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.

Editor:  D.J. Irwin,
Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Nr. Wells,



Tim Large (Hon. Secretary) 72 Lower Whitelands, Tyning,
Avon.  (Tel: Radstock 4211)

(Hon. Treasurer) 27 Valley View,

, Clutton,

. (Tele:

Temple Cloud

Chris Batstone (Hut Warden)

8 Prospect Place
, Bathford,

Mike Palmer (B.B. Postal) Laurel Farm, Yarley Hill, Yarley,

.  (Tele: Wells 74693)

Dates For Your Diary


January 14th                (note
change of date) –

.  Contact Martin Grass for final details.

March 11th                  BRCA
Symposium – Cave photography. UMIST,


June 10th or 17th         Symposium
on Cave Exploration in Northern Spain at

.  Details later.

February 15th              West
Face of Changbang – Joe Tasker.  Details
on last sheet.

Friday Night Trips:
– Richard Kenny (Tel, Meare Heath 296) has sent the following details.

January 20th      Manor farm

February 3rd      Eastwater

February 17th    Cheddar

March 3rd          `

Thrupe Lane

March 17th       
South Wales

March 31st       



October – B.E.C. AGM and Annual
Dinner– details later.

To ensure that members get their BB’s in the early part of
the month of  issue would contributors
please send their material to the Editor the middle of the preceding
month.  Material for future issues is
building up nicely thus enabling the editor to produce each issue with a good
variety of reading material.  The BB
consumes a considerable quantity of material so keep writing – it’s the best
advert for the Club we’ve got!  It has
been suggested by one member that we publish the Caving Report material in the
BB – what are member’s views on this suggestion?  Let’s air it in the BB.



Tim Large

Recovered from the Christmas excesses yet?  I Hope everyone had an enjoyable time in our
usual manner.

The Committee cogs are churning away and at the December
meeting the position of the Trustees of the Club were discussed.  Although we only have three Trustees now,
this does not affect any agreements previously made, but it is desirable that
the responsibility is well spread should a problem arise.  We have been advised that 5 is a good
number.  (See article later on).

At the Belfry we should have a battery charger operating
later this year – at last, many will say! A soak-a-way, for the showers, is to be dug as it appears to be the
waste water from these that is overloading the sceptic tank.  ‘Zot’ has been at it again – the alpine bunk
in the men’s room has been completed by his fair hand.  All it needs is a door on the front and we
have an ideal ‘cooler’ for Saturday night excesses!

The B.E.C. is possibly going into the film business.  Russ Jenkins is investigating the
possibilities of hiring a cinema to show good quality climbing films.  Watch this space for more news!

The new Lamb Leer Access Agreement between CSCC and Somerset
C.C. was accepted at the recent CSCC meeting. Details of the agreement will be published as soon as the Club receives
a copy from CSCC.

The Wessex have seen the light at last – all in one month
they have written us a letter – yes, they can actually write and they also have
a Wessex Cuthbert’s leader,  namely Paul
Hadfield – welcome.

The new Cave Rescue Scheme, operated by CSCC is preparing to
reopen Flower Pot and Hollowfield Swallet. At present the materials are being organised.  As our club was largely responsible for the
opening of Flower Pot, I feel that we should make ourselves available to help
with the work, particularly the original diggers.  I an sure that Graham Price (CSCC
Conservation and Acess Officer) will be pleased to hear from you with any
offers of help or supplies of suitable materials.  He can be contacted at 31
Park, Radstock,
Avon.  Tele. No. Radstock 4251.

I hear through the grapevine that the Peak Cavern trip was a
‘washout’ – slightly damp conditions were met in the show cave section – ever
tried walking down steps under water!  It
is hoped to arrange this trip again later this year.

For your diary will be the Mayday Bank Holiday, when a trip
to Aggy will be arranged.  Names to me if
interested.  One of the round trips is


NEXT MONTH IN THE B.B. – Pippikin (the entrance series) a
report on the


77 expedition and an older members comments on the condition of St. Cuthbert’s
Swallet after an interval of 20 years entitled Cuthbert’s Revisited.  Incidentally BEC member No. 1 spoke to me
recently and has expressed a wish to have a look at Cuthbert’s in the
Spring.   When dates are fixed perhaps
some of the other ‘golden oldies’ might like to join in – details later.



