Following the two fatalities in the resurgence pool of Porth-yr-Ogof last year, I understand that the coroner has recommended that the warning signs are changed. The ones near the entrance are to be replaced with a general warning advising the use of wetsuits. Specific warnings will then be concentrated around the pool itself, including a message to leaders that they will be liable to criminal prosecution if they lead inadequately equipped groups into this area. Let's hope that these actions improve the safety record of the cave in 1993.
A meeting was also held between the Brecon Beacons National Park, the West Brecon Cave Rescue Organisation and the Cambrian Caving Council to discuss possible actions which could be taken. A survey was made of the ressurgence pool and interviews were carried out with near victims in the caving community. The recommendations included installing fixed aids such as a stainless steel grab rail through the ressurgence pool with anchors at either end and lowering the water in the pool by blasting. Whether these drastic actions would not actually increase the use of the cave by inexperienced groups (let alone the environmental issues) is questionable. Further discussions are planned.
On the subject of Porth-yr-Ogof, there are other matters which should concern the club. Like many other areas of outstanding natural beauty, Porth-yr-Ogof experiences an increase in the number of visitors each year. However, since the cave was adopted by the club some years ago, I believe there has only ever been one clean up trip organised. Over the New Year I understand some club members removed the charred remains of a table from the entrance! Maybe some more regular clean up trips of this sort are in order.
Our other adopted cave is Little Neath River Cave. Again, I only know of one clean up trip that has been organised here. It has been suggested that it is not possible to keep river caves clean because of the debris that is constantly washed in by flood water. If this is the case, I wonder if it is not time to consider withdrawing entirely from the scheme?
To quote an old saying, "take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints." Maybe we should all consider cave conservation a bit more seriously in 1993?