Thrutch Volume 4 Summer 1980

The magazine of the Aberystwyth Caving Club.
  1. Editorial
  2. Editor's Apology
  3. Definitions and Quotes
  4. Minutes of the A.G.M.
  5. First Aid made simple for Cavers and Miners
  6. The Thrutch Special Summer Competition
  7. Summer News
  8. North Wales Mining Danger
  9. The Nadger Song
  10. The Troglodyte Game
  11. Five Days at Cader Fawr
  12. Irish Groundwater—Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare
  13. New Member for Aber Caving Club
  14. M.R.O.—Warden's Statement
  15. Mining in the Midlands—Dudley Mines
  16. Odds and Sods
  17. South Wales, 3–4th May
  18. More Odds and Sods
  19. The Caving Club Library
  20. Swildon's Bites Back or Caving on Crutches
  21. The Banana Fart or the North Wales Trip
  22. Porth yr Ogof Practice Cave Rescue
  23. A Ground Level View of Mine Rescue
  24. Cader Fawr Dig
  25. Mining News


Well, here it is at last, the summer special edition of Thrutch and our Thrutch No. 4, defying all those pessimists who said it would never happen. Also note the new feature of this issue—yes we have photographs (hence any price increase for this issue, sorry folks). Many thanks to Si Hughes and Steve Henry for providing them. Should there be any more budding cave/mine photographers about perhaps we could make this a more regular feature of Thrutch.

Anyway, keep those articles coming in for the inevitable Thrutch No. 5. Also farewell to all those members who are leaving this year. Happy caving in new pastures. We may bump into you in some hole in the future if you are really unlucky.

Thanks to everyone who helped me with this, my first Thrutch issue as Editor.



Editor's Apology

Unfortunately due to a slight technical hitch in production several articles in the last issue were unexpectedly censored. I apologise to those concerned—it might not happen again.

They were:

Mid Wales Mine Rescue by Dave Ely

I will now step down from the rostrum and end with a final plea, beg or grovel, whichever reaches you best. The M.W.M.R.T. is desperately short of funds. If anyone cares to donate a little, or a lot, if you know how to get any addition to the meagre funds I will be very glad to hear from you.

The County-Lancaster Saga by Roger Cross

Home we trudged across the moor
we were tired, stiff and sore
We'd been gone eight hours or more.

Thanks to everyone who has given me articles while I was Editor, and I hope they will continue to do so.



Definitions and Quotes

Definition of a caver
a masochist who is afraid of pain
Definition of a sadist
Mel-attolah on a diet of dried bananas

Dino I bet that girl guide is thinking about me now!

Everyone Oh, Melattolah, not again!

Si I've got a whopper.
Pete Can I have a bite of your whopper?

Wendy Thorne

Minutes of the A.G.M.

Minutes of the A.G.M. of the U.C.W.C.C. held at Glyngorse, North Road, on Monday, March 17th, 1980 at 7.00 p.m.

Those Present:

Out-going Committee:
Pete — Secretary
Roger — Equipment / Lights
Colin — 'Thrutch' Editor

Members: Lil, Dino, Nick, Mel, 'H', Sue, Cara, Wendy, Dave, Si, and Harry

  1. The minutes of the previous A.G.M. were searched for; 1978's were found and passed.
  2. A motion was passed that the attendance was dismal.
  3. A motion of congratulations to Sue, Cara, Wendy and Simon on the smartness of their dress (and suit) was passed.
  4. The in-coming committee was elected:
    PresidentWendy Thorne
    SecretaryColin Bunce
    TreasurerSteve Simmons
    TackleDino Fenton and 'H' at Glyngorse as previously
    LightsSue Bagshaw and Cara?
    First AidDave Ely and Steve Simmons
    Rescue OfficerDave Ely
    Thrutch EditorAlayne (Lil) Henry
    Librarian, Publicity, etc.Mel Humphreys
  5. The general question of the club's financial situation was raised. It was noted that whilst the private account remained in the black, the travel and equipment account was overdrawn.
    Agreed: to write off this overdraft.
    N.B. The Club's travel account on 20.3.80 was in fact 5 in credit.
    The private bank account opened initially for 1979's Ireland Trip is also overdrawn. It was agreed that in future the treasurer undertake responsibility for purchasing equipment.
  6. In response to recent events the question of safety was raised, in particular the state of the Rescue Fund, and of the Club's First Aid provisions.
    1. That 'whiprounds' for the Rescue Fund be held at each meeting by the Rescue Officer or Treasurer.
    2. That a mine/cave rescue practice be held in the near future.
    3. That the cost of a First Aid Kit be borne half by the club, and half by periodic 'whipround'.
    4. That the Rescue Officer and Treasurer undertake responsibility for building up the first-aid kit.
  7. Further trips are subject to the financial situation.
  8. 1980 Switzerland Trip—now cancelled.
  9. The question of the Clubs' subscription to 'Descent' was raised.
    Agreed: that the Club continues its subscription and passes the to the Hugh Owen Library as previously.
  10. It was agreed that the coming years weekly meetings continued to be held at the 'Crystal Palace' courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Badcock, each Wednesday night.
  11. Honourary memberships were granted to Simon, Dave, Nick, Harry, Pete and Roger.
  12. The A.G.M. severely disciplined Dino Fenton for talking and igniting flatulence after 2.00 a.m. on caving trips.

Signed T.M. Humphreys
p.p. Pete Bradbury—Outgoing Secretary

The A.G.M. was followed by the Caving Club's first Annual Dinner at the 'Light of Asia' Restaurant. I think all who attended will agree that this was a success, particularly with Mr.Smmon Hughes clad in a real suit, and must be repeated in future years.


