Exploration Club, The Belfry,

, Priddy, Wells,

. Telephone: Wells (0749) 72126.

Editor: G.

1983 B.E.C. Meets List

29.1.83 ROMAN MINE

last look before this mine is sealed. (see Caving Report No. 15.)        M.


practice.            M. GRASS

5.2.83   WOOKEY HOLE

trip to upper passages.   M.

19.2.83 DAN YR OGOF

Dali’s Delight/Far North   T.



w/end.  Staying at the Pegasus hut.    M. GRASS


Yorkshire w/end. Staying at the Bradford Pothole Club hut.           M.

1.4.83   CO. CLARE

drinking, and walking for three whole days.           M.

P. ROMFORD for place on mini-bus

10.4.83 DEVON and

to all major caves plus some diving.            M. GRASS

21.5.83 BIRK’S

Yorkshire w/end. Staying at the Bradford Pothole Club hut.           M.

28.5.83 PANT MAWR
29.5.83 OTTER HOLE

Camping at Crickhowell. M. GRASS


entrance to Smith’s Armoury and out of One. G.



Yorkshire w/end. Staying at the Bradford Pothole Club hut.           M.

17.7.83 to

& walking.           M. GRASS


11.9.83  Through
trip.      T. LARGE


to Lower Series.     M. GRASS

1.10.83   B.E.C. A.G.M. & DINNER

Contact T. LARGE

22.10.83            SLEETS GILL
23.10.83            DOW/PROVIDENCE POT

Yorkshire w/end. Staying at the Bradford Pothole Club hut            M. GRASS


A trip to remember.

(For All The Wrong Reasons) 

by Bolt.






It had not been the most auspicious start to a trip, I
pondered, staggering along at 8,000 feet under the weight of two fully laden
rucksacks.  The four of us who were to
attempt Yorkshire had arrived the night before to find the two tents already
set up, my little solo tent having been erected on a small, grassy ledge with
fabulous views, but which also contained, I later found out, an intrinsic
convex curve that precluded sleep in any position!  Thank you lads!



The rain arrived shortly after us and we retired, the other
group having an extra guest in the form of one of the Canadian Army boys who
had arrived, begging to join us.

The following overcast and icy cold morning found us all
looking decidedly rough, except me, who looked fabulous….well I couldn’t see
myself!  We broke camp and set off at
0900, feeling very weak and panting from unaccustomed altitude and arrived in
the designated area half an hour later. It was a breakdown area with mounds of rubble everywhere and our search
for the cave entrance slowly started spreading further afield as realisation
hit us that no-one really knew where the opening was.  The first cave found was

closely followed by Derbyshire Pot,
but eventually a voice from far away informed us that he had it and we set off
to join him hence my two rucksacks.

Their weight hampered my progress and by the time kitting up
was complete the rest had already entered the cave, so, squeezing down past the
large snow plug in the entrance, I hurried after them.  Passing the medium sized boulder that
represented my back up belay, I distinctly recall doubts at its ability to hold
my weight and then, so help me, not even glancing at the main belay, but
clipping on the rack I slid over the edge. Twenty feet down the 45 foot first pitch of Yorkshire Pot my main belay
failed.  The sudden horrifying feeling of
freefall was replaced almost immediately by the jerk of the rope as the back up
held.  Musing on the feasibility of
changing one’s underpants came to an abrupt end as rumblings from above warned
me of what was to come and I curled up into a ball on the rope.


What a stupid move that was! The chock-stone that has been the main belay subsequently hit the back
of my neck sending my helmet spinning down the pitch.  Yells from below indicated that the helmet
had caught the rest of the party up, even if its’ owner hadn’t.  Descending through waves of dizziness and
nausea was fun but they passed and we carried on into the cave until shortly
afterwards and not surprisingly, my carbide failed completely.

A spare carbide got us going again but we found most pitches
required replacement bolts and the going was very slow.  The lead changed several times and at one
stage, after inserting a bolt and abseiling down, I found myself ahead of the
main group with the Canadian behind me. A small hole, a short constriction and my head popped out above the next
pitch.  Ooer!  Trying to back out soon confirmed that the
body really won’t bend in all directions and it took 15 minutes of shouted
instructions from my sudden best friend in the whole wide world before a sweaty
Bolt re-emerged literally standing on his head. The pitch was then rigged by entering the hole feet first!

At this point we were joined by an expatriate caver, a Brit
named Chas Young – ex Sheffield University Caving Club.  Here was experience and expertise indeed;
he’d actually been down the cave before, in 1973 as it turned out.  He confirmed that the top of the first pitch
had definitely altered in shape somewhat and suggested the return journey was
going to be interesting as the rope now ran up a very tight rift.  Chas was a whippet type and with a roar of
afterburners soon disappeared into the gloom. Time passed.  Rounding a corner, I
found we had a bottleneck consisting or a smooth and very tight rift suddenly
opening out above a nasty looking drop and crossed by a manky and very greasy
old rope.  The bottleneck looked
forlornly at me as I arrived….damn! Minutes later, reaching the far side, my standby carbide dimmed to
almost zero candle power and could not be resuscitated.  Carbide was in the bottlenecked group, so I
waited patiently for them to arrive. Many grunts, groans and curses later, but no arrivals, boredom set
in.  The same manky rope appeared in the
dim light to be tied around the large boulder that was my resting place.  Peering over the top, the knot of the rope
was hanging against the vertical face of the boulder below me and the ground
appeared about 6 feet below that. Reaching down and grasping the knot I slid over the top.  Never will I complain at carbide again. The
sudden movement produced a transient spurt of light which illuminated the sight
of the penultimate pitch of 130 feet, dropping away below.  A split second later I was standing on the
safe side of the rock again, panting heavily. Pure magic.  How did I get
there?  Don’t ask me.

The top of the final 50 foot pitch was a steep and highly
unstable boulder ledge wedged between high walls.  There was no belay worth the name and not enough
rope left to feed back to a suitable place. Problems!  We tried all
combinations while every now and then rocks would whistle down from those still
descending.  Eventually, all spare cows
tails, krabs, slings etc. were passed down to us, clipped together and fed
round a nasty, smooth looking outcrop. The only back-up available was one of the outer ledge boulders, but
this, unfortunately involved a 12 foot drop before coming into action.  Chas went down followed by me, eyeballs out
on stalks, willing the belay not to slip. The rest now arrived at the top and after deep consultation a voice
pronounced us as mentally deficient. No-one else, it said, was coming down and what’s more, we weren’t going
back up until they’d sorted out the safety aspect.  The bottoming kit was now two pitches back
(130 feet and 93 feet) and two men set off for it while Chas and I ate all our
food.  A more secure belay was found that
left our end of the rope 15 feet above the ground, but when I attempted to free
climb up to it, the holds proved brittle, one snapping off 10 feet up and
despatched me at speed back to the bottom. The bolting kit was not forthcoming and eventually a system was worked
out that involved two men at the top taking part of the strain off the belay and
us two getting up there but fast!  This
we did, the decision was made – we turn back. Rigging the pitches had taken far longer than expected.  We reached the surface after nine hours and
staggered down the mountainside to the pickup truck.  Down the track to the camp.  NO CAMP, NO FOOD, NO AINYTHNG.  They’d moved to another position 17km away.
*? !=£ ..


Hut Engineers Report

After having taken up the post of Hut Engineer eight months
ago several attempts have been made to organise working weekends, most of which
have failed due to lack of enthusiasm by Club members.

However, certain jobs have been carried out in the last
eight months, including the long awaited repair of the tackle store roof
(which, I must admit, I have not checked for any leaks yet), the leaking toilet
pipe, and the gammy lock on the tackle store door, etc., etc.

There are many jobs of great importance that still require
completion: these include the missing slates on the roof, for which we are
still trying to find a source of materials (i.e. pinching them off someone
else’s roof) and the new carbide store. This needs to be built before the proposed Belfry extension can
begin.  The Belfry also desperately needs

I have made a full list of all the jobs that require doing
and this will be pinned on the notice board. I would like to see at least one job done every weekend by the people
staying at the Belfry.  This, I think,
should include non-members as well, but I know we’ve got no chance of that!

As most of you have already seen, plans for the proposed
Belfry extension and alterations have been drawn up by John Gwyther.  We shall, in the next couple of weeks, have
these plans submitted to the council for planning permission and building regulations
approval, for the latter of which I have produced structural design

By next summer I hope we will have this extension well under
way, so everybody’s help is required.

It must also be noted that the Club committee have issued me
with a cheque for £50 for the purchase of building materials.  In recent weeks this has proved most useful
to me and has enabled me to get on and do jobs with much more ease.

Ian Caldwell

Caving Secretary’s Report

At last year’s A.G.M. it was suggested that a list of meets
was drawn up and sent to members.  This
was published in the October/November B.B. and various reminders appeared
during the rest of the year.

