GSG Newsletter 153 - January 2013

GSG Annual Dinner Weekend

Despite dire weather the 2012 Annual Dinner weekend was a success and I believe all enjoyed the GSG's nearest dinner yet to the North Pole. Thanks are due to Colin Coventry for selecting the Smoo Cave Hotel, and to the hotel for their elastic dining room that extended from an initial estimate of about 40 for the dinner to a near record attendance of 68. Colin selected the local Youth Hostel for accommodation. It opened under the SYHA RentaHostel scheme especially for the GSG. Quite a few of us also enjoyed nights either in Colin's house or camped on his front lawn. The weekend started early with members arriving at Taigh nam Famh from Tuesday onwards.

Pre-dinner Digging - Assynt

On Wednesday and Friday
John Crae, Martin Hayes, Bob Mehew, Peter Reynolds, Stu Lindsay & Julian Walford managed to do two days work in Campbell's and removed over 150 kibbles, albeit around 2/3rd full. The aim of our work was to stabilise things and minimise potential for in-runs of material over winter. So as one looks up the flume, we took out some material on the right hand side of the flume and built a stone retaining bank before one gets to Rolling Stone passage, cleared some of the floor in that area as well as part way down May Day passage and did a little digging at one face. We also placed some bags of spoil at the entrance to May Day as a trap for material being washed down from this area. Hopefully we will find next April a reasonably small amount of stuff washed down into May Day passage. The plan of May Day passage surveyed in May should now show a slight extension down the right hand side past where the walls were dotted in, albeit ending in a fairly small passage.

Our efforts
showed that material could be extracted with 5 people though I suspect shifting
spoil from the digging face might well be overextending things. But a few items
need replacing including the main rope used in the counter balance system. It
passed my mind as I leapt off the ladder that perhaps I should encourage the replacement
of the main rope at the start of the next digging season.

Thursday was spent on a pleasant walk in
dry but chilly conditions up Traligill valley via Deep Depression, Cuil Dubh
and back via Storm Cave and several interesting points found by Martin over the
years. This was followed by an hour reminiscing in UCP of work done and lost
creating a day of memories. It does point to a need to better record (GPS
location and photos?) our digs and interesting places.

Talking of which, when I arrive at Smoo
Cave Hotel on the Friday evening and before I even got a pint, I was accosted
for memories over work in Smoo Cave. Colin had found a small rift at the top of
the aven at the end of the small passage leading out of the 2nd chamber where
they found an old cigarette packet at the end. I have no memory of doing any
work up that aven and Tony Jarratt's diaries (available at
) do not appear to record any such work.
But I do have a vague recollection that someone reported doing some
work. Is anyone else's memory better
than mine?

Bob Mehew

Drilling and laddering in Smoo
On Friday Colin Coventry took me, his
brother Kevin and Iain Greig across the lake in Smoo Cave to where he wanted to
install eyebolts in the wall. This was to moor his inflatable boat in mid-air
well above flood level during the winter months. Previously he'd kept in a
spare room in his house. With the SCRO hammer drill, and out of date resin from
the eco-anchor programme, four deep holes were drilled and the hardware
installed. Afterwards a borrowed extending ladder was poked up the aven at the
end of the passage above the upstream sump. Iain ascended and in his own

"When we stuck the
ladder up, I saw a partially blocked hole to the left. I managed to clamber up
a steep / slippy flowstone ramp to the right with the half-comfort of knowing
that the fall back down was half blocked by the ladder. I clambered up this
ramp for a few metres and from there a cylindrical pitch went straight up
(i.e. there's a kink in the aven to the right) and seemed to just stop 5-10m
overhead, as if it was capped by stal (difficult to see though).

