Exploration Club, The Belfry,

, Priddy, Nr Wells,

Editor: D.P.Turner

As no one else was very forthcoming when Robin resigned as
editor at the AGM it seemed a good idea at the time for me to try out my new
word processing program on my computer – so it looks as if you will have to put
up with me as editor for a while.  I’ve
never been very prolific with caving articles and I hope that I do not have to
start now.  What I am good at is
pestering people and so all of you who promised me articles – beware!!  As all editors will tell you, this is your
journal and it’s up to you to let me know what’s been happening.  I don’t mind how you give me material,
handwritten will do if you can’t type, even on toilet paper (clean only if you
please!). I  apologise for the quality of
the print of this BB, next month I hope to have a better printer on my

I was sorry to hear of the death recently of Oliver Lloyd, a
life member of the BEC for many years. Oliver had considerable influence in the caving scene, particularly cave
diving which he ran almost as a benevolent dictator for many years, and I am
pleased that we have managed to persuade Mike Jeanmaire (Fish) to write an
obituary for the B.B.  I started my
caving at the time Oliver was pushing Vicarage Pot in Swildons and can still
remember the way he led the trips with authority and thoughtfulness.

Club Committee 1985-86

Hon. Sec.                                  Bob


Hon. Treasurer                           Mark
Caving Sec.                               Jeremy
Hut Warden                               Tony
Hut Engineer                             Dany
B.B. Editor                                Dave
Tackle Master                            Steve
Membership Sec.                       Brian
Asst. Hut Warden                      Tim

Committee members                  Phil


Further Belfry Improvements

There are still a lot of jobs still to be done on the Belfry
and everyone is urged to lend a hand – if only for a couple of hours or
so.  A selection of jobs to be done –
only a few of the many – are as follows:-

Main Hut

1.                  Paint inside walls to toilet in entrance hall

2.                  Fix hat and coat hooks to Changing Rooms

3.                  Paint rest of Changing Rooms

4.                  Lock to Changing Room External door

5.                  Clean out and fix hanging rail to Drying Room

6.                  Repair lock to loft

7.                  Internal painting to Bunk Rooms and Entrance


1.                  Ridge tiles to Carbide Store  (to please the Fire Inspectors)

2.                  Vent holes to Carbide Store (to please the Fire

3.                  Fix frame and door to External Shed

4.                  Cut grass

5.                  Clean up Belfry site

Contact Dany before starting jobs as he will then provide
all necessary materials.

If none of the above jobs take your fancy then I’m sure Dany
will find you something else to do.




Sec’s Change

by Bob Cork

As you are probably aware Tim Large has resigned the
secretary ship as from the A.G.M.  As his
successor I have a high standard to upkeep if I am to do the job half as well.

Tim has served the club as secretary for a period of 8 years
since 1977, in which time he has not only carried out the day to day running of
the club, but has also been a major contributor to all the club’s
projects.  Two of the more recent ones
that come to mind being the Belfry improvements and the 50th Anniversary trip
to the Gouffre Berger.

In recognition of his services to the club it was proposed
by the committee and ratified by the A.G.M. that he be made a honorary member
of the club.

I have recently received a circular from that most wondrous
of organisations – the ‘National Caving Association’.  It is basically a census of cavers and caving
clubs, the information from which will be used to support Sport’s Council
grants etc.

The first part of the form concerns itself with the usual
rank, name, and serial number type questions relating to the club.  The second part is more difficult to answer,
it manifests itself in the form of a table down one side of which are a list of
age groups, under 18’5, 18-21, over 50’s etc. This poses no problem if all our members have been truthful about their
age.  I mean everybody knows Alan Thomas
is under 40 and J’Rat is 102 or would profess to be.  The next four columns adjacent to the ages
refer to “grades” of cavers. They are headed “Grade 1” (hard caver), “Grade 2”
(fairly active caver), “Grade 3” (occasional caver) and last but not
least “Grade 4” (armchair caver). We have been asked to list numbers of our members who fall into each
category, i.e. the number of armchair cavers we have who are under 18.  This as you can imagine is a delicate and
awkward task.  I would appreciate it if
the more modest of you would put pen to paper and send in to the B.B. editor what
you think your personal grading should be and the reasons why.  Also if you have a grading in mind for
another member, let me know.

Dr. Oliver Lloyd

On a more serious note, it is with great regret that we hear
of the death of Dr. Oliver Cromwell Lloyd, a member of this club for many
years.  He was respected throughout the
caving community for the “true” character that he was and will be
remembered by all of us for his contributions to the caving world.

Berger 85

The club’s 50th anniversary expedition to the Gouffre Berger
this summer proved a great success as all who came along will testify.  The cave soon realised it had met its

and allowed 28
of the team to bottom it.  A full account
of the trip 3 will hopefully be published in a future issue.  [Only if some one sends me one!! – ed.]

Business and Pleasure

Stu McManus, who is the effluent side of his new company
“Water and Effluent Treatment Services” or W.E.T.S. for short, has
recently returned from his first overseas project in
Borneo. Whilst there he managed to take time out between work and running away
from snakes, to visit the ”

National Park
” and
its caves.  We hope to see an article and
slide show from him in the future.

50th Anniversary Dinner

Alan Thomas has written an account of what must be one of
the most enjoyable and historic club dinners most of us have been to.  The quality of the after dinner speeches was
excellent and Alfie’s splendid men who “drink like ten” surpassed
themselves in the performance of “Oliver”.

Another Golden Jubilee

The 6th October saw our 50th celebrations attended by many
names from the past.  Most of whom had
also spent the previous night in the third chamber of Wookey Hole celebrating
the 50th anniversary of the first cave dive. The evening was organised by Jim Hanwell and all who had had an
association with the cave were welcome. A demonstration of the sump rescue apparatus was given by Bob Drake and
Geoff Price followed by much reminiscing between C.D.G. members, past and

Belfry Brew

This high gravity specially labelled beer may be now
obtained from the Hunters or the Belfry at 90p per bottle or £1 if you are
generous.  There is a limited number so
it is wise to purchase early.


