Online Booking for Leck Fell

22 August 2019

The CNCC are pleased to announce that the online cave booking system now includes Leck Fell

The caves of Leck, many of which form part of the 90 km long Three Counties System, offer some of the best sporting trips in the country. Lost Johns’, Notts, Gavel, Rumbling, Deaths Head and Shuttleworth, to name but a few, are now available to anyone who registers to use the online system via the following page on our website.

www.cncc.org.uk/booking

The online booking system was developed initially to cover the caves of the Ingleborough Estate but always with a view that the system could be expanded to include other areas. Leck Fell is designated as access land but the landowner prefers a managed access system for the caves, hence CNCC have developed the online system as a compromise which offers a consensual solution and an alternative to the old restricted permit systems of the past. The new system has been widely embraced by the caving community on Ingleborough, not only to respect the wishes of the Estate, but also to allow cavers to see what entrances are free each day and to self-manage their own access to avoid congestion. We hope this will continue to be the case on Leck Fell.

Some background (including a short video made when the system was originally launched on Ingleborough) can be found in this news article.

A major point for cavers to note is that there will be no closed season for the foreseeable future. Under the previous permit system, the fell was closed to cavers for three months of the year. Also of note is that there is no restriction on what type of recreational caver can use the online system. As per Ingleborough, the system is based on one booking per entrance per day.

"Whether you are a club or independent caver, BCA member or not, the online system is open to all recreational cavers."

 

Following our negotiations with the Leck Estate we ask all cavers to acknowledge and follow these recommendations:

  • Car parking is limited on Leck Fell. Please make sure you car share as much as possible and park responsibly so that farmers and other land users have clear access. Please leave any unnecessary cars behind at your accommodation or a designated car park such as the one at Cowan Bridge (where you turn off the main road to drive up to Leck Fell).
  • For conservation reasons we advise that caving groups should not exceed eight persons.
  • Please abide by the Countryside Code and Minimal Impact Caving Guidelines.
  • The booking system is for recreational caving only. Cave instructors undertaking recreational or personal training trips are welcome but for any trips of a commercial nature separate arrangements must be made directly with the Estate Office.
  • For information on digging please refer to the CNCC digging guidelines.

We hope that cavers will embrace the online system for Leck Fell; not only out of respect to the landowner who has requested that this be used, but also out of respect to other cavers. The online system has proved popular as cavers feel that it provides a secondary benefit of distributing caver traffic and avoiding congestion on the deeper potholes. The CNCC do not control access or police access on behalf of landowners but we do try hard to facilitate the best possible access for cavers in the north of England.

This outcome has been the result of several years of careful negotiation. As well as my own efforts, the CNCC webmaster, Gary Douthwaite, has played a vital role in the design and operation of the system together with Geoff Whittaker who administers the system on a day to day basis. Fair credit is also due to the CNCC Secretary, fellow officers and the whole Committee for their close support.

Tim Allen, CNCC Access Officer