Information Circular 99/6 - November / December 1999


Annual General Meeting 19 February 2000

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. All meetings arranged start at 10am. at Monyash Village Hall.


If you have any information to pass on or have any queries, please e-mail the Conservation & Access Officer direct: Tony Gibbs t.gibbs @

KNOTLOW POLLUTION - Report from John Gunn, 13 November.

The actual source of the pollution is proving elusive. However, measures are in hand to alleviate the situation & to permit a resumption of access:

1. Dave Nixon & Tim? are going to clear the blockage at the base of Fourways to allow the highly polluted level to drain more freely and hopefully to allow natural processes to remove as much as possible of the organic material which is oxidising and in the process reducing oxygen & increasing carbon dioxide.
2. I have advised Tony Gibbs that the current lids on the shafts should be replaced by grills to permit natural ventilation. I am not sure on the progress with this.

Once these works have been done we will undertake another survey and hopefully oxygen levels will he high enough for safe access to be resumed.

OXLOW WARNING Information received from Dudley Caving Club (Formerly Dudley Cave Rescue Team) on 1st November:

"On a trip last Sunday in Oxlow we found that the connection between West Ante Chamber and West Chamber, just after the ladder, was very loose. Where you drop through the crawl, several boulders around the top of the connection shifted and fell into the hole. Due to the instability, we did not proceed through the connection."

Further Information from Eldon P. C. later in November: "We held an Exchange (Maskhill / Oxlow) on 7/11/99 and saw that the crawl was indeed a bit loose. However, on a subsequent trip 14/11/99 John Taylor and Mike Salt rebuilt the stone work and now consider it safe again."

General opinion now seems to be that this area has always been unstable and should be treated with caution; in particular, exercise care when touching stacked rock.

GAUTRIES There had been reports of tapeworm in the water at Gautries during the summer. There now appears to be no problem but it's worth keeping a watch when the warmer weather comes again.


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


Handbook Amendment p. 2:10
Pleasley Vale Railway Cutting Pot, new address for key contact:
Mark Bennett, 11 Booth Crescent, Bull farm Estate, Mansfield, NG19 7LQ.
Tel. 01623 462460


The next issue of the Derbyshire Caver is now in production and in an effort to comprehensively cover the caving scene in our area I am contacting you to gather information. Anything from a couple of lines of gossip to a multi-page article with drawings and surveys will be considered for inclusion and would be very welcome. Subject matter is left open to your own area of operation - cave digging & diving, sporting trip reports, equipment reports, "tall tales"; anything with a link to Derbyshire caving. And don't forget, events and stomps will be welcome for inclusion in the "Diary" while surplus equipment can be advertised in "For Sale & Wanted". Club cavers - why not submit a profile of your club?

I'm looking forward to hearing from you and finding out what you've been up to in Derbyshire! Material can be e-mailed in "Word" or text form, written & posted to me or short items can even be phoned in. The deadline for submissions for No. 104 is Christmas, due out in January and No. 105 will be due out in March. Items should go direct to:
Iain Barker, 56 Thornbridge Crescent, Birley, Sheffield. S12 3AE iainbarker @

(Iain also notes that his book, "Classic Caves of the Peak District", has been remaindered so, if you still don't have a copy, search the bookshops and you may be lucky.)


Pete Mellors has explained that volunteers who have their own Public Liability Insurance via a club are covered when they are working on projects for DCA but the situation may be different for individual members. The Equipment & Projects Officer should check that all volunteers are covered and it may be possible to effect this via a "temporary membership" of DCA's PL scheme; this is being investigated. Pete also notes that there appears to be multiple membership of the BCRA PL Insurance scheme by individuals, both through clubs (cavers may be members of more than one club) and as individual members of BCRA, and thus multiple payments to BCRA. He is seeking information on this from DCA members to take to a meeting of the NCA Legal & Insurance Special Committee in an effort to clarify matters. Please contact Pete via Jenny Potts Tel. 01335-370629 or E-mail. jenny.potts @


The Joint Working Party met for the second time on 28 November 1999 and finalised a first draft of a "Key Issues Paper" to be put to BCRA Council and NCA Council for their approval. BCRA Council approved the Paper at their meeting on 5 December and it now goes to the NCA Council Meeting on 8 January. Once both Councils have approved the Paper it is intended to circulate it as widely as possible to cavers for their comments.

If you have any points you would like to raise with the JWP or have any queries, please contact either of the two convenors direct:

Bob Mehew : mewhewrd @
David Judson : judson @


Tony Gibbs has experience of this scheme, which gives as one of the options the possibility of doing "voluntary work" for at least 20 hours per week. He had written a report on his voluntary work on behalf of DCA and it had been approved as qualifying as an "Intensive Activity Period" under the scheme. He suggests that other members who find themselves in the same position might like to consider his approach and thus benefit themselves and DCA. He would be willing to help such members to draw up a scheme of voluntary work which would be approved by the relevant authorities. Please contact him direct if you are interested:

Tony Gibbs t.gibbs @


19 December 1999

Hon. Sec./Treas., Jenny Potts, 3 Greenway, Hulland Ward, Ashbourne, Derbys. DE6 3FE. Tel. 01335-370629

E-m: jenny.potts @