Depth through thought

OUCC News 18th October 1995

Volume 5, Number 19

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Well, I thought I'd offer a drink to the first person to guess who this week's mystery guest editor is, but I realised that this is not very challenging. So I'll offer a drink to the last person to guess instead. If you think that's you then see me afterwards.

We raised the full amount for sending James to the conference in Oviedo. In fact, such was the generosity of OUCC that we couldn't accept all the donations because our target had been reached. Thank you to everybody who contributed. James said we took the conference by storm, and will be reporting in DTT next week.

Meets Sec

The first club weekend of the year will take place on the weekend of 28-29 October. The WSG cottage has been booked, which is always good for a fun evening and we have permits for Aggy, Craig, and (probably) OFD so it should be a cracker for everyone. Let James know if you'll be going, either tonight or next Wednesday.
James "the rambling boy of pleasure" Hooper

Climbing sessions at the new(ish) Oxford Brookes Climbing wall am happening on a fairly regular basis on Monday nights (at about 8pm). I went for the first time a fortnight ago and found it excellent (even though I'm not really a climbing fan). On a lot of the wall there are soft mats on the floor, so ropes aren't necessary. This means you can boulder around and get totally knackered or by out those outrageous moves you'd never even considered before. The lead wall has about 20 harder routes ranging from VS-E6+ (i.e. difficult for me -> difficult for everyone in this country). The Sports centre has a cheap bar for afterwards, that'll serve a gorgeous pint of Murphy's. If you're interested speak to Maarten, Pauline, Chris D., or in fact anyone who's been before.
James "I'm better in the dark" Hooper

Interested in pushing yourself to your physical limit? Working out harder than ever before? Developing bulging biceps??? Well you're reading the wrong news-sheet. Our weight training sessions have stereo sound, lack of seriousness and are generally much more fun. Meet at the Porter's Lodge of Univ. at 7pm on Wednesdays (after Star Trek if you're sad like me) if your interested. Most of the time I do something, getting rid of a bit of midweek blues, but what you do is up to you. It's worth given it a go. Really.
James "Pump up the Volume" Hooper

Thanks to all who lent caving gear last weekend. More will be needed to be borrowed over the next few weeks, so good people please Leave furries etc. in CLEARLY LABELLED bags in the hut? Thanks.
James "getting bored of fuzzy eyebrows' Hooper

Expedition Committee

Just so you know, we are:

El Jefe-Pauline
Treasurer- Anita
Mornflakes officer - Nobby
Gear Freak - John
Wire Fronts - Chris V.
Medical- Tim

A Jolly Trip in Draenen

On Saturday morning, Pauline, Anita and Chris, sea dogs the lot of us, set off to plunder the treasures of Draenen with Old Nig Rogers, the infamous pirate captain and his first mate Stuart France. We cruised down the entrance series, and then it was time to lash our first bit of booty to a scaffolding pole: "NO CLIMBING OF SCAFFOLDING BY ORDER THE DEAN".

As soon as we had we had completed this task, a message came from down below: "There's a rescue on!" One of the Chelsea SS hands had decked themselves, and dislocated a shoulder. We helped with his speedy exit, and kept the casualty amused with tales of multiple dislocated shoulders in Swildon's. Fortunately his shoulder re-located itself on the way out & all was well.

Stuart & I returned from the surface, having retrieved our weapons of destruction that had been used to enlarge the entrance series. We met up with the others, who had gone to look at a dig near the entrance (as it turns out, pirating it ever-so-slightly from the Able Seaman Peter Bolt). Barrel Chested Nig and "I like big Digs" Stuart despatched the sacrificial Oxford crew to assault the boulder blockage. Pauline set-to with a hammer, then discovered that an immense boulder could be made to move slightly: but only enough to squeeze her head into the gap. I noticed that it was only held in place by a jigsaw of boulders, so we heaved most of them out, leaving just one chunky slab in the way. I pushed up this coffin lid from underneath, Pauline held it up so I could chock it in place, and then the Big Boulder could be rocked almost out of the way. I failed to squeeze past it feet first, so Pauline moved in headfirst, after an interesting body squeezing manoeuvre. The boulder wobbled.

Pauline cursed: I worried. But she was through! And she kindly dug me a way through as well. First Mate Stuart then rolled up. We didn't really need to ask where Captain Nig was. Eating his Sandwiches, of course. He eyed up the squeezes and didn't like the look of them, so Anita & he went back to find Nig while Pauline & I went off to see how things went. A flat out crawl led past a small tube on the right, from which came the faint roar of distant water. We carried on upstream, crawling and then walking, past a few gypsum wall decorations. The passage opened up, then doubled back, after a climb up on chossy chert ledges. The now sizeable passage went underneath an aven, then almost closed down: but there could clearly be a way through the boulders beyond. The walls were covered in hundreds of black rings, at the centre of each a dead fly. We felt it was time to head back to the others.

The Oxford hearties were presented with another task: to go to the Nunnery and survey some passage. We conferred briefly, then muttered our decision: Mutiny!

We hadn't got anywhere near our intended destination. But with 100-150m or so in the swag bag, it was hardly a failed voyage. And we were out with lashings of drinking time!
Chris 'Hot & Salty' Densham

Swildon's Hole

As ever at this time of the year, last weekend provided a chance for some of the more adventurous freshers in Oxford to shun Ball Room dancing, ignore their post matriculation hangovers and come down to the Mendips to sample the delights of a day's caving with OUCC.

On Saturday, JC, Chris V. and Fenella took some foreign language students, lucky enough to be considered not in need of jabbering at in Latin as pan of their enrolment to the University, on their first trip. All reports seem to be that it was a good day enjoyed by all.

The next morning a bigger group of us met at the hut. Rather surprisingly it only took forty minutes to attach one each of the right pieces of gear to each Fresher, introduce them all to the art of ladder climbing, and let me pocket their money. So surprising in fact that Anita on cycling round the comer in time to see the van ready to leave was unable to keep upright.

This rash burst of efficiency continued on the journey down, depositing us outside the Hunters' just before opening time. Most of us got a good lunch and a pint in, to fortify us for the trip ahead. Will on the other hand got faggot and peas (what he deserved for dishing up beef lasagne to a vegetarian the night before, I say).

There was a good ratio of leaders to novices so we were able to split into three teams. The water conditions were low, and no-one had any real trouble. Some teams added to the trip down to sump 1, by going along Tratman's Temple as far as the mud sump, and we (Will, Thomas, Rhys, Peter (CUCC) and myself) were tempted by the 3 inches of air where the water oughter be, in going through sump 1, and enjoying the stream as far as sump 2. On the way out Will and I managed to de-rig someone else's ladder and line from the pitch (The rope was almost identical to ours, and it wasn't me who coiled the ladder..., excuse, excuse, excuse). Since I was the last person back to the van, I got the chance to go back down, at least as far as the pitch so that I could collect our gear, and rerig the pitch with the gear belonging to the team on their way out via the long dry route. Fortunately, they were so pleased to hear that their gear hadn't been stolen that they volunteered to get it themselves.

Back at the van I got slightly annoyed since there'd been an early car going straight back and I'd missed it. Four hours of Domain theory are bad enough if you start them at 9pm on Sunday evening never mind at half past midnight. Still I'd have missed out on an excellent pizza in the Horse and Jockey.

Well done to all those who came caving, everyone did very well, and I hope that some at least have enjoyed it enough to come again...
John Pybus