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Swildons Six

Our congratulations to the team who took part in the operation on June 17th.  For the benefit of those members who are not able to visit Mendip regularly, we hope to include an article in the near future, if we can persuade our representative - Frank Darbon - to write it up for us.  Until then, it appears that Six is some 240' in length, there are two or three side passages, and Sump Five has now been lowered so that, at any rate under low water level conditions, it is now a passage with air space all the way.

Club Ties

These have now arrived.  It is expected that there will be a great demand for them, so get YOUR order in to Bob Bagshaw as soon as you can, otherwise you may have to wait for the next batch to be ordered from the makers. You will find the price of the ties later on in this B.B.

Cave References.

To assist anyone who may be doing any serious work of research on Mendip caves, a list of all the references to original cave exploration and other serious work on Mendip which have appeared in the B.B. has been compiled.  A small number of these lists will be duplicated and will be obtainable from the Editor on request.

Supplies for the B.B.

We should like to record our thanks for the gifts of paper which have been received lately. Especially for the reams of Spicer’s Paper - which is at the moment being jealously guarded for the Christmas B.B. Further donations however, are urgently required, and will be greatly appreciated.  To those of you who had B.B.'s last month printed, on alternate sheets - Sorry, but this was due to the use of inferior paper which did not go through the duplicator properly.


Archaeology - Lundy

Several members of the B.E.C. are going to Lundy early in July to undertake an excavation on behalf of the Lundy Field Society.  The site, which is in a paddock called Bull's Paradise is probably a Dark Age Medieval cemetery and it is hoped to find any associated buildings which may be nearby.

During the latter half of the last century, a number of human burials were discovered including two of a "gigantic nature", the larger measuring 8' 2" in length. The site became known as the Giant's Graves, and a number of beads found with the giants have been associated with the Dark Age Irish type and are now on display at Bristol Museum.  Other relics of the period include a carved memorial stone and occasional shards of imported pottery.  There is historical evidence to suggest the presence of an early Christian chapel on the island, but the history of this and of subsequent chapels is very confused and it is not at all certain that the known chapel ruins are in fact those of the original building.  It may be that the early chapel stands on the site to be tackled in July.

It is hoped to convene a meeting of members interested in archaeology at some date before the A.G.M. in order to discuss the extent to which archaeological activities should be carried out within the club.  Personally, I do not wish to see the B.E.C. organising excursions or lectures which nobody attends and I would prefer merely to leave the club as a medium for active digging etc - but if anyone is interested in. those activities, it would be useful to learn of it.

K.S. Gardner.

Caving Log for 1961

6th May.  Cuthbert’s.  Leader Richard Roberts.  Party C. Hawkes, C. Smith, B and A. Lorder.   Short trip to Cascade Passage and Curtain Chamber.  Leader Frank Darbon.  Party Ron Wyncoll, Jim Morris, Anon, John, Ann Myrko.  Trip to Gour Chamber.  Alfie's torch makes a good clobbering tool if dropped from a great height.  Just missed Richard who was following.   Shame I missed!

7th May. Goatchurch.  Leader John Ramsome.  Party Mike Calvert and Gordon Tilly.  Tourist trip. Gordon had trouble with his boots. We looked in Avelines and a weegee asked if that was where we went potholing and was it dangerous.  A second trip there was done by Jim Hill and Paul Mack (to Goatchuch that is).  Eventually managed to find the drainpipe and had some difficulty finding the Tradesman’s Entrance.

7th May.  Mineshaft.   2 miles from the Castle of Comfort on the Burrington Road.  Party Tom Sage and Pat Irwin.  The Pot, covered by two spike harrows, is 40' deep.  At the bottom, the right hand passage ends in a 10' drop and the left hand one goes 15' on the vertical plane and finishes 10' away from the 25’ drop at the end of the passage.  Very pungent smell at bottom of first drop, probably due to rotting sheep.

6th May.  Cuthbert’s.  A. Sandall + 5 and Frank Darbon +5.

6th May.  Cuthbert’s.  Steve Wynn-Roberts and Bryan Ellis.  Surveying in the Rabbit Warren.  Completed the survey of major passages in this part of the cave.

7th May.  Cuthbert’s.  Mike Holland and Bryan Ellis.  Two parties of Wessex members taken round on tourist trips.

7th May. Swildons.  Dave Causer and Jim Giles.  Inspection of the damage done by blasting in the 40'   rift passage described on 29.4.61.  The upper hole in the constriction is now a lot easier, but it will take a few more trips before access to the passage on the other side is gained.

8th May. Swildons.  Ron Sago, Pat Irwin + 3 to Sump I.

7th May.  Swildons.  Leader K. Dawe.  Party Fred Davies, Mike Grimes, R. Boakes, R. Robberts + 1.  Slow trip to the ‘kitchen’ carrying lead weights for the diving op. Brought out suspect oxygen cylinders. Quite a wet trip into IV.

13th May.  Cuthbert’s.  Riohard and Roger.  Bug hunting trip.

14th May. Cuthbert’s.  Mike Baker, Mike Palmer, Dave Morgan.

14th May.  Longwood.  Pete Baker and Paul Mack.

14th May. Cuthbert’s. Norman Petty, Gordon Peckham,   Sunil Sinha & Stuart Tovey.  Returned to first pitch to find ladder removed and cave locked.  The climb was surprisingly easy and loud cries of “Help” brought a weegee to fetch the key.

15th May. Goatchurch & Rod’s.  Roger Stenner + 3 schoolboys.

22nd May.  Top of Swildons.  Roger Stenner + 2 schoolboys.

24th May.  Swildons.  B. Lynn and party to sump I.

25th May. Swildons.  Roger Stenner + 2 schoolboys round top.

25th May. Cuthbert’s.  Richard Roberts and party.  Intended trip down new route.  Near Bypass Passage there is a high aven with a heavy drip coming down. This might be worth pushing,

27th May.  Cuthbert’s.  D. Ford, R. Stenner, Steve Grime.  To sump,  D. Ford did geological work, while Steve and Roger roamed round the Rabbit Warren.  Rediscovered Don’s Helictites.  An interesting dig found with good possibilities.

27th May. August Hole.  Ray and Pete,

28th May.  Swildons.  Trip into Swildons II.  Water surprisingly warm.  Len Dawes, Jim Giles, George Pointing, Dave Berry, P. Oldfield and 5 Wessex types.

Whitsun.  Bar Pot and G.G.  Mo, Norman Petty, K. & P. Franklyn, Jim Giles, Tierney and Yorke did a through trip from Bar to G.G. and up on the winch.

Whitsun. Alum Pot.  Above party plus Alan and Carol Sandall and minus Tierney visited Upper and Lower Long Churn and Alum Pot.  Only half the party were able to use the Alum Pot way out as the White (?) Rose took their ladder out.

Whitsun.  Borrins Moor Cave.  Mo, Norman, Jim Giles, Alan Sandall, P. & K. Franklin & Yorke.  This is an interesting swallet not far from Alum. Also found a small swallet flooding Alum Beck not marked in Pennine Underground.

Barometers In Caves

by Roger Stenner.

This is a short article intended as a postscript to the original article (which differed slightly from what I had written on one or two important matters) published in the Christmas B.B. for 1959.

A capsule aneroid barometer was taken through St. Cuthbert’s Swallet in a trip deliberately lengthened to give a more severe test of the instrument on the 2nd of August 1959. There was a five hour interval between two measurements at one particular station, and the corrected pressures were exactly the same. Although this was promising, there was still a possibility of error.  In other words, although common, sense backed up by a fair bit of scientific work - said that the method was sound; the case was not statistically proven.

However, it is now possible to evaluate the results in the light of more recent work by Mr. D. Ford, who has surveyed a large section of the cave to a C.R.G. Grade V.

Mr. D. Ford

M. R. Stenner


Highest point, floor of Gour Hall.

Stream outside Dining Room


0 ft.





Lip if Great Gour.

Dining Room Table






As the survey continues, more comparisons will be available.  Bearing in mind the difference in altitudes of two of the stations (think long - think wise - think clear) the agreement is, I think, remarkably good.  It is now clear that a barometer of the type used in Cuthbert’s would fix the altitude of any given station to ±2 foot (or possibly 1’) provided that the weather be stable, and that the trip be made as quickly as possible.

R. Stenner   31.5.61.


Can You Tie Knots?  A series of illustrated descriptions of some of the more useful knots for caving and climbing starts next month in the B.B. Our continued apologies to those others who still have articles waiting for publication.  It's all this dreaded caving that takes up all the room!


