Back issues of recent GSG Newsletters which were distributed electronically are made available here. Newsletters are issued every couple of months but the main GSG organ, the Bulletin, is not available online, sorry. Newsletters 155-166 which are not currently available will be added as soon as the current and previous newsletter editors getup to speed on the workings of the website and can catch up on the back-log.
On December 30th Tony Jarratt became the first person to reach Claonaite Seven without diving gear as he entered Belh Aven from Rana Hole. A fitting climax to the 12 years and 12 weeks since we started digging and almost 32 years since J'Rat had recorded finding Rana in April 1976.
The extra page mailed out with the last Newsletter told the story of two successive breakthroughs in Rana Hole. The first on Monday October 30, just after the Annual Dinner weekend, found the first section of passage since digging started in 1995 - on October 7th if my records are accurate. This 30m extension was reduced to comparative insignificance by the discovery of the following day.
The NASA Odyssey spacecraft currently orbiting Mars has found evidence of caverns on the red planet. It has photographed what appear to be circular openings in the Martian surface on the northern slopes of the volcano Arsia Mons at 121 west longitude 9 south latitude. The thermal imager on Odyssey found that these spots are cooler than the surrounding surface in the day and warmer during the night. This is what would be expected if they were deep holes or openings into underground caverns. Comparable cavities on earth include Mexico's El Sotano a 410m deep pit with a 450 x 200m entrance.
Caisteal Maol is a ruined castle on the Isle of Skye opposite Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland. It was occupied by a Norse princess nicknamed Saucy Mary who married Findanus MacKinnon in about 900AD. They ran a heavy chain across the water and extracted a toll from every ship passing through the straits - the Caol Acain (Kyle Akin): which is a roundabout way to introduce the venue for the 2007 GSG Annual Dinner. It is being held in Saucy Mary's Lodge, Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye. You will be relieved to hear that the new bridge is now toll free.
The 2007 AGM was held in Elizabeth and Derek's house in Winchburgh on Saturday 20 January with 16 members attending. A range of interesting discussions took place, and full minutes are available from the Secretary. Here is a brief summary of what took place:
It had been a few years since the last GSG Annual Dinner in S. Wales and, for several of the 39 members attending, this was their first visit ever to the area, and their first time underground in the principality. A special welcome was extended to non-members Robin Sheen and Henry Bennett - especially the latter since he brought the BEC's key to Agen Allwedd with him! Commiserations are due to Bob Batty whose plans to attend were thrown awry by a dose of flu.
The GSG has met for many years (since 1975 with only short breaks) in Young Street at what was the Zodiac which then became Peppers and lately the Cambridge Bar. For many years it was a quiet spot where we could gather and mull over the previous weekend's caves and plan the next in relative solitude. A steady succession of ownership changes failed to make it successful so we remained.
After intensive research Graham (Jake) Johnson has found what sounds to be an ideal venue for this year's GSG Annual Dinner in South Wales. This will be held on Saturday 4th November in the Rifleman's Arms, Blaenavon. They have a large function room where we eat and drink with a screen for showing videos and DVDs. There is a late licence till 2am with a good selection of beers.
All caving clubs have their adopted 'local' and for the GSG it used to entail a ten mile drive down to the Inchnadamph Hotel and Willie Morrison's laconic 'Is that so?' for scintillating conversation. Subsequently an attractive little bar rose, phoenix-like, from the ruins of the Altnacealgach Hotel a mere three miles or so from base - much more acceptable.
When the founder, Bruce Ward, sold up in March 1995, everyone wondered what the future would hold for the Alt. Happily a couple from Edinburgh, Eric Ferguson and Christine Robertson, set up house and home there, welcoming Grampian members like family (not surprising when one considers the annual Mendip invasions consumed legendary gallonages of beer!)
The 2005 GSG Annual Dinner was held in The Wheatsheaf Inn, Ingleton on Saturday 29th October attended by 49 members and guests. We filled the conservatory at the front of the building and overflowed into the main dining room. After a fine three course meal (3.5 for Paul whose unexpected movement led to some of Debbie's salmon sliding down his back) there were the usual speeches followed by presentation of the Golden Gnome.