Thanks to all the contributors—Lil.
Apologies to our massive group of readers that it is so long since the terribly-printed number 5 appeared. Everyone but us is to blame.
The cover is based on the concept of the "Bold Step" invented by Hywel as the only non-fatal means of negotiating a certain rift somewhere in good old Eastwater Cavern. According to those who wrote about the rift in the log book, it is at least 25 feet across and of infinite depth. Crossing it involves diving 25 feet from a flat-out crawling position (hence the adjective bold), if they are to be believed. I have just looked at the description in the Mendip book and none of this seems to be mentioned at all.
A doctor writes
The above obviously indicates that certain sections of the club are suffering from "Blimey, I don't remember this" syndrome. This is caused by the intake of massive quantities of alcohol on the night before trips, and is therefore likely to prove incurable.
N.B. The production team apologise for the poor quality of printing (again) on some pages. We have now located the problem—the typewriter.
or, caving with a difference or 2
We, Lil, Nick, Harry, H, Nicki, Karen, Bunce, Fenton, Dave, Pete, Mel, Hywel and Wendy, set off on Friday evening after a delay, care of Mr Kilsby (aren't they always?). Despite very thick fog near Buxton we arrived in one piece (well, 12 actually). Mr Bradbury was awaiting our arrival. Saturday saw us very organised as usual. It took us about an hour to decide who was going to do what—resulting in 3 parties. The Suicide Mission down 'Dr Jackson's' (which never quite happened), the Boring Crew down P8 and the Intrepid Women's team (Karen, Lil and I + Harry!) down Carlswark. Organisation was at such a peak that we left Nick at the farm with no hat. A minor problem (get it?)
I promised to get lost down Carlswark and have you ever known me not fullfill a promise? We found the cave with no problems (OK, once we were out of the van)—a major achievement for this club it seems. Initially all was familiar—every puddle and scrap of mud. Then we hit this other party and a bloke told us the way on. Problem—the very passage he sent us on was unfamiliar. One dead end, turn back, start again. OK. It wasn't long before we joined familiar ground—a track leading to one of my sampling sites from the summer. I may as well put a 'warning' in here. Carlswark Cavern receives water from Merlins Mine and has extremely high levels of lead (around 15000 ppm) and cadmium (11 ppm). The presence of lead becomes obvious as you crawl along the muddy stream way towards the Big dig—the stench almost knocks you out. But who would let a little lead hinder their explorations of this wonderous cavern? However, the vote on this mud was decidedly noses up, thumbs down. Wanting to visit the New Series, wed didn't reach the dig. The New Series was duly found (amazing) and admired. In the roof we spotted some very pretty helictites—intact and curling in all directions. Unfortunately no one had a camera—remember next time. One climb kept us amused for a while, but we were not defeated, We reached the sump, turned round and discovered some wonderful swampy mud. Every member of the party (yes, Harry included—a potential new member of the M.A.S.? ( Mud Appreciation Society)) opted to squeeze and push their way back through this tiny orifice rather than walk back the way we came!
Our return turned sour at one point—just after passing the 'sample site' Lil started muttering "we've been this way before, haven't we?" "Nonsense—it just looks the same... oh God, you're right!" For a second (the merest speck of a flash of a second you understand) I had this horrible feeling that some gremlin hiding in a dark corner was playing games with us. However, the correct exit was found. We left via Eyam's Shaft using a ladder another party were using. Could a party have got lost down there? No, impossible in such a straight forward little hole... A quick change was followed a welcome mug of 17p tea in Stoney Middleton.
Arrival back at the hut was made particularly pleasant by a ready and waiting Christmas meal. Were Bruce and Fenton really capable of such a feat? The night saw us in a couple of pubs—ending up at the White Horse, less certain rowdy members of the group. Bliss, but not for long. Back at the hut—well, suffice to say agro and drunkedness were interspersed with dirty jokes and a few antics. Good night!
