Exploration Club, The Belfry,

, Priddy, Wells,

Editor: Estelle Sandford

Committee Members

Secretary: Nigel Taylor
Treasurer: Chris Smart
Membership Secretary: Roz Bateman
Estelle Sandford
Caving Secretary: Andy Thomas
Tackle Master: Rich Blake
Deputy Tackle Master: Mike Willett
Hut Engineer: Nick Mitchell
Hut Warden: Becky Campbell
Librarian: Alex Gee


Hi. Oops.  I made a booboo in the last
BB.  Several in fact!

The first was with regards to the
song at the back of the BB, several people noticed that I had printed the
chorus wrong in verse 2 and 3.  I am
assuming that only three people mentioned it, either no one else knows the song
or are not reading your BB properly! (Please look out for future tests of your reading of the BB!!)  My apologies for this (I was copying it at
3am so was obviously too tired, but I admit this is no excuse) and you will
note the corrected version appears in this BB.

The second was with regards of the
two letters of apology.  I forgot to put
the disclaimer in, so here it is.

and articles in the last BB and also in this BB are not necessarily the views
of the Editor, the BEC Committee or the club in general.

The third was also related to the
letters; I forgot to put in a brief note on the reason for their
inclusion.  These were in the BB in
relation to a committee directive that Ale and Becky were to apologise to the
membership for their actions at the AGM, as part of the agreement to co-opt
them back on to the committee.  The AGM
minutes are included in this BB (thank you Nigel) should you required further
explanations if you were not at the AGM. Nigel and Andy still reserve the right to reply, pending further
discussion at the next committee meeting.

Anyway, enough of the apologies.

cut off for the next BB is 4th April.

I need articles, so come on
everyone, get writing.

Also, now that I can produce
reasonable quality pictures in the BB, if you have photos that relate to your
article please free to send them.  I will
do everything I can to make sure any photos are returned after I have finished
with them in the BB.  (I am also quite
happy to receive scanned in photos or picture via e-mail or on floppy disc.)


Meghalaya Photos


Krem Kot Sati in Meghalaya
Photo: Raphael Warji

Nasty looking caterpillar in Krem
Lashing (purple in colour and that was the closest any finger was going to get
to it!)                 Photo. Raphael Warjri


Caving and BEC News

– Andy Thomas is caving most Sunday mornings, and also Tuesday evenings.  If you want to go along, give Andy a call –
any levels of caving ability can be accommodated on these trips.

Also contact Andy if you are
interested in running trips, anywhere in the world or even just Mendip! There
are quite a few trips listed on the notice board at the Belfry.

Andy has plans to book some
Yorkshire/Derbyshire/Wales trips for this year; if you want any specific trips,
please let Andy know.

In case you didn’t notice in the
front of the BB, Andy has moved house to Street, Somerset.  His new phone number is 01458 xxxxxx.

White Spot Cave – the following
appeared in the Bristol Evening Post on Tues. 16th Dec, 1997:

Man faces Ban from Bat

People are set to be banned
from a cave in Cheddar – to prevent them from scaring the bats.

A metal grille could be
going in at White Spot Cave, which houses a colony of Greater Horseshoe Bats.

Heating could also be
installed for the Winter.

There are thought to be
only 6,000 of the creatures left in Britain.

Hugh Cornwall, director of
Cheddar Showcaves, has written to English Nature seeking formal permission for
the barrier. Mr Cornwall said: “If the bats are disturbed from their
torpor at any time during a cold winter it could cause the entire gorge
population to ‘crash’ .”

The latest on the situation at White
Spot Cave is that the ideas have been thrown out due to complaints from cavers
and White Spot will not be gated or have heaters installed.

Caves Access
– The general access to caves in the Cheddar Gorge area has
now been restricted to ‘out of Bat season’ – access is only available between 1
st May and 30th September.

v Wessex Skittles Challenge
.  There
was a good turnout for this from both sides. Last year the BEC had problems fielding a team and we had to borrow
members of other clubs to make up the numbers. This year a lot of the BEC turned up late, so as it was assumed we may
have the same problem as last year, we ended up with a large group of MCG helping
us out and a lot of BEC sat on the sidelines!! After a closely run match of three rounds, the Wessex won by 10 points
in the end.  (We never wanted a gnome
anyway, it would be too short for the BEC!!!)

– Someone has dumped a load of used hypodermic needles and condoms
around the car parking area by the gate at GB / Charterhouse.  As many as could be found have been cleared
up by the Mendip Wardens, but the obvious warnings about needles still exist as
there may still be hidden needles in the undergrowth there.

No 31
– This is available from caving shops.  (Free – but how about a donation to you local
Cave Rescue Service.)  This issue
contains a BMC report of the dangers of ‘figure-8/karabiner combination’ and
‘maillon/Petzl Stop’ problems. Information of Access and Conservation round the Regions.  A Training Bulletin, giving details of
emergency kits to take underground.  Also
a booklet on Interpreting the NCA Rope tests.

.  The club would like to
welcome Martin Selfe, Redruth, Cornwall as a new member, and the rejoining of
Gwyn Taylor (Timpson) Ingleton, N. Yorks., Via Carnforth.

.  Congratulations on
ratification to full membership to the following: Anette Becher, Tim Chapman,
Clive Stell, Jeremy Dixon Wright and Ben Ogbourne.

I would like to thank the majority
of members for paying their 97/98 membership subs before 1998.  All outstanding subscriptions please send to
me A.S.A.P. so the Belfry Bulletin No. 494 and your new membership card can be

I would also like to thank all
members who have donated money to the B.E.C funds this year.

I hope you all like your new
waterproof membership cards and I look forward to seeing you all at the BEC
stomp next weekend (7tb Feb) SUPPORT YOUR TACKLE STORE.  Roz Bateman

Members News
.  For those of you who
knew them when they were members, Wobbly and Sally are parents.  They have adopted a 12 week old baby called
Callum David Shand.  Parents and baby are
doing fine.

Alan and Kirsten Turner are also
parents; they have a baby boy called Robert David Turner.

Reminder – Photos are still required
for the photo-board at the Belfry and also the Belfry Bulletin.

If you haven’t visited the Belfry
for a while, you will notice as you walk in next time, an informative notice
board with a Cuthbert’s survey and photos of the cave, courtesy of Jake.

– will shortly be available at

– From messages I have had from various members of the club, it has become
apparent that a lot of the members who have e-mail, are on a works e-mail
address, so do not want it publicised. For this reason we will not actually be publishing an e-mail list at
this time.

One thing I am finding with the
e-mail is that when I e-mail to say the BB is out, I am getting a lot of
responses requesting me to hold their BB until they are down next time.  If you think this would be a helpful service
to you, e-mail me and I can let you know as well.  (If you request that you do not want me to
publicise your address, I will not forward it to anyone, without your

from India
– This is part of the letter that was received by Tony Jarratt
from Brian Kharpran Daly of the Meghalaya Adventurers Association on 15/12/97:

“After you
all had left we had some more caving with Daniel, and of course there was
nothing to beat Krem Lymput.  We have
surveyed 2.75kms and it is still going on and on.  She really amazed me every time I visited
her.  Big, spacious and simply
fantastic.  We have not yet explored all
the big passages, so we never had eyes for any crawls.  I know you will love her even if there are no

“The Indian
Air Force (Eastern Air Command) – Adventure Wing, have affiliated themselves to
our association, and they are very eager to go caving with us.  You know what, the next time we go caving and
we need a helicopter for aerial survey, etc. we have one.  How about it!”

Sound like they’re in for some fun
during the expedition in February.  We
look forward to an article.  See the
photos on the preceding page and the next page. They were taken by Raphael from the Meghalayan Adventurers last

Press – THAILAND 98

Tony Boycott and I spent 8 days in
the Tai Romyen National Park in Surat Thani Province in Southern Thailand in
company with Dean Smart (ex Orpheus and now working for the Royal Forest
Dept.)  During that time 2.7 kms of caves
were surveyed with another cave of >2kms left un-surveyed.  Most of the caving was either horizontal
active stream passage or high level big abandoned fossil passages (usually
stunningly decorated).

Rob Harper


Some of the misfits that ended up in
Meghalaya, February last year!

L-R Rear: – Tony Boycott, Daniel
Gebauer, Anand Jamatia, Brian Kharpran Daly, Andy Tyler, Kaiman C. Hiwol
Passah.  Front: – Tony Jarratt,
Estelle Sandford.

The Meghalaya Expedition found the
most cave of any foreign expedition last year at 24.7km.  The photo was taken on the last day at the
Circuit House in Jowai by Raphael Warjri


Recent New Caving Books

Below is a list of caving books
which have been released in the last year. If any members have purchased any of these books, perhaps you would like
to do me a review for publication in a future BB.  The list is compiled by Tony Jarratt, and he
has advised me that all these books are available from a little caving emporium
in Wells!!

The Complete
Caving Manual – By Andy Sparrow  £14.99

Selected Caves of
Britain and Ireland – Des Masshill and Donald Rust. £11.95

The Cave Rescuers
Manual – Speleo Secours Francais  £6.50

Speleo Dans Le
Vercors (New Edition) – Serge Caillaut et al £10.95

Darkworld –
Martyn Farr  £15.95

Bibliography of South Asia – Daniel Gebauer et al  £30.00

The Caves of
Fermanagh and Cavan – Gareth H. Jones et al £15.00

The Caves of the
Isle of Portland – Mike O’Connor & Nigel Graham  £10.00

Cave Guide to
Slovenia – Ian Bishop  £9.00

Speleo Guide
Chartreuse – Jean Louis Fantoli  £15.00

Joke – Courtesy of Sett

What are bats most afraid of?


(from the Greek ‘dia’ meaning
through and ‘rhoia’ meaning flow!!)


The BEC Song

Tune: Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill
Author: G. Weston
Source: Belfry Bulletin Vol XV No 10 Oct 1961

A local bloke
from Rodney Stoke
More fond of beer than labour
Was recommended by a friend
To go and be a caver
He said “Your thirst is not the first
Of such capacity.
I know a crowd who’ll do you proud.
Go join the BEC”.

Chorus:          Go join the BEC
                     Go join the BEC
                     That boozy crew will
do for you
                     Go join the BEC

The M.C.G. brew splendid tea,
Which makes them rather merry.
The Speleo’s look down their nose,
At tipple less than sherry.
The Shepton brood are rude and crude
When drinking at the local.
But worse by far the Wessex are,
Exclusively teetotal.

Chorus:          We are the BEC
                     Down with sobriety
                     Throw out your chest
cry “Beer is best”,
                     And join the BEC

Each Friday night, we all get tight
As soon as we are able.
By half past eight we lie in state
Beneath the Belfry table.
By nine o’ clock our knees may knock
We stagger out despite them
By half past ten we’re pissed again
And so ad infinitum

Chorus:          We are the BEC
                     And this we must
                     Whatever is worth
                     We’ll do it to


Tackle Store Report

Mike Willett.

Before we go on to the tackle store,
I am obliged to inform the membership of the recent change.  Richard Blake, who was voted to be Tackle
Master at the AGM, is working in Egypt at the moment.  Before leaving, Richard asked me if I would
run the tackle store, because of the length of time he was going to be
away.  I said I would, and with the
committee’s approval, I am now Deputy Tackle master.  I’m just waiting for my shiny badge!

The contents of the tackle store at
the moment are as follows. –

  • 2
    x ten meter ladders.
  • 1
    x eighteen foot ladder.
  • 1
    x St Cuthbert’s entrance ladder (for that purpose only).  Tagged.
  • 3
    x Spreaders.
  • 3
    x Wire Belays
  • There
    is no lifeline, or it hasn’t been booked out.
  • There
    is a stock of 8 exploration ropes ranging from 18 – 40meteres in length
    but these are over seven years old and have not been tested yet.  They will be, and any that fail can be
    used for digging purposes.

According to the last entry in the
tackle masters logbook (beam me up Scotty) there are 11 ladders missing and 8
in various digs.  This has been the state
of affairs for at least a year now.  The
ladders in digs, I am accounting for and collecting.  I pulled one out from the bottom of Gladman
Shaft in Eastwater Cavern on a recent trip, but it has to be destroyed because
of its condition.  I suspect this will be
the case for the majority of the 8 ladders that have been used in digs.  The general feeling on what to do about the
11 missing ladders is to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch, so that’s
what is going to happen.  However, as far
as the missing ladders go, I’ll just say this. –  If you have one put it back
please, the key to the tackle store is in the key cupboard!  If you have one and you don’t want to give it
back, then you’re a shit!

