Date For Your Diary

B.E.C. Annual visit
to the Lakes, 1979

Date: February 22nd
to 25th.

Cottages available. Apply to Mr Sanderson, Fir Garth, Chapel Stile, Gt. Langdale,


£15 per cottage + VAT + Electricity.  5 persons -per cottage for the four days.

Any further information ring Mike Palmer on Wells

Object – beer/walking/beer/beer/beer/stroll/beer/beer/short


Next month will see two new series commencing with a revival
of ‘From the Caving Log’ and a monthly survey of Club activities during the
last 35 years since the official formation of the BEC in 1943.  Also in the pipeline ‘Mines of Sandford
Hill’; details of a mine at Yatton,

in grots, the latest from Wigmore with a
survey – a good start for 1979, keep it up.

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.

A Very Merry Christmas
To one And all And a Prosperous New Year

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

. Tele: Priddy 369



By Tim Large

In Committee

At the November meeting, Martin Bishop was co-opted to the
Committee to fill the vacancy recently made by the resignation of Bob cross.

A provisional booking has already been made to return to the
Caveman next year for the Club Dinner. After paying the bill for this year’s event we still have a surplus of
money and so will put this towards next year – perhaps we can have a bottle of
wine each!!

John Dukes is still taking orders for BEC sweat shirts –
contact him to place your order – preferably with money – see previous BB for

A new stock of carbide has been obtained – 35p per pound to
members, 40p to guests.

The UBSS are concerned that the access arrangements to G.G.
are not being adhered to.  Please make
sure indemnity chits and permits are completed by everyone before descending
and that the key is returned soon after use. Also, the bolts on the climb to the ladder are being replaced, possibly
by some sort of bolt or bolthole which will require parties to take their own
bolts if they intend visiting the area. More details will be published when finalised.

1979 Subscription Rate

The membership subscription to cover the period from
February 1st 1979 to 30th September 1979 has been proportionally set a flows:

Full members    £2.00

Joint Members   £3.00

Under 18’s         £1.50


B.B. Costs

In an attempt to reduce B.B. delivery costs a ‘pigeon hole’
board will be installed at the Belfry so that regular visitors to Mendip can
pick up their B.B’s from there.  More
details when system operative.  Those
members who receive their B.B via a hand delivery from someone who lives close
by will still receive it by this method.

Burrington Atlas

This caving report is to be reprinted with amendments and
additions, notably the Lionel’s Hole extension. Why not place your order now? –  it
sold out very quickly last time.

Apologies to Postle and Dizzie.  I will amend the club records and I am sure
you can look forward to your names and address being correct in next year’s
members list.  Once again sorry!

Christmas has crept around again; I expect there will be the
usual gathering for the season’s festivities at the Belfry and I hope we shall
see those amongst us who are not able to get to Mendip as often as they would
like.  Anyway, to one and all, a Very
Merry Christmas.


Happy Birthday, Stan

The next account comes from our
old mate Stan G.  I’m afraid that this is
included in the B.B. a little late due to the manuscript being mislaid, in fact
I found in lying between sheets of: ‘lettraset’.  Anyway, what better time than Christmas to
celebrate Stan’s 30th, birthday remember toast him after the regular Belfry

It was my 30th birthday; 30 years caving that is; I always
prefer to consider that as my birthday or my re-birthday and it sometimes helps
to be able to knock off the odd 15 years or so. Anyway there it was, 30 years caving and the newspapers were screaming
‘Great Cave Discovery in Derbyshire, ‘Caverns Measureless to Man’ etc.  Yes, there are a few caves in
Derbyshire.  It seems that some local
maniac from the Orpheus had done a solo ‘donging’ job on the old


and had successfully broken through. What better way to spend a birthday? A couple of’ pints in the Wanted Inn with convivial company and then a
quick thrash to have a look at this wonderful .discovery.  It’s not every day a new cave is found in
Derbyshire; in fact it’s not every 365 days or 3650 days either!

Thus it was that our intrepid band of explorers, which
included 4 B.E.C. layabouts, arrived at the cave to find a hastily constructed
notice which said ‘Access to THE CAVE 12½p’. We duly paid up but I felt that the farmer would have been happier if we
had paid him in genuine good old half crowns.