As the Club who has found the two largest systems on Mendip
in the last twenty five years, one wonders what 1978 holds for us – Wigmore,
Cuthbert’s Three, Tynnings Barrow Swallet Two – who knows?  What ever it is.


Club Trustees

The resignation of ‘Alfie’ as a trustee of the Club raises
several of importance to club members.

  1. The
    Club ‘trustees and their responsibilities are not written into the Club
    Constitution and so, in theory, are not responsible to the Club Annual
    General meeting.
  2. Of
    the remaining three trustees, one is not a member of the Club.  This situation is of course perfectly
    legal but the members should decide whether it is satisfactory to the
  3. The
    Trustee Deed cannot be found – there is doubt whether one actually exists,
    though ‘Alfie’ believes one does.
  4. Whether
    the Trustee Deed exists or not, it is the belief of the Club Committee
    that the Constitution should be revised adding the usual clauses covering
    Club Trustees (Tim Large has informed the Sub-Committee, currently chaired
    by Martin Cavender, the Club Solicitor, that they should study the problem
    and a solution presented to he Club Committee in time for the details to
    circulated to all members in time for the next A.G.M.)
  5. The
    resignation of one Trustee does not effect the agreements or the ownership
    of the property, though the other three Trustees take over the
    responsibility relinquished by the retiring Trustee.  Tim Large has written to each informing
    them of the situation.  They are Bob
    Bagshaw, Les Peters and ‘Pongo’ Wallis, the last being no longer member.

The Club Committee believes that the Constitution should be
altered at the next AGM to be brought into line with other similar
organisations whereby the mechanism of election of Trustees, resignation,
removal, length of term as Trustee, indemnifying of Trustees, refunding of any
expenses arising out of the agreements they have signed etc.  The whole clause should be written in
accordance with the Trustee Act of 1925. Up ‘till ‘Alfie’s’ resignation there were four trustees (2 being the
usual minimum) but Martin Cavender has informed the Committee that 5 is a
sensible number.  Bob White, the Clubs
insurance broker is also being informed of the situation.


Letter To The Belfry Inmates


Dear Chris and other Belfry inmates!

Ain’t this paper posh! A collector’s piece, you know – they only printed 50 sheets or something
incredible like that!  (Ed. note. The
paper is headed ASOCIACION MEXICANA DE ESPELEOLOGIA  A.C.) As for their motto, well, they do less caving than the … (mm, who
shall we be rude about … )

(the motto is:- to know the world underground).

So summer is ending – I guess the cooler evenings will be
driving you to the Hunters at a more decent, earlier hour now!  For us, the rains have stopped and the sun is
really good.  I’m talking about the
weather – sorry!  You can tell we’ve got
more British teachers out here to influe¬nce us!  About ten young people came out for the
beginning of the term – socially, life is much better this year – they’re a
good lot of beer swillers.  Do you know,
after a year of rejecting it, I’ve at last got the palate for Mexican beer, so
life is worth living again!

I haven’t written for a while because I wanted to tell you
about an important ‘find’.  We had the
luck to discover four burial pots in one of our Cuetzalan caves and I was
trying to avoid mentioning it until it was all in the hands of the museum.  Mexican laws with regards to archaeological
finds are really tough.  We were caving
with three eager Mexicans from the club when one of them insisted on pushing a
squeeze.  Pete and he got through into a
metre wide, metre and half high streamway and followed it to the site.  Farther downstream is a boulder choke – there must have been an entrance there
once as there’s no way anybody would have shoved their dead through that

The four bowls are about half a metre wide, unpainted and
all intact.  Inside is a black soil which
we presume to be cremation remains, as it is so ‘rich’, which covers an
incredible collection of jade and onyx pieces. The most impressive are the 30 or so funeral ‘masks’ which are typically
Teotihuacan (100 – 600 A.D.) – the
Teotihuacan civilisation lived just north of

Mexico City
, and built
the infamous pyramids.  These masks were
worn on (string) around the neck – if you see the life size diagram on the
previous page, you can imagine what a weight they must have been to wear, being
made of alabaster/onyx etc.

