Depth through thought

OUCC News 18th September 1996

Volume 6, Number 17

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Well, I'm trying to get DTT up and running again after the summer's activities. Last weekend was the BCRA Conference, and it was great to see lots of familiar faces again (some of them underneath vans in a car park in the centre of Sheffield). Perhaps someone will write some fuller reports of the various talks and events of the weekend (which has to be one of the best BCRAs I've been to)? IN the meanwhile you might like to know that OUCC was well represented this year. Pauline Rigby gave a thoroughly engaging talk about this year's successful expedition, Paul Mann had the auditorium laughing with stories of his Botswana expedition (especially the ice being flown in by helicopter), and I gave a talk on the War of the Worlds discoveries in Draenen which seemed to go down quite well.

As usual there were lots of prizes, but this time they all went to women in the club. Anette Becher won the the Cave Life photography prize with a stunning slide of an Amblypygid. Pauline Rigby won third best colour transparency, got all five of her slide entries into the shortlist, and, since these were her first pictures, astounded Gavin Newman into awarding her Best Newcomer. We even got a special viewing. I suppose they must have been good or something... Nice prize though: a book on Smegborough Gas Works (amongst other things).

The club stand worked well as a focus again this year, so thanks to everyone who helped me set it up. Finally, we have a new expedition leader for next year, in Nobby Mumford. Congratulations Olly. Should be an excellent expedition.

Pennies for Pivo

OUCC members (yes, that's you) are going to buy Pivo's air ticket to Britain from Hungary. It looks like Chris Densham will be coordinating (aarrghhh!) the collection, so if you can spare a bit please let him know soon.

Joanne Whistler writes...

My new address is 15 Stevens Close. My telephone number is 01865 559938. Mail will still get to me if sent to Jesus.

AC Irvine report reminder

AC Irvine reports are due in sometime in the next month, and you should remember that a report is all they ask for in return for a wodge of cash.

There are all sorts of styles you can use in your write-up, but here are a few points to get you started: it is a personal account, not just a diary of events, so include anecdotes about travelling to expedition, the 15 hour carry or whatever (although try not to make us look like a total bunch of incompetents, that's our secret). Talk about what you found difficult, rewarding and so on. Photos are interesting, and you will get your report returned to you if you request it. Try and explain caving phrases like 'shaft bashing' and 'dropping a pitch' as you are not writing to cavers. You can refer them to the expedition report for surveys and stuff as I will be sending them one as soon as it becomes available.

It's worth making a good job of it, not only because the AC Irvine Fund have generously supported the expedition for many years now (do you want money for next year?), but also because there is a prize for the best report.

One last bit of advice: write it now before you forget what happened!
Pauline Rigby

Photo Camping in Draenen

I awoke on Sunday feeling lovely and cosy and warm at camp2. But there was this terrible sound - the sound of somebody who is utterly frozen. It was JC lying inside a damp non-insulating down sleeping bag with nothing on (his furry was wet too), having slipped off his carrymat during the night. I was quite worried and insisted that he come into the comfy zone to get warmed up. 3 hours, 3 cups of tea and a breakfast later we finally got up.

Then the photography continued. Tim had a mission, to try to take his first big passage shots to illustrate his talk about War of the Worlds at the BCRA. And I was taking most of the rest of the photos. Most people get cold and fed up by helping on photo trips, but I'd got cold and quite interested and wanted to try for myself.

Each scene in War of the Worlds took about an hour to set up. When the shutter had been opened, JC and I let off a flashbulb each, then with the lens cap back on, I wandered back to the camera some 80m away to let off the flashguns as well while JC had to stand absolutely still. I'd never let off a bulb before, and nobody had warned me to shut my eyes. As I stumbled across to the camera I could only see out of one eye, the other had been blinded by the glare.

But it was worth it, as the picture we got out of it does show just how big this place is.

We wrapped up the photography part of the trip at 7 o'clock, a day later than planned. JC had been to assess the dig at the north end of WOW, while Tim and I finished up. He came back sounding fairly positive, then Tim went in "just to see", but insisting on taking a crowbar with him. A few minutes later he was asking for a hauling party, having split the next large block in the dig into two. We hauled and gained another metres progress. But then we did have to go, and emerged on the surface at 1:40am.
Pauline Rigby