Members will be pleased to know that the Barengasse
Windschacht, a BEC find, was bottomed this summer at a depth of 640m, where it
terminated a tight sump, by a team from the in Northern Cave Club.


AGM Minutes

Minutes of the Annual general meeting of the Bristol
Exploration Club held at the Belfry on Saturday, 5th October 1985

The meeting was convened by the Hon. Sec. Tim Large, there
being sufficient quorum present at 10.40am.


Tim Large, Joan Bennett, Bob Cork, Dany Bradshaw, John
Dukes, Paul Hodgson, Ian Caldwell, Axel Knutson, Dave Pike, Andrew Middleton,
Richard Payne, Alan Turner, Dave Turner, Jeremy Henley, Brian Workman, Kangy
King, Chris Batstone, Steve Milner, Mark Lumley, Tony Jarratt, Keith Gladman,
John Turner, Andy Lovell, Georgina Ainsley, Tim Gould, Frank Darbon, Laurence
Smith, John Watson, Greg Villis, Pete (Snablet) Macnab, Brian Prewer, Stu
McManus, Pete (Snab) Macnab, Chris Smart, Bob Hill, Martin Grass, Glenys Grass,
Robin Gray and Chris Castle.

Apologies:- Pete Franklin, Richard Clarke, Edric
Hobbs, Mike Wigglesworth, Dave Irwin, Rob Harper, Lavinia Watson, Fiona Lewis
and Phil Romford.

Nominations were requested for a chairman Stuart McManus and
Kangy King were nominated.  A vote was
taken which Kangy won by a large majority.

Minutes of 1984 A.G.M.  There had previously been published ‘in the
B.B. They were taken as read and accepted by the meeting unanimously.

Matters Arising. Tim Large pointed out that these would be dealt with elsewhere during
the course of the meeting.

Hon. Sec’s Report. Tim Large read his report to the meeting.  No questions were forthcoming.  Proposed Chris Batstone, seconded Stuart
McManus that the report be accepted. Carried unanimously.  A vote of
thanks for Tim’s work for the club was proposed by Stuart McManus, seconded
Chris Batstone – carried.

Hon. Treasurer’s Report.  Jeremy Henley produced the financial accounts
which were distributed at the meeting. He highlighted the need to raise as much money as possible to reduce the
overdraft taken out to cover the costs of the Belfry improvements.  At present this stands at £2750.  Proposed Dave Turner, seconded Stuart McManus
that the report be accepted – carried.  A
vote of thanks was expressed at the meeting.

Hon. Auditor’s Report.  Joan Bennett had examined the accounts and
found that they represented a fair and reasonable record of the club’s
financial position.  The report was
accepted by the meeting and a vote of thanks given.

Caving Secretary’s Report.  Stuart McManus read his report to the
meeting.  Proposed John Turner, seconded
Martin Grass that the report be accepted. Carried and a vote of thanks given.

Hut Warden’s Report. Chris Batstone read his report. Stuart McManus highlighted the need for a full time hut warden for the
smooth running of the Belfry.  Proposed
Dany Bradshaw, seconded Paul Hodgson that the report be accepted.  Carried and a vote of thanks given.

Tackle Mater’s report.  Bob Cork said that last year we had 26
ladders.  We still have 26 ladders – but
not necessarily the same ladders!  Some
appear to have been swapped for ones of other manufacture.  There are several lifelines and two tackle
bags missing.   Some tackle is still in
Eastwater Westend series.  Abuse of
spreaders and tethers still continues. He considered that the system started last year whereby the tackle is
more freely available to member is working reasonable well.  The only expenditure this year has been the
purchase of tackle bags.  New lifelines
will be needed soon.  Proposed Dany
Bradshaw, seconded Tony Jarratt that the report be accepted.  Carried and a vote of thanks given.

Editor’s Report. Robin Gray read his report to the meeting.  He highlighted the problem of the shortage of
articles without which the B.B. could not be produced.  Joan Bennett said that she was disappointed
by not seeing an obituary to Oliver Lloyd. Tony Jarratt agreed to ask Mike Jeanmaire to write one.  Proposed Stuart McManus, seconded Dany
Bradshaw that the report be accepted. Carried and a vote of thanks given.

Hut Engineer’s Report.  Dany Bradshaw said that work on the Belfry
went well with much effort being put in by members to save expenditure wherever
possible.  There is much finishing work
off work to do, which members will have to do as no funds are available to pay
contractors anymore.  Some work includes
outstanding maintenance items.  Stuart
McManus pointed out that Dany did much work on the Belfry in his own time
without charge.  Also that we have thank
John Dukes for the electrical wiring work. A vote of thanks was given to both. Proposed Keith Gladman, seconded Chris Batstone that the report be
accepted – carried by meeting.

Librarian’s Report. Tony Jarratt read his report to the meeting.  Proposed Paul Hodgson, seconded Chris Smart
that the report be accepted – carried.

Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  Stuart McManus explained the purpose of the
fund – being to provide grants to younger members, or these not in full time
employment, to enable them to travel and go on foreign expeditions.  This account is kept separate from all other
finances.  This year only one grant was
given of £60 to Lisa Taylor who went on the Gouffre Berger trip.  Proposed Dave Turner, seconded Brian Workman
that the report be accepted – carried.

Election of Officers

Treasurer :                     Jeremy Henley
Hon. Sec.:                     Bob Cork
Hut Engineer:    Dany Bradshaw

Ordinary committee members: Brian
Workman, Phil Romford.

These were the only persons standing from last year’s
committee.  As no nominations were
received the following co-options were made at the meeting.

Caving Sec.:                  Mark Lumley
Hut Warden:                  Tony Jarratt
B.B. Editor:                   Dave
Ordinary members:        Tim Gould, Ian

Proposed Bob Cork, seconded Dany Bradshaw that the A.G.M.
instructs the new committee to examine the constitution with regards to the
methods of election of the officers and committee of the club.  Passed unanimously.

