February Committee Meeting.
At the February meeting of the committee, G. Selby; John
Ransome, Mike Garton, Chris Hawkes (Hawkes of Leicester!) John Tierney were all
elected as full members and Norman Tuck was elected as an associate
member. We should like to welcome then
all to the club.
Bunks will be transported to the Belfry in a few weeks, to
be made into a portable stack to go either in the Ladies Room or in the living
room as the occasion warrants, so that the accommodation at the Belfry
will be further increased and advantage
nay be taken of the extra room in the
It was agreed to alter the membership forms to include the
signature of the parents in the case of members who are under twenty one. A new class of membership was also agreed
to. This is Associate Life Membership
and it will cost £3/5/-. This will
include the status of associated, combined with the life members permanent
The Climbing Secretary announced that ten members had taken
part in the last
leak in the kitchen roof and to suggest a scheme for ventilating the roof space
so that the likelihood of dry rot would be reduced. Alfie was given permission to purchase timber
to the value of £2 for use as shoring in the Cuthberts Culvert scheme.
Whitsun Coach Trip to
After the very successful coach trip last year at Whitsun,
it has been suggested that we repeat the process this year. The scheme is that, if enough members agree
to take part, the club will run a coach to the Gaping Ghyll area, members
making their own arrangements about camping, eating, caving, or any other
pastime they may be thinking of. Anyone
interested should get in touch with Bob Bagshaw or any committee member.
Although we had a good stock, this is a twelve page B.B. and
uses up a lot of material. More stuff
will be very welcome.
Film Show. There will
be a film show at Redcliffe Hall on the 30th March. The main film will be “The Loving
Congratulations to ”Ronnie” and ”Sage” on the birth of
their second son, Timothy John. He was
born on February 11th and weighed ten pounds.
Answer to Last Months Problem
BACK NUMBERS of some of last years issues of the BELFRY
BULLETIN are still available at the Belfry. Price 3d each. These are
obtainable from Alfie or Sett.
Caving Log for 1961
January 1st, Eastwater. George Honey, Jim Giles and Mike Calvert. An interesting trip made to this cave in
order to ascertain the condition of the boulder ruckle. This was found to be in the same condition as
it always has been – rather loose. Some
dressing down was done, but probably the best method would be force or shoring
in the boulder Chamber as an alternative. A large black block hanging from the roof is the main hazard, the floor
being covered with loose rocks. This
part is certainly no more dangerous than it ever has been. A quick trip was made down the Dolphin Pot to
the top of the thirty five foot pitch. The rest of the system is quite stable. Mr. Geeks (The farmer) asked us to contact the M.R.O. rep to ask for an
early decision on the future of this cave.
January 5th. Brimble Pit & Thrupe Swallet. Mike Baker; George Pointing, Norman Tuck and
Jim Giles. Brimble Pit was inspected,
also Thrupe Swallet. This latter is
situated about two miles north of Croscombe and was first dug by M.N.R.C. in
1936 but was considered unsafe. A few
had another go at it and shored up the loose stuff. The shaft is now about thirty feet deep at
which point the stream is reached. The
stream disappears through a hole which is partially blocked with scree. Apparently this has accumulated since the
summer. If more interest were taken in
this dig, another Cuthberts could well be the reward. Jim Giles.
January 8th. Emborough. Alfie, Jill and Jim Giles, Another. ”Probe around” trip to this interesting dig. A few photographs taken (by direct lighting) and
about “100 tons” of leaf mould removed from the attempted shaft which
was all washed in again. Jim Giles.
14th January. St. Cuthberts. Intended
surveying trip. Party got soaked in
entrance pitch, and because of the inadvisability of staying in a cave on the
brink of flooding, we went on a quick tourist trip. Leader R. Stenner. Party Llew and Jim Hill.
14th January. Swildons. Dave Causer and Steve Wynne-Roberts went down at about mid-day to continue
digging in Shatter Pot. Several feet of
progress was made and the passage is still large when excavated. Surfaced at 8 pm. Rather more water down the pitches than when
we went in. Dave Causer.
14th January. Goatchurch and Sidcot. Jim Giles,
Tiny Tierney and Dave Smith. A beginners trip including the Maze in Goatchurch and Purgatory in Sidcot. Jim Giles.
15th January. Swildons. Mike Calvert;
Mike Langley. Wandered round dry ways
and up stream passages. Damned wet.
