofleece & each time we went back into the river to check if we could escape we risked hypothermia so having such a sub-standard emergency stash wasn't helpful, and if it wasn't for the basics that I always carry with me then I'd have suffered quite a lot more.

Part of rescue plan for the cave involved divers coming through Pot Sump if the flow in streamway was too high, and then climb up the pitch & into the cave.  However, the pitch is a nasty, slimy obstacle that had no fixed aids at the time (or nothing trustworthy, at least) so they couldn't have come in that way. 
A trio of friendly faces eventually got in the normal way on the Sunday night as the levels had dropped & we all exited whilst trying to avoid the press, although they caught us in the end. 

On the Monday (I think), I went to a local outdoor shop and, thanks largely due to the press reports, they donated some items of equipment so that we could replace what we'd used and also to allow us to improve what was in the dump.  These included some sleeping bags, insulation mats, warm clothes, plus quite a lot more stuff that I've forgotten about. 

On the Wednesday, Rich & I went back in the cave to clear out the rubbish that we'd left as a result of our stay & to place those genuinely useful items into the drums.  After that, we spent a few hours at Pot Sump measuring up for a fixed ladder that we were planning on getting made (I can't remember but we might have been discussing this with Jop at the time).  Fair to say that we had learnt a lot by our little holiday & intended on improving things for future visitors. 

By the following weekend (I believe), Rich & I were given a lifetime ban from the cave.  One of my comments to the management committee was that banning people for getting trapped was a very bad idea because if anyone else is in the same situation they might fear the political consequences more than the physical danger & could try to free-dive out. Certainly the younger, braver me would have done that if I'd known what the result would be. 

Rich & I were very bitter about this as we'd both spent decades pushing the cave, were on the access committee, and were more dedicated & protective of that place than the majority.  Was the rescue dump inadequate?  Absolutely.  Were we vocal in our criticisms?  Absolutely.  Would the rescue dump have improved if we hadn't been so outspoken?  Doubtful.

So I'm afraid that our criticisms of the old rescue dump were totally justified as the contents were useless & hadn't been maintained.  My support for the rescue team is well-documented & I've been an active team member for years, but if something needs fixing I won't just hide under a bush to protect someone's feelings. 

Anyway, just felt the need to clear the record as the bureaucrats tend to rewrite history if you let them get away with it  :ras:




 

Scrappycaver

New member
Joel Corrigan said:
I would like to set the record straight about something that was written in the explanatory letter that Tony Baker sent to the DYO Wardens.

"There is also a wider issue that requires some explanation. In 2008 two cavers were trapped in the
cave by flooding. Their enforced overnight stay while awaiting rescue was uncomfortable and the
cavers concerned subsequently made some (largely unjustified) criticisms of the provisions and
equipment in the ?rescue dump? they?d had to rely on, that had been installed and maintained by the
South and Mid?Wales Cave Rescue Team. The showcave management, concerned by the
consequences of further such incidents, had within weeks set up what is now known as the
entrapment camp ? several large drums full of food, stoves, fuel, shelters, supplies, first aid and
emergency equipment. They also installed a permanent communications link as well as power to the
site of the entrapment camp. This was funded entirely by DYO Showcaves Ltd, at a cost of several
thousand pounds."

Rich Frost & I were the two unfortunates who were trapped for the weekend (went in Saturday morning on an exploration trip & got out late on Sunday night).  I'll explain the set-up of the old rescue dump to give people a better idea. 

2 x large blue drums containing the following:

Warmth: 2 x car blankets. Orange survival bag (1 or 2 but can't remember). Food: Hexamine solid fuel that was so old that it had become mush & was useless.  2 x tins of Rice Pudding but no tin opener, no pans, no fuel for heating. T-light candles.  Various other items but nothing to eat, nothing to insulate from the ground, and nothing to maintain body heat.  I spent 24 hours or more sitting on the lid of a drum with my back against the wall.  We'd been totally submerged so hypothermia was a real concern & I'm not sure that Tony's use of the word "uncomfortable" really does justice to it.

The most absurd items in the drums were a bag of approx. 20 plastic knives, forks & spoons which were vital as we might not have survived otherwise!

