Derbyshire Caving Association Information Circular 2002/5, August / September 2002

NEXT DCA MEETING

DCA Council Meeting: Saturday, 2nd November at 10am at Monyash Village Hall

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

Meetings for the rest of the year - all at 10am at Monyash Village Hall

CONSERVATION / ACCESS

If you have any queries or problems relating to access or conservation in the region, contact DCA Conservation & Access Officer, John Taylor: Tel. 01663-734918, Mob. 0786-6705149, E-mail. access @ theDCA.org.uk. Alternatively, contact Iain Barker the Access Officer: Tel. 0114-2530112, Mob. 0771-0689704, E-mail. iainbarker @ peakland.freeserve.co.uk.

WARNING - BAD AIR IN WATER ICICLE CLOSE CAVERN & KNOTLOW MINE
There have been reports of "bad air" in Water Icicle recently and it has been serious enough on at least one occasion to cause people to have difficulty in breathing at the foot of the shaft, with headaches, nausea, etc. and a struggle to ascend the rope. It was also noted that a flame would not stay alight at the base of the shaft, indicating high levels of CO2.

CO2 is heavier than air so, in the absence of air circulation, it will tend to settle out in the lower parts of the mine. Be aware that CO2 has no smell so there will be little or no warning of problems until you begin to feel breathless. If this happens you should exit the mine as fast as possible.

Note that there are similar and continuing problems in Knotlow where severe pollution is adding to the difficulties. The foul smell of the pollution does sometimes give a warning in Knotlow, unlike Water Icicle, but this is not to be relied on as an indicator of CO2.

DCA is looking into ways of providing better ventilation for these systems but this may not be possible so - BE WARNED!

WORK IN OXLOW CAVERNS LATER THIS MONTH
Stabilisation of the slope between the entrance pitch and pitch 2 should be taking place Fri/Sat/Sun, 27th. to 29th. September. It would be helpful if cavers could give the system a miss that weekend. Apologies for any inconvenience.

SUICIDE CAVE PROBLEMS
Thanks to Gordon Fiander and his group who have cleared out the dreadful mess left in Suicide Cave by vandals and the "bike lamp brigade". As the cave now has Eco-anchors and provides a useful SRT training site, attention is being given to altering the entrance so as to deter these casual visitors whilst still keeping access uncomplicated for genuine cavers.

OTTER HOLE, BUXTON - THE PLANNING APPLICATION IS NOW IN
There is now a formal planning application in for the area immediately surrounding Otter Hole in Buxton. There are considerable concerns about any building in this area, which is a flood-prone resurgence with a network of cave passages only just below the surface, including the possibility that water backing up behind obstructions caused by foundations could affect Pooles Cavern show cave. There are also concerns that there would be a cave entrance posing a danger to children right in the middle of a group of houses.

The DCA Conservation & Access Team, led by Dave Mycroft and John Taylor have put forward a document "Otterhole Farm Housing Development - An appraisal of the potential impacts to speleological resources" to the Planning Authority and we await developments with interest.

GIANTS HOLE SALE
Peakshill Farm is now up for sale by auction and will be sold as 3 separate lots, so there is a possibility that the ownership of the farmhouse may be separated from the ownership of the land on which the cave entrance is situated. DCA is keeping an eye on developments here and we'll keep you informed.

ASHFORD MARBLE MINE
Thanks to Bryan Hartshorne of Thornbridge Hall who arranged for a new lock to be fitted when the old one became unusable in early July. Don't forget that DCA is required to run a permit system for access to the mine. Contact Pete Mellors for details.

PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE

It has not been possible after all for NCA to set up a "national" Public Liability Insurance scheme in time for the start of the new insurance year on 1st. October 2002. However it is hoped to have something in place for next year and both BCRA and DCA Insurance Managers are giving full co-operation to NCA to help achieve this. For the present, the two separate BCRA and DCA schemes will continue to operate, with the same start date on 1st. October, although both have suffered a large increase in the premium required in order to continue to provide insurance. There are an increasing number of caves and mines which are not accessible unless you have a P.L. Insurance, either through your club or as an individual. (The most recent site to go down this route is Dan yr Ogof, in South Wales.) Details of the DCA scheme, which can provide insurance for both clubs/groups and individuals, accompany this circular.

DCA TRAINING EVENTS FOR CLUB LEADERS

Workshops for Club Leaders
A reminder that DCA Training Officer Nigel Atkins has arranged a series of 4 caver training events this summer and early autumn. They are designed for club leaders and club training officers, including experienced cavers who may find themselves leading club trips and doing the rigging for others. All are one-day events and will take place at Pindale Farm Outdoor Centre under the guidance of CIC holders. If you are interested in either of the two remaining sessions, please contact Nigel direct: Tel. 01283-210666 or Mob. 07831-449919. There are 12 places on each one-day course and the charge to each individual will be £20 per day. The last two sessions are:

DCA/NCA Training Workshop - February 2003
Nigel is already beginning to organise the traditional "Cavers Workshop" at Pindale Farm in February next year. Topics: Cave Rescue, SRT, Advanced SRT, Ladders Lines Abseiling with groups and Self Rescue, Cave Video, Mines History, Cave Formation & Development & Conservation. Further details to come.

EQUIPMENT NOTES

In the absence of an Equipment Officer, for the time being, please refer problems relating to bolts, fixed aids, etc. to Jenny Potts: Tel. 01335-370629 or E-mail. dca @ theDCA.org.uk.

NEW E-MAIL ADDRESSES FOR DCA OFFICERS

A reminder about the new e-mail contacts for DCA officers. These will always forward to the officer concerned or, if they are away, to someone who is standing in for them. Please use these in future, rather than personal e-mail addresses - they are nice and easy to remember. Please note also the Jenny Potts' "ukonline" e-mail address is due to go off line shortly so you won't get through unless you use the new address.

FOR YOUR NEWSLETTER / NOTICEBOARD

www.theDCA.org.uk dca @ theDCA.org.uk

16 September 2002