QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM :  NIMIS FACIEMUS

Dates

Feb 22/23          Climbing
in
North Wales

Feb 22/23          Giants
– Oxlow, P8 etc.

SATURDAY MARCH 1st – 7.30 p.m.  AT THE BELFRY “Climbing in the
Pyrenees” – an illustrated talk by ‘Kangy’

MARCH 29        Sleets
Gill

MARCH 29        Pippikin

MARCH 30        Lancaster
– Easegill

 

 

So you think you are safe on a Lifeline?

Some interesting experiments with a technique that perhaps
we take too much for granted!

by Ian Wilton-Jones

My brother Graham and myself recently conducted some tests
with various types of waist harness – tying them either tightly or loosely
round different parts of the torso.  The
results, while not comprehensive, were rather surprising and should affect the
way many people apply lifelines to themselves – as well as prodding more people
into making further tests.

We started these tests after my wealthy brother had shown
off his Whillans Harness, and I had shown him how you could finish up hanging
upside-down in it.  I then tied a 1″
nylon waist loop around me to see how my body would hang in it.  Instead of determining the position, I found
myself struggling for breath and in considerable pain, and we both concluded
that – had I fallen a few feet the shock of breath being pushed out plus the
severe pain might well have precluded any efforts at regaining hand and
footholds.  To pretend to go caving in my
dining room rather than work on the car in the pouring rain seemed a good idea.

We used three different waist loops.  1. A nylon tied loop, 2. A length of rope
tied in a bowline and 3. A rather comfy (too good for caving) Karrimor waist
belt of 2″ padded nylon with a rope looped through it.  We are both very slightly built (skinny) and
were both wearing a couple of pullovers round the areas we were tying the loops
round.  The guinea pig lay between two
chairs and was lifted off the ground by the other person standing astride him
on the chairs.

Graham’s old caving book explained that a loose loop should
be tied round the upper torso (not the neck!) so we tried this first with a
1″ nylon loop.  On hanging in it, it
was found that it was very painful on the skin under the armpits; dug deeply
into the ribs; less deeply into the shoulder blades, and caused considerable
difficulty in breathing in and out. “Let’s tie it tightly” we then thought.  This was even worse, with the pain getting
worse all round, especially round the front of the body.  Breathing was even more difficult.

We now decided to try the more often used waist position,
tying it quite tightly, the way one straps in a novice and, incidentally, the
way I have always tied mine.  Hanging in
agony, we concluded that this wasn’t a good position – there was pain all
round, especially in the kidneys, sides and diaphragm and the body’s fight
against that pain led to the diaphragm being almost un-useable for breathing.

We then tied it loosely around the waist (with about 7
inches of loose rope) and found the pain was now much less severe, and the much
decreased strain on the diaphragm made it possible to breathe without too much
discomfort.  This position was the only
one which was, in our opinion, comfortable enough for us to test any shock
loading.  Even so, we did not try proper
shock leading, but one of us snatch pulled the other into the air, from slack,
as quickly as possible.  This was found
to be within the limits of pain, and we would have been able to regain a ladder
in this case.  We didn’t feel very
enthusiastic about trying shock loading on the other three positions!

We then tried the four positions again, using a waist
rope.  In both of the tight cases it was
so painful that I refused to be lifted right off the ground.  The loose waist position was only just
bearable for me, where as Graham found it a bit more comfortable – possibly due
to his thicker pullovers.

With the Karrimor, the pain was much less in all cases,
being rather comfortable in the loose waist position.  Once again, this was the only position we
dared try shock loading.

Needless to say, we conclude that a loose waist harness
should be fitted round the waist with about 7″ of slack rope in the
loop.  This figure is only approximate,
but it must be borne in mind that the tighter it is, the more it hurts.  There is no worry for people of my shape,
because my chest can’t slip though the extra size (it may be no coincidence
that my chest just happens to be 7″ larger in circumference than my
waist.)

The reason why the tight waist harness is so painful is
because it rides up and, being tight, it digs into the diaphragm.  If the ride up could be prevented by a form
of sit harness (a loop for each thigh, attached to the sides of the front of
the harness) or a Whillans Harness if you want to spend good money damaging
good equipment during general caving.  A
twelve to thirteen foot length of tape can be knotted onto a suitable sit
harness for lifelining and therefore you can increase your safety for under £1.

You may say that these tests are a waste of time because, in
your experience, when you slip you only partly use the lifeline to regain your
grip, so the real pain never comes.  But
suppose the bolt falls out? or a water fall knocks you off the ladder?  Can you cope with the panic due to pain and
the inability to breathe AS

WELL
AS
your suspended troubles?  Don’t pretend to be so hard try it, and let’s
see how hard you really are!  I think
you’ll find it quite a bit more painful than you realise.

Lastly, I must emphasise that we both have no surplus fat to
cushion ourselves, and we would be interested to see what difference body size
makes to the discomfort.

Editor’s
Note:     I haven’t had the time to look
up the article I have in mind, but it struck me that perhaps Tim Reynolds’s
prussicking harness, which was made of a single loop of rope (accurately made
to measure) and fastened, if I remember rightly, with a single ‘crab’ might be
worth trying here, and would not be too costly to make up.  I have been right off a ladder once (Hunters
Hole) with the late Tan Dear lifelining with a loose loop round the upper chest
and didn’t find the pain all that great – but then I was ruddy fat in those
days!

 

North Wales Weekend

A contribution from Our
Climbing Secretary, Gerry Oaten.

I awoke to the shrill sound of the alarm clock at 7 a.m.
“God!” I thought, “another Monday!”  Then I thought again “Hang on,
though.  What happened to Saturday and
Sunday? – and why am I in my sleeping bag?”

Then my sleep-numbed brain began to work.  Of course it was only Saturday, and I was
sleeping in my tent in Llanberis pass. Mary stirred beside me and, as she had promised to get breakfast, I
relieved my usual morning misery by helping her on her way with an elbow in the
ribs a few times.  As I lay snug in my
bag, I watched her make breakfast though half open eyes and it never ceases to
amaze me how she manages to make it without getting out of her bag.

After eating my porridge, made the Scottish way with salt
instead of sugar (which I complained about loudly and Mary ended up by calling
me a Sassenach) we woke up ever – a pal of mine.

