The song, for years now traditionally sung at Club Dinners and on many other drunken occasions, owes its origin to a session of no caving caused by excessive rain on the club Irish expedition in 1968. From the logbook:
Friday August 30th 1968. Today was spent in raining and in creating new caving songs (?). The flow finally stopped as Martin [Smith]'s eloquence came up against the Gareth [Jones] metre.
Further verses were added on later occasions by exCS and CUCC as The Wild Caver became firmly established as the club song. It was first published in the CUCC Journal 1970, then comprising the verses here numbered 1,2,3,4 and 10 (plus the chorus, of course - that's the rowdy bit :-). As published in Cambridge Underground 1980 (and again in C.U. 1986-7), it had verses 1-7 and 10. A new verse for Cambridge has since been added (8). A couple of new verses have been tentatively put in by your webmaster, but have not yet been adopted...
To the tune of "Wild Rover"
(1) My first day in Cambridge, a freshman so neat,
Some boozy old cavers I happened to meet.
I asked to go caving, they answered me "Nay,
Such ouigees as you we can find any day."
And it's no, nay, never,
No, nay, never no more,
Will I play the Wild Caver,
No never, no more.
(2) I took from my pocket, a cheque book so bright,
the treasurer's eyes opened wide with delight.
"With pleasure we'll greet you as one of our rank,
as soon as your cheque has been cleared by the bank."
(3) They sold me a light at exorbitant price,
and a little black helmet, 'twas ever so nice.
I went with them caving, P8 was the place,
They only killed two and lost three without trace.
(4) I've been up to Yorkshire, to Mendip and Wales,
I've been down the pots and I've sampled the ales.
And now I'm returning with stories to tell,
of waters that rose, and of boulders that fell.
(5) The pitches in Yorkshire all end in dead sheep.
To find them you wander through snow ten feet deep.
We set out for Swinsto, found Easegill instead,
So we free-dived the sumps to get back to Keld Head.
(6) There's no caves on Mendip, or so runs the tale,
so potholing prowess is measured in ale.
But Swildon's is deep and quite wet I'll admit.
The streamway is sporting, but Shatter is simply awful.
(7) Now Wales is a speleophilologist's delight.
The names are so long that you can't say them right.
So don't blame the ouigees who say O.F.D.,
'cos it's easier by far than
OgofLlanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantisilio-gogogof Ffynnon Ddu.
(8) The landscape in Cambridge is boring and flat,
so we drink lots of be-er which makes us all fat.
We sit in the Panton all spouting bullshit,
of epics we've had with our carbides unlit.
(10) Now all I have left is a tatty wetsuit,
a clapped out old NiFe cell and half of a boot.
My clothes are so ragged, my beard is so long,
Thank god that's the end of my horrible song.
The adding of new verses always threatens to make the song too long to sing or remember, but odd verses have been added over the years, so here are a couple more to consider. One or both would go before the last verse (or maybe before the penultimate verse - opinions ?)
(9a) Expo is great and the sun always shines,
on great snow-choked shafts all well hidden in pines.
Of deep, long, cold potholes we can't find an end,
but death always threatens from ten Mohr-im-Hemd.
(9b) We all go to Loser in the middle of summer
to find K-Hole(*) still goes, oh hell, what a bummer.
We stagger about on the sharp limestone runnels,
condemned to explore miles of new shit-filled tunnels.
*: well, you try to get "Kaninchenhöhle" to fit the tune...