Following recent and continuing controversies and our 'Ober-Mine-Rescue-Fuhrer' Dave's good advice:

First Aid made simple for Cavers and Miners

Lesson I: How to stop a car in the event of an accident which requires hospital treatment.

Recent events at Blaenau showed that this lesson is not to be scoffed at, and that this seemingly simple task can be difficult and hazardous. The main obstacle lies in the revolting appearance, to any sensible passer-by, of a caver or miner who has just emerged from the bowels of the earth. Several methods suggest themselves:

Firstly there is 'The Common Waving the Driver Down Method': In normal situations this works, but experience has shown that at the sight of dirty, neoprene-clad cavers and miners waving in the middle of the road drivers wave back thinking you've flipped—or indicate and get away with considerable speed.

Secondly, there is the 'Make the Emergency Worse than it is Method': The others check pulse rates, shake heads etc. The attributes of this method are debatable and regional factors are important. It's not worth trying at Blaenau.

The method which we found did work was the 'Patented Si. Hughes Adaptable Approach': The secret lies in finding a junction or some other such spot where a driver has to stop, they pounce on him and refuse to free him until a lift is secured. In the recent case of 'Fenton's Finger' we found that this method came out on top. Of course, you may know different.

Practice Night Wednesday next, 6.30p.m. Penglais Hill.
Full gear, preferably dirty. All three methods will be tried and any others if ideas come up.

Next Issue—Lesson 2 How to open and handle the stretcher which Dave is buying, subject to money availability.

A Doctor Writes 'Fenton's Finger', otherwise known as the 'Curse of Melatollah' is a condition which afflicts those that dare to ignite flatulence in the face of the Holy Ones.

Mel Humphreys

The Thrutch Special Summer Competition

Haven't you always wanted to design something new and exciting? Doesn't that desire to impress your friends by wearing really 'with it' gear often grab you? Then you are the person we are looking for. We want you to design this summer's new look caving outfit. Marks will be awarded for ORIGINALITY of design, FRESHNESS in outlook and that extra SOMETHING that shows you know wear (ha ha) it's at.

Entries to be in at least one week before the end of term to:
Wendy—EnvironMENTAL Science pigeonhole 'T', or,
Lil—Geography Pigeonhole 'H'.
accompanied by a substantial drinking voucher if you desire to win.

Judges' decision is final. No judge bribing can be entered into, unless it consists of large quantities of money/neoprene/carbide or Mars bars. Remember, it's that note that really counts.

Prize One used pair of MARIGOLD special caving gloves, plus hundreds of other useful caving goodies.

Summer News

Due to the decline in interest and organisational problems in the looming shadow of exams, the summer expedition to Switzerland has been cancelled, and instead we shall return to the Burren, in County Clare, Ireland again for some more Guinness, sorry I meant caving, just a slip of the pen.

Also, if anyone is interested in going to the B.C.R.A. conference this summer—Nottingham University, 20–21st September, please see Colin soon. Last year's at Manchester was very good, two days of talks, slide shows and films on all types of caving and mining, plus club exhibitions and stalls from the major caving equipment suppliers showing the latest gadgets and offering instant bargains.

North Wales Mining Danger

The following appeared in the latest edition of The British Caver.

New Hazard to Cavers

A shaft on the Gorlan Mine in the Llanwrst/Betws-y-Coed mining area has been used for the disposal of empty 245-T herbicide container. The shaft, NGR SH776592, is near the junction of two Forestry Commission roads.

The concentration of vapour from the residues in the containers at the bottom of the 40 ft. shaft is sufficient to cause respiratory distress and there be other long term effects from exposure. Water from the shaft probably reaches Llanwrst and Parc mines by percolation and mines with the main outflow from the Parc No. 3 level. In view of the current concern about the effects of Dioxin on the human body, present as an impurity in 245-T, it may be wise to record and publicise any known instances of disposal. The containers seen to date are either 25L (5 gall) drums marked SILVERTRON or SILVERPRON, B.P. Chemicals Ltd., or 5L (1 gall) cans marked SHELLSTAR BRUSH KILLER.

NOTE All the publicity given to 245-T and its impurity, Dioxin, has been based on the American made product. The British made product is much purer and has not been shown or proven to cause any ill effects whatsoever, unless of course it is taken inwardly.

The Nadger Song

 1/ We're all met together here to crounch and to bite
      We sleep all through the day but bite all through the night
    There's many a drunken caver would have slept throughout the night
      If it wasn't for the work of the nadgers

Ch/ If it wasn't for the nadgers, what would you do
      You wouldn't scratch your bum half as much as you do
    And you wouldn't need the Calomine and bug repellant too
      If it wasn't for the work of the nadgers

 2/ There's gnats and there's midges and there's bed bugs and all
      There's lice and there's ticks and there's fleas by the score
    And in Africa the tsetse-fly, though her we never saw
      But we know she does the work of the nadgers


 3/ Nadgering's my trade, and never I'll complain
      As long as red blood flows in a caver's major veins
    So pick a good blood vessel and we'll suck and suck again
      And we'll drink to the health of the nadgers
Roger Cross

The Troglodyte Game

(tune: The Patriot Game)
 1/ Oh, come all you bold cavers, and list' while I sing
      For the love of one's pastime is a terrible thing
    Where death can come swiftly, and there's no way to fame
      And yet people continue the troglodyte game

 2/ I went into Pandora, on an abseil to go
      With my feet in the harness, my head far below
    I fell eighty feet 'til the bottom I came
      And yet I continue the troglodyte game

