Happy New Year

A belated greeting to all readers of the B.B., and good
caving or climbing in 1977.

New Disguise

For the sixth time during its life, the B.B. has changed its
shape.  We reckon that the bookshelves of
older members must present a motley appearance by now as the B.B. has been
Foolscap (13″x8″) Quarto (10″x8″) Sixmo (8″x5″)
back to Quarto again, A5 (8¼” x 5⅞”) and now A4 (11¾” x
8¼”).   What we lose in thickness we
gain in page size, and we will do a few experiments during the year to see how
best to take advantage of the new sized pages. For example, we are now saving some paper (whilst  going back to having covers) by printing the
list of club officials on the inside of the front cover (not on this re-print)
and the monthly crossword enlarged in size.


The B.B. team is making steady rather than spectacular
progress.  Alan Kennett is now,
conversant with the printing process; Barrie has the supplies well in hand;
Mike continues to take some of the work of preparing masters, and Andy is
twisting people’s arms for articles.

We are not yet in the happy position of being able to print
pages of the B.B. ahead of time, but, the signs continue to suggest that this
time may not be far away.

Committee Problems

Two subjects which the committee must get sorted out as soon
as possible are the dinner (and thanks should go to all those who sent back
questionnaires) and the installation (if possible) of some form of central heating.  We shall do our best to keep members up to
date on both these important subjects.

Where Did Last June Go?

Readers with long memories may still be wondering what
happened to the B.B. which suffered when our printing machine broke down last
June.  One entire side of each of the
pieces of paper had been printed before the machine wrecked the master and
caused work to stop, so all this paper cannot be used for anything else.  This being so, we are planning to retype the
damaged master and finish the printing of this edition of the B.B.  It will be sent to you alongside one of this
years B.B. postings.  We are doing this
because it will not cost any more and will at least enable those who collect
B.B.’s to complete their set for last year. If it’s any consolation, when you finally get last June’s B.B., it will
have the distinction of being the most delayed edition there has ever been.

As the slow-motion drama of the proposed changes to N.C.A.
goes on, we shall try to keep members in touch with events.  As some members probably know, the Working
Party, which was formed at the suggestion of the Southern Council
representative on the N.C.A., has now produced its findings and, again on our
suggestion, it was then agreed to give people plenty of time to think about it
before N.C.A. did anything about it. N.C.A. are to hold a special meeting on this subject some time in the
spring.  Needless to say, the Southern
Council’s own working party (which started the whole matter off in the first
place) have already met to consider what they will be recommending to the
Southern Council at its next meeting in February.  The C.S.C.C. delegates to the special meeting
of N.C.A. will then go to this meeting fully briefed as to what aspects the
Southern Council are prepared to concede, to negotiate or to stand firm
on.  Obviously, these last points will be
made as few as possible, as the C.S.C.C. does not wish to place any unnecessary
obstacles in the way towards a final agreement. One presumes, however, that if a deadlock is reached, then the meeting
will either have to find some new delaying formula or face the consequences of
a breakdown.  Once again, we must hope
that commonsense will prevail, and in the months between now and then, we will
be keeping readers up to date, both by articles and comment of this sort, on
what is going on.

Monthly Crossword

The editor will be pleased to accept crosswords in line with
the new format as in this B.B. Crosswords should be 11 x 11 squares in size; have a translational or
rotational symmetry pattern and contain mainly words associated with caving or
climbing activities generally.  If clues
are sent as well, these should be of the cryptic variety, but un-clued
crosswords will be accepted.



The Hut Warden would like to remind members that CROCKERY
and CUTLERY will be taken out of circulation on the 31st January for an
experimental period, to see if it contributes to the tidiness of the
Belfry.  Please bring your own in future!

Barrie would like to remind members that CAR BADGES are
still available.  Owing to rising costs,
these may well go the way of club ties in future, so if you want a car badge,
NOW is the time to get hold of one.  It
may soon be too late!

There are still some outstanding HUT FEES owed by some
members.  Please settle as soon as
possible – and don’t forget that ANNUAL SUBS are due on the 31st of Jan!


Club Insurance

by Joan Bennett.

Note:    Joan has taken a great interest
in this subject, and is probably one of the best informed members in our club.  We feel that readers, who may still be a
little unsure of what it all means, will find this article to be a great help.

