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A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR READERS.

Some of you will only now be receiving the Christmas B.B. with this one.  Apart from the lateness of the Christmas B.B., due to the lack of material sent in until the last minute, over fifty B.B.'s have been stuck in a snowdrift at Hillgrove for a week and have only just been ‘rescued’. One consolation.  Those who have only just got their Christmas B.B. can be assured that the B.B. they now have has been a jolly sight colder then they have over the last week or so!

There is still an ACUTE SHORTAGE of articles etc. for the B.B.  In consequence, this B.B. - although on the lines suggested in the Christmas B.B - is way out on amount of space devoted to various subjects.

Notice.  There will be a talk in Priddy Hall by David Causer on MARCH 2ND, 1963.

The subject being on the recent African expedition including slides of native women.

Club News - A Monthly Review of Club Activities

Caving Meets - 1963.

Following the notice in the November issue of the B.B., the following meet programme has been arranged for the first half of 1963.

All four of the meets are relatively ‘easy’ - this has been done to ensure that the scheme gets off to a good starts and to cater for the less experienced members of club.

1.         Sunday, 20th January.

Lamb Leer.  Meet in Lamb Leer quarry at 1.00 pm, N.G.R. 543550. Bus from Bristol at 11.32 am No 139.

2.         Thursday 7th March.

Redcliffe Caves.  Meet in Redcliffe Way, outside St. Mary Redcliffe at 7.15 pm.  Caving clothes not essential for this trip.

3.         Sunday, 23rd April. 

Fairy Cave Quarry Area.  Meet at Belfry at 1.45 pm.  Bus from Bristol at 12.05 pm No27.  Exact details of this trip will be announced later, but it is hoped that parties will be able to enter Balch's Hole, Hillier's Hole, Fernhill and Fairy caves.

4.         Friday, 14th June.

Coombe Down Stone Workings. Meet in main courtyard outside Bath Abbey, near Roman Baths; at 7.45 pm.  Buses from Bristol at 6.25, 6.35, 6.45 No 33.

In the case of the Lamb Leer and Fairy Cave Quarry meets, it would be useful if those interested in going would contact the Caving Sec, about two weeks before the date, so that some idea of the total number of people likely to attend the meet will be known beforehand, and in addition, for the Fairy Cave Quarry and Coombe Down meets, any spare seats in cars, vans, or on motorbikes will be greatly appreciated by those who have no transport.  Once again, those who have transport could contact the Caving Secretary the week before the meet and let him know what will be available.

C.A. Marriott, Caving Secretary.

Committee Meeting.

Owing, as they say, to the inclement weather (of which more later) there was no committee meeting for January.

Christmas at the Belfry.

As the winter held the Mendip in its icy grip, a small party gathered at the Belfry to celebrate Christmas. Christmas day was b***** cold and all in the Belfry were glad to gather round the stove, all waiting for the time to pass until dinner.  At about a quarter to twelve, the scene had changed - white shirts and suits were seen in fantastic numbers as their owners dashed about dressing for dinner.

The dinner was to be held at the Star Hotel in Wells, all arranged by Spike and Pam.  The time came to depart and there was quite a job squeezing 12+ bodies into 3 small cars, but it was done and off we went.  First stop Hunters (naturally) to wish our favourite landlord the season's greetings (crafty move for a drink on the house) and then on to the Star.

Fifteen and a half sat down to a damn good dinner, with Frank Darbon, Prew and Brenda and their relations hiding in another corner of the room.  (Frank had two of everything).  The crowd at our table were Spike and Pam, Graham and Julie, Alan Thomas, Rosemary, Alfie, Nigel, Garth, Roger Jarman, Len, Phil and baby Steven, Gordon, Jim Hill and Rotten.  It took about an hour and a half to stuff ourselves, drink cur wine, and get thrown out (we left sober).  Then back to the Belfry to give certain people time to rest their large corporations.

In the evening, several more people braved the cold and joined us, each bringing a bottle of course. Noel was already there, then came John Lamb and Jane, Ron and Pat, Sally and Bob Price.

Everything started off quietly, a glorious spread of food provided by Spike and Pam, who really worked hard at it, was followed by plenty of wines and beer - especially home made wines (ugh?)  Food and drink vanished rapidly and as the evening went on things became lively. Various games were played such as bottle walking, and then came the final trick of the evening.  Three brave climbers traversed round the inside of the Belfry, starting off at the Men’s Room.  Our intrepid three set off, roped at the neck, Noel leading, Garth seconding and Alfie bring up the rear.  They climbed steadily until the main door was reached when alas! a piton broke (Coathanger) under Alfie.  Quick thinking saved him and on they went, passing large prickly trees en route (Holly) until, after traversing across a bread ledge, they cant; to a rather dicey bit. Tragedy struck!  The third man slipped and fell (about three feet). Saddened by the loss, the leader and second pressed on until they reached the volcanic part of the climb (Stove). Noel, by using pressure holds, got across but Garth, suddenly finding himself un-roped, made a quick dash for safety across the top of the stove and made it & good display of climbing by all.

Eventually all went to kip, except the four who stayed up and cleaned up the mess.  My thanks to them and to Pam and Spike for their splendid efforts which made the party go with a swing.

John (Rotten) Ransom.

New Year at the Belfry.

For many years now, whenever snow has fallen at the Belfry, we have joked about it and wished that it would get too deep for us to be able to get back to work.  On Saturday, 29th of December, it happened at last!