Most of the other pieces were relatively smaller and of
Mayan origin (see smaller sketch) – many of them are made in beautiful green
jade.  Hundreds of beads also filled up
the pots.

So, it was all pretty exciting!  We decided to keep in with the law, so
arranged with

to take it
over.  However, they didn’t make it at
the time arranged, so it’s still all the cave! One interesting idea about the find is that Cuetzalan must have been on
a trade route between


and the Mayas of Yucatan when this bloke snuffed it!  Although there are some pyramids about 30km.
from the cave, they’re of a different age – other than that, we don’t know of
any other remains around – maybe we’ll have to look a bit closer!

So, what else.  Pete
spent 36 hours in jail recently!  A woman
smashed into him when he was driving at 15kph! The policeman on the scene watched the women creating in Latin style at
Pete, who wound the window and ignored her. Pete unfortunately had no bribe for the policeman, who ushered Pete off
to the police station – now 9.00pm. at night. When he wasn’t back at school time next am, I started to wonder where
landed himself.  The school lawyer
tracked him down, and had bailed him out by evening.  Though not Pete’s fault, he ended up paying
this woman just to shut her up!

Looking forward to hearing from you

Love, Sue


Teotihuacan funeral mask (100 – 600 A.D.)

Jade Mayan Figure


What To Do With Your ‘OLD’hams

For those of you with a collection of rotting
Oldham caving lamps in your shed, perhaps you might find
my experiences with Nickel/cadmium cells helpful if not amusing.

Once upon a time there were several caving lamps quietly
rotting away in the garden shed.  There
was probably not enough life in the whole lot of them to last long enough to go
down to Swildons Sump I and back.  Then
one day came along a good fairy called ‘Ni-Cad’ who was able to grant them one
wish which was to provided light again for some lunatic caver.

Now, let’s get to the point of this article.  Ni-Cad cells have been around in the caving
world for quite a while now and those who have used them all have different
stories to tell.  As might be expected
from a cell with similar make-up to the old faithful NiFe cell these will
certainly give as many years service, unlike an
as long as one or two simple rules are adhered to.

I will deal first with the question of storage, as far as I
am aware the cells can be stored either charged or discharged.  However if stored in a charged state at
either a high or low temperature a fairly dramatic loss of charge will occur
which will have some relationship with the extreme the temperature is.  I keep my cells indoors at normal room
temperature which seems to be about right. This loss of charge is of course reversible, but it is important that
you should not overcharge this type of cell. When fully charged the cells will make a whistling sound through the
vent holes on the filler cap between the two terminals.  Overcharging will permanently reduce the life
of the cell.

One minor problem occurs in use.  The cells are used in pairs and no two cells
have an equal charge capacity, so that one wilfully discharge before the
other.  As the cells are connected in
series this will cause a reverse voltage from the cell with some charge left in
it through the other discharged cell. This has the same effect as overcharging in reducing the life of the
cell so that it is wise when your light starts to dim to turn it off and leave
it off.

Having weighed up the pro’s and con’s of converting your
dead Oldhams or even that decrepit old Patterson you had forgotten you will
probably come to the same conclusion that I did which was that it would
certainly save you some money and be worth the small effort involved.  To remove the old cells from their casing
simply place the case in boiling water for about 20 minutes and then start pulling
the terminal with a pair of pliers.  Do
not use a good saucepan for the boiling as it will stain with some of the black
colouring from the casing and obviously remove the cell from the water before
trying to remove the cells.  The guts of
the cell are kept in place by a half inch layer of pitch which makes the
initial tug a bit difficult but once past this thin layer the cell comes out
without any difficulty.  The liquid left
in the casing is acidic and should be treated with care, do not use the water
used for boiling the cell to dilute the acid.

Now that you have the empty case all you need to do now is
to make a small slit in the central partition to accommodate the connecting
wire between the two cells.

