The prestigious Tratman Award is awarded annually to a caving-related paper-based publication in memory of E.K. Tratman, who died in 1978, to recognise excellence and encourage future improvement. It is administered by the Ghar Parau Foundation, and judged by three independent cavers.
After much deliberation, from among the commended publications the judges unanimously decided that the 2011 Tratman Award should go to Decades in the Dark. In reaching their decision, the judges noted that it contains a high volume of material written specifically for the publication (rather than only reprinting past articles), it is liberally scattered with photographs and the text is interesting and readable (this publication is far more than a chronology).
Congratulations therefore go to Alan ‘Goon’ Jeffreys and his team from the Grampian SG. All entries in the shortlist should note the prestige that is conferred here, though there can only be one winner. The award itself is a piece of original artwork by Mark ‘Gonzo’ Lumley, which was presented at Hidden Earth 2012.
The judges considered a wide range of publications, including both books and club journals. The final shortlist was:
- Caves of the Peak District, by Iain Barker and John Beck – an excellent guidebook published by DCA. The publication year was printed as 2010, but the volume was not released until too late for consideration in 2010, so – as the rules permit – it was shortlisted in 2011,
- Decades in the Dark, edited by Alan Jeffreys and subtitled ‘50 years of Scottish caving’, covers the history of the Grampian SG from 1961 to 2011,
- Sheffield University SS 50th anniversary journal 1961-2011, a club history with similar coverage, edited by Rob Middleton,
- Shuttleworth Pot into Witches Cave II, edited by Pete Monk and published by CNCC, being a comprehensive and timely documentation of the cave’s exploration (a factor that the judges felt that other caves would benefit from), and
- Aspects of the History of Slovene Karst 1545-2008 by Trevor Shaw, a fine piece of research immaculately presented to the reader, just as we would expect from this author. It is also dated 2010 but was not available for consideration until 2011.