Exploration Club, The Belfry,

, Priddy, Wells,

. Telephone: Wells (0749) 72126

Editor : G-Wilton-Jones

Officers Of The Club

Hon Secretary: Tim Large

Hon. Treasurer: Jeremy Henley

Tacklemaster: John Dukes

Hut Warden: Phil Romford

Hut Engineer: Phil Romford

Caving Sec: Martin Grass

B.B. Editor: Graham

-Jones, Trevor Hughes, Nigel Taylor

Membership Sec: Fi Lewis

Librarian:Chris Batstone

Ian Caldwell has had to resign from the post of Hut
Engineer.  He is currently taking a
course at

and is finding
the pressure of work there to great for him to devote adequate time to B.E.C.

Phil Romford is presently taking over the task of Hut
Engineer, as he feels Hut Engineer and Hut Warden are more easily managed by
one and the same person

FOR SALE: One pair Dolomite Guida Major mountaineering
boots, size 9, full steel shank, Vibram Montana soles, high ankle giving good
support for front pointing.  Little
used.  In excellent condition. £40
o.n.o.   Phil Romford.  Wells 75407


Henry’s Hole

by Andy Sparrow

This new find is about 200 yards from the Backdoor of Box
Mines.  It was found at the end of a
friend’s garden during the digging of new foundations for a shed.  It consists of a natural rift together with
mine passage, and has a total length of about 400ft.

A dig has been stated to try to find a connection with Box

Sketch Plan   


Belfry Notes

Since the scare about possibly losing the Royal Navy for
mid-week revenue I, with the help of a few others, have managed to raise the
standards of our accommodation a little. By writing a grovelling letter to the R.N., apologising for last year’s
shambles and indicating where improvements were to be made, and with the help
of Graham Johnson (Bolt) I have had a favourable response.  The R.N. have now booked for several weeks
ahead.  This should amount to around £300
income.  However, we must not become lackadaisical
in our attitude – we still have a long way to go to meet my goal.

Changing Room: A number of people are leaving odd items of tatty clothing lying around,
some of it unmentionable.  If, at the end
of a weekend, they are not claimed or given away, they go on the fire.

So the message is, if you value it, take it home!  If you must leave kit at the Belfry, see me
and I will try to provide you with a locker, at a cost, of course.

Working Weekends: It has been suggested that we try for a few months to have one working
day coinciding with committee meeting weekends, which are always the first
weekend of the month, so do try and help. Just to confuse the issue, the next working day is Saturday 12th March.

Car Park:  To
aid people in the dark areas we intend to fit an exterior halogen lamp to the
south end of the Belfry.  To prevent
parking on the lawn we intend to place some large limestone blocks, which will
very definitely be car proof.

Front Door: The Belfry now has a new front door complete with a new lock and even
brass knobs (The appointment of Hon. Knob Polisher to the B.E.C. has already
been suggested.  Please don’t write.
Ed!)  A new lock means a new key.  These are available FREE from the Hut
Warden.  You may contact me at any time
at the Belfry or at home to obtain one. All new issue keys will be serial numbered so I know who has keys.  I must appeal to all key holders not to have
copies made for their mates, etc., since the whole idea of having a lock is to
provide a degree of security to our property.

Lockers:  I am
trying to collect fees owing for lockers used by members.  £1.00 for large ones, 50p for small
ones.  I feel sure that some are not used
but are still locked.  If you do not use
your locker will you please let me know, so that I can re-issue it to someone
in need.

Library Keys: It is known that a few keys are in the hands of non-committee
members.  If you have one, please return
it in the interest of security.


Two night-store heaters for the bunk rooms

Lots of 2′ 6” wide mattresses

Timber for making duck boarding, 2 x 1 for example.



Chris Batstone, overheard at the
“Bassett’s” housewarming recently:

“Oi ! Move yer fat gut.  I can’t get by.




by Phil Romford.

There has been some disjointed talk in the pub on going back
to the Dachstein area of


to try once and for all to bottom the Barengassewindschact.

