Grampian Speleological Group Newsletter
Number 111, December 2001

Newsletter @g-s-g.demon.co.uk


Annual Subscription

Your annual GSG membership subscription is due on 1st January. Current rates are 15 for full members, 20 for joint and 5 for junior (under 16 years of age). The rates halve for full time students, the unemployed and old age pensioners (ie over 65). If you are a life member or already pay by standing order you need do nothing.

Give your caving club a New Year present and pay promptly. Send your cheque made payable to "GSG" to the GSG Treasurer:-

Ivan Young 45 Maitland Road, Kirkliston, West Lothian, EH29 9AP

If you have questions phone me at 0131 333 3084 (home) or email:- ivan @g-s-g.demon.co.uk

Payment by Standing Order

Many members already pay by standing order making the job of paying and collecting the annual subscriptions much easier for all of us. If you are not using this method please consider doing so. Just fill in the enclosed form, sign it, take it to your bank before the new year and they will do the rest.

Ivan


GSG Annual Dinner 2000

Thirty eight members sat down to dine at the Goat Gap Inn on 27th October after the first day's Yorkshire caving for many of us in 2001. With the foot and mouth outbreak over, the majority had a fine trip to Main Chamber, Gaping Gill to shower in the deluge descending from above.

The theme for the evening was tacky tartan and this was well epitomised in the sartorial splendour of several of the company. A surprise appearance was made by Kirsty and Milche Mills who drove across to share a couple of pints before returning home as the meal started. There were a few late arrivals with the Flood Entrance Pot detackling party arriving one course behind everybody else. Afterwards, Peter Dowswell presented the Golden Gnome to Yorkshire Dave for the great job he did as SCRO training officer despite moving back to Yorkshire part way through the year.

This was followed by two videos. One was Fraser's latest production in his Meghalayan expedition series. An excellent account of cave exploration in India enlivened with above ground shots of expedition members at work, rest and play. The second video came into the GSG's hands recently and is of Goon's hilarious speech at the Shepton Mallet Caving Club's annual dinner in 1999. Alan was a bit hesitant about it being shown, but judging by the reaction it was the highlight of the evening.

Gnome Ode - 2001

This is a story of Yorkshire Dave,
You know the guy, good friend of Maeve;
Known to us all as one of the boys,
Though some do say obsessed with toys;
Land Rover built like a mobile home,
Where sheep and deer can't safely roam;
A man so fit and full of cheer,
Tho' his six packs are full of beer.
The SCRO activity waning,
Is now transformed with ample training;
Practice rescues large and small,
With Choppers MR teams and all;
And over all a commanding voice,
With Dave in charge its Hodgson's choice;
His latest challenge a co-production,
Alana might just slow your action.

by Peter Dowswell 2001

(On the occasion of Dave being awarded the Golden Gnome, October 2001, in recognition of his contribution to the SCRO


Foot & Mouth - Latest

The last case of foot and mouth in the UK was on 30th September. Most restrictions have now been lifted though in some areas is could be the new year before access is restored. You can check on the National Caving Association's web site - www.nca.org.uk - for all UK caving areas.

In Scotland the only problems are likely to be in Dumfries & Galloway check at www.dumgal.gov.uk, and for the Scottish Borders first check at www.scotborders.gov.uk


Caving News

Pollution in Valley Entrance

Cavers recently noticed both from the strong smell and other evidence that the duck area just inside Valley Entrance was polluted, reportedly by diesel or creosote. This has now been cleaned up and investigations are proceeding.

The Great Aven area was investigated by Martin Hayes and others during the dinner weekend. He reports both East Entrance and Philosophers as quite passable and didn't see anything there to intimidate him.

Assynt

Yorkshire


Annual General Meeting - 2002

The provisional time, date and place for the GSG AGM is 2:30 pm on Saturday 2nd February 2002 at Derek and Elizabeth's house in Winchburgh. The formal notice will be mailed out in January, but you should start thinking now about volunteering to be an office bearer. The present committee have all been in their positions for some time and new faces would be welcome. If there are any items you wish to see on the agenda or proposals you want discussed at the meeting send them in as soon as possible. This is also your chance to suggest a location for the 2002 Annual Dinner. The list and voting form will be distributed with the AGM agenda.

All correspondence to Elizabeth Ellis.


Forthcoming Meets and Events

Now that access is almost back to normal, I will be booking caves and arranging meets for 2002. Instead of me having to choose the caves and make unilateral decisions, how about helping me. Please send me your suggestions for which caves or mines to visit and when. Nigel Robertson has repeated his offer of a descent into Notts 2. This is provisionally scheduled for January. Contact me if you want to come and let me know possible dates.

Contact us at the Cambridge Bar (0131 225 4266) on a Tuesday evening to learn of what else is planned especially local trips not included in the published list.

Fraser Simpson


Elphin Caving Centre

In early December Pete Dowswell organised a Bumper Gourmand Christmas Evening to raise cash to send youngest daughter, Jenny, on a World Challenge trip to Mexico. After the mulled wine, twenty three sat down to accustomed overdose of superb cuisine ranging from gravadlax and prawn starter, through turkey chestnut gammon parcels, to trifle or Xmas pud, to cheese, coffee and cake.

The next event will be a Hogmanay bash when Ivan will be celebrating his voluntary redundancy and early retirement from his day job (not so from his GSG commitments!). A barrel of Red Cuillin has already been ordered from Eric, and he'll be taking advice from Pete on the rest!