Nick Barrington’s “Caves of Mendip" is going to be revised and reprinted.  This bigger, better, and right up to date edition will be worth getting even if you have one already.  We will tell you when it becomes available.

Letters to the Editor of the B.B.

Dear Sir,

I was pleased to learn from the current B.B. that the committee is considering a proposal to ensure that only active cavers and climbers be admitted to full and permanent membership of the club.  Let it be made abundantly clear that the only acceptable reason for seeking admission to the B.E.C. is a keen desire to take an active part in exploration.  A candidate whoso capabilities in some, or other, active field of exploration is in doubt, should not got as far as full member ship.

But there is another aspect of the problem.  How best can the club make use of its potentially active members?  These so often have to sit about the Belfry for long hours waiting for a chance to do something.  If one does not bring ones own caving companions, or fails to get in touch with the right people at the right time, it is all too easy to go home on Sunday night having achieved nothing more than a sore posterior and a thick head.  The club has many projects afoot on Mendip, but how does one get on to them without wasted hours?  There is obviously a great deal of work to be done in Cuthbert’s and, as I have kept my long stove side vigils, I have often heard it said that there is a lack of manpower. Yet, even to members of the B.E.C. of some years standing, Cuthbert’s can be the most elusive cave on Mendip. If a member has proved himself an experienced caver, and if his sense of moral responsibility vis-a-vis formations etc. is beyond question, then I can see no valid reason why that member should not be encouraged to get on with some useful work without having to pay for it first with futile hours of waiting.  If a person has not so proved himself, then he ought not to be a full and permanent member of the B.E.C.

May I suggest as follows? (1) The publication in the B.B. and on the Belfry wall of a complete list of active Cuthbert’s leader's; a list of those in charge of the various departments and the syllabus for the guidance of candidates for Leadership.  (2) That members who are not leaders, but who wish to work in the cave be given free access to the cave provided that their competence and integrity is beyond question.  This for the purpose of undertaking special tasks under the general direction of the member in charge of the appropriate department.  After my very long awaited single Cuthbert’s trip, my knowledge of the geography of the cave is obviously extremely limited, but to say that I am incapable of going down to a dig and getting on with the job is just silly.

As regards projects other than Cuthbert’s, may I suggest that a list with the names of those in charge be put in the Belfry?  As far as possible, means should be found of letting members get on with the various jobs.

I hope what I have written, will be taken as constructive suggestions.  I am not advocating unlimited access to Cuthbert’s.  I am not having a dig at Cuthbert’s Leaders. Those that I have been able to identify I know to be most excellent chaps.  Finally, while I am at it, what about a library of useful surveys etc. at the Belfry?  Or must this remain one of the services for which we are traditionally dependant on the Shepton?

Yours Faithfully, Ray Winch.

Editor's Note.     These are the sort of subjects that are hammered out pretty often at the Belfry.  Does anyone feel like answering them in the B.B.?  I would personally say that initiative had something to do with it. All the work which has been done in the past has rarely been 'officially' run by the committee, but the subject wants answering properly.  Any offers?





Whitsun in Yorkshire

A party of independents from the B.E.C. consisting of Alan and Carol Sandall, John Lamb and Garth departed from Bristol at 6 pm on Friday the 19th, bound for the “Flying Horseshoes".  The party arrived at the “Shoes” at five to one.  Norman's tent was built and slept in for seven hours.  G.G. the next day was quite impressive but in some places a little disappointing.  The walk to and from the caving area was pleasant but long.  The winch and its general arrangements were most impressive. There is a distinct lack of mud and sand in Mud Hall and Sand Cavern respectively.  Henslers Passage looked to be a decent bit of cave.  Prew ventured from the end of Sand Cavern to West Chamber and just missed walking into a bottomless pond of 'oggin.  Alan Sandall managed an interesting traverse over the top of the pond.  I turned chicken and went back through Sand Cavern.  As usual, Jonah was letting off flashbulbs all over the Main Chamber.

After an hour and a half wait, we emerged into brilliant sunshine.  On the way back to Clapham we intended to give Ingleborough Cave a look over, but the guide was not available, so that thought was abandoned.  A quiet drinking session was held in the “Shoes" on Saturday night.  Sunday, we wandered over to Alum Pot.  Quite small, but can be strenuous.  A nice 110' climb in very pleasant sunlight.  Carol quite enjoyed it.  A really good evening was had by all at the “Shoes” and afterwards at the Dump.  On the way home on Monday, we turned weegee and went over to Malham Cove and Gordale Scar. The trip home was uneventful except for an amusing traffic jam at Gloucester whore we stopped some crafty ?:/”% from jumping the queue.


(Besides the above party, 25 people arrived by coach and did the same trip as described.  Prew.


The Belfry Bulletin Editor,  S.J. Collins,   33, Richmond Terrace,   Clifton,   Bristol 8. 
Secretary.   R. J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road,  Knowle, Bristol 4.
Postal Department.   C.A. Marriott,  718, Muller Road,   Eastville,   Bristol.

From now until the Annual Dinner, which will be held this year at the Cliff Hotel, Cheddar on Saturday October 7th, many reminders will be going out to members on various subjects connected with the Dinner and the Annual General Meeting.  The first of these - the nomination form - will be found in this copy of the B.B. As well as the usual space for the nomination of candidates for the 1962 committee, there is also a place on the form for member's resolutions.  These do not have to be sent in with the nominations, but, if you have some point which you would like to have brought up at the A.G.M., the form is a convenient place to write it down so that it won't get lost.

This year there is also the photographic competition and the song competition.  We want lots of entries for both, so get organised while there is still plenty of time!

We have just obtained a new typewriter for the B.B.  We hope that it will help to make the print more readable.  We could still do with contributions of PAPER which should be of foolscap size and duplicator type.



There will be a trip to AGGY AGGY on the 9th of September.  This trip is being organised by Alan Sandall, who should be contacted for further details.


Jim Giles (hereinafter referred to as 'the organiser’) has told us that the judges for the photographic competition will be JONAH, JOHNNY EATOUGH and "PONGO" WALLIS.  In the event of any one of these three judges not being able to turn up for the A.G.M. and dinner, "SAGO" has offered to act as a judge.     Don't forget that the closing date for this competition is the 15th of September.  Rules for the Song competition, also arranged by the organiser, will be found in this issue of the B.B.

Letters to the Editor of the B.B.

Dear Sir,

May we add to the recent remarks and correspondence concerning the St. Cuthbert’s leader system?

Since the cave was opened, there has been a steady deterioration in the condition of the cave (i.e. muddy hand prints on formations, broken formations, chocolate papers left about and spent carbide left in places other than those recommended. This deterioration has increased rapidly during the last two years in spite of the leader system.  We suggest that the rules be tightened up and that a limit be put on the number of cavers that one leader should take.  A list of all the leaders should be published.

We were recently amused, on reading the caving log, to see that it seems fashionable for some leaders to rediscover parts of the system already described in the caving log and the B.B.  This will soon lead to various parts of the cave having two names and this may have already happened.  The up-to-date St. Cuthbert’s Report is urgently needed, as is a meeting of leaders etc to allocate research projects.    There is much to be done without duplicating previous people's work.

Yours Sincerely,

John Eatough; R.S. King; Johnny Attwood; Roy Bennett; “Mo” Marriott.


St. Cuthbert's is one of the finest, and certainly the most complex, cave system on Mendip to date.  This makes it the sort of cave which is, and should be even more in the future, an object for serious research.  The present leader system, in my personal view, is an attempt to compromise between giving the ordinary caver a decent chance to go round the cave, and preserving it as intact as possible, for present and future research work.  It is worth noting that Derek Ford, who has recently been doing scientific work in the cave, was quite impressed with the general state of the cave and congratulates the club on the way in which it has been so far preserved.  This is all the more reason why we should not let it slip at this stage.  The club is placing considerable trust in the Cuthbert’s leaders and it is surely up to those leaders to recognise this and to keep an eagle eye on their parties at all tines.

As for duplication of discoveries, it is surely one of the first things that any potential discoverer of anything does to check that no previous record of that discovery exists.  All Cuthbert’s discoveries are pretty well written up nowadays and there is very little excuse for anyone falling into error here'.  Editor.


To the Editor, Belfry Bulletin,

Dear Sir,

I was astounded to read in your May bulletin that an 18" stalactite had been broken off in St. Cuthbert's Swallet.  It was not the act itself that astounded me, but the revelation - by the publication of what was termed a 'Caving Log' - that your club are still going into caves. I must ask you to reconsider the entire question of entering caves in the light of modern speleological thought.