Any Other Business

1.                  Proposed Bob Cork, seconded Stuart McManus that
Tim Large be made an Honorary Life Member of the club in recognition of his
work far the club.  Carried unanimously.

2.                  Jeremy Henley asked the meeting to consider
raising the subscription, although it was not necessary for running the club at
present.  It has been several years since
it was last raised and we do have an overdraft. Better to raise it often and in small amounts rather than wait for a
large rise when it is unavoidable. Proposed Brian Prewer, seconded Ian Caldwell that the annual membership
subscription be increased to £12.  A vote
was taken.  For 27, Against 7,
abstentions 2.

3.                  John Dukes advised the meeting of our need for
some new night storage heaters. Donations welcome.

4.                  Brian Prewer proposed, Paul Hodgson seconded, a
vote of thanks to all those who helped organise the club’s Gouffre Berger
expedition – carried.

There being no other business the chairman closed the
meeting at 1.27pm.


Hon. Sec’s Report.

Club Officers’ Reports – October 1985.

During our Jubilee Year much has been accomplished.  Our membership has risen from 163 to 191 with
many past members rejoining.  At present
that total includes 50 life members and 34 joint memberships.

The main achievement this year has been the completion of
the Belfry improvements, on schedule, as directed by the AGM last year.  The cost of this work has exceeded our
original estimations.  The committee was
put in the position of accepting the go-ahead to do the work without a firm
quotation.  Several builders were
approached but all said that by the nature of the work it was difficult to give
a quote.  In the end it was decided to
give the work to Bradshaw and Baker of Priddy. As work progressed, problems were encountered which could not have been
foreseen.  These incurred extra costs.  Wherever possible costs were minimised by
doing jobs ourselves and obtaining several items very cheaply or for
nothing.  Once it was realised that the
costs were going to exceed the funds we had available then a decision had to be
made.  Whether to stop at our financial
limit or consider further funding for the project.  It was therefore decided to approach our
bankers for overdraft facilities.  This
we have taken advantage of although not up to the limit allowed.  The committee then circulated the membership
for substantial donations which have helped to reduce the overdraft.  Other income has been found from profit made
at the Jubilee Barbecue, Souvenir Beer and various fund raising activities.  I will leave the Treasurer to advice you of
the exact financial position to date. Although the structure of the improvement is complete there are still
many jobs to be done to put the finishing touches to the Belfry.  Also it is necessary to consider the
installation of an automated central heating system to maintain the fabric of
the property and provide an acceptable environment for the Belfry in keeping
with the other improvements.  For this
winter our existing storage heaters will be installed but only as a stop gap
measure.   There will be no heating in
the changing and drying areas.  I hope
this illustrates to everyone that besides having no money to make expensive
purchases at present, we also need the assistance of members to complete the
finishing touches.

During the year the Belfry insurance was increased to cover
its improved value and our Public Liability Insurance was changed to the BRCA

Negotiations regarding the Mineries land and around St
Cuthbert’s are still in hand, if somewhat slowly.  Any delay is purely as a result of the
landowners.  Perhaps this is a blessing
in disguise as should they have come up with an offer to purchase or lease the
land, we would not have been able to find sufficient funds.

As those of you that attended know, “the Jubilee
Celebrations” have gone well, despite the weather with our Barbecue and the
Berger trip being successful.

Unfortunately, one action from last year’s AGM has not. been
possible to carry out.  This is the
Cuthbert’s publication.  Two reasons
account for this – (1) lack of money – (2) the heavy workload on the committee
and others.  Perhaps further thought
should be given to the project at this meeting.

This year there are three resignations from the committee,
these being myself, Stuart McManus and Chris Batstone.  Despite being circulated no nominations were
received by the closing date.  Therefore,
as has been the trend for too many years now, there will be no committee
elections and co-options will be necessary to make the committee up to its
usual number of 9.

The final Jubilee event – our Dinner takes place tonight
when I hope everyone has an enjoyable evening.

Tim Large


Hon. Treasurer’s Report.

By far the most important event has been the modification to
the Belfry.  During the year this cost
£9,892 and a further £840 was owed at the end of the year for work done.  This changed our fortunes from being in
credit to the tune of £6,090.21 at the end of last year to owing £1,633.82
(plus £840) at the end of the year. However, our income (including donations and fund raising) exceeded our
revenue expenditure by over £2,000 in the year. The club should make every attempt to payoff its overdraft, which is
likely to peak at about £2,750 before the next A.8.M.

So far only 19 people have responded to the appeal fund and
they have contributed £630.  The message
is quite clear.  Donations are needed.

Remember we have to pay interest on the overdraft which will
cost somewhere near £400 a year at the present level.

Meanwhile there are other fund raising activities on-going
which must help the club, not only to payoff its overdraft, but to move back
into surplus so that normal operations can continue without borrowing from the

Ensure you buy all the bottles of Belfry Brew and sell all
the Balloon Flight Raffle tickets.

We should thank John Dukes for the electrical work that he
has done on the hut free of charge; a major donation!  And Dany Bradshaw who did not charge for work
done in overtime.

Jeremy Henley


Caving Secretary’s Report

Well, this our 50th anniversary has certainly brought a busy
year for caving in the BEC.

Digging has continued throughout the year in Westend in
Eastwater but not without mishap with diggers getting trapped the other side of
the duck.  It looks like further work
will have to wait until next year – don’t forget the 50p tackle fee (we’ll all
get pissed).

Some of our younger members, Snablet and Tom Chapman have
discovered quite a lot of passage in Swildons and promising digs continuing
there.  Good luck to them – as usual
caving activity has been going on amongst individuals of the club.

The two major works have been digging/pumping in St
Cuthbert’s with over 100 cavers spending >1,000 hours in attempting to pass
the sump, as you are aware we did not succeed, but there again; caves are where
you hid them!  But it did show that you
can take a 2″ hose pipe >3,000 ft and pump water at 500
galls/min.!  Our thanks should go to not
only club members but to the Shepton (who brewed tea for us!) and to the Wessex
who supplied teams, in fact during the height of activity over 20 different
clubs were helping and my thanks go to all of them.

