Author Topic: Should we still be caving?  (Read 2949 times)

Offline adamgeens

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Should we still be caving?
« on: March 22, 2020, 10:51:23 am »
Given the media stories today about the MRO teams of Snowdonia asking people to stay away, as the rescue teams quite reasonably don’t want to be getting callouts at the moment, should we still be caving?

Interested to hear the thoughts of members of CROs, as social distancing will be quite hard during a rescue I’d have thought.

I work in a small team, together all day, planning a few cave trips after work to keep us sane and keep spirits up but now wondering if this is the right thing to be doing....

Offline speleosam

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2020, 10:54:32 am »
Nope

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Offline ogofmole

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2020, 11:10:32 am »
Our club has cancelled all planed caving trips until further notice.

Even S&MWCRT has postponed their rescue practices. Do you really want to put these volunteers at risk to their family's and friends.

Offline Fulk

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2020, 11:14:01 am »
My wife and I had planned to go caving today; we decided on an easier trip than our original venue (one that involves no SRT), to a short easy cave. What could be wrong about getting in the car at the front door, getting out in a relatively remote (by English standards) valley, walking to an easy cave with minimal risk (especially given the now-favourable weather conditions) and having a bit of fun?
Anyway, after all that has been said we felt uneasy about this, and – rightly or wrongly – are having a quiet day at home.

Offline mikem

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2020, 11:26:34 am »
Llanberis & Ogwen both had rescues yesterday - one being climbers from Surrey...

Offline ogofmole

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2020, 11:29:00 am »
It is frustrating as we should had been flying away on Holiday yesterday and with the nice weather foretasted for the next week and now being at home for a week. One of my other passions is being up in the mountains of mid wales and the Lakes photographing low level flying, but that is also out for me at the moment. So I guess we will have a tidy garden by the end of the week.

Offline Speleotron

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2020, 11:29:41 am »
Llanberis & Ogwen both had rescues yesterday - one being climbers from Surrey...

With all that's going on in the world I can't believe that people are still thinking that ticking off classic rock is important.
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Offline Badlad

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2020, 12:25:12 pm »
I was in Sheffield on Friday - last day of work before all the training centres closed.  Many are staffed with climbers and I am pretty sure most of them will be heading out to the Peak.  I see one has been posting on FB that he went out with his girlfriend who he lives with and saw many other climbers keeping their distances and lowering their grades.  This seems to be following Gov and BMC advice. 

Friends of mine are staying at home but getting on with all those DIY jobs they have been putting off for years.  This actually seems more dangerous to me as they are so many accidents in the home from people decorating and falling off ladders, chairs, down the stairs etc.  You just can't wrap everyone in cotton wool.

I expect the vast majority of caving activities have ceased.  Those few who are continuing seem to have considered their likely risk and are actually being quite responsible.

There will be far worse going on.  I'll bet that in a few weeks secret drinking dens will be in operation just like prohibition now that the pubs have shut.  Those really will be irresponsible.   

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2020, 12:36:32 pm »
My wife and I had planned to go caving today; we decided on an easier trip than our original venue (one that involves no SRT), to a short easy cave. What could be wrong about getting in the car at the front door, getting out in a relatively remote (by English standards) valley, walking to an easy cave with minimal risk (especially given the now-favourable weather conditions) and having a bit of fun?
Anyway, after all that has been said we felt uneasy about this, and – rightly or wrongly – are having a quiet day at home.

Lots of wisdom in these words. At the moment my view is that doing a simple, informal risk assessment is the best way to make any such personal decision. Solo caving or family visits to caves may be a reasonable option but in far less demanding circumstances than we might normally engage with. Given that the drive to a cave is probably more hazardous than most caving trips, maybe pick a place very nearby, or even one which can be walked to.

In my case I'm watching the news and will, of course, abandon any plans to do such things if the government advice is to the contrary. Or indeed if persuaded by evidence from fellow cavers that the above approach is unwise.

Maybe BCA officers could consider the various ins and outs and provide some general recommendations? (I know, I know; they've a lot of plates spinning already and they're all volunteers . . . )

Offline paul

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2020, 12:53:31 pm »
The problem seems to be that when a very large number of people think there's no problem driving from home to go walking solo or with someone you live with anyway, or going on an easy caving trip or doing easier climbing routes, they all arrive in Hawes, Ingleton, Pen-y-Pass car park, other large popular parking places etc. etc. etc. in very large groups. Not really "social isolation".

And if despite taking more care and doing easier things, they do have a mishap, they end up using the facilities of a local hospital which may not be of the capacity of their local hospital if they had stayed at home, not to mention the very great danger of bringing in the Corona virus to the area where it may not have arrived yet.

I live in a Derbyshire Dales village and there seems to be as many visitors wandering around and walking past my front door in groups as if it was a nice sunny Sunday in more normal times.


