BCRA > Special Interest Groups

See also: Index to Special Interest Group Journals

BCRA supports a number of Special Interest Groups that allow BCRA members to associate and communicate in a more detailed way than is possible amongst the general membership. Some SIGs produce a newsletter or journal; some organise regular field meetings and training sessions. From 2007 to 2012 the Surveying and Cave Radio Groups organised a 'Cave Technology Symposium' in the spring (see events diary to see if a Symposium is forthcoming). Some of the Groups are less active than others. The complete range of BCRA SIGs - including some currently inactive groups - is as follows...

For some further explanation of the concept behind the SIGs see the Rationale at the foot of this page.


BCRA Special Interest Groups
  bullet Cave Archaeology cag.bcra.org.ukbulletContact Us
BCRA's Cave Archaeology Group (CAG) is our newest SIG, launched in October 2011 to promote interest and understanding of archaeology in and around caves. The Group's target 'audience' are members of the caving community, who regularly visit or explore caves and who are in an ideal position to identify archaeological or paleontological material within cave environments. The creation of CAG has come about following the achievements of the Upland Caves Network - a discussion group of experts and interested parties drawn from various areas of discipline within cave research. The UCN was given a finite two-year lifespan and was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The group hopes to enlist support and interest from anyone who spends leisure or professional time in caves, or who require a 'first stop' point of contact for advice, information, or other help with finds of potential archaeological material in caves. It is hoped that group activities will be developed over time to include guided site visits, lectures, and the dissemination of information on cave archaeology projects. The success of CAG will depend largely on the level of interest and support shown by those with an interest in cave archaeology, who are also invited to come forward with their own suggestions regarding the development of the group.
  bullet Cave Biology bcra.org.uk/biology/bulletContact Us
Cave Biology LogoIn June 2000 we resurrected the post of Biological Recorder. Cave Biology is not a formal BCRA special interest group, although there is scope for this group to be developed if volunteers are available. Our Recorder, Graham Proudlove, will be pleased to field your enquiries about cave biology.
  bullet Cave Photography 
In October 1996, David Gibson created, and edited, the first issue of Underground Photographer magazine. Kym ap Rhys and Paul Peppiatt took over the publication of Underground Photographer, and produced 10 excellent issues; the last one was in autumn 1998 (issue 11). Unfortunately organising a Group to take over from Underground Photographer proved to be difficult and the Cave Photography Group (Photography, Video and Art in Dark Places) is currently inactive. Its funds have been transferred to BCRA, which has delegated responsibility for organising its annual photo salon to the Group. But, apart from this activity, the Group is currently inactive due to a lack of volunteers.
  bullet Cave Radio & Electronics bcra.org.uk/creg/bulletContact Us
CREG logoThe UK-based Cave Radio & Electronics Group (CREG) is probably the world's leading organisation of its kind. Its aims are "to encourage the development and use of radio communication and other electronic and computer equipment in caving and related activities". CREG is the most long-standing special interest group of BCRA, being established in 1987. Its followers include cavers, radio amateurs, electronic engineers and professional & industrial organisations.

CREG publishes a quarterly Journal (ISSN 1361-4800) that provides a forum for people to discuss ideas and exchange information, as well as publishing some innovative and original articles. The journal is available on paper and online. Online access is free to BCRA members and costs £4/year to non-members. CREG also produces other publications, organises field meetings and, although its main role is one of information gathering and dissemination, it also has some items of equipment for hire.
  bullet Cave Surveying cavesurveying.org.ukbulletContact Us
CSG logoThe UK-based Cave Surveying Group (CSG) was established in 1993. The Group is a forum for the discussion of everything "surveyesque" - techniques, data capture & processing, standards, survey archiving policy, instruments etc. The Group used to publish a quarterly 16 page A4 newsletter called Compass Points (ISSN 1361-8962). This is available online with a searchable index. The Group organises field meetings and training sessions, is involved in current re-surveying projects and administers the Cave Registry Data Archive. Members of CSG have been involved in the development of a comprehensive software package for survey-processing and production. This is known as Survex, and this open-source software is available for free download from www.survex.com. CSG members were involved in the setting up of a BCRA standard for the processing of cave survey data, and the definition of a survey data processing language. The new CSG web site is at cavesurveying.org.uk and an older set of pages can still be found here.