15th January. Priddy Green Swallet. Jim Giles
and Jug Jones. Spent three hours removing
cowsh and rocks from the tunnel at the present basement of the dig. Succeeded in enlarging the size of the tunnel
both sideways and in height quite considerably. At the moment the work is quite easy. How about some more diggers?? Jim.
29th January. Goatchurch. Jim Giles, Mike
Baker and Ron Thomas. A photographic (?)
trip to Boulder Chamber. The bear seems
to be hibernating and not even the dreaded side lighting would wake it! Jim.
5th February. Cox’s Cave. Jug Jones, John Ransome
and Pat. A 2/1 trip proving very enlightening. We learned that (a) A large tin of red ochre is
to be found in a tiny niche in a passage loading to the left and that (b) The
river running through this cave comes all the way from
5th February. Great Oone’s Hole. A complete
trip led by Jug. A bat was found near the
11th February. Lamb Leer. George Pointing, Dave,
Paddy and Jim Giles. Photographic (without
side lighting) to the
the winch for us; exceeding the 30 mph limit. Jim Giles.
11th February. G.B. Nigel, Bob Picknitt plus
eleven. Party split into two groups and
went their individual ways. Nigels party
went up White Passage into the Rift Chamber and up Rhumba Alley. Nigel got stuck and decided that discretion
was the better part of valour and retired gracefully. Then down the
and Oxbow to the bottom of the Gorge and a steady trip out. What Bobs half of the party did is beyond
10th February. Swildons. A Friday evening trip
round the top of Swildons by some members of E.M.I. Caving Club. The party consisted of 5 beginners and it is
of note that the amount of sweat produced by a caver is proportional to the
amount of activity and the amount of excess flesh. (I’m glad I’m thin) ”Prew”
12th February. Swildons. Trip to Shatter Pot on mad fool venture to get cave insects and make
temperature and humidity readings. Party,
M. Calvert and B. Lynn. Leader Roberts.
12th February. Fox’s Hole. Alfie and Jill
visited this hole on their way to lunch.
12th February. G.B. Garth, Jim Giles, Jug
Jones, Tiny, Steve, Brian Griffiths, Pete Winter, John Roby, Bob Ball & Mike Bell. The mob was fallen in outside the Belfry and
transported to G.B. repairing Garth’s back wheel on the way. Ventured down to the sump, which was thought
to be lower than normal. On the way back
up, the party split. Garths party sat
about smoking while Jim and six others tried Rhumba Alley. Tiny was well and truly stuck for about
fifteen minutes and Jug, who was following, took the hint and went back when
Tiny broke free. The remaining five
carried on as far as was possible and returned. This was a return to caving for Jug who last week went to Coxs and did
not get stuck in the entrance squeeze. Jim
18th February. Swildons. Jin Giles, Dick
Dunster, Richard Roberts,
Mike. The trip was an epic of
pre-planning. It was intended to be a
super Paradise Regained and Trouble Series photographic trip with side
lighting, grub and lots of other exciting treats but due to Sod’s Law we only
reached Shatter Pot. Two of the team
were without Goon Suits and suffered for it.
Dick, Richard and Ron ventured into though Shatter Pot diggings and by the
trial and error method, found the right hole. The S.M.C.C. must be congratulated on their work in this Swildons system. Their tunnels are a work of art!
those who haven’t been to this part of the Empire, the recent extension to
Shatter Pot is very impressive and has some remarkable mud formations. It is estimated to be about 250 foot long and
consists of a rift, larger perhaps than the Shatter Pot Rift. The floor is made up of mud and large boulders
with a stream running across at the furthermost end. As to the way on, who knows? The stream is only a small one and the sides
of the rift don’t look very promising. Perhaps the floor holds a few secrets. Only time will tell.
must have been a film show on at Sump 1 by the numbers of Sandhurst types we
passed on our way out, or maybe they were going to the
18th February. Swildons. B. Lynn and Mike Calvert. A bug
hunting trip as far as the mud sump. Stream moderate.
20th February. Swildons. Tourist trip to sump 1 with four Lockleaze schoolboys. Leader Roger Stenner. A pleasant tourist trip with the water not too
25th February. Swildons. Part, Len Dawes,
Wilf and Pat. A scientific trip, stream
tracing using indicator impregnated cotton. The cotton was placed in the
where it emerges this side of Sump 1 and in the main stream way just above this
point. The results of this test will be
known in about a week or a fortnight.