However, there was passage off to the left
that allowed me to bridge back over the drop and onto the passage to the left.
A flat out crawl for a few metres looked like it was going to pinch out
but it actually went up and opened into a dry and dusty (ANUS-esque) small
'chamber' (enough to sit in quite comfortably). From there the passage
split into two and I could see one of them carrying on, curving the right but
it was too tight for me to carry on along. Tam said the same the next day
when he went up which made me feel a bit better! Tam actually went
straight up the stal-blocked rift from the top rung of the ladder, preferring
that to my dodgy scramble."

returned bearing an archaeological find - an old Benson and Hedges 'Sterling'
silver box fag packet. I asked Goon, whose it might be. He replied:-

"Don't have much of an explanation
for the fag packet - not the sort of thing I would leave! My first climb up the
aven was on the weekend of the Mossdale tragedy (June '67), when I
remember seeing a hole, partially blocked by stal, on the left hand side at the
top. I was still smoking then so if it was an Embassy tipped, perhaps it
was mine (or Eric Glen's). Another time I climbed the aven was in 1971 when
I was accompanied by members of the Cave Projects Group (of Forest of
Dean). It may have been from one of them, or - a mysterious


Smoo Cave
Partying – or a double-barrelled weekend!

The Grampian Dinner 2012 was arranged for
the Smoo Cave Hotel in Durness after a vote at the AGM – that will sort the men
out from the boys we thought, but nothing daunted we booked straight away – We
can do it!!

We arrived in Durness on
the Thursday evening after a trip north via Edinburgh, Stirling (taking in Rob
Roy's cave on the east bank of Loch Lomond), Dingwall and Orkney, but having forgotten
the conventions of living in the north of Scotland (1) knocked on local GSG
member Colin Coventry's front door. We failed to get a response, so took
ourselves down to Smoo Cave and then on to the Smoo Cave Hotel, thinking we
would find Colin and Ivan Young in either of these places. Failing to find
either, we continued to the village hall by 6.45pm to meet up for Ivan's talk
on "Cave Exploration in NW Scotland". Although the attendance at this
was fairly modest - it was a foul night in a sparsely populated area - those
who did attend were very interested and involved, including the lady who,
speaking Gaelic, corrected Goon's pronunciation of the word "Uamh" on
the video sound track.

(1) Don't bother
with knocking. Just open the door (For Colin's house three in
series) and walk in shouting your host's name.

For the
evening Ivan first showed Fraser Simpson's film on Uamh an Claonaite and then
did his own slide presentation to expand the knowledge and information and
finished up the evening with our (Kirsty and Milche's) musical PowerPoint on
Smoo Cave. The whole evening was very well appreciated as was the GSG Jubilee
photo exhibition on Scottish caving in the entrance hall.

From there we retreated back to Colin's
where we found a very convenient place to park our van where we stayed for the
rest of the weekend.

Friday night saw
the usual gathering of dinner participants in the bar catching up and planning
activities for the weekend, including finding some stalwarts to carry a barrel
of Black Isle Brewery's Red Kite down to Smoo Cave in preparation for a party
on Saturday afternoon. At this point we were very happy to find that the hotel
ran a free taxi service to and from one's accommodation so nobody had to drive.
This service ran throughout the whole weekend at any time of the day or

Saturday dawned cold, wet and
miserable – no change there. Having been
presented with a mega cooked breakfast at Colin's (there were 12 of us staying
in or around his two-bed mid-terraced house, including 3 tents in his front
garden and us in our van out the back), we made our way down into Smoo Cave
where there was the first part of the double-barrelled weekend. This was a joint celebration of 90 years
caving for GSG members Preston White (50 years) and Pete Dowswell (40 years)
with a barrel of Red Kite and 3 cakes starting at noon and continuing well into
the afternoon.

Meanwhile to one side
the celebrations were accompanied by many seasoned diggers involving themselves
in Colin's latest dig below and behind the stal flow at the back of the cave
and free boat trips to the other side of the waterfall chamber and the end of
the current known cave with some people also looking up the "Shakes and
Ladders" dig – an extending ladder had been put in place for the duration
for the purpose. Scarily, thinking they were discovering new passage, somewhere
at the top of the climb there was found a fag packet, yet to be carbon dated,
but having checked J'Rat's caving log, it does not appear to have been one of