I was wearing a Neofleece & each time we went back into the river to check if we could escape we risked hypothermia so having such a sub-standard emergency stash wasn't helpful, and if it wasn't for the basics that I always carry with me then I'd have suffered quite a lot more.

Part of rescue plan for the cave involved divers coming through Pot Sump if the flow in streamway was too high, and then climb up the pitch & into the cave.  However, the pitch is a nasty, slimy obstacle that had no fixed aids at the time (or nothing trustworthy, at least) so they couldn't have come in that way. 
A trio of friendly faces eventually got in the normal way on the Sunday night as the levels had dropped & we all exited whilst trying to avoid the press, although they caught us in the end. 

On the Monday (I think), I went to a local outdoor shop and, thanks largely due to the press reports, they donated some items of equipment so that we could replace what we'd used and also to allow us to improve what was in the dump.  These included some sleeping bags, insulation mats, warm clothes, plus quite a lot more stuff that I've forgotten about. 

On the Wednesday, Rich & I went back in the cave to clear out the rubbish that we'd left as a result of our stay & to place those genuinely useful items into the drums.  After that, we spent a few hours at Pot Sump measuring up for a fixed ladder that we were planning on getting made (I can't remember but we might have been discussing this with Jop at the time).  Fair to say that we had learnt a lot by our little holiday & intended on improving things for future visitors. 

By the following weekend (I believe), Rich & I were given a lifetime ban from the cave.  One of my comments to the management committee was that banning people for getting trapped was a very bad idea because if anyone else is in the same situation they might fear the political consequences more than the physical danger & could try to free-dive out. Certainly the younger, braver me would have done that if I'd known what the result would be. 

Rich & I were very bitter about this as we'd both spent decades pushing the cave, were on the access committee, and were more dedicated & protective of that place than the majority.  Was the rescue dump inadequate?  Absolutely.  Were we vocal in our criticisms?  Absolutely.  Would the rescue dump have improved if we hadn't been so outspoken?  Doubtful.

So I'm afraid that our criticisms of the old rescue dump were totally justified as the contents were useless & hadn't been maintained.  My support for the rescue team is well-documented & I've been an active team member for years, but if something needs fixing I won't just hide under a bush to protect someone's feelings. 

Anyway, just felt the need to clear the record as the bureaucrats tend to rewrite history if you let them get away with it  :ras:
I have also seen Tony Bakers critism on our unjustified comments about the previous 'dump'. I now see he calls it a rescue camp . What a ridiculous statement. There was one plastic body size bag , a few night light candles and plastic cutlery !! I think Joel is in a better position than most to advise on equipment needed to survive underground than an inexperienced panel member.


Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

 

prahja

Member
Joel - I read that paragraph when the email was sent out and didnt agree with it. I think that directly criticising rescued cavers and using that as justification for charging a significant sum to enter a cave is not productive.

I apreciate all the hard work the DYO management committee are doing - it?s a completely thankless job - but I think they are wrong in this case and it is a really slippery slope - the same justification for charging access fees can be used for any cave that has ever had a rescue which is on land that is owned by somebody or some organisation (ie every cave).

I think, sadly, that if the show cave are inisisting on these requirements and this is the only way to fund it then access should be lost - I dont think management committees should be insisting on large entry fees and have voluntary wardens (who are now commercial guides) be responsible for collecting and handling cash. The wardens are now, essentially, entering into a financial contract to take cavers caving for a fee. Have the management committee had any legal advice on liability and insurance?

(I note they considered charging wardens to renew their wardenness as well - that used to be the case for a short while)
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
If five pounds is a large entry fee then I'm gobsmacked at the tightness of the caving world. "So tight only dogs can hear them fart", as the Sanctum quote has it.
 

prahja

Member
Just reread the letter carefully - apologies I misunderstood the letter - the warden doesnt collect the money - the group posts it. The warden does get free access as a benefit in kind though, if they are taking a group in. (They still have to pay if they go in when not working).
 

PeteHall

Moderator
prahja said:
I think, sadly, that if the show cave are inisisting on these requirements and this is the only way to fund it then access should be lost - I dont think management committees should be insisting on large entry fees
You (and others) remain free to refuse the fee and lose access, as you suggest. Those willing to pay up are at liberty to do so.