Joan writes, “Having been associated with, and indulged
in the ‘hazardous sports’ of caving, mountaineering and skiing for many years,
I feel very sad to have written this article, but I am afraid that it is now an
established fact that many persons are prepared to bring cases regarding
accidents which result in personal injury, and the damages which are awarded
are often very high.  If such a case is
brought by a caver against another caver, then of course, the injured party
must prove negligence.  The only defence
which a caver has is that he was observing the accepted caving code, and any
injury was due to the nature of the sport, and must therefore be taken as one
of the hazards accepted by cavers.  It is
essential, therefore, that cavers at all times strictly observe the caving code
and do not indulge in practices of personal self-advertisement which could
result in injury to others.”

Following the article by the Editor of the B.B. earlier, and
the information given at the recent A.G.M., there are some members who are
still somewhat unclear what the issues are, and what insurance cover they now
have as members of the club.  I will do my
best to throw a little light upon this rather dark subject.

As stated previously, the purpose of a club Public Liability
Insurance is to protect individual members of the club from the possibility of
financial loss as a result of some legal action in which damages might be
awarded.  It was also stated that a
member of the club could find himself or herself liable in one of two ways –
either because of his or her membership of the club, or as an individual.

The old policies (held for many years by the major Mendip
clubs, who are all members of the C.S.C.C.) were similar; so much of the
re-negotiation was done by on behalf of member clubs. The result of these
negotiations was the premiums and cover as quoted at the A.G.M.

For members who did not attend the A.G.M., the six quoted
premiums range from 30p per member per annum to £4 per member per annum.  The minimum cover, offered at 30p was for
committee members and officers only against claims from non-cavers and landowners,
up to £100,000.  The £4 premium covered
all club members against claims from members, other cavers, non-cavers and
landowners up to £100,000 – in other words, the cover which we enjoyed under
the old policy.  The only snag about
continuing to enjoy this extensive cover was that the total premium, which was
£66 in the 1975/76 financial year, would be increased to something in the
region of £720 for next year.  This was
felt by practically everybody to be completely out of court, and was not really
seriously considered.

The Committee therefore recommended that the club accept the
policy which covered all club members and guests against claims from non-cavers
and landowners up to a maximum of £250,000 – at a premium to the club of 61p
per member per annum. Assuming a membership of 180, this means an annual
premium of approximately £110, that is, a rise of £44 or 66%.

‘This particular line was recommended by the committee as
covering the members for claims which they could not reasonably be able to
cover for themselves for their own personal public liability.  This would include any claim for negligence
brought against a member either by another member or by another caver.  In other words, the negligence of a member
against another caver is his own responsibility and the member will not be
insured against such a claim by a club policy.

Note:    I turning over a page of Joan’s
manuscript, I think I have missed out a few vital words.  If so, my apologies to Joan and I will
further emphasise that the CLUB policy is designed to provide the sort of cover
it would be very hard for an individual member to obtain – i.e. against
non-cavers and landowners.  It DOES NOT
cover claims by other members or other cavers because to do so would be very
expensive AND cavers can readily obtain such cover for themselves.

The new policy for the club insurance has not yet been
received from the brokers but I imagine it will be based mainly on the relevant
sections of the old policy.  If, however,
there are any special points, they will be brought to the attention of members.

According to the brokers, the relevant definitions are:-

a)      NON-CAVERS
– Persons not engaged in caving or similar activities, i.e. members of the
general public.

– People who own, or are tenants of land under which there are caves.  This cover also includes an indemnity to
landowners against claims made against them arising out of caving activities of
the insured club.  This indemnity only
applies, however, where it is required by an access agreement, e.g.
Charterhouse Caving Committee.

c)      GUESTS –
Other cavers caving with members of the insured club on a particular trip.

(These definitions are from an article by Tim Reynolds in a
C.S.C.C. Newsletter.)

There are two ways by which a member can obtain personal
public liability cover.  (A) if he or she
has a householder’s policy covering the building and/or contents of his home,
then most policies will have a public liability section included.  The premium for this is either free or a
fairly nominal amount but it is advisable to read the small print of the policy
as it may specifically exclude certain pastimes or sports.  If no mention is made of caving in the
policy, then it will be in your own interest to obtain a written statement from
either the insurance company or broker that it does in fact cover your caving
activities.  (B) If a member does not
have such a policy, then he may obtain a specific personal public liability
insurance.  The best way to do this is to
approach a good broker.  If your own
broker is unable to obtain cover, Bob White will help in this matter,            as he has a great deal of experience
in caving insurance and at least one member of the club has found that other
brokers do not have this specialised knowledge and are not always willing to do
the necessary research.

