Exploration Club, The Belfry,

, Priddy, Wells,

Editor: Ted Humphreys


Well, I seem to have messed it up again!  In the last B.B.  I put in the names and addresses of several
new members.  I got their names right but
got Richard Blake’s and Nicholas Cornwell-Smith’s addresses and telephone
numbers wrong!  These will be in the next
B.B. (in the complete address list!). The worst offence of all, however, was to leave Vincent Simmonds out
altogether, sorry Vince!  Vince’s
membership number is 1128, his complete address etc. will be in the next B.B.,
due out in time for Christmas.

Unlike Alfie, who used to produce B.B.’s every month, I have
only managed five this year.  This one,
however, is only a month after the last one. I can thus give what I know of the recent news.

The latest from Daren is that digs are still draughting,
Spade Runner, at the very end, looks promising but needs large amounts of BANG
before significant progress is made. Other digs in the loop passage (near Spade Runner) also look promising
with healthy draughts.  The crew are
having a party at Milliway’s on the 2nd. of December, I’d love to go but
suspect that I’m not fit enough to make it!

Mendip has been fairly quiet recently though attacks are due
in Cuthbert’s and in Cheddar.

Alan Thomas had a dinner party recently for those who
contributed to ‘The Last Adventure’.  I
happened to be at the Hunter’s at the time (how strange I hear you say!) and
have never met so many famous cavers in one go before.  My copy of the book is now personally signed
by most of the authors (could this become a collector’s item?).

This seems to be a fairly sparse amount of news!  What I need is some club reporters.  How about it. all you out there!


Editor’s Report

This is the end of my year as Editor of the Belfry
Bulletin.  As usual, the major problem
has been the shortage of material.  Now,
however, for the first time, I find myself with one or two articles in
hand.  Is this a ploy, I ask?

As I mentioned above, I have only produced five B.B.’s this
year.  In the old days this would have
been unacceptable.  If there are any
volunteers to produce more, apply here!

If, however, the club accepts the situation, I am prepared
to continue for another year.  You never
know, I may get articles, anecdotes and news items by the dozen!

Ted Humphreys

University of
Society Sessional Meetings 1989/90

I received the following letter
ages ago, requesting that be published in the B.B., and produce it as it came:-

I would be grateful if you could publish the following
illustrated talks in your newsletter or periodical with an invitation to
members/readers to attend.  The meetings
will be in the UBSS Spelio Rooms at the Students Union (2nd floor), Queen’s


between 8pm and about 9.30pm on Wednesday evenings.

1 November
1989.  “The History of Cave
Photography” by Chris Howes.

6 December
1989.  “Caving in
by Dick Willis.

14 February
1990. “The Black Holes of


by Mark Lumley.

9 May
1990.   “Recent research into
Calamine mining and some by-ways in Cave Archaeology in
” by Chris Richards

Your co-operation is much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,  Bob Williams


The LADS in



This article by Steve Milner and Pat Cronin was submitted to
the Editor of the BB way back in 1986, unfortunately it was lost for many years
but here it is at long last!

The LADS were active in

digging around poking their
noses here there and everywhere.  They
were Pat Cronin, Trebor McDonald, Mark Lumley and Steve Milner.  Their discoveries are as follows: –

Pool an Tobar
Grid ref: Clare 4 79.9E/42.9N
(Cave of the Holy Well)
Length: 96m
Altitude: 280m

Poll an Tobar was discovered on the 17th April 1984, close
to the depression of E1.  The water from
E1 joins the cave briefly at the most westerly point of the cave, not to be
seen again until Pollapooka 1.

The cave, with evidence of much flooding has a few flowstone
formations in low canyon passage.  From
within the cave five holes to the surface were found, one of which was
impassable.  At the most easterly part of
the cave the bottom of the well Tobar an Athar Calbhach was discovered.  Many religious articles were found as well as
many coins that date between 1913 and 1949. These relics should not be disturbed. There is no evidence of the well from the surface.  SJM.

Grid ref: Clare 4 50.7E/20.4N
(Hole of the LADS)
Length: Approx 80m
Altitude: 230m

Pollnagarsuin, found by Gonzo on the 13th April 1985 is a
cave similar in nature to others in the Ballynahown Townland.  It is 405m north of the Townland boundary
which crosses the road at the cattle pen. The initial exploration was halted by a formidable oxbow squeeze 70m
into the cave.  This was passed in 1986
by Steve after digging the Yoga Bend.  A
few meters further on another yoga bend prevents further access to the
cave.  SJM.

Milner’s Brown Holes
Grid ref: Clare 8a 2.3W/34.5N
Length: Approx 60m
Altitude: 0m

I didn’t name them, honest. They are situated north of the Green Holes and west of Pollcraveen.  The caves were found during a rising tide and
the original exploration was carried out as the caves were flooding with sea
water, perhaps this is where the name came from.  The interconnecting phreatic tubes are
extensive and are full of marine life. More passages can be seen past boulders and the careful use of a crowbar
would extend the caves.  SJM.

Grid ref: Clare 4 20.5E/9.3N
Length: Approx 50m
Altitude: 3m

This cave is longer than described in Caves of County
Clare.  The total length is approx 50m;
there are two holes to the surface: one after 8m and the second after 36m.  The cave trends in a NNW direction.  SJM.

Poll an Phuca (Ai)

In April 1984 our attention was drawn to this shaft.   Situated on the north side of Slieve Elva,
the cave consisted of an impressive 26m shaft to a floor of boulders.  With no apparent way on and no draught
anywhere, what impressed the LADS at the time was the colossal amount of water
being swallowed by the boulders.  In April
1986 we decided to allow two days work at this site.  We were rewarded within half an hour by
exposing a tremendous draught between the boulders.  Work continued to a depth of 4m where a
streamway could be seen.  At this point
we had the risk of undermining the boulder pile. This subsequently
collapsed.  We had run out of time so we
prepared the site for future work and will come back next year.  Pat Cronin.

We never went back, so this exiting lead still remains for
future explorers.  SJM.

