News Archive


CSCC Dig Fest 2016 Ever fancied finding new cave? Now's your chance. The diggers of Mendip will be opening their digs for you to visit and have a go.

  • June 3rd - 5th
  • Digging
  • Workshops
  • Talks
  • Wessex Challenge (hosted by the BEC)
  • BBQ
  • Stomp




CSCC Dig Fest 2016

David Cooke
Posted 4/2/2016



I have been in communication with Hanson concerning this issue.
It appears the site was locked after several high profile incidents concerning groups getting lost and having to be released by the police and emergency services. Hanson have indicated that they want to work with the caving and mine exploring community to maintain legitimate access to the site but are concerned about their liability.

I am in discussion with Hanson and will report back as soon as there is more information.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
30/9/2014



John the landlord of the Quarryman's Arms has just informed me that Hansons has padlocked the Backdoor. No notices and in fact some people were inside and fortunately reached the gate before being locked in. They may well block all entrances.

Neil Reaich (via Chris Smart)
posted 26/9/2014



CSCC policy regarding access as agreed at general meeting 02/08/2014

1.The BCA guiding principles set out in the BCA Constitution;

Section 4.6b “The owners and tenants of property containing caves have the right to grant or withhold access. Where caving bodies have control of access delegated to them by the owners, such access should be obtained and granted as freely as possible for all responsible cavers, within the terms of those agreements. When obliged to make new agreements, the appropriate body should endeavor to ensure that this freedom is maintained or improved.”

CSCC does not wish BCA to pursue or endorse any course of action that would result in any change of that guiding principle, irrespective of any opinions that have been expressed to the contrary by those seeking to argue for the application of the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 to apply to caves.

2.CSCC would encourage all cavers to respect established access procedures and not take any action which would jeopardize such arrangements between cavers and landowners.

Aubrey Newport
CSCC webmaster
Posted 5/8/2014



Update to White Pit Access Guidelines (now gate has been repaired and it can be opened from the inside) Key to be issued by either a BEC or WCC committee member. Bookings taken via the caving secretary of either club. Contact either caving@bec-cave.org.uk or caving@wessex-cave-club.org. Take caution with the CO2 - in summer months it is particularly bad, but can be bad at other times too, so if your breathing becomes unusually hard, a quick exit is advised. White Pit is a 'leader led' system, in that once you have had a trip in there and been shown around, you are effectively a leader and can book the key yourself. When crossing the field, please walk along the footpath by the wall until you are level with the cave fence before you cross as there are often crops in the field. Please put the lock back on the mechanism before entering the cave, the lever to open from the inside is fully functional. If you are visiting Talus IV, please do so before the rest of the cave to avoid dirty oversuits bringing mud near the formations. Take good care around the formations in Talus IV, St Alactite’s Hall and the pearls at the bottom of Prophecy Pot as some of these are particularly vulnerable to passing cavers. The areas that are still obviously active digs, please take extra care in. These are also occasionally banged – a ‘date of last banged’ note will be displayed at the bottom of the entrance by the CO2 sign.
Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 01/8/2014



Recently some cavers have been ignoring the access conditions for Templeton, including some that really ought to know better!
As a result, access is threatened to this site.
Please adhere to the access conditions, if you want to have a look then contact the diggers who will be extremely pleased to give you a tour.

The digging team have requested the follow message be publicised:
SADLY, WE HAVE TO REMIND CAVERS ONCE AGAIN THAT ACCESS TO TEMPLETON IS ONLY PERMITTED BY THE FARMER ON DIG NIGHTS
MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY, 7pm ONWARDS.
WE HAVE SPENT MORE THAN 12 YEARS ON THIS DIG, AND INVESTED HEAVILY IN CASH AND MANPOWER.
WE WILL NOT LOOK KINDLY ON ANYONE WHO ABUSES THE ACCESS CONDITIONS, CAUSING THE FARMER TO EVICT US.
Templeton Dig Team 16th July 2014

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 15/7/2014



CSCC DigFest 2014 - It's Going To Be Awesome!
- June 6th - 8th










CSCC DigFest 2014

David Cooke
CSCC Webmaster
Posted 3/5/2014



Due to recent flooding and a collapse at the entrance, Thrupe Lane Swallet is currently closed. Works are being carried out to re-open the cave as soon as possible

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 26/12/2013


There have been reports of some instability just inside Back Door The large slab over the crawl (that makes up the roof of the crawl) has moved and should be treated with some respect. Also the falls just inside Back Door (to the left, leading to OXO II and AO route) are considered to be very unstable and best avoided…

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 15/08/2013



After something like 28 years, Sludge Pit Hole is again open. The cave is locked with a CSCC Lock, keys are available to all bonafide cavers from Mendip caving clubs or from the CSCC. Please secure the gate when you are inside, you cannot be locked in as the gate can always be opened from the inside.

The land owner has issued the following notice:



Welcome to Sludge Pit Hole

We want everyone to be able to enjoy this cave, please help us to achieve this by following a few simple rules.

PLEASE READ BEFORE CONTINUING WITH YOUR TRIP.

  1. All trips to be recorded in the log provided at the top of the pitch.
    • Enter date, name of Club, names of all cavers.
    • Leader to print name and sign to confirm that all persons in the group are BCA insured.
    • Deposit £1 per visitor in honesty box provided.
  2. Ensure that Gate is locked behind you whilst you are in the cave and when you leave.
  3. Lifeline MUST be used on pitch for all visitors.
  4. No Novices or Commercial Groups.
  5. No Carbide.

Your enjoyment of the cave will be better in smaller groups.

Please feel free to add comments to the log after your trip.

Please respect the cave and the environment;
Take nothing but photos.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Kill nothing but time.



Please respect the Land Owner's requests and follow the access rules, to ensure continued access.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 09/07/2013


There is a continuing collapse of the boulders in the roof of the first small chamber as you crawl from East Twin to Spar pot. This started 3 weeks ago with wash out of some infill in the floor of this passage from the heavy rain. A week later some rocks had fallen. Last night, more had come down. There are still some wedged there, and we cant tell if the very large boulders will stay there when exposed. It is currently very dangerous. Take great care or stay away for now.

South Bristol Speleos will be taking a look after Christmas, to give it time to stabilise and an update will be published then.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 15/12/2012


The land owner at Manor Farm Swallet, Mr Jeffries, has asked me to pass on the following. He has been disturbed in the early hours several times by people leaving the cave at all hours. He is not too happy about it and has asked that people are out of the cave by 10pm at the latest, unless prior arrangement is made with him. If you need to contact him to make arrangements, he can be phoned on 01761 462366. Please only ring him if it's absolutely necessary. Also, people have been going down the cave without seeking permission from him. He has said that if this continues he will look into locking the cave so that people will have to see him for the key.

Please respect the landowners wishes and remember that it is only by his consent that we are able to visit his cave.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 11/12/2012


The entrance to Loxton Cavern is currently in a poor state of repair and until entrance stability works can be carried out to secure it, access is not permitted.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 22/10/2012


CSCC is currently in negotiations with the landowner to set up an access agreement. Part of this will be the need to carry out certain works to provide an access route to the caves. Until this work is complete the caves remain closed. Please stay away for now and be patient. The caves have been closed for the last 27 years, another few weeks wait won't hurt.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 16/8/2012



2012.07.21_goatchurch_showing.jpg

Posted by David Cooke, Webmaster, 19/7/2012.


