GSG Newsletter 121

5 January 2005

GSG Annual Subscription 2005

We heard in late December that the BCA annual subscriptions for CIMs
(Club Individual Members) are unchanged from last year - see the email
from Nick Williams reproduced below. There is also welcome news to
members of multiple clubs. They need only pay the BCA subscription to
one of them: for 2004 they had to pay the 6 non-caving subscription to
all their extra clubs.

Now that we know the BCA component, the GSG committee has decided
that GSG subscriptions will be unchanged for 2005. This newsletter warns
those with standing orders to change them to the correct amount, allows
those with Internet banking to make the payment direct into the GSG's
account, and reminds everyone else that payment is due now, and BCA is
only giving you one month's grace to get the cash via me to them. So
make your first New Year Resolution to send Ivan a cheque. Make it
payable to "GSG" and sent it to me at 45 Maitland Road, Kirkliston, West
Lothian, EH29 9AP.

Members who do not pay by the end of January will find their
membership of the BCA has lapsed and they will therefore be uninsured.
The GSG constitution does allow until the end of March for its members
to pay, but if you want uninterrupted access to caves nation-wide you
shouldn't wait till then to renew your membership.

GSG Subscriptions for 2005

The number of combinations of BCA and GSG membership has grown. If
you already have BCA membership direct, with another club, or with CDG
or EUG you do not pay BCA again.

Class of GSG Membership
BCA Public Liability Insurance
Caving with GSG Non-caving with GSG With another club or BCA
Full Members 30 / 24
18 / 12
12 / 6
Joint Members both with the same insurance 50 / 43
16 / 19
14 / 7
Joint Members one with BCA membership already 32 / 25
20 / 13
 
Joint Members one caving & one non-caving with GSG  
38 / 31
 
Life Members 18
6
0

The lower amount is for members who are students in full-time
education, unemployed or over 65 years old. For joint members to qualify
for the deduction both must satisfy a criterion.

NOTE:- Please let me know your BCA membership number if you are claiming
exemption from the BCA membership fee. This helps BCA identify you in
their records.

Please ensure that you clearly identify yourself as the person making
the payment when you set it up, and send me an email so that I can check
that it arrives. Remember to include your BCA number if claiming
exemption from the BCA component.

Ivan

From Nick Williams - 13th December 2004

Firstly, my apologies for the delay in letting you know what will be
happening with the scheme in 2005. We only received notification from
the broker late last week that they will be able to offer us terms, and
we still do not have this in writing.

Subject to this, however, I am pleased to confirm that the rates for
insurance for 2005 will remain unchanged from 2004. The only significant
difference in the scheme is that we will be doing away with the
non-caver payment for people who are members of more than one club, so
each individual will pay into the scheme only once.

I will also say that everyone who is a member of the scheme on 31
December 2004 will continue to be considered as a member until at least
the end of January 2005. Obviously, we would like to recover the money
for the policy as soon as we can, but there is no need for anyone to
worry that they will be uninsured for a period until we receive their
money so long as they commit to the scheme and we receive a payment by
the end of January.

Full details and revised information about the scheme will be posted
on the BCA web site on the near future. It is likely to be the New Year
before we can properly revise all of the FAQ's and forms, but we will be
working on this as quickly as possible now we know the financial
details.

Regards and Seasons Greetings to you all.

Nick


36th GSG Annual Dinner, Inchnadamph Hotel, 30 October 2004

As we drove up through the glorious autumn colours towards
Sutherland, the question was, would the new owners of the Inchnadamph
come up to the standards of their predecessors who had hosted the annual
GSG dinner. And did they know what they were letting themselves in for?!
Our fears started to evaporate the night before the dinner, when a
roaring fire was blazing in the bar, and An Teallach was on tap. Good
omens.

This was a dinner with many records - the highest ever number of
guests for many years at 62, old friends who hadn't been seen at dinners
for some 15 years (Milch and Kirsty - great to meet you), the furthest
travelled to a dinner by Dave Robinson from Munich (or does anyone know
better?), the most caving nuns we've ever had at a dinner (although we'd
never seen so many with beards and trainers - the theme was the Sound of
Music!) and the indomitable Jim Salvona winning the Golden Gnome ....
again....!

Jim - we missed you at the dinner, but understand Goon presented you
with the Gnome at the Cambridge the following week with full ceremony.
[Well he slapped it on the table between the beer glasses & gave JS a
copy of the ode ....... if that can be classed 'full ceremony' (DG)].

