Depth through thought

OUCC News 12th December 2007

Volume 17, Number 26

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Editor: Peter Devlin:

Note from the editor

Here are the weekends for next term

50th Anniversary Week-End

Russell Sunderland

Some random reflections from a founder member, still on a bit of a high after my first proper caving trip for 45 years.

First, the one disappointment - no novices to help us re-create the spirit of the first exploration. It was of course end of term; presumably term ended a bit later in those days.

GB exceeded all my expectations. Heavy rain had given it an altogether fresher feel and sound than I seemed to remember and the formations are still in pretty good shape. The firm embrace of limestone in The Squeeze stirred memories of many other expeditions; horseshoe bats and champagne put the icing on the cake.

Those sepia photos from'57 that have been adorning the web-site will remind members that this used to be very much a lads' game. That this is no longer the case has to be a big plus. After a slightly tricky climb, the murmured assurance 'You're very flexible' wouldn't be quite the same coming from one of the guys!

It will take more than the GB week-end to catch up on the progress of caving over the last 50 years. There was visible shock when I had to be reminded of what SRT stood for. (Not, I gather, Speleo Replacement Therapy for the truly old.)

As for OUCC itself, I am left with an indelible impression of a community with extraordinarily strong bonds. I am proud to have been in at its birth.

150 Terms of OUCC (but only 58 term cards)

Martin Laverty

Apart from post-prandial drinking, squeezing, and contorting round a broomstick there was naturally a lot of reminiscing going on back at the Wessex Cave Club hut after the club's 50th anniversary dinner at the New Inn. Upper Pitts also has a wi-fi hotspot, but I didn't spot anyone using that in the evening. Some of the conversations were prompted by the caving and climbing diary and photos that Richard Gowing brought along; others by the assortment of old term cards which I took along, having assembled them into plastic folders for ease of viewing. Much of the cave club ethos is there - the caves, the key people, the events, with logos, cartoons, and photos demonstrating some of the diverse talents the club has harboured.

Now seems an appropriate time to appeal to all OUCC people to check their own archives, boxes, cupboards, drawers, lofts, sheds, shelves, trunks etc. to try to create a more complete collection of term cards. Sightings of any of the following would be appreciated:

(copies of the front picture for Trinity and Michaelmas 2002 and Trinity and Michaelmas 2004 are on the website)

I am not sure when term cards ceased to be posted out to members but see that there is currently a PDF version available for printing so how about getting the Secretary to ensure that at least one is printed and kept for the record every term, as well as keeping a copy on the web? The first e-mail address appeared in a term card in Michaelmas 1995, the first website url in 1999; those addresses now lead nowhere and archiving computer resources is a major problem, so let's keep a paper trail as well.

As I'm sure all on the 50th anniversary trip will agree, armchair caving - with or without wi-fi - is no substitute for caving in good company, but it's good to look back on our history too.