GSG Newsletter 120

13 October 2004

GSG Annual Dinner 2004

Bookings for this year's Annual Dinner at the Inch have been flowing
in. So far there are 51 confirmed bookings with several more expressions
of intent - but no booking form or cheque! If you have not booked your
place, now is the time to do it. Use the booking form in the last
Newsletter, or if you can't find it send me a cheque (made payable to
'GSG') for 16.00 per person and tell me your choices of main course -
venison, gammon, salmon, or vegetable lasagne. The dinner is on Saturday
30th October and this year's fancy dress theme is Sound of Music. There
is a special reduced B&B rate of 19.00 per person per night for GSG
members in the hotel. A few bunk spaces are still available in the hut
for Saturday night. Friday night is already full, but that does leave
the sofa-beds, the spare mattresses, the conservatory, the shed and the
loft as well as camping available.

Hotel bookings to 01571 822202.
web site:- http://www.inchnadamphhotel.co.uk/.
Send dinner and hut money to me at 45 Maitland Road, Kirkliston, West Lothian, EH29 9AP.

Ivan


Caving News

ASSYNT

Rana Hole - It has been a quiet summer down Rana Hole with only two
visits. The first was by Julian Walford and Bob Jones. They installed a
large Jewson one ton bag behind a scaffolding wall at the bottom of BBC
pitch and started filling it with spoil from the dig. Provided the dig
doesn't migrate back towards it, this will be left in situ. It meant
much less work compared to hauling spoil all the way to the surface. On
10th October Martin Hayes, Bob and Rosemary Jones with daughter
Katherine, Ivan, Roger and soon-to-be new member Murdo Macpherson
removed about 20 loads from a wet dig site. Some work with a crowbar did
temporarily see the water gurgling away into the floor, but the water
level soon started rising again. Before we left Roger found that he
could insert a large diameter pipe along the narrow continuation of the
rift and bale the water into it.

ANUSC - Recent trips by Chris Chapmen and friends and later the same day
by Mark Tringham found the river flowing past the entrance and
threatening to overtop the concreted barrier. It was a struggle to ford
the river and once inside nobody braved the very wet connection into the
Farr Series. We really do need to put some work into improving this
short crawl and the passage beyond. Volunteers?

Pretty Pol - This is a short 9m passage almost opposite Uamh an Jedi
found in 1959. Goon investigated it with Boffin (the dog) in June and
Ivan found it a month or so later to GPS it (NC 26112 22040) getting
thoroughly soaked in the process on yet another typical 2004 summer's
day.

Lon na h-Uamh - Reported by Nigel Robertson:- "We did the usual Bone
Caves and ANUS tourist trips but we also managed a sandstone rock
shelter and boulder caves on the northern flanks of Stac Pollaidh - a
place called Lon na h-Uamh at NC122111. It's marked on the new Explorer
map but not on the old 1:50 000. It's only worth doing to say you've
done it - I'm sure someone from the club will have been there before. We
wrote it up in the hut log but didn't have the map to hand so the NGR
was just an estimate from the map."

APPIN

Glen Creran / Glen Duror - Trevor Faulkner has written his thesis on
cave formation in Norwegian caves. He recently took his academic
supervisor, Professor John Gunn, to view some of the Appin caves since
they are in similar strata and of similar age, formation and morphology.
Ivan acted as guide because it had been some time since Trevor had last
been there; forests and paths are now very different. We started with
Chamber Pot, continued with Uamh an Coire Sheileach and finished the day
by moving round to Glen Duror and Draught Caledonian. Ivan tried a dye
test from a supposed sink for Draught Caledonian, but we were not around
for long enough to see the result.

Another visit was made by Kate Janossy and George Kennedy who went
for an evening jaunt down Chamber Pot just before she left Oban. She
thought it "a really nice cave, pretties too. Even the midges weren't as
bad as I expected (until I stood still that is!)"

SKYE

High Pasture Cave - Steve Birch (GSG) and fellow archaeologist Martin
Wildgoose organised three Open Days at High Pasture Cave in September.
The general public turned up in hordes to view the displays in the hut
and learn about the site. Steve took a total of 32 people down the cave
to the site of the dig - without any injuries. The following week there
was a torrential downpour on the night of 13/14th September. This
resulted in the sink for the cave backing up until the flood continued
across the surface and ponded up over the cave entrance to a depth of
about 1.5 to 2 metres. It also inundated the hut (photo in last
Newsletter) to a depth of about a metre, and then flowed on down the dry
valley to rejuvenate the dry waterfall above Terminal Chamber.
Everything in the hut was soaked. Amongst other items Martin's digital
camera must have been floating on the water in its pouch, but after
careful drying it is still working. The local farmer declared that he'd
never known such a flood in all his 50 years on the island.