So far those interested are Trev Hughes, Tim Large, Rob
Harper, John Dukes, Ross White and myself. However, to date there is no firm commitment from anyone to say that we
can form an expedition.

I think it is well known that this is an S.R.T.
expedition.  Therefore I am looking to
pull together 10 – 12 strong cavers who are well practised in S.R.T. and,
preferably B.E.C. members.  It is the
opinion of some who have been to the area that if we do not bottom it this year
we shall have to offer it to the Austrians. We can’t have that, can we!

So, you guys, let’s have some committed response from
you.  I am prepared to coordinate the
expedition if I get sufficient support. However, I must add that each person may be asked to pay deposit to the
expedition, firstly to be a form of commitment – I know you lot, you say you’ll
do one thing, then go off and do something else – ands secondly to help toward
the purchase of expedition equipment.  At
this early stage I do not know how much money we are looking for.

When I have had sufficient response to this plea, I shall
call an expedition inaugural meeting to discuss finance, travel, equipment,
accommodation, etc. and possibly form an expedition committee.

On small aside: I am hoping to have time to get to
Chamonix for some mountaineering after the expedition.

The approximate timing of the whole affair will most likely
be mid to late July 1983.

You may write to me at:  Coxley,Wells,


Please consider this seriously and contact me with any
queries as soon as possible.

Incident At Lamb Leer

Following a rescue call-out to Lamb Leer recently Martin
Grass and “Tom Big”, well known B.E.C. member, Club Secretary and
M.R.O. WARDEN, rapidly kitted up in front of the Belfry stove and then dashed
to the scene.

Some weegees were met at the top of the pitch.

” O.K.. lads,” says our “Tom”.   “Make way for the M.R.O.”  “ We’ll soon have everything under control,”
he continues, as he ties off an S.R.T. rope and threads his rack.

“See you at the bottom,” he calls to Martin , and
is about to leap off the edge for a super-fast descent when he hears Martin
musing –

“Shouldn’t your rack be threaded the other way round,






A World First To Cap Them All

( Coal gold + base minerals of Southern Africa 1981)

This article written by C J Taylor A.R.I.C. Chlorides
Technical Director takes an in-depth look at an important development in the
cap lamp industry.  The article was sent
to us by Colin Priddle (Pope) who lives in

South Africa

The South African mining industry is the largest user of cap
lamps in the Western World.  Our mines
requirements run to some 570,000 lamps – 3% of the western world total – while

estimated to require 550,000 lamps and, there are some 850,000 in the other
non-communist countries.  The Soviet
Union and


between them are estimated to have some two million cap lamps in use.

The history of the cap lamp dates back to candles and
subsequently the break-through of the Davy lamps which allowed naked flames for
lighting without fear of methane fires. This was followed in the early 1930’s with the first electric miner’s
lamp incorporating a battery encased in a metal cylinder worn on the miners
belt.  It was not until 1950 that lead
acid accumulators replaced the old alkaline battery and introduced for the
first time the advantages of a self-service operation in the storage frames.

Since then, the mining industry has been growing at a fast
clip world wide, but the miners cap lamp market has been relatively
static.  Increased mechanisation and
longer shifts offset what would otherwise have been a proportionate market
growth.  This situation has now changed
as the traditional miners cap lamp nears the end of its capacity for use in a
rapidly changing mining industry.

Though the 1950-based cap lamps have served the industry
well, certain disadvantages became of increasing importance in a rapidly
developing mining industry which was gravitating towards longer shifts and
deeper level mining.  These factors were
particularly important in the South African mining sector following the boom in
metal prices in the late seventies.  As
new mining plans were announced the need for an advanced miners cap lamp led to
a focus on the traditional products disadvantages. These were:

a)       Limited
ampere-hour capacity which does not allow for longer shifts.

b)       Inadequate
light output for industry’s future needs.

c)       The
accumulators need constant topping up which means removing each filler plug for

d)       Charging
time was considered too long as the industry moved towards longer shifts. A 1:1
charging to light availability ratio was regarded as Optimal.

e)       Liquid
filled batteries incorporated a spill danger which caused minor accidents such
as acid burns; and

f)        The mass of lamp unit was considered somewhat high in relation to output.