By Sunday morning, the neighbourhood was sufficiently different that you had a job to recognise any familiar landmarks, and exploration parties were sent out through almost continuous waist high snow in search of essential supplies.  These were obtained as the parties managed to reach both the New Inn and the Hunters.  The New Inn party even managed to bring bad some luxury items, such as food, from the stores which had a snowdrift over the roof.  This party, consisting of John Cornwell, Alfie and Tony Baker, also took photographs on the way.

By Sunday evening, the weather forecast promised a thaw and said that all the snow would be gone by Monday. However, on Monday it was even colder and the high winds had made the drifts much deeper although in between them, most of the snow was blown, away.   Monday was spent shovelling - some of the walkers decided to leave - and the rest concentrated, on getting a way clear for the transport to get out.

A bulldozer had a go from the Hillgrove, but the road was only open for an hour or so just before dark. Nobody fancied getting stuck in the dark, although, Alfie drove up to the Hunters to enable him to get a good start on the 'Tuesday.

The Dozer had another go on Tuesday and Alfie got to the Hillgrove, but was defeated by Hedge, the  party reassembled at the Belfry with one vehicle less, and was joined by Roger Stenner who came out to join in the pantomime.  By this time, the Belfry was organised on a communal basis, and very well it worked too. All food was pooled and cooked together and we were all treated to the most amazing tea which we would otherwise never have sampled!

On the Wednesday, the party crammed into the remaining vehicles and went out together.  Spike had to dismantle, de-ice, and reassemble his bike and Roger and Gordon's car got ignition trouble but eventually we all got back to Bristol, a most unusual weekend.

Alfie

P.S.  The Belfry was 'inhabited' during both the weekends following this incident, maintaining its unbroken record of 'never closing'

Trips from the Caving Log

On the 2nd of August, during a beginner's trip down Swildons, Mike Baker noted that once more, not a single drop of water was going down the Forty.  Also on the 2nd, Roger Stenner continued the survey of Wet and Waterfall pitches in Cuthbert’s.  They spent twelve hours in the cave without going past Mud Hall!  On the 4th August, Roger and his brother Derek brought out the remains of the telephone wire from Cuthbert’s.  It was Derek's second trip.  On the previous one, he helped to bring in the phone wire in 1966.

The survey of Wet and Waterfall pitches was continued on the 15/16 August by Roger Stenner and party, when a closed traverse was completed.  Jim Hill, on the 18th August, also down Cuthbert’s, reports that the Primus stove in the Dining Room is in A1 working order.

One notes that the removal of the telephone wire from Cuthbert’s is also claimed by a party led by Mikes Wheadon and Palmer on the 19th August.  Perhaps a little man takes it back in again in the meantime!

More surveying in Cuthbert’s on the 19th and 21st August by Roger and Pat Takle filling in detail. On the 28th of the month, a Cuthbert’s trip, with Maurice Iles, Joyce Searle, Gerald, and Roger Stenner had as its object to bring out the telephone wire.  Perhaps it would help this (by now bewildered) reader of the log, if all future trips of this nature would report the measure of success they had!

Mike Calvert reports that the Strand is filthy because of people not sticking to the usual route.  It would be a pity for September Series to meet the fate of so many of the better parts of other Mendip caves.

Not a drop of water running. Z Alley in Reads, another place seldom visited by the B.E.C. was, done by Roger Stenner and party on the 16th September.

Noel spent some time in Priddy Green on the 16th September, but much work unfortunately produced no advance except, an excellent view into mud passage!  He had another go on the 26th September, and reckons that the passage will go eventually.

More work in Heale Cave was carried out on the 13th October.  Mike Thompson’s chemical persuader plus Alfie’s patent tamping goo shattered several boulders in the 380 inch way.  On the 20th October a trip of a rather different type was undertaken by some members.  Gough's was done in best clothes with beer and cigars.  Our guide was Bob Pyke.

More discoveries in Cuthbert’s on the 21st October when a party consisting of Eatough, Attwood and Kangy went probing in the line of the Great Fault between Lake Chamber and Rocky Boulders.  A well decorated passage some 200’ in length was found.

A call out occurred in Swildons on the 28th October, which luckily proved unnecessary.  Alert occurred at 7 pm concerning a party which were supposed to be finding it heavy going at the twin pots at about 2 pm and had not been seen since.  They had apparently taken in some rather dicey ladders.  The dicey ladders were still in place at 8 pm, so a preliminary recce was made, and their empty tent and caravan found at 9.30.  Into gear and Garth, Pat Irwin and Roger went to the cave but found they had just come out.  The party had not told anyone where they were going, or how long they were going to be.  Some method of checking in and out of the cave is needed if this kind of alarm is not to be repeated.

On the 29th October, a further survey trip to complete closed traverses under Mud Hall was conducted by Roger.

Cuthberts Photograph

THE PHOTOGRAPH, on the next page is one of what we hope may develop into a series during the year. It is a view of stalagmite flow taken by John Cornwall in G.B. in the Main Chamber above the false floor arrangement sometimes known as the Rhinoceros.

Notes of interest to Some

by Garth.

On Saturday, 19th January 1963, the caving fraternity of Mendip achieved a major moral victory by having a delegation of no less than twenty cavers present in the Hunters. The point of this remark is that they were the only customers present, there being no locals except for the landlord.

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The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary, R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle, Bristol
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept. R.S. King, 22 Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch, Nr .Bristol.