 3/ I walkd through the streamway inside O.F.D.
      And found some of the potholes were deeper than me
    I then had exposure; wet clothes were to blame
      And yet I continued the troglodyte game

 4/ I set up the ladders at Lancaster Pot
      I tried to climb down them and found I could not
    They were thirty feet short, so back upwards I came
      And yet I continued the troglodyte game

 5/ I went down Dan-yr-Ogof, went through the long crawl
      I came to the end and had a bad fall
    The rescue team told me I must be insane
      That I shouldn't continue the troglodyte game

 6/ And now as I sing this song, my future's in doubt
      I soloed in Easegill, and my candle went out
    I've been here three weeks now, each day seems the same
      I don't think I'll continue the troglodyte game

Roger Cross

Five Days at Cader Fawr

Several members of the club have recently spend some time digging and looking around the area of Cader Fawr, about eleven miles south-west of Brecon, this is a small hill on the southern side of the Hepste Valley (977123). It is one of a line of hills above the Hepste valley which have no large cave systems but several sites of speleological interest listed by Stratford in Caves of South Wales. There is very little surface drainage into the Hepste, the few other small streams that form rapidly sink into one of the many depressions.

The club has looked at four sites in the immediate area of Cader Fawr. The first two are actual caves which have also been periodically dug by the Croydon Caving Club, the other two are digs started by ourselves. The two caves both drain to the south, i.e. away from the Hepste, which together with the absence of any mature caves in Hepste Valley might suggest a radical change in drainage in the area during the Ice Age. This might also be supported by the eastern trend of Ogof Fechan in a valley running west, two miles to the south.

i) Ogof Cader Fawr Lower (Brown Porridge)

A small, but interesting cave with some tight passage at the start. It is located in a depression at the start of a shallow valley, the depression contains a small pond, and at the time of writing a very dead sheep, which seem to be common in the area. The entrance was originally dug out and is rather unstable so has often to be cleared of debris before entry. A short tight section leads to a small T-shaped passage with a meandering canyon, progress is to be made by crawling along the top. After a short distance the roof tube leads off to the right, while the canyon continues straight ahead, they connect again further on but the canyon is too narrow to pass. The tube is low and muddy but leads back to the canyon now some three feet high and 8 inches wide so progress is again made along the top. After some 40 feet the canyon breaks through the left hand wall into a large passage with an interesting squeeze necessitating changing levels half way through. The large passage appears to be on a fault it is about 30–40 feet high, 5–8 feet wide and 100 feet long. At the end a mud bank contains some unusual mud balls—probably carbonate concretions formed as the mud dried out although I haven't seen them in any other caves. They range in size from a few millimetres up to 4 centimetres, either singularly or stuck together in groups. To the right from here leads to a small boulder choke to a chamber and the final sump. Digging here is hoped to lower the level. The last visit to this cave also found a bat just inside the entrance. A survey was started, and if finished it may appear in the next issue.

ii) Ogof Cader Fawr Upper

This is about 100 feet higher up the hill and slightly to the east of (i). It is found in the face of a small crag/quarry. The entrance leads to a rift passage about 8 ft high and 2 ft wide, this leads to the first squeeze through calcite and on to the second squeeze, also through calcite. After this the cave becomes very muddy, a slippery crawl up some boards leads to a small chamber with an aven leading nearly to the surface. A climb down over a dam holding back the mud leads to a descending passage leading to the dig after a short distance, this paassage is the top of a mud filled rift and has a draught.

iii) Frog Cave

Further up the valley from (i) there are three depressions close together, one is deep, and the other two have short small streams leading to them, and one of these has a small pond in it. By the side of the pond was a small gravel filled hole which took a lot of water we let into it without backing up. Digging this proved rather interesting as every other stone removed revealed up to five frogs apparently happy but seemingly sealed in. The problem was finding solid rock, a large piece of limestone found early on was presumed to be bedrock until it moved. The hole still swallows water and is leading towards the deep depression.


It is a small but deep depression roughly on the line of (ii) a small hole in the side revealed water torn limestone and what looked like the top of a rift. It was hoped to connect it with (ii) by passing the mud blockage, but digging only revealed more very sharp rotten limestone including some beautifully eroded pieces of black limestone, and eventually an impenetrable rift about 2 centimetres wide, when it was abandoned.

Digging Team

Steve 'I can feel a draught' Simmons, Dino Fenton, Roger Cross, Colin Bunce, Lil Henry, 'H' Davies, Wendy Thorne, Stu Harris, Dave Corbett

Colin Bunce

Irish Groundwater—Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare

Like many countries Ireland has substantial reserves of groundwater aquifers from which water may be either drawn from boreholes or allowed to flow naturally providing so-called mineral waters. It is common to find such aquifers in porous rocks such as sandstone, grave and gritstones and also in permeable formations such as limestones.

The hydrological systems involved in groundwater changes and characteristics are considered to be complex. In the most general case the complete physical chemical description of groundwater must include chemical reactions in a multicomponent fluid and requires detailed equations that describe the transport of mass, momentum and energy in the medium concerned. Studies such as Robertson and Barraclough (1973) have shown how pollution in an artisan aquifer can occur from a surface seepage. It can be assumed that contamination of water table aquifers is more common as they don't have the protection of an upper confining bed as is the case of artisan aquifers.