The Cuthbert’s rescue practice attracted four Club leaders
and one guest leader – not very promising. Some trips had to be cancelled during December and January due to bad
weather but the Wookey dry trip had 16 members on it.  Trips to Bleadon Cavern, Peak Cavern and
Devon were cancelled due to lack of support, but trips to
have been well attended (although there is always plenty of
room on the Dan-yr-Ogof working trips). These have been very regular this year and the Club has an official dig
at the end of Dali’s Delight.  All help
is welcome.

There have been various comments this year on Club leaders
South Wales caves such as O.F.D., and I
have contacted our leaders, who all wish to continue and say they never refuse
trips for members.  The names of all
leaders are regularly published in the B.B. and anyone requiring trips should
contact them.  Brian Prewer has been
nominated as an O.F.D. leader and Tim Large for Dan-yr-Ogof.

The Club has been very active on Mendip with digs at
Cuthbert’s 2, the end of Tynings, Castle Farm, Manor Farm Swallet and Haydon
Drove.  Help is always required, so
contact the diggers if you feel like lending a hand.

Trips to all major caving areas have been made, including
and members turned out in force this year at the Bradford P.C. Gaping Ghyll
winch meet, and helped with the radio-location carried out at the end of


Martin Grass.


Belfry Bulletin Editor’s Report.

This has not been one of the best years for the B.B.

Partly due to the usual lack of response for articles from
members, but mainly due to lack of editorial time, the majority of issues have
been bi-monthly.  This latter fault
should be eliminated now that I am living closer to Mendip.

Many members are not aware of the tasks performed by the
Editor.   They are:

  • Possess
    space big enough to keep 100 or so reams of paper clean and dry;
  • Possess
    working space for a printing machine and its effects;
  • Ensure
    adequate stock;
  • Have
    about 20 hours spare time available per issue;
  • Cajole
    people into producing articles; (this includes being a regular, well known
    visitor to Mendip, and keeping in touch with the local, national and
    international caving scene);
  • Edit
    (correct and layout) articles and type onto printing stencils (typing
    skills are useful here);
  • Print
    200 copies of each stencil;
  • Understand
    all the vagaries of the printing machine and be able to perform basic repairs;
  • Collate
    the B.B.;
  • Deliver
    to the distributors.

I owe many thanks to various people who have helped to
relieve me of some of the burden:

The printing machine and paper will in future be housed in
Trevor Hughes’ house at Wookey Hole. Maybe he, or some other local person, might care to take over the

Many people have helped with the typing, particularly
Buckett, Jane, Blitz and Fi.  (Surely
there must be other typists in the club).

Several regulars and weekend visitors to the Belfry,
including guests, have assisted with or taken over collation around the Belfry

Jeremy Henley has organised the printing of diagrams,
surveys, cartoons, and some typed work, at cost price.  I am sure everyone will have noticed the
improvement in quality.  Although the
cost by this process is doubled, I am sure that the quality of finish and the
lack of hassle warrant the extra expense. I hope to ‘use’ Jeremy more next year.

Tim and Fi have handled distribution throughout the year,
although Jane and I will probably take over this.

Dave Turner has offered to computer record and print the
address list.  Labels can be made for
B.B. envelopes.

The bi-monthly B.B. is only an interim measure.  I hope to return to producing monthly very
soon.  I did hear Trevor complain that a
30 page B.B. is the maximum thickness for stapling!



Freke’s Cottage Well

by Trev Hughes

Sunday 4th. July (American Independence Day) dawned at 10
a.m., sunny and clear.  I didn’t feel
very sunny or clear and the only thing I was independent of was a few more
brain cells after the après pub barrel to celebrate Bolt’s umpteenth
birthday.  Eventually, after a ‘Beans A
Hobbs‘ breakfast, Wormhole and I set off for
the darker reaches of north
Dorset. Wormhole’s
car was making some indefinable
“oh,-it’s-something-inside-the-engine” noises.  We nearly completed the journey without
incident but, a couple of miles from Ted Humphries’ superb, 300 year old house
at Moorside, the car died on us, the battery totally flat.  Luckily the car started with a push and we
eventually reached Ted’s front drive.

Ted was on his front lawn clad only in shorts and sandals,
leaping into the air emitting blood curdling curses amid a cloud of flying
nastiness.  Ted, tired of mowing an
already immaculate lawn, had decided to mow a wasps’ nest, with the expected

We unloaded the long-suffering car of all the usual
paraphernalia associated with a cave dive, and I started to get changed.  Wormhole, of course, had to tend to his car
before anything else:

“Ted. Have you a battery charger I can use?”

I struggled into my wetsuit.

“Ted.  You don’t
happen to have a tyre pump, do you?”

Valve and bottle were readied.

“I’d better top up the radiator.  Ted, have you got a watering can?”

I made up a shot-line to plumb the well.

“It’s a good job I had some 20/50 in the boot.”

I honestly don’t know how that car ever made it to Priddy,
let alone round the north of


As I have mentioned Ted has quite a historical house: named
Freke’s Cottage after an MP sent to the Chiltern Hundreds for handing out
boiled sweets to orphans, or after an unfrocked vicar, or somebody
similar.  The house, and possibly the
well, date from the 16th. century.  The
well itself is about 3 feet diameter and stone lined.  It resurges, at ground level, at about 3
gallons per minute and the water forms a small stream at the garden edge.  A 1 foot high parapet surrounds the well.

Looking down the well into the crystal clear water it
appeared that the stone ginging stopped at about 30 feet down and a roughly
hewn, natural stone shaft of larger size could be seen.  We plumbed the well to 82 feet deep with the
shotline.  I kitted up and, by weighting
myself to be negatively buoyant, I went hand over hand down the line.  Natural light was lost at 30 feet and my
newly converted nicad aquaflash proved its worth by providing a far stronger
beam than is usual with such a torch.  By
looking downwards I could see the stone ginging descending to the bottom – the
appearance of an unlined shaft was an optical illusion.  The shaft bottom was covered with stones and
thick, algal deposits.  Although the vis
quickly dropped to zero I was able to see some modern oddments, including a
short length of scaffold bar.

Wormhole dived next but, due to the poor vis, was unable to
find anything of importance.  He
recovered a paint tin and some milk bottles. Surprisingly, also, Wormhole managed to survive the dive without any of
his kit falling apart, although he did manage to break some of mine.  (I had it welded up at work the next day!).

If the well is of a similar age to the house then excavation
of the bottom may prove worthwhile from a historical viewpoint.  The local rock is a thickly bedded strata of
oolite and is unlikely to contain natural, enterable passages.  Further dives using a wire shopping basket
and hauling rope will be needed to remove debris from the bottom.

Ian’s and my thanks must go to Ted’s wife, who cooked us a
superb, Sunday lunch, the timing of which was absolutely perfect for the
completion of our diving activities.

And the drive back to Priddy.  Well, that’s another story!


Monthly Notes

G.B. RESCUE. Since the 1968 floods and the collapse of the swallet above the head of
the gorge, vast quantities of mud have been washed through G.B. to be deposited
at the sump.  The water is liable to pond
up more and more frequently as the deposits solidify and it is now often
necessary to swim across to the climb to Ladder Dig.

On Sunday November 21st. three parties swam across the pool
and visited the extensions.  There had
been frequent, heavy rain and this continued while the parties were
underground.  The pool rose and
overflowed into Ladder Dig.  One party
only just managed to scramble out as the passage sumped.  The other two parties were competently
organised, experienced and well equipped.

Divers found the Ladder Dig to be sumped at three points,
the third sump being choked with gravel as well, and not possible to clear in
the confined space and zero viz. Fortunately, dye testing only three weeks previously had proved that

water did not enter
any of the known parts of G.B.  The Fire
Service pumped vast amounts of water away into Charterhouse, and the Ladder Dig
pool lowered unbelievably quickly.  It
then became possible to bale the sumps and dig through the choked area.

The trapped cavers were none the worst for wear and what
could have been a serious affair ended after only a few hours.

Dozens of cavers turned up, mostly on spec, having heard
about the rescue from sources beyond/outside M.R.O., particularly radio and
T.V., and many enjoyed a welcome beer back at the Belfry in the early hours of
Monday morning.

WOOKEY HOLE. Having heard various conflicting reports on Martyn Farr’s dive in
Wookey, I have spoken with Martyn and I am now able to give a more detailed
account of the push.

The sump descends steadily as a high rift, comfortable
enough with side mounted bottles by descending slightly on one’s side.  At about -150′ the rift opens out to a 20′
square tunnel, which continues a steady descent.  At about 450′ from base, at a depth of -200′,
the roof begins to close down, eventually meeting the sandy floor as
pendants.  The whole River Axe appears to
flow through this gap.  Martyn is not
sure of the width of the river at this point but he guessed at, at least
20′.  He investigated the left hand edge
and reckoned that, in view of the sandy floor, a way could be forced through
beneath/between the pendants.  Through a
low, two foot wide gap there he could see the passage continuing its steady
descent to at least -205′.

