Depth through thought

OUCC News 4th March 1998

Volume 8, Number 7

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Nobby wants to remind people from the 1997 expedition that the account will close on 31st March. If you owe money (like me), or are owed it by the expedition, please help Nobby out by doing the decent thing and either bring your cheque book or forgetting all about what you are owed...

How lamentable that that old faithful of club sporting weekends, The Southerscales, was cancelled through lack of, well, whatever it takes. Still, at least a few people went caving (report below) and didn't even stop for a spot of trench filling (see this month's Descent for OUCC's demise into cave politics). If, like me, you prefer reading Descent to working in the morning, you may have noticed the instigation of two new awards on the caving scene. The Caving Indoor Instructor Award, and the Indoor Caving Supervisor Award. Yes, its true, and I'm not sure it has anything to do with squeezing through the cartwheel in the Hill Inn, or behind the Shower at the MNRC. So, if you are feeling the need to get yourself properly qualified for the sport, courses are available at the Rock Face in Birmingham I believe.

Post-Exam Celebrations

Alison and I will be finishing our finals at Tuesday lunchtime (8th week) and we plan to celebrate by going for a meal and drinks on Tuesday evening. For anyone wanting to join us, we will be at the Bar Celona on Little Clarendon Street from 7:30pm and will eat at about 8pm. The food is good and not too expensive so I hope that at least some people will be able to come. 
Jo Whistler

Last call for Fermanagh

If you want to come on the club trip to Fermanagh at Easter, then please let me know ASAP. Dates: 10-19 April. Transport: Van Rouge (please?) plus cars from Midlands & SWales. Accomodation: 2 luxury chalets on the shores of a Lough, nr Belcoo, except for the first 2 nights (TBD). Costs: £60 plus food, petrol and booze (van occupants).People going: All your best friends. Caves: Great - vertical, horizontal, big streamways, fine formations. Gear to take: Beg/borrow wetsuits, anyone got a dinghy? (whats wrong with condoms? - Ed.) Books to buy: New ed. of Caves of Fermanagh. Ferry booked for van: (13:45 10 Apr out, 09:45 19 Apr back). I'll be after money soon. Lots of love,
New Variant CJD

OUCC goes caving

It might have been just like the old days of 96... The sun was shining, the start was earlyish, the roads were empty and the plan was to slam down to the far end of the Dollimore series. Except that this was probably the last throw of a die distinctly loaded in favour of finals rather than the start of a new campaigning season, and there were other changes. No caravan these days, and the legions had a distinctly provincial feel to them, the old hands of me and Fleur supplemented by a real veteran in Rod and the boy Hyams as the young philosopher at the opposite end of the experience and pragmatism spectrum.

There are some very strange things going on at the entrance - the trench was half-excavated again, a note from the surveyors saying that the lock was broken and not to use it (we did) and the smell of WD40 in the air with Huw's name in the logbook immediately before us. Continuity and change in the Draenen republic... Ours not to reason why.

Down the cave, we did something of a tourist trip for those who had never been further than the turn off for the round trip, but still got down there in three hours or so. Very little water about, and Keith, inspired by Tim's talk on Wednesday, was identifying prospective dig sites left, right and centre. A quick brew was made more difficult by problems with the stove at Camp Piton - take a spanner or a new stove top to be on the safe side next time - and we went for a look around. Is it the case that the Mouldy Bat passages around Camp still need tying up? The young tiro was keen, but we pursued the increasingly laboured classical metaphors by splitting into two groups, one for a quick jaunt towards Medusa's children, and the other to Circus Maximus, where I got to see the formations in the little chamber that I'd missed on the first visit, and which were truly awe-inspiring. Even Rod said he'd never seen anything like it, which was nice.

The tourists were suitably impressed by the size of Hall of the One, and we headed out slightly more slowly, to reach the surface at about nine in clear but very cold weather, in time for a burger and a beer with Huw.
p.s.: we identifed a good greasy spoon at the Symonds Yat services. Venimus, Vidimus, Gustavimus, or something.

Fall of the Lemming?

Channel 4 news controversially issued an unconditional apology to Lemmings last week for describing the suicidal tendencies of major British financial institutions as resembling those of lemmings. Apparently the much-maligned lemming does not commit mass suicide, and the most that can be said of it is that occasionally one might tumble to its death ACCIDENTALLY in the process of taking the most direct line between two points during migration. Where, we may ask, does this leave the constitutional position of our club lemming, elected in good faith in virtue of his repeated attempts at suicide? More to the point, why have our resident animal behaviouralists kept this startling information to themselves, preferring to leave the rest of the club in a state of blissful ignorance? I sense a cover up.
Nobby Mumford

A behaviourist's reply

Oh dear. Scientists on the spot again. All I can say is that I have personally seen piles of dead Lemmings at the bases of cliffs, and frozen half way across glaciers wearing tiny wetsuits. But of course, these were Norwegian Lemmings, so perhaps the Canadian Lemming mentioned on the C4 News, is different and, like Canadians generally, more sensible. But anyway, who said that Lev (or any of the recent incumbents of the award) actually meant to throw himself into Cow Pot with no light, ladder, rope, or firework?
Yours authoritatively,
Dr Tim Guilford,
resident OUCC Ethologist.