The principal aquifer at Lisdoonvarna is limestone which has low intergranular permeability. The limestone is composed primarily of calcium carbonate and its water bearing capacity is a function of the number of fractures, crevices and other openings which have been enlarged by solution. This aquifer can be considered as being a water table reserve and therefore is open to the effects of pollution from the surface. The source of this water is mainly meteoric and salt water contamination is minimal at this location. Only if extraction rates were increased dramatically would saline infusion occur. The spa at Lisdoonvarna is currently used as a health spa and extraction rates are considered to be low but could supply in excess of 550 cu. m/day. The water deserves the title of spa water due to high Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) and iron contents (Table I). Both of these constituents are considered by the W.H.O. to be dangerous in medium amounts. It is admitted that little is known about the effects of trace elements in water supplies used for drinking. Permissable Iron levels are 0.3ppm as defined by the National Technical Advisory Committee Report (1968) which the Lisdoonvarna water exceeds.

 p.p.m. (μg/L)Safe limit p.p.m.
Calcium carbonate167.6 
Calcium sulphate101.0 
Magnesium sulphate100.6100.0
Sodium sulphate 50.0
Sodium chloride62.4 
Sodium nitrate  
Magnesium chloride  
Magnesium carbonate11.4 
Iron carbonate37.90.3
Manganese carbonate2.040.05
Potassium chloride7.7 
Table I
Chemical Composition of Well Water at Lisdoonvarna

It can be said that this water is a reflection of input water into the cave system of the area and it is only too clear that the caving population is paddling about in water that could end up at Lisdoonvarna spa. Before any conclusions can be drawn from this data a comprehensive sampling programme will be needed to sample more well waters and attempt to link the 'mineral' contents of these to the cave waters nearby and to surface waters where they occur. It is proposed to undertake this work in July/August and a report will be presented early next year.


S.A. Simmons

New Member for Aber Caving Club

Rumour has it that Pete Bradbury's brother attended last Wenday's meeting. Nice to see a new clean cut caver in our midst.

M.R.O.—Warden's Statement

To dispel some fancies and myths that are circulating in the Ceredigion area it has been decided to inform, through Thrutch, those with popular misconceptions. This is not an attack to cover inefficiency nor is it directed at any one person. It is an elightening bulletin.

There was a Mine Rescue Organisation formed some six years ago by the N.C.M.C. and the U.C.W.C.C. This worked well in theory but in practice, i.e. a short warning practice rescue, it did not. Out of 40 available personell only half a dozen turned out and this was most embarrassing as the authorities were present and were none too impressed.

One or two people can try to organise a team but eventually when it comes down to the nitty gritty they find that they are still on their own during practices or possibly the real thing.

We are of the opinion and faith that in a call out we will have all available' team members present. If there are'nt any then we still have the wardens to solve the situation with local knowledge. Those who turn out will be the enthusiasts that we need, those who don't are dead weight and we don't need them. This is not a sour grapes attitude but one of the hard facts of life. Just because people are cavers or even good cavers doesnt mean they are any good on a rescue team.

It doesn't matter if Ceredigion has an official M.R.O. It is such a low risk area and any incident covered by the police is likely to inspire a call on their known persons list, i.e. the wardens, regardless of back up from a local source.

The other popular misconception is that the U.C.W.C.C. is the M.R.O. This it most definitely is not. It is not even 50% and the business of the M.R.O. is not carried on at their meetings, nor N.C.M.C and S.C.M.C. ones either, but in the peace and quiet of wardens accomodation. This way the team members are totally ignorant of the workings of the organisation thus preventing solitary mis-fires. If you dont hear anything at the Wednesday meeting it doesn't mean that nothing is happening—far from it. You will soon be called upon when needed, but the funtioning of the M.R.O. is only the business of the wardens and the police.

Just try and remember, how many people were aware of the Davy Shaft Rescue, Rhydfach search and find, Goginan search and find and the Dylife search and find? None,apart from the wardens and authorities concerned. We could have worked the system and called out 40 people in the cold and darkness on a December night but didn't because we didnt need you or the rough end of your tongue on an abortive mission. Dave Ely wont forget hanging in a 600' shaft investigating a 'rotting corpse', nor will John Donavon forget lifelining him after a hard days mining, drenched to the skin sitting on top of a mountain, nor will Si Hughes forget sitting by a phone kiosk for over an hour still in mining gear, also wet and miserable.

You think that rescue is glamourous maybe? Bullshit we say.

Committee M.W.M.R.T.


You may think yourselves fortunate. A full rescue practice was organised for what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year so far, but due to circumstances entirely beyond our control it had to be cancelled at the very last minute. Also to be fair to the students among us who are studying hard for their exams, no practice has been arranged at least until the exams are over.

Mining in the Midlands—Dudley Mines

Sunday 13th April

At an uncomfortably early hour on Sunday morning a convoy of motor bikes (well there were two) set off for Dudley Mines. We (Steve H., Chris and Lil) arrived ½ an hour early, but at the wrong place thanks to confusion over Castle Hill and Castle Mill Roads and a strange speaking toothless female, resulting in us being 25 mins. late. Meeting Colin, Roger, Martin and Steve M. at last, we went to the mines, changing into our gear in the middle of a housing estate with none of the locals even giving us a glance.

The first mine we visited was the 144 steps where Colin's light refused to work,so he and Roger returned to the car for another, whilst the rest of us ventured underground. The mine was big, even huge, the lights not penetrating the darkness at all. The squeez was soon encountered, pretty easy, a bit messy, but enough to put two off. Perhaps they knew something we didn't for on the other side of the squeeze our nostrils were assaulted by a foul stench. Was it porcupine or bear or perhaps giraffe? Yes we were sitting in, crawling in and generally grovelling in Dudley Zoo refuse.