The effects inside the cave were minor. Rocks had been moved around
in the entrance passage, but the water hadn't backed up enough to enter
the dig. A visit during the club meet a few days later found fresh
vegetation and foam in the roof of Terminal Chamber and for some
distance upstream. We didn't notice any other after-effects.

Historic Scotland - The autumn 2004 issue of this magazine includes a
three page article on High Pasture Cave featuring Ivan's photos of Steve
Birch and Tim Lawson. Historic Scotland is one of the organizations
funding the work in the cave.

GSG September Meet

The GSG arrived in force for the September Skye Meet. A total of 25
members and friends arrived in 14 vehicles to stay in (or near) the
Torrin Centre. Nigel Marsh arrived in his camper van which reduced
pressure on the 18 bunks in the Centre. Thanks to an unpublicised **
practice at the Skye Bridge we all crossed for 1.34 each way instead of
the one-off price of 5.70. In fact 10.00 per head covered both the
accommodation and the bridge and still gave a surplus after buying
supplies of tea and coffee.

On the Friday, early arrivals Ivan, Dave Warren and John Crae met
Steve Birch after their pub lunch for a confusing stroll through Coille
Gaireallach looking at all the sites that Steve thought deserved
pushing. The opportunity was taken for a couple of short through trips
in Upper Through Cave and Cave of the Seeds.

Saturday saw most of the GSG in several parties criss-crossing Coille
Gaireallach and descending almost everything in and out of sight.
Overnight rain and continual showers make some of the passages too wet,
but the names of caves not entered would be far shorter to write than to
list those descended. Cavers were popping up and down all manner of
small holes and finding - not very much. Several do have more potential
and a return should be made in dry weather. The sink just upstream of
the upper entrance to Upper Through Cave had opened up - perhaps during
the flood of the previous week - which gave the most new passage of the
day. This was penetrated from both ends for a total of 8 metres, but the
through trip awaits a drier day.

After Coille Gaireallach most of us walked across to High Pasture
Cave. The earliest group found the duck well and truly sumped, whilst an
hour or so later the next group found it aqueous but passable. Steve was
there to explain the surface features - round houses and walls - and to
conduct tours of the dig site as several full descents to Terminal
Chamber were made by the more adventurous members. Luckily there were
not any more downpours that afternoon. A late afternoon attempt to reach
Spar Cave was repulsed by the rising tide.

On Sunday the weather worsened and in continuous rain many members
explored most of the caves in the Allt nan Leac valley with some
continuing on to Allt na Pairte Cave. An attempted descent of Valley
Head Cave was abandoned due to high water. Steve led Goon, Martin, John
and Ivan round to the sites he'd been investigating on the lower slopes
of Beinn na Caillich just NNW of Broadford and north of Shelter Cave.
Digging was started in a promising stream sink, and it was named
Clavicle Cave after a rock formation at the entrance. When we left an
hour later the water had increased by several hundred per cent. The
risings for the cave are about 40m away and appear too tight. Nearby a
stream sink was swallowing an impressive amount of water and another
nearby 'dry' rift was not dry any more. Further uphill, at the granite
limestone contact, another sink gave perhaps 10 or 12m of passage. The
rising is only a few metres away (confirmed with a dye test) so there
isn't much potential there.

  • * Buy a book of 20 tickets for 26.80 by phone and ask for it to be left
    in the office. You'll be given a security number. Each driver as he
    arrives at the bridge gives the name and security number for the book of
    tickets to the attendant in the toll booth and can then pass with no
    further payment.

West Lothian

Subterranea Brittanica held a study weekend in Edinburgh in
mid-September. Staying on the Heriot Watt campus at Riccarton they
arrived on Friday afternoon when a visit to the Scotland Street railway
tunnel was changed because we couldn't find anybody who would admit to
having the key.