I woke up on Sunday headache-less and looking forward to a hearty breakfast so yeah boo sucks to anyone who thought differently. Some weaklings failed to visit a cave that day. Those who did split in 2—Carlswark Cavern for those who hadn't done it yesterday and for the 3 women who had—the lost Banforth Hole. Rumours of it being 2" long and us taking 5 days to complete it are totally unfounded. But, the mud was judged to be of a superior quality—rating 9.3 on the M.A.S scale. There was plenty of opportunity for sliding down shutes, grovelling along passageways and coating Lil in muddy water (I did warn her I might fall!). Having been defeated by a passage up the right, (Karen and I tried to reach it but found sticky mud, slippery walls and gravity too much of a challenge) we rested. Soon mud was flying gaily around the little chamber and the underground pottery industry was born. Miss Bignold, founder of the industry, moulded a delicate-looking, pre-wheel mug, complete with handle. With fanatic religious devotion this wonderful piece of creation was carried along passageways, passed up climbs and finally rested in safety in the van.
I hope that all those cretins who thought there was some sexual connotation to our love of mud, now appreciate the naive and innocent pleasures we derive form it.
Another quick change and then up to Eyam to sample the delights of a very homely cafe. Back to pick up the boys and off to Stoney and (a bit adventurous here) the 22p bucket of tea. Lovely!
The weekend was an excellent pre-Christmas expedition—we've never yet had a disappointing trip to good 'ole Pegasus.
- Read minutes of last meeting.
- Discover how much of last meeting has been implemented.
- If not discussed above:
- First Aid Kit—must have at least one to take underground (preferably 2).
- Practice—must have one (Saturday or Sunday) so everyone can learn how to belay, lifeline, etc and know procedure during accident.
An occasion chosen only as an excuse to get pissed, but now set to become traditional. The great strength of the club was shown by the large number of freeloaders and other hangers-on attracted by the opportunity to eat and drink without having to actually cave. The turnout of 25 is huge for anything organised by us.
Met in the Coopers/Cwps, with, as is usual, only a smattering of people "dressed-up"—where was Mr Hughes? Nicky was the only one actually looking reasonable, the rest of us happily ridiculous. Fenton and Bruce had obviously taken a great deal of trouble.
After a few pints walked and drove towards the Indian where a table for 35 filled the room. Having ordered various horrific foods a large and deviant minority moves over the road to the Downies Vaults, returning after a few ales to tuck into the food. Another group almost failed to arrive at all, having strayed into the Prince Albert. Not until later did I realise that John had once again got Reeves pissed out of his head—what is the strange power the 1st year has over the normally sober shed-liver? (Answers on a postcard, please.)
Ate all sorts of rubbish (never try to keep up with Ripper on vindaloo), haggled over the bills and rushed back to the Downies. There, Reeves donned a trilby, and aged 50 years and 4 socio-economic groups. He staggered and fell to the drunken accompaniment of the Downies choir. Went to Glyngorse, pausing on the way for the Ripper to climb up to the 2nd floor window of a house and stare manically in. Stayed up until about 2:30 listening to music and breaking the furniture.
Am now hoping for an excuse to hold another dinner; how about the 1st day of each month?
- Minutes of previous A.G.M were not read and agreed.
- President's Report—It was a successful year.
- Election of incoming committee
Post Proposed Seconded President Colin Bunce Wendy Lil Secretary Alayne (Lil) Henry Fenton Dave Treasurer Angela Maynard Wendy Rick Tackle Dino Fenton & Howard Davies Colin Dave First Aid & Rescue Officer Dave Ely Colin Fenton Editor Lil & Fenton Fenton Colin Publicity Rick Hirst Mel Colin Lights Hwyel Davies Rick Lil
- Treasurer's Report—attached.
- Continue mine rescue whip rounds. Two thermal blankets, Rolls bandage, baised aid and Germolein have been bought.
- The 1981 Switzerland trip has been cancelled.
- Continue to hold meetings in the Coopers on Tuesdays.
- Si, Dave and Nick were given Honorary Memberships.