The tackle store for now will have
to tick over with 3 ladders in stock.  This
shouldn’t be a problem if everyone books out his or her ladder and spreader,
and return it to the tackle store. Preferably straight after their trip, and tick the book to say they’ve
done so.  If everybody does this, then
the tackle store should run itself.

As you all know the BEC Stomp is on
the 7 February and the proceeds are being used to restock the tackle
store.  Rope is what we are most in need
of, along with materials for ladder making. A list of all money raised and tackle purchased will be included in the
next BB tackle store report.  Let’s hope
everyone has a thirst on that evening.

PS. While I’m here I’ll take the
opportunity to thank Jake for all his help, and also thanks to Mike Wilson for
his encouragement and advice.


Where to in Wookey?

By Pete
Glanvill, January 1998

Although I haven’t dived in Wookey
for several years I still retain a healthy interest in others activities and
wish the 25 pushing team the best of luck. However in the push to the end I feel that a number of leads have been
neglected and as a number of finds 15 years ago were made after perusal of old
diving reports I thought a run down on sites of interest throughout the system
might generate some enthusiasm.  I have
given some references but they are by no means complete.

Starting at Chamber Nine, I wonder
why nobody has ever examined that soaring wall above the sump.  OK, everybody assumes that the old water exit
to the surface was found by John Parker in 1970 and the water entered via the
current 20-9 route.  But what if water
flowed in from a higher level at some time? A bolt climb straight up that wall to its highest point would provide a
conclusive answer.  There are plenty of
climbers about capable of doing it and with current aids to bolting it wouldn’t
take long.  Whether the show cave
management would like it is another matter entirely!

(A route across the top of it was
started from the highest point – about 90ft up – some years ago but not
completed – A.J. – See Appendix 1)

Between 9 and 20 there is very
little hint of development not already found. I have examined 12 and 13 and Clive Owen forced the only going lead from
there to a definite conclusion back in the mid to late ’80’s.

The 20th chamber still offers
opportunity for extension.  An intimate
inspection of the roof between 19 and the lake area on the ‘upstream’ side
needs to be done sometime (see later description of Edmund’s Chamber
prospects).  Then, just beyond the lake,
there is one of the most tantalising side passages in the system.  A short climb on the left hand side of the
passage facing the way on into 20 enters an extensive and well developed series
known as the 2 W’s series after its explorers Woodward and Whybro.  It is little known, having been visited
precisely four times – once partly by Brian Woodward and John Parker in 1970
then explored further by the 2 W’s in 1983 (note 1) then visited by Chris Milne
and Paul Whybro (note 2) and partly by Brian Johnson and myself (note 3).  The partly refers to a very tight bedding
squeeze not far into the extension which acts as a formidable barrier to many

The 2 W’s extension, about 50 metres
beyond the lake in 20 is reached by a 3 metre climb (best done using combined
tactics and a ladder although there used to be a doubled rope on it).  A nice stooping height tube ascends to a 4
metre scramble up a roomy fluted rift. The passage changes character here becoming a wide low decorated sloping
bedding.  There is a challenging squeeze
after 4 metres which Brian couldn’t pass and which required me to remove my
wetsuit to get through (although that was so unpleasant I managed to get back
wearing it!).  Whether Chris Milne got
through here on what was supposed to a surveying trip is debatable according to
what Harpic told me.  Our trip was to photograph
and survey it and somewhere I have some crude notes made on my solo exploration
(the photos are a bit uninspiring – nobody in them of course).

Beyond the squeeze one can descend
the bedding to a stony crawl in an area of breakdown.  There is a definite draught here and in fact
the whole of the extension is draughty. Beyond the shattered section another roomy bedding crawl leads to a
roomy aven chamber in limestone.  On the
opposite side of the aven is a squeeze over boulders into a 2 metre diameter
tube.  At the start of the tube is an
interesting boulder run in which is a potential dig site and the quite well
decorated tube slopes down to a mud choke – again diggable.

The aven itself has been climbed
once by Woodward and Whybro who got to 15 metres height where a ledge and low
arch gave access down a ramp into a chamber 4 metres across and 15 metres
high.  They noticed several potential
digs – a choked rift in the floor, a choked horizontal passage at the base of
the chamber and an inaccessible tube 5 metres up the wall of the chamber.

This extension is, without doubt,
the most significant in 20 apart from the short series of tunnels at the end
which trend towards 24.  I do wonder if
this near series is heading towards 20 – a dry link perhaps or another inlet?
The draught hints at something and the passages are fairly large.  After 10 years perhaps the extension deserves
its 4th visit, to be seen by more than the 3 or 4 people who have been there so
far and to be surveyed properly!

The end of 20 has been well and
truly dug since Jim Durston and I first had a prod many years ago.  It still offers a good chance of a dry link
to 24.

The next port of call has to be
Edmund’s Chamber.  This was relocated by
myself in 1984 on a dive with Clive Westlake. I couldn’t believe I had entered virtually a new chamber in Wookey after
all the diving that had been done beyond 22. That rediscovery is the raison d’etre for this article because there is
only a 2 line reference to its original discovery, the diving that time being
focused purely on getting upstream.  It
was only my puzzlement when browsing through the Somerset Sump Index and seeing
this reference that led to my diving exploration (note 4).  There is an unpublished Descent article about
the ascent of Edmund’s Chamber so I won’t go into details except to comment
that not all the above-water leads in Edmund’s have been played out and that
Beyond the Thunderdome, the high level passage off it, runs straight towards 20
and can only be 50 metres or less from it where it ends in breakdown – it is
also well scalloped suggesting significant flow in the past.  This could be one of the sites to examine for
a dry link between 20, 22, 23 and 24.  If
you do go there don’t use the rope on the final chimney climb.  It has been there for over ten years and is
belayed to a single bolt!

22 has now been well explored.  The roof climbs are virtually completed and
offer a link with Halloween Rift while in one corner is the side passage off
which the dry link to 22 goes – Cam Valley Crawl where Trev Hughes and Rob
Harper pipped me to the post all those years ago (gnash! gnash!) (note 5)  Jim Durston and I got the crap deal of
surveying it which was grim I can tell you! It has also been surveyed to Grade V (appropriately on 1.4.84 by Clive
Westlake, myself and (for the horrid bit at the end as revenge) Rob Harper) and
the survey published in the CDG NL although I cannot remember which one!

There is no obvious dry route
between 23 and 24 but the sumps are very short and shallow.  24 still offers scope for exploration and
digging but as Rob Harper and Trev Hughes never surveyed (or drew sketches of )
their finds and they called them all ‘Pleasant Valley – whatever day of the
week that came into their heads nobody else has a clue what is really there –
if you don’t believe me you try reading the reports  (note 6). All I know is that the finds were made in the Oxbow Extension,
apparently draughting, and possibly head towards 20 at a variety of
levels.  I am quite sure there are other
locations in 24 that haven’t been examined such as the rift above where the
stream can be seen for the final time before reappearing in 22 (and that is
another mystery which Mike Barnes has started addressing).

So what needs to be done in
Wookey?  Well some accurate surveying and
publication of the finds made since the mid eighties would be useful
(especially if used in conjunction with a mole phone).  Trebor and Pat Cronin supposedly started
doing this in May 89 (note 7) – so where is it Trebor?  As regards survey notes I have used Willie
Stanton in the past as a repository for these. This could usefully be followed up by looks at the leads I have
mentioned. Food for thought is that Cam Valley Crawl, Beyond the Thunderdome
(note 8), the Oxbow extensions in 24 and possibly 2 W’s extension are all on
the same level suggesting they are all part of the same development – but then
I’m not a geologist.

Appendix 1 – By Andy Sparrow

Regarding Wookey Hole Chamber 9 – I
had the same ideas about high level Wookey 9 and together with Brian Murlis
bolted partially across from the landing at the top of the chamber a couple of
years back.  We progressed about 15 feet
and got a good look at the prospects. Straight on the rift closes down and the
only possibility is to climb upwards into the roof but this appears to pinch
out too.  There is still a chance there,
but looking down into the chamber the walls are covered in huge scallops and
there seems little doubt that the shaft/aven/chamber has been formed by
phreatic uplift.  We abseiled down from
our furthest point (a fabulous 25m pitch) on the traverse and had a look at the
other rifts in the roof.  Again there are
possibilities but only vague ones that would probably not justify the huge
technical problem of bolting into them. Having said that, if anyone feels like returning and pushing to a
conclusion give me a shout.


  1. CDG
    Newsletter 68 page 26.
  2. CDG
    Newsletter 69 page 17
  3. CDG
    Newsletter 93 page 34
  4. CDG
    NIL’s 39.20 and 74.38
  5. CDG
    NIL 71.12
  6. CDG
    NIL 69.17,94.30,108.27, 113.40
  7. CDG
    NIL 92.25
  8. Survey
    in CDG NIL 92.25


The Eifel Volcanoes of Germany

By Mike
and Hilary Wilson

While Hilary and I were in Germany
with Helmut and his family, we took the opportunity to drive south from
Solingen past Bonn to the Eifel Region, approximately 100km from Solingen.  For anyone who is interested in geology and
walking, this area must be one of the most geologically compact areas in

Do not expect to see large towering
volcanic cones or huge lava flows because this is not the case.  The area has to be explored ‘on foot’ to
uncover the secrets and appreciate how time, man and climate have managed to
erode and conceal what must have been a spectacular landscape millions of years
ago.  Don’t worry though, the overall
effect, although very ‘soft’ is still there.

The best base point to use would be
an old town called Vulkanstad.  Here
there is a volcano information centre here and several ‘wanderwegs’ (footpaths)
radiating outwards.  Probably the most
interesting one is the ‘Laacher See’ – a large volcanic lake, which again is
not what it seems at first glance.  It is
possible to walk around the lake on two levels: –

1.       Lakeside

2.       A
higher level around what was the peripheral volcanic rim

Route 2 is forested and requires
good route finding and a map (Wanderkarte 1/25,000 Osteifel mit Laacher
See).  The whole area is good for walking
and has the advantage of not being crowded like the Pyrenees.

The rest of the Eifel Plateau
consists of some more volcanic lakes known as ‘Maare’.  These are near the town of Daun.  Beyond these lakes, is the Mosenberg Volcano,
with its four extinct craters.  It is
about one hour hike from the road (don’t expect a massif, it’s only 1,800 foot
high now!)

There are two more good reasons for
staying in this region, one is the Numburgring Miric is very near and two the
Mosel Wine region is only 50km away.

So go and find it for yourselves, we
have managed several walks ourselves.


Village in the Eifel Region. Photo:
Mike Wilson


Goodness me.  Has it been that long?

Swildons Hole’s Sump 12 – as she now
lies an account of the present position

Trebor McDonald

Goodness me, has it been that
long?  Nearly 33 years Messrs. Drew,
Savage and Wooding reached Sump 12 on the 20th March 1965 and after 33 years it
has still not been passed.  This just
will not do.  There are 30 odd logged
dives in this most stubborn of sumps and many man hours of work but still no
luck.  With very few realistic sumps to
work on in the Mendip area, this one needs to be sorted.


On the 6th March 1965, Mike Wooding
passed sumps 9 and 10 quite easily to stand up in the impressive Swildons 11
streamway, only to be hit with an awkward-looking duck.  He returned to the right side of 9 to join
the others.  Dave Savage then had a go,
reaching the duck in Swildons 11 to find a muddy high level by-pass to the duck
which descended into the streamway just before Sump 11.  Another muddy tube could be seen ascending at
this point with running water audible on the other side but a return to base
was made. Sump 12 was subsequently reached by the trio on the 20th by
by-passing sump 11.  Since then all
efforts in sump 12 have produced a blank. Wooding, Savage, Drew, (John) Parker, Boon, Cobbett, Collett, Reynolds,
Moody, Palmer, Solari, Farr, Fairburn et al., have all had a poke but with no
success.  The main problems encountered
were an unsureness of the way on, no indication of the layout of the sump,
restrictions and silt, the place is full of the stuff.  In February 1969 after the great floods of
1968, Reynolds and Standing carried out an inspection of the streamway to
assess flood damage and a quick dive in sump 12 revealed no indication of it
having been opened up.  Most divers were
merely doing one-off dives in the sump at this time and there was no concerted
long-term effort.  As a result nobody was
really getting to grips with the place and nobody really knew the layout of the
sump.  As part of a request by me when
up-dating the Somerset Sump Index in 1990/1, Pete Moody and Rob Palmer made the
following observations:

“The two
trips written up (Moody and Parker, 1972)….. do not give the whole
picture.  The first squeeze mentioned by
JP at 80ft did not really exist; however; the second one was pretty extreme.  Not only did you have to de-kit but it was a
considerable struggle for a few feet before it opened out again.  I would not fancy doing it with twin
kit.  The bang of the 27th Feb (’72) only
removed a few chert nodules and did not have any effect on the squeeze.  Beyond, the passage at maximum depth choked
out however but a rift to the left can be followed and a very brave person with
a lump hammer might be able to force a route upwards.  What was so exciting about JP’s find was that
he definitely, absolutely and certainly had the whole of the Swildon’s flow
going through the squeeze which was a rock letter box off to the right of the
main tube.  I cannot believe that Solari
(1.6.74) or Palmer (20.2.82) were in the same place as us, unless it had silted
up further back.  The problem is that
everyone who has dived in there since Wooding and Drew have either done one-off
dives or explored just a single underwater passage.  I do not think anyone really knows the layout
in there.  From all the conflicting
reports I wonder whether the flow actually changes over time with deeper routes
silting up end then being scoured out by floods.”

