Depth through thought

OUCC News 6th June 2007

Volume 17, Number 15

DTT volume 17 Index

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Editor: Peter Devlin:

Note from the editor

Since the last edition of DTT there has been a Wales weekend and a Yorkshire weekend, but I've had no write-up. If you lot want a newsletter please take out the time to write something up. It need only take 10 minutes.

Here are the trips planned for Trinity Term (2007):

Lynne Mulelly writes:

Just a small note for the increasingly common announcements section of DTT ;-) - After nine and a half years of sinful living, Paul has asked me to marry him. We expect the wedding to be late 2008.

Wales Weekend

Peter Devlin [19/20 May 07]

I had planned on diving Hush Sump in OFD1, but arriving late Saturday afternoon Steve told me the upper streamway had been quite sporting.

I decided to dive Gothic instead. I ended up going to the 100m mark in Gothic which was further than I had been. Both of my regs were acting up, one providing a very stiff breath, the other leaking gently, so I found myself having to actively manage my fear on the return. As ever, I was relieved to make it back to dive base, somewhat aware that the cold was beginning to kick in.

What better way to warm up than to schlepp my dive gear to the streamway to check it out: if is was ok, my plan was to do the Hush carry, just to see what it was like.

When I got to the Step the water was up to my ankles, which is sporting, but managable. I soon found that with 2 5ltr bottles and a tacklesack of dive gear (25 to 30kg weightwise) I wasn't really comfortable as the gear forced me to stay in the water rather than trying to stay out of it. I decided after 20m or so that discretion is the better part of valour and started to make my way out.

The next day Gavin and I had opted for a trip into Aggy. I foolishly thought that with Gavin recovering from his hip injury it would be a gentler trip than the norm usual. I was soon disabused of this notion. 1 1/4 hours saw us to the Northwest Junction where we decided to continue. 20minutes later I was ready to turn back as I had to collect bottles from Chepstow and we were at the bit where the water gets deep so we decided to turn back.

3 1/2 hours after getting underground we were out. We had gone further into Aggy than I had been before, and despite Gavin having spent most of the trip waiting for me to catch up with him, we had till done an efficient trip and by the time we got to the wet crawls near the entrance I was exhausted. Gavin is well back in form.

What could possibly go wrong?

Peter Devlin [2/3 June]

Arriving late at Bull Pot Farm, my plans to join fellow Red Rose diver Steve Robinson in a Bull Pot of the Witches to Lancs trip seemed to coincide nicely with Phil, Kirstie and Debbie's plans to do a Top Sink to Lancs through trip. We hatched a plan in the early morning hours that involved tackle sacks and knots so that each party would know whether or not to derig. We agreed a conversation in the morning was needed and headed to bed. In the morning re reviewed the plan: I would rig Lancs, leaving my tacklesacks for hauling out bottles attached to the rope. If my bags were still there when Phil to Lancs he would know not to derig. If found Phil's alpine butterfly above my tackle sack I would know he was out and could derig. We considered a more foolproof plan that neither would derig and one of us would do it on Sunday, but dismissed it on the basis of being too boring by far.

Steve and I made it to the sump in BPW. Having done a single carry for me Steve had declared himself ready to do the through trip. I had felt he should work up to it a little more.

Given that his chest is a bit bigger than mine we agreed he would dive first and I would follow 10 minutes later. That way if he had trouble getting through the dig he would have time to return before I charged in on top of him: this little spot is not a place for 2 divers. Diving through the silt Steve had kicked up, I made out his lights coming out of the constriction just as I was about to go in, so I turned and made my way back. Steve had kept getting his helmet stuck, so had clearly been taking the wrong line through the restriction. In hindsight, going through first time with a tacklesack with SRT gear and stuff was overly ambitious. We both popped back in and checked out the airbell, just for the crack and I went through the restriction. I continued on almost all the way to the other sump, then turned and returned to the BPW end. We agreed that next time I would take Steve to the Lancs end (the easier carry) and dive through and back (ie without additional gear) before attempting the through trip. On the way out we bumped into a bunch of York Uni cavers who helped us out, leaving the middle pitch rigged for us to use as a handline for getting off the pitch head (see DTT 17.12).

That evening at the Northern Section meeting I was voted a Qualified Diver which was nice.

Being the Red Rose training officer, on Sunday the plan was for me to do some training with Sarah Conner, a new Red Rose member. Sarah is a technical diver who aspires to joining the CDG. At 2am we discussed start time for Sunday and being a diver she suggested 6am. Having honed my lying in skills in my years as a caver I was initially shocked, but woke up at 6. Before 8 I had derigged Lancs and 9 saw us underground having done a quick intro to SRT on the tree outside the farm. I feel BPW is ideal for SRT training as it's all free climbable, so the novice can be watched at very close range and helped out if need be. Sarah did the first pitch 2 1/2 times on the way in, then pitches 2 and 3. By now it was time to start heading out. 11.30 saw us back at the farm. Sarah had done the equivalent of 5 pitches so we were both happy with the progress made. We proceeded to Ingleton where she bought some gear (being 5' 2", my oversuit was a tad large on her). 1pm saw me on the road so the 6am start had paid off.