The
Bristol Exploration Club,
The Belfry,

Wells Road
,
Priddy, Wells,

Somerset

. Telephone: Wells (0749) 72126.

Editor: G. Wilton-Jones

Once again a bi-monthly B.B. – do I hear odd murmurings of
discontent, or ‘I told you so!’  Will it
yet again be a subject for discussion at this year’s A.G.M?

I see that my gentle powers of persuasion are about as
useless as your promises to write something for the B.B.

This needs words, not promises.

So!

Tuska, -where is the article on

Iceland
?

Dave, Brian and Jane, did you really visit the Vercours?

(I’ll not harass Stu or Colin – they’ve done their bit this
year)

Spandy Arrow, stop telling us how awful the bottom of
Longwood is, and write it down. AND, while you’re at it, how about the Lionels
survey notes/description as well.

Now you’re settled into your new house, John, what about the
notes on care and maintenance of tackle?

You see, there’s a whole B.B. full there, if only I had it
here in writing!

*****************************************

John and Sue Dukes new phone number is not as written in the
last B.B.  That is the number of the
telephone box over the road (Sorry, Ken!) Their number is actually Shepton Mallett 4815.

Karen Jones and Gary Childs should by now be making their
way about the

United States

by Greyhound, bicycles or thumbs, or whatever other means they can muster.  At some time during their ten week tour they
hope to drop in on
Bowling Green,
Kentucky, for the 8th International Congress of
Spelaeology, which is being held at

Western
Kentucky
University
.

Chris Smart is currently in

Nigeria
, on an 8 – 10 week tour
surveying some vast un-trodden tract of wilderness so the locals can despoil it
with power lines.  After the work is over
he intends to amble his way back through that region of
Africa,
so we’ll expect some interesting news from him in the near future.

STONE MINES: Anyone wishing to visit Stone Mines in
Wiltshire, Avon or

Somerset

may like to contact Mike Breakspear or Nick Holstead, who will be happy to
help.

Telephone: Work; Trowbridge 3641,
Ext. 3391 or 3380

Home: Westbury 823577 or
Trowbridge 66158

 

Caves As Nuclear Shelters

by Tony Oldham, Editor,
The British Caver

Caves have been used as places of refuge since time
immemorial.  Stone Age man’s homes are still
inhabited today in some parts of the world and the image of a hermit in silent
contemplation in a remote cavernous recess is familiar to us all.  During the last War, caves were used as
shelters and hideouts by both sides, so it is not surprising that caves are
once again being considered as places of refuge, this time from the holocaust
of nuclear war.

At first glance some caves have two very important
characteristics which are essential for a nuclear shelter:

1)       small
water-worn passages in solid rock which are structurally very sound, and offer
good protection against blast;

2)       a
covering of rock and soil – anything up to 500 ft., which would provide a good
shield against harmful radiation.

However, before you rush out to commandeer your nearest
caves, it is necessary to take into consideration the following facts:

1)       the
cave needs to have two or more entrances for a) ventilation, and b) a second
means of escape

2)       the
cave temperature will reflect the average mean annual temperature, i.e. about
47oF in the north of

England
,
and 520F or higher in the south.  If the
surface temperature is higher or lower than the ambient cave temperature this
will cause a natural flow of air. Filters and hand pumps will still be necessary to cleanse the air of harmful
dust and chemicals, but natural ventilation, assisted if necessary by an
artificial entrance, is potentially a great asset;

3)       whilst
the covering rock will provide protection against blast – even a direct hit if
the thickness of rock is sufficient – the usual amenities of the commercially
available nuclear shelter, e.g. blast door, over pressure valves, etc., will
still be needed to minimise blast effects;

4)       commercially
available nuclear shelters usually provide protection for 4 to 7 persons, or
more if a series of modules are joined together ad infinitum.  It would, however, be possible to find a cave
which could house a whole village with full domestic amenities.  One could visualise a project where those
sheltering could also include cows for milk, sheep and pigs for meat and where
even the household pet would not be forgotten, for cats, dogs and ferrets would
be needed to take care of vermin.