In order to meet the needs of the mining industry world wide
and the South African market in particular, Chloride pursued the development of
a new miners cap lamp and accumulator. The technological objectives of the research programme demanded a
product that would incorporate:

a)       A
maintenance free accumulator

b)       Shorter
charging time.

c)       Higher
ampere-hour capacity

d)       Improved
light source and output!  and

e)       Reduced

Consequently, Chloride Technical in the

, a subsidiary of the
international Chloride Group, the worlds largest manufacturer of chargeable
batteries, launched a two year development programme which resulted in the
development of a maintenance-free accumulator and improved cap lamp.  In April 1980 the group placed some 200 of
the new lighting units at Vaal Reefs and Doornfontein gold mines for testing
which was monitored by the Chamber of Nines. The results surpassed the industry’s expectations and will result in
full scale manufacture of the product later this year.

The new Chloride accumulator is the hub of the
development.  Being maintenance free it
should contribute to improved cost effectiveness while its power specification
promises a much improved power: mass ratio, thereby fulfilling two of the major
criticisms levelled at the traditional units.

In normal batteries oxygen and hydrogen are released from
the electrolyte bring the charging process and this requires the units to be
topped up with water.  However, Chlorides
work on recombination technology has resulted in the manufacture of a battery
which never needs to be refilled and thus can be completely sealed.  In fact though the battery is a lead acid
type, the electrolyte is contained within the plates and the separators, so
even in the event of damage to the battery case; there is no liquid to
spill.  Thus, allied to maintenance free
operation, Chlorides product should contribute to improved safety by avoiding
minor accidents related to acid spilling.

Incorporated with the maintenance advantage the new mining
accumulator is claimed to provide 61% more power, having a discharge cycle of
16 hours compared with 12 hours previously. At the same time the exterior casing has been cast in a plastic which
showed nine times greater resistance to abrasion and impact than a hard rubber

This result should be particularly important in developing
the export potential of the new miners lamp, as South African quartzites have
in the past proved far more damaging to the battery cases than conditions
pertaining in other parts of the world.






No. of Plates

Battery dimensions (mm)

Volume (m/)

Mass (filled with cover (kg)

Cycle Life


Container material


Duration (0.9A)

Operational voltage range (V)


3(2 negative 1 positive)

41 x 150 x 187



750 cycles (70% depth of discharge)

Resin Rubber


10 hours

4.00 to 3.70


3(3 negative 4 positive)

40 x 125 x 187



500-70 cycles (70% depth of discharge)

Abrasion resistant Rubber


16 hours

4.00 to 3.70

The, new accumulator is completely compatible with existing
charging systems in the mining industry. But for full potential a new rack and charger has been developed which
reduce the charge time through higher charge rating.  Incorporated in the accumulator is a fail
safe feature in the form of an inner seal which allows gas to be released in
the event of a serious over charge.

Though the significant breakthrough is in the development
of. a maintenance free accumulator, Chloride has built into the unit certain
other advances.  The plastic not only
conforms to fire resistant specifications laid down by the mining industry, but
is tamper proof and offers greater comfort to the user.  An integrated belt loop and the leak proof
advantage make the unit more comfortable to wear, particularly in the narrow
confines of a stope.  In addition the
cable joining the accumulator and the battery has been redesigned with a new
cable lock to prevent disconnection. Chlorides tests show that the cable lock can withstand forces of up to
670N at the headpiece and 1300N at the battery before becoming disengaged.

Allied to these efficiency and improved safety improvements
the refined headpiece promises to fulfil the rest of the industry’s
requirements.  In a mining environment
the need for safety is paramount, and insufficient light at work stations
contributes to minor accidents and a resulting fall in labour efficiency.  By incorporating a new-headpiece using a 4V
1A halogen bulb with a larger reflector, Chloride claims the new lamp boosts
lumen output by six times.  (The
introduction of a miniature halogen bulb is the result of extensive development
by the major lighting companies in Europe and

).  Illumination at a distance of 2m is said to
be 2klx, the greater energy needs being provided by the improved accumulator.

