Depth through thought

OUCC News 14th January 1998

Volume 8, Number 1

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Welcome to the 1998, and Volume 8 of DTT. I'm sure there should be plenty of trips over the holiday period to write up (I even managed to find a few new things in Southern Spain - more later), so keep the copy coming. Meanwhile, JC reports his first trip through Swildon's (if you see what I mean).

Congratulations to Dave, Rob, Pauline and others for their coverage in the latest Descent (The caver's magazine) of gruelling discoveries down Pip (or wherever it is).

Oh, I visited Shepherd's Hole last weekend, and it was guzzling fluid (part water, part god-knows-what) without backing up. Anyone fancy another absurd attempt to create a cave in Oxford?

New Goyden Pot Nidderdale

The entrance has collapsed, entry into the cave is not possible and the site as a whole is in a dangerous state. Hopefully flood water will help clear some of the collapse during the winter. As soon as it is open and safe it will be advertised in the caving press.

Please pass this message onto all cavers as New Goyden is a popular trip and wasted journeys frustrate every one concerned.
Les Sykes CNCC secretary

Coming Up

Yes, its that beginning of term Meets Sec bit. There are three planned weekends this term. Firstly Southerscales at the end of 2nd week (30th Jan -1st Feb). Secondly there is a Derbyshire (!) weekend at the TSG at the end of 4th week (13th - 15th Feb). And Finally its back to Southerscales at the end of 6th week (27th Feb - 1st March). I haven't arranged anything for the end of term, but if there is any enthusiasm then it can be done. Also any ideas for an Easter trip somewhere?
Fleur Loveridge

Looking Back

Blimey! Another eventful New Year has passed. For those of you who weren't there, well, you missed out. Vast amounts of water meant some memorable trips (even if those in Marble Sink/Disappointment Pot might rather forget), but I think a good time was still had by all.

I passed the caving milestone of finally getting up Poetic Justice, Martin chased the ghosts from the Marble Sink first corner (and then found he had to do the rest of the cave too), Adrian discovered SRT, Fenella learnt not to ask Dave for a 'nice trip' and Harvey and Keith realised that you are not meant to be neck deep in water in KMC.......

And as for seeing in the New Year, there was beer, there were fireworks and carbide balloons, there was chocolate body paint, there were topless men in Bull Pot of the Witches and miraculously only one chunder (sorry James).
Fleur Loveridge

Pretty Grim Sink

I'd heard grim tales told of this deep dark hole, of leptospirosis and tat, a place where cows shat and unspeakable squeezes of horror. A lean, mean, (Andy and JC) but not particularly keen team assembled on Priddy Green with Jrat's kind words of encouragement still fresh in ours ears. "Enjoy" What could he mean?

In the event a whole series of near catastrophes were circumvented for a thoroughly enjoyable trip. First off we ran down to the 20 and rigged it with our 20m rope as we'd forgotten the ladder. Plenty of water in the stream, so some small worries about how much there would be in Priddy Green Sink. The advice is wear gloves, take two 20m ropes for the pull through and one tight section is best negotiated feet first.

Our first mistake was no rope on the greasy entrance pipe, but that was OK. We found the first turn into RAF chamber, then I got intimidated on a head section which was in fact OK but this did not stop me from reversing the whole section to turn round. Next we avoided the left turn towards the Virgins and entered the Blasted Bastard, where much fun was had with the 40m rope in the tackle bag. I hazard a guess this is best approached feet first if you do not know it, but Andy following had fewish problems head first.

The next serious obstacle was a tightish duck followed by a flat out crawl. No way was the bag coming through so the whole lot was unpacked at about the tightest section. Then the pitches. First two short pitches on P hangers, then a longer (60ft?) pitch. Nothing obvious to rig from except for a nasty piece of tat and the traverse line to reach the pitch head. This was pretty secure, so we rigged of that. The next two pitches down Great Aven (120ft) and Cowsh Aven (30ft) were rigged already, so on the one hand we could keep our rope packed, whilst on the other we were trusting someone else's rope of unknown reliability. The top of the Great Aven was slightly unnerving, since it involved negotiating a nasty squeeze straight onto the pitchhead. I'd tried feet first on both sides, but nothing doing, then went for the head first somersault technique. This was all going well until I snagged up beyond the point of no return. Andy wiggled my legs around a bit to free me as I did a handstand on rotten, greasy ledges above the 120foot drop. Fortunately there is enough friction as your legs come out of the squeeze to drop onto your cowstails in a moderately controlled fashion, but it was pretty gripping nevertheless. More fun was had on the descent as I learned first hand all about the panic factor commonly associated with inexperienced stop users. Nine mill cowshit lubricated rope. Whoa! Fuck!

Swildon's 4 streamway was a relief. Not for long. The climb up to the Watergate series is only 50ft away from the Blue Pencil climb but there is a wealth of difference and it took only the best part of an hour negotiating the first 30ft or so for me to decide it was not the best way out. After this Blue Pencil seemed a breeze and the rest of the trip was fantastic. No baling needed in any of the ducks, a really splashy streamway and Sump 1 a decent length for a change. Out to a moonlit night but no idea what the time was. Totally shocked when Tony Jarrett met us on the green to say the MRO had had a passing interest in how we were getting on as it was past midnight, a mere 10 hours since we set off.

Top Tip: Copious drinking of Coke is allegedly a good way for killing off Leptospirosis, a vet tells me.