QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

All contributions to the Belfry Bulletin, including those
from officers of the club do not necessarily represent the views of the
committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the editor, unless specifically
stated as being such.

Committee Members and Officers of the Club for 1976/77

A total of 7 members from last year’s committee expressed
their willingness to stand again. Only one nomination was received by the Hon.
Secretary prior to the A.G.M. bringing the total to eight.  As a result, there was no election, and the
1976/77 committee is thus, at present: –

Chris Batstone, Paul. Christie, Alfie Collins, John Dukes
Tim Large, Mike Wheadon, Barrie Wilton & Graham Wilton-Jones.

Graham Wilton-Jones was not able to attend the October
committee meeting.  It is hoped that he
will continue as Tacklemaster. Assuming this, Club Officers are at present as
follows: –

Committee Chairman and Editor, B.B.       Alfie Collins

Hon. Secretary.                                       Mike
Wheadon

Hon. Treasurer.                                        Barrie Wilton

Caving Secretary.                                     Tim
Large

Hut Warden.                                            Chris Batstone

Tacklemaster.                                          Graham W – J.

Belfry Engineer.                                       John
Dukes.

The committee are formally advertising for a CLIMBING
SECRETARY.  He is required by the club
constitution to be a committee member, and any suitable volunteer will
therefore be co-opted to the committee.

The committee are also looking for ASSISTANTS to the HUT
WARDEN and to the BELFRY ENGINEER. Please contact any member of the committee if you think you can help, or
come to the next committee meeting on Friday, November 12th.

ANGIE DOOLEY has resigned from being MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY
and this is now being dealt with by MIKE WHEADON, who should be contacted for
any matters which Angie used to deal with.

 

Editorial

Teamwork

At the A.G.M., the club decided to follow up the suggestion
I made and to form a team to produce the B.B. in the future.  Between now and the end of the year, this
team will be getting itself set up and will become increasingly involved with
producing the B. B. until the January B.B. becomes the first one to be fully
produced by teamwork.

Before introducing the members of the team and their jobs
one point should be made perfectly clear from the outset.  The idea of forming a team is not to give the
present editor a whole lot of assistants. When the team becomes fully set up, the editor will be just one member
of it and the team will decide such matters as any change of format or cover
etc.  This, then, is where I step down
from being a one-man-band (and not before time, I can almost hear you saying!)

Starting with the bloke in the front line – doing one of the
most important jobs in the whole team, is ANDY SPARROW whose job it now is to
collect enough articles, letters and other contributions from members to keep
the B.B. going.  He will try to
accumulate a reserve stock, so that if he has to be away for any reason, there
is always enough to print the next B.B. Andy will be relying on all members to produce stuff for him and because
this job is so important, it might pay to have a closer look at the nuts and
bolts of it.

A 20 page sized B.B. needs about 15 pages of its pages to be
filled by members.  This is about half a
page EVERY DAY, and about 225 words.  It
sounds (and is!) quite a job to persuade members to keep this up, but it has
been done in the past by a handful of regular writers.  An interesting thought is that on average we
get about a new member every fortnight, or 26 a year so if each member wrote a
total of 7 pages for the B.B. during the entire course of his or her
membership, this would be enough to keep the B.B. going for ever.  If you look at it this way, it is not an
awful lot to ask for.  Ask yourself how
you are measuring up to this standard. Have you produced your seven pages yet? Have a word with Andy and work something out.

The next member of the team is BARRIE WILTON who has agreed
to look after all the supplies, ranging from paper to small items like
non-reproducing pencils.  He will, of
course, keep his Treasurer’s eye on expenditure.

With supplies of articles and stationery arranged by Andy
and Barrie, the actual preparation of the masters will be shared by ALFIE and
MIKE WHEADON, who will, between them, be able to cover each other in case of
holidays, sickness or absence.