Beating a fairly hasty retreat we met up with all the others and had our first photo stop, having a real photographer with us for once, though he came across a few technical hitches. Down to the canal next with another somewhat tight squeeze into wet muddy gunge. Back out and onto another part of the canal system (see photo), the mines here were for limestone and the canals were the means of removing it. Colin, being the only idiot to wear a wet suit waded off into the darkness, braving infection of all kinds in the septic waters. More photos, then a wait for the return of Bunce, now accompanied by a large lump of polystyrene which he suggested would serve as a raft for the rest of us. Unconvinced we demanded a demonstration which proved our doubt to be well founded.

More wandering, in the 144 then Colin once again waded away whilst we surfaced, trecked overland then entered Singer Mine to meet him emerging from the canal. Quick visits were made to Murdes Mine and Flooded Mine, but anxiety grew as there was only ¾ hour left before closing time. So a quick change and off to the Wren' s Nest Public House, where, after a couple of pints Chris convinced us that he could lead us into Wren's Nest.

Off we went to another housing estate, changing on the pavement, Roger exhibiting his body to anyone around. Attempts had been made to pump these mines full of sand but they were not too successfull, leaving parts of them more dangerous than ever, with patches of quicksand. We took a quick look around the Seven Sisters, an enormous hole supported by 7 great pillars of limestone, making a pretty impressive ending to a good days mining, together with Martin waving down an ice-cream van.

Our thanks to Steve Moore of Birmingham Caving Crag for leading us down Dudley Mines and to Steve Henry for providing 'Thrutch' with the photo of part of the canal tunnel in 144 steps.

Lil Henry

Odds and Sods

Were you all thinking this is my last Thrutch. Sorry Folks, but there is more yet. There's an article on lobotomy draughted out and another on cloning to come when my researches are complete. Also, Lil has persuaded me to do an article on Dudley Mines, which promises to be a series to follow Steve's. At 5p per word on Lawsuit it could be quite lucrative.

Roger Cross

South Wales, 3–4th May

Wendy Thorne, Colin Bunce, Stuart Harris, Steve Simmons

Being a totally impulsive person has its advantages when caving is involved. On Wednesday before the trip we were on the verge of cancelling the whole weekend because no transport was available. But then Colin suggested I try to borrow a car for the weekend and we would pay the petrol. We tried to get Dave Corbett to take us down in his Escort but he and his wife were going back to Birmingham. Then I remembered Derek Lawrence was the proud owner of a Land Rover—just the thing, so I approached him with the tempting offer of 5 which he accepted, so we were in business. The Land Rover proved to be a Series 1 of 1957 vintage and amazed us all by its performance. We attempted to sell it immediately on arriving at South Wales Caving Club but no one seemed interested. On the Saturday morning we entered O.F.D. II for a photographic trip down to Cwm Dwr. With the streamway at its lowest water level for ages the trip proved to be relatively simple except for the odd problem with Stu's and Wendy's climbing techniques. At the entrance to Cwm Dwr crawl the only exciting thing occurred—my trusty carbide which I had graciously lent to Wendy decided to go out so I kindly offered to relight it—foolish act—and it exploded in my hands. I was not pleased.

With no water in the showers we had a cold wash outside and made our way to Ystradfellte where we were yet again based. The hut belonging to Croydon was partially occupied already by Croydon members. We instantly settled in and started exchanging caving tales when Selwyn (the landlord of the New Inn)burst in and informed us we were in mortal danger because 200 gallons of diesal had been let out of his tank by kids and the barn next door was flooded by it. So deciding to evacuate we made for the Lamb Inn at Penderyn for a night of Fullers London Pride. The locals proved to be very friendly.

The rats at the hut were still as bad but we laced the food with Deadorat that night, hoping no one ate it by mistake. At 11 o'clock we arose and instantly went off the idea of digging—so we sat out in the 'road', drinking and watching the performing hens until 4pm. We then plucked up enough courage to get our wetsuits and go digging. Our very own dig at Cader Fawr. We finished surveying it then went on a scout around—finding sheep skulls and generally fooling around. This is what caving is truly about. That's about it basically. How long will it be before we return to Cader Fawr?

Steve Simmons

More Odds and Sods

Law suits could also result from the latest venture of the equipment officer's soviet, to raise money for much needed gear. Now in production are Chris Short & Hartin Oates dolls; You wind them up, put them on the table, and they don't give back all the things that they borrowed. Forthcoming are the Steve Simmons wind up dolls, which comes with its book of rubber cheques; The Mel Humphries doll which you hang from the edge of the table by its string and it abseils down whilst reciting the Koran; The Lil Henry wind up doll which you put in a tight place and it swears; A Howard Davies artisian diver which works in water but soaks up beer. Prices are from 2.00 to 5.00.

Roger Cross

The Caving Club Library

The following periodicals, surveys, papers, books etc. are now in our library collection and can be obtained from the editor:

Any further additions to the library will be indicated in future editions of Thrutch.

Stop Press

New additions to the library

Swildon's Bites Back or Caving on Crutches

21st March 1980
Wendy Bateman, Alan Biggs, John C.

40p we questioned the farmer. A bargain indeed! Having arrived early enough on Friday night to grab the best bunks in the Wessex hut and the table by the fire in the Queen Vic, we were keen to take ourselves underground and didn't mind this affrontive characteristic of Mendip caving too much.

The high water level in Swildon's made the cave quite interesting particularly for those of us with split wetsuits and for that intrepid Mendip man we met underground, clad only in figure-hugging soggy running shorts and torn tee shirt!!!

We moved along quite quickly from the main streamway and it was shortly past the 20' ladder pitch that the source of tearing tendons and scraping ligaments was heard as I fell down the cascade and landed in a crumpled and undignified heap in the pool of water at the bottom.

After a short pause and much swearing, and to the accompaniment of my companions' sympathetic noises (such as 'come along Wendy') the cave was continued as far as Sump 2.

