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Editorial

What Mendip Thinks Today….

The fact-finding commission of the N.C.A. have visited Mendip as part of their work in trying to find out what ordinary cavers think about N.C.A.  We hear that they went out of their way to make sure that they contacted as many and as great a range of cavers as they could, visiting places like Goatchurch, where they might expect to find non-club cavers.

From all accounts, they found their average Mendip caver far better informed than were cavers from other parts of the country.  More to the point, they found that the views of those they spoke to were remarkably uniform and very much in line with the views as expressed in the Southern Council.

Perhaps the theory that those who have taken up strong and definite positions on the subject at the Southern Council are just a collection of crackpots, trying to push their way out ideas may now be revised. Perhaps, the views of Mendip cavers may even be listened to!

Unresolved Problem

The letter from Graham, printed in this B.B., raises to my mind some very fundamental questions. The whole structure of regional councils, and hence N.C.A., was originally brought into being because of the difficulties experienced by some Northern clubs in dealing with the landowners of some of the Yorkshire fells over questions of access to the potholes. It now seems that the C.N.C.C. has been faced with a situation in which some cavers are jeopardising the arrangements they have reached with the landowners, but have not been able to resolve the matter.

The existence of a political structure in caving has caused many problems and has made some of us spend much time that could have been put to better use, so that we can make as sure as we can that the structure remains our servant and does not become our master. In spite of having to spend time in this way, many of us have come round to the idea that the councils are worth having, if only to enable caving to defend itself against pressures from the outside.  This conclusion is one which has, in some cases, only been reluctantly agreed and there is a danger that if councils show themselves unable to deal with the very matters for which they were formed originally, then more and more people will wonder whether the whole idea is worth the time and effort spend on it. We must hope that the matters reported by Graham will, in fact, be sorted out.

Who Wrote What

Figures for the 1975 B.B. (Vol 29) are now available.  The volume comprised 236 pages - a drop of 20 pages on the 1974 B.B.  The contribution of authors was down by 5½ pages to 143½ pages, but the percentage written by authors was up by 3% to 61% of the total.

Even fewer people wrote half the total authors contribution in 1975.  'Wig,’ Mike Wheadon and Malcolm Jarrett wrote half the 143½ pages between them. In 1974 it took four authors to do this. They were 'Wig' (still top) Andy Nichols (now 12th) Bob Cross (now 22nd) and Graham Wilton-Jones (still 4th). Incidentally, the Wilton-Jones family taken as a whole came third this year with 14½ pages between them.

If anyone is interest in a 'Top Ten', they were, for 1975: - First, 'Wig'; Second, Mike Wheadon; Third, Malcolm Jarrett; Fourth, Graham Wilton-Jones; Fifth, Colin Priddle; Sixth, Derek Sanderson, Tim Reynolds, Chris Howell and Janet Setterington; Tenth, Andy Sparrow.

“Alfie”

Gordon Tilly

In memory of Gordon, it has been suggested that an appeal for donations be launched for the Society for the Physically Handicapped.  Please send any donation to 'Wig'