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Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas. Allens House, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Hon. Editor: - S.J. Collins, Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol

Editorial

The Last Straw?

A friend of mine, a member of the M.N.R.C., went down Shatter last weekend, being particularly anxious to see the erratics for which this cave is noted.  He did not find them, and was told by the Cerberus that they had, unfortunately, gone in the way of the ‘streaky bacon’ curtain in Rod’s; the Golf Clubs and Bulrushes in Balch; the erratics in the First Grotto of G.B. and many other fine calcite formations which user to decorate Mendip.

A certain amount of ‘natural’ wastage of delicate formations is probably inevitable, And part of the price we must pay for the sheer number of cavers on Mendip today.  Nobody is perfect, and even the best caver may occasionally do a little unintentional damage.  It is said that a drowning man will clutch at a straw, and likewise a man who has lost his balance might well be excused a little damage in avoiding a nasty accident. The requirements of explorers must also from time to time conflict with the need to preserve the decorative features of our caves.

The damage which has been done in the past to some of the most interesting of Mendip cave formations cannot, unfortunately, be explained away by this reasoning, and deliberate vandalism or a degree of carelessness inappropriate to good caving become the only explanation possible.  I can remember a time when it was proposed to destroy a not very good formation in a very minor cave in order for further exploration to become possible.  Not until the formation had been photographed, and the prints considered good enough was the destruction actually carried out – and even then, with care.

If we are to have anything better on Mendip in the years to come than a series of muddy holes in the ground, without any relieving features, then steps must be taken now to conserve what we have and to protect any future discoveries from the word ‘go’. The diminution of interest shown in cave photography may well be due to the narrowing range of worthwhile subjects. At the rate we are going, it may soon be the rule that unless the photographer is lucky enough to get in on the original exploration trip down a new hole, he will know that it is probably not worth taking a camera down on subsequent trip.

Until somebody comes up with a better solution, the only answer seems to be rigorous policy of restricted access coupled with an efficient leader system since it must regretfully be assumed that the average party will contain at least one ‘couldn’t care less’ type.  Now that the spotlight has been focussed on the subject of pollution and of conservation of our environment, could we not include the preservation of cave scenery as part of this drive?

The B.B. Handicap

We are able to report progress on this race.  Delays due to the sudden and tragically unexpected change of Editor, and to the change of the printing arrangements have been overcome.  The next move was to get sufficient material to allow the B.B. to catch up.  This has now been done.  From now on, it is important that the B.B. comes out on time, as we have the A.G.M. beginning to loom up.  This can, and will be done with the B.B. at its present size of greater providing that you continue to send in material.

Regular Features

Readers will notice that ‘Monthly Notes’ and ‘Just a Sec’ are both absent from this issue.  Also, the feature on the Belfry has not yet appeared in a proper form.  Wig is in the states, but the ‘Monthly Notes’ will re-appear as soon as his substitute gets going.  Alan reports that there is insufficient material for ‘Just a Sec’ this month, and the Hut Warden is going to contribute to the feature on the Belfry.  Meanwhile, we start another regular feature – a monthly crossword.  Supplies are in hand for several months to come, but if any members wish to contribute, the required form is a 9 by 9 square puzzle, of symmetrical or skew-symmetrical design with clues mostly connected with caving or climbing and of ‘cryptic’ form.


 

Letters

8 Linden Road
Redland
Bristol 6

Dear Sir,

I wonder if you would allow me to insert an appeal in the B.B.?  I am collecting information about the lead workings in the Priddy area, and already have several old photographs including one of the interior of the Cuthbert’s works and a photograph of the Chewton Minery.  If any reader of the B.B. has access to any old photographs, etchings, etc. of these or any other local lead works, I would very much like to borrow them.  The same applies to old large scale maps of the area or to any other unusual references. All material borrowed will, of course, be treated with great care and duly returned to their owners.  Please contact me at the above address if you have any material which you think might be of interest in this connection.

                        P.A.E. Stewart.

21 Bradley Road,
Patchway,
Bristol

Dear Sir,

Is anyone in the B.E.C. interested in acquiring a penny-farthing?  I have a genuine 1890 Singer’ Challenger’ which is in very good condition apart from its having no tyres.  Please get in touch with me if you are interested.