Returning through Sump 1 we turned off the main passage to go up through the 'landing' and an appallingly steep crawl to the Vicarage Pot series and flooded mud sumps before returning to the entrance.

Verdict: A fun cave, luckily fairly unpopulated due to our choice of the last weekend of term.

N.B. For those interested in the pursuit of pot holing I can recommend the 'one legged frong' technique for rope ascent. (So far only used on a tree in Solihul). A descendeur is useful for getting down again.

Ed Wendy was a member of the U.C.W. Aberystwyth Caving Club for three years and now caves with the Birmingham University.

Wendy Bateman

The Banana Fart or the North Wales Trip

15th and 16th March 1980
Pete, Dino, H, Nick, Lil, Sue, Wendy T., Dave E., The Ayatollah Melvin Humphries, Si

We started as we meant to go on with an early start on Friday. I'm only half way through my daily curry when obscenities are shouted through my letter box at 7.15 p.m. instead of the promised 7.30 and the expected 8.30. Well done Pete!

The altitude of the Talyllyn Pass plus an investigation into someone coming home to a real fire (must have been N.C.B. officials) dehydrated most people so Burtonwood's Patent Throat Linctus was applied in small but rapid quantities at the 'Stag' in Dolgellau.

We arrived at Llanrwst at just gone 10.00 p.m. and adjourned to the 'New Inn' to sample some of John Marston's enema aids. (This is best drunk with peanuts—I'm told it comes out a treet). We then met our host Dave, in the pub, and eventually after chips and tentative enquiries about the 'Llanrwst Special' (you must get a lot of chips for a fiver?) we drove to the Nant Bwlch Haiarn Youth Centre and were shown our accommodation:- "Jeezus it's got radiators".

Yes folks it's got to be the most spectacular bothy yet, particularly the Judge Dread at 50 watts per channel and such a congenial atmosphere provided by Leroy's friend and more atmosphere provided by dilated sphincters.

Having stumbled en masse up the corridor, at a later hour, we had a good night's sleep, particularly Dino who found the only bed. Pete and Dave shared a single room, well what can I say. I suppose it is 1980.

Saturday came bright and early. Down Parc No II by 11.00 a.m. and at the Llanrwst engine shaft by 11.30. Here we decided to split into two parties for the sake of convenience.

I took Nick, Pete and H up the whinze to show them the 19th century pumping gear in Endean's Shaft and the associated tackle. This excercise ought to be entitled 'How to wreck your Minolta and get a random flash into the bargain'. I've never had such a catastrophic photo' session yet and everyone will vouch for some really good catastrophies. Back down into Parc II, wash hands, wash boxes, wash hands, look at camera, quick cry, wash hands, think for a moment—?????***!!! Try open flash without a tripod or cables. It worked and produced some interesting results but the method was perfected some weeks after this at Cwm Einion.

Eventually Dave E. & Co returned from the watery depths of Parc III and the orgasmic strain of Jacob's Ladder. At this point we decided to do some hill walking so we went back to the Parc III cross cut. Pete & H, by this time, had returned to the surface so the rest of us took a look at the blockhouse and climbed down the manway to IIA in order to view the headframe. "Jeezus—we can't climb down there" say the other seven with timing that woud have won an eisteddfod prize. Enter from the left Dave Ely "Follow me" and most do. This left me to demonstrate the fireman's technique to Wendy and Dino. Now going down a pipe is easy, coming up again is a little more nasty, but when you do it three times to demonstrate how easy it is then personal confidence can wane. Smooth talking eventually managed to reduce a 30 foot climb into being "Just over 12 feet—honest!". At this point I feel that I ought to thank Dino and Wendy for following me. I just couldn't have demonstrated the technique again.

15 minutes later we came splashing out of the mouth of Parc III. Meanwhile Dave & Co had discovered that Parc I intersected with Parc II just above the blockhouse and made their exit accordingly.

We all met again at the mouth of Parc II where it became evident that H had reveled in some sort of Ochreous Orgasm and had completely farted away the back of his jacket. Nick was of a similar oriental colour but had not trained on dried bananas thus giving him some degree of control over his anal sphincter. I am acquitted of this heinous crime and have many distant supporters of total sphincter failure after consuming the aforesaid dried fruit.

Back to Nant B.H. and off with the wellies and boiler suits outside, thank God for the radiators, off with the trousers and shirt, into the shower block, run out of the shower, "Can I borrow your camera for a moment Wendy?", run back into the shower, screams from Pete and Dave et al., valuing my life I run back out of the shower and return the camera to Wendy. (It ought to be pointed out at this point that Ms. Thorne had not realised that she had to put film into a camera to produce pictures. I swear that the one of H would have made a front cover or centrefold for the next edition of Thrush.) "Jeezus in freezing to death", so I dive back into the shower to remind all of last night's meal. Whoopee it worked. Dive into the shower as the exodus takes place—"Christ, it won't come off", condemned to be a China-man for the next year. The cat will get paranoia—my mum won't recognise me—might get lucky with that Malayan piece—my bank manager might not recognise me—Hmm? To those suffering the same personal problem, Chinamen excluded, I can advocate the use of 'VIM' in copius quantities. I believe that Oxalic Acid also removes ochre completely but is also liable to remove your genitalia in the same reaction. Don't worry though, Pete has got a book you can borrow for guidance on amateur sexual repairs at home. (References available upon receipt of an S.A.E.)

Being clean, dry and warm we make plans. Dave and I go to see Sion & Gill at Pandora mine. The rest go to Llanrwst and return via Llyn Gorionydd to collect us.

