Depth through thought
OUCC News 8th May 1996
Volume 6, Number 12
|DTT Volume 6 index|
Plans for the rescue weekend will be finalised tonight at St. Cross, but if you are planning just to join us on the Mendips then here's the rough outline. There will be an early start (10.00am) for the First Aid course given by Richard Ward at the MNRC. This will be followed in the early evening by Gavin Lowe on Underground Rescue Techniques. Sunday will be a rescue practice, venue to be decided but likely to include a pitch haul this year.
Congratulations to Pauline for managing an 11 hour trip to the
far reaches of Lost in Space (the recent Draenen extensions) this
weekend, with only one arm operative. With the help of Dave Barrett
from the Shepton, Pauline, Chris and me surveyed 80m of new passage
and spent most of the day digging frantically in a rather harsh
boulder choke at the SE end of Lost in Space. Chris pootled 30m
or so up a tube and flat out crawl heading back North, but otherwise
it looks as if the easy stuff is over for the time being. Still
the surveyed length is now 990m, and with the little unsurveyed
bits we are definitely over 1km.
I slipped easily through the entrance series, enjoying the familiarity of the place. Rock and memories intrinsically entwined. After a successful Draenen conference - also attended by Pauline, Martin L., John W. and Tim (who gave a good talk) - Andy, Nobby and myself had decided to go caving.... down Draenen. We moved quickly to Tea Junction and then to Lamb and Fox chamber where I discovered that Nobby won't drink cave water and Andy has friends that don't breathe air. Hmmm.
On to the fun rifts of the Indiana Highway, the stomp down Megadrive,
and chocolate at Balcony Pitch. This was the first time Nobby
and Andy had seen this part of the cave and they seemed fairly
impressed by it all. My light had failed completely so I skulked
along quite happily in the dark doing a sort of "Gollum from
the Lord of the Rings" impression. I have been interested
in visiting the Canyon for a long time and so, on returning to
Indiana Highway, we headed south along this impressive rift. By
looking at the floor it seems to be little visited, but this neglect
is totally unjustified from a Sporting Trip point of view. Stonking
rift, smooth floor, white walls, bats high up on the ceiling....
We eventually turned round, hungry for food and thirsty for beer.
The solution? Cheese Burgers and Gille's pies in the Lamb and
Fox. When we finally left the pub, I crawled contentedly into
my bivi-bag and crashed out in the carpark. After mild exam stress,
Draenen had fixed it for me. Ah yes.... Rock and memories intrinsically
"Topologically, OFD's a great complexity," as the song goes but our only real trouble route finding was in getting to Penwyllt. It was my fault. I got distracted speaking French to a 48 year old hitch-hiker with no watch and one map (of the world), on his way to Ireland. He's trying to visit every country before turning 50. The sun was shining, my sterio played in the background, and I ignored Nobby's directions. Still we finally got there after driving round Neath for 30 minutes, and drinking tea in the Dragon shop for even longer. I negotiated a 7 o'clock callout with SWCC and we headed up to the entrance and on to Gnome Passage. Then on down Edward's Shortcut. Andy appeared far less scared than I was the first I did the traverses. It's been a long time since I last visited OFD and so I loved every minute of this trip, the interesting "puzzles," the huge variety of formations and passages.
We climbed down Maypole Inlet and dropped into the streamway.
It really is "Probably the best streamway in the country."
There was a fair amount of water but Nobby did a good job at keeping
dry. I didn't care. I had my ragged "wetsuit system"
on. I didn't plan on disappearing completely underwater though,
in one of the deep pools. We eventually climbed up into the great
Oxbow and along to OFD 1.5 before stopping for chocolate. Our
callout approached so we allowed ten minutes for route finding
cockups on the way out. It wasn't necessary. We sped out via Salubrious
passage and before long were basking in the evening sunshine.
Back for showers at the SWCC, pizzas in Abergavenny, and a soft
bed in Oxford. If only route finding from Penwyllt to Oxford were
Lost: Fisma generator plus headset, leant somewhat randomly on the Yorkshire 'farewell to Urs' meet. Please contact (contract?) CJD.
Found: Underwear, blue, thermal. See Seedy for details.