The impressive specifications of the new accumulator and
headpiece have been sustained in local testing underground and have led to a
very favourable reaction from a mining industry committed to enhanced safety
and improved cost control.  In April last
year 200 lamps were placed in both Vaal Reefs and Doornfontein and during the testing
there was a notable decrease in the incidence of minor accidents.  In fact, the new product is probably
technologically ahead of current mining industry needs, but should offer
lighting to keep abreast of development in mining methods.

Though the maintenance free miners accumulator and improved
cap lamp has a rival in new European nickel cadmium units, price and power
capability suggest the lead acid system will be far more popular.  Not only does the maintenance free system
offer significantly higher light availability, which makes it particularly
suitable to South Africa’s longer shifts, but it is also priced some 7%
lower.  This pricing difference stems
from the cost of the metallic constituents in the NiCd Battery and the longer
production runs possible in

where 3% of the Free Worlds miners
cap lamps are in use.


Not only will the launch of the maintenance free accumulator
and improved headpiece be a world first for

South Africa
, but at the end of
1981 all components will be made locally. Initially the only imported component will be the halogen bulb, but
plans are in hand to manufacture the item in

South Africa

In order to cater for local demands Chloride has invested
some R1 million at its Benoni factory. Recently, Chloride SA managing director, Don Searle, said production
would be geared to satisfying South African demand.  But as the South African Company will be the
only Chloride operation worldwide manufacturing the new accumulator and
headpiece export potential is huge.


The total cap lamp market outside the Soviet Union and
China is estimated as 2 million units of which
570,000 – 30% are in
South Africa
and 550,000 in

.  This R50 million market includes export
potential of around R35 million, in which the advantages of the long South
African production runs and the manufacture of a product suited to arduous
conditions locally should enhance sales potential of the Chloride
development.  Thus, one local demand is
satisfied the maintenance free development should allow South
its first major drive into a potentially huge export market.  Management is confident of success as the
Chloride product is competitively priced.

The introduction of a world first maintenance free battery
in the cap lamp market and the development of export potential could have far
reaching effects in an industry constantly aware of the need for containing
increases in mining costs.  Beyond that,
the development could well pave the way to maintenance free, motive power
batteries for underground and surface use which will help the industry in the
constant battle to contain costs.


a)                  Completely sealed.

b)                  Maintenance free.

c)                  60% more capacity in accumulator.

d)                  Under test conditions battery case offered nine
times more resistance to abrasion and impact than the old unit.

e)                  Fits all existing charging units but for
complete technical compatibility the new charger and frame are recommended.

f)                    Extra burning time and even illumination.

g)                  Leak proof even if container is damaged.

h)                  Re-sealable safety – the inner seal allows gas
to be released if battery is seriously over charged.

i)                    New cable lock which prevents cable from being
pulled out of lamp or battery unless force exceeds 670N at the headpiece.

j)                    Flame resistant container for underground

k)                  Tamper proof – special tool needed to take off

l)                    Stainless steel shoe available for hard-rock

m)                New lamp fits onto any standard helmet.

n)                  Six times greater lamp output.

o)                  Charging rack designed to take 10 lamps or
multiples thereof with features which make it easier to handle and offer longer

Colin Priddle’s note: “I’ve got two of them cost £16 each (R32) Charger (R30).  They are superb, Terrific beam, 16 hours


Bassett’s Notes

EDITORIAL DISPLEASURE: Over the past few weeks there has
been a distinct lack of articles. Therefore it’s a rather thin B.B. covering two months.  In future I shall number each B.B. according
to issue, and not the months covered. Thus, this B.B. is not Vol. 37, Nos. 1 & 2.  The next issue will be no. 2 for the year,
whether it comes out in March or December…and that depends upon you.  Put pen to paper now!