Printing will be done by ALAN KENNETT, assisted where
necessary by TONY CORRIGAN with ALFIE as a further back stop.  Collating and folding will still be done by
MIKE and PAT PALMER and the postal side will still be done by BRENDA WILTON.

Thus, no less than nine members will shortly be running the
B.B. between them.  If this arrangement
can be work and stay that way, we should have the B.B. on solid footing for the
future.

Whither The Club Dinner?

Perhaps more than the usual crop of grumbles will emerge from
this year’s dinner.  Again, perhaps not.
To date, the committee have received two letters – one complaining about the
food, the service and the general standard of dress and manners and the other
saying what a fine dinner it was and how much the writer had enjoyed it.

The committee are very well aware of the fact that the sheer
size of the B.E.C. dinner is making any real choice of venue and caterer almost
impossible.  In spite of the greatest
number of enquiries ever made, ranging over a wide area, months went by without
a single taker and the actual venue was only found at a late stage after a long
and fruitless search for somewhere – anywhere – to hold it.

In comparison with some other clubs, whose dinners have been
decreasing in numbers of late, the B.E.C. dinner has been expanding, and the
club committee have naturally been loath to consider any major changes to what
has seemed to be a winning formula.  However,
the time might have come for changes to be looked into, and the committee have
given themselves a month to canvass opinion as much as possible to see what, if
any, changes club members might like to see put into effect.

To date, two suggestions have surfaced.  One suggests that hot soup could well be
followed by a COLD main course with perhaps baked potatoes and a cold
sweet.  Plates could be prepared while
the pre-dinner drinks were going on, thus saving time in serving.  A place like the newly enlarged Priddy
Village Hall is quite capable of seating the B.E.C. under these circumstances.

The other suggestion is that the dinner should cater for
fewer people and be held in some place where ‘plush’ surroundings, good food
and good service could be relied upon. It would, of course, be expensive, but this itself might help to limit
the numbers.

Any other suggestions are, of course, very welcome and
members are urged to contact the committee. The next meeting of the committee is on Friday, 12th of November as the
first Friday is Guy Fawkes Day.  The
success or failure of next years dinner could well depend on what is decided
then, so make sure that your voice is heard!

“Alfie”

Notices

Please note that members are obliged to collect 5p per head
from non-members using club tackle. Leaders of parties should remember to collect any tackle fees.

An experiment in removing most of the cutlery and the
crockery from the Belfry will be taking place soon in an effort to solve the
washing-up problem.  Further details will
be published soon.  This is a preliminary
warning!

Owing to the higher cost of insurance, the committee have
decided that the subscription for 1977 will have to be raised to £3.00 and the
Joint member’s rate to £4.25.  The
committee felt that it was better to make a relatively small increase to the
sub to combat inflation as they occurred, rather than to wait until a large
increase became necessary.  It is
interesting to note that today’s £3.00 is worth approximately 6/- in pre-war
terms, and the sub in those days was 10/-, so we are still on the winning side
if that is any consolation in these hard times!

A scheme for paying annual subscriptions by BANKER’S ORDER
will shortly be announced.  This will
enable club members to forget about having to renew their sub.  The treasurer asks that any members wishing
to pay this way please WAIT for instructions and NOT make their own
arrangements with their bank.  Otherwise,
he may not know who has paid by this method.

Members who were not at the A.G.M. may like to know that the
new insurance arrangements, although more expensive than the old ones, GIVE
LESS COVER FOR MEMBERS.  This will be
spelt out separately, possibly in this B.B. If YOU are uncertain as to whether you are covered to the extent you
would wish, BOB WHITE, our insurance broker, will be happy to advise you.  His address is R. White and Co, Insurance
Brokers, 14 Broad Street, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2DN and his phone number is
Wells 75077.  It is essential that
Cuthbert’s Leaders arrange adequate cover, and they will be contacted by the
Caving Secretary.

The Hut Warden wants volunteers to help on working weekends
at the Belfry.  Please get in touch with
Chris Batstone

Owing to the troubles which have hit the B.B. recently, we
realise that some articles are now a bit behindhand in time but this one is
still just as readable.