The committee has decided that Cuthbert’s leaders are
especially vulnerable, as they are the designated the leader of the party and
as such are actually in charge of the party in the cave.  All leaders, therefore, either from the
B.E.C. or other clubs MUST have personal liability cover which must include
caving and must go up to £250,000.  The
Caving secretary has contacted all leaders on this matter.  The leaders will obviously appreciate that
the club must cover itself by insisting on this insurance being held by all
leaders, as any claim arising could very likely come back on the club and would
be outside its insurance.

During the discussions on liability, a theory has been put
forward causing a great deal of anxiety amongst Mendip cavers, that members of
the club, by virtue of their membership, could be liable in the case of a claim
for negligence against another member of the club not being met. We took this
matter up personally with the Royal Insurance Group (our household insurers)
and the company replied:

“The comments made by Mr. Bennett suggesting that the
Bennetts could be held to be legally liable for damages resulting from the
negligence of other members of the club would seem somewhat illogical, and we
doubt whether any claim of this nature could ever be upheld unless one of the
individuals was also personally negligent.”  For the interest of ‘caving wives’, I would
point out that our policy is held jointly, but that our particular policy does
state that any member of the insured family permanently residing with him will
be indemnified in the same terms as the insured, but again it is as well to
read your own policy.

As the new schemes were hammered out by the C.S.C.C., the
special position of the climbers in the B.E.C. was not mentioned.  This has been taken up by the club with the
brokers, but at the time of writing nothing has been settled.  If we cannot receive any insurance cover at a
reasonable premium, then we will take this matter up with the British
Mountaineering Council, and we will attempt to obtain cover under their
policy.  Members will be kept informed on
this matter.

As the new premium will be
due each year by the end of April, based on the up-to-date list of members, in
future the rules of the club must be enforced and if subs are not paid by the
end of April then membership ceases and you will have to re-apply.

To sum up, the club has insured members against claims
brought by non-cavers and landowners, and the rest is up to you as an
individual.  You must decide whether you
are going to insure yourself against claims for your own negligence.  If, however, you are a Cuthbert’s Leader,
then it is a condition of your leadership that a suitable insurance cover is
held, and if you are a committee member it is very strongly recommended.

I have not covered any aspect of insurance other than public
liability.  For other types of insurance
that may be of interest to cavers, e.g. Holiday insurance (whilst caving
abroad) Equipment insurance, Personal Accident etc., it is best to consult your

I hope that this article has helped to clear the muddied
waters, but if anyone requires any more general help, Dave Irwin or I will try
to help and Bob White will give professional advice.

References:       B.B.
No. 340 April/May 1976.
Newsletter, Summer 1976

Further Reading:N.C.A. Publication – Access to Caves, Summer
1976, Appendix G

Bob White, c/o R. White and Co.,
4, Broad Street,
Wells, Somerset. BA5 2DN
Tel: Wells (0749) 75077.



Since the publication of the Annual Membership List, in the
November BB, there are, as usual, a few amendments to Members addresses and we
welcome: some new Members and the return of a few of the older ones who had
overlooked their subs: –



Corrigan, A.

139 Stockwood Lane, Stockwood, Bristol.


Murray, K.

17 Harrington Gardens, London SW 7.


Wilton-Jones, I

Cwm Dwr, 110 Piers Avenue, Alton, Solihull, West


Wilton-Jones, A.

Cwm Dwr, 110 Piers Avenue, Alton, Solihull, West


Sandercott, J.

5 Eastcroft, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4PJ.


Shaw, c.

7 Queens Head, Walk, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts.
EN10 6JS


Stafford, J.M.

Back Plaidy, By Turriff, Aberdeenshire.


Gage, C.

36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Somerset.


Gage, T.

36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Somerset 6JS


Stenner, R.

18 Stafford Place, Weston Super Mare.


Tuttlebury, S.A.

28 Beacon Close, Bounstone, Farnham, Surrey


Dibben, N.J.

97 Worth Clough, Poynton, Cheshire.


Dell, G.T.

A15 Printing, HQN1, BFPO 825.


Howell, C.

131 Sandon Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham 17


Ellis, B.M.

30 Main Road, Westonzoyland, Bridgwater.


New Members


Cavender, N.M.

Paradise House, Croscombe, Nr Wells, Somt.


Cavender, F.J.