DEADLINE for next issue’s articles is Monday March
21st.  Write or ‘phone (Wedmore 712284)
or give me your offering when you see me in the Hunters.

GAPING GHYLL – INGLEBOROUGH: I suggested a couple of issues
ago that I might soon have a snippet about the G.G./Ingleboro’ System.  After yet another dive by Geoff Crossley and
Geoff Yeadon the two caves were finally linked, though only just.

A passage leads From Radergast’s Revenge, above the
Ingleborough sumps, to a boulder choke. In Gaping Ghyll, beyond the Clay Cavern Orifice and below the Spirla
Aven area, a small tube descends to a chamber ,in which the ceiling and three
of the walls are very loose boulders (The “Boy” dug there for a time when he was a member of ULSA,
while Jane Clake, “Bones” of the B.P.C. and I had another poke there last
Whitsun.  The G.G. chamber was proven, by
radio-location and an ultra accurate re-survey to lie very close to the choke
off Radagast’s.  On the connection trip a
party was present in the chamber. Initially only a visual connection was made, but, at another point,
through the boulders in the roof of the G.G. chamber, a foot/hand connection
was possible.

Due to the instability of the G.G. chamber, digging the
choke from this side has been rejected, and digging to make a through trip
feasible will take place from the Ingleborough end.

I wonder if the newspapers have remembered their promise,
made years ago, of £1,000 to people who manage to link the two caves.

SUBS:  Apologies from
Fi if you have paid your subscription for 1983 (if you’re reading this B.B. you
should have by now) but have not yet had a receipt.  The late issue of receipts is due to Tim
& Fi’s move a few doors up the road.

CAVE SCIENCE: B.C.R.A. TRANSACTIONS:  These are quite often rather deep, very
specialist papers, their subjects totally beyond the understanding of the
average caver and far outside his or her interests.  However, all of Vol. 9, No. 4, Dec. 1982,
should be essential reading for all active cavers.  Its title is “Techniques and
Equipment”.  You’ll find it in our
library.  Make good use of it.

AGEN ALLWEDD: Martyn Farr tells me that he has been along on
some of the Chelsea S.S. digging sessions in Trident Passage (off the end of
Main Passage) where a crawl now extends for over 1800 feet.  The new passage runs parallel to Southern
Stream Passage.  It appears to be the
upper fraction of a much larger passage. The infill starts as a fine grained deposit – typical Aggie Main Passage
stuff, but gradually becomes coarser throughout the length of the
extension.  Clearly the hope is that
finally the fill will be cobbles, and then there will be the river….

There is an enticing draught at the digging face, and the
very easy progress (tens of feet at a time) mean there is no shortage of
diggers, in spite of the arduous hour of flat out crawling required.

Some of the Rock and Fountain Caving Group climbed into
”new” passage above Turkey sump, only to find that C.S.S. had been there
before – a long ago unrecorded visit. However, there are good possibilities of extension.

C.S.S. have discovered that three times the volume of water
upstream of the 4th boulder choke flows downstream to the 5th choke.   3 – 1 = 2. Therefore there must be another big streamway, somewhere behind the 5th
choke, and a new dig is planned for the site.

Bob, Dany and J-Rat have returned to Mendip full of tales, and there has
already been a slide show in the back-room at the Hunters.  We await their full, written report with
eager anticipation.

thanks to Oliver Lloyd for a donation of £5 towards the Building Fund, and also
to John King and J.R.S. Roberts for donations of £20 towards the same
fund.  The fund is steadily growing.  What ideas have YOU had for raising more

are due to Dave Turner and one of his computers for the new, computerised
address list.  Dave has created a
suitable programme and we have just about completed the listing.  The system is easy to update and to alter,
and has just about done away with one of my biggest chores – writing address
labels.  Did you notice the label on your
last B.B.?

Hughes and Rob Harper have pushed a passage that bypasses Sump 23.  It may be that extensions to this passage
will be made in the future, giving a dry route all the way from 20 to 24.  Some avens remain to be climbed.