Mary, Tom and I drove to

Ogwyn
Valley

and left the car at the Outdoor Pursuit Centre and started to walk up the
Carnedds.  The ascent of the Carnedds via
Pen-yr-OleuWen (3,211 ft) by way of the tea shack is straight up.  It is the steepest walk to over three
thousand feet that I know. Unfortunately, a lot of the ascent is scree, which takes tree steps to
achieve two.  As we reached the summit,
the winds grew to fearsome force, tending to blow you over or bowl you
along.  The view from the top of Pen-yr-Oleu-wen
is quite breathtaking.  To the South
West, Tryfan, the Glyders and Y Garn in all their glory and splendour.  Then, looking further to the West, the
outline of Mynydd Perfedd.  The wind kept
covering everything in mist – a spectacular view one minute and visibility down
to a couple of hundred yards the next. We continued our walk via the ridge leading to Carnedd Daffydd
(3,424ft).  The walk was now a gentle
pace, following the

cairns

across a plateau.  Occasionally one of
the many

cairns

turned out to be a rescue shelter made out of the scree.  It makes a rough but effective shelter from
the powerful wind.  As we passed Carnedd
Daffydd towards Craig Llugwy (3,185ft) the mist broke, revealing our objective
– Carnedd Llywelyn (3,485ft).  To reach
the base of Llywelyn one has to cross a ridge where the wind really was trying
to push one over the lip of the ridge to the valley below, which would not have
been nice.  Upon reaching the summit,
visibility was down to nil.  We sought
out a shelter and had our midday meal. After a short while we were joined by five men in orange cags, and a red
setter dog.

“I wonder who they
are?” said Tom.

“R.A.F.”, I
replied.  He regarded me with suitable
amazement.

“How do you know?”

“One of them has it on his back
in four inch letters!” I retorted.

As we prepared to move, we were joined by a chap who asked
us whether we were going to Foel Fras. We replied “No,” as it was out of our way.  He thought for a moment, then asked if he
might join us because of the mist and the fact that he was by himself.  We agreed and set off for Penyrhelgidu
(2,733ft) but, as nobody could agree on the right direction, out came the map
and the compass.  Once we had our
bearings we began to descend towards the ridge that leads to Penyrhelgidu.  Here, the mist broke once more and enabled us
to scan the surrounding country for Roy and his party who were going to be half
an hour behind us from the camp, but they were nowhere to be seen.  On reaching the summit, we had a short rest,
as the walk up the last bit was quite steep. The next summit in the chain is pen Llithrig-y-wrach (2,122ft).  Still walking along a ridge, the pace was
pleasant – we were out of the clouds and the sun was smiling upon us.  From the top, looking east, is the large Llyn
Cowlyd reservoir, which looked very inviting from our lofty perch.  We set off towards the A5 road, which was a
couple of miles in the distance.  There
we said goodbye to our companion, and walked beside Llyn Ogwen back to the tea
hut for a quick cup before we went back to the camp.

Saturday evening was spent quietly relaxing in the
Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, indulging in pints and whiskey chasers.  Here we heard what had happened to Roy and
Co.  Upon reaching the summit of
Pen-yr-Oleu-wen, they took the same route as we had but as they began the
ascent of Carnedd Llywelyn, the mist came down and – with an inexperienced
party – he decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and turned
back.

After our early start (early for me, that is) on Saturday,
we indulged in a bit of a lay in on Sunday. After a quick breakfast (too quick for my liking!) Mary, Tom and I
walked to Nant Peris then took a path which led to Llyn y Cwrn.  Whether it was just the effect of too many
chasers or whether I was just plain shattered, I just could not get into the
rhythm of the walk, so by the time we reached the llyn I was not very happy
with the world.  Mary kept striding ahead
and I kept cursing her and promising to saw twelve inches (15½cms if you like –
well, we are going metric!) off one leg. We continued our walk right up towards Y Garn (3,104ft).  Anyone who has walked this mountain will know
that it is a long tedious slog.  After my
first ascent of it, I promised myself never to do it again.  It is a slope of between 40 and 45 degrees
and it just goes on and on – but here I was again – cursing!  Finally we reached the top where we had a
snack and talked Mary (first with pleas then with threats) to go back
down.  Anyway, the weather was getting
worse (that’s my excuse!).  On the way down,
the mist cleared and once again we were confronted with a beautiful view of the
train on the ridge leading to
Snowdon.

Back at camp, we quickly packed our tents as the weather
looked like breaking.  We were joined by
Roy and Co. who had just walked around Llanberis.  As we drove out of the pass it started to
rain, giving us our usual send off from
North Wales.

The Climbing Section hope to hold several meets in North
Wales this winter for snow climbing and walking, but as arrangements will be
made at short notice, keep your ears open at the Hunters or the Seven Stars –
or keep your eye open for anything on the Belfry notice board.

DON’T FORGET THAT WE MEET EVERY THURSDAY NIGHT AT THE SEVEN
STARS.  SEE YOU THERE!!!

*****************************************

ANNUAL SUBS are due
on the 31st of January.  This is a first
reminder for 1975!

 

Caves in

Greece

Another article which proves the old saying that the B.E.C.
get every where!

By Colin Priddle.

Having spent six weeks on holiday in

Greece
this
year it is inevitable that one comes across caves of one sort or another
without really looking for them.

My wife Jan and I, being tourists, had a rucksack each and
travelled by bus, train and boat living as cheaply as possible on local fruit,
bread, cheese and fish.  We caught a boat
from
Dubrovnik in Jugoslavia to the

island of
Corfu
, and from there a boat to Patras
then we went down the west coast of the Peloponese by train staying for a night
or two at a camping site or on a beach.

One afternoon, we caught a bus to a village called Otilon on
the middle peninsula of the Peloponese (Akra Tenarch) arriving at 9.30
p.m.  Being late (for

Greece
) the
conductor asked where we were staying. When we said we would go to the beach, he said it would be best to sleep
on the bus, so after he and the bus driver bought us a meal we kipped down in
the bus.

In the morning we found that we were in the tiniest of
villages and saw the sea as a lovely bay about 600 feet below us.  Through the churchyard and down a steep
donkey track we went and half an hour later we were by the sea.  After asking, we put up our tent in an olive
grove about a hundred yards from the beach and went to the cluster of houses
along the bay to buy some food. Unfortunately there were no good shops, so I was elected to climb back
up the donkey path to the village we had left some two hours previously.  By this time, the day was hotter, so I
stopped frequently to look around at the numerous cave entrances in the cliffs
and slopes.  Reaching the village, I
bought the usual food; but trying to buy candles where nobody spoke English
proved impossible.  I’m sure they had
some, but they were not on any of the shelves.

We stayed in the olive grove for two nights.  During the day it was too hot to climb to
cave entrances, knowing that once there, a dozen matches would not take us in
very far!  We had heard, however, of some
show caves in the locality, so after our two nights we packed our tent and
waited for the 7.30 bus.  It didn’t
arrive, so knowing that the next (and last!) bus was due at 12.30 p.m., we
tried hitching and were lucky enough to get a lift directly to the show cave at
Pirgos Dirou, which is some 15 miles from Oitilon.

Dirou caves are right on the coast and at sea level.  One cave was closed but the other consisted
of two parts, the first by boat and the rest by walking.  We heard that the boat Journey was the best
part so, as the total fees were over £1, we settled for the boat trip only,
which halved the cost.  The cave was
called Vylkhada and we boarded a punt-type boat in a well decorated chamber
about a hundred yards from daylight.  The
punt was propelled and guided by two men – one at the bow and one at the
stern.  We moved through passages ten feet
wide of varying height to regularly spaced chambers.  All was superbly decorated with straws and
stalactites, the proliferation of which I had never seen before.  There was no part without some decoration –
the beautiful orangy-pink stal seeming to dive straight into the crystal-clear
water.  It really was a marvellous sight!

