Oxford University Cave Club

TGM Trinity 2007 

Wednesday 30th May 2007

Minutes, etc.

"OUCC this term"

OUCC Home Page

Pontigny room, St. Edmund Hall.

  1. Present: Yifan Huang (YH), Chris Day (CD), Rick Padfield (RP), Richard Siddans (RS), Lou Maurice (LM), pod, Phillip Leichauer (PL), John Pybus (JP), Anita Milicic (AM), Steve Roberts (SR), Tom Evans (TE), and later on in the meeting, Simon Goddard (SG), and Tim Guilford (TG).

  1. Apologies: Peter Devlin (PD), Dave Legg (DL), Chris Densham (CDM, Lorna Wilson (LW), and Tim Guilford.

  1. Officer reports [paper reports and agenda are appended after the minutes]:

    1. President (SR):

      1. SRT guide: SR suggested it would be good to have some drawings for this to illustrate the text, PL volunteered to do some.

      2. OUCC 50th:

        1. SR said formal invites needed to be sent out for the dinner [to be held at St. Edmund Hall on Saturday 29th September 2007], in order to gauge numbers. If there are more than 50 coming will have to use part of large dining hall rather than the Old Dining Hall. SR said he would do this shortly.

        2. GB trip [for Saturday 1st December 2007], SR said a hut needs to be booked for this, which should be relatively large offering lots of accommodation. SR thinks PD has already sorted it, but ask PD to ensure this.

        3. JP brought up the issue of a stand at the BCA conference [TE looked up dates after meeting, details are 'Hidden Earth 2007 - The National Caving Conference - 21st - 23rd Sept - Tewkesbury School, Gloucestershire' see http://hidden-earth.org.uk/]. DL has booked 2 talk slots. Meeting undecided on whether to have a stall as well, SR suggested it would be a lot or work, but if someone wanted to do it, would be good. JP agreed to put a notice in DTT asking for interest.

        4. RS suggested it would be nice to have club t-shirts celebrating 50th. ALL agree. SR suggested that Tom Houghton and Rosa Clements could draw a picture each, one for the front, and one for the back. SR to organise, aiming to have T-Shirts ready for 1st December, Mendips celebratory weekend. Possibility of also getting thermals printed with club logo, RS keen on idea, and JP said Cowley road shop said they could print on anything. Matter not resolved.

    2. Secretary (TE):

      1. Freshers' fair: TE asked for cheques from JP to send to OUSU to pay for stalls, and deposit (not to be cashed). JP said would give after meeting.

      2. New secretary: YH offered to organise freshers' fair, and take over as secretary. YH elected nem con. LM asked whether there were any hand over notes for secretary and other officers. JP said there should be for all officers, but that only secretary has so far [N.B. on the club wiki at http://wiki.oucc.org.uk/WhatToDoAsSecretary].

    3. Treasurer (JP):

      1. JP gave a verbal report and handed copies of a summary of the club accounts: Summary, club broken even on social and weekend meets. Have spent £715 on gear this year. Received £200 grant from university, and, for first time, over £1000 in membership, a substantial proportion of which is from old members. Overall each active members owes or is owed c. £12, with a few exceptions which JP said would be sorted out shortly. Surplus for the year will be c. £280, leaving the account balance at c. £3200. JP therefore suggested that the club spend some of our balance.

      2. PL asked what system was for finding out individual account balance, JP replied, email treasurer.

      3. Expedition accounts: JP said he was in the process of closing old expedition accounts.

      4. Accounts for university: SR asked if these would be formatted differently for University. JP informed that accounts would be formatted as specified by the university.

    4. Meet Secretary (PD):

      1. SR offered a vote of thanks to PD to which all agreed.

      2. CD asked if pod had a question or was just playing with his Penguin? pod replied that he was in fact just playing with his Penguin [N.B. a penguin was sitting on pod's hat].

N.B. SG arrived at the meeting at this point.

    1. Safety officer (CDM):

      1. SRT wall:

        1. JP said club could contribute towards cost of installation from club accounts, but that it would be helpful to receive a grant from the university.

        2. TE asked what the running costs of the wall would be, i.e. cost of annual/ biannual inspection. JP replied that it should be around £200/year, and commented that this was the biggest problem with the wall.

        3. SR asked why it would be better that Wolvercote bridge, which is currently used. LM and JP said Wolvercote was a bit of a hassle, due to having to give people lifts there, and not being adjacent to the hut. JP added that the bridge was not a good attachment point for rope, and that it didn't offer training in passing re-belays. SR asked about the number of ropes possible on the wall, JP said around 3 should be possible, but problem of access at top. JP said a ledge would be fitted at tope of ropes where an instructor could sit (still clipped in), which would make the design more workable.

