Author Topic: Access controlling bodies and the BCA [Split from Re: Does your club rep...]  (Read 1751 times)

Offline BradW

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People have referred to the CCC issue as an example but that was only engaged with by BCA Y&D as a discrimination issue …..

As some cavers know, there is far more to the confrontation here, and it's largely down to personalities, pre-conceptions about motives, and is a sad reflection of the BCA's failure to engage in a civilised manner with those that certain individuals wish to vilify. The fact that those spinning the axe-grinding wheel appear to be disinterested in civilised engagement speaks volumes to me.

Offline andrewmc

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Andrewmc is clearly keen to get involved, but has seen very little of the profoundly anarchic politics/power struggles of the past. He also thinks that there's a connect between climbing and caving. There isn't, not organisationally at least.

Organisationally the set up is wildly different. The challenges are similar. One body does an excellent job of reaching consensus on both local and national issues, and one doesn't... perhaps we could learn something :P

And before the usual argument about 'bigger and paid staff' comes out - then why do we have committees upon committees upon committees?

You could probably re-organize the BCA to be a similar top-down organization to the BMC without actually changing any of the people involved, though - just the job titles and committee structure. Local people will always do local access... Personally I would like to see all cave access managed through the regional bodies, who would then be free to delegate this to (for example) clubs that run leader-led caves.

Offline Bob Mehew

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The impotency of the BCA is mainly due to people having their own axes to grind when setting up the body - the amount of policy and procedure in the constitution makes it quite clear it was set up to never really achieve anything.

As one who was heavily involved in the setting up of BCA I would concede that there was a faction who strenuously tried to restrain what BCA could do.  The BCA constitution was a modified version of the then NCA constitution which in turn had changed over time.  So it may take another 40 plus years to shift things on.

Anyway, to throw another bit of kindling on the fire: I think we should have a minimum standard operating procedure and democratic structure for ACBs so that protracted disputes can be sorted by cavers coming to a compromise and not bothering the poor landowners.
BCA has adopted a requirement that any newly joining club should have an acceptable constitution.  There is no reason why a General Meeting could not extend this requirement to cover existing group members though I concede it would be difficult to justify a minimum standard relating to discrimination against under 18s. 

It's funny how nobody really has any serious problems with landowners - or at least, you hear little criticism of how the regional bodies negotiate with landowners.
That is because cavers don't like to broadcast their views because of the fear of pissing off the land owner.  I can think of one case which I won't name where there was serious concern about what one regional body was doing in response some unreasonable demands of the land owner.  And another where it could be said that the regional body has deliberately gone against the land owner and made it public.

Offline BradW

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Anyway, to throw another bit of kindling on the fire: I think we should have a minimum standard operating procedure and democratic structure for ACBs so that protracted disputes can be sorted by cavers coming to a compromise and not bothering the poor landowners.

So, BCA are not interested in local access issues, yet you think this. You dismiss CCC as a discrimination issue, but CCC is a local access body (which BCA are not interested in you say). Who will set the standard you propose? BCA I imagine. So how is that not getting involved with local access issues, were this baton you are waving about be picked up?

Online droid

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The challenges are similar.

No.

Climbing takes place on cliffs, in the open air (sorry  :-[ ) and very visibly. Any landowner
 can control approach. The affected area is the cliff and a small area above and below the cliff. So breaches of access agreements are easily spotted.

Caves are (to the landowner) randomly situated over their land, often in productive areas. Each cave may have it's own approach. This is much more difficult to monitor and control, and the problems may be very specific to any one landowner.

Hence the proliferation of ACBs and access conditions.

You are not comparing like with like.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 12:12:02 pm by droid »
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Offline NewStuff

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The fact that those spinning the axe-grinding wheel appear to be disinterested in civilised engagement speaks volumes to me.

You know perfectly well the nasty, in some cases personal, tricks your side have pulled, so you may want to dismount from that lofty perch, people in glass houses and all that.

Civil discourse gets thrown out the window when the other party is wilfully bogging progress down, and has no intention of doing anything other than carrying on regardless.
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Offline BradW

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I don't know who you think I am, but I have nothing to do with either BCA or CCC. However, I have been around long enough to remember when cavers were nice to each other regardless, and certainly did not grab opportunities presented to them to be vindictive purely out of revenge or spite.

