Exploration Club, The Belfry,

, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Som.  Telephone: Wells 72126.

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

.  Telephone: Priddy 369.

Drinking At The Hunters

Fault Finding Chart (Reprinted from Surrey University Rag
Mag. 1978).




Action to







fails to give satisfaction and taste, shirt front wet.



Feet warm and


Mouth not
open while drinking, or glass being applied to wrong part of face.


bladder control

Buy another
pint and practice in front of mirror.  Drink
as many as necessary until technique perfect.


Stand next to
nearest dog – after a while complain to owner about lack of house training.  Demand pint as compen­sation.

to be continued….


Martin Grass has sent in the following notes:

St. Cuthbert’s: The Arête Ladder has been removed from the cave for repair.  The bolts are safe and all leaders will need
to take a lifeline and ladder plus a short tether.  The ladder will be replaced as soon as it has
been overhauled.

O.F.D.  As
stated in the May BB, the Columns have been gated and will only be opened on 6
weekends every year.  ALL parties must be
accompanied by a leader from the Nature Conservancy.  Dates will be published in future BB’s.

Otter Hole has been booked for the BEC on September
6th 1980.  Anyone interested should
contact Martin either at the Belfry or telephone (0582-35145).

Peak Cavern: Anyone interested in a trip should contact Martin NOW and he will
arrange some dates.

BEC Leaders:

            DYO &
Tunnel –             Graham

                                                Martin Grass (Tel:0582-35145)

            OFD –                           G.

                                                Mike Palmer (Tel:0749-74-393)

Hole:              D.
Irwin (Tel: 074-987-369)
                                                M. Grass

Anyone who thinks that they are still leaders for OFD or DYO
should contact Martin as the SWCC have no record of them.

A note to George from the ‘Wig’.  In response to your letter to the BB some 12
months or so ago, a short series of articles ‘A Brief History of Mendip Caving,
1960 – 1980’ will be published in the BB shortly.  This will cover all new caves and their
locations and extensions to the then existing caves.


Italian News

From Stan Gee we have the latest news from the Italian

It is a bit sickening but whilst the BEC and others thrutch,
strain and heave for a few yards of new passage, we receive .the following information, via C.A.I. Magazine of
recent discoveries (1979) in


At the Cacciatore, a fourth ‘bottom’ has been found at -715m
and a total distance surveyed now comprising 8 kilometres.  Not satisfied with this, a dye test has
proved a positive connection to the Corchia, though the way through has yet to
be discovered.

About 300m from the Cacciatore, a cave called the Abisso
Bader Meinhof, referred to as ‘BM’ has been discovered and a depth of -450m
with the exploration not yet complete.

Still in

at a cave called Abisso Roversi, a huge shaft of 310m has been found and a
total depth of -755m reached whilst on Monte Sumbra, a swine of a mountain for
access.  Abisso del Draghi Volante
(Abisso of the Flying Dragon) has popped down for -500m.  The report doesn’t say but in this cave a bad
accident took place and the poor sod was stuck below for about 3 days.

Piemonte Exploration has been proceeding in Gache and Piaggiabella, but also a
new hole has been found with a depth of -180m whilst on Monte Mondole, Abisso
reached a depth of -320m.

Lornbardia. Passing of a siphon in the caves of Tacchi and Zelbio has produced some
3,000m of passage, making a total of 5,900m discovered since 1978.

.  1,300m discovered in the fossil gallery of
the Grotta Rugli.

Friuli.  In Abisso Roversi a new galleria has reached
a new depth of -585m and another new discovery has reached -650m in the
Gortani.  Another cave noted as M21, they
dismissed as chicken feed, has reached minus 399m with a total distance of 4

.  Abisso Malga Fossetta – down to -455m and at
Vicenza, the Buso del la
has been explored and surveyed for 15 kilometres!

.  Exploration in the

cave of

has produced 2,560m.  At this place there
are 3 caves very close together but no connection between them has yet been

Sicilia. This must be the cavers dream discovery at

cave of
where a 100m shaft leads to
caves which, due to hydro thermic phenomena have draughts of air at 39 – 40
centigrade!  Yes, that’s what the book
says, 39 -40 degrees centigrade!  Sort of
like, 102 degrees in the shade.  Sounds
just the place for an aging caver to retire to, it could easily become the
Cheltenham of the caving world!

Cheerio for now, see you boys at Cucchiara

Stan Gee

PS: The strangely garbed characters seen busking at Laycock
Folk Festival, with a BEC sticker on his melodeon and attracting the amused
attention of two BEC ladies was me, I admit it. As the label said “The BEG get everywhere”.