5)       caves
contain water, though the amount varies from cave to cave, and some may be
virtually dry.  Surface water is
channelled through swallet openings or natural fissures down into the caves to
emerge as springs at the foot of the hill. One would assume that rain-water after a nuclear explosion would be
heavily contaminated with harmful radio-active isotopes, which, in a matter of
hours, would pass through the caves. Whilst this water would be undrinkable without filtration or
distillation, it could be used to carry away waste matter and

a)        to provide a means of generating electricity
for a subterranean community, for uses as varies as running a deep freeze to
servicing a hospital.  Percolating water
must also be considered.  Rain falling on
the surface could take as little as a day or as long as weeks to reach a cave
shelter, depending on rock cover. Collecting vessels placed under stalactites could, collect pure and
wholesome water, free from bacteriological, chemical or radio-active material
for anything up to 30 days after a nuclear explosion.

6)       to
be of any use as a blast shelter your cave must be 3 or 4 minutes from your
residence or place of work.  As most
caves are far from centres of population this could be a problem for a town
dweller.  However, as fallout shelters
caves have enormous potential.  For the
first 8 hours a flowing stream would provide water for decontamination and the
large volume of pure air could support 3 or 4 people for 30 days without a
sophisticated filtration system.

Many people regard caves as cold, damp and claustrophobic,
but surely not half as claustrophobic as a concrete bunker with the manhole
cover closed.  The temperature, whilst
well below that of a centrally heated house is not uncomfortable.  It is not too cold for sitting about in, if
one is well wrapped up, and not too warm for vigorously working if one is
lightly clothed.  Humidity is the main
problem but this could be overcome with forethought, by wearing warm, woollen
clothing and keeping stores in waterproof containers.  Asthma sufferers will benefit especially from
the pure, moist atmosphere.

To summarise, not all caves are suitable as nuclear shelters
unless they fulfil the following conditions:

1)       the
covering rock must be more than 10 ft. thick;

2)       here
must be mote than one entrance;

3)       there
should be two sources of water (flowing and percolating) and no risk of
flooding;

4)       the
surrounding rock must be solid;

5)       the
cave must be within 3 or 4 minutes travelling time of civilisation.

If there is sufficient interest in this project I will
describe in a following issue how I propose to convert St. Cuthbert’s Swallet.

Quote Of The Month

“I’m perfectly happy with my body.”  Chris Batsone.

 

Monthly Notes

WORKING WEEKEND   July
4th and 5th is to be a working weekend, so I hope you receive your B.B, in
time.  The following are just a few of
the many jobs to be done in and around the Belfry:

·        re-tack plaster board in main room and shower;

·        clean and re-paint main room ceiling; re-plaster
new plaster board; re-paint certain interior doors;

·        put in air-brick on west wall of men’s bunk
room;

·        put in cavity trays to windows at end of men’s
bunk room;

·        clear Belfry site;

·        cut grass.

ITALIAN BOY DIES IN WELL: Yes, this is no longer news, and
we all know how an Italian caver hung upside down in the well for hours, and
how shafts were dug, and still the rescue attempt failed.  However, there is an interesting and
significant follow up to the saga.

The landowner is being sued for manslaughter.  Since both
Britain
and

Italy

are in the E.E.C, they are affected in similar ways by similar laws.  Perhaps this case will bring renewed pressure
upon landowners regarding their liabilities. Where now, O great god Insurance?

SHOWERS: Please do not use the off-peak heater for heating
shower water during the week.  This takes
a lot of time, a lot of power, and it heats up a whole tank full of water.  Use the slot meter on the wall of the men’s
changing room.  This only heats the 10
gallons of water at the top of the tank, and is therefore far more
economical.  Make sure you arrive with
plenty of 5p’s.

DEAD CARS: Only rarely has any objection been raised to
members working on their vehicles on the Belfry site, and members have usually
been allowed to leave vehicles in the car park; often in fairly dilapidated
condition.  However, if present
allowances are abused, and the area outside the Belfry becomes more like a
scrap yard, it is likely that some kind of rent will be charged, in order to
encourage members to get rid of their junk (valuable or otherwise) more
quickly.

OLIVER’S 70th BIRTHDAY: O.C.L. writes that he will be
celebrating this event in the Old Grotto of Swildon’s Hole, on Tuesday 4th
August this year.  Meet on Priddy Upper
Green (the one by the church) at 5 pm. There will be sherry and cake, with the
catering by Nick Barrington.  All B.E.C.
members will be welcome.

