Committee Outcomes - June 2020

29 June 2020

Last Saturday (26th June) the CNCC held our first online meeting, the last physical meeting having been our AGM in March a few weeks prior to Covid restrictions being introduced.

The CNCC Officers (Andrew, Josh, Ben, Tim, Kay and Ian) were delighted to be joined by most of our 13 Committee clubs, co-opted volunteers and a few other participants.

Our Chair, Andrew Hinde, opened with tributes to Andy Farrow, who very sadly passed away last week. Andy was a passionate caver who served for a few years as Leck Fell Permit Secretary, but was best known within the CNCC for his contribution to conservation. He had been a cornerstone of our conservation efforts for over a decade, having participated in most CNCC-organised projects. He loved caving and gave back to it in abundance, and he will be greatly missed.

As well as the usual business there were a few items on the agenda and some interesting discussions.

Our Access Officer, Tim Allen, provided us with an update on the current Covid situation with respect to caving across our region. He has been proactively engaging with landowners and we have been able to relaunch the online booking system across Leck, Casterton and Ingleborough. When we brought this system in, one of the secondary benefits was the ability for cavers to manage their own traffic around to reduce congestion at individual potholes. This secondary benefit is now of course directly relevant to facilitating social distancing between different groups. Several other areas are fine to visit but keep an eye on our website for the most recent information.

We identified that lots of clubs have restarted caving activities, and of our clubs with huts, most have reopened (or are currently reopening) access to their tacklestores. It seems that there is also a strong will amongst most clubs with huts to reopen to overnight stays, albeit in a reduced capacity initially, as soon as the restrictions allow this to happen. Clearly, each club hut is going to move at different speeds on this depending on the nature of their facilities, but it was encouraging to see this being actively discussed, and that clubs are mostly on the same page.

We received an update on numerous anchor projects ongoing and completed recently. It seems that the CNCC anchor scheme has really taken off over the last year, and there are at least four installers actively pursuing projects at the moment. More news due very soon on some of those projects.

We reappointed several of our annual co-opted volunteers, including Permit Secretaries, representatives to the various BCA Committees, Webmaster, Anchor Coordinator and Online Booking System Administrator. We also appointed our former Secretary, Matt Ewles, as a PR and Communications Officer, to work with a small team to help ensure good engagement between CNCC and cavers via all social media platforms, as well as to exploit opportunities to promote caving across our region.

The current situation in the BCA was discussed, with several attendees expressing concern about the resignation of key volunteers, at least four of who hail from our region. We agreed that CNCC should research options that might be available to us if the BCA loses so many volunteers that it isn’t able to function properly or adequately support northern caving.

David Rose, the BCA's CRoW Group Convenor, had provided an update for us on the current Welsh Government judicial review situation, and we discussed this and the potential implications in our region.

Our new Training Officer, Ian Patrick, put forward a proposed structure for a new series of CNCC-organised training opportunities, including SRT, first aid and geology. Ian has already been working with our webmaster, Gary Douthwaite, to create a training registration and booking system on our website. There was lots of enthusiasm and we look forward to launching this in due course.

Overall, it was a great, friendly meeting, and the online platform worked extremely well. Thank you to all those who attended, and we look forward to seeing you at the next meeting on 17th October; either back on Zoom or maybe even face to face... only time will tell!

Safe caving!

Council of Northern Caving Clubs