Depth through thought

OUCC News 4th November 1992

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A lot of people don't seem to be very happy at the moment. Mike is upset about the fiver everyone owes him, Tim is upset about club gear, Joan is upset about Tim's language when he gets upset about gear, Lots of people are upset about the Van's first aid kit, and poor David has taken it on himself to feel upset about everyone feeling upset. So, does OUCC do anything except get upset? Well lots actually. Read for yourself about the progress of exploration in Daren, successful novice trips, and bounding plans for Spain 1993. Soon, perhaps, we'll all be too busy caving to find time to winge. Anyway, what's wrong with a good winge?

Letter to the Editor

Sir, could I ask for some slightly more restrained language in the gear-booking-out-book in the hut? There's some anonymous comment there which is dreadfully out of order. It put a nasty burden of guilt on people who had worked quite hard to sort the ropes but temporarily ran out of time. Many thanks,
Joan Arthur

In reply to Joan Arthur.
Madam, Tim apologises to all those who helped sort out, clean and measure the ropes (including himself) for the anonymous comment, "why are there no fucking ropes in the hut?", that he wrote in the hut book on a recent Saturday. Perhaps foolishly, he had assumed that OUCC gear might be accessible to OUCC members for going caving. Luckily, he is also a member of MNRC and was able to borrow MNRC ropes instead, and consequently much fun was had down Swildon's and Eastwater two weekends ago. He promises not to use offensive words like "why" or "rope" in the hut book again.
Tim Guilford

Expedition Finances

David doesn't frown at those people who want to know what is happening to the 1992 expedition finances. In fact he quite sympathises. In fact he is going to do something about it. He has not had time this week, so he craves your patience and understanding and asks you to wait until next week, when a full explanation will be made, either in DTT or in a spoken report at the TGM (let him know which you would prefer). However in the mean time he asks that you do not talk about it too much, because it just makes people unhappy. So please be patient and wait until next week.

New Year Meet

Those who have read their termcards (if you've not got one please let me know) will have noticed a small foot note for a trip to Yorkshire over the New Year, The dates are 28th Dec to 4th Jan and a permit for Notts Pot is included. Accommodation has already been arranged with YSS but in order to sort out who sleeps where I need a some sort of idea as to how many people are likely to turn up. Therefore, I would grateful if people could give me some idea as to weather they are likely to attend. No firm commitment is required I just need a rough idea as to how many people are likely to be there.


The Daren digs: Gavin's update

On Sunday 25th Urs and I went down Daren Cilau to carry on with the dig there. On the previous trip, I had dug through a blockage to find about 6m of passage, ending at a too-tight rift (see DTT 21st October 1992). The aim of this trip was to widen the rift by hammering. This we did, until eventually Urs was able to squeeze through. I was unable to get through until Tony and Jim turned up and gave me a helpful push. This is a very awkward squeeze: it's a sort of U-bend, and on the way up, your legs get caught; it can be made easier by removing wellies and knee-pads. Beyond the squeeze we found about  m of passage to a junction with a very small cross rift. Ahead was a too-small hole at floor level, but this could be bypassed by climbing up 3m, and then back down a pot on the other side. Behind, was the small hole communicating with the previous bit of passage. Ahead was choked with sand, apart from a tiny rift off to the left. However, a very strong draught blew through the communicating hole, so we resolved to return.

We were back on Sunday 1st, along with Chris and Tony. Tony went immediately to the other dig, at the end of Eglwys Passage. Chris tried the cross rift, but decided it really was too tight, and so left to help Tony. On the way, he established an oral connection between the cross rift and known passage, so it's not worth digging this. Meanwhile, Urs and I dug open the communicating hole to enable spoil to be passed back through it, and, eventually, for people to also get through it, and then started digging at the bottom of the pot. We made quite good progress, reaching a depth of about 1m. At the bottom is a rock arch leading forward; it's possible to stick a crow bar through this and feel that the roof rises ahead; this may just be an airbell, but it does seem fairly hopeful. We intend to return soon to dig open the arch, and see what's on the other side.