Online droid

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What you describe there, NewStuff, is a product of social media, where the chance of meeting your adversary face to face is remote.

I, like you, wouldn't say or do anything on social media that I wouldn't say or do in front of the person concerned.

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Offline Ed

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....... which just proves only a caver can really piss other cavers off :P I don't know if the collective noun for a group of cavers should be a 'committee' (since we seem to have probably ten times as many as any other sport) or an 'argument' of cavers...

Sport, sport    :o  !!!!

Caving isn't competative. Or is it. May be we need a committee to decide if caving is a sport or not.....

Offline andrewmc

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Climbing takes place on cliffs, in the open air (sorry  :-[ ) and very visibly. Any landowner
 can control approach. The affected area is the cliff and a small area above and below the cliff. So breaches of access agreements are easily spotted.

That's a different (and therefore interesting) change from the usual argument that caves are different because they are _easier_ to control (since entrances are easily blocked).

Caves are (to the landowner) randomly situated over their land, often in productive areas. Each cave may have it's own approach. This is much more difficult to monitor and control, and the problems may be very specific to any one landowner.

Quote
Hence the proliferation of ACBs and access conditions.

You are not comparing like with like.

They aren't quite the same thing, I would agree. But there are still similarities - fundamentally it still involves negotiating access with landowners.
I suspect there are far, far more climbing areas than caves in the UK most are in the 'wilder' areas - you don't tend to have the oddities like Singing River Mine or Robinson's Pot. But there are plenty of access conditions and issues. For example, Cheddar has extensive (and complicated) access conditions. Climbers have access to Fairy Cave quarry but with different conditions to the cavers. A large fraction of sea (and some inland) cliffs have seasonal bird restrictions which are both voluntary and widely obeyed (and much more common in my experience than seasonal bat restrictions). Access was recently in jeopardy at Almscliffe because of boulderers climbing at night against the landowner's explicit request, despite considerable BMC publicity. Bolting can be even more of an issue above ground than below ground, but in the main consensus across the country (with regional differences) has kept the peace for longer than I have been climbing.

But I think there are lessons to be learned (perhaps in both directions). The 'Core Principles' about land acquisition (something the BMC rarely does, when you consider the size of the organization) would be an entirely reasonable BCA policy. The BMC RAD (Regional Access Database) is a single point of contact where the access information for the vast majority of UK crags can be easily found, without having to worry about which region it is/which website to use... But it is the _Regional_ access database, and that access information will be compiled by local volunteers, just like in the BCA.

If there is an organization more similar to the BCA in terms of access bodies, or even similar, I would be (genuinely) interested to know what. I am somewhat biased (or blinkered) as I am far more familiar with the BMC than other sporting bodies. It would be mistake to think we can't learn from other bodies (both their successes and their mistakes)...

Offline andrewmc

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Sport, sport    :o  !!!!

Caving isn't competative. Or is it. May be we need a committee to decide if caving is a sport or not.....

Your argument has validity :)

My usual definition of a sport is a 'competitive athletic activity', which caving _normally_ is not.
But then by that definition 'sport caving' and 'sport climbing' aren't be sports, which I am fairly happy with, and neither would (non-competitive) bouldering which feels a bit more wrong... I don't know what the answer is!

There should be a word in between 'hobby' and 'sport' :)

Offline nearlywhite

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So, BCA are not interested in local access issues, yet you think this. You dismiss CCC as a discrimination issue, but CCC is a local access body (which BCA are not interested in you say). Who will set the standard you propose? BCA I imagine. So how is that not getting involved with local access issues, were this baton you are waving about be picked up?

I'm not dismissing it as a discrimination issue - that is much worse than the BCA interfering with an access agreement. A national standard is not intervening with one local access issue. If anything the proposal would give democratic legitimacy to the ACB so that people who are antagonistic to the access arrangement would at least feel their voice is heard. Many already do this. I think Bob's post shows how it wouldn't be unprecedented. It's a common sense solution so that the BCA has even less to do with ACBs - how many times has Draenen been brought up at BCA council entirely pointlessly?

But no it must be about CCC and a federalist plot to intervene.  :lol:

As some cavers know, there is far more to the confrontation here, and it's largely down to personalities, pre-conceptions about motives, and is a sad reflection of the BCA's failure to engage in a civilised manner with those that certain individuals wish to vilify. The fact that those spinning the axe-grinding wheel appear to be disinterested in civilised engagement speaks volumes to me.