Myself and Les Williams attended the auction of Higher Eastwater Farm last night and the property was sold as a single lot, including the caves, for £455,000. The winning bid was made by telephone through an agent. No information was available on the name of the purchaser, who apparently is currently living abroad and will not be returning for some time; or their intentions with regard to the future of the property. Conflicting information was given by agent and auctioneers so the situation is ripe for lots of rumors. We have expressed an interest in negotiating access to the caves and hopefully discussions with the new owners will take place in due course.

Graham Price
Chairman
Posted 18/7/2012



Posted by David Cooke, Webmaster, 14/7/2012.





Lectures on Saturday and a Welcome in the Hunters Long Room on Friday night (bring your own video/digital images…

Saturday Lecture session includes:

  • Mendip digging update
  • Cave registry/archive update
  • Neolithic Cave use
  • Ochre mining
  • Somerset's Copper mining industry
  • The latest on ACG's digs

Wessex Challenge

Cave rescue stomp

Bar all day and food available all day

Evening pig roast/barbeque

Posted by David Cooke, Webmaster, 5/7/2012 (Updated 14/7/2012).




Posted by David Cooke, Webmaster, 5/7/2012.


Somerset County Council is currently engaged in a Minerals Options Consultation which will form the main input to their Core Strategy. I will be coordinating and preparing a response on behalf of the CSCC and would welcome input. I have prepared a response form for your use. To obtain a copy of this please email me. You can either return this to me as a Word file or complete it manually and return by post. I will accept responses in any other format as long as it is clear to which questions you are responding. The consultation documents are listed below. Links are available to download all documents. To be able to prepare our response I need all comments returned to me by 6th February at the latest.

Graham Price
Chairman
27/1/2012

MINERALS OPTIONS CONSULTATION

The Minerals Options Paper identifies a number of issues and options relating to future minerals development within Somerset. The consultation covers all minerals extracted in Somerset; namely peat, aggregates and building stones. It provides an opportunity for consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public. Feedback from this consultation will inform the preparation of the County Council's Minerals Core Strategy which will run to the year 2028.

CONSULTATION DOCUMENTS

1) Summary: Minerals Options Paper (1.6Mb) This document presents a summary of the issues and potential options relating to future minerals development in Somerset together with consultation questions. 06 Jan 2012 09:56

2) Summary: Minerals Options Paper - Figures (557Kb) This document contains the figures included in the Summary Minerals Options Paper. 06 Jan 2012 09:57

3) Minerals Options Paper (806Kb) This document identifies a number of relevant issues and potential options relating to future minerals development within Somerset. 15 Dec 2011 08:36

4) Minerals Options Paper - Appendices (3.0Mb) This document contains the appendices included in the Minerals Options Paper. 06 Jan 2012 09:57

5) Sustainability Appraisal - Interim Report (437Kb) This report has been prepared by Land Use Consultants to assess the environmental, social and economic impacts of the proposed options. 14 Dec 2011 11:11


The boulders at the top of the third pitch have moved. Several have fallen down the pitch, including one of about 4 Tonnes! There are still boulders perched precariously at the pitch head, including one extremely large boulder that appears to have no visible means of support. You are advised to avoid going below the top of the third pitch and also to stay away from the pitch head. Although the “Right Hand Route” will avoid the instability, you wouldn't want to be below the top of Pitch 3 at the moment. It is almost certain that the way on to the rest of the lower cave is currently blocked.

It is planned to leave the pitch head alone for the winter to see if it stabalises or otherwise, so you are advised to restrict any caving to the first two pitches for now.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 6/11/2011


Spider Hole, in Cheddar Gorge, is now on a CSCC lock. An update on access will be posted on this site soon, along with a rigging topo. Please do not drive up the track, but instead park in the small quarry just before this track (about 20m up gorge on the same side). Please keep the cave locked at all times (even when inside) as there is a large pitch not far from the entrance.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 6/11/2011


There is quite a high attrition rate on cave gate locks, particullarly the CSCC caves. The problems are mostly caused by mud ingress in the mechanism. Please ensure the key is clean before inserting it into the lock and also try to ensure your hands are clean before handling the lock. Please report any problems with the locks or gates to the Conservation & Access Officer.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 6/11/2011


The Mendip Caving Group are currently improving access to Upper Flood Swallet by training “Guest Wardens” to guide trips. They are asking for a number of cavers to apply to be Wardens. The criteria for becoming a Warden will be placed on the MCG Website soon along with an application form. For any enquiries please contact the MCG Caving Sec. Kevin Speight.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 6/11/2011


The AONB Service have reported problems with vehicles blocking the track where the new barriers have been installed and on more than one occasion the farmer has not been able to get past. There is very limited parking here and the AONB Service have asked that the tracks are not blocked. Be warned that if you do block the track vehicles may either be removed or possibly damaged.

We warned the AONB of these potential problems when they installed the barriers but they were not willing to discuss other options. As previously advised anyone intending to visit the caves in this area is advised to park in the Combe and approach via West Twin Brook valley.

Graham Price
Chairman
Posted 1/9/2011


There is now an access agreement in place with the landowners, Mr and Mrs Scott, who own the majority of the land on Axbridge Hill. The access agreement is as follows:

The caves must only be visited at weekends in the day, and before a visit the Scotts must be informed. Please telephone, before 7pm, Mrs. Scott, on 01934 733341. Mr Scott also agreed that a CSCC lock could be fitted but stated that if cavers break this agreement access may be denied. The CSCC lock has now been fitted and the caves in question are – Axbridge Hill Cavern (formerly The Lost Cave of Axbridge) Triple-H Cave Large Chamber Cave Toad Pit Chard’s Well Axbridge Ochre Cavern

Please respect this agreement.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 31/8/2011


There have been reports about instability of the boulders that make up the top of the third pitch. The pitch head appears unstable and it is advised that you take great care here and better still don't use the direct hang but instead use the “Right Hand Route” third pitch. Do not congregate below this area and be aware that it is possible (probable) that any further collapse here could (would) block the way on (or out) from the rest of the lower cave.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 28/8/2011


Loxton Caves are now fitted with CSCC locks (Except Loxton Cavern, which remains a leader system only).

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 12/8/2011


Much higher than normal levels of CO2 have been measured at Cuckoo Cleeves recently. Levels of 6% have been measured just inside the entrace and cavers are advised to avoid this cave for the summer until the problem reduces. Information on the effects of Carbon Dioxide.

It is probable that CO2 levels are elevated in all of the caves at the moment and particular care should be taken at other sites that are known to have a CO2 problem, such as Tynings Barrow Swallet and White Pit.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 1/8/2011


There has been a rock fall at the Eastern entrance of Swan/Kingsdown mine. This is the usual exit from the quarry on through trips. The exit is a low crawl and is generally done on your back. As you exit you will be looking directly up to the area where the rocks have fallen from. Most of the big stuff has fallen already but there may still be a few loose rocks waiting to fall on your face. The area is being looked at to ascertain how much more loose stuff there is, in the meantime take care when leaving by this route.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 23/2/2011


The lock has recently been changed due to a catastrophic failure and because currently the gate is damaged and we are unable to lock or unlock the cave from the inside hence a risk of locking someone into the cave, access is via the current diggers/ BEC Caving Secretary. A fixed ladder has been reinstalled into the entrance and because of the vicinity to a public footbath, it is important that the gate is locked. Once the weather improves, the gate will either be repaired or replaced and previous access arrangements restored.

