Depth through thought

OUCC News 21st January 1998

Volume 8, Number 2

DTT Volume 8 index

DTT Main Index

OUCC Home Page



Trench warfare seems to have broken out again on the slopes of Pwll Ddu. Twice the renovation to the entrance to Ogof Draenen has been vandalised, and twice it has been destroyed. On Sunday morning it had been vandalised again. My own, probably controversial, view is that its not an overwhelmingly important issue. The path down to the entrance is equally unsightly, and rock tips are not an uncommon sight on this piece of Welsh hillside. But it is strange to think that there are cavers sufficiently unhinged to continue destroying something that some of us put a lot of work into, and was agreed to by the PDCMG. I wonder who it is.

In controversial mood, I wonder if this is a good time to remind club members active in the exploration of Draenen that conservation of this still uniquely well preserved system is a priority responsibility. I'd like to suggest that we start a drive within OUCC to lay conservation tape, carefully and sensitively, in some of those areas of the cave that were somehow left out when originally explored. Obviously new finds should be taped very early on. Taping is, in my view, far more important than surveying (at any grade). But there are many places, even on trade routes such as the round trip, where passages could benefit from taping but have been left out. Players' Tunnel is just one example. Lets do it, but lets do it properly. There's plenty of tape at Cairn Junction, and if you are not sure how to lay it properly then ask someone to show you.

Anyone else got any conservation tips? Letters welcome!


I remember James using that headline 2 years ago when the AGM fell on Valentine's day. Well this year if you want to declare your love for this club then do it in Derbyshire. There is a weekend at the TSG at the end of 4th week (13th-15th Feb), so make sure you are there. We hardly ever go to Derbyshire, so make the most of it. Also a further reminder for all those who weren't around last week that there will be two Southerscales weekends at the end of 2nd and 6th weeks (30th Jan to 1st Feb and 27th Feb to 1st March). Be there!
Fleur Loveridge

The sleet is back

Global warming had lulled me into a comfy feeling that winter no longer really exists in Wales, until last weekend. When I finally had the courage to peep out of the back of my van in the Draenen car park, there it was once more. Horizontal sleet. The mother of all weather systems had arrived at last. Peter Bolt, Lou Maurice, Fleur, JC and Nobby chatted endlessly in an attempt to delay the grade 5 change as I cooked breakfast in the back of the red van. Bits of the Lamb and Fox caravan scampered past on the howling wind.

Wind. Draughts. Yes, a good reason to return to Life on Mars and check out every conceivable lead. It was a slow trip in, with morale lowered further by the discovery that someone with a mental disorder had yet again decided to vandalise the trench outside the entrance. But we did see 7 bats roosting. And the draught was thundering. Perhaps there's a connection?

Of course, when we finally arrived at the new bits, there was surveying to do. And not a nice place to survey. By about 7pm, and having left Peter and his long legs behind at one of the tight corners, we finally reached the previous limit of exploration. No draught. Not a sausage. We dug a few possible routes down in various places, but nothing looked very promising, so we retreated and admired our new conservation taping on the way out. For now at least it looks as if the Mystery Streamway will remain, well, a mystery streamway. By this route at least. By 10.30 were tucked up in the Lamb and Fox feeding. A job finished at least.

Meanwhile, Fleur and Nobby arrived back from a boulder trundling session at the end of Out of The Blue. They looked chuffed with themselves, although, as it turned out, this was mainly for the size of the boulders they had managed to move rather than for the 2 metres of progress which seemed to join them into the main choke and looked difficult.
Tim Guilford