DINNER 1981: Once again the dinner will be at the Cave Man,
but, by way of a change, no beef this year. We have opted for turkey instead. Price should be about £5.50, which will include a pre-dinner drink and
half a bottle of wine each.  We hope to
persuade the caterers to supply extra vegetables too.

 

Lifeline

By Tim Large

BELFRY IMPROVEMENTS

Many of you may be wondering what is happening on this
front.  Last year a Sub-Committee met and
formulated a plan which has since been modified in minor ways by the
Committee.  Enquiries have been made to
Mendip District Council who tells us that Planning Permission and Building
Regulations Approval are required.  An
Architect has been consulted and is to be engaged to draw up the plans and specifications
for the work.  Even so you may not see
signs of work this year, but once Planning Permission has been obtained there
will be plenty to do and The Belfry may be out of action for a period of time.

BELFRY REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE

In the meantime we still have a Club H.Q. which desperately
needs running repairs.  At a recent
Working Weekend some very useful work was carried out.  The Cattle Grid was repaired, Snowcem paint
was applied to the front of the Belfry, the Rare Books cupboard was locked and
an Airbrick was installed in the men’s bunkroom.  Work was also started on a new Carbide Store
and an outside Gas Bottle Store.  Our
present Carbide Store was condemned by the Fire Officer and since it would be to
close to the proposed Gas Bottle Store it was decided to build a new one, by
the Tackle Store.  You may have noticed
the appearance of a little wooden shed. This was purchased at a very reasonable price for the storage of tools
and materials when the improvements get under way.  The reason for purchase was that our present
Tackle Store cum Workshop is fully utilised with caving tackle; battery charger
etc.  Despite all the work which has been
done – much still remains. A list is pinned on The Belfry Notice Board and your
help to maintain The Belfry will be much appreciated.

SPORTS COUNCIL GRANT

It may well be possible to obtain a grant towards the Belfry
improvements which impose no restrictions on the club other than being open to
the public – which we are.  Members views
on whether we should seek such a grant would be much appreciated.

HUT WARDEN

Due to the pressure of other commitments Dany Bradshaw has
been unable to be present at the Belfry as much as he considers necessary,
therefore he has resigned from the post of Hut Warden but will remain as an
ordinary Committee Member until the end of the year.  Dany’s place as Hut Warden has been taken by
Quackers who has been co-opted to the Committee for the remainder of the club
year.

ST CUTHBERTS

Over the years various attempts have been made to purchase
or lease the land owned by Inveresk Paper Co which includes the entrance to
Cuthbert’s.  Recent negotiations have
been successful and we now have a stage at which a draft agreement has been
drawn up to lease all of Inveresk’s land. The nominal rental is likely to be in the region of £90 per year.  For this we will secure not only the cave but
an area of land the club has shown special interest in for many years.  If we had not shown any interest the land
would have gone to nature trust groups.

CLUB T-SHIRTS

A club T-Shirt on a similar design to the sweatshirts is
being obtained.  There is no need to
order in advance as once the shirts arrive they will be sold on a first come
first served basis.  Sue Dukes is
handling the sales.  More details will be
made available when the supplies arrive.

NEW MEMBERS

We welcome the following new members to the club: Jeremy
Pogue, Phil & Lil Romford, Bill Brooks, Dr Andrew Nash, Mark Brown (Honk),
Andrew George (Spew) and Julie Holstead

ADDRESS CHANGES

Quackers, Emborough, Nr. Bath.
Dave Metcalfe, Long Eaton, Notts.
Woly Wilkingon, Melksham, Wilts.
Bob White, Wells. Tele Wells (STD 0749) 74980
Val Wilkinson, Melksham, Wilts.
J. D. Statham, Bruton,

Somerset
.

Karen Jones, Lightwater,
Surrey.

MEMBERSHIP

Our present membership stands at 167 members of which 54 are
Life members.  This includes new members
and means a drop in membership of about 30 on last year.  We are now only 8 new members off our 1,000
member!

CHARTERHOUSE CAVING PERMITS

In December 1980 a new agreement was signed between C.C.C.
and Bristol Waterworks.  Hopefully the
permit system is now much simpler and involves less paperwork.  All members need to obtain a new permit
regardless of the expiry date of any you might now possess, unless you have
obtained one since December 1980. Indemnity forms are not required except for persons aged between 16
& 18 years.  Please remember 16 is
the minimum age and in any case appropriate insurance cover is always required
for under 18’s.

