Depth through thought

OUCC News 9th December 1992

Volume 2, number 2

DTT Volumes 1 & 2  index

DTT Main Index

OUCC Home Page


I suppose this is the last issue of term. Not that this will worry most of us since far from being the University club we once were (with our "training expedition" to Spain of course), we are rapidly becoming a hard-caving (new dig in Daren this week end), hard-costing Not Oxford University Caving Club. I mean by this of course that we don't seem to be attracting that crucial source of young blood to the club anymore (undergraduates). Those we do are Keble engineers (temporary undergraduates). We don't even seem able to find a university venue to meet in. Not everyone will think these are bad things of course but we do have to wonder where the next crop of Seddons or Rigby-Laceys will come from. Of course we all love the Harcourt but I'm old fashioned and I rather enjoyed having speakers and slideshows and things on Wednesday evenings. Oh well. I've heard recent grumbles about the editor and who is it anyway? Quite right. Well it's me and its my job to be opinionated. And I now live at 33 Nelson Street (0865 56526). Material for DTT can be e-mailed to me, or sent by past. Keep it coming (he said, reminiscing about a recent hug).

Laser Quest

Anybody interested in a club trip to laser quest let me know. Laser quest involves wearing silly outfits and blasting your friends with lasers. It costs 3 quid and lasts for about 20 min. Of course I don't usually approve of fascist-imperialist-running-dog-militarist type activities, but I thought it might be a giggle.

(We did a test run on Monday - strictly research of course - and it was a hoot. Except I never really got the hang of it, and spent my time cowering in corners getting zapped by 12 year olds, and coming 17th out of 17 - Ed)

Hugs and things

Dear Ed, Spotted by Bill Mixon from the cavers network an American "Mills and Boon" with a caving theme. Subject: new cave book "Love's Endless Flame." Betty Brooks. Kensington Publishing, New York; 1992. 448 pp. softbound. 4.50 dollars. A Zebra Historical Romance.

He'd blaze a trail of red-hot kisses that was sure to heat her chilled body and create a fire of passion bright enough to light even the darkest cave.

(who needs hugging after that') Jim

Term Card

It's time to throw together that ragbag of random and chaotic ideas, the Hilary termcard. If you have anything you want included on the termcard such as parties, speleotourism (Spain, Ireland, France etc) then write it down on a piece of paper and send it to me or just email (ramsdenQox.vax).

Can't spell Ceilidh

It was shaping up like any other OUCC event. 'Lets meet in the Anchor before hand then everybody doesn't have to spend lots of time wandering the corridors of St Hugh's ' sounded like a good idea' I'll see you at seven then'. Well by seven no-one had turned up at the Anchor apart from Jim. At ten to eight he left feeling very SAD. Time to wonder around the corridors of Stews. Hugh's was empty. Pull out the phone card and time to see who was still at home, watching Roger Rabbit or "taking a Shower" (2 hours ha) well everyone was still at home apart from Mark and Sherry they had simply disappeared. Finally met up -with Sean also wondering around. Off to the bar and await further developments. Some loony started waving franticly at the bar from another part of the labyrinthine Saintyou's (that is). It was Harvey, we waved back, he wondered off. Well things were definitely picking up soon a band arrived. And more people, our wonderings were over. The group from Cambridge that Chris had been waiting for finally arrived; they arrived at Saint Ewe's which was a bit of a pity as Chris was still waiting for them at Peel Place. So we had a band, Music and dancing into the night, an occasional break for beer and a hug. So well done Sherry and Urs for getting a great evening together


On the 29th of November, David's birthday, there was a Harley road caving trip to the Mendip. First we had lunch at David's parents and almost didn't go caving at all. The Monaghans have a warm, comfortable house, with luxuries like open fires, videos and food. It was wet and miserable weather outside, and it was only with extreme power of mind over matter that we eventually (not til 4pm) ended up stripping off by the entrance to Longwood. The caving was fantastic fun. If you have ideas of Longwood being a rather tame, uninspiring cave without any real challenges except perhaps Renold's Passage you should go down it with the water levels as they are now.