The fact is that, although people are rightly concerned about the visible effects of their visits to caves, they fail to take into account the chaos they have caused in the unseen physical world.  The passage of a person through a cave may appear to, leave it intact, but in fact he has probably upset the chemical balance; arrested crystalline growth and left the ecology in smoking ruins.

The balance of nature in caves is very finely adjusted, simple self-reproducing fungi forms and viable bacteria are in the soil, air and water and lend support to worms, tiny beetles and Crustacea.  A caver lifts samples of these from one part of the cave on his clothing and sets them down elsewhere, causing the multiplication of certain forms of life in parts of the cave at the expense of others.  Numerous alien bacteria are often introduced.  If we could examine a caver under a high powered microscope - especially your members - we should see that they are surrounded by clouds of their own germs, playing old Harry with the local breeds.  The caver leaves a trail of exhaled breath throughout his journey and may temporarily raise the CO2 content of the air by as much as 0.1%. Surely, as a preliminary measure, it is not asking too much that you should take in your own supply of air and take out your exhaled breath.

The use of flashbulbs causes photosynthesis affecting the pigmentation of certain life and crystal forms. I have found isopods quite blinded after having lights carelessly shone upon them.  Crystals grow into grotesque - shapes after being subjected to the pressure of nailed boots and one could go on finding similar examples indefinitely.

Surely the time has come for the B.E.C. to join with other leading caving clubs of this country and use their resources to prevent people from entering caves rather than encouraging them.  The wanton exploration of unknown caves must cease.  Perhaps in ten years time we shall be able to relax, having gated or blocked all the entrances, and rest content in the knowledge that beneath us the caves are secure in their natural state, unspoilt by the presence of man, developing as nature intended in their pristine splendour.

Yours faithfully,

Harry Pearman.

Note.    Mr. Pearman, of the C.S.S., has graced these pages before, when he gave us another insight to his vast fund of knowledge.  Unfortunately, this must of necessity be an infrequent occurrence as the passage of germs and other micro-organisms from one part of the country to another caused by his sending these communications obviously constitutes a grave threat to the ecology of the country as a whole.  It is suspected that the well known Lamp Pox was originally brought to Mendip in this manner, as, previous to visits by the C.S.S., it was unknown in this part of the country.   Editor.

Archaeological News

Axbridge Museum.

Saturday 22nd July saw the official opening of the new Axbridge museum by Prof. L.S. Palmer. The museum of the Axbridge Caving Group and Archaeological Society, until recently housed in a large wooden construction just off the town square, has been fortunate in finding a home in the Town Hall.  The new surroundings are more fitting for its excellent collection of archaeological and speleological exhibits.  The members of the society in general, and Jack Weare, their curator, in particular are to be congratulated on the results of their work.  A visit to the Town Hall is thoroughly recommended.

One of the most interesting cases, from an archaeological point off view, is that housing the Haywood Cave Burials.  These were discovered when the society began to force an entry into Haywood rock shelter. A cairn of stones which blocked the entrance was found to contain ten human skulls mixed with ochre and implements of Mesolithic date - the first burial of this type and date to be found in this country,


Recent excavations on the site of a Dark Age/Medieval cemetery on Lundy, carried out by members of the B.E.C. and Lundy Field Society, revealed foundations of buildings, tumbled walls etc, associated with 14th century pottery.  A hitherto unknown tombstone was discovered, orientated N-S, with the inscription L L L C O H I, which as yet we have been unable to decipher.

Caves on Lundy will be examined at a future date in detail but can be classified as follows:-

(a)                Artificial "caves" in the upper Devonian shales.

(b)                Sea caves in granite at present sea level.

(c)                Sea caves in granite above present sea level.

(d)                Artificial holes in granite

Group (a) includes such "stores" as Benson's Cave beneath the 13th Century Marisco Castle and Group (b) the caves of Seal Hole, Virgin’s Spring (a freshwater spring in a sea cave) etc.

An unrecorded hole high up in a granite fissure was pointed out by a man who entered it some fifty years ago and it seems to have been either a mine or some secret store place.

Archaeologically, the most interesting are the high level caves of the Double Decker and Queen Mab's Grotto which compare with the raised beaches of the Devon coast and the prolific cave sites on Gower to the north. Mesolithic flints and Bronze Age remains have been found on the island and it is hoped that these caves may produce further evidence of prehistoric occupation.

K.S. Gardner.


The second conference of Cave Rescue Organisations will be held during the weekend Sept 30th/Oct 1st 1961 in Bristol. Further details will be published later, but it would be appreciated if members having any suggestions or topics for discussion would let me know as soon as possible.  Amongst those already tabled are:-

Sumping apparatus; Problem of bad air; Design of stretchers; Relations with police; Moving boulders; Special apparatus; Training of cavers in C.R. techniques; C.R.O. in Ireland.

K.S. Gardner.

CAVING LOG for 1961

28th May. St. Cuthbert's.  Norman, Keith, Pete, Mo.  Fixed the Coase Memorial plaque in Cerberus Chamber.

23rd May.  August Hole.  Ray and Pete.  Upstream passage.

3rd June. St. Cuthbert's.  Jim Giles, Alfie and Sett.  Checking possible places for new entrance.  The top passage was lengthened by six feet and a  survey made.

3rd June. St. Cuthbert's.  N. Petty and R. Stenner.  Continued to fix the Coase Memorial  Plaque.

3rd June. St. Cuthbert's.  Keith, Pete Franklyn and Mo.  More digging upstream of Dining Room.  Air space found and strong draught noted.  More digging required.

3rd June.  Raiders Rift and Hawks Hole.  Ray Winch.

4th June.  Swildons.  Mike Calvert and Ron Wynkell.  To sump to find specimen tubes left by Bruce Lynn.  No catch.  Water very low.

4th June. St. Cuthbert's.  D. Ford, P.M. Giles ("Beau" Giles).  D. Ford continued his geological survey. Gour Hall to Everest Passage.   Jim took photos in the same area.

10th June. St. Cuthbert' s.  To Cerberus Chamber with R. Winch and Mike Johnson.  The Don Coase plaque is now fixed.  N. Petty.

10th June.  St. Cuthbert's.  P. Millar, S. Tuck, K. & P. Franklyn, Mo.  Continued digging in stream passage, dig eventually abandoned and stream diverted down hole.

10th June.  Swildons IV.  Party Phil Davies (W.C.C.) John and Garth.  This trip was to transfer equipment into IV for the attempt on VI on the 17th.  We were a tired party by the end of the  trip.

19th June.  August Hole.  Ray Bushy plus one other.

11th June.  Swildons.  Fred Davies, Derek Ford, Nigel and three others.  Took kit down to IV.  Nigel was clapped out at the end of it all.

17th June.  G.B.  Keith, Pete, Paul Mack, Sheila, Mo, four others, R. Stenner plus two schoolgirls from Lockleaze on a photographic trip all taken with side lighting.

19th June.  Swildons.  P.M. Giles, W. Foster, K. Thompson, B. Dibben.  Tourist trip to Barnes Loop.

18th June.  Hilliers.  Ray, Bushy and some others.  We managed this because we found the only Cerberus caver left.

24th June.  Swildons.  George and Dave. Paddy, Nigel and Ron Wink ‘ole.  Quick trip down to sump I where Dave and Ron rested.  George, Paddy and Nigel went down to Sump II.  Water was b…..y cold.

25th June.  Swildons IV.  P.M. Giles, K. Dawe (S.M.C.C.)   Removal of diving and other equipment from IV and collection of dye samples from the wet way, sump I and Series IV.

25th June.  Stoke Lane Slocker.  Ray, Bushy etc.  The most distant parts of the cave are obviously not often visited and the glitter etc of the formations is something quite different from anything else I have seen on Mendip.  It was absolutely superb.  The best trip I have been on for years.  On the way back, of course, Bushy's trousers burst.

1st July.  Dallimore's.  Ray and Bushy.  Not exactly a super cave but can be entered when you cannot get down Cuthbert’s.  There are a couple of passages which would go after a bit of digging.  I don't think there is much future here though.

1st July.  Swildons.  J. Hill, P. Mack, M. Luckwell.  Trip down to Sump I.  Very dry indeed.  Despite that, two thirds of the party arrived at the bottom of the forty with no lights.  The Beach at Sump I was in a quite disgusting condition.  Air smelt strongly of C2H2 and there were empty carbide tins, discarded clothing and  spent carbide which made the whole place look like a rubbish tip.