When visiting C.C.C. caves remember to lock yourselves in
and do not let any other parties in who do not have permits or keys.  A new gate and padlock has been fitted to
Rhino Rift. Keys are held in the Belfry.

Having set up access agreements with landowners it is up to
us to defend our agreements and see that landowners requests are adhered to so
that caving in these areas can continue.

 

Haydon Drove Swallet

by Mark Brown

Haydon Drove Swallet is found just north of
West Horrington village, behind farm buildings on Haydon
Drove Farm (N.G.R. 5880 4825).  Access is
controlled by the farmer.  The swallet is
an active feeder for St. Andrew’s Well, which is three miles distant and 590
feet lower.  The entrance is located in a
very promising position on a limestone/shale boundary.


Digging started on August 3rd. 1979.  A large amount of rubbish was removed from
the entrance depression before it was possible to dig properly.  The disposal of the rubbish revealed a large
shelf of bedrock jutting out from the east wall of the sink.  The small stream vanished at the base of the
rock.  Digging commenced at the stream
sink but work was made unpleasant due to sewage from the farm. This slowed
progress considerably.  On August 28th a
low entrance was uncovered.  This
entrance consisted of a low creep leading into a low, wide, flooded
bedding-plane.  Entry into the flooded
passage was out of the question, so an effort was made to divert the stream
from the cave.  This was accomplished
when a small hole was opened in the floor of the depression.  Immediately the stream started flowing into
this sink-hole, which was enlarged by further digging.  Diverting the stream into the hole had the
effect of reducing the level of water in the cave.  Entry was gained and 14 feet of low bedding
passage leading into a dry, choked chamber was found.  The stream soaked into gravel at the bottom
of a small soil slope in the beginning of the chamber.

Digging stopped until December, when an effort was made to
enlarge the entrance.  With this done the
terminal chamber was scratched at, until a boulder collapse stopped work.  Every effort was made to remove the rubble
blocking entry into the chamber, without success.  However, following a week of rain, in which
the swallet was severely flooded; a further development occurred.  A small hole was noticed in the bedding
plane.  This hole had been opened by the
flooding and was taking a large stream. A strong draught was blowing from the hole.  Despite this find the cave was not dug again
for another year, due to the lack of a digging team, the members of which had
other commitments.  Digging was
re-started in February 1981 and still continues.  Another report will be made pending further
development.

 

Surrey Heath Independent Transport Expedition To The
Lake
District

by David Lampard.

It came to pass that stealthily, in the early hours of
Thursday 26th February, that intrepid band of explorers, the Surrey Heath
Independent Transport (acronym noted) descended on No.8, Lingmoor View.  The following morning we were all up by about
9.30, thanks to the help of Mr. Cullen who walked in, informed us that the dawn
had arrived, and, in his opinion, we were all destined for a gentle stroll
along the High Street.  After a quick rub
of the eyes and a belch, I put on my glasses and soon realised that the thing
standing before me was indeed Gary Cullen, the dawn had arrived, as he said,
and, unfortunately, I was awake.  We soon
had breakfast and by 10.00 were piling into the van just in time to hear the
usual ‘Hello Sh*tbags’, echoing down Langdale ~ ‘Good morning, Chris!’

We left
Gary‘s car at
Troutbeck, Gary and Judy joined us in the minibus and we headed off over

Kirkstone
Pass
to Hartsop where we parked the
van.  In no time at all we found we could
master the art of walking – just one foot in front of the other – quite easy
really!  We walked up the track to
Hartsop farm and passed quite a large car-park, which would have saved about
half a mile of roadwork.  We followed a
track for some distance on the right aide of Hayeswater Gill and stopped for a
breather by Hayeswater. We crossed the dam and started a straight up assault on
the Knott.  This was modified within a
few minutes when we met a track which we followed for a short distance and
scrambled (‘Oh, I do wish I had brought some crampons.’) up the last steep rise
to the top of the Knott.

On the way up the Knott we had passed about half a dozen
characters carrying rucksacks which must have weighed 30-40 lbs.  One wanted to swap packs with me but I was
unfortunately compelled to decline.  We
had a short breather by the cairn and headed down the other side to join High
Street.  On the way down we met a chap
wearing an anorak of the same orange colour as the previous party. He told us
that they were Royal Signals Apprentices and he was their, instructor.  We told him where to find them, or rather
where they were sitting, and he was grateful.