Curtin’s Cave

Curtin’s cave is in a small depression at the end of a
shallow dry valley.  This hole takes the
overflow water from the upper stream. The sink is situated in the garden next to Mr Curtin’s cottage.  Permission was granted to the LADS to dig the
hole but no work has yet been done. Access is very sensitive hence the vague location.  Pat Cronin.

The Green Holes

Divers: Pat Cronin, Steve Milner, Mark Lumley, Mike

With the discovery of the Milner’s Brown Holes, one mile
north along the coast we decided to investigate the similarities between the
two sites.  Though short of air there was
enough time to satisfy ourselves of the relevance of one to the other.  This was the first dive for MM and ML.  Pat Cronin.


Many of the above discoveries and efforts by the LADS have
been written into the UBSS Cave Notes,


1986.  This is the second supplement to
the book: Caves of County Clare (Self 1981).

Boycott, A. Soc., 1986, and

, L.J., Proc. Univ. Bristol Spelaeol.
17(3), 343-354.

Steve Milner.
July 1989.


Royston Henry Bennett

Having taken early retirement last year he, with Joan, sold
their house in


and moved to Newtonmore, in Strathspey, to be close to the hills and ski
resorts they both loved.  Tragedy struck
when he met with a skiing accident on 22nd June this year.


had such a rich and varied life that we decided to combine our memories of
him.  The result is that this account is
in three parts, recollections of early activities, hang gliding and his latest
climbing and skiing interests.

Kangy starts

I can’t remember when I first met

.  I
think I knew him at school.  He was a few
years ahead of me, one of the big boys at



was a contemporary of Archie Milton (who was our School Captain), Dave Allen
and John Mortimer.  Remarkably all three
played cricket for
and even more remarkably Archie Milton got an

cap at Soccer as well.  And I would rate

with them.  All were fine sportsmen.

We often climbed and caved together and he consented be
godfather to one of my sons.

My first caving trip with

was by happy chance.  I was with another party, we intended to do a
quick Eastwater, we went to the Hunters and met

and Don Coase having a drink and looking
for help to put a permanent ladder on Arête pitch in Cuthbert’s.  The result was the epic described at a later
date in the BB for August 1967.

Another unforgettable experience shared with

was in Eastwater.  We had bottomed Primrose Pot and Mo Marriott
was stuck in the steep tight Primrose Path. 

technical abilities were demonstrated. He flashed up and down the constriction as if it wasn’t there.  He was calm, he invented, he placed knobbly
dogs and foot loops, all the time keeping up a steady sensible stream of
encouraging commentary.  (Mo made it in
the end by stripping to his skin.)



joined the Club in 1949.  He was not a
committee man, nor indeed was he a man who wrote much.  But when he was persuaded to do a job he did
it conscientiously.  Within the Club he
held the positions of Caving Secretary, Climbing Secretary, was a member of the
Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee and was a Club Trustee.  He was also a MRO Warden for many years.  The only political controversy that he was
ever involved with was the expansion of the Cuthbert’s Leader system to members
of other clubs at a Club AGM in 1967. Despite strong opposition the motion was eventually carried and has
remained ever since.  Besides St.


knew Mendip intimately.  Having been a
member of the Club for over 40 years he was one of the few who has remained
consistently active during that period of time. He was caving before joining the BEC and I remember he told me that his
first cave was Goatchurch, after cycling out from

, and it took him three trips before
finding the way to the bottom!


One of

outstanding contributions to an early BEC Dinner was a sketch entitled ‘Through
the Stalagtite Barrier’ – or something; the story varies in detail because
those who were there had taken the precaution of topping up at The Hatchet
under the impression that there would be no drinking licence whereas in fact
there was.  Using his chemical experience
(he was an Associate of the Royal Institute of Chemistry) he experimented to
find a way of producing a civilised bang. One that could be used in the Whiteladies Restaurant with its Cinema in

.  The intrepid explorers having mimed a
tortuous way through a make believe cave reached the make believe stal which
barred their path.  The climax of the
show arrived as the explosive device was brought up to blast the barrier.  The resulting B-A-N-G was not make believe,
dimmed the lights, halted the Dinner and emptied the adjoining Cinema.  “The management were not very keen on
having us back!”

His career as a motor cyclist was legendary.  In the late forties he wore a sort of
rubberised yellow overall and was known as the Yellow Peril.  Alfie remembers being given a lift back to
Bristol by


after one weekend on Mendip.  The next
Thursday at the Waggon and Horses Alfie was asked how he got on.  “Well” said Alfie, “We carne off twice in
Burrington”.  “Ah”, said the inquirer,
“That would be at the top two bends, he always comes off there!”  And in the days before the Wells road was
tidied up and when the BEC would compete to reduce the Belfry to
Bristol time, a notorious curve was known as
Bend” because

went straight through
the Whitchurch sign, taking it with him. He never seemed to hurt himself (He once broke his arm – Joan).


In 1964 a trip into Cuthbert’s was arranged to sort out what
was known of the Long Chamber area. Quite a lot of work had been carried out already.  Having reached Long Chamber to continue
upwards to look at the newly discovered Chandelier Passage the party paused for
a few moments.  Someone said “Where
are we?”  “Annexe Chamber”
said Wig.  “No, it’s Long
Chamber” said

.  Wig retorted, “John Cornwell assures me
that this is Annexe Chamber”. “Well he’s wrong” said Roy, “It’s Long Chamber.  I ought to know, I found it!” 


was one of the few who knew St. Cuthbert’s intimately and was involved in all
its important exploration phases since the opening of the cave.  He was the prime mover to restart the digging
at the cliff face above the Old Entrance in 1952 and when Coase joined the diggers
with his wealth of experience, success was eventually met. 


was the first to descend the Entrance Rift in 1953.  In conversation with him later

reminisced on the day
that the exploration took them up into Boulder Chamber and Railway Tunnel where
they first saw The Cascade.  “It was
an incredible sight.  Nothing like this
had ever been found on Mendip before.” He initially opened up Long Chamber area; jointly organised the 1967
Sump I digging weekend; dug regularly at the Dining Room Dig; opened up Mud
Ball Dig and discovered the Long Chamber Extension area with John Attwood in
1962.  He stirred up interest to dig Sump
I in 1969 when it effectively dried up and was on the party that finally broke
through into St. Cuthbert’s II.  For many
months through 1970 and 1971 he and the Tuesday Night Digging Team looked at
every nook and cranny to find a way around Sump II.  No way-on was found and long trips were made
attacking Sump II by building a series of dams and using the Bennett bailing
device.  Progress was slow and interest
eventually waned.


