- 1 Club Rules.
- 2 Annual Dinner – Photographic and Song Competitions.
- 3 Club Album.
- 4 Caving Trips.
- 5 Tea Towels.
- 6 Children at the Belfry.
- 7 Urgent Appeal.
- 8 Don Coase Memorial Plaque.
- 9 May Committee Meeting.
- 10 Caving Log for 1961
- 11 Archaeological News
- 12 Letters To the Editor of the B.B.
- 13 Editors Apology
The committee are at present engaged (amongst other things)
in revising the club rule sheet. These
alterations will require ratification at the next A.G.M. according to the
constitution. The general principle
involved is to have a set of rules which are really worked by members or can be
properly interpreted. Thus the rule
about providing a lifeline in ‘all dangerous places’ depends at present on your
definition of a dangerous place. The
revised rules put the responsibility on the leader of the party to check
lighting arrangements, clothing and tackle according to the cave the conditions
expected and the composition of his party. With the last few years record of M.R.O. callouts, it becomes even more
necessary to take such arrangements seriously.
Annual Dinner – Photographic and Song Competitions.
Jim Giles has agreed to organize two competitions on the
above lines. There will be prizes. We hope to be able to give more details in
the next B.B.
Mike Baker has agreed to compile a club photographic album
so if YOU have any interesting Caving/Climbing/Historical/ humorous pictures
for inclusion, please get in touch with Mike.
There will be a beginners trip on the weekend 25th June on
the Saturday or Sunday. Contact Mo (C.A.
Marriott) whose address is at the back of each B, B.
There will also be a trip to AGGY AGGY in early July. Alan Sandall is making the arrangements, and
interested people should get in touch with him. Do not leave it too late, as blood chits have to be organised for this
The committee have arranged to purchase sufficient tea
towels to ensure that clean towels are provided at the Belfry every weekend and
regularly laundered. If this amenity is
to be a success, it is essential that towels are not used for cleaning bikes;
washing cars; scouring detailers out etc.
Children at the Belfry.
Under some circumstances, when the Hut Warden can be certain
that no other members will be inconvenienced, it is sometimes possible to allow
members to stay at the Belfry with their families. However, in all cases, the Hut Warden must be
consulted and his permission obtained in advance and a firm booking made for
particular days. The committee will view
any infringement of these arrangements with some seriousness.
Mike Baker is looking for someone who has a reasonable
excuse to share in putting up a barrel with him. It will be the occasion of Mikes
“decadence soon, so if anybody else is liable to have their ten years of
caving coming up and wants to share with Mike he will be very interested.
Don Coase Memorial Plaque.
Various friends of Don Coase’s, who can rarely get to
Mendip, would like a picture of the memorial plague in position. This would be a nice gesture on the part of
one of our photographers next time he passes that way. The club could then have some copies done and
sell them to interested friends of Don’s.
May Committee Meeting.
Most of the business of the committee has already been
covered in the above notices. However,
more notices will be found later in this B.B. Amongst other things, a scheme is afoot for improving the sink drainage
in the Belfry as well as continuing to enlarge the car park and tidy up the
Caving Log for 1961
1st April. Swildons. Upper Series. Steve and Pete. Also trip to the
Double Pots next day.
1st April. Crackpot Hole (
Baker and Jim Giles. A short
photographic trip in a very fine cave. This cave is situated about thirty miles north of Ingleton in the
Crackpot area of Swaledale. This is a resurgence
about two thirds of the way up a cliff and the two entrances to the cave are
about thirty foot above. The obvious way
into the cave is the hardest and can make a very difficult trip if this
entrance is used. About fifteen feet to the
left of this is a small hole leading into a level, Blue Pencil type passage
which joins up with the stream after about a hundred foot.
We followed the Stream Passage,
which is a comfortable height and about twelve feet wide, as far as the sump. This passage is very similar in formation to Swildons below the Forty. The sump is passable but is followed by a boulder
ruckle which prevents further access by this route.
On the left hand side of the
sump, a short tunnel (dug out under a stalagmite false floor) emerges into a
large, almost circular chamber the ceiling of which is a forest of stalactite
straws – some exceeding two feet in length. The floor of this chamber is made up of loose boulders and by climbing over
these and negotiating a short drop, the stream is regained.
