Editorial

We are most grateful to Unit Two Cave Research and Exploration for allowing us to reproduce the article on page 13 of this issue. This was first published in their Newsletter earlier this year. However this gratitude is tinged with at least a modicum of disappointment. Given that most of the initial exploration was carried out by Croydon members it is, in my view, regrettable that it was not this Club which produced the report and survey. This is not just the perennial editor's plea for more copy clearly on this occasion we are, as a result of another club's generosity, able to reprint the report. Rather, this is intended as a homily on the responsibility that cavers have to record their explorations and observations. Such responsibilities lie particularly heavily on those engaged in original work. If speleology is to maintain any pretence of being scientific a minimum requirement is that new discoveries should be adequately recorded in text, graphics and film. The main advantage in having this done by the original explorers is that only they will have seen the cave in its truly virgin state. Furthermore, finds should be documented as soon as possible after discovery because there is at least a possibility of loss (either of the whole or at least important features within it). This can occur naturally (rock falls, silting etc.); by damage from further exploratory visits, digging etc.; by "normal" caving or from outright vandalism. There is also another reason why the original explorers should want to report their own work in large measure history gives credit to the first recorders. As Peter Johnson observed in his book "The History of Mendip Caving" when referring to the doyen of Mendip cavers: ". . . .
Balch took less and less part in actual operations, though he continued to be known by a number of books and articles he wrote . . . ." So, if scientific ethics don't move you, perhaps self-aggrandisement will.

Public Service Announcement

After the recent General Election you may have been expecting an increase in privatisation but how many of you expected that it would include privatisation of law enforcement as described on page 17 of this issue. Among the minor points to be highlighted by this episode, one that struck me forcefully was the need to mark all one's possessions you had only to walk into the Aladin's cave full of outdoor gear at Merthyr Police Station to realise that even after stolen goods have been recovered it can still be a terrible job trying to identify the true owners.

Author: 
Martin Hatton