Paradise House, Croscombe, Nr Wells, Somt


Knight, C.

54 Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey.


Hodgson, P.

11 Ockford Ridge, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 RNP


Ingleton, A.

Seymour Cottage, Hinton St Mary, Sturminster Newton


It’s not so simple!

Some further thoughts on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet

by Wig

Since the discovery of Cuthbert’s II in 1969, the extension
into Cuthbert’s III has defied all attempts – though some have been pretty weak
tries – and odd thoughts about this have gone through my mind from time to
time.  About 1968 I wrote an article in
the B.B. listing all the known outlets from the Gour/ Lake Fault area in an
attempt to encourage more interest to parties having a look for alternative
routes.  If the leaders and their parties
cared to travel at a more gentlemanly and more leisurely pace through the cave,
they would be able to observe that there are many features that scream for an
explanation and which might also give a clue to possible places for further

Let me start at a point with which everyone is familiar –
the main Streamway at Everest Junction. At this point, it is gravel floored and remains for the remainder of its
route to Gour Hall.  Moving just upstream
from Everest Junction, the stream bed is clearly seen, but as the gradient of
the stream flattens to near horizontal, the gravel floor takes over.  This choking of the streamway continues as a
gravel floor, to Stal Pitch.  Also
clearly seen at Everest Junction is a pronounced tide mark at about fifteen
feet above the stream level.

The lack of stalagmite in the streamway down to Stal Pitch
is another clue that, in recent times, the passage has been choked, and this
choking could have been caused by the existence of the banks of stalagmite at
Stal Pitch.  Particular evidence of this
is at the stooping section of he streamway upstream of the Dining Room
entrance.  The source of the massive bank
of stal at Stal Pitch is in the Rabbit Warren below the second stal bank and is
not due to any inlet in the roof of the main streamway.  Furthermore, if one takes a look at the
levels of the choking in both the main streamway and Cerberus Hall, they will
be found to he almost identical.  In
addition, they almost coincide with the levels of the lower parts of Everest

Ford has indicated that the cave has been choked up to the
level of the top of the Wire Rift (false stal floors at upper entry point)
though it is unlikely that the cave was completely choked, and there were
probably large open sections such as the lower streamway from the bottom of
Stal Pitch, extending down as far as the duck in Gour Rift.

This open and relatively dry section of the cave allowed
stalagmitic deposits to form, particularly gours, which can be seen all along
the streamway previously mentioned. Cerberus Series was probably choked at its lower levels (Rat Run,
&c.) and the floor of Cerberus Hall was choked only a foot or two higher
than its present level.  So if all of the
floors were of a similar level (apart from secondary draining into the lower
streamway beyond Stal Pitch) then the water would have done one of two things –
(a) Flowed from Cerberus Hall, along the Gour Fault and out through the
Pyrolusite Series (Ford) – or, (b) Disappeared through such known outlets
across the fault as the Dining Room Dig or back up-cave in the Lake region,
leaving the lower streamway free from running water for quite a long period of
time.  Then changes took place, possibly
as recently as 1926 when the large pool at the entrance area disappeared
overnight or as a result of an opening at the surface (as occurred in 1936)
which would let all hell loose in the Cerberus region of the cave – clearing
the choke at Stal Pitch and allowing the water to pond and cause the watermark
at the bottom of Everest Passage.

Subsequent undercutting at Stal Pitch would have opened the
route currently in use today (to the Right of the Stal choke) and later allowed
the stream to cut its way through the gravels to the current impassable
route.  In achieving all this, the debris
from the choke would be scattered throughout the cave to the Sump, covering the
gours and only now being slowly revealed with the passage of cavers and the
water flow disturbing the mud deposited there. Sewer passage, once a tremendous mud wallow is a very clean passageway

Returning then to my (a) above, we have looked, on several
occasions for the connection between the Cerberus Hall and the Gour Hall
areas.  If one looks under the gours in
Gour Hall or climbs to the ledge above the Great Gour one will see solid rock,
also if one climbs up the Cerberus Rift one sees that all the steps are stal
covered but underneath, rock exposures can be found.  From the evidence of the survey of the cave,
it appears that both Cerberus Rift and the Pyrolusite Series are quite separate

Upstream from the top of Cerberus Rift one can follow a
heavily stal-ed passage for about 20ft until it becomes too tight.  This section, along the fault line, does not
contain running water, the source of the stream in Cerberus Rift is from a
chamber beyond the Mud Sump (on the Left at the landing by a false stal floor)
and the stream emerges from the top of a steeply sloping up-dip passage which
is blocked by heavy stal coating.  Holes
through this stal indicate that there is a continuation of passage, as does the
fairly strong draught which emerges.  The
indications are that this is another inlet passage though it seems not to have
any possible connection with any other known higher level passage in the cave –
that is, of course, if it is a dip developed passage.

