Depth through thought

OUCC News 17th May 1995

Volume 5, Number 12

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Intensive Language Courses

In Trinity Term the Language Centre is running four weekend courses in contemporary language skills. Each course will consist of eight hours of tuition with an emphasis on speaking and listening to the language, running from 9.00 - 1.30 with a half-hour break. Some of the material to be studied will be taken from Satellite TV, radio broadcasts, and newspaper articles. The maximum number of students per group will be 15. A fee of £15 will be charged to junior members of the University and other full-time students, £20 to members of Congregation and members of staff, and £28 to non-members.

Saturday 10 June, 9.00 am - 1.30 pm
Sunday 11 June, 9.00 am - 1.30 pm
Classes at the following levels: Near-Beginners, Lower Intermediate, Upper
Intermediate, Advanced.

Saturday 20 May, 9.00 am - 1.30 pm
Sunday 21 May, 9.00 am - 1.30 pm
Classes at the following levels: Absolute Beginners, Lower Intermediate,
Upper Intermediate, Advanced.

Saturday 3 June, 9.00 am - 1.30 pm
Sunday 4 June, 9.00 am - 1.30 pm
Classes at the following levels: Absolute Beginners, Lower Intermediate,
Upper Intermediate, Advanced.

Saturday 27 May, 9.00 am - 1.30 pm
Sunday 28 May, 9.00 am - 1.30 pm
Classes at the following levels: Absolute Beginners, Lower Intermediate,
Upper Intermediate, Advanced.

Enrolment forms are available from Angela Pinkney, and should be returned to her, together with the fee, as soon as possible. Payment should be made in the form of a cheque made payable to "University of Oxford", and sent to:

Angela Pinkney
Oxford University Language Centre,
12 Woodstock Road,
Oxford OX2 6HT
Tel. (01865) 283360

If you would like confirmation of your place, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope. Otherwise, please assume that you have a place unless you hear from us to the contrary.


Tatham Wife Hole & Congress Cave - Beauty and the Beast
It was Saturday morning at Southerscales. Well just about morning anyway. Will and Oli had set off early to do Mere Gill, and the van had eventually left for Bull Pot farm, and a trip do County. This left us ready to set off for a first time SRT trip down Tatham Wife. Except things never quite happen like that and instead we ended up in Ingleton buying furry suits, hiring lights and writing postcards. Some time later though, we made it back to Southerscales and set out to look for the cave. Neither Nobby (or should I say Derrik) or myself had been there before, and Anita had only knew the way when it was snowing. However before you could count to Tethera-Bumfit (see log book) we met Catherine, who had walked up with Will and Oli. They, it transpired, had found Mere Gill too full of people and gone off to do Tatty themselves.

Once we got underground, the cave itself was really enjoyable. A fine stream passage led down to the first pitch, and since this was rigged with OUCC ropes we left all the tackle at the top and headed on down. At the bottom of the third pitch we met Will and Oli on their way out. We relieved them of a rope for the last pitch, and persuaded them to carry our set of tackle back for us before heading on down.

The duck was enjoyed so much on the way in that Nobby climbed up to find a bypass on our return. Although the climb down on the other side was a rather difficult, so he ended up plumping for getting wet again anyway. We got back out just in time to see the sun setting over Whernside, and the full moon rising over Ingleborough. Both Anita and Derrik (oops I mean Nobby) had enjoyed their first experiences of SRT caving, and managed it with considerable style (Still you'll have that epic hang up sometime, I promise).

The next day after a couple of quick carries for Tony down Hardrawkin (Nearest cave to Southerscales Cottage), I borrowed his excellent head torch and went for a quick look at Congress Cave. This is only about 230 metres long but still gets a grade 4 in the guide book. So it shouldn't really come as a surprise that there are only two points in the whole cave where you can stand up - and one of those is the entrance climb. The rest of the cave consists of flat out crawling. With variety provided by squeezing on your side, or flat out crawling in water, or flat out crawling in water on your back, or ... I expect the picture is becoming clear by now. After about 45 minutes of this, and almost at the end of the known passage. I decided that I'd made my point, and the cave had made its. So turning round seemed to be a fairly equitable arrangement all things considered. Besides I was just beginning to get that feeling that I'd rather be finding out that I could get back round all those tight corners, and through the wet ducks, than going through more of them. Fortunately turning round could be achieved, and I was soon heading for the surface.