After a bit of mucking about, we all slid into the
cave.  The entrance is a 3 – 4ft high
passage descending at an angle of 45 degrees for 40ft and ending on a rubbish
tip of countless generations of campers and walkers.  Here, local maniac had done his first
‘donging’ job and the next 10ft looked like an earthworm’s hideout.  Accustomed as I am to the somewhat larger
orifices of

this came as a shock, but Nigel bawling from the front and the impending
collapse in the rear, caused by Lennie’s wild thrashings, urged me to
proceed.  A quick thrutch, a few curses
and through, not too bad at all, easier than it looked.  Next followed a creepy bit of passage to a
small chamber and the next obstacle. This was a large boulder wedged in the passage to form a sort of letter
box.  To me this did not present a
problem but at this point 3 of our party debunked and it was as just as well
that they did because just beyond this point lies local maniac’s 2nd ‘Donging’
job, even more miniscule than the first in which our portly companions had had
some difficulty.  In the middle of this
next squeeze, local maniac had thoughtfully constructed a depression which had
filled with water, ideal for cooling off in a tight thrutch or killing you off
if you can’t keep your face out!

Then blessed relief, a large chamber some 25ft high and 30ft
long.  This was more like ‘caverns measureless
to Man’ that I had read about.  We were
on the top of a ‘gi-normous’ boulder choke and the way on was a somewhat
concealed gap between two large boulders. An easy descent of forty feet brought us to a mouse hole and I recall
that as I descended, in the crucifix position, I thought ‘There will be trouble
here’ and there was!  Next another tight
crawl led to a ten foot climb, with the inevitable piece of knotted rope, and a
chamber some 18ft high with hanging boulders that looked as if they would tumble
if Lennie produced one of his farts.  We
were now at the head of a 25ft pitch; an easy free hanging climb brought us to
the incredible main chamber, 160ft long x 60ft high and 60ft wide and decorated
in parts.  A truly remarkable discovery
for Derbyshire.

After taking photos and having a fag we returned to the
surface with some difficulty.  The cave
must have some magica1 qualities because everything became topsy-turvy.  What had been easy on the descent became
bloody difficult on the ascent and vice-versa. At the mouse hole I envisaged us entombed for life as Lennie got stuck
fast, completely blocking the passage and the airway as well.  With much thrutching and cursing, Lennie
eventually extracted himself minus helmet, lamp, sweater and pants.  Then it was my turn and I fared no better,
stuck fast about 1ft off the ground, legs flailing wildly and no prospects of
progressing.  You’ve heard the song which
says ‘There’s a smashing belay only 10ft away’ well this one was only 10 inches
away but it might as well have been 10ft.

Fortunately some kind soul shoved an ammo box under my feet
and with the extra leverage I was able to disencumber myself.  Eventually we emerged on surface a pretty
sorry looking lot and with Lennie giving a fair impersonation of the incredible

The farmer, counting his toy town half crowns, eyed us with
disdain as we went to the cars, the three who turned back, laughed at us, and
not one miserable bugger wished me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Stan Gee.


P.S.      Rating for
the cave.

Tall and slim – moderate

Short and slim – swinish

Short and fat – Bastardish

Tall and fat – Impossible

Ed. Note –         since Stan’s visit a second large
chamber has been found – when are you going back to have a look Stan?

Another article by Stan is in the pipeline –


1978 – this will appear in the January B.B. together with a new survey of
Wookey Hole.



Last month Tim Large outline the arrangements regarding
tackle; just too late for the November BB. Graham Wilton-Jones submitted a summary of the tackle situation and this
is published below.  A moments thought,
after reading the distressing situation will impress on you that the committee
have no alternative but to restrict access to the store and if more tackle is
lost then all tackle will only be available by a asking a committee member and
during mid-week, making prior arrangements.

In the July BB I briefly mentioned that the tackle log was
not being used correctly, and that many items of equipment were missing from
the store.  By the time the
Tacklemaster’s Report was published in September the situation has
worsened.  By the AGM the store contained
some half dozen ladders, a similar number of tethers and one, yes ONE,
rope.  As I write this, a mere fortnight
since the AGM, perhaps a few consciences are still pricking and a few garages
and car boots being; cleared out a little more thoroughly than usual.  This weekend (20 -22 October) the store
actually has a significant quantity of tackle, though, not all it should have
by any means.