Pete Moody, 1990.

Rob Palmer was sent the above
account by me for comment and his reply was:

recollection of the place pretty well matches Pete’s.  The pool drops away pretty steeply over a
muddy floor with a bit of a trench in it, sloping down to the right as you go
in.  At the bottom there is a rock-roofed
slot in the right wall, about 6-7” high. with a pebble/gravel floor that
seems to take all the flow.  This is probably
Parker’s’ “second squeeze”.  As
Pete says, the first squeeze does not exist – I think he must have wriggled
through a mud constriction at the side of the trench, very possible if he was
following the left or right walls.  The
last time I went there with Julian Walker (1985), it looked the same as in ’82
being too tight to pass through.   At the
other side you can feel a cross-rift, not too big, continuing up.  It has probably silted up since Parker and
Moody and only the flow keeps a bit of it open.”

Rob Palmer, 1991.

From all the odd distances, depths
and descriptions set out in the various dive reports the above accounts are
considered by me to be the closest to the opinions held by myself and Mike
Barnes with the advantage of having carried out many dives in the last few
years.  Some of the depths and distances
mentioned above are very optimistic but that is not unusual.

We consider that we now know more
about the sump than anyone else and as far as we are concerned the sump is
roughly as shown in the survey sketches. From the reasonable-sized sump pool the approximately 2m wide and 1m
square, mud-floored passage descends quite steeply at about 45deg for about 10m
to a mud-covered end wall blockage.  By
following the right hand wall however a gravel-bottomed trench/tube, a little
larger than body size, bears off to the right. This restricted trench is about 2.5m long, perhaps a little longer, and
has a definite solid right hand wall. The left side is a little more confused but there is a definite roof. At
the end of the trench a squeeze comes into feel (not “view” as you
cannot see diddly) corkscrewing down and to the right a little.  This is at the deepest point -7m.  By taking one tank off it is possible to
wriggle through to stand up in a cross-rift, the squeeze effectively being
behind you down by your heels.  The rift
is perhaps 2.5m long and only 1m wide – you can touch the other side of the
rift as you stand up from the squeeze. To the right the rift closes down quickly and there is believed to be a
bubble connection with sump 12a from here. To the left the rift pinches out also. The way on is definitely vertically up (the lump hammer banging referred
to by Pete Moody) and the muddy water can be seen swirling up past your face
mask. However, the rift soon narrows due to nodules and ledges and the
intention is/was to try and knock off these nodules to force a way up to the
surface.  By clambering up the rift a
short way, a depth gauge on an outstretched arm reads -1m, so not far to go.


Over the last two years Mike Barnes
and myself, and earlier
Pete Bolt
have been trying to consolidate the squeeze. Although we had already got through the squeeze on a few occasions it
was a real wriggle and not very nice.  We
knew it would always be a problem and if banging and hammering work was to be
carried out in the ascending rift beyond we wanted to know that there would be
a fair chance that our retreat would not be blocked. So in late 1997, when we
thought the squeeze might be big enough, we decided to pass through to try and
bang the nodules off the rift the other side. We thus spent a few weekends further digging out the squeeze and the
trench that led to it leaving it nice and tidy for the appointed day when we
were going to blow the hell out of the rift, like you do.  On arriving at the sump I set up the charges
and Mike offered to lay them in the squeeze. Two minutes later an irate diver returned complaining that the squeeze
had completely silted up again and he could not get near enough to lay the
bang.  We had insufficient air to dig out
the squeeze and then lay the bang so in a fit of pique the stuff was laid on
the right hand wall of the trench and …. wallop.  “Too much bang methinks,” I said to
Mike before we turned and ran for the safety of sump 10.

On exit the previous weekend we were
faced with a mega thunderstorm and no doubt, dear readers, you can imagine two
knackered wet suited divers lying in the grass, as far away from the tanks as
possible, hoping and praying whilst lightning crashed all around.  We thought then that that storm had caused
the silting in the sump but now we consider that any flooding in the cave
causes no change at all to the sump.  The
sump just silts up naturally from week to week as already described.


a.          As you may have guessed from the above, the main
problem is a combination of restriction and silting.  In a way, by widening the trench leading to
the squeeze, we may have inadvertently caused our own problem.  With a wider trench the water flow through
the squeeze is now greater.  The
silt-laden water thus hits the far wall of the rift, stops dead and thus dumps
its load effectively blocking the squeeze. The Swildons flow is not great enough to drive the silt through the
sump, vertically up the 7m rift and thus on down the cave.  From Sump 2 onward the streamway is
essentially horizontal and with numerous sumps and restrictions along the way
any flood water that may make its way down the cave is greatly slowed.  So, by the time flood water reaches sump 12
it is merely a trickle and thus has no scouring action at all. Furthermore, the
sumps and streamway are all quite heavily silted so the progressive movement of
silt down the cave will always occur.

So, for practical, common sense and peace of mind reasons it will be necessary
to widen the squeeze further, preferably in conjunction with some
silt-prevention measures.

b.          A second problem is cold and wet suiting.  An ordinary caving wet suit is pleasant to
cave in down to 12 but hideously cold whilst digging in the terminal sump and
hanging around generally during a 7-9 hour trip.  A diving wet suit is nice in the sump but too
hot to cave in!  We thus have to cave down
to 12 with the top of the long-john rolled down to the waist making it a little

c.          Sump 12 is also a remote place and a little
daunting and the slog out is unpleasant if not fully fit.

d.          Tank size is a big problem also and as usual
there has to be a trade-off between tank size, portability and the need to make
every trip as productive as possible. Taking two large tanks in every time is a nightmare so we have found the
best compromise is to store a small 3 litre bail-out tank on the friendly side
of sump 9 to use as a reserve through the longish sump 9 and while digging in
12.  We then take in and out a high
pressure 7 litre tank each trip to use in the sumps to 12 and whilst digging in
12 as well.  This obviously gives us
relatively limited air but dragging two large tanks in and out each time does
not bear thinking about.  By free-diving
most of the sumps, or judicious breathing, little of the air is used up on the
trip down allowing maximum air to be used whilst digging.  Anyway, digging for 7 litres worth of air
usually coincides with the onset of hypothermia and fedupness.

e.          Poor, invariably zero visibility is a big
headache.  It is almost certain that the
sump would have been passed years ago if divers could have seen what they were
doing.  This is always the problem with
downstream sumps.  In this case we have
managed to see a little by one diver charging through sumps 9 and 10, to stay
ahead of the silt generated, running down the passage to sump 12 (a comical
site in full gear) and then charging into sump 12 and poling like mad to get a
glimpse of the work place before the mists stirred up on the way down blots out


There are various solutions that we
have devised, not necessarily in the following order (nay, definitely in this

a.          Retire from diving.  Seems very sensible to me!!

b.          Give up and let some keen young blades with
stamina, resilience and no brains have a go.

c.          Build a silt trap in the natural arch that spans
the streamway some 10m back from the sump to try and prevent further silt from
entering the sump itself.  This however
does not resolve the problem of the ton of silt already in the sump.

d.          Blast the squeeze to Hell and see what
happens.  However, with indiscriminate
blasting you are never sure what hanging death there is.  We are still not sure of the damage from the
last blast.  In zero viz. it is not nice
blundering about in tight trenches and squeezes in the knowledge that there may
be all sorts of nasty Henrys hovering above you.

e.          A combination of a) and b) or c) and d).

Finally, we have had half a mind
(wags will say we cannot spare it) on what happens above the water line the
other side of the sump.  With a tight
ascending rift festooned with nodules and ledges, there is no reason to suppose
that the rift will suddenly widen into nice ambling passageway (with Cafe!)
directly above the water line.  If the
rift continues tight up above the surface, we can envisage a frustrated diver
surfacing with his helmet jammed tight in the rift looking down a long, bleak,
narrow watery fissure for how long?  5m,
l0m … 50m?  We’ll cross that bridge
when and if we come to it.

Ho hum Happy Caving.



The Mines of Le Saut, near Meribel, Les Trois Vallees, Haute Savoie,

Chris Smart

Last summer Blitz and family took
off to Meribel, in the French Alps for a well-earned three week holiday.   Meribel, in the picturesque les Allues
valley, in the Three Valleys area is situated close to Albertville, the site of
a recent Winter Olympics. Some of you may know the area for its world class
skiing and the thousands of tourists that it attracts every winter.  In the summer however, the area is much
quieter and the lower mountain slopes are carpeted with a profusion of Alpine
flowers.  There was a mention, in a book
of local walks, of an old abandoned lead mine some hours walk from Meribel and
I decided that this could be incorporated into an interesting days walk for
myself.  It would also make an excellent
winter’s ski excursion using the profusion of winter ski lifts to gain easy


In the les Allues valley, the road
ends at Meribel-Mottaret (1681 metres) and the Nature Reserve of the Lac de
Tueda begins almost immediately.  I
followed the rough jeep track alongside the main feeder stream for the lake up
a series of switchbacks alongside thundering waterfalls and cascades.  After 200 metres of climbing one enters the
broad flat floored Vallon de Fruit, a high (2000 metres altitude) Alpine meadow
complete with the obligatory cows with their mixture of tinkling, clattering
and booming cow bells.  It is also where
you enter the Parc de la Vanoise.  This
National Park is well known for its protected wildlife and the Aiguille de
Fruit rising steeply to a height of 3051 metres on the left-hand side of the
path is, according to the local guidebook, the home of wild Chamois.

An hour and a half after leaving
Meribel-Mottaret I arrived at the Refuge de Saut (2140 metres) a private Alpine
hut with limited accommodation.  There is
now very little to see apart from some small spoil heaps and one entrance to
the mine, a short climb up the rocky slope behind the hut.  The Mines of Le Saut were worked between 1758
and 1773 by a combination of up to 25 Germans and 25 men from the Piedmont area
of what is now northern Italy.  According
to the local walks guidebook, the mines produced the equivalent of 200,000
worth of gold French Francs from both Silver (11%) and Lead ore (18%).

The book suggests that the initial
sorting and processing was carried out on site on site before a preliminary
smelting in a wood fire.  The partly
smelted ore was then transported to the north, on the backs of mules, to be
further refined in the valley of Notre Dame de Brian~on, a few kilometres north
west of Moutiers.  However the intense
over exploitation of the forests to the north for heating the Salines Royales
(Royal Baths) in Moutiers meant that the initial smelting on site was very soon
not possible and the unrefined ore was then transported to the south.

This southward route was
particularly difficult as it used the part of the Maurienne Path that leads
eventually to the small village of Fourneaux, close to Modane on the River L’
Arc.  It climbs up the valley from the
mine, across the rocky moraines of the Glacier de Gebroulaz, which is often
snow covered in summer, up to the Col du Souffre (2,819m = 9,229ft) before
descending to the Refuge de Peclet Polset, now a Club Alpine Francais climbing
hut at 2,570m.  Another ascent followed
for the next hour, up to the Col de Chaviere (2,796m) before the long descent
in the Chauiere valley to Fourneaux.  An
early example of the economic dangers of the over exploitation of our forests?

As can be seen by the dates the
undertaking was relatively short lived but there are some spoil heaps, the
ruins of an inclined plane and two entrances remain open.  A local information board says that there are
400 metres of pitches and galleries.  The
local Tourist Information Office in Meribel advises that entry to the mines is
extremely dangerous without their accompaniment but despite this danger they
will organise visits in the summer if enough punters can be found!  I had a short venture in the obvious entrance
and was met with a howling gale of very cold air.  The initial passage almost immediately
entered a small chamber with extremely friable walls and roof and a floor
covered in fine gravel, representing the frost breakdown debris.  A low squeeze giving access to the rest of
the mine has obviously been dug in the recent past but I chose this point to
reconsider the sunshine outside.

