Depth through thought
OUCC News 13th October 1993
Volume 4, number 3
|DTT Volume 4 index|
Welcome everyone to the first issue of Depth Through Thought this term, especially you Freshers and other newcomers. For those who don't know, DTT is a (roughly) weekly OUCC Newsletter carrying all sorts of stuff of interest to cavers: reports on sporting trips; reviews of caving routes, huts, gear or publications; news from OUCC "correspondents" abroad (With Sherry and Mark just moved to Australia, we've even got 'em all over the globe!); news of discoveries on OUCC exploration trips; ads; even "cave politics" - in fact pretty much anything people care to send the editor.
You old members of the club, please remember to be ready to lend gear for the novice trips over the next couple of weekends. Lights are particularly in short supply. Gavin is co-ordinating things.
Jenny has now done the term card, so those of you out there on e-mail should be getting
yours soon (as long as you are still paying your country subs, that is...).
"You've travelled all the way from Lancashire just to go down Carno?" asked Jenny incredulously. "Erm, err, well, I replied. There was no way around it. I had to admit it - a few hundred miles just to go down Carno! However the weather forecast looked poor and rather than risk the chance of a callout on the weekend of the BCRA we all agreed to go down Daren instead.
A few hours later Tony, Gavin and I were dodging the showers to stay dry as we changed. Then, leaving the car at the mercy of the car thieves we headed off under the Llangattock escarpment. My previous trip had been as far as the Big Chamber so it was nice to see more of the cave. In a few hours we'd reached Hard Rock Cafe-our home for the next two nights. After tea we went in search of new digs. One was helpfully named - "the Ken Pearce Dig'. A note explained - "If you're not hard you shouldn't be here!" Next morning we had a sand swim. Where was the water? We eventually found it at the Micron plus a number of interesting digs called 'New Boots and Panties!?!'
In the afternoon we went for a look at the flyovers and found ourselves a new dig. On
the way back we managed to find some huge passage via a ladder from the flyover. Gavin was
confused! Was this newly discovered passage which few people had visited? Unfortunately
not. We'd strayed into Half a Mile Passage and the Meeting Room. Oh, well it just meant
that the next day we could head out straight away as we were all lacking huge amounts of
motivation. Oh, yeah and the streamway had risen a foot in the night. Good job we didn't
go down Carno. Thanks to Gavin and Tony for a great trip.
A Van load of people went to Bristol, where we admired the amazing stairwell thing in the Queen's Building which had a great piece of rope dangling up it in an intimidating manner. Just as intimidating was the way Wookey and others were able to go up this like' frenzied clockwork gibbons while maintaining the required two points of clipped-on contact with the rope at all times. You need a "racing" kit for this with three cows tails. I borrowed a set of normal gear and went up in my usual safe, sedate (OK slow) manner. Gratifyingly, I managed to avoid embarrassing cock ups.
The best show at the Conference? Probably Gavin Newman's amazing NEW slide-sound thing, with six projects, computer, massive tape deck with specially commissioned sound track, etc. Great stuff. Maybe we could get him to show it in Oxford? The other slide-sound was also good stuff; according to JRat, the bicycle only had to have its wheels taken off once. I liked the Mexico talk so much that I put on a pair of short trousers and squeaky voice to have my name taken for '94. There were the usual bits about drunken students, dodgy transport and accountancy.
The stomp was excellent, accordion, drums, geeeetar and lots of sweaty people leaping around in the usual competition to wear the band out before they wore us out. The band had a fine flock of nymphet groupies but no-one asked them to go caving. Most people's curry stayed down.
The usual complaint about the photo salon - "Professional"
photographers ran away with all the big prizes. About time for the other chaps to have a
go, I say.
During our photo weekend with Jim in the Mendips this weekend, Tim and Tony took time
out for a trip down Welsh's Green Swallet - a relatively newly discovered cave on Mendip,
and distinctive both for its extraordinary blue loess (?) mud, and the only known selenite
crystals on Mendip. The shakehole, in a secluded piece of woodland under Pen Hill, drops a
ladder pitch into a Thrupe Lane-like rift climb, into a chamber. A 200ft crawl leads to a
lovely second pitch, Yorkshire-like, but in a pale yellow limestone. Further crawling
eventually brings you to a large bedding plane with the small stream meandering through
the blue mud deposits. A couple of side passages lead to big avens, but about 1000 ft
downstream a tight squeeze marks the point where the trip gets a bit more serious. Beyond,
more crawly bedding, and eventually another squeeze shortly before the terminal dig in a
less stable area. Getting to the dig involves a pretty hard squeeze (at least, from the
noises Tony was making, it sounded so: I didn't bother...). Hour and half round trip, a
good sporting excursion with some unusual sights.
Andy Riley was a long-time well-ard member of the club who rather inexplicably was
killed in a lab explosion a few years back. He instigated the Club's "tradition"
of weight-training for fun and profit, encouraging all with shouts of "good
weights!", "good bloke!" or "good bird!". Graham Naylor and
others set up a memorial fund, to award a prize for technical innovation in caving
techniques. This was the first year it was awarded. It went at the BCRA conference to
"Buster" inventor of the Buster Box, an ingenious home built but robust and
workbloke/bird-like housing for video gear. It combines the virtues of functionality and
ultracheapness - Andy would have approved!
Vary your next trip by doing the Devil's Elbow route. Makes GB seem like a proper
caving trip. Take a short ladder for the last drop, or about 15m of rope and a Krab for a
non-return body abseil down - there's a good thick smooth bit of stal thread for a belay
(it is also possible to climb this using a handline). Don't go drinking with Dirge the
night before or you will have to leave rapidly to avoid unpleasant uncontrollable
elimination from all orifices.
A diver surfaced in the airbell between sumps 2 and 3 on Saturday and found the air to be totally unusable due to diesel fumes. A notice has gone up in the Hunters warning people of this and the possibly fatal consequences of free diving the sumps at the present time.
One set expedition-type caving gear, complete except for helmet and lightset. Could go as a set or could split it into clothes and SRT kit. One careful owner (Sue Robiette). Fits medium build female or fairly slim male of about 5 foot 6. Price by negotiation but reasonable. Ask Steve Roberts.