This news is rather brief. Trev hopes to be able to put together an article for us, but it seems
that C.D.G. have copyright on any writing about Wookey.  Funny, I thought there was no such thing as
copyright in caving circles.  Anyway,
Trev is trying to obtain permission from C.D.G. secretary.

PERU:  Jan Wilson has written something on her visit
South America, only it’s in the B.C.R.A.
bulletin.  How about something for the
B.B., Jane?

Still on that area, Sue Jordan is recently returned, and
dropped into the Belfry a while back.

takes place on several Tuesday evenings at the Belfry.  If you are available any Tuesday, give John a
‘phone call to check if it’s on, and go along to help make some ladder.

The tackle store is looking slightly healthier these days,
but if you still have B.E.C. tackle out, please return it a.s.a..p.  There are one or two other active members in
the Club!



The Belfry Improvements

by Tim Large

At the last AGM members asked for the latest information
regarding the improvements following publication in the BB prior to that
meeting of plans which had been put forward for Planning Permission
approval.  Over the last few years I have
attempted to keep members informed via the BB of the latest position.  To dispel any uncertainty I have set out in
the following lines the history of the developments,

At the 1979 AGM a members resolution by Roy Bennett and Dave
Irwin proposed the setting up of a Belfry Improvement Fund as it was felt the
Belfry needed bringing up to date.  This
was passed by the meeting. The Committee subsequently set about organising
various fund raising schemes and a Lottery Licence was obtained from Mendip
District Council.  The Hut Fees were
raised (Members from 30p – 50p Guests from 50p – £1) the extra increase being
devoted to the fund.  Also at the AGM the
subscription was raised from £5 to £8, in its calculation every aspect of the
clubs expenditure was analysed, it included £1 per member for the fund.  These amounts have been transferred to the
fund every year since.

At the 1980 AGM progress on the fund raising was detailed by
the Treasurer.  The Hut Engineer in his
report detailed the developments regarding the plans.  A planning meeting had been held on 16th May
1980 attended by 14 members.  At that
meeting various ideas were discussed along with sketch plans by individuals of
what would be desirable.  The meeting
recommended that an architect be consulted for the best advice and to draw up
suitable plans for submitting to the planning authorities. The report was
approved by the AGM.

During the following year discussions were held with John
Gwyther of Priddy a professional architect. Several ‘on site’ meetings took
place.  Nigel Taylor and myself also
visited Mendip District Council Planning Department in

to obtain the relevant forms and
to seek advice.  At the 1961 AGM the Hut
Engineer (Nigel Taylor) again updated members of the latest progress.  There was not much to show but the plans were
slowly being drawn up.

Final plans were submitted to the Committee on 6th August
1982.  These were approved and it was
decided to submit them for the relevant permission with Mendip District
Council.  At present these plans are still
being considered and several queries are still being ironed out.  The estimated cost of the project is £12,000
with work being done by builders.  It has
been necessary to work on builder’s costs as it is proposed to apply for grants
from the Sports Council etc.  Any grants
given will be based on such estimates.

Much thought went into the final plans the considerations

1.       The
Library is only a box room and does not give ideal storage for books.

2.       The
Kitchen facilities are not ideally sited in the main room.

3.       The
Showers and Chancing Room are not ideally sited or adequate.  Also there design should make for easy
maintenance and maximum hygiene.

