Depth through thought

OUCC News 16th March 1994

Volume 4, Number 18

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OUCC's third Bosch drill was sold to JRat some time ago, and a sensible decision I'm sure it was. I hate drills anyway, but that's not the point I want to make. It has taken people Gavin some time and effort to find out exactly what happened to the drill, and where the money went. It seems that the money (does anyone know how much?) was kept by Dave Bell, who organised the sale, as part of that owing to him after last year's expedition (I think). This may be perfectly proper, but does anyone know whether this entered into the delicate negotiations surrounding the issue last year? Presumably Paul Mann does.... The problem is, its all so opaque. Surely, one thing we might learn from the "drillgate" affair is that OUCC too needs "open government", particularly where finances are concerned.

Shit free DTT

Dear editor,
It's National Continence Week (it surely is!) How about a celebratory shit free edition of DTT? According to the Today interview this morning only one in six of sufferers seek professional advice, the rest muddle through somehow, most by purchasing unsuitable surgical appliances by mail order (heard that one before). This seems rather tragic, as 70% of cases can be completely cured if medical help is sort. So Get Your Shit Together, lets celebrate National Continence Week.
Jim (Squidgy)

Dear Squidgy,
You're quite right. It's time we had a completely smut free issue. So here it is. Dull, isn't it?
The Editor

Hungarian lament


Saturday, 19th of February
I couldn't managed to organize the trip very well, because I had been waiting too long for anyone who wants to come from OUCC. When I had told the other guys this possibility, they told me I was silly guy and I offered the trip too late. So only three members sat on the train, which left Budapest in the morning. The members were: a guy his nickname is Hosszu, my girlfriend Judit and me.

We arrived to the Romanian part of the border about 11 o'clock. (Romanian time) There we had to get out and we travelled by bus to the Railway Station of Nagyvarad. Our train left to Sonkolyos half past two, so we had time. I sat at the station while Judit and Hosszu went to see the city. I had to look after racksucks... They came back and told me it was beautiful, but very poor. I told them not to wonder, it was rally East Europe. We arrived to the cave after four o'clock. The entrance was opened, so we went down to the Christmas Tree Room. It is the first bivouac near the entrance. We found there the camp of Kolozsvar cavers, but we didn't find any people. We started to make a tea and a bit later a guy arrived, who is a member of KABK (Kolozsvar Amateur Caver Club). He came from Kolozsvar and didn't know more than us. So we had sat and waited and drunk our tea. Finally same friends came back. They carried a part of equipment to the Hipodrom. The Hipodrom is the central bivouac of the cave. We drunk some palinka and talked. They asked me, where the English guys were. I answered that, nobody wanted to come. In the evening everybody slept in the Christmas Tree Room.

Sunday, 20th of February
In the morning four guys went to Nagyvarad. They waited for another group arriving from Miskolc. We and the other Kolozsvar cavers made a trip on the surface. The night it was snowing, so everything was white and beautiful. We were looking for some sinkholes, wich might be in contact with the cave. Unfortunately we didn't find them. This trip was very nice, we enjoyed ourself very much. Unfortunately Judit was a bit less because the boots hurt her hankles The trip was finished in a pub. In the evening the others came back with four more cavers from Miskolc so there was so little room for us that we hardly could sleep.

Monday, 21st of February
In the morning we said "Goodbye" to the Sunshine. We made two carrying trip to Hipodrom and we built up our bivouac. Vari Laci cooked us a real caver meal, which was quite delicious.

to be continued tomorrow......
Cheers: Pivo

Ogof Ffynnon Ddu

On Saturday I went on my second caving trip. Most importantly, this was in a new suit that actually *fitted*. This meant I could actually move my legs more than two centimetres, but nevertheless I was still nervous about going in the cave, particularly as the Drainpipe had got me rather claustrophobic last time in Goatchurch. However, my nerves gradually disappeared as I got used to clambering on and around the huge boulders that abound near the II entrance.

