Depth through thought

OUCC News 12th October 1994

Volume 4, Number 29

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Welcome to all the new would-be cavers, whether you're here just to try it once, or dead keen to get deep into the only real exploration left on the planet. Depth Through Thought is OUCC's (roughly) weekly newsletter, reporting sporting trips, caving news, exploration finds by members of the club, and news from our overseas correspondents (Hungary, France, Aussie...). And of course gossip (not that you'll find much of that in the club). Anyone is welcome to contribute, and the deadline is 4pm on Wednesday for the evening's issue. Editorial policy is minimal (as you can see).

Well, if any of you have bothered to read this far, you'll be gobsmacked to learn that Llangattwg yielded 4 km of newly discovered cave passage this weekend, when Pete Bolt's dig (Bolt of Time Machine fame) in Ogof Dryden went. I think that's in the Clydach gorge, but I'm not sure. Congratulations to him and the rest of the team who've been working there for three years.

Exploration, of more modest stature, has continued in the club this last week, with a rece trip to Carno, digging in Tynings, and boulder blowing assistance in Hillgrove.

Dave Bell's engine has finally been removed, at a narrowly negotiated no-charge to us. Is that it?


we need people to lend gear for the novice trips starting this weekend.

Mark it well, and leave it in a bag in the hut.

There will be a life-lining practice (organised by Urs Mead) in the next couple of weeks. Perhaps we'd all learn a thing or two.

Friday October 14th, the MNRC are organising two evening lectures at the Wells Museum. 7.30pm. Dave Irwin will talk about the exploits of Herbert Balch, and 9.30pm about the history of Lamb Leer. I believe there is also an exhibition of caving postcards on at the moment. Are we starting to sound like the MNRC itself?

Mendip Ramblings

Jim and Sara took Virginia Smith on her first caving trip down Swildon's on Sunday. Everyone had a good time and we managed to avoid getting stuck behind the large groups of Scouts, and Loughborough UCC. A few things have changed a little in and under Priddy. The fee is now 50p per person, and is payable at Holmfield Cottage (opposite the gate for Swildon's). The water flow in Swillys has changed again. The water, once inside the entrance flows down the short drop and then into the floor, no water flows down Jacobs Ladder. At the bottom of Jacobs Ladder half the water finds its way into the Wet Way, and the rest ends up in the Short Dry Way. There is plenty of water in the cave and a plenty fun splashy time was had by us all.

On an automotive angle, as you approach Bath from both the M4 and the Mendips there is yellow signs indicating delays on the A46 in Bath. It may be useful to make sure you know the Bath bypas unless you want to spend quality caving time sat in a traffic jam.
Jim (vrooom!)

Tea at the Hotel Carnophobia

Saturday, Charles Bailey took Gavin & me for a spin round the northern bits of Carno. First hassle - he has lent the key to someone, & they are not at the entrance. So, it's off to the nearest chippy to borrow another key from the owner, "he of the carpet slipper fame". Once in, it was puff, pant, up to the northern camp, visited twice in the last two years according to the log. It's not as luxurious or as well situated as the Littoral Zone camp, but the Aragonite wall decorations make up for this. And there's FOOD, including some cheddar that must now be nicely matured for the lucky person who opens the packet. After a brew up ("Oh yuck, not Earl Grey!" says the grateful Gavin), Charles took us for a first loop around the most promising leads. "Prepare to be confused" says our guide, and he isn't kidding. There are a surprising number of loops, & before long we are back at the camp. Benny's Hill is a going climb right at the camp, & next to this is Howard's Way, a tube that ends in a going dig. Just round the corner is another dig, probably the most promising since it is heading West into blank mountain is only filled with sand, and is within tea-portering distance of camp. It is ominously close to a toilet roll, but this does not stop Gavin's eyes lighting up with delight. A short stroll (although the route finding details are a little hazy) leads to a big fault chamber (Green Bridge Chamber) with a possible climb miles up in the roof ("a good one for Tim"). Billy Smart's Circus is a short but spacious passage that ends in a solid mud dig, with a possible climb above it (previously looked at, but to no final conclusion.) After sitting around at camp for a bit, trying to let it all sink in, Charles took us off to Weston Super Mire, a route which goes off the main drag to the sea sump near two rock bridges. It's not as grotty as it sounds, just a short, small bit of meander ending in a low but diggable inlet (for those with the inclination), with a fair sized stream. Also, a promising and seemingly short climb plastered with the standard Carno mud. "Now, what's that in the bottom of the rift?" - yes, it's that indispensable item of caving equipment, a mouldy carpet slipper! Unfortunately, it needs a slipper retrieval device so is left for another day. Returning to the Northern main line, a route leads from a 'confusion corner' (Gavin named) to a parallel rift (on the East) ending apparently in a draughting dig pointing towards Daren (ho).

