Tratman Award Rules

The prestigious Tratman Award is awarded annually to a caving-related paper-based publication in memory of E.K. Tratman, who died in 1978. It was first awarded for the publications of 1979 and is administered by the Ghar Parau Foundation. It both recognises excellence and encourages future improvement, and is considered one of the UK’s premier national awards. It is judged by three independent cavers who make their recommendation for the award to the GPF committee for ratification at the foundation’s first meeting in a calendar year.

1. The award may be granted to an author, editor or publisher with the following provisos:

The recipient must be British or Irish by birth or nationality, or
A person based in the UK or Ireland as his or her principal domicile for a minimum of three years, or
A British- or Irish-based publisher that has rendered a particular service for supporting caving publications

The intent is that the Tratman Award is British- or Irish-based, but not that the publication must occur in the UK or Ireland, or that it must go to a British national even if publication occurred in the UK or Ireland.

2. All publications conforming to the above requirements are eligible and may be considered by the judges. These could therefore include books and journals in their entirety, but might also include individual articles within a magazine or journal or a specific chapter within a multi-authored book, or even a journal series, at the judges’ discretion. Multi-authored works are eligible. No distinction is made between commercial and club-based publications; it is the quality of publication that counts.

3. No set of three judges can have the time or resources to read every caving publication, but all major publications are likely to be seen. If any person wishes a specific publication to be considered for the award, they should bring this to the judges’ attention before the end of a calendar year.

4. The award will be made on the basis of a caving-related publication that is printed on paper, being published during the preceding calendar year.

Judges will consider caving-related publications produced during the calendar year but it is within their discretion to also consider works from the year before if, for example, their publication was close to the year-end and they were not previously considered. The intent is to ensure that all worthy publications may be considered, despite any difficulties that may have delayed their production or distribution, despite any imprinted date.

5. Judges will take into account factors including content of the publication (for example its importance to caving and the clarity of writing) as well as the physical aspects of production (including layout, presentation, printing and binding).

6.  The Tratman Co-ordinator, as an independent caver, will be elected by the committee for a period of three years but may be re-elected indefinitely; the co-ordinator is responsible for selecting the judges, which may or may not include the co-ordinator. The committee will not seek to influence the judges’ decision but GPF members, just as any other caver, are free to bring publications to their attention and are not precluded from winning. The co-ordinator will inform the committee of the decision by 28 February each year.

7. The winner will receive trophy commemorating the award; this is retained by the recipient as a mark of the prestige so attained and will be funded by the GPF. The presentation will normally take place at the annual Hidden Earth caving conference.

A copy of the rules and a record of past winners will be maintained on the GPF website.


Ghar Parau Committee Hon. Sec. (Roo Walters): gpf-enquiries(at)
Tratman Co-ordinator (Chris Howes): descent(at)


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