Depth through thought
OUCC News 19th April 1995
Volume 5, Number 8
|DTT Volume 5 index|
But an alternative has arisen. After some careful enquiries by our members of St. Cross College (we have one SCR and two MCR members at St. Cross, all of who are OUCC Officers), it seems that they do see the attraction of a well behaved, regular group swelling the profits of the College bar, and generally contributing to the College's profile in the University. It seems that the College authorities are prepared to let us use the bar, and the room next door when we have speakers, at no charge. Possible arrangements still have to be discussed with the bar staff, as I understand it, but unless there are objection there, or from members of the club, we will be meeting in St. Cross on Wednesdays from next week onwards.
This disadvantage of St. Cross is that it is a bit like a fortress. The way round this is probably to have a key holder on the door on busy nights, and for people to use the intercom to the bar at other times (and call for someone to let them in). Time lost waiting at the door would, however, be recouped in time saved travelling all the way to St. Hugh's. What do people think?
I caved every day during my week in Ireland over Easter, partly because the exceptionally good weather allowed access to many of the systems normally flooded at this time of year. One such system was Shannon Cave, and in many ways it was perhaps my most memorable trip.
Marius Leonard, who ran the places we stayed in, is a local Irish caver with significant extensions in Shannon under his belt (as it were), and when he tentatively suggested taking a group of there, we jumped at the prospect. In Frank Eddy's bar (Irish equivalent of the Hunters) one night, however, other local cavers warned us that Marius' recommendation was a recommendation from hell. Shannon Cave, it seems, has a serious reputation for dropping boulders on people. Who to listen to?
Actually, the answer is was obvious. As Chris Densham, Pauline Rigby and I trogged across the peat moor under a grey sky towards the entrance of the upstream known end of the system that resurges in Shannon Pot five Km away as the crow flies, spirits were high. "Its a bit loose" said Marius of the entrance, and soon we were in a line above and behind him in the first constricted rift passing back rocks that had fallen in since the last visitors. One large boulder Marius could move, but not lift, so we were stuck with a delicate squeeze over a wobbly TV, water pouring down the neck all the while. We later met in the pub the two Irish cavers responsible for bringing this boulder down: on themselves. They have never been back.
Loose, awkward choke followed loose awkward climb followed loose awkward
squeeze. But all of us being used to the odd boulder surfing experience in
virgin Spanish caves, it didn't seem too serious. After some horrendous route
finding, and much OOhing and Aaagghhing about the pleasant streamway we were
romping through, we emerged into the main passage. Wow. Storming streamway,
huge high avens, beautiful rock sculptures, gave way to periods of route
finding through humungous boulder chokes in the stream. Real sport continued
right until the downstream choke, only penetrated a year or so before. But
Marius, quite rightly, decided that the shoring in his dig, now balanced on
virtually nothing, had destabilised too much too proceed to the downstream
sump (yes, undived...). So we bombed back upstream to follow up "Mistake
Passage", and huge inlet boring some 168 metres into the hill until a boulder
choke. Bit muddy I suppose, but we just couldnt keep our hands off the
boulders. Marius and I dug in the streamway, whilst Pauline and Chris furtled
above. Soon it became clear that this was no idle bumble, and excited shouts
from above indicated that the dry team were almost through. And so it was.
Pauline, followed by Chris, dropped into the stream again and followed it for
a further 15 metres until the choke hit again, and we ran out of time. Just
an hour's digging, and we had broken the terminal choke in a major streamway.
But then, the whole place was like that. More news of sport and discovery