Depth through thought
OUCC News 4th November 1992
|DTT Volumes 1 & 2 index|
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?
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
David frowns upon the piece (or pieces) of slightly humanoid detritus that pinched our
rope from the top of the pitch in Swildon's.
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.
5m- Yellow: 10m- Blue: 40m-Red: 100m- Black
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!