Depth through thought
OUCC News 18th February 1998
Volume 8, Number 6
|DTT Volume 8 index|
|10am||Gear mending starts at Peel Place (Chris D's house).|
|1:30ish||Lunch (probably go to chippy). Afterwards more gear mending.|
|5:30pm||Van Rouge leaves from Peel Place to take people to Jo's for pre-dinner drinks (20 Stevens Close, Woodstock Rd)|
|6pm||Drinks at Jo's|
|7:30pm||Van Rouge leaves Jo's for restaurant (Blue Palms, South Parade, Summertown)|
|10:30ish||Van Rouge leaves for Peel Place - Bring BOOZE.|
In case it needs saying, last years' expeditioners should feel particularly
keen on coming to the pre-dinner party. Of course, next years expedition
fodder should feel even more enthusiastic about making sure that all ropes
and tents are reliable.
Love Jo Whistler
Or at least 6 of us were Olly, Lev and Rob having engaged in a frantic
effort to donate as much gear as possible so they could run off to the
pub . This left me, Keith, Matt, Harry, Bill and Richard to head on down
into what is a rather nice cave once you get past the concrete floor and
major blasting. Steve's instructions proved remarkably accurate and after
shimmying through the crabwalk (10 minutes, yes; 3/4 hour, it begins to
pale) we ignored Matt's siren calls from the top of a roped climb to pop
out into a rather fun traverse. Which after much passing to and fro of
cowstails led to a fine 12m pitch into a large chamber. By this stage some
of the less experienced amongst us, i.e. those with more holes than oversuit
material, were a little chilly so on reaching the canals we ran away just
in time for a pint. A good trip snatched from the jaws of incompetence
p.s. some names have been changed to protect the amnesiac
The memorable aspects of the trip up were Andy's consumption of a litre of whisky and consequent triggering of car alarms and appointments with the gutter. The TSG is nice hut and it looks set to improve as there were architect's drawings and improvements all over the place - although pretty much the only TSG members we saw were there doing DIY on Sunday, and parking is a bit of a pain.
On Saturday the problem with not bringing Fleur, or in fact anyone remotely interested in taking any responsibility, became apparent and the amount of faffing was truly incredible, even by OUCC standards. Even the fact that there are apparently only 3 caves in the area didn't help us make up our minds and it was well after 4pm that anyone got underground - a very large party down Giant's Hole, who seemed to have fun but get a little cold, and a small band of rebels (me, Rob, Olly) who didn't go because of lack of lights (the fact that I didn't want to dive St. Valentine's sump had nothing to do with it). In the end we got bored with wondering about the countryside and decided to go down Giant's anyway (one zoom between 3), leaving a cairn to help guide the others out before we buggered off for a pub crawl around Castleton.
Surprisingly (given Saturday's efforts), a group of 4 was fed and ready
by the 9am deadline for Peak Cavern - which was apparently a very nice
cave but lacking in sporting obstacles. Of the less keen of us, Rob and
I went searching for squalor in Gautries Hole, which had some lovely mud,
a pleasant muddy duck (which Rob had me trying to siphon uphill), and some
wishful digs. After that we caught up Matt, Harry and Bill in the remaining
cave in the area, P8, which was short and wet and good fun, but quite crowded.
This time it was to photograph in Dollimore's, so it was my turn to entertain the team with tales of digging, falling rocks, "and here is Nobby Mumford's dry stone wall", etc. Then the mind-boggling step forward from the breakthrough point to M S & D passage.
On to Cantankerous Surveyors. God it's a long way down Luck of the Draw. And you know is still a bloody long way to the end when you get to the breakdown area. Clive: "even Arthur Millet said he was getting a bit bored with the survey down there by the end".
The Needles, though definitely special, have to be looked for quite carefully - they're so transparent they would be easy to miss. Geryon's lair is amazing. It must count as one of the top two or three sets of formations I've ever seen. It looks like it was designed by someone who's seen lots of wacky "calcite pendules with helictites" stuff, then decided to go several better after taking some very strong recreational pharmaceuticals. [photos]. The whole area had a definite "more people have been to the Moon" aura to it - I think we may have been the first there since the surveyors found it.
A few more pictures, in Nicola's Grotto, etc, then a steady trip out . Clive told us the tale of someone he'd taken caving back in the days of big ladders. This chap's first trip had been down Eldon Hole, and he had to rest a few times on the way up, and complained that his arms felt a bit tired. Clive recommended him to try an exercise to build up his arm and wrist strength involving holding at arm's length a broom handle with a brick tied to it by a length of string, and winding the brick up and down with deft motions of the hand. This chap couldn't find these materials at work, but as he worked in a steel mill, was able to find a great lump of iron and a bit of scaffolding pole instead, and did the exercise full time for a week. The next weekend they did a three hundred odd foot free hanging ladder - and he got up it without any rests, no problem! So don't bother spending any money on expensive weights kit - just lift a few bits and pieces from your local building site.
Good steady enjoyable trip - thanks Clive, Pete and Tish.