OUCC Proceedings 1


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The publication of this first number of the proceedings of the Oxford University Cave Club is a milestone in the history of the Club, and it provides a welcome opportunity to record some aspects of the Club's development during its first years.

In November 1957, several students at Oxford, some of them already experienced cavers, called a meeting to discuss the formation of a University Club. There are faint rumours of a caving group at Oxford in the early 1950's, but the present Club was formed as a result of the 1957 meeting.

For the first two and a half years the original members were present to lend their support, and there were enough caves on Mendip, the nearest caving area, to hold their interest. Membership varied between fifteen and twenty-five. More recently, however, there has been a large influx of new members, and the Club has ranged further afield in its search for fresh caves. All the caving areas of England and Wales, with the exceptions of East Devon and Furness have been visited, and in the summer of 1961, several members formed the heart and soul of the Oxford University Expedition to Northern Spain. A preliminary report of this interesting trip is included in this paper.

Some of the difficulties of running a caving club among university students have already shown themselves in this article. In the first place, members are drawn from all over the country and the majority have had no previous experience. Thus a considerable part of the Club's policy has been to provide for beginners. Secondly, members spend only three or four years at Oxford, and so the membership of the Club is constantly changing. This means that those who begin their caving with the club leave just when they could be ranked as experienced members, so that the number of experienced members is always small. The third difficulty is imposed by the position of Oxford; the nearest caves, those of Mendip, are eighty miles away.

But despite these drawbacks, and despite the multitude of superficially more attractive distractions in Oxford, a growing number of cavers is tackling an expanding spelaeological field. There is a hard core of experienced and keen 'holers, interested in any chance of breaking new ground, and it is due to their efforts that the descriptions and surveys contained in this paper have been compiled.

We hope that the appearance of this first number of the Proceedings will convey the thanks of the Club to those whose work has set the Oxford University Cave Club on its feet, and that it will encourage more members to follow in their footsteps. But those who do follow must remember above all that exploration in any field of science does not end with the task of exploration itself. Science increases only when the results of investigations are written down, and it is to this end that these Proceedings are to be published.


OUCC Proceedings 1 - Contents