Many thanks Stan hope to hear from you again later in the

A Note From The Tacklemaster

John Dukes

Will all members please note that they should use spreaders
on ladders to prevent unnecessary strain on the cable at the top rung.

Quote of the MONTH

A Special Constable talking to PC Plod (Nigel Taylor)
“Didn’t you use to go caving?”



by Tim Large

1.                  Dinner 1980. It will be held at the Caveman Restaurant, Cheddar on Saturday 4th
October 1980 7.30pm for 8pm.  The menu
will be very similar to last year with Roast Beef as the main course.  Wine will be included in the price and also a
drink before the meal.  Price £5.

2.                  Recently a meeting was held at the Belfry to
discuss any improvements to the club H.Q. Previously to this plans had been published in the B.B. and those
interested submitted their comments. It has been decided to consult an
architect to see what is possible with regard building regulations etc. Once
this has been done we will know exactly what we can do.

3.                  The Committee has decided that due to lack of
material for the B.B. that a large version of the B.B. will be produced quarterly
– as you received for your April/May version. This will include the main articles about club caving activities
etc.  In future editions it will have a
different cover, possibly with a photograph on it.  In between the quarterly issue there will be
published a B.B. News-Sheet containing only day to, day club business and
notice of events.  This will only be
issued to Club Members.  Any clubs with
whom we exchange will only receive the quarterly Journal.

4.                  Recently there have been thefts from cars parked
at G.B., Cuckoo Cleeves and Pinetree Pot. Members are advised to leave no valuables in their cars whilst they go
caving.  Also thieves are not very
particular about how they break in – Cuckoo Cleeves a crow bar was used to
lever the boot open.  At G.B. the dash
board of a Ford Capri was wrenched out in order to remove a radio.  You have been warned!!

5.                  The committee has noticed that there must now be
quite a number of lapsed members who still have keys to the Belfry and St
Cuthbert’s.  It would be appreciated that
if any members know the existence of such keys, they could be returned for
re-issue to, new members etc.  This would
help keep ever rising costs down.

6.                  A slide show by Paul Deakin will be held at the
Hunters on Saturday 20th September 1980 at 8pm.

7.                  There is still a vacancy for a non-committee
post of Publications Officer.  This
entails editing and arranging the printing of our special publications such as
Burrington Atlas, Cuthbert’s Reports etc. Several sections of the Cuthbert’s Reports are ready for publication,
but until we find someone willing to do the work they will unfortunately remain
unpublished.  Anyone interested?

8.                  The Somerset Trust for Nature Conservation is
about to take over the Mineries Area as they have done with

.  We have established close contacts with the
Trust as our H.Q.’s is close to the area and members have quietly enjoyed this
stretch of countryside for many years. The two main objectives appear to fall in line with BEC views.  That is to stop the Hippies from camping and
to stop the motorcyclists who have recently increased in number and have been
defacing the area.  Volunteer wardens are
needed – anyone interested contact Tim Large, Nigel Taylor or Brian Prewer.

9.                  Sue Tucker has recently expressed her concern
over the ever increasing work of the Treasurer. This year the amounts of money involved are quite staggering hence the
paperwork to keep pace with it also increases. Sue would like assistance in the form of a membership Secretary – as we
had some years ago.  This persons role
would be to collect membership fees – keep the address list up to date and
submit figures to the Treasurer and send out the B.B.  Anyone interested should contact any
committee member as soon as possible.

10.              Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  A reminder that this fund is available to
younger members who’s financial state is perhaps not so rosy, particularly
those still in full time education, university, etc.  Grants can be given to enable members to
undertake caving expeditions, projects etc, Anyone give a grant is expected to write a report for the B.B.  If any members are interested they should
contact either Tim Large, Sue Tucker, Mike Palmer, Sett or Martin Grass.


1980 Annual General Meeting

Election of Club Officers

Nominations are now requested for the Committee
Election.  These must be seconded in
writing and be sent to the Hon. Secretary by the 6th September 1980 at:

Tim Large,
Hon. Secretary, B.E.C
53 Portway,

Annual Dinner

at the Caveman Restaurant,


Nigel Taylor is prepared to arrange a coach to run from the
Belfry to the Caveman and back to the Belfry after the dining and wining.  Those who want to take advantage of this
facility should contact Nigel (at the Belfry or write c/o The Belfry, Wells
Road, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset, as soon as possible to ensure that the right
size coach is booked.  A charge will be
made to cover the hiring costs.