2nd July.  St. Cuthbert's.  D. Ford. P.M. Giles.  Derek continued his geological survey.  Cerberus Series from Dining Room to Everest Passage and Curtain Chamber.  The lake is now dry.

2nd July.  St. Cuthbert's. Leader J. Hill.  Tourist trip to Dining Room.

4th July.  Swildons. Keith Gladman & Tony Lowes.

6th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  R. Roberts. R. Boakes, B. Lynn.  A 56 hour trip.  Most of the kit had been taken down on the previous weekend.  We camped in Cerberus Hall, which needed levelling.  This is an excellent site.  Our main occupations were sleeping and eating.  We did however, find time to undertake a complete exploration of Cerberus Series, which is far more complex than most people realise.  The lake in Lake Chamber is completely dry and there is quite a lot of passage at the far end, ending in a 15’ rock face which might be worth investigating.  We left the cave on Saturday night and hurried to the hostelry for suitable refreshment.

9th July.  Swildons.  Keith Gladman, Mike Calvert, Mike Lunner.  Round top of the cave on a trip which included going through Don's Delight.

8th July.  Raiders Rift and Hawks Hole.  Ray and Bushy.

9th July.  Rod's Pot.  R. Stenner plus two girls and one boy.

10th July.  Longwood. Keith Gladman, Tony Lowes.  Stream bed dry.  First sign of running water in the main chamber.  Final passage now blocked with several large boulders.  Found large BULL in barn on return.

11th July.  Back of Gough's.  Derek Ford, Keith Gladman, Tony Lowes, Peter Barker.  Good cave with many interesting and tight passages.  Had some difficulty finding the chimney that goes up to boulder chamber (very muddy).  Comical to listen to comments that weegees made as we were going through.  Had a look at Coppers Hole dig and found that the dig has been flooded.  Also shoring very unsafe.

11th July.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Prew, Keith Gladman, Gordon.  To Dining Room.

15th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  D. Ford, Jim Giles, R. Pyke, C. Hawkes.  D. Ford continued his survey.

15th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  Jim Hill,  Mike Calvert.  Failed to find Bypass Passage.

16th July.  Stoke Lane Slocker. F. Davies, R. Dunster, ?, M. Giles.  Trip to first sump which F. Davies passed but Giles baulked.

18th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  Bennett, Eatough, Attwood, Kangy.  Stepping lightly around the huge piles of corruption left by exhausted parties after previous intrepid expeditions, we arrived in Boulder Chamber.  We ventured into a “more complex series than you might realise" known collectively as Coral and Rocky Boulders Series.  "No, No!" we cried as he pulled and pushed yet one more boulder upon us until at last we reached virgin cave, passing Bennett’s previous best.  A very nice trip.  Kangy.

16th July.  Browne’s Hole.   Alfie, Nigel and Jill.  Two slim chaps went surveying with an astrocompass.  The Lamp Pox became evident after a while.

21st July.  Swildons.  Garth, Rosemary, Gordon, John R.

23rd July.  St. Cuthbert's.  B. Ellis, D. Ford, M. Grimmer, C. Goffin, P.M. Giles.  Geological survey plus collection of dye samples.  Dye was put into Plantation Swallet the previous week.  It appears that Plantation Junction is correctly named.

28th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  P.M. Giles, N. Clarke plus 4 schoolboys.

29th July.  Swildons IV.  K. Dawe, Eric, Nigel Clarke, Roger Boakes, Richard.  Sherpa trip to kitchen.

30th July.  Swildons.  R. Stenner + 2 boys.  Top series.

30th July.  Swildons.  D. Ford, O.C. Lloyd, H. Kenny, M. Hooper, P.M. Giles.  Another abortive attempt on the sump by P.M. Giles who, with M. Hooper returned to surface, while the others went on into series II.

30th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  A. Sandall, N. Ballet, N. Clarke, I. Dear, P.M. Giles, C. Sandall, R. Wyncoll, M. Palmer.  Lots of mud and Alfie Collins took part in the digging of the new shaft.  Contact was established with the passage mentioned in the trip of 3.6.61.  Some persuading of the intervening rock is now necessary.

30th July.  Hollowfield Swallet.  R. Wink 'Ole, Mike, Gerry, Mike L.

30th July.  Rod's & Drunkard's.  Ray Winch and some Brampton boys.

31st July.  St. Cuthbert's.  P.M. Giles, R. Pyke, N. Clarke.   Maypole Series.

31st July.  Swildons.  Ray and Bushy to Shatter Pot.  Bushy' s trousers split again.

1st August.  Cuthbert's.  D. Ford and R. Wynkoll. Maypole Series.

1st August.  Nine Barrows Swallet.  P.M. Giles, B. Prewer, N. Clarke, Ron Wynkoll.  Entrance tidied up and several large boulders hauled out.

1st August.  St. Cuthbert's.  P.M. Giles, N. Clarke.

2nd August.  Cuthbert’s.  Two trips led by Jim Giles and Mike Palmer with two members of the Craven Pothole Club.  This was the first exchange trip into the cave for some time and the tackle used was more than the club possess.  The total length of ladder used was 170’ and the ropes in use added up to 240’.  The extra ladder was supplied by N. Petty, and the C.P.C. bods allowed us to try a 120' length of COURLANE rope on the Pulpit Pitch.  This rope is nearly half the price of nylon and keeps an almost constant breaking strain over a longer period.  It is available from; HALLS-BARTON ROPERY, CLEVELAND RD, HULL.  All on the trip expressed their pleasure in using it.  A comment on Cuthbert's from the C.P.C.  "There's nowt like it in Yorkshire!"

Caving Log.

Owing to the amount of entries now being put into the club caving log, it is proving not possible to print it all in the B.B.  It is thus proposed to merely mention most trips and to print only trips involving work or new discovery.  Trips of general interest which are fully written up in the log will be printed as articles.  If anyone has any other suggestions, we shall be pleased to hear of them, and will arrange the printing of the log to suit the majority of readers.



WHY BE DIFFERENT. Everybody else will be wearing a CLUB TIE this year at the Dinner.  Get yours from Bob Bagshaw.  Price 1/6 only.      The tie chosen by gentlemen cavers with caving gentlemen in mind.

Song Competition

The following rules have now been received from Jim Giles:-

1.                  The song must be suitable for singing in mixed company at the Dinner.

2.                  Entries must be original and must be limited to the fields of caving and climbing and associated subjects.

3.                  Winning entries will be judged by a general vote at the dinner from the audience.

4.                  Closing date is the night of the dinner.

5.                  The competition is open to members and visitors.

6.                  Prizes to the value of 10/- will be awarded for the best two songs.

N.B.  Only the words need be original - any tune may be used.

PRIZES FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION.  1st prize in each class; 30/- Book Token. Runner Up in each class; 10/- Book Token.

Knots.  No. 1 The Bowline

by John Ransome.

It is a known fact that tying knots does not come easily to everyone, but all who go caving should at least be able to tie a bowline.  Your life, and that of others may well-depend on your ability to tie a bowline.  It is easy to tie and untie, and it is a good thing to practice tying it in the dark, or without looking at it, so that it becomes easy to tie it underground.

The most useful purpose for this knot (or hitch) is in life lining on ladders, pitches etc.

If possible, it should always be tied by the person about to use it.  A person is inclined to place more trust in his own work and, if tied by someone else, it may become too tight and affect the confidence of the person concerned.  In the case of accidents or with novices, the circumstances are of course different.

Take the rope in the left hand, and the end in the right.  Make a small loop in the rope, take the end and push up through the loop, take the end round the back of the rope, then down through the loop and pull tight.  With Nylon rope, it is best to put one or two half-hitches on after the bowline, as this type of rope is more likely to slip.

More knots in this series will follow at intervals.    Ed


The Belfry Bulletin Editor,  S.J. Collins,   33, Richmond Terrace,   Clifton,   Bristol 8. 
Secretary.   R. J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road,  Knowle, Bristol 4.
Postal Department.   C.A. Marriott,  718, Muller Road,   Eastville,   Bristol.

A Bigger – B.B.?

Plans have now been worked out that will enable us to take advantage of the offer made at the A.G.M. of some additional help with the duplicating of the B.B. and, we hope, satisfy the members who would like to see a larger version of the B.B.