Should you decide to use the smaller 10 amp hour cells the
casing is about twice the depth you need to accommodate the cells
comfortably.  The 20 amp hour cell fits
almost perfectly into the case.  The
headset of the old cell may still be used as the only change required is the
voltage of the bulbs.  The dip bulb is a
2.5 volt flashlight bulb available from most hardware shops, but the main bulb
will have to be obtained from the usual stockists of caving equipment.  Some sort of insulation should be placed over
the top of the cells because they will move about slightly and if brought into
contact with the metal cover will short out and produce a foul smell from
inside the case.  A small strip of
neoprene is quite handy for this purpose.

The 10-hour cells can be used in fours to give 20 amp hours
but the casing has to be altered a bit further. I decided against this and decided to cut the middle section out of the
case (see diagram).  This leaves you with
the top section so that the headset can still be attached and the bottom
section to be used as a base.  Araldite
is the most successful glue with which to stick the two pieces back together

Paul Christie


Cuthbert’s The Castrated Cavern:

The next item in this issue is a
letter from Jim Durston which is bound to cause more than a little disturbance
on the apparently smooth waters of the Cuthbert’s Leaders:

In most respects the B.E.C. may be proud of the way in which
they have acted as guardians for the plum find of St. Cuthbert’s Swallet.  The cave has been quite well preserved, while
at the same time the leader system allows access for responsible and
experienced cavers.  One matter however
should be a source of shame to the Club and to the leaders who actually
administer the physical control of the cave. I refer to the disgraceful amount of quite unnecessary fixed tackle that
litters the cave.

Why must we suffer these rusting iron monstrosities that
demean the cave by reducing its natural appeal? Is rigid tackle really indispensable on Ledge Pitches and Mud Hall, or
are we breeding a race of cavers (or leaders?) who are too bone idle to carry a
few electron ladders?

I will admit that fixed ladders speed the progress of the
inept and inexperienced to the more vulnerable parts of the system, and allow
him to reach parts which flatter his true ability.  This has the effect of increasing the rate of
deterioration of the cave.  Per¬haps I
consider this aspect to be of more importance than it is, but I seriously doubt
whether a ‘caver’ for whom a 25ft. ladder pitch is too much, should be allowed
into the cave at all.  At least normal
tackle will help to reveal inadequacies towards the beginning of a trip.

‘Normal’ caving tackle allows the average caver the
satisfaction ‘of completing a ‘normal’ caving trip, without the feeling that he
has been given a tourist trip around some artificially improved second rate
show cave.

I have heard the argument that flexible tackle makes for a
tired caver, which makes for more damage. I cannot accept this.  With fixed
tackle the onset of tiredness may be delayed until such time as he is say
stumbling around Victory Passage.  With
flexible ladders he should realise that he is in a cave a little sooner.  He should also appreciate its sporting merits
in addition to its decorative appeal.

These fixed ‘aids’ were originally placed to assist the
preliminary explorations of the new find, explorations which seem to have taken
almost twenty five years.  Their
usefulness (and in some cases usability) must now be at an end. The cave must
no longer be equipped to take tourist overspill from Wookey Hole and Cheddar.  We must clear out this junk now~ and again
make St. Cuthbert’s a cave to be proud of.

If you feel as I do, act now!  Bend the ear of your nearest lead¬er and tell
him.  Yes, even your Editor.

Jim Durston

Ed. note:           There you have it – straight between
the eyes.  Get your pens going for the
next issue of the BB with your comments and reasoned arguments!



Please send your subscription to Tim Large, 72 Lower
Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock,


A Visit to
South Pembrokeshire

by  Ted Humphreys

Building sandcastles can become boring if done to
excess.  So, since we just happened to be
within ten miles of the sea cave described by Graham Wilton-Jones in the B.B.
(No.343) we decided to investigate.  We
chose a day when low tide was at 3pm and got to St. Govan’s Chapel (NGR. SR
967929) shortly after mid-day.  It was,
of course, raining and blowing a gale which made changing at the top of the one
hundred foot cliff somewhat masochistic. Once we had our wet suits on, however, we felt better dressed for the
weather than the inevitable tourists, who seemed fascinated by our attire (we
even had our pictures taken!).

