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Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tele: WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     R. Bennett
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; M.J. Palmer; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. BAGSHAW, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. LARGE, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 27 Quantock Rd, Windmill Hill, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
Hut Warden:      R. ORR.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Assit H.W.        N. TAYLOR, Whiddon, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tel. WELLS 72338.
Hut Engineer:    M. BISHOP, (Acting)  Address to follow..
Tacklemaster:    M.A PALMER. 27 Roman Way, Paulton, BS18 5XB
B.B. Editor:       S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tel: PRIDDY 369.
Pbs. (Sales)      C, Howell, 131 Sandon Rd., Edgbaston, Birminham.
Publications:     D.J. IRWIN.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

MENDIP RESCUE ORGANISATION.  In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481


 

Editorial

The I.D.M.F Show

This B.B. contains, amongst other things, the minutes of the second part of last year's A.G.M. - that dealing with the proposal to change the rules governing the Ian Dear, Memorial Fund Committee.  The rules as finally amended have not been re-published in this B.B., because they have already been published.

It was, of course, tempting to think about putting out this section of the minutes as it was displayed for some time at the Belfry - all in rhyme - but that would hardly do for the official account.  I should, however, like to draw the attention of club members to the Minute Taker's Note at the end of these minutes, as they were extremely difficult to get on to paper at the time.  I hope that they will not lead to too many amendments at the next A.G.M.

Tackle

Talking of A.G.M.'s - as we are bound to as the time for the next one approaches - there is always one subject which is guaranteed to provide talking space for a whole meeting to itself, and that is the subject of tackle.

This year, almost certainly, the question of what is to be considered as the accepted usage of caving tackle will be brought up.  Should lifelines be used for prussicking?  If so, under what circumstances and how does one decide when a club rope has had enough?  Is abseiling on club lifelines O.K.? - and so on.

There are people who think that any technique which involves the deliberate placing of one's entire weight on to a single rope should only be carried out on a rope which is the personal property of the man involved.  Others have other views.  Some prussicking devices are said to be far from gentle in their treatment of a rope. Should these be classified, with some being approved and others not?  What about the use of comantle ropes?  These are a few of the questions which seem to require answers.  Time is, as always, likely to be too short for a full debate on these questions to be conducted at the A.G.M. itself.  Perhaps it would be a good idea if as many people as possible could thrash out some of the points involved beforehand.  Needless to say, the pages of the B.B. are open to anyone who wants to make points on this subject, so that their ideas can be put before the club in time for others to hear about before the A.G.M.

“Alfie”

Don’t Forget

.. that the A.G.M. will be held at the Belfry on Saturday, on Saturday October 6th at 10.30 a.m. The Annual Dinner will be held that evening.  Details will be published in the next B.B.

New voting forms will be sent to all members and, under the new arrangement YOU CANNOT GET A SPARE FORM so make sure that you send the form you get back to Alan, or that you bring it with you to the meeting.

Any resolutions should be SECONDED and either sent to Alan in advance or brought with you to the meeting. This does not prevent you proposing a resolution at the meeting, but helps the chairman to know what is coming up if you make sure he gets it by the start of the meeting.

Finally, don’t forget that only PAID UP members are entitled to vote!


 

Langstroth Pot

An account of this pot by Buckett Tilbury.  The manuscript arrived with a pencilled comment that it had been checked by Graham Wilton-Jones, which makes it the O.K.  High Wycombe account!

The entrance to this fine pot is best found by leaving the road opposite the ancient stone circle, and climbing the fell which takes the caver gradually into a shallow gully. Follow this gully up until a small stream is encountered sinking near a tree.  Just down the gully from this sink is an insignificant slot in a hollow of rock.

To enter, it is best to go feet first on one's side, and as the feet slide over the edge of the first climb, feel for the holds.  This is an easy climb of twelve feet into a small chamber.  The guidebook calls this the first pitch but no ladder is required. From the chamber, slide down by a flake of rock to the bottom of a small rift passage.  The floor of this passage drops to an awkward wallow in a deep pool under a boulder.  The rift continues round a couple of bends until the roof suddenly drops to give a flat out crawl on one’s side.  This section of passage is about seventy feet long and about half way, the floor gives way to a small slot, which means that one is traversing as well as crawling. The passage emerges on to a ledge in a walking size passage with an inlet from the right.  Turn left and walk along ledges to climb back to stream level. A short walk leads to where the stream drops down a tight slot under a stale bank.  This is the duck.  Go down the slot into a deep pool under the stal bank with about a foot of airspace. Follow the stream as the floor rises and the passage is a flat out crawl in a small canal.  This ends as the stream goes over a small drop.  Follow the stream or crawl on the ledges to a large boulder.  Emerge either from under or over the boulder into good walking size passage with the stream in the floor.  It is fairly easy going over or round boulders until the stream disappears in the floor and the boulders meet the roof.

The next section is an involved and intricate series of crawls and squeezes until one enters a small chamber with an inlet on the right.  A short climb to the floor of the chamber and a tiny hole is observed in the left hand corner.  This is the Slot.  If you are of slim build, you just stick your feet in the slot and slide gently down to rejoin the main stream in a tight rift passage.  If, on the other hand, you are like most of us and suffer from too many visits to the Hunters, you stick your feet in and get somebody to jump up and down on your helmet, which has the effect of pumping you through.  Getting back up the Slot is extremely difficult. The length of the Slot is about six feet.

From the bottom of the Slot, turn right and climb to the top of the tight rift and traverse along to a slight widening of the passage at the top of the Second Pitch.  The belay is a large flake of rock in the left-hand wall. A ten foot tether and forty foot ladder is just right.  The take off point for this pitch is awkward and tight, but after the first few feet, it opens out into a large high chamber.  The pitch is broken by a ledge and the pitch is wet.  From the ladder, cross the chamber and pass under or over a group of boulders to a smaller chamber with a large ledge and some good straws in the roof.

The Third Pitch follows quickly and there are plenty of good belays with a sling belay and a forty foot ladder.  The climb is dry and down into another chamber.  Leave the chamber, following the stream into a high narrow winding rift passage.  This passage is superbly decorated with helictites along its length - some up to five inches long.  Luckily, most are above shoulder height and so avoid damage.  This passage is a terror to boiler suits and wet suits as it is covered with sharp projections.  The rift ends with a sharp turn left and changes to a bedding plane with a canyon in the floor.  The formations of this section are good, and as the roof lowers the canyon disappears until it becomes flat out crawling in the stream.

The floor drops away in a gulley and the top of the Fourth Pitch is encountered.  A good belay on the ledge on the left is used for the sling belay and a twenty five foot ladder.  A nice climb against the wall in the stream brings one into a circular chamber where the colour of the rock has changed from a dirty black to a soft grey. There is a short section of easy passage leading to the top of the Fifth Pitch.  A flake belay on the left can be used for a sling and twenty foot ladder. This pitch is also wet, and lands in a chamber similar to the last pitch.  The stream is then followed over some small cascades to the top of the Sixth Pitch.  This pitch needs no ladder as it is a ten foot easy climb.  If the water is high, a rope may be useful for the return climb. This pitch can also be bypassed by traversing over the top and climbing back to the stream about thirty feet past the pitch.  A short section of cascades past a large inlet on the left brings one to the top of the Seventh Pitch.

The inlet starts as a high rift passage up which one climbs to a small chamber.  There is no obvious way on from here, but if a short climb is made up the right hand wall, a small rift is found.  Following this rift, the method of progress ranges from hands and knees to flat out crawling in water, as there is a small stream.

The belay for the Seventh Pitch is a bolt low down on the right hand side.  The twenty foot ladder climb is in the stream and against the wall all the way down and the landing is in a deep pool of water.  If the stream is normal the pitch can be made dry by somebody with a large rear end sitting in the stream above the cascade and damming the water to the pitch.  This just gives enough time to get up or down the pitch, unless the person doing the damming has a warped sense of humour, in which case you receive a deluge on the head. From the bottom of the ladder, follow the stream passage, which is mostly easy walking, past some fine arrays of formations on both sides of the passage.

At one point here, the passage enlarges to form a chamber which is filled across the floor with a loose gravel and boulder fill.  This fill is falling from a huge choke in the roof, which is probably the bottom of a large aven.  The water from here on is almost waist deep in places and there are several gravel banks to negotiate.

A change of passage to a series of cascades indicates the approach to the last pitch - the Eighth. A short climb down to a blank wall, a short step to the right, and one is looking through a large 'V' shaped opening into a large chamber.  The belay is a bolt on the right hand wall and the pitch is wet.  A forty five foot ladder lands in a shallow pool in which lie some lengths of old maypoles.  Round the corner from this chamber, one comes face to face with the sump pool.  This sump has a line through it but it is not recommended as a free dive.

On the last pitch, we operated a 'two up, two down' system which did away with the need for a double lifeline.  This pitch can also be made reasonably dry by the same procedure as that described for the Seventh Pitch.

Double lifelines were used on the Second and Third Pitches with a follow-through line on the rest. It is very difficult to get the line to the bottom of the Second Pitch from the top.

This is a fine sporting pot with excellent formations to reward those who make the effort to get past the first difficult sections which make the carrying of tackle very arduous.


 

Minutes of the 1972 A.G.M.

….being the minutes the second part of the 1972 Annual General Meeting.

The adjourned meeting reconvened at the Belfry at 2 p.m. on the Sunday.  By 2.10, a count revealed 26 members and the Chairman declared the meeting open.  To allow further members to arrive, he said that he would take a member's resolution first, before dealing with the Ian Dear Fund rules.  Thus, a resolution proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Dave Irwin that "The expression 'full' and 'Junior' membership should gradually be dropped, but that we continue to charge younger members less" was put to the meeting.

Alan Thomas explained that the word 'Junior' was objectionable to some younger members. Jock Orr said that he had not found this to be the case.  In reply to a question as to whether the intention of the resolution was to modify the subscription for younger members, Alan said that this was not the case. There was no further discussion, and the Chairman put the resolution to the vote.  It was defeated (2-12) with the remainder abstaining.

The proposed changes to the rules for the Ian Dear Memorial fund were dealt with next.  The Chairman put a general resolution by Joan and Ray Bennett to the meeting that "In order to save time, discussion of the proposed changes to the rules shall consist of firstly the submission of formal amendments to any of the propositions, followed by discussion and voting on the amendments.  Finally, the whole set of resolutions, amended or otherwise, shall be voted for en bloc."  This resolution was passed by the meeting with no discussion with 24 in favour and one against.

There were no amendments proposed for rule 1.

In rule 2, Dave Irwin proposed the deletion of the word CERTAIN and the substitution of the word YOUNGER members in line with Ian's will.  Bob Bagshaw said that, in fact, the will mentioned 'Junior' members. Dave replied that he would therefore accept 'Junior' and Bob seconded the amendment as now worded.

A discussion then took place on the subject of what Ian might have done had he been with us to-day. Amongst the points made, Alan Thomas said that Ian's intention was that the money should be used for the purpose he specified and that we must therefore arrange to use it, even if this meant altering the conditions to suit changing circumstances which Ian could not have foreseen.  Dave Irwin maintained that once we started to put words into Ian's mouth, as it were, there might be no limit to this process and that in any case; the money was always there to be used in the way that Ian specified if the right circumstances arose. After this discussion, the Chairman put the amendment to the meeting, and it was carried by 19 votes to 11.

Joan and Roy Bennett tabled an amendment to Rule 3 as follows: “The fund will be administered by an Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee of five members.  This will consist of the Hon. Treasurer, the Caving and Climbing Secretaries and two other members who will be elected annually at the same time and by the same procedures as the General Committee.  The previous year’s ordinary members would be automatically nominated and would carry on in office if no other nominations were received. The aforesaid committee will report to the Annual General Meeting.”  This amendment was carried without dissent.

In discussing rule 4, Dave Irwin pointed out that the same argument which had been put forward in the case of rule 2 applied here also, and that logically, rule 4 should now be deleted in its entirety.  A discussion on the lines already reported took place, with George Honey, speaking as an old friend of Ian's, coming out in favour of altering the conditions in line with present day requirements.  Dave Turner proposed that the conditions should include members under 18 years of age or full time students.  This was seconded. Dave Irwin said that this would be contrary to the will and reiterated his point that rules 2 and 4 were now incompatible.  The discussion reached a deadlock.

The Chairman pointed out to the meeting that the amended rule 2 specified the word 'Junior' which, in our club, had a specific meaning and thus any attempt to alter this by rule 4 could not be done.  Furthermore, because the meeting had accepted an arrangement whereby it had confined itself to carrying or defeating the entire set of rules en bloc; if it wanted a rule 4 of any sort, its only course of action now open to it would be to vote now on the rules as they stood, reject them en bloc, and start the procedure again - this time being careful to avoid any incompatibility between rules.

Dave Turner then withdrew his amendment and Bob Bagshaw proposed that all discussion be terminated. This was seconded and carried unanimously.  The Chairman then called for a vote on the proposals en bloc.  This was then defeated unanimously and Jock Orr then proposed Roy and Joan's original proposal again.  This was seconded and accepted by the meeting.

Discussing rule 2, Dave Irwin said that he still felt it should specify 'younger' members.  A further discussion took place on the lines previously reported.  Dave Irwin maintained that the will must in all cases be adhered to strictly, while George Honey was in favour of any changes which would make it more easy to administer.  Dave Turner suggested that the definition of who can benefit be left to be specified in rule 4, while rule 2 merely mentions 'members' who would then be further specified in rule 4.

Dave Irwin said that he had no objection to this as long as the conditions of Ian's will were adhered to. Dave Turner said that rules 2 and 4 could be regarded as being mutually unnecessary.  A vote was finally taken on and it was passed with 28 in favour and 1 against.

Rule 3 was accepted unanimously with Roy's amendment as previously.

On rule 4, George Honey suggested that the definitions of the exceptions should come out.  This was seconded by Peter Lane.  Dave Irwin suggested that this could still leave rule 4 open to interpretation. After a short discussion, the chairman put the amendment to the meeting and it was carried with 25 in favour and 5 against.

No amendments were suggested to rule 5.

Mike Palmer tabled an amendment to rule 6, that "The maximum amount of monies allocated in anyone year shall be left to the discretion of the I.D.M.F. Committee. The maximum amount allocated to any individual is unlikely to exceed twenty pounds per trip."  This was seconded by Dave Turner and carried by the meeting.

An amendment to rule 7 from Joan and Roy Bennett read “The fund to be invested in a building society or similar scheme and the interest retained within the fund.”  Alan Thomas suggested that the investment should be left to the discretion of the treasurer but agreed that the interest should be retained within the fund.  Roy and Joan then withdrew their amendment in favour of Alan's, which was seconded by Joan Bennett.  The amendment was carried with 7 against.

Mike Palmer then proposed an additional rule 8.  "The elected chairman shall give a report as directed from time to time by the A.G.M." but the Chairman ruled that this was already covered by rule 3 and Mike Palmer then withdrew.

The amendments en bloc were then put to the meeting, and carried with 3 against.

The Chairman now dealt with the remaining member’s resolutions, the second of which was proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Dave Irwin "That nobody should be able to propose or second membership applications until his own /membership has been ratified."  Bob Bagshaw asked whether a resolution of this type was necessary, pointing out that the committee could always refer a form back if it thought the proposer or seconder inadequate.  After a short discussion, during which the proposal was agreed to amount to a constitutional change, it was proposed that the matter be brought up at next year’s A.G.M., with the committee looking into it meanwhile, as the subject hardly warranted a special committee investigation. This was carried by the meeting with 3 against.

The Chairman said that a number of proposals had been given in which all affected voting methods, and asked those who had proposed them if they would agree to have them taken together. A discussion arose as to whether changes in the constitution would be necessary.  Alfie proposed that a committee be set up to investigate.  If no constitutional changes were required by their findings, the changes in voting procedures could be implemented by the General committee in time for the next election.  If changes to the constitution were required, then this would count as the year's committee stage required by the constitution and the changes could be voted on at the next A.G.M.  This was agreed to by the meeting.  Bob Bagshaw asked if the committee could have directions from the meeting, and mentioned specifically whether the meeting wanted a secret ballot or not.  In order to get the feeling of the meeting, Bob proposed that the ballot be not secret. This was seconded by Tim Large and defeated (9-20).  The Chairman reminded the meeting that this was advice, not direction.

The Chairman said that another set of resolutions all affected the A.G.M. and Dinner, and asked if these could be taken and discussed en bloc.  The meeting, after a short discussion on whether the A.G.M. and dinner should continue to be held on the same day; day this or these should be; and where they should be held, Alfie proposed that the A.G.M. should be held at Belfry at 10.30 a.m. on the first Saturday of October; followed by the dinner the same evening.  This was seconded by Mike palmer and carried (30-7).

The Chairman then took a resolution by G.E. Oaten, seconded by Brenda Wilton "It is proposed that a check shall be made at each A.G.M. on the persons present to determine who are fully paid up members and entitled to vote."  Dave Turner said that anybody can point out strangers on a point of order at present, and what does 'any sum in respect of membership' mean in clause 41 of the constitution?  Joan said that it only meant subscriptions.  After some further discussion, the chairman ruled that clause 41 should be enforced but decided that a resolution to this effect was not necessary since the constitution already assumed that it would, in fact, occur.

The next resolution was from Mike Palmer, seconded by Nigel Jago, "That all members co-opted to the committee in any year of office shall not automatically be considered as nominated for re-election to the new committee."  The, chairman said that this was undoubtedly a change to the constitution and suggested that it would, with the agreement of the proposer and seconder, be easier if it was minuted as a recommendation to the committee.  Mike said that he now wished to withdraw the proposal.  Tim Hodgson then said that he would propose it himself and his proposal was seconded by Nigel Jago.  A vote was taken and it was defeated (3-20).  A suggestion was then made that, since we had had a chairman's ruling that the proposal should be minuted as a recommendation to the committee, should it not now be minuted as a recommendation against this course of action, since the meeting had defeated the proposal?  The Chairman put this to the meeting informally.  The meeting decided to drop the entire matter.

A resolution by Barry Wilton, seconded by G.E. Oaten "That any committee post which becomes vacant should be advertised in the B.B. so that every member has the opportunity to offer his services" was taken next.  A short discussion followed and Alfie proposed an amendment to add the words 'wherever practicable' after 'B.B.'  This was seconded by George Honey and carried unanimously.

A resolution by Mike Palmer, seconded by Pete Franklin, that “The 72/73 committee consider and report on the effects of adopting the following as an amendment to the present electoral system:~ That any member who serves on the committee for three consecutive years shall retire automatically for one year before standing again for the committee.” was taken next.  After a very short discussion, the motion was lost by one vote (15-16).

The next resolution was "That the committee shall, in future not accept for membership anyone unless they are reasonably sure that he or she has been caving or climbing with the B.E.C. for at least six months."  This was proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Dave Irwin.  Joan Bennett said that this is one of the reasons why we have a probationary membership.  Sid asked how effective this was in practice.  Alan said that nobody had, as yet, been refused ratification. Joan pointed out that in some cases ratification has been postponed.  Dave Turner said that a new member must make himself known, but Dave Irwin said that such an arrangement had no teeth.  Joan disagreed and said that the power was there.  The Chairman called for a vote, and the proposal was defeated (6-19).

The next resolution, proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Tim Hodgson was "That the committee should investigate and report to next year's A.G.M. on the possibility of forming a B.E.C. Special Branch of the British Sub Aqua Club."  This was put straight to the vote and carried by 13 - 7.

Another resolution by Alan Thomas, seconded by Dave Irwin "That future Officers' Reports should not be published in the B.B. or, alternately, the B.B's containing officers' reports should be restricted to club members."  A short discussion followed in which it was argued that by having the reports in the B.B., time was saved at the A.G.M. and that the reports did not become lost.  On the other hand, it was sometimes politic not to publish to strangers all the matter of an officer's report.  The Chairman said that he felt this was something which could be worked by the general committee if the meeting so wished.  A was taken, passing the resolution in principle but referring the actual mechanism whereby the best arrangement could be obtained to the committee. (25-3)

A resolution limiting life membership in certain circumstances was withdrawn after a Chairman's ruling that the Secretary should write to all Life Members once a year at their last known address asking them to confirm this and, on getting no reply, should cease to communicate with them.  The meeting endorsed this ruling and, there being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 5.10 p.m.

Minute Taker's Note: 

Parts of this session of the meeting became very difficult to follow and record. I have made every attempt to reflect the feelings and conclusions of the meeting but those who attended will realise why I ask that some allowance be made in reading what I found very difficult to write.

S.J. Collins.


 

Zulu’s Cavelet

Nigel Taylor sends in a Grade 1 survey of this modest addition to the Caves of Mendip.  One imagines that, since the cavelet is described as being in the working face of the quarry, it will only enjoy a brief existence, and this may therefore be the only description of it to be published.

The Cavelet is in Cloford Quarry, and was surveyed by Nigel in December 1972.  The Grade 1 survey is shown below.


 

The Problems of Cave Conservation & Access and the Encouragement & Control of Novices from Non Caving Club Organisations

Ian Calder sends in this article in response to the recent one on the future of club caving.  He points out that there is a large measure of agreement and says that 'any comments would be gratefully appreciated'.

There is no doubt that, at the present time, there is an ever increasing number of people entering caves in this country on caving trips, and consequently there is a large number of people descending a cave for the first time.  It is also becoming more evident that especially (but not only) in open access caves, a lot of unnecessary and permanent damage is being done, as well as an awful lot of temporary spoiling in the form of leaving litter, carbide and dirtying formations.  Finally, it also appears that there is an increase in call-outs for Rescue Organisations, especially from non-caving club organisations such as scouts, schools youth clubs and so on.