DAN YR OGOF. We are now banging the boulders at the top of an aven above Falklands
Pot (at the end of Tubeways).  Scalloped
flow markings indicate that Tubeways water came from this region, but the
passages seem immature (although

and the Long Crawl are both immature i.e.
small).  A survey and brief description
of the Falklands Pot area will appear in the B.B. soon – when I give the rest
of the figures to Phil Romford!


Charterhouse Caving Committee

The Bristol Waterworks Company are the owners of several
square miles of land in the area surrounding Charterhouse-on-Mendip.  Numerous cave entrances and sites of
speleological and archaeological interest are located on Company property.  During the latter 1950s the Company placed a
restriction on caving and made a request that cavers who wished to visit sites
on Company land should rationalise their activities under a corporate body with
whom the Company could negotiate a set of conditions under which caving could
be continued.  An agreement amongst
Mendip caving clubs, the Charterhouse Caving Committee was formed.  It comprised representatives of eleven caving
clubs and an Honorary Secretary/Chairman.

The Member Clubs are:-

Avon Scout

·        Axbridge Caving Group



Exploration Club

·        Cerberus Speleological Society

·        Charterhouse Outdoor Centre

·        Mendip Exploration Group

·        Mendip Caving Group

·        Mendip Nature Research Committee

·        Shepton Mallet Caving Club


University of



The Affiliated Clubs are:-

South Bristol
Speleological Society

·        Toby Caving Club

·        Unit 2 Cave Research Group

The first meeting of the Committee took place in December
1959 and it set about the task of negotiating an acceptable access arrangement
with the Bristol Waterworks Company based on three main requirements:-

a)                  That the Company should be indemnified against
any claims arising out of caving or archaeological activities on its land.

b)                  That persons taking part in these activities
should hold a permit to be shown on demand to a Company representative or
tenant of the land involved.

c)                  That no fresh excavations should be made on, or
under the surface of, Company land without written permission.

After protracted discussions, the Company granted the
Committee a licence in 1963 giving it sole rights concerning caving and
archaeological interest in the area; exploration, excavation, photography,
publication and the issuing of permits. A sub-licence granted similar rights to the UBSS with respect to

.  The Licence requires the Committee to:-

a)                  Insure the Company against all possible claims.

b)                  Bear any expenses incurred, including the upkeep
and repair of entrances and the proper legal expenses of the Company.

c)                  Maintain a register of permit holders and accept
responsibility for compliance with the conditions stated on the permits and the
regulations governing the use of the land. Member Clubs are required to return
all used Permit Counterfoils to the Honorary Secretary/Treasurer.

Having due regard for its obligations, the Committee has
made every effort to simplify access arrangements.  However it has not been possible to escape
from adopting a certain amount of formalised procedure.


Permits may be issued by anyone of the eleven Member Clubs
to their own club members and guests. Each club maintains its own public liability insurance which provides
cover for members and guests.  Permits
may also be issued by the Honorary Secretary/Treasurer to:-

a)                  Cavers wishing to visit the area as guests of the
Committee, i.e. those who are unable to make a guest agreement with a club.

b)                  Members of caving clubs who choose to become
affiliated to the Committee and maintain an insurance policy covering members
and guests.

The Committee maintains a public liability insurance to
indemnify both itself and Bristol Waterworks against claims arising out of
caving activities.  This policy extends
to cover guests.

Guests may obtain a Temporary Permit to cover a period of 14
days at a cost of 25p each.  Members of
Affiliated clubs may obtain a Period Permit, valid for one year at a cost of
50p.  These charges provide a source of
revenue which helps defray the costs of insurance and other expenses; the
majority of such expenses are met by a subvention from the Member Clubs.  The Permit issuing system ensures that
holders of either permit are covered by the necessary insurance.  Applications for permits from Minors (16-18
years) must be accompanied by an Indemnity Form signed by the Parent/Guardian,
Member Clubs hold a supply of these.

Note: Members of the member clubs are entitled to 5 year
permits which are free.  These are only
valid whilst still a member of the issuing club and cannot be transferred.


To comply with the regulations under the licence and
sub-licence, caves in the area are required to be gated.  However, there is no difficulty in obtaining
a key for the caves concerned:-

, Longwood/August,
and Rhino Rift.  A leadership system is
in operation for

.  Other smaller gated sites include Timber Hole

sink.  Reads Grotto Dig is not gated.  Although there is no formal booking system,
cavers visiting the area as guests of the Committee are requested to write to
the Honorary Secretary/Treasurer giving one months notice and stating the
following, so that the necessary arrangements can be made:-

a)                  Full names, address’s and ages of party

b)                  Cave

c)                  Date of proposed trip

d)                  Enclose £5 returnable deposit

e)                  25p each per permit

Address to which applications to be sent is 53 Portway,



All Member Clubs hold a key for use by their members and
guests.  Affiliated clubs and guests may
also obtain their key from the Honorary Secretary/Treasure (see above section).

a)                  The Cave is to remain locked at all times and
parties must lock the door both on entry to and departure from the cave.

b)                  It is the responsibility of the caver to satisfy
himself with any tackle used in the cave; particularly the rawbolts placed to
facilitate the club up into Ladder Dig Extension.

c)                  The use of acetylene (carbide) lamps is not
permitted in the cave.

d)                  The Party is limited to SIX persons including
the leader.

e)                  NOVICES and UNDER 16′ s are NOT PERMITTED.

It must be noted that responsibility for


is held under sub-licence by UBSS.  Excavation, photography and publication are
not permitted without authority from UBSS. Permits are countersigned for

by a UBSS signatory.


WARNING:        Under conditions of prolonged and/or
heavy rainfall, some active sections of the cave (notably August Hole
Streamway) are liable to become dangerous or impassable due to flooding.  Pumps that take water from the springs at
Charterhouse will stop pumping automatically making the cave more prone to

RHINO RIFT    (As G.B. Gave).

WARNING:        The cave is almost entirely vertical in
character and care must be taken when on pitches to avoid dislodging boulders.
Do not wait unnecessarily at the foot of ladders/ropes and beware of falling


This cave formally known as Reads Grotto Dig was discovered
in April 1982.  This cave has many fine
formations and in an effort to conserve this system in as good a condition as
possible whilst still maintaining access the Committee has set the following

a)                  Access is available through approved
leaders.  Each Member Club has two 

b)                  Each Member Club has one Key to be shared by the
leaders.  Party size is restricted to 4
including Leader.

c)                  No Carbide

d)                  No Novices

Applications to visit this cave may be made either to the
Hon. Secretary/Treasurer or a Member Club. At least SIX weeks notice is required. The BEC’s two leaders are:-

Phil Romford, Coxley, Nr Wells,


Jane Clarke, Wedmore,



a)                  Applications to dig anywhere on Charterhouse
controlled land or in any existing cave must be made to the Honorary
Secretary/Treasurer who in turn will obtain permission from Bristol Waterworks

b)                  If permission to dig a specific site is granted
either above or below ground it is not transferable to another site.

c)                  Explosives are not permitted without specific
permission of Bristol Waterworks Company.


The Committee is deeply concerned that maximum regard is
given to cave conservation and the Bristol Waterworks Company insist that
activities in and around the caves do not constitute a health hazard.  All cavers are required to: –

a)                  Do not leave any litter in or around the caves.

b)                  Do not damage or disfigure any part of the cave
or calcite formations.

c)                  Do not urinate or defecate in the caves.

d)                  Do not commence any new digs (see section
entitled DIGGING)

e)                  Be considerate towards others who may be using
the cave or area especially in Longwood which is a nature reserve.

f)                    Do not install bolts or fixed aids in the caves
without the express permission of the Committee.

The Committee exists to ensure the continued use of the
Charterhouse caving area by all cavers and relies upon their cooperation.

Tim Large, Honorary Secretary/Treasurer Charterhouse Caving
Committee October 1982


Monthly Notes (Continued)

TACKLE. Equipment is still going missing.

Until now the rule has been:-

When you borrow tackle, use the
Tackle Book to list what is borrowed, name the cave, sign the entry and date
it.  Tackle should be signed back in and
this entry dated also.  Since this simple
method is obviously failing – cavers are borrowing equipment without signing
the book – a stricter system of control is to be introduced.

If you don’t like stringent methods of keeping tabs on our
tackle, yes OUR tackle, then stop borrowing it without signing it out…..and
bring back the gear you left in your car boot, your garage, your cave dig, or
wherever…..and don’t leave it in the drinking pond and expect it to crawl back
to the store of its own accord.


