Depth through thought
OUCC News 8th November 2000
Volume 10, Number 13
|DTT Volume 10 index|
Saturday 18th November is the MCC annual dinner to be held at the Lamb and Fox pub above Draenen. I've been asked to extend their invitation to OUCC cavers, several of whom usually go to this low-key but fun event. If you want to go, please let me know soon since numbers have to be arranged in advance.
The contest for who could get their minibus to Bull Pot Farm the fastest was narrowly won by Cambridge arriving at 3.30 a.m. on Saturday, however they cheated by breaking down and getting towed to the Farm by rescue truck. The Oxford were only a few minutes behind, having taken eight hours to enjoy the visitor attraction that is even more popular than the Dome, namely the M6 on a Friday night. Dave Hounslow on his first trip with the club was not put off by being abandoned in Kidlington, and partied solo on the M6. The party at the Farm was still going on when we got there, and welcomed the fresh injection of alcohol.
Easegill was reasonably but not frighteningly full on Saturday, and the three Oxford "beginners" gave their leaders a run for their money in County and out Wretched Rabbit. Dave, Britt and myself had a jolly trip in Lancaster through to WR. We had planned to go out via Manchester by-pass, but a couple of people from BPC showed us the way to 4-ways which was a much nicer route. This made up for them blaming the sliminess of the high levels on the number of student cavers around. One of them had done a DPhil at Oxford too...
Saturday night was a "farewell to Rob" cloudy pint party. Rob was supposed to be departing to China, and made the point by being absent for most of the time. Good classic Bull Pot session. Elizabeth impressed us all by doing the tackle store door squeeze - the sheer determination shows she will be one to watch.
Sunday was astonishingly efficient with brief trips in County and Bull Pot,
returning with a few hitch hikers from Cambridge to join the traffic flood pulse
on the M6 south. Well done Britt for a heroic driving session both ways, and for
intimidating us all into being ready to leave before 6 p.m.! We need more
drivers to pass the University driving test - remember, your club will
Chris "batting for both sides" Densham
Taking Paula, a long haired novice caver, on her first SRT trip at the weekend, her hair got caught in her stop whilst descending a pitch, despite the fact that she had tied it up and put it inside her oversuit.
Before she realised what was happening she had slipped down the rope to the point that her head was almost dragged into the stop, rendering her unable to sort herself out by virtue of the fact that she could hardly move her head.
Fortunately another considerate group of cavers had rigged the pitch with a ladder, enabling easy access for someone with a knife to climb up and cut the hair (after securing her from above in case the knife slipped and caught the rope). Once free, she was able to change over and prussic back up the pitch where her stop could be undone and the offending hair removed.
What came out made some of the more follically challenged IC3 members weep, that so much hair could exist on one head.
(Paula, I sympathise. A similar thing happened to me half way down Armageddon pitch in 2/7, when my pigtail got caught in my rack. I had to cut it off - Ed)
Went into Ogof Draenen on Sunday 29th October. Should have been in Yorkshire with the others really, but feeling lousy Friday/Saturday so did not go. Promises of force 10 gales and 2 inches of rain in Wales tempted me out on Sunday.
Gloriously sunny on the drive down, but were greeted at the Lamb & Fox by the first drops of rain. Spent about 5 hours poking about aimlessly at the start of Crystal Cruncher, and around and about Siambre Ddu passage, Megadrive North and Canyon East. Didn't see any bats Tim, but there was a shit load of Guano.
There was the annoying sound of running water away beneath our feet in both Siambre Ddu passage and Megadrive North, and by the time we got back to Indiana Highway there was the distinct sound of a waterfall which hadn't been there on the way in. Obviously the rainfall outside was beginning to have an effect.
The falling water was down in the deep pit beneath Indiana Highway, and there was a lot of noisy water entering Lamb & Fox chamber.
By the time we reached White Arch passage it was obvious that a considerable amount of rain had fallen outside. White Arch passage is normally pretty featureless boulder bouncing. Now it was revealed as a stream passage. Piles of boulders were separated by sections of wading, waist deep in places.
Spare Rib was even more entertaining, the rope climb was now a very wet waterfall, and the actual waterfall by the thinly bedded ledges, was most impressive. The scaffolded climb and slot above promised to be vicious, but in reality much of the water comes in elsewhere through the choke, and the entrance was easily negotiated.
For you regulars in Draenen, I'm sure you've experienced all this before. Although I've been in quite a number of times it was the first occasion when I had seen it so wet. It certainly made it a much more interesting finale to a trip.
As an aside, at least for part of the time I caved on my 'new' LED system. It
is a bit early yet to pass comment, as I think I need more time to get used to
it. It's certainly different! For anyone thinking of making one up, it's really
simple. I'm a dunce when it comes to practical stuff, but soon cobbled together
some old odds & ends of long defunct lights, and only ended up buying the
LED bulbs themselves.
(Ben Lovett and John Jones were in Draenen the previous weekend, and they too had to wade in White Arch. Draenen is rarely very wet, but there is at least one experience of diggers at Rifleman's only just escaping neck high water levels on streamway return - Ed)
This week I went to a talk about Gallium Nitride. What has this to do with
Caving, you may ask? Well, it's the material that blue LED's (and hence white
LED's, which are blue ones activating a yellow phosphor) are made of. The
material and the technology have come a long way from nowhere since 1992. So if
you want to know how the electron diffusion distance around crystal dislocations
affects light output and why..... don't ask me, I've already forgotten. But
there is much development continuing. The big driving force is traffic lights -
did you know that we use two big power stations' worth of juice just to run
traffic lights - nearly all of which would be saved if they "went
LED"? Obviously some scope there for liberating one for a BIG diving light