Depth through thought

OUCC News 13th January 1993

Volume 3, number 1

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Happy new year everyone, and a fine one I had up in Yorkshire in an enjoyably overcrowded YSS. Lots of excellent trips, and several lousy ones, dulled memories of the beautiful but sharp cold this year. With any luck you'll be hearing about some of them over the next few issues (hint to would be writers...). To start volume 3 of DTT, reports on Black Shiver, Bruntscar, and Marble Sink are included below. Congratulations to Tony and his support teams for pushing Brown Hill another 75 metres into what sounds like larger passage. Well, that is, Tony described it as "unable to see the walls..." Not quite sure whether that means it was large, full of shit, or whether he had his face pressed into the silt or his eyes closed perhaps. Hope we'll be hearing about it soon.


Now available, 1992 expedition surveys. 8/11, Al size, £2.00. 2/7 A0 size, £4.00. If you want copies, please tell Sean this evening, and he will copy them for you.

New Year Trips

Black Shiver

No way is there going to be portering team for tomorrow. Celebrating Tony's push in Brown Hill, the talk turns to a cave for New Year's day. "I've never done Black Shiver", I muse into my pint... "I have", says Tony, "it's very good."

Next morning the prospect of going down a grade V pot seems less than enticing. I bumble about, failing to find ropes of any sort of useful length. Eventually we are packed, Steve Phipps has been recruited at the last minute and the trog up from the Hill Inn soon warms us up. We admire Mere Gill. I've always regarded this as a bit of a disappointment; before I ever saw it, I had visions of a vast lake (no not you, Clive) a shining blue water at the bottom of a vast version of Hull Pot. The reality of an evil slot half full of water was a sad blow.

The entrance crawl quickly opened out into a fine passage, and some classic nostalgic caving - short ladders with a refreshing spray of water, clean-washed rock and fine passage shapes. After the horrors of Roaring Hole, Hammerdale Dub is a breeze, and then a short drop to a platform. The BLACK RIFT is before us. No echo. Doesn't look like much. "Man with the knowledge" Seddon is soon away, Steve follows. Then a steady drop, not very far to the very substantial rock bridge, and a perfect hang (thanks Tony) for the last bit. Completely amazing! Sir Isaac Newton's Cosmic Liftshaft down and down and DOWN to an impressive boulder floor.

Not far to the sump, down some knobbly crawls and a great splashy last pitch. This cave has CLASS. Should I be glad I've saved it till now, or sorry I haven't done it earlier ? Put this one on your tick lists - a "*** trip.
Steve R


...a cave not to go down when you don't want to go caving

It was New Years Eve and the weather was as good as could be expected for the time of year shit!. There was one place Team Z (Sherry, Mark and Michael) had decided that they definitely didn't want to go and that was the bottom of Brown Hill pot. Some time in the past whilst thumbing through copies of "Great Walk in the Dark", as on does whilst trying to put off the inevitable- going caving, it had been noticed that there was a Grade III cave 2880ft in length with no technical difficulties which none of us had gone down (it was also opposite the Hill Inn!). Bruntscar Cave.

The entrance sounded promising - a large passage which you gained access to by walking through a barn. We were all set! Just two cups of tea in Bernie's and we might consider going under ground. We located the entrance - the barn had long since fallen down, the house to which it was attached gave the impression it might not be long in following. The entrance was as good as promised. A large walking passage, Alas from there on it [bit missing here from original document]

Finally it was squeezing at floor level over cobbles, we were only about 400m in at the most. Sherry and Michelle were somewhere behind me and it wasn't getting any better. The cave had established its character, could I really face another 600m of this?, there was only one thing for it - climb up into the roof and put out my light hope that they'd go by not noticing me, then I could quickly crawl away, I'd hate to spoil their fun on account of them thinking that they had to escort me out of the cave. They did notice me and both felt that they should help me out of the cave. We managed to get out just in time to miss last orders in the Hill Inn. During the hour under ground I managed to twist my neck and Sherry managed to cut open both of her knees. We all agreed that Bruntscar cave should be kept in mind for novices to be sent to master the arts of walking, stooping and crawling in complete safety (whilst being instructed from the comfort of the Hill Inn)
Mark B.

