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A new year begins

The last few weeks have been particularly busy for me, although no actual caving has been involved. The British Branch of the IGS had their conference here in Aberystwyth in mid-Sept, with plenty of interesting talks and a meal on Constitution Hill. This was followed by a rescue practice at Ogof Draenen, which largely involved finding suitable locations for heyphone communication – a bit of a nightmare given all the mining waste on the surface. Hidden Earth was next, this year in Leek (Staffordshire). Rich and I were seeking redress for our second place in the Speleo-Olympics last year, and all was looking good when we posted a time of 1:50s. However the bruises and scratches were all for nothing and yet again we were pipped into second place, this time by a margin of 3 seconds. Perhaps third time lucky…?

Last week the students returned to Aber, and ACC were quick to start organising trips, socials and our stall at Fresher’s Fair. We recruited a good number, with several seemingly super-keen to go caving. Their first trips were last weekend, down Bridge Cave and Llygad Llwchwr. This was probably the first time in the last year that Oli, Chris or myself haven’t been around to help, so credit to them for getting the freshers underground. I couldn’t join these trips as they clashed with the BEC AGM and meal – this year the 75th anniversary. It was a fantastic evening that lasted well into the early hours in true BEC style.

Today marks the start of my third year in my Ph.D, and suddenly the pressure seems to be piling up – where does the time go? The modelling is getting there though and the Welsh Ice Cap is doing what I want it to now (kind of…), so am fairly happy at the moment. Next weekend I’ll be giving my liver a chance to recover and return underground, something which I’m particularly looking forward to.