The B.B. is only produced in the size and shape it is by
talking advantage of any cheap sources of paper, printing, etc, as they
appear. The latest move to safeguard
future supplies of covers is the receipt from a new printer – connected with
the club – of five thousand covers for the magazine. This will keep us going for some time to
come. The next crisis will be a shortage
of paper and this will hit us soon. If
any member can help with gifts or cheap sources of foolscap duplicating paper,
this will, be greatly appreciated.
The farmer has asked us not to dig until the weather has
improved and suggests we see him again later in the year.’ This is fair enough, although
disappointing. It is interesting to
note, though, that he has heard all about accidents which happen down caves
and, again understandably, doesn’t want that sort of publicity to be connected
with him. All of which goes to show that
the adverse effects of caving accidents have unfortunate repercussions which
keep on going for many moons afterwards. We hope that the Emborough team will be able to help on the Cuthberts
Culvert in the meantime, and decrease the water danger in this cave.
The state of affairs is very healthy. So many members have written articles
recently that a bigger B.B. seems called for. We are afraid, that this will have to wait, at least until next month,
as the, editor is being worked rather hard at his job at present
(dammed-.shame!) but, meanwhile, keep it up! One member – ‘Sett’ has sent in
almost enough stuff for a complete B.B. this month, and so the magazine which
fellows is largely the work of our guest-editor-for-the-month. To others, we will print your articles just
as soon as we can and we do thank you very much for sending then in.
Congratulations to Spike and Pam on their engagement. Also thanks on behalf of club members for the
celebration at the Hunters.
We are sorry to report that our Hon. Sec. & Treas. has
boon recently laid low with the dreaded appendicitis. However, he has had the offending organ
removed and is now well on the way to recovery. We hope he will be amongst again soon. Incidentally, we hope he won’t mind if we note that this is probably the
first time that anyone has ever got anything out of him’.
Most members will have heard of Ian Dears unlucky accident
over the Christmas. We are pleased to be
able to report that ho is also doing well and we have received the following
from him. ….
Ian Dear, who until recently had a cracked head, wishes to
thank all those members who visited him in hospital. He is on the road to recovery and return to
Mendip. This latter event will serve as
an excuse for a barrel.
Unnecessary Facts Department.
All the printed pages of last years B.B. would, if placed
end to end, stretch from the Hillgrove to the Hunters. The covers would reach from the Hunters to
the Belfry. You do not wish to know
this, but we hate wasting these odd spaces which appear in the B.B.
A Visit to La Cueva De Nerja
The cave is about two miles east of the village of Nerja,
which is a village, on the south coast of Spain some thirty miles east of
Malaga which is, in turn, about a hundred miles east of Gibraltar. I first heard of the existence of the cave
from an article in one of the British Sunday papers. This claimed that the cave contained a
profusion of prehistoric paintings and that it would be opened to the general
public in October 1960. As I would be in
the end of September, I decided to make a serious attempt, even pulling a few
strings if necessary, to visit the place.
We arrived in
for late lunch on the Sunday, and after the usual, heavy meal and subsequent
siesta, went in search of the tourist office. As we night have guessed, had we thought, the office was shut. Not because it was Sunday, but because it was
the afternoon of the day they opened in the evening. This, in fact, was not so, and we eventually
called on them at 9 am the next morning. ”Yes, the cave is open from 10 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm. Yes, the local bus leaves the terminus in
would be enough and anyway, Id come nearly a thousand miles and wasn’t going
to be discouraged very easily. Next,
down to the bus office to book a seat, then back to the hotel to pick up a
camera and tape recorder and dump towel and costume and then back to the bus stop. There were two buses waiting at the stop and I soon found out that the
seat I had booked – No 2 – was a single seat right up in the front next to the
driver. The rest of the bus was filled
mainly with locals and the whole of the corridor was full of large shopping
baskets. Dead on time the driver and
conductor got on and we started round the harbour and out along the tram
route. They have a very good parking
rule on the tram route – that is, if you happen to know it. Since the lines run very close to the
pavement, you park on the centre line of the road. Very awkward for overtaking.
