Bristol Exploration Club,
The Belfry,

Wells Road
Priddy, Wells,



Telephone: Wells (0749) 72126.

Editor:   G.

24 Redland Way
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Telephone: Aylesbury (0296) 28270.

Address Change:           John
and Sue Dukes
                                        18, Shepton West


Have you borrowed one of the Club’s GB or Longwood
keys?  Believe it or are not, you are not
the only one who wants to go down these caves. We now have two GB keys and one August Longwood key missing from the
library.  If you still have one of these
please return it post haste.

Welcome to the following NEW MENBERS:

977       Tony Callard
792       Ken James – back in the fold once
978       Shiela Furley
979       Richard Natthews
980       John Matthews


Harry Stanbury now at 7, Falcon Terrace, Bude,

.  In his letter Harry invites any members who
happen to be in the area to drop in.

961 Nick Phimister now at 10,

Telford Street,
.  Nick gives us prior warning that he will be
on Mendip at Easter.


“How would you like your ostrich, Sir?”

During mid November the Africa Section both managed to
wangle a week’s holiday with intent to visit the South African coast and the

Cape Province
.  A letter from the Town Clerk/ Cave Manager,
Michael Schultz, had informed us that trips to the spectacularly well decorated
extensions of Canga 2 and 3 would not be possible but that we were welcome to
drop in for a chat.

On November 15th, suffering from the usual severe hangover,
we left Naseru and drove for a day and a half across the desert like plains of
the Gretat Karoo to Oudtshoorn.  Situated
in an attractive, fertile valley the town is sheltered by the Outeniquas and
Swartberg mountain ranges.  Apart from
these rugged, interminable peaks the scenery is almost English – with plenty
well-stocked, green fields.  The major
difference is that English fields have cows and those here have ostriches!  These vicious and enormous birds are bred and
converted into feather dusters, bone meal, high quality leather, souvenirs and
ostrich steaks – which the B.E.C. tried and found to be superb – just like a
good beef steak and more tender.  On a
visit to an Ostrich show-farm we were shown how to ride the birds.  To put an ostrich into reverse gear you grab
its neck and twist down and backwards, as in a car.  The bird then hurtles along in reverse!

On Monday 17th we visited Hr. Schultz, who is also a member
of the African Spelaeological Association and

South Africa
‘s representative for
the I.U.S.  He offered us a trip to Cango
2 on the Wednesday (with a high court judge’s party).  Unfortunately we could not wait for this, but
were given complimentary admission tickets to the show cave instead.


Seen in Oudirshoorn
Town Clerk’s office. 


We drove up to the cave which lies in a dolomite hill below
the Swartberg range, about 16 km north of the town.  Feeling most important we joined a throng of
weegies, presented our free pass to the guide and spent the next couple of
hours in one of the world’s most beautiful show caves.

This lengthy phreatic system of roomy galleries was used as
a pre-historic habitation site and the entrance chamber contains Bushman
paintings and other remains.  In 1780 a
herdsman discovered the entrance and a local landowner, Van Zyl, organised the
first explorations – exploring much of the present show cave.  This consists of a series of large halls, all
filled with huge flowstone formations, columns, palettes, helictites, etc.  Despite their dryness and light coating of
soot from early visitors lamps these are very impressive.  At 762m, the system ended in a draughting
choke which was pushed in 1972 by cave guides and S.A.S.A. members to reveal
the incredibly beautiful 270m extension of Cango 2 (

).  Photographs section show it to contain superb
helictites, crystal formations, etc.  A
streamway at the end was pushed by S.A.S.A. in 1975 into Cango 3 – 1600m of
cave with even more extensions beyond which are still being explored.  At present the whole system is over 4.5 km

The tourist trip has its own South African
peculiarities.  There are set times for
white and non-white trips (imagine that in Goughs!) the guide gives his spiel
in English, followed by Afrikaans, and at the end of the walking section is an
undeveloped round trip of tight crawls and chimneys for the more
adventurous.  It is quite amazing how
many standard weegies go through this area complete with high heels, clean
white skirts and no idea what they are in for! The British system of ‘over safetyfying’ every¬thing would not allow for
this – a pity as it is good fun for all.

Our next few days were spent boozing in a wet and windy
Cape Town, wine-tasting, sightseeing at Cape of Good Hope,
visiting the Sandloper caves on the coast at Storm River Mouth and driving
along the picturesque

Garden Route

for two days of festering and swimming in the Indian Ocean at

Port Elizabeth
.  It was here we came across a superb ‘blue’
folk/country/rock group who would go down well in the Back Room!

Tony Jarratt and Colin



by Tim Large.