During the afternoon and
overnight the weather deteriorated to such an extent that the water levels rose
considerably and by the time the party went back on the Sunday morning to retrieve
the ladder (belonging to the local painter and decorator who needed it for work
on the Monday morning) it was impossible to see across the waterfall chamber
let alone cross it to get to the boat, never mind retrieve the ladder. The cave in spate was quite something to be

After the lunchtime celebration there was a
lull and we all retreated for some rest and recuperation before the main event
in the evening which was billed as "Dinner at the End of the Universe –
the 44th GSG Dinner" (the Jubilee Dinner last year is not included in the
running total). Many attendees were
challenged by the extra mileage, but apparently this was the second best
attended dinner ever with 68 participants, only surpassed by the 2007 dinner at
Saucy Mary's in Kyleakin in Skye where 70 members and friends attended.

The speeches were pleasantly short and to
the point with the "Golden Gnome" (given to the member who has done
the most over the past year to promote caving in Scotland) awarded to Tamlin
Barton for his work in Appin with several hundred feet of new discoveries –
some of which only he could enter...

The second free barrel of the weekend was kindly provided at the dinner
by Bob Mehew to celebrate his attaining pensionable age, so all in all it was a
fairly cheap weekend apart from a mere round trip of 1200 miles for us. However GSG dinners have always been
challenging…. Hopefully next year's will
be somewhat closer.

Kirsty and Milche

GSG AGM 2013
Saturday 9th February in your diary for the GSG Annual General Meeting. This is
a bit later that in recent years, but won't cause a problem for those heading
for Meghalaya because none of the committee or other potential meeting goers
appear to be heading to India this year.

There was an experiment with broadcasting the meeting over the Internet
last year with limited success. We will try again, but this time Elizabeth will
use cabled connections. We think that last time everyone's mobile phones were
causing congestion on the local Wifi.

Annual Dinner 2013 vote
One agenda item for the AGM is to vote on
the location for the next Annual Dinner. Postal, email and telephone votes in
advance are allowed as well as votes during the meeting. Contending locations
for 2013 so far are Appin, Derbyshire and (a first I think) North Wales. More
suggestions and volunteers for helping to choose and assess venues will be


GSG Evening Meetings
Members meet in the Cumberland Arms,
Cumberland Street, Edinburgh every Tuesday evening from about 7:30 pm onwards.
It has a wide choice of beers and minimal TV. GSG members living in or near Inverness
meet on the first Wednesday of the month at the Fluke Inn, Culcabock Road from
about 8 pm. All members are welcome. Contact Bob & Rosemary Jones to check
for time and date. (Tel: 01463 236284)

(:-) My wife thinks I am her golden boy - she calls me "A
u". (:-)
Preston White

GSG Annual Subscriptions for 2013
Annual subscriptions are due on the 1st
January 2013. All GSG members are automatically enrolled in the British Caving
Association and a major part of your annual fee goes there. The BCA have held
their subscriptions unchanged for 2013 at £17 for caving, £6 for non-caving
members and £8 for caving student members. The GSG part of the subscription is
unchanged for now at £15 for full members and £20 for joint membership. Members
who are receiving full time education, who are unemployed or who have retired
and are over state retirement age all qualify for a £5 reduction. Life members
get a 100% discount on this part. An increase may be proposed at January's AGM
so it could be in members' interests to pay up sooner rather than later.

you are already a direct individual member of BCA (a DIM) or a member of BCA
through another caving club you don't pay BCA twice. You only pay the GSG part
of the annual subscription to the GSG. Please tell us your BCA membership
number if this applies to you.

If you
do not pay by the end of January your membership of the BCA will lapse as will
the insurance cover it brings. The GSG constitution is more generous and allows
until the end of March, but if you want uninterrupted access to caves nationwide
you shouldn't delay. If you do not pay by the end of March your membership of
the GSG will automatically be terminated whatever class of membership you have
– even Life. You have been warned!

calculate your payment, decide whether you want to be a caving (£17), a
non-caving (£6) or a student (£8) member of BCA, or whether you will be a BCA
member via another route (£0). Add on the GSG portion (£15) reduced by £5 (to
£10) if a student, unemployed or retired. Joint members must decide independently
if they want caving, non-caving or student status and add on £20, or £15 if
BOTH qualify for a reduction.
Examples:- A caving member pays 17 + 15 = £32, a non-caving member 6 +
15 = £21, a student pays 8 + 10 = £18 (caving) or 6 + 10 = £16 (non-caving).
Joint members pay 20 + 17 + 17 = £54 if both cave, 20 + 17 + 6 = £43 if only
one caves and 20 + 6 + 6 = £32 if neither cave.
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. Make your cheque payable to
"GSG" and send it now to Ivan Young.