26th February. St. Cuthberts. Leader Frank
Darbon. Party George Pointing and four Farnham
chaps. Trip to Dining Room and High Chamber
with fun and games in the Rabbit Warren. A very good trip indeed. George
can still make the entrance rift!
26th February. St. Cuthberts. Leader Mike Baker.
Party Jim Giles, Ron, Pat Irwin, Len Dawes and
(Farnham) types. Trip to September Series, via Main Chamber, Trafalgar
by J.A. Eatough
(Dept of Medical Photography,
Note: – Older readers will remember the
articles on cave photography published in the B.B. and written by
“Pongo” Wallis. They will find
this article a useful up-to-date’ addition to these earlier articles. Newer readers will find this article invaluable
to start them off on sound lines in the fascinating subject of cave
There is nothing particularly difficult about cave
photography, but there are points to remember about problems which are not
encountered in above ground photography. The photographer has to supply and place all his own lights, to produce
the effects he requires.
PART ONE – EQUIPMENT.
Expensive equipment is not necessary to produce fine cave
photographs. The main requirements are
robustness – to tolerate being dragged over boulders, through mud and water,
and through crawls and squeezes, and reliability – so that possibly long and
arduous trips are not made in vain.
THE CAMERA. As in other types of photography, any camera
can be used, but it is of advantage if the camera has a ‘ B’ or ‘T’
setting. In spite of the total lack of
what photographers today call “available light’, a fast lens is not
required, f4.5 being quite adequate. A flash
synchronised shutter is not required, the ‘open flash’ technique being far superior.
The film size used is a matter for individual taste – the
authors choice of camera being a 35mm camera with a wide angle lens (Ilford
Advocate Series II) for colour, and a very old quarter plate field camera, with
a variety of lenses, for black and white.
Except for one small point, the Ilford Advocate camera might
have been designed as the ideal caving camera. It is very robust (one of ours has been dropped a considerable distance
down a rock face). In addition, the hard
enamel exterior finish is easily wiped free of mud and the mechanism is free
from unnecessary ornamentation.
The camera is fitted with a good quality 35mm wide angle
lens, focussing down to three feet, in a simple shutter with a B
setting. This B position,
incidentally, is the only one we use in cave photography.
One of our advocates has been improved by having the
viewfinder replaced by an open frame finder which is easier to use than the
original optical device,’ but the frame is not essential. This camera would do equally well for black
and white photography, but we prefer the ground glass screen focuss¬ing,
especially for close ups, and the individual treatment that can be given to the
cut film we use.
FILM Modern ultra-fast emulsions are not
necessary. For best image quality a
medium speed panchromatic emulsion is required, i.e. Ilford K.P.3 or F.P.3 or
Kodak verichrome Pan or Plus X.
In the case of colour photography, the recently introduced
Kodak High Speed Ektachrome has no equal. This film is quite fast enough (We have lit the whole of the Cascade in
St. Cuthberts with one medium sized bulb). Its image quality and colour rendering are good, and the latitude
available is quite fantastic. As in the
case of camera, so with colour films – all types have their devotees.
CAMERA ACCESSORIES. These should be kept to a minimum but four
are essential. These are (1) A tripod,
which should be rigid when erected and which should be incapable of being
rendered useless when covered by mud. (2) Lens hoods, which are useful in keeping dripping water off the
lens. (3) A cable release which must
have a time lock to enable flash photographs to be taken with the shutter set
at ‘B’ and (4) Supplementary lenses and filters as required.
ILLUMINATION. On this subject, the authors have no doubt
whatsoever that flash bulbs fired by a battery and capacitor circuit are the
only light sources suitable for cave photography.
Electronic flash units tend to be bulky; fragile; of low
power and high voltage and these volts are liable to go astray when the
equipment gets wet. Of flash powder,
nothing can be said in its favour as it gets wet easily and won’t burn, and in
addition it is extremely difficult to judge how much to use for a given flash
factor – some form of prior weighing
being essential. In addition, stale
powder appears to cause a reddish colour bias on colour films. Smoke from flash powder can be of such
quantity as to make many photographs “one off jobs. Lastly one of us (J.E.) has seen several
cases of very bad burns caused by flash powder. (Editor’s note: and I have been totally blinded for about a minute by
the wretched stuff). Similar remarks
apply to magnesium ribbon.
The method of illumination we strongly advocate is to use
flash bulbs fired from a battery-capacitor flashgun. The bulbs are reasonably robust and reliable
and the output is constant, making exposure determination easy. The now PF1B bulbs are very small and produce
a tremendous amount of light. These
bulbs are supplied in packets of five and flash factors given on the outside of
the packets can be relied on to give a good exposure, even when the cave walls
are dark and the rock is light absorbing.