After all were well-fed and watered with local produce (so that's
what they do with all those roaring stags), Goon welcomed all to the
event, particularly those who'd travelled far. Milch was asked to give
the toast to missing friends - as he'd been missing quite a while
himself, though we gather he's toasted us oft from his second home in
the Hunters, where he now resides Monday to Friday while claiming to
work in Bristol. Reckon it beats the Travelodge. It was then Goon's turn
to announce Jim as the 2004 winner of the Golden Gnome. He'd even
plagiarized a Burn's poem for the occasion. (O, Wert Thou In The Cauld
Blast)

And so to the bar to continue partaking of the amber nectar. But not
for long, as there was a local ceilidh band warming up, just waiting for
us to kick off our heels and dance. Slowly the Austrian Countess, the
hausfrau in her dirndl, the mountain sheep (or was it goat?), and the
convent of nuns took to the dance floor, gently encouraged (no, not
bullied!) by me and John Crowsley [the petrol station owner from
Scourie]. I did get somewhat confused in Strip the Willow as to whether
I was dancing with a male or female nun, but the full round of ceilidh
dances were explored. Drastic measures were needed to keep people on the
dance floor: apologies Hiba - that's the first time I've ever heard of a
Lebanese barn dance too.

So, all in all, an excellent time was had by all. As most of us
parted the next day we all concluded it had been a memorable dinner and
we look forward to the next. The question is, will the harmonium get to
next year's dinner?

Anne Grindley

Lines for a Walking Encyclopaedia

Oh wert thou in the cauld blast

On yonder lea, on yonder lea.

Thy plaidie to the angry airt

As rock shelters sought out thee?



Or did the call of caverns breaths

Around thee blaw, around thee blaw?

Enticing ye into the depths,

Caves, quarries, mines an' a'.



Oh when ye're in the wildest waste

Sae black and bare, sae black and bare.

Down hidden rivers thou would'st haste,

Venturing where no other dare.



Were I the monarch of the glen,

Of every cave in fair Alba,

My throne tae ye I'd yield then

For you are truly - King Salvona.

Penned on the occasion of Jim Salvona being awarded the Grampian
Speleological Group's Golden Gnome Award 2004 for services to Scottish
speleology.


Dinner 2005

The 2004 dinner is now history and the decision process has started
for next Year's location. This will be decided by vote at the AGM early
next year and the nominated areas will appear on the AGM notice for
postal and email voting.

Usually the December Newsletter is published in time for it to
request nominations. This year it has been done by email instead.
Nominations received before the AGM notice is printed will be included,
so if you are reading this by email it may not be too late. Suggested
areas should contain caves, and if a venue and organiser are also
volunteered then that can only help sway the electorate.


Caving News

ASSYNT

  • Rana Hole - Several visits around the Annual Dinner weekend saw
    progress in a very wet Rana. On the 28th November, Rana regulars Julian
    and Martin were joined by J-Rat, Tony Boycott & Jayne, Tangent and
    special guests Alex Livingston and Ben Barnett - both BEC. With a
    metre-plus deep lake at the bottom preventing further downward progress,
    work concentrated on removing the ledge just above it. Seventy loads
    were hauled out to the surface and in the course of yanking up a stuck
    bucket one of the props near the top was disturbed and plummeted down
    the shaft. Fortunately it didn't hit anyone.

    On the 29th the missing prop was replaced with a scaffold bar cut to
    length and pinned to the walls. Much spoil was bagged and left at the
    bottom of the main pitch waiting for a strong team to haul it out. This
    arrived on the 30th when 247 loads (a new record!) was removed by a
    horde of members including Julian, Roger, Martin, Bob Mehew, Julie,
    Kate, John Crae, Fiona Ware and Peter Dennis. There was still a metre of
    water at the bottom. On the 31st J-Rat drilled and banged two quartzite
    boulders after 78 more loads were pulled out to the surface by Mark
    Tringham, Andy Peggie, Ross Davidson, John Heathcote, Gair, Lisa ,
    Derek, Julian, Peter and Roger. A visit on the 1st December by J-Rat and
    Ben found the boulders appropriately smashed. It was still very wet so
    they contented themselves with filling some bags and piling them up as a
    dam reinforced with boulders to stop the mud bank at the bottom
    slumping. They left a bag of poles and a tarpaulin at the top of BBC
    pitch for future water management use.