Confused? Hmm, well yes. Maybe it will make more sense next time. Many thanks to Charles - I can't think of many people who would find lots of cave and then show other people where all the best leads are! Time for more tea, then a quick dash out to impose on Charles & Lynn just a bit more by devouring Lynn's yummy curry.
Chris Chris

Straining the Teabag

Fresh from our discoveries this summer in Spain, the coming year promises to see OUCC hard at work across the country, boldly pushing back frontiers of speleology. Untold discoveries await us, be it in Brownhill, Carno, Dallimore's, Daren - or even Tyning's Barrow...

In this spirit, Team Intrepid (Anette Paul, Rob, Steve) assembled early on a misty Sunday morning. Tyning's was our destination and kilometres of new passage our aim. In a fit of enthusiasm, Rob even managed to oversleep.

Nonetheless, a mere five hours later we found ourselves at the entrance and headed down, eagerly brandishing our diffing tools and Paul's freshly purchased survey notebook (optimism apparently being in limitless supply that heady morning). Anette and Paul went straight to the dig found earlier this year, while Rob and I furtled around nearer the entrance, looking for other promising leads. But alas, nothing was found and our dig was soon sound-connected with a known inlet.

At such a point, many cavers would down-tools and head for the rival attraction of the Hunters. But not Team Intrepid. Undetered, we set off further downstream. Every possible lead was looked at, from the sensible to the not-so-sensible. Rob decided he'd had enough ("I might get damp") and let us go on. Just as all was seeming lost, Paul found just what we were looking for. Towards the downstream limit of the cave, a rift was found heading sideways off the streamway, too tight to get through but opening out tantalisingly some 6m beyond. I wnet back to fetch Rob and a crowbar, but Rob could not be enthused and continued to sit by himself in the dark in a way only he can. The crowbar proved unnecessary though as the rift proved to be blocked at the bottom by nothing more than silt. Two hours of comfortable, easy digging saw us get almost halfway through as the silt flaked and crumbled away to leave passage spacious enough to crawl in. Sadly, time soon got the better of us and we headed out, collecting Rob narrowly before he ran out of Beatles songs to sing to himself. We reached the surface just in time to watch a beautiful sunset and down a quick half in the Hunters. Team Intrepid will be back soon. Watch this space.
Steve P (rhymes with speleology).

PS I've moved house to 149a Iffley Road. 243369.

Lakatos Cup '94

When Chris Vernon has been to Hungary we made a trip into the Rejtek cave. The entrance of the cave is closed so we had to open the door. We had more keys without sign and the good key could open the door hardly. While we were trying to open the door we though about......a new cup. And it was kept on the last weekend around the Also-hegy.

Usually Hungarian cave cups are named by died cavers. This cup was named by Lakatos Laszlo. He was a good Hungarian caver and died in the Meteor cave. His family name means "locksmith".

On the Also-hegy there are lot of small vertical caves. We chose 10 of them at the western part and 10 at the eastern part of the Also-hegy. We put 2 padlocks into each cave and 2 keys were given for each group.

Unfortunately very few group was registered, although the weather was quite good. (no rain...) Maybe it is why the atmosphere was very familiar. A friend of us from the local village took the branch up to the hill with his van and the competition was started at 10.30.Every group had to look their padlocks for for the right key.

Unfortunately there was a little problem: one key could open more padlocks so some group found more "own" padlocks. Fortunately there was an other category (who can find more cave entrance?) and we could find a champion group...

In the evening there was drinking, slide projecting etc..... And on Sunday we met the director of the local school and we booked rooms for the New Year meeting. Not to forget, OUCC guys!!!!!

Pivo (our Hungarian Correspondent)