Tales from the Catacombs

40 Years Ago

Last Sunday, whilst sinking a Perspex liner in the entrance to Hunter's, a begrotted Dennis appeared round the edge of the hollow with a request for a long chisel. Martin, he said, had got himself stuck forcing a dig at the Crossroads, and this was all he wanted!. However none of us had a tool long enough and Dennis went back empty handed, leaving us to our shafting. Discussion turned to what would be our best action. It was unanimously agreed that we would not let it spoil our lunch.

- Pelobates 11, March 1970

30 Years Ago

Back in April, Mark Lucas, our erstwhile Indoor Secretary, wrote to the BBC with some gentle criticism of their policy of showing minority interest programmes, such as the caving series "Beneath the Pennines" and "Worlds Without Sun", at such a late hour (usuakky after 11.00 p.m.), when most self-respecting cavers are still staggering home from the pub. His letter obviously had a profound effect on the mandarins of that august institution _ I haven't seen a single caving film on the box since. We have thus been enabled to resume our normal social habits with a clear conscience.

- Pelobates 38, March 1980

20 Years Ago

Book Reviews Super-Ted and the Pothole Rescue Mike Young (Muller Blond & White 1985) Although this book was published in 1985, it has never become well known amongst the caving fraternity. I make no apology for reviewing it now since it is an important work worthy of wider readership. Like that other classic of cave rescue literature, Boone's `The Great San Augustin Rescue' this book is a thin paperbound volume which tells a powerful and thought provoking tale of adventure and heroism...... ..... Will rocket boots ever supersede SRT in British caving?

- Pelobates 55, June 1989

10 Years Ago

There was a talk on the Otter Hole situation, which seems to be taking an excruciatingly long time to resolve. It turns out that it was originally shut on the basis of a high arsenic analysis from one sample that was extracted from a broken jam jar!. Later more scientific analysis of water samples indicated nothing abnormal other than a possible minor solvent component. Following that someone went in and fell ill so someone else went in with an industrial oxygen meter which not surprisingly alarmed at about 14% so now no one will go in to get any more samples. There always has been bad air in there, however this has possibly been made worse by the fitting of a tighter door. There are plans to drill holes in the door to increase the ventilation and also possibly to open up a rift to the surface to provide ventilation and alternative access. At the end of the talk there was the comment that all these problems did of course conserve the cave - which is the phrase which seems to sum the whole situation up and which somewhat begs the question of why it was found and why bother going caving!

- Pelobates 80, 2000