Depth through thought

OUCC News 6th February 2008

Volume 18, Number 3

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Editor: Peter Devlin:

Note from the editor

Please keep the write-ups coming in. Here are the weekends for the rest of  term

Splicing the Gerrish

Rich Gerrish 

The date has been set! The day after American Independence day I will finally be losing my independence. As of the 5th of July 2008 I will be hitched.

Soooooo, I am planning on being back in the UK for the weekend before. That is the weekend of the 28th and 29th of June. For this weekend I will be at Bull Pot Farm, headquarters of the Red Rose Cave and Pothole Club and I will be celebrating my Stag do. I know the groom doesn't normally organise this event so I am looking for volunteers (especially a farm animal capable of ordering a barrel or two and of booking the Farm for those dates so we don't get a bunch of family hikers and their children gate crashing the event) as well as confirmation that you want to come.

My basic idea for the weekend is open to interpretation and change but I suggest some caving and plenty of beer drinking would be a good start. I will have to fly to Italy almost immediately after the weekend to start the proceedings for the wedding so please bear that in mind, otherwise it is fair game.

The basic crack is this: Accommodation at "The Farm" is super cheap, basic, alpine style bunks, you'll need to bring your own sleeping bag. Bring whatever grub you want to cook and eat and enough booze and/or other to fire up/sedate a large African Elephant. I'm planning on being there from Friday night through to Sunday afternoon.

Wholly Boring

Chris Rogers

Yorkshire weekend [26 Jan 08]: I'm one of those cavers who, on the rare occasions that I do make it underground, can never remember the way. And certainly by the time I make it out I have no chance of remembering what I did or where I went. So I would like to say it made a pleasant change to try a 'different' entrance to Easegill, but to be honest I don't know the usual entrances well enough to really make much of a statement either way. Gavin had suggested The Borehole as an alternative entrance, a small crawlway just down Easegill Beck and on the opposite side from Pool Sink.

Pip and I were underground well before noon and quickly descended into a long crawlway, broken by the occasional flat out section. The sight of foam on the roof from the recent floods were enough to keep us alert, but really there wasn't much water in the cave. Our crawling was rewarded by some pretties a short way before the top of the pitch. We decided to use the dodgy in-situ rope; alright to abseil on, hope we don't need to come out this way... Gavin had warned us about the next bit; the cave goes round in a loop, the trick is to find a climb down half way round. However, despite Gavin's warning we managed to spend an hour walking around in circles - by the time we made it through to a fixed traverse line it was time to head out. The pitch proved exciting, gentle prussiking broken by the feel of the rope sawing on the rub point above. As always though, the way out was much quicker than the way in so that we were back at the farm in good time to help clean up, pick up some folks from the Barbon and even stop for pizza on the way home.

An interesting entrance to Easegill, be nice to have another go now we know the way. Maybe it is interesting to try something a bit different!

A Cheesy Dive

Peter Devlin

[2 Feb 2008]: Ever since I joined the CDG 3 years ago I have been looking to get a dive in Wookey Hole. Every time I hoped to get in something intervened (weather, a birthday that couldn't be missed, etc). This weekend saw me back in Mendip for a meeting of the CDG Exam committee and while we planned to get in to Wookey, weather permitting, water levels recently appeared to be jeopardising the trip. When I arrived in Hunters on Friday night just in time to get a drink before the bar closed Clive Westlake announced that conditions looked ok, if not optimal. The trip with Clive, Jon Beale and Dave Ryall was on.

A frosty morning saw us gathering out gear for the carry. I particularly enjoyed the walk to Wookey 9 through the man made tunnel: I didn't even have to stoop. Not only was I entering hallowed ground, but I wasn't even having to crawl, dragging dive gear through the cave. When we got to 9 I wondered what the unusual smell was, and found the passage lined with dozens of cheddar cheeses, maturing happily in optimum conditions, presumably for sale in the show cave shop.

Kitting up was abit strange: when I was almost ready to get into the water a tour group from the shoe cave came through: I had to negotiate a slippery entrance to the water in full gear and a dramatic and inelegant slide would surely bring the CDG into disrepute.