The sunshine was however, to cause
me a problem on the next section of my walk after I had retraced my steps back
to the base of the Aiguille de Fruit.  A
poor and little used footpath climbs steeply for the next hour and
three-quarters before one arrives at the Col de Fruit (2516 metres) with its
excellent views into the Courchevel valley. This was not my destination but opened up the possibility of a ridge
walk.  As it turned out the ridge soon
became very narrow, more of a cross between Crib Goch and Sharp Edge with a few
isolated snow hollows.  It ended all too
quickly close to the ski lift station for the Sommet de la Saulire.  This wasn’t running and the next hour and a
half’s long dusty slog back down to Meribel was mind numbing.  If you want to repeat this walk I would
suggest a day when this ski lift is working and then use it for the descent.

In conclusion – an excellent day
walking on the hill.  With half an hour
for lunch the complete circuit took 7 hours and for about a half of that I had
the paths to myself. 


Welsh’s Green Swallet – The Survey

(Or The Mud-pile Strikes Back)

Trevor Hughes

20th July 1979 – Graham ‘Jake’
Johnson started dig (from surface!)

May 1989 – First breakthrough (into
Washout Passage) – 190m

29/10/92 – Breakthrough – 61m

30/10/92 – Breakthrough – 23m

October/November 1992 were very
successful months for diggers on Mendip. White Pit was finally going after an intensive effort by a host of
diggers from many clubs, including a trip that included three German folk
dancers!  Geologically speaking the most
important breakthrough was the next set of extensions to Welsh’s Green. Graham
Johnson and team’s initial entry into the ‘Washout’ section of the cave seemed
to hold out the prospects of more discoveries but the breakdown section at the
end, past the second aven, took nearly 3½ years and a lot of effort to
pass.  The next extension of 60m was
first entered on 29th October 1992, was actually predicted in the Hunters
(where else!) on the night before.  A
further extension of 23m was made the following day and since then
approximately 10m of hard fought, torturous progress through an area of
extensive block-fall has been engineered. Incidentally the White Pit diggers, of which I was one, had only to wait
until the 4th November for their breakthrough into the well decorated upper
series of that cave.

The prospect of surveying, not only
the United Kingdom’s longest Blue Lias cave but also one of Mendip’s muddiest
loomed.  My first trip into the cave was
a couple of weeks after the May ’89 breakthrough to explore and to dig the
end.  My caving log states: “(a
cave) …. of such muddiness as is hard to imagine”.  For those of you who have not been down this
cave, the rear cover of the guide book, co-authored by that well known spelling
mistake – Mr. Jarrett, shows Nick Williams at Compost Comer, his chin appears
connected to the blob that was once
Pete Bolt‘s
wellie!  The mud, nay sludge, level has
somewhat diminished with the winter streams, but this picture will give the
reader some idea of the conditions met with when surveying.

Initial survey work commenced on the
18th June 1989. Lisa Taylor, with myself as assistant, levelled the shaft
collar from the OSBM on the Old Wells Road at Milton Lane.  I will not embarrass Lisa by mentioning the
size of her vertical misclosure but suffice it to say that later Blitz and I
repeated the exercise, double levelling across the fields and back (- 1km) with
an 8mm misclosure.  This fixed the shaft
collar at 168.00m A.O.D.  A theodolite
surface survey of the entrance area was started but the thick undergrowth
prevented much from being achieved.

Underground survey work commenced on
Wednesday 3rd November 1992, hot on the heels of the latest breakthrough.  On that evening trip Graham ‘Jake’ Johnson
and Rich Blake dug the very end. 
Estelle Sandford, Vince Simmonds and the author
started surveying back from the start of the terminal breakdown area.  The stream flowing down the cave enabled
Estelle, recording the figures taken by Vince and myself, to keep the plastic
survey pages clean.  The tight
breakthrough point of 30th October had the double complications of deep water
and steel scaffolding. Judicious use of forward and back bearings minimised the
potential for magnetic errors but did little for the bodily warmth of yours
truly.  The end of the 3½ year dig, the
breakthrough point of 29th October, is a tight, ribcage wrecker, but carefully
siting the survey stations we were able to avoid the squeezes and the
considerable amounts of scaffolding holding up the roof.  We finished work at the passage junction to
the second aven, 94m of passage surveyed, the longest leg being nearly 16m
along the perfectly straight section of the extension, notable for the distinct
vadose trench in the floor.

The White Pit breakthrough on the
4th November failed to hold up progress. On Sunday the 8th the Welsh’s morning shift had fired a cortex charge at
the end, the afternoon shift of Estelle and myself carried on with the
survey.  It was slow, cold work with only
two, but we managed 16 survey legs, a total of 75m of passage, to complete work
as far as the Dripping Aven. My wetsuit zip bursting on the way out didn’t much
help the warming up process.

The MRO stomp and associated
hangovers plus heavy rain delayed the next trip until the 18th November, again
on a Wednesday evening.  Vince, Jake and myself
surveyed 97m of passage that evening. The Compost Corner legs were most remembered – Vince managed, most
successfully, to ensure that for virtually every survey station, to read the
compass, I had to bung my somewhat hirsute chin into the mud, revenge I suppose
for making him do all the outward trip backwards.  For those of you who know the Welsh’s mud the
results are not hard to imagine.  The
last underground survey trip on the following Wednesday evening (25th November)
was the wettest of the four, but starting at the first aven and working back
through the dug section to the entrance, we made the Hunters with time to
spare.  Tonight was Rich’s turn to cave
backwards finding the stations and taping up, Jake was the recorder.  In the course of two hours work we had
surveyed 105m of passage.

The survey plan was computed and
plotted fairly quickly.  The next stage
III the proceedings was a radio location exercise and surface levelling.  This was carried out with the help of Nick
Williams on the 29th December 1992.  Roz
Bateman and Ivan Sandford drew the short straws and went to the end with the
transmitter.  I plotted the end of my
survey on the surface and marked it with a ranging rod.  J’Rat and myself then levelled the surface
every 10m – following the strike (dug) passage to the first inlet and then the
general line of the cave to the end where Nick was engrossed with his gadgets
and gizmos, wandering around muttering to himself like the best of tribal

The surface levelling combined with
the cave survey gave the depth to the roof at the radio location point as 29m.
However because of the strength of the signal and the limitations of the
molefone, we were unable to check this. The very good news was the position of the radio location fix – less
than 3m away from my pre-plotted point – later Ivan and Roz confirmed that
their transmitter was not actually at my end station but 2m or so away in the
same direction as the surface mismatch. This very accurate tie in was a most pleasing and fitting reward for the
27 ‘man’ hours of underground survey work.


Beyond the Grade 5 survey, there is
a sketched Grade 1 section, drawn in by Jake and J’Rat. This section is a flat
out crawl under breakdown, leading to a too tight to follow section of passage.



Cartoon – the Undergrounders



Dragged from Cuthbert’s

– some
background notes on rescue routes and aids by Dave Irwin

Fortunately, rescue of an injured
caver from St. Cuthbert’s Swallet has been a rare event during the forty-odd
years since the cave was opened.  A full
carry has never been necessary – all have got themselves out of the cave with
the minimum of assistance.  Those that
have occurred have been from sites never suspected of potential rescue.  So, what’s new – they never are!  Practice rescues can be attempted from
difficult points in the cave but never at the place of a real event.  A summary of important rescues is given
elsewhere (note 1) and the formal accounts can be found in the MRO Annual

However, to estimate the practical
problems of some of the more difficult areas of the cave from which to
extricate a severely injured person I, as caving secretary at the time,
initiated a number of local or mini-practices. They were (i) Catgut Rift (Cross-Leg Squeeze was patently impossible to
manipulate an unconscious victim unless blasting was resorted to – and that is
most undesirable!) September Ruckle and Coral Chamber.  The latter site is tantalising for it has a
large number of entries/exits none were stable enough for the movement of a
carrying party manipulating an immobile victim. Only one point was deemed suitable and that is very unstable at one

St. Cuthbert’s Swallet – The Cascade.  Photo Dave Irwin
St. Cuthbert’s Swallet – The
Cascade.  Photo Dave Irwin

Before 1965 severe flooding of the
depression was a regular occurrence and the writer developed an idea that had
been circulating for some time.  The plan
was to lay a series of pipes which would allow the overflow water to flow into
an open drain. The water would rapidly flow through the entrance passages and
Entrance Rift and avoid the ponding of the water in the depression.  Up to that time the cave was frequently
closed for long periods during the winter months.  Also, severe summer storms could cause the
water to rise rapidly when the ground was very dry and hard.  Run-off quickly filled Mineries Pool, though
the retaining dam prevented a flood-pulse racing down the depression causing
the havoc so regularly encountered in caves such as Swildon’s Hole.  The dam meant that the stream flow remained
high for some time after the other cave streams had returned to normal levels.

However, the water escaping from the
Mineries Pool increased the flow along the surface of the western edge of the
depression, being at high level the stream flowed into Plantation Swallet.  In so doing the water saturated the local
area so causing seepage and breakthrough along its route allowing it to run
down the sides of the depression augmenting the stream flowing down the
depression from the Mineries Pool dam. One such escape route from the Plantation Stream is located above the
South Swallet [or Maypole Sink] known to some as the Overflow Cutting; water
flowing down this can clearly be seen in Roy Bennett’s photo in the St.
Cuthbert’s publication although the original picture was slightly out of focus.
(note 2)

Flooding at the entrance caused two
major call-outs, both in 1960, when, following heavy bouts of rain, parties
were trapped below the Entrance Rift requiring the need for the fire service to
pump away water from the flooded depression. Accounts and comment can be found in various articles. (note 3,4,5,6,7)
At this time the Entrance Rift had acquired a certain reputation and for some
it could be ‘an illuminating experience never to be forgotten. Remember too,
that carbide lamps were still widely used; the wet suit and rechargeable
battery lighting system was still some 4 – 5 years away.


Laying the land drains – 1965. Mike
Palmer getting his hands dirty! Photo.: Dave Irwin

The trench. 1965 – Mike Palmer
inspecting the work! photo. : Dave Irwin

Carbide lamp flames would soon be
extinguished under the slightest shower of water and several ingenious devices
were ‘invented’ to avoid this problem. One was a shield clipped to the reflector and another was an emergency
lighting system driven by a small battery encased in a water-proofed tobacco
tin attached to the rear of the helmet. This latter system became a requirement for Cuthbert’s Leaders.  This system gave sufficient light to allow
the caver to get out of most Mendip caves safely.  Even so without the full protection of water
proof suits, though the goon-suit was becoming popular, climbing the Entrance
Rift in spate was far from pleasant. Today, because of the surface drainage system, the rift is not often
seen in heavy water; however, one of the checks of selecting a Cuthbert’s
Leader is that he/she is able to free-climb the rift under adverse water
conditions and operate the surface ‘water-works’.

The land drains were installed from
a location near the natural sink to the base of the ‘new entrance’ pipes, work
commencing in April 1965 and completed by about June of that year. (note 8)
Since that time the cave has remained opened throughout the year.  However, there is one disadvantage to this
method of draining the depression that ought to be kept in mind.  Though the flow of water is moving quickly
through the entrance passage and the rift it is also flushing out the mud and
gravel between the large, shalely boulders at the bottom of the Entrance Rift
extending across to the roof level of Arete Chamber.  Any increased erosion in this area will
eventually advance the risk of collapse. It appears that little water is going into the ‘natural sink’ and all
the stream flow is permanently entering the cave through the land drain.  This has happened since the ‘sluice’ was
modified during the 1980s.  The current
leaders should think seriously about modifying the drainage pattern ensuring
that when the stream flow is at its normal level it should all be flowing into
the natural sink.  The change in stream
pattern when passing through Pulpit Passage or Ledge Pitches will just be a
redistribution of water volume.  In the
case of Ledge Pitches the Showerbath will decrease a little; in Pulpit Passage
there will be noticeable increase of water flowing down the bedding planes in
the left hand wall making Pulpit Pitch agreeably wet.  The Entrance Rift and the boulders beyond
will be relatively dry.  The land drains
should be considered over-flow pipes and not a permanent way for the stream to
enter the cave. This can easily be done by lifting the inlet pipe level at the
‘sluice’ dam.

Practice Rescues

The first practice rescue took place
in June 1963 when exploratory techniques were tried in the Entrance Rift.  None worked satisfactorily (note 9) and required
a complete rethink.

