Depth through thought

OUCC News 20th March 1996

Volume 6, Number 8

DTT Volume 6  index

DTT Main Index

OUCC Home Page



After last issue's poem stolen from LUSS, James has written his own original offering below.

Continued digging in the SE of Draenen seems to be bearing fruit. Gavin and Steve have made several metres of progress, and found a draught apparently, at their dig (a place I thought looked completely terminal). Meanwhile, on the same weekend, Tim and Pauline dug through their constriction to enter a series of low, mainly crawling, passage: "Sleepcrawler Series".

Latest C&C

The latest issue of Caves and Caving contains what is, at least to me, a fascinating article on the Genesis of Ogof Draenen. Simms, Farrant and Hunt have spent some 20 trips in the cave looking at various indicators, most telling of which have been flow indicators (tide marks, scalloping, sand bank ripples etc). To summarise, they argue that the drainage has reversed (at least) twice in the cave's history. Gilwern Passage has always drained North, as it most of it does now. But the absence of a stream at the southern end, and its sheer size, indicate that Gilwern once took water from further south. They suggest this came from White Arch area, and that a capture taking the now current main drain flowing south is responsible for the change in direction.

More interesting, though, is the fact that water in Megadrive once flowed south. Of course it no longer flows at all, but the suggestion is that it represents the upstream end of a separate system altogether from Gilwern Passage than may have been captured by the latter to form the collapse at Lamb and Fox chamber (first taking the water north, then south again after the most recent capture by beyond a choke streamway). So, what happened to the old water in Megadrive? Their theory is that it drained to old fossil resurgences at Cwm y Nant, forming passage like Elliptic, the Canyon, and Raiders in a series of captures. What that means of course, is that our persistent efforts in Snowball and beyond are going not into inlet systems, but downstream in a really old part of the system. Going downstream is good, because you should pick up inlets on the way. Perhaps we won't sleepcrawling forever?
Tim Guilford

Gear News

Last Wednesday the club was given a free prototype "Oxford Tacklebag" by Dudley (who proceeded at great length to talk about it as only the Dragonman can). It is a fairly small yellow bag (currently encrusted in thick Mendip mud but soon to return to the hut.) A few points that are obviously "wrong" about it are (i) the carrying handle isn't in the right place (ie. its badly weighted), (ii) its too small, (iii) it is made from cheap PVC, and (iv) the seams are not glued. However these do not matter as it a manufacturer's prototype and these items are easy to change. Basically, Dudley just wants us to use it (and abuse it) as we would a normal tacklebag but noting anything that would make it better. I have already suggested a change that would make the straps easy to replace "in the field." However, the award for rambling on about this sack is already "in the bag."

On a different note, I managed to negotiate the cost of lamp hire down from £30 to £8. Then I spied a range of pitons so bought 4 for the club. These cost about £4.50 each and are now in the hut. I reckon that even if they are used once "at the sharp end" they will be worth it. (Of course they are trivially NOT bolts and clearly should NOT be used as such.)
James "I love sticking spoons on my nose" Hooper.

Virtual Dales?

After Red bolts, and P-hangers.... the next wave of future shock is here! (From "The electronic Telegraph")

"VISITORS to the Yorkshire Dales will be able to see parts of the area without going there once a "virtual reality" system is installed. A network of computers would enable people to experience the area without necessarily walking the hills.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is planning to set up a telecommunications database with public access points throughout the area. Touch-screen facilities would take visitors on a walk up Ingleborough or a flight through the Dales.

"We get some 6.5 million visitors a year and it may be we can ease this pressure a little with people looking from afar. We don't want to discourage anybody coming here, but it might be a help if people knew what to expect. "We have to make use of new technology. It might be possible for geographic studies to be done without travelling to the Dales."
Steve "actually I read the Independent" Roberts

Carno and Swildon's

Martin Farr has redived the Littoral zone sump in Carno and found that it went deep. He doesn't plan to return, though it's still reasonably open and "worth pursuing." The Swildon's - Priddy Green connection, on the other hand, is looking more promising by the day. Anyone dreaming of an easy through trip however is far from the truth. The Priddy Green stuff sounds constricted and awkward. Just the sort of thing "in which OUCC cavers have difficulty controlling themselves."
James "Restrained" Hooper.

Digging in Roaring

Last Sunday week was digging day. I knew it was the right decision as, by 9:30, everyone else had left the WSG to go caving. Not me. Urs, Martin L. and I were drinking tea, looking at surveys and discussing past times and future discoveries. What's more, the sun was shining in Wales. Yes, a walk and a dig was the right option. The 50 minute walk up to Roaring, for those who've never done it, is superb and to be wearing T-shirt and shorts in March was an unexpected bonus. The dig itself is awesome in a completely different way. Huge unsupported boulders levitated above us as we tried to prop them up, barring the way out in the process. Loads of credit are due to Martin, Martin and Gareth for the sheer amount of work that's gone into it. The stream lies tantalizing close beneath the end (that is just the beginning). After about 4 hours of working and singing we'd made a fair deal of progress. Out for a dip in a frog-infested Peat sump that, as Martin said, "Gets you completely clean but covered in Peat." Sunset walk back to the car. A great way to spend a day. You'd better get your "This is a photo of me digging in Roaring before it went big" photo soon though.
James "I like a late start" Hooper.


"Two men look out through the same bars: One sees the mud, the other the stars." Saturday saw JC, CD and me on another trip down Ore's Close. About 18 legs were surveyed and some digging was done, leaving one trip to finish the rest. Unless, that is, a short undropped pitch leads to more finds. The remaining (probably natural) passage to be tied in is BIG and CLEAN, 3' wide and perhaps 30' high. Of interest is that two clay pipe bowls and an old metal chisel were found and brought out to be dated. An enjoyable 10 hour trip. Back for beer in the Hunter's and pre-Dachstein expedition bullshit. See the Survex survey tonight.
James "Sleep Surveying" Hooper.

Poetry Corner

A Deranged Mine, by James Hooper

Minor it is.
It isn't Paradise Lost.
The Mine is its own place and
In itself can make a Heaven of Hell
Or Hell of Heaven.
Error. Is it?
Isn't it? Dyer repost.
My Mine to me a kingdom is.
Ore's Close it isn't.
It is, in my defence
The record of the best and happiest moments
In the best and happiest Mine.
Close folly. Isn't it?
Is it? It makes no sense.
Just Mine your own business.