BROWNS FOLLY MINE: Under an agreement between the landowner and the Council of Southern
Caving Clubs this mine is now gated. There are two gates – one at either end of the system.  All other entrances have been blocked.  The Club has a key and details of how to
obtain it will be published soon.  It is
important that parties lock themselves in when on a trip in order to prevent
unauthorised access.  This agreement had
to be made to ensure continued access, even if somewhat restricted, otherwise
there was a definite risk of the mine being closed.

:  Just before Christmas the gate on this cave
was tampered with in a similar manner to the previous occasion.  The cave is at present closed while repairs
are carried out.  Any information as to
those responsible for the damage would be gratefully received.

EASTWATER: Recent digging by Tony Jarratt at al in Morton’s Pot has revealed s
silted beddinmg plane which takes the stream. Prospects look good. Work continues.

Many of you will recall the fatal accident that
occurred towards the end of last year during a rappel trip trough part of the Easegill
system.  Many rumours were put about
concerning the cause of the accident and the true facts are only just coming to
light.  In actual fact no belay
broke.  A previous party were rappelling
through and their rope became jammed, and was therefore left in place
temporarily.  The victim of the accident
put her descending device onto the rope, assuming it to be a fixed rope,
whereupon the rope jerked free.

Rappel, or ‘pull through’ trips are now fairly commonplace
in those
Yorkshire systems where it is
possible to enter on the top of the hill and leave later by a lower entrance.  The Principles of this method are simple –
take a rope twice the length of the longest pitch, abseil down the doubled
line, and pull it down after you.  The
same rope is used for every pitch and escape routes back upwards are removed –
you have to continue down.


Rot – Decay – Twang.

The fact that the
Yorkshire accident did not occur for the reasons
originally rumoured in no way negates the value of the following article,
submitted by Stu Lindsey.

The death of a fellow underground explorer, in pursuit of
the fulfilment that voyages into the rocky depths imparts, is never an easy
thing to accept, although some may shrug their shoulders and mumble, “It
will never happen to me,”  You win a
few, you lose a few,” etc., etc.  To
this end, and prompted by the death of a young girl in the Top Sink series of
Easegill, I should like to remind aspiring Belfryites intending to embark on
the explorations of the Yorkshire ‘pull through’ systems to TAKE CARE, and
please take note of the following nine hints.

  1. Primary
    belays should always be backed up by a secondary one.
  2. Never
    use belay loops (tapes, ropes or cords) that have been left in the
    cave.  The chances are that the
    person responsible for leaving it there had deemed it of no further use
    after his trip.  Remove and take out
    of the cave these remnants and replace them with your own.
  3. Use
    two tapes (belay loops (diagram C & D)) on the primary belay point
    (B).  Make one longer than the
    other, and place it over the shorter one.  When the rope is placed through both loops the weight is taken up
    on the slightly shorter one.  Should
    this loop, but not the bolt, fail then the weight is transferred to
    the second loop.
  4. Loop the back up belay (A) through the two loops (C
    & D) and allow 2” – 3″ (50 – 70 mm) slack.  This provides adequate cover should the
    primary hanger (B) fail.  Use tape,
    cord or rope with ‘dynamic property’.
  5. BEFORE each descent check the state of the belay – more so if tape, cord or rope
    is used in direct contact with angular, metal hangers.
  6. When
    the belay point is a ‘spar’ wedged across the passage, make your descent
    from one of its ends.  A hang from
    the middle only encourages the law of physics to act against your
  7. Descend
    as smoothly as possible.  Avoid undue
    bouncing.  Use a low stretch
    rope.  Marlow S.R.T. rope is ideal
    for this venture.
  8. Be
    prepared to ascend – just because you are on an abseiling trip does not
    mean that you will not have to reverse procedures.  Carry ascending gear or cord suitable
    for prusik loops.
  9. Finally
    enjoy yourself.  Doing so makes
    others happy.  Enjoyment is
    reflective of your having done the job right, and reflections are what the
    rescue teams like to see as they sit at home polishing their
    krabs…..waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting


Primary belay arrangement.

(A)               back up belay with a dynamic tape property

(B)               Angular belay hanger

(C)               Primary belay loop under tension.

(D)               Secondary belay loop, is long enough when
primary loop under tension just touches it. Usually ½” longer when folded flat.

(E)               Doubled rope for abseiling – nylon, terylene,
polyester, but not polypropylene.

Suggest ½” super blue tape for A, C and D.


Friday Night CC

Prew has asked if I would publish a list of the Friday Night
C.C. meets for the year in the B.B.  For
those not in the know, the Friday Niters consist of anyone who cares to go
along, within reason.  Usally intending
Friday Niters meet at the cave at 7.30pm.