The first in a miniseries of rescues
were aimed at studying problems from localised but difficult parts of the
cave.  The first was from Catgut Rift on
1st May 1965.  There was no way anyone
was going to get an injured person through ‘Cross-legs Squeeze’ and the only
way out was up through the not too stable boulders above Catgut Rift at the
beginning of the September Boulder Ruckle. (note 10)

Chris Howell’s comments
when stuck in the “Z’ Bend of the September Ruckle, taken from B.B. No.294

Here I remained firmly
stuck for some ten minutes or more – though it seemed like an age.  The final straw came when it was discovered
that there was some difficulty in moving the carrying sheet back for another
attempt.  Now, I have never suffered from
claustrophobia, but at this point I must admit to becoming distinctly worried

However, a hiatus was
reached at the narrow vertical ‘S’ bend which occurs beyond an inclined slab
and is met some fifty or so feet into the ruckle from the High Chamber
side.  Due to the constricted room at the
front end, only two persons were able to get a purchase on the hauling ropes,
and they were unable to provide sufficient pull to get the sheet round the
vertical corner.

The first full-scale practice was on
26th June 1965; the victim was located in Beehive Chamber. (note 11)  The practice was a great success but for the
fact that the Entrance Rift became the stumbling block again.  However, it should be pointed out that
although the ‘victim’ was hauled half-way up the rift before his helmet
jammed.  The tired hauling/carry party,
who had already hauled the victim up Arête Pitch and transported him through
the boulders before trying to get him up the Entrance Rift, were not in a
condition to organise the hauling.  All
of these events contributed to the ‘failure’. In addition to technique, logistics became the name of the game.

Following the rescue of a caver with
a dislocated shoulder from the September Series (note 12) it was decided to
continue the mini-rescues to develop the techniques in addition to brawn and
pulling power.

Route of the victim through Catgut
Rift. Reprinted from B.B. No. 207.

The next mini-rescue took place
shortly after and was arranged to study the feasibility of getting an injured
man up the Wire Rift. This worked reasonably well provided that the ‘victim’
was not too seriously injured. (note 13) Thus later that year when a full-scale
rescue was organised Wire Rift was the chosen route out of the cave.  On this occasion the carry did not go entirely
smoothly for two basic reasons – too long a carry, the parties becoming very
tired and poor positioning of the carry team in the Wire Rift making movement
of the victim difficult. On the plus side the victim was successfully moved
through the cave and, apart from problems in the Wire Rift, hauled up the
Entrance Rift and out to the cave entrance. (note 14)

One of the more difficult areas from
which to effect a rescue is Coral Chamber – all of the approaches / exits from
this impressive chamber are tight, or through unstable boulder ruckles.  There is only one route open to would-be
rescuers – and it is the safest of the dicey exits from the chamber.  The route is to take the victim to the bottom
of Coral Chamber and out into Rocky Boulder Chamber.  From here the only way out is up the
‘half-pothole’ in the north wall, through large loose boulders and on up a
further 5m pitch into Boulder Chamber. This was tried in April, 1968 – the attempt was a success even though a
few bouncing boulders added to the entertainment! (note 15)

A Challenge!

One of the most popular trips in the
cave is to the September Series and, in particular, The Balcony
formations.  There has already been one
accident in the area – a dislocated shoulder, though not pleasant, the man was
able to move through the cave on his own. Someone else may not be so lucky – so what if?  What if you have to get an unconscious victim
out through the September Boulder Ruckle? Its been tried on two occasions and both attempts failed at the ‘Z’ bend
just up-slope from the September Squeeze. (note 16)  Among the current clutch of leaders there
must be a few wanting to make a name for themselves, perhaps they could gain
fame by organising a trip, with a willing victim, a carry party complete with
carry/drag sheet and solve this long outstanding problem.

Rigid stretchers

Several trials have been carried out
in various Mendip caves but in general the carry (drag)-sheet has remained a
firm favourite over the decades.  On one
occasion the Paraguard stretcher was tried in St. Cuthbert’s.  The route between Lower Mud Hall and Water
Shute was chosen.  It had a couple of
narrow and twisting sections.  It was
possible to manoeuvre the stretcher, complete with victim, but was extremely
awkward and it took longer than if the carry-sheet had been used. (note 17)

What resulted from all this work?

As a result of all this work several
aids were put in, a specialist piece of equipment developed and the best routes
determined for ease of carry and comfort to the victim.

Entrance Rift

Hauling up the
Entrance Rift was always likely to be problematic.  The early success was by attaching ropes to
the carry sheet’s upper loops by the victim’s shoulder and two men hauling with
the use of a pulley slung from an iron bar fixed in the south wall of the
rift.  However, this led to another idea
and the ‘baby-bouncer’ came into being.  (note
18)This was constructed by the club and kept in the tackle store.  Therefore with the use of the baby-bouncer,
hauling rope and pulley two men can easily get the victim to the top of the
rift with the minimum of effort.


The New Route is
the preferred route for an ‘immobilised’ victim.  Two rawlbolts have been positioned at the
head of Pulpit Pitch to enable pulleys and hauling ropes to be attached (left
hand wall facing the pitch). The bolt in the right hand wall should be used for
rigging the ladder so that a man is climbing alongside the carry-sheet and keep
it free from snagging.  When the victim
reaches the top he is brought up via the stream channel low on the left
side.  The ladder climber will have to
manoeuvre his way over the ‘rocking boulder’ – a delight, especially if the
ladder has jammed between the boulder and the rock wall !!


No special
equipment or hauling equipment is required here; just the drag-sheet and
hauling ropes.  Movement through the rift
is best done high-up and pass the victim across knees of bridged rescuers [See
figure].  Once out into the sizeable
opening just beyond the start of the rift [High Chamber end] a simple route
through an eye-hole leads via a rift feature out into the bedding plane on the
route back into High Chamber.  This way
avoids the September Squeeze.


Hauling ropes
laid down through the ‘half-pothole’ in the north wall of Rocky Boulder
Chamber.  No pulley can be rigged and
ropes drag over boulder edges.  Great
care required.  Hauling takes place in
the ‘bouldery’ chamber above Chockstone Rift. A second 5m pitch is slightly twisting and needs guiding but is an easy
way to get the victim up into Boulder Chamber. A hole can be found in the wall, a metre above the head of the pitch,
capable of taking a 1/2″ Rawlbolt. Pull can take place out in Boulder Chamber provided a couple of men are
placed on the ledges to guide the stretcher past these and the boulder
wall.  All exits from Coral Chamber are
either too tight (e.g. Coral Squeeze) or too unstable (e.g. boulder ruckle
route to Long Chamber Extension) and the route described above is really the
only practical route enabling a victim in a carry sheet to be successfully
removed from this area.


There are no
particular problems associated with this 10m pitch.  It is on the standard ‘rescue route’ and is a
quick way of transferring the victim down into the roomy streamway passages in
the New Route.  Bolts have been placed on
both sides of the passage a few feet back from the pitch head.  Again a ladder slung alongside the victim
will enable a rescuer to prevent the uncomfortable spinning of the ‘victim’.

Basic Routes

Rescue from St.
Cuthbert’s Swallet is fairly easy if the site of the accident is on the main
tourist routes of the cave [the exceptions having been discussed above] and
movement of the carry party is through the ‘centre’ section of the cave.  The route from Boulder Chamber / Upper
Traverse Chamber area to the entrance is fairly self evident.  To take the patient up through Boulder
Chamber to Pillar Chamber and up the Wire Rift is not really practical for it
is a route that contains a succession of tight sections, let alone the
difficulty of carrying through the Wire Rift. Transporting through the short upper section of Ledge Pitches is not
exactly straightforward. (note 19) Further, use of the Wire Rift is best left for transportation of

The obvious route
from Boulder Chamber / Upper Traverse Chamber is to lower the victim down
Traverse Pitch into Lower Traverse Chamber and on up the spacious, relatively
straight-forward New Route.

If New Route is
being used to carry an injured man/woman/person (whichever is politically
correct!!!) then Traverse Pitch becomes the focal point for most routes from
the upper passages.  Routes from the
bottom of the cave, Plantation Junction and beyond, would be through the Rabbit
Warren to Railway Tunnel and on through Harem Passage.  An alternative route and in many ways easier
for all concerned including the victim, is to leave the Rabbit Warren by the
2nd Stal Bank and descend to the streamway just above Dining Room bringing the
victim up through the spacious Everest Passage, Boulder Chamber and into Upper
Traverse Chamber.  Personally I prefer
the latter route in the case of a badly injured person.

Times can be
important. Generally, once the carry is underway, the time required from Plantation
Junction to the cave entrance would be about 3½ – 4 hours; 2 hours of which
would be for the carry from Traverse Pitch via Pulpit Pitch to the cave

No mention of radio / telephone communication problems has
been made as the technology has moved on and use of the Molefone has obviated
the need to a wire laying party – thank goodness!

Since the time of the mini-rescues,
several full-scale practices have been organised but for the caves sake unless
there is an over-riding reason for carrying out a practice in the cave then all
requests, including MRO, to hold general purpose practices should be refused.


Grateful thanks to B.E. (Prew)
Prewer for his helpful comments and criticism.

Irwin, Priddy, 31st July, 1997

Additional Note on a previous
article: If Dave Irwin needs to fill in some details of the early exploration
of Stoke Lane I suggest he talks to some of the other people who were around at
that time.  It is 50 years since I was
last down there and memories are fading. I think I understand from Brian Ellis that the Shepton Caving Club was
formed to forestall the BEC in removing the bones.  How did Sybil’s back get bruised?  Where are the bones now?

(Editorial Note: The article in the last
BB from Dave Irwin was a 50 year anniversary of the passing of the sump and was
also a preview to a future Caving Report on Stoke Lane. If anyone does have any
information, stories or old photographs from Stoke Lane can they please pass
them to Dave and he may be able to use them in the Caving Report.)


  1. Irwin,
    David J. et ai, 1991, St. Cuthbert’s Swallet. Priddy, Somerset, Bristol
    Exploration Club. ii + 82pp, map, illus, surveys (Oct)
  2. Irwin,
    David J. et ai, 1991, [as above]; photo no. 5
  3. Marriott,
    c.A., 1960, Cuthbert’s. BEC Bel Bul 14(144)2-5(Feb)
  4. Pritchard,
    Llew, Ellis, B.M. and Nash, Alan, 1960, Swildons and Cuthbert’s. BEC Bel
    Bul 14(15 J)3-7(Sep)
  5. Baker,
    Michael and Prew [pseudo B.E. Prewer], 1960, Mendip notes. BEC Bel Bul
  6. Lloyd,
    Oliver C., 1961, This cave is liable to flooding. WCC Jnl
  7. Rollason,
    Jill, 1961, Letter to the Editor. WCC Jn16(80)242-243(Jun)
  8. Irwin,
    David J., 1965, Rood Water Control. BEC 81. Cuthbert’s Newsheet
  9. Franklin,
    Keith, 1963, A practice rescue in 81. Cuthberts, with a note by 8J.
    Collins. BEC Bel BuI17(184)1l-12(Jun), fig
  10. Irwin,
    David J., 1965, St. Cuthbert’s practice rescue in Catgut Rift. BEC Bel Bu1
    19(207)7-8(May), fig
  11. Franklin,
    Keith, 1965, June mock rescue in St. Cuthbert’s BEC Bel BuI19(211)2-5(Sept)
  12. Franklin,
    Keith, 1966, Cuthbert’s rescue. BEC Bel Bu1 20(226) 1 09-11 O(Dee)
  13. Franklin,
    Keith, 1968, [Practice rescue in St. Cuthbert’s] BEC Bel Bu122(239)26(Feb)
  14. Franklin,
    Keith, 1968, St. Cuthbert’s Practice Rescue. BEC Bel Bul 22(248)169-170(Nov)
  15. Irwin,
    David J., 1968, St. Cuthbert’s practice rescue. Coral Chamber – Boulder
    Chamber.   BEC Bel Bul
  16. Howell,
    Chris, 1972, Never mind the patient – watch that stal. BEC Bel Bul
  17. Wig
    [pseudo David J. Irwin], 1975, Round and About. [MRO- Paraguard
    Stretcher]. BEC Bel BuI29(330)82-84(Apr/May)
  18. The
    ‘baby-bouncer’ well-known to modem cavers is a quite different piece of
    equipment. It is basically harness made of webbing used for general
  19. Irwin,
    David J. et al, 1991, [as above], p.79


Notes And Queries On Five Buddles

Roy Anthony Setterington (Tony Sett not

Following a discussion at the
‘Hunter’s with J-Rat when he postulated that the wheel in ‘Wheelpit’ was
overshot, I checked with a copy of Harvey’s 1884 catalogue.


