Paying for dyo

Ed

Member
Not been in that neck of the woods I'm not going to comment if this is good or bad.

However, if charging a fee to access the Cave and claiming the money is for rescue dump etc - it is now a commercial operation.

I do hope the access controlling group has sorted their insurance.... It will need to be along the lines of Go Below or Honister - not that of a tourist show cave. To get this they will need to provide a risk assessment from a competent person. They will also need to have a rescue and evacuation plan - drawn up with all blue light services, plus a Site Specific Risk Assessment by the fire & rescue service.

And HSE involvement.

Are the people involved with access control aware of the liability now placed on them if there is an accident /entrapment.... Significant investigations by HSE leading to potentially unlimited fines and custodial sentences?
 

Ed

Member
Nothing to do with alienating land owners but legal duties of those providing paid for trips.... You could wing it and see what the Statutory Agencies say if there was an accident /rescue.

If you charge for an activity you have to be set up correctly
 

Tony_B

New member
Apologies for the delay in responding to all of this. Having once been a UKC regular I rarely look at the site these days, and now I remember why. For those who don't know me, I am the Wardens Sec for the DYO CAP and I wrote the letter that was sent to Wardens last week informing them of the change.

Let me start by expressing my thanks to those who have recognised the reasons behind the change, both on here and in private communications to me. I have not yet had the chance to reply to some of the emails, but bear with me and I'll get there.

I will also, in following posts, deal with some of the specifics mentioned already in this thread, some of which are inaccurate.

I would, above all, like to make it clear to everyone that access to Dan-yr-Ogof relies entirely on the goodwill of the showcave management, and that goodwill has been sorely tested on a number of fronts in recent years. Please bear that in mind when commenting on public forums.

The decision to impose a conservation/fixed-aid/entrapment camp fee is the outcome of a year's worth of discussions around this, essentially prompted by the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the showcave's business in the summer season of 2020. Remember that many of the restrictions in Wales were more draconian, and in force for longer, than those in England. As outlined in the letter, the showcave management has made it clear that they simply do not have funds available for anything caving-related, that in the past they have been happy to subsidise. But here I must explain why the showcave has provided, over the years, the ?7k (their estimate) of funding which, to clarify, does include the outlay for the entrapment camp. The short answer is: fear of being sued. When Joel and Richard complained about the contents of the SMWCRT's rescue dump (of which more later), the instant response of DYO Showcaves Ltd was to insist on a money-no-object entrapment camp that would preclude any legal action from subsequently trapped cavers. We've had the same issue about things like fixed-aids; an insistence on bomb-proof, state-of-the-art fixed aids that are, in some cases, over the top but serve to allay any fears, however unfounded, about legal action. Why are they so paranoid about this? Because on an almost weekly basis they have to deal with threats of legal action form tourists over, in some cases, ridiculously minor things. Some of the tales would make you laugh out loud, but this is the world in which we now live. And yes, I know that cavers have no real chance of successfully suing the showcave, but that doesn't stop them worrying about it.

Since a sum of money in the DYO CAP account was ring-fenced as insurance against having to replenish the entrapment camp, the money outside of that fence has continued to be reduced by day-to-day expenditure (including repairs to, and replacement of, fixed aids, in line with the above stipulations), while the panel has virtually no income. The management of DYO Showcaves Ltd has made it clear that the CAP has to become financially self-sufficient, with immediate effect, and, having explored a number of avenues, the imposition of the ?5 charge was the outcome.   
     
 
 

Tony_B

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.

Those responsible for the provision of the SMWCRT's rescue dump have a very different version of what was in it. Although a member of the team at the time (and still) I had not been directly involved so I won't comment further.
 

Tony_B

New member
Joel Corrigan said:
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. 

Very little factual accuracy here, Joel. You were not given lifetime bans at all. You were banned and given the option to come to a CAP meeting and explain yourselves. You were then both given conditions under which you would get your permits back. Richard was told to get some conservation training under the mentorship of panel members (which he did). He was given his permit back but had it withdrawn a few years later for unrelated reasons. You were asked to remove some old ropes from redundant climbing projects, but, having arrived late and sworn at panel members, you stormed out of the meeting declaring it a 'f***ing waste of time'. Hardly the way to endear yourself. Had you done as you were asked, you'd have had your permit back. As far as I'm aware, if you offer to go in and do what was asked of you at the time, you would get it back.