    The next visit by Roger and Julian in mid-November continued bagging mud
    and transferring them and boulders to the foot of the main pitch. More
    pulleys were added to the BBC pitch to get a 3:1 mechanical advantage
    when hauling. The log entry notes that if it can be fitted into a bucket
    it can be hauled up! The following day they were joined by Fiona, Andy
    and Mark Lonnan and 105 loads reached the surface.

    Progress in Rana this year has been impeded by water problems, but we
    have still managed to extract over 1200 bucket-loads to the surface. We
    now need to extend the BBC pitch fixed ladder and buy another half dozen
    'practically indestructible' buckets from Screwfix. That'll be the
    fourth set. The sand bags are wearing out so another 100 have been
    bought and are in the hut ready for the next digging session.

  • ANUSC - The plea in the last Newsletter has been answered. David
    Warren, with help from Peter Dennis and son Ieuan, has civilized The
    Sphincter (the wet crawl through to the Farr Series). Dave started by
    lying in about 12cm of water pulling out cobbles and gravel and moving
    them far enough not to roll back in again. As enthusiasm flagged the
    others arrived and with their help the drain was found and enlarged to a
    sizeable hole with the water draining freely into a metre deep rift. As
    well as removing the water hazard they excavated more gravel and cobbles
    from the crawl and from the slopes at either end. Please keep pulling
    any loose gravel and cobbles out of the crawl and keep the drain clear.
  • Uamh an Claonaite - Fraser Simpson has shot more video footage for the
    forthcoming epic on the history of Claonaite. Starring Goon and Dave
    Warren burbling down the streamway, the latest session saw them progress
    from Sump 1 to the cascades after Bottomless Pillar Pool. It could be
    some time before all the sequences are filmed.
  • St Georges Cave - Chris Warwick reports finding more passage here. In
    dry weather the downstream limit was pushed well into what is usually
    the sump, and a short inlet passage was also found part-way up the
    pitch.

OBAN

George Kennedy reported in November that he was going to check out
the Fairy Cave on the island of Luing. This is a few miles south of Oban
and lies between the mainland and Jura. Here is his account:-

"There is a legend that the cave has a link stretching to the Isle of
Mull, and that years ago a piper and his terrier went into the cave to
see if this was true. Something mysterious happened to the piper and his
faithful terrier. Only the Terrier returned alive with not a hair on its
body! Of the piper nobody knows what fate befell him, for he was never
seen again."

"I came back unharmed from the Fairy Cave with Speedy (George's
terrier) unsinged! I found the cave easily, only a ten minute walk from
the ferry. The cave is not a sea cave as it lies up on the hillside well
away from the sea. It appears to me to be made up of a mixture of slate
and limestone, quite unlike any of the caves in Appin. A low filthy
crawl amongst the remains of dead sheep for two metres took me into a
wee chamber big enough to stand in. Two meters ahead the chamber ended
with the way on looking like a tight descent through a boulder ruckle.
(I was forced to leave this for another day due to my lamps dimming
noticeably and a lack of spare batteries). Back at the start of the
entrance chamber an opening to my right took me in to a much bigger
chamber with some of the most amazing formations I have seen yet on the
ceiling of the chamber and the walls which also had a lot of flowstone
seeping from them. There is a hole in the right hand wall of this
chamber a metre off the floor which I had to leave for another day, and
what looks like a choked off route in the floor. A bit of clearing may
reveal more. The only artefacts I found were the remains of a dead tup
curled up in a wee hollow and what I think might be very old bones of a
deer. I am no archaeologist but the bones did look what you might see
from a Bronze Age dig and quite fragile to touch. I left them as I found
them in case they could be of some interest."

"All in all it was a good day and Speedy got off lightly after a
scrap with an otter that came up from the beach on our way back home! A
return trip is on the cards with camera and spare batteries, and if
anybody would like to come over for further searching just get in touch
with me and a trip could be arranged"

George Kennedy

KISHORN

Two members of the Kintail Mountain Rescue Team have become keen
cavers - we almost met them in Skye during the club meet in September -
and have been exploring the limestones in 'their' patch. A trip to
Kishorn found a new cave on the 31st October that has been named Uamh an
Righ (Caves of Kings, NGR NG 8544 4375). The discoverers were David
Morrison and Richard Simpson. After digging into it they partially
explored it before leaving as it was late in the day. They returned a
week later reinforced by Steve Birch who was mightily impressed with
their find. The first section of descending passage - The Grand Gallery
- is described by Steve as "an impressive place with some of the largest
passage I have seen in this part of Scotland". This visit found more
passage and produced a grade 2 survey. The cave is about 12m deep with
54m of passages ending in sumps. The likely resurgence is 350+ metres
away to the NW. Since it is about 35m lower than the present end of the
cave, the sediment banks at the sump would be worth a dig in dry
conditions. Certainly the water runs away quite freely. A full article
and survey will appear in the March 2005 Bulletin.