The other major event has been the club’s expedition to the
Gouffre Berger.  I think I should say
that without Tim Large’s particular efforts here, we probably wouldn’t have
succeeded in achieving the level of success (over 25 out of 60 people to the
bottom) and to Phil Romford in organising the tackle.  This trip was particularly successful bearing
in mind other regions attitudes to Mendip and pitches!

Again, trips to st Cuthbert’s have been busy as usual and
the same old people have come up to lead. We have 4 new keen leaders and more cavers have shown keen interest in
becoming one.  Perhaps its time to
modernise the leadership system to enable members to obtain it and the form
being updated to take consideration that we are now in 1985.  Perhaps a general form taking in the cave
generally as opposed to step-by-step route by route.  And a proposer and seconder system – something
to think about in the next year.

The only problem with the general activity is that the
monthly trips have disappeared, and as I stated last year, its important that
these trips shall be carried on since this is the only time that some members
will actually meet others and with a club of 200 you can be excused if you miss
one or two people!

Finally, when I took this job over I did it because somebody
had to do it – but funny, I actually grew to enjoy it, organising trips to
Cuthbert’s etc. but I always knew that the job should be done by somebody who
has more personal commitment to ensure that the monthly trips can be organised.

My personal circumstances have recently changed (I’m now
working for myself) and because of that I can’t guarantee that I shall be
available to organise Cuthbert’s trips etc. and therefore it’s with regret that
I shall have to stand down from the committee. The good news is I think we have found a younger (well about years 6
younger – he’s 24 years) who’ll be ideal in taking over the post.

Well all again I’d like to thank all members who have made
my job easier to carry out.

Stuart McManus


Hon. Editor’s Report.

It is indeed true that the Belfry Bulletin is the main, if
not the only link, that some BEC members have with the club, and therefore in
an ideal world BB’s should be produced regularly.  Many members would shout “once a

However, we do not live in an ideal world.  I see little purpose in concocting a monthly
magazine composed almost entirely of the little information gleaned from the
Hunter’s and other caving publications together with editor’s drivel.  For this reason the BB has been produced as
and when there has been enough material to produce something readable.  (It is probable that the BEC saved on postage
in this respect).  Thanks to many
contributors, the BB has been produced on a more regular basis this year than
last and I am very thankful to those who sent in excellent articles, especially
those of you who have taken the trouble to have your articles typed.  My apologies to these who have still to wait
to see their work in print.  It is not
easy finding someone willing to type lengthy prose, often in unfamiliar tongue.

While an the subject of articles, I find it strange that
write ups have appeared in magazines like Descent, concerning club’s finds and
digs while no articles have been sent for publication in the BB.  The club is active, and it is true to say
that a caving club is often judged on its published work.  This is one of the main purposes of the BB.

Unfortunately, the job of editor is not just one of
editing.  It almost always includes the
tasks of typing, illustrating, paste up work, delivery of masters to our
volunteer printer, collating, stapling and then taking all the flak concerning
typing errors, spelling mistakes, late editions, lost copies etc. etc. etc.

On behalf of the BEC I would like to thank Jeremy Henley for
getting the mag printed so often, and Brian and Lucy Workman for addressing and
sending the copies out.  Also those
members and the many little girls at school who have staggered round the table
getting the thing put together.

I have enjoyed being editor to the BEC over the last 2
years, but now I feel it is time to hand over the task to someone with new
enthusiasms and a different style.

Once again, thanks to the many friends who have helped.

Robin Gray N.D.D. ACVA.

Hon Editor to the BEC.

Librarian’s Report

As usual the library has “ticked over” with exchange
publications and donations of material from members and other clubs, for which
– many thanks.

The new library room is complete but much work needs to be
done before it becomes the comfortable armchair caver’s hideaway which is

There were no requests for purchases of particular books
this year and due to the present financial position of the club nothing has
been spent en the library for some time. It is hoped to remedy the situation on completion of the room.

Tony Jarratt.


Fiftieth Anniversary Dinner

by Alan Thomas.

The Fiftieth Anniversary Dinner of the B.E.C. was a night to
remember, as those who can remember will agree.

Dan Hasell, who has much previous for it, was the Toast
Master.  Phil Hendy of the

the Toast of the Club on its Golden Anniversary.  After listing several items of gold which he
had considered giving to us and then rejected, he finally presented Dan, on behalf
of the club, with a piece of Fool’s gold mounted on a plaque.  Kangy then presented Harry Stanbury, our
founder, with a plaque marked “B.E.C. 1”.  This reminds me of a phase a few years ago
when all the waifs and strays of the B.E.C. had Christmas Dinner in the Belfry;
after dinner, we used to ring Harry up and thank him for forming the
B.E.C.  The next very long time was
occupied by Bob Davies who introduced us very wittily to an apparatus called an
AFLO which he had brought with him.  I
was not clear if this had ever been a serious piece of apparatus or if it had
been designed especially for his speech. Anyway, in the end he presented it to our Guest of Honour who seemed to
be a Scotsman who had survived from the early days of caving and was in fact
Graham Balcombe.

I then gave a very bare outline of what I had intended to
say on the topic of Absent Friends because I felt that we had already heard a
lot from people who had far more to reminisce about than I had and that because
we had been starved of culture for seven years, the important thing was to get
on with the play whilst those in it were still sober enough to perform it.

I said that I would have liked my thirtieth Absent Friends
to coincide with the club’s fiftieth and blamed Bobby for a lack of
foresight.  However, when I looked at my
diary I found that Bobby was only one year out. Later I was informed by Joan Bennett that when we changed the date of
the Dinner to October we actually had two Dinners in one year.  So that my thirty Absent Friends did in fact
coincide with the B.E.C.’s Golden Jubilee. Next year Absent Friends must have an official birthday like the queen.

However, I was thwarted in my attempt to shorten the
proceedings by numerous presentations and raffles that followed Absent Friends.