On one occasion, he was showing me the newly entered
Cuthbert’s Two.  There had been one or
two incidents and we were very anxious not to be trapped.  The stream was dammed, we went rapidly
through the drying sump and I peered earnestly at sump two and looked about

a watch on the ‘dry’ sump one.  As I
arrived back we dived into the narrow crawl. We both heard the rumble of water on the move and went like scalded cats
racing up the passage and flinging ourselves over the Gour Passage dam.  Such was the tension that once safe we became
hysterical with laughter as we realised that our panic stricken flight was
caused by the echoing noise of our bodies scraping over wet gravel.


Digging was one of

pastimes.  It was always taken very
seriously.  Areas where few people had
looked was always the sites he chose. The Mouton Brook near Chepstow was one particularly interesting series
of small cave entrances that were thoroughly investigated and later the
resurgence at the foot of Piercefield Cliffs north of Chepstow.  He dug here for several months mainly with
Phil Kingston fully convinced of the existence of a tidal cave lying beyond the
statagmite choke that he was blasting. Unknown to him the Royal Forest of Dean cavers had also spotted the site
and dug in a lower passage and broke into what is now Otter Hole.  Grievances overcome

joined the RFD cavers and jointly
explored the system with them.

During the mid-1960’s and 1970’s he caved in the
Raucherkarhohle (
and in Co. Mayo and Co. Clare in the

Republic of
.  When visiting
he read Coleman’s Caves of Ireland and came to the conclusion that the
sink near

Co. Mayo had to be a good bet to look at. Though unknown to us (Roy, Joan and the writer) the Craven PC had looked
at the site earlier that year but were stopped by flooding.  On the occasion of our visit over 2,000 ft.
of very enjoyable and very wet passages were explored and surveyed.

Yorkshire pots always
held a great attraction to him and many of the classic trips were done
including bottoming the GG main shaft by ladder in 1966. 
South Wales
too was regularly visited and on a trip from Top Entrance of OFD to OFDIII his
sense of humour showed itself.  I was
crossing the first section of the Traverses which requires edging oneself along
one wall over an 80 ft. drop just before the long straddling rift.  Finger-tip holds were the order of the
day.  There was silence as I traversed
towards Bucket Tilbury, the first man across, when

shouted “Don’t bite your fingernails
now Wig, you’ll fall off!”  After
the Traverses, is the only squeeze in this area of the cave, and again his
fruity comment was, “In a cave of this size this damn thing ought not to
be here!”


The 1970 BEC Balague expedition was to a little caved area
of the Ariege in


report covers the action but misses his determination and drive to do a good

The climax of the trip was laddering a 200-odd metre
shaft.  French teams had used a powered
winch, it was at the end of the ladder era and we did the pitch with only a
pulley powered safety rope.  Roy and
several others bottomed the shaft by ladder, explored, and later learnt that we
had gone further than previous parties.


loved rock climbing and instigated a Thursday evening meet in the Avon Gorge
before we went to the Wagon and Horses to shout noisily to the caving crews
about the weekend.  We climbed what we
could there, went to
North Wales as often as
we could and went to places like the Dewerstone.  I have a cine film of

taken there which shows his rapid but
sure technique well.  He would comment
endlessly on the task.  It was just

thinking aloud and as
difficulties increased the more active he got and the faster he chattered.

On one climbing holiday in the Austrian Alps,

was equipped with the
latest technology, a pair of massively ferocious front pointed crampons.  He fitted them at the start of a coulour and
led out and diagonally up.  He failed to
find a good stance and so Joan followed him up, still no suitable stance so Ann
moved on up after Joan.  I fed out the
rope seeing


getting higher and almost across the slope and still no stance.  We had to do something.  Everyone got their axes in while I moved out
onto the slope to make more rope available. Then I slipped slightly and tugged Ann off.  Ann tugged Joan off and Joan tugged

off.  I had enough time to get my axe in and
whipped the rope round it as first


then Joan then Ann shot past me down the steepening snow.  Mercifully they were stopped.  The only damage was to Roy who gashed his
calf with the front point of a crampon. He said nothing.  Later, one
winter in
Wales I noticed

sawn off the front points.


did the British mountaineering classics in his own time.  He eventually did the Cuillin Ridge with Alan
Bonner and while he rated it highly he reckoned that he had a harder time on
the Fourteen Welsh Three Thousands.  Alan
said about the traverse that they had attempted it in 1980 from the Slicachan
end but had to abandon after Alan found he had left his boots behind!  All went well at Whitsun 1982.  They bivouacked in Coire na Banachdich and
Ivy and Joan collected their gear later. At five thirty in the morning they joined a queue at the Tearlach Dubh
Gap but enjoyed a “nice sunny day”. The ridge is sharp and as they came to a wider flatter bit Alan


bursting out with “Bloody Hell! That’s the first time today that I could have strolled along with my
hands in my pockets and not fallen three thousand feet if I’d slipped!”

John Hunt gives this account of

‘s Hang Gliding days:-

During the BEC dinner of 1975 at the

Wells, Roy and myself started to talk to Pete Sutton and Derek Targett.  As my main interest was caving and Pete and
Derek were climbers I had not met them before. However they were both now very interested in the very new sport of Hang
Gliding.  So it was that on the Sunday,
Roy, Joan and myself set off to see this sport in action.  Following a false start, in which we set off
for Mere in


instead of Mere, Wiltshire, we eventually arrived.