The lighting, both above and below water, was most
effective.  The boat slid along with
rocks sometimes inches below and sometimes out of sight in the green-blue
depths.  The round trip took twenty
minutes, so we reckoned that we went two kilometres or more, our only complaint
being that we could have gone a lot slower and had more time to gaze at the
fantastic sights.  I really would advise
anyone who finds himself in the area to visit these lovely caves.  This part of

Greece
is relatively tourist-free,
with only the Greeks; donkeys; goats and the barren limestone hills.

One very pleasant tip we discovered was to flavour the water
with lemon juice, otherwise it is very brackish and sickly but nevertheless
O.K. (at any rate, we were never ill drinking it.)  It mostly comes from shallow wells only a
short distance from the beach, and this is general for most coastal areas of

Greece
.

Well, we carried on with our travels towards

Athens
travelling by bus
over high, barren inland areas, through tiny villages, and towns like
Sparti.  We did the usual tourist thing
by visiting several ruins and amphitheatres (there is an excellent example of
one at a place called Epidavros) and eventually, after a ten minute boat trip
we arrived on the

island of
Spetre
, one of the
Saronic islands.  One of the problems of
travelling in

Greece

is that you must always find a place to sleep costing as little as
possible.  This is really pretty easy as
the beach costs nothing and the local people don’t mind if you sleep there with
or without a tent.  Water is never a
problem, but toilet facilities are – since they are usually completely lacking.

On Spetre we found that there was a good beach on the other
side of the island and after a twenty minute bus ride we were there.  A church, restaurant and two houses were the
only buildings at the back of a beautiful bay and beach.  Three or four others were sleeping at one end
of this beach, and we pitched our tent alongside that of an Australian couple
at one side of the bay, then we went swimming. The beach was occupied by a few holiday makers for about three or four
hours each day, but for the rest of the time it was deserted.  However, there seemed to be quite a number of
people using a track near us, and it was not long before I followed this track
to its end – a hole in the rocks right on the sea shore.

Heaving myself down about six feet, I was amazed to find a
concrete path that led away from daylight. Squatting by the entrance I could gradually make out a chamber filled
with water with a beach and formations at one end and at the other a duck which
led out to sea, through which light was filtering.  The next day we had to get to a town on the
other side of the island for food and mosquito netting.  We bought food, netting and CANDLES and later
that day went to the cave armed with our lights.

The cave was actually two chambers divided by the concrete
path.  The right hand chamber was about
twenty feet square and about six feet high with no formations.  The other chamber was about thirty feet
square with a ten foot high roof.  It
reminded me very much of Wookey 3.  It
had a couple of sparkling stalagmite bosses which made it a pretty little cave.  The rock was conglomerate with some red
sandstone, so how the stalagmites were formed is a mystery to me.

We left the beach after a few days and after visiting
another island, we reached

Athens
.  This is a centre for young tourists.  There are cheap travel facilities (to
England for £20,
India
for £45,

Egypt

for £17 etc.)  These facilities are supposed
to be for students, but it was obvious that others could use them – like
us!  Having booked our plane tickets for
Nairobi, we left

Athens

for some further sightseeing amongst the Greek islands.

We went to Pares in the
Cyclades,
and visited the famous marble I caves I which produce marble (which was used to
build many of the ancient Greek temples). We got on a bus and then wandered up a track to a marble quarry where a
dozen or so men were shaping blocks from the beautiful white rock.  We found the ‘caves’ on the other side of the
valley.  There were four entrances two
were inclined shafts and two more like cave entrances.  Armed with candles, we explored the
mines.  The main shafts went down at
least 200 feet, with tunnels leading off to large chambers.  Everywhere glistened white, and walls of the
white stone supported the roof.  We spent
an hour or so exploring this mine.

A

temple of
Apollo
was built on a
hill near these mines and although only the foundations and a few other stones
are still present, the main marble pillars can be seen built into an eighteenth
century castle in the town and even the castle looks a bit odd with these and
other features built into it.

The finale of our Greek holiday was a trip to the

island of
Delos
, the ancient city of 20,000
inhabitants with temples; houses; courtyards; statues; villas and a stadium all
now devoid of life except for thousands of lizards darting across the
sun-drenched stones.

 

Annual Report Of The B.B.L.H.& S.R.G

This story is respectfully dedicated by the aged savants of
the Belfry Bulletin Literary, Historical and Scientific Research Group (who
endeavour to produce some seasonal nonsense every year for the Christmas
edition of the B.B.) to Fred Davies.

He might, they hope, see some grotesque parallel between
what follows here, and an incident concerning a meeting of the Council of
Southern Caving Clubs, at which he was not present – having gone caving
instead.  There might even be some sort
of moral…….. somewhere……..

“A Tale of Two Caving Huts”

——– I ——–

It is midnight on Mendip, after an unusually hot summer
weekend.  The last tints of colour have
not long faded from the sky – and now the moon shines brightly down on dry
stone wall and hawthorn tree alike.  All
is still, apart from the soft tearing sound as here and there a cow still
grazes.  From afar off, an owl hoots.

The vast army of squat little concrete huts which comprise
the Mendip District Council’s Caving Estate at Nordrach – which by day
disfigures the face of Mendip almost as much as does the nearby University of
Charterhouse, now looks slightly less revolting in the moonlight.  The horde of Hut Wardens; Tackle Officers;
Caving Secretaries, members and guests who form the inhabitants of this
dreadful place have all gone home.  The
long lines of huts and the network of concrete paths now gleam more softly in
the pale light of the moon and somehow contrive to look less like some enormous
camp for displaced persons.

A solitary car, however, still stands in the car park; and
the yellow gleam from the windows of Hut 213 single it out from the silvery
ranks of its fellows.  Inside the hut,
surrounded by a mass of paperwork, sits Sam Strangeways – the new secretary of
the Haselbury Plunknett Speleological Society – taking his duties seriously, as
indeed he must.  Before his predecessor
cracked up from overwork, he had managed to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough
by concluding an access agreement with a local farmer for Dribble Hole.  Although this cave is only fifteen feet long,
Sam is weighing up how his club can use this agreement to their best
advantage.  He is moderately certain that
the Perronarworthel Pothole Club might be induced to back his application to
the Council for holding on to the agreement, which, of course, would give them
both a lever against the Kingston Bagpuize Caving Group.  The reaction of the Nunney Association for
Speleological Regression would be less predictable.  It is quite a problem.