Cotact B.E. Prewer. on Wells 73757 if you are interested in
going along.

























Tynings Barrows

St. Cuthbert’s

South Wales

Lamb Leer

Quarry, Shatter

& Stalactite







Cow Hole






















South Wales


Stone Mines

Manor Farm

St. Cuthbert’s



South Wales


Tynings Barrows








Send to: – Fiona Lewis, 53 Portway, Wells, Somerset.  Do you want me to lick the stamp?


Swildons – Sump 12    29.12.80

Divers:  Colin Houlden

‘Quackers’ Duck

Porter:  Jane Clarke

Aim:     To reach Sump

A decision, one Wednesday evening, in the familiar environs
of the Hunters, to go to 12 was really forced on Quackers by me.  We were already committed to go to 9
‘sometime’ by having been told that 12 was not much further, I decided to make
it the aim.  Quackers agreed.

We met at the shed (Belfry) at 1100hrs and were at the
entrance by 1145.  There was a distinct
people ruckle all the way to the 20’ but a little polite shouting and barging
with elbows assisted our passage.  We
were separated, but met at Sump 1.  Jane
had to return, so we pressed on to the bucket of lead by 2 to kit up.

I led to 9, and with the exception of the bypass of 7-8 all
was uneventful.  The bypass of 7-8 turned
out to be of doubtful parentage and caused us to de-kit.  A carry to the chamber below the climb and we
kitted up to go to 9, and thence to 11 where we de-kitted went on to 12.  After a glance up at Victoria Aven and at (I
think) 12b, and then a short rest, we returned.

I had great difficulty going through the squeeze but
otherwise the return to 2, where we de-kitted our lead, hoods, valves and
masks, went O.K.  I was quite weary by
now and carrying a ‘taddy’ did not help. This became evident at the 20′.  I
tried to reach the eyebolt at the top of the ladder and discovered that the
mind was willing but the body decidedly weak! The floor below the 20’ belted my right hip with about 14 stone.  It took about five minutes to recover from
the shock (the fall did not hurt, just the sudden stop) and then I attempted
another ascent.  Arms through the ladder,
feet slipped out, backing, help from Quackers – I made it!  Porterage of my bag and the ladder by Ray and
Adrian of Crawley C.C. was gratefully received. My egress up the 6′ was helped by Quackers’ shoulder and we made our way
back to the shed and the Hunters.

Notes:   1:
Vis was poor to nil all way in sumps;

            2: No line
in position through 10, a duck, so not important;

            3: Total
time 7¼ hours.

Colin Houlden


Could This Be A Back Door Into



Due to its susceptibility to pirating and its location
above, well, almost above a cave of controlled access, the exact location of
this dig is being kept secret. Tunnelling down through boulders for almost 12′ has yielded a small
chamber 8′ x 4′ x l’ high.  A large block
4′ x 3′ x 2′ is at present taking most of the room and making things
difficult.  The way on appears to follow
the steeply descending roof through the sandy spoil, this to dig sand being
liberally sprinkled with fist-sized rocks. A profusion of small straws and stalactites have made operations a
little difficult, but every precaution has been taken to protect them in our
quest to link up with this difficult to get into 4 mile system.

Stu Lindsey.


NEW YEAR’S DIG (Y.S.S.) Section A – a       Grade I   Drawn by S. Lindsay

NEW YEAR’S DIG (Y.S.S.) Section B – b       Grade I   Drawn by S. Lindsay


Radio Location At Shepton Mallet

A Cave in Shepton Mallet – well not quite!

For some time ~here had been increasing complaints of Cider
and Perry aromas issuing from the River Sheppey and irate citizens were
continually calling the Wessex Water Authority who in turn were threatening our
well being.  The problem, quite simply
was how was Showerings and Coates Gaymer ‘s trade effluent reaching the river.

Eventually two intrepid employees with no underground
experience9 kitted out in one piece waterproof suits and carrying hand lamps
were dispatched up the tail race of an old mill under the bottling hall from
which we had found that the effluent was running into the river.  They returned foul smelling with a report
that the effluent was getting in from drains supposed to be carrying surface
water.  Beyond that point the tail race
got small enough to deter the pair.

The decision was taken to locate the source of effluent into
these drains if possible, to clean out the tail race and to try to effect an
entrance close to the problem area, the only present entrance being through a
manhole about 100 feet away.  The problem
was that we did not know where the tail race was in relation to the surface
because all the plans we had were long out of date and known to be inaccurate.