On Saturday the itinerary started at the Barnton bunker which
vandals set alight in the 90s. The interior is past recovery though
there is still some air-conditioning and other machinery to see on the
lowest level. The surface buildings are decorated with an ever-changing
gallery of graffiti. A steam train ride on the Bo'ness railway took
everyone to Birkhill Fireclay Mine. I'd last been there in 1986 just
after work started to open it as a tourist attraction. The manager
seemed to appreciate the knowledgeable audience and gave an enthusiastic
description of the mine, its history and working practices, and the
plans for extending both the underground tour and opening up access to
the surface buildings where most of the machinery is still in situ.

The day continued with visits to all the canal tunnels in Scotland
(the two in Falkirk!) and finished with the party splitting in two. Alan
took one group to Levenseat Limestone Mine and Ivan took the rest to
Whitequarries Shale Mine near Abercorn. The planned circuit here was
somewhat more adventurous than planned: the water level was about 0.5
metre higher than on our last visits and resulted in some wet feet. A
reduced group did penetrate to the inclined haulage way and admired the
rotting machinery. This ended Saturday's outings and the guides were
rewarded by being invited to an excellent dinner in the Heriot Watt
dining room.

Sunday had a single objective - Inch Keith. Sub Brit said that they
had a very choppy ride out to the island, but it was great fun. They had
four hours on the island inspecting the decaying emplacements dating
from 1880 onwards. Martin Dixon, one of the organisers, reported that
the south end has a particularly fine fort with shell hoists/caponiers
etc all intact.

Swaledale Meet

A fine time was had by the multitudes that descended on Dave and
Maeve's home in Reeth for a showery July weekend. Descents of
Thackthwaite Beck Cave and the 'Spiral Mine', Scrafton Pot, Brandy
Bottle Incline to Hard Level, and Windegg Mine Caverns were all on the
agenda. On Sunday on the way to Brandy Bottle Incline, Dave, Paul, Kate
and Derrick took the opportunity to explore one adit Dave hadn't been in
before. Others contented themselves with strolling around the extensive
surface remnants of the lead mining industry.


REST OF THE WORLD

Poland

While in Poland Roger Galloway visited a few short caves in the Tatra
Mountains, then with Annie and Tangent (both BEC and now working in
Poland) did a six hour through trip guided by local cavers. This was an
amazing trip that went via a series of free climbs and abseils right
through a ridge. This was followed by an even more amazing tour of the
local salt mines. Highly recommended.

GSG Vancouver Island 2004

Seven members had a pleasant quinze jours in Canada at the end of
August enjoying once again the fine hospitality of Canadian cavers.

This time the weather wasn't initially as kind as previously, with
rain for five and a half days out of the first seven. However it stopped
raining long enough for us to get up onto Weymer Ridge for the last few
days of the Weymerfest and pitch our tents in the relative dry. The
Canadian use of tarpaulins makes camping marginally more civilised and
allows sitting round fire in the rain.

A few days caving followed during which a good few trips were
undertaken, some surveying done and some new cave found. Martin Hayes at
last had the pleasure of a dig that actually went in Arch Type Cave, and
soon had the pleasure of knocking up 250m of new passage with others
rapidly following on behind. The final day's caving was a trip into the
Ursa Major system starting at Slot Canyon and heading up to Nun's
Nightmare, a good sporting trip. Pete Ireson much enjoyed the upgrade on
our transport with the four wheel drive 5.3 litre V8 proving invaluable
in getting up and down the Weymer tracks.

There then followed a few days on Hornby Island to the east of
Vancouver Island, courtesy of Dale Chase, who we had first met at
Weymer. Hornby is an interesting place, with a lot packed into its small
size, with some old growth trees, interesting coastline, pleasant
walking and a fine bakehouse. It is also home to a population of ageing
hippies and an environmentally friendly culture that recycles a large
proportion of its garbage including free exchange of unwanted items at
the local dump.

Pacific Rim National park followed, on the west coast of the
Vancouver Island with huge windswept beaches and surfers and the two
small towns of Ucluelet and Tofino. Much beer & fine food was consumed
and with some pleasant walking the length of Long Beach.

Back to Vancouver for a little culture and a visit to the IMAX before
heading home. A very pleasant city with many diversions.

A full account will appear in the next bulletin.

Peter Dowswell

France

A select group of GSG members visited a selection of show and wild
caves in France during September. The caving list included Peche Merle,
Saut De La Purcell, Gouffre de Padirac, Grotte de Marut, Grottes de
Lacave, Grotte de Jonquilles, Perte de Themines, Grotte de Combe
Cullier, Grottes de Foissac and Gouffre de Roc de Cor. Some swimming,
shopping and other more touristy activities filled in the time for the
team of Tony Boycott, Peter Ireson, Bob and Rosemary Jones, Graham
Mullan, Davie Robinson, Jayne Stead, and Linda Wilson.


