SLUGS Newsletter – December 2000

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Slugs and Sluglettes everywhere.


Angus Wood has been in hospital since late October and is currently undergoing tests in Royal Preston Hospital. He has suffered a series of mini-strokes and the doctors are now close to identifying the underlying cause, and will then be in a position to start treatment and hopefully reverse his deterioration. You can contact me or Jeanne Holman for up-to-date news. Visits (if you can) and get-well cards etc. will be much appreciated to:

Ward 17, Royal Preston Hospital, Sharoe Green Lane, Fulwood, Preston, PR2 9HT
Tel 01772 716565 (switchboard) or 01772 710317 (ward).
Visiting is 2pm-8pm. NGR SD 535330

Angus’ family would like to express their thanks to everyone for the support they have received - please keep it up!

The Tresviso 2000 souvenir website (including an X-rated section) is up and running at <www.tresviso2000.>. Send your pics (scanned or prints), stories, poems etc. to George Shaw or Dick Willis.

This newsletter can also be accessed via the SLUGS website at < index.html>. There’s also a collection of pics from old expeditions - if you have more that are suitable, send them to Ian Edmondson.

In memoriam Jonah (Howard Rothwell) - see reverse.

The Road to Certain Death programme has been postponed. Changing from the nine o’clock news to the ten o’clock news on BBC meant rescheduling. And the Extreme Lives series has now been put on the back burner awaiting its new
programme slot - probably in 2001.

Address changes - see the updated members’ list.


December 29 - January 1, 2001 - New Year’s Eve party/weekend at Jeanne and Spencer’s. Open house from Friday to Monday for those travelling from afar. Bring a bottle and/or one big firework. Contact Jeanne Holman at #### ######

John Boardman Ski Tours will be hosting a January 2001 trip, but no details firmed up yet. If you’re interested, contact John #### ######

Henry Beakbane is also thinking about ski-ing with other people for the coming winter. Particularly keen on ski touring - Alpine or Telemark or might consider flat X-C. Orlando would probably like to snow board. If anyone is also thinking about it, could they get in contact please. #### ######

February 3-4, 2001 - Party at Phil and Rosie’s, to liven up the dull and dark mid-winter. Kick off 7.30-ish, but there will be hot food available earlier (RSVP for this). Plenty of sleeping space. Other activities may be organised, weather permitting. #### ######

March 15-17, 2001 - OMC Hut, Crianlarich - the annual trip to Scotland in search of snow and ice (but not rain). Contact Ken and Anne, #### ######

Easter 2001 or Sept/October - Trip to New Mexico: Jes Petersen. Intention was to hire car from Dallas and drive approx. 350 miles to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, southern New Mexico. Difficult to obtain permission to vist the Lechuguilla system but not impossible.Carlsbad show cave and interesting National Park with foopath trails and camping permitted. Is there anyone out there who may be interested? Can they contact Jes ASAP on #### ######

May 5-7, 2001 (May Day Bank Holiday) - Cycle from Dalwhinnie to Culra Bothy, climb Ben Alder with Meg and Pete. #### ###### for details.

May 27 - June 2, 2001 (Whitsun Bank Holiday week): Anyone interested in a few days camping at Ullapool? Nice site at NH 125939, probably too early for the midges. Contact Phil and Rosie, #### ######


I’m trying to get as many Slugs’ e-mail addresses as possible - it cuts down on the mailing costs and delays in receiving the newsletter. So let me know if you’re on e-mail. Phil Johnstone, #### ######

In Memoriam – Jonah

Chris Baxter writes: Sadly, Jonah (Howard Rothwell) was drowned in Lancaster Hole on Sunday 12th November. Exactly what happened isn’t known. Jonah and Mike Deft were on a short tourist trip on a wet Sunday. The trip included the option of the main streamway. On reaching the streamway (around 12 noon) the water didn’t look too high and they both stepped in. After only a few yards walking downstream, both were swept away. Mike recalls being tumbled as if in a washing machine, mostly underwater. Eventually Mike came to a halt against a rock. His helmet had been dislodged and he had taken a bad blow to the head. Mike searched for Jonah for half an hour and then exited the cave to get help.

                Cavers from Red Rose were back at the scene by 2.30pm, CRO by 3.30pm. Jack Pickup (CRO chief controller) went underground himself. The search was called off due to rising water levels at 11.00pm. On Monday 13th two CRO teams searched from 10.00am till 4.00pm at which time they concluded that Jonah could only be in the sump.

The weather improved and on Wednesday 15th Richard Ellwood made a solo search of the streamway. He could only arrive at the same conclusion. Jonah’s body was recovered by CRO divers on Sunday 19th November.

                His funeral was held at Arkholme Church on Saturday 25th, and he is buried in the churchyard. The church was packed to overflowing with relatives, friends, workmates and fellow cavers, including several Slugs.

                Jonah had been caving for 35 years and had an unrivalled reputation as a safe caver. He began his caving career with Red Rose but by the 1970s he caved with the Northern Exploration Group (NEG) - a loose bunch of the most enthusiastic cavers in the Dales - including Richard and Danny Ellwood and Johnny Wilkinson. Several members of LUSS were to become honorary members of NEG - Jack Sheldon, Spike Bagshaw, Colin Boothroyd, John Wallwork etc.. Between them they did the toughest caves in the Dales on a weekly basis.

                Jonah went to Tresviso in 1975, 1978 and 1979. In 1975 he was in the teams that discovered and named The Black Hole, The Road to Ruin and The Road to Certain Death.

                He will be remembered by many in SLUGS for his role in the Jes Peterson rescue. For over 36 hours CRO and fell rescue teams had failed to find Jes. Jonah asked Jack Pickup for permission to lead a small ‘freelance’ search team. Jack Pickup could hardly refuse and Jonah found Jes about an hour and a half later.

                Pressures of family and professional life permitting, Jonah continued as an active caver - visiting many of the major cave systems of the UK and Europe. In 1999 with Mike and Richard he began a new challenge - to climb a country’s highest peak and descend its deepest cave in one weekend - successfully starting with Belgium.

                Jonah didn’t come to Tresviso 2000 because he and Mike were booked for some serious caving in France. He did, however, send some of his original 1975 slides and his best wishes and was very pleased to see photos of the trip afterwards.

                Jonah’s reputation in caving was matched by his reputation in his working life. After a false start at teacher training college he became a plumber, a member of the Chartered Institute of Heating Engineers, a company director and lately an air conditioning consultant. One of his many clients was a leading UK brewer for whom he designed the air conditioning systems for their chain of ‘theme’ pubs.

                Jonah leaves his wife Vero (Veronique) and his daughters Sara and Natalie.

Condolences may be sent to:-

Mrs Veronique Rothwell

Lane Cottage