The first point to decide is to what extent there is a link up between these three developments.  It seems reasonable, and in many ways inevitable that the more a cave is visited the more likely it is to be damaged or destroyed.  Indeed, any visitor is almost bound to move stones, leave footprints (even digging equipment and fuse wires) touch formations etc. and thereby damage the natural state of the cave.  Potentially, however, I am sure that the novice caver is more likely to do damage than the experienced club caver for the novice is more likely to move awkwardly and stumble over formations; miss tapes marking off grottos; leave litter and carbide behind etc.  One has only to consider the difference between Swildons Hole and St. Cuthbert’s Swallet, the first with open access and frequently visited by novice or semi-novice cavers, and the second gated and operated on a leader system which tries to exclude novices from the cave.  However cavers ought to be reminded of the damage which has been done in gated caves like St. Cuthbert’s, Shatter Cave and Balch Cave before laying all the blame on novice cavers.  Perhaps each caving club ought to run its own programme for its novice members to try to ensure that these members develop a conserving, exploratory and considerate approach to caving rather than a competitive approach (on the increase at the moment) which makes them bash on regardless of people or formations fun order to achieve their objective.  It seems reasonable to say, then, that the more a cave is visited the more it will be damaged and the more it is visited by novices to a greater extent it will be further damaged.  One can only assume therefore that if novices or non club cavers were prevented from entering caves, then such caves would either be preserved for a longer period or be considerably less polluted.  Whether this be true of all caves is debatable, for example - Porth-yr-Ogof, Goatchurch Cavern or Eglwys Faen all seem to me to be caves where no more damage could really be done and where club cavers are as a result not worried about their open access.  On the other hand, there are still a number of caves such as Swildons or Little Neath, which still have a great deal worth preserving and which also have open access.  If we wish to preserve the features which are left in such caves, it seems that some sort of limited access must exist.  This implies gating such caves unless there is a particularly hazardous entrance as may be found in Little Neath Cave or Eastwater Cavern which would, in fact, prohibit visits by novice cavers.  Such caves are few, and even these may be argued not to have really effective barriers and we are therefore left with gating as the only effective system of control. Two main problems now arise:-

1.                    Who or what is going to control the access to gated caves?

2.                    To what extent will non caving club organisations be able to enter them?

At the present time we have a National Caving association and a number of regional bodies formed in the main to present a united front to fight for access rights to some of the more important caves, especially in Yorkshire.  At first sight it would seem reasonable that such a national body should control the arrangements for all gated caves so that there would be one organisation fighting both for access rights and for the interests of caving in general.  This, however, could lead to abuse, and in this connection it is interesting to note that the Northern Council is denying access to caving clubs who will not join them.  Is this in the interests of caving?  Are they not trying to bring cavers into line, as it were rather than fostering the best interests of the caving fraternity?  The N.C.A. has the power of distributing government grants and thus there is a danger of sponsoring some aspects or clubs more than others and ultimately of being able to dictate to caving clubs.  It is interesting to note that, in the last allocation of money, the British Association of Caving Instructors (B.A.C.I.) received £200 while the Southern Council received £10.  This surely means that the N.C.A. supports and wishes to promote the work being done by B.A.C.I., who are themselves strongly promoting their scheme, especially amongst Local Education Authorities for teachers and youth workers. Like the Mountain Leadership Certificate is now, the B.A.C.I's certificate will soon be a requirement for teachers and youth workers (whether they be cavers or not) in order to take non club caving trips.

So much for the present situation, but let us consider how this could progress.  If we have a national body, it is bound to be the body consulted by the Department of Education and Science; but it could also become the body empowered by government, or having government backing, to bring every cave in the country under its control.  From this position, the easiest way to administer such control would be to demand that every trip was led by someone with a certificate in Cave Leadership.  Hence I foresee regimented caving being dictated by some remote body AND I CONTEND THAT THIS IS WHAT THE CAVING WORLD IS LEAVING ITSELF WIDE OPEN TO.  I would also contend that even the administration of gated caves on a regional basis would be open to some sort of misuse.  WE MUST REALISE THE POSSIBLE OUTCOMES BEFORE WE GIVE POWER TO SUCH BODIES, FOR AFTERWARDS IT MAY BE TOO LATE.

The sort of system of control I would advocate would be one by which particular clubs administer particular caves with other bona-fide clubs having either a key or some form of easy access to the caves.  The onus would then be on the club involved to run its cave or caves the way it thought best.  This way, there would be little room for power politics and a far greater chance of a club being able to develop good relations and agreements with land owners. This way, a much better feeling would exist between cavers and landowners from which only good would come. The only real problem would concern novices.  If they were from a caving club then obviously that club would be responsible for that trip, but what about trips from non caving club organisations? There seem to be three possibilities. (1) You ban them and thereby cut down the number of novice cavers considerably.  (2) You allow such trips if the person leading is a member of a club holding a key to that particular cave.  However, being a good caver may not ensure being a good leader of novice trips.  For example, cave divers or hard sporting cavers may not be the best people to run such trips.  Experience may not of itself make a good leader, since experience may be good or bad.  We may remember that Einstein could not teach elementary physics and therefore we must not fall into the trap of thinking that the leader needs only to be experienced. (3) You allow such trips if you know that the adults in charge are competent and will conduct the trip in every way as well as it would be conducted if it were a novice club trip - that is, with interest, safety, exploration and conservation being the factors involved. The problem is how one assesses this to be the case.

Whether such trips are going round easy, un-gated caves such as Goatchurch or Eglws Faen, or not, what qualities would we expect from the leader or organiser of such a trip?  I believe there are basically three factors involved.  (1) That the person in charge should know a fair bit about caves in general and have the sort of approach to caving that I have already mentioned.  (2) The person should know the various techniques involved in caving and in the particular cave he is intending to use and (3) the person concerned should be a good leader.  The second factor and much of the third can be learned over a period of time and if necessary by going on courses specifically for this purpose.  The third factor, and having the right approach is extremely important and, as most people will agree, impossible to assess in a course type situation.  However, a teacher will have spent at least four of five years learning about and being with young people and, I would suggest, is the best sort of qualified person to have these vital qualities.  Ideally, then, the person in charge of such trips should be a teacher and either an experienced caver or have spent some time interested in caving and been on some recognised course where he could learn the relevant techniques.  Would cavers and Local Education Authorities be prepared to accept the sort of proposals I have just mentioned?

Whatever happens, the number of people visiting caves is going to increase.  Such a scheme as I have outlined would have several advantages. Firstly, responsible and interested people would be in charge of such trips, leading to safer caving and some possibility of keeping our caves in a better condition.  Secondly, such trips could only take place in certain suitable caves.  Thirdly there would be no need for any sort of national body to administer a certificate or have any other such power thus halting the present advance towards regimented caving.  Finally, courses for teachers would have to be run in conjunction with the local caving clubs.  Would caving clubs be prepared to help caving in this way?  If so, the burden of responsibility would lie fairly and squarely with Local Education Authorities and could not be shelved behind the stalactite curtain of a certificate which NEITHER ENSURES ACCIDENT FREE TRIPS NOR AN EDUCATIONAL APPROACH TO CAVING.

To summarise, one has first to decide between open access and conservation.  Is gated or restricted access too high a price to pay for conservation?  If so, can we do any thing to educate people to go to open access caves and treat them in a reasonable and conserving way? If not - we have all the ensuing problems of restricted access - to whom it is restricted and who is going to do the actual restriction.  A careful and detailed study must be made here to ensure that the answers to these questions do not interfere with the spirit of caving as an exploring science and as an interest which brings together people from all walks of life.

Editor's Note: Well, I did ask for contributions on the subject!  Apart from going down caves, the problem of how we manage to preserve our way of life on Mendip is the most important thing cavers can think about.  It is interesting to see how much general agreement there is between this article; that published recently in the Wessex Journal; my recent one on this subject, and what went on at the recent meeting of the Southern Council.  Given luck and good management, there seems a good chance that cavers on Mendip have woken up to the threats them and are prepared to act together - with a bit and take - to meet them.

For the benefit of Ian and others, the problem of what to do about the increasing requirement from Local Education Authorities for caving trips for novices was raised by the Wessex Cave Club in their Journal, and their proposal for a scheme based on the caving clubs was put to the C.S.C.C.

A booklet on safety recently issued by the Department of Education and Science mentions the BA.C.I. Certificate in its section on caving, and it was pointed out by some of the educationalists present that although the booklet did not suggest that this was the ONLY qualification; because no other alternative was quoted, an impression would be formed by its readers that the B.A.C.I. were the only body which could or would grant some sort of cachet in this field.  The acceptance of the Wessex scheme by the Southern Council would have the advantage of getting this scheme into future issues of the booklet as an alternative based on existing caving clubs.

The Southern Council were in favour of this basic idea, but thought that the alternative scheme would carry more weight as a Southern Council scheme rather than one from a particular club. The scheme is at present being looked into by a small committee who will report to the next meeting of the C.S.C.C. at which, hopefully, the scheme will be passed.  Local Education Authorities will then be able to deal with caving clubs on a cooperative basis in the sort of manner that Ian suggests.

While we don't want to bore members with too much of this sort of thing in the B.B., it must be emphasised that the present time is one in which Mendip cavers are faced with a number of problems which can be solved but which, if left to solve themselves, will result in a state of affairs which will not suit the vast majority of cavers. It is thus very important that the B.B. plays its part in keeping these matters in front of its readers because otherwise, the days of the B.B. and the B.E.C. itself could well be numbered.


 

A Pressing Point

(For pressing on in Pressing Water!)

Some useful advice sent in by Nigel Taylor, who we hope will not mind the slight tidying up of the scansion!

Since the Great Flood of July sixty eight
We all can do Swildons at much greater rate
No longer at Forty do we have to wait
As down to the Twenty we travel on straight.

Yet this happy change ought to make us all pause
For unlucky weather could give us just cause
To worry if floodwater once again roars
And a powerful jet from the new Eight Foot pours!

Because if this happens it may be too late
To know of no way to get back past the Eight
And have to remain till the waters abate
Or succumb to some dreadful and watery fate.

So therefore all cavers, I really must urge
By means of this short but appropriate dirge
That to make an escape from the floodwater's surge
Learn to free climb the forty - and live and emerge!


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 36.

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

6

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

16

 

 

 

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

6. Under the church in Stoke Lane? (5)
7. Place tackle. (3)
8. Behold. (2)
9. Feature of caves…. (5)
10. ….which this explains. (5)
12. …excess. (see 8). (2)
13. “….straight on.”  Is the U.B.S.S. motto. (2)
16. Appropriate word. (3)
17.Mistake much discussed in cave surveying. (5)

Down:

1. Climb. (5)
2. Always old fashioned. (3)
3. Makes injured caver longer? (9)
4. Cuthbert’s 12 across. (5)
5. Hunters pot less a direction is long time past. (3)
10. Fills up….. (5)
11. …..these formations. (5)
14. 1 down is an attribute of this. (3)
15. Long and Short Swildons Ways. (2)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

O

C

H

R

E

R

I

F

T

 

A

 

E

 

U

 

E

 

O

R

E

 

S

C

A

R

P

W

E

 

B

 

K

 

N

 

N

 

P

U

L

L

S

 

L

 

S

 

C

 

E

 

T

O

S

T

O

K

E

 

T

U

G

 

I

 

E

 

A

 

F

 

P

R

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Y

W

A

Y

 

Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481.BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele:  WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     D. Turner
Members:          R. Bagshaw; W. Cooper; D.J. Irwin;
                        N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas;
                        R. Orr;  R. Hobbs.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. Thomas, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. Large, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 2 Broughton House, Somerset St., Redcliffe, Bristol 1.
Hut Warden:      R. Orr.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. Hobbs, Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol. Tele BRISTOL 77368
Tacklemaster:    W. Cooper, 259 Wick Rd, Bristol BS4 4HE.  Tel: BRISTOL 77368.
B.B. Editor:       S.J. Collins, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Publications:     D.J. Irwin.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

*****************************************

One of the M.R.O. NiFe cells is missing.  It is marked ‘No. 10.’ If any member happens to see this cell anywhere at any time, the M.R.O. would be interested in any information which might lead to its recovery.

The price of the DINNER this year will be £1-10 or 22/- in proper money.


 

Editorial

Belfry Binder?

The open session with the committee has taken place, and from what we hear, comments have been mainly favourable.  Apart from one or two preliminary questions, the whole session was taken up with discussing problems of how to run the Belfry.  Although it would be foolish to suggest that everyone now sees eye-to-eye; at least everyone now has a clearer idea of the problems involved and the ways by which they might reasonably be solved.

The editor has been sounding out opinion as to how much club members want in the B.B. on this subject. The main feeling seems to be that we have now done all the talking and should get down to the job of running the place.  In view of this, we shall be keeping the rest of our material on this subject - including 'Sett's' excellent paper - in reserve, should it become necessary to re-open the subject in these pages.

Out-Of-Date Dates

This business of providing club members with information about future events is not as easy as it might seem.  Apart from slips in printing dates, there seem to be a number of other snags to contend with.  For instance, the survey course is now one week behind the published dates, as it had to be moved back at the last minute for the open committee discussion to take place.  The barbecue cannot be published because the decision to go ahead with it came too late for last month's B.B. - and this one will be too late.  Even when a slip about the open committee session was included in the last B.B., there was still some confusion about the actual starting time. Etc. etc.

Just how one solves this problem is not clear at present, but we shall go on trying!

“Alfie”

Members  Addresses

New Members.

John Murray, Latyner House, Hill Close, Wincanton, Somerset
Jo & M.R. Upsall, 32 Eastland Rd, Yeovil, Somerset.
I & P.J. Calder, 14 Trinity St, Salisbury, Wilts.
J. Dunston, Tolcarne, 90, Wells Rd, Glastonbury, Somerset.
J. & M. Coleman, Orchard House, Burnwell, Norfolk.
G.C. Williams, 90,Greville Rd, Southwell ,Bristol BS3 1LJ
P.J. Miller, 60 Elmtree Rd, Locking, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
Mr. & Mrs T.W. Neil, Woodville Lodge, Laighton Rd, Worthing

Corrections to members' addresses.

Frank G. Darbon, P.O. Box 325, Vernon, B.C., Canada.

G. Wilton-Jones, 17 Monkham Drive, Watton, Thetford, Norfolk.

Changes to member’s addresses

Miss C. Salisbury, 24, Belvoir Rd, St. Andrews, Bristol 6. C.E.A02,
K.R. Glossop, D08205, No 4 Petty Officers' Mess, H.M.S. I,ynx, c/o B.F.P.O. Ships, London.

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The Tacklemaster and committee would like thanks to STEVE GRIME for his donation of twenty foot nylon rope to the club.

Why not write for the B.B.? Any length of article can be used, but there is a need for small pieces of useful information to fill up spaces like this one.   If any member knows of some useful fact to pass on to the rest - write it down and put it in the B.B. box at the Belfry.


 

Letter from the North

An. article by J. ABBOTT, keeping us touch with his doings in the North.

As some of you know, the B.E.C. now has a permanent member in the Yorkshire Dales.  I moved up here back in January perhaps the worst time of the year to be introduced to these far off Northern Lands

and certainly the weather has been pretty bad up here at times.  However, when the sun DOES shine, it brings out the best in these northern Landscapes which are many, varied and beautiful to behold.

One scene in particular which stands out in my mind is that of the Lune valley and Morecombe Bay seen from high on the western slopes of Gragareth late at night. It was after trip down Marble steps - itself a very impressive pot – a ¬trip which this particular fellow found intriguing, amusing and knackering.  It was after climbing out of the entrance rift at the end of the trip, which could be made into a separate narrative in itself (how about it, then? – Ed) that I found myself staring out over a moonlit shallow valley containing the odd friendly light which marked each outpost of civilisation.  These pinpoints of light continued out and beyond the Lune valley and could still be seen on the plains beyond until some of them coalesced into what must have been small towns - places such as Carrforth and Burton in Kendal perhaps.  However, beyond even these lights one could make out a barrier where one texture of light finished and another started.  That which continued, until meeting the horizon, was of a more silvery nature.  It was of course, the sea - Morecambe Bay some twenty five miles away.

It is not only sheer beauty which makes the dales such an attractive part of the country.  It has many pleasant facets which appeal to all manner of folk.  One, naturally, is its atmosphere.  It was a couple of weeks, back in mid-March that found three of us - two Bradford pothole Club members and myself -venturing over into Upper Wharfedale.  We had left Brackenbottom at about midday and after gaining both a hitch hiker and a puncture in a rear wheel and losing the use of the handbrake, we eventually made it up over the Silverdale Road towards Littondale.  It was a superb day, with both Penyghent and Fountains Fell bathed in sunlight under a cloudless sky.  I stopped the car in a lay-by high above Penyghent Gill where the three of us had a look at a stream which sank into a fissure - obviously an active dig.  It was surrounded by neat spoil heaps and the streamway contained several freshly constructed dams.  (The natives must have stolen the idea from Cuthbert’s!) However, after poking our noses into the dig, we set off once more to drop into Littondale.  In Litton itself, we came across a pub, the Queen's Arms. Consequently I stopped the car. After all, the air was warm and our throats were dry so it was the only solution.  It was in this pub that I met some of the atmosphere I mentioned ear1ier. The pub itself was set at the end of a short row of terraced limestone cottages, all of which were built in a solid, practical Dales fashion.  The interior of the pub reminded me of home (the Hunters, of course.)  The walls were bare stone and the roof was supported by a. large and very ancient beam.  The thing was held together by two metal straps placed on either side of it.  At one end of the room there was a fine coal fire and, although it was warm outside, we were immediately drawn towards it and sat around supping pints of mild.   There were two other characters in the bar, local coalmen, who were taking advantage of their dinner break to partake in a liquid 1unch.  I listened in on their conversation which seemed to consist of a mixture of grouse moors, twelve bores, market towns, mixed nuts and anthracite. Our chatter?  That too was just as varied and quite as idle.  As the afternoon wore on it seemed to get more and more idle, as did ourselves.  Indeed, so idle did we become that it was not until about 3.15 pm and numerous pints later that we were forced to shift our backsides.  Such was the atmosphere in that pub that I was very loath to leave it at all.

Talking of pubs, a terrible thing happened to me the first weekend I ventured into the dales back in January.  I was stranded in the 'Hill Inn' all night!  Cries of "Shame!"  It happened like this.  Upon arriving at Brackenbottom the B.P.C. headquarters - on a Saturday morning and introducing myself as a B. E. C. club member and a fellow mate of Bob Cross's - they stoned me – No.  Seriously, they made me very welcome, despite mentioning Bob Cross’s name.  I was invited to join a digging party.  I accepted this invitation and spent a pleasant afternoon excavating dead sheep and about three million tons of spoil. During the course of the afternoon, I chatted to various diggers and it transpired that most Saturday nights started off in the 'Chippie' in Settle and finished up in one pub or another.  That evening, after giving the 'chippie' a visit, a number of us eventually made it to the Hill Inn in Chapel le Dale via pubs in both Settle and lngleton.  Once there, we drank numerous Younger's milds and sang, shouted, croaked and wailed a number of folk songs.  Towards the end of the evening, well after closing time, the local constabulary decided to pay the pub a visit, finding fifty or sixty characters still inside drinking.  To a man, when asked, everyone declared themselves to be residents, which baffled the constabulary for a few minutes.  It was not long, however, before they decided that they would take the number of every car in the car park to make sure that none moved during the night.  This was the dilemma which confronted us.  We were faced with the awful prospect of having to remain in that pub ALL NIGHT, possibly even drinking all night or to take the easy way out and walk eight miles in the dark and pouring rain back to Brackenbottom.  You will be glad to hear that I faced the situation courageously as a true B.E.C. member should.  I put my beer glass in my hand, strode up to the bar - head held high - and asked for another pint.

Needless to say, since I have been up here I have managed to get a bit of caving done.  All of it has been done with the Bradford, who I have now come to think of as the B.E.C. of the North.  The weekend of the 22nd of January this year saw a number of us in the Birkswith area of Ribblesdale venturing down Calf Holes - Browgill, Old Ing and Sell Gill holes. The first consisted of a short through trip following a fairly large stream and containing an impressive twenty five foot waterfall.  The second was merely a downstream canal ending in a sump.  The third, and perhaps the most interesting of the three consisted of an open entrance shaft of 25’ followed and 50’ and 60’ ladder pitch. This deposited one at the end of a very impressive main chamber of G.B. proportions into which flowed, from a hundred and fifty foot up, a fairly full stream.  This was also an alternative entrance to the cave - an alternative that I did not fancy! The stream flowed on through the chamber to continue in a short stream passage to a final sump.  The following weekend, on the Saturday, five of us decided to pay Bull Pot in Kingsdale a visit.  The weather was bitter and snow lay everywhere.  However, the views of Kingsdale from the slopes of Gragareth more than made up for the cold.  The pot was descended in fairly rapid time despite some of the pitches being quite damp. The following day was the Bradford Club Meet.  There was to be an exchange of parties in G.G. via Flood Entrance Pot and Stream Passage Pot.  I elected to join the party laddering Stream Passage.  The weather was very much the same as the day before so we were all very glad to get underground at about midday.  The first pitch of 25' held the party up for some time, but once past this we progressed quite rapidly to climb a wet 85’ followed by a 110’ and finally by a loose 75’ pitch which got us into the stream passage in G.G.  Once assembled at the bottom, the party moved off to the Main Chamber via Mud Pot and Sand Chamber.  Undoubtedly, some of you have seen the main chamber before, but I'll not apologise for my description of what you already know.  We entered the chamber from a low balcony to be met by a great void penetrated at the centre by a shaft of light filled by a roaring plunging waterfall.  It fell with such violence that the resulting spray was blown to the further reaches of this huge chamber.  We walked across the remarkably flat floor of this vault toward the waterfall to gaze up and out of the entrance shaft - 360 feet up to a blue sky.  The Fell Beck, after plunging over the lip of the entrance winds its way across the floor of the Main Chamber only to sink under a pile of boulders at the chamber’s edge.  The water is next seen again at the bottom of South East Pot.  This too, was our destination; only we were to go by a drier route.  We passed the members of our complem¬entary party on their way to Stream Passage as we left the Main Chamber.  We soon arrived at the top of South East Pot to be greeted by the sight of a ladder of 140’ free-hanging over the depths of South East Pot itself.  This is a really impressive pitch in true Yorkshire style and, apart from being knackering, was a sheer pleasure to climb.  This was followed by a fifty foot pitch and after a length of twisting passage containing a couple of sporty climbs, the bottom of the last pitch of 70’ was reached. From the top of this pitch it was only a short climb to the surface.  It was dark as the time was about 7 pm when we emerged from the shakehole, but the sky was clear and the air crisp.  The moonlight shone down brilliantly on the snowscape as we eight weary cavers plodded our way slowly through the snow, down off the allotment to Clapham, heavily encumbered with ironmongery that was freezing to the touch.