4.       There
are no drying facilities. 

In the new proposals as publicised in the BB:-

  1. The
    Library is a room which can be used as a proper Library with space for
    tables and chairs, it will have adequate and proper storage space for
    books, maps etc.  Ventilation will
    be much improved providing for a better environment for the books etc.
  2. It
    was felt that a self contained kitchen would improve hygiene and release
    much space in the main room for lockers etc.
  3. The
    Showers and Changing Rooms both male and female will be better sited for
    ventilation and provide more room.  The main changing room will incorporate a dirty area entering the
    Belfry via the present women’s room external door.  Once caving kit has been removed members
    can go to a cleaner changing area which will include washbasins, toilet
    and showers.  A similar system will
    exist in the women’s changing area as can be seen on the plan.  Ventilation will be aided by extractor
    fans and floor to ceiling tiling and better drains are to be provided so
    that the area can be hosed down and kept to the necessary hygienic
  4. The
    provision of a drying room leading off the main changing area was decided
    to be of utmost importance.  Ventilation will be provided by an extractor fan ducted to the
    outside wall.  Heating could be
    provided by under floor electric elements linked to the off peak
    meter.  This system is used at the
    Bradford Pothole Club and works very well.
  5. The
    new female bunkroom will still only cater for 6.  The space on the plan is at present
    shown to be flexible, but once a suitable size has been decided on the
    room a stud wall partition will be erected and any space left will be used
    for storage for the time being.  The
    vacant space will give us room to expand should the need arise.  One possibility for the vacant space
    would be an extension to the Library.

So the overall intention of the proposals is to improve the
club’s facilities based on more or less the sane usage as at present.  But should usage increase at some time in the
future then we will have the space to expand into and facilities designed a
higher throughput of people.  Of great
importance is that the design incorporates features that ensure easy
maintenance and a higher degree of sanitation. Those few left at the end of the weekend can much more easily clear up
after everyone else’s mess!!!

For those of you interested a larger scale plan as presented
to the Mendip District Council is on display at The Belfry.


Large Pot

by Rachel Clarke

Large Pot is the ‘new’ N.P.C. find, situated in a shakehole
adjoining Little Pot.  Discovered in
March 1982 the two distinct series of the cave have bean explored to a boulder
collapse (Arcadia Series) and a perched sump (Red Herring Series).  The current N.P.C. journal gives a full,
detailed account of the cave and a grade 4/5 survey.

The entrance pitch is 25 feet followed by a 15 foot
free-climb to an awkward crawl (especially for tall people!) leading to the
head of a 40 foot pitch.  The take-off of
the pitch is tight, the belay – a wedge and chock stone in the rift.  The pitch widens out passing a bucket-shaped
ledge at 30 feet to the bottom of the rift. A short climb is followed by a 20 foot pitch (thread belay above pitch)
to Thornton Hall.  From the Hall, an
obvious bedding with a double slotted floor goes to Pit Junction, where the two
routes diverge.

To reach the 140 foot Colossus Pitch the left turn is made
at the junction into the old Arcadia Series. At the Junction the downstream passage is the start of the Red Herring
Series, the present drainage route.  We
followed the Red Herring Series to the superb 80 foot pitch (thread belay in
roof) which leads almost immediately to a 15 foot pitch (belay – spike on

At this point there is a choice of pitches – Flake Route
(100 feet) or the Main Passage to a 40 foot pitch (bolt and chock stone belay),
followed by a 23 foot free climb.  A small,
twisting streamway emerges in Flake Aven, where the two routes converge at the
head of a 23 foot pitch (flake belay). From the base of the pitch a grovelly crawl is compensated by good
formations and small false floors.  At
the end of the crawl the last ladder pitch (29 feet, thread belay) is followed
by two short climbs (18 feet and 12 feet) to a boulder chamber; a wet crawl
leads to the sump, which has been dived and is apparently 40 feet long, through
two small air-bells, ending in a silt blockage.

De-tackling and tackle-hauling offers great entertainment,
the entrance 40 foot pitch requiring military organisation and giving me a
chance to improve my aim and practise shouting “Below!”

An excellent cave that warrants a second trip to visit
Arcadia Series.


Letters to the editor.

Ref: Is Caving Hazardous to your Marriage?                5th January ’83:

Dear Sir,

The article sent by Colin Priddle from R.S.A. (Rotten
Statistical Articles?) is nonsense as it stands.   Perhaps there are chunks missing?

I’m sorry to see mathematics used in such a sloppy
fashion.  It does not do us credit.  The analysis as presented is not logical.

Starting by assuming that the stated divorce rate of 2.4
means one couple in 2.4 are divorced in South Africa the author appears to ask
the question ‘is his group of 9 with 5 divorces amongst them typical of the
population of South Africa or is it different?’ The ‘rate’ for the group as it stands is 1 in 9/5, or 1.8.