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. It isn't always obvious from the
bank statements who made a payment.

Standing Orders

If you pay by standing order please check that it is now set up for the
correct amount. For 2012 there were a few still paying the wrong amount despite
several yearly warnings! If you know the wrong amount has been paid, please
send me the balance and save me chasing you for it.

Advance Payments
members have made advance payment of all of part of their 2013 subscriptions. I
have sent them individual emails reminding them of what they have paid.

Direct Membership of BCA/BCRA through the GSG
You can become a Direct
Individual Member of BCA by paying extra through the GSG with your annual
subscription. A DIM receives extra benefits compared to a Club Individual
Member - mostly your own copies of publications. Full details can be found on
the BCA's website:-

The GSG's membership is now 161 and I
would appreciate members paying the correct amount promptly thus making the Hon
Treasurer's job just that little less onerous. Thank you.

GSG Photo Equipment
The GSG is now the owner of a two Firefly 3
remote flashgun slave units suitable for digital cameras. We'll probably buy a couple
of simple flash guns to go with them. Also acquired are two second-hand LCD
digital projectors. They are available to members taking photographs or giving
presentations. Contact Ivan for details.

J'Rat Digging Award 2012
This award to
the team discovering and surveying the most passage in a Somerset or Scottish
cave during the previous 12 months was made in the Hunters Inn on Saturday 17th
November. After winning in 2011 the GSG were amazingly in the lead again with
about 100m in the Glenamuckrach Pot extensions until the Tuesday Diggers broke
through into the Frozen Deep in Reservoir hole. As predicted in the last
edition of this Newsletter this far outstripped every other dig with a surveyed
total of 681m. The latest news from Reservoir Hole is that the discovery of The
High Country has already put about 200m in the bag for the 2013 award. Priddy
Village Hall has been booked for the 2013 award ceremony and there are plans to
arrange a stomp.

The Sump at the end of
Dingley Dell is not much more than 100m from the upstream limit of sump 3 in
Gough's Cave. An exploratory dip went for 20m to 8m deep and "clear and
roomy at the end." The High Country lies well above the lower passages and
ends under scree below the reservoir –
too close to be dug open. A slug – Roger – was found at the end.

To download a detailed survey go t -
where there is also a video fly through of The Frozen Deep compiled from the
Lidar survey data and well worth watching.

Radon Monitoring
Following conversations at Hidden Earth
last year, Dr Clark Friend persuaded the BCA Council to fund five radon
detectors for radon monitoring in Assynt (GSG NL 152 p5). These will be the
first measurements in the Assynt caves and probably the first in Scotland.
Radon levels vary with the seasons and are typically lowest in January/February
and peak in August/September Since this is an initial look we have decided to
do simultaneous tests in August at a variety of sites. Later we can select
fewer sites for repeated monitoring over time to build up a picture of the
yearly variation.

The list of sites
should include those that are visited frequently, those where we might expect
radon levels to be low because of through draughts or proximity to an entrance,
and those where we might expect them to be higher because they are remote
and/or there is no through draught. A starting suggestion is the far end of
Badger Cave for the Bone Caves, The Great Northern Time Machine and Tibesti
Chamber in Uamh an Claonaite, Landslip Chamber and Farr Passage in Cnoc nan
Uamh, and Drip Chamber and Moonmilk Aven in ANUSC. That is more than five, but
I am confident the GSG will approve spending some of its bank balance on them.