Pete and Derek were already there with a glider belonging to
a syndicate of BEC members.  This machine
had been built at the Belfry and in various members’ homes.  Jenny Sandicott and Graham Phippen were also
present.  One or two people could
actually soar back and forth along the ridge and I believe that there were even
a few top landings.  Pete and Derek were
not quite up to this standard yet but demonstrated firstly the art of chain
smoking, followed by the take-off technique and landing.


was keen to have a go and so an area was chosen for his initiation into the
commitment of aviation.  No matter how
hard he ran or how much he pushed the result was always a total inability to
leave the ground.  After some 3 to 4
attempts, each of which ended in a dive headlong into the ground, Derek decided
to try from the same spot.  His success
was no greater.  Looking back on that day
with hindsight it is obvious that it was a totally unsuitable area, being very
shallow in slope and right behind tall trees. Roy and myself started to attend meetings of the Avon Hang Gliding Club
and shortly after this


bought a 17 ft. Argus Hang Glider.  I
remember many Saturdays and Sundays spent helping and teaching

to fly at such places as Hinton, Cam Long
Down, Dundry and Mere.  I had previously
bought into a syndicate of 12 and had semi taught myself to fly.

This would have been early 1976.

Although I don’t remember all the dates there many
fragmented memories of days spent flying with


A Friday afternoon on the Garth, near

was a
little light for the Argus and flew twice as far as everyone else that afternoon.  That meant he had to walk twice as far to get
back to the top of the hill.  He also
ended up perilously close to a row of high trees on several occasions.  Many hours were spent discussing the weather
conditions early on weekend mornings before deciding the best place to go.  There were many long days spent flying the
Malverns and trips to Hatterall Hill in the


later sold the Argus and progressed to a McBroom Lynx.  He then proceeded to sit on top of everyone
else at Bossington and North Hill.  On
this he taught himself to fly prone and progressed to longer flights and
thermal flying.


always wanted to climb bigger hills and fly and enthusiasm this led him to
climb Skiddaw.

Joan reckoned that one of the highlights of

‘s hang gliding days
was when he launched himself off the top of Skiddaw. 


saw the possibilities of hang gliding as a means of extending his
mountaineering passion.  He had the idea
of carrying his machine to the top of a mountain and proceeding across country
in a series of climbs and glides.  No one
else was much interested in that much effort but he had the loyal support of
his best friend Joan.  They got
permissions from the local farmers and motored round the back of Skiddaw on a
beautiful clear still day. 

carried seventy
pounds of hang glider and Joan followed up with the ‘bits and pieces’.  It might have been possible to ridge soar but

wasn’t very
experienced at that.  He assembled the
machine, chattering more and more rapidly, then gulped, “It’s a long
way” and at four o’clock launched himself into the unknown.  Amazingly he flew down in about ten minutes
and like a true pioneer was instantly surrounded by small boys who seemed to
appear from nowhere.

Others were not so keen to join these types of adventures
due to the enormous exertion required and I think this probably led to

drifting away from the
becoming a little disenchanted and drifting away from the sport and back to

I believe that a second factor was the very nature of hang
gliding is such that decisions on the correct site are left until the last

was very methodical and liked to have all
details sorted out well in advance in his other interests.  In caving, trips were always planned
carefully days before, equipment checked and ready.  Hang gliding also involves many hours of
wasted time and this probably was also a deciding factor.

One of the last places that I flew with

was from the hill overlooking Shute
Shelve.  Roy and myself were both Sites officers
for the Avon Hang Gliding Club and as such spent a lot of time looking for new

thought that this would make an excellent
new South West site and cleared permission from the landowner at the bottom for
a landing field.  So we set out one
weekday evening and climbed to the top of the hill along the Public Footpath
which led to the take off area. Conditions were not good but we both flew down making several beats of
the ridge as we went.

As we derigged we both agreed that the site had some limited
potential and were quite pleased.  Then
the “commoners chairman” arrived. He taught us language that even


hadn’t heard before and insisted that we would adversely effect his Riding
business.  We never did return there
again, mainly because we discovered that this gent had stood trial for
attempted manslaughter on a past trespasser.

I do remember well the last time that

flew. Strictly speaking it was not hang gliding but Microlight flying. 


had long since sold all his equipment and I rang him and asked if he would like
to try my Trike.  We went to a small
strip near Shepton Mallet and after a few initial problems taxiing the Trike,
due to his short legs not reaching the steering properly, he took off. 


flew around for some 20 minutes and came in executing a hard landing which
damaged one wheel.  I don’t suppose he
was that impressed because that was his one dalliance with the sport.

I suppose that hang gliding started with long climbs up
hills for often short ground skimming flights down.  It was almost as much a sport of walking as
flying.  When it lost the walking element
something was lost for

.  The latest sport of Parapente flying has, for
the moment, regained that walking element without the encumbrance of 75
lbs.  I suspect that this would have been
another sport that would have appealed to


and believe that he even possibly tried it. I shall always remember Roy as a great sport who was always willing to
try something new.  (Yes,

did a course – Joan).

Paul Newman (Avon M.C.) remembers

as one of the great characters of the
Avon Mountaineering Club.  He first
appeared in the club in September 1982. For several club members, their first memory of the famous van, of Joan,
and of the two dogs, comes from Glenbrittle,
Isle of Skye,
in May 1982.  The van and its occupants
clearly made a lasting impression on all concerned.  And it started to appear regularly at club
meets, always parked for the night in some favoured spot a little way away,
where the dogs could not upset the campsite; but always re-appearing next
morning to take a larger-than-life part in the weekend’s activities.


was keen.  By the end of a year he had
already been on several club trips to Wasdale, Tremadog, Cwm Cowarch,

and other climbing haunts.  One of his
most regular climbing partners, Pete Hudd, recalls;

‘It would appear that Roy and myself rapidly assumed the
reputation of arriving back after dark, sometimes as a result of some minor
epic.  One such incident was during the
Lake District meet of August 1984, when we only just made
it back to the campsite before midnight, after under-estimating the time
required to complete a route on Pillar Rock.’

A very famous escapade occurred in the Avon Gorge on a drab
autumn evening in October 1986.  Roy and
myself had been so-called “pioneering” on the Giant’s Cave Buttress
area.  It had already got dark (that was
not unusual for Roy and myself) and it was one of those cold, damp autumn
evenings.  We eventually found ourselves abseiling
off from the cave, but as luck would have it the ropes would not pull through.