There seems to be conflicting advice at the moment depending on where you look. Either "stay at home" or "it's OK to go out for a bit of exercise as long as you stay apart from others".
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2020, 01:08:32 pm »
The problem seems to be that when a very large number of people think there's no problem driving from home to go walking solo or with someone you live with anyway, or going on an easy caving trip or doing easier climbing routes, they all arrive in Hawes, Ingleton, Pen-y-Pass car park, other large popular parking places etc. etc. etc. in very large groups. Not really "social isolation".

Fully agree Paul. I was thinking more in terms of remote roadside pull offs, a long way from anywhere, deliberately avoiding the usual hot spots. Basic common sense, really.

Our prime minister did reassure us in a recent speech that it's OK to go to remoter places for exercise. The only issue is they're no longer remote, if loads of other folk go to the same place.

For those who can, maybe getting outdoors (in sensible circumstances) midweek when it's quieter, rather than at weekends, would help further.

If we don't all apply such common sense I can foresee government guidance turning into rather more formal restrictions.

Offline Mark Wright

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2020, 01:26:52 pm »
 

Friends of mine are staying at home but getting on with all those DIY jobs they have been putting off for years.  This actually seems more dangerous to me as they are so many accidents in the home from people decorating and falling off ladders, chairs, down the stairs etc.  You just can't wrap everyone in cotton wool.


I've just had a phone call from my sister telling me my mum, in her 80s, is currently in A&E in Sheffield having just fallen off a chair as she was cleaning a lamp shade. She's OK, apart from a few cuts and bruises but we won't be able to visit her for some time.

Pitlamp's suggestion of doing a Risk Assessment is all well and good but we have to be careful we don't use the Risk Assessment to try and justify what we've already decided to do.

We all need to be very careful.

Mark
« Last Edit: March 22, 2020, 01:39:10 pm by Mark Wright »

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2020, 01:36:33 pm »
Completely agree Mark.

I hope Mum's OK.  :thumbsup:

Offline shortscotsman

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2020, 01:57:05 pm »
We probably should not be caving. 

The biggest issue is that if an accident /rescue is required then that with put an extra strain on a system already
under extreme pressure.   Nobody (I presume) goes caving thinking that they will need rescuing but nevertheless a small
percentage end up needing it.   Advice from MR was a few days ago to ask people to stick to "low risk" activities- so avoiding activities which
has a higher chance of requiring help and so lowering the number of call-outs.   Same would apply to caving:  bad idea to plan a through trip on a major system with which you were unfamiliar (a common cause of call-out). Not caving at all would reduce the number of call-outs to zero.


Personally, and it is only personal,  I'll be spending some time in very unvisited parts of the Brecons finding cave entrances which have eluded me so far but understanding that if I twist an ankle I'll just grit my teeth and hobble back without requiring anyone else. Obviously this wont be like a multi-day trip in the cairngorms but I'll still enjoy it and feel productive.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2020, 02:04:46 pm »

Personally, and it is only personal,  I'll be spending some time in very unvisited parts of the Brecons finding cave entrances which have eluded me so far but understanding that if I twist an ankle I'll just grit my teeth and hobble back without requiring anyone else. Obviously this wont be like a multi-day trip in the cairngorms but I'll still enjoy it and feel productive.

Well said.

This is a good example of a meaningful outcome from the sort of common sense assessment of risk which I was on about above. We all need to modify our normal activities and think of others first.

Offline paul

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2020, 02:15:02 pm »
Advice from MR was a few days ago to ask people to stick to "low risk" activities- so avoiding activities which has a higher chance of requiring help and so lowering the number of call-outs.   Same would apply to caving:  bad idea to plan a through trip on a major system with which you were unfamiliar (a common cause of call-out). Not caving at all would reduce the number of call-outs to zero.

To be a bit more accurate, excluding call-outs involving animals, searching for vulnerable missing persons etc.
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Offline owd git

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2020, 02:22:14 pm »
The problem seems to be that when a very large number of people think there's no problem driving from home to go walking solo or with someone you live with anyway, or going on an easy caving trip or doing easier climbing routes, they all arrive in Hawes, Ingleton, Pen-y-Pass car park, other large popular parking places etc. etc. etc. in very large groups. Not really "social isolation".

And if despite taking more care and doing easier things, they do have a mishap, they end up using the facilities of a local hospital which may not be of the capacity of their local hospital if they had stayed at home, not to mention the very great danger of bringing in the Corona virus to the area where it may not have arrived yet.

I live in a Derbyshire Dales village and there seems to be as many visitors wandering around and walking past my front door in groups as if it was a nice sunny Sunday in more normal times.


There seems to be conflicting advice at the moment depending on where you look. Either "stay at home" or "it's OK to go out for a bit of exercise as long as you stay apart from others".
Matlock bath is heaving with chip eating idiots! could be less bikers about soon. ( no emoji)
 stay away! no offence intended. O.G.
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2020, 03:07:28 pm »
I just went through my long list of projects and "things to do" of a speleological nature (yes, I do have one and it never seems to get any smaller). I'd say less than 10% of the many items on it are acceptable as far as the "no unnecessary travel / no unnecessary social contact / minimise risk of causing a call out" guidance is concerned. So I'll be mothballing all of the other 90%+ and packing away the gear.

