Depth through thought

OUCC News 30th June 2004

Volume 14, Number 7

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Editor's bit

I am not an editor, I am a free man.

DCRO Fundraiser

Steve has pointed out to me that Derbyshire CRO are holding a fundraiser on Sat Oct 16. Minimum donation is £30 with all proceeds going to DCRO ambulance appeal. It takes place at Pindale Bunk House, Castleton.

"... open to anybody wishing to improve on their knowledge of underground rope skills, an ideal opportunity for those who wish to develop their vertical skills under professional guidance; it is flexible to meet the group's needs and can include ladders, lifelines and abseils, SRT progression, SRT rigging or SRT rescues etc... Tel: 01433 620111 "

Wookey Hole Extended

CSS newsletter, June 2004

It is reported that Rick Stanton has found the way on at the end of Wookey Hole. Whilst watching a Gavin Newman video of a dive at the end unusual water movement was noted. Rick decided to check this out and found ongoing passage. However because he didn't have a line reel with him he had to call the dive having only explored an estimated 50m with the passage ongoing at -65m. Once missing lines have been replaced exploration will continue.

Yunnan 2004

Hilary Greaves

The Yunnan 2004 expedition is preparing for takeoff: 4 July to 23 August. We'll be looking at our mountain range west of the town of Zhongdian, in Yunnan Province, China, trying to find high-altitude entrances that might connect to known resurgences in the Yangtze river 2,000m+ lower. Anyone interested can track our progress via the OUCC website

Further info on the expedition is at

If you want to receive email updates direct from us, sign up to our news mailing list at:

Yours to the terminal cerveza/baijiu, good luck to those in Spain, and hope to see lots of you at Hidden Earth in October!

Peaks Report

Geoff O'Dell

Since Ian 'Buster' Wright's dig at Pork Sandwich Shaft, Winster, was featured in Descent (171), perhaps not surprisingly the pace of discoveries has slowed. It should be remembered that apart from a handful of trips to help haul in scaffolding, this has been a solo digging effort.

In August last year Buster felt his latest dig was about to 'go', and I motored up to provide some back-up. Unfortunately, fore-poling through the run-in base of the shaft revealed only a 2m alcove and the disappointment was tangible. I could sense that Busters enthusiasm for the place was waning, as the most promising dig site, the draughting 'Pottery shaft' at the furthest point in the mine, was cold, wet and prone to slumping.

There remained the potential for plenty more passage, and after offering such encouragement, I felt duty bound to offer some practical assistance in Buster's latest attempt to dig, shutter and fix using expanding foam. So on Sunday 13th June we made our way up to the base of the surface shaft, which once more had fallen in, this time cutting off the draft completely.

For once however, this was to work in our favour, as a healthy draught now issued from a fist-sized hole in an alcove 15' back from 'Pottery Shaft'. Half-an-hours digging in well compacted clay fill and I was able to squeeze through to see the other side of Buster's stubborn dig. A few minutes digging from both sides opened up the squeeze and we were able to wander into the latest extension.

In a straight line to the East from the initial chamber ran 65m of stooping streamway, with no less than four stone dams creating a series of well decorated crystal pools. Straws and calcite flows complemented a short but very fine section of passage.

Running off to the South from the stream was a further 130m of interconnecting pipeworkings with plenty of evidence of T'owd Man. The most exciting prospect was a 40' high rift aven, which seemed to be taking the draught. This was free-climbed to the lip of a muddy chamber, with a run-in level leading off, and the shaft possibly continuing above.

It now looks like the next batch of scaffolding will have even further to travel.