Resignations from the Committee:

Garth Dell and Dave Irwin will not be standing again this
year for election to the Committee.  The
remaining seven members of the Committee will be standing again but to ensure
an election there needs to be at least three new nominations.  Garth is currently the Hut Warden and Dave
Irwin, the B.B. Editor.


I’m afraid that this issue of the B. B. has had to be spread
over two months again simply because NO new material has been sent in for
publication.  On a matter of principle
I’m not intending to fill the pages of the B.B. with padding written by
myself.  Neither has it been a lack of
effort on my part in trying to get members to put pen to paper but the common
replies are “I haven’t the time” or “Yes, I’ll get something to
you in the next few days” (which, needless to say never arrives).  As a talking point for the AGM, members will
have to think very carefully before demanding a Monthly B. B. from the new
Editor UNLESS THEY are prepared to supply material for publication on a regular
basis.  To publish a monthly BB is a
responsibility that ALL members must shoulder and ensure that they send at
least one article a year.  Just ponder on
this little fact: To fill a 14 page B.B. (that is so often demanded by the
Belfry regular) requires SEVEN articles a month if each spreads over two pages.



Belfry Alterations

a note on a recent meeting between interested parties at the

Following the publication of the suggested alterations to
the Belfry, published in the March BB a meeting between the Committee and about
10 members took place on a hot, sunny morning at the Belfry.  The published plans were discussed in detail
and criticisms and alternative proposals were discussed in detail.  Buckett Tilbury sent his comments via Graham
Wilton Jones and Pete and Joyce Franklin brought up their suggestions in the
form of plans based on those published in the BB.  The meeting agreed that they strive for the
ideal plan without, at this point in time, any consideration to the final cost.  It was appreciated that whatever was decided
upon at this meeting could well be pruned accordingly when some professional
estimates were obtained.  It was
generally agreed that the staircase to the loft could not be installed in the
main living room and the proposed position for them would be inside the main
entrance.  An alternative layout proposed
by Pete and Joyce put the men’s dorm up in the loft and building in a long
dormer window.  The existing men’s room
would be divided into a women’s room (at the far end of the building) and the
Library (adjoining the main living room). The Changing area and shower cubicles were also revised giving a better
‘flow’ of people through the area.  Plans
will be drawn up and professional advice sought.  A sum of £50 – £100 was allocated for arch.
and surveyors fees in the first instance. The revised plans will be published in the BB hopefully before the next
AGM.  A further point was agreed upon
that the project should be split into a phased programme to be carried out over
a number of years ensuring an easy running of the Belfry during the alterations.  More details later.


Minutes of the 1979 Annual General Meeting of the

Exploration Club.

The meeting was held at the Belfry on Saturday 6th October
1979 being convened by the Hon. Secretary Tim Large.  A quorum being present the meeting was opened
at 10.40am.  The Hon. Secretary asked for
nominations for a Chairman Alan Thomas and Sett were nominated from, the
floor.  A vote was taken and Alan Thomas
elected.  In his opening remarks the
Chairman reminded those present that the A.G.M. was the right and proper place
to air any grievances or dissatisfaction with the club.  ‘Members therefore speak up now or forever
hold thy peace’.  Outstanding Ballot
Papers were called for and three Tellers elected.  Apologies for absence were received from
O.C.L., Steve Tuck, Chris Smart and Stuart McManus.

The minutes of the Extraordinary General Meeting held on 7th
October 1978 had been published in the B.B. – The meeting approved these with
comment.  No matters were arising.

The minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on the 7th
October 1978 had been published in the B:B. – The meeting approved these.


1.                  A letter of thanks to Alfie Collins had been
sent by the Hon. Secretary on the 30th October 1978.

2.                  B.B. Printing Machine.  The one which had been available via Sett had
been acquired.  Bob Cross seconded by
Nigel Taylor proposed a vote of thanks to Sett for his efforts in securing the
machine- The meeting agreed unanimously.

3.                  The new Trustees have been elected and the
necessary documentation completed.

4.                  Re A.O.B. The meeting agreed that the first
motion be deleted regarding Garth Dell as it contradicted the second motion.

Hon. Secretary’s Report.  Already published in the B.B.  Adopted by the meeting following proposal by
Jerry Crick seconded by Martin Bishop.

Hon. Treasurer’s Report.  Already published in the B.B.  Joan Bennett expressed concern over
outstanding hut fees involving 5 people with the largest sum being £8.  Martin Grass proposed, seconded by Tony
Jarratt that the meeting be informed of the debtor’s names.  FOR 21 AGAINST 8.  Bob Cross expressed concern over the names
being made public.  Brian Prewer
suggested that credit should never have been allowed in the first place.  Brian Prewer proposed, seconded by Sue Tucker
that no credit be allowed in future.  FOR
6 AGAINST 20.  Dave Turner, seconded by
Garth Dell proposed that credit be allowed for one month or until the next
visit to the Belfry, whichever is the least. FOR 23 AGAINST 8 – Motion carried. Nigel Taylor, seconded by Jerry Crick proposed that the Hon. Treasurer’s
report be adopted – carried unanimously.

