Depth through thought

OUCC News 2nd March 1994

Volume 4, number 16

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It seems that our technodweeb legacy still rumbles on. A genuine attempt of the club to go caving in that greatest of caving countries, Yorkshire, ended up with a lot of people going not-caving, some people going caving, and a few doing a variety of other scurrilous things. Read on.


OUCC Dinner: Saturday 12th March (Saturday after next) in St. Cross College. Costing approx. £25. Anyone who wants to come and hasn't yet told me, please tell Jenny. Thanks. Do it. You never know: you might win the tankard award...

MNRC AGM: Saturday 5th March, Green Ore.

Expedition Update

Well as I rode into work this morning, I couldn't but notice that it's a beautiful spring day, and as sure as James is grinning, Summer follows Spring, and it will soon be time to head out to Spain.

There haven't been any major developments on the expedition in the last week, however, we have got the begging letters away to our usual range of fave suppliers, so stand by for major discounts (thinks? I can get a new descender and go SRTing again). So its time to sort through your caving gear and figure out what needs replacing, or what bit of really useful kit have pretzl launched this year that you need.

I heard from Tom Kemp of the University Expedition Committee, we are officially recognised, and we should get something of the order of £300. So we can now afford a new set of plastic chairs for base camp (yum yum).
Cpt Jim (he's full of vim)

p.s. Just checked the spelling of vim n. inf. force, energy. And noticed a couple of things, Vegetate and Vegetarian are right next to each other, as are virgin and Virago (hmmmm).

Yorks Weekend

TALES FROM THE PLANET TECHNODWEEB! Part the fourth...Ghost in the Machine

Well I felt great, off to the Dales, whoopee; Staying at Bull Pot Farm yahoo!; two days in Easegill Caverns, heavenly. We all turned up at the hut and waited for the van. It arrived after a little confusion and we were off bang on time (plus 1h). Steve, Mich and Sarah went in the Volvo, picking up Chris at Manchester Airport, the rest piled into the van and hit the North. Chris V had decided to de-technodweeb the stereo, and install a normal radio cassette, various bits were ripped out and passed back to Will for analysis 'It's a bag of crap'. Once installed Chris V checked the voltage, 12 V, It should be 14 V, the battery wasn't charging, and with the headlights and wipers on we would be plunged into darkness pretty quickly, so we stopped at Harvey's place in Shirley, and called the RAC, "The New Knights of the Road". He was pretty prompt, but then proceeded to fiddle about, replacing various bits and pieces.

It was time to asses the situation; Once again, the Oxford University Speleo Ship 'Clusterfuck' was floating free in space, The dilithium crystal radio was zonked, we were running on the last remnants of auxiliary power. The Speleo Attack Volvo would soon be in a decaying orbit around the frozen planet of BullShit farm, with no landing lights and no key. Should Capt. James T JimbleRimble sit back in the van while the New Nit of the Road fumbled with the terrible legacy of the Technodweeb? No! It was time to launch a brave rescue mission, get the fuck out of Birmingham and go caving. So with James and much caving gear in the back, and the key, Jim and Harvey launched an escape pod and zoomed up the M6 with the warp engine sizzling along at max.

Our haste was, it transpired, unnecessary as a RRCPC member let the Volvo occupants in, we arrived with the Key, Lights, drink, and other sundry medical supplies. By 2.30 it was clear that the red van was not going to make it so we went to bed.

Strangely the rest of the trip went smoothly indeed. Sat: the team with caving gear (Steve, Mich, James, Jim Ulsa, Jim OUCC (JIM overload!), Richard, Harvey, and chief medical officer Tom had a fun if chilly trip into the melt water running through the Easegill Main drain. Lots of water in County Pot meant that the various streamways were great fun, especially heading up to White Line chamber. A splash up through Thackeray's Passage and the White Way left six fairly chilly cavers at the Assembly Room. We quickly warmed up as we scurried through Easter Grotto. Then I had a huge wibble while trying to get out of perfection passage. It's an awkward little climb down of 7 feet. A sloping ledge for your feet then there are excellent little pocket holds at head height and at knee level, so you have to move out of balance as you teeter backward; once you're committed to the move it's easy, but to commit you've got to stuff all your courage into your ears and (very gently) go for it. Those without caving gear (Chris and Sarah) 'did the waterfalls walk' twice!

