Depth through thought
OUCC News 16th October 1996
Volume 6, Number 20
|DTT Volume 6 index|
A very cold wet welcome to all you freshers keen to try out a bit of caving with OUCC. Depth Through Thought is the (roughly) weekly Newsletter of the Club, and anyone taking part in OUCC activities is welcome to read it on the net (send me you e-mail account name), or of course contribute to it (by e-mail is best for me). Hope to see some of you underground over the next few weeks.
Firstly, thanks to all those who volunteered to help with Freshers' Fair in any way shape or form. Everything seems to have gone well, lots of people signed up, and even Fleur has finally done some work to get said newcomers to St Cross tonight. Well done everyone.
Secondly, this means that hopefully there will be lots of people keen to go down Swildon's over the next two weekends, so PLEASE could as many people as possible help out, by leading trips/driving the van and/or lending gear, of which we are very short at the moment. If gear is left in the hut, clearly marked, I'll try to make sure it all stays together and comes back as good as new(!?). Thanks.
Thirdly, has anyone seen my elbow pads (basic) anywhere in the
There isn't a single cave in Bedford but there is a caver. I'm
living in the De Pary's Hotel and it's very nice too. My first
week with Arrow went really well and it seems that my life will
be composed of endless free lunches, travelling and playing with
gadgets for the foreseeable future. In six months, I'll become
field based and will return to Oxford because it's nice. Arrow
are desperately trying to recruit more staff, so if you need a
job I might be able to help (and you don't need a beard but it
helps if you are called Angie).
There will be a talk by Robin Hanbury - Tennison at the exploration
club on Thursday evening. It's in Hertford College. OUCC members,
I believe, get in free 'cos we're such ace explorerers. Check
Daily Info for details.
In previous years we have had a reciprocal agreement with OUEC
that each others' members get into talks free. Does anyone know
if this has been rearranged for this year?
When we were taken home from France I didn't think I would meet OUCC people soon and basically I wasn't sure that I would go caving at all... But day after day, my feet were getting better and I realized that something was missing. Too much noise too much light and no possibility to escape. "Yes, yes, I must go caving again I'm not a normal man, I am a CAVER!" was the conclusion. Finally, on 13th, Friday I made my first trip since the Berger and really enjoyed that short trip.
Meanwhile lot of emails went and came between Oxford and Budapest. Paul invited us to a weekend trip which would be declared to Nicola's memory and he offered help to get there. We could say only: "Thanks" Unfortunately we have no car and Moha and Kutya were busy at their jobs so I went alone to Oxford. On Friday I had a great opportunity to walk and see around Oxford. It's an amusing city. God knows how old buildings are everywhere and they aren't dark ruins. Life's everywhere. Really nice! We went up to Yorkshire in the evening, arrived late and went to bed much, much later. That was a very pleasant evening for me it was so nice to meet ols friends from Spain and/or France.
The first on Saturday: to get a pair of wellies. My wellies were lost in France and I couldn't find proper ones in my little size. I was lucky in Ingleton and than we could leave for my first British cave: Pippikin. Great fun! After a long section of "bazdmegless" squeezes divided by short shafts where I preferred free abseiling to ladders and some nice, well decorated big chambers we went down to the stream. O.K., I like streams, nice, easy to climb, no problem. But we arrived to the waterfalls. A pretty British girl just before me and I knew that it was raining outside. I have to admit: I had the fear! But I had to win against me. Went up the first waterfall. O.K. The second. Well-done. The third... But I couldn't forget my silly feelings and after the fourth or fifth waterfall I complained: "I'm getting tired, let's turn back!" The match is not over yet, has to be tried again...
And then another nice evening. Actually I worried that Nicola's
memory would bring up a lot of sad feelings but it was completely
different. Life goes on and I'm so grateful for your company and
the enthusiasm. Unfortunately around midnight I collapsed but
the party just had started... On Saturday I joined to a walking
trip to the waterfalls. It was an easy decision, I knew I wouldn't
have to climb in the water... And the view: amusing waterfalls
from a far, safe point. The typical English Weather was an extra
fun. I loved it! I managed to get tired due to Ian who prefers
flying to walking... Late arrive back to Oxford few hours sleeping
and then I had to leave for home. THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO ALL OUCC
PEOPLE FOR THE NICE WEEKEND, ENTHUSIASM, LOVE, PENNIES, BEER and
On Sunday I went to the second meeting of the Pwll Du Cave Management
Committee in Brynmawr. The first half of the meeting was occupied
with tidying up the constitution, so there wasn't much time left
to discuss the more substantive issues. However, in general the
existing Morgannwg CC arrangements on access, surveying and conservation
in Ogof Draenen were widely supported. Tim Long prepared an excellent
draft conservation policy document, and the only thing that was
changed at the meeting was a complete ban on the the use of carbide.