There then followed a very enjoyable, if slightly windswept
stroll along High Street.  We made for
the large cairn on top of Thornthwaite Crag where we stopped for a chat with
yet more orange anoraks – anyone would have thought there was a war on!  From hare we followed the path or what we
thought was the path down the side of Froswick, stopping when Dave Hurrell
obviously needed a hand with one of the many snowballs he had been making.  This one was getting too big for him to
push. 

Gary
had the solution of breaking it up with
his ice axe.  He must have carried it for
this purpose because he did not appear to use it for anything else.  We then discussed the merits of catching a
sheep for our evening meal.  They seemed
to run away when anyone mentioned ‘Mint Sauce’. I then suggested trying luring it towards us instead of chasing it.  This did not work as sheep obviously prefer
the males of their own species.

We followed a track along the side of Hagg Gill to
Troutbeck.  Before we reached Troutbeck
we were rather confused as it appeared to be raining, only the rain looked,
felt and indeed smelt like the waste product of cows, and shit it was!  The farmer in the adjoining field was being a
little too vigorous with his fertilizer. When we reached the main road the first building we saw was a pub which
appeared to be shut as it was about 4.00 in the afternoon.  Not to be put off I went in and asked where
we could get a cup of tea or something, looking at the beer.  I completely forgot I had my boots on and I
had been sprayed.  For some unaccountable
reason the landlady was upset so we walked up to the village.  Bruce went back in

Gary
‘s car to collect the van.  He returned shortly afterwards and after
buying bog-rolls and digestive biscuits we headed back to Chapel Style.

The evening was spent in the ‘Brit’ where we partook of
traditional ales.  I must compliment
Bruce on a very well cooked breakfast on Friday morning.  During breakfast we all decided to do
something in the Coniston area.  Paul
Christie came in and, completely unprompted, suggested the ‘Old Man of
Coniston’.  He had worked out a route so
we made a supreme effort, after the third game of cards and finishing our
coffee, of un-sticking our backsides from the comfortable chairs in which we
were sitting.

I travelled in Paul’s car which we left in the Crown car
park in Coniston.  Paul and I then joined
the others in the van and drove to a car park about three miles north of
Coniston.  It was a sunny morning, ideal
for photography, and those among us who had cameras were well rewarded by the
icicles hanging from the rocks above the stream we were following.  Carrying on upstream we came to a footbridge
which we crossed.  We followed the right
hand side of the Gill until the stream turned from sharp right, out of a fairly
high and narrow gorge.  The way on
appeared to be up a fairly steep section which would normally pose no problems,
but snow and ice made it look rather hazardous. Wet leg No.l of the day occurred at this point, when Bruce made the
discovery that he could not walk on water, even if it had ice on it.  We then retreated half way back to the bridge
and made our way up the steep bank via tufts of grass and the occasional
tree.  We followed the side of the small
gorge until we reached a track.  At the
head of the gorge we crossed the stream and found a cleft in the rock which
turned out to be a hole going down could this be a cave?  There did not appear to be a clear path
across Coniston Moor so we followed the stream keeping Wetherlam on our
right.  Wet leg No.2 soon occurred when I
walked across some fresh snow and was surprised to find my leg sinking up to my
knee.  When I removed it, it was very wet
and brown all over.  We soon met another
track on the next ridge and followed this, passing a sizable canyon on our
left.  This seemed to be part of an old
quarry.  We found a small lake which made
a good excuse for a tryout at ice-skating, wearing hiking boots – Robin Cousins
eat your heart out!  This was followed by
wet leg No.3 – Graham learned very quickly that ice was thinner near the edge
of a pool.

Mars Bars and sandwiches were consumed overlooking the Old
Man of Coniston.  At this point, Bruce,
to our amusement, jumped up and pointed to a place about 100 yards along the
slope and shouted, “Hey, look at that!”  This was immediately followed by a very red
face and, “No, it’s O.K.  Forget it.  It’s not important.”  By this time we were scanning the hill trying
to find what he had seen.  It turned out
to be a sheep with a rather bushy tail. Bruce thought the sheep was lambing – I don’t think he had seen a sheep
with a tail before.  This is still a
source of embarrassment to him, even now.