Emailing Trip Report

An important part of the Group's work is to keep records of members'
speleological activities. The ideal would be for all trips to be written
up in either the Edinburgh or Elphin Log Book. We recognise that that
isn't always possible, and email reports are welcome. These should be
sent to the Hon Recorder - Alan Jeffreys - and
include all the normal details such as date of trip, name and location
of the cave(s) visited, a report of what was done, and a list of who was
there. The report can be only a few words long if it describes a normal
tourist trip, or can be several pages of text if new discoveries are
being made. Please keep the overall file size down and sent it as text
or as Microsoft Word. Don't include large diagrams and pictures as
Alan's hotmail account will get indigestion. You can also copy the
message to me for possible inclusion in the next GSG Newsletter.


BCRA and BCA

The gradual restructuring of UK caving is proceeding - gradually. The
BCRA AGM was held during Hidden Earth 2004, and apologies were
forthcoming from the chairman for the lack of communication over the
summer about the next steps. Quite understandable since everyone
involved is a volunteer and does have other priorities and a life to
lead. A plan does exist and in essence it is for BCRA to become a
'sub-group' inside BCA with the reorganisation being complicated by the
BCRA's charitable status. When it does happen the hope is that all the
present BCRA members will become individual BCA members who elect to pay
an extra subscription to join the BCRA sub-grouping. The process is
under way and the advice from the BCRA chairman, Nick Williams, is that
if you've got a standing order set up to pay the annual 25.00 sub to
BCRA you should cancel it now.


Hidden Earth 2004

This year's Hidden Earth National Caving Conference was held at the
Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal. The two day event was kicked off with a
China caves spectacular on the Friday night in conjunction with the
R.G.S. This was the end part of a week-long event celebrating and
supporting the China caves project with a delegation of eminent Chinese
cavers attending. An excellent presentation culminating with a visually
gobsmacking 3D slideshow by Andy Eavis.

Over the weekend there was a rolling program of talks, workshops,
videos and presentations in three theatres. This included Simon Brooks
on Meghalaya (photo left) reinforced with an excellent video by Nicky
Bailey. There was a full house roughly 350 people attending the
presentation from the ill fated Joint Services expedition to Cuetzalan
Mexico which resulted in the media circus frenzy and the misreporting
which most of the world got to hear about. The well-presented lecture
gave members of the team an opportunity to give the caving world a more
accurate representation of the incident.

All in all an excellent weekend with some of our German caving
friends making the effort to attend. It would have been nice to see more
GSG members attending the event which for once was within easy
travelling distance for us Northerly members.

Incidentally all three bars were drunk dry of real ale by 10.30pm on
the Saturday night with two and a half hours still to go on the licence,
which goes to show what a thirsty bunch cavers are even when they are
not caving.

Fraser Simpson


Calling all GSG Sailors

A visit to Staffa last May, left me wondering what speleological work
had been done on the island. A very abbreviated look by Ivan at
information on the GSG library lists indicates no modern work has been
done. What is clear is that there are 5 sea caves, some of which are
enterable to some extent on foot. Is it time GSG mounted an expedition
to Staffa Sea Caves?

Clearly this will take some preparation as landing on the island is
subject to permission from SNH. My incoherent thoughts are to do a
reconnaissance trip in May / June 2005 using a boat trip around the
island to take photos of the whole coast line, so as to identify sites.
Then planning in detail could be started for a trip in say 2006. Various
challenges exist, like getting permission from SNH, finding a hire boat
to take us out and back and devising techniques to survey the caves
which can't be fully accessed by foot. This will include possibly sea
canoe work (though the light swell I saw would crush a canoe within the
cave) and SRT over cliff edges.

I offer the idea as something different to talk about at the dinner.
I will bring some prints of my photos of Fingal's Cave to show what the
demands might be.

Bob Mehew

Anyone interested in bobbing about in boats or swinging over cliffs
on string can also make their interest known to Bob at home - tel:-
01704 569107.


Mendip Migration Diverting to Skye?

