CUCC and EXCS Logos

The CUCC and EXCS web pages are distributed over several domains and some may be more up to date than others. The page you are reading now is a portal to these various sites. Scroll down for the links, and for some further information about EXCS. And dont forget the EXCS mottos...


Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him
(Proverbs 26:27)

About halfway down I had a quiet word with him and he assured me he was feeling as fit as ever
(Bruce Bedford, Challenge Underground)

Long is the way, and hard, that out of here leads up to light
(Fungus the Bogeyman, misquoting Milton's Paradise Lost)


CUCC Main Site This is currently CUCC's active web site
CUCC Archive CUCC's Archive is maintained (ocasionally) by Wookey, as far as I know.
CUCC Expeditions CUCC in Austria is maintained (ocasionally) by Wookey, as far as I know.
EXCS Address List EXCS maintains a contact list of, loosely speaking, its members. However, since the days of paper newsletters are long gone, this list may not be up-to-date. It requires a user name and password, which you will generally learn by a process of osmosis. (Currently, the domain is hosted at, and is maintained by Olly Betts).
EXCS Mailing List EXCS members keep in touch via an Internet mailing list. The list's home page is not publicly viewable, which is to protect it from spammers. To go there, click the link to the left, and then add /excs to the address that appears in the address bar of your browser. (Currently, the sub-domain is hosted at, and is maintained by Olly Betts).
EXCS FAQ This page is an explanation of how the mailing list works. Currently, it includes a link to the home page of the list. So what I said earlier must have been wrong.
University Societies This page lists all the University Societies. At the time of writing, the link ot CUCC's web site is broken.
EXCS Portal The page you are reading now. (Currently at a domain owned by David Gibson)


Where are those sites hosted?

The domain info in the table below is true at the time of reading. The "Possibly still maintained by" list was true at the time of writing, which was 14-Jan-2020

Domain name IP address Hosted at Possibly still maintained by
lists.survex.com5.196.91.86thyestes.tartarus.orgOlly Betts
survex.com5.196.91.86thyestes.tartarus.orgOlly Betts Gibson university


The origins of EXCS

Cambridge University Caving Club was formed as an undergraduate club in 1949. In those days, it tended to consist of experienced cavers who had strong affiliations with other caving clubs. However, by 1968 CUCC had more-or-less taken on its modern form where the intake is mainly novices who are trained up to be the experienced cavers of the third year.

The perennial problem of a university club with a high turnover of members is finding sufficient experienced cavers. CUCC draws on its post-graduate members to provide this long-term continuity; and the habit of offering new undergraduates "life" membership for a little less than three times the cost of a single year has led to many graduates continuing to cave with the club. In 1968, a number of cavers came up to Jesus college, and this nucleus with a few others eventually formed the informal "Northern Branch" of CUCC; these post-graduate members came on CUCC trips and helped a good deal with novice training.

Realising that using CUCC tackle for their own trips was a bit of an imposition, a subset of Northern Branch formed themselves into Ex-CS, the Ex-Cambridge Speleologists (though they may have also referred to themselves as Northern Branch) and bought their own tackle. Northern Branch or EXCS formalised its membership in 1975 and held its first annual dinner in 1977, though it was still only a small group of the general northern members. In 1979, former CUCC President Mike Perryman, who was completing a PhD at Cambridge, and Tony Malcolm, a graduate at Fitzwilliam, were the main Cambridge protagonists in 'opening up' EXCS to all graduate members of CUCC. A constitution was drawn up in December 1979 and Andrew Nichols started producing newsletters. Tony became secretary and Simon Farrow was treasurer. The first 'modern' EXCS dinner was at the Hill Inn in July 1980 when that year's graduates (Andy Connolly, Nicky Davies, David Gibson, Simon Kellett) were welcomed, not with open arms but in the cross-fire of a food-throwing contest.

EXCS members made the occasional caving trip (the club is CNCC affiliated), had many foreign holidays, cycling, walking in the Lake District and Scotland, some cave explorations in the dales and annual dinners at the rate of several per year. This has been the pattern since, though the emphasis has always been that we are an informal club and it is the members who must do the organising, not a committee.

Following the CUCC annual dinner in 1987, David Gibson started checking the addresses of all CUCC graduate members, primarily so that CUCC could be given an up-to-date address list. This resulted in EXCS representing most of the active CUCC graduates with about 80 members, and in a large turnout to CUCC's 40th anniversary dinner in 1989.

In the mid-1990s EXCS has gradually changed into a much less formal grouping (not that we were ever a formal club). There are several reasons for this - for example, the prevalence of SRT means that there is no longer a need for the club to keep caving tackle. In 1996 David asked Olly Betts if he could set up an Internet mailing list for EXCS members. (see URL listed above). This has resulted in a much more 'last-minute' informal organisation to the club; newsletters have all but ceased production, and we have been enjoying a protracted 'subscriptions holiday'. This is unfortunate in some ways - but if anyone wants to start a regular newsletter production, they are more than welcome!

There are around 70 people on the e-mailing list, many of whom meet regularly for caving, dinners and other social events. Many more EXCS members await the infrequent postal newsletters, and still manage to put in an appearance at the annual dinners. Although we issue paper news-letters only rarely, we do try to issue one before a club dinner.

David Gibson, June 1999
based on earlier text of Feb 89, and snippets from Andy Waddington

The CUCC/EXCS 50th Anniversary dinner - September 1999

CUCC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999. By a stroke of co-incidence, it was the 20th anniversary (or 25th or 30th depending on how you count it) of the formal setting-up of EXCS - the graduate 'old lags' division of CUCC, and also the 75th anniversary of the 'Troglodytes' (the early Cambridge cavers). We organised a re-union dinner to which everyone who has ever been a member of CUCC/EXCS, and their guests, was invited.

1999 to 2011

The Internet has changed things. And also, CUCC decided to abolish the concept of life members. Since 1999, EXCS has abandoned paper newsletters, and CUCC does not have a reliable list of all its ex-members. However, this has not prevented various people from taking the initiative and organising "EXCS dinners", usually in the Yorkshire Dales. The CUCC 60th anniversary dinner was in 2009, organised by Serena Povia, and we did make an effort to contact some old lags by post. Most recently, there was an "ExCS/CUCC Late Summer Do", in Autumn 2011. If you are interested in future get-togethers you really do need to subscribe to the mailing list (see above), or else make sure that someone who does subscribe is going to tell you when there is an event on. David Gibson, October 2012.

This page, was last modified on Tue, 14 Jan 2020 21:02:34 +0000
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