Pwll Du Cave Management Group

The meeting commenced at 1042 hours with the following in attendance.
Name Representing
Boyd Potts (Secretary) Orpheus C.C.
Ben Lovett (Conservation Officer) Morgannwg C.C.
Sue Mabbett (Access Officer) South Wales C.C.
Ali Garman (Survey Officer) Draenan Diggers.
Andy Farrant (Geological Recorder) -
Rhian Hicks (Biological Recorder) -
John Cooper Chelsea S.S.
Martin Laverty Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros.
Chris Densham (Trustee) Oxford University C.C.
Ian Wilton-Jones Brynmawr C.C.
Elsie Little Cambrian C.C. Representative.

Also present as observers were Tim Guilford (OUCC) and Lou Maurice (SWCC).

1. The Chairman:

In the absence of the Chairman, Rhian Hicks was elected as Acting Chairman for the duration of the meeting.

2. Apologies:

Ursula Collie, Charles Bailey (Trustee), Mick Day (Chairman), Pete Bolt (BEC), Spencer Drew (Treasurer).

3. Minutes of the meeting 11th June 2000: (Previously circulated).

3(a) It was agreed unanimously, "That the minutes be accepted as a true record."

3(b) Matters arising.

Item 3(b). Hereford are now annual key holders. A discussion held on whether existing annual key holders want to be on the committee. Agreed that SM write to invite them to meetings as observers.

Item 4(a)iii. AF informed the group that the Rolex application had not been successful.

Item 4(a)iv. World Heritage Site status is now approved and awaiting final confirmation.

Item 4(c). Cave entry book. Box now attached to wall near and to the right of the pub door. There will be a gradual change to the new system with books in both places for a period. BL to complete any necessary action. SM will inform other key holders and alter information sent out to those making one off bookings. BP to inform Group clubs not at this meeting. Thanks were recorded to John Jones for the work done on the group's behalf.

Item 4(d)iv. Taping notice. BL has one in preparation.

Item 4(f)iii. SM agreed that her address can go on the website.

4. Officers Reports:

4(a) Secretary:

All correspondence in relation to Balcony Pitch, Surveying and Conservation will be dealt with under other headings.

4(b) Treasurer:

Not present but his report circulated and noted at the meeting.

i. The secretary will discuss with the treasurer what action is necessary over his future prolonged absence from the country. Question was raised as to whether he wished to continue in the post.

ii. CD will be sending a claim to the treasurer in connection with the pictures given to UC as a thankyou from the group.

iii.There was then a discussion on the supply of Taping materials. TG suggested a better grade of tape as some of the present tape is deteriorating. EL will supply prices to BL. This tape to be used in some of the lesser visited areas. The meeting agreed to allocate up to 100 to TG for tape and up to 50 for purchase of stainless steel pegs. EL has information on this item. Possible grant aid will be investigated.

4(c) Access Officer:

SM circulated a report on visitor numbers and cave areas visited. Noted that 440 people were recorded as entering the cave over the year. There may be some recording problems whilst the new system settles in. Key system will continue as at present but be kept under continual revue. Padlocks are a problem and need regular refurbishment. SL to replace present lock and buy a spare. Discussion on regular lock replacement.

4(d) Conservation Officer:

Report was circulated and noted, especially in connection to caver damage. i. BL circulated a Draft Conservation Policy document. Various comments were made. Do we need a shortened version, which is informative and educational, to be placed on the website? We have a collection of 'Policy' statements ie. on digging, camping, taping etc. which need to be brought together as one document. Suggested we use the NCA conservation handbook as a guide. Conservation plan will be prepared by BL in conjunction with other members of the committee. EL and RH will pass copies of other similar plans to BL for reference.

ii. Information notices in the cave. Discussion on placement of these. BL to investigate suitable sites.

iii.Taping still being done. Thanks recorded to all who are working hard at this job; more help is invited.

4(e) Survey Secretary:

i. AG forwarded a set of data to the G5 surveyors. E.Mail received from JS in response and this was circulated at the meeting. There was a discussion on the E.Mail correspondence between AG and JS. It was then proposed by AG and seconded by CD; " That the survey data pool be supplied to RH to be put on the web and simultaneously AG will E.Mail JS to inform him of this and restate that if he has any further details on origins of the data we will consider this on a case by case basis." After having seen confirmation in writing that opportunity had been given to the surveyors to voice their concerns; All agreed to the above proposal.

ii. JS has written to confirm new cave passage found in the north of the cave but no grade 2 information has come to AG.

iii. Long discussion held on the availability of grade 2 survey data. SM to put some information in the Cambrian Newsletter re cave survey and conservation.

4(f) Biological Recorder:

Thanks from RH to those who have forwarded information. Please keep it coming.

i. TG gave a statement on his 'Bat' studies with students, looking at feeding habits, routes, hibernation etc. Work will continue next year including a possibility of radio tracking. The Group thanked TG for his information.

ii. The Website. Stated we need more information and especially photos. Need to register the site. Suggested domain name of 'Ogof Draenan'.

4(g) Geological Recorder:

AF enlarged on the failed Rolex Award application.

Geological information will be supplied by AF for the website.

5. Balcony Pitch Ladder:

i. There was a review of the history relating to this item. A long discussion was held about the ladder and its present state. Questions raised as to whether we Renew, Refurbish or Remove. Proposed by JC and seconded by BP; "That we have a fixed ladder on Balcony Pitch". This was passed; 6 votes for, 4 abstentions, none against. Then proposed BP and seconded by CD; "We would not object to the present ladder being replaced by a Daren Ladder". This was passed; 9 votes for with one abstention. Noted that for Grant Aid purposes any ladder manufacturing costs would need to be applied for before the end of the financial year in March.

ii. 'Fixed Aids Policy' to be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.

6. Request for Second Entrance use:

The letter from JS had been previously circulated. BL then circulated his comments and there was a long discussion on his, JS's and other peoples reasons and arguments. CD stated that at present we have a single entrance policy and noted that we hoped any new Balcony Ladder would go in via the present entrance. It was stated that when the policy on the Second Entrance was made it was envisaged that it would only be used for 'one off' exceptional projects requiring personnel or equipment not capable of travelling long distances through the cave. Noted that the landowners have stated that they agree with the above policy and will support the Group in whatever decision it makes. There was a long discussion on special reasons for access. Were Taping, Bat studies, Fauna sampling, Photography, Maintenance etc. any less important than the ongoing Grade 5 survey. Discussion on problems caused in other caves by alternative entrances, also on the possibility of other entrances into this cave.

Finally proposed by EL and seconded by IW-J; "That the Group considers surveying is not sufficient justification for opening the Second Entrance." This was agreed by 7 votes for to 3 against. There was then still more discussion on this subject and the Secretary was asked to write to JS quoting the above decision but also expressing the minority viewpoint which might lead to further discussion in the future. ie.The surveying data supplied to the group for the G2 survey and a strict time limit on the access. There was also a final comment that it was a pity that JS had not come to the meeting to put his viewpoint personally.

7. Any Other Business:

There was no other business.

8. Date of Next Meeting:

This will be the Biennial Meeting. (Officers need electing for their 2 year term).

The meeting was arranged and confirmed as Sunday 10th June 2001. To be held at the Gwesty Bach, Brynmawr, at 10.30am.

The meeting then closed.

B. Potts
Hon. Secretary.

Note: Reports distributed at the meeting can be supplied by post if requested.