SKYE

  • High Pasture Cave - Update on work from Steve Birch

    The October 2004 GSG Bulletin contained an update on the recent
    archaeological investigations at High Pasture Cave, and included details
    of work we hoped to carry out at the site during 2005. With regards to
    the proposed work at the site we now await the results of our major
    funding applications to Historic Scotland and the Society of Antiquaries
    of Scotland. However, we have received good news from Highland Council
    and Skye & Lochalsh Enterprise Leader +. We have received a 12,000 grant
    to assist with 'Data Gathering & Interpretation', targeted at bringing
    new technology and better interpretation facilities to the site. The
    funds enable us to bring in a geophysics team (see below), provide a new
    and bigger site hut, pay for the installation of CCTV camera equipment
    to cover future excavations at the site, and allow a dedicated
    Content-Managed website to be launched.

    The geophysics team from Worcester (Stratascan) carried out their
    surveys between the 7th and 9th December. The weather was good for the
    first day, but deteriorated rapidly after this with heavy rain and gale
    force winds - the rain causing some serious flooding at the cave for the
    third time this year. Unfortunately, this prevented a Ground
    Conductivity Survey being carried out. However, the team carried out
    Magnetic Susceptibility, Gradiometry, Resistivity and Ground Penetrating
    Radar surveys. The magnetometry surveys indicated areas which most
    likely are where burning has taken place such as hearths, and
    metalworking residues. The resistivity survey highlights any buried
    features such as wall foundations, pits or other structural remains.

    But it was the results of the Ground Penetrating Radar survey that
    was anticipated most of all. This technique looks for changes in
    composition and texture of below ground sediments and rock formations,
    and we were particularly interested to see if this device was able to
    show the morphology of the original entrance into the cave (used by the
    prehistoric inhabitants at High Pastures), that is now buried and
    situated somewhere amidst the stone-built structures on the surface.
    Fortunately, this device comes on site with a screen display, so that we
    could monitor changes in sub-surface strata. Some potentially
    interesting results were obtained, indicating a change in sediments and
    possible air-filled voids within the large 'U'-shaped structure, which
    may have formed an enclosure around the former entrance. All of the data
    requires processing and we should receive our final results in report
    format, in the middle of January. This is the first time that
    geophysical survey techniques have been used in Skye.

    Once we have the results, we shall start the excavation of the former
    entrance into the cave. This will be a potentially time-consuming but
    interesting archaeological feature to excavate. Was the entrance merely
    blocked with rubbish from the local farm to stop livestock falling into
    the cave passage below, or was this feature closed in some way during
    prehistory? Many souterrains that have been excavated were found to have
    been 'ritually'-sealed at the end of use, like many of the earlier
    Neolithic chambered tombs, with artefacts and human burials sometimes
    recovered from the fill. It will also be interesting to find out if the
    entrance is a natural fissure or collapse feature in the ground, or if
    it had been formalised in some way with the use of stone steps and side
    walling. The structure at Mine Howe in Orkney springs to mind, where a
    flight of steps leads one down into the earth.

    On the successful excavation of the original entrance into the cave,
    we shall build a secure surround on the surface complete with padlocked
    door. This entrance will then allow installation of two colour CCTV
    cameras in Bone Passage along with background lighting, the camera
    connected to a colour monitor in the new site hut. The system will be
    run off a generator set housed at the surface. Two-way communications
    will also be installed between Bone Passage and the site hut.
    Installation of the system will be carried out by Ivan Young, as soon as
    we have stabilised the new entrance. The facilities will enhance the
    visitor experience at the High Pasture Cave site during future
    excavations and fieldwork, especially on the planned open days, allowing
    people to watch the excavations in progress below ground and on the
    surface. However, opening of the former entrance will also allow a more
    efficient removal of spoil from the below-ground excavations.

