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Editorial

Lifelines

The recent accident in Lamb Leer unfortunately provides an example of a type of accident which might well have been minimised or even avoided had full life lining techniques been in use.  The fact that the accident occurred to a caver of many years standing on Mendip emphasises the fact that every caver, however experienced or fit, can ‘come off’ for some reason or another, given bad luck.

There is, or course, an understandable tendency for cavers of experience to minimise the use of life lines.  Perhaps the accident will serve to impress on us the need for the grater use of such preventative measures.

Thin End?

The strong possibility that Somerset will require the B.A.C.I. certificate for all leaders under its control from 1976 onwards - and by implication will be rejecting the training scheme adopted and published by the Council of Southern Caving Clubs - could be seen as a first step towards that state of affairs portrayed in the Christmas B.B. last year, in which the fictitious University of Charterhouse made its appearance.  Having said this, it should not be implied that there is anything intrinsically wrong with B.A.C.I.  The point being made is that of restriction of freedom of choice.  In this connection, it is worth noting that the approach of the C.S.C.C. scheme, 'Caving for Beginners' differs considerably from that of B.A.C.I. and that the choice is therefore not one between two certificates as between two methods of approach.  Indeed, there is no reason, in theory as far as can be seen, why a particular caver giving advice and training under the C.S.C.C. scheme could not be a B.A.C.I. certificate holder.  There is, however, a world of difference between a state of affairs in which he MAY hold such a certificate and one in which he MUST.  The C.S.C.C., quite rightly in the editorial opinion of the B.B., place their first priority on experience.  As an older, experienced climber is reputed to have said to a younger man proudly displaying a certificate, "That's all well, but can you abseil from it?"

Round And About

Apart from a small editorial comment in the column itself it seems appropriate to congratulate 'Wig' editorially for reaching his century this month by the production of his hundredth topic under, what has become by now, the familiar heading of Round and About.

Many people have said how useful they have found this feature of general information, and I would like to add my personal thanks coupled with the hope that he may go on for a very long time to come.

“Alfie”