We decided to drive up to the top of the Gorge and abseil
over.  Darkness was well and truly upon
us, but as we neared the Observatory lookout a plan evolved.  We would climb up the scaffolding that was
temporarily erected around the Observatory, climb down the other side, and
enter the tunnel that lead to the cave lookout. 

in his element, groping his way along the dark and meandering passage (we had
no torches).  All seemed to go well; the
ropes were retrieved, and we made our way back up the tunnel towards the
confines of the Observatory.

However, unbeknown to us, we had been spotted climbing over
the scaffolding by the tollgate keeper on the bridge.  Fearing the worst, he immediately contacted
the police.  Just as we were about to
climb back up the scaffolding on the inside, the squad car arrived, his blue
flashing light working overtime.  Roy and
I crouched low on the scaffolding as they shone their torches all around, the
beam just missing us on each occasion.

Not content with this, the two policemen started to make a
closer inspection, and it would have been only a matter of time before we were
seen.  Fearing this would raise undue
suspicion, we gave ourselves up and climbed down the other side.

It would be an understatement to say that the two officers
concerned were not amused.  We eventually
convinced them of our story (it was too hideous not to be true) but this did
not save us from a severe telling-off, of which I think

took the brunt, purely from the fact that
he was the first to climb down and reach the waiting policemen.  Not too often was

lost for words, but on this occasion he
reminded me of a naughty schoolboy being told to stand in the corner.  Apart from recording our names and addresses
we were free to go.

 Another much-loved
side of

character was that he could talk.  But
not, it seems, in a way that annoyed people Ross Barber put it like this;

One characteristic of

was that he talked, particularly in the mountains.  I talked too; I’ve got my ideas and notice
things here and there, but as a talker


left me way behind.  He talked about
everything; the view, the weather, trends in skiing, climbing, politics, and
most characteristically about the latest modification he had made to his
equipment.  I could hold my own on most
of these, but on equipment he was out on his own.  When he got launched into the latest strap
adaptation my role was reduced to the occasional grunt of agreement. This often
suited me well because I used to wonder where he found all the energy to walk,
talk and think about all these things at the same time.  I was generally quite happy to be able to
concentrate on keeping up.  I remember
one occasion when we were nearly benighted on the top of the Cairngorm plateau
at the end of a twelve-hour day and


still had the energy to think about the modifications he was going to make to
his bindings next time.  I was getting
really worried and didn’t know if there was going to be a next time for either
of us.

The list of places he visited around the
with the club is considerable.  The Lake District and
figure prominently. So do the “local” crags of the Wye valley, and he was
frequently to be seen at sea-cliff venues such as
Baggy Point, the Gower, and

Another passion of

equal if not greater than his climbing, was ski mountaineering.  Of course he loved the wilds, and
cross-country skiing gave him access to wonderful places in marvellous winter
conditions. In common with some of his closest friends he shared a distaste for
the noisier elements in mountaineering. Ross said;

Only occasionally would we join the brightly dressed crowds
on the chairlift and the piste; we preferred the secluded valleys beyond the
(Cairngorm) plateau or above Glen Einich. We would spend hours plodding uphill, chatting away (

particularly) for the possible reward of
a short downhill run.  From the outside
it is difficult to understand the attractions of these days. For each hour of
uphill trudging we probably enjoyed a mere five minutes or so of downhill
running, and sometimes in the most dismal conditions.  Yet I never felt discontent at the end of the

Snow forecasting was one of

‘s strengths. From an old copy of
“Slessor”, and from personal examination, he had acquired a very
extensive knowledge of which Cairngorm slopes had snow in various weather
conditions.  Over time I’d learnt to
trust his judgement and we’d often set out across most unpromising acres of
heather and bog, carrying skis, to find snow high up more or less where he had
said it would be, and more or less in the condition he had anticipated.  I enjoyed many fine slopes on Braeriach, Carn
Ban Mor, and Craig Mheagaidh which I would never have found without his

Another feature of ski mountaineering with

was the dogs.  He was always keen to take one or both of
them and, indeed, they are very handsome animals, Norwegian sheepdogs, and look
well in the hills.  I wasn’t always so
keen though; there could be disadvantages. The main drawback was that one or the other of them would almost
invariably disappear on the scent of deer, or hares, or practically anything on
four legs.  So, in calculating time and
distance, you could allow twenty minutes or half an hour’s rest while

rushed about
searching for them.  On occasions I must
admit that I was grateful to the dogs for the enforced pause, for

, though small, was
very energetic, and at the end of a long day I was quite happy to have stored
up some remnant of energy to be able to keep up with him.

Finally, in this brief account of some of the
characteristics for which


was known in the club, there is his interest in things technical.

I suspect that my indifference to the possibilities of the
latest gadgetry must have irritated

.  To his more active imagination it was a
niggling irritant to be using a strap or a binding which could be replaced by a
more efficient one.  So, underlying our
companionship lay a kind of subdued competition in which my objective was to
display the practical usefulness of tried traditional equipment and techniques,
in resistance to the pressure applied by


upon me to update.

Towards the end of 1988 Roy and Joan moved from

to Newtonmore,
among the Scottish Highlands that they both loved so much.  It was by no means the end of their
association with the Avon Mountaineering Club. Several people have received a warm welcome at their new house, and in
February 1989 a large party stayed close by at Alvie House for a week of
walking, climbing and skiing.  By a lucky
chance this week produced the first real snow of the winter and everyone had a
fine old time.  Roy and Joan joined in
the activities with their own inimitable enthusiasm.

Joan wrote;

June 22nd may seem an odd time to be involved in skiing in
the Northern Hemisphere.  However,

had managed some
ski-mountaineering each month since October, and it is a custom for Scottish
skiers to try to find some snow to ski on at the solstice.  Although the- winter had not been good for
the downhill skiing, it produced some good spring snow for late skiing (spring
snow is snow which has melted, and refrozen into a granular construction.)