It is possible to follow the
stream for a further fifty feet or so until a second boulder ruckle is
reached. At the moment this is the end
of the cave, but someone is digging here, so perhaps another section may be
added in the near future. The total
length of the cave is six hundred feet.
4th April. Swildons. Dave Causer and Jim
Giles, a six hour trip to measure up a side passage in the Shatter Pot dig for
some bang. We had a further look round the
250′ of new passage – Shatter Passage – and found a streamway on the left. Although this is not on the survey, we were
not the first to see it. This stream
passage starts off as a very promising hole just above the ten foot overhang. It runs level for about thirty feet takes a
sharp upwards turn through 70° and forks after a further twenty foot. The left hand passage carries on at the same
angle and ends after thirty feet, giving access to a platform behind. This platform we explored but it is chocked
The right hand fork goes on out
of sight, but as the passage was at such a steep angle, looked quite tight, and
there were a few handholds only, we did got go beyond twenty feet from the
intersection of the two passages. From
this viewpoint, we could see for a further twenty feet before the way on
turned. We carried on looking around the
main extension passage, but without any further success. Had another look at the stream passage at the very
end and agreed that it just didn’t “go”.
8th April. Swildons. Shatter Pot and Trouble Series. Party; Dave
Causer; Jim Giles to Shatter Pot. Mike
Thompson; Mike Holland; Fred Davies; Ken Dawe and Bob Pike to Trouble Series.
Dave Causer and Jim Giles added
a further forty feet to the Shatter Pot system of Swildons and the other party
gained five foot at the right hand fork at the end of Trouble.
The Shatter Pot addition is off
a side passage in Junction Chamber which, until Dave Causer banged an offending
bulge of rock, could only be entered by half a caver. Although this passage (which is a very narrow
rift about thirty feet long) shows promise of continuing for at least another
ten feet, it is not in the right direction for a sunless trip to Swildons Six. In fact, if anything, it goes towards the
recently found Shatter Passage, but only slightly. The way on is going to be quite a feat of
caving as the rift is partially blocked by rock having an “over or
under” passageway. As the lower
route is too tight, the upper must be used to get back into the rift which twists
about a little and is very narrow. From
our vantage point at the “over” route of the blockage, we estimated a
further ten feet, making this addition some 35 – 40 foot long. The rift is, for the first twelve foot,
easily caved, by walking sideways and the remainder gives just enough space to walk normally. From the entrance at the dig, the rift floor
rises about eight to ten feet in its first twenty five feet of length. Above, the rift is about ten feet high for the
first twelve foot, then it gains perhaps a further five to ten foot, getting
wider at the top.
In Trouble Series, the party gained
only five foot and there appears to be little promise of a breakthrough to Swildons 2. A small circular hole was found in the floor
of this five foot extension and goes down for an estimated fifteen foot. No one was small enough to get into this hole
and it was impossible to see down it owing to fumes.
4th April. St. Cuthberts. Photographic
trip with two Lockleaze schoolboys. Leader Roger Stenner. In the Dining Roan, it was found that a tin
of milk had rusted through. The oldest
tin of food was replaced by a new tin. 1
pint of meths taken down. The lake was
dry. Possible explanation. When empty, the mud seeps down to block the
small water exit – lake forms. After a
sufficient time, water softens mud and lake empties. Time of cycle: 3-6 years.
9th April. Swildons. Trip round Upper Series. Garth, Brian and John R. Leader, Jill. Garth got stuck going into New Grotto. Brian and Jill went through. John was chicken. Spare lights carried by all. No trouble with them and no rescue required.
9th April. Cuthberts. Party of five
Bedford Schoolboys taken down the cave. By
way of variation, went down Waterfall and Wet Pitches. Bryan Ellis.
10th April. St. Cuthberts. Leader Roger
Stenner + 2 Lockleaze boys. I am sorry
to, have to report that because of insufficient caution, one of the lads hit an
18″ stalactite near Gour Hall and broke it. The boy and I are both deeply sorry. The work of thousands of years spoiled by two
10th April. Cuthberts. Mike Baker and
Jim Giles. We left the above party at Quarry
Corner and went to the new passage off the Boulder Chamber that was discovered
on the 19th March. This passage was filled
with sand and gravel and was rather funnel shaped. The loose gravel could be easily pushed
through with the foot and could be heard going on down. This squeeze leads round an ‘ S’ bend and finishes up in the side of a fair
sized chamber. This chamber – Sugar Bowl
Chamber – is filled with sand, gravel and boulders to a depth of eight to ten
feet. Due to the dangerous nature of the
floor of this chamber, great care must be taken when coming out of the entrance
passage, which is high up in the side of the chamber.