Uamh Cailliche Peireag
On the Saturday of the GSG Xmas Dinner,
Martin Hayes led a group of six to his dig in UCP. While some dug, others
explored or started a DistoX survey. The surface stream was running above UCP, falling
into the main chamber and sinking in the passages below. These were sumped to
the surface when we arrived, but the level had fallen by a couple of metres by
the time we left. Most were still flooded so the surveying stopped after a
total of 56m which is already 21 more than claimed in the 1988 edition of Caves
of Assynt. A full survey of this complex cave is obviously long overdue.

Lawfield Mine
Mark Stanford, with pump on backpack, led a
mid-November GSG assault on the sea level entrance to this old mine northwest
of Cove, East Lothian. During the short day and before the next high tide good
progress was made in digging out what had been washed in since the last visit.
Pumping then revealed some narrow steps leading down into the mine. It is
almost certain that storms since then will have undone all the day's work. To
make real progress Mark is now contemplating building a wall round the
entrance. Documentary evidence of the date, purpose and extent of the mine
workings has not been found, so our supposition that it is a 17th century coal
mine is still unconfirmed (see GSG Bull 4,5,1 Oct 2011).

Durness Caving News

The terminal aven in Smoo Cave had a
series of visitors during the Annual Dinner weekend (see earlier report) and the spoil heap from Colin
Coventry's dig in Smoo Cave must have grown by several hundred per cent.
Digging is easy in what is an 8m high semi-conical heap of sand and assorted
rocks coated with flowstone. This also means the dig's stability is
questionable and Colin has been adding some very necessary shoring and
directing the dig steeply upwards. He hopes that open stream passage lies
behind the flowstone coated mound and he'll be very happy for assistance from
visiting cavers.

Though it is in
Smoo's main chamber, the dig was confirmed, during correspondence between Colin
and Historic Scotland, to be outside the scheduled ancient monument area
surrounding the Mesolithic to Iron Age midden there. The dig has also been
cleared by Highland Council who required Colin to get an archaeologist's report
on the site.

During the close season
for boat trips in the cave, Colin now has the job from Highland Council of
rebuilding 30m of eroded retaining wall along the edge of the midden and covering
a wide strip with a layer of beach material to protect the deposits from
pounding feet.

Jane and I went to a new dig in Applecross and removed some of the muddy
gravel that is barring entry to a second tiny chamber. That made it 5m long
round a corner with a good echo. We returned and gained a few feet then Ritchie
and I got another two feet. It's a bit of a nasty dig, but the echo and bigger
looking passage is worth it I hope. After digging we walked along the hill
above Limekiln Cave and found two sinks taking a good amount of water. We then
went to 3D Cave where I managed to dig and crawl into a new chamber. There are
other leads in this cave that I hope to dig, Toby Speight and I were at his dig in
Kishorn a while back. On the way there I found another wee pothole about 2.5m
deep and diggable at the bottom. I called it the Bullet Hole as someone was
shooting nearby.

David Morrison

Cave Pearls of Meghalaya

For those members who have taken part in
the series of expeditions to Meghalaya, but have yet to pre-order a copy of the
first volume on the caves, here is a reminder to keep it in fresh in your mind
and encourage more orders. Order your copy (or copies) and pay for them now. The cost is £26 if collected and £32.30
including postage and packing within the UK. Pay by cheque or on-line – see
Annual Subscription section on page 4 for how. You are invited to donate a bit
more as Gift Aid to the GSG. We'll reclaim the basic rate tax on it and pass it
on with the donation to the Meghalaya book project.

2013 Meghalaya Calendar

The 2013 edition
of the Meghalaya Calendar is available for £4 or £5 with postage. Because it is
distributed in Meghalaya when the expedition arrives there in early February,
it runs from 1st February 2013 to 31st January 2014. It features 13 photos of
the caves taken during the 2012 expedition plus photos of the teams It is on
160gsm A4 size card and is wire bound with a hanging loop.

Order calendars and books from Ivan now.