The battery-capacitor flash gun can be easily and cheaply
made, and can be very compact. One of
the unit’s used by the authors only occupies a pack about 4″ x 2″ x
1″ and will fire up to three bulbs at a time!
In the circuit shown below, a test lamp has been
incorporated and this is recommended as each bulb can be tested in turn before
firing. The bulbs can be wired in series
or in parallel and each system has its following. The authors use the parallel system as it
enables each bulb to be tested individually and one bulb can be fired as easily
as three, without the necessity of shorting out the unused bulb holders.
Wiring Diagram for
1) Ex-Govt Hand hold press button (For bulb firing)
2) 22.5 or 30 volt deaf aid battery (e.g. Ever
3) Test Lamp 2.5v, 0.2amp or 0.04amp.
4) Press .Button as (1)
5) Capacitor. 100 mfd, 50 Volt D.C. working (or 25v depending on
battery voltage used.)
6) Resistor. 2,200 – 3,900 ohm ¼ or ½ watt.
Voltage of capacitor should be slightly higher than the
voltage of the battery used.
Minimum battery voltage should be 4 volts/bulb resistance
value should be approx 100 times battery voltage
POLARITY OF THE
CONNECTIONS ARE VERY IMPORTANT. WRONG
CONNECTION OF EITHER OF THESE COMPONENTS WILL RUIN THE CAPACITOR.
Cost – The three major components can be bought for 6/- to
TRANSPORTATION. The rough handling
that the equipment is liable to get in the mud and wetness of caves, demand
that the maximum protection possible is given to all photographic
equipment. American made ammunition
boxes, though rather heavy, have proved ideal, and can easily be obtained. These boxes are very strong and have useful
handles to which shoulder straps can easily be fitted and, most important, they
are waterproof. Our equipment has been taken
through the sump in Stoke Lane Slocker perfectly satisfactorily, and even
though filled with gear, the boxes floated up on the other side and were easily
(To be continued.)
Late Entry to Caving Log.
January 1961. Alfie
and Jill inspected two interesting holes in Lamb Bottom. One, a cave in conglomerate, believed to be a
rift which has become choked with earth etc, at the top and thus provides it
with a roof. This hole is about 30′
long, 6-7 foot wide and 6′ high. On the
opposite side of the valley, the same rift is open at the top and extends in
for about thirty foot, looking at its inner extremity something like the Butter
mentions them in his books.
Since this space was going gash and there was nothing of the
right length to fill it with, we have to announce that, with no expense spared,
we are reproducing a picture of a typical stalactite column, as it would appear
if photographed with the dreaded, side lighting.
Gouffre De Corbeaux
By John Ifold
Last August I went to the Ariage area of the French Pyrenees
to study Palaeolithic art. Whilst there,
I was invited by the Speleological Society of Ariege to descend the Gouffre de
Corbeaux at Gelat in the forest of Belesta this being one of the most
impressive caves in the Belesta area. After driving some distance along the mountain tracks, we left our
transport at a farm and walked about a mile through the forest to the cave. From the top, it didn’t seem a very
impressive hole, but the French members of the party put over the side what
seemed to me to be about a mile of lightweight ladder and the leader of the
party then disappeared over the edge. I
had the rather doubtful honour of being the next and after being looked on with
scorn for attempting to tie my lifeline on with a bowline (they insisted on a
double reef knot) I set off.
After climbing down about thirty foot, I was clear of the
overhang and found myself hanging in space – in an enormous hole which I later
learned is 201 metres in circumference and with sides dropping a sheer hundred
metres. On reaching the bottom, we
scrambled down the scree slope which was littered with the bones of sheep and
cows which had apparently fallen over the edge in the past.
About five hundred yards further on, we went down another
ladder pitch, this time only about fifty feet which was more like home. Since we were rather short of time, I wasn’t
able to see as much of the cave as I would have liked and we had to turn
back. Standing at the bottom of the
entrance hole seeing the ladder fading to a thread three hundred feet above
me, I wondered if I’d make it, for I’d never climbed three hundred feet of
lightweight ladder all at once before. I
managed it, and it was certainly worth the effort.
The Gouffre is in Jurassic limestone and was first descended
by Martel in 1902.
Secretary. R. J. Bagshaw,
699 Wells Road