                        John Ransom.

June Committee Meeting

Arrangements for the fitting out of the Belfry continued to be the main business of the meeting.  The barn has now been sold to the S.M.C.C. and we have the money.  Arrangements for the showers and wiring continue.  Mike Palmer reported on the progress made on the club exhibition at the City Museum.  The date for the barbecue is fixed.


 

Shafts – and all that

By Martin Webster

The Eastwater weekend must have been quite quiet Mendip, as vast hordes of Mendip cavers abandoned their native caving area and converged on the Yorkshire Dales, with its abundance of excellent caves.

Our small group was no exception and, together with a party of NHASA members, we spent a wet but very enjoyable four day’s camping at the Hill Inn.  The first day saw a team of seven striding out in the direction of Car Pot, which is quite close to Gaping Ghyll.  Unfortunately, however, the dreaded Baptistery Crawl took its toll and only four of the thinner members managed to bottom the pot.  Saturday was spent on the Langdale Pikes in the Lake District.   This proved quite entertaining as it was snowing quite hard.  The night at the pub, some of the team for our Sunday trip down Long Kin West, elected to go down Gravel Pit diving (as there were tales of vast sumps) which left our party a bit low on the hauling side.  However, the Sunday dawned and eventually, after some misgivings, as team of five assembled at Newby.

The long hard trek up into Newby Moss was conducted in thick swirling mist and, after searching for the elusive hole for some time; we parked our loads by a convenient shake hole and spread out across the moor.  Eventually, by luck rather than skill, the long slit-like entrance was found, so we raced back to collect the tackle.  On trying to find the hole again, we found to our embarrassment that once again we had lost it.  After much swearing and cursing, the hole once again appeared out of the mist and we were son busily pouring vast amounts of ladder down the two hundred and eighty five feet of entrance pitch.

Long Kin West is a pothole in every sense.  It has recently been extended by the Kendal Caving Club to a depth of five hundred and ten feet, the pitches being the entrance pitch already noted, a twenty foot pitch and a hundred and sixty five foot pitch.  The whole pothole goes vertically downwards except for one short section at the bottom of the twenty foot pitch.

The big pitch of two hundred and eighty five feet has been descended by Mendip teams on many occasions, mainly as ladder practice, but today we were going to attempt to get right to the bottom of the new extension.

As only two of us had got changed, we were naturally expected to descend first, so the end of the lifeline was thrust into my hands and I soon found myself at the bottom of the abyss, looking up at the dwindling thread of ladder leading up to the two spots of light which marked the surface.  Little time was lost, and soon a large bundle of ropes and ladders came hurtling down the shaft on the end of the life line.  Unfortunately, it was accompanied by a large rock.  I leapt into a corner and meditated on the folly of potholing!

Bob Mehew (S.M.C.C.) soon joined me, and together we climbed down the obvious twenty foot pitch and then on down to a tight rocky passage which doubled back on itself and led into a low passage with a large slit in the floor.  This marks the head of the hundred and sixty five foot pitch.  We soon located a belay point, which looked as if it might hold with a bit of luck, and set to work lowering the ladder into the gulf.

The first difficulty was encountered when, after descending about fifty feet, I found myself standing on a ledge waist deep in a mountain of tangled tackle.  This was easily overcome however, by dragging the whole mountain of ‘writhing beastie’ to the brink and hurling into the void.  The rest of the climb went unhindered and after a quick prod about at the bottom, I returned and Bob leaped off down the pitch to have the dubious honour of seeing the boulders at the bottom.

The whole pitch is quite sizeable, being about six feet wide and some fifty feet long at the bottom. The walls have some excellent scallop formations – all in all, a very fine find by the Kendal.  If the final choke could be forced, it might easily reveal quite a length of large streamway, as there is still about two hundred and fifty feet drop to the rising.  This would prove a very good trip indeed.

Bob soon arrived back from the bottom and we returned to the big pitch, where I started on the long climb to the surface.  The hauling team was by then getting g quite cold, and they didn’t seem at all keen on getting changed to go down.  Eventually, Martin Mills (S.M.C.C.) decided it would be probably warmer down the cave anyway and valiantly disappeared into the next shake hole, soon to reappear in his caving ‘grot’.

