Depth through thought

OUCC News 10th March 1993

Volume 3, number 8

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More vodka-filled room talk about the "members for money" campaign prompted another suggestion. Rather than attempting to "fix" our membership, why not approach the Clubs Committee itself, put our position, and ask then what they think we should do?

Such enthusiasm was generated by the Yorks. trip last week end that I received a spate of articles. So, a comparative review of events follows below. Well, it makes a change from endless Carno bullshit. This week also sees the start of "hut reviews": if anyone wants to write a review of any other huts, please do.


This Saturday is the club meal. Details from Katya or Steve.

Next Wednesday is a speaker meeting in St. Hugh's Graduate centre: George McGavin on Caves of Thailand. Please be there in time for 9pm start: he has to get home afterwards.

Caving news

Wibbling Bimbling Bumbling and Frolicking in Easegill Caverns

Picking up Harvey and Richard on route we arrived at Bull Pot Farm at midnight to find the party in full swing, so in we jumped. A beautiful if bleary dawn gave way to a morning of indecision so we didn't get underground till noon. Richard, Rob, Chris and myself slithered into Pool Sink with lots of rope and proceeded rapidly to the fourth pitch and then got all confused and bumbly, a little time later and we were all down and ready to romp. We wibbled down to Holbeck Junction, then along to the upper series, stooping to chat with various groups scurrying around the upper series. We did more wibbling along to Stake Pot then blobbed down to the main drain and sump, returning via the Minaret choke we met the derigging party as they were heading out. Urs, Sean, Harvey and Helen continued to derig while we scooted off to get dinner ready and drink some beer and wine. Once everyone had safely returned and eaten, Sean and Urs set about retrieving Tony, who on the clubs non-YSS Dales weekend had decided to go down Pen-Y-Ghent Pot with some ULSA chappies he didn't know (However, angels tell me that it was not an altogether unsuccessful trip, explorationwise. I'm sure we'll be hearing more soon...Ed.)

Sunday, Time for frollicking and bumbling. Team Frollick Jim, Tony, Chris, Rob, Richard. A speedy trip into County Pot. Splashed upstream, and on up to the assembly room and on to Limerick Junction, After pottering around and failing to find the Top Sink party (see below) we headed back downstream to Easter Grotto and through into Gypsum Caverns where I had a frolic. Quickly exited via Platypus Junction. Team Bumble Paul, Urs, Harvey, Sean. Set off for Top Sink and found it, headed down to Limerick Junction then Up Limerick Passage WRONG. A couple of guy's from Red Rose pointed them in the right direction and limped after them, they were out a couple of hours before PaulTours had finished the comprehensive spin-out through Easter Grotto and Eureka Junction and Confusion Corner. A fun weekend for everyone with 1st SRT trips for Helen and Rob.
Jim Rimblebimble

One red van-full

...of slightly beery cavers turned up at the Red Rose hut for a weekend of frolicking in Easegill. Self sufficient in booze if not entirely in food, a few more bevvies were required before the mega claustrophobia of the Dorm shared with several hundred from Notts Poly. "Bloody Oxford -you've turned up the wrong weekend!" came the cry from the RRCPC. Severe brain damage from oxygen starvation failed to dampen enthusiasm to get underground. Jim did a fine job as a tour guide for the rest of us Easegill incompetents. He, me Richard & Rob headed down Pool Sink & got to the Lancs sump, getting more or less from one end of the system to the other. Only one mega-faff over the fourth pitch - but the SRT was probably useful practice. Urs, Sean, Helen & Harvey came down later after a shopping trip, nearly managing to avoid de-tackling with a failed bid to get out first. The prospect of such pleasant caving had proved too much for Tony so he skived off to join ULSA for some squalor & discomfort in Penyghent. Paul B eventually turned up on Saturday night - so now we had two acknowledged route finders for Easegill. Most of the Red Rose headed off to the Hill Inn so we all sat around the fire getting quietly drunk, the hut Hi Fi blaring, with the few remaining RR members demonstrating alarming woodchopping techniques.