If this, and the other experiences are indicative of what life in the Dales is all about, then here is one Mendip man who will be happy in his exile.


 

A Knotty Problem

The account of the practice rescue by Chris Howell seems to have brought some comments in.  Since we believe that all members should be in no doubt about tying a bowline, we make no excuse for printing everything we have received.

OLIVER LLOYD writes: - ‘I enjoyed Chris Howell's account of the practice rescue down St. Cuthbert’s, but was rather mystified by the bit about the double bowline, at least that's what I call it.  He calls it a bowline on a bight.   The method of tying this knot that  I recommend was to double back some six or seven feet of rope and then tie an ordinary bowline, which can be adjusted if necessary.  The patient's thighs are placed in the two loops created by the knot and the remaining knot and the remaining loop passed round the chest.  He said he found it hard to follow and would recommend instead to double back some six or seven feet of rope and then tie a straightforward bowline, which can be adjusted if necessary etc.  Personally, I don't see the difference!’

A correspondent who calls himself DRIPSTONE takes up the business of the knot and goes on to discuss other problems raised in CHRIS’S article as follows:-

First of all I must admit a sneaking admiration for Chris as he volunteered to be a victim, which is more than I would!  As to Chris not understanding Dr. Lloyd’s way of tying the knot (which is a bowline on a bight) probably Dr. Lloyd would be only too glad to demonstrate at a convenient time, but I agree that his description is quite straightforward.  I would advise using all three loops, especially in wet weather conditions.  However, if any kind of bowline jams in an awkward spot and it is desired to release the victim, it could be one hell of a job, and rescuers might well be advised to carry a knife for cutting ropes if necessary ( I bet the tacklermaster will be pleased to hear this! - Editor.)

I don't think it is bad practice to strap a person up, remembering that on a real rescue, the victim may be very capable of helping one moment and then suddenly go into delayed shook just when you are on a tricky bit and have counted on his helping out. It is probably better to treat him as a dead load right from the word ‘go’ if possible.  Again, the odd remark like 'Can we get someone below the stretcher in case it slips’ may not inspire confidence in the victim, but may be very necessary for the rescuers.  The victim of a real accident probably has other and more pressing things to worry about.

I am not writing merely to criticise what was an excellent account which I found instructive, so much as to point out that the victim on a practice rescue cannot really be expected to act and feel like a real victim. would.

Finally, since it is well known that the B.E.C. consists entirely of experts in one field or another (mainly the other) we asked our expert on seamanship – JOHN RANSOM - for some instruction on the tying of bowlines on bight and reproduce his sketches as follows: -

 


 

Ski Mountaineering

Another article by one of our most regular and reliable contributors, RON KING - or KANGY to most members, who says that he likes the new B.B. and the new cover.

We went to the Marcadou, a wide pleasant valley in the National Park due South of Lourdes, hoping to climb to the Wallon Refuge on Saturday and then to climb as high as we could on the Sunday, because you’ve got to have altitude, potential energy and all that.  Metres, man, metres!

Disaster struck at Cauterets.  No sealskins to hire for the skis.  Deep thinking produced the dreaded yellow wax (Fart Shune, if you’re not too shy to ask). This, at five bob, gives quite a good adhesion up to ten degrees of slope, after that you pull muscles you didn't know you had. Well, don’t say you haven’t been warned.

This cross-country, with seal skins are what it's all about.  Picture a laden Englishman following equally laden, but nicely equipped Frenchmen.  The distance increases, the sun beats down, the slope steepens.  Nine degrees - nine and a half – ten SPLATT!!  The rucsac, carried high and weighty, sinks into the snow, pining the flattened, wriggling, reddened, enraged and overheated Englishman with the remorseless pull of gravity.  The French, equally laden but nicely equipped, have vanished over the next horizon.  Even when, with the stubbornness of his race the Englishman makes effort after effort (and is not last) his energy expenditure is frightful, with slipping skis and the accumulation of snow piled on his ‘downhill style’ planks taking their toll.

At the refuge, the lessons learned are remembered and the developed cross-country ski examined with some respect.  I'm glad I ‘made do’ because now I’m quite sure that, as a result future sorties will be less frustrating.  However, all that was forgotten in the magnificence of the evening meal.  We had the ambiance of the Old Belfry, crowded with mates, binder bubbling on stove and beer to hand except that, in their unique French way, they produced in addition the magic of Haute Cuisine.  The wood fire was started, the doors closed, the candles lit and the veloute de champ¬ignons warmed (what you and me do call mushroom soup.)  Meanwhile, Bernadette mixed the legumes Macedoine with tartar sauce and Jean prepared the Crabbe Mayonnaise.  We waited. One does.  Conversation started and the first of the one -and-a-half litre bottles of Margnat was circulated and the soup begun.  Just when we had started on the crab, three strangers entered and gazed in admiration at the scene.  As they made up their powdered potato, Jean Gay enquired gently whether they were on a diet.  “Well, no,” they said, “but you?  What are you doing to-morrow with a meal like that inside you?”  Gay riposted instantly – “Us? Why, nothing!  We are a group of gastronomes from Toulouse here to assess this refuge to decide whether we should give it a two or a three star rating.”  - and we all, each one, dissolved in excruciating laughter and served each other with delicious saucusse cooked on the wood fire and helped each other to more wine.  We invited Francoise to share our omelette flambé (with rum) and generally, and then more and more hilariously, sang and joked until it was time to retire to the upper shelf of the refuge with a vast rum-grog apiece to keep out the cold or something.

As it is inclined to do, the next day dawned.  Bright light from a blue sky shone off the sparkling, untouched snow.  The ski-a-randonee were put on, and the first away headed towards a high coombe.  The Englishman considered and, deliberately and with experience, strapped his skis together and, carrying them, climbed - kicking steps in the firm snow.

The coombe was large and ringed with high peaks.  The French paused and relaxed in the sun.  An arête led temptingly to a hidden lake.  We followed it and, at the terminating point, ate an orange, drank in the view and left our skis.  It was only eleven o'clock and a rocky peak was just temptingly near enough to ‘go and have a look at.’

A steep slope led to a balcony, another to a small plateau hard against a rock wall.  The edge of the wall proved to be climbable in the sun, but with a biting wind which chilled.  A traverse proved necessary, frightening in crusty snow, but necessary. Long minutes of caution passed before the rather unwise traverse ended in a couloir which ran, narrowed by perspective, to the summit ridge.  The powder snow in the lower couloir settled it.  Not to-day!  We hesitated, sadly but firmly.  Too risky. A ski baton each and no rope didn't seem enough and, turning to go down, my heel crunched in excellent snow.  A glance at the time ¬12.30 - a look at the sky - not a cloud - a shout of ‘Death or Glory' - and the couloir went with a steep line of good steps.  There was a small check at the ridge where a thirty foot field of snow spelt danger but, fortunately, a small wind-blown ridge that was less hard gave a good footing. The last few yards to the summit of the Montaigu, (8, 300Ft) were a sheer joy.  A seat for the persistent in the gods.

Going down is, always, surprisingly less difficult than imagined and we soon arrived at, and put on the skis.  The snow had softened and the dreaded yellow - fart - caused some anxious moments on steep turns due to uncertain friction characteristics.

Skiing by traversing backwards and forwards, savouring the effortless movement, then through the trees cautiously, we arrived back at the refuge.  The others had gone minutes before.  We brewed a mighty bowl a tea and supped it while sunbathing.

Then, packs on backs, we slid, legs braced mightily, down the narrow twisting upper track and into the beautiful broad lower valley.  Through this, trudging rhythmically, until got to the final wide, evenly graded track to our starting point.  This made a splendid final run, braking furiously with deep snow ploughs, batons held wide to counter the heavy rucsacs.

And still the weather held, and, sitting in the cafe du ski at Cauterets, spent a long time in the sunshine, drinking beer.


 

Caving News

Another run-down on what is happening on Mendip, by TIM LARGE, our Caving Secretary.

EASTWATER 

The stream is sinking in a position just in front of the entrance.  A small collapse has resulted, with an almost cave-sized hole leading into the boulder ruckle.  The result of this is seen at the squeezes just inside the entrance - the boulders have moved in the area of the second squeeze.  This is also where some of the water re-appears.  From the beginning of the route-marking line, there appears to have been no movement until the lower end of the ruckle is reached just before the climb into the 380’ Way.  Here, there are several loose slabs and some boulders that move under foot.  Caution has always been the password in the ruckle and now even more care is needed as it seems to be on the move more often since the cave was re-opened.

CASTLE FARM AREA 

A small hole by the side of the road in front of the field where Castle Farm Swallet was, has recently opened up.  It takes the road drainage, which has excavated a small tube in the topsoil causing a collapse.  The hole goes back under the wall towards some large depressions, probably all part of the Castle Farm Swallet drainage system.  The hole has since been filled in by the County Council.

BUCKET HOLE Grid Ref. 5480 5336 Approx. Altitude 920’. 

This is a dig started late in 1971 by Tony Tucker and others. It is situated at the top of Smitham Hill, not far from the Castle of Comfort, in gruffy ground where there are several depressions, the dig being located in the largest of them which takes a small stream.  The depression is about thirty feet deep and is in lias. The site has been fenced off and various mechanical contrivances set up to aid digging.  The dig has been designated an official club dig.  Work has ceased through the winter months.

ROOKERY FARM SWALLET

This is in the Greenore area. I have recently obtained permission to dig at the site which has been dug by M.N.R.C., S.V.C.C. and A.C.G. groups on and off since about 1952. The stream sink was dug out to a small chamber, but this has silted up as the dig has not been looked at for some time.  Just South of the sink is the other half of the dig, a fifteen foot shaft in conglomerate, which leads via a squeeze to a very small chamber with one inlet passage of about eight feet leading to boulders.  The stream appears to use this route in wet weather, much mud having choked at the end, where there is evidence of banging having been used by previous diggers.  At this point, the cave enters the limestone, and a small tube leads off westwards towards an area of large depressions - one being quite recent, when the farmer Mr D. Thompson's combine fell down into a twenty foot collapse.  The stream has been dammed and then diverted into the shaft, where it disappeared without backing up.  The first job, which has been started, is to remove the mud etc. which has fallen in from the sides of the loose entrance shaft and the stream deposits lower down the regain the actual end of the dig, where chemicals may be needed to aid progress.

CUTHBERTS - GOUR RIFT

Dave Irwin’s Dig at this site is progressing slowly, the right hand end having been probed to solid rock on all sides, but indications show that the passage is going to the left and digging is to be concentrated here.   Shoring is being used to stop slumping and help prevent flooding of the dig by seepage through the gravels from the stream.  Digging takes place on Sunday mornings, meeting at the Belfry at 9 am and I am sure that Dave would welcome and enthusiastic diggers on this site.

*****************************************

 PLEASE NOTE:  In future, ALL rescue operations, HOWEVER MINOR should be reported at the time to the M.R.O.  The reason this is that rescuers are COVERED BY INSURANCE as long as the rescue is official. If you fail to notify the M.R.O. injured in rescuing, you are NOT covered.  It has been policy not to call the M.R.O. if you are sure that that is quite competent to effect a rescue unaided, but the matter of insurance has altered matters.  PLEASE NOTE.


 

 

Letters

31 Belvoir Road,
St. Andrew,
BRISTOL 6.

To the Editor, Belfry Bulletin,

Dear Alfie,

I have read the article on the club history in the March B.B. with very great interest.  I would like to comment the following: - It was stated that ‘Stoke Lane Slocker was transformed……..by the discovery of Browne's Passage by Pat Browne and the forcing of the sump by Don Coase, Sett, and Pat Browne’.

This is not true.  The first party through the sump was composed of Don Coase, Graham Balcombe and myself.  We had gone through Browne's Passage to look at the pool to see if (a) there was any outlet from it and (b) if so, could we get diving gear to it. We went to the pool and, after feeling around the wall, Don found the sump.  He was the first man through, Graham was second and I was tail end Charlie. It is debateable if that first party as indeed a BEC one, as we were all three of us members the C.D.G.  Don and I were, of course, B.E.C. while Graham was Wessex.

The second Belfry was originally the property of the Navy and was situated on Rame Head in Cornwall.  The weekend we spent dismantling and moving it to Mendip was one of the early club highlights.  The cash needed and above that available from club funds was loaned by Mrs Stanbury.

One more club first. In 1948 (Easter, I believe) I was fortunate enough to be the first to climb the waterfall in Fynnon Ddu.  I remember reading in an earlier B.B. that this was attributed to Colin Lour.  The party was, fact led by Bill Weaver of Wessex.

I hope you will find these odds and ends of interest.  All the best, Harry Stanbury.

*****************************************

Thank you very much, Harry. One hopes that, since the article on the club's history appeared there are no club members, however new, who don it know that Harry was the founder of our club - and hence in a better position to put us straight on club history than anyone.

The Stoke Lane clanger was entirely my own fault, since I was around at the time and should have remembered what happened.  If anyone is interested, and mainly to keep the record straight, the events were as follows: -

Sunday, June 1st, 1947.  Pat Browne, D. Sage and J. Umeach from Bruton.  Pat was showing the cave to the other two and demonstrating how the ends of known caves are probed for further passage.  To his surprise and delight he found Browne’s Passage and they explore as far as Cairn Chamber.

Saturday 7th June, 1947.  Pat Browne, Don Coase and Sett repeated the trip, forced the DUCK and find the sump pool.

Sunday 22nd June, 1947.  The party which Harry describes took place.  They do some exploration of Stoke II.

Weekend 28/29th June 1947.  Don, Harry, Sett etc. in a general exploration of Stoke II.

Monday, 30th June, 1947. Monty, Alfie and Luke Devenish read note left in Belfry and find their way to cave but fail to find sump.

Tuesday 1st July, 1947.  Same team find sump and look round Stoke II.

So I should have noticed the error!  Incidentally, there was a joke around at the time when some newcomer asked Don how he knew that the sump was so short.  Don said that he thrust his arm through and, when he pulled it back, saw that his hand was dry.  This was believed by the newcomer for a short while - but in fairness, we were all a bit slewed the time.


 

Library Additions

More information on what can be found in the club library, by our Hon. Librarian, DAVE IRWIN.

New publications in the library include RED ROSE POTHOLE CLUB NEWSLETTER, volume 9 No. 4 and the first two issues of a new exchange, the PLYMOUTH CAVING GROUP NEWSLETTERS Numbers 42 and 43 for Feb and 1972.  The Red Rose include a report on their A.G.M. and the Plymouth include an interesting article on the chemistry and maintenance of caving accumulators, going into reasonable detail that is often omitted from this type of Article.  Problems of rescue in Afton rift; a description of Coombesend Chasm and other material can all be found in the February number while in the April one can be found notes on Hexworthy mine., demolition of archaeological remains in the Tamar Valley and interesting extracts from 18th Century books.

DIE HOHLE, Volume 22, numbers 3 and 4 (1971) includes articles such as the Expedition in the Ojo Guarena system on Spain; Trollgatera, a cave in granite in Sweden; Gruberhorn Hole, Salzburg, and many other items worthy of attention.

CAVES AND KARST Volume 13 Number 3 from the U.S.A. contains part 1 of the Application of Stable Carbon Isotope studies to Karst research.  The second part is in Volume 13 No 4.  Those interested in water tracing will find this publication of immense va1ue.  Incidentally we have several other copies of this series in the library which should be read by members.  For example, in Volume 12 Number 1 will be found ‘The Chemical Evolution of Cave Waters, Inner Space Cavern, Texas’ and Volume 11 number 6 contains ‘Volcanic ash Horizons in Layered Dripstones and Cave Sediments.’

Perhaps the most important addition to the club library for some time are the three volumes entitled CURRENT TITLES IN SPELAEOLOGY for the years 1 969,1970 and 1971.  From the caving literature both national and local, from magazines and newspapers, books and any other literal source that one may like to suggest, Ray Mansfield has combed the lot to produce these three immensely valuable volumes.  Each of them lists, for its respective year, all articles and books that have been published in the U.K. - whether the material itself deals with foreign or local caves or with fringe activities.

Taking Mendip as an example. Do you know that there is a description of Wookey Hole cave in 1840?, hat Hutton Cave has possibly been rediscovered?  Or do you want a description of Priddy Green Sink? If you want information regarding caving in Japan; Carlsbad Caverns; a new karst area in New Zealand; Bat studies in Uganda; some Styrian caves; free diving the first sump in Pollaraftra, Eire and much more you will find all the reference details in these volumes.  For anyone needing any information from any article written between 1969 and 1971, it’s all there!  Remember that these volumes are in the library, and if anyone is after a specific reference, he can check it in the C.T.S. and, with luck, we may have that particular publication also in the library.

Each volume of C.T.S. is subdivided into a number of sections:  Inter- and Non-Regional Topics (Cave Rescue, Archaeology in Devon and Cornwall; Somerset and Bristol District; Southern Pennines; Northern Pennines; England, Miscellaneous Areas; Wales and Shropshire; Scotland; Ireland and Foreign.  At the moment, C.T.S. does not carry information gathered from foreign publications, but the 1972 C.T.S. is to be expand to included these - some undertaking!

Members interested in having these for their own reference libraries should obtain copies from Tony Oldham, 17, Freemantle Road, Eastville, Bristol BS5 6SY at 50p each. Printed by Gestetner - 60p for 1969 and 50p for the other two.

*****************************************

Make a note of the ANNUAL DINNER.  Saturday, 7th October the Cave Man Restaurant.  Good Food.  Plenty of it. SOME FREE BEER. Entertainments.  ETC. ETC.  All the best people will be there!!  Price £1.10 ONLY per ticket.  Don’t miss this unique opportunity of hob-nobbing with the cream of Mendip caving society!!  Make a note in your diary.  Tie knot in something.  Keep saying to yourself, “Saturday, 7 of October”


 

The Dig in Gour Rift

A more detailed account of this dig by DAVE IRWIN.

The end of Gour Rift has interested the author for some time - in fact when John Cornwell dug a pit there in 1966 it had the feel that it was only time before it went – but ¬the site was temporarily abandoned due to lack of help.  In 1963,   the author and Bob Craig,   persuaded Dave Searle to help us remove a flake at the small pocket at the very end to enable us to see what happened beyond. The result was not encouraging enough at the time to make one want to pick up a shovel and dig.  Still the site niggled.  In 1970 just before departing for the U.S.A., Dave Turner, Colin Clarke and myself had another scratch and later, with Roy Bennett's help, removed more rock, but again, the necessary push was not there, as Cuthbert’s II had still to be fully investigated, and sump II looked the more promising.

In the autumn of 1970, a scratch group of us went down to the end again and this time, armed with buckets; picks and shovels, bailed the pool at the end just below the aven to the Bank Grill and began digging.  Very soon it became obvious that at some time in the past, large quantities of stalagmite had been deposited at this point and only now were being uncovered.  Just a short distance beyond the end of the gours in Gour Rift, almost opposite the duck, a large gour three to four feet across was found about a foot below the gravels. Smaller gours were found to the right, each arching towards the left hand wall.  Here was the incentive that was needed.  At some time in the past, water trickles that formed the gours had flowed down the rift and away under the left hand wall (looking down cave) some of the water possibly coming out of the sump passage!

At this point in the rift, several lines of weakness were noted and it was decided to follow one - which ended shortly in a phreatic hole in the roof of an overhang that had its supply of water from the updip side.  Anyhow, with this information available that the water had flowed away from this point, a regular visit to the site became imperative to keep the dig on the move - so the Sunday Morning Digging Team was formed.  Its nuc1eus comprised Dave Turner, Doug Stuckey, Chris Williams, myself and any other likely looking 'mug' at the Belfry.  A change of digging site was suggested, and an attack at the extreme end seemed to offer a better position for digging. The site enabled us to get away from the roof overhangs which forced the diggers to a kneeling position, and made the spoil easier to move.  However, this was not to be.  A rock floor was found some two feet below, and so it was a case of 'back to the original site'.  To prevent slumping, shoring has now been installed and its back to the pick, shovel and the well-known cry of "Where’s the bloody bucket?"

Anyhow, if anyone is prepared to get out of bed early on Sunday mornings ready to descend the cave at 9.30 AM. (not pm) and be guaranteed to be out again before lunch time closing - come along to the Belfry.  Even if we don’t get Cuthbert’s III this year - so what!  It makes a pleasant morning’s caving.

*****************************************

Wig also notes that this dig is not the only activity going on in Cuthbert’s.  There are other digs; plus surveying and water tracing.  On the latter subject, ROGER STENNER keeps us up-to-date in the short article which follows: -


 

Water Tracing in Cuthbert’s

The most recent set of results are of some importance because they prove that the Fair Lady Well stream enters St. Cuthbert’s Swallet, which I have suspected for some time, but have not been able to prove.  To the west of the Belfry,  the size of the stream decreases very quickly,  and it is now known that water entering the cave in the Long Chamber series is derived from the Fair Lady Well stream.  Furthermore, the stream continues to enter the lake.  The next water tracing experiments will be made to find if water from the lake enters the Main Stream in the known cave.

The Main Stream (Everest Passage) Kanchenjunga drip inlet, and the small stream near the foot of the Rocky Boulder Pitch all gave negative results.