- There will be no more censoring of the logbook.
Meeting was then closed an adjourned to the Crystal Palace and hence to the Light of Asia.
Quote Hywel—"If you were going to buy me a porn mag you might have got a decent one with pictures in it."
Despite the warnings from Colin the intrepid party would not be put off. Even when John Cooper (Chelsea) said he would walk up to the entrance with us just to ear us going in we weren't deterred. Why didn't we listen?
The entrance was evil, a very low, very wet bedding plane of the 'ear'ole in the water' variety. After that the passage opened up, but not for long. Soon we were making our way along a flat-out and sideways (yes it was narrow) crawl through the top if a figure of 8 shaped rift passage, trying hard not to slip into the slot below. Wendy and Nick made it across, then round the right-angled bend at the end, but by a master cock-up I found my right leg very firmly stuck down the slot. "I'm stuck," I called, only half believing it, though by about the sixth attempt at extraction I believed it! The hat fell off next and after a struggle the belt and cell were removed, the couple of inches gained by this proving vital in the escape attempt. After about 20 minutes and a certain degree of agony the leg moved and I was free, only to have to face a seemingly endless crawl, mostly flat-out, through a very cold stream with numerous twists and turns, and the occasional stooping place. What seemed like years later we emerged into a small chamber and sat down for a rest. Looking back we saw with disbelief a huge red and white metal sign reading "FIRE EXIT" perched above the entrance back into the crawl. What kind of maniacs took that down there?!
From then on we were walking and saw some excellent formations—crystal clear straws and white stalagmites. Some scrambling and climbing over boulders led us to a beautiful, dry crystal pool, well worth all the effort of getting there, I think. Very impressed by all this we decided to end any further exploration and head back to the miserable prospect of the crawl out. It hadn't become any shorter and we were all dreading the bit back over the slot. But all 3 managed it this time and from then on only thought of the daylight awaiting us.
"Never again," I said, "never again." But as I sat working in the department a week or so later I found myself thinking, "it wasn't that bad." Wrong, it was worse. Heed the guidebook warning, "for the experienced caver only." And if you don't believe me just take a look at THRUTCH No.1, where not once, but twice, Colin Bunce tells of the horror of this cave back in 1979. The 3 accounts are strangely similar!
It began like any other weekend trip—in total disorganisation on the Friday night but one fact above all others should have told me this was going to be no ordinary weekend—the greater presence of women than blokes, but who could have expected that happened.
So the nine of us—Wendy, Karen, Nikki, Cara, Lil, Nick, Fenton, Bunce and Hywel—left Aber, and arrived in Crickhowell in time for a couple of pints in the Bridge, our first mistake. Finding no available parking spaces we left the bus on a yellow line. Half an hour later the landlord and the Police were outside: Wendy and Nikki tried the dumb blonde trick and we thought it had worked till a couple of weeks later when we got the ticket. We drove on up the hill to the hut and had a remarkably good nights sleep.
Next morning we split into two groups. Wendy, Lil and Nick went off to Daren Cilau, Lil got her leg stuck and they all hated it—I did try and warn them. The rest of us set out for Aggie along the tramway and had a standard trip up to turkey pool and back without getting lost at all. Back at the hut everybody had dinner and we were within seconds of going to the pub when in walks this guy and says "Can somebody call the rescue, my mates got a broken leg at the bottom of southern stream passage."
The only Chelsea member present went out to initiate the call out and we sat around wondering what was going to happen. When John (Chelsea) returned, Group A—Nikki, Bunce and Fenton—set off and managed to be the first people underground laying telephone cables as far as we could. We got down to the start of Southern Stream passage with no problems but then started up Upper Stream passage by mistake. The passage got small and horrible and we decided we had gone the wrong way. Waiting a few minutes another party arrived carrying morphine and the stretcher. "Do you know the way?" we asked. "No. We're just following the telephone line." However, a quick back track and we found the right way on, we decided it was time to move out before our lights gave up. Unfortunately on the way out we found the cable wasn't working and had to be replaced. Back at the hut things were really hotting up, teas, coffees, sarnies were mass produced with great help from Wendy, Karen, Lil and Cara. The surface telephone link to the entrance was working and was manned some of the time by our very own Nick Reeves.