Someone at the AGM did ask how much tackle was missing and
when the value of the missing equipment was queried at the weekend committee
meeting I guessed about £400 of ladder and at least half that much of
rope.  On the Saturday I did another
stock check.  Even while I was doing this
two ladders and a tether were returned, and I was informed of the whereabouts
of two other ladders.

I believe that a list of missing gear will be useful.  We still await the return of the following

L3(10ft); L6(20ft); L7(20ft);
L11(20ft); L12(20ft); L16(50ft); L21(20ft); L22(20ft); L24(20ft); L33(20ft);
L36(20ft); L37(20ft), L39(20ft); I47(20ft); L38(20ft) and a 30ft lightweight
ladder that went missing immediately after I had coded it.  All that adds up to 350ft of ladder, worth at
least £1.00/foot.

The following tethers are not accounted for:

T1; T2; T3; T4; T5; T6;T8; T14;
T17 and (Spreader) 4. Particularly annoying is the fact that some of these
articles were only made in May of this year.

One THOUSAND seven hundred feet of rope is missing.  A little over 1000ft can be written off
anyway for a number of reasons; some had been missing for a long time; most is
too old to be satisfactory as lifeline; some has been misused and damaged but
never ‘officially’ written off.  The
following ropes should be in good condition still, but their whereabouts are not

N4 R2 (65ft. no.4 nylon); N4 R3
(65ft. no.4 nylon) 140ft polypropylene, coded with blue ends; 60ft
polypropylene, coded with blue ends; 150ft Viking Nylon, coded with blue ends, 150ft Viking Nylon, coded with
blue ends; Approximately 150ft of brand new nylon super-braidline, un-coded.

The value of this quantity of rope is about £65.00

If we say that the average cost of a tether/spreader is
about £1.00 then the value of the missing tackle works out at £425.00. HENCE
AVAILABILITY.  Well, now that we know
exactly what is missing how about doing something about it?

Graham Wilton-Jones


News in Brief

Belfry lockers – all members who have lockers at the Belfry
should ensure that they have paid their annual rental by the end of January –
50p per year.  Pay this to Chris Batstone
NOW or you’ll loose it.  Also make sure
that your name is on the locker door.

The Committee are waiting for samples of a new Club
tie.   It will be in the current wide
fashion and a choice of colours silver/royal blue and gold/maroon.  Cost will be about £3.00ea.  Nigel Taylor will be taking orders if the
samples are approved by committee members.

The Constitution is being checked for minor editorial
corrections by Bob Bagshaw and will be circulated to members as soon us this
task is completed.

Cave keys held at the Belfry.  Guests wishing to borrow any of the keys MUST
leave £5.00 deposit.  For the Lamb Leer
key a hire fee has been set at £1.00. Members giving out the keys should insist on some sort of

Thanks to Tony Tucker for the gift of O.S. maps to the
Library and members.

Letters To The Editor

The following letter has been received by Tim Large and
should be noted by all members wishing to descend


Wthey House,
Withey Close West,


University of

Speleological Society

To the Hon. Secretaries, Charterhouse,
C.C. Clubs.
26th October 1978

Dear Tim,

My attention has been drawn to the fact that club
secretaries are not being sufficiently strict with their members who use the
club key to G.B. Cavern with regard to observation of the access rules, agreed
to in November 1975.  In particular the
following: –

Rule 5:- “C.C.C. permits must be held by each member
of the party going down

.”  In order to get a permit each caver must sign
the Indemnity Chit.

Rule 6: – I am still having to replace locks at the rate
of about six a year, which is absurd, and it is almost entirely due, so I am
told, to the practice of leaving the cave unlocked, with the lock lying around
waiting to be pinched.  It must surely be
clear that a cave the size of G.B. security of unauthorised entry can only be
achieved if each party locks the door behind it both on entering and leaving
the cave.  Please could you be strict
with your parties about this.

