Depth through thought

OUCC News 4th March 2010

Volume 20, Number 2

DTT Main Index

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Editor: Andrew Morgan

Upcoming trips:

CHECC Advanced SRT Training Course

Dates: Weekend of 20-21st March 2010. Location: Sheffield and Peak District

Candidates must be personally competent at SRT and sort out full caving kit for the weekend themselves. This course is aimed at people who are running trips, training others SRT, and keen to practice or learn rescue techniques. There are only 18 spaces and an absolute maximum of 4 per club (we would prefer less as this gives the training to more clubs). There is no qualification or assessment on this course, we just aim to improve every candidates ability and knowledge.

The course will be over two days, the Saturday at Mark Wright's rope training venue in Sheffield, and the Sunday caving in the Peak District.

The free parts of the course include: the course, accommodation (Friday in Sheffield and Saturday at the TSG), food on Saturday and Sunday morning and cave entrance fee if we can squeeze the budget. You will be asked if you would like to donate towards the cost at the end when you know what you have had, but if you don't have much money we would rather you came along and learnt, than sit at home counting pennies.

The bits we don't pay for is you getting here, so if you're a long way off try and share a car up. There will be some scope for some people getting the train but only if others drive with spaces in cars.

If you would like a space send an email to with your:

Any questions contact Henry at or Jeff at Regards, The CHECC training people

Caving, sort of.

Steve Roberts

It has cranes, it has bats, it has brick robots with tinselled willies, it has a brick with the mystic and antient rune "PISS OFF" cemented on it, it needs a seriously big Allen key to get you in, it has more systems of contradictory route markings than Oxford city centre seen through an acid haze.... welcome to Box stone mines.

I should say at this point that that means mines, for stone, near the village of Box, in Wiltshire; not mines for stone boxes. Or even stone boxers.

We were six. Geoff organised it and had lots of maps, Steve dithered and signed on at the last minute, Rosa was pretty sure her guinea pigs were OK at home, Andy hoped it would be a good DTT write-up, Phil bought more maps, just to make sure, and Jeremy kept order.

The "iron door", that vital and prominent navigational feature, is now the "random heap of sheets of corrugated iron at the side of the passage", so be warned, O navigator. The forbidden zone, ex-MOD, is not as interesting as you might think. Though the bit with the great iron pillars is a bit like a deeply buried modernist palace of Minos, without the dolphin frescoes.

It is very easy to get lost near the Cathedral. It is very easy to go in circles back to the Cathedral. It is very easy to repeat your route near the Cathedral. It is very easy to go in circles back to the Cathedral.

There is a hidden staircase, at the foot of which the chuckling dwarf will give you directions to almost anywhere, in more subtly different variations than your tiny head will hold.

[Throw axe at dwarf]. [Go North East]. You are in a maze of muddy passages all alike. There is a empty beer can here! [Take empty beer can]. [Use empty beer can with crane]. That doesn't work. [Use empty beer can with banana]. There is a sound of mocking cavers! [Follow pink arrow backwards]....


The mined passages, especially the sections that were partly walled, were so reminiscent of the underground bits of Roman walls and buildings I've visited that at one stage I had a powerful sensation that I was sitting eating my sandwiches (home made bread, cheese, lime pickle) in the 2000-year-old ruins of my own civilisation.


It is probably the closest big underground experience of note to Oxford, and would make a good Sunday trip on the way back from Mendip. The pub nearby is excellent, friendly, and open early for pre-trip refreshments; they sell detailed and waterproofed surveys. But take all the surveys you can lay your hands on, and a compass. And some water as well as food. The big Allen key will probably be left in the hut, suitably labelled.