We all sat around most of the night watching what was going on around before eventually getting a few hours sleep before the morning, Went into Crickhowell for a proper breakfast and to make lots of phone calls. ("It's alright mum—it's not me"). Back at the hut Wendy, Karen, Cara and Hywel progressed onto the underground soup kitchen in Barrons Chamber but on the surface spirits sank as we felt totally useless and in the way, even talking of going back to Aber, before we were told that everybody would be needed on Monday morning and we were ordered down to the pub to revive those spirits. On the way down we met Si, Dave, Mike and Toby who were just arriving, having driven down from Aberystwyth.
Suitably revived we returned to the hut for a bit more sleep. The call came at 3.00am. Bunce, Fenton and Nick joined one of the stretcher parties and went into the 1st Boulder choke, Dave had gone down earlier with one of the doctors, the boulder choke caused a lot of problems and eventually Tim (the casualty) managed to crawl through on his own saving a lot of time and effort. He was helped in a couple of places by using the rescuers bodies to form a human carpet over the rocks and holes in the floor. The entrance series was negotiated fairly quickly by lining each side of the passage with people and passing the stretcher along to the end and moving up again. Si and Toby came in with a later party and Hywel set up a another soup kitchen.
Finally about 44 hours after the accident Tim reached the surface to the usual hordes of waiting pressmen but he was quickly put in an ambulance and taken to hospital. It was all over, there was an amazing feeling of euphoria* in everybody as they started to pack up. We came back via the Vulcan, of course, and managed to see the news report 3 times on the television. On the whole it was a very useful experience for the club seeing just how much effort goes into a really big rescue, and seems to have produced a slightly more safety conscious atmosphere in the club. But for how long?
*Blimey, I don't remember this—Fenton.
It was my birthday on 17 January. It pissed with rain, I stayed in bed all day cos no bugger came to visit me, I had a head that throbbed like reggae music, and Tim Flanagan stuck a bone through his wet suit in Southern Stream passage in Aggie.
Sunday, 18 January was much the same as 17 January except that Mike was around and Nikki phoned him to say that there was a full scale rescue on down in Aggie.
Now I ought to point out at this stage that I've only been down this most hallowed of holes once before and that was on a practice rescue where I volunteered to become the patient. I've been fortunate in that I've never been called on for rescue purposes but I have attended maybe a dozen practice sessions in both caves and mines I've seen absolutely bloody disasters where pitch riggers have suddenly discovered a new passage and pissed off to explore it causing some burning of ears not to mention the slight inconvenience. I've also seen people trying to pour boiling, well 98°C actually, soup down the victim's gullet despite him screaming in agony.
There is no substitute for experience and, not wishing an accident on anyone, I'm glad that so many of the 'Aber' cavers have been able to witness what goes on. From my point of view it was like a well co-ordinated practice, except that a practice lacks the sense of compassion and urgency.
You will all remember the weekend. Those who didn't go ought to attend a practice about it.
Thanks for gaining that bit of education that was missing and thanks for showing that there are competent people in Aberystwyth.
Lobotomy can be roughly defined as an operation on the frontal lobes of the brain, in order to relieve some disorder, and as such has existed for some millions of years. The earliest technique, used by squat, bestial creatures not unlike modern cavers, was to split the patient's skull open with a thigh-bone—or a chunk of flint if the owner of the thigh-bone protested vigorously enough—scoop the brain out by hand, and eat it. There are no recorded instances of the patient surviving, but since the disorder relieved by the operation was the surgeon's malnutrition, this was held to be a minor problem.
