OUCC Proceedings 11 (1983)


OUCC Proceedings 11 Contents

OUCC Proceedings Index

OUCC Home Page

John Singleton

Editing an irregular publication like this tends to make you spend far too much time musing on the changes which have occurred since you did the last one, and not enough time sticking lumps of paper together and wading through the result of the grammatical inadequacies of a bunch of semi--illiterate cavers. Yes, although Oxford is supposed to be the centre of human knowledge and the City of perspiring dreams, its cavers, myself included, cannot spell or construct sentences, just like everyone else in England. However, I digress. To get back onto the subject of changes, Xitu is, inevitably, no longer the deepest-ever British exploration and has sunk to 14th in the depth-record tables. OUCC sends its hearty congratulations to the lads at Tresviso who just managed to scrape past our 1148 m; we were flattered to have the deepest parts of their cave named the Oxford bypass and FUZ2 (say it in American). On the positive side, parties from the Club have been active in other parts of the world besides Spain, and this edition contains reports on work done in Borneo and Gibraltar. I hope that this diversification will continue, and look forward to seeing a Proc. Oxford University Cave Cave Club 12 containing, in the style of the old SUSS reports, articles from all points of the compass.

Since the last Proc., SRT seems to have gained much more public support, Frog systems have crossed the Channel en masse to replace the weird, wonderful and often dangerous Yorkshire variants of the rope-walking and Texas-2 systems and the death knell of the trusty old rack has been sounded with the appearance of the more convenient "bobbins" and "stops". Inevitably, the ladders versus SRT debate has once again reared its ugly head, and one of our Club members has even written an article for the Guardian on the subject. With all these changes in the air, and the proliferation of gear which accompanies them, it is comforting to know that the various caving journals see fit to publish reviews of the latest thing in knots etc. What does rankle, however, is the way that these columns can become vehicles for personal enmity. While their acquaintances way well know that columnist X doesn't like manufacturer Y, the cast majority of the caving public is presented with a distorted picture of the equipment scene.

Another inevitable development during the past two years has been the appearance of a replacement for Cullingford's manual of caving techniques. I must confess to being a trifle disappointed in the new book: the water tracing section is hopelessly outdated, the article on expeditions gave no hint as to the usefulness of its pile of random references etc., etc. Some of the sections, such as the chapter on SRT, were very good, but the general feeling I got from the book was one of niggling errors and sloppiness which should have been spotted in the proof stages. An overall verdict would be "good idea; pity about the execution". A bit of pedantry on the part of the editor could perhaps have made all the difference.

Having put you in a pedantic frame of mind, I hope that you have a satisfying time looking for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in this rag, as you descend "into the vowels of the earth!" (not original).