Moscow cavers and the U.S.S.R.

academy of

have pushed this system to a depth of -1335m ± 25m.  The present end is a boulder choke.

NAPRA.  A depth
of -970m. has been reached here, and the potential depth is nearly 2,300m.

These two caves are in the


of the Caucuses.

Caving International No 14.

CAVING INTERNATIONAL. At last No. 14 is out, with some interesting news but a lot of it is
rather dated.  There’s an interview with
Julia James (if you’ve never heard of her, let me just say that she could drink
you under the table any time and probably cave harder than you any time too)
two articles which are heavy on archaeology, more on equipment, yet another
spiel about the Andros Blue Holes, the Toohey Ridge Cave System, near Flint
Ridge-Mammoth, and a strip cartoon which is fun but rather a waste of space in
an expensive, fairly serious magazine.

Wig is our Mendip agent for C.I. so, if you want a copy, ask
him.  You’ll find him under a pile of
postcards at Townsend Cottage.

WELCOME IN THE HILLS. If you stand in the entrance to Rock and Fountain and look out across
you see the

village of
Hill.  Ian and Annie Wilton-Jones have now settled
in to the village and anyone is welcome to drop in (phone call first, please –
Gilwern 0873 831182 )

If you fancy breakfast there on your way to Dan-y, or
wherever, they’ll do it for a fraction of the cost of the little chef down the
road, or if you want a bit of floor space for the night, or if you just want a
natter – all cavers are welcome.

To find the house, just follow the signs for Llanelly Hill
from the bottom of the Clydach, find the Jolly Collier and then ask (for the
local wild-life park!!).

Ian & Annie, Llanelly Hill,

CONCRETE MIXER. The Club now owns a concrete mixer (which broke during the capping of

but should soon be functional

It is available for hire, at rates well below the
usual.  If you want to borrow it, apply
to any member of the committee.

P .S.  Ian & Annie
have camping Space available, they are three minutes walk from the pub, and can
sometimes provide milk and eggs (straight from the pump!).


Wildlife And Countryside Act 1982

The Wildlife and Countryside Act received Royal Assent on
the 30th October 1981.  Prior to this its
passage through the House of Commons aroused considerable interest and in
excess of 2000 amendments (a record number) were tabled to it.  It was considerably strengthened during this
process, and although much of the interest, both in and outside Parliament,
related to wildlife and habitat conservation it nevertheless could have
considerable bearing on the future protection of caves and their
environments.  For the purpose of this
review comment will be confined to those parts of the Act that might have some
direct bearing on caving activities.

The implementation of the Act will essentially fall to the
Nature Conservancy Council (NCC), and generally strengthen the statutory
provisions for nature conservation in

.  It also modifies the National Parks and
Access to The Countryside Act 1949 which provided most of the NCC’s original
powers.  Particularly the Act increases
the ability to safeguard sites from threats which do not constitute development
as defined in planning law, for example agricultural improvement and

The Act is split into four parts covering Wildlife (Part 1),
Nature Conservation, Countryside and National Parks (Part 2), Public Rights of
Way (Part 3), and Miscellaneous and General (Part 4).  A list of Schedules relating to the Act is
also included and primarily consists of lists of species covered under Part 1.

Part 1 – Wildlife

The only, sections of this Part with bearing on caves are
Sections 9-12 entitled ‘Protection of other animals’.  In respect of, caves this includes bats.  Previously only the greater horseshoe and
mouse-eared bats were offered any statutory protection, but the Act now gives
full protection to all species.  The provisions
of the Act make it illegal to intentionally kill, or injure or take any of the
scheduled animals, or to be in possession or control of any whether live or
dead.  Furthermore it is illegal to
damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place or structure which the animal
uses for shelter or protection and/or to disturb any such animal while it is
occupying a place or structure for that purpose.  Certain exceptions can be made to the above
where the persons doing so are appropriately licensed.

Part 2 – Nature Conservation, Countryside and National Parks

The Town and Country Planning Act already gives some
protection to SSSI’s in that local authorities are required to inform the NEC
of, and thereby give them opportunity to comment on, applications that might
affect these sites.  The new Act however
stipulates that the NCC must be consulted over activities that can be
undertaken without planning consent where these activities have been specified
as likely to affect the scientific interest. To enable compliance with this, Section 28 requires the NCC to re-notify
all existing SSSI’s, and to notify all new ones, to owners, occupiers, local
planning authorities and the Secretary of State.  This notification must now define the reason
for scheduling and provide a list of all activities likely to damage the
scientific interest.

The owner/occupier is allowed a three month consultation
period after notification and is then required to obtain NCC’s agreement before
undertaking any of the activities specified. Without this agreement the owner/occupier is legally prevented from
carrying out these activities unless they form, part of an already, existing
management agreement, or unless three months has elapsed without a formal
management agreement being reached.  In
the event of a dispute or the inability to reach agreement, the Secretary of
State can make an order under Section 29 of the Act extending the negotiation
period to twelve months and specifying the determination of compensation
consequent to this.  Basically the new
provisions allow early warning of any damaging activities and gives the NCC the
opportunity to act.

Section 34 is the next of interest and allows for the
.protection of limestone pavements. Previously the extraction of limestone for agricultural use, for example
building walls etc, was permitted, whereas commercial extraction, including
taking stone for rockeries or other ornamental purposes, required planning
permission.  The Act now offers total
protection to Limestone pavements which have been notified to the local
council.  Limestone Pavement Orders can
be made either by the Secretary of State or the local planning authority, and
once in effect extraction of stone for any purpose will be illegal.

Section 38 is of particular note.  This supersedes Section 3 of the NCC Act 1973
and enables the Council to give a grant or loan towards projects
“conductive to nature conservation or fostering the understanding of
nature conservation”.  Such grants
or loans are subject to approval by the Treasury, and certain conditions may be

Part 3 – Public Rights of Way

This section covers a number of minor aspects referring to
public rights of way.  It states a duty
to keep definitive maps and statements under continuous review, refers to
making changes, additions and updating public rights of way 1 and requires
reclassification of roads used as public footpaths.  Also included is a section prohibiting the
keeping of bulls on land crossed by public footpaths, but excluding those bulls
under ten months old and those of a recognised dairy breed kept with a herd of
cows or heifers.

Part 4 Miscellaneous and General

This final section covers minor items such as definitions
and minor amendments to various previous Acts. It contains nothing of relevance.

Graham Price
Conservation & Access Officer (CSCC)


Monthly Notes (Continued)


Down to a Sunless Sea – Mike Boon
Caving and Potholing – Dave Judson & Arthur Champion
The Caves Beyond –
Lawrence & Roger
Caves of
– Tim Stratford
Discovering Caves (new edition) – Tony Oldham
Ghar Parau – Dave Judson

plus all the latest Mendip club newsletters and old and new
publications from other clubs.

Donations still most welcome.


T-SHIRTS. There: is just one small B.E.C. T-shirt
left.  Contact Trev Hughes, 8,
West Bank, Wookey Hole, or at the Belfry.

WANTED (it’s very late and I’m tired but that is
meant to say “WANTED”.  Storage
Heaters for the Belfry.  The old ones
have had it.

SOUTH WALES LEADERS. Tim Large is now a Dan yr Ogof leader and Brian Prewer is an O.F.D. I

CLUB LOGS. Been caving recently?  Don’t
forget to write up your trip in the log. Our log books go right back to the very early trips made by club
members, and these books are kept in the Club library.


.  In Soviet Weekly, Apr. 18th ’81, is a report
on the cave TOR LIANI (W. Georgia/Soviet Trans Caucasia) which is claimed to be
the third deepest in the world, with a depth of just under 4000’.  Is this just another name for


It contains a 545′ waterfall, and has a constant entrance
temperature of 0° C, rising to 60 C at -3200′. There are now 500 known caves in
including Tsonskaya, 7000′ asl and the highest site of prehistoric human
habitation in

SHEPTON BUFFET. As usual this was an excellent affair, differing mainly from previous
years by having a disco instead of ‘The Band’.

In the competition Trev Hughes and Hartin Grass put all
their pennies in the cups, and Edrich, son of Sid, exceeded all the
opposition’s expectations by consuming three shredded wheats, dry, quicker than
anybody else.  We won, but of course,
S.M.C.C. did as well.  The food was
superb value, the wine and beer flowed freely food flowed (and some freely over
certain people’s heads), and every other person spent the evening firing
aerosols of plastic spiders’ webs at everyone else.

Many thanks to all the organisers.


.  The sump here was blocked with lots of loose
boulders, but these have been removed, particularly by pushing them down the
underwater boulder slope.  A much larger
passage has been revealed.  Prospects
sound good, in spite of only 10 m progress into the sump after several dives.          C.D.G. Newsletter No. 65 (Oct ’82)

STOKE LANE SLOCKER. Wormhole, Pete Moody, Chris Milne et al eventually pushed their way to
Stoke 8, and when the water levels are lower, sometime next year, it is hoped
that they will have a go at the very end. Wormhole will be made to promise to write an article.