Roy had done most of his late
skiing on wraithes of snow on convex slopes, on fairly narrow, not too steep
gullies, like the Red Burn on
Ben Nevis.  The snow on Braeriach was in the form of
patches high up on the steep Coire slopes. 

skiing down one of these patches, and his tracks showed he had negotiated most
of the slope, when he lost control, and was not able to recover before he slid
into the rocks at the bottom of the slope.


was a man who knew where the limits were better than most and lived right up to
them.  He was a joy to be with.  It was a privilege to have shared life with

and he will be
greatly missed by many friends.  To Joan
we offer our continued friendship and love.


This is a list of items that

had printed in the BB or elsewhere for
the BEC.

In the BB (sole author)

1962 (Dec)        Weekend in
1963 (Nov)         Climbing 18(189)2-3
1964 (Apr)         Easter in

1964 (Aug)        Climbing News 18(198)8-9

1965 (Oct)         On crossing the Gour
Hall Fault 19(212)11
1966 (Nov)         Four to Gaping Gill
1968 (May)        Easter – caving in
S. Wales 22(242)64
1968 (Dec)        Synthetic Ropes
1969 (Jun)         Cavers Bookshelf [Caves
of NW Clare] 25(255)82-83
1969 (Dec)       

1969 (Dec)        The discovery of St.
Cuthbert’s 2. 23(261)224-227
1970 (Jul)          Swinsto/Kingsdale
1974 (Dec)        Otter Hole – a note
1977 (Aug)        Some peaks in the
north-west highlands 31(352)70-72
1981 (May)        Static in the Cairngorms

In the BB (joint Author)

1963 (Dec)        & J.A. Eatough. Report on a new
discovery in Cuthbert’s 16(178)11-13
1965 (Dec)        et al. Skiing on
Blackdown 17(190)25-26
1967 (Jul)          & J. Bennett &
D.J. Irwin.

1965 19(214)13-28
1962 (Dec)        & D.J. Irwin.
Ireland – June 1967 [

] 21(232)44-52

BEC Caving Reports

Nos. 2, 7, 13F and 13G et
al.  All on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet
No. 14 Balague ’70


A.G.M. Minutes 1988

Those Present :-

P. Cronin,  M.
McDonald,  Snablet,  Bob Cork, Steve Milner, M. Lumley, Mr Nigel, C. Smart, B. Hill, A. Jarratt,  B. Wilton, C. Dooley,  D. Turner,  B. Workman, Laurence,  Lavinia , J. Watson,  A. Knutsen, A. Thomas,  A. Sparrow,  S. Mendes,  N. Gymer,   J. Smart,   S. McManus,  N. Sprang,   T. Humphreys,   H. Bennett, Bassett, Sarah, D. Bradshaw, R. Stephens, B. Luipen, T. Hughes, Jingles,
S. Lain, B. Williams, J. Dukes, J. Turner, M. Grass, G. Grass.

Election of Chairman

D. Turner was asked to take the chair.

Proposed Bob Cork
Seconded M. Lumley
Carried Unan.

Appointment of Tellers :-

Alan Thomas, Steve Buri and Jane Russel were appointed.

Apoloqies for Absence :-

C. Batstone, Brian Prewer, R. Bennett , Mongo, Wormhole, K.
Smart, P. Romford, R. Brown, R. Clarke, A. Butcher, J. Bennett, B. Tilbury, A.
Boycott, A. Tilbury,

Matters Arising from Minutes of 1987 A.G.M.

(i)                  It was agreed that a copy of the mining log
should be made.

(ii)                Martin Grass has obtained a new lock for St.
Cuthbert’s and will fit it in the near future. The Caving Sec. was asked to publish a list of leaders in the B.B. and
investigate the necessity for third party insurance for leaders.

(iii)               The new secretary was asked to write to Tim
Gould, expressing to him the concerns of the meeting reference the monies owed
to the club.

1. Secretary’s Report

This was presented to the meeting and accepted.

Proposed N. Taylor
S. McManus
Carried Unan.

2. Treasurer’s Report

Report published in B.B. and was taken as read.

2.1 A discussion arising from the treasurer’s report brought
the following motions : –

The new committee to investigate methods of rationalising
electricity usage.

Proposed T. Hughes
Seconded Chris Smart
Carried Unan.

New committee to investigate losses on telephone.

Proposed S. McManus
Seconded N.


Carried Unan.

Acceptance of the report was proposed by D. Bradshaw,
seconded by M. Grass and carried with a vote of thanks, unan.

3. Auditor’s Report

Pre-published and taken as read.


Proposed D. Bradshaw
Seconded A. Jarratt
Carried Unan.

4. Caving Secretary’s Report.

Read to meeting.

Acceptance with a vote of thanks was proposed by A. Jarratt,
seconded by
N. Taylor and carried unan.

4.1 A vote of thanks was also proposed to Mike McDonald for
his work in cleaning up St. Cuthbert’s

Carried Unan.

5. Hut Warden’s Report ;-

Pre-published in B.B. and taken as read.


Proposed A. Jarratt
N. Taylor
Carried Unan.

6. Tacklemaster’s Report ;-

Published and taken as read.

6.1 A vote of thanks was proposed to Tom Chapman for his
efforts during the tacklemaster’s absence.

6.2 A. Sparrow was asked to return the club’s battery


Proposed D. Bradshaw
Seconded M. Lumley
Carried Unan.

7. Hon. Editor’s Report :-

Published and taken as read. Acceptance with vote of thanks

Proposed T. Hughes
S. McManus
Carried Unan.

8. Hut Enqineer’s Report :-

Dany pretended to read his report to the meeting, but was
rudely interrupted by M. Grass who remarked on his

accent.  This caused a chuckle coming from a man who
does voice-overs for ‘Eastenders’.  When
Dany regained his composure he went on to explain the ever growing list of jobs
to be done and his plans for the drying room and shower benches.  He also explained that these would be his
last projects as he was not standing for re-election and he wished his
successor ‘The best of luck’.

Acceptance with a vote of thanks was proposed by B.Cork.
seconded by S.McManus and carried unan.