Starting next year, in addition to the large Christmas number, we will be printing an equally large summer number and, if we get enough contributions, a large spring and autumn number as well.  This arrangement will cater for the members who would like to see the B.B. come out every month as at present and also for those who would like a bigger magazine, at less frequent internals.

There is, however, one snag. We stated, when we took the B.B. over that we would not let it lapse below the minimum size and would not make frequent appeals in the B.B. for articles.  This rule we shall have to break on this occasion and point out that we can only have this larger amount of B.B. providing that we get the articles for printing in it.  As an example, apart from a few smaller articles, WE HAVE NO MATERIAL AT ALL FOR THE CHRISTMAS B.B. AT THE MOMENT.  Arrangements for the cover have got to be made during the next fortnight and printing should start shortly after that.  There seems little point in talking about a regular quarterly bumper number of the B.B. under these circumstances!

We have recently done some mathematics on the amount of information printed per annum by the B.B. and a comparative journal which, at first sight, appears to be a lot bigger. We find in fact, that there is practically nothing to choose between them, which means that as far as quantity goes, if the club wants this new arrangement, its members have got to write on an average, more articles than the members of any other local caving club. The sort of thing which could, with advantage, be done on these lines are long write ups of major trips which; although not carried out by the club itself, had some members of the club amongst the party, permission to write such an article as can usually be obtained from the club in question, even if it means delaying the appearance of the article until after the club concerned has published it in their own journal. The B.B.'s main function is to keep those members who are not usually around in touch with all that is going on Mendip, and so articles of this type would be very useful.

Having given this subject a good airing, we hope that it can be retired for another few years at least, while the B.B. grows fatter and more interesting!



There will be a meeting of Cuthbert's Leaders at the Belfry on November 25th at 2.30 pm.  The Caving Secretary requests that all Cuthbert's Leaders will attend and that any ideas on St. Cuthbert's for discussion be given or sent to the Caving Secretary or the B.B. editor.

There will be a slide show on the 9th of December given by the M.C.G. at the Stirrup Cup Garage at 7.30 pm at which will be shown slides of Pine Tree Pot, Ubley Pot etc.  All are cordially invited.

Old picture frames are urgently wanted for mounting photographs for hanging up at the Belfry and the Hunters. They should be of a size to accommodate a 10x8 or a 16x12 print.  Also wanted are photos, loan of negs etc. of historical club interest.  Contact any committee member or the new Hon. Librarian, Sybil Bowden-Lyle.


The Caving Secretary wishes to remind members of the new set of arrangements affecting G.B. cave. Requests for a trip should be sent to him at least three weeks before the trip is required.  There is, unfortunately, no guarantee that the trip can always be arranged, but an early request helps!  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

On the 18th November, either at the Hunters of afterwards at the Belfry, there will be a slide show on South Africa - its wild life animals; plants and natives.  This will be given by Sybil.

The C.R.G. Annual General Meeting will be held at the Geography Lecture Theatre, University of Bristol under the chairmanship of Dr. E.K. Tratman on Saturday, 11th November at 5.30 pm.  Also in the Geography Theatre, there will be a talk on Caves in Jamaica, by Dr. Read, president of the Jamaica Caving Club on November 27th at 8.15 pm.


Our new Hon. Librarian, Sybil, is in the middle of preparation of a really comprehensive library list.  This list not only names the books, periodicals etc. in the library, but gives a short description of the contents of each and, in the case of periodicals a list of the main articles.  A full copy of this list will come out as a supplement to the B.B. in the near future, but in the meantime, here is an extract of some of the caving books to be found in the library.

Aragonite Spelaeothems as indicators of paleotemperatures.

George W. Moore

Caves, temperatures Fossils, formations and how made.

Au fond des gouffres.

Norbert Casteret

Written in French. Underground adventures. Illustrated.

British Caving.


Manual of caving.

Caves & Caverns of Peakland.

Crichton Porteous

Booklet. Speedwell Peak Cavern, Blue John Cavern, Bagshawe Cavern some cave diving.

Cave Hunting (1874).

Boyd Dawkins

Illustrated, factual often archaeological.

Cave men new & old.

Norbert Casteret

Illustrated. Caving adventures.

Mendip - its Swallet Caves and Rock Shelters.

H.E. Balch.

Now out of date but historical, Eastwate, Swildons, G.B., Lamb Leer etc.

My Caves.

Norbert Casteret

Illustrated. Personal adventure underground.

1,000 metres down.

J.Cadoux et al.

Caving adventures in France.

Pennine Underground.

Norman Thornber

Caving guide (1947)

Subterranean Climbers.

Pierre Chevalier

Illustrated. Twelve years in the world's deepest cavern.

The Cave Book.


Booklet.  Formations, Equipment, theories.  Illustrated.

The Falls & Caves of Ingleton.

John L. Hamer

Booklet.  Factual guide.

The Caves of Mendip.

N. Barrington.

Caving guide.

The Caves of Texas.


Illustrated manual.

The Darkness under the earth.

N. Casteret.

Adventures in caves.

Underground Adventure.

A. Gemmell & J.O. Myers.

Illustrated. Ingleton, Clapham & Malham.

Wookey Hole. Its Caves & cave dwellers.


Illustrated - diagrams & photos. Personal yet factual.

Have YOU still got a library book out?  Are you SURE? Why not have a look just in case?

Social Column

At 4 pm, on Saturday October 28th at St. James's Church New Cross, Spike and Pam were wedded,  and three members of the B.E.C. were there (they get around).

The reception was held at Pam's house and, thanks to Pam having a far sighted Mum and Dad there was booze and food aplenty.  Spike was seen sitting in a corner holding his corporation and having histories over "a slow revving bishop".  Frank Darbon, Johnnie Lamb and Nigel were also sitting in a corner - beer in one hand, food in another and cameras in the other.  Every so often one of them moved, but only to get more beer.

Spike had some slight trouble over the car keys and an intended 7.30 pm start became a 9.00 pm false start, and it is rumoured that the car heater was throwing out more than hot air.

After the Bride and Groom had departed to Tonbridge (and High Rocks?) the party continued. Several charming relations (16-20 age group) showed themselves adept at masochistic dancing activities.  At one time, with much protesting, even Frank was seen to be cavorting.

At about 2.00 am three local blokes departed into the wilderness from whence they had come with the score:-

Watneys (0) Trumans (0) Machesons (0) J. Walkers (l/l6) B.E.C. (1/8).

The best of luck to Pam and Spike, especially when they decide who IS the boss.



Congratulations to Merv Hannam and his wife on the birth of a daughter, Edwina Denise on October 2nd. Weight 8 lbs 6 oz. Congratulations also to Jack Waddon and his wife on (if I have got it right) the birth of their second son.

Archaeological Notes

Keith Gardner reports that, during 1959, 1960 and 1961, members of the M.N.R.C. have excavated an interesting and rewarding rock shelter at Tom Tivey's Hole (N.G.R. ST 705445) in Asham Wood, near Leighton.  They have proved continual casual occupation from the Neolithic period to modern times.

In the Neolithic level, the team revealed shards comprising the almost complete profile of a western Neolithic (Windmill Hill) round-based bowl; plain on the body with decoration confined to widely spaced radial notches on the rim.  The bowl is an almost exact duplicate in size, fabric and form and decoration to one specimen along the primary pottery at the Neolithic camp on windmill Hill, Avebury, Wiltshire.  The potsherds have been identified by Dr. Isobel Smith.

A fragment of bone pin or awl was also found which is too small to permit of much comment, but the slight longitudinal hollow on one side suggests that it belongs to a type found from primary contexts at Windmill Hill.  These were made by splitting the metapodials of sheep or goats and rubbing one end down to a sharp point.

The M.N.R.C. say that this season should be their last and when they have finished the Neolithic level, a full report will be published next year.    These finds, they add, indicate a link in the possible trade route from eastern Mendip to the Wessex Chalk.

Caving Log

2nd September. Swildons.  Party Jim Hill, Brenda, Alan & Carol.  Photographic trip.

3rd September. Rod's Pot.  Mike Calvert, R. Stenner, Rosemary plus 3 Lockleaze schoolgirls and 2 ditto schoolboys.  Leader Tony Rich.  Did the 50’ pot. Lamp Pox struck the two nife cells.  Big, clumsy and unreliable means of lighting.  Called it a day.

3rd September. Swildons. Richard Roberts.  G. Owen, B. Llyn, R. Boakes, G. Wolff.  Trip to sump II.  No water going down the forty.