The first presentation was made by Jim Hanwell who presented
a photograph of Sump 1 to Jack Sheppard. Rob Harper then presented “Driver
of the year” to Andy Lovell.  I was
very to see that the shield which originally said “champion dormitory”
and I had modified last year to present it to Rob, had been further modified to
make it applicable to motor” cycles. Chris Castle then presented “Boar of the Year” to Andy Sparrow
for becoming a professional caver.

Tony Jarratt then ingeniously presented “Sticker of the
Year” to Alfie.  The presentations
were followed by raffles.  Trevor Hughes
did his usual striptease accompanied by his lady.


Oliver Cromwell Lloyd

Oliver was an epitome of English eccentricity, the popular
view of the rest of the world is that we are a nation peppered with characters
like Oliver.  The man was a part of
English culture, fast disappearing, submerged by the transatlantic idiom.  Oliver was educated, refined, gifted but
above all surreal.  In any setting his
surrealism made him stand out, charismatic but alien, lovable but peculiar.

His settings were so varied that any caver who read his
obituary in “The Guardian” would have wondered if it was the same O.
C. L.  We could only glimpse one Oliver,
he did not foster exchanges across his many universes.

Each meeting with the man was fascinating, each one – and
there were hundreds – I can recall vividly, as if he were playing a cameo role
in each encounter.  Was this projection
done consciously?  If it was, and asked
directly if it was, he would only smile in answer.  I was first drawn to the man by his deep
interest in the people around him, what they were and their adventures.  We spent many hours comparing notes, filling
in on missing episodes.  At one stage he
had albums of photographs, using each picture as a cue to describe the people
he had met.  In all this there was a
golden rule, accept people as you find them, never attempt to prejudge or
categorise the un-categorisable.  In this
way life becomes the ‘moveable feast’, a surprise at every turn.

Oliver could be humorous, humanly sensitive or ruthless.

Banquo at the feast of the king

One night at my table, after a C.D.G. meeting on training,
the meal was interrupted by the news of a fatal accident at Wookey.  The meal resumed with the gallows humour,
which active divers share with minions, the same fatalism that keeps anyone in
the firing line from falling apart.  It
was his turn, thank God it wasn’t mine, pass the wine over here.  Oliver rose from the table, visibly shaken
and left for his room, commenting as he left that we were like “Banquo at
the feast of Macbeth”.

Later, intrigued by what he had said, I looked up the
reference.  In Boece’s original account,
Banquo was deemed as bloody and cynical as Macbeth.  Shakespeare, however, exonerates Banquo of
his crime.  Oliver had merely cast
himself as the king; his fellows at the feast were bloody but forgivable – even
if the king was murdered.

The Wooding Affair

In 1966 Mike Wooding, at that time, secretary of Somerset
section was believed by Oliver, who had loved Mike as a son, to be using C.D.G.
as a vehicle for his own ends.  Oliver
wrote to Wooding asking him to resign as secretary thus disproving the abuse of
his position.  Oliver threatened complete
character assassination if Mike did not comply. Wooding refused to relinquish the secretaryship.  The assassination as promised was total and
to the letter, socially and academically.

Mike Wooding was forced to leave the Mendip scene.  Having read the letter I advised Mike to
ignore it, believing that no one would act in such a way, and that my eyes and
senses were at fault.  I was wrong I had
unwittingly betrayed a friend and at this I could never forgive Oliver.  We had grown up quickly.  Oliver had blown his innocence.  Others, when they found that they had been
used as pawns in his game realised that his motive had been to protect the
group.  We ensured that Oliver never
pulled the same stunt again.  The price
was too high, but the independence of the group was preserved from any would be
or imaginary tyrant.

In 1967 the focus of attention in British caving was the
assault by various British expeditions to the Gouffre Berger especially that of
Ken Pearce complete with royal patronage. His expedition was to push the sumps at the bottom of the then deepest
cave in the world.  For the C.D.G.’s
annual dinner at Wells, Oliver had prepared a skit on the entire scene, knowing
that he had a captive audience.  As Ken
had enlisted not only the N.C.D.G. for this purpose but also stars from the
other sections who would in fact form the sharp end of the effort.

Oliver casting himself as Ken Pearce was very convincingly
interviewed by Eleanor Bronn, whom he had invited to the dinner, in a make
believe radio interview.  The expedition
was not set for the Berger but was an expedition to put the first Briton on the
moon.  Yes, the Brit in question was
Ken!  The method of reaching the moon had
that stamp of plausibility that was Pearce’s trademark.  They would use ladders and scaling poles to
the midway point then abseil down to the surface.  Eleanor probed the logistics of the food and
equipment, at every would-be snag, Ken would have an answer.  Any weakness in plan or personnel was covered,
getting to the moon was merely a formality.

It became obvious as the interview developed that Ken could
not take into account possible failure because of his belief in his own
infallibility.  Oliver had put a gentle
mocking finger on Pearce’s Achilles Heel. Finally, Ken was asked about patronage. Ken declared that not only did he have royal assent but that he had
“God on his side”.  With this
simple line Oliver had turned the barb on his own antagonists, even me, thus
proving that Oliver could laugh at himself. Events were to overwhelm Ken Pearce. Mossdale not only robbed him his ‘sharp end” but the tragedy
demoralized his team.  “If Ken could
have learned to laugh at himself, the British caving spirit would have hammered
at the gates of Sassenage to be let out”, Oliver remarked later.

One morning, Oliver was leaving my cottage he met my next
door neighbour who, in shirt sleeves, and a year or two older, was busy mucking
out in the cool Peakland air.  For a
second both men observed the difference in their physical state.  Oliver looked at both of us ruefully and
said, “It comes for us all in the end, age.”

I met him for the last time in May at the Cross Streets in
the dales.  “I will come up soon and
let you have a look at my manuscript for a piece for a brass band I have
written,” at 15 separate lines, he was especially proud of fitting all the
instruments on one script and that he had been invited to write the piece for
the band’s centenary.  I smiled, Liz
groaned at the prospect.  It was Oliver’s
little game – an impish smile and he was gone. Oliver had physically deteriorated noticeably.  I was not surprised or even sorry at the news
of his death, such a man would have found a lingering death an obscenity.