But, thinks Sam, as he sits and ponders over the delicate
balance between the five hundred clubs on the estate, it is a typical problem
of present-day caving.  He sighs as he
realises that next weekend will be just like all the others.  It is hardly likely that his club will be
able to find the time to look for another cave as big as Dribble Hole.  Instead, Saturday morning will be spent in a
hectic round of visits to other caving huts on the estate, sounding out
opinions and listening to any rumours, and rushing back at intervals to Hut 213
to keep the others informed on the latest shifts of policy, so that they can
deal with the other secretaries, who will be rushing round with equal
determination.  After this, there might
be time for a quick bite to eat before going to the Great Hall of the

University of
Charterhouse
for the weekly meeting of
the Southern Council.  After this, there
will be the usual session of drinks at the student’s bar; where the
give-and-take will be less official but equally hard.  Finally, they will get back to Hut 213 and
stagger into their bunks – worn out by the days caving activity.  Sunday morning will be spent in planning the
next week’s campaign and holding a post-mortem on the last Council
meeting.  No wonder, thinks Sam, that the
last Secretary of his club had cracked up.

With a sigh, Sam wrenches his mind away from these morbid
thoughts and begins to stack his papers into his bulging briefcase.  With a final glance round the hut, he turns
off the lights and makes his way thoughtfully to his waiting car and, one
presumes, to Haselbury Plunknett.

——– II ——–

It is now Saturday, on the following weekend. The weather,
as if ashamed of its temporary lapse, has now reverted to its normal summer
behaviour.  A heavy, damp mist hangs over
Mendip, turning everything to a uniform dull grey and finding its way through
the many chinks resulting from the over-hasty construction of the

University of
Charterhouse
.  Sam is in his car, and about to set off for
the meeting.  His head is full of complex
policy decisions.  The matter of the
Dribble Hole agreement is fraught with danger and knife-edge diplomatic
moves.  He starts off and drives mechanically
through the mist.

Suddenly, Sam realises that he is on the wrong road.  He stops the car and peers into the
thickening mist.  None of the terrain
looks familiar.  Panic-stricken, he
realises that he will be late for the meeting. Without his vote and speech, the Kingston Bagpuize might even side with
the Perranarworthel!

All around him, Mendip lies still and silent, much as it did
all through the centuries before cavers appeared on the scene.  As Sam scans the dim outlines of old walls
lining the road, a strange peace begins to settle over him and the

University of
Charterhouse
begins to feel as
insubstantial as its already corroding bits of flashy aluminium really
are.  With a sudden, decisive movement,
Sam winds down the window and flings his briefcase out.  A great load seems suddenly to be lifted from
his mind.  With a faint smile on his
lips, he lets in the clutch and drives off slowly into the unknown.  It is a big moment for Sam.

——– III ——–

It is later the same afternoon.  Sam has now left the car and is walking
across a mist-covered field in which the vague shapes of cows can be dimly
discerned.  Soon, he finds himself going
steeply downhill.  He has arrived at a swallet.  At the bottom, there is a locked cave
entrance.  Sam gazes at it with longing;
recalling half-forgotten experiences.  He
is startled to hear the sounds of approaching people, sounding muffled in the
mist.  Looking in the direction of these
sounds, he can soon distinguish several scruffily dressed individuals who are
carrying caving gear.  Their leader, a
large powerfully-built man, gives Sam a long, hard, appraising glance.

“Want to go down, lad?”

“Yes, please,” Sam replies, suddenly realising that
this is what he does want to do more than anything else.

“Get the lad some spare clothes and a helmet, Fred
while I pick this ruddy lock!” the large man roars at a wiry-looking
individual, who promptly disappears into the mist on this errand of mercy.

——– IV ——–

The great Hall of the

University Of
Charterhouse

is packed, stressing some of it’s badly designed and poorly assembled girders
close to breaking point.  The General Secretary
is calling the roll of constituent clubs: –

‘

Glastonbury

Spelaeos.’

‘Present.’

‘Goblin Coombe Caving Club.’

‘Present.’

‘Gordano Exploration Group.’

‘Present.’

‘Haselbury Plunknett Spelaeos.’

There is a silence, as four hundred and ninety nine
delegates look at each other, wondering what could have happened.  They think variously in terms of falling
asleep at the wheel; collapse due to overwork and so on. Not a single delegate
imagines anything as wildly improbable as the truth.  The secretary of the Haselbury Plunknett
Spelaeological Society has gone caving!

——– V ——–

It is now very much later on that same fateful day.  Sam is now lying in a bunk within a caving hut
whose very existence he has never even suspected.  It is not on the Nordrach Estate.  It is, in fact, the Belfry.

As he relaxes, in a pleasant half-sloshed condition, he is
recalling the events of the day.  A day
which has given him more pleasure than he had thought possible.  There was the joy of once more being
underground with friendly and experienced companions – the feel of rock and
rung and water.  Then there was the coming
out, tired but happy followed by the stew; the beer; the jokes; the songs; the
journey back to the hut and the final cup of coffee.

Sam’s only regret is that to-morrow he must return to Hut
213 and face harsh reality once more.  He
is sure that these friendly, carefree cavers he has just met must represent
some sort of unofficial set-up which, sooner or later, would find itself caught
up in the complex machinery of real caving. With their complete ignorance of the cut and thrust of caving politics,
they would never survive a moment.  He
must warn them before it is too late for them to learn!  They obviously have no idea of what is
happening in the real world outside.  He
is still thinking along these lines when he falls into a deep and refreshing
sleep.

——– VI ——–

It is now Sunday morning. Sam has just woken up and been handed a steaming mug of coffee by Fred
Ferrett, who has already got up to perform this humane task.  The others are all stirring.  In one corner, Ron Runnit, the Hut Warden, is
sitting up drinking his coffee.  In
another, the bulk of Pete Pushem stirs under a pile of assorted cast-off
blankets and finally heaves into view. He stretches out a great hand for his mug of coffee and focuses his eyes
on Sam.

“Morning, lad. How’s the ruddy head?”

Sam, after a quick inspection, is able to assure Pete that
his head is in working order, his information is well received.

“That’s the ruddy stuff, lad!  You’ll never be a member of this ruddy club
if you can’t hold your ruddy beer!”

At the words, ‘member of this ruddy club’, Sam remembers his
mission to acquaint these folk with the facts of caving life.  He looks around at the cheerful disorder of
the hut – mentally comparing it with the antiseptic cleanliness of Hut 213,
cleaned once a week by the council – and realises the enormous gap he must
somehow try to bridge.  His face falls.

“What is the rouble, lad? ” booms the voice of
Pete Pushem once more, “Ruddy gut?”

With much misgiving, Sam falteringly tries to explain.  A sound like an earthquake interrupts his
efforts as Pete’s bunk rocks with his great roars of laughter.  It is just as well that Pete’s bunk is not in
the great hall of the

University of
Charterhouse
.  Pete finally becomes coherent.

“You’re all right, Sam!” he says at last.
“You’ll do. Trying to warn us about all the trouble at ruddy Nordrach and
Charterhouse?  Telling us that if we
didn’t ruddy watch it, we’d be organised out of existence?  Is that what you were going to ruddy say?

Sam merely nods his head. He cannot find words to express his amazement.