3rd September. St. Cuthbert’s.  Jim Hill, Brenda plus one bod from Wells Cathedral School Caving Club.  Tourist trip.

16th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  M. Thompson and P.M. Giles Esq.  First through trip (old to new entrances).

16th September. Swildons.  Tourist trip to Sump I. R. Stenner + schoolboys and girls.

24th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  M. Palmer, P.M. Giles Esq, D. HASELL, R.A. Setterington and K. Hallet.  Lethargic trip to September Series and first Cuthbert’s trip for Dan Hasell.

30th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  Tourist trip for three members of Chelsea Caving Club. Down to Dining Room and Lake Chamber, out through Rat Run and Everest Passage.  Leader Jim Hill.

30th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  Tourist trip for six members of Chelsea Caving Club. High Chamber
to Gour Hall and out through Rat Run. Leader Alan Sandall.

24th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  Mike Baker + 4 Nottingham Cave Club.  Tourist trip to duck (now a choke).  Mo's dig now takes all the stream.  Chain on Stal Pitch needs attention - be careful to keep the chain as near the rock as possible.

24th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  V. & C. Falshaw, J. Latough and N. Petty.  Digging in passage at downstream end of Bypass Passage removed vast lumps of mud and heaps of gravel.

8th October. St. Cuthbert’s.  M. Baker, J. Eatough,  R. Teagle, M. Calvert, G. Wolfe, J. Cornwell.  Photographic trip to Cascade and Curtain chambers.

8th October. St. Cuthbert’s.  Rocky Boulders Series.   R. Bennett, R.S. King, J. Attwood, P.M. Giles Esq, G. Honey and L. Pritchard.  While Bennett made notes, presumably for the next Cuthbert’s Report, the remainder probed about amongst the many boulders at considerable personal risk, under the directions of Messrs Bennett and King.  During this exercise in stamina and bravery a sixty foot passage - Surprise Passage - was entered.


Surprise passage is like a small edition of Appendix Passage in the Maypole Series - a vadose trench with a bedding plane roof.  It climbs at about 60°

Jim Giles.


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle , Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept. C.A. Marriott, 718, Muller Rd, Eastville, Bristol.

To those members who were able to attend the Annual General Meeting and Dinner, we must apologise for taking up most of this B.B. with news of these events.  However, since the point was once again made at the A.G.M. that the B.B. is the main link with all our members who live in far flung parts, we feel that a fairly full description of the A.G.M. at any rate is justified.


October Committee Meeting

The first meeting of the 1962 committee was held according to tradition on the day after the A.G.M. The committee re-elected its officers of last year which are thus:  Committee Chairman & Hut Warden R.A. Setterington.  Hon. Sec. & Treasurer R..J. Bagshaw.  Caving Secretary & B.B. Postal Dept. C.A. (Mo) Marriott.  Climbing Sec. A.J. Dunn.  Hut Engineer (Spike) Rees.  Hon. Librarian J. Ifold.  Editor B.B. S.J. Collins.  New members elected were Mike and Liz Thompson, Pete Faulkner and Pete Blogg has become a life member.  Other matters dealt with included the Belfry floor; the window frames; the new staplers; the Belfry drainage scheme; the new Cuthbert's entrance; the library list; Cuthbert’s leaders; the map for the Belfry; the Cuthbert’s phones and the club tent.

Financial Statement for the year to the 31st August 1961

Annual Subscriptions









Less Expenditure

£  92-17-2

£  8 - 14-5

Redcliffe Hall:


£19-  4-8



Less Hire

£10-  0-0

£  9- 4-8

Annual Dinner:


£61- 12-  6



Less Cost

£60- 0  -  0

£    1-12-6

Post Office Savings Bank Interest:



£    1-  7-3

Goods for Resale:


£    7-17- 0



Less Sales

£    5-19- 5

£    1-17-7

Car badges:


£  30-  3- 0



Less Sales

£  29-10- 0

£     - 13-0

Donations etc.



£    3-16-6




£105-  6-5

Belfry Bulletin:

Printing, etc


£  18-19-2




£  15-  1-3



£  17- 10-8



Less levy

£    2- 15-0

£  14-15- 8

Loan repaid (Final)



£  10-  0- 0

Postages and Stationery



£    3-17- 8

British Mountaineering Club Subscription.



£    1-    -

Cave Research Group subscription (2 years )



£    2- 10-0

Caving Reports


£    9-   9-0

£    4-  0-0


Less Receipts

£    2-   0-3

£    7-  8-9

Club Ties


£  24-   0-0



Less Sales

£  17-   2-0

£    6-18-0




£    3-  0-11




£  21-15- 0




£105-  6- 5




£293- 13-4









Total Club monies @ 31st August, 1960



£  65-14-7

Add Surplus as above



£  21-15-0




£  87- 9- 7





Post Office Savings Bank Balance 31.8.61



£ 60-  4-1

Cash in hand 31.8.61



£ 27-  5-6

Total Club Monies 31.8.61

£ 87-  9-7

The A.G.M

A quorum, was reached at 2.55 pm at which time the meeting started.  Dan Hasell was unanimously elected Chairman.  "Pongo" Wallis, “Prew" Pritchard and Frank Darbon volunteered to act as tellers, for the ballot, and the minutes of the 1960 Annual General Meeting were read and adopted.

The Hon. Secretary gave his report.  In a brief statement he announced that we had 27 new members during the year, but that the paid up membership of the club had, in fact, dropped by two to the number of 110.  He mentioned that the Charterhouse Caving Area appeared to be working out with little practical restriction on caving activities.

The Hon. Treasurer reviewed the club's finances.  A financial, statement will be found on page one of this B.B.  He pointed out that the deficits shown against Caving Reports and club ties were due to stocks in hand, and that these items should show a small profit by the next meeting.

The results of the ballot were then announced.  The club committee is unchanged from last year.  "Spike" asked how many members had, in fact, voted.  The Chairman replied that 33 members had.  It was agreed that this represented a low poll.

The Caving Secretary then gave his report.  There had been an increase in caving with 230 entries in the club log.  There had been a large number of visitor's trips arranged down Cuthbert's and the new entrance was well on its way to being completed. The club had taken some part on six digs on Mendip.

The Climbing Secretary announced that there had been five organised trips to North Wales and that climbing in the Avon Gorge had been well attended on most Thursdays throughout the summer months.  He reported that an attempt to organise a climbing log had not met with much success.

The Tackle Officer reported that all sisal rope had now been scrapped and that we had some 370' of nylon line and 225' of ladder.  A further 300' of ladder is under construction.  During the discussion on the report, Spike announced, that he would no longer be able to turn up bungs for new ladder and an appeal for volunteers having lathe capacity was met by "Sett" and Tony Dunn, who agreed to take over this job.

In his report, the Hut Warden announced that we had paid off the cost of installation of mains water to the Belfry and that the surcharge had been dropped.  There had been an improvement in tidiness at the Belfry due to a new system of arranging the washing up.  Work on the new hut had now reached a stage where the main construction was almost complete and the woodwork in the living room had just been repainted.  A rubber floor was being laid in the living room and the outside of the Belfry re-creosoted.  Bed nights were 1,431.  This is an all time record.

The B.B. report followed. The editor stated that the paper and cover position was now secure, and that new stapling arrangements, were under way. He mentioned the possibility of a Joint Christmas issue.  This was favourably received.  In the discussion which followed, Llew offered some additional duplicating capacity and the editor agreed to contact Llew and work out a suitable arrangement. There was, once again, a large preference for the B.B. to continue to appear monthly.

The Hon. Librarian announced that Sid Hobbs had begun the cataloguing of the books but had not completed the job.  After some discussion about the library, the meeting adjourned for tea.

After tea, member's resolutions were discussed.  A resolution "that the A.G.M.be held at Priddy Village Hall next year as a trial for subsequent A.G.M." was put to the vote after some discussion and defeated.

A resolution "that part or all of the club library be transferred to the Belfry under the supervision of two librarians who shall be responsible for the safe keeping of the books" was also defeated.

A resolution "that the Hut Warden be issued with a key to St. Cuthbert's for use in emergency only" was passed, as was a resolution "that the committee be empowered to nominate a sub-committee to administer archaeological matters on behalf of members of the B.E.C."

Several suggestions came up under "Any Other Business" but none of these were passed by the meeting. A suggestion that the committee should look into the possibility of having to find another meeting place in Bristol when Redcliffe Hall is demolished was passed to the committee.

The meeting closed at approximately 5 pm.