Although they have chosen an
impressive 50ft wheel for advertising purposes the basic design is common to
all sizes and we have the evidence of the recovered plates from the sides,
undershot wheels only have paddles.  (In
a catalogue mainly devoted to beam engines I suppose the Freudian slip in the
typesetting is excusable).  J-Rat
calculated that the wheel was 10 ft + in diameter.  Since a range of wheels were available it
would be sensible to have patterns for, say to, 12 and 15 ft sizes and go up
one size, turning it into a high breast shot wheel.  Undershot wheels usually produce less than
one HP which would blow a small forge but wouldn’t run a set of 5 buddIes.  A 10 ft wheel 30″ wide would generate
around 5 HP given an adequate water supply. Did the other two sets of buddles on the Chewton Mineries site end in a

Five buddles?  There are 5 smaller circles on the map and
two larger on the roadside site.  The
other two sets on the St Cuthbert’s Lead Works have 10 smaller buddles which
makes me think they were running in parallel.

The photocopies from McMurtrie
remind us that there was a perpetual problem on Mendip of too much water
underground and not enough on top.  Gough
enlarges on these problems (p157-166) when it appears as if mining on Mendip
was so marginal that a toll of one half of the ore raised was excessive and the
traditional miners revolted against the incomers.  I make the point that if Bushell planned to
drain pits which were already 5 fathoms deep into Chewton minery swallet it
would have to be deeper (Gough, p161 – ‘by pursuing a Drift as a Common-Shore,
from the Concaves of a natural swallow twenty fathom deep’).  Some protracted digging will be required if
Bushell’s swallow is the same one as drained Five Buddles and is now full of

COURT, holden at Chewton the Fifteenth day of October in the Year of our Lord
God 1658, it is ordered by John Radford & his Fellows as followeth.

90.  For carrying ye Water in Row pitts. – WHEREAS
there was a Complaint made unto us of this July of this Jury for ye Waters
drawing in Row Potts to have ye Workmen to work for the publique good of ye
Lord and workmen, wherefore we of this Jury do order, and make this decree,
that ye Partners and Owners of Several Grove there, Shall be at ye Charge of
carrying their Water in Sufficient Stream, where they do ye Same to ye Main
Stream, or Streams which runneth to Chewton Minery, at their own Self and
particular Charge, upon pain of fourty Shillings, the One half to the Lord, ye
Other half to ye Party grieved, ye Shall justly prove ye Same and no man Shall
deny him or them to carry or convey ye Same away under ye like Pain.  And we do further Order that ye Main stream
or Streams Shall be Sufficiently repaired, at ye Charge of ye Lord and Workmen,
according to ye Judgement of ye Jury, for ye time being as they Shall Order and
appoint, and unto this we all agree and have Subscribed our hands, ye day and
Year first above written.

COURT holden at Chewton ye 8th day of July, 1671, I was contended and approved
of as followeth, by us whose names ar hereunto Subscribed.

97.  Mr. Bushell’s Order for water works. –
WHEREAS Thomas Bushell Esq hath (not long since) to his very great Charge and
Expence, endeavoured by his Audits and Swallets, to draine ye deserted Works of
Sr. Bevis Bulmer, in Rowe Pits near Chewton Mynery in ye Forest of Mendip,
which by reason of inundations, and breaches of Waters into ye Said Works they
Yield not the Tenth part of ye Profits, which otherwise they might not have
done, & whereas for his better encouragement to persist in ye Carrying on
of So expensive and dangerous a work, the King’s most Excellent Majestie in ye
14th Year of his Reign, together with ye Consent of ye Lords Spiritual and Temporall
assembled in Parliament, did then and there Enact, that the Said Thomas
Bushell, his Excec’s Adminis’s and Assigns Should have the full power to make
Audits and Swalletts, and all Such Groves, as he or they Should thing fitt, for
ye draining of ye Said Sr Bevis Bulmer’s deserted works in ye Lead Mines in Row
Pitts, and Green Oare in the Said Forrest of Mendipp in ye County of
Somersett.  And undertakings of dreining
ye Said Works or any of them by Audits Swalletts, Suffes, Draynes, or by any
other Means, whatsoever, So as ye Respective Myners, any work, and draw Oare
without any Charge of draining & Clearing the Water, and Shall be So
adjudges by ye Minerall Grand Jury Court, belonging to ye Jurisdiction wherein
ye Said Mines So drayned Shall be for ye Respective Miners for Time being,
& that by his and their workmanship, the Said Myners are and Shall be freed
form ye inundation of their Waters, he ye Said Thomas Bushell, his Exectrs
Administrs and Assigns, bearing half ye Charge of Digging ye Said Oare, Shall
have take, and receive one full moietie, of all ye Oare that Shall be drawn,
and Landed, by all and every ye Respective Myners, and Undertakers there, and
in all and every ye Respective Shafts, Cross-Rakes, By-Rakes, or other Mines
within ye Said Mines of Rowe-Pitts & Green Oare, with Liberty to work ye
Said Mines from time to time, for Raising and getting ye Oare therein, and to
drive through and Sink shafts, in any Such Rakes of Ground, delivering all the
Moiety of ye Oare gotten in all or any ye Said Drifts and Shafts unto ye Owners
thereof, they ye Said Owners paying ye full Moiety of ye Said Charge; And
whereas Sev of ye ,ost concerned Adventures there, have heretofore (for ye like
encouragement) Subscribed their Assent to ye performance of ye premises, as by
writings under their hands may appear, And whereas ye Said work hath hitherto
proved not only Very Costly and Expensive but also very ineffectuall and
unprofitable; Yet notwithstanding ye Said Thomas Bushell together with Sr.
Edmund Wyndham, Knight & Marshall &c. Purposing and intending, by their
Ingenuity and expences to Carry on ye Said work accordingly; We of this
Minerall Grand Jury Court for ye Liberty aforesaid for ye time being together
with ye Consent, and approbation of Sev of ye Adventurers there whose Names are
or Shall be Subscribed as aforesaid, do really conceive & hereby declare
& allow, that from henceforth they ye Said Thomas Bushell, & Sr Edmond
Wyndham, their Exectrs Administrs & Assigns, Shall have, Receive, take  and Enjoy (bearing halfe the Charges as
aforesaid) One full Moiete of ye Oare, that Shall be drawn, and Landed, by all
and Every ye Sev & Respective Miners and Undertakes, there and in all. By
rakes or other Mines, within ye S Liberties, & precincts of Rowe Pitts and
Green Oare where, and in Such places only as they ye Said Thomas Bushell &
Sr Edmond Wyndham, their Exectrs Administrs & Assigns, Agents or Workmen
Shall make it appear to ye Said Minerall Grand Jury Court for ye time being,
that they by their Ingenuity, Labour and Expences, have drained ye Same; And
further We seriously Considering ye Premises and ye Work in question being (by
God’s blessing) brought to be Effectuall and that ye advantages thereof will
then redound, and accrue, to a generall Good; We therefore (So much as in us
lyeth) do declare, allow and Confirm, unto the Said Thomas Bushell, & Sr
Edmond Wyndham, their, and either of their Exextrs Administrs, One full Moiety
of ye proffitts aforesaid by and under ye Terms and Conditions aforesaid And Shall
br ready to give them any lawfull Encouragement and Assistance theirin.


McMurtrie J. Notes on the Forest of
Mendip, its Mining Customs and Ancient Laws, London and Newcastle, 1900.

Gough J.W, The Mines of Mendip.
Newton Abbott, 1967

A Map surveyed in 1884, published in
1886, showing the Five Buddles Sink Area.

1.                  Probably a holding tank.

2.                  The Five Buddles by Five Buddles Sink
Entrance.  (The square is probably a
workman’s hut)

3.                  Snake Pit Hole

4.                  The Waldegrave Pond

5.                  The Cornish Shaft entrance to Five Buddles


BEC Cave Leaders


Chris ‘Blitz’

Craig y FFynon (Rock and Fountain)

Martin Grass

Dan yr Ogof/Tunnel

Martin Grass,
Mike ‘Trebor’ McDonald, Tim Large, Graham Wilton-Jones, Rob Harper

Ogof Fynon Ddu

Martin Grass,
Graham Wilton-Jones, Brian Prewer, Greg Villis, Tim Large

Pen Park Hole

Jeff Price, Mike
‘Trebor’ McDonals

Reservoir Hole

Jeff Price,
Martin Grass, Graham Wilton-Jones, Dave Irwin.

St. Cuthbert’s Swallet

BEC Leaders

Ian Caldwell,
Chris Castle, John Dukes, Peter Glanvill, Martin Grass, Pete Hellier, Jeremy Henley,  Dave Irwin, Kangy King, Tim Large, Mike
‘Trebor’ McDonald, Stuart McManus, Mike Palmer, Brian Prewer,
Estelle Sandford, Chris Smart, Andy Sparrow, Nigel
Taylor, Dave Turner, Greg Villis, Graham Wilton-Jones, Mike Wilson, Brian

Guest Leaders

Graham Price
(CSS), Malcolm Cotter (MCG), M Barrington (MEG), Jeremy Gilson (MCG), Mark Sims
(SMCC), Anthony Boycott (UBSS), Ray Mansfield (UBSS), Ric Halliwell (CPC), Vern
Freeman (WCC).

If you wish to go on a trip to any of
these caves (or any other caves) please contact your Caving Secretary – Andy
Thomas, Street, Somerset.  Phone No.
01458 xxxxxx


BEC Membership Reciprocal Rights

The list of clubs with whom the BEC
held reciprocal rights for accommodation is inaccurate and I apologise for this
error on behalf of the Hut Wardens past and present and hope that it has not
caused any embarrassing situations to BEC members over the past few years.

The revised list of Reciprocal
rights is as follows: –

Bradford Pothole Club

Bracken Bottom
Horton in Ribbledale,
North Yorkshire

Contact: Martin

First night £2.00
Each additional night £1.00

Chelsea Speleological Society

White Walls
Llangattock Escarpment
Nr. Abergavenny, Wales

Contact: Arthur

Each night £1.50

There are many other clubs with whom
we have no discount.  We have listed some
of them below for Membership information:



Fee per Night (£)

Craven Pothole Club

Steve Pickersgill


Grampian Speleological Society

Peter Dowswell


South Wales Caving Club

Ian Middleton




(camping 2.50)