Estelle Sandford
Posted 24/1/2011


The fixed ladder has been removed from entrance. Now requires a 5m ladder which should be easy enough to hang off the scaffold bars used to secure the gate.

Estelle Sandford
Posted 24/1/2011


CSCC is holding a Surveying course based at Upper Pitts (WCC) on the weekend of 19/20th Febuary

The course will adapt to all levels of surveying but the aim of the weekend is for people who have surveyed before to convert to the use of Paperless surveying, particularly using a DistoX. Once tried you will not go back.

Examples of what can be done can be seen at http://www.ubss.org.uk/cave_survey_archive.php (you will need Therion and/or Survex installed for the 3d models)

It will take you through the process of connecting the DistoX to a pda, and calibrating it. There will be a practical session to collect some data, so caving gear is necessary, followed by basic processing and introduction to some of the advance features such as morphed surface overlays, and managing large projects, with a team that are in different locations.

Program for the Weekend

Saturday
10:00 Overview of the Paperless surveying, followed by
lunch and then
Collecting data (caving)
19:00 (ish) Producing 3D centreline, then pub

Sunday
9:30 Drawing plans and producing 3D models, connection of multiple surveys
13:00 (ish) Surface overlays (including other tools needed). Google earth overlays. Other fancy outputs

Numbers are limited to 12 for practical purposes. There may be up to a £10 charge to cover costs however it is hoped that this will not be needed. This does not include the accommodation, for which you will need to make your own arrangements.

If you are interested then contact myself, , to reserve a place or for further information.

You are encouraged to bring your own computer, and if you could let us know what operating system you have, we can try to bring everything that you might need. (Please note that macs are not well supported.) Also if you can bring your own DistoX and pda it would be useful, however, we will have 4 sets available if necessary.

Graham Price
Chairman
Posted 11/12/2010


Barriers have been installed on Blackdown on the bridleway leading to Rods Pot, Read’s Cavern etc. Vehicles can no longer drive close to the caves and can get no further along the track than the UBSS hut. There is consequently a lack of parking for cavers’ vehicles and care should be taken to avoid blocking the track. The problem has been pointed out to the AONB Service who appear to have been coordinating the installation in association with the landowners, but there seems little possibility of access being allowed for anything other than rescue purposes. CSCC is currently in negotiations to obtain a key for emergency purposes.

Anyone intending to visit these caves is advised to park in the Combe and approach via West Twin Brook valley.

Graham Price
Chairman
Posted 11/12/2010


The following fixed aid in GB has been reported defective and is under investigation by CSCC:

  • Chain up to ladder dig extensions

CSCC is investigating this report and you will be notified again when a CSCC appointed person has inspected the fixed aid and a decision has been made on what, if any, remedial action is required.

Please note: the CSCC does not carry out any routine inspection or testing of fixed aids in caves. Further, the CSCC view is that individual cavers should satisfy themselves that the fixed aids they are proposing to use are safe.

Faye Litherland
CSCC Equipment Officer
Posted 21/11/2010


The following anchors in Rhino Rift have been replaced:

  • First anchor on the traverse line to the second pitch (RR-FP-08)
  • Two anchors of the second y hang on the second pitch (RR-SP-05, RR-SP-06)

All anchors on the first and second pitches have been inspected and although in some cases the rock resin bond has started to fail, as can be seen from the slight rotation (less than 1mm), it is my opinion and that of others in the working party that they are safe to use and do not require immediate replacement. The anchors where the rock resin bond is starting to fail have been identified for future replacement.

Please note: the CSCC does not carry out any routine inspection or testing of bolts within the CSCC Anchor Placement Scheme. This policy is in line with the BCA statement on the testing of anchors. Further, the CSCC view is that individual cavers should satisfy themselves that the anchors they are proposing to use are safe.

The proposed chain on the head of the first pitch has not yet been fitted. A suitable vendor has been identified and I will update here when the chain is in place.

Faye Litherland
CSCC Equipment Officer
Posted 21/11/2010


CSCC will be holding an anchor placement demonstration & practical session on Saturday 20th November at 10am near Priddy. All attendees will be expected to have familiarised themselves with the CSCC anchor scheme documents prior to attending.

The documents are available in .pdf form from the CSCC Website

There are three documents in the pack:

CSCC-EQ-GN-1001 Anchor Placement & Installation Guidance CSCC-EQ-GN-1002 Anchor Inspection & Usage CSCC-EQ-PR-1001 Anchor Management (Installation, Testing, Defect Reporting) Procedure

Following the surface session, a real life case study will be discussed on site in Rhino Rift.

All Mendip cavers are welcome to attend (subject to availability of spaces). If you would like to attend or require further information, please contact me on 01761 233769.

Faye Litherland
CSCC Equipment Officer
Posted 4/11/2010


It is common knowledge that CO2 levels in some of the Mendip caves are problematic in the summer months, particularly after a long warm dry spell.

It has been noted that CO2 levels have increased recently, particularly in Cuckoo Cleeves where readings of more than 3% have been noted in the past few weeks.

Cavers are reminded to be aware of CO2 levels within caves and to take appropriate actions if high levels of CO2 are encountered.

NOTE: You should make yourselves aware of the symptoms of high levels of CO2 and act accordingly. Here is some useful information on Carbon Dioxide.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 31/7/2010


CSCC has been asked by the Parish Council to remind cavers to change in the barn and not in public as this offends some of the villagers. Please respect this request.

Cavers are also asked not to park on the grass at the green but to use the hardstanding.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 31/7/2010


There has been a small collapse at the entrance to Priddy Green Sink. A hole has opened up around the edge of the lid and the entrance has been fenced off.

CSCC are holding a working party on the green on Saturday 14th August to effect repairs. All welcome, Meet by Main's Barn at about 10:00AM

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 31/7/2010


The following anchors in Rhino Rift have been reported defective and are under investigation by CSCC:

RR-FP-08 Rebelay on first pitch

RR-SP-01 First anchor on traverse line to second pitch

CSCC is investigating this report and you will be contacted again when a CSCC appointed person has inspected the anchor and a decision has been made on what, if any, remedial action is required.

Please note: the CSCC does not carry out any routine inspection or testing of bolts within the CSCC Anchor Placement Scheme. This policy is in line with the BCA statement on the testing of anchors.

Further, the CSCC view is that individual cavers should satisfy themselves that the anchors they are proposing to use are safe.

Thank you,

Faye Litherland
Equipment Officer
Posted 29/6/2010


CSCC are now aware of the source of the recent pollution in Swildon's Hole. We can confirm that the source has been traced to a heating oil spillage and cavers can rest assured that steps are being taken to ensure there will be no further leaks from this source, however we have been made aware that recently, prior to determining the source, a further 1000 litres of heating oil escaped into the ground above the cave. This has not yet been detected in the cave but is expected to turn up once the good weather breaks and the ground water flow is reactivated when it next rains.