It was a very hot sunny day, and as soon as we got out into
the country it started to become obvious why the bus was going to take two and
three quarter hours for a thirty odd mile journey. The road surface was awful. We bounced along quite happily. The driver, who was a big strong man,
wrestling with the wheel and occasionally sounding one of the loudest horns I
have ever heard, right under my foot. About half way, the bus stops
for twenty minutes or so, to give the driver a breather and allow everybody to
got out for a quick drink and buns. Locals also got onto the bus to sell you pasties and other delicacies to
keep your strength and morale up for the rest of the journey.
During the summer, the rainfall is extremely low; it doesn’t
rain for months on end. However, by
careful irrigation, it is amazing how great a profusion of fruits and other
crops are grown in this area. I saw
grapes, oranges, tomatoes, peppers and prickly pear and I learnt that potatoes
were the third crop of the year. Other
crops wore tobacco, all sorts of citrus fruits, peaches, apricots and literally
hundreds of square miles of olives.
The bus finally drew up at the cave entrance and after
confirming the time of the return journey. I checked on the time of the cave
opening a nominal 4.30, but it could be earlier if there were enough
visitors. It was now nearly four oclock
and I made for the futuristic cafe opposite the cave. On my way I was stopped by an elderly woman
with a thick American accent.
“Say! Do you speak English?”
“I AM English.”
“What is this here?”
“Its a cave with
“Hey Elmer! Elmer was
having trouble trying to make the locals understand American English. This wasn’t surprising as there was only one
who spoke any language other than his native Spanish and he wasn’t there at the
time and the other language was French anyway. “Its only some old cave; we don’t want to see an old
cave.” Whereupon Elmer explained to
me that they had to be in
that night and couldn’t spare the time. They had a large travelling sex palace and probably toured
I didnt have to wait long for the opening of the cave, and
in we all went. There was no guide
attached to the party, you just wander through with guides at strategic points
to direct you and answer questions. After
an artificial entrance shaft there is a few tens of foot of passage which
brings you out well up the wall of a chamber of the same sort of shape and size
as Lamb Leer. A flight of concrete steps
load down the side to a flat floor which has a small stage and auditorium. I hurried through this and into two more
chambers roughly the same size as the first and well decorated with
formations. I suspect that the rock is
Triassic Limestone, which appears to be more soluble than the carboniferous
variety, but it could be the higher temperature of the water.
There was no sign of the paintings, so I made my way back to
the first chamber and collared a group of three guides. I finally got it over to them, and one of
them led me back to the far end of the furthest chamber where he showed me a
traverse leading on. I was quite willing
to have a go, but he said it got tight and muddy and promptly called my
bluff. Since most of the conversation
was by sign language, we got on very well. He told me that there were a large number of relics which had been taken to Madrid, including some stuff called ‘ Trigo’ which
I couldn’t get until he showed me some in the sand bank near the entrance. It was wheat – something I’ve never seen in
any natural cave site before. He was
really most patient and explained that the paintings would be open to the
public sometime next year (l96l) and then led me outside to have a chat with
the cashier the one who spoke French. He
explained that all the artifacts and remains were in a museum in
decided to give these a miss. During the
whole time I was underground, I was entertained by Hi-Fi sound from hidden
loudspeakers playing popular classics. The Ride of the Valkyrie” was the only one I recognised.
Some postcards from the cafe, and back to the bus for the return
journey. I finally got back to
and aperitifs before dinner. We were
delighted to hear the B.B.C. announce frost as we sweltered.
Belfry Water Supply.
The sixpenny surcharge which was imposed to pay for the
installation of mains water has now raised the sum of £41 and the Belfry fee
reverted to 1/- on January 27th. It was
originally intended to continue the charge for a few weeks to build up a stock of tea and sugar, but the Hut
Warden has suggested that a system of fines for failing to do a fair share of
the Belfry chores will be started instead and well see how it works.
B.E.C. 1961 Continental Tour.