Rule 8: – Reservation of digging and exploration
right to the U.B.S.S.  The most gross
infringement of this rule was by a certain Villis of Cheddar, who spoilt the
squeeze on the dry way out of the first grotto. This chap had his tail adequately twisted by his club secretary.  It should be, noted however, that the rule
applies to all fixed tackle in the cave, which is the responsibility of the
Society.  With particular reference to
the Ladder Dig, the Society, with the agreement of members of the Charterhouse
C.C. removed the bolts in the wall, the idea being that parties who wished to
visit the Ladder Dig could bring their own bolts and remove them at the end of
each trip.  This however, has been
abused, and unknown persons have fitted at least two sets of permanent bolts,
the latest set quite unsuitable, which the Society has had to deal with.  We have not yet finalised our arrangements,
but when we have I will let club secretaries know the size of hangers, nuts and
spanners that their parties will need to take with them.  In summary, no fixed aids may be put in.

I would welcome your comments on this and on any other ideas
you may have which will help us to preserve the amenities of this fine cave.

            Oliver (Lloyd)
                        Hon. Treas.


The following letter has been received by Dave Irwin……

Dear Leader,

I regret to inform you that until further notice Fairy Cave
Quarry; except for

, is closed for
caving trips.

This restriction is due to the fact that

have been informed by the authority
responsible for quarry safety that some rock faces are insufficiently
stable.  The Cerberus committee are
currently attempting to organise with


or by other means the stabilisation of the relevant rock faces.

I will inform you as soon as the situation improves.

Yours, Good Caving,

          Ken Gregory, Caving Secretary,
Cerberus Spel. Society. 17th November 1978


Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity, through the Belfry
Bulletin, to air my surprise on the new ruling by our committee concerning the
locking away of the tackle room key.  It
was on Saturday 21st October that I was taking a group of 6th form pupils for a
days caving on Mendip.  Needing some tackle
and inadvertently leaving my Belfry key at home, a trip to the Hunters was
called for to beg, steal or borrow a key. On meeting with Mr. ‘N’ it (this new ruling) was explained to me and the
reasons for it being that the club had £400 worth of equipment, stolen (or gone
missing).  Unfortunately, he and two
other members present, could not unlock the Belfry library due to other
commitments.  One had left his key at
home!  Luckily, one other had his key and
kindly went with me to unlock the library to help me out of my predicament.

I put it to the club that on a Saturday or Sunday a member
would have no or little, difficulty in obtaining a library key.  But other B.E.C. members, like myself, who do
the majority of their caving during the week, to get easy access to the caves
without queuing for hours at the 20ft in Swildons, or other reasons would now
have to write to obtain a key or hope that a committee member was there.  The latter would be unlikely.  Whilst I appreciate the predicament that the
club is in, they must offer a service of some sort to their members.  The easy access of tackle has always been a
selling point of the club and one for which many of us have joined the club.  As it stands now my caving days during the
week seem to be over.

One or two points to help the club come to mind.  Firstly that the tackle book should be kept
where it belongs – in the tackle store, in so doing being a reminder to members
to use it.  Secondly, the Belfry lock
should be replaced.  So many people other
than BEC members must have keys now that Tom, Dick, or Harry, can take

As it stands now any member who is lucky enough to get
tackle should hang on to it.  You won’t
get any more.

I would appreciate this letter being published in the Belfry
Bulletin to find out and stimulate other member’s views on this subject.

Yours faithfully,

Dave Hatherley.  26th Oct. 1978

From the 1943 Caving Log:

March 20th – first trip after the reorganisation of

A trip to Goatchurch. Party went through Drainpipe and examined lowest chamber
thoroughly.  A dog marooned half-way up
Rock of Ages was rescued by T.H. Stanbury and C. Drumond.  Members present:-T.H. Stanbury, C. Drumond,
D.W. .Jones, G. Tait, T. Ward and T. Charles.

3rd April 1943

A trip by cycle to Swildons Hole.  The Club made its first test of wire and
duralumin ladder on 40ft pot and found that the ladders exceeded all
expectations.  On return journey met.
party of 7 men and 2 girls in Upper Grotto and took them out as they were lost!

Members present: T.H. Stanbury, C. Drumond, D. Hasell.