He quickly joined the by now despondent bod at the bottom of the big pitch and so Bob Craig (S.M.C.C.) Martin Hauan (B.E.C.) and I sat and waited.  The mist hung low and the wind howled unmercifully round our aching limbs; the rain and sleet poured down, and the chattering of teeth grew louder and louder.

After what seemed an eternity (actually about an hour and a half) the merry chirp of a whistle wafted up the huge shaft and we started the job of bod extraction.  We quickly completed this job and midst the jangle of ladders and creaking of bones, we were soon fighting our way down the fell against a fierce headwind.  On the way back, we stopped at Ingleton, only to find that the shop of the greasy ones was closed, so we struggled back for a night on the beer after a satisfying day of ups and downs!


 

The Northern Caving Scene

By Mike Yeandle

During the last five years, an explosion of activity in the dales has yielded an impressive array of discoveries.  It is the purpose of this article to outline some of the major events of the last year.

In the spring of this year, The Happy Wanderers Cave and Pothole Club unearthed an important system in the previously insignificant Pippikin Pot on Leck Fell.  A tight entrance section gives access to a fine streamway which ends in a sump.  Well decorated high level passages form the greater part of the system.  One such passage has been named Gour Hall, and it about a hundred feet long and full of large gours.  The system is about two hours long and three hundred and twenty feet deep.  Its furthest reaches are nearing Upper Lancaster Hole in one direction and Gavel Pot in the other.  The Wanderers hope to find an easier entrance to the cave and work with this in mind is the progress in the Easegill Valley.  The other discoveries made in Leck Fell by this club are the Gavel Extensions, the high level series in Lost John’s and Peteram Pot.  The Gavel Extension is very well decorated and about half a mile long. The high level series in Lost Johns is about fifteen hundred feet long and about a hundred and fifty feet above the master cave.  Peterson’s Pot is now four hundred feet long and a hundred and twenty feet deep.

At the moment many conflicting theories are being put forward in an attempt to explain the Leck Fell drainage.  The main uncertainty is the point of resurgence of the Leck Fell water.  The two possibilities are Leck Beck Head (along with the Lancaster-Easegill water) or in the numerous small cracks in the Easegill Valley.  The uncertainty stems from the level of Leck Beck Head not being accurately known, and the same applies to the level of the Lost Johns sump.

Soon after their discovery of Pippikin, the Wanderers modified an impenetrable crack somewhat. The result was the discovery of Burdle Moss Pot – a huge rift five hundred feet long and three hundred feet and twenty feet deep.  The main pitch is in two ninety foot sections and rivals even Juniper Gulf in quality.  Burdloe Moss is between Gaping Ghyll and Newby Moss and its existence poses some interesting questions as to the geology of the area.

The first major ULSA discovery of the year came this May in the White Scar Cavern.  This extension is a large inlet taking a small stream.  It is reached after a climb through extreme loose boulders.  The passage is generally large, sometimes dropping down to stream level, the formations are reasonable and there are several short side passages.  There are two large avens, one of which has been climbed to a height of fifty feet, at which point it began to close down.  A sump at the end of a bedding plane type passage marks the limit of exploration at present.  The series is a mile long and is heading towards Boggarts Roaring Hole on Newby Moss.  Exploration is finished at the moment due to some access problems.

Work continues in the Allotment.  A recent visit by ULSA to Marble Sink uncovered a continuation a hundred feet in length to the streamway below Fissure Pitch.  The end is, however, completely choked.  A promising dig at the bottom of Marble Pot gave access to a muddy chamber choked with boulders with no apparent way on.  The resurgence of the Marble Sink – Marble Pot water is probably Austwick Beck Head, a large accessible system could well exist in the area. A sobering thought is that this water might conceivably go under Ingleborough and resurge along with Chapel-le-Dale water.  A silly thought is a Black Shiver – Marble Sink through trip!

