Depth through thought

OUCC News 11th October 1995

Volume 5, Number 18

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As part of OUCC's commitment to international speleology, we've decided to send a representative to the Oviedo conference this year. Well, this Friday in fact. Everyone at the Spanish end seems very keen, and the timing is crucial because of important changes occurring in the administration of the national parks in Spain, and because of the stepping-down of Juan Jose (our man in Oviedo). Our representative has been given the prime spot in the main lecture theatre on Saturday afternoon, and since he's never done this sort of thing before he has enough to think about without having to worry about how he's going to pay for the flight. He also has no money anyway. So, this is a plea for all you rich bastards to cough up something towards the trip. We need £200 if possible. So far, we've raised £50 from donations, and £50 from the Spanish. The BCRA told us to "unclip our cowstails above a hundred metre pitch", so its up to you. If you're prepared to give £5 or £10 towards the trip, it will be great, and you can sleep easy in the knowledge that you've helped secure OUCC's next 30 years of exploration in the Picos. Oh, the representative is James Hooper, so enthusiasm is one thing we get free.

Thanks to everyone who set up and staffed the Freshers' Fair stands last week. It was a cracking stall, and no one wants to play tiddlywinks anymore.

Next two weeks I will be flying over the Alps (or in a French hospital with two broken legs - one mine one Jenny's after a mid air collision), so DTT will be edited by a guest editor. It could be a dream, it could be a fiasco. But whatever, make life easy by sending in things with lots of time to spare (or at least by sending things in at all).
Same procedure : e-mail to


Its that time of year again. The Treasurer has a tough enough job already, so don't wait for her to have to come and hassle you: just pop that cheque in her hand. £25 for returning members. £10 for country members. Bargain. Don't forget you can pay by standing order if you just want to let it all happen without you....

The Berger 1996

Anyone who wants to come on Berger trip next year should contact myself (Paul Cooper) or Richard Gregson or Graham Naylor. I can be emailed at or phoned on 0145 785 3000 (home).

Dates of the booking are 1-10 July 1996. Own transport arrangements. Accommodation in Gite in the valley and tents at the roadhead. Lots else to do locally (eg climbing, mountain biking, other caves, canyoning etc ). Does anyone have an inflatable boat? (not one from their last summer hols though!).
Paul Cooper

A Battered Wife's Tale

I wasn't quite with it last week when Dave organised me into a trip to the West End Series in Eastwater. He asked me to charge lights, arrange a callout and see if anyone else wanted to come along too. I forgot all three. Two of these could be remedied at the last minute which meant that we could still go, but all that gear - 5 ladders and 4 ropes - had to be carried between the two of us. Blimey. I gave Dave 3 of the ladders. "You're a bloke", I said.

I remember being in Eastwater once before and hauling a novice through the upper traverse. But as we made our way down the cave, I was surprised at how much was familiar. With the novice we had gone down beyond Lolly pot and a nasty squeeze in the streamway as far as the Blackwall tunnel. No wonder she was knackered on the way out. After a brief dunk in a puddle, which Dave particularly enjoyed because of the matching holes \in the crotch of his oversuit, we slithered slowly up muddy tubes. Much much better on the way back. Then it was just like water chutes at the swimming pool. Lie down and slide.

One more obstacle - a frayed ladder followed by a rope climb back down. The rope was tied directly to the ladder and the rope thrown down one side and the ladder down the other. Mmm.

This is very much a place for the connoisseur. A so-called cricket ball shaped stal and some cave pearl awaited us at the very end of the cave. The round stal is very strange because it must have formed from a blocked straw, fallen off and stuck in the mud, and then been calcited in place.

Dave wants more volunteers to go with him back to the West End series. I don't think it will be me. I wore out my bracing muscles and nearly needed hauling along the upper traverse myself. And I thought I'd been caving long enough not to bruise any more. But in fairness to Dave, it was a trip I've been wanting to do for a while and a good one.
Pauline Rigby