Cambridge University Caving Club

Newsletter #9 --- 9 December 1997

The week that's been

Hmm... the weekend... it rained... it rained a lot! Still, a keen caver and 25-30 non Russians headed off to Yorkshire to camp next to a pub. In Summer it's probably a beautiful Yorkshire field overlooking Ingleton, however this weekend it was a 3-pound per night wind-swept bog littered with refuse. Luckily Jeremy negotiated a hard bargain for this idyllic campsite (actually it was the best night's sleep I've had in ages!). Not everyone appreciated the luxury of an indoor swimming pool though.

Never before, have so many faffed, for so long, for so little caving.

On Saturday we managed to go caving despite disorganisation on a scale undreamt of.

Hamish went underground.

We (Hamish(!), Tim Barnard, Tim V-B, Gill, Mark, Me) went down Sell Gill --- a short novice SRT trip; 3 pitches and an awesome amount of spray and rumbling from the flooding stream-way below. We met some cavers on the way out --- they were abseilling with a safety line! Thanks to Mark and Gill for not abandoning the novices! Actually it sounds like we had one of the better trips going on Saturday... Tony and Paul's lot didn't even lose sight of day!

Earl, Adam and Rachel (or was it Tanya and Dave?) discussed permits with Oxford cavers in a cave which contained water and a bit of mud and whose name I can't remember or spell --- see Sam's report.

The dinner was good when the food arrived.. and there was a special prize giving --- I can't remember all the `winners' but I think Earl got a prize for being Earl likewise Alexei.... Sam got one for losing his car keys.. Becka for living in a house and there were some more exciting categories which I can't remember now.

Sunday most people went walking and looking at waterfalls. It was a good weekend despite the lack of keen caving. Thanks Jeremy for a cool weekend!

Sam's bit

Thursday night --- rope washing from Yorks II --- I was intending to just dash down and pick up some gear for the weekend and run away again. Needless to say this didn't work, and even after off-loading one more tackle sack on Dave than he really wanted, I ended up with a complete car full of gear. This packed down to a complete boot full of gear on Friday lunch time but left the problem of where I would put Hamish's, Earl's, Jonathan's and my gear. Years of Expo packing skill came to the fore and after much shoving of gear we all squashed in. Pumping the tyres up seemed to make the car much more stable then the week before, and this week three figures were allegedly seen on the way up (Sorry --- deliberately ambiguous for my personal comfort and safety over the Christmas period) We arrived at the Hill Inn in good time for a beer or three --- Jonathan & Co. decided than tent erecting was best put off until absolutely necessary as it was pissing down with rain, which as it turned out, was theme for the weekend.

Saturday morning and even the die hard camping types agreed it was too miserable and there was a mass exodus to Bernies for breakfast. I should have seen it coming really --- but due to the extreme wetness of the Dales, lack of caves that could be done and the large number of cavers present - the 'Faff Factor' that morning was almost infinite. I'd originally agreed with Becka & Julian and Dave & Tanya (Team Large Pot) that we'd reconvene at the Hill Inn and sort gear there, B & J disappeared shortly afterwards, meanwhile Tony knew where he was going and was busy packing rope for Rowten in an efficient manner --- however Alexi, also going to Rowten, needed some gear --- consequently the gear pile in my car was detonated outside Inglesport and exploded into the road. Gill, organising a novice SRT Sell Gill trip, was next in the gear scavenging queue and, Tim, Tim, Hamish etc. all needed gear sorting from the pile in the road. Dave and Tanya meanwhile got fed up and the Large Pot trip was abandoned in favour of a potter round the Mistral area of Easegill Adam, Rachel and Earl went as well and I was supposed to follow at some point. Having lost my trip, most of the rigging gear, my team members and spent 2 hours mooching about in the rain in Ingleton whilst everybody else sorted themselves out, I gave up and joined my MUSS friends in Bernies. Julian reappeared soon afterwards, having lost Becka and his van at the Hill Inn whilst waiting for me. He spent a cold and miserable time reading in his van once he'd got a lift back to it.

Meanwhile, I ended up at Bull Pot Farm with my MUSS mates with the intention of hunting out the Manchester Bypass from the County Pot end. County was wet like I'd never seen before with water pouring out of holes in the roof everywhere. Platypus Jct. was a big swirling whirlpool that I didn't fancy climbing into, and just downstream of the second pitch, the streamway was too exciting to consider getting in, so we traversed as far as we felt prudent and then exited before the whole place filled up.

The Rowten trip sounded fairly abortive, with it being too wet at the bottom of the second pitch --- Alexi liked it though. The Mistral trip sounded like the best option --- with lots of dry(ish) passages to run about in. (Dave and Adam --- did scrot down the Ratbag crawl though and didn't have to free dive the boulder choke at the bottom of Pippikin --- luckily) The Cigalere passage was apparently worth seeing in flood, though by all accounts the most difficult part of the trip was getting over Easegill Beck on the surface.