        4. JP summarised that Iffley road wall could offer more advance training, but would be more expensive, need to ascertain running cost. Agreed that CDM should email Joel and get final estimates for cost of installation, and inspection cost and regime (i.e. annual or biannual?) When this has been done, then committee will make final decision on whether to go ahead.

    2. Expedition leader (DL):

      1. Risk Assessment: JP commented on the meeting with the expedition's council which triggered this issue. Basically a person from the RGS said the expedition risk assessment was unsatisfactory, and needed more detail. PL offered to look over and adapt it, since he has experience as a safety officer.

      2. Trailer: LM asked if a trailer was really necessary, suggesting that we should be able to reduce the kit we take out such that it could all be taken by the Land Rover. JP agreed that it was possible, but said the trailer was also useful to act as a store and sleeping quarters at Los Lagos. Which is important so that the Land Rover can be emptied for use of shopping trips to Cangas. PL suggested that we could take out our own insurance, but JP said this would be very costly, since many of the drivers are young and driving on the continent. SR suggested that the next step would be for DL to check with the insurance company then to contact the Gordon Foundation if necessary, to which all agreed.

      3. Documents: Code of Conduct, and Risk assessment will need to be signed soon, this can be done electronically using the club wiki [http://wiki.oucc.org.uk/].

    3. Gear officer (RP):

      1. Gave a verbal report: Club has brought 4 new DUO lights for club helmets, bringing to total to 9. The club now has 10 full sets of kit. Said there was problem with batteries, the AA's in the hut not being accounted for properly. He suggested the club buy recharble batteries, and chargers; agenda item a.

  1. Purchase of rechargble batteries, and chargers for club DUO lights (RP):

    1. RP summarised that the current battery arrangement does not work (see above). Then outlined the cost, saying 5 chargers (8 cells each), and a set of 4 AA's for each helmet (36 in total) would cost £120- 130.

N.B TG arrived at this point.

    1. Concerns were raised of extra work for club meet organisers (LM), corrosion (CD), and coordination of charging. JP said the ultimate responsibility would be with the weekend organiser, but that there shouldn't be much work involved for all huts (apart from Blackwalls!) have electric sockets, and the charger only takes 2 hours, so batteries could be charged on the weekends.

    2. JP and RP said two main bonuses were that the system would be cheaper in the long run, and that lights batteries would be fully charged at the beginning of each trip.

    3. All agreed to the purchase.

  1. BCRA cave science project:

    1. Concerns were raised about making a long term commitment, and also taking up extra time out of actual caving. TE suggested that the email was only asking for interest and not commitment. TE agreed to write email to Graham Proudlove expressing interest, but not committing the club.

  2. Freshers' fair (TE):

    1. Several people volunteered to help, including LM, CD, YH, RP, TE, and LW (by proxy).

    2. LM raised issue of confusion at freshers' fair with mountaineers stand. TE suggested that this could be rectified by putting a sign at the front of the table, by use of bamboo canes, so that stall was clearly differentiated from mountaineers.

    3. SG suggested that 50th anniversary be included in stall. TE suggested that we could have a mini display on one of the boards behind the stall. General agreement that this was a good idea.

    4. LM suggested that we should be SRT training going earlier next year. ALL agreed with this.

    5. Introductory evenings: SR asked if we wanted to continue meeting in SEH next term, ALL agreed that it was a good place to meet.

  3. OUCC 50th (pod): Covered by matters arising from President's report (above).

  4. AOB:

    1. CD brought up idea of a science project in Draenon, to monitor drafts etc, to help ascertain the geology of the cave, which could aid exploration. CD suggested for example use of CO2 monitors, and temperature loggers, relatively simple equipment. JP suggested the there was a good chance of a grant from the BCRA, having been to their 'Cave technology symposium' a few weeks earlier, where they suggested there may be grants available for more science projects. CD agreed to look into the issue then report back to the club.

Meeting closed.

Agenda and Reports for Trinity term Ordinary General Meeting- 30/05/07- 8pm.

Officer Reports:

President (Steve Roberts):

SRT guide now updated for the 21st century, and on the website. Would like someone to do some illustrations of: passing rebelays, passing knots, locking off descenders, anything else useful.

OUCC 50th- three important dates:

Weekend 13-15 September - The "President's Invite" the by-now-traditional mass caving, walking, eating, drinking, meeting for all OUCC, past and present. At the Old School house, near the Hill Inn,Chapel-le-Dale, Yorkshire.

Saturday 29th September - The OUCC 50th posh nosh; St Edmund Hall.