“You didn’t think, lad”, Pete says as to a young
child, “that all the ruddy trouble between ruddy caving clubs happens
ruddy naturally?  It takes ruddy organisation,
that does!”  There is a note of
simple pride in his voice as he goes on.

“You see, lad, with so many ruddy clubs about, it was
getting damn nigh impossible to get down ruddy caves, so we did a bit of
thinking.  We reckoned that we’d never
stop them coming to ruddy Mendip, so we decided to give ’em something else to
do when they ruddy got here.”

Sam’s brain is rapidly getting into gear.  He will make a B.E.C. member yet.  He is still, however, a trifle confused.

“But how,” he asks Pete, “do you do it
all?  You’d need an army of spies to
start with.”

“Bugging.”

It is Ron Runnit who speaks. “My old man got the contract to build the Nordrach Estate.  We hid mikes in all the huts.  We run the tapes back every Wednesday in the
pub.  Gives us a couple of days to drop a
hint here; spread a rumour there; do a bit of stirring somewhere else and
bingo!  They’re all at each other’s
throats again with no time left for caving. We’ve got it to a fine art, although I say it as shouldn’t.”

Sam’s brain is now shifting from third to top.  He sees both sides of this shrewd scheme and
is not altogether happy with the result.

“It’s a bit unfair.” he says slowly, not wishing
to give offence.  Those poor beggars
don’t stand a chance!”

“Yes they ruddy do!” roars Pete.”  Look lad, proper cavers are ruddy
individuals.  They’d never stand for
it.  All we’re doing is looking after the
blokes with no minds of their own. Anybody else doesn’t have to play. Look at yourself, Sam!”

Before Sam can do more than think about what Pete is saying,
a more practical note is struck by Ron, who points out that if they don’t soon
get up; have breakfast; muck the hut out and get moving, the pubs will be
open.  Ever conscious of the more serious
aspects of life, the B.E.C. take this sound hint.

——– VII ——–

It is late on Sunday evening.  The Nordrach Estate is once again deserted,
as it was when this tale started.  Its
exhausted inhabitants have all gone home to recover.  The girders beneath the Great Hall at Charterhouse
are slowly creeping back to something approaching the shape hopefully envisaged
by their designer.  Meanwhile, in a cosy
Mendip pub, the B.E.C. are having the last drinks of the weekend.  They are relaxed and cheerful.  Sam has just adroitly manoeuvred Fred into
buying the next round, but has been astute enough not to try that particular
ploy on Pete, a fact which impresses Pete not a little.  In Pete’s opinion, Sam will prove a credit to
the club.  Pete is listening to what Sam
is saying.

“The only thing that worries me is that – what ever is
worth doing, you tend to – how shall I put it? do it, perhaps, to excess.  You’re driving them a bit too hard.  There have been several nervous breakdowns
this year already.  What we need is a
bloke on the spot who can keep his ears open and use his loaf.  We can then see how hard we’re driving them,
and adjust the pressure to keep them at full stretch without crippling
them.”

Pete thinks this is interesting, but continues to listen
while Ron takes up the debate on a serious note.

“But that means that you would have to be the bloke on
the spot, Sam, and we can’t expect you to go back to that ghastly estate and
those terrible meetings.  Besides, my
uncle put up the girders under the great hall at the university, and I
personally wouldn’t risk sitting in it for five minutes all by myself, let
alone with five hundred other blokes for several hours.”

Pete Pushem is still thinking.  He can already see great possibilities in
having a bloke on the spot.  Much better
control.  Of course, Sam couldn’t
actually be a delegate any more.  He’d
need every Saturday for caving.  He ought
to be somewhere where he could keep an eye open without wasting too much
time.  A part time job in the estate
office?  Ron’s brother-in-law was on the
district council.  Yes, it could all be
arranged.

Pete grins. He has reached an important decision.  With a single gulp, he swallows the remains
of his beer.  He turns to Sam.

“Drink up, lad!” he roars, “The next ruddy
round’s on me!’

Several pairs of startled eyes swivel rapidly in Pete’s
direction.  There is a moment of stunned
silence – until the members present realise that, as always, Pete never does
anything without a good reason.  Then, as
one man, they bang their pots down on the bar. Pete is actually still grinning as he pays up.

The B.E.C. is about to improve its technique still further.

By way of an encore this year, the B.B. Literary, Historic
and Scientific Research Group have also sent in this footnote about the work of
that old club member, Charley Dickens.

After listening to the introduction to the play at the last
club dinner, several astute members have pointed out that the entertainment
given a few years ago – that tale about Oliver Lloyd, which, was performed under
the title of ‘Oliver’ – was also written by Charley Dickens.

Rapid researches into the subject show that Charley wrote a
number of pieces about the club besides the two already mentioned before he
went up to

London

and turned professional.  There was, for
instance, GREAT EXPECTORATIONS a tale about the more revolting aspects of
Mendip life at the time.  Then there was
HARD CLIMBS which speaks for itself. Perhaps his greatest effort was THE THICKWIG PAPERS – a tale about the
publications department and the Cuthbert’s report and survey – but then again,
perhaps not.

Altogether, Charley wrote rather a lot of stuff – rather
like the B.B.L.H.& S.R.G., who would like to wish you all a very Merry
Christmas.

 

Christmas Crossword

In order to give the poor old compiler a rest, there is no
‘Monthly Crossword’ in the B.B. this month. Instead, we have a crossword compiled by Andy Nichols, who says
“The answer is shown TWICE in each clue  – once for novices and once for hard men.  Clues marked * will be easier for members who
can remember when they last went down Swildons.

1


 

2


 

3


 

4


 

5


 

6


 

7


 

8

9


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

10


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

11


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

12


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

13


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

14


 

15


 

16


 


 


 


 


 

17


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

18


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

19

20


 

21


 


 


 


 


 


 

22


 


 


 

23


 


 


 


 


 

24


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

25


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

26


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

27


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

28


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

ACROSS:

3. Abstainer about secretary –
have a go! (7)
9. Children wi’out one pointless looper. (5) *
10. Series near entrance a cut above others. (5) *
11. Bun-heaters association – all of us together. (3,4)
12. Sort of slack gathered in Mayday passage? (5)
13. Queen and commie strayed like lost sheep. (5)
14. Suffered by divers in sinuous sumps. (5)
17. Not off-peak, but punctual. (2,4)
18. 22/7 sensationalised crime in Shatter. (6) *
19. Sweet, sticky and calamitous for him. (5) *
22. Dim, uh; or just wet? (5)
24. Endless 28 or confused 4. (5)
25. Synthetic rope in foul, strong drink. (7)
26. Foreigners may need them for Cuthbert’s. (5)
27. What does Archer do at church? Tango? (5)
28. Belays for her test. (7)

DOWN:

1. Sailor an’ fellow are
optimistic.  Give up? (7,4) *
2. Ted’s head and rodent’s head; he worshipped here (5,6) *
3. Swine’s at home, a bit hasty. (1,1)
4. – Where?  In the other eye! (5)
5. Doctor came first when Ratty’s friend dug. (5)
6. A non-U place underground. (4) *
7. Getting closer but leaving the stream. (11) *
8. Scented subterranean scene worried drip-dry gene (6, 5) *
14. We’re all for 11, initially. (1,1,1)
15. Wimple-wearer gives international body a point. (3)
16. Job for my little eye when odds start year. (3)

20.
City
stripper’s object in present
position. (5)
21. Sapper upset with spadework and funeral song. (5)
23. Dry earth in Hindustani. (4)
24. Old penny in three-cornered fight runs out. (4)

 ( Solution next month
)

And for those who like a “crossword” that’s a bit
different, we have been sent the following: –

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

13


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

General Clue

This was compiled by Alan Thomas

Across:

1. Most conveniently situated
cave on Mendip?
12. North in caving H.Q.; Royal Cipher and footwear with learner in it!
13. Thor shun eel piel

Down:

1. Examples of a bone found in
meat.
2. Female sheep.
3. Cockney fowls?
4. Sold by cafes.
5. Relaxation.
6. Ours, perhaps?
7. Messes with a thousand missing.
8. Often dropped by Cockneys.
9. Flexible

London

pipe?
10. Old measures of cloth.
11. This puzzle may be completed with this.

Cave Notes

The club’s new occasional multi-subject caving report series
has now its first number on sale at 30p. Also recently published is Caving Report No. 14 – again at 30p.

 

Buttermere Fells

Another tale of the North by the
only club member who can sign his name with a X and get away with it, Bob
Cross.

In the August of this year, I spent a couple of days camping
in the
Lake District at a small place on the
banks of Buttermere called Gatesgarth. This is a tiny hamlet on the western side of the

Honister
Pass.
  It is centred around a hill farm famous for
its breed of sheep.  There is also a very
pleasant camp site and a mountain rescue post.

This place is quieter than Borrowdale and has more subtle
charms.  The valley contains two lakes,
Buttermere and Crummock Water.  They are
separated by a moraine dam.  Overlooking
the valley in the South West is the great rampart of High Crag; High Stile and
Red Pike.  Further west, overlooking
Crummock Water is the lone hill Mellbreak. To the East and South East are the lovely Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike
and to the North the larger masses of Grassmoor and Robinson.  All the mountains mentioned, except Haystacks
and Mellbreak, exceed 2,000 feet above sea level.

From Gatesgarth, High Crag and High Stile take pride of
place – thrusting in a steep mass of bracken, scree and crags into the
sky.  I was determined to climb these,
whatever the weather during the two days. The first morning, I was lucky. The sky was slightly overcast and the heights were in the mist, but here
and there, particles of blue peeped through.

I gulped down my breakfast, donned my boots and rucksack and
set out alone in the direction of High Stile, full of expectations.  The initial part of the climb lay over the
water meadows in Warmscale Bottom to the lakeside footpath.  This morning, the lake was like a duck pond,
reflecting the surrounding hills in its cool waters.  A forest of lush bracken clad the South shore
of the lake, and the track meanders through this to the mouth of Birkness
Gill.  This stream cascades over a jumble
of rocks and pebbles from the recess of Birkness Coombe, a cool secluded corrie
formed by the spurs of high Gap, High Stile and the ridge that joins them.

I paused here to swill my sweating brow, and then set off in
bottom gear up the steep path made slippery by previous storms.  My boots had long since seen their best days
and badly needed resoling, though there was still a bit of rubber left!

Climbing hills is a frustrating business, especially if you
keep looking up to note your progress – best keep your eyes down and switch off
your brain!

I got hot! Soon I could see the western end of Crummock
Water, and with the sweat pouring out of my portly carcass, I wished somehow
that I was in it.  I’d had a fair drop of
chernic the previous night and was suffering from an affliction one might
amusingly entitle “Wheeltappers Head”.

Second wind always comes as the gradient eases off.  No chance here~ Birkness Gill rises in a
steep scree filled gully and maintains a fierce gradient from source to
mouth.  This coombe was a quiet place –
not sombre or sinister more charitable with juicy bilberries and fat daft
sheep.

I was at ease and smiled and muttered at the podgy sheep in
half-witted abandon, a luxury that only solo tramping affords me – unless of
course my companion is also a nutcase!  I
carried on pounding up the hill till I stumbled on to the foot of a scree.

The last four hundred feet to the ridge was an unbroken
scree in a gully.  I nearly fell over
backwards twice and was dizzy with vertigo by the time I crawled out on to the
top.  I sat on a flat slab while my heart
beat returned to normal, and ate some bread and butter.

I was roughly on the same level as the hill across the
valley but about three hundred feet lower than another hill due North.  These were Robinson (2,417ft) and Grassmoor
(2,791ft) respectively.  Behind me I could
see Pillar Kirk Fell and Great Gable.

After this rest, I walked over to the top of High Stile,
North of this summit, a steep-sided spur overlooks Buttermere, and from the top
of this spur you can see the valley below in detail spread out like an aerial
picture.  Here, in a mossy hollow, I dined
and took an hours nap.  From my little
pulpit I could see the Solway Firth and the hills of
Dumfries.

Half asleep, and suffering from acute indigestion caused by
boiled eggs, I staggered off towards Red Pike, the Western end of the
ridge.  Then I turned south and walked
towards Steeple.  Far below I could see a
mass of Sitca Spruce – Emmerdale Forest, and above this, that classic Lakeland
crag, Pillar Rock – hanging there in space – over two thousand feet above the
lovely river Liza.

By now it was past midday, and the mists had long since left
the peaks.  What a pity I had run out of
ridge and would have to return to the valley.

I have a liking for scree running that emerged on the isle
of Skye some time ago, so I was delighted when, after a short easy walk down a
grassy slope, I was peeing down a slope of scree of some eight hundred feet
straight into

Emmerdale
Forest
.  I leaped energetically down this, leaning
well back, and digging in with my heels, no doubt doing my poor boots a world
of good.  I stopped occasionally to empty
the grit from my socks, and to pick some of the biggest bilberries I had ever
seen, that grew in clumps amongst the debris. I was well-nigh knackered when I got down into the wood and glad of the
shade and the springy forest floor underfoot.

Eventually I got to the river Liza where I washed my hot
sticky trotters.  The air here was heavy
with the scent of pinewood and alive with insects – including the bloody midge.

With cool feet, and a couple more midge bites, I set off
along the dirt road to Black Sail Youth Hostel. After two miles of pleasant walking I reached the hostel, a timber
building obviously copied from the old Belfry.

Outside were several scantily-clad females basking in the
sun – an enjoyable and provocative sight. The last leg the journey now lay over Scarth Gap and so back into
Warmscale Bottom.

I attacked this steep climb with gusto, remembering the
saying; ‘The more it hurts; the more good it does you’.  Well, anyway, I was feeling a bit fitter than
earlier in the day and I relished the thought of the Craven G. G. meet the
following weekend.

