OUCC Proceedings 4 (1966)


M.M. Sweeting

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I am delighted to be asked to write an introduction to this number of the Oxford University Cave Club's Journal. Since the O.U. Cave Club was formed a few years ago it has been very active, particularly during university vacations. Some of this work is recorded in the present Journal. Undergraduate clubs have the difficulty that hardly any of their members remain for more than three years and the officers are a continuously changing body of people. It is therefore to the credit of the O.U.C.C. that so much work has been accomplished.

The opening up of the Picos de Europa area in N. Spain has been largely duc to the acctivities of the O.U. Cave Club. The original work, started there in 1961, has been followed up by subsequent expeditions both from Oxford and elsewhere. Some of the more recent work by M.J. Walker et al. is incorporated into this issue. The O.U.C.C. may justly claim that this part of Spain is "their ground", and it is to be hoped that the Club will make this area one of their long term projects. The University of Bristol Spelaeological Society's campaign of work in co. Clare in Ireland shows what a normal university caving club can do in the way of a long term project; and this work by the U.B.S.S. is shortly to be integrated into a book - "The Caves of N.W. Clare" - dare I suggest that we look forward to a book - "Caves of N. Spain"?

Nearer home the O.U. Cave Club has interests in S. Wales, and in the local limestones of the Oxford region as Mr. Sanders' paper shows. I hope that the Club will feel able to embark on some long term projects here also. University caving clubs are particularly suited to the development of simple schemes demanding a large number of people using rather simple techniques. Observations on the calcium content of cave streams of limestone areas, measurements of the sizes and numbers of sinkholes in S. Wales, such are examples of the problems that might be tackled by an undergraduate caving club. It is to be hoped that, in addition to the fun of purely sporting caving, the O.U. Cave Club will continue to devote some of its time to investigating problems of real interest to science.

M.M. Sweeting
March 7th, 1966