I was diving behind Jon, and although the viz on the day was about 2 to 3m, Jon had had to pull the line out of the mud due to movement over a wet winter, so the viz on our route was considerably less than that. Dave who came last didn't get any viz so I mustn't grumble. Soon we got to Wookey 22 where Clive decided to turn back as he didn't feel he was diving well. A short scramble to the sump at the other end of 22 brought us to a static sump with the water about a meter or 2 above the usual dive base. Jon managed to tie a handline from the first ladder down to the dive line attached to the second ladder. Having dived only a minute or 2 in this sump I reached thirds and turned, letting Dave and Jon continue. I decided to wait for them before diving back so had a bimble around 22 to keep warm.

I came out the shallow route, having gone in the deep route, and found myself thinking of Keith Potter, OUCC caver extraordinaire, who drown in Wookey in '81. Back on the gantry looking down on the sump pool, nicely lit up by the showcave lights I looked down on Dave and Jon in the sump pool. I remembered the last time I had been there, 6 or 7 years before when Karen, Catherine and I had visited the show cave. At that point having done one of Martyn Farr's courses I had only dreamt of being a caver and a member of the CDG. Now, being a Qualified Diver, I was part of the community and I had dived in Wookey. The tangy smell of the cheese simply served to heighten the experience of the moment.

The next day I waited for the Olly's medics to surface and decide what to do. The tentative plan had been for me to offer them that wanted a gentle trip, while pod took the others down something more meaty (or veggie perhaps). In the end I took Marie, Pat and Becky down Goatchurch, while the rest went down GB. We managed to find 1 1/2 hours entertainment in Goatchurch and I only managed to get lost once. Fortunately for me the others were sufficiently tolerant and simply took the opportunity for a short rest. At the bottom Pat went to the end of the Drainpipe, which persuaded me that the next time I'm there I will give it a go. We had quite a laugh on the way out, particularly on the coffin lid. A helping hand on the odd welly helping from time to time. Soon we were back in daylight. Pat, Marie and Becky seemed to have enjoyed an easier day than their trip down Swildons on the Saturday. The day was only marred by the loss of Marie's camera which seemed to have made it back to the car, but could then not be found. This loss did however, spur me into emptying the rubbish from my car which had reached truly Augean proportions.

Well done to Olly for getting a bunch of his fellow medics down to Mendip and underground on two consecutive days. Chatting to Hilary sometime over the weekend we had agreed on the desirability of having a strong medical contingent in the club.


Simon Froude

Notice is hereby given that the 2008 Annual General Meeting of the British Caving Association will be held on Saturday 5th April 2008 at the Baptist Hall, Alvechurch, Worcs. starting at 10:30 am. Group Members (Constituent Bodies and Member Clubs) are entitled to send one voting delegate to this meeting. The delegate must be authorised in writing by the Group that they represent. An individual may not represent more than one Group. Direct Individual Members of BCA (DIMs) and Club Individual Members of BCA (CIMs) have the right to vote at the BCA AGM.

Motions to be proposed at AGM 2008 Notice of any matters to be raised at this meeting, including all proposals for constitutional change, must reach the Secretary no later than the 2nd February 2008. An agenda will be published on the BCA website before the 23rd February 2008 along with the minutes of the 2007 AGM and details of items for discussion.

Nominations for Officers of the Association. Officers serve for a term of three years with one third of Officers' posts in turn eligible for election or re-election each year. The following posts are due for election at this AGM:- Treasurer Equipment Officer Publications & Information Officer. Representatives from the classes of Individual and Group Membership serve for a term of two years. The following representatives are due for election at this AGM:- Club Representatives (2 posts) Individual Members' Representatives (2 posts) Nominations for Officers and Representatives must reach the Secretary by 2nd February 2008. Nominees must be proposed and seconded by members of the Association and each nomination must be signed by the nominee expressing willingness to stand. Candidates are expected to supply evidence of membership of BCA (membership number) and a brief profile/election statement. The statement must be a maximum of 300 words in length (about % side of A4). The cost of reproducing and circulating these will be borne by BCA.

Simon Froude, Secretary, British Caving Association, 17 Cross Green, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1HD.