We eat, consume tannin, listen to more Judge Dread, tell sordid stories of H's genitals whilst relaxing in the sleeping bags. I sneak out yet another Banana Fart. "That'll get things moving", thinks I and suggest that we move to the pub. Unanimous approval. This was not a spectacular session but we had some potent curry after stop tap. I can say without a word of a lie that it gave me the runs by osmosis into the tissue whilst holding the carton. Back to Nant B.H. for more Judge Dread. Leroy makes an appearance at this point and propagates more H stories, Wendy snores, Dread becomes boring so some R&B is substituted, Leroy reappears and stimulates Banana Farts which wake Wendy.

There is then a sudden realisation that the clocks are going forward and this produces a 90% exodus. Wendy, Dino, Dave (our host) and I chat for a while and eventually we decide to retire at some ungodly hour. The Ayatollah has got the bed! A Fenton & Hughes potent double fart fails to move him, an ignited Banana Fart also fails—we must have paralysed him with the first one. Into the sleeping bags. At this point I found that my morning fart was still in residence. Should I enter it for the Guiness Book of Records? My mind was put at ease when I found it was merely one that Dino had given to me gratis while I was in the bog. Even my sleeping bag is not sacred or safe from alien anii! Dino produces a box of Swan Vestas and burns his arse trying to burn off any offensive odours which results in the worst smell of the weekend—burned ringpiece. 10 minutes were then spent on the comparative feet odours of H and Lil. (I take this opportunity to announce that my feet are innocent of all charges. They will be available for inspection on request, well maybe—Ed.) I laughed so much that I farted again which made Dino laugh and so the infection spread to all except the paralysed Ayatollah (now posing as the ailing Tito).

'E' Floor on incline in Cwmorthin Quarry. 16.III.1980.
Mel, Wendy, Dino, Lil, Nick & Dave.
Endan's Shaft of the Old Llanrwst Mine above the Parc No II adit. 15.III.1980.
Nick Reeves & Dino Fenton.

Sunday morning was peaceful—clean the cameras, pack the bags, Judge Dread, no Leroy, lots of tannin, Etc. A slow ride over the Crimea Pass to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Tanygrisiau with lots of jokes about slate pasties from Dino. Nice casual change and walk up to Cwmorthin. Regroup at the adit's mouth and have a slow tour of the workings ending up at lunchtime on the Oakley boundary so we found a cabin in which to eat and tell more fould stories of Elsans Etc. Dave Ely then takes over as he has a hunch about the route forward into the open pit. Unfortunately there were some very heavy falls and we had to backtrack a couple of times. Eventually we found a 40' crawl into daylight, sheer bliss is felt by all and a deep sense of satisfaction.

As there were several other holes in the close vicinity I decided to take a closer look. Hmm nasty route that so I advised Dino, Dave and the Ayatollah to traverse across. Dave struggles across, Dino follows while Ayatollah watches. Suddenly obscenities, so foul as to be unprintable, are uttered in a serious tone. The first thing that I saw was blood and from the aforesaid unprintable exclamation I deduced that Dino had severely lacerated a digit. Blood flowed quicker than Dai Rudge can drink. "Christ! Is it still there?" asks I. "Affirmative" assures a rapidly ailing Fenton. Most people will now appreciate why I carry a piece of cloth around my neck.

Pete, H and Dave are despatched back through the workings to collect the gear and the Transit while the rest of us climbed out of the Gloddfa Ganol Tourist Centre and make for the road to try and flag down a car. Eventually we found someone with an I.Q. greater than 0 (I believe that some people have negative I.Q.s) to drive Dino and the Ayatollah (who was the cleanest one) to the Blaenau Pox Hospital for treatment. Sue, Lil, Wendy, Mick & I then walked down the road to wait for Dave, Pete and H to bring the Transit down from Cwmorthin.

Christ it was cold, but not as cold as my mind when I found that my camera box was still somewhere under Allt Fawr mountain. By this time everyone had changed, all that is except for the sick Dino and the Ayatollah. Off to the Clap Clinic for the wounded and the Holy.

Dino had recovered and Ayatollah had consumed gallons of N.H.S. tannin solution and didn't really mind getting dragged off on another through trip. In fact we got lost on the Oakley/Cwmorthin boundary and found two new engine houses and some new workings. We also found my camera with minimal effort.

The negs were processed that night and printed a few days later. A duplicate set has been deposited with the Librarian cum Editor and can be inspected by arrangement. They might even persuade you to come on a Cwmorthin & Oakley weekend sometime.

S.J.S. Hughes

Porth yr Ogof Practice Cave Rescue

Saturday 6th April 1980
Colin, Roger, Dino, Steve

This day was the end of the South Wales Week. We woke up at about 7.00 a.m. and dozed until 9.00 due to the effect of the previous night's drinking. Breakfast was the predictable egg and beans on toast again. We changed at the hut and drove to Porth at about 10.30 a.m. The car park was already crowded and rapidly overflowed onto the road as the day went on. As there weren't many people there when we arrived we were shown the stretcher and given the chance to carry Roger's dad (Len) down to the resurgence and back with a couple of blokes from Aston university (they didn't know Chris Cooke !) It is not as easy as it looks.

When a few more people had arrived we were given a talk about all the rescue equipment and techniques. The first practice was to use a floating stretcher to carry a victim from the entrance through to the resurgence, and then back again. Then Aber' showed how it should be done. This finished the morning session which had resulted in a badly cut hand and a near drowning (not the victim). Hot Dogs were provided for lunch and then we went back to the hut and got changed for the afternoon session which was going to be dry.

