The Journal Of The
Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry,

Wells Road
, Priddy, Wells,


Editor: Robin Gray

It was good to see so many at the Mid-summer festivities
even it the weather was a little unkind. In fact it rained heavily all day but that failed to dampen the spirits
of the hairy band of Vikings who turned up to enjoy nights delights.

The chariot race started with a big bang and the chariots
thundered away in clouds of liquid mud. The winners were MNRC who fielded a very strong and practiced team and
got round in an incredible time to the surprise of all.  Next year it’s their turn to put on the
games.  Well done MNRC.

Even in the rain the Belfry grounds were filled with people
enjoying the excellent bar and waiting their turn to get at what must rate as
one of Mendips finest feeds.  The
organisation of this spectacular nosh-up was superb and all those involved are
to be congratulated.

At about 10.30 the rain stopped for enough time to enable
the firing of a short but lively firework display with some notable shells.

After the fireworks some fine singing of all the best songs
was enjoyed until late in the Belfry Lounge.

Further celebrations are to follow soon including the club
trip to


and the Dinner, details of which can be found in this News Letter.

This is my last BB before the AGM so to those of you who
have sent in articles many thanks.




by Tim Large

Annual General Meeting Notice: The Annual General
Meeting of The Bristol Exploration Club will be held at The Belfry on Saturday
5th October 1985 beginning at 10.30am prompt. A quorum of 30 members is required. Please make an effort to attend and become involved with the club’s
organisation.  Only paid up members may
attend and vote.

Member’s Resolutions: These can be submitted by paid up members, each resolution needing a
proposer and seconder.  The contents of
these can be any proposals for a change in club policy, rules or requests for
committee action on behalf of the membership for its greater benefit.  Resolutions should be handed to the AGM Chairman.

Constitutional Resolutions:  These are proposals which need a proposer and
seconder to amend the club constitution in some way.  These must be submitted to the Secretary in
writing as early as possible as they can only be heard at an Annual General Meeting
if they have been published in the BB at least one month before hand.

Committee Elections: Nominations are requested for election to the 1985/6 Committee.  They must be seconded by a full paid up
member of the club.  Only full members
are entitled to stand for committee. Full members are those people who have completed their year’s
probationary membership and have been ratified by the committee.  Nomination should be sent to the Secretary
not later than Saturday 7th September 1985. They must be in writing and signed
by a seconder.

Annual Dinner: As previously stated this will be held at The Cheese Pavilion Restaurant
on The Bath & West Show Ground, Near Shepton Mallet on Saturday 5th October
1985 7pm for 1.30pm

The Belfry. There is still much finishing off work to be done by way of painting,
fixtures and fittings. Volunteers are needed from you the members.  We have no more money to pay outside
contractors to do the work.  It would be
a pity to ruin a good job for the sake of a lick of paint.  Please contact Dany Bradshaw, Chris Batstone
or Tim Large if you can offer any help.

St Cuthbert’s: Pumping operations have been in progress at Sump 2 with the aid of a
compressed air water pump.  This was fed
by fire hose kindly lent by Somerset Fire Brigade from a surface based road
works compressor.  Much progress has been
made into the sump – the end now being 60 feet from normal sump level and 21
feet below it.  Conditions are somewhat
muddy.  Unfortunately the passage is
still descending.

Eastwater –
West End
  Since earlier this year when
The Blackwall Tunnel was pushed and 1,000 feet of passage found which was
called The Jubilee Line, not much else of note has been found.  Attempts to climb the aven in the new
extensions were hampered by rapid and extensive flooding of the tube at the
beginning of The Blackwall Tunnel.  This
appears to be caused by mud blocking a small passage down which the stream
drains.  It took the party trapped on the
other side a couple of hours to bail themselves out.

Definitely a site for dry weather and the drain hole
blockage needs dealing with!!

Halloween Rift: Trev Hughes is still making good
progress here and is always looking for volunteers.  At present he is trying to get into Wookey
before the American divers arrive to attempt the deep Sump 25 again.