.  Northern Dales.  Earlier this year Martin Grass, Geoff Crossley,
Jane and I looked at the short, but aqueous and sporting Devil’s Grinding
Milll, not knowing that M.S.G. had discovered a similar cave, the 1400 foot
Angel’s Drainpipe, in the same outcrop of Brockram, only a few months earlier.       Caves and Caving. No 18 (Nov ’82).

LUNEHEAD MINE CAVERNS. The entrance to these is
totally blocked by a landslip of many tons of large boulders, which will take a
lot of shifting.

.  Kirbymoorside,
Moors. Scunthorpe Caving Club have extended this through two
short sumps to over 600 feet.  At the end
the River Dove emerges from a flooded rift at least 40 feet deep.

Caves and Caving No 18.

Also in the same issue of Caves and Caving are reports of
expeditions to
Austria (Totes
Spain (Picos de
Cornion and Matienzo), and
Andros.  Other interesting international news includes
a note about

where a 4¼km river passage, tidal throughout its length and often over 10 m.
wide, can be traversed entirely by canoe!

EAST TWIN. South Bristol S.S. are continuing their work here, and the dig from the
Third Chamber now extends over 65 feet. Digging is assisted by a monorail.

Descent No 52.

Not a bad copy of Descent this time around, with articles on
Russet Well, Aude Gorge, S.R.T., S.R.T., S.R.T. etc.

delivered by Dick Renshaw on Wednesday, 2nd February, at 8.15 pm. in the
Physics Lecture Theatre,

University of

Here is the Lecturer’s summary.

In March this year, a team of six led by Chris Bonnington
set off for


to attempt the unclimbed East-North-East ridge of Everest.  The team consisted of four climbers – Chris
Bonnington, Joe Tasker, Pete Boardman and Dick Renshaw, with Charlie Clarke and
Adrian Gordon as their support team.

It marked the return after an absence of forty years of
British Mountaineering to the north side of Everest.  The objective was a very challenging ridge,
the crux of which was just below 27,500 feet, where it joins the North-East
Ridge, the line taken by the earliest British expeditions, including the
attempt by Mallory and


in 1924.

The idea was to climb without oxygen and without high
altitude porters.  After reaching a

high point
of 26,700 feet,
Dick Renshaw had a mild stroke and had to return home.  As Chris was exhausted, Pete and Joe decided
to go for a summit attempt after a short rest at Base Camp.  On 17th May they were at a height of 27,100
feet, and were last seen at 9.00 pm., still climbing and presumably looking for
a place to pitch their tent.  They were
never seen again.

Dick Renshaw tells, with slides, the story of this
expedition and of their journey through


Admission is free, but parties coming from some distance may
reserve seats by writing to the Trustee, Dr. Oliver Lloyd,

, BS9.


An Obituary To Stan Gee (1933 – 1982)

Members present at the Annual Dinner this year will remember
hearing the news that Stan Gee died on September 11th at a Ceilidh in
Stockport.  He had
a severe heart attack at the end of a particularly vigorous dance.

Stan Gee, BEC member No 265 since 17th August 1952 (although
his membership did lapse for a while) was born in about 1933 and has always
lived in the
Stockport area.  His caving started around 1948/49 and he was
associated with the Orpheus Caving Club (Northern Section) at the time and
continued caving with the Derbyshire Caving Club in 1959 when it was formed as
a splinter group of the OCC.  There is a
description of Stans work in Oxlow and Maskhill mines in BB No 72/August 1953.

Most of his caving was in and around Derbyshire as
travelling in the 1940’s early 50’s posed considerable problems.  Stan used to tell of an early trip to Alum
Pot when the expedition left
Stockport for
Manchester Victoria Station riding on the back of a coalman’s horse drawn
cart.  He did his National Service in the
Fire Service at
Aldershot and it is probably
at this time that he first visited Mendip.

After the formation of the DCC, expeditions started to go to
the Cordina area in


and Stan soon became a regular participant. Within a few years he had taken over the organisation of the expeditions
and continued to go to


every year thereafter making many close friends.  This led to reciprocal visits by the Italian
Cavers and Stan’s house was often home from home for itinerant cavers.

Throughout this time Stan kept two other outdoor activities
going, rambling especially in Derbyshire and archaeology at places such as

and Fox Holes as a
member of the Peakland Archaeological Society. The Latter activity continued until very recently when Stan was digging
at Pooles Cavern in Buxton.

Stan was never happy if he wasn’t organising something and
the range of his activities was wide, from black magic to New Year Parties,
stunts like the creation of the English Republican Army (raiding Welsh Castles
on St Davids Day) to the reopening of Alderley Edge Copper Mines at Alderley
Edge and non-caving activities in Sutherland.

For many years Stan combined his caving and rambling
activities with folk singing and playing. He played the guitar, accordion and harmonium and was part of a jigband
called Slipper Alley Sidewalk Stompers in the 1960′ s.  This band became the Bullock Smithy Folk
Group which gained local and national fame with appearances on radio and
northwest TV programmes.

His latest venture after Bullock Smithy, packed in were with
folk dancing and. the formation of a women’s Morris Dancing team called
Fiddler’s Fancy.

Stan was married for a while but for many years shared a
home with Ethel Burton.

Nigel Dibden   23rd October 1982


British Spelaeological Expedition To


J-Rat, Bob and Dany are currently with the expedition, near
San Cristobal in

.  In a four day recce several caves have been
found, including one of 2000 feet (length?) and rumour has it that some members
were captured by Indians and ransomed: for several thousand pesos!!  Full report on progress next month.


Alan Thomas was knock down by a vehicle in Wells on Saturday
(18th.) and is presently in Bristol Royal Infirmary.   We wish him a speedy recovery.

Hallowe’en Rift

by Trev Hughes

It seems that so far this year new caves on Mendip have been
found by chance or fairly easily, viz Hole in the Road and the extension of
Reads Grotto Dig, now called Charterhouse Cave. Little did I know that what I initially labelled simply ‘Unnamed Dig’ in
my caving log was to follow a similar pattern.

I came across the site while studying the wooded slopes in
the area above the village, three fields away from the bottom of my garden.

Initially all that was visible was a moss-lined, widened
joint, hidden under brambles and hawthorn, in a low outcrop of dolomitic
conglomerate.  Spotting a spider’s egg
cocoon similar to those found in many caves I decided to return the next day to
investigate the area with suitable digging equipment.

Saturday October 30th saw the start of work.  The first job was to remove the dense
brambles covering the area.  Suspecting
that any cave passage might follow the joint roughly northwards I started
digging a hole at the edge of the outcrop to give space to allow progress to be
made horizontally.  Very quickly it
became apparent that I was digging in a rectangular shaft filled with jumbled
rocks and sandy subsoil.  By the end of
the day’s work I had a 1 x 1.3 m shaft, 1.5 m deep, which I suspected could be
a mine shaft, although there was no evidence to support this, such as
shot-holes, etc.

I worked solo on Sunday morning but after lunch J-Rat and
the Hut Warden’s husband, Phil, came along to help.  We worked steadily throughout the afternoon
and as the sky was darkening Phil opened up a clean walled rift in the northern
part of the shaft.  This was narrow at
the northern end but widened to 0.3 m towards the still covered southern
end.  The rift walls were lined with old
stal/flowstone and the deepest point appeared to be about 4 m below surface
level.  As it was Hallowe’en the name of
our embryonic rift cave was easily chosen.

My next visit (solo again) was on November 3rd.  I spent the afternoon digging out the infill
from the southern side of the shaft and opened up a widening rift.  I was able to clear away the overburden
without too much of it falling down the rift, which is about 0.4 m wide as it
undercuts the southern wall of the shaft. After three hours work I was able to descend this rift to a small,
stony-floored chamber, the walls and roof of which were thickly covered with
massive (but mostly shattered) stal, not to mention some huge spiders.  By rearranging the stones on the floor I was
able to peer into a larger, low chamber to the east of the entrance rift.  Due to problems with my nife cell I decided
to finish for the day.  Open cave passage
had been entered after only 17½ man hours of work – quite reasonable progress.

Earlier in the week I had been to see Dr. Frank McBratney,
the manager of


on whose land this cave lies.  He voiced
no objections to the dig although he wished to consult that other Wookey Hole
resident, Jim Hanwell, on the whys and wherefores before giving the full
go-ahead.  (This has now been done and
permission given).

J-Rat and I next marked at the site on l Nov. 5th and, with
Tony heaving up buckets of stones and me loading them, we lowered th floor of
the first chamber by some 0.6 m.  Not
surprisingly, the inevitable J-Rat dry stone wall appeared!