Hon. Caving Secretary’s Report.  The report had already been published in the
B.B.  Bob Cross expressed concern over
the fact that cave keys were not often available to members as they had already
been loaned to guests.  He went on to
propose, seconded by Martin Grass that the club has available at the Belfry two
keys to each cave, one being exclusively for members the other for guests.  This was carried unanimously.  Nigel Taylor proposed, seconded by Dave Irwin
that the report be adopted – carried unanimously.

Hon. Hut Warden’s Report.  Chris Batstone read his report to the
meeting.  No comments were
forthcoming.  A vote of thanks was
proposed by Martin Grass, seconded by Nigel Taylor – carried unanimously.  Jerry Crick seconded by Mike Wheadon proposed
that the report be adopted – carried.

Hon. Hut Engineer’s Report.  Already published in the B.B.  Sett commented on the Belfry not having
adequate ventilation.  This was
previously recommended at the 1977 A.G.M. by Ginger Thomas.  Bob Cross endorsed this opinion.  Tim Large pointed out that the materials had
been obtained for the work to be done. Chris Batstone, seconded by jerry Crick proposed that the report be
adopted – carried.

Hon. Tacklemaster’s Report.  Already published in the B.B.  John Dukes commented that the ladder taken
for the Austrian Expedition had not yet been returned.  Martin Bishop said that he had the ladder at
home for safe keeping as it had been left in the Belfry.  The meeting agreed on a vote of thanks to
Martin Bishop for looking after it. Brian Prewer suggested that it was the responsibility of the signing
tackle out if it became lost or mislaid. Dave Irwin, seconded by Chris Batstone proposed the report be adopted –

Hon. B.B. Editor’s Report.  Published in the B.B.  Adoption proposed by Garth Dell and seconded
by Nigel Taylor – carried.

Hon. Librarian’s Report.  Dave Irwin reported that there were some
books missing.  One long outstanding book
– ‘Limestone and Caves of Derbyshire’ had recently been located in the
possession of Stuart McManus.  The
meeting endorsed the Librarian’s request that members borrowing books must
enter details in the Library register. Concern was expressed by the meeting regarding the safety of the clubs
rare books.  Sett, seconded by Garth Dell
proposed that a suitable lockable box be obtained in which to keep these books motion
carried unanimously. Jerry Crick proposed, seconded by John Turner that the
report be adopted – carried unanimously.

I.D.M.F. Report. There being no report the Hon. Secretary said there had been one application
during the year from Nick Thorne who was granted £40.  The fund still stands at about £300.  The meeting expressed the need to adhere to
Ian Dear’s original wishes, even though it meant the fund not being used as
mush as in recent years.  Tony Jarratt
proposed, seconded by Martin Bishop that the report be adopted – carried.

The Chairman announced the result of the Committee
Election.  Those elected were as
follows:- Dave Irwin, Sue Tucker, Tim Large, Nigel Taylor, Martin Grass, Graham
Wilton-Jones, John Dukes, Stuart Lindsay and Garth Dell.  A vote was taken on the officer’s posts with
the results as follows:-

Hon. Secretary – Tim Large
Hon. Treasurer – Sue Tucker
Hon. Caving Secretary – Martin Grass
Hon. Hut Warden – Garth Dell
Hon. Hut Engineer – Nigel Taylor
Hon. Tacklemaster – John Dukes
Hon. B.B. Editor – Dave Irwin
Joan Bennett was unanimously elected by the meeting as Hon. Auditor.

Annual Subscription. The Chairman outlined the method by which the proposed subscription of
£7.50 had been arrived at details of this had previously been published in the
B.B.  Joan Bennett pointed out that in
the last two years the club’s capital had dropped from £1300 to £680.  Sett pointed out that all sections of the
club should be self supporting i.e. Belfry rates and insurance should come from
Belfry income.  Martin Grass and John
Dukes expressed opposition to this stating that all members should contribute
to the club facilities.  Dave Irwin
suggested that by cutting the B.B. to six issues a year, and cutting
expenditure slightly in other areas the club could raise £600 towards Belfry
improvements during the next year.  The
Chairman suggested that to supplement this, a donation of £2 per member or a
standing order of £1 per month should be considered.