It was not until the advent of modern medical techniques that a patient's skull could be breached without killing him. This permitted the performance of operations to correct mental disorders in the brain, once enough was know about the brain to enable surgeons to undertake specific operations with some hope of success. Accordingly extensive experimentation on a variety of subjects, of varying degrees of complexity, was undertaken.
Research was hindered when the most complicated, and therefore most valuable subjects objected to being used for research on the grounds that they were mental patients, and not laboratory specimens. Forced to look for subjects, neurologists and psychologists became involved in attempts by the Cave Research Group to produce a 'super-trog'.
The CRG eventually decided to improve caving ability, as opposed to drinking ability. The theory was that only by taking risks could major discoveries be made, and that lobotomy, by 'curing' cavers of fear, would enable them to take these risks. They adopted as their motto a short, snappy statement of their philosophy—'Who Dares, Wins'. (This has recently been appropriated by a somewhat less respectable group.)
The project met with mixed success. Fearless cavers were produced, but never exercised sufficient caution to reach any areas of speleological interest. Some, driving with a casual disregard for the Highway Code never even reached home after being discharged form hospital. Disheartened, the CRG returned to their physiological labours, and eventually came up with the spare lung now used widely by cave divers.
The operation consists of removing the diver's fore-brain, and replacing it with a small lung. This is connected to the respiratory system by a bronchial tube opening into the roof of the nasal cavity, and is inflated by breathing through the nose. The membrane surrounding the lung is extremely rich in myoglobin, a protein which stores oxygen and only releases it under conditions of extreme oxygen shortage. The result of this is that after exhausting his air bottles, and removed all the oxygen from its bloodstream, oxygen is released from the myoglobin of the spare lung, initially to the mid-brain which sorts sensory inputs and governs the diver's attentiveness to external stimuli; and to the hind-brain, which controls essential functions and instincts. The remaining oxygen enters the bloodstream and is distributed throughout the body.
Clinical trials have shown that by replacing the cerebral cortex with lung tissue, enough oxygen may be stored in the head to permit up to ten minutes of activity, which can make the difference between life and death, or between succeeding and failing to push a sump.
This is of somewhat limited appeal, and so a variant is being developed, where the fore-brain is replaced by a beer reservoir for use after opening hours. The main problem is in transference to the mouth—beer in the nose is unpleasant and most people object to having a tap fitted to the forehead. Any methods of making this a viable operation will be welcome.
'Twas the Friday after Christmas, and all through the Bunce house not a creature was stirring when the peace and tranquility was shattered by a phone ringing. A wave of horror swept through my body when I answered it—it was Fenton. "Do you want to go caving on Monday?", vague plans had been made earlier but I hadn't been prepared for the full reality. "Meet at Nikki's on Sunday Evening." Putting the phone down I slipped easily back into the post Christmas spirit till Sunday morning. It dawned clear and sunny and I was soon packed. I set out strangely apprehensive, wondering what adventures lay in store.
Within hours I was hurtling up the M4 towards an obscure junction somewhere in Wiltshire. From here I proceeded on foot, jogging to an even more obscure village where I phoned 'the manor' for assistance. As soon as the Muppet Show had finished Nikki and Cleverly came out and picked me up, returning to the manor we waited for the Fentons. (Yes—plural, the Fenton and his brother Lant). They arrived shortly and we set off for a good warming-up session on the Wadsworth (6X and Old Time—you can taste the difference). A terrible night was had by just about everyone in the house, I think, due to Fenton's presence. However, we were all up bright and early for a splendid greasy, fried breakfast courtesy of Nikki's mum. We soon arrived at Rocksport were we picked up vast amounts of equipment and met some of the Aston Uni S.C., they were staying at the Cerberus hut and said there was plenty of room, so at least we had somewhere to stay, now we could concentrate on the caving.