In a way, it's good to have a break anyway. When you do come back, you tend to be rabidly keen. (It was like that with the 2001 foot & mouth problems.) The irony is that the weather's just started to come decent, at last.

Oh well . . .

Offline Stuart Anderson

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2020, 03:37:14 pm »
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-further-measures-on-social-distancing

"Public urged to stay at home and limit all but essential travel - people who can work from home should do so."

In case there is still any confusion.

Stay sane all.
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Offline Fjell

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2020, 03:55:52 pm »
I am delivering stuff to people in our Dales village. Stuff comes from the shop. All the village goes to the little shop and fondles the veg etc. There is zero chance of not coming into contact eventually, or probably already. I may  have had it to be honest (both of us had minor chest cough) Kids got thrown out of their various colleges in large cities a week ago and probably brought something home.
Going caving with my wife down Simpsons is several orders of magnitude less risky it seems to me. And risky to whom?
For info, the Dales and Lakes are shoulder-to-shoulder with tourists. City folk are fleeing to holiday cottages. It's all pointless.
My old Dad is sealed on the the top floor of a very expensive care home for the next 2 years. Nothing else to be done.

Offline Stuart Anderson

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2020, 04:00:13 pm »
I am delivering stuff to people in our Dales village. Stuff comes from the shop. All the village goes to the little shop and fondles the veg etc. There is zero chance of not coming into contact eventually, or probably already. I may  have had it to be honest (both of us had minor chest cough) Kids got thrown out of their various colleges in large cities a week ago and probably brought something home.
Going caving with my wife down Simpsons is several orders of magnitude less risky it seems to me. And risky to whom?
For info, the Dales and Lakes are shoulder-to-shoulder with tourists. City folk are fleeing to holiday cottages. It's all pointless.
My old Dad is sealed on the the top floor of a very expensive care home for the next 2 years. Nothing else to be done.

Those tourists are people. You are people. It's people that are now the problem. MRT are advising (begging) people to keep any activity low key - those are the people who you would be putting at potential risk.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/llanberismrt/posts/

These guys probably thought they could justify the risk.
I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

Offline Fjell

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2020, 04:19:07 pm »
I am vastly more likely to kill vulnerable pensioners by handing them their morning paper.
But it has been decided in the parish that the risk is justified or all these people will waste away locked in their houses.
I really don't think caving is at that level of risk, even in the extremely unlikely event you get rescued (I never have been in nearly 40 years). Staying fit probably completely offsets it for cavers over 50.
I could build a model if you like, I used to do very high consequence risk assessment as part of my job.

Offline Stuart Anderson

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2020, 04:24:09 pm »
I am vastly more likely to kill vulnerable pensioners by handing them their morning paper.
But it has been decided in the parish that the risk is justified or all these people will waste away locked in their houses.
I really don't think caving is at that level of risk, even in the extremely unlikely event you get rescued (I never have been in nearly 40 years). Staying fit probably completely offsets it for cavers over 50.
I could build a model if you like, I used to do very high consequence risk assessment as part of my job.

The details are already out there.

They can wash their hands. Sensible help is welcome.

https://www.ft.com/coronavirus-latest If the link doesn't work Google FT coronavirus tracking.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/22/coronavirus-uk-how-many-confirmed-cases-in-your-area

I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

Offline AR

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2020, 04:42:57 pm »
Matlock bath is heaving with chip eating idiots! could be less bikers about soon. ( no emoji)
 stay away! no offence intended. O.G.

Ravenstor had several groups on climbers on it this morning, so it's not just in North Wales that people think it's still OK to go climbing.
 Quite a few runners and cyclists out on the old railway line too. Guess they were thinking along the same lines as me ( out dog walking), get out early and get it done before the crowds arrive.... :'(
Dirty old mines need love too....

Offline Alex

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Re: Should we still be caving?
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2020, 05:20:50 pm »
I am still caving but only caving with John (who I live with) I have also vastly reduced the difficulty of the caves I am doing and sticking to the photogenic caves instead. I am also caving on evenings rather than weekends, to avoid running into people. Leck Fell on Wednesday was completely vacant (yes I had a bloody permit!). I don't see the risk of injury in these sorts of caves any more than falling down my stairs at home, the consequences are of course more severe. I.e. call out. but being that I may be called out myself for someone else and I am still willing to attend then I see this as a fare trade-off. As with everything this is dynamic risk assessment so I may change my mind on this as time goes on. But without specific instructions from the government in this regard, I think all we can do is make our own choices.

Finally with me caving is my only form of stress relief, I was very depressed in my early 20s until I discovered caving and I fear not being able to do the sport that literally stops me from going mad, for an indeterminate amount of time, is very disconcerting for me personally. I suspect I am not the only one, where this is the case. For me, it's more than just something fun at the weekend.

I fear for the nations sanity and health with these measures, especially if we go into full lock down, I really do.
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

 

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