Dave Checkley, BCRA chairman, reports on a few current items...
The BSA Film found in the BCRA archive
Sid Perou is now happily established in Thailand, but he has not abandoned the British Speleological Association (BSA, the first caving national body) film project. The Yorkshire Film Archive, based in York, have been helping with the film, that was shot in the Yorkshire Dales in 1954/55. With their help we have got all the film digitally copied and improved. The improvements have been very significant and have corrected so well for colour loss and under exposure, that all the film footage is now useable. Before he left for Thailand Sid filmed a number of interviews with people involved in the early days of the BSA. Some of this material has gone on to the audio archive and makes interesting listening. Sid is hoping to put the interviews together with the early film, to make a fascinating introduction to caving with the BSA in the early days. This film will be an invaluable part of the BCRA archive, when it is digitised and put online with the other material on the British Geological Survey website.
Thanks go to Sid for continuing to work on this project, despite having plenty of other things to do in his new life in Thailand.
The BCRA Archive at the British Geological Survey
Work is ongoing to complete the cataloguing of archive material, so that the remaining items can be transferred to the BGS. There are still a large number of annotated maps and original surveys that need to be catalogued and these reside in the library at Glutton Bridge. Also we have begun the job of trying to raise money to cover the cost of digitising the Simpson archive collection. The Simpson record books are fascinating and packed full of wonderful photographs and tales of cave exploration in Britain, in the early days. Making these available online will be of great interest to cavers and non-cavers alike. Applications for grants are being made jointly between the BCRA and the BGS. Once digitised the images will be made available to the public, on the BGS website.
The Audio Archive
Although Sid has moved across the world, he will still maintain an interest in the audio archive. However the man to contact if you have a great caving story that needs to be told, is Martin ‘Basher’ Baines. Basher is the man who made that wonderful film about Sid and his achievements, that was shown at the 2010 Hidden Earth. I’m sure that Basher will be pleased to hear from you on: email@example.com and will record your caving tales.
A big thanks to Basher for carrying forward the audio archive, that still gets 40 plus plays a day from folk all round the world. Also thanks go to John Gardener for maintaining and updating the website. Just in case you haven’t listened to one of more than one hundred interviews, they can be accessed from the front page of the library website: www.caving-library.org.uk Give it a go, they make good listening.
The Ease Gill Field Meeting – 6th May
This recent field meeting was a joint venture between the BCRA and the Red Rose Cave and Pothole Club. It was a great success and was attended by forty people from BCRA, the Red Rose, the Yorkshire Geological Society, Natural England and the general public. In the morning there were talks and a slide show in Barbon village hall and in the afternoon we split into three groups to go on a geological and botanical walk and to go down County Pot and Bull Pot of the Witches.
The first of the mornings talks was by Dr Chris Thomas from the BGS and was titled: The Dent and Craven faults: their significance during the Palaeozoic evolution of Northern England. This took us back through the fascinating and very ancient history of these faults and set the scene for the afternoon walk. The second talk by Dr Tony Waltham was titled: Thoughts on the Evolution of the Ease Gill Caves. This stimulating talk explained the long chronology of the formation of the Ease Gill and the Three Counties System. The final talk was by John Thorp (better known as Lugger) and was titled: Archaeology of the caves of the Ease Gill – Three Counties System. This interesting talk described some of the recent and exciting archaeological finds in the caves of the area. During the break Ray Duffy kindly showed us some of his excellent pictures of the Ease Gill caves.
In the afternoon Chris Thomas took the walkers to see an exposure of the fault and Simon Web from Natural England explained the botany of the area. I lead a group down County Pot to look at the sediments in Broadway and Sam Lieberman and Ray Duffy lead a team down Bull Pot to see the geological exposures there. There was much discussion in these groups and everyone found it an interesting and stimulating day.
Thanks to the speakers for their excellent talks and to the organisers of the afternoon events. Also thanks to everyone who came along for contributing to the discussions and to the helpers for providing refreshments.