The Photographic & Song Competitions

by the Editor.

I think it is no exaggeration to say that the 1961 club dinner was amongst the best we have ever held. Those of us who have been to every club dinner would certainly compare it with the first dinner held at the Whiteladies Hall, which is reckoned up till now to have been our best dinner.

The success of this year's dinner was due, very largely due, to the efforts of the organiser – Jim Giles - and those members who backed him up by entering for the competitions.  Jim has received vote of thanks from the committee.

The standard of both the competitions was extremely high.  This should not deter members from starting NOW to take even better pictures for next year's competition for which an organiser - Mike Baker - has already volunteered.  Members will be reminded of this at intervals throughout the year!

The song competition seems to have set an entirely new standard for caving songs, although the proceedings at the dinner were slightly offset by a sudden attack of the "20 minute 'flu".  The winning song - written by George Weston - is reproduced in this B.B. on the next page. Many of us think that it may well supersede "We are the exploration Club" as the club song, and heartily recommend all members to learn it before they next come to the Hunter's.

If any of the winning photographs prove suitable we will try to reproduce these also in the B.B., but the quality of printing by stencil may not be good enough.  Here is the winning song, which is sung to the tune of "The Lass of Richmond Hill."

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 B.E.C.
Go join the B.E.C.  Go join the B.E.C.
That boozy crew will do for you, so join the B.E.C.”

The M.C.G. brew splendid tea which makes them rather merry
The spelaeos look down their nose at tipple worse than sherry.
The Shepton brood are rude and crude when drinking at the local
But worse by far - the Wessex are - exclusively teetotal.
We are the B.E.C.  Down with sobriety.
Throw out your chest, cry “Beer is Best” and join the B.E.C.

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.
At nine o’clock our knees may knock - we stagger out despite 'em
By half past ten we’re sloshed again. And so ad infinitum.
We are the B.E.C. and this we must confess.
Whatever is worth doing, we will do it to excess.

Note: All references to other Caving Clubs are entirely coincidental and bear no relation to any actual clubs, either living or half dead.


Don't forget there are only fifty one weeks left before the 1962 Photographic and song competitions close.


If you were one of the people who wanted a bigger B.B. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO SEND IN YOUR LONG ARTICLES FOR IT???????

Book Review

by P.M.Giles, Esq.

A Survey of Headwear and Lighting available for Caving

B.M. Ellis.  B.E.C. Caving Report No 5.

A very comprehensive and perhaps unique report on two major aspects of caving. Details of most types of headwear and lighting available on the market today are given, and the author adds some very sound arguments.  Appendices at the end of the report list reliable manufacturer’s quotes from British Standards Specifications; Legal considerations and, for the first time in a B.E.C. Caving Report, photographs of items mentioned.

As the B.E.C.'s first answer to "'Which?" the report is first class and by far the best in the series to date.

Shepton Mallet Caving Club Journal. Series 3, Number 1.

Edited by F.J. Davies.  Price 1/3 from S.M.C.C. pedlars.

The Shepton’s journal is now on sale to the general public and at a bargain price too, since it contains details of two important discoveries in Swildon's Hole - Trouble Series and Shatter Passage.  It should thus be of great interest to both Mendip and ‘foreign’ cavers alike.  The springhead rising at Rodney Stoke is also reported by members of the C.D.G.  The journal may be obtained from the editor for a subscription of 3/- per annum, post free.  The journal is published every six months.

Underground Adventure. 

By Arthur Gemmel and Jack Hyers.  Dalesman and Blandford Press Ltd at 8/6  (illustrated)

Hull Pot, Simpson's Pot, Hensler's Passage, G.G., Lancaster Hole etc. etc.  These and many other of the Yorkshire pots are graphically described from the point of view of the explorer in this excellent book.  The thrills of setting foot where no man has trod before take the reader through some arduous crawls and squeezes in the dales and return him safely to the surface with memories of beautiful formations; dark forbidding sumps and pitches wet and fearsome.

This book makes good reading and the photographs, mostly taken by Jack Myers, add the final touch to skilful writing.


Congratulations to Shirley and George Weston on the birth of their son, Henry George on the 20th September.    The baby's weight at birth was 91hs 1oz.


by John Ransome

No 2. The Sheet Bend.  This can be used as a quick hitch for lifting ladders and other gear. It can be doubled by following the short end round again.


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle , Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept. C.A. Marriott, 718, Muller Rd, Eastville, Bristol.

Old Age Dept.

This is the beginning of Volume Fifteen of the B.B.  It makes you realise how time flies when we pause to consider that, with the end of this volume, we shall have edited the B.B. for a third of its total life!  This is a long time, and if any readers begin to notice a touch of senility creeping in, we should be obliged if they will tell us.

Caving Reports.

No, you’re wrong! This is not yet another apology for the fact that everything is getting years out of date.   Bryan Ellis, now that Her Majesty has finished with his services, has agreed to produce these in future, and to straighten out the sad state of affairs into which they have fallen.  You’ll soon be able to get them

S.M.C.C.   Occasional Papers.

This reminds us that two very good reports have been recently published by the Shepton Mallet Caving Club – One on their caving in Ireland and the other on the caves of North Wales.  Both make excellent additions to the caver’s library.  If any of our more far flung readers have difficulty in getting then, write in and I will pass over the letters to the S.M.C.C.

January Committee Meeting.

No new members were elected in January.  The committee dealt with arrangements for the now building,  more bunks for the Belfry, badges and ties, the water levy, the purchasing of telegraph poles, drainage of  our land and assorted other Business.

The East Indies

.......Continued from the Christmas Edition of the B. B.

The transformation from west to east was amazing.  In Malta there were cars, motorised tugs etc.  Here, there were caravans slowly plodding their way along the banks, and sand Dows sedately sailing up and down.  There is a road down the side of the canal from Port Said to Suez, but apart from this, there is only sand, palm trees and still more sand.  It was still March and at home they had snow but we, once we were acclimatised, soon shifted into shorts and sandals.  By now we were working tropical routine, sailing through the Red Sea.  Apart from a steaming party, the whole ship had a make and mend every afternoon - and we needed it.  I have never had the misfortune to be in the Red Sea in high summer but this was bad enough.  Eventually we arrived at Aden, where the off watch had six hours leave while the ship refuelled. It was my first encounter, on shore, with the exotic East - filth and dirt everywhere, foul smells and dilapidated houses.  The bazaars are full of imported goods - mainly Japanese but occasionally one gets a glimpse of the true East.  Women in purdah, oxen pulling ploughs in the fields, wooden Dows in the harbour, beautifully tooled leatherwork and perfumes that would turn the head of any man. Leaving Aden, still at full speed, we were soon in the flat calm of the Arabian Sea.  Entering the Gulf of Aden, we became used to the sight of turtles,   sea snakes and sting rays basking on the surface, with here and there the occasional shark.  So we passed the gates of hell, into the Persian Gulf.

Arriving at Bahrain, we dropped our hook about three miles off shore - it’s very shallow - only to find that, as usual, the disturbance had dissolved at the news of our approach.

"Llew" Pritchard.

Caving Logs

20th November.  Rod's Pot.  Roger and Daphne Stenner.  Daphne’s first trip for many moons.

27th November. Hollowfield Swallet.  Pat Ron and Jim Giles.  First B.E.C. trip to this cave for many moons.  Hollowfield,  for those who don't got  around much these days, is on the other side of Priddy, up the second road going due north on the right, and in a field two fields away from, the road, through the first gate on the right.  It consists of a short pitch at about 45° leading into a small chamber.  Going down from this chamber is a vertical drop of about thirty foot, leading to a chamber of about the same size as the Gents bedroom at the Belfry. On the right hand side of this chamber is a short passage, about fifteen feet long which gets progressively narrower.  On the left are two passages which join up after a few yards and go down in three short stages for about forty foot at about 30° to the horizontal.  This route also gets very narrow, and is very damp due to the drip from the chamber roof collecting and forming a minute stream.  In the Main Chamber we found two bats and several bones which were probably part of some animal’s scaffolding.  Quite an interesting trip and a pleasant change from the usual Swildons. Watch out for further B.E.C. activity in this cave!


27th November. Goatchurch.  R. Stenner and party of six Lockleaze boys.  Also Pat with same party.  The drop was laddered and four of the party went down.

3rd December. Roger  Stenner.  Garth and Trevor swallet spotting after a fine downpour.  Very interesting.  Much water going down Vee and large lake of unknown depth in the Devil’s Punchbowl.