Marble Sink

Yes, Richard (Barnes), Jenny, Gavin, and I wandered over the allotment a bit on the way out in the dark, but otherwise this was a fine trip down Marble Sink - an excellent Grade 5 with sustained squeezy interest. I had my first ever epic here sometime ago, trying to grapple a tacklebag out of the first pitch-head. I remember trying it three times once head first, and was unable to pull the bag up behind me; then pushing the bag in in front of me, but I couldn't get off the pitch because there was a bag in the way; and, finally, head first on my back, pulling the bag over with my feet. So, I was a little apprehensive. The trip down was enthralling, just as I remembered it. Nice climbs with awkward bits (bastard hole, worse on the way out); nice crawls with awkward bits; awkward bit where you sky dive into a leg jam; more awkward bits. We even took time to pull rocks out of the edge of a boulder choke at the bottom (honest, just a few more inches, and we'd have broken through). And whilst the others were rigging up to go out I went for a grovel in what is described a low crawl in liquid mud ending in impenetrable boulder chokes beyond two large decorated chambers, but was in fact a low crawl in liquid mud that may have ended in wonderland, but I couldn't face it and turned round (well, backed out) half way.

Meanwhile, we grunted back up the pitches, and Gavin generously offered me the privilege of derigging. Everything went like clockwork - antique clockwork perhaps, but nevertheless without incident. Oh, except that Jenny kicked a boulder down one of the pitches onto my wrist (bit loose, the last pitch). Moral of the story, dent get underneath falling boulders. Then of course came the final pitch. Funny how you always get worked up about the site of a previous epic. Richard, who had done brilliantly throughout, suddenly became anxious as we both heard the rumbling sound of a flash flood coming down the constricted entrance crawl. I scampered, leaving Richard to plug the pitch-head. But it was only Gavin coming back to fetch more tackle. When it was finally my turn for the pitch, I had no problems, but learnt resoundingly that the key to the problem is to do it none of the ways I tried last time. The key is to avoid tackle bags altogether, and carry the ropes loose. And then the friendly sound of a rushing flashgavin again, coming to fetch my tackle too! Brilliant, and only 6 hours or so (plus faff time in the boulder chokes at the bottom).


From the Caver's digest:

"The ballad of Floyd Collins" (Trad.)

Come all of you young people and listen to me tell 
The story of Floyd Collins, a lad we all knew well.  
His face was young and handsome, his soul was true and brave. 
His body now lies sleeping in a lonely sandstone cave. 

The rescue party gathered. They worked both night and day 
To move the mighty barrier that stood within their way. 
"To save, to save Floyd Collins," this was their battle cry. 
"We'll never, no we'll never let Floyd Collins die." 

"Oh, father don't be fearful. Oh, mother don't be sad. 
I'11 tell, you all my troubles and an awful dream I had. 
I dreamed I was a prisoner, my life they could not save. 
Oh, must I die a prisoner within this sandstone cave?" 

Next morning when the sun rose, it was a clouded sky. 
The rescuers were saying, "We'll save him by and by." 
But, oh, how sad the story, his life they could not save. 
His body now lies sleeping in a lonely sandstone cave. 

Young people all take warning from Floyd Collins' fate 
And get right with your Maker before it's too late. 
It may not be sand cave in which you find your tomb, 
But at the bar of judgement where each must meet his doom.

(Sandstone !!??)

Altitude Through Thought

Sick of grovelling under the Dales? There is an alternative. Floating gently over the Dales! While in the Wharfedale recently I picked up some details of ballooning. It all looks great fun.

The only problem is the price, approx. 100 quid for an hour's flying plus another couple of hours phafing about and retrieval.

If anybody wants more details I've got a couple of brochures.
Jim, your inventive meets sec.