The method used for tracing the water was the same as published earlier (B.B. for March, 1972). The difference was that this time the work was done at the Belfry, where the U.V. lamp caused some interest among the members present, especially when they saw the fluorescence produced in a few different minerals.

Editor's Note:     The entry of Fair Lady Well water into Cuthbert’s must be of fairly recent origin, at least in recent historical times, because until the time - not so very many years ago - when mains water became available in Priddy, the Fair Lady Well stream supplied drinking water to all the farms and cottages between the Belfry and Priddy Green.  The clearance of the stream channel  - a completely artificial one, incidentally - and the stopping up of any leaks into the depression was an annual job tackled by all the able-bodied villagers.  Of late, the water to the west of the Belfry has become rather more of a nuisance to locals than an advantage, and so the stream is no longer maintained, and may even have been encouraged to leak.

Incidentally, in the days when we used to drink from this stream, we used to have the water analysed and, whether or not its miraculous origin is fact or myth, it always amazed the analyst by its almost complete absence of my form of bacterial content. Judging by the muck which is usually present in Fair Lady Well nowadays, I should imagine this is no longer the case.

 


Fairy Cave to Hilliers Link – up

(A ‘FRIDAY NIGHT’ CLUB TRIP)

Readers may not be aware that Fairy Cave and Hilliers are now linked.  This is a brief account of the first B.E.C. trip, written up by NIG. TAYLOR

On the 17th of April this year, a staggering number of no less than seventeen cavers turned up at Fairy Cave Quarry.  The B.E.C. were well represented with Leader Brain Prewer ("Prew") Mike Palmer, Nigel Taylor and a latecomer - Doug Stuckey.

The connection from Fairy Cave to Hilliers had only been forced a fortnight beforehand, and I believe that we were the second party through.

Hilliers was excessively dirty with quarry sludge~ and crawling through it was like ‘Jelly Caving.’ The grottoes have been re-taped, and Cambridge Grotto was still in a good state of conservation, and is still well worth a trip.

The actual connection, via a boulder squeeze in loosening boulders and banged passage looks worse than it actually is, and adds a little sport to the cave.  With seventeen cavers, the trip took quite a time, and I personally learned to watch my tongue when I learned that the kindly old I gent ahead of me was a vicar!

On exit, a suitable adjournment was made to the Waggon and Horses - when gestures of thanks (!!) were made to our Cerberus/B.E.C. Leaders.

*****************************************

The SURVEYING COURSE is still going on each Saturday at the Belfry between 7.30 and 8.30 pm as follows:-

Saturday, 1st July, Detail and Survey Presentation.

Saturday, 8th July, Survey Drawing.

Sunday, 16th July, Practical Surveying in the flue tunnels.

*****************************************

FUTURE ARTICLES

Articles lined up for future B.B.’s include an account of last year’s expedition to the Picos de Europa; some surveying articles by Dave Irwin and Alfie and a long article on Cave Photography by Alan Coase.  We could always do with smaller articles, especially ones that take up half a page or so. These are very useful and enable a B.B. to be planned so that no space is wasted.

Have you got any LIBRARY BOOKS at home?  Have a look through your bookshelf, as there are quite a. few books which appear on older library lists which the present Hon. Librarian has no trace of in the library.


 

Library Requests

With the library just about completely catalogued and many of the exchange journals and newsletters bounds we are finding that a large number of periodicals have either been lost or never received by club librarians in the past.

Below is a short list of items that are missing (more will be published later) :-

BRITISH CAVER

Volumes 1 to 14, 26, 28

CAVE PROJECTS GROUP NEWSLETTERS

From No .3 to date.

CHELSEA S.S. NEWSLETTERS,

Vols 1 to 4.   Vol 5, Nos 1, 3, and 6 to 12.   Vols 6 to 9. Vol 10, Nos 1 to 7, 9.  Vol 11 nos 6 & 12. Vol 14, No 4.

M.N.R.C. JOURNALS

Vol 1 No.2.  All between 1964 and 1971 except June 1970.  Bulletin Vol 1 No.2.  Newsletters pre No. 45.

PLYMOUTH C.G.

Newsletters Nos 1 to 7 & 9 to 41.

RED ROSE C.P.C.

All journals except Nos 1 and 5.

SEVERN VALLEY C.C.

Any newsletters except Vol 1 Nos 10 & 12, Vol 2 No 2, Vol 4 No 12, Vo15 No 1.  December 1967, Jan, Feb, Nov & Dec 1968, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Jun & Nov 1969.

SHEPTON MALLET C. C.

Occasional papers Nos 3 & 6.

SOUTH WALES C.C.

Newsletters Nos 1, 4, 15, 18, 19, 26 to 40, 46 to 50 and 53 onwards.

WESSEX CAVE CLUB

Journals Nos 1, to 26, 29, 30, 32, 42, 45, 106 to 109, 111 to 113, 118 to 119, 131 to 134, 138 to 139.

Any members having duplicates of any of these missing items, or who would be willing to donate copies should contact the Hone Librarian, DAVE IRWIN, who will be pleased to hear from them.  If librarians of other clubs notice this list of missing items, it should be pointed out that we do have duplicate material we would exchange (particularly B.B.'s). B.B.'s are available from Number 100 to date.  Back numbers other than for exchange are available to any purchaser at the Belfry at 10 new pence each from number 110 to 169; at 5 new pence from 170 to 237 and at 7 new pence from 238 to date.  The income from any such sales will contribute towards additions for the library.


 

Roman Mine

 by J. & N. TUCK.  Caving Report No 15.  Price 60p

While they were looking for a 19th Century lead mine at Draethen, between Cardiff and Newport, the authors discovered a lead mine of great antiquity.  With the help of Dr. Savory of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, it was established that the mine was of Roman origin.  Work done in the mine has resolved many uncertainties concerning Roman mining activities in the district.

The report includes an account of the discovery of the mine; its geological situation, and a history of mining in the area.  The mining technique used by the Romans is explained and archaeological finds are listed and discussed.  Fifty pages of text are printed by offset lithography on 10 x 8 inch paper.  The report is illustrated with two maps of the district; a survey of the mine; thirty line drawings and four photographs. The pages stapled between card covers. At this very low price, the report should appeal to those interested in the geology or the history of the area.

Copies and further information may be obtained from R.D. STENNER, Hartcliffe Comprehensive School, Bishport Avenue, Bristol 3.

Caving Meets

The will be a CAVING MEET - AUTUMN BANK HOLIDAY

25th - 28th of August.

TO YORKSHIRE - INCLUDING GAPING GHYLL WINCH MEET AND IT IS ALSO INTENDED TO BOOK TATHAM WIFE HOLE; SWINSTO; KINGSDALE MASTER CAVE AND VARIOUS OTHER  SMALLER KINGSDALE CAVES. CAMPING AT AUSTWICK.  TRAVELLING UP ON FRIDAY NIGHT.  IF SUFFICIENT  DEMAND A MINI-BUS WILL BE HIRED.

Will all interested cavers PLEASE contact TIM LARGE as soon as possible, so that all arrangements can be made


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 23.

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

7

8

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

12

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

1. Was ‘e my rat’ in underground river? (9)
6. Describes outdoor scientific work – even underground. (5)
8. Cuthbert’s run. (3)
9. Furthest point underground. (3)
10. No southern spot up north. (3)
11. A Belfry brew? (3)
13. Take it easy in an Cuthbert’s itinery. (3)
14. Make small hole? (5)
15. Tempers be upset in this Cuthbert’s chamber, (9)

Down:

2. Right – One foot for this cave feature. (4)
3. Erratic O.E. Ailment. (9)
4. Progress along 1 across, perhaps. (4)
5. Found in bare terrain in Cuthbert’s. (5)
7. Old workings sound finished on Mendip. (5)
12. Take this in mineries or see it in rockface. (3)
13. Mendip House. (4)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword

A

B

O

V

E

 

D

 

O

 

A

 

 

 

D

R

O

P

S

T

A

I

N

 

A

 

E

 

S

 

 

O

 

I

 

N

F

 

P

I

T

O

N

 

S

L

 

O

 

E

 

 

C

 

O

 

O

 

S

T

R

A

W

W

E

L

L

 

 

 

V

 

S

 

S

 

F

O

X

E

S

 

The Editor regrets that, while he can think of nothing sensible to put in this spce, it goes against his nature to leave it actually blank.  It would, of course, have filled up more had he actually typed an ‘a’ in the word ‘space’.  Oh, well! Honour is satisfied!

Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481.BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele:  WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     D. Turner
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr; R. Hobbs.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. Thomas, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. Large, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 2 Broughton House, Somerset St., Redcliffe, Bristol 1.
Hut Warden:      R. Orr.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. Hobbs, Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol. Tele BRISTOL 77368
Tacklemaster:    D. Turner.  Address to follow.
B.B. Editor:       S.J. Collins, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Publications:     D.J. Irwin.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

This Year’s Dinner

As usual, the B.E.C. are not issuing tickets.  One books up for the dinner by getting in touch with the Hon. Treasurer - Bob Bagshaw and by paying him £1.10 (22/- in old money) per person.

PLEASE try to do this as soon as possible, as Bob has to tell the caterers how many people are coming, and he can only make a wild guess if you all wait until the last minute!

The date is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7TH.


 

Editorial

Nominations

Now is the time for nominations for the 1972~73 Committee.  In past years, we used to print a form for this but it was generally agreed that it was a waste of paper to print some 300 forms when at best only a dozen or so would be actually used.  The system in the B.E.C., for the benefit of newer members, is delightfully simple.  Suppose you think that Bert Bodge would make a good committee member.  All you do is to ASK him whether he would be prepared to serve on the committee if he were elected.  If he says he would, you then WRITE on any suitable piece of paper “I wish to nominate Bert Bodge for the 1972-73 Committee and he has agreed to serve if elected.”  The exact wording is not important as long as you make sure that you say he will serve. SIGN it with your own name and club membership no., if you can remember it.  (This is only a quick check to make sure that you are paid up - otherwise your nomination is invalid) and GIVE or SEND it to ALAN THOMAS, to reach him AT LEAST THREE WEEKS BEFORE THE A.G.M. (i.e. by Saturday 16th September).  You may nominate as many people as you wish and you do not need a seconder.  Those nominated must a of course, be PAID UP club members.

Present members of the committee are deemed to be nominated automatically unless they wish to stand down. So far, no one has said they wish to stand down.  This procedure does not give present committee members any advantage, but was instituted so that, if no nominations are received, at least we still have a committee.  (This has actually happened on several occasions in the past).

In this B.B. and the next, you will find various reports.  They may - or may not - make dull reading, but they save a lot of time at the A.G.M.

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After the article in which the double bowline and the bowline-on-a-bight were mentioned, several people have said that these are, in fact, two separate knots which should not be mixed up.  MAURICE ILES has sent in a piece of rope (it must be the oddest way for a contribution to the B.B. to be received) in which is tied a knot which he says is a Bowline-on-a-Bight.  It is reproduced opposite.

 

Perhaps more members who have skill in getting us knotted will care to join in!

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The committee would like to record the thanks on behalf of club to Mary Ham, Colleen and Sue for their donations to the first aid box for the Belfry.

A New Club Section?

Nigel Jago says that if any club member is interested in building a fibre glass canoe, they should get in touch with him.  His address is at the beginning of this B.B.  Please note that it has changed since last month.


 

Minutes of the 1971 Annual General Meeting

Held at Oliver's Bar, Bristol on Saturday, 2nd October 1971.

There being some 40 members present, the meeting opened by the Hon. Secretary calling members to order at 2.30 pm.  The meeting then proceeded to elect a Chairman.  The names of D.J. Irwin; R.A. Setterington; S.J. Collins and Dr. O.C. Lloyd were proposed from the floor.  On a show of hands, Dr. O.C. Lloyd was elected as Chairman.

The Chairman then called for the collection of ballot papers and members resolutions.

The Chairman called for three volunteers to act as tellers.  Mrs. Wilton, Mrs. Franklin and Mrs. Meadon volunteered and were accepted by the meeting.  The Chairman then suggested that the minutes of the 1970 meeting should be taken as read, since they had been published in the B.B.  This was agreed.  Pete Franklin then proposed an amendment “That the name of' Phil Coles be deleted from the minutes” (His name was reported as being the only person voting a particular way at the previous A.G.M.)  The Chairman asked Alfie why this had been so reported, it being the usual practice to leave out names.  Alfie replied that Phil had specifically requested that his name be placed on record in this manner.  A vote was taken and the amendment carried 9 - 5 with the remainder abstaining.  It was agreed to record this amendment to R. A. Setterington then proposed that “All matters in minutes referring to Committee actions should be checked.”   A discussion arose and the Chairman accepted ‘Sett’s’ offer to read the minutes and to bring up such queries as might appropriate.  D.J. Irwin then proposed that the minutes be accepted.  This was seconded by Bob White and carried nem. Con.

The Chairman then moved on to the Hon. Secretary's report.  This too, had been previously published.  Alan Thomas said that he would like to add some remarks, which the Chairman accepted as an addendum to the report.  Alan said that the attitude of some members using the Belfry left a lot to be desired.  There had been incidents involving damage to the ceiling and when the Committee tried to hold an investigation, they were told a tissue of lies which led to the club falling out with another club from the North.  He suggested that the new Committee would have to look very seriously at Belfry Discipline.  The Chairman said that the meeting should note these remarks and adopt or discuss the report as a whole.  Mike Palmer then proposed the adoption of the report with the addendum.  This was seconded by Bob White and carried nem. con.

The Hon. Treasurer's Report followed.  This had been published, and the Chairman invited the Hon. Treasurer to add anything if he wished.  Bob Bagshaw said that the sum of £574 as published should read £547.  This was no doubt, an error on the part of the B.B. Editor. He pointed out that the outgoings for the Belfry included two years insurance.  There were some small items which the auditor wished to be cleared up before approving the accounts.  Bob said that we had some money in Club funds to be going on with.  He also said that he had received some subscriptions but by no means all.  The Chairman asked about the payment of income tax, and said that some other clubs seemed to be able to avoid paying it.  Bob replied that normally tax is chargeable on interest of investments but possibly some other clubs had obtained relief on this point and promised to look further into the matter.  Bob Cross then proposed the acceptance of the Hon. Treasurer's report.  This was seconded by Martin Webster and carried nem. con.

The Chairman then asked for the Caving Report, which the Caving Secretary read out.  There were no comments.  Dave Irwin proposed the adoption of the report.  This was seconded by Alan Thomas and carried unanimously.

The Chairman then asked for the Climbing Report.  Alfie said that no report had been received for publication.  The Climbing Secretary was not present at the meeting.  Dave Irwin suggested that this be deferred until later.  This was generally agreed by the meeting.

The Chairman then asked for the Tacklemaster's Report.  Bill Cooper pointed out that he had just taken on the job and would sort through the tackle and report to the Committee.  The Chairman said that in view of the situation, he would recommend this suggestion to the meeting, and asked if the were any points concerning tackle which members might wish to raise.  Mike Palmer reminded the meeting that the Committee had been asked to look into losses of tackle.  Alan Thomas replied that this had been done and the one ladder still missing had been written off.  He said that Tim Large was still putting adverts in 'Descent.'  Mike Palmer said that there were only two lengths of ladder in the Tackle store.  Dave Irwin replied that on the particular weekend to which Mike Palmer was referring, tackle had been taken to Yorkshire and to Wales.  Mike Palmer suggested that there should be an instruction to next year's committee that the Tacklemaster keeps a new record book and that trips off Mendip MUST be supplied with tackle from the Tacklernaster directly and NOT from the Belfry.  A discussion followed the Chairman summarised this.  There should be three lots of tackle.  One for Cuthbert’s; one for the rest of Mendip and the remainder held off Mendip by the Tacklemaster for trips away from Mendip.  A list of tackle should be prepared and published together with the procedure for obtaining it and returning it after use.  In view of the number of people whose suggestions were incorporated in this summary, the Chairman suggested that it be recorded that the new Committee should take into consideration all the views expressed. The Tacklemaster's report was then proposed to be accepted by Mike Palmer, seconded by Phil Coles and carried nem. con.

The Chairman then called for discussion of the Hut Warden's         report.   'Sett' asked whether day charges were still being collected.  Pete Franklin said that they were collected if people used the cooking facilities. In reply to a further question, Pete said that no fees payable are published.  Alan Thomas said that the showers appeared to be little use judging by the money collected.  A short discussion follow and it was felt that the time delay in heating the water was the cause of the showers relative unpopularity.  The Chairman suggested that the Committee should look into the operation of the showers.  A conscience box placed next to the water heater was also suggested.  It was also suggested that the committee look into Belfry charges in view of the changing pattern of caver’s habits.  Dave Irwin warned the meeting not to make rash judgments on this subject.  The report was proposed to be adopted by Alfie and seconded by Mike Palmer and carried without dissent.  A vote of thanks to the retiring Hut Warden was then proposed by Alfie seconded by Alan Thomas and carried with acclaim.

The Belfry Engineer’s Report was than discussed.  It was agreed during a short discussion that the Belfry Engineer obtained very little support from members.  Alan Thomas said that despite this, he had done a good job.  The report was adopted on a proposal from Frank Jones seconded by Bob White and carried nem. con.

The Chairman asked for the Hon. Librarian’s Report.  Alfie aid that no report had been received but that he had seen Dave Searles who sent his apologies for not being able to attend the meeting.  The Chairman said that he would note Afie’s remarks, and that the production of a proper report should be dealt with by the new Committee.

The Chairman then called for discussion on the B.B. Editor’s Report.  Alfie explained that his proposals for changing the publication interval of the B.B. were designed to stimulate discussion so that the feelings of the meeting could be asserted.  The Chairman said that properly this was matter for the editor and the Committee to decide.  The meetimg voted against the scheme by 16 – 22.  The Editor said that there was no intention of going against the wishes of the club, and as far as he was concerned, we should now continue with a monthly publication.  The adoption of the report was proposed by Bob Bagshaw, seconded by ‘Sett’ and carried without dissent.

The Chairman then announced the results of the ballot for the new Committee.  Voting was as follows: - Bob Bagshaw 69; Dave Irwin 66; Alan Thomas 63; Tim Large 54, Alfie 50; Pete Stobart 47, Dave Turner 38; Nigel Jago 37; Bill Cooper 38.  The Chairman announced that the above had been voted as the 1971-72 Committee.

There was no discussion on the Caving Publications Report.  The adoption of this report was proposed by Pete Franklin coupled with a vote of thanks to Dave Irwin for all the work he had put in.  This was seconded by Mike Palmer and carried unanimously.

The Chairman then moved on to Members Resolutions, the first of which was from ‘Sett’, seconded by Bob Bagshaw, “That the B.E.C. Annual General Meeting is not the proper time place to discuss the removal of fixed tackle from Cuthbert’s.”  With no discussion, the Chairman put the resolution to the vote (I mean since there was no discussion, I am not implying that the Chairman stifled discussion! - Ed.) and it was carried by 21 - 11.

The next resolution, proposed by Dave Irwin and seconded Roy Bennett was, “That this meeting extends the Guest Leader system to cover all clubs on a National basis with a similar arrangement to the existing scheme.”  Again, no discussion resulted, and the resolution was carried with one dissent.

The third resolution was proposed by Pete Franklin and seconded by Ron ("Kangy") King, "That the A.G.M. and Dinner be held on separate dates next year to be decided by the Committee on direction from this meeting.”  After a short discussion, it was put to the vote and was lost by 18-19.

There being no other business, and having some time in hand the Chairman asked for any other business. Bob Bagshaw proposed a vote of thanks to the tellers.  This was seconded by Graham Phippen and carried unanimously.  Graham then that there was a shortage of digging equipment and a lack direction for keen, younger members.  Various people replied that there was a lot of work to be done, apart from the obvious caving and. digging.  The Library was deficient.  A battery charger was needed.  The Chairman asked the committee to take note of all these points.

The matter of the Climbing Report was next taken up.  The new Climbing representative on the committee, Nigel Jago, that he would produce one.

The Chairman then asked ‘Sett’ to produce any matters from the previous minutes.  All the actions had, in fact, been cleared up.

A query was put to the I.D.M.F. Committee from the floor asking whether the present notice for intending trips was realistic.  The point was noted, and the I.D.M.F. Committee were instructed to look into this and other aspects of the operation of the fund.

There being no further business, the Chairman then declared the meeting closed.


 

Travels with a Test Tube

Part 1: Some Painted Caves in Spain and France

ROGER STENNER recently received a grant to study marine pollution by metals which enabled him to see quite a bit of Europe. Needless to say, he managed to fit in time to do some show caves en route.  This is the first description of caves he visited.

Three weeks in March and April, working in fantastic unbroken sunshine between Sagres and Cadiz had to come to an end some time and after a morning spent weegee-ing in Cordoba, a drive on good roads (a change after the Mini-wrecking minor roads I had had to use so much) took me to Northern Spain.   A drive through a huge limestone gorge to the North of Burgos led eventually down into the limestones where there are many caves which contain Palaeolithic paintings.  On my first afternoon there, I had a look at the Cavern del Castillo at Puente Viesgo, on the main road from Burgos to Santander.  The cave would be interesting enough without the paintings – smooth, gently dipping rock, with glorious solutional arches and well decorated. Then there are the paintings, the whole lot very well protected by the guides ("Up here, you padrone me servant: Down there, me boss!")  The cave walls look untouched, and the paintings as fresh as the day they were painted. The guide showed genuine enthusiasm for the caves there and he obviously still gets the same kick out of them as he did when he saw then for the first time.

Castillo was not mutilated when engineered for a show cave, and lighting was kept to a minimum. Paintings were illuminated by a hand torch.  The paintings make clever use of natural features in the rock, and perhaps the most famous is the elephant.  Not far from it, a rock movement has left the base of a big pillar suspended about a foot from the floor, looking like an elephant's front leg.  A coincidence?  In another passage is a sequence of solutional arches about two feet apart.  In each one, a half circle and two dots are enough to give an uncanny feeling that one is being watched.  I was able to make a series of air temperature and air CO2 measurements, but that’s another story.  The guide was helpful and friendly, adding to the pleasure of the trip.  We were there for three hours, and the guide did not seem to be upset by the fact that I was the only customer that afternoon.