Nice narrative but totally fictitious as it's clear you only have one side of the story. But then again it is always my fault. Perhaps Darkness Below should do a piece on this egregious overreach? Anything that brings attention to the issue of the wider caving public is good in my opinion. I haven't vilified anyone and I have only received one, politically charged, complaint over my AGM report about not disclosing an email. I haven't disclosed hundreds of private emails on the subject and I'm quite happy I've been transparent.

As for:
What you describe there, NewStuff, is a product of social media, where the chance of meeting your adversary face to face is remote.

I, like you, wouldn't say or do anything on social media that I wouldn't say or do in front of the person concerned.

Pretty sure everyone involved here is doing that, just some people have been banned from this forum and have to use pseudonyms, which is highly unfortunate. I use it to hide arguments about rope from my employers, if you aren't sure who I am then google 'BCA Youth and Development Officer'.

PS. The collective noun for a group of cavers is a 'faff'

Offline BradW

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"Nice narrative but totally fictitious "

Where is your factual basis for assuming I have some kind of connection with DarknessBelow? Nice try - and nice to see you promoting a fictitious narrative by doing so. Anyone who can't see the personal nature of this matter is, at best, naïve. No, Rostam, there are sufficient ways other than reading partisan comments on here to know what is going on with the CCC matter.

Online droid

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They aren't quite the same thing, I would agree. But there are still similarities - fundamentally it still involves negotiating access with landowners.
I suspect there are far, far more climbing areas than caves in the UK most are in the 'wilder' areas - you don't tend to have the oddities like Singing River Mine or Robinson's Pot. But there are plenty of access conditions and issues. For example, Cheddar has extensive (and complicated) access conditions. Climbers have access to Fairy Cave quarry but with different conditions to the cavers. A large fraction of sea (and some inland) cliffs have seasonal bird restrictions which are both voluntary and widely obeyed (and much more common in my experience than seasonal bat restrictions). Access was recently in jeopardy at Almscliffe because of boulderers climbing at night against the landowner's explicit request, despite considerable BMC publicity. Bolting can be even more of an issue above ground than below ground, but in the main consensus across the country (with regional differences) has kept the peace for longer than I have been climbing.


You are still missing the point: that climbing access is to specific, easily defineable and *relatively* easily monitored locations.


Most caving access is to amorphous areas with identifiable but multiple entry points that can be increased without the landowners' knowledge or consent.


So negotiating access to climbing locations is rather easier than for caving locations. It is the lack of specificity of exact location and problems of monitoring that cause problems.

But I agree that diplomacy and communication are the way forward.
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Online droid

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As for:
What you describe there, NewStuff, is a product of social media, where the chance of meeting your adversary face to face is remote.

I, like you, wouldn't say or do anything on social media that I wouldn't say or do in front of the person concerned.

Pretty sure everyone involved here is doing that, just some people have been banned from this forum and have to use pseudonyms, which is highly unfortunate. I use it to hide arguments about rope from my employers, if you aren't sure who I am then google 'BCA Youth and Development Officer'.

PS. The collective noun for a group of cavers is a 'faff'


Good to hear.


As for 'faff', I was playing 'whatabout' in Bernies before you were born.... :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Online Badlad

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BradW - You've got to expect a fair amount of supposition when you hide behind a pseudonym and refuse to say who you are both publicly and privately.  What is the deal with you going to such lengths to remain anonymous - especially within a small community?  You are obviously keen to engage with cavers on this forum as you have made 196 posts since you joined.  Most of those are on the topics that get the juices flowing down in the darkness below.  Tony/Graham/Peter or whatever your name is I'm sure you'd have more respect and credibility if you just came clean.  Or is that you can't come clean for obvious reasons?

Online droid

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What about all the others on this forum? As I recall, the people banned/hounded out were pretty open with who they were.....

And if you don't like what Brad is saying, ban him....he goes against Groupthink so nobody is going to mind
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Offline BradW

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Nobody is under any obligation to respond or react to what I write. If you do not feel comfortable replying to anonymous members then simply don't!

As many do, I assume it doesn't bother them. The matter of who I  am means we are not focussing on an important issue.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 07:43:21 pm by BradW »

Offline NewStuff

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What you describe there, NewStuff, is a product of social media, where the chance of meeting your adversary face to face is remote. I, like you, wouldn't say or do anything on social media that I wouldn't say or do in front of the person concerned.
It all catches up with them eventually. They usually dislike it when it does.