Blackmoor Flood Swallet:  Otherwise known as Upper Flood Swallet.  The many years digging here by the MCG has at
last yielded them some reward.  They have
broken into about 600 feet of stream passage with good formations.  Prospects look good for further discoveries
heading towards Cheddar.

Hut Improvement Appeal

About 2 months ago this appeal started in earnest.  We are looking for £3,500 from paid-up and
life members.   Well, the good news is
that to date we have received donations of £525.   The bad news is (or it could be good
depending on your view) that this sum has been donated by just 16 members and
none has been from fund raising activities. Where are all of you out there in your pedalos?  Came in the other 160 of you and let us see
your money!   Our thanks for the 16
generous donations so far!



Exploration Club  50th Year Dinner


The Cheese Pavilion,

West Show Ground Shepton Mallet.







with CREAM




Tickets from Brian Workman, Oakhill,


Please send money with order for tickets stating your,
choice of main course, beet or duck.



Bristol Exploration Club Annual General Meeting Agenda

To be held at The Belfry on Saturday 5th October 1985 at
10.30am prompt

1.         Election
of Chairman

2.         Collection
of outstanding ballot papers

3.         Election
of three tellers

4.         Apologies
of absence

5.         Collection
of members resolutions

6.         Minutes
of 1984 Annual General Meeting

7.         Matters
arising from 1984 Minutes

8.         Hon.
Secretary’s Report

9.         Hon.
Treasurer’s Report

10.        Hon.
Auditor’s Report

11.        Caving
Secretary’s Report

12.        Hut
Warden’s Report

13.        Tacklemaster’s

14.        B.B.
Editor’s Report

15.        Hut
Engineer’s Report

16.        Librarian’s

17.        Ian
Dear Memorial Fund Report

18.        Result
of ballot for Committee

19.        Election
of Committee Posts

20.        Any
Other Business

Minutes of the Bristol Exploration Club Annual General
Meeting held at the Belfry on Saturday 6th October 1984 at 11.05am

Present: Tim Large, Alan Thomas, Graham Wilton-Jones,
Chris Smart, Tony Jarratt, Brian Workman, Matt Tuck, Greg Villas, Chris
Batstone, Bob Hill, Andy Lolley, Keith Gladman, Robin Gray, Alan Downton, Axel
Knuston, John Watson, John Turner, Chris Castle, Bob Cork, Brian Prewer, Dany
Bradshaw, Stuart McManus, Robin Hervin, Nick Holstead, Jeremy Henley, Phil
Romford, Roger Sabido, Joan Bennett, Ian Caldwell, Dave Irwin, Glen Grass,
Martin Grass, Nigel Taylor, Trevor Hughes, John Dukes, one other.

Apologies: Oliver Lloyd, Pete & Joyce Franklin,
Fiona Lewis, Rich Stevenson, Jerry Crick, Gill Turner, John & Sue Riley,
Lavinia Watson, Nicola Slann, Roy Bennett, John Chew, Dave Turner, Miles
Barrington, John Theed, Dave Pike, Lisa Taylor.

The meeting was convened at 11.05am with 36 people
present.  Nominations were requested for
a Chairman two nominations were received Jeremy Henley and Phil Romford.  A vote was taken Jeremy Henley 10 and Phil
Romford 15.   Phil was therefore elected
to the chair.

Members Resolutions: None

Minutes of 1983 Annual General Meeting:  Proposed by John Turner and seconded by
Jeremy Henley they be accepted and t’1ken as read. Carried.

Matters Arising From 1983 AGM:  The shower meters are ready for
installation.  After investigation the
telephone charges cannot be reduced.

Hon. Secretary’s Report:  Read to the meeting.  GWJ queried the claim for lost tackle.  TEL explained the circumstances.  Proposed by
S. McManus
and Seconded by Dany Bradshaw the report be adopted.  Carried.