The white deposits on the walls of the passages have been identified as a type of fungus, no link has so far been made between the fungus and the heating oil. The fungus cannot be further identified without major lab work which will be very expensive as there are something like 30 different sub species, and the samples will have to be tested for them all.

The fungus is generally not considered harmful to most people, however a small percentage of people will be sensitive to it. If you know you are sensitive to fungus spores then you are advised to avoid the area until it clears up. The fungus is expected to disappear once it has consumed the energy source that it is currently growing on.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 24/5/2010


The BBC has asked CSCC to publicise its ThrillSeeker campaign. The Aim of the campaign is to help individuals and families experience an adventure activity, particularly for the first time. They are looking for caving clubs willing to participate and offer some “taster sessions” on a free or minimum cost basis. The ThrillSeeker website can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/thrillseeker. The campaign runs until Easter and clubs interested in offering something need to submit a declaration of interest. Further information and a copy of the form can be obtained from myself or the Secretary.

Graham Price
Chairman
13/2/10


As of Saturday 9th January Swildon's Hole is open. The landowner has issued the following notice concerning the cave, please read it and take note.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 8/1/2010

SWILDON'S HOLE WARNING NOTICE

The decision to close Swildon's Hole was taken by the landowner after consultation with various parties. This followed a period of significant movement in the entrance series during very wet weather.

The cave has been closed for a period of a month for monitoring during which several visits were made.

Following further consultations at the end of the monitoring period and on the advice of CSCC, the cave will now be reopened.

All persons are reminded that they enter the cave at their own risk and are advised to exercise considerable caution in the entrance area and are advised to consider avoiding the area around Showerbath Chamber.



Following consultations, Robin Main the land owner, has decided to close Swildon's Hole for a period of one month to see how things settle down in the entrance. Please stay away for now and respect the landowners decision. The latest information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 9/12/2009


There have been reports of loose boulders in Tyning's. The area concerned is the small boulder choke approx 60m from the entrance. Care should be taken as you squeeze through the hole on the right as the rocks below appear to be very loose and may fall out if disturbed.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 7/12/2009


Recent measurements show that the CO2 levels have dropped to a more sensible level (around 2%). The cave is open and access can be obtained with a standard CSCC key. Please be aware that the cave (along with several others) is known for high levels of CO2, especially when the outside temperature is warmer (e.g. summer time). You should make yourselves aware of the symptoms of high levels of CO2 and act accordingly. Here is some useful information on Carbon Dioxide.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 7/12/2009


The CSCC mailing list is open to anyone interested in supporting the work of the CSCC.

It is a low volume list, mainly for announcements since the CSCC Forum is more suited to discussions.

Recently BCA Web Services changed its provider and now offer many more facilities to domains hosted with them, all for the same basic price. One such facility is the ability to host our own Mailing Lists.

For several years now the CSCC mailing list has been hosted for free on David Gibson's server at lists.caves.org.uk. Our thanks must go to David for his generosity. When he had to move provider, the time was right to move the CSCC mailing list to our domain.

So I have moved the list to the cscc.org.uk domain. All those people who were previously subscribed are still subscribed.

Note the email address to send a message to the mailing list has changed. See The CSCC Mailing List for details.

Subscribing is easy. If you want to subscribe go to The CSCC Mailing List.

For more information see the Mailing List page.

David Cooke
Webmaster
Posted 7/5/2009


Specially-fabricated bat grilles have been installed at Box Mine SSSI, funded by English Nature, in order to help protect rare bat species that use the sites for roosting. The increasing disturbance of hibernating bats by people passing through the mine systems has necessitated the installation of the grilles. In particular, the risk of a one-off catastrophic event caused by lighting fires or spraying canned paint has increased, and this could wipe out the entire bat population.

English Nature’s Conservation Officer, Katie Lloyd said “It has taken two years to come up with proposals and consult with all the known users of the mines in order to work out the best approach to installing the grilles. We are delighted that the work is finally coming to fruition and that the bats will be better protected in future.”

Back Door and Jack's Workings entrances have been gated, accessible by allen key. The Lady Hamilton's entrance has been permanently grilled for safety reasons and access is no longer possible. Keys are held by the major Mendip Clubs.

Please contact the C & A Officer here for further details.

Posted 2/9/2006


The C & A Officer reports that the combination lock on the caver's car park has been replaced with the CSCC padlock. You now need a key to use the car park, so please don't forget to collect one before travelling to East Mendip. Keys are held by the major Mendip Clubs. These are the ACG, BEC, CSS, MCG, MNRC, SMCC and WCC.

Posted 2/9/2006


The BCA has setup some Discussion Forums on its website. A Forum is a place where a discussion can held on topics of interest and importance. Recent topics have been access to Brown's Folly and a discussion on the geology of Sally's Rift.

Here is the CSCC Forum and the BCA Forum.

Anyone can read the Forum, but you will need to register if you wish to contribute your own musings.

Posted 13/7/2006


This information has been received from the Wealden Cave and Mine Society.

“All caving access rights have been removed by the landowners for Football Field also known as No4 and Quarry Dean Farm also known as No2 . Any person found on site will be prosecuted by the land agents”

For further information contact the WCMS Surrey Mines Agent via the committee page of www.wcms.org.uk.

Posted 8/3/2005


Avon Wildlife Trust have CLOSED the mine until further notice, pending a Mines Inspectors report.

Posted 19/2/2005


An engraving that is possibly 10,000 years or more old has been discovered in Aveline's Hole. Aveline's is famous as being the site of the earliest known cemetery in the British Isles.

A gate has been installed in the back of the cave to protect the engraving. This was after consultations between English Heritage and other interested parties, including the landowner, English Nature and the CSCC. No visits will be possible until bat hibernation season is over. Access is controlled by the UBSS.

Full details can be found on the UBSS website here.

Posted 19/2/2005


The duty to manage asbestos came into force on 21 May 2004. It applies to non-domestic premises, which includes caving huts. So if your club has a club hut and you are a committee member you should read the leaflet 'Managing Asbestos in Premises'. Further information is available on the HSE website here.

The regulations are not as scary as one might initially assume. For example there is no need to remove asbestos that is in good condition and unlikely to be disturbed. But you will need to systematically identify and record any asbestos in your hut. Also you need to make that information available to workmen and also to the emergency services.

Posted 19/2/2005


The 20+ year old rusty metal bolt belays at the 7m pitch have been superceded by the installation of four eco-hangers on the right hand wall as you approach the pitch head - a traverse line can be installed from the initial two hangers and a y-hang can be put in over the clear hang to the water below for a ladder or SRT if you want to use this venue for practice - mind you the dams are now nice and full for winter so it's a bit of a cold swim to get there! The work was done while killing two birds with one stone, so to speak/write; the bolts were part of a training session for the new CSCC bolting trainees to learn how to place eco-hangers.

Posted 16/12/2004. Report from the Cheddar Caving Club.


A considerable amount of work has been going on at Fairy Cave Quarry.

The new car park is now finished. You are asked to make use of this facility rather than parking on the road since the road is narrow and despite its appearance, takes a lot of 38ton lorry traffic. The car park has a combination lock. The number is available from the major Mendip Clubs.

