Depth through thought

OUCC News 25th November 1998

Volume 8, Number 22

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Extremero '99 sponsors.

Do you have any contacts in any company which might consider sponsoring this year's expedition? Pass any ideas or suggestions on to Lynn Mulelly (, our keen sponsorship officer.

Draenen Rescue Entrance

Cavers will be pleased to hear that an agreement has now been reached to cap properly the second entrance to Ogof Draenen, euphemistically called the '"rescue entrance". As reported last week, the entrance had been re-opened since MCC's previous attempt (with help from OUCC and others) to block it for conservation reasons as agreed by the PDCMG. This time members of CSS, including the Grade 5 surveyors, have decided to do the job and have announced that it will be completed by December 6th. Excellent news, and good on them. Especially since we have recently obtained incontrovertible evidence that the entrance is still under active use.
Tim Guilford

Under the Black Mountain

Last Sunday, OUCC members Martins Hicks and Laverty plus SWCC/CUCC member Gareth Jones went, as is their wont, to continue their siege of Roaring Hole. The limit of exploration had been regained the previous weekend after several years when severe entrance blockage had diverted attention elsewhere. This time we were laden with shoring material so did not progress through the boulders at the bottom into the stream proven to flow away to Dan yr Ogof through as yet indescribable passages; soon, we hope (weather and equipment willing) to stabilise the unstable, enlarge constrictions, and get down to exploring and surveying rather than digging.

Also predicting great things under the Black Mountain are the owners of Dan yr Ogof show caves, as readers of the Independent on Sunday, Telegraph, Guardian, Western Mail (and probably more) will have seen. Predictions of 315 million year old caves 10 miles long have a tenuous connection with truth (the rock is that age, the bulk of the passages probably two orders of magnitude less; the length of undiscovered cave probably much exceeds 10 miles, connecting sites like Carreg Lem, Twyn Tal Ddraenen, Sinc y Giedd, Roaring and Waen Fignen Felin with the Dan yr Ogof resurgence). The truth is that the show caves have enlisted the help of SWCC and Tony Donovan, a miner at Tower Colliery and avid digger. We saw them drilling three 2 inch diameter holes in the roof of the show cave about 50m from the entrance. The drill far exceeds anything normal cavers aspire to - it has a cast iron frame about 8x3 feet holding a 2 ft long drill bit (optionally tipped with 5 black diamond discs) and got into the cave on a dumper truck. It is powered by compressed air fed along an umbilical tube from a compressor outside, and cooled by water. And what did they find? Cave! What was it like? I forget the details, but the hole nearest the entrance encountered something like a 12 foot void above 8 feet of rock and a foot of two of sediment. When they can identify a source of mini camera with optic fibre connection they intend to borrow the equipment to find out more, but be prepared for announcements of the discovery of Santa's elves hidden in a cave workshop at DYO - any publicity is good publicity for show caves nowadays!

And the Roaring diggers are still on the scrounge for a drill and keen diggers/explorers - but not from Tower Colliery, thank you.
Martin Laverty

Puzzle Corner

The answers were (for the questions, see DTT vol 8 number 20):

  1. Coral Cave / Gerard Platten (from "Mendip - the complete caves")
  2. Ogof Draenen / Rifleman's Choke (from "Caves of S. Wales")
  3. Simpson's Pot / Swinsto Hole (from "Northern Caves")
  4. Eastwater Swallet / West End Series (from "Mendip Underground")
  5. Magnetometer Pot / Fountains Fell (from "Northern Caves")
  6. Pol an Ionan / Guinness Book of Records (from "Caves of County Clare")
  7. Flood Entrance Pot / South East Pot (from "Northern Caves")
  8. Paviland Cave / William Buckland (from "Caves of Gower")

I reckon 2-5 and 7 were easy, then 6, 8 and 1 as increasingly difficult clinchers. Anyone claiming a "best scorer" pint see me....
Steve Roberts