2013 Meets and Events

Jan 26 Assynt GSG Burns Supper

Feb 2/3 Yorkshire King Pot fairly challenging trip - new date

23/24 Yorkshire Jingling Pot - fairly straightforward SRT new date

Apr 6/7 Applecross Weekend meet

2?-> Assynt Mendip Migration

May ->3

18/19 Vale of Eden Weekend meet (provisional date)

Jun 1/2 Yorkshire Sleets Gill/Outsleets Beck

22 Assynt GSG Midsummer BBQ

July 6/7 Yorkshire Shuttleworth Pot – bring your camera

21->28 Brno, Czech Republic International Congress of Speleology

Note:- listing of a meet where a permit is required does not indicate
that one has been obtained. Only if there is predicted to be enough interest
for the meet to go ahead will one be requested. If anyone is willing to organise a club
caving trip, tell me and I can send off for any permits required. Also let me
know of any caves you'd like to visit. Contact me with your suggestions at
07942 985305 (mobile), 0131 535 3119 (work), or email 
Ross Davidson

Membership News
new members joined in the last months of 2012 with a third starting on 1st

* Alice Audsley – is our first new member in
2013, joins husband Tony and daughter Annie in the GSG and reinforces our
Somerset membership. Tony tells me that she has been digging on Mendip "on
and off since the late 1960s (Rhino Rift, Charterhouse Warren, Viaduct sink,
and both Thrupes)" and has latterly been heavily involved with Tony's Home
Close Hole dig. In the late 1960s she was a member of the East Somerset Caving
Club, and was then a WCC member till the 1980s.

* Keith Jackson – Found himself
in the Aberdeen area recently and decided to resurrect his caving activities.
He has over 30 years of caving experience including SRT, diving, and banging
and many expeditions to northern Spain. He has had extensive cave rescue
experience first in Devon then in North Wales as warden, controller and
secretary, and has done some cave radio work – he's an electronics engineer. He
looks forward to joining us on our meets to regain lost fitness.
Chris Playfoot – has been a SUSS member for four years with over 150
caving trips under his belt including holiday caving in Slovenia, and to the
PSM in France plus expeditions to the White Mountains in Crete and, last year,
to Morocco.
David and Suzie Robinson – announce the arrival of Sylvia Neve Robinson,
born on 3rd December 2012 at 1.20am. She weighed in at 8lb 0.5oz and Suzie
writes that "It was a wonderful home birth, and it even snowed as she was
born (Neve means snow in Spanish). All doing very well, Cairn is enjoying being
a big brother. Sylvia sleeps well for now and eats so well she could probably
polish off a Bernie's breakfast!"

* Rosemary Jones – is recovering
from her 'wee' incident in the Austrian Mountains (GSG NL 152 p10) and attended
the GSG Annual Dinner. She had graduated
from crutches to a single stick and attended the party in Smoo Cave, but full
recovery will take some time.

* John Manchip – is another member
demonstrating that caving is safe compared to other outdoor activities such as,
in his case, cycling. On Thursday 27th September he was near the end of a 970
mile cycle ride from Budapest to Basle. As he negotiated a stretch of wheelie
bin obstructed pavement at walking pace he came unstuck and his next memory is
of waking up while on the X-ray table in the local hospital. He'd somehow
fallen, cracked five ribs on the edge of the pavement and pulverised his cycle
helmet in the gutter. He was released from hospital a few days later and joined
by Jill who'd flown out on the first available flight on the Sunday. They flew
back together on Wednesday with the travel insurance from First Assist bundled
with his current account picking up the costs. He is now a firm believer in
cycle helmets.

* Ross Davidson – only became a partial cropper
in a bicycle incident, but with no broken bits was soon caving again. * Dan
Harries – His dulcet tones impinged on Roger Galloway's ears and simultaneously
on mine as I lay in bed listening to the Today programme at 6:55am one Thursday
morning. Nothing to do with caving but about the discovery of a colony of 100
million Limaria hians or flame shells in Loch Alsh between Skye and the
mainland. It covers 0.75 sq km, is the largest grouping known in Scotland and
may be the largest in the world.

* Martyn Elwell – recently got together with
his childhood sweetheart when she found his web site and then contacted him.
With work running out in the north of Scotland he has relocated to
Dumfriesshire where he has set up house with Anny, has been co-opted onto the
local Folk Festival Committee and is looking forward to searching out local
caves later in the year.