On reaching the base of the cliffs we headed west, under a
rock arch, towards G.W-J’s cave but found that the tide was not yet low
enough.  After a conference, we decided
to explore to the east of the chapel whilst waiting for low tide.  Passing the chapel and going under another
rock arch we found ourselves in a small cove containing one large and one small
entrance.  The large entrance was at the
head of the cove and was about ten feet high by twenty feet wide.  When we entered it we were disappointed to
find that the roof gradually des¬cended and the pebble floor gradually rose
until they met after some fifty feet. Switching on our lights and inspecting the cave more carefully we found
two small side passages on the west side. These both came to an end after about fifteen feet of flat out crawling
and were interesting only in that there was some stalagmite (partly dissolved) at
their far ends.  Natural cave!  Something must go!  We thought, and proceeded to the smaller cave
entrance a few yards to the west.

At first sight this seemed to consist of two small chambers
hollowed out by the sea but pointing a light upwards in the second chamber
showed a natural chimney.  Climbing up
this for about ten feet revealed a horizontal passage going westwards as far as
a fault plane (about a further ten feet away) and then apparently continuing
along the fault.  This horizontal passage
was only about seven inches high and about two feet wide.  Its floor seemed to be of powdered limestone
(grey earth?) and would be easily removable to permit access.  We decided not to proceed because of a small
stalagmite column halfway along and because the west side of the chimney was
formed of stones only loosely bound by some very fragile looking stal ( we got
scared off!)  Returning down the chimney to shouts of ‘Mind
where you are dropping those stones’ (gist only) we headed east to the next
cove but found no more caves and so returned westward again to G. W-J’s
cave.  This time the way was clear and we
were able to get into the cave.  The
entrance chamber was all sea worn with one or two short side passages and an
interesting looking hole about twenty feet up the roof.  Going through the squeeze into the second
chamber we found it was again sea worn with one side passage containing some
stale flows.  About six feet up in the inner
wall was a hole leading to a third chamber which was natural cave (that is, not
worn by sea water).  This hole was,
however, too tight though some gardening might pay dividends.

Returning outside we continued westwards to a final cave
along another fault plane. This looked promising but just fizzled out after
about sixty feet.  It contained some nice
formations (little ones) that could be seen by poking ones head through a hole
in the roof which was an old false floor by the look of it.  Having washed out wetsuits in the spray – the
ten foot waves were breaking against a rock shelf and throwing spray up to
thirty feet in the air – we returned to the top of the cliffs.

We had noticed that the cliff path through the army range
was open and decided to have a look at the caves marked on the O.S. map about a
mile to the west (NGR. SR953936).  We
thought that, since it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale, no-one would
notice wet-suited figures leaving the footpath. When we got there we found some magnificent scenery, huge rock arches,
lots of cave entrances and depressions in the ground leading away from the
cliffs.  Unfortunately, the cliffs were
vertical and up to one hundred and fifty feet high and there was no way down
(obviously a job with ladders and ropes). While we were looking for a way down the army arrived (they seemed to
think we were invading frogman who had levitated up the cliffs!) and said that
climbing their cliffs was not allowed. We thus made a tactical withdrawal thinking that if were again in South
Pembrokeshire on a calmer day with a rubber dingy, we would know exactly where
to go!







By Paul Christie

The weekend of November 12/13th was finally chosen as the
one on which a select group of B.E.C. members would visit a couple of areas not
too famous for their miles of underground passage.  We met at Botley, near

, in a small room provided by Richard
Round.  Andy Sparrow and friend were
first to arrive, followed by Paul Christie and Martin Grass with their
respective wives.  Later on we were
joined by Graham Wilton-Jones, Jane Wilson, John Dukes and the Tilbury family.  Mike and Pat Palmer should have joined us
here, but they were slightly delayed, so in true alcoholic fashion we pinned a
note to the door saying which pub we would be in.

At the pub we split up the keen ones going off to see the
‘caves’, while the rest waited in the pub for the Palmers.  Pau1, recently released from plaster, decided
that his newly mended right arm would get more exercise lifting pints of
beer.  The Palmers complete with dog and
Keith Newbury arrived mumbling apologies and wittering complaints about the
lack of tackle in the Belfry Tackle Store earlier in the day. Having sampled
the not very good local ale the gang made its way to the ‘caves’.

