Derbyshire Caving Association Information Circular 2001/1, Nov. 2000 - Jan. 2001

NEXT DCA MEETING

A.G.M. : Saturday, 17 February 10am. Monyash Village Hall

The Hall will be open from about 9.30am. with tea, coffee & biscuits on tap. The Old Smithy Cafe, next to the Pub, does an excellent breakfast from 9am.

DERBYSHIRE CONSERVATION & ACCESS NEWS

If you have any information to pass on or have any queries, please contact the Conservation & Access Officer direct: Tony Gibbs, Tel. 01709-559858 or E-mail. t.gibbs @ bigfoot.com

STILL PROBLEMS AT KNOTLOW MINE
The situation changes constantly so be prepared to abort your trip if there is bad air. For example: 19 October - no problems at all in Waterfall Chamber or the level leading off, yet the following weekend a trip down the Chapel Dale Shaft had to be aborted due to bad air. Weekend 18/19 November - smell (!!!) when mud disturbed in passage when turning left at bottom of Fourways. - rest of system OK. Please fill in the Log Book at the foot of the Climbing Shaft or, if you abseil down the Chapel Dale Shaft and don't go via the Log Book, please contact David Webb after your trip to inform him of conditions. David is passing on information to John Gunn regularly - David can be contacted by e-mail at
david.webb12 @ ntlworld.com. Don't forget that a "nil return" is just as important as reporting pollution at this site if we are to track down the source of the trouble.

Note also that there have been occasional reports of bad air in Hillocks, near the connection with Knotlow.. If you come across this, please report it to David for onward transmission to John Gunn. There are occasional reports from other mines as well: Whalf Mine, Robins Shaft Mine and Bagshawe Cavern have all been reported at least once and there was a "near miss" a few years ago with a caver on an SRT rope down a mineshaft near Waterhouses becoming unconscious - he was hauled out by quick-thinking mates just in time! Please keep DCA informed if you come across this problem anywhere so that we can warn others.

ASHFORD MARBLE MINE ACCESS RESTORED
A permit is required to visit the mine and you must hold a current P. L. Insurance. For details on how to get your permit contact Pete Mellors

HILLOCKS CLEANUP
Thanks to Ralph Johnson for doing a clean-up in Hillocks Mine. The pile of rubbish left outside will be removed as soon as his trailer gains a new wheel!

WATER ICICLE - MIND THE GATE PLEASE
Please, if you visit the mine, close the field gate after you - don't let stock stray down the lane. No need to ask permission and the gate is never locked. The smart new surface belay stake supplied by Crewe C.P.C. has been installed (and cemented in) by Orpheus C. C. Thanks to both parties concerned.

CAVES AND MINES ON SSSIs
Don't forget that you need permission to dig a cave or mine site on an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). Also some mines are now Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) and you can be in trouble with English Heritage if you disturb the remains without permission. The free leaflet, "Do You Dig Caves? (... on SSSIs ...)", produced by DCA and English Nature, gives useful guidance and has a map of the region with SSSIs and National Nature Reserves marked on it, plus addresses and phone numbers to contact for information. If in doubt - ask! You will receive a friendly and helpful response from English Nature. If you would like some copies of the leaflet "Do You Dig Caves? (... on SSSIs ...)" to pass round your club, contact Jenny Potts.

PROJECTS & EQUIPMENT NEWS

If you come across a DMM Eco-hanger which you think may be loose, (or any other suspect anchor, fixed aid, etc.) please contact DCA Equipment Officer, Mark Lowe MLowecave @ aol.com or inform Jenny: Tel. 01335-370629 or E-mail. jenny.potts @ ukonline.co.uk

PLEASE USE THE MAILLONS ON THE ECO-ANCHORS IN GIANTS!
One of the Eco-anchors in the Wet Inlets above Base Camp Chamber in Giants has had to be replaced already because of the severe wear caused by cavers dragging down their rope after a pull-through trip. Similar wear has been caused on the second anchor of the pair. Also the two anchors furthest upstream above the climb down into the Crabwalk from the Upper Series have suffered in the same way. Now "permanent" steel maillons have been installed at all these 4 sites, (they are locked tightly shut!) so that the rope can be threaded through the maillon instead of the anchor itself - it makes it much easier to pull through and, if the maillon does show signs of wear, it's easier to replace. Unfortunately there still seem to be a few daft b*****s who don't understand why the maillons are there and still try to thread the rope through the anchor. If you come across one of these groups, please suggest to them quietly that there is a better way.

DEVONSHIRE CAVERN
The slab in the roof has now been stabilised. Two blind shafts (Hells Well and the shaft on the opposite side of the passage) have been bolted with DMM's to allow SRT practice. (PICA is donating funds for this.)

WHALF PIPE MINE ENGINE SHAFT
The DMM at the first re-belay is suspect. It is being checked and will be replaced if necessary.

EYAM DALE HOUSE CAVE
Chesterfield C. C. will be replacing the lock on the shaft and refurbishing the lid. Don't forget to call at the nursing home for permission to visit.

DCA NEWSLETTER DEADLINE

DCA Editor, Alan Keen, would welcome contributions for No. 109, which we hope to have ready by March. Deadline for articles this time is 1st. February. E-mail to: alan @ wkeen.freeserve.co.uk

NEWS FROM NCA

In 2000 the NCA commissioned the Charities Aid Foundation "To carry out a functional analysis of British caving and report on that analysis to the BCRA and NCA Councils and to suggest possible structures for the future of British caving." The final report "British Caving - A Functional Analysis" is available on the NCA web site at http://www.nca.org.uk and can be viewed by following the link on the banner on the index page. Discussions continue and there will be a meeting for NCA constituent body representatives at Alvechurch on 27th. January at which it is hoped a paper can be drawn up ready for the NCA AGM on 17th. March suggesting a way forward. If you want to know more of what is going on, contact Jenny Potts.

FOR YOUR NEWSLETTER / NOTICEBOARD

http://www.theDCA.org.uk

11 Jan 2001

Hon. Sec./Treas., Jenny Potts, 3 Greenway, Hulland Ward, Ashbourne, Derbys. DE6 3FE. Tel. 01335-370629
E-m: jenny.potts @ ukonline.co.uk

ADDENDUM

PUTWELL HILL MINE
A potential problem may be developing here. Recently some groups visiting the mine have been approached by a local resident who insists that formal permission is required to visit the mine. He has also complained of cavers being "abusive" and that his property has been "damaged by cavers". (Other local residents are perfectly friendly, happy to chat to cavers and make no mention of permission required.) If you encounter this person, please try to keep the situation calm and, if possible, find out who he is: name, phone number and where he lives. Please pass this information on to Tony Gibbs so that an approach can be made to resolve the situation. Note that the statement in the DCA Handbook re this site is: "Trips undertaken without prior permission of Chatsworth Estates are unauthorised."