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"The Lemming"


The highly-coveted Lemming award is given for the most dangerous piece of underground incompetence in the year.

Good judgment or good luck is required, as the award is not made posthumously.
The small furry beast was hand-crafted by Fred Wickham, and is presented to the lucky (?) winner at the Club's annual dinner.


2018-19 Simon Goddard Dislocating a shoulder in Swildon's Hole. A by-now standard approach to Lemminghood.
2016-17 Lou Maurice Leading a OFD I to TOP trip, she damaged her ankle in one of the big pots along the OFD II main stream way. She managed to self rescue in some pain and with a swollen ankle; and then with the rest of the group, carried on up Maypole inlet, and finished the trip.
2015-16 Will Ivison Falling off the traverse across Pluto's Bath in OFD and dislocating his knee.
2014-15 Thomas [Ka] Leung 1) Jumped off a ledge at one of the 'Bridges of Death' with a hand jammer and cow's tail clipped on a horizontal in situ rope. Unharmed, but stacked for quite a while.
2) Accidentally dropped two meters at the 'Phreatic Drop' and left foot landed hard on a small boulder at Miss Grace's Lane on the way in. Proceeded to the end of the cave (before the misery crawl) with an injured left ankle joint, and made the way out. Immobile for three days with serious swelling of left foot.
2013-14 Tom Spriggs Falling 4m down an alternative route into Brew Chamber, Easegill, unhurt, and later that day crashing his car into the ditch, unhurt.
2012-13 No award  
2011-12 Pete Talling Punching out a piece of his toe with a rock on a caving expedition in Myanmar.
2010-11 Vicky Lim

Falling off a climb into the Teresa Series in Xitu...twice in one expedition.

2007-08 Yifan Huang For reasons and incidents far too numerous to catalogue.
2006-07 Gavin Lowe Falling in Easegill caverns, and breaking his hip.(more)
2005-06 Peter Devlin 1) Falling out of the Letter Box in OFD (more)
2) Getting lost while diving in Linley (more)
2004-05 Ursula Collie Solo lightless ascent of Rhino Rift. Once.. twice.. three times a lemming... (more)
2003-04 John Cooper & Pod The self-sealing boulder choke.  A welcome return to lemminghood for JC. (more)
2002-03 No award  
2001-02 Rosa Clements Stops are not for squeezing. A classic from a second-generation OUCC caver
2000-01 Lev Bishop An incident in 2/7 involving a boulder, a belay, a big bang and a shredded harness. (more)
1999-00 Richard Gerrish Free-falling from top of 5m high boulder 800m down in 2/7.. and walking away unhurt. 
1998-99 Joanne Whistler Persistently abseiling down the shafts in 2/7 with undone central maillon.
1997-98 Lev Bishop Leaping over wall to fall 25m down Cow Pot. A promising novice entry. (more)
1996-97 Alex Harding Blowing himself up in C3, and later in F64 prussiking 18m on rope that was attached by jammed knot - which undid itself. (more)
1995-96 Jim Sheppard Dislocating shoulder and being rescued, while on way out of Swildon's to raise rescue for team member with... a dislocated shoulder. A classic comedy turn from an old hand. (more)
1993-94 Tony Seddon Short on air, following wrong line up tight rift to cut-off drifting end in Chapman's rising.
1992-93 David Monaghan Having less than one point of attachment on a 70m pitch. (more)
1991-92 Pauline Rigby Avoiding being crushed by falling rock. (more)
1990-91 Tony Seddon [I think] Disappearing for an hour with 40 mins worth of air on first ever dive (Joint Hole).
1989-90 No award A rare year of competence.
1988-89 Lynn Smith, Sherry Mayo, Mel Rigby Lost, flooded and trapped in Dow - Prov. Later to become a Club "regular event".
1987-88 John Cooper Traversing unprotected over large greasy drops in 2/7, apparently not noticing them.
1986-87 Ursula Mead Falling on head & fracturing skull at bottom of Ridge Cave. (see "Rescue")
1985-86 Kevin Smith, Tom Houghton Flooded into Little Neath and dived out by SWCRO via Bridge Cave. (Oxford Mail article: headline & story)
1984-85 Ursula Mead Falling down the last pitch in Juniper Gulf after taking the wrong traverse level.  Founder Lemming.

More first-hand accounts of, or scurrilous gossip about, these events are eagerly awaited.

Notes on Lemmings