At both the 1959 and I960 A.G.M.’s the possibility of
running a B.E.C. trip to the continent was considered. Last year it fell through, but it is still a
possibility for this year. We can either
run an organised trip for all the interested members or, if there are only a
few members who want to visit the continent but who have not the experience or
the knowledge of the language to travel on their own, we could probably find
members who have been before and would be willing to act as guides or couriers
to other members. Would anybody who is interested in guiding or being
guided please contact Sett, either at the Belfry or at his home address giving brief details of country,
standard of accommodation, subjects of interest and number in the party.
A caver had a bright idea to order a container of beer from
Ben; carry it down to the Belfry, and spend a week drinking it. Unfortunately, he was just leaving the
Hunters when he bumped into another caver. They agreed to share the beer on condition that an equal quantity was
bought by the second caver when the original container ran out. When they got back to the Belfry, they found
three more cavers already in residence, and agreed to drink the beer that
night, the originator of the idea claiming the odd pint. They were just drawing the first round when
two more bods walked in. A conference
ensued and they agreed each to supply an equal quantity of beer every night for
a week, the purchaser to get the odd pint. How much beer was there in the original container?
(Answer to be
published next month.)
The cave is situated, as its name suggests, at
about a hundred yards from the 8 and 6A bus termini. The entrance is enclosed by a eight foot high
fence. A cunningly constructed wooden
platform covers the actual entrance which, when removed, reveals a twenty foot
deep shaft. This shaft is man made
(Largely by the B.E.C. – Ed) and is negotiated by moans of a kind of stemples
forming a sort of ladder, which the mud makes rather dicey to use.
The route to the top of the Main Chamber is most interesting
inasmuch as it is lined with calcite crystals which line the walls and roof to
a depth of about four inches. I do not
know of any other cave where so great a thickness and an area of this sort of
crystal can be seen. It’s quite an easy
walk and scramble along this route, but there is one place where the rock must
be treated with some respect as you scramble through.
When one first encounters the Main Chamber it seems to be
one vast expanse of blackness reaching down to infinity, but means of descent
is in fact by eighty feet of ladder – which every good caver always carries
about with him – plus a hundred of feet of nylon rope and a forty foot
tether. The descent is made, in two
stages. The first is to a convenient
lodge about thirty feet down. From this
vantage point one can obtain an impressive view of the lake and the surrounding
mud. This ledge may also be used as a
respite after climbing a strenuous thirty feet of swaying, slippery and
extremely muddy ladder. A further forty
feet of ladder may then be climbed (downwards, naturally) but I this may prove
uncomfortable if the water is at the same level as I saw it – fifty feet from
the top of the climb.
The size of the chamber can only be fully appreciated when
one is at water level. Depending on this
level, it is over two hundred feet high, about eighty foot long and about fifty
foot wide. There are side passages
leading off from the chamber. The
largest of these extends about a hundred and twenty feet in a south easterly
direction. It is approximately a hundred
feet up from the floor of the chamber. When I last saw it, however, the dammed thing was flooded within a few
inches of its roof. (The water in the
lake at the time was thus about a hundred feet deep.)
This passage is about nine feet high with large lumps
jutting out of the roof. The width
varies from five to fifteen feet, I cant comment on the other passages as I
have not been into them.
The lake in this cave is not fed, as you might expect it to
be, by a stream. It is part of the water
table and is filled by seepage. This, I
think, tends to make the water just that little bit colder than that in a
normal stream underground. Knowing very
little about water tables, I should think that the rates of rise and fall in
this cave, together with the very large difference between “high and low
tide” would form an interesting subject for research on the behaviour of
water tables with relation to the rainfall.
More Personal News
Congratulations (if a little belated) to Steve Tuck and
Linda Knight on their engagement.
We have received a very good letter from a Mr. A Crutch
(Secretary to the Minister without Port Oleo) which we have LOST with our usual
efficiency. If Mr Crutch reads this,
perhaps he wouldnt mind having another go? Editor.
Secretary. R. J. Bagshaw,