With the floor of the chamber lowered I was able to
determine that the opening on the eastern side, first noticed two days before,
was only an alcove measuring 2 m. x 3.m., but away to the west a low passage (a
half tube in the roof of a low bedding plane) could be seen.

After about 3 m. this passage appeared to open up.  The floor was composed of uncompacted sandy
mud and broken pieces of calcite floor. By wriggling into this passage, pushing the mud to the sides and then
reversing out with as many lumps of calcite as possible, progress was quickly
made.  Three such operations opened the
end up to passable size.  After hauling
out the last of these blocks Tony joined me at the bottom of the rift.  Once into the half tube a noticeable outward
draught could be felt.

With Tony hot on my heels I squeezed into the larger bedding
passage beyond.  To the left the passage
sloped away down dip and straight ahead the low bedding, now 4 – 5m. wide,
continued.  The floor is mostly sandy mud
and the roof generally 0.5m high.  This
area of the cave was christened Guy Fawkes Chamber for obvious reasons.


From the survey it can be seen that the passages are joint
controlled and the bedding continues to the east although it is filled to the
roof with mud.  At this stage we
estimated that we had 30m of passage with two obvious dig sites.  The total digging time to date: 24½ man

The next day Tony and were joined by Chris Batstone who,
unfortunately, decided that the narrow entrance was not for him.  His part in the day’s proceedings was to haul
spoil up the entrance rift while I cleared out the bottom. J-Rat and I started
digging at the two sites within the cave; both are low beddings and work is
tiring on the arms.

Jane Clarke, Bassett and I completed a Grade 3 survey on
Nov. 7th.  With a strong pencil beam
light the dig nearer the entrance can be seen to open up after 6 – 7m.  Beneath the 0.2m space soft mud overlays a calcite
floor resting on more mud.  A crowbar can
be used to open up a trench in this to give a workable roof height.

On Nov 10th. Quackers and I did some more work clearing out
the entrance rift floor and the choked northern side – it may well continue
northwards at passable size.  It is far
larger than the other rifts in the bedding roof (on 3150) within the cave and
is therefore well worth clearing out.

The latest trip at the time of writing was on Nov. 16th.
when, again solo, I continued working at the eastern dig site.  By blocking the edges of the bedding with
spoil I revealed that a draught, roughly comparable with that leaving the
entrance crawl, comes from the low arch now only a couple of metres away.  The calcite blocks extracted from this dig
are hampering further work and must now be properly removed.  The low roof makes this vital.  Work continues and more discoveries may have
been made by the time this article appears in print.  All help is most welcome.

Finally, what of the other, more well known, cave in this
area?  Well, does the idea of a dry grots
trip to Wookey 22 appeal to anyone?


Tourist Caving Abroad

from Bryan Scott

The two articles reproduced below were sent in by Bryan, who
has visited
Harrison‘s Cave and thoroughly
recommends it.  If you should be lucky
enough to travel to
take a few B.E.C. stickers with you –


didn’t have any!

He also says that the caves on the
Rodriges (east of
Mauritius in the
) are well worth a visit, and adds:

The B.E.C. get everywhere – OK!

For those who would rather not trek to the back of beyond
merely to “get away from it all,” but who still want to have an
exciting and educational experience, some memorable vacations are to be had
right here in Western Canada.



April ’81

by Joanne Macdonald

Take caving, for example. Uncommon, true, yet it can be ideal for everyone from families to
special interest groups.  Paul Griffiths,
president of the B.C. Speleological Federation, a public interest group
involved in cave conservation and cave-related resources, says that public
tours offered in various locales over the past few years have been hugely
successful, largely because often they can be geared to the groups’ specific
interests.  Accompanying guides advise on
caving techniques and the cultural and geological points of interest, as well
as such areas as underground photography. Such tours, while sponsored by the BCSF, are actually organized by other
groups around the province.

The Regional District of Mount Waddington is one.  From May to September (high season for

Mount Waddington
arranges tours four days per week.  Specialized caving equipment is provided, and
participants bring their own sturdy work boots, gloves, pants and a warm
sweater.  Last year’s cost was a mere $5
per day, and may be slightly higher now. Cavers are expected to find their own accommodation.

As an offshoot of the BCSF, Speleolectours, a company
catering to the public interest in caving, has been operating since May, 1980.
According to

who advises the company, Speleolectours is the headquarters for weekend
speleologists, providing information on cave tours on a year-round basis.  For more information on recreational caving,
contact Speleolectours’ Karen Bischoff at 283-2691,



1982, Canadian Travel Press.  Timothy
Baxter (Editor)

For years visitors to

have been captivated by
quiet beaches and abundant sunshine.  Now
they can also plunge below the surface into a world of darkness, cascading
waterfalls, pools of clear, cold water, and cream coloured caverns that glisten
with thousands of stalagmites and stalactites.

The Government of Barbados officially opened
Harrison‘s Cave here recently, after spending vast sums
of money and five years preparing it for visitors.  The opening was festive, with Prime Minister
I.M.G.M. “Tom” Adams officiating.

The tour of Harrison’s Cave is unique in the
Caribbean.  It
begins at the Visitors Centre, with a short colour slide show that will prepare
the visitors for the journey into their cavern experience.  Also in the Centre are some fascinating
artefacts of the island’s first inhabitants: the Arawak Indians.

Visitors then board a 36 passenger electric tram that
transports them down into the cool earth and away from the hot, bright
sun.  Indirect lighting has been
installed in the cave to enhance the magnificent scenes as well as for safety

Sights on the tour, which lasts about an hour, include the
150 foot long Great Hall, with a 50 foot view downward, full of stalagmites and
stalactites; the Explorers Pool, a long passage leading to the

Twin Falls
, two glistening
water cascades which plunge to the cave’s floor and then disappear from
sight.  As the tram crawls further into
the caverns, winding along streams, pools, and waterfalls, it reaches the
deepest point of the journey;

, a clear and still
pool which reflects the detailed formations on the cave’s ceiling.

Then the tram halts, allowing visitors to walk around and
explore the cavern.  For the daring,
walks under the 40 foot high waterfalls are possible, while for the less
adventurous; strolls by the greenish-blue pools are encouraged.  Visitors then proceed to the highlight of the
tour; The Rotunda Room.  This is a
stunning chamber 250 feet long, 100 feet high and wide – composed of white and
cream coloured formations that glitter like crystal.

Harrison’s Cave was known to exist in the parish of

St. Thomas
for hundreds of
years, and was charted in a document dating from 1760 by a group of English
travellers.  It was only in 1970 however,
when Ole Sorensen discovered the beautiful Rotunda Room after a series of heavy
rains opened a passage to it.  It is now
believed that this may be the only cave in the world where running water is
found in connection with clear crystal-like formations.

In 1971, Sorensen suggested that the cave be developed as a
tourist attraction.  The Barbados
Government began the project in 1976 under his direction.

Tours of
Harrison‘s Cave
are given daily on the half hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Entrance fees to this national treasure are
about $3.50 ($7 Bds) for adults, and $1.50 ($3 Bds) for children.


The Conversion of Aquaflashes to take Nicad Rechargeable Batteries.

by Trev Hughes.

A standard aquaflash, using three cells, gives a light
output of 1.35W when using a standard bulb but, if converted to take
rechargeable nicad batteries the light output is increased to 3.6W.  I have a catalogue advertising 4 Ah cells for
about £4.50.  A normal dry cell costs
about 35p so the increased light output is not the only advantage.

The actual conversion process is quite simple and can be
done on the kitchen table (if you’re a bachelor, Ed:).  The only tools required are a saw (for
cutting plastic), a small rat-tail file and a craft knife, plus a sheet of
sandpaper.  The operations are as

1)         Mounting
the Bulb

A pre-focus/screw thread bulb converter is required (I have
plenty to spare) and a metal washer cut as shown in fig la.  These allow a 3.6V 1 A bulb to be fitted to
the standard reflector.  The plastic bulb
holders must be adapted to fit into the reflector’s back.  The inner hole is enlarged to the external
diameter of the bulb converter and, to allow for the extra thickness of the
washer an equal amount must be removed from the end of both pieces (fig 2).

2)         Fitting
the converted Reflector

When mounted in the reflector the bulb protrudes past the
edge.  A spacer must be made to ensure
that the bulb clears the screw down torch lens. A piece of plastic drainpipe or similar to the sizes shown in fig lb is
used.  It is most easily made by sanding
down the rough sawn annulus on a sheet of sandpaper resting on a hard, flat
surface.  To compensate for this spacer
the torch body must be shortened by a similar amount to ensure that the
“0” seal does not leak.  To
complete the job the brass contact strip is shortened by the same distance.

I have tested my converted torches in Wookey Hole and
Freke’s Cottage well to 80 feet, and to 110 feet in the sea off
Poole with no leaks.