Gavin soon zoomed on ahead. "Hoi wait", I said, "......I'm being slow because I don't trust these wellies on these slippery rocks". "The wellies are pretty good; they grip more than you think." "That's what you said last time, and I believed you, and then immediately fell over. I don't believe you this time." I went on at my own pace. After clambering along for a while and seeing one or two stalactites and stalagmites, we turned into a side passage to do more clambering. As we went along I'd see side passages leading off into the darkness, and I'd ask Gavin if he knew where they went: "What's up there?" "Probably nothing much" After 4 or 5 of these responses I was beginning to wonder how many times on average someone wanders past a piece of virgin cave saying this, before someone actually has enough curiosity to go and investigate.

We went along Gnome and Chasm passages, admiring the formations, and I gradually got a bit better at negotiating rocks. I discovered that because gravity pulls on me a lot, when I'm not on a level floor I'm happiest when I've got my hands helping me as well as my feet, the more support the better, really! So next we come to a bit where Gavin's ahead of me and he says that to get down this bit you have to brace yourself against the sides, and slide down. I translate this to mean "no convenient footholds or handholds". Ulp, "How do you get back up again, then?", I asked. "Levitate" said Gavin. Ho ho very funny. Anyway, it *did* have a foothold. Phew. We passed some more cavers further down, near a corkscrew-shaped climb. All in all, we passed a large number of cavers - apparently the man on duty said there were 30 people in OFD that day - and we saw 23 of them! Turned left at a chamber and started to go along a small stream. This is when I discovered that wet socks really work! It's very weird when you only know your feet are wet because they are going *squish*.

Further along the streamway, I got to do a bit of what I'd been reading about a few hours previously - bridging! This was fun! I liked the secure feeling of using all four foot/handholds. We bridged along for a while and then Gavin climbed down to go at stream level. I carried on bridging for a bit. Gavin thought I was weird. I thought Gavin was weird - why would I want to climb down a bit with hardly any footholds when I can bridge along a bit more and slide down a nice rock at the end - wheeeeee! (Gavin later explained that apparently most novices don't like bridging.)

We came across another example of how nice OFD is: there were two stepping stones exactly where you had to kneel down - a brilliant counterexample to Murphy's Law. We went further along Salubrious, and then took a turning off to go and see the Trident and then the Judge. Nice formations! Huuuuuuge! We then went back to the Trident to share a Bounty bar. I put the wrapper in my pocket. "Oo, look Gavin, look what else I have in here!", said I, producing a condom. Gavin giggled, but there was a nervous tinge to his giggle. I think he thought I was going to throw him to the floor right there and then!..... Then back out again. The climb down that Gavin had done after the bridging bit now had to be reversed. I found this a bit tricky because I couldn't see any useful hand or foot holds, but Gavin pointed some out to me so I managed to climb up. You'd have thought Gavin would be pleased, but in fact he'd thought I might not be able to manage it, so he was miffed that he'd brought the ladder in the tackle bag all this way for nothing! Hee hee hee (said in a Scooby Doo giggle).

The journey back went quicker than I expected - we'd taken 2h to get to the Judge, and then got out again in 1h40m. I didn't feel tired either when we reached the entrance. It turned out to be very lucky that we'd saved those 20 minutes as it made all the difference once outside. It was a freezing cold mist on the hillside, just in daylight, and I wouldn't have fancied trying to get back when it was 20 mins darker. On the way back we stopped off at Abergavenny for a pizza, then once back in Oxford, took a shower and then snuggled up in bed. A perfect end to a perfect day.
Sharon Curtis

Manor Farm

Michelle and I went down manor farm and it was clean and we got headbutted by a sheep and it was all OK and we went to Dirges and had scones and tea in front of a blazing fire and it was very nice.
Steve Roberts

Neil Moss - In Memoriam

Thirty five years ago this month Neil Moss, a fellow caver from Oxford University, died in a horrific and well publicised accident down Peak Cavern in Castleton. Without wanting to dwell on the morbid/safety aspects of such a tragedy I propose that next time we're underground, we all try to remember and pay tribute to those who have died. May we all escape injury in 1994.
James Hooper