Having walked over the top of Scarth Gap, I paused briefly,
and then ran down into Warmscale Bottom where I took my boots and socks off and
walked barefoot back to Gatesgarth and my tent.

After a meal, myself and two mates who had spent the day
climbing near the Bodestone in Borrowdale all went to a pub called the
Kirkstile Inn near Loweswater which, like everything else in this corner of

Lakeland
, was grand!

Editor’s Note:

Bob sent with the above article a very fine biro sketch of
the countryside described in the article. As it is two pages wide (and the centre pages of this B.B. were printed
a very long time ago) and requires a photo plate to reproduce it, it has not
been possible to include it in this B.B. However, we hope to include it in a B.B. early next year.

 

Dinner 1974

This being the festive season,
this account of the 1974 club dinner by MIKE WHEADON might not come amiss:

Returning to Mendip this year after an absence of about
eight years, I was somewhat surprised at the changes which had taken
place.  I am not counting the fact that
it is claimed that nobody goes caving or climbing any more – they never
did!  (Yet the club’s record in these
fields is not so bad despite this fact). No!  I mean that the Saturday
singing has ceased.  Even this massive
change, I was told, was but nothing compared to the way that club dinners were
now a complete dead loss.  Still, despite
this warning, I paid my money and joined the other venturesome members and
guests at the 1974 Club Dinner.

If you are wondering when the old windbag is going to tell
you just how bad this dinner was – you are going to be disappointed.  The 1974 dinner was amongst the best I’ve
ever been to since I joined the club way back. The venue this year was the

Wells
Blue
School

assembly hall and the proceedings were due to commence at the unusually early
hour of 7.p.m.  From my point of view,
this was a minor catastrophe, as I arrived with about two minutes to spare and
made the shortest line possible to Roger’s Mobile Hunters which was
conveniently situated just inside the entrance and after a short eternity I
managed to get a pint, but got in the state of having a cigarette in one hand;
lighter in the other, and beer in the other. At this point, that girl with the alarming collection of holes instead
of a skirt walked by and as I swung round I became a victim of thrown beer – my
own.  When I had completed mopping up,
there was only time for a quick glance round – noting several members of my own
(and earlier) vintage – Blogg, to name but a few.  It was then time to obtain a bottle of vino
at a very fair price before being called upon to dine.

The hall was laid out in an informal manner, being set with
octagonal tables (seating eight ) placed in a random manner throughout the hall
and after a bit of shuffling round and rearrangement, we were all seated and
were then treated to an excellent meal.  I’m
not sure that I ought to dwell on the menu – I can’t have you slavering all
over your B.B. – but it was very good, being hot where it should have been hot
and cold where it should have been cold. If was ‘cheffed’ by Patti Palmer’s brother Arthur, and his ‘related’
staff provided an excellent and efficient service, ensuring that extra helping
went where they were needed.  Indeed, one
member who I shall leave nameless (hint, if you like – D.H. has a moustache)
managed to get all four selections of sweet simultaneously.

Towards the end of the dinner, the normal round of toasts
were called for, with Bob Whatsisname almost proposing the health of the club
and new secretary ‘Wig’ replying almost inaudibly.  Alan Thomas told his usual convoluted story
in preparation for the toast of Absent Friends (personally I was sorry that my
own list was so long) giving special mention to Sybil who is still, we hope,
fit and well in

Uganda
.

This year brought a return to the B.E.C.’s own version of
post prandial pleasures – a real ‘first night’ performance.  To an imaginary roll of drums, the stage
curtains parted to reveal a freshly bearded and immaculately dressed Palmer,
armed with an enormous scroll on which was inscribed a recently discovered play
by a one time aspiring Mendip playwright Charley Dickens.  The title of this play was ‘A Christmas
Barrel’ and some of our more unassuming members had offered to try their luck
in the thespian role.  (By the way, this
play later written as a novel has done rather well, I believe.)

At the risk of infringing copyright, I can tell you that the
story centres round a grasping club treasurer, played superbly by

Barrie
, being faced with
a plea from schoolboy Royston for a Christmas barrel.  When this request is churlishly refused, who
should enter the scene but an ex-grasping club treasurer complete with chain
and ball – which he handled with great dexterity – who is prepared to
demonstrate the terrible possibilities for the future should the request still
be withheld.

We see the spirit of Mendip Past – although one in the
audience queried the first vowel – ably played by Pete Franklin, who showed us
members drinking their beer, singing songs and knowing nearly all the
words.  This was followed by Mendip
Present, with members sipping half pints brought on to the stage by Roger Dors
– no expense being spared on this production – and remembering that there was
once a song called, now what was it?  A
tongue twisting song by the Spirit of Mendip Present (Alfie in a long-haired
wig) reminded us of the great number of clubs now on Mendip.  This scene was followed by Mendip to come,
with Wig complete with slide rule and visually displayed computer caving from
the laboratory supported only by lashings of fruit juice and a lab. assistant
supported by a suitable harmonic dirge and presided over by the Spirit of
Mendip to come in the person of Chris (I’m the dreaded Fagin!)

Harvey
. Need we say that when confronted by such a spectre, the treasurer at
last coughs up!

Following the close of play (to thunderous applause and
shouts of ‘author’) the remainder of the evening until midnight was spent in
carousing, renewing old acquaintances and general merriment.  At the witching hour, the hall was closed so
that the hard working staff could go home. I think that I can say without fear that a good time was had by all, and
thanks are due to all those who organised the dinner and the entertainment.

I went up to the Belfry to sober up before going home, but
unfortunately there were several barrels on and when they ran out, we fetched
another – and what with singing and drinking, it was very early when I got home
at last.

 

Otter Hole

A short article by ROY BENNETT on
an interesting recent discovery in the Chepstow area

Background

The cave entrance was found by R.H.B. as a result of the
surface survey work being done in the Chepstow area for the Cambrian Cave
Registry.  As first seen, it had a
strongly draughting bedding plane a little way inside the entrance, and deeper
choked extensions.  The bedding plane had
been pushed some way by removing some stal deposit, but there were no signs of
any recent digging, and work was commenced by the Wednesday Night Digging Team
(Phil. Kingston, Colin Clark and Roy Bennett) aided by frequent applications of
bang over a period of about two months.

The previous work had, in fact, been carried out by the
Royal Forest of Dean Caving Club following a much in earlier discovery by Dave
Parker (R.F.D.C.C. and G.S.S.) and they returned to dig more intensively in the
deeper part just after the B.E.C. team started work.  The latter were blissfully ignorant of this
activity, only finding out when they went into the lower cave to look for a
missing bucket and found to their surprise that a big hole had been dug out and
a breakthrough made (actually four days previously).  At this point, one of the diggers and party
arrived and a rather heated discussion took place, to be continued later by
telephone with the result that it was more or less accepted that the three
B.E.C. diggers would take part in further exploration.