    Finally, the Content-Managed website will allow information to be
    accessed about the High Pastures site at a national and international
    level. The site will contain background information pertaining to the
    site and the work carried out so far, while new information will be
    placed on the site at regular intervals during the excavations including
    fieldwork diaries, digital images of site plans and artefacts (including
    'find of the day') and site reports. This will allow the 'virtual'
    access to the site to people with disabilities, who would not normally
    be able to visit High Pastures.

    Therefore, watch this space for regular updates on the fieldwork and
    post-excavation results, and if you are on Skye next year be sure to pay
    us a visit and receive a guided tour of the excavations.

    Steven Birch

Bridge Tolls removed

The Skye Bridge tolls are now a memory. The Scottish Executive spent
27,000,000 to buy the bridge back from the developers and from the 21st
December tolls stopped. Folk with unused tickets will be able to claim
their money back. There will be an announcement on the Skye Bridge
website (www.skyebridge.co.uk)
in the next month about the procedure.
This is expected to involve sending unused tickets to a PO box in
Edinburgh. Don't take them back to the bridge.

YORKSHIRE

  • Lost John's Cave - The November meet started on Friday with the upper
    pitches of Centipede and Cathedral / Dome being rigged and the riggers
    completing round trip. This allowed a much smoother start on Saturday
    and over a dozen GSG members descended the cave. The following day most
    of the party continued with Calf Holes and Browgill Cave.
  • Aquamole Pot and Jingling Pot were on the menu for the December meet
    and eight members arrived to park near Yordas in mist and drizzle. Five
    continued uphill while Ivan took Roger back to Inglesport to buy a pair
    of wellies. Can you guess who'd left what in Uphall? When we caught the
    others up, it was to find that one earlier group had already abandoned
    Aquamole as being too wet and was off to Bull Pot. While Pete, Dan, and
    Martin descended the first pitch of Aquamole to verify the conditions,
    the others rigged Jingling. To add interest both routes were rigged.
    Some of us slid down the main shaft while Roger led the way down Lateral
    Cleft (evidently a GSG discovery), a complicated route down a simple
    pothole. He managed to make it even more interesting with a knot 2
    metres up from the bottom of one short pitch. Kate added yet more
    interest by incorporating a spanner into the rigging.

    The main pitch was a fine almost bone-dry descent to the bottom of
    the main shaft. There the rift led to a short traverse to the final
    short pitch then a vertical squeeze/climb down to the final crawl.

PERTHSHIRE

John Crae had been asked by a colleague if we knew anything about a
slate quarry with tunnels in Perthshire. We didn't, so John, Jim
Salvona, Peter Ireson and I went to Craiglea Quarry in October. The
quarry, abandoned in the early 1900s, has two tunnels that appear to
have been driven for access and drainage. As the workings extended
downwards a tunnel would have been a simpler and cheaper option than
removing the face of the hill or using pumps to keep the hole drained.
They are about two metres wide and high so are larger than required for
drainage alone and must have been used to provide access and extract the
slate. The lower tunnel is by far the longer and is estimated to be
about 180m long of which 150m is accessible before the water level rises
to about a metre. A full report will appear in the GSG Bulletin.

EAST LOTHIAN

Jim Salvona and Dick Grindley attempted a year or so ago to dig their
way into an old coal mine near the shore at Gullane. A return trip this
October by Jim, Goon and Ivan got a bit further, but found the amount of
work required would be too great considering the site is within a few
yards of one of the tees on the golf course.


World Record Depth - first 2km deep cave!

In the last Newsletter we reported that Krubera Cave in the Western
Caucasus had been pushed to 1823m. In October a Ukrainian expedition
continued onwards and downwards to achieve a surveyed depth of 2080m.
The dry silt-choked terminal chamber is 170m above sea level, and with
the risings at 1m and 50m altitudes and many unexplored leads even more
depth is possible.
http://www.cavetalk.com/bulletin/viewtopic.php?t=48


GSG PHOTOGRAPH ARCHIVE

I have begun a project to collect together as complete an archive of
club photographs as possible, with an intention to produce an
illustrated history of the Group for 2011 (50th anniversary).

With this in mind, I make an appeal to ALL members - present and past
(if contactable) - to either (1) scan their pictures onto a CD for the
library, cost of disc to be reimbursed, or (2) entrust prints/slides to
me for scanning and return. I am particularly interested in the period
from 1969 to 1980 when, my own camera having been broken at Fastcastle,
I fell out of the habit of recording activities.

Although I look forward to seeing pictures of underground scenery, I
am principally hoping to obtain photographs of members (identified
please from left to right) on dated prints and this will include surface
shots such as changing, digging or annual dinner events.