And Richard was on the CAP but you never were.   
 

Tony_B

New member
Scrappycaver said:
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.


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Wrong again. I said it was a 'rescue dump', not a camp. The current one is described as an 'entrapment camp'. And I say again - those that had installed the SMWCRT's provision have a very different view of what was in it. I suspect that somewhere there is a list of its contents. If someone from SMWCRT can find that list, it might settle the issue.
 

Tony_B

New member
Scrappycaver said:
The rescue entrapment was installed by volunteers. The outlay was only for the armoured cable . This is powered for free by the hydro dam sponsored by a bank possibly 10 years ago. Ashford has been generous in everyway but shouldn't be expected to pay for cavers beyond the show Cave. I'm not sure where the 7k plus 2k layout comes from??
The fixed aids have not been changed since Andy freem had me banned for life.
Prior to this I had removed all rubbish and old ropes and installed the new stainless steel ladder at the rising and abyss using stainless steel bolts and canyon bolts..perhaps they need to be replaced using titanium anchors! Since then the rope has been removed on the far nth pitch to conserve the cave.
Has it really taken 14 years since myself and Joel were banned to take the decision that it's now a ?5 entrance fee ..?

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Let's get facts straight here, before misrepresentations become commonplace. Yes the supplies in the entrapment camp were taken in by cavers. But the whole thing was funded by the showcave. They specified the contents and the outlay was huge. And they employed a contractor to install the power cable and communications. All of this was done within a matter of days after the rescue. It was a knee-jerk reaction, and with more consideration might have been done differently. Unfortunately the installation of the cables and comms was not ideal and much subsequent work was done on this by cavers. 
 

Scrappycaver

New member
Tony_B said:
Scrappycaver said:
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.


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Wrong again. I said it was a 'rescue dump', not a camp. The current one is described as an 'entrapment camp'. And I say again - those that had installed the SMWCRT's provision have a very different view of what was in it. I suspect that somewhere there is a list of its contents. If someone from SMWCRT can find that list, it might settle the issue.

Your information is all based on second information. You live in Surrey and make the wardens permits. You've never once been involved in fixed aids or the setting up of the entrapment camp. You change the names so many times it gets confusing just like the panel, cac, commitee etc.
I myself have a very vivid view as fitted everything fixed aid incl abyss ladder and rising ladder and removed the old one.
I also remember carrying the blue drums across the lakes alongside the coms box now installed in wigmore hall.
Why would Joel lie about the old camp and if it was so good why change it ?
The fixed aids may be an overkill to you but will last a lifetime so what needs replacing and at what cost ? Many years ago I removed all old ropes , crabs etc from the high and mighty series as was all in a bad way. The ropes however were over 20 years old fitted by Liam keeley and I sent them to bca for a brake test and they were still on power with a new rope.
People may not remember all the ropes hanging from the abyss and great North road along with all the old camp rubbish in bat chamber from the 60s and the telephone wire running through the cave all cleared by my group .
When I got my permit back I really didn't do conservation courses in dyo unless drilling and banging is counted. I continued exploration in dyo until Andy freem and myself were found out to be digging during the moratorium where I was banned and Andy sadly shat on me..not literally [emoji3]
Again I don't think Ashford should subsidise cavers but at least be honest with cavers about costs of replacing items as all you're achieving is upsetting people.

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cap n chris

Well-known member
Ed said:
Nothing to do with alienating land owners but legal duties of those providing paid for trips.... You could wing it and see what the Statutory Agencies say if there was an accident /rescue.

If you charge for an activity you have to be set up correctly

Did you read the letter? Dyo are not charging for an activity.
 