There are a couple of choked passages high above the
streamway, just downstream of Plantation Junction, though whether or not these
have anything to do with the Cerberus Rift extension is doubtful as they are at
a much lower plane level.  On the other
hand, the hole, choked with stal, above the Great Gour may well do so as this
would be in the form of a lateral development along the Strike and not unknown
where passages are developed along the Gour/Lake Fault.

It would, seem to be unlikely that these high level passages
would breach the fault but there’s no harm in looking and a search of the floor
of the Cerberus area would appear to be a good bet for further extension across
the fault.  What needs to be definitely
proven is whether the water, ponded in the Lake Chamber area and which is
flooding the entire area under Cerberus Hall and Mud Ball Chamber, has any
outlet in the Lake area or does it seep through the fills and so join the
stream further down the cave.

A Pryanine test was carried out a few years ago but the
results were not conclusive in that the Charcoal Showed only very weak evidence
of Pryanine being present in the water at Sump II and though the parties
carrying the substance through the cave had been extremely careful, it is just
possible that this trace (because of the weakness of the concentration) could
have been caused by someone’s contaminated hand or finger – and this would have
been sufficient to show down at Sump II.

The bottom of the Lake is a boulder and gravel choke, is
roughly at the level of the main streamway at the Dining Room and so does not
rule out seepage into flowing into the level of the streamway at the bottom of
Stal Pitch (Tim Large has reported seeing a seepage flowing into the passage
just beyond the Gours but I had a careful look later and could not confirm this
observation) as the point where the Lake flows out.

A further useful piece of information would be to determine
if the Lake levels fluctuates with the weather conditions of the surface (with
the time lag of a couple of weeks or so) or does it rise and fall relatively
depending solely from inlet drips from the roof and the variation of the Coral
Stream whichever, nowadays, seems to dry up. The fact of this stream’s constancy could be due to the fact that the
Drinking Pool stream at the Belfry now sinks permantly to the west of the
building and the continuation of the fault (if surface depressions are any
indication of such things) to continue across the fields to Nine Barrows

It therefore seems reasonable that if the passage above Stal
Pitch was choked and the current streams were flowing into the Cerberus area
leaving the lower streamway free of active streams (thus allowing gour pool and
stalagmite wall formations to occur on a large scale) there was probably open
passage in the vicinity of the end of Gour Rift and Sump and the indications
are that the stream routes we know today are elevated above the actual bedrock

The 1972 digging activities at the end of Gour Rift probed,
with great difficulty, about 15ft down and found well rounded sides of a
pothole about 4-5ft in diameter and the impression formed at the time was that
the water had run (and still does) into the Sump passage, but because of the
build up of the gravel infill (from the choked streamway above Stal Pitch?) had
reduced the passage to barely man sized at the Duck.  A few minutes probing to the Left of the Duck
will reveal a very wide arch roof some 6 – 8ft wide.

Ford has suggested that the Bank Grille at the end of Gour
Rift (he doesn’t name it, merely implies a high level overflow) could well have
been the way the water went. Descriptions of this passage state that it is a stal-ed inlet from
which, nowadays a great stream issues in wet weather, but we need to know if
the floor is completely stalagmited thereby giving a masking of the true slope
of the bedrock       and creating a
completely false impression of it.   It is
also reported that there are minute holes in the floor and whilst no pronounced
draught has been felt from these it, in this case, means very little.  The extent of the passage is said to be 150
ft (Bennett) and 200 ft (Jarrett) and any serious work on this passage will
require the use of powerful hammers from the start.

The Sump appears to be top of a large stream passage but
below the level of the gravel floor there are fragmented remains of gour
flooring – so the gours continue.  It
should be noted also that the gours by the Duck entrance in the Gour Rift, end
abruptly, revealing the end section of a gravel infilling underneath, rather
than the continuation of the stal flow downwards which one would have
expected.  This implies that the gours
once continued, roughly at the same level, beyond the point where they now end,
the lower section  had been blocked off
much earlier.