(Ed. note: Though it is generally believed that it was the
UBSS that first built electron ladders in this country about 1945 this entry
shows clearly that it was the B.E.C. that were first, as usual).


19 July 1959  Stoke

Roy Bennett, Mo Marriott, Norman Petty, John Attwood, John
Etough, John Stafford, Bob Bagshaw and others on a trip intended to be
photographic, but which developed into a tourist trip.  Sump cold and miserable – otherwise a very
interesting trip.  Throne Room and Bone
Chamber very impressive.

J.E. (J. Etough)


Anyway Rocket Drop

The following account describes
the exploration of a small cave that took nearly three years for the caving
population on Mendip to hear about, let alone descend the place.  Accompanying this article is the survey and a
group of photographs.  Having done a deal
with the
Wessex, your Editor
managed through the good offices of ‘Backbone’, to get the survey decently
printed and to supply the


for their needs in exchange for the printed pages of the photograph.  One would expect Macmillan’s, David &
Charles, Longmans etc. to get caving photos upside, down but NOT the

.  However, they did succeed in doing so – says
a lot for their organisation!  Memo to
all BEC members ‘Have to take the

caving and show them the
difference between stals!

by Claire Williams

Rocket Drop first opened in the spring of 1974 when a small,
though deep hole opened in one of our fields. The earth continued to subside making a conical hole about 12 feet round
and about 10 feet deep leading to a narrow rift.  The rift is about 10ft deep and leads down
into a large chamber.

This was explored by Colin (Williams) who found a blind pit
on one side of the decorated chamber. The way one proved to be a wriggle through boulders in the bottom of a
steeply sloping boulder floor.  This led
to a small chamber with flowstone covering the walls below which is a tricky
climb of about 20ft (rope advisable). This has now been altered by throwing a boulder or two about to make an
easier 15ft climb.  At the bottom the way
on was choked with boulders and mud.

Little progress was made over the next few years although
our dog, Rocket, was a somewhat surprised Speleodog when he fell down the
entrance pitch – hence the name Rocket Drop. The


kindly offered to help with the entrance shaft piping and gating during the
autumn of 1977.  After six months or so,
many words, much muscle and some brains, four pipes were placed in the cave
entrance (they don’t get much practise at this sort of thing!).  This made the entrance into a 30ft pitch.

Over the summer of 1977, Colin, Pete Moody and Alison Hooper
dug the choke at the bottom of the second rift to enter a long narrow
gallery.  This has fine straws end some
mud formations.

Further digging and banging opened a low passage at the end
of the Second Chamber leading to a tight 15ft vertical rift and the Third
Chamber.  From this final chamber a low
constricted tube, similar to Easy Street in nearby Pinetree Pot, leads off for
a short distance where work is continuing.

The cave is in horizontally bedded limestone and is formed
along a series of joints and is probably phreatic in origin.

Tackle required:

Entrance pitch – 30ft. ladder and
100ft tether:

Blind Pit – 20ft. ladder attached
to the entrance ladder.

2nd Pitch (rift) – 50ft hand

Access: The cave may be visited by arrangement with
Colin either at home at Whitestown Farm, Cheddar Crossroads, Compton Martin,

or at the Hunters
(preferably with the offer of some beer!)


Our thanks to the

‘ A’ team for gating (God
only knows what the ‘B’ team is like!)

..to Fred Davies and Alan Mills for banging..

..Phil Hendy for the photos (they make it look much better
than it really is even though they are upside down!)…

…the ‘Wig’ for the survey and everyone else who helped.




Brief survey notes: Instruments – Suunto compass and
clinometer, 50ft fibron tape. Instruments were hand held and calibrated fulfilling the requirements of
a Grade 5 survey.  Original drawing was
inked on a stabil material and then photo reduced to suit the size of the
BB.  Details of the side rift below the
First Chamber were supplied by Phil Hendy.



Le Deuxieme Festival International Du Film De Speleologie

La Chapelle en Vercors, 23 – 27 August ’78

Following the successful trip to
the Dachstein two of our intrepid explorers went to the cinema…

a report by Ross

The 18th August 1978 saw Andy Sparrow and myself plodding
down the road out of Salzberg; having left Graham Wilton-Jones et. al who were
returning home after the expedition to the Dachstein.  We were on our way to Le Vercors via

, using
our thumbs.