Some diving is beginning to get underway in the dales.  Recently Mike Wooding dived Clapham Cave for a distance in the order of a thousand feet. He carried on to find eight hundred feet of fossil passage, ending in an area of collapse.  The end of this passage and that of Mountain Hall in Far Country cannot be separated by much, so the G.G. – Clapham Cave link is beginning to look like a reality.  It is also rumoured that Wooding has been diving in Keld Head recently.

While on the subject of the Kingsdale Master Cave, Carrort Passage has now been extended a further hundred feet by ULSA to a very bitter end.  The passage has become hopelessly tight and further digging is impractical at present.  Recently, a B.E.C. – Shepton party dived Penyghent.  This I believe is shortly to be described in rather more detail in the B.B. Grey Wife sump has now been dived by an ULSA member and was found to close down to a tight bedding plane after about twenty feet.  Also on Newby Moss, the Kendal Caving Club have extended Long Kin West to a depth of five hundred and ten feet.  (This pot is described in this B.B. – Ed.)  Another addition of the strictly pothole type, is the Mohole on Cragareth – an ULSA find which was dug into and refuses to go deeper than three hundred feet. This is disappointing as it is well placed for the conjectural Kingsdale Master cave – Marble Steps link or the Three Counties System.  Further digs in this area have yielded little.

This June has seen much ULSA activity in Rangcliff Pot.  This challenging system has a potential depth of nine hundred and fifty feet and is of the order of five miles long.  The first for a series of trips down this pot established over a thousand feet of new inlets to the system.  One of these is approximately six hundred feet long and still going.  Perhaps inlet is the wrong word for this passage, as it takes the main stream.  The passage starts at the downstream end of the Boulder Crawl and goes upstream.  The other inlet which has been surveyed is six hundred feet long and is heading towards Thunder Pot.  Also on this trip, a way on was found into the continuation of the main stream beyond the end of the old cave.  Further trips enabled the downstream end of the cave to be pushed a further eight hundred feet or so to a very disappointing sump, which can be seen to have blocked up to a height of forty feet.  However, after this setback, a dry passage of fine proportions was entered and followed for about fifteen hundred feet to a large chamber.  This passage is the first dry one of any length to be found in Langcliff – its friendly nature makes a pleasant contrast ot the hostile wet crawls which form so much of the cave.  In the chamber there are some excellent formations, including a white cascade of flowstone.  A further trip into this new series enabled a large passage containing deep gours to be entered.  This passage went for about half a mile to the junction with the stream.  Ten feet down this stream was a sump.  Upstream, a waterfall was climbed and a passage followed for about six hundred feet.  This passage ended in a seemingly impenetrable boulder choke.  This is still the situation at present.  The source of this new stream is not known. A survey has already been started and further trips should uncover much interesting passage.  As for the way on, this will take much time and effort.

For further reading on the areas discussed in this article, the reader is recommended to see ULSA review numbers 1 to 6 and the ULSA exploration journal.

Notice!

Our Hon. Sec. has changed his address.  It is now: -

Alan Thomas
Hon. Sec. B.E.C.
Allens House
Priddy
Wells,
Somerset


 

Progress Report From Cuthbert’s Two

By Tim Large

Since the breakthrough into Cuthbert’s II at the end of October last, the sump has flooded and silted due to the winter weather conditions.  The digging team, which consisted of Bob Craig, Roy Bennett, Martin Webster, Martin Mills, John Riley, Alan Butcher, Bob Meyhew and myself worked throughout the winter to re-open the sump.

This was accomplished by building a concrete and boulder dam in the sump passage and piping the water through the sump.  By this method, the sump pool could be bailed and the passage kept open with about six inches of air space.  This work was completed on April the 11th.  At this time, the ‘soak away’ in the sump was still taking some water, thus draining away any percolation that entered the sump area.

Now, the sump open, the team – joined by Ray Mansfield and Pete Rose – could get down to some serious digging.  Initially, the ‘soak away’  hole in  the sump was dug to a depth of about three feet below the general sump level. This only succeeded in blocking it, so that the sump flooded again.  Thus, on May the 9th another plan of attack was put into operation.  The sump was bailed to a passable level and a hundred and twenty feet of hosepipe was used to siphon the water out of the sump.  It was set up so that it would siphon continuously, thus keeping the water level in the sump constantly low.  Thus it has been done very successfully ever since.