After a couple of hours of digging and dam building on the
surface we all piled into Oxford to Jane’s house for some refreshment and
respective and then went our respective ways.

Mike, Paul and Martin, plus wives, returned to Paul’s flat
Ascot with Graham and Keith.  The intercom from the front door to the flat
gave several people the chance to act out their secret desire to make obscene
‘phone calls’  We all soon settled down
with numerous cups of tea (!) except Graham who is a ‘non-(tea)-person’, to discuss
the days events and why the milk in comes in plastic bags.  Yes, you’ve guessed it – there are plastic
cows in

Dinner was served and washed down with quantities of wine
and after the customary Saturday night visit to the pub, where they seemed to
have mixed up the ordinary and special bitters, we returned to the flat.  Cheese and biscuits was served accompanied by
more alcohol in the form of Harry Wall bangers. Martin, by this time, was finding the pace too much and retired to bed
while Graham, revitalised by more alcoholic beverage offered to show the two
Pats all the different positions (didn’t know Graham had taken up horse riding
– Ed.).  Needless to say everybody slept
well after all the drinking and eating.

In the morning, Graham acted as Belfry Boy by bringing the
tea round and after breakfast and more games with the intercom; we set off to
look at some Hearthstone Mines near
Reigate.  Paul’s route from Ascot to
was rather peculiar and meant that we didn’t arrive at the mines until 12.30pm
and for a change, decided not to visit the pub!

We parked in a lay-by on a dual carriageway and began
changing.  Encouraged by the others,
Martin frightened all the passers-by with his streaking.  We made our way to the mine entrance, which
proved to be in true Mendip style, 55ft of concrete tube.  Descending the tube in a variety of ways
using ropes, a mixture of ordinary and lightweight ladders, we had hoped to
experiment with the new technique for descending pitches known as M.D.T. but we
were lacking certain items of equipment. The dog was carried down in a rucksack on Keith’s back and for the next
four hours spending its time running around the passages keeping the party
together.  The mine is a maze of passages
5’ 8” high, of varying width once used for mushroom growing in the 2nd World
War worked by about 200 Portuguese labourers. In places the floor is still covered with peat and mushroom fungus.  Pit props abound but these are so rotten that
they serve no useful purpose.  It seems
that everyone enjoyed the trip including Pat Palmer on her first caving trip in
12 years and, so it seemed, did ‘BEC’, the dog. Everyone changed, we returned to Paul’s Flat by Graham’s route, which
was no better than the way we had come. Anyway a good fester was had by all!


Wigmore Swallet Success to Bolde Myners   

Following the initial report (B.B. No.356) the Company are
pleased announce the success of their project. To continue the Tale from where we left off in September …..

At around 35ft. the initially loose ends of the rift begun
to stabilise into a relatively solid vein of assorted iron ores and
calcite.  Various odd bits of steel
ladder were begged, borrowed or stolen and welded together into one 30ft.
length – creating some problems when transported to the site on the roof of Mr
N’s car (lucky there were no coppers about!) and installed in the shaft.

Banging continued, courtesy of Alan Thomas, and in early
November, a rift was opened at the western side of the shaft.  Though only 6″ wide it appeared to be
reasonably deep and draughting strongly with varying weather conditions.  The vein material at the side of the rift was
chemically removed to make it accessible.

On the 9th November, the dry clad diggers were to have mixed
feelings when it was found that a small stream had begun to pour down the
entrance shaft and disappear into the rift. Dubious surface work by persons unknown enlarged this trickle to a much
more impressive size – much to the disgust of Steve, Pru and Jerry who were instantly
‘drowned-ratted’!  Co-incidentally,
McAnus had joined the team.

Spurred on by the instant swallowing of the stream and its
distant rumbling, the rift was dug for some 10ft., with Tom Temple and George
Dixon(?) representing the R.N. contingent. During this time, much of the unstable back wall was faced with stone
and cement ‘ginging’ as permanent shoring with an aesthetic touch.  The late November/early Dec¬ember period saw
a lull in excavations – partly due to the need for manpower on the Tyning’ s
Reopening Dig (YOU ARE ALL WELCOME TO ASSIST) and it was not until 11th
December that further serious work commenced. Bob X and Stuart Lindsey spent a day at the site, and the latter opened
a small hole in the rift into which he poked his head – promptly receiving a
nice piece of roof on the back of his neck. He hesitated!