 

Whitsun in Yorkshire

Andy Sparrow describes his
Whitsun activities in this account of a trip to Yorkshire

Yorkshire was the scene of more B.E.C. activity this Whitsun
when John Dukes, Chris Batstone, Sue Jordan and Andy Sparrow decided to do some
caving there.  We set off on the Friday
evening and after the inevitable pub stop, reached the Bradford Cottage at 2.30
in the morning.  We attempted to
communicate with the snoring lumps within, but with no success.  Deciding to pitch some tents, we drove off
along an obscure road into the hills to find a suitable spot.  Flickers of lightning over Ingleborough and
spots of rain encouraged us to stop and erect tents in the nearest field.  No sooner were we inside our pits when a
cataclysmic thunderstorm broke.  Several
times that night we thought we were about to lose our flysheets in the howling
gale.

Next morning was dry and, after taking down the tents, we
returned to the Bradford Cottage.  As it
turned out, there was plenty of room and we stayed there for the rest of the
holiday.  After some debate, we decided
to go down Alum Pot via Long Churn.  We
were soon at the top of the Alum Pot Lane, getting changed and sorting tackle.
Much later found us at what we thought was the right entrance, so off we
set.  We followed a fine streamway down
some short wet climbs to the head of a very deep wet pitch, where Chris found
Andy desperately scratching for handholds, screaming “Diccan!,
Diccan!” in a high-pitched voice. Retracing our steps for two hundred feet we found a short crawl that
soon led us into Long Churn proper.  A
large passage led down a short climb to the head of the first 45 foot
pitch.  Laddering this gave access to a
large pebble floored passage emerging into daylight on a ledge halfway down the
main Alum Pot shaft.

Descending another short ladder pitch brought us to the
point where the huge flirt of the main shaft narrows, forming ledges on either
side.  Following one of these brought us
to the Bridge, a huge block jammed across the shaft at an angle of 45O.  Climbing down over the Bridge to the head of
the next pitch provides one with a fine view of the shaft.  Twin waterfalls cascade at each end of the
rift and shower down for over a hundred and fifty feet.  Descending the next pitch of 45 ft brought us
to the bottom of the Main Shaft, where some short, wet climbs led to the head
of the last pitch of 115 feet.

From the base of this pitch, the view up the Main Shaft is
memorable and most spectacular.  Beneath
the pitch, a brief section of streamway descends to where the 120 ft deluge
from Diccan thunders down.  From here,
the sump follows immediately, rather a sad end to an easy but very impressive
trip.

Returning up the pitches, we followed Long Churn upstream
and found a delightful half mile walk up a fine streamway.  So pleasant, in fact, that we ran up and down
it three times.  That night found us in
the Helwith Bridge supping Tetley’s, where we met a strong contingent of Wessex
notables.  For some strange reason, we
then phoned the Belfry; so that we could insult people we had gone three
hundred miles to get away from!

On Sunday morning, we spent an hour trying to decide which
cave to do.  We finally decided to do the
Northern equivalent of Goatchurch – Calf Holes. MUCH, MUCH later when we eventually found the entrance – it proved very
impressive.  A huge stream was pouring
down the side of an elliptical rift, thirty feet long and deep.  Close by was an alternative dry shaft which
we laddered and descended.  Moving
upstream and passing under the main waterfall in waist deep water, we entered
an inlet passage.  This proved quite
uninteresting, so we set off under the waterfall again and went
downstream.  This passage, we knew, would
take us out through Browgill Cave if only we could find the connection.  We followed a long, knee-deep canal for
several hundred feet to where the water vanished under one wall.  After crawling the wrong way, up a long nasty
bedding plane full of wellie boots and dead sheep, we found the connection, and
regaining the stream, we followed it to the head of a twenty foot
waterfall.  This, we by-passed on the
right hand side and from its base we followed a large passage out into daylight
at the Browgill entrance.