9. Librarian’s Report

The librarian gave a brief resume on the state of the
library.  The following motion was
tabled: –

The last signatory in the loan book shall be responsible for
the said book until it is returned and signed in.


Seconded C. Smart
Carried Unan.

Acceptance of report was proposed by D. Bradshaw, seconded
S. Milner and carried unan.

10. Membership Secretary’s Report :-

The new secretary was asked to investigate ‘Direct Debit’ as
a method of payment of subscriptions.


Seconded S. Milner
Voting: For – 39. Against 2. Motion Carried

It was suggested that other clubs be advised of non-members so
that such persons do not receive benefits afforded to club members.

11. I.D.M.F. Report ;-

The committee had nothing to report.

12. Results of Ballot for Committee ;-

The tellers returned the results as follows, in order of
votes cast;-



A. Jarratt

T. Humphreys

M. Lumley

M. McDonald

S. Milner

S. McManus

Votes Cast










D. Turner

P. McNab

J. Watson

P. Romford

N. Sprang  

R. Stevens

Votes Cast








Therefore Messr’s Jarratt, Humphreys, Lumley, McDonald,
Milner, McManus, Turner, McNab and Watson were duly elected to the committee.

13. Election of Committee Posts ;-













Caving Sec.

Hut Warden

Hut Engineer


Hon. Editor


M. McDonald

S, Milner

M. Lumley

P. McNab

A. Jarratt

J. Watson

T. Humphreys

S. McManus

M. Lumley

A. Jarratt

A. Jarratt

P. Cronnin

M. Grass

L. Smith

A. Jarratt

L. Smith

P. Cronnin

P. Cronnin

P. Cronnin

A. Jarratt

D. Bradshaw

N. Sprang

S. McManus

T. Hughes









Committee Member – D. Turner

*    There were two
nominations for the post of Membership Sec.









John Watson

Dave Turner

L. Smith

Rob Harper

N. Sprang

A. Turner



ABS. 3

Therefore John Watson was elected.

13.1 The meeting instructed the new committee to co-opt N.
Sprang at their first meeting.

14. Appointment of Hon Auditor ;-

Mr. B. Wilton was proposed as Hon Auditor.


Seconded D. Bradshaw
Carried Unan.

15. Club Trustees

Due to the resignation of Roy Bennett as a trustee of the
club, Barry Wilton was asked to take up the position.

Proposed Bob Cork
N. Taylor
Carried Unan.

A vote of thanks was recorded to Roy Bennett for his
dedication and work on behalf of the club over many years.

16. Life Membership

A long discussion took place on the subject, from which the
following motion was put to the floor: –

The new committee be asked to formulate a constitutional amendment
enabling absent members to gain ‘overseas life membership’.

Proposed T.Hughes
Seconded Chris Smart
Voting  For – 11, Against – 4, ABS. –
10.  Motion Carried.

17. Members Resolutions.

Committee Resolution to the A.G.M.

That St. Cuthbert’s Swallet may not be used by any body for
the purpose of any activities from which there may be any direct or indirect
financial or material gain, without the written permission of the committee;
who will not normally grant such permissions except in exceptional
circumstances where due consideration has been given to any legal implications
associated with the granting of such permissions.

Proposed          Bob Cork (Hon. Sec. for the committee)
Seconded          T.Hughes
Voting   For – 20, Against – 2, Motion

18. A.O.B.

18.1 St. Cuthbert’s Report ;-

D. Turner read D. Irwin’s report to the meeting.  D. Turner was asked to progress the report as
quickly as possible.

18.2 Commercial Caving ;-

P. Cronin made his views on the subject clear to the
meeting, pointing out the effects such activities may have on the club and
caving in general.  A. Sparrow replied,
explaining the difference between commercial caving and professional
caving.  He also advised the meeting that
the problems were particular to Goatchurch and Swildon’s hole.

18.3 Appointment of Librarian: –

T. Jarratt was asked to continue in the position, he agreed.

Proposed S.McManus
Seconded B.Cork
Carried Unan.

18.4 Cave Keys ;-

M. Lumley brought to the notice of the meeting the fact that
cave keys controlled by the club may be used for commercial purposes.  Further discussion on the matter suggested
that such use would be frowned upon should it occur.

There being no other business the chairman closed the
meeting at 14.30 hours.


Anecdote from Bassett

While staying at Awatiro, the Auckland Speleological Group
hut at Waitomo, for a search and rescue seminar last weekend, I heard the
following tale:

A member of the Cerberus was visiting

New Zealand
, and he spent a week
down at Waitomo doing a spot of caving. He stayed with A.S.G. at Waitomo, which is an old farmhouse occupying a
windswept spot right on the top of the Waitomo limestone block.  There are magnificent views from the hut,
particularly to the south, where the volcanoes of Tongariro are visible on
clear days, and to the east, where the

village of

nestles in the valley far below.

Now Kiwi tramping huts often have a loo with a view, and
Awatiro is no exception.  A large ceramic
pipe is set in concrete above a deep-dug pit, and this is topped off with
standard loo-seat and cover.  A brightly-painted,
wooden sentry-box affair, open to a somewhat lesser view to the north, but thus
sheltering the user from prevailing winds and frequent rain, completes this

The Cerberus bod arrived at the hut in the dark, wind
howling bitterly across the open plateau, and rain driving horizontally.  Very soon he asked directions for the toilet:

“Just follow that little path there – you can’t miss

A few minutes later he returned. soaked and dishevelled, and
proclaimed: –

“I’d heard you Kiwi cavers were tough, but that bog
some takes beating.”

The locals were a little puzzled by the remark, but thought
little of it except, perhaps, to take him for another whingeing porn – until
the morning, that is.  In the calm after
the storm, morning light revealed all. At the edge of the paddock a ceramic pipe emerged from a concrete plinth
in the grass.  The strong winds had
ripped the sentry-box from its mountings and had blown it, along with the seat
and cover, away down the hill.  Hard Kiwi
cavers indeed!