Hon. Treasurer’s Report:  As circulated at the meeting by Jeremy

Hon. Auditor’s Report:  As circulated at the meeting by Joan
Bennett.  Neither had anything further to
add.  Nigel Taylor asked what
investigations had been made into the thefts from the Belfry.  Jeremy Henley explained that theta was no
sign of the culprit or the money.  It was
agreed to keep an eye on the situation. Proposed by Jeremy Henley and seconded by Stu McManus that a locked ammo
can be bolted to the Library wall for depositing Hut Fees.  Motion carried.  Chris Smart asked about the Navy usage of the
Belfry.  Tim Large explained they were
just starting to return.  Proposed by
Nigel Taylor seconded by Ian Caldwell that the Belfry Rates and Insurance be
split 50/50 between subscriptions and Belfry income.  Carried. Brian Prewer proposed a vote of thanks to Jeremy and Joan for a fine set
of accounts.  The meeting agreed.

Caving Secretary’s Report:  Stuart McManus read this to the meeting.  Martin Grass expressed concern about a lack
of Cuthbert’s leaders.  Mac said that we
did have several but dates do tend to clash. Joan Bennett supported the caving secretary’s want for more expenditure
on caving projects and equipment.  Chris
Batstone suggested that members may not be aware money is available for club
digs and projects.  Nigel Taylor suggested
a special fund for digs but Jeremy pointed out that it was impractical to have
a separate fund or an upper limit. Proposed by Nigel Taylor seconded by Greg Villas that the report be
accepted. Carried.

Hut Warden’s Report: Jeremy Henley said that most of the points had been made in the Hon.
Secretary’s Report.  Only £3 was
outstanding in Hut Fees at present.  The
Duty Hut Warden system had worked but a full time warden was needed.  Chris Batstone said that in his opinion the
system does not work as many wardens don’t stay at The Belfry.  Nigel Taylor suggested that you will get less
volunteers if you expect them to stay at the Belfry.  Chris Batstone volunteered to be Hut Warden
the meeting accepted this.  Nigel Taylor
said that a book should be kept at the Belfry with booking in it.  Proposed by Nigel Taylor seconded by Keith
Gladman that the report be accepted. Carried.

Tacklemaster’s Report:  Bob Cork read this to the meeting.  Stu McManus proposed a vote of thanks to Bob
for sorting out the tackle problem. Martin Grass suggested the better marking of lifelines.  Keith Gladman said that he was pleased the
new tackle system was working successfully. Chris Smart expressed concern over our liability on ladders acquired by
ourselves over the years and not of our own manufacture.  Bob explained that it was the same as on our
own ladders.  Tony Jarratt asked about
supplying each lifeline in a tackle bag, Bob said that the club did have a need
for more tackle bags.  The matter was
left to the Committee.  Proposed by Chris
Batstone seconded by Robin Gray that the report be adopted.  Carried.

Hut Engineer’s Report:   Dany Bradshaw read this to the meeting.  GWJ suggested paying more subs and having
outside contractors do the work.  Bob
Hill asked how many people would be prepared to pay extra for outside
contractors to work on Belfry maintenance. Joan Bennett said the Hut Fund could be used for

Belfry maintenance once the improvements had been carried
out.  Tony Jarratt said that to increase
subscriptions drastically might put off new young members from joining.  Martin Grass said that there had been a
change in people’s circumstances with members either living locally or off
Mendip and not staying at the Belfry so regularly.  The Chairman took a vote on the use of
outside contractors FOR 18 AGAINST 4. Proposed by Dany Bradshaw seconded by Tony Jarratt that outside
contractors be bought in as necessary for Belfry maintenance.  FOR 25 AGAINST 3.  It was proposed by Stu McManus and seconded
by Bob Hill that the report be adopted. Carried.

BB Editor’s Report: As published in the BB.  Comments
were made re lack of a BB.  Robin Gray
said that this was due to lack of material. Tony Jarratt thought that we should keep the standard A4 format.  Chairman took a vote on continuing BB as it
is.  Vote carried.  Proposed by Tony Jarratt seconded by Bob Hill
that the report be adopted.  Carried.