It was now about 3.00 pm and the sky was beginning to cloud
over so we decided to go down into the valley to look at the old mine workings
instead of tackling the ‘Old Man’ himself. We made a rather slippery descent into the valley and followed an old
miners’ track in the direction of Levers Water. There was quite a large entrance a few yards to the right of the
track.  The mine entrance was about 15
feet square and a horizontal passage went in for about 30 to 40 feet.  A chain stretched between the walls to guard
a deep shaft in the floor.  We also
looked at an interesting and sizable rift in the ground which was well fenced
off and was obviously natural (Sorry, Dave, but read your Christmas 1980
B.B.).  A path followed a disused
drainage channel which must have originally taken water from Levers Water.  The wood on one of the sluice gates was in
very good condition.  We looked into
another hole on the way down, being careful not to damage a good display of
icicles hanging over the entrance.  This
was obviously not a mine – it was too small and had light showing along it.  It seemed to be part of a fairly elaborate
system of channels leading to the remains of a wooden duct taking water down to
the buildings in the valley.

We reached the Youth Hostel, passing Martin Grass’s car en
route, and followed the road into Coniston. Two cups of tea later all six of us squeezed into Paul’s car and drove
to where we had left the van.  We then
drove back to the cottages.  The evening
was spent eating chicken, chips and part of the basket they were served in, and
consuming numerous ales in the Crown at Coniston.

During the night Steve Woolven, his girl friend Nicki, and
Lynda, my girl friend arrived.  So did
about four to five inches of snow.

One lookout of the window on Saturday morning told us that
no matter how picturesque newly laid snow was, we were not going to do much
that day.  The rest of the B.E.C. left
fairly early for
Yorkshire.  Steve had had some engine trouble in the way
up so Graham Nye and Steve probed the pile of snow which looked most like a
Fiat and in very short time revealed the bonnet.  The trouble was not easy to trace so Steve
decided to leave it till the return journey and use my A.A. Relay if
needed.  With nothing better to do we
walked to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel for some midday refreshment.  We all thought we ought to try something
active after a liquid lunch so we made a rather slippery ascent to Stickle
Tarn.  Lynda and I decided to turn back
at about 3.00 p.m.  The snow which had
been falling had turned to rain and, in our opinion, to tackle the ridge back
to Chapel Stile at that time in the afternoon was a little mad.  The others, however, carried on.  We returned along the road.  They came in about one hour after us, looking
a little wet.  They all agreed that it
had not been exactly pleasant up there. I shall not mention any names but they were all slightly puzzled to see
three extremely well equipped people, dressed in orange cagoules, over-trousers
and gaiters, gradually picking their way up the hill behind Lingmoor View using
ice-axes and crampons.  This caused quite
a stir, much to the embarrassment of the three concerned who, for the record,
had No. 9 cottage (next to us).  The
official bulletin from No. 9 was, “We needed the practice.”

Sunday’s breakfast consisted of, would you believe, ‘Vesta
Chicken Supreme’ (Dachstein leftovers). The weather was worse than the day before and our enthusiasm for
tackling Helvellyn had rather waned.  The
alternative suggestion from Steve, which seemed a good idea, was to drive to
Ullswater and possible climb to the top of Hallin Fell.  This looked like a good vantage point for
cameras.  When we reached Ullswater even
our enthusiasm for Hallin Fell waned because it was beginning to rain quite
hard.  The third choice, in true B.E.C.
style, when faced with a situation such as this, was to find the nearest
pub.  This happened to be in

Pooley
Bridge
.

On the way back we thought we would give

Aira
Falls

a visit so we drove up a small road and crossed over a field to approach it
from upstream.  Steve, at this point,
provided the best piece of entertainment that day, completely
unintentionally.  He slipped on a rock,
put one foot in the water up to his knee, tried to regain his balance and sat
in the stream.  The stream swept him down
a small chute and left him in the pool at the bottom.  He spent the rest of the trip until we got
back to Chapel Stile sitting in the van minus his trousers and wrapped in all
our coats.

I took the van back down to the Aira Force car park where I
picked up the others.  We then drove back
to the cottage, packed, and by 5.00 pm, we were heading for home.  Steve’s car trouble was not as bad as he had
at first thought and we arrived in Horsham around midnight.