Sell Gill was wet, but passable, down to the main chamber after the pitches. and those not going caving mostly seemed to have gone for a walk to Sell Gill and back --- Epic stuff.

Everybody returned to the Hill Inn in reasonable time for the dinner and not being rescued. Duncan had appeared and was well into his 5th pint after an hour and must have been on number 6 or 7 before the food started to arrive. The dinner was long and drawn out with hungry cavers scavenging whatever arrived --- we got the distinct impression that there weren't enough plates to go round --- particularly after they'd spectacularly failed to juggle a stack of about twenty of them. Duncan had some more beer. Paul (Big not H) was getting impatient for his main course and was stupid enough to wait for it to arrive, and then leave to go to the toilet --- needless to say the plate was spirited away and an empty one left in it's place - however cavers aren't what they used to be and didn't eat it and even gave it back eventually. Duncan passed out before the puddings arrived. The evening wended it's merry way into drunken oblivion and everyone blundered out to their pits eventually.

Sunday --- another big Bernies bash and Alexi was hunting around for a caving trip. Dave, Adam, Julian & Becka were keen to go to Hurnell Moss. So in an effort to avoid the same hassle as Saturday morning I threw Earl out of the car, packed Alexi in, ranted a bit after Dave H returned my keys having found my car wide open, unattended with the key's on top. Found Alexi again in Inglesport buying books and hiring Welly's, and just managed to stop Hamish disappearing into Bernies for breakfast#2. Anyway, we arrived in Clapham. I decided to just walk up with them and finish the entrance spotting ramble Dave H & I had started last week, Tanya went to the New Inn and Rachel read a book in Adam's van.

The cave was found with the aid of a compass and I rigged the 1st pitch whilst team caver arsed around with SRT gear and then after they were all down I pottered off to find such interesting places as Frustration Pot (not where it should be and including decomposed sheep), Motley Pot (choked), OBJ Hole (didn't have a ladder for the second pitch). Slum Pot is either non existent or has moved somewhere else. I wandered back to Hurnell Moss and couldn't hear anyone so I left an arrow pointing in the right direction across the moor and a tin of beer for the thirsty cavers and made it back to Clapham in time for a much appreciated --- and very nice pint. Hamish appeared back and hour or so later and about 3 seconds after the pub had definitely shut. I'd contemplated staying the night in the New Inn as it was so pleasant, but thought better of it as this would mean a 5am start back to Cambridge (Me and 5am starts do not mix). We dashed back to Ingleton to rescue Jonathan who'd been unimpressed with the four & a quarter miles of scenic beauty of the waterfalls walk and headed home.

Till next time, Sam.

The official Pravda report

Fearing that it might lose some of it's charm, I have decided not to edit the following report (except of course to flip all those upside down letters).

On Sunday the weather was excellent: no rain at all and evidently it was high time for caving. But Tony was seriously weakened by the previous night's party and Paul wasn't inspired either. The only vague desire to go caving was expressed by Sam: "May be". At last six persons (4 of whom were old cavers living outside the Cambridge) gathered to go to the cave Hurnell Moss. Dry cave of about 100 m deep was quite easy. The most memorisable were two things:
1. Very nice rope traverse of about 5 m length on the wall over the pitch.
2. Heroic activity of a caving girl who not only carried a bag to and from the cave but also derigged the cave! Later I was told that it was not the sign of women's emancipation but Becka was just a very strong caver. Anyway it was a very strange impression: to see the men-cavers standing outside the cave while a woman-caver was hauling out ropes.



For some reason most of the quotes that stuck in my mind were from Alexei... a Russian accent is required here...

"In Russia we do not have woman like this... it is very unusual" (referring to Becka ) --- Alexei

"How long has he been caving?" --- Alexei.
"err... 7-8 years.. " --- Me
"Ahh... I thought he was novice " --- Alexei.

While shaking a certain tent wildly: "Tony come caving! Tony come caving! Tony come caving!!!" (The morning after...some time just a bit too early)

"Who was the bastard who told Alexei which tent was mine!" --- Tony.

"This is the longest I've gone without brushing my teeth" --- hard man Earl.

(Jonathan's quotes)

"How deep is this cave?" --- Alexei
"How deep is this cave?" --- Alexei
"How deep is this cave?" --- Alexei
"zzzzzzzzzzzz" --- Duncan

(Sam's quotes)

PS. Readers will be relieved to know that Earl survived 2 days without brushing his teeth. An example to us all.

Bit to fill up space

OK, I know this is a bit sad... but it was the only sign of Christmas going round in the Nerd Lab and it fills up the newsletter.

For all the C-programmers out there try compiling this:

better !shout !cry
better watchout
lpr why
santa claus < north pole > town

cat /etc/passwd >list
ncheck list 
ncheck list
cat list | grep naughty > nogiftlist
cat list | grep nice > giftlist
santa claus < north pole > town

who | grep sleeping
who | grep awake
who | egrep 'bad|good'
for (goodness sake) {
        be good
I love C.

That's all folks!!

J.C.C. Carr

Tue Dec 9 22:04:13 GMT 1997

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