Depth through thought

OUCC News 22nd January 2009

Volume 19, Number 1

DTT volume 19 (2009)

DTT Main Index

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Editor: Andrew Morgan

Trips this term:

Editor's bit:

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a good break, and are ready to do lots of caving this year.

Caving Audio Archive

Sid Perou has asked us to circulate the following-

I have been approached to the BCRA to help co-ordinate the establishment of an audio archive of British Cave exploration. The intention is to interview, particularly the key older figures in the caving world to put on record their personal accounts of historic events and discoveries. Clearly, a voice record like this, even though good written accounts may have been published at the time, gives a different perspective of the events and captures an image of the event, the person and the time in a way that a written account cannot. The final archive will eventually be available to all, probably in the form of MP3's on the internet.

Whenever this had been started it is inevitable that there would always be regrets about those who we have missed and that are no longer here to interview. Consequently, the sooner we can get the ball rolling, the less we have to regret. The absolute form and scope of the archive is still to be discussed. However, we are clearly going to need help from all the major clubs and from each region.

There are, I am sure, interviews already in existence which can be collected and which can be processed and put into the collection. I am sure that we can convert them from almost any sound format. This can be produce a fascinating and very worthwhile record.

Anybody that is interested either in supplying material, helping record interviews, or suggesting people that should be interviewed should contact me at:

Digging the Gerbil Run, Ogof Draenen

Keith Hyams

When we (Chris Rogers and Keith Hyams) arrived at the dig, one thing puzzled me more than anything else. How could it be that it was now 6pm, a full 10 hours after I'd woken up? Surely it really shouldn't have taken that long to relocate my body from my bed to a scrofulous crawl in Draenen's scrofulous reaches.

I inserted my body into the downwards sloping tube and my arms promptly refused to support me, let alone pull out mud. A bit of Snickers-coaxing later we slowly began to haul out mud from the end of the tube. Each drag tray full was hard earned, having to be scooped back up the tube by hand before the drag tray could be filled. Why do we do this, we asked each other – aren't we supposed to be respectable professionals now? Shouldn't we have someone to do this for us (a keen undergraduate perhaps?)? What on earth would our colleagues and students think if they knew how we spent our weekends?

When we left the Submission/Gerbil Run dig last time I'd enthusiastically claimed that it would take a mere half an hour to break through. Chris had more pessimistically guestimated an hour. Two and a half hours later we knocked out the final mud constriction and at last were able to poke our heads far enough through to see what lay beyond. A huge abyss of nothingness? Beauties untold?

The Mystery Streamway? Of course not. More digging. Grrrrr. At least that meant we could call it a day and head out, hopefully in time to emerge before midnight. Even better, since the dig now seemed to require more digging than I was prepared to give it, perhaps I could at last give up Draenen digging altogether and enjoy a nice peaceful life, like normal people. Ahhh, wouldn't that be nice…

Unfortunately, as we passed the beautiful cloud-like rafts of Gerbil Heaven, I paused to look more closely at the rock pile behind and noticed that the largish and Southward heading passage in which we stood did indeed continue beyond Gerbil Heaven, and that it would probably be possible to dig past the obstruction without doing much damage to the formations. Bollocks. Normality will have to wait. Now that's a good name for a passage.