On we went to Priddy, got changed and arrived at the little blockhouse over the entrance when my CELL decided it wasn't going to work anymore, I thought about going back but was sure the others would get lost without me, so I went on bravely into the blackness. The streamway passed with no problems—down the finger breading 20' pitch traversing round the double pots, before we arrived at the sump. "It's only 4 feet long," I told them—"just stick your head under and come up the other side." (I couldn't go first—my light still didn't work—conveniently). Many times Dino or Cleverly would say "Right—I'm going through now" only to turn back when the water got neck deep—"It's too bloody cold". After about half an hour of this we were just about to give up when Cleverly suddenly disappeared, we looked behind all the nearby rocks but soon realised, with a horrible sinking feeling, that he must have gone through the sump which meant we would have to as well. Fenton put on a brave smile and disappeared. This was it—my turn. I went in up to my neck—it was bloody cold—took a deep breath and plunged through; was it really only 4 feet long, was there nay truth in the strange stories of caver-eating fish lurking in the sumps; I emerged a split second later wondering what all the fuss had been about. As Nikki and Lant didn't have wet-suits they didn't go through, which meant we had to go straight back through again. Once back on the right side of the water spirits rose quickly and we set off back upstream and round the high level route, getting totally lost but managing to find a horrible duck with only half a nostril's air space behind a high mud dam. Through we went having a quick look around before going back through and out. We nearly lost Cleverly on the way out and got a bit worried because he had the car keys, but using his intimate knowledge of the cave he had used another route to reach the entrance where we found him.
We changes quickly and moved into the Cerberus hut for a truly revolting spag bol, composed mainly of sausages and cabbage. We asked the locals for information on the best watering holes, "Well, there's the Duke with Wadworths but no atmosphere, or the Oakhill with atmosphere but terrible beer." After the previous night it had to be Wadsworth again, when we arrived we realised what they meant about lack of atmosphere, the place was totally empty, we didn't have long to wait however. Cerberus soon arrived bringing with them an old wind up record player and a stack of old family favourites. Everyone was soon crawling through bar stools to the music, Cleverly managed to break one but nobody seemed to mind, except the landlord. We collected about 50p in a whip round to pay for it. As the evening progressed the first mention was heard of the infamous St Dunstan's Well Cave but more of that later. The Aston crowd challenged us to a game of shove-ha'penny so we all went round to the other pub (where over 50% of the people were wearing glasses) and gave Aston a severe trashing. After this they had to challenge us to something else—St Dunstan's. After a couple more hours drinking back at the hut the Fentons and myself accepted. At about 2:00am we changed and were shown to the entrance. The cave is termed a 'collectors piece', this should be 'drunken collectors piece'. The entrance is quite pleasant and lulls you into a false sense of security before—Domestos Bend—best described as exactly like the U-bend in a toilet with about 1½ inches of air space. Once beyond this point the poor caver is totally sober and wondering what he is doing in this horrible muddy hole. The rest of the cave is totally uninspiring but Aber managed another first by not being able to find the end sump in a cave with no side passages. We returned to the hut and passed out.
Tuesday morning we set out again for Priddy and Eastwater Cavern. Changed at the Wessex and found the entrance without any problems, only leaving Lant who decided he had had enough after getting changed. The rest of us followed the guide wire down through the horrible, enormous, loose boulder choke to the start of the traverse—a highly polished inclined rift down which it is almost impossible to stop sliding. At the far end of it we made our next mistake—going down to primrose path. Fenton and Cleverly gave up at this point, leaving Nikki and myself to struggle on for another 20 minutes down this totally boring passage before we too gave up and left the cave.
That's about it really, everybody got changed back and set off in their separate directions and lived happily ever after. (Or at least till the next caving weekend.)
Probably the most important technique of all, for it allows the novice who learns a few simple rules to appear an expert caver. Knowledge of a few fundamental poses transforms bungling beginner into a seeming veteran.
- Appear to be carrying as much equipment as possible. A figure swathed in ropes and festooned with ladders and tapes etc. seems far more heroic. Needless to say, once the photos are taken the equipment can be given to others to carry.