Let the curtain fall quickly and leave the stage with
grace.  He would have delighted to the
fact that people so young loved and respected him that would be memorial
enough.  The man was a feast we must
learn to go without.






Forthcoming Caving Trips

I’ve just taken over Mac’s job as Caving Secretary and I
thought it best if I get cracking straight away and organise some meets for the
next year.

The people I’ve talked to so far have expressed an
interested in a few more
Yorkshire trips, and
with several members making frequent visits to the Dales already I’ll organise
this on a fairly regular basis.  I’d
appreciate it if people would get in touch with me and let me know if they are
going or if they want any specific caves booked.

In the meantime though, there are no SRT ropes in the tackle
store so it’s horizontal trips for the next couple of months while I try and
remedy this!  Could people let me know of
any personal ropes, hangers etc. that they don’t mind being used on club meets.

Let me know the type of trips you want me to organise – I
can only use my initiative until I get a clearer idea of what is expected.  I would also like to know where exactly you’d
like to stay in the various caving areas. Unless people say otherwise I’m going to book the NCP hut, Greenclose,
Clapham for Yorkshire meets, probably the Pegasus for Derbyshire and, obviously
the huts for


meets will change according to the caves being done.

I’m writing for access at the moment and until I hear from
the C.N.C.C. and the various landowners, no dates or cave bookings can be
counted on.

Provisionally club meets will be as follows:







Notts Pot

N.P.C. Hut



Nick Pot




Lancaster/County Pot

N.P.C. Hut






South Wales


Camping near Chrickhowell



Daren Cilau




Otter Hole

Trip over 2 tides



Gaping Gill.  Winch Meet.

Camping by main shaft



Nettle Pot








Providence-Dow (Dowbergill)

Camping at Kettlewell



Birks Fell








Marble Steps

N.P.C. Hut






South Wales


South Wales Hut

It had been hoped that a trip to
could have been made on Nov 23-24 but unfortunately it has
been impossible to arrange it in time.

In addition to the trips above, Steve Milner, Rob Harper and
myself are doing a bit of work in the far reaches of the Time Machine (Daren
Cilau), both digging and pushing high level stuff.  We’ll be doing trips on a fairly regular basis
and anyone who wants to come and lend a hand will be most welcome.

If anyone wants to contact me for information or with any
idea (Don’t tell me, I can guess) my address is 39B

Apsley Road,

, Tel
(0272) 742994 (Evenings), 293849 (Work).

Mark Lumley.


Majorca 1985

Jeremy Henley

Whilst I was making my geriatric way to camp 1 in the
Gouffre Berger my wife was sunning herself in Puerto Pollenza,
Majorca.  She so
enjoyed the place, very small, very personal service with quite sensational
scenery.  In front of the hotel a bay,
almost totally landlocked, with a small channel to the sea hidden by hills to
the left.  On the far side of the bay
more hills and an area of flat land off to the right and then all way along
behind the hotel a range of hills on the other side of which more sea.  This spectacular scenery, hot sunshine and
lack of grockles, so enchanted her that she persuaded me, though she insists
that I persuaded her, that she should return three weeks later taking me along.

The night before we left I packed quietly – in the garage –
a tackle bag of caving gear.  I knew that
Majorca is limestone and had heard of all the
famous show caves.  I had no intention of
going there though.  I had phoned Ray
Mansfield – that international directory of cavers on Mendip – and he had given
me three contact addresses.  I intended
to go real caving.

The hotel staff were somewhat taken aback when I pulled the
tackle bag out of the boot of the taxi but were more helpful when I asked them
to try to contact the three names I had been given.

Firstly the committee Ballear de speleologia turned out not
to be on the phone, neither was the first of the two individuals named but,
fantastic, the third was and was phoned by the hotel management.  Mateo Alemany was most amicable, spoke
perfect English, tried to get someone to go caving with me but eventually gave
up. “I am sorry,” he said, “but at this time of the year we are
all very busy – I work every day in my restaurant my friends can only cave on
Sundays.  If you had given us 4 to 6
weeks notice we would have fixed something”.  In the summer on
plan a long way ahead!

However the hotel staff were now enjoying this and on their
own initiative they arranged for me to meet Pere Llobera, the head of the
northern section of the
Majorca mountaineering
club.  His club address is

Seccio de Muntanya,

club Pollenca, La Placa 1 – Pollenca, Mailorca.

Margaret and I got a taxi to Pollenca village and spent a
very pleasant evening with the young men of the Seccio de Muntanya conversing
in poor French pouring over speleo maps of north east
a copy of a small section of which is now in the library.  Unfortunately there were no active cavers in
the north east of Majorca so if I was to go caving it was going to be on my own
and I marked on my map four entrances to easy caves, photos and surveys of
which I was shown, needing no ladders or ropes and being about 1000 feet or so
long and the deepest about 300 feet.

I spent the next afternoon in blazing sunshine scrambling
through dense prickly undergrowth searching for the nearest and easiest cave,
eventually I got so scratched that I donned my waterproof overall as protection
and managed a good imitation of a sauna. In the end I found an entrance too deep to attempt to climb on my own
without aids and another entrance blocked with stones.  I returned home scratched, bleeding and muddy
to the immense amusement of some and bewilderment of other guests in the hotel.

After that it was all downhill, cycling, swimming, discos
and believe it or not I managed to tack about a bit on a windsurfer after some
exceptionally good lessons from a laid back Englishman with a pretty Spanish
wife.  Caving?  Not a bit of it.  As they say: “You don’t want to explore
all the caves at once”.


Log Book Ramblings

JayRat and others have been down Upper Flood and he say’s
the formations are magnificent.  Access
is closely controlled by the MCG who limit parties to a maximum size of 4
including the MCG leader.  Tony has
promised an article for the next BB.

Hunter’s Hole has been visited recently by Tim Large etc
with a view to possibly digging there again to bypass Cuthbert’s sump.

Ian Caldwell and John Watson have been back to their greasy
hole at the bottom of Manor Farm – maybe it’ll go this time.

