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Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany, by Wig

203.      Additions to the Library: Two large piles of new material are to be installed in the club library.   B.C.R.A. Transactions and Bulletins, and other club exchanges make good reading. The Limestone and Caves of Mendip has been purchased by the club.  This year it is hoped to rebuild the collection of cave surveys and these will be available for reference only because of the large capital sum involved and the difficulty of replacement.

204.      Who did it?  I'm led to understand that it wasn't Tony Johnson who donated the collection of C.D.G. newspaper cuttings to the club library.  Perhaps the kind donor would let 'wig' know who he was?

205.      Christmas at the Belfry: At the time of writing publication dates are not my problem! - it appears that a boozy time was had by all.  No doubt Mike W. will be giving a suitable account.

206.      Politics again: The N.C.A. recognises that there is a feeling throughout the country that cavers are not exactly happy with N.C.A.  Some, in fact, would like to see it go quietly into a corner and die.  Others see it as being purely an organisation for the cave politicians to play expensive games with, and producing a great mountain of paperwork.  As a result, the N.C.A. have formed a special committee consisting of Phil Davies (W.C.C.) Nigel Dibben (D.C.C. and B.E.C.) Alan Ashwell (S.W.C.C.) and Jack Rasdell.  This team is roving around the regions to listen to the caving population - to listen to YOUR views.  The meeting for the Southern Region is being held at the Hunters on the weekend of February 14/15.  If you as individuals have any thoughts about N.C.A. and how it should work then go ahead and speak your mind.  I realise that most cavers are cheesed off with politics or have never been interested in the first place.  However, there is no doubt that the need for a national body does exist.  Pressures from the Department of Education and Science; the Nature Conservancy; the National Parks add to pressures from bodies like Local Education Authorities, the Sports Council and the C.C.P.R.  The public are waking up to the fact that caves exist and are another source of leisure activity.  The horror of the situation is that very few of the people who are clamouring to use caves will ever become second trip cavers - the first trip will satisfy their curiosity.  Should cavers adopt an elitist attitude and try to close caves to outsiders by taking over control of all available caves?  Do we try to reduce the numbers of new participants by negotiation with the various organisations concerned?  To do either, we need a national organisation that can represent caver¬ís views.  Most cavers agree up to this point, but areas of disagreement start when we consider how the N.C.A. should operate.  Should it be the hub that directs all caving activity - or should it be something which merely keeps itself in a state of readiness to take on external problems when they arrive?  One last point.  Grants will only be made to a governing body of any sort - in our case to N.C.A.  Such grant aid is available, for example, to help establish permanent entrances to caves.

Editor's Note:     And that, unless 'Wig' changes his mind, is the end of 'Round and About' - the longest running feature which has appeared in the B.B.  Many readers have told me how useful they have found the information which 'Wig' has so consistently brought to our attention. If find that we cannot 'lean on' Dave Irwin to carry on, then the sort of information collecting that he has been doing is something that we need a volunteer to take on.  Failing that, we must hope that 'Mik' might be able to expand his activities and peregrinate amongst active cavers!

A very big and public 'thank you', Wig, for over two hundred items of news!