Tony_B

New member
Scrappycaver said:
Your information is all based on second information. You live in Surrey and make the wardens permits. You've never once been involved in fixed aids or the setting up of the entrapment camp. You change the names so many times it gets confusing just like the panel, cac, commitee etc.
I myself have a very vivid view as fitted everything fixed aid incl abyss ladder and rising ladder and removed the old one.
I also remember carrying the blue drums across the lakes alongside the coms box now installed in wigmore hall.
Why would Joel lie about the old camp and if it was so good why change it ?
The fixed aids may be an overkill to you but will last a lifetime so what needs replacing and at what cost ? Many years ago I removed all old ropes , crabs etc from the high and mighty series as was all in a bad way. The ropes however were over 20 years old fitted by Liam keeley and I sent them to bca for a brake test and they were still on power with a new rope.
People may not remember all the ropes hanging from the abyss and great North road along with all the old camp rubbish in bat chamber from the 60s and the telephone wire running through the cave all cleared by my group .
When I got my permit back I really didn't do conservation courses in dyo unless drilling and banging is counted. I continued exploration in dyo until Andy freem and myself were found out to be digging during the moratorium where I was banned and Andy sadly shat on me..not literally [emoji3]
Again I don't think Ashford should subsidise cavers but at least be honest with cavers about costs of replacing items as all you're achieving is upsetting people.

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I live in Berkshire, and I have been the Wardens Sec on the CAC/CAP for 16 years. I have virtually never missed a meeting in that time, and I'm in the cave frequently, so I have been directly involved both in decision-making on fixed aids and in the physical installation and maintenance of those aids. Most recently I, with a fellow caver, took out the old rope from the Birthday Passage traverse and installed the replacement.
I say again - I don't know what was or wasn't in the SMWCRT rescue dump, but I do know that allegations made by you and Joel about the inadequacy of the provision were vehemently rejected by members of the team who had first-hand knowledge of its contents.
I don't know the specific details of what you did to get your permit back, after the rescue and the subsequent panel meeting. I seem to recall that Jon J and Mike McC were tasked with ensuring you understood some basic rules of conservation with regard to cave exploration, because your track record at that point wasn't great. But whatever it was you did, it satisfied the showcave management, and the fact of you being rescued had no bearing on the subsequent decision to withdraw your permit.
 

Tony_B

New member
Ed said:
just out of interest (I've no idea why) - why were power & comms cables installed?

See my posts above. It was a hasty reaction to a perceived problem. The idea was that mains power would allow use of a kettle and so on, and a comms cable would allow direct communications with trapped cavers. 
 

Tony_B

New member
2xw said:
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?

I have to tread carefully here. The short (and diplomatic) answer is that we are dealing with showcave management who want things done on their terms and not anyone else's. 
 

Tony_B

New member
BradW said:
prahja said:
You?re totally right. I hope the bca launch a campaign for all caves to have access fees. All landowners should run a power cable deep into the cave. This is essential for caver safety - any cave without mains power deep into the system is a disaster waiting to happen. To be honest, ?5 is nothing - it should be at least double or triple that (hopefully in a few years this will be the case so that we can show more gratitude).
This is a fantastic model all landowners should take note of and enforce. Cavers should be grateful and utterly condemn the days when you could enter caves without paying.

The fee is not going into the owner's pockets.
The power and comms feed is to the refuge camp alone.
The refuge camp provision is impressive. Go and see for yourself. Mind you, you will have to pay for the trip but I think you will be impressed.
Increased levels and frequency and unpredictability of flooding means that good comms and some power could be the difference between surviving and becoming an unfortunate statistic.
I wonder how many here actually have a grasp of all the facts and further information beyond what the letter contains, or are you just making convenient assumptions to back up some rather dubious points.

Thanks, BradW. Your last sentence in particular is spot-on. 
 

JoshW

Member
andrewmc said:
:dig:

Cavers need to learn the difference between 'correct' and 'right'...

Most the time I struggle with the difference between left and right let alone this
 

fishes 1

New member
Well done to those who have ensured continuing access into DYO. I wouldn't get too worried about the loud minority who enjoy complaining about everything.

So there is now a small fee to help cover the costs of that continuing access. Its not really that much so people should just get over it and stop winging. If you don't like it then go caving somewhere else.

 

Ed

Member
Cap'n Chris said:
Ed said:
Nothing to do with alienating land owners but legal duties of those providing paid for trips.... You could wing it and see what the Statutory Agencies say if there was an accident /rescue.

If you charge for an activity you have to be set up correctly

Did you read the letter? Dyo are not charging for an activity.

I never said they were.... The access control panel /wardens are. They need to fully aware of the potential impact and liability on themselves as they are charging for access... It now becomes a commercial enterprise - even if its not for profit.

One possible suction would be to pay a parking fee instead of access.

That way it would be similar to when I climb a Bimham Rocks - I don't pay to climb on NT land, they don't have any liability as its not a paid for activity... I just pay for parking, either on the day or via my NT membership
 
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