The stream running down Velvet Bottom was practically a river. There was water running down the entrance chimney, and the little space just before the Letter Box, where you have to lie down and manoeuvre yourself through a 90 degree turn, was half full of water. I was almost knocked over by the torrents of the Shower Bath. Undoubtedly the best bit was the streamway after the second ladder (also pretty exhilarating). You sort of lay on your stomach and surfed down, getting carried by a substantial volume of fast flowing water. In some places it felt like there was barely space between the water and the roof of the passage to keep your head above water, although I'm sure there -was and that it was all perfectly safe. The end of the streamway was eerie. Water was gushing down Renold's Passage (gave that one a miss this time!) and there -was foam all over the roof.

We (that's Ali, Melissa, Dave Bell and me) all sang Happy Birthday to David, then made a hasty retreat because everyone was getting cold. We had planned to go out August, but decided that with the amount of water rushing everywhere we probably wouldn't manage it. The trip was exciting enough as it was, and I can well recommend it to anyone wanting a fun, wet Mendip trip in the near future.

Finding John's

Lots of OUCC bods and lots of rain descended on Helwith bridge for another fabo weekend caving in Yorkshire. Most people managed to get more or less flooded with first prize going to Mark and Sherry descending "The Wet Route" of the notoriously flood prone Marble Steps. The Tony Seddon "I Know where I'm Going" award goes to Tony Seddon who, having navigated his way through the terminal boulder choke of Cherry Tree Hole, found a large chamber with a stream running down into a boulder choke. Back into the boulder choke Quick! Apparently nothing at all happened in Christmas Pot or at least no-one has yet had the courage to talk about it. Totally Useful Member of OUCC award can once again be handed over to Joan for finding a dead nice tea shop in Clapham. More rain overnight made walking a very soggy proposition so the non Lost Johns contingent went to have a look at the Battlefield extension in White Scar. The guide did the usual crap speil about how the cave formed, the stream way was pretty but the battlefield was Mega quite well light and very pretty (lots and lots of straws). The Lost Johns team (Team Clusterfuck) set the usual high standard we've all come to expect from OUCC. A staggered start with the last group leaving the YSS about 1.5 hr after the first group. People being left without any caving gear. Derigging parties leaving the derigging for the rigging parties etc. Anyway people had a various good and interesting trip and some of the lucky ones got pancakes. Well done Sean for driving everyone back to their doors.


From the US: In his article on UK permits, insurance / liability, etc. Steve Roberts says, "Lawyers, Guns, and Money. We don't have, don't need. Ok, send money....l don't mind". He brings up a serious problem we face here in the U.S. While we are blessed with many more caves than cavers, our ratio of lawyers to caves is far to high. Since the Brits don't want them

I offer an alternative solution. The next time you're out ridge walking take along a couple of Lawyers. Since there never seem to be any lease rocks lying about when you find a new pit (except when you're on rope!) and you need to know the depth of the pit, use a lawyer instead. There are several advantages to using lawyers instead of reels. (1) Lawyers are more plentiful than rods. (2) Pocks don't scream as they fall. If there are leaves or mud at the bottom, you may never hear the rock hit. A lawyer, on the other hand, will report back. When the screams abruptly stop, you know to atop counting. A good way to estimate the depth of a pit is to use the formula 16 x t x t - 11t = depth (in feet) where t is in seconds. If the screaming stop after 3 seconds, the depth would be approximately 111 feet. (3) No more confusion as to whether the depth of a pit is in feet or meters. Assuming the average garden variety lawyer (including the large head) is approximately 2 meters or 6 feet tall (before hitting bottom), a 30 meter pit would be approximately 15 Lawyers deep (this assumes they all land end to end, actually they just pile up at the bottom). Unfortunately, not everyone (especially in lawyer poor areas) will use this method. This could lead to even more confusion as to whether the depth of a pit is in feet, meters, or lawyers. To minimise confusion, be sure and use an "L" after the numerical value (example: last week I found an 11L pit).