CNCC Mission Statement
The CNCC is an open and welcoming organisation that represents caving and cavers in the north of England and Scotland. As an exclusively volunteer-led organisation, we will:
- Work to achieve the best possible access to caves.
- Establish beneficial relations with landowners and kindred organisations.
- Promote safe and responsible caving in parallel with cave and countryside conservation.
- Provide services and information to improve the accessibility of caving.
The CNCC (Council of Northern Caving Clubs) was formed in 1963 to negotiate access to caves and potholes across Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria which had previously been off-limits to cavers. Over the years, access agreements between the CNCC and landowners were established for Leck and Casterton Fells, Penyghent, Fountains Fell, Stump Cross area, Birks Fell Cave, Robinson’s Pot, Washfold Pot and most recently (post-2010), Whitewell Pot area, Ingleborough, Fairy Holes and Excalibur Pot, the latter two being outside of the traditional Yorkshire Dales area. In each case the CNCC established a means for cavers to obtain consented access, while building good landowner relations.
In more recent years, as countryside access has become more liberal in many areas (thanks particularly to the Countryside Rights of Way act, CRoW), we have worked with landowners to reduce or abolish access restrictions across all major northern fells including Penyghent, Fountains Fell, Ingleborough, Leck Fell, Casterton Fell and Birks Fell. We are now in a good situation that most of our major caves can be accessed with no restrictions.
For caves where CNCC-facilitated access remains a requirement, we work to ensure this is a simple as possible and to pass on necessary information to visiting cavers.
Although we were originally established to negotiate access, the role of the CNCC has evolved over the decades. Today the CNCC serves as the British Caving Association (BCA) Regional Council for the north of England and Scotland and we will represent the best interests of cavers and caving clubs in our region, ensuring our voice is heard on caving matters of more national significance.
The other cornerstone of the CNCC is undertaking and promoting cave and countryside conservation. Through collaboration with Natural England and other organisations, and the efforts of our volunteers, we have clocked up a long list of successful conservation projects. These include mending or building stiles, walls, footpaths and fences, making cave entrances safe and stock-proof, clearing cave entrances and shake-holes of rubbish, dealing with fallen or hazardous rocks or trees, tree planting, or performing clean-up or other conservation works inside caves.
Since the early 1990s, we have taken an active involvement with installation of resin bonded stainless steel anchors in many of the popular caves across our region. These have gradually replaced an assortment of less reliable anchors, making vertical caving safer and more accessible. For all caves fitted with CNCC anchors we publish rigging topos on our website showing what anchors are in place and what equipment is needed, which have become invaluable resources for any cavers visiting our region. In more recent years we have added route descriptions for most of our more popular caves too, helping to bring together lots of useful information into one place.
With the reducing demands on the CNCC to facilitate cave access (thanks to greater freedoms of access granted by CRoW), we have had more time in recent years to support other aspects of northern caving. Although we have always been involved in organising training opportunities for caves, since 2019, our training workshop offerings have increased dramatically to cover SRT skills for all abilities, first aid, geology, photography, conservation, digging, rescue, leadership and surveying.
Also, in more recent years, the role of the CNCC has expanded to include promotion of caving in our region. This includes raising awareness of the benefits of caving as a sport to the local economy, ensuring our voice is heard in any local discussions on countryside access, helping to raise public awareness of caving to encourage greater participation, and facilitating events to allow people to try caving for the first time.
The affairs of the CNCC are managed entirely by volunteers. We have an Annual General Meeting where our member clubs elect Officers and a Committee. These Officers and Committee then manage the day-to-day running of the organisation through the year. We are a friendly team who rely entirely on passionate individuals coming forward to fill many of these roles and to bring new ideas, to ensure CNCC remains a valuable resource to supporting caving in northern England and Scotland.
Information on all aspects of the CNCC can be found on this website, including meeting minutes, contact details and information on the many ways you can get involved. You will also find information on upcoming training workshops, recent news stories and conservation projects, cave access and anchor information, rigging topos and route descriptions, as well as many other useful resources. We welcome any questions or comments.Read about our 60 year history