St. Cuthbert’s has had a few trips recently but it appears
that no work has taken place in the cave since the marathon pumping epic in the

Hut Fund

Things are looking up! Thank you all you good hearted friends and I might add that you are not
all members of the club.  32 people have
now donated £999; the smallest £5, the largest (two) £100 each.

The retiring secretary, latent life member, Tim Large told
us at the the A.G.M. that we have 191 members of which about 32 members were
joint so there are still a lot of you out there who I would like to hear
from.  No donation is too small.  Don’t be shy, Shylock Henley’s here and he
will accept any sum from anyone.

B.E.C. Balloon Flights Raffle

The draw for the Balloon Flights raffle took place recently
and the lucky winners were as follows:-

1st prize of 2 basket places                                            Ticket

            G.Fish, Weston
super Mare.                               (1021)

2nd prize of 2 basket places

Romford, Bat Products                                   (233)

3rd prize of 1 basket place



Jeremy will be contacting the winners shortly and Dave
Turner and Brian Workman will fly the lucky few as soon as possible, bearing in
mind that ballooning is most probably the most weather dependant sport there

The draw made £130 which is very disappointing as the
current price for balloon flights is about £60. So we have donated £300 worth of flights for under half price!  If we ever do it again I shall expect a
bigger effort from members as here was a missed opportunity to boost the club
funds at a time when it is so badly needed.

Dave Turner.



Exploration Club – Membership List October 1985

828 Nicolette Abell                  Faulkland,


1059 Georgina Ainsley            Redland,


987 Dave Aubrey                   
Park St
, Wiltshire.

20 (L) Bobby Bagshaw            Knowle,

392 (L) Mike Baker                 Midsomer

818 Chris Batsone                  Bathford,

390 (L) Joan Bennett               Wesbury-on-Trym,


214 (L) Roy Bennett                Wesbury-on-Trym,


998 Crissie Bissett                

364 (L) Pete Blogg                  Chaldon,

145 (L) Sybil Bowden-Lyle       Calne,

959 Chris Bradshaw                Cheddar,


868 Dany Bradshaw               

Eastwater Lane
Priddy, Wells,


1005 Jane Brew                      Sutton-in-Craven,
West Yorkshire

751 (L) T.A. Bookes               

, SW2

992 Mark Brown                     St.


924 Aileen Butcher                 Holt,
Trowbridge, Wiltshire

849 Alan Butcher                    Holt,
Trowbridge, Wiltshire

956 Ian Caldwell                    


1014 Chris Castle                   Little
Manor, Downhead, Shepton Mallet,


Andy Cave                    

Wells Road
, Priddy, Wells,


902 (L) Martin Cavender           Westbury-sub-Mendip,


1048 Tom Chapman               

Barrows Road
Cheddar, Somerset.

1003 Rachael Clarke               Ardross,
by Alness, Rossshire

1030 Richard Clarke               
Normans Green, Plymtree,
East Devon

211 (L) Clare Coase               

New South Wales, 2259,


89 (L) Alfie Collins                   Litton,


862 Bob
Cork                         Stoke St. Michael,


1042 Mick Corser                   Woodbury,

827 Mike Cowlishaw               Micheldever


1060 Peter Crawley                
West Wickham.


890 Jerry Crick                       Reaseheath,


680 Bob Cross                       Knowle,


405 (L) Frank Darbon             
British Columbia,


423 (L)

Len Dawes                 

Main Street
Minster Matlock, Derbyshire

815 Nigel Dibben                    Holmes


164 (L) Ken Dobbs                  Beacon

829 Angie Dooley                   Harborne,


710 Colin Dooley                    Harborne,


1000 (L) Roger Dors                Priddy,


1038 Alan Downton                
Luton, Beds

830 John Dukes                      Wells,

996 Terry Earley                     Wyle,
Warmister, Wiltshire

771 Pete Eckford                    Pelting
Drove, Priddy,


322 (L) Bryan Ellis                  Westonzoyland,


1064 David Evans                   Didcot,

1063 Peter Evans                   Abingdon,

232 Chris Falshaw                  Fulwood,

269 (L) Tom Fletcher               Bramcote,

894 Phil Ford                          Yeovil,


404 (L) Albert Francis              Wells,

569 Joyce Franklin                  Stone,

469 Pete Franklin                   Stone,

1049 Gerard Garvey                Fulwood,
Preston, Lancs

769 Sue Gazzard                    Tynings,
Radstock, Nr Bath,

835 Len Gee                          St.
Edgeley, Stockport,


459 Keith Gladman                 Holt,
Trowbridge, Wiltshire

1069 Angie Glanville                Chard,


1017 Peter Glanville                Chard,


648 Dave Glover                     

Green Lane
, Pamber Green,
Basingstoke, Hampshire

1006 Edward Gosden              Brighton
Basingstoke, Hants

1054 Tim Gould                      Redland,


860 Glenys Grass                   Sawbridgeworth,

790 Martin Grass                    Sawbridgeworth,

1009 Robin Gray                     East
Horrington, Wells,


432 (L) Nigel Hallet                 Address
not known

104 (L)