The second practice consisted of pulling a victim up a short pitch. The setting up of the equipment took a long time but when it was all finished the haul went without any problems.

All in all it was a very good day, eye opening and informative. Most of the rescuers had not done any of this work before and, althouth guided by the leaders, we were left to make our own decisions. Where was the rest of the Caving Club ???

The best was still to come though. Returning to the hut at about 3.30 p.m. we found that the New Inn was still open! So we popped in and before long the rest of the team turned up as well.

Colin Bunce

A Ground Level View of Mine Rescue

I hate to do it, I really do. "Cave Rescue Cliques" (Thrutch II) only came about because I felt it must be said. Dave Ely's' "Alternative View" appeared in Thrutch III (dig out your back numbers, read them and then come back). Although Dave's article was largely unconnected with my original comments it reminded me that while I had rapped the SCMC I had left Aber' alone. So this article centres on Aber' and everyone has had a turn on the end of my biro—there's democracy!

Firstly to ram a point home, the Aber' situation is like that in Tahiti—population similar to zombies! Since MWMRO was reformed there have been three cave rescue practices that we could have attended. The two last year everyone was notified about by hall pigeon hole at least. One at Porth in June when we were all going home, which exonerates those of us going home. The second was at Dan yr Ogof in September. I was there, Pete and Steve made noises about coming but didn't manage it. The third took place at Porth in April (it will probably be an annual event now) and is recorded in this issue. Eight people, including four MWMRO personnel, were in the area the week before but four left. So we now have four people with some rescue experience and an idea of what it's all about (I think Shay has some experience too but he's pretty elusive). (2 NCMC & 4 SCMC teamsters also have experience—Ed.) Do you know that Aber's one and only call out list has been out of date for nearly a year?

To go on to that mine rescue practice that Dave talked about. I'd better put the facts right. That practice was talked about as a future possibility and any arrangements made were not communicated to those people who discovered in the article that they hadn't bothered to turn up. What happened in the committee, why the hell wasn't the thing publicised? This year's practice seems to be running with more efficiency, it couldn't get much worse!

I didn't bother to find out how the rescue team works because I knew, like everyone else here in the days when the Nutts were trying to reform the team. Those details seemed irrelevant to my article but consider the Aber' situation. We're away for much of the year and have little enthusiasm or experience and might pull off a slow rescue, such as at Porth in the afternoon where no group knew each other!

South Cards Mining Club are an unknown factor. They could do it but, to quote Brian Joplin of SWCRO, "most cavers know nothing of rescue". I still regard faith in SCMC as being as firmly rooted as Burnham Woods.

This leaves us with a combined U.C.W. Aber'-SCMC-NCMC team where few people know each other. Part of the problem at Porth was that the people split into semi-autonomous groups with no communication between them. We'd gravitate just as easily and there is nobody that I can think of who would co-ordinate. (Si Hughes or Dave Ely?—Ed)

MWMRO is effectively composed of three rescue teams with some co-ordination between their administrative officers. This makes the prospect of hiving off on our own look even more attractive because it would be so easy. As things stand, we are quite lucky not to have been tested, because we would probably make a complete F*** Up of a genuine incident. SCMC comprises half the team. They will be a dominant factor in determining the future shape of the MRO, such as a closed shop, only rescuing their own members. It's happened before and I don't see why it shouldn't happen again.

If it doesn't worry you, just close your coffin lid and I'll shovel the earth back down on you.

One last point before the next article. The buck still stops at Dave & Si who are the only permanent residents who have experience of the local mines and are in contact with potential rescuers here at Aber'.

Roger Cross

Editor's Note: This correspondence is now closed.

Cader Fawr Dig

11 May 1980
Colin, Dino, Steve, Dave C.

What is it about Cader Fawr? For the third weekend in a row I've ended up at this miserable hell hole, why, to dig! Digging has now become a plague in the club, let's hope that we grow out of it or discover something worthwhile. Having abandoned Cader Fawr Higher we started searching for the most un-promising hole we could find. We settled for a small sink next to a pond in a hollow. Being trained scientists we used our experience to waste as much time as possible. The progress made during the first three hours was halted by apathy despite my insistence that it was draughting. It is my opinion that is one of the most promising sites in Wales as it is directly situated on a fault line of major proportions.

One thing that our excavation revealed was that at three feet below the surface there was a horizon of 12 inches of frogs. How they were formed is a mystery to us but because of their apparently "amorous" environment Dino called the hole "Ogof Wanking Frog" (Ogof Broga Camddefnydd) in true Aber style.

As the afternoon was still young we went up the hill to a small depression above Cader Fawr Higher to investigate a recent collapse. Never in the history of mankind has so much destruction been caused in so short a time by so few! We named this newly created system "Ogof Cader Fawr Even Higher", its length must be in excess of 6', one is tempted to say it is draughting strongly.

By now the magical hour had arrived (opening time) so like any true caver we headed for the Fuller's at the Lamb and Flag at Penderyn. We will return!

Steve Simmons

Mining News

Only two trips of importance have really taken place in the past few months. The first was on the 4th April with Steve & Dave to Ystrad Einion Mine. This trip was mainly concerned with surveying the underground wheel. A report will be given to the librarian in the autumn when it is published. The second was a tortuous dig & explore session with Steve at the Hafan No. 4 adit. Highly unstable and wet. So tight that I had to remove Steve's helmet for him when he got stuck. You come out in the same direction as you went in. Good novice trip!

Simon Hughes

Document history:

  • First published 1980. Originally edited by Alayne Henry.
  • This digital edition published on the World Wide Web June 2010. This volume was scanned and edited by Rich Smith.

© 1980, 2010 Aberystwyth Caving Club