Depth through thought

OUCC News 13th May 1998

Volume 8, Number 11

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I believe Ali Garman may still be looking for stalwart scaffolding carriers for a trip to Rifleman's this weekend, if anyone is planning not to go to Southerscales.  He can be contacted in the evenings on 01222 454 006

Meets Sec's Corner

There is a Southerscales trip this weekend, the first for some time, so I hope that lots of people will turn up to make it a good one. We've got permits for Birks Fell and Gingling so the caving should be excellent. See you there! At the end of term we will be joined in Yorkshire by some of the Cambridge for the Varsity Match. Suggestions for events welcome.
Jo "Dolphin" Whistler


This is advanced warning that I am going to be holding a (belated) 21st birthday party at Club Latinos on Tuesday 16th June (8th week) from 10pm-2am. Invites should follow shortly. Hopefully it will be post-most finals and prelims, so come drink, be merry and watch me collapse in a corner....
Fleur Loveridge.

Many hands fail to make lights work   a short trip down Stoke Lane Slocker

I went to the cave diving group "wake" for Rob Palmer and Rob Parker on the Friday night, but, to my surprise, felt in good form on the Saturday morning, and had a gentle potter about various caving huts, cafes and so on before settling into the back of the car to have a read of the paper while waiting for the others to turn up at the Hunter's.

The team had soon assembled - JC, Alison, Andy, Lev and Keith. I spent the necessary bit of time over lunch in the Hunter's putting the frighteners on them about the sump in Stoke Lane - this achieved, we set off in glorious spring sunshine to Stoke St Michael.

Problems with the lights started with the discovery that JC had bought his charger but no light; the excuse failed completely as I lent him my zoom. Lev then found that his light died in about 15 seconds from being switched on. Nobly he volunteered to lie in the buttercups and sunshine reading various caving books and the paper, while we could get wet and cold underground. The entrance as ever, had all the aspects of flushing oneself down a water closet. Once inside, we proceeded with a few minor navigational difficulties to the duck and the sump.

The duck is really only a duck if you're my kind of size - skinny bastards can crawl above the water, but those possessed of substantial manly chest measurements have to get a bit more involved with the water to get through. Any advantage in staying a little dry that the thin brigade have is of course immediately negated by the sump. This now has a line through it - a thin, divers-style piece of string that is actually more of a hazard than a help as it tends to tangle round your light and so on as you go through. Care is needed.

Once through the sump, declared a real hoot by all concerned, we had a quick crawl around the large chambers. Keith's light failed at this point, and despite a great deal of impromptu surgery it could not be persuaded to work again, so Keith had the highly educational experience of caving in the dark. As ever, I failed to find all of the four big chambers, but a good time was had by all anyway. I do remember that on one trip down here years  ago, I did manage to find all the chambers, and even thought I'd found a new bit of streamway, which, unfortunately, simply proved to be the branch of the canal passage that leads off to the right immediately after the sump. However, close study of the guide book after the trip means that next time I can guarantee (honest) to find every bit of the cave.

A quick exit found us in the glorious sunshine again, and we then had a gentle amble round Wells, where I got a glimpse of the St Andrews well resurgence, which looks mightily impressive, but doesn't seem to be in the guidebook. Presumably neither the Bishop nor the Dean of Bath and Wells are CDG members. 
Steve Roberts

A different view....

OK, so no tidal sump but plently of water nevertheless. We (Steve, Andy, Lev, Alison, JC and Keith) arrived at the entrance to Stoke Lane in the bright sunshine, wondering whether anyone really could actually want to go caving on such a gorgeous day. The club lights sensed our indecision and the first casualty had committed suicide before it was even plucked from the boot of Andy's car. Lev, who was feeling rather ill, went for the sunshine option.

The remainder of the team, after amusing tight-wetsuit scenes by the sideof the road, soon set off down a rather wet entrance into the cave. The first section of was rather small but sporting nevertheless, with a crawly type bouldery winding passage and a decent sized streamway flowing down it. The highlight of the trip is sump one. Only short but unusually shaped, and possible to swim straight past the exit on the way back if you're not thinking properly (oh yes, stories of inept scouts abound...).

After the sump, the cave quickly opens out into some very large chambers with fine formations at the end, including a spitting image of Queen Vic. The second casualty suffered a rather long drawn out death shortly before Queen Victoria, moments of life interspersed with temporary unconsciousness, until my light finally packed up as we started to head out. Club sponsored illumination is not, it must be said, particularly frugal at the moment.

Out in time for a bimble around Wells and half an hour deciding whether to go for the chippy option or the pizza option. Good trip.
Keith Hyams

NCA News

The NCA Web Site has been updated. Changes include: The Association urgently needs a Treasurer.  If you are interested in this position, or know anyone who might be willing to take it on, please get in contact.  Further details can be obtained from the NCA Chairman, Mick Day at [Ed: the original hyperlinks have been left in for reasons of nostalgia. It's all at the BCA website nowadays, of course].