Pictures are worth any number of words, as a recent Craven Pothole
Club anniversary book has ably demonstrated, so I urge you to
participate - and indeed, to expand your picture-taking activities in
the future.

Alan L. Jeffreys


Trevor Faulkner elected to BCRA Council

GSG member Trevor Faulkner heard the pleas from the BCRA for more
cavers to take part in the running of their chosen sport. With the GSG's
support he was elected to the BCRA Council on the 21st November as a
Club representative. Trevor doesn't know all that this will involve, but
he is ready to represent the GSG especially on the evolving BCRA / BCA
relationship and impending merger.


Christmas (Late!) Stocking Filler - Waterproof 12-LED Head-torch

Many headtorches have just a few LEDs maybe 3 or 5 and use a dropper
resistor to determine the drive current. This:

  • is inefficient (poor battery efficiency) or risks LED life by overdriving
  • results in reducing light output as the battery is used up
  • makes it difficult to use NiMH rechargeables because of their lower voltage (1.2 V not 1.5 V)
  • makes it nigh impossible to use 3.7 V Li-Ion rechargeables (best available)

Some LED head-torch units are just expensive. This torch:

  • claims to be waterproof
  • looks pretty robust
  • has an IC driver (so should be efficient)
  • works well with NiMH rechargeables (2 AA) and alkalines (as expected)
  • might work with Li-Ion (if I can get one to fit!)
  • has a good light output - So it should with 12 LEDs!
  • lasts well with NiMH rechargeables (2100 mAHr = 5 hours)
  • fades gently as it runs out (no sharp cut-off)

Cost is about 10.00 delivered one-off (with alkaline batteries).

If the club wants a bulk order I can get 10 for a bit less. It
depends on VAT & duty. If you are interested my contact details are:-
Tel home:- 01847 890658, email:- jdwalford # iee.org

Julian Walford


Mendip 2005 Migration in Skye

The Wessex have booked the Torrin Centre for the first week in May
(covers the English May Bank Holiday) although we have to be out on the
Friday. This is 30th April to 6th May. I have met the guy who runs the
dive centre on Skye and if there are enough interested divers I could
then do some positive booking for a boat trip or two. Interested
members should contact me and Dave Meredith of the Wessex, who booked
the centre. Dave's email is melndave26 # hotmail.com, My contact details
are tel home:-01460 64262, email:- PGanv # aol.com.

Peter Glanvill


News from Meghalaya

First adventure award for Meghalayan - The Shillong Times, 17/9/2004

"Shillong: Brian Dermot Kharpran Daly, a pioneer in cave exploration
in the state and General Secretary of the Meghalaya Adventurers'
Association will be awarded the Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award 2002 in
New Delhi on September 21.The award to be presented at the Rashtrapati
Bhawan, consists of a cash prize of Rs 300,000, a bronze statuette, a
scroll of honour, and woolen blazer with silken tie. This is the first
time that a person from Meghalaya is receiving the award. Mr Daly's name
was notified for the award by the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth
Affairs, under the recommendation of the Sports and Youth Affairs
Department. Mr Daly has been a pioneer in cave exploration in the State
and had led 15 international cave explorations consisting of cavers from
the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and
the USA."

Meghalayan gets adventure award - The Shillong Times, 22/9/2004

"New Delhi: The mysterious caves of Meghalaya explored by award
winning adventurist Brian Dermot Kharpran Daly, has attracted thousands
from home and abroad for decades. But the large scale limestone mining
and coal mining going in various parts of the state is a major threat to
such unique caves. Such unmindful mining only weakens the geophysical
structure of the adjoining areas and may ultimately result in caving in
of the caves, Mr Daly who Tuesday received the prestigious Tenzing
Norgay National Adventure Awards - 2002 from none other than President
Dr A P J Abdul Kalam at the high domed Ashoka Hall said. "The caves are
basically made of limestone," Mr Daly said adding if the same is mined
without mapping for the caves, the nature's mystery is gone for ever.
Large scale mining is taking place for limestone in Meghalaya for cement
production within the country as well as neighboring Bangladesh. But
such mining is a threat to the caves, Mr Daly told The Shillong Times
after the ceremony. The citation for Mr Daly said that with pioneering
work in the field of speleology, he has put Meghalaya on the world map
as one of the greatest caving regions in the world."