The following day he returned, accompanied by Jane Kirby
(MCG) and J. Rat.  An hours clearing of
boulders revealed a view into a sizable chamber.  Stuart studied the roof, walls, floor and his
beer-gut and hesitated again pausing only to poke in J. Rat with a forked
vermin stick, in order to clear the loose stuff from the far side.  A low crawl over sandy stream debris and
underneath extremely loose vein material was passed into a roomy chamber.  The roof of the crawl was gently tickled with
a crowbar producing fine sound effects when some ½ ton of it fell in.  After clearing this, the others came through
and exploration continued.  The chamber
proved to be some 15ft. long by 4 – 8ft high and -12ft. at its widest.  It is formed in a junction of the vein with
various cross rifts and has a most unhealthy appearance of loose cherty blocks
liberally stained with red ochre.  There
are several small, choked inlets.  A
small hole in the floor was gardened and Stu. descended a relatively solid rift
some 12ft deep to a blockage of large boulders. Photographs were duly taken and the diggers exited for a celebratory
pint.  Snab and Anita joined them the
folloing morning for a quiet trip and ‘ginging’ session and in the evening
Backbone, Clare, Ross and Andy Sparrow arrived on a “Wednesday Night
Sortie”.  More cementing was undertaken
while the


contingent played with the boulders at the bottom of the 12ft. rift.  Feverish cries from the depths soon revealed
the success of their effort and all work stopped as Andy led the way through a
nasty, loose eyehole into a 10ft water worn pot leading to a 15ft tight
crawl.  Still no limestone!

Length: c. 100ft; depth: c.65ft.    

Tony Jarrett (J. Rat)


Paul Esser Memorial Lecture 1978

THE WEST FACE OF CHANGABANG – Lecture given by Joe

The lecture will be given in the Arthur Tyndall Memorial
Theatre in the Physics Dept., ‘

(opposite the Senate House) at 8.15 p.m. on
Wednesday 15th February 1987.  Admission
will be free.

Oliver Lloyd


A few more details are now available about the BCRA
Symposium – anyone interested contact Jerry Wooldridge, 9 Chelsea Court, Abdon
Ave., Selly Oak, Birmingham.


A new guide book appeared on the caving market early in 1976
” by Jim Ballard. Price
£1.00.  This book is available from many
sports shops.  Purchasers should be
warned that there are serious reservations placed on this book by Derbyshire
cavers.  It is notable for its

The following descriptions are so inaccurate that they are
mentioned here: –


The description is not that of



This, cave is regarded as the
most severe in the, and is underestimated in the description.  The cave is tight, a number of exposed
traverses and is liable to sudden flooding blocking sections of the entrance


6th pitch is 40m deep NOT 28m and
lands in
Pearl Chamber not West Chamber of


This mine is regarded as one of
the foulest places in the

and should not have
been included.  The description describes
a place as a sporting mud slide is in fact a 40ft. pitch.  Quite a slide.

The book is cheap – so is the information – so be warned.


English Cave Depth .Record broken.  East Canal Sump in Giants Hole, Derbyshire
has been dived and a vast rift followed downwards to a depth of 100ft.  This makes the depth of the Oxlow/Giants
system as being 675ft – the deepest in

.  OFD still holds the British Depth record at
over 1,000ft.  G.G. depth is now 640ft.


AGEN ALLWEDD – A bypass has been dug around the first
sump at the far end of


streamway.  Diggers are hopeful that
there can be a bypass to Sump 2.

: New address for permission
and keys.  Write to John Chapman, Mendip

Barrows Road

.  SIX WEEKS NOTICE PLEASE AND SAE.  No trips on Sundays.


Belfryites gathered at the entrance and began sinking a second shaft hopefully
to break into Dragon Chamber some 60ft. below. This is the first time that a Mendip cave survey has really been put to
the test!  Wig’s got a sinking feeling! 

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