As the bottom of the ‘soak away’ was now continuously under water it was decided to dig in the side passage just downstream from the sump.  This was begun on May the 9th.  To make digging easier, the passage was dug out to walking size.  The first minor breakthrough came on May the 19th when a drought was located blowing out from the dig from a four inch high airspace above the mud infill.  From this pointy, the dig went upwards and over a mud and gravel infill which was interlayered with stalagmite false flooring – some two inches thick.  The team were now burrowing a passage which followed the roof, and the airspace could be seen to get bigger a little way ahead.  The further the dig progresses, the more glutinous the mud became, until everyone was walking up to their necks in it.

The Whitsun weekend saw a hive of activity at the dig when Bob Craig, Bob Mayhew, Martin Mills and myself put in fourteen hours digging and dug the final thirty five feet that led to the breakthrough.

It came on may 24th, when a passage five feet wide and six feet high was entered.  Everything was coated with mud, the floor being a foot deep semi-liquid mud lake.  At the far side of this chamber there was a bedding plane about six feet high at the top, rising steeply and trending back up towards Gour Rift.  Dotted along the passage were some fine and unusual stalactite formations.  All were inactive and appeared to be very old.  At the top of the bedding plane, the passage sloped upwards over boulders and stal flows to a squeeze over a flowstone floor.  This led to a small well decorated chamber.  Most of the formations were inactive and in the process of disintegrating, thus producing some peculiar and interesting shapes. From the nearside of the chamber a way on could be seen, but this entailed crossing the chamber and damaging some of the formations.  It was decided to wait until the chamber had been photographed before continuing. This has since proved to have been a wise decision, as the chamber has suffered unavoidably from the passage of cavers.

On May 26th, the chamber was photographed.  The survey was begun by Martin Mills.  Afterwards the chamber was crossed by squeezing under some fine curtains to an obvious exit on the right.  The passage turned sharp right and was even more finely decorated – white sparkling stal adorning the whole passage and dry gours full of crystals on the floor. After twenty feet, the passage turned sharp left down of a stal slope about five feet wide to a rift which appeared to be about twenty feet deep.  From the top, it located is if the passage continued in both directions.

During the trips along the bedding plane, a strange noise could be heard.  This was eventually traced to a small hole halfway along the passage.  Aural connection was established between this hole and one of the holes in the roof of the sump passage.  The noise was that of the water entering the pipes from the sump passage dam.  This connection was later proved by pouring water down the tube.  The unfortunate watcher received a full face of muddy water!

The new extension, although not getting us any nearer to Wookey, has possibly provided an answer as to where the Dinning Room dig would come out.  It will be seen from the survey that the end of the new passage is heading straight for the Dining Room dig and bears the same characteristics as the dig.

As well as digging, there has been much other work done in Cuthbert’s II.  A thorough exploration of the roof, looking at high level routes has been undertaken, but nothing has been found.  About six sites were maypoled in the area of the Ten Foot Pot, but were all just high level continuation of the sttreamway.  Just below the pot, the stream passage is about seventy feet high.

The next digging site is at present uncertain.  There are three possibilities.  The first is a return to the ‘soak away’ which has now been completely rained by increasing the rate of flow from the siphon.  The second possibility would be to dig at Sump II hoping to break into Cuthbert’s III.  This would involve building a dam just upstream if sump II and possibly using techniques similar to those which enabled Sump I to be broken through and drained.  Finally, Dave Turner and Colin Clarke have started a dig at the end of the Gour Rift which is making steady progress.

Some work has already been done at Sump II which has encouraged the diggers.  When the dams are put in, Sump II drains very quickly, thus enabling us to get twenty feet into this sump before rock meets water and the sump continues amid a floor of liquid mud.  The sump was dived, incidentally, on the 15th of February this year by John Parker in very bad conditions.  He reported that the sump went down about fifteen feet to a tight hole.

Despite the many setbacks, prospects still look good for extending the limits of Cuthbert’s yet again.

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Most readers of the B.B. will know that the prize for the ‘Stop the Clock’ competition was won by Kay Mansfield.  We have recently received a letter from her expressing her thanks for the prize money of £25, which she used to buy a diamond ring.