Whether the management committee has negotiated the best "deal" on access is a matter of opinion, but presumably they felt it was the best they could do. I'm not sure how the committee is constituted or if there is any means for other volunteers to get involved/ take over responsibility/ negotiate a separate agreement, but in the interim, it strikes me that the leaders are the people with an opportunity to influence how this unfolds from here.

If the leaders do not support the introduction of the fee, they could easily just stop leading trips until the situation is appropriately resolved. This would be most effective as a collective action (strike), but if any number of individuals made a stand, it would have some impact and perhaps collectively, cavers would facilitate a better arrangement, either via the existing access committee, or by some other means.
 

2xw

Member
Stuart France said:
As one of the 'conservation wardens' entitled to take other cavers around Dan yr Ogof, I've just received the detailed letter attached from Tony Baker, the DYOCAP secretary, which explains the background.  As this new charge affects everybody except the wardens, I'm publishing it here, and we'll put it on the Cambrian website shortly.

They haven't contacted the conservation officer of the BCA for at least the past two years, which would have very easily funded the sort of conservation work discussed.

What's the deal?
 

JoshW

Member
prahja said:
I think, sadly, that if the show cave are inisisting on these requirements and this is the only way to fund it then access should be lost - I dont think management committees should be insisting on large entry fees and have voluntary wardens (who are now commercial guides) be responsible for collecting and handling cash. The wardens are now, essentially, entering into a financial contract to take cavers caving for a fee. Have the management committee had any legal advice on liability and insurance?

I think this is a really valid point. and believe it would be considered as commercial guiding, and as they specifically say the money is nothing to do with the Ltd company, I assume that the insurance wouldn't be piggybacked off of.

If we had a conservation and access rep at BCA currently I think potentially a well worded letter about the funding available from BCA/CCC would be appropriate, perhaps with a small excerpt from the insurance manager advising of any possible issues.

Since Will left the role at this AGM due to other commitments (thanks for your work in this role if you happen to read this), nobody has stepped forwards, and I'm sure the executive would love to hear from anyone interested in fulfilling this role.

Cheers
Josh
 

mrodoc

Active member
It seems reasonable enough to me to make some kind of charge.  We started charging with regard to Reservoir Hole in view of the costs of maintaining fixed aids etc. not to make a profit but to ensure we weren't funding the work entirely from our own pockets.  Cavers also get a free trip through the show cave when they visit and don't have to pay the tourist fee - which the show cave could rightly charge.
 

badger

Member
I think there is several questions to be asked here, and answers reviewed before we can review our reactions
1, why have the DYO committee who have come up with this figure in relation to things to which they could approach the BCA for funding. Why haven't they?
2, Why if the implication that the show cave have made these demands, what is the show cave expertise in this area?
3, It seems to be quite clear from Joel's explanation the previous emergency kit was insufficient for a potential rescue purpose, and actually sitting and waiting out a flood is the correct thing.
4, whilst most cavers I believe don't have an issue on an access fee ?5.00 does seem quite high. I am sure there must be legal requirements re, handling of money/accounts/HMRC/and possibly other legal issues.
I dont think the attached letter answer any of these sufficiently. maybe I need to read it again.
 

BradW

New member
What an ungrateful and undeserving bunch of people cavers are showing themselves to be in this discussion.

Is it just conveniently being ignored or just that nobody noticed the sum of ?7000 mentioned in the letter? The showcave management have provided this money over the years to cavers who have enjoyed access for nothing all that time, and been led around by volunteers, again for nothing. ?5 a trip is NOTHING in comparison, and if you think otherwise, then I refer you to my initial sentence.

There is also mention of "several thousand pounds" for a comms link and power provided by the showcave, and the setting up of the new rescue camp. Whether this is part of the ?7000 isn't clear, but if not, then there is all the more reason to express some sort of gratitude.

Just think a bit before being so dismissive - there is a wider picture than being critical of a relatively small fee.
 

2xw

Member
All very well feeling righteous Peter/Brad, but it's hard to feel so grateful for having to pay twice, once into BCA membership which pays for these things, and then a second time whenever you visit the cave.

Or perhaps it's just that the group find the access fee the preferable option for whatever reason.
 

BradW

New member
There is nothing righteous about simply showing gratitude to someone else investing heavily in making access to a cave safer. Anyone complaining about this fee isn't understanding this point. Righteousness is not the opposite of ingratitude.
 
Top