CUCC Expedition Handbook


As soon as possible after a trip finishes, a hand-written write-up of the trip is made in the nearest logbook: the base camp logbook or the top camp logbook.

Why the logbook is important

The logbook writeup is the oldest and most basic way of recording your trip but it must not be neglected. This is also where you put your speculations and ideas for what looks promising and what is obvious but doesn't go: things that are vital to future expoers. And please, please do lots of sketches in the logbook.

Always, always write the date, your name and the names of other people involved at the top of each entry. If you mention a cave location, please also write down the cave name somewhere. In 10 years no-one will know where "Lemon Snout" is.

If this is all new to you, please now read Why we make surveys and Cave data management, and then the Survey Handbook

Initial rigging guide

The logbook is the place where we record the rigging of caves as we discover them. You will manually copy the notes you made underground into the logbook.

Writing up this and the final rigging guide is an important part of the Expo cave exploration process and is documented in a specific "rigging" section the survey handbook.

The online logbook file

If you are at basecamp, then it is an excellent idea to type the text of your logbook trip report instead of writing it by hand - see below. But still do lots of drawings in the paper logbook.

The contents of both the topcamp logbook and the basecamp logbook are typed into the same "logbook.html" file for future use in tracking down leads and surveys. The drawings are scanned and stored in the same place, and hand-edited into the logbook.html file after expo finished. The typed notes are uploaded into the expo server database and correlated with survey data done on the same day or by the same people.

Recent logbooks:

All these scanned handwritten logbook entries are typed into a laptop (often the expo laptop) which is then synchronised the version control system.

The result is a webpage reporting who did what and what was done by whom on expo, e.g. see the 2018 expo report.

Typing your trip report - in the UK Caving Blog

In recent years we have seen an admirable increase in the number of people writing up their trips and experiences on social media and in particular on the UK Caving blog, see 2019 Blog. But please, please also make a handwritten entry in the logbook saying you have done this so that the text and pictures can be transcribed later. It is too easy to lose these: in 2018 there were two blogs in operation and most people didn't know that.

Typing just your trip report (at the Expo Laptop)

As handwriting can be very bad, please try to type the text, print it and stick it in the logbook, adding any sketches by hand. This will save someone (probably you) deciphering your handwriting and typing it up later.

These instructions assume that (a) you are sitting at the expo laptop and that someone who knows the password has logged in for you (as user "expo"), and (b) that you know nothing about the software systems used by expo.

The first challenge is to find how to start up the text editor. The expo laptop is running debian Linux with the Gnome 3.2 desktop manager, so click on "Activities" in the top left corner. This will bring down a vertical menu of icons down the left hand side of the screen. Hovering over the icons brings up a label, and the one you want is at (or near) the bottom with the label "Text editor". Click on it.

If you are lucky this will bring up an empty window for a new file.
If you are unlucky it will bring up the previous person's file.

If it is a new file, save it to the Downloads folder (/home/expo/Downloads) using the "File->Save" menu item and give it a sensible name such as "logbook-mynewtrip.txt".

If it was someone else's file, save it using the "File->Save" menu. Then close the text editor ("File->Close"). Then start it up again from the vertical icon menu as before.

Now type in your trip report using whatever format you like, but please leave a blank line between paragraphs.

Adding your trip to the logbook online file

If you are using the expo laptop just edit this file (if you are on expo in 2025): /home/expo/expoweb/years/2025/logbook.html copy the format you can see other people have used; and other people will take care of synchronising it with the version control system.

DO NOT take a copy of the logbook.html file from the expo laptop, copy it by email or USB stick to another laptop, edit it there and then copy it back. That will delete other people's work.

If you are using your own laptop then you will need to either:

Logbooks are typed up and kept in the [expoweb]/years/[nnnn]/ directory as 'logbook.html'.

Typing on another machine

Rather than editing logbook.html when you type up your trip, it is a much better idea to type up just your trip(s) in a separate file, e.g. "logbook-mynewtrip.txt", and email it to a nerd if you are sitting at a different laptop.

Format of the online logbooks

Do whatever you like to try and represent the logbook in html. The only rigid structure is the markup to allow troggle to parse the files into 'trips':

<hr />
<div class="tripdate" id="t2007-07-12B">2007-07-12</div>
<div class="trippeople"><u>Jenny Black</u>, Olly Betts</div>
<div class="triptitle">Top Camp - Setting up 76 bivi</div>
<div class="timeug">T/U 10 mins</div>

Note: the ID's must be unique, so are generated from 't' plus the trip date plus a,b,c etc. when there is more than one trip on a day.

Note: T/U stands for "Time Underground" in minutes and/or hours. (We do not parse or collate this information so the format and units don't matter.)

Note: the <hr /> is significant and used in parsing, it is not just prettiness.

Note this special format "Top Camp - " in the triptitle line:

<div class="triptitle">Top Camp - Setting up 76 bivi</div>
It denotes the cave or area the trip or activity happened in. It is a word or two separated from the rest of the triptitle with " - " (space-dash-space). Usual values for this are "Plateau", "Base camp", "264", "Balkon", "Tunnocks", "Travel" etc.

Note this special format "<u>Jenny Black</u>" in the trip-people line:

<div class="trippeople"><u>Jenny Black</u>, Olly Betts</div>
It is necessary that one (and only one) of the people on the trip is set in <u></u> underline format. This is interpreted to mean that this is the author of the logbook entry. If there is no author set, then this is an error and the entry is ignored.