Some time later, after surviving a dose of food poisoning
and the odd occasion when our sense of humour broke down, we arrived in La
Chapelle – En Vercors, a small village situated about 50km south-west of
Grenoble.  We met up with Ben Lyon, who
had been invited to help judge the films, and Dave Morris, George Bee, Paul
Atkinson and families who were over to dive some sumps.  Although we didn’t have any caving gear (a
prime excuse you might think) as we carried everything on our backs, we did end
up doing some caving.

The first trip was with Ben to La Crotte de Bruder, which
had a large entrance chamber leading into impressive rift passage.  We only covered a few hundred feet as we
weren’t equipped properly and there was a lot of swimming aided by a few
dubious looking traverse lines.

We also did some sherpering for the divers into La Grotto de
Bournillon.  We’d been well primed with
alcohol the night before but the effort was well worth it.  The entrance is immensely impressive (largest
in Europe) with a stonking great passage going half mile into the mountainside
to the sump pool, which is large, crystal clear and very cold.  D. Morris and P. Atkinson dived 700ft to
-70ft then returned, due to the cold and setting tangled in old broken line.

On the opposite side of the valley is a show cave – La
Grotte de Choranche, which is an absolute must if you’re in the area.  It is exceptionally well decorated and

As for the festival itself, the second of its kind, the
French had obviously put a lot of time and effort into it.  There was an assortment of French, English,
German, Belgian, American and Swiss films, 23 in all.  A jury of seven, including Nick Barrington
and Ben Lyon studiously sat through all these and eventually awarded Sid
Perou’s ‘Alum Pot’ the winning title. ‘Pippikin Pot’ was also a runner up.

There were a number of remarkable films, the most memorable
being, I think; a German film entitled. ‘Taucher Im Fels’ by W. Mann featuring
Joohen Hasenmayer, a cave diver.  It
tells of a big push into a large resurgence. The visibility was superb, the passage huge and you can imagine the
diver wearing a twin set backpack, four side mounted bottles PLUS a camera in
an English sump!  It effectively captured
some of the tension and loneliness of long cave.

Another film dealt with the problems of cave conservation in

problems caused by major quarrying and rubbish tips etc.  Of course, there were a couple of ‘joke’
films – they were so bad, that you had to laugh.

The festival was spread over five days with trips to local
show caves and a wine co-operative thrown in for good measure.  It wound up with a dinner and a re-run of the
winning films.  As a whole it was worth
seeing despite logistic problems and it also gave one a chance to meet foreign

The cost?  Admittedly
not cheap: 10f for an afternoon session, 15f an evening session but you could
buy a season ticket for 50f which worked out much cheaper.  Camping fess were nominal.

If anyone is in the area next year I can recommend a
visit.  It certainly provides an
interesting new dimension to armchair caving! for the dedicated.  The local barman is very friendly and keeps
liberal opening hours and some strange reason likes cavers!



These are somewhat shorter this month but we’ll try and make
up for it in the January B.B.

Address Change: Steve Tuttlebury 28 Beacon Close,
Boundstone, Farnham,

Otter Hole: The key is available from Peter Capper,
Dunraven, Clearwell, Coleford, Glos.

Due to damage in the cave, the RFDCC intend to tighten
access conditions.  Details will be
available shortly.

Leck Fell (

.)  Permits for all caves on Leck Fell should –
be obtained from:

A. Hall, 64E Manor House Close,
Preston. PT5 3TY

The Meets Secretary for Casterton Fell only is still:

P. Llewellyn, The Chalet, Lower
Newhouse, Waddington, Clitheroe, Lancs.

Penyhent/Gingling – All clubs wishing to visit
Gingling next year should make their applications by the 1st February 1979.


OF SWILDON’S HOLE – part of that is!

On the following two pages are the separate views of
Swildon’s stereo plan.

Get a sheet of tracing paper and trace page 14 with a green
crayon or felt pen.  Using the guide
lines overlay the first tracing onto page 15 and trace this picture with a red
crayon of felt pen.