Now, the stream flows through Sump I and on to Sump II via
an impressive rift but there’s something missing – inlet passages (with the
exception of Whitsun passage, which probably links with the Dining Room Dig,
and the narrow rift on the Right, opposite the Whitsun passage entrance).  All of the high level passages in the roof
have been maypoled by Ray Bennett et al during 1970/71 and none of these was
found to be large enough to get into for more than a few feet.  One high level passage worthy of a dig, if it
is possible, is about 100ft downstream of the 10ft Waterfall, on the right-hand
side, though this has the possibility of going away from the cave, as it
appears to be an inlet because of the plunge pool cut-back in the gravel, which
is odd as the down dip is on the Right, though again, since it appears to be
midway between the dip and the strike, it is not impossible for the horizontal
development to have occurred above the rift roof.  Perhaps more important is the fact that the
streambed is clearly defined in the II passage from the start to the 10ft
Waterfall where the passage gradually changes in direction and becomes
different in character.

Immediately downstream of Sump I is a huge gravel bank, cut
down on the left hand side, probably by the current stream.  How did it get there? Was the II passage
choked as well for a period only to be cleared by water flowing out of the two
inlets just downstream, leaving this bank high and dry.  Or, perhaps, it was the surging force of
water through Sump I which left this great heap of debris.  Is Cuthbert’s II streamway in fact Cuthbert’s
1½, a name I coined immediately after the Sump was passed due to the fact that
it appears to be an Oxbow albeit a long one.

So what happened to the stream?  Mud layers there are showing signs that the
water flowed slowly.  This plus the fact
that the lines of weakness in the roof just upstream of Sump I crosses the
passage near the Sump, lead to a belief that there is just evidence that even
now there may be an extension back towards the Gour Rift (a 100ft away at this
point) making a way into the real Cuthbert’s II

One final comment about Sump I is that when it was being
dug, in 1967, Phil Kingston described the underwater digging attempt and he
said that, “the excavated passage went in for about 6 ft and turned sharply to
the left.  There was a small rift feature
in the roof.  Ahead was a sand barrier
and beyond this open cave diveable passage was going straight on.”  When this was dug in 1969 the entire Sump had
been so disturbed by the floods of 1968 that the ‘way on’ was solidly choked
with gravel.  I’ve no reason to doubt
this as all the other descriptions tally exactly with what we now know.

To conclude, it appears that upstream of Stal Pitch, choked
water – what there was – flowed into Cerberus Series, leaving the open section
of the cave beyond Stal Pitch to become Stal covered.  The water from Cerberus could have followed
Dining Room Dig to Whitsun passage or gone down the choked shaft near the
beginning of Dining Room Dig. Alternatively it could have (and this seems the more likely) to have
flowed out near the ‘U’ tube – a light rift is known in the floor against the
fault wall at this point.  The questions
remaining are, did the water flow down the II streamway before the 1968 floods
and when did the II streamway become elevated?

Digging will probably provide the answers and I recommend: –

  • Investigation
    of Cerberus Series
  • Dig
    Sump I
  • Dig
    Sump II
  • Investigate
    the Bank Grille – extremely difficult and long term.




Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

Due to circumstances beyond the control of us birds, the
first ‘Fifth Column’ appeared in the December B.B. and not (as planned) in the
November issue so, to try to get up to date for the February B. B., we decided
to content ourselves with just a skim through the events of November and

November saw a few arrivals and departures on Mendip.  Biddle appeared for a session of piano
bashing and for three weeks out of four “they ‘orrible words” were
heard on Mendip.  Garth put in a brief
appearance and amazed everyone by saying that he was quite happy to be in
Belfast – it must be quite a little News of the World he’s running there!  Our Mr. N. (always in the news) turned up a
week too early for a committee meeting but, whatever your profession –
persistence wins, and the following week he was back again to complain about
the Belfry and the amount of overbooking to non-members.

In his complaints he was supported by Bob Cross, only
recently back from a I mystical’ North Wales walk.  Bob, for his pains, was awarded the job of
assistant to Chris B., so we can now blame both Chris and Bob.  How nice! At the same time, Martin Bishop and Widley Wobbly agreed to help John
Dukes out with the engineering.