Mervyn Hannam           St


999 Rob Harper                      Hanham,

4 (L) Dan Hassell                    Moorlynch,


893 Dave Hatherley                 Cannington,


974 Jeremy Henley                 Leg
, Shepton Mallet,


917 Robin Hervin                     Trowbridge,

952 Bob Hill                           2441
B6 Wassennaar, The


373 Sid Hobbs                        Priddy,


736 Sylvia Hobbs                    Priddy,


905 Paul Hodgson                 

Pennybatch Lane
, Burcott, Wells,


898 Liz Hollis                         Batcombe,
Shepton Mallet,


899 Tony Hollis                       Batcombe,
Shepton Mallet,


920 Nick Holstead                  Trowbridge,

387 (L) George Honey             Address
not known

971 Colin Houlden                   Bruton,


770 Chris Howell                     Edgebaston,


923 Trevor Hughes                  Wookey
Hole, Wells,


855 Ted Humphreys                Moorsite,
Marnhull, Sturminster Newton, Dorset

73 Angus Innes                      Alveston,

, Aven

540 (L) Dave Irwin                   Townsend,


922 Tony Jarratt                      Pelting
Drove, Priddy,


668 Mike Jeanmaire               

Buxton, Derbyshire

1026 Ian Jepson                     Beechen


51 (L) A Johnson                    Station
Rd., Flax Bourton,


995 Brian Johnson                  Ottery

1001 Graeme Johnson           

East Park Road

560 (L) Frank Jones                Pelting
Drove, Priddy,


567 (L) Alan Kennett               Henleaze,

884 John King                       
Wisborough Green,


316 (L) Kangy King                 Pucklechurch,

1007 Jonathan King                Pucklechurch,

542 (L) Phil
Kingston               St. Mansfield,
Queensland, 4122,


413 (L) R. Kitchen                   Horrabridge,

946 Alex Ragnar Knutson        Bedminster,


874 Dave Lampard                  Horsham,
West Sussex

1029 Steve Lane                     Bamford,

667 (L) Tim Large                    Wells,

958 Fi Lewis                          
Wells, Somerset

1056 Chris Larkin                   

Innesfree Way
Constantia, 7800,


1015 Andrew Lolley                 Kingsdowm,


1043 Andy Lovell                    Rowan
Walk, Keynsham,


1065 Mark Lovell                     Keynsham,


1057 Mark Lumley                 



1022 Kevin Mackin                  Yeovil,


1067 Fiona McFall                  Knowle,


651 Pete MacNab (Sr)             Cheddar,


1052 Pete MacNab (Jr)            Cheddar,


550 (L) R A MacGregor           Baughurst,
Basingstoke, Hants

725 Stuart McManus              

Wells Road
, Priddy, Somerset

106 (L) E.J. Mason                 Henleaze,


558 (L) Tony Meaden              Westbury,
Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset

704 Dave Metcalf                    Long

1044 Andrew Middleton          
Harrow, Middlesex

1012 Al Mills                          Ston
Easton, Wells,


1053 Steve Milner                  


936 Dave Nichols                    Address
not Known

852 John Noble                       Tennis
Courts Rod, Paulton,


624 Jock Orr                          Sturton-by-Stow,

396 (L) Mike Palmer                Yarley,


1045 Richard Payne               
Sidcup , Kent

22 (L) Les Peters                   

499 (L) A. Philpott                   Bishopston,

1037 Dave Pike                      Luckinbgton,
Chippenham, Wilts

337 Brian Prewer                    West
Horrington, Wells,


481 (L) John Ransom              Patchway,

682 John Riley                        Waramanga,
ACT 2611,


1033 Sue Riley                       Waramanga,
ACT 2611,


1046 Gerard Robinson             The
Common, Patchway,


986 Lil Romford                      Coxley,


985 Phil Romford                    Coxley,


921 Pete Rose                       Crediton,

832 Roger Sabido                  
Lawrence Weston,


240 (L) Alan Sandall                Nailsea,

359 (L) Carol Sandall               Nailsea,

760 Jenny Sandercroft            
Victoria Park,


237 (L)

Bryan Scott                


482 Gordon Selby                   Wells,

78 (L) R Setterington              


213 (L) Rod Setterington          Chiswick,


1046 Dave Shand                   


926 Steve Short                     
East Huntspill, Highbridge,


1036 Nicola Slann                   P.O.
, Flax Bourton,


915J Chris Smart                    Nr.
Bradford on
Avon, Wilts

911 James Smart                  


1041 Laurence Smith              West
Horrington, Wells,


823 Andrew Sparrow              

Wells Road
, Priddy,


1 (L) Harry Stanbury                Bude,


38(L) Mrs I Stanbury               Knowle,


575 (L) Dermot Statham          Westcombe,
Shepton Mallet,


365 (L) Roger Stenner             Weston
super Mare,

867 Rich Stevenson                Wookey,


583 Derek Targett                   East
Horrington, Wells


1039 Lisa Taylor                    
Weston Road

1035 John Theed                    Staple


284 (L) Alan Thomas              

Nine Barrows Lane
Priddy, Somerset

348 (L) D Thomas                   Little
Birch, Bartlestree,


571 (L) N Thomas                  

Norwich Rd.


699 Buckett Tilbury                
High Wycombe, Bucks

700 Anne Tilbury                    
High Wycombe, Bucks

74 (L) Dizzie Thompsett-Clark  Great


381 (L) Daphne Towler             Nyetimber,

Bognor Regis,

157 (L) Jill Tuck                      Llanfrechfa,
Cwmbran, Gwent,


382 Steve Tuck                       Coxley,


1023 Matthew Tuck                 Coxley,


1066 Alan Turner                    Leigh
on Mendip,

678 Dave Turner                      Leigh
on Mendip,

912 John Turner                     

Launceston Rd.
, Tavistock,

925 Gill Turner                       

Launceston Rd.
, Tavistock,

635 (L) Stuart Tuttlebury          Boundstone,

887 Greg Villis                        Banwell,

175 (L) Mrs. D. Whaddon       


949 John Watson                    West
Horrington, Wells,


1019 Lavinia Watson               West
Horrington, Wells,


973 James Wells                   

Yorktown Heights,

1055 Oliver Wells                   

Yorktown Heights,

1032 Barry Wharton                Yatton,


878 Mne White                       Royal
Marines Police, Hamworthy, Dorset

1068 John Whiteley                Holnepark,

1061 Kerry Wiggins                Brighton
Basingstoke, Hants

1031 Mike Wigglesworth         Keynsham,

Wilton                    Haydon, Nr. Wells,


850 Annie

-Jones           Llanlley Hill, Abergavenny, Gwent

813 Ian

-Jones               Llanlley Hill, Abergavenny, Gwent

914 Brian Workman                Little
London, Oakhill, 


1011 Lucy Workman               Little
London, Oakhill, 


477 Ronald Wyncoll                Holycroft,
Hinkley, Leics.

1050 Richard York                  Cheddar,



© 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.