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 Estate, Fairy Holes and Excalibur Pot, the latter two of which are outside of the traditional Yorkshire Dales area. In each case, member caving clubs can be issued permits by the CNCC to descend these caves under the conditions set out in the access agreement held with the landowner.
The CNCC has always strived to achieve the best possible access for cavers, while also maintaining good relations with landowners. In more recent years, as access to land has become more liberal in many areas, we have worked with landowners to reduce or abolish access restrictions including Washfold Pot, parts of Penyghent and the whole of Fountains Fell. Furthermore, where managed access remains, we are seeking to make the process of obtaining access much easier.
Although we were 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 will represent the best interests and work to the benefit of cavers and caving clubs in our region.
The CNCC is also active in promoting and undertaking cave and countryside conservation. Through collaboration with Natural England, and the efforts of our team of conservation volunteers, we have clocked up a long list of successful conservation projects. These include mending or building stiles, walls, footpaths and fences, clearing cave entrances and shakeholes of rubbish or performing cleanup or other conservation works inside caves.
Over the years we have also taken an active involvement in installation of resin anchors in many of the popular caves across our region. The CNCC Technical Group, over three decades, have overseen or undertaken installation of several hundred resin anchors across over 60 of our most popular pots. In recent years (2014 onwards) another group, the IC anchor team, endorsed by the CNCC, has reinvigorated resin anchor installation in several further caves and potholes.
The affairs of the CNCC are managed by the Officers and Committee (plus several co-opted representatives and Officers). The Committee is made up of between ten and fourteen of our full member clubs, plus (as of 2017) one representative for non-club (individual) cavers. The Officers and Committee are elected and major decisions are made at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) by the attending full member clubs. Any club with an involvement in northern caving can apply to become a full member. We are therefore a democratic organisation managed by and for cavers.
Asides from facilitating cave access and conservation, the CNCC Officers and Committee also deal with other duties that arise through the year, including liaising with external bodies (Natural England, the National Parks, local access forums, landowners, the BCA and other associated bodies) and generally seeking out ways by which the CNCC can be of benefit to northern caving, be it financially or through training, support, promotion of safe and responsible caving or various other initiatives and activities.
Information on all aspects of the CNCC can be found on this website, including meeting minutes, contact details and information on how you can get involved. We welcome any questions or comments.