Hon. Librarians Report:  Tony Jarratt read this to the meeting.  Stu Mc Manus proposed a vote of thanks for
Tony’s work.  Jeremy Henley proposed,
seconded by Stu McManus that the report be adopted.  Carried.

Ian Dear Memorial Fund:  Stu McManus read this to the meeting.  There had been one application from Matt Tuck
for an expedition to

.  Report is to appear in the BB soon.  Committee considered keeping fund as it
always has been and perhaps adding to it in the future.  Proposed by Greg Villas and seconded by Chris
Batsone that the report be adopted. Carried.

Election of Officers: Proposed by Dave Turner, seconded by Greg Villas that last years
Committee be re-elected with the inclusion of Chris Batstone as Hut Warden.

Jubilee Celebrations: Tim Large outlined the proposals for the Summer Bar-be-cue, Special
Dinner, Berger Expedition, Firework Party, Souvenirs, Winter Social,
Publications.  John Turner suggested that
a sub-committee organise these celebrations. The Chairman asked for volunteers – Tony Jarratt, Robin Gray, Nick
Holstead.  Tony outlined plans for St
Cuthbert’s Report.  The meeting agreed
with the proposals.

Any Other Business:

It was proposed by Tony Jarratt and seconded by Dave Turner
that a vote of thanks be given to Tim Large for all his efforts on behalf of
the club.

Belfry Improvements: Phil Romford outlined the situation so far.  Plans & costings were circulated around
the meeting.  Proposed by John Turner
seconded by Alan Downton that the plans be accepted.  FOR 26 AGAINST 1 ABST 3.  The use of outside contractors was discussed
but it was agreed to leave this to the discretion of the Committee.  Joan Bennett pointed out the need to keep an
eye on the financial side of this project. Proposed by Jeremy Henley, seconded by Tony Jarratt that the
improvements be complete by the end of May 1985.  Carried. Stu McManus proposed a vote of thanks to all those who had worked on the
project. T he meeting agreed.

There being no other business the meeting was closed at


Bluebell Quarry Climbs

Dear B.E.C., Happy Golden Jubilee!   Love, Kangy

My present is a collection of short climbs representing some
exploration which Pete Johnson, Jonathan King and I completed this year.

The climbs are set in a beautiful beech wood with bluebells
by a river.  Locally it is called the
Bluebell Wood and it is on the River Frome at Bury Hill, Winterbourne Down,

and by association
Bluebell Quarry gets its name.  There are
other quarries in the area but this is the best.

The climbs are all about thirty feet long and we have named
them from the left and facing the cliff:-

Foxglove Traverse          4c

Foxglove Crack 4a

Bobby’s Climb               5a

Drainpipe Corner            3a

Caroline’s Slab               5b

Golden Bluebell             5c

Protection is scarce and the rock is still loose, though not
as loose as it was.  The grading assumes
a top rope, without one Golden Bluebell might be E2 for example.

The story started twenty years ago when I used to take
Jonathan for little boy walks along the Frome and poked around the quarries
there.  (Reference, “Some Sandstone
Climbs in the

B.E.C. 1966).  We are spoilt for climbing
around Bristol and the nature of the rock failed to appeal to my friends though
some of the climbs done then are challenging and well worth while exploiting in
wet weather, winter or way home from work. And its only ten minutes from my home!

The unusual sharp edged incut corner overhang caught my eye
and at the time I included it in some film I made.  I imagined how it might be climbed and never
quite forgot so I was pleased when Pete in a weak moment was kind enough to
come to see.