The MCC and their supporters managed to hold the line with access
being permitted to 'all non-commercial bona fide caving clubs'
rather than any more restrictive rules that were suggested. All
finds should continue to be taped and surveyed to gd 2-3 by the
original explorers, and survey data should be passed to Ali Garman,
who is now the survey sec. Funds exist to put in an OFD II style
gate, and that work will be done soon. All in all I thought it
was a worthwhile meeting, and it is good that the club has a voice
- most of the people on the committee are active cavers and hopefully
this situation will continue.
Chris Densham (OUCC Representative)
Pippikin. Pippikin. So good I went down twice. Ever stuck for something to do on a wet weekend in the Dales, then Pip's the cave for you. Never floods and its top. It was also rigged by some nice people already, so no need to drag six ladders over the moors and coax them through the head first body sized tubes leading to handstands over nasty wee drops. Saturday of the Presidents invite saw me, Rob Garrett (suitably tall bloke to act as dipstick), and Martin May (suitably wide bloke to act as dipstick) wander down from Leck Fell House, locate the cave (ladder in entrance) with no problems and scuttle our way down.
The first head first dive is a bit intimidating, but thereafter once I had a taste for it the second, third, fourth, ..... ninth, tenth etc were a good laff. Not so the unlined ladders, which never ever break. At the bottom we had a swift tourist grockle taking in Hall of the Ten and Hall of the Mountain King, then off up the Cigalere to clean off. The dipsticks ran off so I did my usual traverse the entire length of the Cigalere canals, due to being very scared of deep water, only to find that the water was at worst waist deep for most of the way. Failed to find clean way out of streamway, so squigded back through Mountain King, to give a good impression of men on elastic bands trying to run up greasy slopes. Out via Mistral (Boo. Hiss.) to hair of dog in Martins car.
The nice man with the ladders got engrossed in a crossword, just
as the Martin Arms was about to open, so someone else had to derig.
Not the bugger it might at first seem, cos it was pissing down
and Pippikin was bombproof. Rob saw things the same way, and Tony
came along to impress us with his tackle. Another excellent trip.
One of those where you know its going to be interesting on the
way out, and were not wrong. In after lunch and out before sunset.
Must be some sort of record. Swift one down th Martin and back
to the hut to find some nutters had braved the flood pulses down
A couple of weekends ago, the MCC held their annual dinner and Draenen involved OUCC people were kindly invited along. Well, who could resist a night in the the Lamb and Fox, so Chris D, JC and myself pootled over for a night of caving banter and Giles Pies. You can't drink several pints and not need a pee in the middle of the night. When I emerged from the back of my van just as a rainy dawn was breaking, I spied Chris lying in his bivvy bag in an inch of water in the car park, his carrymat several yards away from his body. Ah, the caving season has started I thought, and stumbled back inside to my own little comfy zone.
"Sleep well?" I asked next morning. "Fine"
said Chris, as if I was mad. Hmmmm. Time to go underground. Several
groups were heading for the Wyvern Hall region of Draenen, but
Chris, JC and I were heading further, to the extreme reaches of
the South East to visit an Aven and several dig sites in Soups
of the World. In fact we checked out several minor leads on the
way, and even found about 25 meters of horrible crawl off Lost
In Space, but the aven had a vertical squeeze at the top, and
the digs were bewildering and unpleasant. At 8pm, whilst lying
in cold water, covered in mud squeezing into a miserable boulder
choke, I knew it was time to go. Chris was more persistent and
had an argument with the loose roof of a tight crawl before giving
up, but nonetheless we were eventually beaten this time. But walking
back through the splendour of WOW's massive southern passage the
pain was forgotten, and the desire to return instantly rekindled.