Northern Pennine Club

Andy Goddard


Orpheus Caving Club

Jenny Potts


Rebecca Campbell, Belfry Hut Warden


Membership List – Paid up members at 31/1/98

20 (L) Bobby Bagshaw               Knowle, Bristol, Avon
392 (L) Mike Baker                    Henton,
Wells, Somerset
1145 Roz Bateman                    Wookey
Hole, Wells, Somerset.
1227 Anette Becher                   St
Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
1079 Henry Bennett                   London
390 (L) Joan Bennett                 Draycott,
1122 Clive Betts                        Clapham,
731 Bob Bidmead                      East
Harptree, Nr. Bristol, Avon
364 (L) Pete Blogg                    Chaldon,
Caterham, Surrey
Pete Bolt                          Cardiff, S. Gamorgan
145 (L) Sybil Bowden-Lyle          Calne,
1104 Tony Boycott                    Westbury
on Trim, Bristol, Avon
751 (L) T.A. Bookes                  London
201 John Buxton                       Flitwick,
956 Ian Caldwell                        Redland,
Bristol, Avon
1214 Rebecca Campbell            Wells,
1014 Chris Castle                      Axbridge,
1197 Tim Chapman                   Stubbington,
Fareham, Hampshire
1197 John Christie                     Brompton,
North Allerton, North Yorks
211 (L) Clare Coase                   Berkeley-Vale,
New South Wales, 2259, Australia
89 (L) Alfie Collins                     Draycott,
727 Bill Cooper                         Knowle,
1233 (P) Paul Craggs                Uffculme,
Cullompton, Devon
870 Gary Cullen                        Southwater,
Nr Horsham, West Sussex.
405 (L) Frank Darbon                 British
Columbia, Canada.
423 (L) Len Dawes                    Minster
Matlock, Derbyshire
1229 Jeremy Dixon-Wright         West
Pennard, Glastonbury, Somerset
164 (L) Ken Dobbs                    Beacon
Heath, Exeter, Devon
829 (L) Angie Dooley                 Harborne,
710 (J) Colin Dooley                  Harborne,
1000 (L) Roger Dors                  Priddy,
830 John Dukes                        Street,
322 (L) Bryan Ellis                     Westonzoyland,
Bridgwater, Somerset
269 (L) Tom Fletcher                 Bramcote,
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
1218 Stephen Flinders               Burrington,
404 (L) Albert Francis                Wells,
569 (J) Joyce Franklin                Staffordshire
469 (J) Peter Franklin                Staffordshire
1159 John Freeman                   Paulton,
Bristol, Avon
1182 Alex Gee                          Wookey
Hole, Wells, Somerset
835 Lenard Gee                        St.
Edgeley, Stockport, Cheshire
1069 (J) Angie Glanvill               Chard,
1017 (J) Peter Glanvill                Chard,
647 Dave Glover                        Basingstoke,
1006 Edward Gosden                Twyford,
Winchester, Hampshire
790 (J) Martin Grass                  Draycott,
1155 Rachael Gregory               Pentir,
Nr., Bangor, Gwynedd
1089 Kevin Gurner                     Theydon
Bois, Epping, Essex
1088 Nick Gymer                      Theydon
Bois, Epping, Essex
104 (L) Mervyn Hannam             Semington,
Trowbrdge, Wiltshire
1186 (J) Helen Harper                Wells,
999 (J) Rob Harper                    Wells,
1234(P) Roger Haskett              Bridgwater,
1235(P) Steve Heape                 Bornemouth
1117 Pete Hellier                       Nempnett
Thrubwell, Chew Stoke, Bristol, Avon
974 Jeremy Henley                    Shepton
952 Bob Hill                              London
1221 Mark Howden                    Street,
1219 Sean Howe                       Bradley
Stoke, Bristol
923 Trevor Hughes                     Holcombe,
Bath, Avon
73 Angus Innes                         Alveston,
Bristol, Aven
540 (L) Dave Irwin                      Priddy,
922 Tony Jarratt                        Priddy,
668 Mike Jeanmaire                  Buxton,
1111 Graham Johnson               Wells,
560 (L) Frank Jones                   Priddy,
567 (L) Alan Kennett                  Charlton
Musgrove, Wincanton, Somerset
316 (L) Kangy King                    Pucklechurch,
Bristol, Aven
542 (L) Phil Kingston                 Brisbane,
Queensland, 4122, Australia
413 (L) R. Kitchen                     Horrabridge,
Yelverton, Devon
958 Fiona Lambert                    Castel
Cary, Somserset
667 (L) Tim Large                      Brislington,
1199 Alex Livingstone                Clevedon,
1180 Rich Long                         Paulton,
Bristol, Avon
1052 (J) Pete MacNab (Jnr)        St
Andrews, Fife, Scotland
1071 Mike McDonald                 Bath
1195 Struan McDonald              Devizes,
550 (L) R A MacGregor              Baughurst,
Basingstoke, Hants
725 Stuart McManus                 Priddy,
558 (L) Tony Meaden                 Westbury,
Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset
704 Dave Metcalfe                     Whitwick,
1044 Andy Middleton                 Hardington-Mandeville,
1194 Nick Mitchell                     Priddy
1210 Guy Mannings                  Croydon,
1183 Andy Newton                    Shipham,
Nr Cheddar, Somerset
1232 (P) Andy Nunn                  Uffculme,
Cullomton, Devon
553 Bob O’Malley-White            Wells,
1228 Ben Ogbourne                   Westbury-sub-Mendip,
396 (L) Mike Palmer                  Yarley,
Wells, Somerset
1045 Rich Payne                       Orpington,
1134 Martin Peters                    Wells,
499 (L) A. Philpot                      Bishopston,
Bristol, Avon
1193 Emma Porter                    Witmore,
337 Brian Prewer                       Priddy,
Wells, Somerset
886 Jeff Price                            Knowle,
Bristol, Avon
481 (L) John Ransom                 Patchway,
Bristol, Avon
985 Phil Romford                       Shepton
Mallet, Somerset
921 Pete Rose                          Hookway,
nr Crediton, Devon
1208 Stuart Sale                       Romsey,
359 (L) Carol Sandall                 Nailsea,
1170 Andy Sanders                   Gurney
Slade, Nr. Bath, Somerset
Estelle Sandford                Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
237 (L) Bryan Scott                   Cote
D’Azur, France
1236(P) Martin Selfe                  Bosleake,
Redruth, Cornwall
78 (L) R Setterington                 Taunton,
213 (L) Rod Setterington            Taunton,
1036 (J) Nicola Slann                 Draycott,
915 Chris Smart                        Nr.
Bradford on Avon, Wilts
911 Jim Smart                          c/o
The Belfry
1203 Bob Smith                        Havant,
823 Andy Sparrow                     Priddy,
1 (L) Harry Stanbury                  Bude,
575 (L) Dermot Statham             Warkworth,
1230 (P) Clive Stell                    Bathford,
365 (L) Roger Stenner                Weston
super Mare, Avon
1187 Mark Tanner                     Fishponds,
583 Derek Targett                      East
Horrington, Wells Somerset
1110 Gwyn Taylor                     Ingleton,
North Yorkshire via  Carnforth
772 Nigel Taylor                        Langford,
284 (L) Alan Thomas                 Priddy,
1224 (P) Andrew Thomas           Street,
571 (L) N Thomas                      Oulton
Broad, Lowestoft, Suffolk
74 (L) Dizzie Thompsett-Clark    Great
Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex
1216 Martin Torbett                   Cheddar,
381 (L) Daphne Towler               Bognor
Regis, Sussex
1023 Matt Tuck                         Plymouth,
678 Dave Turner                        Leigh
on Mendip, Bath, Avon
635 (L) S. Tuttlebury                  Farnham,
1096 Brian van Luipen                Wick,
Littlehampton, West sussex
887 Greg Villis                          Weston
super Mare, North Somerset
175 (L) D. Whaddon                  0
1220 (P) John Walsh                 Glastonbury,
1185 Chas Wethered                 Axbridge,
1118 Carol White                      Pateley
Bridge, North Yorkshire
1092 Babs Williams                  Knowle,
Bristol, Avon
1164 (J) Hilary Wilson                Keynsham,
1130 (J) Mike Wilson (snr)         Keynsham,
559 (J) Barrie Wilton                  Haydon,
Nr. Wells, Somerset
568 (J) Brenda Wilton                Haydon,
Nr. Wells, Somerset
877 Steven Woolven                  West
Chillington, West Sussex
914 Brian Workman                   Catcott,
Bridgwater, Somerset
477 Ronald Wyncoll                  Holycroft,
Hinkley, Leics.
683 Dave Yeandle                     South
Horrington, Wells, Somerset


Minutes of the 1997 B.E.C Annual General Meeting, Saturday 4th October .

The meeting was started late at
10.55 am by the Hon. Secretary (Nigel Taylor) and is customary, he called for
the handing in of any outstanding Ballot Forms. The Hon. Secretary noting that 32 members were present, then called for
nominations for a Chairman, there being one nominee, Bob Cork was duly elected.

Bob Cork being duly installed as
Chairman, then called for the election of Tellers, three being appointed they
left the room to count the ballot papers.

The Secretary had received apologies
from: Alison Cooper, Andy Cave, Angie Cave, Tim Large, Nick Gymer, Kevin
Gurner, apologies were given from the floor for: Jeff Price, Trebor, Dany
Bradshaw, Martin Torbett, Tim Chapman, Angie Dooley, John Freeman, and Clive

The attendance sheet however was
later destroyed by the Chairman’s enthusiasm by handing it with the ballot
forms for destruction in the Belfry stove by a pyromaniacal Mike Willett.

Five, Minutes of the 1996 AGM
:- The Hon. Secretary reminded the meeting
that the 1996 AGM has been mostly inquorate, and that this meeting had now to
ratify that meeting.  That the minutes of
the 1996 AGM be taken as read was proposed [P:] by Rob Harper [RH] and Seconded
[S:] by Ron Wyncoll [RW], carried 32 For, 3 Abst.

6, Matters arising from the Minutes
: – The Secretary pointed out that these
had been printed in the BB directly after last years AGM, and there being only
one question from the floor regarding St. Cuthbert’s, to which he replied that
there was nothing to report.

7, Hon Secretary’s Report
: – Nigel Taylor had published this in the
B.B.  There was surprisingly no debate
upon this, and the report was carried nem.con. with two abstentions (34 For) P:
Rich Blake [RB], and S: Chas Wethered [CW]

8, Hon Treasurers’ Report
: This was read to the meeting by Chris Smart, and
much talk ensued involving Trevor Hughes, Rob Harper, Mike Jeanmaire, Rebecca
Campbell, and Nigel Taylor.  Trevor
Hughes [TH] wanted an appraisal of the clubs assets to be shown in the accounts,
and he then made a formal proposal for this, and Mike Jeanmaire [MJ] seconded
this, voting: 13 For, 14 Abst, 9 “Don’t knows” No vote or abst.  The Treasurers
report was then voted on: P:TH, S: Mike Wilson [MWN],25 For, I Against, 2 Abst.

9, Hon. Auditors Report
: Barry Wilton then discussed this with the
meeting.  Voting then was P: MJ, & S:
John Buxton [JB], 27 For, 0 Against, 3 Abst.

10, Caving Secretary’s Report
: was read to the meeting in absentia of Jeff
Price who had sent his apologies.  No
discussion being provoked, P:RH, S: RB, and carried: For 29,0 Against, 2 Abst.

11, Membership Secretary’s Report
: This had been published in the BB by Richard Stephens [RS] Again no
discussion prevailed, and voting: P: Chris Smart [CS], S: Roger Stenner [RS]
Voting: 23 For, I Against, 6 Abst’.

12, Hut Wardens Report
:  Published in
the B.B. NT asked the Hut Warden [Rebecca Campbell RC] if she felt that a
resident hut warden would assist the situation if there was such an assistant
or person in residence at weekends at the Belfry.  He added that it was strange that both the
Shepton [SMCC] and MCG always seemed full in contrast to the Belfry.  Andy Sparrow [AS] complained that two parties
that he had recommended to stay at the Belfry had been insulted and not allowed
any sleep at night.  NT asked AS if he
had a solution.  RH suggested that a
resident Hut Warden would instil the discipline that was apparently
lacking.  RH then went further and
suggested that the late-night curfew was re-introduced.  NT spoke strongly of the Bunk room changes of
which he was against – albeit he admitted that he had offered to assist in when
persuaded that the committee had fully endorsed the plans – and his concern
that the abolition of the separate members room might scare away newer guests
whom he saw as potential members.  Andy
Sparrow agreed with him, Rich Blake countered this and expressed his view that
it was a good change.  There was both
approval and disapproval for these works amongst the floor of the AGM.  Alex Gee [AG] thought that the increase in
Hut fees was a very badly conceived decision. NT pointed out that most members of less than five years membership in
the club had not known an increase, and that the Committee had acted
responsibly in raising the Hut fees, by effectively the price of a half pint of
beer or less, in order to protect the interests of the club, and further, that
previous AGM’s had directed that the Belfry generally ought to run itself at a
profit.  JB commented that the hut figures
had been falling over several years, and asked what the committee was doing
about it.  Bob CORK [BC] expressed his
view that these were real problems which needed looking into.  The Chairman then called for a vote upon the
report: P:RB, S: JB, 32 For, 0 Against, I Abst.

13, Hut Engineers Report.
  This had
not been published, and Ivan Sandford [IS] was asked by the Chair to present
his report to the AGM.  Ivan declined to
do so.  The meeting felt that it was
unfortunate. There being no report, RC ruled there was therefore no discussion,
and no vote.

14, Tackle Masters Report
:  Published
in the B.B. Rob Harper [RH].  Asked about
going back to the easy access system MWN repeated his 1996 AGM comments and
advised that restricted tackle introduced at the 1995 AGM had not worked, and
he wondered again if we should revert to our open access arrangements of former
years.  This was roundly supported by NT,
who spoke fervently for the right of open access to tackle by each and every
member as their entitlement, and he asked the AGM to reconsider.  NT noted that Martin Grass [MG] had expressed
the view to him and that Martin who was not as yet present at this AGM asked it
to be mentioned, NT asked if the AGM agreed? A proposal for an open system for tackle was then put to the AGM: P:CS,
S:NT, 5 For, 17 Against, 10 Abst.

A further proposal was that “A
system of limited ‘open-access’ be set up. P: Peter Hellier [PH] And S:CS,
Voting: 22 For, 1 Against, 9 Abst.  In
the turmoil, Mikes report was not voted upon!.

15, B.B Editors Report
:  Published in
the B.B. The report was then taken: P:MWN, S:MJ, Voting: 14 For, I Against, 14

16, Librarians Report
:  Published in
the BB.  Alex Gee added that he would
welcome new additions, and hoped to improve the Library next year if re-elected.  Voting: P: NT, S: RB, 32 For, 1 Abst.