Returning to Calf Holes, we amused ourselves for an hour by
laddering the main waterfall.  Passing
fell walkers were at a loss to understand why we were climbing up and down in a
torrential downpour without bothering to get off at the bottom.  We were starting to wonder ourselves!

Next day was meant to be a classic trip down Gaping Gill via
Bar Pot.  However, on arrival, we found
Bar to be full of people boot-to-helmet all the way down, so we changed our
minds.  The reason for all the people was
the G.G. winch meet.  The head of the
Main Shaft was like a circus.  There was
even a chap with sandwich boards selling Gaping Gill posters.  So we ended our weekend with a ten mile walk
over Ingleborough.  Low cloud was just
skimming the summit as we arrived at the top. Ignoring the crowds of luminous hill walkers cowering behind the summit
shelter we sat on top of the highest cairn and ate sandwiches and mint
cake.  Between the passing patches of
cloud, we could just discern the peaks of Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside.

The long walk back to Clapham and a cup of tea in the Pen-y-Ghent
cafe made a satisfying finish to the day and the weekend.

Editor’s
Note:     The cairn mentioned – if it’s
the same one that I remember, is a memorial to Keith Asquith, a very good
friend of the B.E.C.

 

From the Caving Log

extracted by Any
Sparrow

23.5.76. Agen Allwedd.

Tim Large, John Dukes, Bucket Tilbury, Graham Wilton-Jones
with Ken Gregory, Graham Price and three other Cerberus members.

Grand Circle, anticlockwise. The third and fourth boulder chokes do not seem particularly unstable
and the Biza connection appears to be in little danger of collapsing.  Water conditions were low.  Biza Passage appears to be quite complex by
Aggie standards.  Southern Stream gets
longer every time you do it, I swear. Three of us had a. look at the Cliffs of Dover and. then got out only
ten minutes behind the others.  6¾ hours.
G. W-J.

2.6.76. A Sea Cave, Bosheston, Pembrokeshire.

Ian and I had a look at the area round St. Goran’s Chapel
(SR 167929) a couple of years ago at high tide. Today, at low tide, I managed to walk further round the cliffs to the
left.  At 9665 9285 interesting cave with
large entrance leading to squeeze, then further chamber.  Unfortunately, I was without a light, so, if
the army ever moves out of the area, something must go.  Meanwhile we’ll have to stick to a rubber
boat.          G. W-J.

4.6.76. Cave Sites, Penderyn.

South East of A 4059, near 952 114.  Several collapses through grit into Limestone
shales and upper limestone.  Someone is
looking at these, and so did I.     G. W
-J.

Notice

The new insurance arrangements will mean that an annual list
of members will be sent to the insurers. This will mean PROMP PAYMENT in future! Just an advance warning!

 

 

‘True Tales from History’

A Reminiscence sent in
by Jill Tuck.

Editor’s Note:  Although I was far too junior a member to be
on the Committee in those days, I can remember this tale being told with great
glee at the time.

Once upon a time, a B.E.C. caving party headed for the
inoffensive environs of Bath to have a look at some of the stone mines.  We changed in an adjacent school and
descended an old shaft actually in the children’s playground to the immense
interest of the local schoolchildren.

These mines lie only a small distance below the surface the
main routes being large enough to walk through in comfort although many of the
side passages are low and constricted. We took compass bearings, as some guide to finding the return route, as
parts of the mines are fairly involved. As we walked through the passages, our lamps sometimes picked up a
distant white pillar which appeared ghost-like as the shadows changed.  I found the atmosphere rather eerie because
of this, and the effect was increased by the occasional miners stool which
still lay just where the worker had abandoned it.

Along a stretch of wall, for twelve feet or more, a huge
colony of bats was hanging, some under a thin stream of water which ran down
their legs, soaked their furry bodies, and dripped off their heads.  Why they chose to sleep there, instead of in
a dry patch was a mystery.  Presumably
even the animal kingdom has its masochists. The sight of hundred of bats doing a comical knees bend act with different
timings as we passed, stays in my memory. The whole wall appeared to be in motion.