We cleaned out foxgloves to make Foxglove Crack and enjoyed
it.  Later when we were showing Jonathan
the quarry he invented Foxglove Traverse and I took a flier when the only
proper handhold came away.  The foxgloves
remain in place.  Pete and I dug our way
up the Drainpipe one wet wintery day and it is probably much easier now.  It is surprising how steep and strenuous the
cliff is and while Jonathan reckons the Drainpipe to be 3a, it is an arm
wrecker.  Suitably encouraged by the
potential of the climbing we devoted several visits to cleaning up some of the
lines.  We abseiled to clear ivy until
Pete was satisfied and did Bobby’s Climb. This starts immediately below the overhang on the left hand wall, pulls
over on a good hold which I had to work hard to reach and then follows a crack
line steeply to the top.  More work
concentrated on improving the finish on the right hand wall by shovelling
topsoil, dangling in a harness, from the nice sharp edge of the top
ledges.  We paid special attention to the
blank bit above the distinguished overhang. It remained blank.  As a reward
for our labours we had a go and retired tired.

The team reassembled for an all out attempt on the corner
and in turn we inched higher and higher cleaning, trying combinations, dropping
off through shear fatigue until the climb to the overhang had been worked
out.  Pete had dug out a pebble filled
crack which gave a vital finger hold and enabled us to lean back and by bracing
the feet try for holds on the face above. The strenuous exercise shattered our arms and we had to leave it.  Two possible solutions, one involving an
impossibly high handhold up to the left on the face and the other involving a
too low crack around the corner were slept on.

Last Christmas holiday Jonathan felt like having another go
and discovered a vital combination which enabled him to brace out on highish
footholds to reach for a niche on the edge with his left hand – before shouting
“aaaaarrrrgh” or whatever Tarzan said to Jane.  Before his arms went completely he tried
another line to the left and completed Caroline’s Slab in the middle of the
wall.  Well, truth to tell it is not so
much a slab as a bulging off balance wall and again it is fingery and
strenuous.  His pitiable cries of “Have
you got me” from the last few feet at the limit of his rapidly diminished strength
nearly caused me to weaken but I remained composed and kept the rope slack so
that he climbed it.

Really wound up about The Last Great Problem I went back for
another go but you have to be built like a hairy gorilla to cope with the
overhang.  It was completely unsuitable
for my more refined techniques because I like to be pulled up things like that.

And there it rested for months.

Spontaneously, Jonathan now very match fit and home for the
weekend said “Let’s go and do it.”

He got into shorts and chalk while I set up a top rope.  It started to rain.  He seemed to be obsessively fussy about
keeping his far out sticky boots dry and he immediately laid back on tiny holds
merely to avoid the straight forward muddy alternative.  Quickly up to the overhang, he adjusted his
feet and reached over for the upper notch on the edge and in the same moment
rejoined me back on the ground.  He got
out his climbing helmet while I stuffed the erstwhile handhold into my pocket as
a souvenir.  “Did you see
that,” he said indignantly, “It hit my head but didn’t hurt because we
were falling at the same rate!” Back into position, slightly more easily because the hold was now a
little lower and cleaner, he could pause to consider the next move.  This was dynamically to move his right hand,
from the vertical crack around the corner and pull up with his left, to the new
edge hold.  The function of the right
hand was to keep his feet braced against the back wall, releasing it to go for the
next hold lead to a spectacular sequence of events.  The forces now acting became exclusively
vertical and without horizontal equilibrium his feet came off and flailed in
the air.  The load coming abruptly onto
that key hold displaced it – and Jonathan and I were face to face once
more.  He seemed agitated.  Said I’d given him the impression that we’d
cleaned the climb.  I said, “Don’t
forget frost shattering.”  He said,
“Hold that bloody rope,” and shot back up to the place where his legs
flailed in the air once again.  It was
obviously hard.  Both holds were improved
but it needed strength to pull up enough

to get his now slightly damp sticky boots out of space and
onto rock.  He pulled up, locked off his
arms and twisted to place his right boot at waist level on the lowest of the
edge notches.  Several heave-ho’s and an
elated Jonathan was able to rest and shout down to me to tell me all about
it.  Relatively easily from then on,
though nicely positioned, the climb continues up a corner and it was cracked.

The final climb in the Golden Jubilee Collection was named
Golden Bluebell.

© 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.