If anybody requires 4Ah nicad batteries (U2 size) I have the
details.  If a large order can be sent
then the unit cost is reduced.



Bonfire Night.



(With apologies to Phil Hendy, manufacturer of fireworks
& sometime member of the


Come ‘itherall you Belfryites,
I pray you lend an ear.
This tale I shall relate to you
Will bring forth mirth and cheer.

‘Tis of the


cattle grid
The truth I shall unfold.
So them with guilty consciences,
Turn over – or be bold.

‘T’was on one dark November’s night
(Most nights are dark y’know.)
When the Mendip rain did rain quite wet
And the Mendip wind did blow.

The ‘Hunters’, having served its’ last
Cast out a merry rabble,
Who made their way to the


For fireworks and a barrel.


being the folk they are,
Hid their barrel well and good.
So everyone went back outside
And round the bonfire stood.

The blaze it was a goodly one.
The flames they were quite wild.
Apart from the wind and the wet all about,
I suppose you could say it was mild.

Suddenly there was a blinding flash,
As the sky turned from crimson to gold!
The crowd cast their eyes to the heavens
And forgot about beer and the cold.
Our appetites whetted, we all leaned forward
And eagerly looked for another.
But “Hendy” made fireworks being what they are,
Had to rapidly look for some cover.

The “bought ones” went off with a hell of a zip
And erupted with colour up high.
But poor Phil’s bangers, rockets and whizzers
When lit, would just smoulder and die.

Now in order to be fair to the lad
And give praise where praise is due,
At least ONE of his fireworks actually went off
And being generous, perhaps even two !

The display being over, the fire almost out,
We all went inside for refreshment;
Jacket potatoes and hot apple pies
And of course, brown liquid contentment.
Amidst the laughter and sociable chat,
There was some rebellious talk
And a group all wearing Bertie Bat badges,
Disappeared off for a walk.

What happened next I’ll leave up to you,
But suffice it just to say;
A hole appeared in the


Where the cattle grid used to lay.

An older group of


Soon left the hut for their cars
And groping their way down the darkened track,
Were met by a hole without bars.

Said one, a loyal


“It’s the B.E.C. doing, I can smell ’em.”
Said another, “Lets not be hasty now.
Our Committee ‘s inside, let’s tell them.”

When the news was told, great clamour broke out!
Someone called an Emergency Meeting:
And all agreed that the terrible deed
Was beastly, unfair and unsporting.

“The grid must be restored at once!”
There were volunteers aplenty.
One man offered to lead the troops;
The gentleman’s name was Hendy.

They made their way to the edge of the pit.
“Do you think if we dig, it might go?”
They peered down over the 18 inch drop
And told Pete Moody “NO!”
“Come on. Let’s shift this damn grid back.”
And they grunted, heaved and they strained.
Ten minutes later, all thirty sat down,
Decidedly weakened and drained.

“There must be something we can do to outwit them!
Let’s see what we’ve got in our pockets.”
So they all rummaged deep, then Phil Hendy cried;
“I’ve just found my last home-made rocket!”

They looked at each other with vacant expressions
And some scratched their heads quite a bit.
Some staggered off to fill up their glasses
And some disappeared to their pits.
“Don’t worry ’bout them.” said one lone voice,
But Phil, he’d not noticed a thing.
He was too busy tying the stick of his rocket
Round the end of the grid with some string.
All thought, “Gosh! What a grand ideal”
And were just going to let out a cheer,
When a few remembered the display they’d just seen
And yet more disappeared for some beer.
“Now come on lads” said Phil commanding,
“Come ‘ere and give us some light.”
One bent down and struck a match
And the touch paper glowed livid white.

The rocket, being shocked by its’ untimely launching,
Began to smoulder and splutter
And those that were left still stood round the hole,
Began to giggle and mutter.

“Don’t worry!” said Phil, “This is one of my specials!”
“You’re in for a big surprise!”
And as he spoke the rocket shuddered
And the cattle grid started to rise.

The rocket roared and the string it strained
‘Till it looked nearly fit to bust.
Then the cattle grid raced off up into space,
Leaving only a cloud of dust.

Then Phil sat down, his head in his hands
And wailed, “Oh woe is


“This is the end now.  I’ll be
Can I join the B.E.C.?”

And what of the


cattle grid?
Now it’s only seen at night.
It’s taken a place in history,
As the first Mendip satellite!

by A.N any-Mouse.


Rumblings In Tynnings Barrow Swallet

by Phil Romford

It was all Biffo’s fault! After a digging trip to ‘a day’ he took it into his head to poke this
enormous boulder with a short stick.  I
expect you know the one, just down from the Aardvaark Trap.  He prodded while I held him by his belt ready
to pull him clear.  It fell, but gently
and all too easily, all twenty tons of it. The route was under that!

Since Biiffo’s joyous day Tim and I have been back to
stabilise the remaining loose bits in the roof. Hairy stuff this, prising off lumps we had blasted while sitting under
them.  It seems that, upon reaching 40,
one gets sillier – my wife agrees.  On
Saturday (before August Bank holiday) Tim, Andy Lolly (who is joining the
B.E.C.) Fish and I went back to finish removing loose stuff and blast a new,
safe route through.  To make sure the way
over the dropped boulder was not passable we slid a large slab over the hole
and prised some more slabs from the roof. This caused major heart attacks for all, as we thought the whole roof
was going to drop on us.  It’s true,
adrenalin is brown!

Fish decided to take over the banging exercise from
Tim.  He placed ¼lb on a thin slab to
knock a corner off, we fired it, and went straight back for a look.  Much to Fish’s embarrassment it had only blown
the dust off the surface.  He is now
known as ‘The Expert’.  ½lb later the offending
corner was removed. *

With a little more work the cave should be safe again.  Beware, however, in the meantime.

* Since this event Tim and I have prodded the loose wall
above Pyramid Pot.  One prod from Tim is
as good as a couple of pounds of bang. Now that is all about to fall down too!



Jobs To Be Done On The Belfry

In spite of a limited turn out for the latest working
weekend much valuable work was done, particularly by the regulars.  Many thanks to all who turned up to
improve/repair/maintain OUR hut.

Much still remains to be dealt with.  Why wait for the next working weekend. T ake
your pick from the following list, and try and do at least one job next time
you’re at the Belfry.

1. )       Repair or replace men’s bunkroom door-frame;

2. )       Treat men’s bunkroom ceiling with fungicide;

3. )       Paint men’s bunkroom doers;

4. )       Fit envelope box to hut fees box;

5. )       Fit fire extinguisher in kitchen;

6. )       Make duck boarding for shower-room and changing room;

7. )       Paint female toilet;

8. )       Board up window partition by female quarters;

9. )       Re-fit ceiling light cover in female bunkroom;

10. )      Fill in gaps around ceiling in female bunkroom and re-paint;

11. )      Re-felt roof of wooden shed;

12. )      Check and repair plumbing in loft;

13. )      Lag all plumbing an~ check water tank;

14. )      Fit new tiles (2) on Belfry roof;

15. )      Make and fit shower ‘curtain to female shower;

16. )      Wire in extension to M.R.O. radio to library;

17. )      Install coin slot meter in ladies shower;

18. )      Completely service all gas fittings;

19. )      Paint floors with appropriate floor paint;

20. )      Clear out and rearrange tackle store;

21. )      Expose, lag and re-cover rising main;

22. )      Replace damaged chimney pipes;

23. )      Mend joints in chimney with fire clay.

If you have a locker at the Belfry and wish to keep it for
next year then please let me know (at the Belfry or on Wells 75407) and also
pay for it (50p/small locker, £l.00/large locker).

In January unclaimed lockers will be opened, emptied and

Many thanks to Andy Nash for the donation of a ‘fridge’.

WANTED: Usable single (2′ 6″ wile) mattresses for
Belfry bunkrooms.

Phil Romford, Hut



Full Membership – £10                            Joint
Membership – £15

Sent now to: Fi Lewis (or complete standing order and
present to your bank)

Before  31st  Jaunary 1983


Letters To The Editor

Wookey Hole,


16th Nov  ‘82

Dear Editor,

I would like to comment on some editorial misinterpretations
appearing in the last B.B.  Firstly, I
have never quoted a figure of “30 diving members” of the B.E.C.  I believe an accurate figure to be 19 or 20
(of whom only 12 were at the A.G.M.). Secondly, the motion to set up a diving section only failed because of
the constitutional requirement to have a 75% majority of those present to
change the constitution.  The meeting was
quorate and it is interesting to note that the greater proportion of those for
the motion were non-divers.

The setting up of an independent diving group is
progressing.  At the moment Chris is
waiting to hear from the S.A.A.