I was then even more of a novice caver than now but I had
already heard of Prew and his wonderful gadget. A phone call produced an instant response and in no time at all, a
Wednesday evening planning meeting was arranged.  The following Wednesday the push was planned
and with a perplexed engineering staff looking on, members of the M.R.O., Fred
Davies, Tim Large, Chris Bradshaw donned wetsuits and entered the newly
discovered chamber with radio call and telephone whilst Prew, Fiona Lewis and I
stayed in comfort above ground.  Then
gradually foot by foot the team made their way up the tail race with Prew
tracking them above ground.  A bottling
hall has a hundred tons of mild steel machinery inconveniently placed in it and
this caused some anxiety as to whether the radio waves would bend.

After some time the push was made to the end of the tail
race and two positions marked on the floor to dig new manhole entrances.  On their return to the open air – in the
middle of a warehouse full of Babycham – the valiant team covered in black, evil
smelling deposits, plodded ignominiously to the boiler house showers they
showered fully dressed followed by the normal variety and emerged for a well
earned drink.

The next step was to call in Luke Devenish who had two
attempts to make a quick entrance but three generations of reinforced concrete
floor in-filled with gravel contained all safe charges so we had to revert to
traditional pneumatic drills.  The
entrance complete there then ensued an altercation between Prew and Luke about
the depth of the tail race; Luke’s drill being 3ft. shorter than Prew’s
measurement.  Eventually it was realised
that Prew had been holding his surface coil 3 ft. above the ground.  This resolved, the radio location system
proved to be within 3” in depth projection and slap bang in the middle of the
tail race.

So for the first time it had been possible to measure
physically the depth of the radio-location coil and prove that it was where it
ought to be.  This, coupled with the fact
that we had a brand new survey of the tail race, a new manhole that enable
sludge gulpers and high powered jetting equipment to be lowered to the polluted
spot so that rubbish could be removed following the repairs in the drains,
meant that the venture was highly successful and who were involved were pleased
with the results.

J. Henley



Bi-Monthly Notes

yet again (sorry)


:  A short but constricted sump
has recently been passed in this cave leading to 427 metres of passage.  There are a number of junctions which still
have to be explored and the passage size indicates something big.  The exact location of the sump has not been

KINGSDALE MASTER CAVE/ROWTEN POT:  The three free-divable sumps linking these
caves have been found to become one continuous sump after moderate rain and
free divers are warned to be extremely careful.

:  Once again the club, plus
various other friends from the N.C.C., Eldon P.C., Pegasus, C.D.G., etc., will
be descending on Chrickhowell for the Easter holiday.  A number of trips are planned, including Pant
Mawr, OFD II, Agen Allwedd, Tooth and

.  If anyone has any suggestions for other trips
please contact Martin Grass a.s.a.p. so that these can be arranged.  A trip into GOYDEN and NEW GOYDEN POTS is
planned for the Sunday for those who are sober enough.

P.U.  To
celebrate Geoff Crossley’s 21st birthday anyone who knows him is invited to
join in the celebrations at the Queens Arms at Littondale,
on February 28th.  As this is the last
weekend of the Lakes trip many of us will be finishing the week off here.

MISS PIGGY: Christine Villis would like it to be made known that she is not to be
refered to as Miss Piggy, but Christine.

GAPING GHYLL WINCH MEET:  For, the fourth year running Club members
will be going to the Bradford Pothole Club’s winch meet at Gaping Ghyll.  As usual we will be ordering our beer in
advance, so we have the minimum to carry “up t’ill”.  We will camp at the Ghyll and the B.P.C. very
kindly lend us any tackle we require. Apart from a trip into G.G. various other caves in the area will be
descended.  Anyone requiring more
information or wishing to order beer, should contact Martin Grass or Graham

S.W.C.C. CONTROLLED CAVES:  Members wishing to visit any of the caves
under the control of the South Wales Caving Club should take note of the
following statement made by the club

We regret that, due to the contamination many caves with
carbide, a new rule has had to be made prohibiting the use of carbide lamps in
all the caves under the control of the
South Wales
caving Club.  Formerly it was permitted
to carry carbide lamps for emergency only, but unfortunately this lead to
visitors entering caves with unserviceable or only partly charged electric
lamps and then frequently having to fall back on their carbide lamps.  Please bring additional electric cells for
emergency use.  Caves covered by this
rule are Dan Yr Ogof, Ogof Ffynnon Ddu (1, 2 and 3), Pant Mawr Pot,


appears that the local farmer decided to dump some sheep carcases in Ogaf y Ci,
and cavers who found these reported the incident.  As a result the farmer was prosecuted for
polluting the water has taken revenge, however, by blocking the cave.  Since the cave had three entrances presumably
he has blocked all three.

winch scaffolding has been inspected and it is recommended that no more than
four people go on it at anyone time.

