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Pollaraftra no access

timmillen

New member
Hi all, I was hoping to do a Pollarftra trip over the Christmas holidays and two days before, I made the usual phone call to the landowner to politely request permission. He wasn't rude or angry, he just said "No, I don't want any more people going down there any more." I have been down this cave several times before and he always granted permission, so it looks like the situation has changed. Any one else had any recent experience of Pollaraftra?
 

rm128

Active member
This is sad news indeed. Pollaraftara is a great Fermanagh trip. In fact, it was the site of my first ever real caving experience, back in 1984, with Queens University Belfast Caving Club. I really hope the landowner can be persuaded to change his mind over this.
 

timmillen

New member
I hope so too. I know there had been an issue with parking up the lane, and I had thought that as long as you parked nearby, and walked up the big lane, then it would be ok, but it seems as if he was not interested in any cavers going near Pollaraftra now, regardless of where you park. It is a brilliant cave and would be a shame to be lost to future cavers.
 

PetWar144

New member
I know access has been very tricky in the last few years unfortunately. My first cave with QUBCC too, I haven’t been in it in years.
 
Access issues like this seem to be on the increase (cf Birkwith in the Dales) within a general climate of freer access generally.
 

jockr

New member
Hi all, I was hoping to do a Pollarftra trip over the Christmas holidays and two days before, I made the usual phone call to the landowner to politely request permission. He wasn't rude or angry, he just said "No, I don't want any more people going down there any more." I have been down this cave several times before and he always granted permission, so it looks like the situation has changed. Any one else had any recent experience of Pollaraftra?
HI Tim

I'm the new access and conservation officer for the SUI. As far as I am aware Rafta access has been tricky for some time now but this may be news for groups who haven't visited for some time after COVID. I will try to get chatting with the landowner at some stage in the new year to see if there is anything that can be done to help address any concerns or improve the situation. But unfortunately, access is strictly by permission of the landowner and is currently refused. Hopefully, we don't end up with similar long-term issues as we have with some other notable caves in the area but I'll let everyone know if I'm able to make any progress with it.

Cheers

jock
 

timmillen

New member
HI Tim

I'm the new access and conservation officer for the SUI. As far as I am aware Rafta access has been tricky for some time now but this may be news for groups who haven't visited for some time after COVID. I will try to get chatting with the landowner at some stage in the new year to see if there is anything that can be done to help address any concerns or improve the situation. But unfortunately, access is strictly by permission of the landowner and is currently refused. Hopefully, we don't end up with similar long-term issues as we have with some other notable caves in the area but I'll let everyone know if I'm able to make any progress with it.

Cheers

jock
Thanks for that Jock. I haven't been in Pollaraftra for about 7 years and was looking forward to a return trip over Christmas there, but we ended up in a very mucky John Thomas instead. Thanks for your ongoing efforts.
Tim
 

jockr

New member
Thanks, Tim - can’t make any promises on Rafta unfortunately. It has been a long time since I was last in there as well but it would be a real shame if this did become a long-term issue or if we were to permanently lose access as it is a fantastic cave and has been a formative trip for many people over the years.

Also - Glad to see that you and the kids are still getting out and about caving. The new Killykeegan car park is an excellent set up for parking and access to the likes of the garden caves up on the Marlbank.
 

mrodoc

Well-known member
I am planning a trip in May and was keen to visit Pollaraftra so any more progress on access prior to that welcomed. Has anybody physically met the farmer as that is usually better than phone calls. Seems obvious but you never know! Here in Somerset we have a similar problem with the only cave on the Quantocks. Permission refused for very vague reasons.
 

cavemanmike

Active member
I know he doesn’t need to explain his reasons but It would be nice to know why. How else can you improve access if you can’t learn what went wrong
 
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Pitlamp

Well-known member
Access issues like this seem to be on the increase (cf Birkwith in the Dales) within a general climate of freer access generally.
Don't forget this has been offset by some good breakthroughs in landowner relations recently (in the Dales at least). This has led to physical breakthroughs gaining new ground in some cases.

Guess it's a case of win some lose some. Taking a long term view of one's overall caving endeavour usually allows most objectives to come good, sooner or later. Admittedly this can be frustrating.

Best of luck, Irish caving colleagues, in sorting out this important one.
 
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