Next morning, I drove to the famous cave of Altamira.  This cave is highly commercialised and extensively engineered, catering impersonally for huge parties.  It was most disappointing in spite of the incredible paintings in the gallery of the bulls.  It was annoying to be told that I didn't really want to see the famous paintings in the annexe, or to be spoken to sharply when I stopped walking for a moment to look at a delicate little bas-relief on a projection which the guide had ignored. It was just one round of the big chamber in double quick time, and into the gallery of the bulls where the paintings were dripping with condensation from the visitor’s breath.  Perhaps there are some people who like this kind trip - there are a lot of peculiar people about.  It just left a bad taste in my mouth, which I got rid of by driving back to Fuente Viesgo, where the friendly guide showed me around two other caves close to Castillo – the Cave of the Chimeneas and the Cave of Las monedas. There are other caves there; good ones too; but you need written permits from the Patronato de las Cuevas Prehistoricas de la  Provincia de Santander.  Both caves were delightful, with good paintings.  One centres round a small knob of rock, which forms the eye of a horse. After these trips, the guide threw in a free trip into Castillo to repeat the previous day’s measurements. Then he asked for a copy of the measurements, which we discussed over a bottle of fiery Spanish gin.

After Northern Spain, the next cave I saw was in the foothills of the Pyrenees.  The de-climatisation from South Spain was completed - by a snowstorm.  Clear signposts soon got me to the Grotte de Gargas, famous for a large number of mutilated hand outlines.  A recent theory is that the missing joints were amputated to relieve pain from a type of arthritis caused by exposure to cold during adolescence.  The paper proposing this theory is plausible, but I still wonder why the cave only features left hands.  It was sad to see a famous cave in a disgusting mess.  Graffiti on the walls which even covers some Palaeolithic paintings and litter is allowed to accumulate everywhere.  The guide was scattering sweet wrappers as we went - not exactly the way to set an example to parties.

North to Toulouse next, where I met Kangy and Anne King.  I was told I must see the Grotte de Niaux and I was soon driving south again. Behind the huge entrance high on the mountainside there is a good cave in hard limestone. The cave is long, with interesting passages and chambers, mostly completely natural and illuminated by carbide lamps that are provided.  The very famous groups of paintings are now protected by cage-like enclosures, apparently a necessary precaution in France.  The best paintings give a quite extraordinary feeling of vitality. Three bison paintings overlap to form a beheaded human head in profile which cannot be accidental.  Hearts and other vulnerable spots have been highlighted in red on the otherwise black paintings by later (still Palaeolithic) inhabitants.  The guide, a pretty black haired girl, pointed out marks representing a Palaeolithic cave survey on R.S.D. lines, and other squiggles which she said had a sexual significance.  I looked again - just squiggles.  Perhaps it is all in the eye of the beholder?

After a most remarkable gastronomic experience at a restaurant La Camille, on the main road from Niaux to Faix, it was time to continue northwards once more.  In the Dordogne I stopped long enough to see the Grotte de Font de Gaume.  As at Niaux, the French were doing their best to stop any more vandalism.  The cave is a solutional feature in very soft limestone - perhaps it is so soft that it should be called a chalk.  Most of the formations are inactive.  The paintings, often outlined by engraving in the soft rock, are in black and ochre and the style appeared to be the same as the Altamira ones - the most distant of the caves I saw.  There were a few mutilated hands unlike the Puente Viesgo hands which were intact.  The guide, another girl, pointed, embarrassed to some squiggles of an obvious sexual nature – most indelicate and blushing, hurried on to the next painting.  I looked again.  Just squiggles.  I must be missing something.  There are so many good caves around here, but I had to catch the spring tides in the Seine estuary.  One day, I’ll have more time to spare but of the caves I had seen, it is the Puente Viesgo caves I want to revisit some day.  For the time being, it was time to get down to the job of analysing the car¬-full specimens I had collected, and plan the fine details of trip to Norway.  Now that photo from a show cave at Mo-i-Rhana ¬looks interesting.


 

Members Addresses Changes

Jim Durston, 7 Estuary Park, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset.
Nigel Taylor, c/o 'Langley', Moors Farm, Berkley, Frome, Som.
Stuart Tuttlebury, 28 Butts Road, Alton, Hampshire.
Jim Abbott, 28 St. Pauls Rd, Manninghan, Bradford, Yorks.
Colin Clark, 186 Cranbrook Rd, Bristol BS 6 7DQ.
Alan Coase, 6 Meadow Mead, Frampton Cotterrel, Bristol BS1 2BQ

Caving Report

Congratulations to our Caving Secretary - TIM LARGE - for being the first Club Officer to send in his annual report!  As follows: -

The year started off rather slowly - perhaps everyone was still recovering from the dinner; but activity increased towards the middle of the year, remaining fairly constant from then on.  As usual, most of the Mendip caves were visited, with Swildons and, of course, Cuthbert’s being the most popular.

Our active cavers consist mostly of new members - who stay regularly at the Belfry, but they come and go more frequently nowadays, thus never forming a really close-knit nucleus as was the case in the past.  The old phrase of the "two year caver" appears to have become the "one year caver".

During the year there were about ten club trips - mostly on Mendip.  Response to these trips remains at a low ebb.  On one trip, the leader resorted to writing to everyone personally and even then the attendance was not as good as one might have expected. There seems to be a general apathy towards caving from members these days.

Cuthbert’s received its due attention with about thirty tourist trips by visiting clubs.  More work has been done on the survey, which is now very nearly completed.  The Tuesday night digging team has been regularly attacking the pointed end of the cave, supplemented by the Sunday morning digging team who are digging at the end of Gaur Rift.  More water tracing tests have been carried out to help solve the mysteries of Cuthbert’s.

Two digs have been officially designated as Club Digs.  These being Bucket Bole at East Harptree and the terminal choke dig in Nine Barrows. There have been a few other digs going on throughout the year but they have not yielded their secrets yet. These are at Nettle Hole, Garrowpipe and Rookery Farm Swallet.

A rescue practice was held in Cuthbert’s on January 15th, this time the route from September Chamber through the ruckle and out into High Chamber was tried.  With many willing hands, all went well except for one very constricted section at the Catgut end of the ruckle, but this was over¬come with various unusual contortions.

Well, there’s always room for improvement, and perhaps if more members took an active interest in the genuine pursuits of the club, then, maybe, one day we could truly say that we were the best club on Mendip.

Tim Large, Hon. Caving Sec.


 

Editor’s Report

The second of the club Officers' report s for the year - by the Editor.

A number of changes have been made to the B. B. this year in an attempt to start it on its second quarter-century in a better manner.  Firstly, and most importantly, we have at last managed to take the step I had been hoping for - that of changing from a duplicated to an offset printed magazine.

After some initial snags, the improvement in clarity should by now be noticeable.  Although the printing process takes longer than the old duplicating did, I feel that the result more than justifies the extra time spent

Secondly, we have gone metric.  A B.B. which keeps on changing its size is a nuisance to librarians and to others who make a collection of them, but in this case the change was necessary - since it will become more and more difficult to get hold of the old British quarto size paper. We chose the smaller of the two metric sizes which were sensible to have - that of the A5 size.  The other alternative was A4 which has been adopted by the Wessex Journal.  Members may like to compare the two.  I feel that our choice was the right one.

Lastly, we have a new stiff cover.  For this, we are indebted to Barry Wilton, who produced a number of designs from which we could choose.  The cover chosen was by an almost unanimous choice of those involved.

After some slight controversy about how many pages of the new paper size represented a fair deal for members, I settled on a basic number of 24 pages per issue (12 pages on this re-issue).  I am pleased to say that this has not only been kept up so far this year, but has twice been exceeded.  This is, of course, due to the good response by club members in writing for the B.B. and I should like to record my thanks to all those who have made my Job so much easier by writing for the B.B. without prompting.

I hope to incorporate some smaller improvements next year, but I feel that we shall have to wait for some time before the next major improvement can take place that of having a decent typeface.  This move, when it comes, will be expensive and it is unlikely that the club will be able to afford it for some time yet.

I hope that we shall hear from new authors next year in addition to those faithful stalwarts whose efforts largely keep the B.B. going.

I should like to conclude by thanking Kay Mansfield for the work she does in folding, collating, stapling and distributing the B.B.; Barry Wilton, who has helped me considerably with printing and cover design and Tony Corrigan, whose knowledge of the offset litho process and willingness to help and to provide essential supplies has been quite invaluable.

S.J. Collins, Hon. Editor, B.B.


 

Ian Dear Memorial Fund

PLEASE NOTE: THE CHANGES TO THE IAN DEAR MEMORIAL FUND DETAILED IN THIS ACCOUNT ARE TO BE PUT TO THE A.G.M. AS A RESOLUTION

At a meeting of the Ian Dear Memorial Committee (which was reported in this volume of the B.B. in January) a number of things were decided.  Present at the meeting, which was held at the Belfry on December 12th of last year, were R.A. Setterington (Chairman), M.A. Palmer (minutes Secretary), N. Jago, R. Bagshaw and A. Thomas.  As members will know, the late Ian Dear, an active and popular club member, left a sum of £300 to the club for the purpose of assisting young members to visit the continent for caving, climbing etc.

The Ian Dear Memorial Committee felt that insufficient use was being made of this sum.  This, they felt, could be partly overcome by better publicity and by the fostering of trip to places abroad, but this in itself was not likely to be enough.  They therefore propose that the rules governing the allocation of monies from this fund be altered, to allow more flexibility in the arrangements.  Since this is a formal notice to club members of a resolution to be put before the Annual General Meeting, the present set of rules, and the proposed changes will be set out in full.  There are seven of these rules.

1.                  The fund shall be known as the Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  No change is proposed to this rule.

2.                  The bequest shall be used to set up a fund to assist junior members to visit caving or climbing areas of the continent.  Further donations may be added to the fund.

It is resolved that this rule read as follows:-

2.                  The bequest shall be used to set up a fund to assist CERTAIN members to visit caving or climbing areas ABROAD.  Further donations may be added to the fund.

The changed words have been written in capitals.  The intention here is to broaden both the age limit and the places it is permitted to assist in visiting.

3.                  The fund will be administered by a sub-committee of five club members, of whom one must be the Hon. Treasurer of the club.  The remainder to be nominated annually by the General Committee.  The Sub-Committee to report to the Annual General Meeting.

It is resolved to amend this rule as follows: -

3.                  The fund will be administered by a Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee of five club members which will include the Hon. Treasurer, the Caving and Climbing Secretaries and two members to serve in perpetuity until considered necessary of replacement.

This rule has been considerably modified.  In line with past practice, the Caving and Climbing secretaries now form part of the committee – this happened in fact even though the old rules did not expressly state this inclusion.  The other two members will give continuity to the committee.

4.                  Any club member under the age of eighteen may apply.  Members over eighteen and under twenty one years of age may be considered in exceptional circumstances.  The age qualification will apply on the first day of July of the year of the proposed trip.

It is resolved to amend this rule as follow:-

4.                  Any club member under the age of eighteen may apply.  Members over eighteen years of age may be considered in exceptional circumstances.  e.g. members studying full time.

This change is mainly to get rid of the date qualification.  The upper age qualification is also removed.

5.                  Applications must be received by the first day of March of the year of the proposed trip. The applicant must furnish brief details of itinery and cost at the time of application.

It is resolved to amend this rule as follows:-

5.                  Applications should be received by any member of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee two months prior to the date of the proposed trip.  A report, suitable for publication in the B.B., must be received by the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee within one month of the completion of the trip.

These proposed changes allow more flexibility with regard to dates and make the obligations of the recipient more specific.

6.                  The maximum amount to be allocated in anyone year shall be limited to fifty pounds. The maximum amount allocated to each individual shall be limited to ten pounds.

It is resolved to amend this rule as follows:-

6.                  The maximum amount to be allocated in anyone year shall be limited to fifty pounds. The maximum amount allocated to each individual is unlikely to exceed twenty pounds each trip.

Without altering the amount given as a maximum per year, the amendment allows greater flexibility to the Ian Dear Memorial Committee.

7.                  The fund to be invested in National Development Bonds or a similar scheme.

No Change is proposed to this rule.

The above resolutions were submitted by the Ian Dear Memorial Committee as it at present stands, to the Club Committee who have endorsed the proposals and recommend them as resolutions to be put before the club in General Meeting.

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DON’T FORGET TO BOOK UP FOR THE ANNUAL DINNER!


 

Climbing in Cornwall

by G.E. Oaten.

The majority of the climbing group took their summer vacation on the Cornish coast this year at Sennen.  This little village is situated two miles from Land is End on the North coast. From our camp site at Trevedra Farm we were within easy reach of the major climbs in Penwith.

The sea mist on our first day was so thick and damp that we went to St. Ives and played at being tourists. However, awoke on the Sunday to bright sunshine, so we decided to climb at Chair Ladder.  To reach this cliff, you drive along typical Cornish narrow lanes with high hedgerows speckled with flowers of reds yellows and blues, whereupon you drop down into Porthwarra, which is a beautiful cove with a few sleepy fishing cottages nestling on the hill side overlooking the deep blue of the Atlantic. From the car park, a five minute walk brings you to the top of the cliff.  Descending the aptly named gully Ash Cans you immediately see the true beauty of Cornish granite.  This is yellowy-brown in colour and in places near the top, covered with a green lichen.

Peter Sutton and Alan Tringham decided upon nearby 110ft Hard Severe.  This is a fine line on the central buttress - a steep and strenuous crag climb.  David and myself climbed Corporal's Route, a 110 ft severe on the Wolf Buttress, a nice little climb with a move through a rift that reminded me of caving.  As we finished this quickly, we climbed the second pitch of the Buccaneer - 60 ft hard severe.

The next day we paid a visit to Tater-Du, which lies South West of Lamorna Cove.  Here, the rock is not granite but Greenstone.  This is an impressive black coloured face, steep and exposed.  Alan and Pete started by climbing Marine Parade - 90 ft hard v. diff while we did Crow's Nest ordinary route – 160 ft mild severe, a pleasant route that has a nice exposed last pitch.  The others returned and climbed Crow’s Nest Direct - 125 ft mild severe.  We all enjoyed the climbing here and hope to return on our next visit to Cornwall.

The next day we went to Land’s End.  We all wanted to do Cormorant’s Slab (80 ft - Mild Severe).  Derek and I thought that four was too many for this route, so we went for Johnstone Route (90 ft - Hard V. Diff.)  The first pitch was very good, steep but with good holds.  The second was desperate for an H.V.D. - up a corner on friable rock - followed by a mantelshelf - then up a short steep crack to the top.  Here, we were met by the others, but Alan had to leave us then.  We next decided to try Zawn Face Route (75 ft - Mild V.S.)  Pete took the lead.  The first ten feet was a tight belly traverse followed by an awkward move to stand up, and then he was out of sight.  After a little while the rope was taken in.  As I was in the middle of the rope it was now my turn.  I managed the traverse, but when it came to the standing up bit, I looked down into the deep zawn, then up at the greasy rock. I thought ‘No thank you!’ - and beat a hasty retreat to safety, leaving Derek and Pete to do it.

That evening, we were joined by Hoy and Ros Marshall.  After a few beers in the pub that night, we decided to climb at Bosigran, which is a cliff on the road Between St. Just and St. Ives.  Derek and I decided upon Doug (155 ft Severe) which turned out to be of little merit, save for a mantelshelf on the last pitch.  However, the others thought they would do Suicide Wall (210 ft - Hard V.S.) but on reaching the bottom of the climb in the bright sober light of morning, they decided against it and ended up doing a Hard V. Diff instead.

Next day found Pete, Derek and I at the bottom of Chair Ladder again.  The first climb was Flannel Avenue (155 ft Severe).  As nobody else fancied leading the first pitch, and as I had led it before, I was put on the sharp end.  This pitch is a. chimney that has to be backed up, and then you step off on to a rib on the left.  After several attempts, I could not manage the step off, so Derek had to lead it. The third pitch is truly magnificent, climbing on juggy holds on a steep face some hundred and fifty feet up.  As you climb, if you look between your legs, the rock suddenly drops away leaving a view of a deep, clear rock pool at the bottom aptly named Suicide Pool.  Next we climbed Pendulum Chimney (150 ft Severe) a pleasant climb, though smelling somewhat of birdlime.

As we had been climbing every day, we thought we would have a day on the beach next, which made a pleasant change.

After our day of rest, we tackled Fox Promontory.  This is a lump of rock that is detached from the cliff by a rift.  Pete and Alan set off to do Vixen's Embrace (390 ft - Mild V.S.) This is a girdle traverse of the whole promontory.  Alas! They had to retreat after four pitches. Roy and Mike Thomas, who had joined us on Friday, climbed Folly Corber (100 ft - V.Diff.) while we did Reveille (90 ft Severe) which was a worthwhile route with a delicate traverse which I found quite hard.

Nigel Jago joined us on the Saturday, so on the Sunday Nigel and Derek went to climb Bishop's Rib (190 ft Extremely Severe.)  This was Nigel’s third attempt at the route and this time he made it with a fine lead.

On the Sunday evening, with a few pints inside me, I was persuaded to second Nigel next day up Zawn Face against my better judgment, so next morning found us at Land’s End, where I was dragged and threatened up the route to be greeted by two cormorants and the repulsive smell of birdlime.  Meanwhile, Derek and Pete succeeded in climbing Vixen’s Embrace which took five and a half hours.

Our last climbing trip was to Bosigran, where Pete and Mike led Doorway Climb (190 ft Severe) while we did Red Slab (100 ft Hard V.Diff.)  We spent the rest of the holiday on the beaches and in the sea looking for crabs, and just taking it easy after our two weeks of enjoyable climbing.


 

Film Show

Saturday 9th September - at the Belfry - after the Hunters.

1933 EVEREST FILM PLUS FULL. SUPPORTING PROGRAMME!!

Don't miss this interesting opportunity to see this film!

Report Of Talk At The Belfry

Those who attended the talk by "Sett" on Saturday the 12th August on 'Maps and their uses' found much to interest them.

The talk itself was prepared by Sheila Paul, who is a Map Research Officer by profession and a founder member of the British Cartographical Society.  Her paper and Sett's lecturing style proved a happy combination.

The period after the talk itself was spent looking at a fantastic variety of maps which Sett had assembled and which ranged from simple classroom maps of Europe to close up pictures of the surface of the moon.  In particular, the aerial photographic map of the island of Tonga caught the imagination of those present.

After a talk as interesting as this was, the motto seems to be that it pays to keep ones eyes and ears open and to turn up to these functions which are held at the Belfry - usually at half past seven on a Saturday evening!

*****************************************

DON'T FORGET THE DATE OF THE A.G.M. AND DINNER - OCT. 7TH.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 25.

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3

 

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Across:

3. 5p for the Hon. Treasurer! (3)
6. Paler sort of cave formation. (5)
7. Ladder, for example. (3)
8. State of affairs after successful cave dig. (2)
9. Climb. (5)
12. Essential caving aid. (3)
13. A passage might do this in Ogof Fynnon Ddu. (2)
16. Portion of a circle found in Cheddar caves. (3)
17. Let down. (5)
18. Tint. (3)

Down:

1. Taken out of new cave, but don’t do this to it! (5)
2. Caving Club badge. (3)
3. Swildons has one – or is one with no lights. (5,4)
4. Empties sump? (5)
5. Increase middle part of ladder? (3)
10. Drop? (5)
11. Gee!  They belong to us – these cave formations! (5)
14. Cuthbert’s Run.  (3)
15. Past sump I? (3)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword

L

A

M

P

B

L

A

C

K

 

C

 

A

 

A

 

U

 

L

E

E

R

 

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T

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T

 

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A

R

 

H

 

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Y

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G

 

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B

B

 

L

 

S

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T

 

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B

E

L

T

 

R

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R

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Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481.BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele:  WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     D. Turner
Members:          R. Bagshaw; W. Cooper; D.J. Irwin;
                        N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas;
                        R. Orr;  R. Hobbs.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. Thomas, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. Large, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 2 Broughton House, Somerset St., Redcliffe, Bristol 1.
Hut Warden:      R. Orr.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. Hobbs, Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol. Tele BRISTOL 77368
Tacklemaster:    W. Cooper, 259 Wick Rd, Bristol BS4 4HE.  Tel: BRISTOL 77368.
B.B. Editor:       S.J. Collins, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Publications:     D.J. Irwin.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

Caving Meet

Don't forget the YORKSHIRE MEET to be held from AUGUST 25th to AUGUST 28th!!!

CAVING will include GAPING GILL (STREAM PASSAGE, DISAPPOINTMENT, FLOOD ENTRANCE) ROWTEN, YORDAS, BULL POT and KINGSDALE MASTER CAVE.

Camping will be at CRUMMACK FARM, CRUMMACKDALE.

TRANSPORT and TENTAGE are being arranged.  EVERYONE will be MOST WELCOME to attend this meet.

Get in touch as soon as possible with TIM LARGE (See address at front of this B.B.)          or BOB CROSS.


 

Editorial

Coming Events

It will not be very long before we start all the usual preliminaries to the A.G.M.  The first of these, as most members know, is to ask for nominations for the 1973 committee.  This will happen in the next B.B., but in the meantime, there is no harm in beginning to think about the matter.

One aspect of our presentation of candidates which has come up for some criticism from time to time has been the fact that older members have no idea of what might be behind any names which are strange to them. Under Dave Irwin’s editorship, a brief description of each of the candidates was included in the B.B. some time before the actual election.  This was thought by many members to be good idea, but I must confess to not being brave enough to take on the job of doing a 'write-up' on prospective candidates myself.