If another caver joined the group, they could be divorced or
not.  If not, the rate is 1 in 10/5, or

If divorced, the rate is 1 in 10/6, or 1.67

In other words, the group is so small that the addition of
one more member would drastically alter the conclusions.  Beware of using statistics on small numbers.

We are invited to participate in some research because it is
“important”.  I can see that
sampling a larger population would give more meaningful results if processed
properly but why is it important?  What
is important is that we should not be so egotistical that we neglect the
marriages we’ve got.  Let’s get
priorities right.  It is easier to cave
than to create a happy marriage.

Finally, I refuse to reveal the length of my marriage to Tim
Large.  He and I are just good friends.




Dear M Editor,

A recent incident in Rhino Rift highlights the need to
educate people – even Club members – in proper S.R.T. practices.  Prior to this event, which started an M.R.O.
call-out, Tim Large and I were asked how the cave should be rigged, since it is
fairly well known that Tim and I spent a lot of time putting in safe S.R.T.
belays which provide free hangs and even knot protection.  I spent some time explaining to one of the
errant Club members how to rig the pitches and what equipment to take for safe
conduct.  However, after all this, he
declared that our system was too complex and that he would do it his way!  We all know the result.  I must say that I find this cavalier attitude
rather disturbing and express my displeasure.

This event prompts me to fully write up the Tim and I did
for the benefit of all B.E.C. members indulging in S.R.T.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Romford.

Editor’s note: For the benefit of those who know nothing
about the Rhino Rift call-out, it occurred when two members were overdue from
the cave.  One had little S.R.T.
experience and had great difficulty ascending the second pitch.  This led to a delay well beyond their e.t.o.

It is Phil’s belief that the difficulties experienced were
essentially the result of poor rigging, indeed he believes that dangerous
practices were employed which could have caused a serious accident.

He has promised to submit an article explaining what he and
Tim have done to improve the rigging of ropes in Rhino Rift, and how we can
make best use of the system.


New Members.

We welcome the following new members to the B.E.C.:

1014     Chris Castle,
High Wycombe,

1015     Andrew Lolly, Kingsdown,


1016     Darren Granfield, Nailsea,


1017     Dr. Peter Glanville, Chard,


1018     Richard Palmer, Weston-Super-Mare,

1019     Lavinia Mary Smith, Wells,


1020     Robert John Bailey, Westbury-Sub-Mendip, Wells,


1021     Edric Wayland Hobbs , Hokerstone Cottage, Priddy, Wells,


Address changes.

Tim Large & Fi Lewis, Wells,
Somerset. BA5

Ross White:  Arbroath,


Tong and Liz Hollis, Shepton


Jerry Crick,

Dave Nicholls,


Brendan Brew,

Meets List, March To May.






Manor Farm

Friday Niters

B. Prewer






Giants/Oxlow ?

Derbyshire w/end, staying at Pegasus Hut.




Giants/Oxlow connection is thought to be sumped at present.







Peak Cavern








South Wales

Saturday trip with Friday Niters

B. Prewer






County Pot/Link Pot

Yorkshire w/end staying at
Bradford P.C. Hut, Brackenbottom

M. Grass


Simpson’s Pot

As above

M. Grass







Caving, Guinness, Walking, Guinness, Folk music, Guinness, Guinness,

M. Grass















Friday Niters.  Limited to
THREE.  Alternative is Longwood.

B. Prewer






Lionels Hole

Friday Niters.





B. Prewer



Visits to all major caves plus some diving





M. Grass







Friday Niters Mystery Tour (by the sound of it )

B. Prewer






Swildons – Black Hole

Friday Niters

B. Prewer







Yorkshire w/end, staying at
Bradford P.C. Hut

M. Grass


Roaring Hole








Pant Mawr

Camping at Crickhowell

M. Grass


Otter Hole




Agen Allwedd




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registered in England and Wales as a co-operative society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered no. 4934.