Elphin Caving Centre

Confirmed Taigh nam Famh Bookings (contact Hut Warden for latest information)

Date(nights) Group Size


Jan 18/19 IMC 15

25/26 GSG Burns Supper ??

27->1 Feb Landlopers 4-6

Feb 15/16 GUPA 15-20

Mar 15/16 GSG ??

29-31 JMCS 12

Apr 7->13 KUCC

28->8 May GSG Mendip Migration ??

May 10->18 Craven 12

19->23 Julia Banks 8

24->26 Ochils MC 15

31->2 Corrie Mulzie MC 15

Jun 3/8 Northumbrian Water 12

14/15 Campsie H.C. 12

21/22 GSG Midsummer BBQ ??

24-27 Manuel Contreras (provisional) ??

28/29 8 Mile High MC 12

Aug 23-25 John Heathcote 8

26->31 Matt Ewles 2

Note:- '??' for a GSG event means that the
entire hut has been reserved for the GSG and guests.

Hut fees are £5.00 per night for
non-members and £2.50 for GSG, Bradford 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 - to check if
there will be space (Tel home:- 01463 229250, email:-

Hut Report

After good progress with erecting the
tanking wall to the rear of the shed extension little work has been done lately
due to the weather. Some further tidying up and painting was done
improving both the porch and the changing room and a small problem with one of
the gas wall heaters was resolved and the annual gas safety check
completed. Bookings for the coming year are already quite substantial,
with April/May/June being very busy as usual.

Early last year the front door electronic
lock failed. This was probably due to water leaking in through the keypad
despite it being specified as weather proof. Perhaps ice crystals punctured a
membrane as they froze, or operating it while it was frozen damaged it. It has
been replaced and protective flap added to keep rain and snow off it.

The GSG Xmas dinner was held on the 8th
December and we managed to crowd 22 members and neighbours into the
conservatory. Peter Dowswell and his helper elves - Rosemary and Carol –
produced a superb feast for a tenner each and, keeping to tradition,
over-catered with a tray full of roast turkey legs as takeaways the following
morning. In contrast, for the first time in many years, there was nobody
staying in the hut over New Year.

Peter & Ivan

A special offer for GSG members suffering from aches and strains after forcing
themselves through recent discoveries of 'pygmy size' or who are feeling their
advancing years.

Keeping you caving in 2013

those of you who don't already know me I'm Lindsay Moss (Yuill), GSG member and
an Advanced Remedial and Sports Therapist based in Charlestown, Fife: just
above the limekilns and not far from the mines. I have been aware recently that
there are many cavers out there suffering from injuries that are inhibiting
their underground enjoyment. To help
with this situation I wish to show my support by means of a discount and offer
GSG members 60 minute appointments for only £30.

As a therapist I have been employed by the
Scottish Rugby Union working with Edinburgh Rugby at Murrayfield stadium,
massaged members of the Italian National Rugby Team, worked at the Touch Rugby
World Cup and this year will be going to Durban as part of the Physio team at
the World Transplant Games. On the flip side I see many clients of all ages
(oldest client so far is 96) and from all walks of life who suffer from a wide
range of complaints from sciatica to frozen shoulders and knee injuries in my
sport and injury clinic here in Charlestown.

Please don't sit back and think your caving days are gone, let's do something about that niggle and get back underground in 2013!

All the best for the year ahead,


Lindsay Moss BSc. DARM DSM IHM SMTO,
Advanced Remedial & Sport Therapist

Mobile:- 07766 526

110, Web site:-

LM Massage Therapy, Eastern Room, Broomhall Estate Office,



KY11 3EE

Internet caving

GSG Website – The GSG has two websites. One is publicly
accessible and one is password protected and for members only. Goon's son Paul
has been developing a new combined site that is intended to combine everything
on the present sites and eventually add extra features such as a members' forum.
An early release can be accessed at

GSG Scottish Cave Database – Dick
Grindley developed this several years ago and the last revision had over 1500
entries. He did a massive amount of work trawling through GSG publications, OS
maps and other sources to collate it. Further development is now being taken
over by John Crae. Many thanks to Dick for getting this very necessary and
useful resource up and running and we look forward to the next release from John.