Sat night: James had too much fun and had to return some of it, but he cleared it up straight away. The early morning hours saw the local inhabitants indulging in big stick fights, Log fights and finally blunt axe fights. Eventually everyone headed of to bed. Sunday we had a short trip down The Mistral. I tried to take some photographs, but as we had already been through The Hall of the Mountain King, we were all very shitty especially James, and surprisingly Sarah was also covered in huge amounts of grey slime. However, a weird thing happened when I got the photo's developed. There were pictures of Harvey and James, but also of this strange guy, looked just like James but wasn't grinning??? his evil twin no doubt!. With so much mud about, and with time running out, I just used up the film in the camera then we just squelched along to Gour Hall, all had a sing then headed back via Leck Beck Head.

I wont go into the various techno details of why the RAC couldn't or wouldn't fix the van, and as for the remaining tales of the Jagermeister fuelled shenanigans at the Red Rose, well...
Admiral James T Jimblewimble

County Pot

I start with a great quote from a former Bishop of Caerleon. "Some years ago I stood for several minutes before the "Stone Age Man", whose remains were preserved at Gough's Cave, Cheddar. I thought of that little fellow living in that strange place, back in the dim light of time and realised with reverence and a sense of subdued pleasure that he was a distant relative of mine. That night I remembered him in my devotion and -glorious chance for ridicule- I have a notion that at times he has exercised an influence upon my affairs. Perhaps I had better not say more."

On Friday I slept at Bull Pot Farm. Unfortunately the red van had broken down in Birmingham due to a dodgy  alternator / battery / indicator light / *""#$% ? leaving six frustrated cavers to stay at Paul Brennan's house before returning to Oxford the next day. Saturday morning, I got up early and went for a walk in the mist with light snow underfoot. We went to Bernie's for breakfast, did some shopping and then got ready for a trip down County. Captain Jim led a team of eight, including Harvey, Tom ('82~87 expeditioner) and Richard and his mate (another Jim) from Leeds. Down the first pitch, on through Spout Hall and a thrutch up Poetic Justice. Bumped into Tim Nichols free-climbing the second pitch, and continued bimbling until Eureka, the main drain.

The water levels were fairly high and "refreshing" as we splashed upstream. After several hundred metres we climbed up into higher level passages, at one point using a lovely head jam over a 20ft drop. I wasn't prepared for what I saw next. Easter Grotto. In one chamber I saw more stalagmites than I'd ever seen in my life. The old Bishop would be down on his knees and we soon were, crawling through Gypsum Caverns, a beautiful stal-lined passage complete with selenite crystals. An unexpected treat. We eventually rejoined the streamway making a nice round trip and left the way we 'd come. A fun 5hr round trip, in which I realised the size and variety of the Ease Gill system. Even after being put through Mich's "Sift out Bill's enthusiasm filter (techno gadget 734b)", this is still an excellent cave with the finest stream passage in England.

That evening the Red (Tudor) Rose were great. They supplied prehistoric indulgence the "little fellow" would be proud of. A warm fire, music; and dancing, spoon-on-nose balancing (metal age), a duel by battle-axe, beer, etc., etc. What did I contribute? More Diced Carrots----mmmm 

Hugh's Firm Izm "Going Up Ingleborough"

....part  seventeen  of  an  occasional  series explaining the truth behind popular caving terms.

Way back in the mists of time when Dinosaurs were but a twinkle in the eye of a Horny Velociraptor, Jim used to cave with SUSS. One fine day, in the SUSS hut behind the Hill Inn, the merry cavers set about a game of "What about...?" Since the Dales was, unusually, not under six feet of water it was a quick game. Everyone set off to go caving except Stephen and Lynn who had decided to go up Ingleborough.  So everyone sorted themselves out and headed out to go caving.  One Party having reached Crummack found that they had left most of their SRT kit in the hut, so returned.

He found Stephen and Lynn going up Ingleborough, on the top bunk, what's more they had thrown caution to the wind and were not wearing stout shoes or boots, or much else for that matter.

Names have been changed to protect the guilty (but not much)
Scurrilous Scoundrel

Next week: part 18, "Doing the Waterfalls Walk"