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A survey of the new discoveries in Cuthbert’s II which formed the subject of the article concluded above will be published in the NEXT ISSUE of the B.B.  The survey has been held over to enable this B.B. to be got out as quickly as possible.

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Next month’s B.B. will include articles by Martin Webster on the Lost John’s New Roof Traverse, the resumption of ‘Monthly Notes’, and an article on the Swinsto-Kingsdale link by Roy Bennett.

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We need more articles, letters, bits of information etc. for the B.B. – can YOU help?


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 1.

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

9

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

13

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACROSS: 1. A.C. Cased in Cuthbert’s (7).   6. Do this in survey productions or hydrology (5).   7. Neck and Neck? (3).   8. Cell with two elements (4).   10. See 3 and 11 down (4).   12. Found in the nearest pub (3).   13. On top of too much beer, Vimto could become this (5).   15. Some think it pretty (4,3).

DOWN:  2. Reference Level (3).   3. Found in cave neighbourhood (4).   4. First move in caving? (5).  

5. Highest point in Cuthbert’s (7).   6. Deepest point in Cuthbert’s? (3,4).   9. Alf at last (5).   11. Sounds like a wet 3 down or a type of 10 across (4).   14. Sump or escalator (3).

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Stencils completed 24th July 1970.

Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas. Allens House, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Hon. Editor: - S.J. Collins, Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol

Editorial

Elsewhere in this B.B., there is a feature on the Belfry, which. As we explained a few issues ago, might well become a regular feature.  Reading this one, we see that the current bed-night rate is stated and that there is an appeal for members to use the Belfry more.

Due allowance must, of course, be made for the fact that the Belfry has not long been back in business – but the currant bed-night rate only amounts to an annual figure of about 900. This is very low, for the heyday of the older Belfry, the figure reached over 1,800.  At the risk of over simplifying the problem, it appears that we could, if we tried hard, get back to this sort of total, but only by offering accommodation to other clubs.  What we appear to have lost is a number of club ‘regulars’ at the Belfry.

Again, it is probably far too early to judge, but there does seem to be a chance that we might have to decided whether we run the Belfry at a loss or agree that its main function is to provided accommodation for visiting clubs.  If this actually happens, it will seem rather a pity that club members fail to utilise the building which has cost the club such a lot of time, efforts and money.

Now that the new Belfry is with us, the situation could (and we hope will) soon change for the better. In the meantime it would do no harm to watch carefully the way in which the Belfry gets back into its stride.

“Alfie”

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What is going to happen on the third of October this year?

Is somebody putting on a barrel?

Is there a do of some sort?

Is it free?

Is it a secret?

NO! IT’S THE DATE OF THE CLUB’S ANNUAL DINNER AND A.G.M!

See NEXT MONTH’S B.B. for all details.  Don’t forget the 3rd of October!

Tie a knot in something.


 

Lost Johns New Roof Traverse

by Martin Webster

The Lost John’s System has long been one of the caves on our visiting list, and in February, our little group of fanatics decided it was time to cross it off.

The sun shone brightly as the transit van slowly ground up the narrow winding lane.  Behind us stretched the gentle slopes of Leck Fell and in the far distance the rugged Lakeland hills sought prominence on the horizon.

We soon found a place to park and rapidly changed into our caving gear.  The cave lies in a small rocky depression only a few yards form the lane, so it was quickly located.  The New Roof Traverse was passed without any difficulty, and Number One Hole was soon reached and descended.

The next two pitches, Vestry then Pulpit, which followed shortly afterwards were both quite tight and ladders were used on both although they could be free climbed with difficulty. Pulpit Pitch ends on a large ledge at the top of Cathedral Pitch.  There are two obvious ways down, one to the right as you face the ladder and the other one straight on down.  As there was very little water in the cave that day, we used the ladder, belaying to a large flake of rock.

The passage at the bottom is, again, quite constricted but the seventy foot deep Dome Pitch was soon reached.  On this we set up a double lifeline, as it is quite difficult to lifeline from the top. As soon as we were all down, we set off along a large passage to the left; down a twenty foot pitch; through a sandy chamber and then down a thirty five foot pitch into a chamber with a large stream entering.  It was at this stage that we began to have doubts as to which route we were doing. Our fears were soon realised when it turned a corner and the passage disappeared into a sump.  We were, of course, in Sink Chamber at the end of the Shale Cavern Route!