A small hole in the bottom of
this chamber seemed to be the way on. To
reach the hole, you just have to take one stop forward, and gravity and the
sand do the rest. Momentarily inspired
with the possibilities of the unknown, we commenced to dig, but soon found the easiest
method was simply to push material through the hole, and were rewarded with
some beautiful noises bouncing about below us. This should have deterred us, but we started
to make the hole bigger (at that time not knowing whether we were above a large
chamber or a large ruckle) and with some well directed kicks, boulders shot
through the hole.
Then it happened!!
We both had that ‘let down’ feeling. Everything seemed to be going downwards –
sand, gravel, boulders and us. I shot
past Jims feet – not very nice at the best of times, finally coming to rest
with Jim sitting on my knee (good job it wasnt Spike). On the way down, Jim taught me a new word – we
had only slipped in about eight or nine feet but were very glad to reach solid
rock. I now know how a grain of sand feels
in an hourglass.
The total length of passage is
approximately 70 – 80 feet and a rope is advised for anyone in the Gravel
Funnel. Work continues. This truly was Baker’s Folly!
15th April. Swildons. Ron Wink ‘ole; Mike
Grimes; Mike Chilvers. In via Long Dry
to bottom of Twenty. On the way back,
Ron lost his helmet and lamp, but found it with the aid of a spare torch –
which shows how useful a spare torch is (or perhaps a tied-on helmet)
15th April. Swildons. D. Causer and J. Giles. Attempted to pass Over-Under blockage (see
earlier entry) by using a thirteen inch stemple in the “Over”
way. The idea was sound enough, but it
bends too much to allow easy passage by a caver. Decided that it would be safer to use
explosive rather than risk getting stuck in order to push this very promising
passage. By using a hand hold compass,
we estimated that the rift turns towards the South or South West. This is the direction required for Six. Shatter Pot is going Slowly!
16th April. G.B. Leader
13th April. Swildons. Leader R.
Roberts. Party G. Owen; R. Books; M.
Cuff. Trip to Four. This was the first trip to Four for the
22nd April. Swildons. Leader
and the upper series was done.
22nd April. Goatchuroh and Sidcot. Phil
cavers. Not only did Jim fall head first
down the coal shute, but he fell over on a flat, straight road.
23rd April. Swildons. Dave Causer and Jim
Giles went down Swildons with the firm intention of doing Sump One. Due to a technical hitch, party retreated
after several abortive attempts.
23rd April. Goatchurch. Garth took
several people from
round the cave.
23rd April. Cuthberts. Party K. & P.
Franklin, J. Dryden, Mike Thompson, Dave Bussell and
23rd April. Cuthberts. Leader Frank
Darbon. Party, Jim Hill, Noel Cleeve and
Steve Roberts. Photographic trip to
23rd April. Swildons. Richard, Roger Boakes and Mike Calvert. Trip to sump 1 for a cup of coffee.
29th April. Longwood. Rowena plus six members
Peter and Pat.
29th April. Swildons Five. Leader Ken
Dawe. Frank Darbon, Dave Causer, Noel
Cleeve, Steve Roberts. Trip to Shatter
Pot for a bang after which we struggled down to Four. All the party went through sump Four.
by Keith Gardner.
For many years the study of archaeology has been amongst the
aims of the B.E.C., although activities have been sporadic and undertaken by
only a few. The subject itself however
is becoming increasingly popular, and to match this interest, educational
institutions are introducing more courses; more groups are being formed, and
more knowledge is being gained.
In order to channel this interest along useful lines in the
B.E.C., whilst conforming to archaeological standards, it has been decided to
re-form the archaeological section. This
will not only provide archaeological activities for members, but will also mean
that the club itself will attract more members from the ranks of local
archaeologists. It is hoped that the
club will affiliate to the local county archaeological society and to the
National Council for British Archaeology.
