Depth through thought

OUCC News 10th March 1999

Volume 9, Number 6

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Thanks to everyone who helped make the Mendip Madness weekend a successful riot, and especially Rich for organising things. Full Brass band to entertain the bats, plenty of food and loads of vodka. A bit too much in fact. I had a great time, except for a few hours between midnight on Saturday and Sunday morning when I seem to have spent too much time in a ditch (though I don't recall much). Two excellent trips down Pierre's Pot and a furtle to end of Goatchurch kept the muscles working a bit. Perhaps one of you who's first Madness this was would like to write a story about it?

Work on excavating a protective walkway past Giles' Shirt, the beautiful formation in Gilwern Passage in Ogof Draenen, is now almost complete, so the route up to St. Giles and beyond will soon be open again for those fancying a brownout on breadfruit boulevard.

Our standing OFD permit is now sorted, thanks to Sue Mabbot, Tim Long and others at SWCC, so it should be permanently posted at the SWCC hut. If you want to go down OFD all you have to do now is turn up and introduce yourself to the hut warden (you may need some form of ID to show you are an OUCC caver) to get a key.

Ex-meets sec's corner

Come to Wales at the weekend! I've taken the rather unusual step of booking the SWCC hut - I think it will be an interesting change, there will be at least one other university club staying there and we'll be closer to OFD / DYO.

We'll be leaving on Friday night (meet at the hut at 6pm) and we have a DYO permit for Saturday (Ian Wilton Jones has agreed to lead us) and OFD permits for both days. If you're interested in a DYO trip you'll need a wetsuit for the Green Canal - there are some diving wetsuits in the hut.

We have all the ingredients for an excellent weekend, so do come along! Please let me know if you're travelling from Oxford, and if you'd like a space in the van.

Rich Doyle will take over as Meets Sec after this weekend, and I'd like to thank everyone who's helped out with shopping, cooking, cleaning, lights and van driving/collecting for club weekends over the past year.
Jo "lemming" Whistler

Science Symposium

The BCRA Science Symposium was on Saturday, and I'd foolishly offered to give a talk on my undergraduate project on Radon. It seemed to go OK although it led afterwards to a heated discussion about the dangers of Radon to cavers. It was an excellent day, with the vast majority of the talks interesting and accessible. Certainly anyone with a science background would not find it hard going. I'd definitely encourage anyone who's interested in cave science to attend next year. Ask John Wilcock to put you on the mailing list if you're interested, or watch out for info in Caves & Caving / Cave & Karst Science.
Jo "hangover queen" Whistler
PS We went to the oldest pub in Britain at lunchtime and it's partly in a cave - very appropriate!


Would anyone be interested in a regular Friday lunchtime pub session? I get particularly thirsty at that time of the week, and it would be a good opportunity to a) drink b) make final arrangements for the weekend's caving and c) encourage anyone who finds it difficult to make Wednesday evenings to stay with the club. I'd suggest the Lamb and Flag, 12:30pm starting this Friday. If a slightly later or earlier time would suit anyone better then just say.
Jo "beer and wine feels just fine" Whistler

Blowing our own trumpet

Just out of curiosity, and at the suggestion of Paul, I looked up 'Beneath The Mountains' through the Amazon book site. There was no review of the book at all.... Would some literary whizz kid in the club care to write a review or two?? It might even sell a few copies. They have a review-guidelines page which is quite helpful. Any takers? Joan Arthur

Train tragedy As soon as Chris suggested refurbishing the chair's hat with yet more elegant adornments, I couldn't wait to get going on building a train set to run round the top of it. Fired with enthusiasm I searched out Howes Model Shop, only to discover that the smallest train set that you can get needs a minimum diameter of circular track of 48cm. And that would cost well over £100. The cheapest set they had was Thomas the Tank Engine (wind up set) that needed a track of 79 cms diameter (£10.99). Any suggestions out there? Any other requests?
Joan Arthur

Yordas - yikes!

On Sunday of the last Southerscales weekend I wanted to go caving. It pissed it down, the wind howled and the tea shop beckoned. Where could we go that isn't flood prone and isn't far from the road? Ah-ha! Yordas!

Even having wimped out, by changing before we left the cottage, we were cold enough to appreciate getting underground out of the icy wind. The first pitch was merely pleasantly spray-lashed: a good hangover cure. The low crawl in the streamway was easily passable, but the second pitch looked a much more serious proposition. I went down first, not very happy about the amount of water but reassured by the fact we had seen another team go down in front of us. After the first few feet I could see nothing and descended as fast as possible, straight into a deep pool part way down. I was caught on the lip for several seconds, the water whipping away my breath and drumming hard on my helmet. The rope caught but I managed to pull it down as I descended further. A little lower down I could hold my head and shoulders out of the water and get my breath before plunging back into the full force of the waterfall to descend the last few metres. The others followed and we beat a hasty retreat to a cafe via a grade IV-V change in horizontal sleet. A short but exciting trip.
Jo "naked man frequenter" Whistler

Pybus Lives

Seeing as the zoology department has seen fit to employ me (I can't think why) I now have my email account back. My new address is:

John "I think I did Biology at GCSE..." Pybus