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Gibraltar WHS

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Author elsslots
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#1 | Posted: 11 Jun 2016 02:46 | Edited by: elsslots 
Has anyone already looked into detail what the core zone of the upcoming Gibraltar caves WHS involves, and how accessible it is? The AB ev states they don't expect many visitors.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#2 | Posted: 11 Jun 2016 06:45 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
Has anyone already looked into detail what the core zone of the upcoming Gibraltar caves WHS involves, and how accessible it is?

Yes! Before we had decided on this year's "get together" location I even wrote to the Gibraltar Director of museums to see if a group of WHS travellers could get a guided tour – it didn't receive the courtesy of a reply of any sort!. Either we are not important enough for even a negative response or he didn't want to be drawn on how the nomination was going.
The situation seems to be
a. There is NO uncontrolled access. 2 of the Caves were previously unprotected but Gibraltar promised to change this before nomination and has presumably done so
b. "The only persons permitted within the site are scientists and visitors under strict supervision by Gibraltar Museum staff." So local boats are not allowed to land people. . I can't find a map of the site to discover its boundaries beyond the cave entrances to discover if it is possible simply to "enter" the inscribed area.
c. I have been told that "the best way by far to see Gorham's Cave is from the sea. That's how you really appreciate the context. And it's easily arranged." . But this is hardly likely to be satisfactory to us without landings!
d. When the site was put forward by Gibraltar to the UK government for consideration as a potential WHS in 2010 there was mention of improving access "there is an opportunity for the ...... provision of controlled access for visitors. One of the issues surrounding the site is difficulty of access and World Heritage Status will encourage the provision of improved access under strict supervision."........." The Gibraltar Museum will ... also expand its existing education programme on prehistory and will liaise with the Tourist Board with a view to developing site visits, which are expected initially to be by boat which will minimise damage to the site itself. These aspects and the broader issues related to the site's management will be covered in the site's management plan which is currently being drafted." (the document containing these comments is still available on this Web site! - http://www.worldheritagesite.org/countries/Gorhams%20Cave%20(Gibraltar).pdf
e. The Gibraltar Museum Web site ( http://www.ice-age-europe.eu/visit-us/network-members/the-gibraltar-museum.html ) currently states something which might indicate that "some" access" might "sometimes" be possible -
"Site visits can be organised including during the period of excavation where visitors can interact with archaeologists. For those unable to access the caves, visits are organised to the Parson's Lodge Field Station where the process of sieving sediment is demonstrated" - but my request earlier this year got nowhere!! Perhaps "inscription" will change things a "bit"

It appears that Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation has produced a TV series on the subject of the Neanderthals etc. As far as I can discover only 1 program has been aired and it is viewable here - http://www.gbc.gi/tv/programmes/our-neanderthals-292 .

Author elsslots
Admin
#3 | Posted: 11 Jun 2016 06:56 | Edited by: elsslots 
The management summary for the site, that we discovered earlier, has a map (I guess you have it too). There it seems that the 'Mediterranean steps' and Martin's cave are also within the core zone. The Steps (a footpath, http://www.visitgibraltar.gi/upper-mediterranean-steps) are also mentioned in the ICOMOS evaluation.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#4 | Posted: 11 Jun 2016 07:10 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
the 'Mediterranean steps' and Martin's cave are also within the core zone.

The "Mediterranean Steps" are certainly accessible -but descriptions of them are coy about whether one can actually get even near to Martin's Cave. The fact that it isn't menitoned would seem to imply that one can't?
A map of the Steps walk and the Martins Cave "spur" is on Wiki (can you compare it with the boundary line??)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_Steps
These 2 descriptions of the actual walk mention Martin's Cave but nothing more -and concentrate on Goats Hair Twin Caves
The link you have provided above plus -
https://postcardfromgibraltar.com/2016/05/11/the-med-steps-a-few-facts-figures/
describe the walk - It looks a good one!!

Author elsslots
Admin
#5 | Posted: 11 Jun 2016 07:15 
Solivagant:
Goats Hair Twin Caves

These are in the core zone too, as is most of the walk.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#6 | Posted: 11 Jun 2016 07:18 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
These are in the core zone too, as is most of the walk.

