Cambridge University Caving Club

Michaelmas Term 1998 Newsletter 1 - 20th October 1998

Each week I produce a newsletter to hand out at the pub and the lunch to keep you up to date with what is happening, and what has happened. Each trip will (usually) be written up and included with the newsletter. Please feel free to send me your version of how the trips went, along with comments and quotes so I can include them, and save myself some work!

Introduction to Caving Techniques

Despite the wait for the minibus due to the usual Saturday traffic jams, and due to our rather prolonged attempts to rig up some ladders and ropes, we managed to set up two ladders (one free-hanging and one against the side of the bridge) and an SRT route. Everyone had a go at the ladders, then Tony took several people back while a few of us stayed and played on Steve’s SRT route, which included a rather fiendish re-belay. Nothing like a gentle introduction, eh Steve?

Introductory Trip to P8

After much sending of e-mails, phone calls and last minute minibus booking, we left in a surprisingly efficient manner Sunday morning (only 10 minutes later than planned). We arrived at the car park at 12pm, and Julian set off to look at the entrance to make sure it was passable (glimpses of full streams and no one else at the car park worried us slightly). Apparently, the day before the water had backed up high out of the entrance, and the pools of glistening mud showed just how much water there must have been. Tony arrived a few minutes later, then Andy Waddington ("Wadders") screeched to a halt, nearly killing three novices before they had even been underground! Much sorting of gear then ensued, and the first group set off at 1pm. Due to a small error in counting, we had divided the new club members up 8-5, rather than 7-6. So the first group consisted of 12 people, rather too many than would be ideal!

While the first group went underground, the remainder set off for the pub to grab some lunch, and then we went for a walk up Mam Tor and along the old road which had been destroyed by landslips some years ago.

We returned to the car park at 4pm, and the first group returned about half an hour later, regaling us with stories that had a common theme, namely water. Certainly the water levels were higher than any of the leaders could remember, and the waterfall was a bit exciting. Standing around the bottom holding the ladder tight was not the warmest of jobs, thanks for the balaclava Steve! We headed down to the sump and then crawled along The Loop, which was wetter than expected (where did the dry bits go?).

The second group returned to the minibus at 9:30pm, to find Earl who had been sorting out gear while the others sat in The Wanted Inn. Earl committed a rather fantastic faux pas when Julian commented on the 60’s music being played and Earl replied "That’s what you were listening to at University, wasn't it?" Oooops. Julian was non-too impressed!

We finally returned to Cambridge at 1:20, having stopped off on the way for chips, but unfortunately (?) not at the Xenophobic Fish'n'Chips shop. After dropping people off we went to the Tackle Store. By then the Porters Lodge had shut, so we tried to enter through the "back door", but to no success. So Earl and I ended up with rather large piles of gear sitting on the floor, which amused my bedder the next (or rather, the same) day.

Also in Derbyshire: The Cave Surveying Group.

The Cave Surveying Group (CSG) is a small group of people concerned with the study and development of techniques for mapping caves. The group has a strong Cambridge membership and this weekend saw one of several meets held annually to try out these techniques in real situations.

The meet went ok although the turnout was, apart from one person, exclusively made up of CUCC / ExCS (Ex-Cambridge Speleologists) people (gold star for Cambridge). Saturday, despite being graced with utterly miserable weather, saw two teams surveying in Doweldaleside Pot (I think that's what it was called anyway). Surveying was complicated by there being lots of scaffolding in the pothole, which affects the magnetic compasses, and the general wetness of the cave. Later the survey results were typed up on computer and a 3d computer generated model of the cave produced - comparing the two surveys highlights the errors made. The evening was spent drinking beer and discussing the finer points of surveying software ("What is a Cardinal point?" - "A red one" as it turned out. Obvious really)

Sunday, as those of you who went caving will know was a much nicer day, and we went round to a local caver's house to see a technique he's developed for altering the cave surveying instruments to be more easily cleaned / serviced. On the way, we happened to cross paths with the CUCC minibus on it's way to P8, I think we were lucky Julian 'gobsmacked' Haines didn't drive the bus off the road at the time

Later we popped out for a walk and the Derbyshire peaks seemed to be full to the brim with Cambridge and ex-cambridge cavers - hope you all had a good time.

YORKS I: This Weekend!

Sign up at the Pub for the opportunity of a lifetime… the never to be repeated first Yorkshire weekend of the ‘98-’99 year.

Ropewashing! it"s Fun!

Steve (our Tackle Master) writes:

On Thursday at 7:30pm there will be the first CUCC rope-wash of term. This sounds about as appealing as a hole in the head and if no-one comes it can be. However, usually, when lots of people turn up, what happens is:

We sit in my room (to find it see the end of the message) until lots of people turn up, chatting and drinking tea/coffee/whatever we can be bothered to make, and eating biscuits (notice to experienced ropewashers - the garlic-bread-making facilities at Queens' are sadly lacking). After a while we retreat to the bathroom where we irritate my neighbours by washing some ropes in the bath before checking them and coiling them for return to the tackle store.

When lots of people turn up, rope washing is good fun (some cavers are known to prefer it to pub meets!!) and a chance to get to know each other away from the caving area and the pub. So try to come. Also if you come on a trip it is only fair to help clean and check the kit - a big part of belonging to a caving club is a mutual responsibility for club kit and each other's welfare. No guilt trips if you really can't come, but please try to make it.


Go in through the Queens' P'lodge (on Silver Street, if you don't know where that is please mail me!)

Go across the Mathematical Bridge (the wooden one), and follow the cloisters around to the left, out of an archway into another court. Coming out of the archway turn left. You'll see a red building on stilts. This is the Erasmus building. Go up the obvious stairs (staircase K) to the first floor, and knock on the door to room K13. Then I'll let you in and all will be well!!

Caving Club Lunch

Andrew (secretary) writes:

Lunch: is happening as of this week, Thursday 1200 - 1330, in my room (+ nearby kitchen if there're lots of people!). Anyone who thinks they'll be coming should tell me so's I can get a reasonable idea of how much stuff to buy in. Lunch price currently £1.20; tickets are not available, but probably will become so.

Directions to my room: From Magdalene Bridge turn left (from the direction of town turn right) at the Vlad the Impaler car-crunching bollards (which, incidentally, claimed a further victim this morning - some old pillock tried to run them and got himself Impaled on the wheel arch) into Thomson's Lane. Proceed to crossroads; the front door to the building is above the hairdresser's. Buzz room B18.


"Sam's thirty. He's had his thirtieth birthday, which is what makes him thirty." Earl's fine display of logical insight...

Camilla apologising for holding the group up after finding the fastest way to descend a 9ft drop!

Tim Vasby-Burnie

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