Depth through thought

OUCC News 17th April 1996

Volume 6, Number 9

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Welcome back after the Easter break, during which there has been a frenzy of caving-related activities (e.g. a barge holiday - we're starting to sound like the nutters and ravers). I hope we'll be hearing about it all over the next few weeks.

Expedition fanatics (all of you, that is) will be glad to hear that we have been given Royal Geographical Society approval this year (together with £500), so things are looking pretty good. Get your gear ready.

It looks like the Ore's Close Folly Mine surveying project is nearing completion, so nows your chance to get in on some of the action before its too late (and the place collapses). James and Chris are the main motivators.

Things have also not been going badly beyond the Sleepcrawler dig in Draenen in recent weeks. Several hundred metres have been found so far: more details from Tim.

Rank those show caves

I'm a long ago Oxon caver (Peter Crabtree and I started the club in 1957) who is now in Canada. I've been asked by people updating a Baedeker tourist guide for US and Canadian visitors to northern Europe to assess the show caves on a scale of three, 1=poor value, 3=excellent. I know Mendip but am pretty out of date on what is open and what is good in the other British regions. Any help that you or other members of the club could give would be warmly welcomed. If you attend the UIS international congress in Switzerland next year I will buy you a beer by way of recompense!

It is good to see that the club is very vigorous!

Derek Ford <>

Any opinions on:

Wookey Hole; Cox's; Gough's; White Scar; Ingleboro; GG; Stump Cross; DYO; Peak; Speedwell ? Any I've forgotten ?
Steve Roberts

Digging OD

Gavin and I have now had three sessions at a dig in a promising part of Draenen. The dig is at the very end of "The Last Sandwich", heading firmly into a blank and promising area of the map; it draughts steadily and consistently outwards, even when there is no noticeable draught elsewhere in the cave. So far we have shifted about (does quick calculation) 1.8 cubic metres (4 tons) of rock and silt. The dig is about 10 metres long, going down to an elbow, round a slightly awkward right-hand bend, then up, levelling out and then turning left.

Beyond this point, the rocks and silt in the passage run in from above. A possible way on at floor level is blocked by a huge and immovable boulder; the only way on is to dig at the choss. We did this until good sense prevailed. It is easily diggable, but shoring wouldn't be a bad idea. We are also sometime soon going to run out of room to get rid of the spoil! It doesn't look as hopeful as it did after digs 1 and 2, but there is still that draught and that empty space on the survey.

We'll be back.
Steve Roberts

(Steve's report of an earlier trip is too good not to include here too....Ed)

Sunday morning (three weeks ago) found me sitting in "Accident and Emergency" at the John Radcliffe trying to explain just how it was that the inside of my head felt like an echo chamber. "You see, I was in this cave..." "Yes..." "digging into some new passage..." "Yeees..." "when this piece of mud fell off the roof and into my right ear" "Yessss... " " and now it won't come out." "Yes. I see, sir."

Nearly as daft as the time I had to explain four times over, to a succession of disbelieving medics, just what "bottle walking " is and how I had come to apparently break something in my hand doing it.
Steve Roberts

Cruising the Thames

Last Saturday till Tuesday, a crew of ten (Mostly cavers) had a fantastic time cruising the river Thames. Mooring up to visit pubs (and pick up stowaways like Paul Mann) and drinking the finest wines. This resulted in the following rewriting of two songs, sitting round Adrian's guitar last Monday night. It is probably the best way to sum up our holiday.

There was a boat upon the Thames,
They called the Oxford King,
And it's covered in gouges and scratches and shit,
From John's meandering.

They cruised to Osney, Oxford Town,
T'was close to the canal,
And when the came unto the lock,
They moored diagonal.

The captain was a piss head,
And so was all his crew,
They didn't know their stern from bow,
They didn't have a clue.

On board there was an instrument,
It was a mighty tool,
The urban spaceman was the tune,
The strummer was a fool.


I'm the urban spaceman baby,
We're on a barge.
It is very large.
I'm the urban spaceman baby,
Having fun,
Pity there's no sun.

We don't need paintwork,
We don't need pace.
Our 69 ft. monster barge,
Turns up all over the place.

I'm the urban spaceman baby,
John likes trees.
They make him sneeze.
I'm the urban spaceman baby,
I like the shower,
But draining takes an hour.

We've been to Eynsham,
We've been to town.
When our boat is in the lock,
It just goes up and down.

I'm the urban spaceman baby,
Here's the twist......
(Pause, then repeat ad infinitum....)

(John, Anita, Will, Catherine, Sarah, Adrian, James, Olly, Paul, Lynn, Chris D., Nobby, Mike).