John Turner suggested that a sub of £10 per year was not
unreasonable, which would give us enough money to project further into the
future and consider better improvements. John Dukes suggested that other fund raising schemes should be tried
such as lotteries and Jumble Sales. Brian Prewer pointed out that it could be dangerous to raise the sub too
much as the club may lose too many fringe members and therefore still not
increase its income.  Tim Large suggested
splitting the B.B. away from the sub with the B.B. optional at say £2.50 and
subs at £5.  Garth Dell asked what
advantage this would give.  Tim Large
explained that it would keep the actual sub lower and those members requiring
the B.B. including Life Members would have to pay the £2.50 subscription.  Dave Irwin supported the idea.  He also said that much work needed to be done
on the Belfry.   Money for this was
needed quickly.  Tim Large proposed,
seconded by Brian Prewer that annual sub be separated from the B.B. costs FOR
18 AGAINST 19 – motion failed.  Maureen
Wheadon proposed, seconded by Dave Irwin that the annual sub be £8 FOR 24
AGAINST 7 – motion carried.  An amendment
motion was proposed by Martin Grass, seconded by Nigel Taylor that the annual
sub be £9 FOR 12 AGAINST 20 – motion failed.


2a – delete ‘in any way whatsoever’.

4a line 2 delete ‘full details’ substitute ‘Notice’.

5b line 5 delete August substitute September.

5h line 4 delete from ‘or if that is beyond’ to end of paragraph.

All these amendments were passed with a large majority.  Mike Wheadon expressed concern over various
ambiguities within the new constitution. He proposed, seconded by Dave Irwin that the committee be instructed to
consider his points and report back to the 1980 A.G.M. – motion carried with a
large majority.


1.                  Proposed by Tony Tucker, seconded by Bob Cross
that the B.B. become a bi-monthly journal in order to limit expenditure in this
direction.  Bob Cross explained that he
considered too much money was spent on the B.B. He would prefer that the £2.50 per head costs were spent on the Belfry
improvements.  Nigel Taylor emphasised
the cheapness of the B.B. by comparing it to 5 pints of beer.  Jok Orr expressed support for a monthly B.B.
as a way of keeping members not on Mendip regularly in touch with the
club.  Graham Wilton-Jones said that the
B.B. was always up to date with news due to its monthly publication and
therefore good value for money.  A vote
was taken and the large majority voted against the motion.

2.                  Proposed by Roy Bennett, seconded by Dave
Irwin.  That the Committee set up a
Belfry Improvements Fund and solicit donations from members by any means they
think fit.  Passed by a large majority.

3.                  Proposed by Tim Large on behalf of that
Committee, seconded by Cuthbert’s Leaders that the club should look into
obtaining comprehensive insurance cover for all members including Cuthbert’s
Leaders.  Passed with large majority.

4.                  Proposed by Roy Bennett, seconded by Dave Irwin.
That the Committee be instructed to investigate the question of comprehensive
insurance for Cuthbert’s Leaders and obtain such if they consider the club can
afford the premium.  Motion carried.


Mike Wheadon drew the meetings attention of the donation to
the club by John Ifold of his collection of B.B.’s.  John suggested that it might be worth a Life
Membership.  The meeting did not think it
worth a Life Membership but accepted his donation.  Sett agreed to have a word with John Ifold on
the subject.

Dave Turner expressed concern over reliance on a proposed
wood burning stove for the Belfry.  He
considered that it may present problems if wood supplies became scarce or
expensive.  Various members from the
floor said that there was no chance of wood becoming that scarce in the
foreseeable future.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 3pm


Earlier this year, Roy Bennett and ‘Wig’ sent out a letter
to all Life Members – the response has been such that most have contributed a
sum of money to cover the cost of their BB’s – one member gave in kind
sufficient to produce at least six small size BB’s.  Sue will be contacting these members in the
near future but in the meantime Roy and ‘Wig’ offer their thanks to all who
have contributed.  One who sent a letter
to Sue was George Honey and he writes “I’ve got a letter signed

and Dave and I do
realise that prices have increased.  I do
look forward to receiving my BB which is now read to me.  You see, my ‘candles’ have gone out (I’ve
lost my matches).”  Britt, his wife,
added a postscript, asking that if any of the ‘old friends’, or for that matter
any younger caver, have a few minutes to spare, would they write to
George.  Any letter that’s received will
get a reply if they carry the correct address. So, come you oldies!


MEETING of the BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB will be held at the BELFRY at 10.30am
prompt on SATURDAY 4th OCTOBER 1980. Don’t forget to be there.

© 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.