Caving Songs

I received the following plea from Nick (see Editorial)

Oldland Common

I am interested in hearing from any member who has details
or copies of caving songs.  The aim is to
collect together as many as possible from all over the country to form the
basis of a national caving song collection. Eventually I hope to be able to arrange for them to be published with
the profits going back into caving in some way, and not for personal gain.  To date I have approximately 170 songs and
thanks must go to those who have helped me so far.  I am looking for any song that concerns
caving, cavers, caves or clubs. If anyone has details, please contact me either
at home, The Hunters or The Belfry. Thanks.

Nick Cornwell-Smith


BEC Accounts for the Year Ending 31-08-89.

This year has been fairly quiet from a financial point of
view. All of the financial priorities for 1988/9 have been completed. The only
major expenditure has been the installation of the dehumidifier and the
purchase of a two more library units. The IDMF is growing steadily and the Cuthbert’s Report Pre-sales account
is quite healthy.

Notes on Expenditure.

General Account.

1)       The
Belfry Bulletin printing, postage and stationary costs have been much the same
as last year, with five issues being produced in this financial year.

2)       The
BCRA insurance was much the same as the previous year.  The Belfry insurance was twice as much; this
was due to the payment of an outstanding bill for the 1987/8 year.

3)       Very
little has been spent of caving equipment this year!

4)       The
telephone charges are absolutely correct; it is very expensive to rent a
payphone.  The returns are also correct,
so no one is fiddling the machine.  In
view of the high costs of renting this essential piece of equipment the
committee are currently costing the purchase of a coin operated telephone.

Sales Account.

5)       The
loss is due to the purchase of a load of stickers and metal badges.  They should last for a year or two, so we can
recoup the costs over this period.

Belfry Account.

6)       The
electricity has been overpaid this year, this has been going on since late 87
and it has at last been rectified.  We
are now £229 in credit.

7)       The
insurance was high this year, see note 2 above.

8)       The
repairs and improvements this year include the fitting of the dehumidifier
(£438) in the drying room and tidying of the changing room.  The Belfry has been painted and some work has
been done to the car park.

9)       Two
library units have been purchased; the library is now nearly complete.

10)   The
Belfry account has broken even this year, any deficit can be accounted for in
the credit with the Electricity Board.

Notes on Income.

General Account.

1)       The
subscriptions have been paid a little more promptly this year.  The higher income is due to the late payment
of the subs of 26 individuals (£312) from the 1987/8 year!  The total income due to subscriptions is
£2251 compared with £1678 from the previous year.  Please pay your subs as soon as possible in
October 1989.

2)       Donations
are higher this year.  The greatest part
of this sum is from anonymous individuals staying at the Belfry.

Belfry Account.

3)       The
income from the bednights this year is £1890 from 48 hutsheets.  The 4 hutsheets from August 1989 had not been
submitted in time for the close of accounts. Overall the income would be up on
last years’ and the account would be in credit.

4)       The
income from the Cuthbert’s Fees was £9.25. Did only 31 people go down St Cuthbert’s this year?  Come on you leaders, get your money heads on!

General Savings Fund.

This fund now stands at £859.

Ian Dear Memorial Fund.

As there was no income from the
1987/8 year, £200 was added to the account in 1988/9 and the balance now stands
at £538.  No requests for grants were
received this year.

St Cuthbert’s Report Pre-Sales Account.

There has been a little injection
into this account over the year and the balance is currently £828.  If the club is to fund the entire cost of the
publication then a considerable input into this account has to be made before
the book goes to print.  The club may
need to borrow a sum of money to bring the project to fruition.


I feel that the financial priorities for the coming year
are: –

The publication of the St
Cuthbert’s Report.

The replacement of old worn-out
caving tackle.

Further improvements to the BEC

Further improvements to the car

A long term project to be considered is the possible
installation of central heating and instant showers, this will be expensive and
a proper evaluation of this should be made.

The expenditure of the club has now exceeded the income for
two years running and it may be time to consider either increasing the subs or
the hut fees for 1990/1.  Certainly, if
we are to continue with the hut improvements and maintain the quality and
quantity of the BB we would need to increase the income.  This should be discussed at the AGM

So long as there is no major expenditure in 1989/90 the BEC
accounts should tick over nicely for the year. There will be extra income from the Wessex Challenge but this cannot be
counted upon. The publication of the St Cuthbert’s Report is a special case and
an alternative method of funding is required.

The BEC accounts are now whoever it may be.  I am live in

. So, to you are in my part of the ready to hand over to my successor,
resigning my post as I am going to all you BEC who get everywhere, if world,
pop in and say hello.

Steve Milner. 12-09-89.

BEC Accounts for the Year Ending 31-08-89.





General (Current) Account – INCOME












Gain from Dinner/AGM



Gain from




Building Society









General (Current) Account – EXPENDITURE






BB Printing



BB Stationery and


Public Liability


BCRA Insurance



Belfry Insurance (50%)



Rates – General &
Water (50%)



Tackle, Cave Keys,
Permits (CCC) Purchased



Less Tackle Fees &
CCC Permits Sold



Other Subscriptions and


IDMF Transfer



Carbide Licence



Library Purchases


Misc Postage and



Telephone Charges



Less receipts






Net Sales Loss/(Profit)



Transfer to Cuthbert’s


Net Belfry Account


















General (Savings) Account – Nationwide Building Society.






Opening Balance



Interest                                                                                     (Approx.)



Closing Balance.









Sales Account














Sweat & T-Shirts




Badges & Stickers







Net Profit/(Loss)















Belfry Account – INCOME






Bednights (not
including August)



Other Receipts



Special Item (Insurance
for Tackle Store)








Belfry Account – EXPENDITURE















Household Goods &



Belfry Insurance (50%)



Rates – General &
Water (50%)



Repairs and



Fixtures and Fittings


Purchases of Library









Net Profit/(Loss)









St. Cuthbert’s Report – Bristol & West Building Society





Opening Balance



Pre-Sales Income



BEC Contribution




Less Expenditure



Closing balance.












Ian Dear memorial Fund – Guardian Building Society






Opening balance


Transfer from General







Closing Balance









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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.