Balch's Cave is a well known bat hibernacula and has been grilled to protect the resident bat colony. Padlocks have been placed on the three low entrances of Balch's Cave. Conning Tower Cave also has a new entrance and padlock. Keys are held by the major Mendip Clubs. These are the ACG, BEC, CSS, MCG, MNRC, SMCC and WCC.

Posted 17/5/2004


The situation at Ariel Hole, Portland has deteriorated. The landowner has denied access to the cave. Negotiations are continuing , so please respect the landowners wishes.

A fuller explanation can be found in the letters column of Descent issues 170 and 171.

Posted 12/5/2003


GB Cavern was shut from the 12/10/2002 to 6/11/2002 due to high CO2 levels. Readings from the Bridge and on down to Ladder Dig were 4% or greater. CO2 levels seem to be an increasing problem in Mendip Caves. Dr Tony Boycott has provided a short article outlining the effects of CO2 and the treatment for CO2 poisoning here.

Further information can be found here.

Posted 16/11/2002攀

The story so far…

Mendip cavers Fair – Timetable

Friday night Hunters Lodge Inn

20:00 to closing time – Social. Films and slides in the Long room. Bring along your own to show. CD, DVD, PC.

Saturday Priddy Village Hall – Regional meet.

09:00 Doors open – Refreshments available including Bacon butties, etc. Tea, Coffee, etc.

Club stands, displays, etc. 10:00 TBC 10:30 TBC 11:00 Break 11:30 TBC 12:00 Bar open 12:00 Redcliff – Alan Gray 12:45 Lunch 13:30 New archieve caving film footage - Maurice Hewins 14:00 Mendip Ochre Mining – Alan Gray 14:30 Break 15:00 Rods Pot – Andy Sparrow 15:30 MCRA – Alan Gray & Paul Stilman 16:00 Finish

MCR Barbecue outside Village hall from 16:00

Wessex Challenge on Top Green – Start at 17:30

MCR Stomp in hall after – Entry free.

Bar shuts midnight(ish)

Sunday

SRT surgery at CaveClimb.com
SRT race at the Wessex
MCR coffee morning and rescue store open at the Belfry

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 9/6/2010




Posted 7/5/10


The boulders in Swildon's entrance seem to have stabilised. Please take care in this area and report any concerns (my contact details can be found at officers) There is a relatively stable route through the boulders to the easy way down but it ends over the new hole in the floor. It is passable with care. The land owner is aware of the changes.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 27/11/2009


There have been more movements in Swildon's Entrance, this time just inside the entrance. The water has undermined some of the slabs and it was necessary to ease them down into a safer position. This whole area is still unstable and needs to be watched. Please treat it with respect.

The slope to the left of the climb down is currently blocked and because of the hole, the climb down is quite committing. If anyone is struggling with the climb a less exposed and easier route is to use the rift at the start of the Zig Zags (Turn right in the entrance, brings you out in Showerbath Chamber). Please take care, the whole entrance area down as far as Showerbath is unstable.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 25/11/2009


There have recently been changes in the Swildon's entrance area. A hole has opened up immediately below the low crawl/slide just in from the entrance that is used by lots of cavers to avoid the awkward climb. This hole goes all the way down to Showerbath Chamber and will catch the unwary. In Showerbath Chamber itself a large amount of gravel and rocks has accumulated from this run in and the stream is using this new route instead of flowing down the usual route to the Wet Way.

There have also been some boulder movements in Showerbath and a large volume of the stream is flowing down Baptism Passage to the Short Dry Way. It appears that major changes are happening in the entrance series so please take extra care here.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 5/11/2009


Following some high CO2 measurements taken during the week, Cuckoo Cleeves has been closed until the air quality improves. Monitoring will take place over the next week or two and the cave will be reopened as soon as possible. Please stay away until the cave has been reopened.

Les Williams
Conservation & Access Officer
Posted 22/8/2009


On behalf of CSCC a group of people gave up a lot of their time to stabilise the boulders in Goatchurch Cavern. The works were carried out over several weeks and finally on the 29th of November a group of about 10 people (plus some press ganged outdoor groups) carried 600kg of cement and aggregate into the cave where it was mixed into concrete and poured into pre-constructed channels to form lintels. The works are now complete and the passage that leads towards the Drainpipe has been stabalised.

CSCC would like to thank all those that helped with the works and also to everybody else who used the cave over the past few weeks for their understanding.

Les Williams
C&A Officer
Posted 6/12/2008


The loose boulder in Rods Pot has been “carefully lowered to the floor” and can now be considered safe. Please still take care here as it may not be the only loose boulder in the area.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 6/12/2008


The Sump 1 rope, reported at the beginning of the month as frayed, has now been replaced.

David Cooke
Posted 20/11/2008


There has been a report of a loose boulder in Rods Pot

“Close to the start of Rod’s there is a choice of a tight rift to the left or a high level route to the right. The right hand route has an exposed step down over a rift in the floor. When I went back to collect the rope from Purple Pot I took the high right route and used the same hand-hold in the roof as I did on our first descent. This time it moved! It looks like a block of the ceiling has come away but is trapped by the surrounding rock. The hand-hold is on one end of the block and, when used, causes the whole block to pivot. When it moved, I was already committed and had most of my weight on it. When I let it go, it shot back up accompanied by an almighty bang – which I think may have caused the block to crack. I’d estimate the block probably weighs about 5 tonne and it would certainly cause a fatal injury to anyone underneath it should it fall. It is very easy to spot as it is the rock immediately in front of you as you come out over the drop. It has a sort of Y-shape protrusion pointing at you that looks like a perfect hand-hold.”

Please take care until it is checked out

Les Williams
Posted 17/11/08



A day to Celebrate and Remember Tony Jarratt

The Digs

  • Rolling Thunder – Swildon’s - Meet Aubrey Newport at the Wessex Hut at around 10:30 on the Saturday. Aubrey says: “There is plenty to do in Rolling Thunder. We have made the spoil - it just needs moving!”
  • White Pit - Meet Stuart Gardiner at the Belfry at 10:00 on Saturday
    • Stuart's plans are: digging at the terminal sump or at the end of Talus II.
    • Dry gear needed, ladder climbing / no SRT.
  • Caine Hill – Meet Trevor and the team at the site from 10:00 onwards on the Saturday
  • Rose Cottage has unfinished biz-the dig in Halfway – Meet Phil Coles at the Belfry 10:00
  • Stock's House Mine Shaft – Meet Tangent at 10:00 Belfry
    • Please note: Entry is via a 20m deep shaft: so will require rigging ladder + lifeline / or SRT / self lining kit.
  • Wigmore Home Close - Meet Tony Audsley and team at the site from 10am up to early afternoon.
    • Please note: parking arrangements not made yet, but unless you hear otherwise, it would be best to park as for Wigmore and walk over the field.
  • Templeton Open Morning – Templeton will be manned from 10 – 12am, during which time the lights will be on, and the pumps running.
    • It is intended to have a skip run.
    • Visitors are welcome to make their way to the bottom – oversuits, boots, helmets and lights will be needed. In view of flooding, there is unlikely to be any digging.
    • NOTE: The farmer has requested that no-one drives to the site.
    • John Hill will run visitors to the dig in his Land Rover, meet at the East Somerset Hut (by Eastwater Cavern field entrance) at 10am.
    • Otherwise, walk up from Lower Pitts farm (turn right out of Eastwater Lane, farm is first on left after ¼ mile.) Walk up track, dig is in last field on left before Dursdon Drove. Look for the spoil heap!
  • It is possible that there may be a “tour of Hunters' Lodge Inn Sink” if there is enough demand. There are currently no digs ongoing in HLIS

Contact me if you propose to attend one or more of these digs so I can keep the diggers informed as to numbers. Les W

JRAT’s Ashes

A portion of the ashes are to be spread down the entrance of Hunters Lodge Sink, at around 1430 on the Saturday afternoon. The final portion is to be taken by way of the Minneries and The Five Buddles and the other digs in that location enroute to North Hill for spreading of the ashes at about 1530. It is hoped that Tony’s family, and other friends who didn’t make it to the original funeral service will all attend.