Eventually, it was time to return, but the compass was no
help.  None of the passages went the way
we needed to go.  We spread out down
various side passages looking for daylight.

At last, a small semi-blocked passage to the surface was
found, and we gardened enough rocks away to make egress possible.  George squirmed through on his stomach, stuck
his head out into the open air, and told us that he was in a grassy depression,
which restricted his view.  He wriggled
out further, and then pulled back hastily. He had found that he was in a private garden and that a woman was just
coming down the path.  As bad luck would
have it, his hasty move loosened some rocks and the woman, curious about the
noise, changed course towards the depression. George backed again, as he did not want to alarm her with the sight of
his body less head, resting on her garden like some grotesque; cabbage or John
the Baptist’s on the usual platter.  More
stones dropped with his movement.  Really
curious now, the housewife stepped into the depression and peered into the new
hole now revealed.  George, a gentleman
born, raised his caving helmet politely and said “Good afternoon,
Madam!”

There was a shriek, nearly audible in Bath, which was
followed by a torrent of unladylike rhetoric, interlarded with assertions about
our intentions of stealing her raspberries and vegetables.

We did get our bearings and arrived back at the entrance
eventually, but it had to be by an underground route.  And the raspberries were just ripe!

 

An Unusual Ascent of the Scafell Pikes

Another episode in the career of
Bob Cross.

Many well known paths climb Scafell and Scafell Pike from
the radial valleys of Borrowdale, Eskdale, Wastdale and Langdale.  I have ascended a few of the better known
routes and enjoyed them all – in particular the Corridor Route from Sty Head
Pass via the head of the spectacular Piers Gill.

During a midweek stay in Langdale in the late spring of
1974, I was invited by two friends to join them on an unusual round trip of the
Scafells.  One of’ these friends, Mike
Rose from Leeds, is an authority on Lakeland fell walking and his company on
the fells is both informative and jovial. Andrew Sagar, my other companion, is an accomplished rock climber, a
born optimist and a very enthusiastic walker. Needless to say, I found myself in rather superior company.  We were all encamped on the National Trust
site at the head of Langdale and our walk started and finished there.

It was a warm spring morning with a clear sky, good
visibility and the promise of a settled day. After a good breakfast we started off, the time was a quarter to
ten.  Our path lay across the flat
pasture land surrounding Stool End Farm, through the outbuildings and across
the open fell side to the foot of the Band, a long spur running East/West down
.from the summit of Bow Fell.  The Band
is a steep, rocky ascent of a mile and a half, and the path leads you to the
col between Bow Fell (2,960’) and Crinkle Crags.  In the col are there small tarns, called
simply ‘Three Tarns’ but a more apt title would have been ‘Three Puddles.’  From there, we got a fine view of our
objectives, Scafell (3,162′) Mickledore and Seafell Pike (3,206′) overlooking
Yeastrigg Crags.  Below, and to the
south, we could see the head of Linecove Beck in an area of lush, marshy ground
befittingly titled Green Hole.  We
followed a feeder stream down the heathy hillside into the hole, getting a boot
full of slime and sphagnum moss on our way. A halt was called here in order to empty this sludge from our footwear.  Rather a wild spot was Green Hole –
surrounded by dark crags and silent apart from the gentle murmur of the beck
and the faint swishing of the breeze through the tussocks.  The apparent illogicality of our route had
dawned on me by now as I stared – blinking up at the thirteen hundred feet of
hillside we had come down and the three hundred feet we were just about to go
up.  I began to think my companions were
a pair of lunatics.

The next leg of the mystery tour took us across the Southern
end of Yeastrigg Crags and into upper Eskdale at the back of Scafell.  t proved hard going.