- Clothes worn underground on any trip when photos are being taken must be as ruined as possible. If you don't possess a completely ruined set you will have to make one. Remove large areas from the legs of trousers, tear the arms off a jacket or pour acid onto it. A flamethrower can work wonders when it comes to giving that special something. If you are really desperate try borrowing from the Glyngorse collection. For a price H C Davies Esq will fart away the back of the jacket for you (see Thrutch 4 "The Banana Fart").
- Although caving with Aber is unlikely to cause you to sweat (at least not through exertion), a few beads of perspiration will add to the appearance. Water can be carried for this purpose. Do not use water from carbide lamps as this may cause "Hywel's Syndrome" (see forthcoming article on this complaint).
- As soon as the pictures are taken (preferably just inside the entrance, or even outdoors at night, avoiding the need to go underground at all) go to the pub.
The first weekend of debauchery started as a rather large club trip to Cwmystwyth Mine. It was so large that we had to split up into 5 groups, which all but one went underground.
Various standard trips took place and most of the party did the Cross Road - Top Level through trip with Hywel and Kevin as leaders.
Dino, Ange, Ripper, Addul, Bunce and myself (Si) went up Nant Watcyn to look at the smaller adits and did the Red and Black - Turfstack through trip, the Top Tramroad Adit, the Waterfall Adit, Henry's Roman Adit and some of the opencast adits.
All were quite memorable trips. Red and Black being quite tight and variable, Top Tramroad is draughting like Fenton's anus but there is no way of finding where it comes from. The Waterfall Adit has a damp entry which is also very greasy and one has to balance the possibility of falling into the waterfall against a slow traverse under the waterfall, I was criticised severely for leading the members into this adit as it is only 20 feet long.
Henry's Roman Adit was tighter and grottier than ever, however, Dino did a fine job of digging through the squeeze into more passage but sadly the roof had fallen in some 20 feet further on.
A lunatic session then took place in the opencast but none failed to return although some feared for Bunce's welfare at times.
At 5.00pm we met the returning Cross Road party and adjourned for wine in the Transit. This set the standard for the rest of the evening.
Many, many gallons of ale were consumed over the following 9 hours with some hitch-hikers from Derby who had 'mined' in the past. Mr Reeves and the Blues accompanied by the Ripper on guitar. Howard, Dino and Beads farted a gentle melody and then the Reggae music tapes started which Mr Reeves took great delight in but found clothes cramped his style. This set a new trend and soon half a dozen naked revellers their way across the floor. The bedroom scene was even more of a farce with Reeves trying to shield his genitals with one hand and turn the light out with the other—often imitated but never equalled. Sunday was a scene of total bewilderment and gay abandon combined with universal dehydration and burned throats.
Now this session prompted a great deal of thought for future sessions. The fruition of this thought was eventually born on 25 June at Talybont and gradually adjourned to Caegynon. Great wine consuming sessions took place. Dehydration and lack of water meant that anything was drunk on the Sunday morning resulting in re-intoxication by 11.00pm. The night was more civilised than was hoped for mainly by getting burned out too early. My apologies to Lil I meant to call her the 'Old Standby' not the 'Last Resort'.
H Davies, M Humphreys, C Bunce and myself and one John, canoe club member struggling down to Ystradfellte. Having been to visit the entrance to Little Neath about six times without going in I was amazed to see an almost dry river bed. Pretty straightforward trip down but then Colin and me ventured into the 3D maze. Eventually got to the other side to find some excellent muddy passages leading about 500 feet. The maze itself is filled with bits of clothing and wetsuit which can be used as markers.
On Sunday just buggered about in the valley looking at a range of tiny holes. However, Bunce came close to death trying to drop into a hole about 6 feet deep in a pile of boulders. As he swung down the hole closed to nothing with Bunce suspended across where the crack has been, looking slightly shaken.
Monday took John to his first ever cave, an excellent one for the beginner, Pulpit Hole. This has an incredible pool of freezing cold, deep red mud. The mud is waist deep but tends to pull you down into it. Afterwards, all agreed to make this next year's first trip for freshers who turn up unprepared. Dino and Colin also did Ogof Fynnon near P.Y.C. This took ages to find and was pretty horrible. The end chamber has a dig high up in the wall, with a piece of string tied to a twig hanging down. We did not attempt to climb up.