The intention is give a portion of the ashes to the Wigmore team to take into the streamway in Wigmore either for Saturday 15th or when they next go down Wigmore.

Some of Tony’s ashes are now in Scotland at the Grampian Hut awaiting the first through trip in RANA Hole.

Films and Talk at Village Hall

The intention is after the ashes are spread on North Hill to make our way to the village hall for the films at around 1600. Tea and Coffee and cake will be available. If you are still thirsty from lunch-time the bar will be open at the village hall.

We plan to have some big display boards in the hall so please send digital copies to Stuart (Mac) McManus or bring copies of any photos, articles or anything you’d like to put on the boards at the village.

Films will include those made by Fraser Simpson of the GSG and shown at Hidden Earth with extras from this years Grampian Dinner.

Films and excerpts from a series of TV films which included JRAT over the years by Steve Sharp, Alan Gray, and Tony Boycott

Alan Gray will give a short talk on JRAT’s log books and some of the amazing statistics on his period of caving over 44 years.

Drinking and Eating. 18:30 - 19:30

There’ll be a pig roast and Beef at £2.50 per roll. Food will be available until about 9pm or until it runs out!

JRAT’s Land-Rover Auction. 19:30 – 19:45

JRAT’s bright red land-rover is to be auctioned at the village hall by the “furry jacket brothers” Mac and Martin Grass. There is a reserve.

Songs, and Anecdotes 19:30 – 22:00

Various singers, speakers, musicians to while the night away. With breaks for more beer and chats. If there is demand some of the Films shown earlier will be repeated. If you want to say something contact Rachael Clarke on 01749 678754.

Late Evening 22:00 – midnight:

Dancing and a Tony-dance-alike competition bring a rose (paramedics will be in attendance) bring your old 45’ to be played by the BEC’s own resident DJ Paul Brock!

Les Williams
Posted 14/11/2008


It has been reported that the Sump 1 rope is frayed, care should be taken here until it is replaced. If you are planning a trip through the sump soon then if you contact the right people a length of rope may well be donated to a good cause so that “persons unknown” can replace it.

If you're unsure who the “right people” are then a good place to start is here

Les Williams
Posted 3/11/2008



A day to Celebrate and Remember Tony Jarratt

DAYTIME

Visits to various Cave dig sites:–

  • Wigmore
  • Caine Hill
  • Hunters Lodge Inn Sink
  • Templeton
  • Rolling Thunder ( Swildons)
  • Tumbledown (Swildons V)
  • White Pit
  • Rose Cottage

And many more……More updates on the digs later

Contact Les Williams on canda@cscc.org.uk 01749 679839 or 07941029707

AFTERNOON & EVENING

Priddy Village Hall will be open from 3:30 pm with a bar and tea/coffee available.

We plan to have some big display boards in the hall so please send digital copies to Stuart (Mac) McManus smcmanus@wetltd.co.uk or bring copies of any photos, articles or anything you’d like to put on the boards at the village hall.

4.00 to 6.30 – Alan Gray, Fraser Simpson and others are putting together a collection of films, TV clips and your digital pictures of Tony.

6.30 to 7:30 – Drinking and Eating.

There’ll be a pig roast and Beef at £2.50 per roll.

We have no idea how many people will come but we hope there’ll be enough for everyone.

Food will be available until about 9pm.

We plan to have some entertainment throughout the evening but there’ll be a tent outside the hall and hopefully plenty of opportunity to meet and talk as well as enjoying the entertainment.

Early Evening – music, songs, anecdotes and more beer!

Contact Rachael if you’d like to sing, play or speak. rachaelclarke2@hotmail.com or phone 01749 678754

Late Evening – dancing and a Tony-dance-alike competition (paramedics will be in attendance)

Keep checking the BEC web site and your own club sites for updates.

http://www.bec-cave.org.uk

Les Williams
Posted 21/10/2008


Boulders have recently moved in Goatchurch Cavern, in the Water Chamber at the top end by the passage to the Drainpipe and also down the passage towards the Drainpipe.

CSCC is carrying out stabilisation works in this area. Please take care here and avoid the passage to the Drainpipe for the duration of the works. Please note that the boulder slope down from the Water Chamber is very loose as it has been undermined by the stream. Concreting works will be undertaken shortly.

Les Williams
CSCC C&A Officer
Posted 4/10/2008


A weekend of events and entertainment for Mendip cavers.

This weekend gives you the opportunity learn something new, do some caving, have some fun, and party, party, party! So - get yourself along and spread the word around your caving friends. Let's make it a good one!

Friday Evening

  • Films and photos in the Long Room Hunter's Lodge Inn. If you have stuff to show, bring it along. DVD’s and CD’s or computer files. Starts around 8pm.

Saturday

  • BCRA Regional Meet. Talks and lectures in Priddy Village Hall. Food and Drink from 9am. Presentations on: Upper Flood Swallet, Withybrook Slocker, Historic Films, Templeton, East Twin Swallet, Mendip Cave Rescue, Mendip Cave Registry and Archive and more.
  • Possibility of trips into the more restricted systems of Mendip.

Saturday Evening

  • Wessex Challenge. 5pm Top green. Teams of 6. You will need some form of chariot to convey one of your team members. There are very few rules but the following must be adhered to:
  1. Teams of up to 6 persons including a charioteer.
  2. Chariot must be capable of carrying 1 person and a container of water (container supplied by us)
  3. The charioteer and the container MUST NOT leave the chariot.
  4. The course must be followed.
  5. The winners will be decided by a combination of time taken and quantity of water remaining at the finish line.
  • BBQ provided by Mendip Cave Rescue.
  • Cavers Stomp in the Village Hall. Live music provided by Loose Change.
  • Late Bar

Sunday

  • MCR Rescue Store Open Day and kit demonstrations.
  • Training. Region Council training above and below ground. Courtesy Andy Sparrow.

Mendip Caving 2008 is an event co-ordinated by the Council of Southern Caving Clubs (CSCC) Contributing bodies include the British Cave Research Association (BCRA), Mendip Cave Rescue (MCR formerly MRO) and Mendip Cave Clubs.

Posted 22/5/08. Updated 6/6/08


There will be training available on Sunday [not Saturday] free of charge. Places will be limited and may have to be shared out between clubs if over subscribed.