Congratulations from the GSG to Brian on the award. He richly
deserves it for the enormous volume of work he does every year to make
the annual expeditions so successful.

http://www.theshillongtimes.com/A-17-sep.html

School Discipline in Bangladesh

The same 17th September issue of the Shillong Times reports an
interesting disciplinary technique used by a teacher in Bangladesh: He
"cut off the ears of 17 children with a pair of scissors because they
were not reading their textbooks loudly." He was beaten up by irate
parents, rescued, sent to hospital and eventually sacked.


Forthcoming Meets and Events

The Swaledale meet will take place during the summer - details to
follow.

Kate Janossy will organise a long weekend or week of caving in
Hungary during the second half of 2005 if there is enough interest from
GSG members - please let Kate know if you would like to take part. Roger
Galloway is organising a caving trip to Poland for later in the year -
more details to follow.

Please send your requests and suggestions for other meets to me. I
would like to apply for Yorkshire permits for autumn/winter 2005 soon -
I know lots of you have wish-lists so please let me know what they are
NOW (don't forget to include possible Sunday trips). I can be contacted
at home on 0131 667 3698, or at work on 0131 247 4345 and f.ware #
nms.ac.uk.

Fiona Ware - GSG Caving Secretary


GSG in Gaelic

A note from Dick that explains what has appeared on the cover of the
2004 GSG Bulletins.

Gentlemen,

In view of our acknowledged position as the leading Scottish
speleological organisation I assume the GSG intends complying with the
proposed future legislation requiring all Scottish public bodies to have
a declared Gaelic Language Policy. Accordingly you will undoubtedly be
please to learn that I am prepared to offer my services as a Gaelic
consultant to the Group at highly competitive, market compatible, rates.

Well, we are open to the public & most of us have bodies (some of us
more so than others ..... !!).

Slightly more seriously can I suggest possibly publishing the
Gaelic'ised version of GSG below in the next Newsletter/Bulletin. Up
until now there do not appear to be any words for speleology or
speleological in the Gaelic so I've created some ..... and the first
person into print usually sets the standard.

speleology
uamh-eolas (cave-knowledge)
(pronounced oo-a yolus)
speleological
uamh-eolasach (of cave-knowledge)
(pronounced oo-a yolus-ach)

Which, of course, gives:
Comhairle Uamh-eolasach na Monadh Liath
(pronounced co-urlu oo-a yolus-ach na monagh lyee-u)
provided you're not too particular about which part of the Grampians
are actually being referred to.

Well I've got to be doing something during gin production runs in the
garage !!

Dick Grindley - October 2003


Elphin Caving Centre

There have been two more Elphin Evenings since the Annual Dinner. The
first in November saw 14 members and friends around the new table in the
conservatory for an Italian meal. The second was the Xmas dinner on the
18th December. Proximity to the 25th and freezing weather kept
attendance down to 10. However all enjoyed another one of Peter's over
the top meals with seconds for those that could still move. And all for
6! There were even some crackers left behind from the GUPA/AUPCC meal
the previous weekend. Excellent.

Hut-building

The kitchen floor was to be completely repainted one Sunday
afternoon, but then Dave Warren discovered some guests were staying on
till Monday. He did do most of it, but had to leave strips unpainted so
that the sink, fridge and cooker could be used without the user sticking
to the floor. The paint takes up to week to dry so it will be done when
we can guarantee the hut will be unused for at least several days.

Hut fees are 5.00 per night for non-members and 2.50 for GSG and BEC
members. Reduced to 3.00 and 2.00 for children, students, the unemployed
and OAPs. Camping is at a reduced rate of 2.00 only when the hut is
full. Day fees are 1.00 for members and 2.00 for non-members.

If you want to stay in the hut please contact the Hut Warden - Peter
Dowswell as soon as possible to check if there will be space (01456
229250, hutbookings # gsg.org.uk).


No Smoking in the Hut?

The Scottish Executive's anti-smoking Bill will ban smoking in
certain wholly enclosed public spaces. Since Taigh nam Famh is open to
the public it would appear to be included. In fact since the bill is
intended to cover private clubs it would apply even if we restricted
access to GSG members only. A quick read of the Scottish Parliament
Information Centre (SPICe) briefing on the proposed bill reveals nothing
that would exclude caving and climbing huts from the ban -

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/research/briefings-04/sb04-100.pdf

The bill proposes fines of up to 1000 for people smoking in
no-smoking premises, and fines up to 2500 for the managers of those
premises if they allow smoking to take place. There are also fines of up
to 1000 if warning notices are not displayed inside and outside the
no-smoking premises.