What I am therefore suggesting is that every candidate for forthcoming committee election - whether he be a 'new boy' or an old hand - should be asked to provide a short summary OF NOT MORE THAN FIFTY WORDS dealing with anything he feels may be relevant. For example, what he would like to undertake in the way of club offices if he got the chance - or possibly what he has done in the past.  If I get enough takers on this one, I will present them in the September B.B. in time for reader's to see them before they vote.

Anniversary

This month marks the second anniversary of what has been one of the least publicised innovations to the B.B. of late years - the monthly Crossword.

What started this off was a remark made by a club member to the effect that it only took him five minutes to read the B.B.   Some method of spinning this out to ten or even fifteen minutes seemed to be called for without making the B.B. twice or three times as big - hence the monthly crossword.

It is known that a few people do the thing - it is also known that many others find it incomprehensible.  If any members have any views on it, they will be •welcome.  In the meantime it can at least be said that the B.B. is the only caving publication we know to carry a regular puzzle of this type.

The Dinner

Last year's dinner was generally admitted to have been one of the worst - if not the worst - that we have ever had.  As a result, the committee have been at some pains to make sure that we do not have a repetition of last year’s dinner this coming October.  The management of the Cave Man Restaurant have assured us that the quality and quantity of the meal itself will be adequate - we even offered to pay more~ but were told that it was not necessary!  There will be some entertainment for those who want it. There will be a quantity of free beer. Many members may have been put off by last year’s dinner - especially those unfortunate members whose first dinner it was.  We ask members to give it another go this year, and to help support the club's main social function of the year.

Bargain Time

There are a lot of things on sale at the Belfry nowadays.  Lamp spares; carbide; club badges and ties, publications; etc., many of them at prices lower than can be obtained elsewhere.  Why not enquire next time you are at the Belfry?

Illustrations

Now that the B.B. is being produced by the offset litho process, it is possible to include with ease any types of sketch or drawing illustrating an article.  Photographs are too expensive, but please feel free to indulge in any form of black and white illustration - please supply such matter FULL SIZE (i.e. the size it will actually appear)

“Alfie”


 

The Picos De Europa

An account by MARTIN HAUAN of the expedition to the Picos in 1971.

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to take part in an expedition to the Picos de Europa.  Those on the trip included Don Thompson, Jim Hanwell, Fred Davies, Tim Reynolds, Brian and Janet Woodward and myself.  We were a small party but what we lacked in size we made up for in enthusiasm.

The are we were to be visiting was the high Picos - an area of barren limestone peaks about 7,000 feet high.  Base camp was at the base of a huge amphitheatre, some 3,000 feet high near a village called Espiamma.  From the base camp, we had a climb of a further 3,000 feet up a zigzag path to a col at 6,500 feet.  From this col one could see the Vega de Liourdes.  It was a huge grass-sloped bowl, flanked by the high peaks which were continually in cloud.  There, in the bottom of the grassy depression, was a stream meandering across the fertile pastures to enter a black, questioning hole.  This was the Vega Swallet at an altitude of about 6,500 feet, and was what we were here for.  What followed now would be all virgin exploration.

On Thursday, 18th August, seven of us carried up to the Vega.  In addition to tackle, we took up overnight camping kit for four.  On arrival at the Vega, after a two hour haul up the path, most of us collapsed. However, there across the Vega was the luring entrance of the Vega Swallet.  Tiredness overcome, we obeyed the beckoning of the entrance and set off on a death-or-glory attempt.  Wild cries of delight.  The entrance was not chocked with debris.  Out came our helmets and there all seven of us stood in the damp entrance, listening to the sound of water booming away.  Brian entered the lower passage, which soon turned out to be a low canal.  The higher passage was visited by Don, who explored it to the head of a pitch - a wet one and about twenty feet deep.  On the surface there was a hive of activity.  As it turned out, Tim and myself were the only ones with our wet suits up there, so, begrudgingly, we let the honour of first descent fall on us, together with a much agitated Fred, who insisted on coming.  With stinkies burning, and the two ropes flying in front of us, we descended at such a pace that we were moving faster than the stream! The head the first pitch was reached quickly and a rope slung down, followed by three bodies who tried to display the art of abseiling.  At the bottom, the passage doubled back on itself with a height of about three feet. This stooping passage brought us to the head of the second pitch, again wet and again about twenty feet deep.  At the bottom, there were two ways on~ a wet one and a dry one.  The dry one was (naturally? - Ed.) chosen and turned out to be bare tube, descending steeply to the head of the third pitch.  Up the shaft could be heard the sound of water.  Tim quickly descended to find out what lay ahead.  In a few minutes, he returned and reported another pitch which was wet and also about twenty feet deep.

On the next day, Friday the 19th August, Tim descended as far as the first pitch to put in a rawlbolt and to rig a ladder on it.  An hour later, Brian and myself doned wet suits and also descended, carrying about 200 feet of ladder.  We quickly passed the two wet pitches, and the dry third pitch was soon reached.  It was found to be about ninety feet deep. At the bottom, we crawled through a blasting draught, which threatened to put out your flame.  Once through the hole, we found ourselves up to our armpits in water at the top of the fourth pitch.  The water, which we had lost at the top of the third pitch, entered here via a passage in the roof, from which it fell and landed a large pool at the head of the fourth pitch.  A ladder was placed on the left of the water and the two of us descended to find ourselves in a gently sloping passage which descended in a series of pots to the head of the fifth pitch.  We lowered down some ladder and reckoned the pitch to be about thirty five feet deep and wet.  No possible belay point could be found to ladder it relatively dry, but we came out with high spirits.

Day three in our exploration was Saturday the 20th of August.  Fred arrived early and proceeded to gloat over us eating our very salty porridge.  After a while, the bolder ones amongst us began to change into our wet wetsuits. Brian went ahead to place a rawlbolt in at the head of the fifth pitch.  By the time we arrived at the head of the pitch, the rawlbolt was in and the pitch was rigged.  The four of us then descended - we being Tim, Fred Brain and myself, to a large ledge which led to another about six feet below it.  From this second ledge one an awe-inspiring view of the next pitch, which was a tube of massive bore disappearing into spray.  This pitch was a big one and also a wet one.  An anxious discussion took place as to what we should now follow.  It was during this that we found out how cold and draughty it was at the bottom of the fifth pitch.  The lack of sound of water hitting the bottom of the big pitch only confirmed our fears that it really was big.  Within a short time all available ladder was on the pitch.  It was then decided to come out of the swallet and get warmed up before having a go at the big pitch.  On the surface, the sun made it first appearance for days.  After an hour or so, the sun disappeared again, and it seemed a good moment to go back underground.  Abseiling most of the pitches, the big pitch was soon reached. A lifeline was sorted out, and a ‘jumar’ fixed in such a way that it would act as a selfliner.  The end of the rope was eagerly handed to the prospective ladder-climber – Brian.  Finishing his tying on, Brian began to descend the pitch.  From the lifeline stance,  it looked pretty good - a large bore tube~ twisting slight about halfway down. A while later, a single whistle blast echoed up the shaft.  There followed a lapse of ten minutes or so while the intrepid explorer disappeared down passages measureless to Wig' as the poet so nearly has it.  Returning, Brian reported-a square section passage in yellow limestone, descending in a series of pots, some of them ten to fifteen feet deep. A very eventful day.

On Sunday, 21st August the same four of us awoke to a clear blue sky for once.  We festered for a while, and then descended the hole, ready for the bottoming.  The big pitch - about a hundred and fifty feet - was a beautifully aqueous pitch, at the bottom of which was a small boudoir with no draughts.  Spirits rose as we descended the large section passage; scrambling down on the yellow limestone was delightful.  Then, just like that, the passage diminished in size, and the floor became slippery black shale.  Spirits sank.  The passage appeared to sump.  At the end, at water level, there was a canal which struck off to the right, at the end of which was a dry by-pass to the stream.   After this, we found ourselves at the head of a small pitch, about ten feet deep.  At the bottom of this there was a tight dry passage which Fred and I pushed.  It proved to get tighter, but an interesting thing was the draught which blew out of it.  Getting back to the ninth pitch a ladder was placed and the four of us descended. The pitch was very wet.  It was immediately followed by another pitch of about thirty feet.  At the bottom of this pitch, we found ourselves in a large chamber, which was seemingly chocked.  However, a way on was found and again the black shale was encountered.  The passage was low and narrow and followed the line of black shale.  At the end of e passage, two alternatives presented themselves - a wet or a dry pitch. Ladder was removed from the tenth pitch and placed down the dry pitch.  At the bottom of the pitch found ourselves in a large chamber with the water coming in at one end and leaving at the other along a rift which had insufficient headroom for us to pursue the stream.  This was the end.  Admittedly, the passage would go, and with fantastic results no doubt.  The Vega Swallet is a compet¬itor for the world’s depth title, having a potential of around 4,000 feet plus.  Now followed the long hard job of getting the tackle out. A brief stop at the Boudoir for food and photos, and then up the big pitch.  All tackle used in the lower part of the pot was brought out as far as the bottom of the dry ninety-footer.

On Tuesday, 22nd of August, our final trip into the Vega took place.  This was to finish the survey and to bring out the remainder of the tackle.  While waiting for the survey party - consisting of Don, Jim and Tim - Fred, Brian and myself decided to have a look at the course of the water which left us at the top of the dry ninety.  We reached the head of a wet unknown pitch which Fred descended and disappeared. Meanwhile, the survey was completed and Fred was able to report a dry passage leading off which had a pitch at its end.  Tackle was lowered and the pitch desc¬ended, only to find a pool of water with a very low duck in it.  It was my misfortune to be the one to explore it.  Immersing myself, I stuck my nose in the little airspace and felt my way in. About ten feet in, the cold water struck - turning me into a shivering wretch who reversed a good deal faster than he had gone in.  This passage Fred had found was obviously an overflow passage for the spring melt water which must fill the whole cave.  The cave itself is very cold and there is a total lack of any type of formations.  Indeed, the cave is unique as far a we know, and any further exploration will be very serious and very hard work.

Summary of the pitches

1st Pitch

2nd Pitch

3rd Pitch

4th Pitch

5th Pitch

6th Pitch

7th Pitch

8th Pitch

9th Pitch

10th Pitch

11th Pitch

20 feet

20 feet

90 feet

20 feet

30 feet

150 feet

10 feet

10 feet

20 feet

30 feet

40 feet

Ladder

Rope

Rope

Ladder

Ladder

Ladder

Ladder

Ladder

Ladder

Ladder

Ladder

Wet

Wet

Dry

Wet

Wet

Wet

Wet

Wet

Wet

Dry

Dry

 

Editor’s Note:

A sketch from Jim Hanwell’s survey of this cave will be found below.

 


 

Exhibition And Film

MIKE PALMER, who has been organising the caving exhibition for the club, sends in this reminder.

The Caving Exhibition at Bristol Museum is now open.  In conjunction with this, a film is being prepared, and when it is ready for public showing, I will advise members of the place, date and time.  I suggest that it might be a good idea for an independent review of the exhibition to appear in the B.B. for the benefit of those who cannot get to Bristol to see it.  Perhaps one of the committee members might care to volunteer?

It is hoped to get a copy of the film to be shown on the evening of the dinner, after the ‘festivities.’

Members Addresses.

Changes.

Tim Hodgson, Urb Montesol. Rincon Dela Victoria, Malaga, Spain.
M. Clarke, 41 Mawney Rd,Romford, Essex.
CJ. Priddle, 40 Ralph Rd, Horfield, Bristol 7.

New Member.

D. Foxwell, 870 Kebourne Rd., Brentry, Bristol, BS10 6QW.

Library Additions

More information about what can be found in the club library by DAVE IRWIN - our Hon. Librarian.

M.N.R.C. Newsletter No. 65

Mainly reports of club meets and digs, though I cannot agree with the remark that Shatter Cave is 'the nearest thing an average club caver will see to virgin cave.'  At the present rate of damage in that cave, I doubt whether it will last he next five years!

Axbridge Caving Group (June).

Main item of interest is the "Spar Pot Story" (Pt 2) together with the Grade 4 survey.  Spar Pot is the new Burrington Cave at the lower end of the East Twinbrook valley.

W.S.G. Bulletin Vol 7 Nos 8 and 9

Here are two really interesting publications.  There's too much to isolate but surveys included are Holloch ( Switzerland); Pant Mawr area, etc.  A must for reading!

The exchange list is being increased but at the moment we are receiving, amongst others, B.S.A. Bulletins; Chelsea S.S. Newsletter; W.S.G. Bulletin; W.C.C. Journal; W.C.C. Occasional Publications; British Caver; S.W.E.T.C.C.C. Journal; Axbridge Publications; M.C.G. Publications; C.R.G. Publications; Die Hohle; Sottoterra (Bologna S.S.); M.N.R.C.; Irish S.S.; University of Bristol Proceedings; Gloucester S.S.; S.M.C.C.

A library list is being published shortly.


 

GRADING MUST GO!

Some thoughts for cave surveyors.

It is not often - thank God - that the editor writes an article.  We must hope that it will be some long time before he does it again.

There are - I hope - two good reasons for presenting this article at this time.  We are currently running a course on cave surveying at the Belfry, at which I gave a rather poor version of what follows (poor, because I was trying to it too general and ended up by making it damn nigh disappear altogether).  So I feel that I owe it to those who were kind enough to listen without actually throwing things at me to present them with what I ought to have said. The other reason is that, shortly, the C.R.G. are once again going into print on surveying - and perhaps now is the time to present rather a different view of the subject from that which I suspect they will be taking.

I have been flogging the message which follows with varying success for some time now.  I use the word varying because, on the one hands I got an almost unanimous agreement from the Leicester audience in favour of the cave maps I was advocating but on the other hand, nobody except Dave Irwin has actually taken up any of the ideas put forward there and elsewhere.  I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I have been too indefinite - hence the title of this article, which is intended to be definite and uncompromising.

A Little Potted History

In 1950, A.L. Butcher wrote a paper called 'Cave Survey' which was published by the C.R.G. as Publication No 3 and which laid down the system which has been followed by the C.R.G ever since.  In 1953, this was incorporated in 'British Caving' - the textbook on caving sponsored by the C.R.G.

In 1963, Dennis Warburton published his work 'On the Accuracy of Cave Surveys' in the Wessex Journal (Volo7, No 89, April ’63) but in spite of this, and additional doubts cast on the existing system by other workers on Mendip, Butcher's scheme was later re-published more or less as it originally stood.

Now, some 23 years after Butcher’s paper was first written, one hears that the latest recommendations are to be - once again - substantially the mixture as before.  It is my contention that this insistence on the continuing status of Butcher's system in defiance of later facts is presenting cave surveyors from getting down to many of the real problems and generally hampering the state of the art.  The sooner, in my opinion, that cave surveyors politely but firmly turn their backs on this system, the better.

Grading System In Brief

I am not suggesting for a moment that the system propounded in 1950 was in any way ill thought out or badly conceived given the state of the art as it then existed.  Butcher's work represented a great step forward at the time, for which all credit should go to its author.  What I am concerned about is the hanging on to this system long after it has been shown to have passed its useful and natural lifetime.

In brief, Butcher envisaged a state in which surveyors might have a variety of tools; time; opportunity, skill etc. at their disposals and suggested how they might regard their results in the light of these factors.  Obviously, a sketch actually done in the cave was liable to be a bit more accurate than one drawn from memory afterwards in the pub.  The use of a knotted string and a cheap compass should be a little better still; and a further improvement might well be expcted if the string were replaced by a proper measuring tape and the cheap compass by a prismatic one - and so ono.

This system gave a total of seven gradings, and the idea was that a surveyor - by stating his grading - could give by this simple means a good indication of the accuracy he had probably achieved.  The scheme seems both sensible and very practical - as indeed it was.  In fact, the main criticism levelled at this system in its early years; that it did not take the surveyor’s skill into account, was later shown not to be valid.  It is fair to say that the reasons which finally appeared for its abandonment could not possibly have emerged until a large number of surveys had been done it became possible to analyse them.

Warburton's Work

This brief description of Warburton’s work must only be an outline~ since his paper itself was longer than this one.  Any surveyors who are interested, or inclined to doubt the conclusions I have drawn from it, are earnestly advised to read the article for themselves in the Wessex Journal.  What Dermis did was to take all the instruments mentioned in the C.R.G. grades and to derive reading limits for each of them.  He then constructed graphs showing how the overall percentage error for the various grades would appear as a function of leg length, and went on to plot the accuracy for each grade when the average leg length and total length of traverse were known.  He then compared these graphs with 28 actual traverses taken by a number of different surveyors in a number of different caves whose grading was stated and known to have been correctly arrived at.  Some of his conclusions are quite startling: -

1.                  The accuracy is independent of the difficulty of the passage from the caving point of view.

2.                  The accuracy is almost independent of the surveyor.

3.                  A reproduction of the average survey on a quarto page is such that there is hardly any difference possible to measure between a grade 4 and a grade 7 survey.

4.                  Other factors not considered, such as technique, could easily make a grade 4 survey as accurate as a grade.7.

Dennis's argument would appear - at first sight to state that a surveyor, providing he knows what he is doing, will produce a survey which is likely to be as good as anyone else's whoever he is, whatever cave he is surveying and whatever instruments he uses. The only other possible alternative to this is a survey of a lower standard which is done without using instruments at all.

At this stage, one can imagine the cave surveyor wondering whether it is all worth while.  “If Dennis’s work is true”, one can imagine him saying to himself, “and a survey already exists of a hole I was thinking of surveying, then - unless the previous surveyor was incompetent - his survey, whatever grade he claimed for it, is likely to be good enough for all practical purposes.  In that case, I am wasting my time repeating this work.  Since all Mendip caves have been surveyed by someone or other in the past, there is really nothing left for me to do!”

Possibly at this stage, the tempter appears and whispers in our surveyor’s ear "Dennis was wrong! Ignore this work!  Stick to the old, well-tried system!  Then you can find some existing survey which is only to grade 5 or so and re-survey it to grade 7.  That way, you will have some useful work to do and everyone will be able to see that you've done it.  Your use of the higher magic number will convince even the hardest hearted.’

This type of argument is, happily, both wrong and unnecessary.  Far from being a played-out subject, there is probably more to do to-day than there has ever been.  The reason for the title of this article is not because the grades have been shown to be largely illusory.  If that was all, it would hardly matter whether grading stayed or went.  The reason why it must be firmly rejected by cave surveyors is that it is preventing surveyors from looking at areas in which the real problems of today are to be found.

Technique

In 1950, most surveyors imagined that increases of basic accuracy would be dictated by the instruments used and that future improvements would come about by refining those instruments. In fact, all the increases have come about by better techniques.  Two examples will show what I mean.  The 'Leapfrog' method of surveying has the enormous advantage of removing the error due to having to reposition every survey station.  This station error was ignored by early surveyors and yet came be shown to swamp instrument errors in many cases.  Before leapfrogging was invented, all survey stations we’re points effectively in mid air.  Now, they can be accurately positioned points on the cave wall.

The second example is the realisation that all errors must be consistent.,  When Don Coase started the first Cuthbert’s survey, we started at what was the sump and, under the impression that we would increase our accuracy, went all the way to the top of the Great Gour in a single measurement. Had we known it, we could have got a better answer by breaking up this long leg into smaller ones.  There are other ways of improving technique other than the two I have mentioned, but I will not take up space by describing them. The point is that there is still plenty of room for further improvements, and this is a field which might well attract the surveyor of the future.

But to what end? Hasn't Dennis already shown that surveys are mostly good enough as they stand?  Aren't we merely splitting hairs?

Motivation

Before this can be answered, we must distinguish between surveying for its own sake and surveying aimed primarily at some user.  Until now, surveyors have always worked on the basis that they are doing a useful job for other cavers, but how true is this in some instances?  If a surveyor produces a slightly more accurate survey of, say, Swildons, does this really constitute a major breakthrough?  How many other cavers does this improvement really affect?

It should be admitted that there is nothing wrong or shameful in the idea of making improvements for their own sake, even if they have no immediate usefulness.  To the mathematically minded caver, such improvements could well be interesting in their own right.  Any theoretical work is bound to have practical applications sooner or later and, in the meantime, if it is published, it is ready for use when the time comes.

On the other hand, the surveyor who is more concerned with the usefulness of his work rather than with the work itself may well have to move away from the traditional surveying field and enter new and, I think, equally rewarding regions where he concentrates on presentation methods, information display and the like.  There is, of course, no reason why any individual should not take part in both types of work, but it would do no harm if the surveyor always made sure in his own mind what his real aims were.  Is his survey an exercise in better tools for the future, or better maps the present?

Survey Work In The Future

Now that we have all the cards on the table, let us see what could well be the profitable lines for future cave surveying work to take.  It might be as wells before doing so, to list the major points raised so far: -

1.                  Grading numbers mean damn-all.  As Dennis says, " We need an answer in feet, or degrees, or percentages - not in vague generalities," if we wish to specify the accuracy of a cave survey.

2.                  Surveys tend to be of high or low accuracy only.  The surveyor who sets out to do a reasonable survey usually gets there. Nobody really takes all the trouble to use knotted strings, cheap compasses and home made clinos when they could use better methods in less time.  The only real alternative to the use of sensible instruments and methods is to use none at all and to call the result a sketch.

3.                  Techniques are at least as important as instruments.  The implications of this are self evident.

4.                  Most surveys are as accurate as they need to be.  Remember that, unless a user actually takes a scale to a survey, he is in no position to quibble about the exact degree of accuracy achieved.

5.                  Surveying can be carried out as an end in itself or as a means to an end.  An one would thus expect the work of some surveyors to affect only other surveyors.

From these points, a list of useful work for the future can be drawn up.  What follows is merely my own. List, but no doubt it can be expanded considerably.  At any rate, I think that it shows considerable scope for the surveyors of the future, even if' there is nothing added to it.

A)                 Somebody wants to sort out and publish sensible methods so that, by using them, any surveyor can specify his accuracy, given the apparatus and the techniques used. Then, surveys can be rated in terms of actual estimated errors rather than in gradings.