To change tack, the Cave Digs section of Lifeline in the
same E.B., especially as it covers work for one third of the year, is somewhat
partial in its approach, not to say flippant in its attitude!


this article it would seem that there are only half a dozen active
diggers/pushers in the B.E.C. and those a very select closed shop.  Apart from the erroneous inclusion of Twin
T’s and Wigmore an update on Castle Farm Swallet could have been included.

A few other sites worth mentioning that I have worked on
this year are as follows:

1)       St.
Cuthbert’s:  Rob Harper and I were never
given credit in the B.B. for the Jerusalem Oxbow bolt climb;

2)       G.B.:
Rob, Quackers and I carried out a desperately thin three hour aid climb into a
well decorated roof passage named Salisbury Hill;

3)       Wookey
Hole:  Rob and I are again working
here.  So far we have forced a squeeze by
digging at the top of Wookey 20 to give a round trip in the upper section, discovered
what might prove to be an important side passage off Coase’s Loop Extension
(although bad vis of late has prevented any accurate survey work), and, for our
latest project, have started work un a major bolt/free climb at the far end of
24.  Rob has been very tied up with work
lately and this has delayed progress here. Maybe the local divers can find the way on in Wookey where others have

4)       Hallowe’en
Rift:  This latest B.E.C. find has, of
course, taken up a lot of my time lately and a full discovery report and survey
will be published as soon as possible, hopefully in this issue of the B.B.

5)       Swildons
12,  Triple Aven:  It is a bit unjust and unnecessarily flippant
to describe this dig as ‘playing with a boulder ruckle’.  The trip to 12 and back is a reasonable
undertaking on its own – about a five hour journey.  To work at the bottom of a boulder ruckle at
the far end of Desolation Row does require a greater expenditure of energy and
adrenalin.  I consider that Ross and I
did quite enough to open up a metre square hole into open passage on our last
visit.  As we found sandstone cobbles and
are only 60 metres below the surface the importance of this dig should not be
underestimated. Ross is very busy with his promotion course.  Would any other B.E.C. members care to lend a

In between these and other underground forays, plus, of
course, most of those mentioned in the Cave Digs article, I have still found
time to squeeze in a fair amount of ale, sea-diving weekends and even a couple
of morris tours.  So come, Tim, on behalf
of those missed from your article, there are a lot more diggers active than
your article seemed to indicate.

Yours, for impartiality,

Trev Hughes.



Japanese Spelaeological Reconnaissance


Honourable Editor,
Banzi Exploration Club,


10th November, 1982.

Most Honoured Master,

Be pleased to receive most worthless despatch flom humble
self on last day of vely interlesting
Nippon spelaeologioal
reconnaissance of Ingerand.

Last night I blivvy at Wookey Hole Clave entlance having had
velly interlesting time with pair of Ingerish clave dlivers.  Ah! Dlivers most supplised to find me sitting on rucksack slipping olange
squash by light of candle at clave door.

So! Dlivers carry plenty equlipment and dressed in wetsuit –
not like pearl dliver at home; lot less pletty as well!  Wun dliver, him called Ar Pic and fellow, him
called Blif Oh.  Me thought all Ingerish
called Smlith or Bloggs, most strange

As there no clave dlivers in

me ask to join such noble
company.  “Please to come claving
with you,” I say.  “Of course”
say dlivers and we glow to chamber tree to see clockodile.  Ah so!! Blitish clave dlivers vely blave! Not only witches in clave but clockodiles in sump!  Next we glow to chamber nine to where rest of
kit put on and then to nine wun, where dlivers enter water.  Most cold, but where is blass monkey they
speak of?

Dlivers say they look for passage off Cloases Loop Extension
but ‘vlis’ bad and they not find it for sure. What of most noble Master is a ‘vlis’?

Dliver Ar Pic him glow to nine wun and. black and then to
tree flom wun in nine but Blif Oh him glow to tu in nine flom wn in nine but
then glow off again flom wun in nine to search for plassage but only flind
offerings to clockodile to spend on saki. Ah, all this most confusing but glad to slay dlivers not join honourable

Blif Oh him say real Glod of Wookey Hole, him ‘Welshman
called Flarr’ and him bloldly glow where no man glow before – maybe him another
shark or clockodile or even, but me not see him.  I offer yen to water to please this Glod.

Ar Pic and Blif Oh take me black to entlance and they say
gloodbye.  They go for saki in ghiesha
house at Pliddy.  Ah sol At least in some
ways mad Ingerish claver same as noble speleo of


Your humble servant,

Wun Hung Lo.

(See, I said that I’d print anything! Surely YOU can better
this rubbish article.  Well, its
Christmas isn’t it!” – Ed.)


Is Caving Hazardous To Your Marriage?

What prompted lie to write this article?  My own marriage being on the rocks and caving
being mentioned prominently in the list of complaints, it made me wonder
whether caving is perhaps a cause of the break-up of marriages.

To answer this we need to look at sate statistics.  Unfortunately my sample is very small and
consists of only nine couples or ex-couples. The reason is that these are the really hardcore cavers – people who
have been at it for many years.  I could
not count those ex-cavers who were with us for a few months and then decided to
do something else (and in any case I have lost track of most of them).

Of these nine couples, five are ex-couples.  This sounds very high.  Well, lets have a closer look at these

From the South African Statistical Year Book.  (1980) I calculate the average divorce rate
as 2,4 for the period 1973 to 1978.  This
means that roughly two in five marriages will fail and end in divorce.  From the sane book I compiled a graph (Figure
1) indicating the duration of broken marriages. This shoes that the probability of divorce is highest between the second
and the fourth year.


This allows us to calculate the probability of divorce for a
couple during tenth year e.g. the probability of divorce in their tenth year of
marriage is: –


Figure 2 shows the accumulative distribution, which allows
us to calculate the probability of a couple getting divorced before they are
together for ten years.  This is :

2,41-1 x 0,68 =

Using this method of calculation I could get to work on the
sample and calculate the expected number of divorces.  Naturally I have to withhold the names of the
couples so I call them A, B, C etc.



of Divorce





























This means we could have expected 2,4 divorces in the sample
but, in fact, we had five.

Before we go further, let us test whether this is a
significant difference or whether it could have arisen by chance.  We do this by testing the hypothesis with a
one-tailed test at the 0,05 level of significance.  If the absolute value of 2 is larger than
1,645 we accept the hypothesis that 5 divorces in our sample is significantly
different from the 2,4 expected.

Z =                                 =         =

Z =        = 1,95

We therefore conclude that five divorces is significantly
above expectation and it appears that caving is hazardous to your marriage!

From here on I can only speculate.  Why should caving be bad for your
marriage?  What about other sports and
hobbies such as golf, deep sea fishing, Scuba diving, etc.  They also take hubby away from the
family.  Or is there perhaps something
special about the psychological make-up of cavers which makes them difficult
spouses?  I don’t know.

H O Miller

(Taken from “FREE CAVER” No. 11 (

South Africa

Colin Priddle who sent this article suggests that as Mr.
Miller got only a small sample from his own club that be would be pleased to
receive a larger sample from a bigger club – B.E.C.!  Please help this important spelaeological
research all you divorced Belfryites and send details, date married, length of
marriage to Tim Large (divorced once) at the Belfry.


Friday Night Trips, 1983



















































































































































Nine Barrows/Sludge


Tynings Barrow


St. Cuthbert’s




Manor Farm


South Wales




Lionel’s Hole


to: be arranged!!


Swildons – Black Hole


North Hill


Burrington (barbeque)






South Wales


Lamb Leer




to be arranged!!


St. Cuthbert’s


Reservoir Hole


South Wales
























































3 only






3 only – alt. Longwood




















3 only – alt. Manor Farm






4 only



(L) = a number limit

If you are interested, then ring B.E. Prewer (Wells 73757) or G. Villis (W-S-M 412770 – work).  It is advisable to ring on the THURSDAY
before a trip to confirm that the trip will take place.  Meet at the cave at 7.30 p.m.  Three trips to the new


are provisionally planned.  Each trip
will consist of a leader plus three. Preference will be given to regular Friday Night Trippers.




(where we hope you’re
discovering caverns measureless)

Payment Of Subscription By Standing Order

Your 1982/83 subscription became due at the A.G.M.

The rates are unchanged –

Membership £10.00

Joint Membership £15.00

You may now pay your sub by standing order by using the form
below.  Enter the name of your own bank
and account number, the amount of the sub, * the date of the first payment
(day, month and year) and of any subsequent payments (day and month only), sign
and date.

Then present the form to your own bank.

* in figures and words inside the brackets,

Tear off hear

TO………………………………………………..BANK PIc     Date……………………………

Please pay to Lloyds Bank Plc Shepton Mallet xx.xx.xx for
the credit of Bristol Exploration Club Account No. xxxxxxxx the sun of £

(                                  ) .


Commencing………………………………………and thereafter every………………………………..

annually until further notice from me in writing.




A/c No…………………………………

© 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.