OUCC Proceedings 4 (1966)

Club Diary

R.A. Hazelwood

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During the two years since the publication of Proceedings No. 3, the cave club has spent, apart from the usual meets during term, several profitable vacations.           

In 1964 the Summer Met was held in Yorkshire; the first half was spent at the old Kendal Cave Club hut at Helwith Bridge, followed by a move to Bull Pot Farm on Casterton Fell. Graham Stevens had already surveyed part of Washfold Pot and several days were spent in an attempt to finish this. Unfortunately, wet weather at the time prevented descent of the 110’ pitch, but the survey of the upper series was completed and a new rawlbolt fixed at the top of the pitch from which the ladder could be hung free of the water. Graham has since completed the survey.           

While at Bull Pot Farm, a determined effort was made to pass the Northern Sump to try to link the cave with Casterton Pot. The level of the sump was lowered about 1’ by digging away some of the silt and Tim Cooke, by free-diving, reached a bell about 10’ in. Since then, a visit by a fully equipped diver has proved the sump to be at least 50’ long. A trip was made to the choke in Lancaster Hole Master Cave as were sundry others to Easegill, Yordas, Calf Holes-Browgill and etc. which finished an enjoyable meet.

Other activities that summer included a visit to Czechoslovakia ( G. Stevens ) and one to Ireland ( R. Hazelwood, D. C. Robertson ).           

No official meets of the club were held at Christmas ‘64 or Easter ‘65 largely on account of preparations for the expedition that was to be held in the summer. Several training trips for the expedition were organised in Derbyshire and Yorkshire, including Giants Hole ( twice ), P8, Marble Steps, and Notts Hole, all being very well attended.           

Francis Sanders spent much time with Ron Cooper and many others ( as and when they could be persuaded to go ) near Penderyn ( S. Wales ) where Ogof Fach was considerably lengthened.           

The summer of ‘65 was spent with the Eldon Pothole Club and many others ( 30 in all ) in Spain ( v. supra ).            

Christmas ‘65 saw another visit to Yorkshire. The weather was appallingly wet and activities were in consequence limited to “trog” trips down Lancaster Hole, Easegill, Bull Pot, etc. without any original work.           

At the start of the Easter vacation, 1966, a small party spent a few days in Derbyshire going down Oxlow and Giants, followed by a splendid day in Penyghent Pot after a lightning dash to Yorkshire, as guests of the Eldon P. C. Another Yorkshire trip is, at the time of writing, being planned for this Easter.           

To return to term-time, Trinity ‘64 saw little activity, due as always to the multitude of distractions provided by a summer in Oxford. However, one visit to Stoke Lane Slocker was successful, although Sarah Cherry was surprised to find that the cave entailed diving a sump, while the writer lost his spectacles in the latter and had to return home for a spare pair. Indoors, Oliver Lloyd talked about new cave passages - how to find them and what to do if you have that good fortune.           

Michaelmas ‘64 arrived with its usual crop of freshmen who were initiated into the delights of Swildons and Eastwater. Trips to G. B. and Ogof Ffynnon Ddu both succeeded despite permit difficulties, but Hillocks Mine did not attract sufficient interest to make the projected trip worthwhile. John Wilmut of the Chelsea S. S. talked on Triglav ‘64 and our president, Dr. Margery Sweeting, on American Caves and Caving Areas.           

Hilary 1965 got off to a bad start with a trip to the Forest of Dean and a film show which were both cancelled. The general lack of interest which seemed to spring from this failure put a blight on the next two terms. While trips to Tunnel Cave and Porth yr Ogof went well, those planned to Mendip and ‘Aggy’ suffered from weather and transport difficulties, both coming to a grinding halt. A talk by David St. Pierre of the S. W. Essex Technical College C. C. on their expedition to Norway and an uproarious A. G. M. served to compensate for the caving, poor despite the fact that a party succeeded in bottoming Primrose Pot in Eastwater, even though afterwards all avowed fervently that this trip was a ‘never again‘.                       

Trinity ‘65, suffering from usual difficulties and from the legacy of the term before, had one trip to Oxlow and a talk by H. Schofield on Ogof y Dydd Byrraf, most of the members being occupied with preparations for the coming expedition.           

In Michaelmas term, a determined effort at the Freshman’s Fair brought membership back to a reasonable figure. This gave rise to difficulties on the first trip with more novices than experienced members. Nevertheless two parties descended Swildons and Lamb Leer without mishap. Another double trip, St. Cuthberts and Eastwater Twin Verticals gave new members experience of the tighter type of cave. Two trips to S. Wales were well attended. Aggy was entered with much relief to escape the howling blizzard outside. Reg and Margaret Howard talked to new members on the Spanish Expedition and Mr. and Mrs. John Hooper of the D. S. S. gave an excellent talk on Bats and Bat Detection which was superbly illustrated.           

Last term ( Hilary ‘66 ) the A. G. M. was held at the Swan Hotel, Eynsham. Mike Wooding talked on Cave Diving and discussed the latest discoveries. Bill Maxwell of the C. S. S. gave an excellent history of the discovery and opening up of Agen Allwedd, all the more interesting to the freshmen who had visited it the previous term. A very successful Oxlow trip - exploring the new series - and trips to Stoke Lane Slocker and Ogof Fach completed the term.           

The last two years have had their ups and downs but the club seems to have weathered them successfully.