Tuesday, Mel, H and myself did Rhyd Sych. All got through the bedding plane squeeze alright. I had, however, forgotten how mean the rest of the cave is. We struggled on for about 20 minutes and then gave up. I now realise we were closer to the point at which things get much easier. Colin and John did Pant Mawr, just to show John that not all holes were as evil as Pulpit.
The other main activity was playing Risk till ridiculous hours of the night and during most of the daylight hours too. Not a great deal of drinking was done although did meet 3 Westminster cavers in the Lamb at Penderyn.
Connoisseurs will be pleased to hear that the famous "Fenton-Bunce Hierarchical Principle" was used throughout, with the novice forced to sleep on the floor in damp conditions while everyone else dozed comfortably in beds.
On recent Cwmystwyth trip Mr Reeves set new appalling standards of club behaviour in Level Fawr. In the interests of any reputation we have, these cannot yet be disclosed. Other members were surprised to see an apparently albino bat emerge from the entrance later that night however.
The first rule of caving in Ireland is don't have an accident. There are few cavers there anyway and as the bars are open all day the chances of anyone being sober enough to do anything are remote. Those who do turn up, however, can expect plenty of support from the locals, as in a recent rescue when the local bar sent up a crate of whiskey "for the brave lads on the rescue". This does encourage a good turnout, drawing people form all over the Emerald Isle, but doesn't increase efficiency. However there is a 'Holy Hour' between 2 and 3 in the afternoon (Blimey, I don't remember this—typist).
NEXT ISSUE Our correspondent visits Malaysia for a discussion of the famous 'Oriental relief belay'.
- Aston Speleological Soc. magazine No.23 1981
- British Caver volume 79. 1980
- Cambrian Caving Council newsletters 1981. No's. 2 to date
- Caves of Northern Derbyshire part 3 (Perryfoot / Coalpithole)
- Council of Southern Caving Clubs Handbook + Access Guide 1980/1981
- Croydon Caving Club "Pelobates" 39. Oct. 1981
- Croydon Caving Club Supplement No. 1. 1966 "Small Packs for Caving"
- Mendip Rescue Organisation Caving Code
- South Wales Caving Club Newssheet Sept and Nov 1980
- Wessex Cave Club Volume 16. No's. 183–188
- Westminster Speleological Group Newsletters No's. 21 and 23
- Westminster Speleological Group Bulletin—Greece Expedition Report
- Whernside Cave and Fell Centre Programme 1981 also
- One survey—Carlswark Cavern and Merlin's Cave
Construction of a greenhouse inside Daren Cilau (end chamber).
Anybody interested contact Lil or Colin.
The nearest thing yet to a ship in a bottle.
Since the departure of the great D.N. Whitaker, membership has stood at the appallingly low figure of one; Colin Bunce. The expected high intake from the ranks of the Freshers failed to materialise. People who us veterans predicted would soar through the ten metres per second, including the rash Ripper, the Foolhardy Kevin and Anarchistic Angus, yet all let the cub down. If these fools prove unwilling the make the ultimate sacrifice next year too the once-proud T.V.C. will die completely when "The Pres." leaves.
However, we will not give up easily. To this end practices will be held from the top of the Geography Tower next term. The height of the building (10 storeys) will allow novices time to develop a style of their own before they ever go below ground. Colin will show how to pull out of a 200m.p.s. dive, while other Aber members will stand by with brooms to clear away the remains of those who fail to get it right on that very first, highly crucial fall.
- First published August 1981. Originally edited by Alayne Henry.
- This digital edition published on the World Wide Web June 2010. This volume was typed up by Ruth "Rufus" Allan and edited by Rich Smith. Hard copy sourced by Andrew Barnes.
© 1981, 2010 Aberystwyth Caving Club