Place the tracing paper onto a good white background to ensure
the colours stand out clearly.

Make yourself a pair of red and green glasses, or pinch the
kids, similar to those in children’s 3D picture books and see the cave survey
for the first time in the full glory of 3D, just turn on the kitchen tap an you
can hear the stream plunging into the Double Pots.  Make the wife produce a few gargling noises
to stimulate the diving through sump 1 – what a good way of caving in the
sitting room!  Make sure you don’t get
too excited, fall over the cat and break your legs!  Thanks to Mike Cowlishaw for this copy and to
Willie S. for using the survey.


Send them to: Sue
Tucker, 75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock,

Details of subscription rates are given in the Hon. Secs. Column
‘Lifeline’ page 2

Swildons Stereo Surveys!.


Wigmore Swallet

Continuing the saga of Wigmore Swallet

Stu Lindsey gives us
the up to date picture…..

End of Part One…

The first half of ’78 has seen Tony Jarrett and Stu Lindsey
busily ginging up the ‘open’ ends of the Winding Shaft.  This was achieved with notable assistance
from Chris Batstone, Trev Hughes, Graham W-J, Ross White and Miss Jane Kirby,
when they were available.  The task
involved mixing by hand, the equivalent, of the ingredients that went into the
‘cap’, about 2t tons of concrete!

Unfortunately, the need for the ginging….over 50ft of
it……meant demolishing the dry walled spoil heaps and the almost complete
denuding of Hesitation Chamber.  This
latter exercise completely robbing the chamber of its ‘loose’ character.  However the task did provide a few hairy
moments, especially when perched 30ft up the shaft on virtually non-existent
ledges, invariably wet and muddy, and handling large boulders and buckets of
‘goo’… it was on reflection, quite fun!

In May, with the completion of the most necessary ginging
imminent, Stu. L. began the task of constructing the framework to receive the
‘cap’, areas of obvious instability being grouted in where practical.  The main shuttering (¼”ply) was laid
down on five cross members of 2″ x 2″, each member having ‘two legs’,
this raised them the necessary 3ft up from the only two ledges available on
each side of the shaft, stream side and farm side.  (At the present time mid. September, Ed., –
this means the cap is mainly supported by the ginging at each end!)  The positioning of the formwork means that
the concrete lid is at the same depth as the soil when we started digging.  As a safety measure, and because of the flimsy
nature of the base, three large log were dangled under the formwork and
suspended by ropes to acrow jacks wedged across the upper part of the
shaft.  As things turned out ‘the tension
on the ropes remained slack throughout the capping ceremony…….!

So, to the big day, the 16th September 1978.  The capping of the Winding Shaft with nearly
three tons of concrete.  An operation
that made certain doubting Thomas! (no, not Alan Thomas) squib with anticipated
delight at the thought of a certain Wigmore Collapse…..sorry to have
disappointed you folks!……phew.  The
much was mixed in a rather temperamental mixer and pushed 60 yards to the
delivery chute where two sweaty figures sculpted it around two yawning orifices.  One, with scaffold pipes across acting as a
flood valve!  The entrance hole, 6ft x
4ft. approx. will be covered by the ‘wee top frae Ross-shire’, this has been
delivered from the

by various
modes of transport.  Whilst no intention
of ‘padlocking’ is envisaged the landowner wants it secured – so, the lid will
be bolted when the lips of the hole are lined.

Many thanks to ‘Mistair Crestani’ for on-site materials and
loan of the mixer and, to all who turned up on the day and assisted with the
various operations.  The area around the
hole has now been handed back to nature except for the remnants of the big
spoil heap which in time will form a dry wall around the ‘cap’.

At present access is still confined to diggers, so anyone
wishing to assist please see Stu Lindsey or Tony Jarrett.

It is my intention to display a pictorial history of the dig
in the Belfry and also put together ‘collections of prints’ for various
persons.  To this end I would be grateful
to hear from anyone who has ‘pics’ to do with Wigmore, especially subterranean
ones, as my camera went wrong during Dec-Jan in the break in period.  My address is 5 Laburnum Wlk, Keynsham, Avon
(S.A.E.) or to me at the Belfry.

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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.