Previous Presidents have covered the question of which year 'The President's Bit' is supposed to cover in sufficient detail for me to state simply that this article is about the academic year 1975-1976. Hence 'this year' refers to that year, so to speak.
A fine year was heralded by a rescue on the freshers, or 'P8' meet. For the first time this was held at Carlswark Caverns, an easier introduction to the netherworld for ill-clad freshers than P8 which had been unpleasantly wet in previous years. Easier I said, so it was something of a shock to discover at the end of the day that two piles of clothes remained unclaimed by the roadside and that there were corresponding empty seats in the coach. Worse, one of the missing was our chairman! However the pair were soon extracted, ignobly with light failure. Incompetence reigns supreme!
Despite this incident, the move to Carlswark may be judged a success. Recruitment was higher than it had been for some years, and amongst the new members were several with previous experience. The result was a much needed boost to the club's activities and Andy Waddingtcn was soon co-opted onto the committee to help cover the extreme weakness of the second year.
The cost of meets was still steadily rising as the cost of petrol and van hire charges increased. However this did not deter the new members and the first two meets to Yorkshire and Mendip were oversubscribed. The recently established Christmas Vacation Meet in S. Wales was a great success, and, in combination with a very well attended New Year Meet in Yorkshire, provided ample opportunity for freshers to see the club running well and to become better aquainted with established members. Around this time some of the new members began to promote the social activities of the club by inviting most of the members to a Christmas Party in New Hall.
A series of meets to Yorkshire, Yorkshire, then Mendip and Mendip followed during which it became apparent that the eternal tackle problem was again with us. However, fingers were being pulled out, and eventually ten sparkling new 10m ladders were produced and two new ropes purchased. Old ladders were repaired and at last some of the worst were permanently discarded - sold off as souvenirs to members of the club.
Another meet in South Wales at Easter led to our meeting Eric and Jill Inson from SWCC. The association has proved most profitable - on both sides I hope. At the pre-tripos meet new links were forged in Yorkshire. More and more frequently since then the Yorkshire meets have been using the NPC cottage for accomodation, and several CUCC members are rapidly becoming regular visitors there. Links with other clubs are most important and it is to be hoped that they will be maintained even after those that formed them have left Cambridge.
The summer term in Cambridge was rounded off by a succession of two pre, pre-post, and post tripos meets which between them saw almost every resident member underground. The summer vacation produced an unusually large amount of caving, both serious and sporting at home and abroad. In Yorkshire several discoveries were made and even Car Pot was extended a little by some of our newer members.
Expeditions were held in Ireland, Austria, and the Pyrenees, all with some measure of success - underground or otherwise! All the details appear in later pages of this year's journal. Finally of course, the year ended when almost no caving was done on the President's Invite Meet.
It has been a highly successful year for CUCC. Not in terms of major discoveries but in terms of the general health of the club. Membership and enthusiasm has risen dramatically and there is every expectation that they will remain so if effort is put into keeping recruitment high.