At present the database is a 435kB Excel
spreadsheet. Each cave or mine has its position, type, vital statistics and a
document and map reference where known.

Assynt News

* Mike and Katie
formerly of the Alt announced the arrival of daughter Meryl, born at 5.08am on
4th November 4 and weighing in at 8 pounds 10 ounces.

* Altnacealgach Motel - Alba succeeded
in selling the Motel and its land, at the end of November and moved south
to Tunbridge Wells to be near her children. She and husband Bruce,
converted the old hotel's outbuildings into the Alt back in the 80's, before
building the Motel next door on the site of the burnt out hotel. We hear the
new owner, Paul, has given the job of managing the motel to Rob and
Lesley at the Alt, thus enabling the Inn and motel to again be under one
management which should make things easier and simpler for us as
guests. Paul will be around when he is able, as he also has business
commitments in London.

Latest news from Rob is that the motel units
that were converted into a reception area and living accommodation for Bruce
and Alba will be returned back to accommodation, with one unit being changed to
a bunkroom for six and the other into a twin-bedded room. The other units will
all be renovated with number seven as a family room. There is a garden area at
the end of the block that will also be upgraded and equipped with a BBQ. The
bunkroom should be up and running by March. Prices for it will range up to
£17.50 per person per night. Contact the Alt on 01854 666 260 for prices and availability

* The Alt Bar - A very successful music night was run on the 29th December and a short video of it can be viewed at

If you go searching on YouTube you can find two more videos taken inside and outside the Alt. More music evenings are planned. I also hear that a fine time was had at New Year. Rob was told that everyone would leave at 11:30 to go first footing and was surprised when they were still all there at 3am - someone must have been pulling his leg. Winter opening hours are Tuesday to Friday 5pm till late and 12:30pm till late at weekends.

* Bridie's Bothy - Next door neighbours Russell & Bridie Pursey have converted the outbuilding formerly used a shop for their Rare Breeds Farm into accommodation for family and friends. At our recent Xmas Dinner they offered it to GSG members if we overflowed the hut. The bothy has a double/single bunk to sleep three plus a camp bed. It has a kettle, slow cooker, microwave, crockery & cutlery, a wash basin, and an electric heater. Water comes from an outside tap and there is a toilet building. There is a coin meter for electricity and parking space. The cost will be the same as the fiver we charge guests in Taigh nam Famh.

* ELKCAL News - Progress is speeding ahead on installing more toilets to bring the old school up to the standard required to gain an entertainment licence. Tracing and upgrading the old water supply and drains proved to be a challenge. This winter, 'Friday for All' has become 'The Saturday Session' run by Mark and Craig Venters. It will start from early January on a regular basis starting at 20:00hrs.

* Quinag Deer Cull - Assynt Crofters' Trust and other Assynt landowners have strongly criticised the John Muir Trust for planning an increased deer cull on their 9140 acre Quinag estate to protect the trees. SNH want a higher cull than in past years, though not as high as proposed by JMT. The Ardvar woodlands are designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).


1) Remember to tell us of changes to your address or contact details. You can check them on the GSG private web

2) Send news items to Ivan for the Newsletter, longer items to Alan for the Bulletin. If in doubt send to both.

GSG publications (prices to non-members in brackets)

Decades in the Dark - 20.00 (20.00) + 2.00 p&p
Caves of Skye - 6.00 (8.50)
Caves of Assynt 6.00 (8.50)*
The Southern Highlands - 1.20 (1.50)
Appin Cave Guide - 1.50 (2.00)*
Appin Cave Guide Supplement - 2.00 (2.50)
Caves of Applecross and Kishorn - 4.00 (6.00)
GSG Ties - 5.00
Buddy reading (Caving in Couplets) - 2.00 (2.50)
NAMHO Field Trip Booklets - set of 3 2.50 (4.00)

* out of print - photocopies available Postage extra - order from:-

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