B)                 Somebody wants to work out how much more accurate a survey could be, using all the latest methods, and then decide whether this represents a sufficient improvement over some existing surveys to warrant a re-survey to stated and increased accuracy.

C)                 Somebody wants to look into the technique of the low accuracy sketch (since this is the only other meaningful survey method) and to work out methods which would be of use to surveyors who are forced to use this method owing to the need for speed. (Foreign caves, where time is very limited; new caves where some sort of sketch is wanted at once, etc.)  These techniques could be proved by making such a sketch of a Mendip cave and comparing it with a survey.  Times could also be compared.  There could be quite a subject here.

D)                 Somebody wants to do a lot more work on techniques aimed not only at higher accuracy but at greater surveying speed; more complete coverage of the cave shape: etc. It might be possible to combine this with new instrument ideas (light projection on to target stations, etc.)

E)                 Within the scope of conventional surveys, somebody wants to decide whether re-surveying some caves might not be a good idea for other reasons beside accuracy. Better methods of layout etc., might wake a new survey more easy to follow.

F)                 Outside the scope of conventional surveys, somebody wants to produce maps aimed at telling the caver as much as possible about the cave.  When I travel abroad, I spend some time poring over the Cartes Michelin; which not only tell me how far it is and which direction to aim in, but also where there are obstacles to be avoided or overcome; where I might see interesting scenery; what sort of road I can expect, and a host of other details - all in an easy-to-read form.

To conclude, whether surveying gradually dies or blossoms out into exciting new channels depends very much attitude of cave surveyors since the caving public will probably accept, with varying degrees of reluctance, what, they are given in the way of surveys and maps.  It seems to me that the continuance of systems which are now long outdated by subsequent facts is hardly the best way to ensure the continuance of interest in cave surveying.


 

Insurance For Cave Rescuers

We extract the following from the recent report of the Hon. Sec and Treasurer of the M.R.O.

July 1971 the Horne Office recommended to the police authorities that they should insure those who, at the request of the police or by arrangement with them, take part in search or rescue operations.  In August, I wrote to the Chief Constable of Somerset about this and as a result of correspondence, the following arrangement shave emerged: -

Through the County Treasurer, the police have taken out an insurance policy for personal accident insurance whereby benefits are payable for injury or death up to a maximum of £10,000.  The cover is for rescue personnel either above or below ground during the rescue. There is NO cover for (a) mileage expenses, (b) having a car smash going to the rescue, (c) third party damages and (d) loss of earnings or (e) Cave rescue practices.  Car accidents should be covered by ordinary insurance policies. Regarding (c) I made the point that we were very keen for third party cover to be included as damages can be very expensive even though there is little likelihood of a claim being successfully pressed.  But the Chief Constable on the advice of the County Treasurer said that they could not go beyond the Horne Office recommendation.

IT FOLLOWS FROM THIS THAT THE POLICE MUST BE NOTIFIED IN ALL CASES WHERE CAVE RESCUE OPERATIONS ARE UNDERTAKEN, EVEN THE MOST TRIVIAL, AS OTHERWISE THERE IS NO INSURANCE COVER FORT THE RESCUERS.  I have circulated details to all the other cave rescue organisations.

At the Belfry

A review of what goes on at the Belfry by our Hut Warden, JOCK ORR.

Did you know that Luke Devenish's daughter Colleen did her first caving trip at the age of eighteen days in a rucksack down Swildons nineteen years ago?  Neither did I until Sybil Bowden-Lyle mentioned it whilst entertaining a spellbound audience in the sun outside the Belfry.  Surely she must be about the youngest caver ever (Not Sybil; Colleen!)

Which reminds me that Sybil is putting on a slide show at the Belfry on Saturday August 5th after the Hunters.  It is all about Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea (where there is a war going on).  She also has slides of the island of (Sorry, I can’t read the next word Jok! - Editor) where nobody is permitted to photograph a woman on pain of instant execution.

You may already know about it by the time you read this, but it is worth noting that Roger Stenner's second lecture on cave chemistry takes place at the Belfry on the 30th of July (and will, unfortunately have taken place by the time this B.B, is out - Editor.) His first lecture was attended to capacity, as was reported in a previous issue of the B.B.  This time, Roger hopes to pulverise rocks on the Belfry table and analyse the results in test tubes.

R.A. Setterington (‘Sett’ to most club members) will be lecturing on ‘Maps and their uses’ on Saturday 12th of August at 7.30 pm.  When you think about it, there’s more to maps than just finding your way around, and although I may not know what the R.A. stands for, I do know that ‘Sett’ will be giving an informative talk on what you can use maps for.

Highlight of the Barbecue:- Alan Thomas sat on a new club member - the lad who was carrying him across the bonfire.

The survey course finished on the 23rd of July with the trainee surveyors down Rod’s Pot.  I am sure that all the people who regularly attended the course will agree with me in expressing a vote of thanks to Dave Irwin for a most instructive and interesting series of lectures.

Tony Tucker, recently arrived new member and squatter's rights on Prattle Pot, has signed another five year stint in the army.

Six Swiss Beruer Hoblenforscher with two wives and two children stayed for a couple of nights at the Belfry.  The B.H. badge is a black bear with bat is wings - trademark a club which has a continental reputation for having a professional approach to caving.  Their equipment is immaculate by our standards, and they cave as a team.  B.E.C. Caving Secretary Tim Large took them down to Sump I in Swildons on a three and a half hour trip.  Although it was in the middle of the week, and nobody else was in the cave, it took ten matches to get a cigarette to glow on account of the mobile carbide furnaces carried by the B.H. having burned up all the available oxygen.

Martin Bishop and his diving companions have commenced a clearing operation in Mineries Pool.  They report a mass deposit of silt and assorted rubbish and have so far reaped about four hundredweight of weeds!

I don’t want to appear to be continuously on about WORK, will only mention that repairs to the carbide store are now completed and that re-puttying of the Belfry windows is under way. The interior of the Belfry has been paint and some fuel has been laid in for the winter.

Thank you - all concerned.

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DON’T FORGET THE DATE OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND DINNER!

OCTOBER 7TH MAKE A NOTE OF THE DATE!


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 24.

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Across:

1. By-product of 2 down often seen, alas, as writing on the wall! (9)
6. Alternate spelling of last word of Mendip cave. (4)
7. Cavers go this caves. (4)
8. Hall in Hilliers. (3)
10. Last word in illuminant description?. (3)
11. Low water level? (3)
12. Last syllable of local caving county. (3)
14. Accessory necessary for Nife or Oldham lamp. (4)
15. Cave pearls, for example, (4)
16. Egg is tool; for student of rocks. (9)

Down:

2. Produces 1 across. (9)
3. If lifelines do this, one is heading for a fall. (4)
4. Alternative to 6 across. (4)
5. Scrub the ‘T’ for this well-known hole. (9)
9. Awkward moments underground may seem to take this. (3)
12. Might be followed by act or A.G.M.? (4)
13. Short cave dweller? (4)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword

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Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481.BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele:  WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     D. Turner
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr; R. Hobbs.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. Thomas, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. Large, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 2 Broughton House, Somerset St., Redcliffe, Bristol 1.
Hut Warden:      R. Orr.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. Hobbs, Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol. Tele BRISTOL 77368
Tacklemaster:    D. Turner.  Address to follow.
B.B. Editor:       S.J. Collins, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Publications:     D.J. Irwin.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

A.G.M. and DINNER!

Seven stars opens at 10.30 a.m.  A.G.M. at 2.30 pm.  Dinner at the Cave Man Restaurant, Cheddar 7 for 7.30 pm. Price £1.10 (22/-) EACH. Send your money to BOB BAGSHAW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  SOME FREE BEER at the dinner.  O.C.L.’s UNIQUE PUNCH & JUDY SHOW.  CAVING EXHIBITION FILM, ETC. ETC.

MAKE A DAY (AND A NIGHT ) OF IT.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7TH


 

Editorial

The Voting Season

Whatever other clubs mayor may not do, our club is run by the simple expedient of electing a number of people who we then collectively charge with the responsibility of running it on our behalf for the next year.  The Annual Reports of many of the officers they elect are in this B.B.  In addition some space has been devoted to a description of the candidates for the 1972-1973 Committee.  This is perhaps of more importance than usual owing to the large number who are putting themselves forward for election this year.

There may be some members who might feel inclined to moan at the amount of space taken up in the B.B. by this form of club business at this time of the year, but it must be remembered that many of our members who cannot visit Mendip regularly will need all this information in order to make up their minds on how the various people have done and who might be considered as possible alternatives.

A.G.M. and Dinner

Readers will find reminders liberally spread all over the pages of this B.B. It should be unnecessary to remind any member of the importance of attending the A.G.M. if at all possible - to some extent, the same applies to the dinner as it is our main social 'get-together' of the year.  All the information you need will be found in this B. B.

Comment

Many members might regard the Club Officers' Reports as being sub-judice until the A.G.M. has had a chance to discuss them - and by this token, any form of editorial comment might be regarded as a form of partisanship.  It is thus necessary to tread very warily and to reserve any form of opionated comment for next month's B.B.  What would appear to be fair comment, however, is to note that on the face of things at least, two of our most pressing problems appear to be well on the way to acceptable solutions.  The club library is at last housed in the Belfry, where it was always intended that it should be housed.  It has been catalogued and valued (we understand that its value is in the region of £600 - a fact which should make members sit up and take notice!) all the periodicals have been bound and efforts are being made to replace all missing issues.  As, perhaps, a natural result of its availability and all the effort which has been put into it, borrowings are up and it looks as if we now have a library in full going order.

As many people know, much time has been spent this year by the committee on looking into the Belfry generally.  The issue here may be slightly more contentious, but at any rate the financial position looks sound, with the bed nights only some 13% away from the all-time record.  The state of the Belfry recently has been the subject of much favourable comment and perhaps the depth and scope of the committee enquiry did, in fact, produce some results.

As against this, the Hon. Secretary's Report opens on a less optimistic note, which he promises to enlarge upon at the A.G.M. itself.  As stated earlier, we must not attempt to speculate on what these remarks will be, but merely note that this A.G.M. could be one of lively interest, and urge as many members as possible to attend.

Lucky Thirteen

In these days, when so many people complain that nobody seems to take any interest in running things like our club, we are in a fortunate position in having so many members willing to serve on the committee if elected.  We hope that all members will appreciate their public spirit.

 “Alfie”

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The editor would like to thank those who have sent in articles or which there has been no room this month owing to the space taken up by club business at this time of the year.


 

Equipment for Cave Photography

This article, by ALAN COASE, is from a paper delivered by him to the C.R.G. We are particularly pleased to be allowed to reprint this in the B.B., since it follows the tradition set by his brother Don on cave photography.

Portability, reliability, versatility.  The cave photographer may argue at length about his specific requirements in equipment, but undoubtedly these qualities would be amongst the most important he would assess.  Clearly the object of is photography, his financial resources and the nature of the caves with which he is most concerned also playa major part.

The writer has increasingly found that his cave photography ends to divide into two distinct forms. On the one hand there are the comparatively casual photographs taken during the course of other caving activities whilst on the other there are those obtained as a direct result of an essentially photographic trip.  In discussing the range of equipment available for such diverse ends, it is hoped that the range of equipment reviewed may assist others in their selection.

As specialised fields (for example, close-up techniques) are being discussed by other speakers, little or no emphasis will be placed upon equipment solely relevant to them.  The paper will be principally concerned with the carriage and protection of equipment; cameras and lenses; camera supports; flash equipment; films, and miscellaneous aids.

Transport And Protection

The essential requirements for carrying equipment underground are that the cases should be reasonably lightweight and portable, strong and completely waterproof. Fortunately, various military authorities have had similar needs and in the form of surplus ammunition boxes, a nearly ideal case is available at a relatively low cost.  Such boxes come in two sizes and have a very simple and efficient rubber seal.

The two sizes fit well with the two categories of photo¬graphy outlined above; for the smaller one is easy to carry and will comfortably accept a small amount of first aid kit, food and lighting spares as well as a small camera and flashgun.  The larger case is sufficient for a more complex outfit including perhaps a single lens reflex, an alternative lens, one or more flashguns and bulbs and even a compact folding tripod.  The boxes can be lined with foam rubber or neoprene to cushion the equipment, or even full customised so that every item has its specific place.  The inside of the lid can also be utilised for a few technical details. viz.  Guide numbers for a particular flash/film combination.

Although other cases do exist on the market, few of them seem very suitable. One that does merit attention however is the Rollei Matal ever ready case.  This extremely ingenious, comparatively lightweight case has been design with fairly tough treatment in mind and, used in conjunction with an ammunition box for extreme conditions, might prove very effective. However, its new price is very high.

A number of underwater cases do exist for some popular cameras, but generally cost and bulk rule these out.  A number of do-it-yourself ideas for plastic underwater cases have been outlined recently in photographic and sub aqua journals.   These have primarily been designed for underwater work, but they could equally well be used for our purpose if flash synchronisation is maintained.

An easier and quite useful aid is the construction of a neoprene "wet suit" cum ever ready case for the camera.  The object is not; of course, complete waterproofing, but to provide a shock proof layer and to minimise damage from muddy hands.  The one-piece case is tailored to fit as tightly as possible with apertures left wherever necessary for viewfinder, speed dial etc.  A further modification is to fit the lens barrel focussing ring with a neoprene skin on which the focussing distances are clearly marked in paint.

Camera Supports

The main form of support is, of course, the tripod which is really essential for the more complex aspects of underground photography.  The chief problem is of reconciling the need for absolute rigidity with portability. Generally speaking the really compact tripods with brass spring catches and folding tubular legs are neither very stable nor very enduring.  At the other extreme the really rigid studio tripod is far too cumbersome for all but the easiest caves.  Fortunately it large number of tripods do lie between these extremes.  Some of them are nearly ideal for our purposes. Simplicity of construction is a major virtue especially in the locking mechanism on the legs. Some rely on a twist lock mechanism based on nylon threads, but cave grit soon reduces these to impotence.  Far better are the clamp or wheel locking devises which arc usually employed on U-section legs which are easily accessible for maintenance or cleaning. The Linhof range particularly fits the bill here and their Lightweight Professional is ideal for serious cave photography; being stable, tough and yet relatively light in weight.  Its stability is increased by the umbrella strut construction linking the legs to the centre column.  While expensive at list price, Linhofs do appear to be relatively common second hand.

Compact and ingenious camera clamps are readily available but the principal disadvantage with these is that one cannot always find suitable clamping positions in a cave.

Pistol grips and/or flash brackets have considerable virtues where they permit the flash to be used away from the camera and a built-in cable release further reduces the handling of the camera.  However, they seem best suited to 'trip' photography which by their very bulk they may complicate.

Flash Equipment

Discussion is effectively limited to the question of bulb and electronic equipment, there being no reference to flashpowder, magnesium ribbon or other lighting forms, although it is of course possible to obtain cave photographs by using candles, carbide lamps, portable gas lamps etc. as light sources.

The relative values of bulbs and electronic flash equipment are frequently discussed in the photographic press.  Often it is economics that determine the answer reached but in cave photography, where lighting techniques are of major importance, other factors such as light output, size, weight and safety also require consideration.

In terms of light output, flash outfits are generally far more powerful than electronic units.  To approach the same power output the latter are at present very large and bulky but time is an important factor here for, while miniaturisation is occurring with both groups, the greatest potential lies with the electronic units, which are far smaller than the corresponding units of a few years ago.

An increasing degree of 'automation' is also being developed in electronic units where 'sensors' are beginning to take some of the guesswork out of guide numbers.  Similar units are readily available in the form of 'slave guns' which instantaneously trigger off second bulb or electronic guns.  An ingenious bulb unit incorporating such a device is the "Bo-Flash", marketed by Bowens Ltd., at about ten guineas. The gun allows bulbs up to PF 100 in size to be fixed independently of an operator and may be attached to a second tripod or suitable rock by built-in clamp.

An equally interesting electronic unit is the German Unmat 6000 which, at about £30, combines the function of a normal electronic unit with a reasonable output, with that of a slave unit which can be fired off from another flashgun without connecting cords etc.

The economic factor is rather brought to the fore by these two guns, for the bulb unit costs only about one third of the electronic and, even with the smallest bulbs available is more powerful.  However, when running costs are considered the equation takes on a different form. The cheapest flash bulbs are about 4p each and of course can only be used once, whereas the electronic flash merely requires charging and maintenance, which with a reliable make should be minimal.  (For example, my Metz 163 has had fairly full use for over three years and has needed no replacement parts.   This may be in part attributable to the neoprene 'wet suit' in which it too is closeted for its underground visits.)  Thus, if only a few flash shots per year are envisaged, bulb flash scores all round, but if the number is larger then electronic outfits merit consideration.  In my own case, I find a combination of the two very worthwhile, though it may be as well to point out some of the other advantages of electronic units.

The duration of the flash is very short - thus freezing action, water etc. very effectively, even with a focal plane shutter where flash synchronisation speeds may be comparat¬ively slow.  The colour temperature is normally higher than that of a bulb, giving a more correct colour rendering.  Electronic guns almost always have an open flash button (comparatively rare on bulb flash) and this is invaluable if a chamber is to be 'painted' with several shots or where shots entirely off the camera are required.  With the exception of the really powerful guns like the Metz 502 and the Braun F7OO/8OO range, most units take up the space otherwise occupied by two or three packets of bulbs or one P.F.100!

A wide variety of bulb flashguns exist.  The most compact, apart from the specialised cube guns, have folding reflect¬ors and are usually limited to cap less bulbs in A.G.1B, P.F.1B and P.F.5B/6B sizes. These cover most needs, but where large chambers exist P.F.60's or P.F.100's might be regarded as essential. Comparatively few guns handle these apart from the Bo-Flash already mentioned.  The Leitz gun with a folding reflector is a particularly useful model that does accept all bulbs, but this lacks a built-in firing button, which is a disadvantage.  The Kobold B. C. guns do have this provision, plus the ability to link two or three supplementary guns but they suffer the disadvantage of having quite large fixed bowl reflectors.

Of the smaller bulb guns, I have found the folding Japanese guns made by National to be excellent value, though the most suitable model, the Hyper B2, with built-in test bulb and open flash button, which sold for under £2 has now been discontinued and its replacement has not got the self firing device.  However, a number of B2’s are still available and its replacement (the PB 3S) is otherwise an excellent gun.  Other guns do exist at a slightly higher price with this facility, which is invaluable for multi flash pictures.  However, by means of a two or three way adaptors several small guns can be synchronised.

The comparatively recent introduction of the flashcube is also of interest.  Many small cartridge cameras now have a built-in rotating cube socket and some guns can be obtained which rotate automatically and so set up the next bulb for virtually instant use.

To sum up effectively on this subject is difficult without being subjective, but basically it would seem that the casual photographer would be very effectively served by a small bulb flashgun; while the more involved demands of recording photography for publication etc. might be better met by a combination of bulb and electronic. Certainly if electronic guns are miniaturised still further, it may well be that future enthusiasts will turn to these.

Editor’s Note:

The remainder of this interesting paper deals with choice of film, cameras, lenses and miscellaneous equipment.  It will, we trust, be published in the next B.B.

Members may also be interested to note that Alan Coase has a number of filmstrips for sale on CAVING AND POTHOLING TECHNIQUES (DW-154), CAVES: ORIGINS, DEVELOPMENT AND FORMATION (DW-153) and LIMESTONE LANDFORMS (DW-152 and 152E).

The double frame version, suitable for mounting as individual slides are at X.  £2.50 each with notes from DIANA WYLLIE LTD., 3,PARK ROAD, BAKER STREET, LONDON N.W.


 

Meet the Candidates

This year, there are thirteen candidates for the nine places on the committee.  All candidates were invited to provide a fifty word summary on any aspect of their past work or future aspirations.  Some candidates took advantage of this offer, while others declined. The scheme which has therefore been adopted is to print the summaries – where they were received – in INVERTED COMMAS. In all other cases, a short record of past offices and major work on behalf of the club has been given instead. Posts held outside then club (e.g. M.R.O., Mendip Cave Registry etc.) have been ignored.

Candidates follow in alphabetical order:-

BOB BAGSHAW

Hon. Secretary 1951-1967.  Hon. Treasurer 1951 to present day.

ROY BENNETT

Tackle Officer 1953-1955.  Caving Secretary 1959.  Climbing Secretary 1964-1966. Caving Secretary 1966-1967.

ALFIE COLLINS

Asst. Caving Secretary 1953-1955.  Caving secretary 1955-1957.  Hut warden 1955-1959.  Editor B.B. 1957-1968 and 1970 to present day.  Committee Chairman 1964-1967 and 1970 to present day.  Long Term Planning Sec. 1966-1968.  New Belfry Co-ordinator 1968-1969.

PETE FRANKLIN

“I joined the B.E.C. in 1959 and always enjoyed the freedom and comradeship that it offered.  Because of pressure of work I gave up the job of Hut Warden that I occupied in 1970 and 1971, but I am now free to help and willing to serve in any capacity on the new committee if elected.”

RODNEY HOBBS

Belfry Engineer 1972.

DAVE IRWIN

Caving Secretary 1965-1966.  Committee Chairman 1967-1969.  Editor B.B. 1968-1970.  Publications Editor 1968 to present day.  Hon. Librarian 1972.  Largely responsible for the Cuthbert’s Survey.

NIGEL JAGO

Climbing Secretary 1971-1972.

TIM LARGE

Caving Secretary 1970-present day.

JOCK ORR

“I wish to serve on the 1972-73 committee and continue as Hut Warden if elected because, although am impressed with the way the new Belfry is shaping up, I believe there is still room for improvement and I am interested in assisting with the administration of the club."

MIKE PALMER

Asst.Caving Secretary 1963-1965.  Has been responsible for the B.E.C.'s side of the Caving Exhibition at the Bristol Museum.

