Depth through thought

OUCC News 13th May 1992

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Sorry there wasn't a DTT last week. Of course some of you couldn't care less, so for them sorry there is a DTT this week.


The wicked club punt party is on Saturday 16th May, meeting 1.30pm at the Cherwell Boathouse (Bardwell road, off Banbury road). Bring bottle and food for barbecue at sherry's house (11 St. Margaret's Road) afterwards. Please let Richard know if you are coming and if you can get a punt. It  will  be  excellent:  everyone  must  come. Apparently it will be summer.

Termly General Meeting, Week 4, 8.00pm, NQLR St John's.

Mark Bown will talk Week 5 at 9.00pm, NQLR, about caving in New Zealand and Spain.

Expedition News

  1. If you are interested in coming to a "trying on gear" session at Cotswold Camping, then let Mark know very soon.
  2. If you have any digging equipment which belongs to the expedition secreted away at the bottom of a cave, then (a) let Mark know, (b) bring it out before we go to Spain. We are very short of equipment for digging and rigging.

Medical and Vaccination into.

1) First Aid Meetings.
David will be looking for volunteers for the 27/28th May and 17/18/19 June (afternoons 2-4.30 only) for first aid courses to be held at the Ambulance Station at the Churchill Hosp. Map available on request. Ideally one person will go to two of the sessions and be able to go for the whole of the expedition. Other people can go in pairs but for only one session. YOU ARE VERY MUCH ENCOURAGED TO TAKE THESE MEETINGS SERIOUSLY SINCE THEY COULD MEAN THAT YOU COULD SAVE A LIFE IN THE FUTURE !

There may also be a Wednesday meeting first aid course this term as well, to be announced.

2) Your Own Drugs.
Some of you may need to take your own drugs with you, for example asthmatics. Please ensure that you have sufficient, clearly labelled (in case you need a repeat prescription), properly packed of your own drugs- to keep you going. Tell Joan or David what you are using or IF YOU HAVE A DRUG ALLERGY, so that a note can be made in case of emergencies.

For those who have not been before, we are provided with quite a selection of painkillers and antibiotics each year along with how to use them and a list of any side effects and contra indications. We will also tell you what drugs you shouldn't mix. You are dosing yourself essentially and there's unlikely to be someone there to be a doctor, so be careful and sensible. Most people rarely touch the drugs at all. There will be plasters, bandages, good old fashioned Iodine and the like, something for feeling sick, curing indigestion, salt tablets, and anti-diarrhoea tablets too.

3) Taking Drugs.
Just briefly - do monitor the drugs that you take by reference to time taken, volume, and the exact name, so we know if something goes wrong.

4) The nasty bit--JABS
All sorts of nasty bugs will try to get you. Make sure that your childhood immunisations are up to date. You can see David to make appointments for these AND YOU ARE VERY STRONGLY RECOMMENDED TO DO SO. Prof. Warrell gives the following: Do's; Check Polio, Tetanus, your teeth ( ask Joan if this seems a bit odd!), and get the New Hepatitis A vaccine. This last one is available instead of the old Gamma-globulin goo, it is better because it lasts more than a year (possibly up to ten) and is more effective anyway. However it costs £40 per go (two shots so get along to your GP soon) and you will have to say firmly that you have an "Exceptional need" in order to get it. You do have to get it from a GP. Also get a blood-type check. If you don't know what yours is offer to give blood( at the B T S in the JR2) and they'll do it then! Don't; worry about rabies, typhoid, or Hepatitis B. O.K that's the end of the sermon. So far there have been no great traumas and none are expected. If you're worried about any of our arrangement come and speak to Joan because she's very nice.
love and whopping great gooey slobbery kisses, the committee.

Ireland Easter '92

Two carloads of OUCC made it to the bogs of the Burren, County Clare, for a week at Easter. Team 1 - Sherry, Mark, Fenella and Chris experienced the roadworks of South Wales on a Saturday morning, and screeched into the ferry terminal
three minutes before the ferry was due to leave. Team "Tetra Turd" - consisting of Steve, Michelle and Graham, made it to Doolin at midnight the next day, getting a key to the locked hostel from an alleged drunk just as he was being whisked off to a rave. The hostel contained offensive notices, of the "no Alcohol" etc variety. It also contained toothpaste  squirting  louts  and  French schoolchildren. So we vacated, moving first to a brown cottage on a hill nearby, and then onto a white peat burning cottage for the last two days.