If Taigh nan Famh is still covered by the legislation when it becomes
law it is going to present some interesting challenges. I doubt that
Lochinver or Ullapool police would welcome callouts every time we found
someone smoking in the hut, or if we arrived on a Friday evening, found
cigarette ash on the table and reported a crime!

There is provision under the bill for exemptions to be made for
certain types of premises. We are contacting our local MP (Jamie Stone
for Sutherland) to make him aware of our concerns and propose that
self-catering accommodation should be exempt.

Tuesday Night Venue

Despite several nights of intensive research by dedicated GSG members
we have yet to find an ideal replacement for the Cambridge as our
regular Tuesday meeting place. We shall persevere, however hard it might
be to drag ourselves "from pub to pub", as the song goes.


Bat Logo

In the October 2004 GSG Bulletin Editorial, Goon commented that one
of the reasons for choosing the club's name was that "GSG makes for a
balanced monogram that I then hoped could be drawn in a bat shape (never
happened)".

Catherine Jones has risen to the challenge and produced a couple of
quick sketches for Goon and the GSG to peruse. She writes "I was going
to put a caving lamp on the bat, but it would be too complicated (bats
are blind anyway so it would not help a bat in a cave much)."

Do any other members think that they can do better than Catherine?
I'll publish all reasonable attempts that come my way in the GSG
Newsletter.


Membership News

Welcome to new members:- Ross Davidson, Mark Lonnan

New Addresses:- Martyn Elwell

Other Changes:- Martin Hayes, Tel mobile

Ex-member Thomas Gundacker is staying in touch:-

Nice to hear from the GSG. A quick update on my caving activities:

Since my move to London last February, I didn't make it to Scotland,
but at least to Wales. Did a through trip of OFD (very impressive - see
the virtual trip through the cave on www.ogof.net ) and visited the
babysitter dig - the winch they have there would be helpful for Rana
hole :)

Had several trips to Austrian caves, in September we tried to get a
bit further in the Baerenlucke - a >700m cave discovered 2 years ago -
we tried to pump out a sump, but didn't expect it to be so big - several
meters below the initial water level, the passage becomes almost
horizontal, but then we'd need the pump again - but the fire hose was
too short :) see photos at
http://www.members.aon.at/cave_noe_west/html/baerenlucke_fotos.html

Last weekend I went to Slovenia - did the tourist trip through
Postojna jama and a couple of smaller caves in the area - definitely
worth a short trip!

http://www.jamarska-zveza.si (Slovenian caving association)

Hope everyone is doing fine!

Thomas


Internet Caving

The GSG site maintained by Andrew Brooks is at:-
http://www.gsg.org.uk/

Other Scottish caving clubs:-

Aberdeen University Potholing and Caving Club
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~src285/

Glasgow University Potholing Association
http://www.gla.ac.uk/clubs/potholing/


Thrupe Swallet Dig

Visit this site even if only to watch the bats chase your cursor
about the page. It contains a detailed photo log of the progress of
this, the fourth dig in the swallet. The first started in 1936 so Rana
has a long way to go to beat that!

http://freespace.virgin.net/t.audsley/


Assynt News

  • Still leaning - The Leaning Tower of BT is still in Elphin. If you
    did want to use it in December to improve its usage statistics you could
    dial anywhere in the world provided the number didn't contain a 3! The
    previous time I tried to use it I could hear the other end but they
    couldn't hear me. Is there any wonder that it isn't used much?
  • Safeway-> Morrisons -> Somerfield - In common with many other of the
    smaller Highland Safeway stores (Thurso, Stornaway), the Ullapool
    Safeway has been sold by Morrisons to Somerfield.
  • Suilven for Sale - There have been further developments in the Vestey
    family's sale of 40,000 acres of their Assynt estate. The community
    application to buy the land was withdrawn in early November and the
    Vestey's started placing advertisements and sending out sales
    particulars to likely purchasers. However another application was then
    made which delayed the sale for at least another month. Compensation can
    be claimed for the additional selling costs so it appears the Scottish
    taxpayer will be funding this Land Reform Act inspired chaos to the tune
    of more than 100,000.



    The latest news (5th Dec) is that there are now two applications. The
    villagers of Lochinver and Achiltibuie are competing for taxpayer and
    National Lottery funding to buy the land. The likely purchase price is
    about 3M

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