NIGEL TAYLOR

“It’s about time young members took their share of club responsibility and if I were elected to the committee I believe I would pick up valuable experience by serving  as a club officer - particularly from the older members.  I would like to serve in the capacity of Assistant Hut Warden."

ALAN THOMAS

"What!  Only fifty words to tell you what an asset I am to the B.E.C.?  That's fifteen of them gone already. Oops, There I go again.  Well, never mind.  If they don't want me to continue as Hon. Sec. they will vote someone else."

DAVE TURNER

Minutes Secretary 1970 - present day.  Tacklemaster 1972.

Well, that’s it - the rest is up to you!


 

Dates for your Diary

Club Trips

October 14TH

G.B.  Leader C. Howel.  Chris would like to limit the party to about SIX as he proposes to do some photography

Meet at the Belfry 10.30 am.

November 25TH

Coral Cave, Loxton Cave and the caves of Compton Bishop.

Leader. C. Howell.  Meet at Belfry 10.30 am.

Friday Night Trips

October 25th       Cuthbert's          7.30 pm

October 25th       South wales       Arrive at S.W.C.C. 9.30 pm.

November 25th    East twin            7.30 pm. with wet suit

November 25th    Priddy Green Sink & Swildons    7.30 pm.

December 25th   Singing River Mine Shipham        3 pm.

December 25th   . Velvet bottom.

These trips, which are also published in the Wessex Journal, have been sent in by Mike Palmer, who says that younger members are particularly welcome on them.  Prior notice is required for the South Wales trip in order to arrange transport, and the trip win not be suitable for novices.

Hon Treasurer’s Report

This report should be read in conjunction with the financial statement published on the next page.

Although the accounts show a surplus of over £70 for the year, there are several items of expenditure still out¬-standing.  These relate to the Belfry and to Publications, which are the two largest items in the club's financial activities.  No doubt Dave Irwin will give more information on publications, but I must stress that the accounts show cash received and paid and do not take into consideration any stocks held.

The apparent profit on the telephone was due to the £21-70 recoverable from the M.R.O. as mentioned in my last report.

The comparatively low price of this year's Annual Dinner is being subsidised by the surplus from last year, when we did not pay the full cost.

Although I have been able to convince the Inspector of Tax that our Belfry income is not liable to income tax, the interest on our bank accounts and the National Development Bonds is still liable for tax.  The Ian Dear Memorial Fund is therefore being switched to a building society account and the National Savings Bank account and the deposit account will probably be closed later this year.

Finally, I am giving the club one year's notice to find a new Treasurer, as I shall not be standing for the committee next year - even if I am elected this year.

R.J.Bagshaw, Hon. Treasurer.

*****************************************

DON'T FORGET THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 2.30 PM AT THE SEVEN STARS, THOMAS STREET, BRISTOL (Just at the back of Robinson Building by Bristol Bridge). SATURDAY, OCT. 7TH.


 

Financial Statement for the Year to the thirty first of July 1972

SUBSCRIPTIONS

BELFRY

 

CLUB TIES:

CARBIDE, &c

 

N.S.B.

TACKLE

 

INTEREST

ANNUAL DINNER

 

DONATIONS, ETC

TELEPHONE

 

Receipts

Less Expenditure

Sales

Sales

Less Sales

Interest

Fees

Less Expenditure

Deposit Account

Receipts

Less Cost

 

Contributions

Less Charges

 

£ 368.12

£ 298.85

£     0.87

£   38.80

£   31.46

 

£     8.88

£     6.00

 

£ 139.10

£ 126.00

 

£   65.22

£   54.24

£ 223.78

 

 

£  10.27

 

£    7.34

£    3.33

 

£    2.88

£    4.47

 

£  13.10

£  17.04

 

£   10.98

 

 

 

£ 363.09

 

POSTAGES AND STATIONERY

PUBLICATIONS

 

Stationery & Printing

B.B. Postage

 

£  287.20

£   74.81

£  20.48

 

 

Less sales

£  362.01

£  168.66

 

£  193.35

LIBRARY

 

 

£      7.35

CAR BADGES

 

Purchases

Less Sales

£   14.48

£   11.00

 

£    3.48

PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURNCE.

INCOME TAX

DONATIONS TO M.R.O.

COUNCIL SOUTHERN C. C.

CAVE RESEARCH GROUP

CHARTERHOUSE  C.C.

SUNDRIES

 

 

 

(2 years)

 

(2 years)

 

£   30.00

£     9.83

£   10.00

£     3.00

£     3.00

£     8.50

£     1.67

SURPLUS FOR THE YEAR

 

 

£ 290.66

£   72.43

 

 

 

£ 363.09

 

GENERAL ACCUMULATED

ADD SURPLUS FOR THE YEAR

FUNDS @  31.7.71

 

 

£ 232.25

£   72.43

GENERAL ACCUMULATED

I.D.M.F. accumulated income to

FUNDS @  31.7.72

15.1.72

 

£ 304.68

£   42.84

 

 

 

£ 347.52

National Savings Bank Account

Lloyds Bank Ltd Current Account

Lloyds Bank Ltd Deposit Account

Cash in hand

 

 

 

£   99.14

£ 155.81

£   63.45

£   29.12

TOTAL CUB MONIES @ 31.7.72

 

 

£ 347.52

 

IAN DEAR MEMORIAL FUND

Accumulated income to15.1.71

Interest on £310 to 15.1.72

 

 

 

£   39.40

£   17.04

Accumulated Income @ 15.1.71

 

 

£   56.44

Less Income Tax (2 years)

 

 

£   13.60

Accumulated income to 15.1.72

 

 

£   42.84

 


 

Hut Engineer’s Report

Rodney Hobbs took over as Hut Engineer during 1972, and his report covers the period during which he has been Hut Engineer.

Since I became Hut Engineer there have been several improvements to the Belfry.  The Men’s room has been altered to allow more room for moving about; plans have been drawn up for altering the Women’s room - but these have not yet been put in hand.

A new water main was laid to the Belfry and toilets, the Belfry has been redecorated - thanks to the willing members with paint brushes and other jobs done have included a new door for the carbide store; repairs to the doors and roof of the toilets and the re-puttying of the Belfry windows.

Heating should be better this winter, as two storage heaters are in the process of being installed in the two dormitories.

There is still quite a lot of work to be done, will get done as soon as time and money allow. Let us all work together on the Belfry and try to make it the best club headquarters on Mendip.

Rodney Hobbs,
Hon. Hut Engineer.

Climbing Report

Another of the Annual Club Officers' Reports.  For 1971 - 1972.

After the ups and downs of the A.G.M. weekend, climbing got off the ground, so to speak, with some good routes done locally at Cheddar and the Avon Gorge which continued throughout the year.

At Portishead, a quarry has been given the B.E.C. approval, with six new routes of varying grades.

Holidays were spent on English soil in Cornwall, North Wales and the Lakes - where classic routes were climbed.  Members of this small group have also been camping on the odd occasion.

This summer, only a small number have been climbing in the evenings, but weekends have seen a lot of varying interests of which climbing has accounted for a lot of leisure time with good attendances.

This small section of the club has lost a few members, which is a shame.  I would like to see more new faces in the coming year - of any age. Perhaps we should promote our club in the area a lot more, because, after all, the more active and interested the members; the more active, interesting and solvent a good club can become.

I hope and look forward to a better year in 1972-73 that will put the B.E.C. up another rung in the ladder.

Nigel Jago.,
Hon. Climbing Secretary.

Change of Address.

R.CROSS, 11 St. Abbs Drive, Odsal,Bradford, Yorkshire.


 

Hut Warden’s Report

This report covers the period 6th August 1971 to the end of the club financial year 31st of July 1972. The table shown below reveals that bed-nights totalled 1,598.

BELFRY USAGE

BED-NIGHTS

% TOTAL

FEES % TOTAL

Male Club Members

Female Club Members

Male Visitors

Female Visitors

873

129

511

85

54.6

8.1

32.0

5.3

£130.95

£19.35

£127.75

£21.25

73.7

6.5

42.7

7.1

TOTALS

1,598  =  100%

£299.30 = 100%

Recalling the discussion about the Belfry being inundated with visitors on the one hand; and on the other hand that visitors were necessary to the good financial health of the club and should be made welcome.  It is interesting to note that club members contributed 62.7% of the Belfry usage and visitors 37.3%.  The table also reveals that the visitors contributed 49.8% of the total amount of fees received.  Not a bad return for an outlay of approximately one third of the Belfry usage. As for the 'inundation' theory, there have been four instances of overcrowding: -

Nov. 12/14

Nov. 19/21

Feb. 18/20

April 31/May 3

41 Visitor’s Bed-nights

53 Visitor’s Bed-nights

26 Visitor’s Bed-nights

40 Visitor’s Bed-nights

10 Member’s Bed-nights

  9 Member’s Bed-nights

34 Member’s Bed-nights

30 Member’s Bed-nights

The remaining weekends being well within comfortable limits.

Bed Nights League

There was a tradition in the old wooden Belfry that the Hut Warden awarded order of priority of choice of personal lockers according to member’s position on the Bed-night league. So there was keen competition to get in as many bed-nights as possible.  Since there is a scheme afoot to install lockers again, the following people of the 73 club members who in an appearance at the Belfry lead the field this year: -

Jock Orr 229;  Frank Jones 72; Tony Tucker 53; Graham Phippen 48; Sue Gazzard 41; Nigel Taylor 37; Dave Irwin, Bob Cross, Tim and Maggie Large 35.

Those wishing to check the bed-night figures will find them pinned up on the Belfry notice board.

Notes on Income and Expenditure

In addition to Hut Fees received; day fees, camping, tackle fees, the conscience box, publications, ties and badges, keys, spares and carbide brought in £147.48.

Publications sold at the Belfry accounted for a slice of £54.93 of that amount.  Tackle Fees were disappointing at £7.36.  Camping earned £13.18.  The turnover of spares and carbide was £39.93.  With spares and carbide still in stock, this line appears to be profitable.  (Editor's note: Camping fees should read £7.56 - my mistake above).

Money spent at the Belfry included £4.47 for tools and £38.5 on materials for maintenance and minor, improvements.  In respect of the heavy cost of coke last winter, further purchases of fuel up to the weekend of 5/7 amounted to £4.10.  Owing to the weather, fires were lit on the weekend of October 8/10 and continued through to May 19/21.  During this period 1,064 bed-nights were totted up.  No doubt the pending installation of storage heaters will substantially reduce the forthcoming winter fuel costs and alleviate the high incidence of bronchitis experienced last winter.

According to the records, the consumption of Glogas amounted to 15 cylinders and cost £23.13 or 1½ new pence per bed-night, which seems to me to be an astonishingly reasonable amount. (Editor's Note: Bryan Ellis, when Hut Warden of the Shepton, used to reckon on 100 bed-nights per gas cylinder for an efficiently run hut.  These figures are better than this.)

Remarks

Generally, the conduct of Club Members and visitors staying at, or dropping into the Belfry is both responsible and social.  But there is still a regrettable tendency to take it all for granted and to expect everything to be laid on without making any contribution in the way of work. This attitude is especially noticeable amongst the recently joined members, and is quite understandable when it is realised that perhaps their only fault is a sheer lack of information on what the club is all about.  Where are the copies of the Constitution and Club Rules that every new member is supposed to have?

The newcomer's view is that here is ten thousand pounds worth of club property apparently sprung up out of the ground for his benefit and all he has to do is to make him¬self known and pay his subscription to get in - and because the place looks fairly tidy, he jumps to the conclusion that it is all finished and complete.

There is no suggestion intended that past efforts and achievements have everlastingly to be drummed into the consciences of our more recently joined members, but the fact remains that the newer members and those in the future must be educated into an appreciation that the maintenance; repair and improvement of the club premises is as much up to them as to anybody else and that to stay at the club not only requires the contribution of a very nominal hut fee, but also a contribution of willingness to perform some voluntary or allotted task.

Just pause to think what sort of state the place would be in if it had not been for the attentive efforts of the few who take an interest in keeping the present tidy condition of the Belfry and see to the odd jobs.  I think that the more senior cub members who have pride in what has been achieved should be responsible in making it quite clear that they expect new cub members to continue this standard.

It would be unfair to emphasise that there is room for some improvement within the more junior segment of the club, when here is also an area of criticism affecting another aspect of club activity.  I refer to the members who use the Belfry during the week or the weekend on a day basis, or who pop in on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.  A cross section of this group ranges from new to long established members.  Some have contributed cash, time and effort over the past years and all, of course, are entitled to use the Belfry just as everybody else is - but at the risk of offending (which is not my intention) and to put it as tactfully as I can, a proportion of this group studiously avoids the conscience box, or chooses to forget payment of a day fee to club funds.

The latest example of this parsimony, for that's all it is, was at Keith Glossop' s barrel on the 26th August.  There was exactly 40 new pence in the box before the barrel and 44½ new pence afterwards.

Shame!  I have seen appreciative new members put cash in the box over and above their hut fees.  I have observed senior members drop a 50p coin into the box in passing by. But to watch the performance of members who drink their beer and leave with their hands in their pockets and a hearty word of farewell saying what a great evening it has been is positively embarrassing.  Come along now, gentlemen.  You don't need me to remind you that you can do better than that.  It's no disgrace to drop a two pence piece in the box.

Recommendations

The 1972 committee has sanctioned the installation of two storage heaters to keep heat in the building during the winter months.  This is a most acceptable improvement which will encourage more people to stay at the Belfry and thus lead to an increase in bed-nights and hut fees received by the club.  What I would like to point out is that the heater installation was initiated by a small group of club members getting together and thrashing out a practical proposition to put to the committee for consideration.

May I suggest that it is up to members who use the Belfry and are aware of the various shortcomings, to approach the committee with schemes for improvement?  For instance, there is the well-known problem of the down draughting chimney.  Or how about the new staircase to the attic?  The attic floor? The Tackle store roof?  The much talked about improvements to the Women’s Room?  Steps at the end door to the Belfry?  And so on.

To conclude this report, I think that the new Belfry is a great improvement on the old one, but the modus operandi of caving is undergoing a noticeable change and a fair number of local people with transport use the Belfry merely as a base for changing and then depart for home afterwards.  From the bed-night figures, the number of people staying at the Belfry may appear satisfactory, but the building could certainly accommodate an increase on those numbers at the weekend.

There are indications that the club is in the process of acquiring a new grade of caver who are investing the Belfry with their own traditions.  One of the unique hallmarks of this new breed is that you need not do your caving from a sum.  The Belfry is treated with far more respect and consideration than it ever had, and according to visitor’s comments; it is a credit to the B.E.C.

Every now and again, I hear from people who complain that this new Belfry lacks the "atmosphere" of the old wooden Belfry.  I prefer to believe that our new Belfry is beginning to develop character rather than "atmosphere".

Jock Orr
Hon. Hut Warden.


 

Hon Librarian’s Report

On the resignation of Dave Searle as club Librarian I took over the task of installing the library at the Belfry.  Up to March this year the library had, through the kind offices of Dave Searle, been kept at Dolphin Cottage.  To enable the library to be installed at the Belfry, ‘Jok’ Orr assembled a. number of cabinets in the library room in readiness for the transfer from Dolphin Cottage.  The books and periodicals were in a chaotic state when they arrived at the Belfry and no one person knew what was contained in the collection.

The first task was to sort and catalogue the entire collection before it could be used by members. Through the grateful help of Kay Mansfield the publications were sorted and bound.  The binding – tough not elegant - is certainly strong enough for normal handling and reference purposes.  Each item in the collection was then catalogued on cards and finally placed at the Belfry for member’s use.  Where complete volumes of periodicals existed, these were bound and the incomplete sets placed in temporary folders.  Members are requested not to remove these loose items from their folders.  When, in future, t¬he missing items are replaced or new issues make a complete volume, these will be permanently bound.  The books have been catalogued and grouped into subject matter.

In order to ensure that the rarer items in the collection are safeguarded I have, with the committee's approval, taken steps to prevent these from being taken from the library room. These books are easily identifiable as there are red crosses along the top of the catalogue card.

During sorting and cataloguing, several duplicate items were found and these, plus most of the B.B. duplicates, are being exchanged or sold to enable further purchases for the library to be made.  Any member having ideas for new items to be added to the collection should please contact me.  On this subject one should bear in mind a committee decision of some 8 years ago that general books on caving or climbing that are easily obtainable from public libraries will not be included in the collection - unless donated to the club!

To enable volumes of club publications to be completed, I have contacted each club library’s on the exchange list requesting all the missing copies and offering missing B.B.'s in return.  The result so far has been extremely encouraging.  Quite apart from new publications, some 70 to 80 new items have been added to the collection this way.  They include Red Rose; Chelsea S.S.; and various other clubs.  This policy will be continuing.  If members have publications that are not in the club library, perhaps they would consider giving them to the collection.  We are particularly weak on the following clubs:- C.D.G.; Cerberus S.S.; Cotham; U.L.S.A.; British Caver Nos 1-14; early U.B.S.S. Proceedings; Pengelly; Early W.C.C. ( Nos 1-40 ) and N.S.S.

It is easily within our grasp to expand the library in all directions.  Members are now oriented to other caving regions and foreign countries and to this end I am endeavouring to enlarge the number of exchanges to include clubs throughout all countries in Europe and general cover from all major regions throughout the world.  European overage includes publications from Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Austria. We want contacts in France, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Sweden etc.

Since the library has come into general use, members have been borrowing items at a good rate and borrowing in the last few months (March  - August) than here has been in the last five years.  I hope that this will be kept up.

Duing the next few months, there will be published in the B.B. a pull-out supplement containing a catalogue of the entire collection.  Finally, I would like to make a special mention of the work done by Kay Mansfield in binding the complete volumes and to Ray Mansfield for valuing the collection for insurance purposes.  The value is high enough to make members sit up and make sure the library collection is not abused.

D.J. Irwin,  Hon. Librarian.


 

Hon Sec’s Report

It is with regret that I must report that 1971-72 has not been a good year for the club.  Never has the task of the committee been a more thankless one, nor one more fraught with difficulty.

Never has our public image, as projected to other clubs, been worse. To begin at the beginning - there was such dissatisfaction among members over the catering arrangements of last year’s dinner that we were forced to enter into protracted correspondence, involving solicitors as well, with the management in order to get a reduction in the bill which the refund is to be ploughed back into this year’s dinner.

Our neighbour this year has been the cause of more trouble than usual.  I will give details at the A.G.M. if asked. I optimistically said at last year’s A.G.M. that it would not be beyond the capabilities of the new committee to settle our differences in this respect.  It has still not been done and I wish the 1972-73 Committee the best of luck – they need it!

The lease of land from the paper mill is still not completed though there is a little more hope in that direction recently.  Considerable changes are taking place in the paper trade and we must watch our interests most carefully.

Relations with other clubs have been good.  Our representation on M.R.O.; The Council of Southern Caving Clubs; the Council of Cambrian Caving Clubs; the National Council and the Charterhouse Caving Committee have all been satisfactory.

The long-awaited exhibition of Caves and Caving in the City Museum has come to fruition.  It is well worth a visit by every caver in the district. I do not feel that there is sufficient acknowledgment of the club’s initiative and work.  Grateful thanks are due to Mike Palmer and the Bennett’s who were responsible for the B.E.C.’s side of things.

I should like to express thanks publicly to Barry Wilton for all that he has done in the past year. His technical help on printing matters has been invaluable and helped very considerably to improve our club image.

Committee meetings have been well a tended and there have been few changes in the year.  Dave Irwin resigned as Hut Warden early in the year and became Hon. Librarian.  Jock Orr was co-opted as Hut Warden.  The hiatus created by the resignation of Norman Petty last year as Tacklemaster is still felt.  Dave Turner has very recently taken over and is doing his best to get things together again. We badly need another 'ladder maker extraordinary' but alas! they are born and not made.

The library has made tremendous strides.  Dave Irwin is to be congratulated, and I hope that present and future generations of the B.E.C. will always treat the library with the respect it deserves.

The Belfry has never been cleaner, tidier or more efficiently run than at present.  The Belfry Engineer and Hut Warden between them have faced up manfully to the considerable problems of maintaining our new B. B. in pristine condition.

Bob Bagshaw has given us a year's notice of his impending resignation as Hon. Treasurer.  He, like Norman, will be difficult to replace.

It may be felt that what has been reported so far is not in line with my opening remarks.  A detailed discussion of the factors which gave rise to them would, I feel, be more appropriate at the A.G.M. itself, rather than in this printed report and I will amplify such points on that occasion.

Alan Thomas.
Hon Secretary.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 26.

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

8

 

9

 

10

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

13

 

14

 

15

 

16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

18

 

 

 

 

 

19

 

 

Across:

1. Small cave dweller. (3)
4. Pitch? Or hall in Hilliers? (3)
6. Common to Mud Hall and traverse Chamber. (5)
7. For any dog in South Wales. (3,2,4)
12. A timely clue in monthly series. (9)
17. Rope material. (5)
18. Found in pub or cave. (3)
19. This down for a drainpipe. (3)

Down:

1. Eastwater step? (4)
2. Operate winch? (4)
3. Dog tooth, perhaps. (4)
4. Short cave dweller. (4)
5. What distinguishes G.B. gorge from Cheddar Gorge (4)
8. End of passage? (3)
9. Found in any etreir (3)
10. Might cause resistance to lightning. (3)
11. This side of 12 down? (3)
13. From Pillar to this perhaps? (4)
14. Precedes water and twin. (4)
15. Three in Swildons and in more senses than one. (4)
16. Pore over this clue for underground aid. (4)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword

S

 

B

 

B

O

B

 

A

P

E

A

R

L

 

A

I

D

O

 

T

 

A

 

I

 

D

I

N

 

S

C

A

L

E

 

L

 

P

 

K

 

S

 

G

 

L

I

G

H

T

 

G

O

R

 

T

 

O

 

T

 

U

A

R

C

 

L

O

W

E

R

T

 

H

U

E

 

O

 

S