MORNING SESSION - ROPEWORK BASICS IN SWILDONS HOLE
This session will be in the Dry Ways of Swildons and is intended for the less experienced caver. We will look at basic knots, handlines and lifelines.
From 9.30 - 1300.

AFTERNOON SESSION - SRT IMPROVEMENT AT THE WESSEX CAVE CLUB TOWER
For SRT users with their own kit who have had some basic training and would like to improve their techniques or learn how to deal with problems and emergencies.
From 1400 - 1700

PLEASE CONTACT ME TO BOOK A PLACE. I WILL BE AROUND ON SATURDAY AT THE EVENT FOR LATE BOOKINGS.

Posted 6/6/08 Andy Sparrow


CSCC Webmaster, Cookie, puts the Wiki-style CSCC Website online for a test run.

CSCC Chairman
Posted 20/5/2008


The following was issued by the CSCC on the 18th April:

UPDATE ON PROBLEMS WITH ECO-HANGERS (P-BOLTS) ON MENDIP

Update: Wednesday 18 April

A posting to this list [UKForum] on April 9 explained that Eco-anchors in Rhino Rift and Hunters Hole had failed axial pull tests and that other caves would need to be tested.

Three more caves have now been tested:

GB Cave: where 2 of the 4 anchors at the Ladder Dig Extension FAILED but the testers recommend all 4 be replaced;

Thrupe Lane: where 3 of the 5 anchors on the Entrance Pitch FAILED; (there are 7 anchors in the High Atlas area that have not been re-tested since 2001 for which testing is overdue)

Swildons: where ALL 3 of the anchors at the Twenty Pitch PASSED. (but the 14 anchors in the Cowsh Avens area mention in the April 9 posting have not yet been re-tested)

Failed anchors have been tagged and put beyond use. Please do not interfere with the measures taken to put these bolts beyond use.

The CCC will advise its members about the access situation with regard to GB, but it is hopeful - as is CSCC - that sufficient of the presently approved anchors and resin can be sourced from other regions to allow the 4 anchors to be replaced sooner rather than later.

Thrupe Lane remains open since creative rigging of the entrance, or other methods, still permit ingress/egress.

The failed anchor in Rhino Rift that sparked the present problems has now been removed - along with some of the surrounding rock - by stitch drilling for closer examination. The hole left has been filled.

The CSCC and members of the BCA Equipment & Techniques Committee continue to work hard on the issue. To date over 30 man hours has been spent underground, along with a considerable amount of above ground technical discussion, record checking, etc. All those involved are unpaid volunteers.

Steve King
Hon. Secretary
Council of Southern Caving Clubs
secretary@cscc.org.uk

Posted 3/5/2007


The following was issued by the CSCC on the 8th April:

PROBLEMS WITH ECO-HANGERS (P-BOLTS) ON MENDIP

Update: Sunday 8 April

Many CSCC Members will, by now, be aware that there was an incident in Rhino Rift on 25 March (reported the following day) whereby a sizeable piece of resin motar came away from one of the Y-hang anchors on the first pitch whilst a caver was on rope. Fortunately the caver was unharmed, and the anchor remained in place.

At the request of the Charterhouse Caving Company the CSCC immediately launched an investigation. In this they have had the full support of the BCA Equipment & Techniques Committee.

The anchor in question was subjected to an approved load test (6 kN axial pull which must be sustained for 15 seconds) and it failed. This was highly significant, because it was the first known failure of an eco-anchor placed under the NCA (now BCA) national bolt placement scheme. The ramifications are wide-ranging and will impact cavers acrosss the country. It is consequently essential that the ensuing investigation is both thorough and taken seriously.

The intitial investigations have generated some 'working hypotheses' as to the mode of failure of the anchor. By correlating these with the CSCC anchor installation records it became apparent that there were several other sites on Mendip where the anchors might also give cause for concern. These sites are: Hunters Hole, the Cowsh Avens in Swildons, the Ladder Dig Extension in GB Cave, and Split Rock Quarry. All these sites will need to be tested. Other Mendip caves with eco-anchors will also be tested for comparison. There is thus a lot of work to do in the coming months.

At the time of writing Hunters Hole has been tested. Of the 21 installed anchors, the location of 5 prevented the mechanical pull tester from being applied. Of the remaining 16 anchors, 8 passed the test (though the resin on 2 of these cracked), and 8 failed. The failed anchors have been tagged and notices have been placed in the cave. Roger Dors has been informed. Until remedial work can be undertaken it would be best if cavers do not visit Hunters Hole. Please check with Roger before descending.

To discourage through trips into Swildons 4 from using the untested eco-anchors in Cowsh Avens, the CSCC has today changed the lock and put a notice on Priddy Green Sink. If you really, really, want to do PGS then you will need to get the new key from either Alison Moody or Brian Prewer (Wessex CC). Until further notice cavers should also refrain from climbing Cowsh Avens from the Swildons 4 streamway and then using the untested eco-hangers to return.

The CCC will be placing their own controls on GB Cave.

Until further notice the CSCC advises against the use of any eco-hangers in Split Rock Quarry.

For a number of reasons it will probably be some months before the failed anchors can be replaced. The CSCC understands the frustration that this will cause cavers and asks for their understanding. The CSCC is also aware that some will view our actions/recommendations as an 'over-the-top' reaction. All we can say in response is that we are acting on the best collective advice at our disposal. Cavers should also be wary of ill-informed speculation and gossip as to the possible causes of the anchor problems. At present only a very small group of people are in possesion of ALL the facts.

Further information will be disseminated through this email list, the CSCC website (though please note, the webmaster is in Matienzo for another week!), and the BCA website.

This message was posted to the UKCaving Forum last night.

Steve King, CSCC Secretary
Chris Binding, CSCC Conservation & Access Officer
Alan Gray, CSCC Chairman

Posted 3/5/2007


The following has been received from the Charterhouse Caving Company on the 31st March:

FAILURE OF AN ECO ANCHOR ON RHINO RIFT FIRST PITCH

A defect anchor report in Rhino Rift was made on UKCaving forum at 1 am 26 March. The report stated that a piece of resin from the final anchor in the series for rigging the first pitch had come away into the hand of a person on the pitch. Andrew Atkinson responded to the report by visiting the cave that evening at around 5 pm 26 March and inspecting Eco Anchor RR-FP-06.

His inspection of the rock surrounding the anchor found a new crack radiating away from the anchor to the right. He started to subject the anchor to an axial pull out test (sustain for 15 seconds a 6 kN force) as recommended by British Standard. It became clear to Andrew that on subjecting the anchor to a 6 kN force, the anchor started to move outwards. He therefore decided to increase the force on the anchor to 10 kN (the maximum force which the puller can apply). The anchor then moved out a full 5 mm under this force, stopped and then withstood the 10 kN force for far more than 15 seconds. Further attempts to pull the anchor out using a scaffold pole and clip failed to move the anchor. He rightly reported the anchor as failed since it initially did not sustain the 6 kN force; even though after the 5 mm movement it subsequently was able to withstand a 10 kN force.