17, Ian Deer Memorial Fund
:  Already
Presented to the Meeting with Caving Secretary’s report.  The Treasurer again suggested no transfer of
funds into the Fund this year to top up. This proposal was voted on: P:CS, S:RH, Voting: 32 For, 0 Against, 2

The Hon. Secretary then excused
himself from minute taking in order to prepare the AGM lunch, and Chris Smart
stepped into the minute takers position:

18, Result of Ballot
:  The under
mentioned were then duly elected, unfortunately the Chairman again erred in
handing the voting figures to Mike Willett’s furnace, albeit the names of the
52 members who voted were recovered just in time from where they had been
abandoned safely in the Library by the Tellers. In alphabetical order those elected were:

Roz Bateman,
Richard Blake, Rebecca Campbell, Alex Gee, Nick Mitchell,
Estelle Sandford, Chris Smart, Nigel Taylor, and
Andy Thomas.

19, Election of the 1996/7 Committee
: As is customary, this was done from the floor of the meeting, and Nigel
Taylor declared a possible ‘conflict of interests’ to the meeting prior to any
vote.  He stated that his explosives
business was working in Limestone areas, and although he had turned down a
large contract because it would have caused damage to caving systems, he was
aware that it could be a conflict of interest. The AGM declared this laudable, and agreed that they did not see it as a
conflict of interest.  Voting for the
posts then followed:

Hon. Secretary: Nigel Taylor.
Hon. Treasurer: Chris Smart.
Tacklemaster: Rich Blake.
Hut Warden: Rebecca Campbell.
Hut Engineer: Nick Mitchell.
Membership Secretary: Roz Bateman.
Caving Secretary: Andy Thomas.
B.B. Editor:
Hon. Auditor: Barrie Wilton.
Non-Post Holders: Alex Gee –
Librarian (Purists will comment not normally a Committee Post, but filled by
one of the new 9 strong committee)

Peter Franklyn was reaffirmed in the
position of the post of Club Archivist. P:NT.S: IS nem.con.  Barry Wilton
was also reaffirmed as Auditor, P:NT, S: RH, nem.con.

There was then much discussion on
the question of Club Rescue Team co-ordinator. It was known that both Any Sparrow and Alex Gee were keen to undertake
this role.  This culminated in the
proposal that they could be joint co-ordinators, P: MW, S: NT, this was put to
the vote and carried unanimously.  Alex
Gee P: TH, S: IS, Andy Sparrow, P: Roz Bateman [RBN],S: Peter Hellier [PH].  In view of the earlier proposal, no vote was
taken and both accepted the post, Andy declaring his “Professional
Caver/Business interest” The AGM again had no problem with this.

20, Destruction of Ballot Forms
: P:TH, S:RH, carried nem.con.


21, Members Resolutions
:  A proposal
by NT and seconded by CS as follows:

“That any unusual club
expenditure in excess of £1000 should be referred over two monthly committee
meetings for full discussion, or, to an Extraordinary or AGM”.

This caused considerable discussion,
with Alex Gee, Ivan Sandford, and Rebecca Campbell speaking very strongly
against the proposal.  RC accused NT of
raising the motion because he was against the December 1996 committee meetings
democratic decision to rip out the bunk room in order to improve the Belfry
facilities with an Alpine Bunk.  This
view was supported by IS and AG.  Nigel
agreed that he had been forcefully against the decision as it was raised in his
annual absence (Holiday abroad) and also that of the Treasurers.  He agreed that he also tried to make the
committee reconsider with caution their decision which he had regarded as hasty
and lacking financial costing.  However
he added that whilst strongly against that scheme, he offered at the January
meeting to assist in the works, and was told that his offer was not needed as
those persons required had already offered their skills.  Nevertheless, he was at great pains to assure
the meeting that his proposal was to protect the club from any future ‘quick
decision’ and the consequent risk of financial problems, and not as Alex, Ivan
and Becky were now accusing him of ‘sour grapes’.  He did admit however, that he was concerned
that no final accounts of that particular expense had been given to date,
despite his and the treasurers requests. Both IS, RC and AG felt strongly that his proposal was a bad one, as it
would both ‘Tie up the committee’ and further implied a very unfair ‘Vote of
no-confidence’ in the outgoing committee. Despite NT’s protestations that this was not the case, and that he just
wanted to ensure a responsible line was set by the AGM as a future guide to
future committees, it was apparent that primarily these persons still felt
strongly that Nigel’s motives were suspect. Accordingly, before any further discussion could take place Nigel
withdrew his motion stating,  ‘That it
was not his intention to upset or hurt anyone, and as this obviously aroused
some strong passions in a few members, he felt he had to withdrew it, in order
to preserve harmony within the BEC.’

Babs WILLIAMS [BW] then re-proposed
the above motion and lowered the limit to £500, adding that: “Any such
expenditure must go before a full committee, with full costing, and
consultation with the Treasurer, and with one months thought going into the
matter (i.e.: over two committee meetings” The Chairman decided that sufficient debate had already taken place, and
he intended to put this to a vote, P:BW, S:RW, voting: 21 For,8 Against, 1
Abst-(Hon. Sec)

Ivan Sandford then proposed an
amendment that “except in exceptional circumstances.” This was then put to
the vote: P:IS, S:CS, 2 For, 20 Against, 6 Abst.

Rebecca Campbell and Alex Gee stated
their total objection to this AGM decision, and forcefully walked out of the
AGM announcing their immediate resignations from the Committee as they left the

NT then withdrew an unconnected
proposal that he had submitted at the start of the AGM, and raised his third
resolution, which the Chairman reminded the meeting was a Constitutional change
approved and passed at the 1996 AGM, and therefore it had to be raised as per
our constitution at this AGM.  The
proposal being: “That prospective members joining at any time in the year
pay on a quarter basis of the full subscription, and not as present on the
monthly basis.”  This having been
P:NT, and S: The 1996 AGM, It was Voted upon, 26 For, 0 Against, 2 Abst.

Colin Dooley [CD]  Then proposed that” Committee members
attendance records be published.” Peter Franklyn [PF] added that this had been done in the past and
queried why it was not done nowadays.  NT
explained that figures had been collated with this in mind, but two members
hotly disputed their alleged low attendance, and therefore as no firm or
accepted figures could be agreed upon, he certainly had not intended publishing
disputed attendance records.  The
proposal was voted upon: P:CD, S:PF, 26 For, 1 Against, 1 Abst.

Hon. See NT then resumed minute
taking from Hon Treasurer CS.  Brenda
Wilton [BrW] then proposed that Guest Clubs should be given Two Guest Dinner
tickets per club, this was S: Angie Dooley [AD].Both members spoke strongly
upon this motion.  NT tried to counter
the proposal by warning the AGM that this would impose at least an extra £2 per
ticket, i.e.; £4 per ‘couple-purchaser’. He asked that this not be accepted, and pointed out that the single
invite system had been fully endorsed by a previous AGM.  The motion was voted: 25 For, 6 Against, 0

23,Any Other Business
:  Trevor Hughes
then voiced his anger and concern at what he saw as an abuse of use of the BEC
Club Logo by the ‘Belfry Boys’.  He went
further by stating that he felt that the BEC should ask them for money for
royalties of their use of the club logo. Much banter then ensued, and it was hard to make much sense in the
clamour, so the Chairman put it to the vote, P:TH, S: Roger Stenner [RS],
Voting: 2 For, 22 Against, 2 Abst.

The Treasurer then started to
intimate that he felt subscriptions could remain the same for 1997/8, but TH
Proposed, and NT Seconded that an increase of £2.00 per member be levied to
keep pace with the cost of living.  Some
confusion arose due again to banter as to the true voting figures of 21 For, 5
Against, and 3 Abst, the Chairman requested a recount, and these figures were:
19 For, 4 Against, 1 Abst.

NT then spoke warmly of the efforts
and commitment undertaken by Mike and Hilary Wilson who were stepping down from
the committee, and he proposed a ‘Vote of Thanks’, this was seconded by Chris
Smart, and was given total support by the AGM.

RW expressed concern re the
non-fireproof state of the Belfry, especially the new bunkroom, and fire signs
which required up-dating to the ‘Running man’ Symbol.  He offered to supply some signs for this.  The meeting noted his concerns and the Chairman
asked that the new Committee take this on board.

Nigel Taylor as Hon. Secretary
announced the details and date of the 1998 AGM, as 10.30 am, Saturday
3rd.October 1998 at the Belfry.  Bob Cork
as Chairman then declared the AGM closed at 3.24 pm.

Minutes recorded by Nigel Taylor and
Chris Smart, and later typed: Nigel Taylor Hon. Secretary, Saturday 3rd.October


From the Logbook

Nice to see a bit of fresh input
into the BEC logbook – here are some snippets from the digging in
Eastwater:  (the Five Buddles work goes
in a separate logbook which I will take snippets from next time)

1/11/97 Eastwater – Gonzo

Solo trip to breakthrough at Kentish
Cairn to assess boulder choke on ledge at top of aven.  Chickened out, then looked around Baker’s

2/11/97 Eastwater – Gonzo

Solo return to rift next to aven by
Baker’s Pit (or what people call Baker’s Pit). Hammered up tight, friable rift for a couple of body lengths.  Progress would require a drill, but you can
see a way up with an encouraging echo.

22/11/97 Gonzo and Graham Johnson
– Eastwater, Boulder Chamber.

Big Breakthrough into chamber, big
enough to squeeze 4 people in at a shove.

7/12/97 Gonzo and Jake  – Eastwater. Dig above Kentish Cairn/Boulder Chamber.

Took down the Grunter phone.  Dug about 45 mins (like prodding an epileptic
poltergeist!) then set up phone to locate dig with Brian Prewer and John
Attwood on the surface.  The dig threw itself
at the aerial throughout.

A stable new entrance is there for
the taking if it’s wanted, but the main dig looks as though it’s heading for
the depression further over the field.

11/12/97 Gonzo and Jake  – Eastwater dig.

Last bang brought down 5 tons.  Mostly shifted into Boulder Chamber now.  Placed another charge in base of mud
wall.  Can’t find crowbar which is still

17/12/97 Gonzo and Alex Gee  – Eastwater dig.

Alex climbed most of the aven, then
we cleared over a ton of spoil.  About
another 5 tons down from last bang waiting to be shifted – easy digging.

17/12/97 Gonzo and Alex Gee  – Eastwater.

Fire hose positioned through
entrance choke and Woggle Press to redirect stream to wash silt and mud through
dig (bottom of boulder Chamber – far right hand side).

Fire hose 30ft shorter than

Dam constructed in stream above
entrance to funnel water down the pipe – further work required.

21/12/97 G. Johnson  – Eastwater – Boulder Chamber.

Took down more pipe and further work

14/1/98 Gonzo and Jake  – Eastwater.

Diverted stream into slot on left of
entrance.  Comes in at rift dug by Gonzo
and J’Rat above Woggle Press.

Checked dig above Boulder Chamber;
there has been a major collapse.  Sorted
out pipe to dig below Boulder Chamber and exited.  Checked Molefone peg above dig on surface.  Whoops! – There’s a surface collapse
corresponding exactly with the dig! (First fence post down from SW corner).


Rolling Calendar

6/2/98                        BEC
Committee Meeting

7/2/98                        CSCC

3/3/98                        The
Cheddar Gorge Lecture,  Bath Arms,
cheddar.  7.30pm Martin Torbett

6/3/98                        BEC
Committee Meeting

26/3/98                      Become
a better naturalist, Wells Museum. 7.00pm Martin Torbett

3/4/98                        BEC
Committee Meeting

1/5/98                        BEC
Committee Meeting

15-17/5/98                  NAMHO
field meet Nenthead Village Hall, Nenthead, Alston, Cumbria          

16/5/98                      CSCC

5/6/98                        BEC
Committee Meeting

3/7/98                        BEC
Committee Meeting

4-5/7/98                     Cavers
Fair, Mendip

7/8/98                        BEC
Committee Meeting

4/9/98                        BEC
Committee Meeting

18-20/9/98                  BCRA
Conference, Floral Hall, Southport

30/9/98 – 14/11/98      ISSA
ExhibitionSt. David’s Hall, Cardiff, ISSA

3/10/98                      BEC
AGM and Dinner

18/11/98 – 28/11/98    A Brush
with Darkness – Paintings of Mendip’s caves.

Wells museum.          ISSA

26/11/98                     Undergroud
painting techniques/demonstration, Wells Museum 7.30pm Robin Gray


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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.