Roger and Martin have collected several trees worth of timber, sufficient to see us to and possibly beyond winter 2002. These will be shipped up to Assynt over the next few months. Thanks are due once again to Blyth Bank Farm, West Linton for the wood and to Martin for transport.

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, unemployed and OAPs. Camping is at a reduced rate of 2.00 only when the hut is full. Rates for the Knockan hut are 50% of these.

If you want to stay in the hut please tell the Hut Warden - Peter Dowswell as soon as possible to check if there will be space.


Hut-building

After a lengthy gestation the GSG committee approved the plans for the Taigh nam Famh conservatory, and work started on the foundations in November and was continued after the Xmas meal in early December. We now have the first courses of blockwork in place and it'll stay that way till the weather warms up again. Andy Peggie had hoped that we wouldn't need to apply for planning permission - you don't if you add a conservatory to your house - however we were told that had to apply and a cheque for 105 has been sent with an application. Andy doesn't expect any difficulty and we should have official permission by the time the weather improves enough to continue working on it.

The internal floor area of the conservatory will be about 3.5 x 4.1 m, and it'll connect to the kitchen by replacing the west window with a door. There'll also be an exterior door. The windows will be double-glazed and the roof will be triplewall polycarbonate sheeting.

It will be a great improvement allowing extra eating and/or seating space when the hut is full, and providing the ideal spot to capture the sun and escape the midges during the summer. We will be organising more working weekends so do let Pete know if you are willing to help. The more volunteers we have the quicker we'll finish.

When you next visit the hut you'll notice a wall growing between the shed and the wood store. This is to have a sloping roof added to form an outside wood store. The idea is that the present store will be locked and reserved for members, and the new one can be stocked for use by guests.


Membership News

The latest additions to the membership are:-

New Members

Hugh Penney, Martyn Elwell, Brian Kharpran Daly, Russell Salisbury & Sandra Pratt

New Addresses

Barry Burn, Dave Hodgson, Kate Janossy, Robert Smallshire, Malcolm Stewart


Sampans

A trawl through the internet found a review at http://www.list.co.uk/ead/edinb/ed_fr1.htm that I assume is 'the list' magazine mentioned by Daragh.

Average Price of a Two-course Meal: 14.00
Price of House Wine per Glass/Bottle: 4.20 (250 ml)/11.95

While Sampans is to be found within the Posthouse Hotel next to Edinburgh Zoo, it welcomes outside diners as well as hotel patrons. Decorated in faux-Oriental style, with plenty of red and black, the restaurant is spacious and comfortable, and boasts wide views over western Edinburgh. The menu is smart and accessible and offers helpful explanations of Asian spices and sauces for the uninitiated. Chinese forms the backbone of the selection, complemented by a range of Thai and Malaysian dishes. Crispy salted seaweed is a tasty starter, or you can try one of the many soups. With mains the first choice is which destination to settle on -- kung po chicken is a typical Beijing dish, while Szechuan beef or a Thai red curry provide a spicier meal. Plenty of noodle and rice dishes are also available. Plates are placed on a hot metal shelf on your table to keep them warm while you eat. The sweet-toothed will enjoy the toffee banana to conclude the meal, but for an unusual dessert, try the jackfruit, served on ice with warm coconut and soy milk.

Points: Friendly popular-style Asian food
Points: Veggie? The elephants next door probably get more choice


Assynt News

A worrying recent sight was a completely closed Inchnadamph Hotel when thirsty members came back from a day's caving in the Traligill area. There were also reports that the Christmas meals advertised in the local press had been cancelled and peoples' deposits returned. With the new owners only just installed, we hope that these are only minor short term problems as they get to grips with the complexities of running our most frequent Annual Dinner location, and not symptomatic of anything more serious.


Internet Caving

The GSG site maintained by Andrew Brooks is at:- http://www.sat.dundee.ac.uk/~arb/speleo.html Email for the GSG can be sent to:- ivan @g-s-g.demon.co.uk Email for the Bulletin should be sent to:- goon90 @hotmail.com

This Newsletter was emailed to all members with a known current email address. Of course if you have recently changed your service provider or are no longer receiving email from the GSG you do need to tell me. Just send me an email asking to be added to the distribution list. You could otherwise be missing out on caving and other opportunities. I send out some intermediate Newsletters only by email - there were five this year - and also publicise caving meets and social events.

R E M I N D E R S

  1. Please pay your annual subscription now. See page 1 for details.
  2. Put Saturday 2nd February in your diary for the AGM, and send Elizabeth nominations for office bearers, suggestions for the 2002 Annual Dinner, and any resolution for the meeting or items for the agenda. See page 2.
  3. Give Fraser a list of the caves and mines you'd like to see on the 2002 GSG Meets List. See page 3.
  4. Send address list changes and corrections to Ivan and if you are not on the email distribution list send him an email and ask to be added to it.

GSG publications (prices to non-members in brackets)

Caves of Skye            6.00 (8.50)  QRA Assynt and Coigach
Caving Songs of Mendip - 3.00 (4.00)  Field Guide  -      10.00 (12.00)
The Southern Highlands - 1.20 (1.50)  Caves of Schichallion 3.00 (4.00)*
Appin Cave Guide -       1.50 (2.00)* Buddy reading
                                      (Caving in Couplets)  2.00 (2.50)
                        * out of print - photocopies 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."

Credits:- Photos - Ivan Young & Paint Shop Pro


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