Andrew Atkinson (as CSCC bolting coordinator), Chris Binding (as CSCC C&A Officer), Graham Mullan (as Company Secretary of CCC Ltd who control access to the cave), Linda Wilson (as CCC Conservation Officer and CCC Ltd's and BCA's pro bono Legal Advisor), Les Sykes (as the creator of the NCA now BCA Eco Anchor scheme), Andy Pryke (as chairman of BCA Equipment committee) and Nick Williams (as BCA Insurance Manager) have been discussing the information which Andrew brought back and consulting with other people, including one of those who installed the Eco Anchors and other experts. As a preliminary step, they decided to restrict access to the cave whilst this work went on.

Whilst this has taken a little while (and some effort), the following points can now be stated.

1. The new crack means that the anchor location cannot be reused. The orientation of the crack is on the right hand side of the anchor and is away from the near by location of anchor RR-FP-05. However, both anchors lie on the same bedding line. A judgement has yet to made on whether anchor RR-FP-05 is unaffected by the new crack.

2. Photographic evidence has been obtained of the Eco Anchor state before and after the event. It clearly shows that some resin has come away which was not only that on the surface, but also down into the hole for a distance of 5 to 10 mm.

3. The mode of failure of the Eco Anchor is unusual and has not been experienced before within the BCA Anchor Scheme. It is emphasised that whilst Eco Anchors normally fail by being pulled out of the resin, this occurs well above 40 kN force. (Information on what loads Eco Anchors can sustain is shown in Annex 5 of the document “Anchors and Installation Regime” downloadable from the BCA web site at http://british-caving.org.uk/?page=129 .) Although various possible causes can be put forward to explain the findings, further work is scheduled to take place to see if any more information can be obtained from the failed anchor, including possibly extracting the anchor and its surrounding rock.

4. All of the 16 Eco Anchors within Rhino Rift were placed by one team using one batch of resin on one day. There has been anecdotal comment about movement in the Eco Anchors installed in Rhino Rift. In response to such a claim in January 2007, all of the Eco Anchors were subjected to the 6 kN axial pull out test. They all passed the test without any problems.

5. There is no clear understanding of why this anchor recently failed, even though it passed the test only 2 months ago. The view of the group is that it cannot state with confidence that the other Eco Anchors might not also be similarly affected. Although the group notes that the failed anchor did eventually sustain a 10 kN force, it remains of the view that access to the cave should remain restricted until either an explanation can be obtained so as to enable the affected anchors to be replaced or that all of the Eco Anchors are replaced.

6. The loss of the anchor location RR-FP-06 on the pitch creates a number of problems in placing a replacement. The possible loss of the adjacent anchor location RR-FP-05 could substantially affect the rigging of the first pitch.

7. Comment has been made by some persons that perhaps repeated testing of the Eco Anchors might have weakened them. It is noted that the 6 kN test would not have been adopted by the British Standard (BS 7883:2005) if there was any possibility of such a weakness occurring. The group has consulted with an expert who is of the opinion that such anchors should easily sustain a 10 kN force without causing damage. The group has therefore concluded that there is no basis for such a comment.

G Mullan
CCC Ltd Company Secretary
Saturday 31 March 2007

Posted 3/5/2007


The message below was issued by the Charterhouse Caving Company on the 28th March:

The background to the decision is that last weekend a caver experienced an alarming incident whilst rigging the first pitch; some of the resin mortar fixing one of the P-bolts came away in a chunk. The individual involved was unharmed, and the bolt is still in place. However, it failed a subsequent load test. A crack in the resin affixing one of the other bolts was also reported.

These bolts were last tested on January 15th and passed.

In the meantime the CCC and CSCC will be looking to ascertain whether this is an unfortunate one-off occurrence, something symptomatic of a wider problem (eg, with the resin), or the result of other actions. In this we are being supported by BCA technical experts.

It cannot be stressed how unusual this incident is and it is for this reason that we must try and ensure that any lessons that can be learnt, are learnt.

From: Graham Mullan

Dear CCC Club Reps

Having discussed the matter of the unsafe bolt in Rhino Rift with Nick Williams, in his role as BCA Insurance Officer, it is his recommendation that we should effectively shut the cave whilst the situation is evaluated.

This will take a matter of a few weeks. Hopefully no longer. I have relayed this to Linda, our legal adviser, and she concurs with Nick's advice.

I shall therefore arrange for a replacement padlock to go on the cave tomorrow morning. Anyone with a strong wish to go down the cave during this period would then need to come to me for a key and a detailed description of the problems inherent in undertaking a trip.

Nick agreed that this was the best compromise that we could put in place immediately.

Please ensure that anybody within your club who issues keys is aware of this, so that no-one has a wasted trip over to the cave.

Graham
CCC Secretary

Posted 3/5/2007


The CSCC undertook a major project to cap Star Shaft Mine which was rediscovered when the farmers tractor fell through the old timber capping.

To read more about it see Star Shaft Mine Capping.

Posted 3/5/2007


The second bolt of the first Y-hang has previously been reported loose - See old news items 5 & 12th December 2005 here.

The bolt has been tested with the recently purchased regional lateral pull testing equipment. This places a lateral load of 10KN on the bolt for twenty seconds. The bolt and has been passed as fit for use. So, although it wobbles we can be sure it won't leave the rock. The remaining bolts in Rhino Rift have also been passed fit for use.

Posted 13/7/2006


After a visit on the 9th July the C & A Officer reports that the Spits on Lateral Pitch are in a poor state with one of them having a stripped thread meaning that rigging here is compromised. It is intended to place eco-hangers here. The installation should be done by this Autumn. Further details will be posted when the work is complete.

The schedual of works also include putting bolts at the head of Perseverence Pot, bolting of new route(s) in old Atlas and replacing spits wherever it is considered wise to do so.

Posted 13/7/2006


This year fourteen clubs didn't renew their membership with the CSCC. This is the greatest drop in membership the CSCC has ever experienced and is very worrying. With the creation of BCA and the new insurance scheme there have been considerable changes in the way the subs. are collected, no doubt leading to considerable confusion. If you are one of the missing clubs, we would like to know why? Please let the Secretary know so that the problems can be addressed in the future.

Please note that it is still possible to rejoin the CSCC (but not the BCA) in the traditional way. Simply send a cheque for £15 with a covering letter to CSCC Treasurer, Chris Whale, 247 Coronation Road, Southville, Bristol, BS3 1RL.

The missing clubs are: Avon & Somerset Constabulary Club (Caving Section), Avon Outdoors Activities Club, Barnet Caving Group, Combined Services Caving Association, Cotham Speleological Society, Exeter University Speleological Society, Forest Caving Group, Hewlett Packard Caving Club, Kingsdown and Outs, Slough Mountaineering Club (Caving Section), South London Speleo, Surrey Youth Caving Group, Thurrock Adventure Club and University of Portsmouth Caving Club.

Although much of the work of the CSCC isn't particularly visible or tangible, it is important. For that work to continue the CSCC needs the support of the caving community, which means a healthy rather than a declining membership.

Posted 2/12/2005


After many years the CSCC Handbook and Access Guide has been reprinted. It runs to 36 A5 pages, has been fully revised and contains all the latest access information. Copies can be obtained from Bat Products or by post from David Cooke, 3 Starrs Close, Axbridge, Somerset, BS26 2BZ. Please enclose a cheque for £2.50 made payable to the 'CSCC'.

Posted 2/12/2005


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