Likely cost, about £25 all in. If you could let me know if you would like to come to this (maybe with spouse/spousal equivalent), it will be useful to know numbers. Currently I have the Old Dining Hall booked, but max numbers there are about 50, so we'll have to move to the big dining hall if more than that want to come.

Saturday 1st December: The 50th Anniversary trip. OUCC's first ever caving meeting was on 1/12/57, to GB cavern. Let's do it again! Veterans of the 1957 trip especially welcome.

Secretary (Tom Evans):

2 stalls booked for freshers' fair, the setting up date and time will be on Tuesday of 0th Week (2nd October) between the times of 10am and 3pm, then the fair will run from Wednesday to Friday.

Will not be around next year, so position is up for election.

Meet secretary (Peter Devlin):

Huts booked. Intend to stand down next AGM.

Safety officer (Chris Densham):

SRT Wall at Iffley Rd; Joel Corrigan has returned from PNG and is promising to bolt our much awaited SRT wall some time in June. Expected price around UKP 1k - hopefully the university will offer a substantial grant towards this.

Expedition leader (Dave Legg):

Thanks to Simon G. for sorting out first aid, and to Simon G. and Rick for sorting out the gear from the gear order. Please note this is now in the club hut, labelled with names ready for collection.

University grant: University have kindly given the expedition a conditional £1000 grant, subject to reaching certain criteria.

AC Irvine fund, interviews are this weekend.

Deposits and gear order cheques: please get these in soon to Dave Legg, Exeter College. This is important so that the gear order can be paid off.

Deposit: Please note their will be a slightly reduced pro rata rate for those going for less than 10 days. There may also be some additional financial help from the expedition for those going out on their first expedition.

Chica '06 account: will pay £1000 to Chica '07, to be used partly towards electronic survey equipment.

University grant conditions:

Risk assessment: Required to be more detailed. Would appreciate help with this. Insurance: Talking to university on Friday, but presently have still not fully confirmed insurance with university. The alternatives are to get Austrian Alpine Club membership or insurance with Endsleigh. It is likely that the universities insurance will be the most comprehensive, but a little more expensive.

Trailer: Will not be covered at present by Gordon Foundation insurance. A problem, difficult to get all gear out to Spain without, and makes useful store at Los Lagos. If not rectified people may have to carry their own kit out to Spain, so be prepared. Possible solutions may be co-ownership of trailer with Gordon foundation, conditional on regular service or trailer, and club paying all maintenance costs. Or hiring trailer to Gordon Foundation for nominal fee. Final but expensive solution would be fully independent insurance. If trailer does not go out rope currently stored in Spain may have to stay in Spain, this will present storage and rope washing problems.

Documents: Various expedition documents will go up on Club Wiki on Friday, including club risk assessment. This needs to be electronically signed promptly (University ask to have signed no less than 3 weeks before departure of expedition) by all expedition members.

First Aid: Tarique to run short first aid course in 7th or 8th week (probably 8th). Please email Dave if interested.

Agenda items:

  1. Gear officer (Rick Padfield): Purchase of rechargeable batteries and charger for club lights.

  2. BCRA cave science project; see email in appendix A.

  3. Secretary (Tom Evans): Freshers' fair. General ideas and volunteers.

  4. pod: 50th Anniversary celebration activities.

Any Other Business


Appendix A:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:     [CHECC Clubs] British Cave Research Association widening participation in cave science
Date:     Wed, 23 May 2007 15:38:06 +0100
From:     Graham S. Proudlove

To all members of the caving community within Higher Education institutions.

The British Cave Research Association (BCRA) has set aside £25000, over a five year period, to support cave science. It aims to achieve this suppport by funding individual research projects, and by funding projects which involve the wider caving community (the wideing particiaption project). As the Biological Recorder for BCRA I have devised a project which will allow us to examine whether the populations of animals that we see in caves are permanent residents, isolated in the caves, or whether there is immigation and emigration from cave to surface and vice versa. In technical terms we want to examine the gene flow among and between cave and surface populations of (initiially) two common species, the cave millipede Nanogona polydesmoides and the isopod (woodlouse) Androniscus dentiger. If we obtain evidence that the populations are very cave restricted (with little gene flow) (as has already been shown in Italy) we  will have to raise the conservation status of the populations involved.

The two animals chosen for this project are large, easy to spot in caves, and common enough so that we can get a large sample. I am also asking for help from a group interested in millipedes and isopods on the surface so that we can get a good spread of surface samples.

I am writing to ask for expressions of interest from anyone in Higher Education caving clubs. You will be provided with full instructions, and relevant equipment. For the moment please do not collect anything as we will have to devise protocols for the data collection process. Please email me if you are interested in helping with this project, which I see as important for the conservation of British cave animals.

Thanks, Graham Proudlove