 

Yet More Monthly Notes

I received a letter from ‘Big’ Jim Watson recently. He is
presently working in the States, living in

San Francisco
.  He writes;

“I’m afraid I’ve rather got out of the caving scene around
here there are no decent caves within reasonable reach.  I meet up with Jon Selby (Wing Co, of W.S.G.)
fairly regularly and have done a lot of towing about, for example, I’ve visited
Redwood National Park, Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley, Yosemite (twice) (I walked
up to the top of Half Dome with Jon), Death Valley, Las Vegas, Los Angeles
about 3 times, also much Bar-B-queuing on beaches, walking up hills and so on.

The company sent me to

Edmonton,
Alberta
, twice.  The 2nd time I spent the weekend with some
friends in

Calgary

and toured that section of the Canadian Rockies.  I also visited 2 caves that weekend.  The first, a very short cave in Gypsiferous
rock at Banff, complete with hot spring and sulphurous fumes, and the next day
a cave called ‘Ice Cave’ a very descriptive name as it seemed fairly extensive
and full of ice.  I had no ice gear with
me so couldn’t get far, but met two people who emerged and paused to remove
their crampons before proceeding down the scree-slope which leads up to the
entrance.  I had a chat with one guy – a
very French Canadian who had done most of his spelunking in Australia (!) and
they had been in about 4 hours and got about ⅔ of the way into the cave.”

Jim has also met up with Neil Montgomery, of Australian
S.R.T. fame, when he was last in

L.A.

Jim is currently driving, or un-bending! a Chevy Corvette
Stingray, so he should be getting about plenty more yet.


DEEP
CAVES
: The world depth
record is still with the Jean Bernard, and now stands at l455m, the deepest
point of this system being a third sump at the end of a narrow, muddy passage.

In

Spain
,
south of the PSM and south of Anialarra, a 400m series of pots has led to large
river passage.  BU 56, off the slopes of
Budoguia, has been explored to a depth of 1195m.  The cave continues beyond, exploration having
been stopped by lack of tackle and time. (see Oct. BB)

Nearby the Jean Bernard, the Gouffre Mirolda has been pushed
to a depth of 1100m.

(for further info. on these and other foreign discoveries,
see the latest issue of Descent No.48)

MARBLE POT,
YORKSHIRE
:
While up at G.G. this year we had a look at the collapse that had occurred
here.  The south east side of the doline
has been impressively eroded.  Tons of
boulders and mud have fallen, totally blocking the route above the 2nd
pitch.  If I were you, I’d forget about
the place for a few years!

G.G. – GRIPPING: A lot of gripping (digging of
drainage ditches) has taken place in the G.G. field. Fell Beck and the streams
feeding P 5 and Grange Rigg are now much more liable to flash flooding. Beware.

AGGIE ACCESS: As from July 1st. this changes to a new
system for trips at weekends and Bank holidays. The caving sec. (Martin at the moment) writes for permit blanks (4, 8 or
12 of them at 25p each).  When needed,
one permit per trip is taken to Whitewalls (the

Chelsea
hut on the

Tram Road
) between 9.30 and 11.30 on any
Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday, and swapped for a key.  The new regulations stress that a separate
permit must be used for each trip. Martin already has some for anyone wanting to visit Aggie, so write to
him or give him a ring.  For anybody
wishing to visit Aggie mid-week, or do some diving or digging, then the old
system still applies.

TACKLE: John would like help with the preparation of
parts and the construction of ladder.  If
you can give a hand with any of the following, and John will teach you all you
need to know, then give him a ring at Shepton 4815 (not the kiosk!):

cutting C-links;

drilling rungs, for which you’ll
need a pillar drill; making taper pins;

aralditing rungs.

He would also appreciate assistance any weekend to construct
tackle. This will be done at the Belfry.

DIGGING TACKLE: It may be that hordes of members are
frantically digging in numerous places all over Mendip, or even further
afield.  On the other hand, it may simply
be that abandoned digging gear lurks in many an abandoned dig.  Whatever the cause, there’s not much at the
Belfry.

If you have anything that might make suitable digging
equipment, such as old ropes, buckets, those ancient krabs made of steel,
spades, trowels, hoes, crowbars, etc., how about donating them to the
Club.  Just dump them at the shed and let
John or any committee member, or Ken James (who needs some) know that you have
left it.  It is sure to find a good use.

If you have a dig somewhere, actively going, let us know
what gear is there.  I’ll arrange
collection of anything that sounds as if it is not being used anymore.

Bassett.

© 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.

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