3rd December. G.B.  Nigel, Pat, Jim Borchard, Jim. Giles.  A short photographic trip going down the Gorge to the Bridge and up the White Passage.  We found that the size of the Gorge made photography very difficult (Did you use the dreaded side lighting? – Ed.)  We did get a couple of shots of the torrent.  We also proved that bats are either (a) blind or (b) deep sleepers by taking a close up flash photograph.  The mystery of the 'Lamp Pox’ is also solved.  Don’t fill up with muddy water.

3rd December. G.B.  Alan, Ian plus 2, Peter and Lady C.  Devil's Elbow impassable.  Down via Loop and Ox-Bow and out straight up the Gorge.

4th December. Wookey Hole.  Conducted tour.  Jim Borchard, Jim Giles, Garth, Bushy, Pat, Tiny, Dick Langdon and Fred Green. How not to spend £1-8-0 on a Sunday afternoon, although  some photographs were taken,

8th December.  Pen Park Hole.  Alan, Mo, John Eatough, Roy Bennett, Keith and brother, George Mossman, Steve Tuck, Roger Stenner plus 2, Garth, Nigel, Pete Scott and Dave Causer.  A total of fifteen bods in all.  Down at about 8 p.m. and everyone down to the bottom of the ladder bar Roger.  Nigel peeled off on the Muddy Traverse but didn't get wet.  Alan, Roy and Steve went up a subsidiary passage.  Roy spent an interesting time holding up a pile of stones. P.S.  Alan needs to be taught how to tie a bowline.  P.P.S.   Garth needs to be taught how to climb a ladder.

10th December. Swildons.  Jim Giles, Jim Borchard, Tiny Tierney and Ron Towns.  Introduction to caving for Tiny and Ron.  In via the Long Dry and out via the Short Dry.  Tiny was stuck three times and didn't go much on the noble art of crawling through little ‘oles in the ground.  On the other hand, Ron thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  The water rift showed signs of having taken rather a large quantity of water during the week.

11th December. Dallimore’s Cave.  Jim, Jim, Ron and Tiny.  The 20’ rope advised by Barrington was a good idea, but how does the last man get down when there aren't any decent belay points?  In fact, the rope wasn't required.  The trip was very enjoyable and quite rewarding.  (Ron found a 1948 2/- piece).  We went right down to the mud choke at the bottom of the rift without getting too wet.  One photo taken and four bats found.

17th December. Goatchurch and Sidcot.  Jim Hill, Christine Corrick and Pat.  Very enjoyable trip.  Christine's first ventures in this field of activity, and despite us getting lost most of the time, she seemed to think it was something to be continued.

17th December. Swildons - Trouble Series.  Dave Causer, Bob Pike and Jim Giles. A six hour trip to the end of Trouble Series, including a spell of gardening at Shatter Pot.  Some very beautiful formations to be seen for the price of two mud sumps.  The first has about 4” clearance and the second about 2".  Before going into Trouble we stopped for a brew of tea at the Blue Pencil Cafe - made in an empty tin can - and a few biscuits.  At the top of the Forty we met a solo caver - from that export's club - Sandhurst, who we bade farewell in no uncertain manner. Avery good trip

16th December. Longwood.   Two nits who wore steaming when they came out - Llew and Jim Giles - did a very wet trip below the main chamber.

25th December.  Swan Hotel, Wells.  Spike, Pam, Nigel, Frank, Graham, Jim Giles, Alan Thomas and Garth.  A very enjoyable trip to the Dining Room.  Spike got stuck in the entrance squeeze.  The M.R.O. were not called out.

27th December. Swildons.  Richard, J. Wolff, Nick, J.  Trip down to sump and back via normal tourist attractions, reached Forty on the way back to find our ladder about fifteen feet from the deck, caught on the drainpipe at the top  After a hazardous climb it was retrieved and the party got out.

28th December.  Ife Hole.  Mike Baker, Jim Giles, Richard Roberts.  After collecting all available information about this cave from B.E.C. members, Barrington and Britain Underground, a trip was made to see if any further work could be done.  The cave itself seemed pretty hopeless, but further south along the quarry face, a further hole was examined.  This hole is about nine inches high and two foot wide and seems to be full of small rocks which could be moved fairly easily.  It seems possible that another cave could exist here. Permission to dig must be sought from the Waldegrave Estate Office.

29th December. Swildons.  Bob Pike and Jim Giles.  A laddering trip.

29th December. Priddy Green.  As above.  Trip to get an idea of the work going on in this hole.

30th December. Swildons - Trouble Series.   Jim Giles, Bob Pike, Bob Lauder, Richard Roberts.  First of the Trouble sumps found to be impassable.  After three hours baling and siphoning, headroom of one inch made.  Decided not to take risk and returned to surface.

30th December. Goatchurch and Sidcot.  R. Stenner + 3 boys.


Congratulations to Chris and Vivienne Falshaw on the birth of their son, Simon Meriadoc.  Born on the Twenty eighth day of November, too!

Congratulations also to Bob and Mary Price on the birth of their daughter.

Congratulations to Sid Hobbs and Sylvia, who have announced their engagement.  We fancy that we might have another engagement to announce in the near future.  Rumour hath it that Parsons the jewellers are doing rather well at the moment.


To the Editor of the B.B.


I was sitting at the old Cain and Abel, taking a butchers at the Christmas B.B. while I was ‘aving a cuppa rosie and a spit and a drag larst night.  As I was finking of going up the apples to me uncle Nod, I claps me mince pies on this piece abaht the L.S.M.S.  and its good work.  Cor! Wot ‘eroism and bravery those boys must 'ave!  If I'd 'ad any boos in the  sky of me whistle and flute, I'd 'ave sent it on to you to 'elp 'em run their jam jar dahn to where all them 'cathons  and savages  live.  An old china of mine went dahn there once and come back as fast as ‘is plates’d let 'im. Said they all talked so queer they couldn't be ‘uman.  Still, I must pack this lark in and scarper up them apples as the birdlime's getting on.

C.V. Lized-Mann.


To the Editor, Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir,

It is some time since I last wrote to this magazine and it was not until I read the article in the Christmas B.B. by a Mr. Entrails, or some such name,  that I  realized how short of articles you must be.

If there is any form of education in the jungles of Mill Hill Mr Entrails may have learned that, over the centuries, civilisation has generally spread west.  For example - Sumer, then Egypt; Greece; Rome; East England and now the West Country.  (Shoot that man who mentioned America).  No doubt London once had the largest collection of wattle houses in the country (after Winchester) but after all, the past is past and Mr. Entrails should realise that London is just a big place for weegees to visit, like Pompeii, Herculaneum and Zimbabwe.  Perhaps he is confused by the vivid memories he must retain of the hovels of London flaming under the torches of Boudicca's army and the recollection of his flight from his rude bed, clad only in a state of barbarity.  They say that Boudicca's tribes revolted against London, an understandable feeling which is still felt by most people in these more placid, times.  It seems fairly clear that this rubbish about London missionaries in Somerset is simply a disguise for the true purpose of those Eastern wogs who are still searching for their familiar old homes - the Mendip caves serving as a weekend substitute.

If Mr Entrails wishes to discuss the whereabouts of the true centre of the universe in a logical instead of an emotional manner, I would like to ask why he found it necessary to define the wog and civilised parts of Britain.  Take a vote at the Belfry Mr Entrails, and you will find it unanimously stated that the centre of the universe lies six inches in front of the Belfry stove.

Finally, I note that, according to the article, “the L.S.M.S. was formed by a group of very charitable people of Civilisation”.  I find this and the whole article frankly incredible, but if Mr Entrails wishes to prove its truth, he and his fellow wogs will no doubt be only too willing, to feed me on Drambuie and plain chocolate as a demonstration of their charitable intentions!

Yours Faithfully,
Jill Rollason.

P. S. Note to readers; any typing errors which appear in this article are caused by the strong emotions of our (wog) Editor.


We should like to thank all contributors for the amount of articles  sent in, which enabled us to produce such a big Christmas number, and still have  something in reserve to tide us over the first few B.B.' s of this year.  Although your article may not appear in next month's B.B., all contributions are still very welcome,   so don't stop writing!            ED.


Editor,   S.J. Collins,   33, Richmond Terrace,   Clifton,   Bristol  8.
Secretary.   R. J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road,  Knowle, Bristol 4.
Postal Department.   C.A. Marriott,  718, Muller Road,   Eastville,   Bristol.