In the absence of a regular newsletter, the Group currently communicates with its followers online, and the best place to find cave surveyors is probably on the UK Caving Forum.
  bullet Explosives Users eug.bcra.org.ukbulletContact Us
EUG logoThe UK-based Explosives User Group was set up in 1991 to act as a forum for the benefit of cavers using explosives for cave exploration and rescue. The Group has developed links with the Health and Safety Executive, the Police, the Institute of Explosives Engineers and with manufacturers of explosives. The Group operates by means of a private Internet-based mailing list - please enquire. Occasional publications are also available to members and a programme of seminars is organised around the country. The principal objectives of the Group are
  • To create links with the Police, the Health and Safety Executive and with other authorities in order to demonstrate to them that cavers using explosives are competent and present no safety or security risks.
  • To provide the authorities with a means of communication with the caving community for the purposes of consultation and to represent cavers views when necessary (e.g. during the drafting of new legislation).
  • To organise meetings and publish a newsletter to allow Group members to give one another the benefits of their experience in using explosives and related technology, and to keep members informed of developments and changes in legislation where possible.
In addition the Group attempts, where possible, to give individual advice to members on matters related to explosives such as the design of stores, application for licences and the installation of security systems. But please note that the Group does not seek to have control over the issue of any individual's licence: this is the responsibility of the Police. The Group can put potential licence holders in touch with individuals who might act as referees to an application, but will not recommend the issue or denial of a licence to any individual.
  Hydrology bullet Contact Us
Hydrology logoThis group is not currently active - it was dissolved in 1999. If anyone is interested in resurrecting this SIG we would be pleased to hear from you.
  bullet Speleo History bulletContact Us
SHG logoThis group is not currently active - it was dissolved in 2005. If anyone is interested in resurrecting this SIG we would be pleased to hear from you.
A formal Librarians' Group does not currently exist but many of its functions are now carried out by the staff in the British Caving Library, and BCRA's librarian. See the library web site for further information. BCRA encourages clubs to deposit their journals and other publications with the BCRA's national caving library, so that a comprehensive national caving collection can be maintained for the benefit of all.

The Librarians' Group was originally seen an informal way for club librarians to exchange views and to further the aims of speleological literature collection. Clubs were urged to identify and index all publications produced by themselves, to publish library catalogues and to endeavour to trace complete sets of journals issued by clubs now defunct. The Librarians' Group hoped to compile a national bibliographic database. Within the Group, librarians were encouraged to fill gaps in their collections by providing "book swaps". If anyone is interested in resurrecting this SIG we would be pleased to hear from you.



The first of BCRA's SIGs was created in 1987. Originally, the rationale was that, subject to certain guarantees provided by the Group (including the adoption of a strictly worded constitution) BCRA allowed them the use of its name, and to operate their own bank account. The Groups were intended to operate largely 'at arms length' from Council and occupied a status that was not 'member club' nor 'council sub-committee'. Since that time, some Groups have ceased activity whilst others have evolved into very different entities to that which they originally were. To a large degree this is because communications are very different now, and because people generally tend to have a different attitude towards 'hobbies'. BCRA Council, aware that it has an ultimate responsibility for activities carried out in its name, is in the process of revising its rules and guidelines for SIGs. It seems that the rigid constitutions of the past might no longer be needed and that a 'single size fits all' approach to the SIGs might no longer be appropriate. Please contact the BCRA Secretary for further information.


British Cave Research Association (UK registered charity 267828). Registered Office: The Old Methodist Chapel, Great Hucklow, BUXTON, SK17 8RG
Top of Page - 0 | Home Page - 1 | Summary Information - 2 | Publications - 3 | Contact Us - 4 | Accessibility, Copyright & Policy Info - 7

This page, http://bcra.org.uk/sig/index.html was last modified on Sun, 04 Sep 2016 17:25:41 +0100