Then it is certain that the core zone CAN be entered. But is it worth it? Are "Goats Hair Twin Caves" mentioned as "Caves" having value within the nomination?
PS This link would seem to show that entry to Martin's Cave is blocked
"With the transition of the Upper Rock to the Gibraltar Government, the number of visitors to this area increased. Vandals forced entry into the cave, breaking the gate and disturbing the colony of bats. There is also evidence that fires were lit inside the cave to force the bats out of their hiding places. With so many disturbances, the colony dramatically decreased in numbers by down to 10% or less of the original number. Therefore, during the late 1990s the GONHS's Mammal section, under the auspices of Mr. A. Santana, embarked on a project to seal off the entrance to the cave to visitors by installing a new gate."
http://www.thinkinggreen.gov.gi/index.php/resources/biodiversity/the-rock-of-gibralta r/gibraltar-s-caves/58-martin-s-cave

Author elsslots
Admin
#7 | Posted: 11 Jun 2016 07:44 
I think we would have to get creative to tick off this WHS, but I'd go for the 'Mediterranean steps', peek into one or two caves along the trail and do a boat trip to observe the main caves from the water. The Cliffs and specific Gibraltar flora and fauna are also part of its OUV (beside the Neanderthaler caves), so I think we're safe!

Author meltwaterfalls
Registered
#8 | Posted: 23 Sep 2016 09:43 
Promoted by the Postbox news about Gibraltar, I discovered that there are now a couple of tours offered for Gorham's Cave. No specific details on them though (Price, length, weather they actually visit the cave etc.) just a vague "Visit by Sea" descripton.

Visit Gibraltar

Dolphin Tours

Author elsslots
Admin
#9 | Posted: 23 Sep 2016 10:54 
meltwaterfalls:
vague "Visit by Sea" descripton.

Hubert told me at the WH meeting in Vilnius that he had booked one of them. He will be there in Sept/Oct I believe, so hope we will hear from him

Author meltwaterfalls
Registered
#10 | Posted: 23 Sep 2016 11:53 
elsslots:
He will be there in Sept/Oct I believe, so hope we will hear from him

Brilliant, will look forward to reading his review more than normal.

I wrote of to enquire a little more, so will let the forum know when I hear back from them, if Hubert hasn't beaten me to it.

Author hubert
Registered
#11 | Posted: 23 Sep 2016 18:56 
Currently, I am on a trip through Andalucia, we started in Gibraltar last weekend. The current situation as far as I can say: it is not possible to visit Gorham's cave. The best alternative is a "visit by sea", but you can not go ashore. The boat stopped about 25 metres in front of Gorham's cave and sailed slowly along the cave complex. This took about 15 minutes. On the second part of the trip we watched some dolphins. The tour was a bit more than 2 hours and it costs 25 pounds. So far, Dolphin Adventures is the only company that offers such a tour, once a week on sunday morning, meltwaterfalls posted the link. The tour seems not to be very popular, we were only 15 people on the boat.
I will write a review as soon I am back at home in early october.

Author meltwaterfalls
Registered
#12 | Posted: 27 Sep 2016 07:03 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
I just got a reply from the Gibraltar Museum who run additional tours actually into the Cave. They were very friendly and this is the detail they sent through.

Gibraltar Museum:
We do organise tours of Gorham's Cave, and at the moment it is on a first-come, first-served basis and there is a waiting list.
Normally:
· Tours run between July and September, though we have extended that whilst the weather is good
· Tours usually start at 09.30 from the site entrance (south end of the Dudley Ward Tunnel), on weekdays (normally at present Fridays)
· We can take up to 10 people, accompanied by two Museum Guides (minimum number usually 5, but we combine requests where we can)
· We need full names and ID/passport numbers once a date is confirmed.
· Tours are free, though we may have to change this if there continues to be high demand, to cover costs.

We have been taking trips into the Cave but we do have an annual quota system in order to protect the fragile archaeological deposits. We are considering offering trips down but not into the caves (which protects the caves and is still a good experience).

If you were interested I contacted them through Visit Gibraltar.

Potential location for a future get together perhaps? (sorry Hubert if that means doubling up for you.)

This was the advice for visitors they attached.

Author kintante
Registered
#13 | Posted: 27 Sep 2016 08:16 
Sign me up, I'm in! As I already mentioned at the last get together this would be a perfect location for the 2017 edition. Would be nice if they could exceptionally offer the tour twice this day, so at least 20 of us could participate. I guess the demand will be higher than for Vilnius.

First we should probably have the discussion, if this location would be ok for the community. @elsslots: you might want to open an (early) topic to settle on the location. For the date there might be some slots given by the Gibraltar Museum to choose from. @meltwaterfalls: will you take over "negotiations" with the museum in case we hold our next meeting there?

Author nfmungard
Registered
#14 | Posted: 27 Sep 2016 10:02 
Sounds great. We would need two tours though as 10 seems rather close. ;)

Location would be fine, too, but should be in September. Anything else will be hell.

Author hubert
Registered
#15 | Posted: 2 Oct 2016 13:39 
meltwaterfalls:
(sorry Hubert if that means doubling up for you.)

Don't worry, meltwaterfalls. It would be a great destination for a future meeting and I would be happy to re-visit the site if we could arrange a tour into the cave.
Obviously you had more luck with your request, I wrote an email to the Gibraltar Museum in early June, but never got a response. Perhaps the policy has changed after inscription.

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