A bite to eat; a mash of tea, followed by a footbath and a
nap.  What more could a weary mortal
want?  That was our dinner break, and we
took it at the foot of the well-known Carn Spout Waterfall, a perfect spot for
camping or bivouacking.  At this time,
the waterfall was in spate, and a fine sight it made.

Upper Eskdale lies between the Scafells, Esk House and
Yeastrigg Crags.  The back of the valley
is flat and composed largely of moraine, the result of the glaciation and frost
shattering of the surrounding peaks.  In
dry weather, the infant Esk sinks into the pebbles a quarter of a mile below
its confluence with Carn Spout.  The
vegetation is almost entirely tussocky grasses and bracken.  In the winter, the whole place is one huge
bog when the overlying peat becomes saturated with floodwater.  The most striking feature of the valley is
Dow Crag – better known to climbers as the Esk Buttress and situated on the
lower slopes of Scafell Pike.

I remember the ascent from Carn Spout to Scafell as being
exhausting but nonetheless interesting and very worthwhile.  The first stretch was over steep, sharp rock
at the side of the Spout.  This was
followed by steep to moderate scree and boulders that led directly to the Col
of Mickledore.   After approximately a
thousand feet, we turned left off the main path and started up a steep gulley,
full of loose blocks which brought us to ‘Fox’s Tarn’.  Again, like Three Tarns, nothing more than a
puddle.  From here, a steep, coarse scree
of about three hundred brought us to the summit of Scafell (3,162′).

Scafell stands at the Southern tip of a huge arc of
mountains that overlook Wastwater.  The
summits along the arc could all be seen clearly.  Starting with Haycock (2,618′) we could see
Scout Fell (2,760′) Pillar (2,927′) Kirk Fell (2,630′) Great Gable (2,946′) and
finally Scafell Pike.  Features such as
Calder Hall Atomic Power Station, the Isle of Man and the Pennines could also
be seen.  The green undulations of
Cumberland’s coast with wide expanses of sea provided contrast to the frowning
mountains.

We got as close as we could to the sheer cliffs of the
Central Buttress and gazed down at the jumble of boulders at its feet, called
Hollow Stones.  Somewhere down there was
the traverse known as Lord’s Rake, along which our path was to take us.  Actually, the descent and traverse of Lord’s
Rake was not too hairy.  There seemed to
be more danger from loose rock and rotten snow than from exposed heights.  In all, about eight hundred feet is lost by
the time you have descended to the foot of the Rake.  The traverse across to Mickledore is short
and sharp, albeit a little loose and slippery.

Lord’s Rake at the time seemed to be a by-word amongst
Lakeland fell walkers.  It had been a
scene of tragedy as recently as last Christmas, when a schoolmaster and his son
had died in the snow while trying to cross it. I recall a feeling of mild satisfaction at having negotiated it
safely.  Rock climbers and walkers with a
head for heights can descend from Scafell to Mickledore by Broad Strand.  I’ve looked at it from both directions, but
haven’t yet dared to venture forth. Rather a well known member of the B.C.R.A. reckons to have descended
Broad Strand clad in gum boots and without an ice axe in January!  That’s what he told me, anyway.  For information, there is a Mountain Rescue
Kit box strategically positioned below Broad strand.

From Mickledore, our walk took us up over a boulder field to
the cairn atop Scafell Pike, England’s loftiest spot.

At this point, we must leave Bob until next month!  (Ed.)

 

Monthly Crossword – Number 68

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6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Tread, rather than pealed in caving use. (4)

2. Direction and rock found on Mendip. (9)

3. Nylon 8 down becomes this on applying (e.g.) net load.
(9)

4. Describes timber in Mendip cave? (4)

5. Fill ill in magnet superseded by vibrams? (5)

6. Dangering?  Quite
the reverse – making safer! (9)

7. A taster we visit on Mendip. (9)

7. Reflection noticeable in some large chambers. (4)

8. See (3). (4)

9. This ground gives cave’s location. (5)

 

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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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