This year's Mendip Migration to Assynt continued the trend of the
last few years with numbers down. Next year's flock may not even appear
there. After many years of diving and caving in Assynt in April/May,
Peter Glanvill is proposing a change of venue for May 2005. He is
thinking of booking the Torrin Centre in Skye for a week around the
first and second weeks in May. Because of the costs this is only likely
to happen if there is enough support. If you are interested in caving/
diving/walking in Skye next May contact Peter - Tel home:-01460 64262,
and register your interest.


Forthcoming Meets and Events

See the events page.

Matt Hutson is very keen to arrange a long weekend in Slovenia -
flights currently around 29.00, car hire & accommodation very
affordable. Contact him (mr_hutson@hotmail.com) to express interest.

Upcoming meets include the caves & mines of North Wales, a return to
Swaledale, a 'learn to SRT' weekend (Dolly Tubs & Sell Gill) & a weekend
in Nidderdale (Goyden Pot & Manchester Hole) - details to follow.

Send your requests and suggestions for other meets to me. I can be
contacted at home on 0131 667 3698, or at work on 0131 2474345 and

Fiona Ware - GSG Caving Secretary


Martyn's Birthday Bash

To celebrate attaining his first half-century, Martyn Elwell is
organising a party in the Glen Affric Backpackers Hostel, Cannich (01456
4152630) at the beginning of November. This has the usual facilities and
costs about 8.00 a night. Martyn is planning a big curry on the Saturday
night (6th) and extends an open invitation to everyone who knows him.
They just need to arrive ready for some good partying in the evening and
good walking and biking during the day in the surrounding countryside.
If you are going to attend give Martyn a phone call so he knows the
numbers for accommodation and food. (to lend the location some
speleological legitimacy the Braes of Craskie Cave might be found
nearby)


Elphin Caving Centre

There has been a continual stream of members, friends, and other
clubs keeping the hut busy almost every weekend this summer. The new
conservatory is proving to be a fine place for festering and Peter has
started trimming the trees at the front so the views are not obscured.

The next events in the hut will be after the Annual Dinner, when we
expect to have a full gastronomic program over the winter months. One
that can be announced is the date of the Xmas party - Saturday 18th
December. There are also Italian and Burns evenings on the list. We also
expect a good turnout over the New Year period. Book your places early
if you want a bunk. Camping probably isn't a viable option then!

During a clean-up at the hut several items were found - see picture.
If you recognize them please put in your claim now. There are also
sleeping bags, boots and several items of clothing that may have been
left deliberately by members for their next visit, or have been
forgotten and are unclaimed. After a short delay the Hut Warden will
assume the latter and either transfer such items into club stocks if
useful, or into the wheelie bin if not. So if you have left items in the
hut you better tell us or they may have disappeared by your next visit.
If you do want to leave something behind then there are lockers in the
shed (contact Peter for details), or you could write your name on it or
attach a label.

New pillows are being bought for the bedrooms. Pillow cases are
needed so please give all your old ones to the GSG (like you do with
towels and tea towels!). Contact Carol Walford or Peter Dowswell.

Confirmed Taigh nam Famh Bookings

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).


Tuesday Night Venue

The GSG meet in the Cambridge Bar every Tuesday evening from about
8:30 pm onwards. This quiet retreat is steadily becoming more popular
and much noisier on the nights when football matches on the projection
TV drown the caving conversations. Does anyone have suggestions for an
alternative venue which is central, has good car parking, reasonable
beer reasonably priced and is quiet on Tuesday evenings? Perhaps we'll
form a sub-committee to test the alternatives?


Hut-building

The loss of the window beside the gas range meant smoke from
incinerating breakfasts was more likely to set off the smoke alarms.
This summer's installation of a cooker hood should cure that. It has a
three speed fan capable of shifting 450 m3/hr of cooking fumes at top
speed. Its five inch flue goes straight up through the roof without
bends to minimise back pressure and maximise smoke removal. Assynt's
gale-blown horizontal rain was managing to defeat the outlet on top of
the flue so an additional baffle was fitted to keep everything dry
inside. Just to be consistent the extractor is on the same ring main
circuit as the ignitors for the gas range and hob, so keep your pound
coins handy!

One operational detail is that if you attempt to light the stove with
the extractor switched on and all doors and windows closed, some airflow
comes down the chimney and smoke will come into the room. This isn't a
problem as soon as the fire is lit, the chimney has warmed and
convection is under way. If it does happen switch the extractor off or
open a window for a few minutes. I may increase the size of the air
vents above the windows to help reduce the effect.