Moving rapidly on to the start of December, we come to the
Shepton Buffet – a good ‘do’, but somewhat anti-social, because they insisted
on winning their own games trophy. Still, perhaps we can excuse the B.E.C. on the grounds that a great deal
of beer was spilled in the winning, and we all know the club’s reluctance on
such matters.  At the Hunters,
preparations were under way to celebrate the 19th of the month, which was Mr.
& Mrs. Ben’s Ruby Wedding.  Forty years
is a long time, and to prove it, the Mendipers ran a collection and presented
them with their congratulations and a clock. The approach of Christmas shifted events into top gear that is, all
except the Hunters Shove Ha’penny team, who arrived without Captain Richard
Stevenson, Jon-Jon and Barrie.  So few
were there that both Mike W and Maureen had to play.  Needless to say, Hunters didn’t win that
round, but they have managed a few wins since.

The Christmas Holiday was a bit confused this year, and
seemed to go on for ever.  Christmas Eve
had quite a gathering at the pub and visits by a few of the older members,
Keith Murray and Alfie (to name but one).  Christmas Day commenced with the gift of a
drink (except for Barrie) by Roger and was followed by eating by various
parties which were described by recent member Zot as splinter groups.  Sunday, which we were convinced should have
been Boxing Day, saw us again in the pub in various degrees of sobriety
(satiety?) and later in the evening, Barrie seen to be drinking orange squash
and Guinness (not, thank heavens, both at once!)            After
hours saw us at the Bishops’ where, for a change, we had a drink and argued
until early morn.  Allie Simpson had a
birthday on the Monday complete with bagpiper at the Belfry, though it seems
the incohol got into his chanter a bit. The strange noise must have upset the weather, because it snowed quite
heavily and got rather cold.  We
survived, but it must have been hard on any brass monkeys.

To bring us up to date, brief mention of New Year’s Eve and
its appalling rainy weather.  Still it
didn’t seem to deter anyone fro celebrating and one or two oldies turned up,
including Carol and Alan Sandall.  (No
sign of Norman, though).  Congratulations
to Bob White on his new daughter and perhaps to Widley Wobbly for ‘naming the
sprite’ for his nuptials (can we blame Chris B for this?)  We haven’t seen him, but we hear that Phil
Kingston has taken up competition winning and has returned briefly to the U.K.
as his prize.  Our commiserations to
another recently rejoined member, Jen Sandercott – who lost her office in the
Bristol Explosion.  1977 can surely only
get better for her.


Monthly Crossword Number 71


























































































































Across (Passages)

1. A green spot? (6)
4. Found in phreatic aven (or perhaps vice versa). (4)
7. Cake somehow with fifty after tea gives the equipment. (6)
8. Suitable lodging for young caver? (4)
10. My French in a small creature produces a fossil. (8)
13. Laments about some formation for another. (8)
16. Always removing set somehow for large Cuthbert’s boulder. (4)
17. 3T somehow can hold ladder. (6)
18. Decoration from 13. (4)
19. Caver may be found this in 1 down. (6)

Down (Pitches)

1. Resting place for miners? (4)
2. Proceed slowly and imperially. (4)
3. Leave out in hand out for cave bearing rock. (8)
5. Type of solution to produce 4? (6)
6. Mendip hole associated with spring. (6)
9. Doubles ‘R’ for this in most caves. (8)
11. American Indian on board ship found in mountain regions. (6)
12. DENizen of Mendip, once. (6)
14. Hardly caving footwear. (4)
15. Shoring associated with 1 down. (4)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword



















































































Club Headquarters

The Belfry, Wells Rd, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Telephone WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J.

Minutes Sec      M.

Members           C. Batstone, P. Christie, J. Dukes,
R. Jenkins T. Large, Barry Wilton, G. Wilton-Jones.

Officers Of The Club

Honorary Secretary             M.
WHEADON, 91 The Oval, Englishcoombe, Bath. Tel : BATH 713646

Honorary Treasurer             B.
WILTON, ‘Valley View’, Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol. Tele : TEMPLE CLOUD

Caving Secretary                TIM
LARGE, 15 Kippax Avenue, Wells, Somerset

Climbing Secretary             R.
JENKINS, 10 Amberley Close, Downend, Bristol.

Hut Warden                        C.
BATSTONE, 8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath..

Belfry Engineer                   J.
DUKES, 4 Springfield Crescent, Southampton. SO1 6LE  Tele : (0703) 774649

Tacklemaster                     G.
WILTON-JONES, ‘Ilenea’, Stonefield Road. Nap Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks. Tele :
(024) 024 3534

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


The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin,
including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the
committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy
of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be
checked in the time at his disposal.

© 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.