The Daren Digs: Chris' Story

On Sunday Gavin, Tony, Urs and I drove through the spectacular Autumn colours on the way to Daren. Then everything suddenly went grey as we set off for Eglwys(?) passage. Tony continued to the end of Eglwys to work on the dig there, while the rest of us headed through the newly pushed tight rift to the dig that had been found last weekend. Urs looked like a poverty stricken garage mechanic, wearing tattered overalls and carrying a cheap plastic tool tray. I've never had to take wellies and kneepads off to get through a squeeze before. Interesting. After negotiating ourselves plus wellies etc through the rift, Gavin & Urs set about digging the end, while I wormed my way feet first into the top of a rift on the right. Failing to get all of even my skinny bum into it, I decided to go off & help Tony with his dig instead. On the way, I found the rift connected with Eglwys a little further on, by means of a vocal connection with Urs & Gavin. Tony had opened up the dig so it was pretty comfy to work in - it was definitely draughting, but exactly where from was not obvious. Over a few hours we pulled out 20-30 grill pans of infill, and undermined a large boulder which should come out without to much difficulty. Since the others were only 5 minutes away, whoever was bored/cold could pop off to collect chocolate, joss-sticks etc from them. A pleasant dry digging day in the Perfumed Garden of the Temple of Strange Pleasures(?) Urs & Gavin came to collect us after finishing in their dig, so off we went. I had stuffed so much chocolate that I felt pukey all the way out. We had to keep waiting behind a slow party coming out through the crawl, so I had plenty of opportunity to lie down, possibly averting a minor ecological disaster in the crawl.

Novice trip

Swildon's hole 26th October

The trips this weekend were well subscribed and most people seemed to have a good time. On Saturday we had our first return, Ed, who came back with all his friends and relations. Impressed by this enthusiasm we positively flew down to Mendip with Scan at the wheel, arrived at the Hunter's at 11.40 and were out by 12.10. It took a bit longer to get in and out of the cave, but we were all safely home by 9.30.

Sunday dawned later than usual because we were all allowed an extra hour in bed courtesy of HMG. Sam, however, seems to have mistaken this as allowing an extra two hours in bed, because he had not arrived at the hut by the time we were ready to leave. We were off even more efficiently than on Saturday, so efficiently in fact that we left behind the bag full of tackle for rigging the 20, and took with us only a ladder and a rope. (Before you say that this is sufficient, think about how you would rig the pitch with just one ladder and one rope. Mark rescued us with the devious use of several crabs, but we were still a little short of gear.) The cave was quite wet on the way in, and while we were down there the water level rose quite noticeably. While we were down there, too, some miserable snivelling toerag pinched our lifelining rope from the top of the pitch. We were out so early from this trip that the Bath pizza shop was not open, and we came straight home again.


Monaghan Frowns

David frowns upon the piece (or pieces) of slightly humanoid detritus that pinched our rope from the top of the pitch in Swildon's.

Jim is 10

While paddling up Bonsai Streamway on Sunday afternoon I realised that as near as damn it was my tenth anniversary caving trip (as a proper University caver,  (23 Oct 1982 Magnetometer Pot)). I would like to extend warm thanks to Urs, Gavin and especially Tony for a great trip. Things did degenerate a little later in the day when I had to push Tony into a less than body size squeeze, pull him out again, push him in another way then pull Gavin out feet first. So it goes.

Rope markings

5m- Yellow: 10m- Blue: 40m-Red: 100m- Black

Weakly Nutter

Top of the Pots Spain 1993

Right, a copy of next year's expedition prospectus has fallen into my hands, and a jolly exciting thing it looks too. It has an interesting flavour of DiscJockey about it with various caves coming in as follows. Right at number one this year, after only one previous year at number two, comes, yes you've got it, pop-pickers' 8/11.  Pozu del Julagua, storming to the top there, by The Caving Cavers. Finally on its way out, guys and gals, after 5 years at the top the golden-disc of the cave world, that nearly record-breaking 2/7. Now at number two, and on its way down (!?!), by The Accountants. And at number 3, just waiting in the wings, 9/4 - by A Ridge Too Far. At number four, still hanging on in there, 53/5, still with a chance to make it to number one. By Piranha and the Odd Stals. At number five, and falling fast, around the ears if nowhere else, 66/5, by the Hurtling Boulders. And that's this year's line-up for Top of the Pots. Have fun!
Weakly Nutter