The trip lasted about an hour and a half in total and was a bit like the Daren entrance in character, although more muddy and not quite so spacious. Still if you've nothing to do for a couple of hours at Southerscales and masochistic tendencies start to come on, this is the cave for you.
John Pybus

Draenen Latest

Ducking and Draenen
This was a trip with a mission. I had been getting strong hints from Nig Rogers about surveying the duck and the few hundred metres of passage beyond that I had found beyond his extension at the far northern end of Draenen. Jollities in Ireland had intervened, & it was now one month later. I thought the passage choked at the end, although it took the strong draught, but hadn't looked too closely since I was on my own. So, in case we might be stuck for something to do after doing the survey, Steve R, Martin L & I sweated along Gilwern & beyond with scaffolding bars borrowed to look at a few avens in the area.

The duck had not got any shorter, or anything less than utterly squalid. Steve was inspired by it: "Breadfruit Boulevard" it became. At the choke, "Hanging Garden", we prepared to begin surveying back. Martin was reluctant to start, and disappeared up into the apparently solid choke! After failing to persuade him to come back down, Steve & I followed, & spread out at different levels in the choke. "Cracked it!" shouted Steve, and we were away. Crawling past two avens, we stepped down into a tall, 10 metre wide chamber. But it was no chamber: squinting across the space, we realised it was just the start of a very wide passage! It was time for a change of plan. Why survey backwards towards certain squalor when you can survey forwards into something new? To various cries such as "is this the way?", we surveyed down St Giles, past the 2m wide Lamb & Flag Passage on the right, and re-joined the stream which had sunk on the other side of the choke. It sank again into another choke, but the main passage kept on going. There were gypsum crystals, there were cave pearls the size of duck eggs, and there were more leads heading North on the right. With 500m in the book, the main passage ended at Passion Fruit Chamber, where you have to carefully zig-zag between great long straws.

It was time to go back and complete the survey that we had intended to do. We managed to survey back through the Hanging Gardens, but our failing lights told us it was time to go home. So that was it. We hadn't done a single thing that we had set out to do, but who's complaining?
Chris Densham

Wiggly Business

Chris and I were underground by 11.45 and by 7pm a distinct mood of "oh bugger it" had descended up on the disgruntled duo of ex-Cambridge cavers. We had spent 4 hours surveying the connection in Breadfruit Boulevard, undoubtedly the most sordid surveying I have ever done, continually licking mud out of the instruments while lying hunched up in the mud awash with grit and silt. We spent 3 hours taping passage in the new big stuff ("St. Giles"). Chris had difficulty controlling himself, and was blundering about cursing, festooned in red and white tape like a deranged plastic troll.. Just as we started surveying into one of the side passages, one that we had followed for ten minutes the week before, the instruments fogged up beyond redemption and Chris's light packed in.

Gathering all our reserves of Caving Chi, we went back to where we had left the tackle bags, picked up a zoom, and Chris took off the oversuit he was for some reason wearing over his wetsuit. Immediately he speeded up by a factor of about ten, and left me stumbling behind following a trailing smell of neoprene and stale piss. NOW things got moving. Surveying to grade 3, we whipped down the passage, which constantly teased as it went up and down and twisted, never revealing more than 15 metres at a time. Chris dug though a spiky squeeze and then dug me through it. A boulder choke blocked the way; Chris nobly and generously indicated I should go first and even assisted in pulling the roof off me when a partial collapse resulted.

At 9.15 we called a halt at another easily dug constriction, 300 odd metres in to "Wiggly Business". Ten minutes work should see the next team into biggish open passage visible beyond. There are also two side passages which we followed for a bit ("Lamb and Flag passages") and the stream route to follow. And some avens to climb. And the maypoling that we went to do two weeks ago and never kind of got round to. Let the good times roll...
Steve Roberts

Stop Press !
Connection length : 290m (grade 5)
Wiggly Business : 360m (grade 3)... so far!