G.B.:  Yet
another part of our underworld is falling apart – the Bridge in GB looks in
immanent danger of breaking away.  Take
care in this region.

CAR THEFT: Thefts of various items left inside caver’s cars on Mendip are still
continuing.  Cars left in the areas
around GB, Cuckoo Cleeves, Burrington have been either broken into or else
unlocked and then locked up again.  It is
probably that the thieves are fully aware that caver’s cars are left for
several hours at a time.

Avoid leaving anything, especially valuables, in your
unattended car.


Still More About Wigmore.

In his article Wigmore revisited, B.B. 391/392, Trev
incorrectly states that the travel time for water from Wigmore to reach the
resurgence at Cheddar Risings is 11 hours. (p10, para 4).  Sorry, Trev. You got it a bit wrong.  Travel
time is 42 hours, the distance to Cheddar being approximately 11 miles.

Trevor told me this just before his article went to press
and unfortunately it could not be corrected intime.

The dye test commenced at 1715hrs. on March 3rd 1978, when
250ml of RWT 20% solution dye was placed in the stream.  Flow was estimated at approximately
10gpm.  A further 250ml of RWT 20%
solution was added at 2200hrs.

Sampling began at Cheddar, Line of Works, Sherbourne Spring,
Rodney Stoke, Wookey Hole and Rickford Rising. Sampling was at six hourly intervals: 0700, 1300, 1900, 0100.

First arrival of the dye at Cheddar was at approximately
0700hrs on March 5th, a travel time of approximately 42 hours.  All other sites sampled were negative.  Sampling continued until approximately
1600hrs on March 6th.

As far as I am aware this is the only dye test done on
Wigmore to date.  These results must
drastically modify Trev’s theory.

I must lend some support to a theory that a line of drainage
could exist in the form of cavernous development, Fed from Tor Hole, Red Quar,
Fairmans Folly, Castle Farm and Bowery Corner. Wigmore’s development in Triassic Conglomerate is evidence that large
cavities can develop in this area but it remains to be seen what form this
development takes when the limestone contact is made.

Thanks are due to W.I. Stanton for conducting the dye test
and supplying information on the results.

Chris Batstone.


Map showing principal sites of interest and proven feeders.


Input:  March 3rd
1715hrs, 250ml RWT 20% solution into Wigmore Swallet.  Flow c10gpm.

Input:  March 3rd
2200hrs, 250ml RWT 20% solution into Wigmore Swallet.  Flow c10gpm

Time to first arrival of dye at Cheddar – approx. 42 hours.

All other sites sampled were negative.


Letter To The Editor

Withey House,
Withey Close West,


Dear Bassett,

Ref. B.B. 34 (11 & 12), 7.

I’m sorry not to have written up my trip down St. Cuthbert’s
in the log.  I’m afraid we were in rather
a hurry to get to the Hunters.  I’ll do
it next time I’m at the Belfry.

It was like visiting an old friend/enemy that you haven’t
seen for years.  All the handholds were
still exactly where you expected to find them, and the teasing bits were just
the same.  I cut the trip rather short,
because things were going very well and I didn’t want to spoil it by getting
overtired.  So after admiring the Angel’s
Wings we turned back.  I found I really
was a bit tired climbing the Arête Pitch, and so, as I didn’t want to make a
mess of the Entrance Pitch, I sent out one of the lads to put in the dam.

I don’t think I need have worried.  The technique all came back to me and I
climbed it with no trouble at all; only a slight excess of puff.

Ever Yours, Oliver.

A Few More Notes.

Websall brought an interesting ascending device into the Hunters the other
day.  It was made in
Czechoslovakia and he picked it up while in
Europe over New Year. It can best be described as a one piece Gibbs.  As all its users will know, the only thing
wrong with Gibbs ascenders is the way they have to be dismantled to put them on
or take them off the rope.  With this new
device the cam rotates on a fixed bolt instead of a removable pin. The fixed
bolt is attached only to one cheek.  The
other cheek is cut away to leave just enough room to feed in the rope.

I’ll try and produce a picture of it for the next B.B. and
I’ll also make up some notes on what it is like to use.

POSTCARDS:  Wig’s catalogue
is about to be printed, so if you want to upset him, just find a card that he
has never seen, and you can put his publication out of date even as it is

Didn’t we manage that with Mendip Underground, Wig?



B. E. C. Subscription 1981

Junior    £ 6.00

Full       £ 8.00

Joint     £12.00

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You don’t have to use this it’s just to encourage you to pay


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