David Warren and family spent a week in the hut this summer during
which he repainted the walls and ceiling in the kitchen area and the
floor in the seating area. Dave's ambition is to complete all the walls
and floor by the Annual Dinner and he has made more progress. The floor
paint takes several days to dry properly so this will need to wait till
the hut is unoccupied for long enough.

Other improvements in the hut include the replacement of the kitchen
table with an island unit - that should discourage folk from eating in
the area. A large extending table has been installed in the conservatory
as has a two-seater sofa. The brown seating of some antiquity and
doubtful flammability by the fire has been evicted and replaced by two
sofa beds. The old seats are presently distributed between the
conservatory and the bunk rooms awaiting disposal. You may also notice
that the round table has been converted by quadruple amputation to a
coffee table.


Membership News

Welcome to a flood of new members this autumn:-

Hiba Aboulhosn - comes from Lebanon where she has been a member of the
Speleo Club du Liban for three years. She is proficient in SRT and DRT
and is in Edinburgh for 18 months on a post-graduate course in
animation. She is particularly interested in photography and was using
her Canon G5 to good effect in Assynt during the SCRO exercise weekend.

Lisa Kamphausen - is another Speleo Club du Liban member though
originally from Germany. She has a lot of climbing experience and done
many horizontal and vertical caves including some dingy trips. So far
Lisa and Hiba have taken part in the October SCRO exercise weekend
during which they visited Cnockers and Claonaite.

Mark Halliday - has arrived from Australia with about 30 days of caving
and some climbing experience. He claims interest in flora & fauna and
surveying. Now the latter is something that will be very welcome and
we'll have to introduce him to Andy and the Farr Series survey.

Murdo Macpherson - will be well known to many of our members. He has
regularly attended SCRO exercises in Assynt as an AMRT member. He
recently helped us with our dig at the bottom of Rana Hole, and I would
like to refute any suggestion that we didn't let him up again until he'd
joined the GSG.

Mark Tringham - is a member of University of Bristol SS and Gloucester
SS. He has caved for many years - decades even! - in the Mendips and
South Wales and was on a recent expedition to Montenegro. He works in
Aberdeen as a geologist helping to maximise extraction from the North
Sea gas fields.

Simon Turner - is a member of Tweed Valley MRT, has attended SCRO
exercises, is experienced in dangling from ropes, and has been on
several GSG trips

New Members

Hiba Aboulhosn,
Mark Halliday,
Lisa Kamphausen,
Murdo Macpherson,
Mark Tringham,
Simon Turner.

New Addresses

Paul Archibald,
Paul Craddy,
Peter Dowswell,
Mary Harrison,
Julie Hesketh,
Kate Janossy,
George Kennedy,
Daragh O'Hare.

Other Changes

Martin Hayes,
Dave Hodgson,
Ricky McKelvie,
Suzanne Peggie.

  • Kate Janossy has completed her contract in Oban and is now back in
    Glasgow. She has started a 5 year specialist registrar rotation in
    anaesthetics based at the 'Suffering General' as she calls it.
  • Peter Dowswell finally managed to install himself and family in his
    new Inverness abode before disappearing on the summer caving expedition
    to Canada. The house needs considerable renovation, but progress is
    being made. Most of the kitchen is now usable and several rooms have
    been redecorated. Enough in fact that there is spare sleeping capacity
    if anyone needs an overnight bed in the Inverness area and is prepared
    to wield a brush, saw, screwdriver or otherwise assist in return.
  • Earlier this year, Bob Mehew and Eleanor visited MacKinnons cave on
    Mull where they took a boat trip to Staffa. Bob became enthused (actual
    quote - "a sort of hankering") at the thought of returning there to
    produce a proper survey of the Mull MacKinnons Cave, and also to mount
    an expedition to map all the sea caves around Staffa (see Caving section
    - this Newsletter).
  • Nigel Robertson reports that ex-member and bona fide Welshman, Nick
    Jones is now a parent. Jade Megan was born on Friday 13th August to Nick
    and Tracey weighing in at 9lbs+ and all three are doing fine!
  • Julian Warren caused some concern at the recent SCRO exercise by
    being whisked away to Raigmore Hospital by ambulance. His appendix which
    had been grumbling, and was being pacified by antibiotics, had flared up
    that morning and accounted for his 'walking dead' imitation. After
    treatment over the weekend he was discharged on Monday morning still
    intact.

