Depth through thought

OUCC News 23rd November 1994

Volume 4, Number 34

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Sorry, not much to report this week, though it sounds like people had fun in Yorkshire. Cavers might like to know that Ogof Draenen, Wales' latest big find, is now around 15km long, and currently ends in a choke under Blaenavon (wherever that is). There's a gate on it at the moment, but once exploration dies down this may be removed. Access days do exist, and I have details of who to contact if anyone wants to have a look. Thanks, Martin, for the info.

Christmas Pot & Long Kin West

While the weather on Saturday morning at Southerscales cottage may have been fairly miserable, the people inside were certainly not. As Tom Houghton and Richard Gregson turned up, they were amazed to find so many people up and ready to go caving so early on in the day. Soon, with James having elected himself Clusterfuck Leader, team Christmas (James, John, Will, Oli and Steve P), were heading for Bernie's...

After the requisite hour had been spent drinking tea and complaining that Northern Caves 3 wasn't out yet ( It WILL DEFINITELY be out for Christmas, so you can pick your copy up at New Year), we were all ready to go caving. We got changed in Clapham car park and had a pleasant walk up to the entrance, showing Oli some of the entrances to the GG system on the way.

Oli managed very well on his first pitch apart from the Swildon's twenty, a 27m ladder on the entrance to Christmas Pot. We were soon at the second and third pitches, where Oli had a go at lifelining before we popped out into Grange Rigg. We had a look downstream, some nice pretties and a very wet climb. So we had a wander upstream as well, and ate our Mars bars before heading out.

We got a bit cold waiting at the entrance for a party of four who were using our ladders, and taking there time about it but all in all it was a very enjoyable trip. We found our way back to the van in the mist okay (unlike some trips, eh Dave?), and for probably the first time in my life, I was the first person changed. Before returning to the cottage, we stopped off to show Oli the delights of the Marton Arms. Back at Southerscales we had some food, before showing the regulars at the Hill inn how to get through a Wagon wheel. Adrian (yet another mathmo!) had enjoyed his first cave, a seven hour County trip to Easter grotto and back.

The next morning most of us got up just in time to see James and Will return from an early morning splash in Roaring and Sunset. After breakfast almost all of the rest of decided to join in with caving. A large clusterfuck ensued, and after a lot of last minute indecision, a group left to have a splash in Great Douk, and another to have a look at Brown hill, while I set off with William Stead, and Alex to find out how wet Long Kin West is in the rain.

William was well prepared, with an OS map and a compass as well as the guide book, so we set off into the mist with our 115m rope rapped around Alex's neck. An hour and a half later we were standing at the top of a hole, which we thought might be it. So after a difficult search for the bolt holes, William descended to find it goes all of 45 feet. We managed to identify this as bridge pot. Not even in the same area as the pot we were seeking.

However it only took us another 35 minutes to get to the real Long Kin West, where there was no problem in finding bolt holes since it was covered with more shiny P hangers than you could possibly need. Abbing down the 100m entrance pitch was good fun, my first big pitch since Spain, but we couldn't get any further as the second pitch was totally impassable - taking a 300 foot waterfall. So we turned around and I had a 100 prussik to do in my wet suit. I'd lent my furry to someone who was getting it wet in Great Douk. Seems rather silly when I think about it.

Still it was good to dust off the jammers again, and I'd like to go back when there's less rain and less mist, to finish the cave off. Many thanks to Will (Jeremy, not Stead who is most confused by someone sharing his name), for his mammoth drive back to Oxford, which we reached at 2.30am - I'm still suffering from the lack of sleep.
John (zzzzz...) Pybus


1 very old and knackered, but much loved, Petzl Ecrin and carbide burner. Colour red, with bit of sticky plaster inside front containing 2 Temgesic, maybe also has my name in it. Also lost, and attached to aforementioned helmet, 1 malham generator, colour black.

David Monaghan
Department of Materials
Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3PH
Tel: (01865) 273706
Fax: (01865) 273789