Sunday, Jim led a trip doing County-County, and Paul led from Top Sink-County. Us on the County trip went up as close to Top Sink as could be navigated, then seeing no sign of the others generally furtled and gambolled around the Easter Grotto and bits & pieces in County before exiting. Rather curious about what had happened to team Top Sink, a couple of guys coming out of County put our minds at rest: "We saw your lot sitting on a rock at Limerick junction, so we told them which way to get to County. Then they overtook us & headed off the wrong way!" This is all a bit rotten on Paul actually, since he hadn't been to Easegill for five years. When the Top Sinkers eventually found their way out, we blasted back to Oxford for 2am. Anyway, I've seen lots of Easegill now & it's dead nice caving. Unless I get any objections, I'll make sure we get another trip there in the next year.
Chris Densham (to whom, suggestions for future trips)

Harvey's account

I was picked up from the restaurant next to where I work. As we set off I was offered a beer by the person next to me. When I discovered that he was sitting next to a great big case I accepted. He was replacing the empties in the box so that they could be recycled, and as the journey wore on we began to get worried about the tragic moment when no full bottle could be found amongst the empty ones. We all did a calculation to work out how many miles we were doing to the gallon, and what the effect of traffic jams would be on our efficiency. We didn't run out however, and what Chris hadn't let on was that there were still three more similar cases packed away! On arrival the Red Rose club decided to light a fire for us and someone went outside to find some assorted bits of tree. We were then treated to the spectacle of the resident mad axe-man at work upon the stone floor of the members' room with a blunt axe. Cringe as the axe slides off the top of the meter long branch he is trying to cut into sticks and scrapes down the side that wasn't being held by his hand. I sat safely behind someone else and waited for something to go wrong. Fortunately the accident was minor. One particularly loud thud was immediately followed by a yelp of pain from someone the other side of the room. A flying lump of wood had of course hit him but fortunately it was only his ankle.

Went to bed very late. I had reserved myself a space against one wall which was lucky because there wasn't an inch of exposed bunk showing. There was an empty sleeping bag next to me which just fitted in the gap between myself and the next body. I dreaded the moment when someone tried to get into it. I decided that the best policy was to put in my ear plugs and try and ignore everything. This was so successful that I also managed to ignore everyone getting up and was eventually woken by a member of my club jumping on me.

Anyway, Saturday's caving trip went very well and was most enjoyable. We even had the luxury of coming back to indoor changing rooms instead of the usual lay-by. Sunday's trip was more interesting. It was going to be a reasonably quick one so that we would be ready to leave for home at a reasonable time. However, the two members of our party who thought that they new the way decided that actually they didn't remember it quite as well as they thought. "I'm sure the traverses can't have been this difficult," says Urs who has been caving for quite some years, "because the time when I came here before was my second ever novice trip and I wouldn't have been able to manage." Oh dear. Suffice it to say that we saw all sorts of interesting bits of the cave which we might have missed if we'd done the originally intended route. The draw back was that we were rather late by the time we reached a bit of the cave which someone remembered, and the other three members of the party who are all very fit and well practised cavers began moving with much haste. I decided not to. This followed my discovery that I was unable to stand up anymore without the aid of a rock to lean on, and the only muscles in my body which still seemed capable of functioning were in my eye lids. However, things improved when I took apart my carbide lamp, which had been refusing to stay lit for more than about 4 seconds for most of the trip, and persuaded it to give me some light, and with the help of a marathon bar I managed to lug myself up the ladders and out of the cave.

As the van rattled and chinked its way home like a bottle bank on wheels it occurred to me that the most remarkable thing about the weekend was that we were returning with umpteen FULL bottles of beer and an unopened bottle of Vodka (don't worry, it's been seen to...Ed)
Harvey Smith

Hut Review

Bull Pot Farm, Casterton Fell

With caves on your doorstep and in a beautiful isolated moorland location the RRCPC cottage is another possible venue for Dales weekends. On the down side its a long way to Bernies, or any pub, but the locals are friendly and helpful. Although in a quiet spot this is not the hut for a quiet weekend, the members of RRCPC that we met partied late into the night, and as one of the speakers for the maximum distortion sound system is directly below a hole in the floor of the visitors bunk room, an early night might be a problem. There are changing rooms, showers, a very basic visitors kitchen (Bring everything you need) and a very big cave, £2 a night PBAB.
Jim Ramsden

YSS membership

The YSS membership year is just starting, so if you're thinking of joining, now is a good time. Membership costs £12 and gives you £1.50 per night off the cost of staying, so it's worth joining if you plan to spend at least 8 nights there. You also get their monthly newsletter with exciting tales of ... walks up Ingleborough (actually bits of it are often quite entertaining).
Gavin Lowe


Despite an early interruption by the Parky, we lost 3:2 to the Mountaineers. I suspect the reason was that we had too much fun. Thanks to everyone for turning up: shall we do it again?