The Cambridge were also in Doolin in large numbers, and sightings of Imperial and the Craven were made as well. We did quite a bit of caving, of the relaxed variety. The first trip was a traverse from St Catherine's I to Fisherstreet Pot - a fine stomping streamway, with the occasional wet bedding plane for those who preferred that sort of thing. Cullaun I was one long vadose passage of no interest other than the quantities of gear lying in the bottom of the stream - two new jammers and a flexible friend. Dave Horsley selflessly jacked when the going got low and wet, kindly leaving the gear for others to find. I forgot to say that Dave managed to find us from our detailed directions left with the Cambridge "Dave - we are staying in a brown cottage".

Pollnagollum - Pouleva (Gunman's) was a superb through trip that would have been packed had it been in Britain. As it was in Ireland it was empty. After abbing down the 60 ft entrance pitch, we all sat around with admiration as Graham immersed himself up to his nostrils in a flat out crawl filled with a stream. After watching this we turned round and walked into a large, dry passage that led onto the rest of the cave, which Graham lead us through with ease. The last decent trip we did was the Coolagh River Cave. After failing to frighten ourselves out of the trip by reading stories of people trapped by floods, it was about time to do the trip. Steve enjoyed walking through deep pools of water, up to his neck if possible. Graham & I preferred to get gripped on a high level traverse on chert ledges. After waiting for Steve to finish with his water fetish, the party found a different route to exit by. The only other cave that was done was Cullaun II, which was so easy it was almost embarrassing. Glare came over to visit with young Matthew for a few days. He seemed to enjoy being with cavers, except perhaps for the visit to St Brendan's Well, which Steve wanted to eye up as a potential dive site. This was rather like Keld Head, except instead of being filled with water it was filled with gravel. We had planned to go down Pol an Ionian, the cave with the longest stal in the world, or so it was claimed. Unfortunately the farmer filled up the entrance with concrete before we got around to doing it.

So that, apart from a day's horseriding, was Ireland '92. On the way back to the ferry Steve's bald tyre blew up. He had already pranged another tyre on the corner of the brown cottage, so we all had a jolly time driving and hitching around trying to find each other, and spare tyres for a Volvo on a Sunday evening. It was done, and we got the ferry back to England, arriving in Oxford at 5 in the morning.
Chris Densham

OFD with the Poles

This was a trip that didn't happen, For reasons too complex for my simple mind, the "'92 Poles" had set off on their quasi-motorised homeward struggle before the much organised Wales trip in April arrived. Never mind, I had psyched myself up to going on it, so I went (jet-lag or no).  Martin Hicks, our OFD1 leader and long-suffering SWCC mole, arrived with team Urs, Mike and Jim long before me at Penwilly (or whatever its called) on Saturday morning (well, their car was faster), and stared across the car park watching for the (other) yellow van expectantly. I did finally arrive. Our OFD1 guide, long arranged apparently, didn't, Martin had taken the sensible precaution of n trusting his (or, even more sensibly, any of our) route finding skills in the maze of lower OFD, and had arranged for the infamous and prominent SWCC member, Fluffy-top, to guide us. Fluffytop had gone rock-spotting, and was not so prominent.  Furthermore, there was no key. Impending fuck-up turned into a pub trip, and by the time pints had turned frowns into smiles and we returned all seemed to have been solved. Both key and Fluffy-top had returned.  However, Fluffy-top had changed his mind, and didn't feel like caving, let alone doing OFD1.  Nails were bitten, teeth grinded, and increasingly dodgy solutions were suggested. In the end, Tim copied the entire OFD survey on the back of a cheque, and we set off. Our first wrong turning was at the farmhouse gate 10 metres from the road below OFD1 entrance. But eventually we made it to the, cave, and pounded our way to boulder chamber when Hicks memory gave way to Guilford mapreading. Through the choke, then a few detours and then with cocky success to the letterbox. Meanwhile, we bumped into Fluffy-top out for his particularly non-OFD bit of not-caving. Perhaps he has a twin. The bit beyond the letterbox was a different story: its a place we now all know rather well. Nigh on an hour we spent circling, climbing over each other, exchanging theories about where we had gone wrong, and recognising ways on that were merely familiar from errors of a few minutes previous. First Martin was blamed, the Tim, then Fluffy-top, then even the survey (and, indirectly, the SWCC: any excuse...).  But we did escape eventually, and ploughed on down to the stream and an exhilarating trip, through Marble showers, several further wrong turnings, up and out. Thanks, Martin, for all the bother.
Tim Guilford