What about all the others on this forum? As I recall, the people banned/hounded out were pretty open with who they were.....
To be fair, those banned were being utter fucktards, irrespective of postion on access. It's not as if I haven't been warned/moderated many times and we all know what side of the fence I'm on.

If BradW is going to get a ban, I suspect it'll for having more than one account - I'm quite willing to bet they've messed up at least once and can be verified to be someone we're already familiar with. That being said, Chris Binding wasn't, when he was outed for having a sock account, but he was (rightly) stripped of his Mod status.
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Offline rhychydwr1

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What is a sock account?

Offline nearlywhite

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"Nice narrative but totally fictitious "

Where is your factual basis for assuming I have some kind of connection with DarknessBelow? Nice try - and nice to see you promoting a fictitious narrative by doing so. Anyone who can't see the personal nature of this matter is, at best, naïve. No, Rostam, there are sufficient ways other than reading partisan comments on here to know what is going on with the CCC matter.
The timing of your account starting, the topics you cover and your inside 'knowledge' point to you being a fellow member of my club, who would happen to also be connected with DB.

I await your evidence and sources. I obviously retract my biased characterisation of the events I forgot I'm not allowed to voice an opinion when being vaguely slandered.

I'm not going to waste too much breath on this, my record speaks for itself.

Online droid

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Does it matter who Brad is?

Does his identity change the veracity of what he is saying?

Are we supposed to just sit here and take anything written by a BCA official as Gospel?


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Offline andrewmc

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If there is one thing I have learned from caving politics, it is that the debate is largely driven by the vocal minority. Get a vote in front of people, and the result is often not what you expected from the discussion...

Online Madness

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There are very few legitimate reasons for not being prepared to disclose your identity on here.


Offline not_a_climber

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I believe somewhere in the distant past this thread stemmed from a discussion along the lines of "do representatives represent you?"

As BCA Conservation and Access officer I'd like to make it known that I'm here to help you (read - BCA members) where access and conservation issues are concerned. I do not mean by that that I will be able to solve whatever problem you have, or even necessarily agree with you. But I am here to discuss issues with openly and hope that I will be able to find ways to help you, such as bringing this discussion to regional councils and ACBs.

I believe that the role of the BCA in conservation and access through out the UK is to provide support at a local level and representation at a national level in both cases in the interests of all of our members.

Therefore, part of my role is to facilitate discussions and to chair meetings which involve regional councils and constituent bodies as well as other relevant individuals. For example, at our upcoming meeting there will be a representative from CCC Ltd to aid in a review of the recent issues that have arisen there. I do not mean by this that I aim to "solve" any ongoing issues at this meeting, but I hope to facilitate a discussion of the current state of affairs and where this is heading, to conclude if I can provide any support, or decide if indeed the BCA needs to be involved at all. By support, this could be anything from initiation action to remove an ABC or other body or individual from the BCA if it/them is thought to have contravened the constitution (please bear in mind I'm just using CCC Ltd as a generic example here and this by no means offers any opinions or conclusions!!!!), or linking up individuals who could work together to solve and issues present, or sitting back and letting relevant individuals at a local level sort things out (this is the preferable and prevelant option in as many cases as possible!)

This exemplifies how the BCA is involved in local access - support and hopefully staying out of this whenever possible.

At a national level the BCA is here to represent its members. This includes the ongoing CRoW campaign - here I'd point you to the recent work that Hellie Adams has been doing to continue links with politicians who might be able to help us in this. Additionally, this includes representing cavers in other "sporting" circles such as the meeting of the Sports and Recreation Alliance meeting of "outdoor sports" (caving, climbing, canoeing, horse riding, rambling etc) which Tim Allen and I recently attending. As well as this, the C&A committee are looking into reviewing published cave access and conservation materials such as the cave conservation handbook and the minimal impact caving guidelines materials.

To conclude! I am here to represent you, which in a lot of cases will probably involve fobbing you off to someone else who is better placed to support you. But this means any BCA member can (and should!) approach me if you feel you need to! I might regret saying that but realistically that is what I've taken it upon myself to do (wish me luck...)

Louise
BCA C&A Officer