Depth through thought

OUCC News 27th January 1999

Volume 9, Number 1

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Welcome to the new caving year, and the first issue of DTT Volume 9. This seems an appropriate time to review the progress of DTT over the greater number of years than I'd like to remember, but I can't be bothered so I won't. Still, if anyone has suggestions, comments, or reminiscennes (old favouriates from past issues perhaps? Your scene surely Steve?), then just let me know.

Meanwhile, lets have plenty of stories of caving over the following weeks. An far less politics.

Speaking of politics, just a couple of things to mention.... I wrote to the SWCC and at their last committee meeting they agreed to allow us a standing permit to OFD. I'm not sure we've heard formally yet, so hang on beofre you blast your way through top entrance without organising things in advance, but this is basically good news and means that we should avoid the administrative hassles we occasionally get on Wales weekends.

Oh, and whilst we're on the subject of entrances.... You may recall my short report last term saying that there had been good news on the Ogof Draenen 2nd entrance front, with the G5 surveyors agreeing with the PDCMG to block up the second entrance themselves by 6th December. Well, a number of delays ensued followed although the G5ers were seen working on the entrance one Sunday before christmas, so the PDCMG Conservation Officer (and others...) were patient for several weeks. Eventually though, the old draenen gate disappeared from the official entrance and reappeared in the second entrance, with its own lock. For a while the now "private entrance" to Draenen was tollerated, especially with reassurances from one G5er that the entrance was not being used. However, incontravertible proof that the private entrance was still in regular use kept arriving. Noone knows for sure who continues to ignore the PDCMG and the agreed view of the majority of Draenen cavers, but the repeated presence of recognisable vehicles overnight at the Lamb and Fox, and the clear evidence that the entrance is being used for emergence at night after very long trips, makes it pretty obvious to most of us.

Between Christmas an New Year therefore, the connecting passage between the private entrance and the Chapel was infilled by collapsing a boulder choke from the inside, allowing the G5ers and assistants to complete their work on blocking the entrance as promised, but effectively disallowing continued use of the entrance for sport purposes. The passage has subsequently been re-opened, presumably by someone with a key to the private gate. The question of exactly how the private entrance should be sealed continues to cause controversy, but it is clear that the events of recent weeks have reinforced the reluctant view of many of us involved in Draenen's exploration and conservation that some cavers cannot be trusted to abide by generally agreed rules and that the only effective way to restrict access to one entrance indefinitely may be to close the private entrance far more permanently than would otherwise be deemed necessary. These are my own views and not necessarily those of the Conservation Officer or other members of the PDCMG

In my view the Conservation Officer and other officials on the PDCMG have shown extraordinary patience during a period in which they appear to have been consistently duped by whoever is now controlling the second entrance for their own private use.

Oh, and I did soem good caving between christmas and newy year too, so I'll tell you about it in a later issue.

Meets Sec's corner

There was a successful New Year meet at Bull Pot Farm, despite not having a van and running off with someone else's (only) tacklebag of rope. We had the fireworks (above ground), the flares (below ground) and the odd chunder (very traditional).

Following on we have a full term of speleology and socials, with two Yorkshire weekends, a Mendip Madness and the Annual dinner. The coming weekend is the first Southerscales trip of the year and Juniper Gulf is booked. See you there! Please meet at 6pm sharp on Friday, at the hut.
Jo "Lady of Easy Leisure" Whistler

Extremero 1999

It has been a good week for the expedition, with money promised by the University coming to over £650 (much more than last year) and the Royal Geographical Society application done and dusted.

We have the expedition account sorted and so (what joy!) we are now accepting deposits. This will be a two-tiered system, like last year, so that any Oxford University undergraduates will pay a lower rate.

The deposits have been fixed at £180 for non-students and £120 for students. This includes insurance (unlike last year), communal camping and rigging gear, helps the van get out to Spain and so on. The deposit has not gone up, it's just that last year it was a pain collecting the insurance money after the event. Anyone providing their own insurance will get a £20 discount. See Paul Mann or me if you've got any questions.

The expedition web site has been launched {now removed!)  It's got lots of useful information and will be jazzed up in the next few weeks.
Jo Whistler

New Law

Thought I'd send this article that was in last week's Times to DTT, although it sounds as though most people in the club have already heard about it... "Right wing MPs announced yesterday that they intend to put a bill before parliament that will ban the sport of potholing. A spokesman for the MPs proposing the bill said "We have drawn up this legislation in order to protect British citizens. Potholing is a dirty sport and those who indulge in it are a danger to society. Early indications suggest that the forthcoming motion will receive support from a number of MPs. Roy Hattersly declared that the bill had his full backing, claiming that , "Potholing is a highly undemocratic sport. It's fine for skinny members of society, but for fat people like myself it poses severe problems." Meanwhilst the response of the caving community was one of defiance. Gavin Low, a keen caver and member of the Oxford University Potholing Society (OUPS) said, "Personally I think it's all a load of mi shinigan adorumada. If we want to go caving then we'll go caving. Others seemed less worried by the new legislation. Chris Vermon, also a member of OUPS, said , " I suppose potholing is dirty. And it's wet." The bill will appear before the house in March.

Back here...

Northern classists and others of artistic ilk may be relieved to hear that, with the immenent departure of the clubs last remaining undergraduate artist, Wednesday nights are not after all going to descend into the dismal pits of scientific technotalk and experimentally verifiable conversation. At last weeks SRT practice and subsequent vodka session it was observed that, following a suprise influx of English and PPE students, over half of those present were artists. It therefore appears that the right to talk bollocks has been restored to its rightful place at the centre of club priorities.

In a further development, it was observed that, on the same evening, a discussion which could potentially be described as falling under the subject heading "philosophy" took place. The conversation involved three or more participants and lasted for over half an hour. Anecdotal evidence suggests that such an event has not taken place in OUCC for at least two and a half years, whilst others estimate that this may be the first time it has ever happened. An indubitable sign, if ever there could be one, that the artists of OUCC are not about to go quietly. The counter offensive appears to begun. Let the bollocks begin!
Keith Hyams

Lev goes yuppy

My semi-mobile (ie it stays in my room most of the time) number is: 0831 634236