One feature which the Archaeological section hopes to
provide regularly is this archaeological news page in the B.B. in which will be
published items of news such as notices of lectures; outings; excavations etc.
and notes on any finds or research work and also summaries of proceedings of
other societies received by the club library.
Members views and opinions would be welcomed.
Details of some twenty courses are held at present by
myself, and will be supplied to any interested member. They range from a course on “The Roman
Villa” from 12 – 19 August at Cirencester costing 21/- to one being held
costing £45 – 50. Many of these courses
do tend to be expensive, but a good one is a weekend at Urchfont Manor, Devizes
from Friday 16th Juno to Sunday 18th June. It costs £2.5.0 inclusive of
croquet on the East Lawn, after Sunday lunch. An excellent hostelry exists in the nearby village (with a private path
via the kitchen gardens). The subject is
“The Romans in
Warden at Urchfont.
Sites where volunteers are welcome are numerous and
nationwide. Locally, the C.B.A. have
advised the following:~
(1) Pewsey, Wilts, Neolithic Camp. 4th – 24th July.
(2) Cirencester. Roman Town Centre March and April.
(3) Nettleton, Wilts. Roman Temple/Mausoleum. Saturdays from 22nd April to 30th September.
Mr. Graham Webster will be excavating a Roman fort at Maddon
Hill near Crewkerne between the 10th and 24th June. For those touring
there are excavations on a roman period site at Goldherring near
his holiday area, this information can probably be provided.
Excavation of a Norse hall in Orkney, being planned for May
and June, seems more of a B.E.C. type of project, as does the following gem.
Excavations at St. Tudwalls, an uninhabited island of about
26 acres will be continued under the direction of Mr. D.B. Hague. Work on a small medieval monastery last year
produced some Roman finds. Volunteers,
preferably experienced, should be mesomorphs prepared to camp and forgo
civilised habits. A doctor; a cook; an
architect and the owner of a small boat would be particularly welcome. Food and passage will be provided.
This used to be attended by members of the B.E.C. It is from 12th – 15th May this year, and the
Summer Conference is in
during the last week in August. Details
from Keith Gardner.
Letters To the Editor of the B.B.
I came across the following recipe and felt that it would be
useful for any members of the B.E.C. going to a small party.
In 20 quarts of French Brandy, put peel of 30 lemons and 30
oranges, pared so thin that least of the white is left. Infuse 12 hours. Have ready 30 quarts of cold water that has
previously boiled. Put to it 15 pounds
of double refined sugar and pour on the brandy and peels, adding the juice of
the oranges and 24 of the lemons. Mix
well. Strain through a very fine hair
sieve into a clean barrel. Add 2 quarts
of new milk. Stir, bring it close, let
stand for six weeks in warm place. Bottle for use.
smuggled Brandy is best )
To the Editor, B.B.
Perhaps I should reply to Ron Kings letter in the April
B.B. apropos the flood warning notice outside St. Cuthberts Swallet.
On a number of occasions the M.R.O. has been called out by
virtue of responsible cavers being trapped in Mendip caves by foreseeable
weather effects. Fortunately, the M.R.O.
has always been able to call on the uncomplaining services of the Police or
Fire Brigade and the latter have now asked for the co-operation of the caving
fraternity in drawing attention to all the caves in which they are likely to be
called in the middle of the night. It
does not seem unreasonable to comply with such a request from them.
The fact that this club has instituted a rigid control on
parties entering St. Cuthberts, as well as undertaking flood diversion work
etc, whilst to the credit of the club, does not alter the fact that the cave
has been the scene of operations involving the fire brigade.
In theory, the decision of whether to cave or not is the
responsibility of the leader, and in this instance it is doubt¬ful whether the
notice will make, much difference, but as a general policy – at Swildons and
Stoke Lane for example – it is hoped that it might have an effect. The other potential sources of danger raised
by Ron King are presumably borne in mind by the leaders and have not yet
resulted in a call out. The Great
K. Gardner, M.R.O.
Owing to holidays, this B.B. has had to be produced in even
more of a hurry than is usual. It is
realised that the contents, as a result, are rather “lopsided” and
that the standard of production is not all that may be desired. However, it is important to get the B.B. out
before various trips, etc go out of date and members lose the chance of getting
in on them. We’ll try and do better next
The Belfry Bulletin Editor, S.J. Collins, 33,
Secretary. R. J. Bagshaw,