The Cave

So far, about fifteen hundred feet has been found with
possibilities of further extensions.  The
entrance series consists of a number of low bedding planes and rifts and is
known to flood dangerously in at least one place on very high tides.  A party has already been caught near the
entrance by a tide of over 46 feet which caused a very rapid water rise which
almost sumped on the last person through.

Beyond this section, the passageway becomes sizeable with many
fallen boulders, much mud and some nice but vulnerable stalagmite
formations.  This section ends with a
sump which rises and falls about 15 feet with the tide.  It will fall to an easily passed duck at low
water and is being enlarged by the Forest Cavers.  At present this is a serious trap as the fall
in level depends on the weather as well as the tide.  Thus, although several trips of a few hours
to the far side have been made, after the very heavy rain in September it
failed to open at all for about three weeks, rising to over ten feet above
opening level even at low tide.  A
probably by-pass is being currently worked on which should remove this risk
except under very wet conditions.

Beyond the sump, a boulder ruckle leads to a mainly
rift-like stream passage of impressive proportions and very well decorated in
parts.  It ends in a large, loose boulder
choke which has at present stopped further exploration.

For details of the R.F.D.C.C. digging and exploration etc,
see the Royal
Forest of Dean Caving Club
Newsletter 54 November 1974.

 

Cuthberts Leaders Meeting

A description taken from the minutes of this meeting, which
was held at the Belfry on the 17th November 1974.

The meeting was attended by R.Bennett, R.Craig, J. Durston,
M.Jordan, R. King, T. Large, Dr. O. C. Lloyd, R. Mansfield, A. Meaden and M.
Palmer.     Apologies were received from
C. Clark, D. Irwin, G. Meyrick, B. Prewer and S. Tuck.     The minutes were taken by A. Nichols.

After the adoption of the minutes of the 1973 meeting, there
was a general discussion on whether to remove all fixed tackle from the cave,
but no agreement was reached.  In view of
the mall attendance and the substantial majority at recent meetings in favour
of keeping fixed tackle, the meeting decided not to make any recommendation to
the B.E.C. Committee.

The removal of the tackle from the Maypole Series, as
instructed by the 1973 meeting, was agreed to be satisfactory.  It was also decided not to recommend the
replacement of the chain of ladder above Tin Mine, as the roof formations had
now been damaged beyond repair.

There was a discussion on the desirability of having any
tapes in the cave, but the majority at the meeting felt the need for some
tapes, both to protect formations and to direct routes.  The meeting recommended the removal of the
tapes in Pillar Chamber, with a direction to all leaders not to use the climb
up on the left as a short cut to the normal route.  The meeting also recommended the removal of
some of the tape in Boulder Chamber, but leaving enough to protect the Octopus
formation and the false floor at the entrance to Curtain Chamber.  Finally, the meeting recommended the taping
of the mud formations below the stal bank.

On the subject of digging sites, the meeting felt that there
was too much mess from abandoned diggings in the cave and recommended that
those responsible for the Gour Room dig should be asked to remove their
equipment and that those responsible for the Mantrap dig should also be asked
to remove their equipment.  They further
recommended that the barrier a hundred feet down from the choke should be
removed, that the Maypoles in High Chamber should be removed if they are no
longer needed for surveying, that the equipment in Lake Chamber should be
removed and that the Traverse Chamber dam should be removed.  They recommended that Tim Large’s dig and all
the other dams should be kept.

The meeting recommended that the tape measure and collecting
bottles should be removed from the Railway Tunnel, as they no longer had any
historic value.

The meeting approved the application of Gay Meyrick
(S.M.C.C.) and recommended that her provisional Leadership should be confirmed.

The meeting felt that the present practice should continue,
whereby people who have completed their form for leadership should be accepted
as provisional leaders and given a key to the cave immediately but, because it
may take up to a year before a provisional leader can be ratified as a full
leader, leaders who sign off trips for prospective leaders must realise that
they are not just confirming that the required route has been completed.

The meeting therefore recommended that on the form after the
words ‘other personal attributes will be judged by the leader on the trip and
also the person’s general attitude to caving and to cave preservation’ there
should be added ‘ the leader should only sign if these points are
satisfactory’.

The meeting recommended that the lock on the cave entrance
should be replaced by the B.E.C Caving Secretary with one of the spare
locks.  It felt that the number of
leaders was adequate and that there was no need to recruit more, but it
recommended that the Caving Secretary should draw up and publish in the B.B. a
complete list of those leaders still prepared to take trips, with their names
and addresses.

The Caving Secretary reported that an increasing number of
club members were not going about the procedure in a proper manner. The meeting
recommended that the access rules for Cuthbert’s should be publicised in the
B.B. and elsewhere.

M. Palmer, as the observing M.R.O. Warden, reported on the
practise rescue from Long Chamber on the 26th of October and on the possibility
of a fixed wire in the Wire Rift for use on rescues.  The wire would not be permanently in
position.  The meeting recommended that
the B.E.C. Committee should provide this tackle if there was enough money.

The poor attendance at this meeting was deplored.

Since this meeting, the recommendations have all been
ratified by the Committee of the B.E.C.

 

Club Committee

The Belfry,

Wells
Rd
, Priddy, Wells,

Somerset
. Telephone WELLS 72126

Chairman          S.J.
Collins

Minutes Sec      G.

Wilton
-Jones

Members           Colin Dooley, John Dukes, Chris Howell,
Dave Irwin, Tim Large, Andy Nicholls, Gerry Oaten, Barry Wilton

Officers of the Club

Honorary Secretary             D.J
IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells Som.  Tel : PRIDDY 369

Honorary Treasurer             B.

WILTON
, ‘Valley View’,

Venus Lane
,
Clutton, Nr. Bristol.

Caving Secretary                A.
NICHOLLS, c/o The Belfry

Assist Cav. Sec.                T.
LARGE,

15 Kippax Avenue
,
Wells, Somerset

Climbing Secretary             G.
OATEN,

32 St. Marks Road,
Easton
,

Bristol
. Tele :

BRISTOL

551163

Tacklemaster                     G.
WILTON-JONES, ‘Ilenea’,

Stonefield
Road
. Nap Hill,
High Wycombe,
Bucks. Tele : HIGH WYCOMBE 3534

Hut Warden                       C.
DOOLEY, 51 Ommaston Road., Harbourne,

Birmingham

17. Tele :

BIRMINGHAM

427 6122

Belfry Engineer                   J.
DUKES, 4

Springfield

Crscent, Southamton.  Tele : 0703 774649

B.B. Editor                         S.J.
COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishops Sutton, Nr. Bristol. Tel : CHEW MAGNA 2915

Publications Editor             C.
HOWELL,

131 Sandon Road
,
Edgebaston,

Birmingham

17.  Tele : (021) 429 5549

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA

WILTON
  Address as for Barry

Spares                              T.
LARGE,  Address already given

 

© 2024 Bristol Exploration Club Ltd

registered in England and Wales as a co-operative society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered no. 4934.

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