Internet Caving

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

On-Line Cave Data

The amount of on-line data for armchair cavers is always growing and
here is another sites that I used recently:-

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland:-
http://edina.ac.uk/statacc/

Both the 1791-99 and 1845 Statistical Accounts of Scotland are
available on-line. The casual user only has access to images of the
pages. These can be searched by county then parish to home in on an area
of interest. Some maps are included. There is also a subscription
service which gives searchable access to the full text.

The first Statistical Accounts of Scotland 1791-1799 was instigated
by Sir John Sinclair, a Caithness landlord. He produced a questionnaire
and persuaded the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to send it
to all their ministers. By 1794 775 of the 938 parishes had replied.
Eventually reports were collected from all but 12 where more extreme
methods were employed - he sent in his "statistical missionaries." The
New Statistical Account was produced 40 years later and makes an
interesting comparison with the first set.

And for 19th century maps remember:-
http://www.old-maps.co.uk/

Another new caving site has been created:-
http://www.deeppenetration.info/

With
ukCaving.com
already well established and doing a good job, do
we really need yet another caving forum? The volume of entries so far
seems to indicate that most cavers think not.


Assynt News

  • Disappearing Landmarks - Now the church has gone the next threatened
    landmark is the Leaning Tower of BT. A notice in the telephone box
    announces that it doesn't cover its costs, and that because there is an
    alternative nearby (where? Inchnadamph? Strath Kanaird?) it will be
    removed after a consultation period of 42 days. That ran till the 7th of
    October so it might already be history.
  • Highlands before Pylons - The drive from Loch Glascarnoch to Ullapool
    has recently been decorated by an assortment of notices protesting
    against pylons. A little research starting at the Highlands before
    Pylons web site
    (http://www.hbp.org.uk/)
    seemed to be called for. The
    Scottish and Southern Energy proposal is to erect a 400kV overhead line
    from Ardmair to Beauly to carry power from the wind farms on Lewis. The
    proposed route starts by running along Glen Achall NE of Ullapool. An
    undersea cable would run from Ardmair to Lewis.
  • Lewis Wind Farms - The Barvas Moor Scheme
    (http://www.lewiswind.com/)
    on Lewis would be one of the largest wind farms in Europe. The scheme
    includes 234 wind turbines standing 140m high with a potential output of
    600 MW. This one scheme would generate 29% of Scotland's 2010 target of
    20% renewable generation. It does need to be transmitted to the main
    population centres, hence the 400 kV line which will be the first part
    of a new line running all the way to Denny near Stirling. There are
    several planning applications for wind farms in Sutherland, but I don't
    believe any work has started there yet.
  • Lochinver Larder - afficiandos of the Lochinver pie shop can now buy
    pies on-line and have them delivered overnight in an insulated and iced
    container.
    http://www.piesbypost.co.uk/
  • Suilven for Sale - In August the Vestey family announced the sale of
    40,000 acres of their Assynt estate. The area includes Canisp, Suilven
    and Cul Mor and stretches from Loch Assynt southwards to Drumrunie and
    from Lochinver to Inchnadamph. A community application to buy the land
    was initiated in early September, and under the powers given by recent
    land reform legislation the Scottish Executive halted the sale. This
    gives time for the local community to make a bid. Opinions in Lochinver
    are mixed, but the proposal has the backing of over 200 of the residents
    on the electoral roll, well over the 10% required.

GSG publications (prices to non-members in brackets)

Caves of Skye          - 6.00 (8.50)  Caves of Assynt    -  6.00 (8.50)*
Caving Songs of Mendip - 3.00 (4.00)  Caves of Schichallion 3.00 (4.00)*
The Southern Highlands - 1.20 (1.50)  Appin Cave Guide    - 1.50 (2.00)*
Appin Cave Guide Supplement    2.00 (2.50)
Buddy reading (Caving in Couplets)  2.00 (2.50)
GSG Ties - 5.00, T-shirts 8.00 and sweat shirts 10.00
Contact Alan to hear what colours are available.

Postage extra - order from:-    Alan Jeffreys, 8 Scone Gardens,
                                Edinburgh, EH8 7DQ (0131 661 1123)
                        or:-    Ivan Young, 45 Maitland Road,
                                Kirkliston, West Lothian,
                                EH29 9AP (0131 333 3084)

Please make cheques payable to "G.S.G."

 * out of print - photocopies available

Note that all e-mail addresses have been removed from this on-line
edition of the bulletin. Please contact the GSG (see home page for address)
with any queries.


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