We were soon back in Dome Chamber, where we found the correct way on was through a small obscure hole at the end of a short traverse to the right of Dome Pitch.  The passage soon widened out and descended a series of short pitches, all of which could have been free climbed if need be. Battle Axe Pitch, which we were expecting to be quite wet, was virtually dry except for the last fifteen feet where the main stream is met coming from Shale Cavern and the Old Roof Traverse routes.

Wet Pitch, which follows almost immediately, lived up to its name, although in wet weather it can be laddered further out in the rift to make it easier.  A short length of passage followed to the final pitch which again could be laddered dry, through the eyehole on the right.

We were soon at Ground Sheet Junction, which marks the entrance to the master cave system.  The Main Drain was very much smaller than expected, although the passage was excellent for speed caving.  At one stage we almost broke into a run.  As one of the team had forgotten to bring his wet suit, we didn’t bother going right to the downstream end although on later inspection of the survey we found we must have got very close to the terminal sump. The upstream was followed to see if we could get into the new dry master cave above Lyle Cavern, but we found that some quite difficult climbs were involved, so we had a look at Lost Pot Inlet instead.  The formations in Lyle cavern are quite impressive, mainly being in the form of large cascades.

The trip out was interesting but uneventful and, although the master cave had proved disappointing, the very sporty nature of the entrance system more than made up for it. The entrance was finally regained after a very fine seven and a half hour trip.

July Committee Meeting

Owing to the absence of many members of the committee due to annual holidays, there was no quorum for the July meeting and thus no meeting was held.


 

Monthly Notes Number 34

by “Ben”

Yorkshire

Pippikin Pot.  The recent extensive discoveries have filled a big hole in the Three Counties System – the postulated forty miles plus cave which could be constructed by linking together the major systems in Westmorland, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.  Only a few bits have as yet actually been joined up, but some of the sumps are known to connect and other parts of adjacent systems are quite close.  In contrast to many of the North Pennine System, this area shows considerable maturity and the missing links are being rigorously sought.

The Rains Came.  The mega-aqueous conditions leading to the recent rescue of S.M.C.C. and B.E.C. members from Penyghent Pot were, according to the people concerned, not predictable from the prevailing weather or from the forecast.  The usual sensational and highly inaccurate newspaper accounts made what was merely a difficult situation appear to have been one in which the precipitants were lucky to have survived.  The subsequent appearance on television of a representative from each club did something to counteract this, however.  If, on the diving of the terminal sump had been rather more protracted, the party would have been caught down the system and things would have been more difficult. The press were, oddly enough, not informed of this.  An account of this trip is to appear in a later B.B.

Mendip

St. Cuthbert’s II.  Attempts to push the lower end of the Whitsun Extensions have met with solid rock everywhere and have been abandoned.  The soak away in Sump I has been dug, but difficulties with flooding and with undermining the pipes have halted this work.  All the holes in the roof of the lower part of the streamway have been maypoled, but nothing has been found.  Digging at the side of Sump II has also been unsuccessful, and it looks as though a big operation will be necessary to pass this obstacle.  Robert (Dam Builder) Craig is already thinking about this.

Banwell Stalagmite Cave.  This is the latest of the widespread Mendip discoveries to be reported.  While looking round at the end of the stalagmite cave, Chris Richard of the Axbridge Caving Group climbed in an open passage which led directly to a large undiscovered chamber some hundred feet long! Other passages lead off, including routes to a further chamber with a lake about sixty feet O.D.  The first cavity – Greta Chamber – is stated to be the largest on Western Mendip.  The cave is at present closed because of work on the M5 motorway.  (A.C.G. & A.,S. Newsletter dated, July 1970).

Climbing

The climbing section has just had a week in North Wales.  Several hard routes were done despite the atrocious weather.  One car was written off.

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

Have YOU been on holiday yet?

Done anything interesting?

Climbed mountains?

Been down unusual caves?

Write to the B.B., about it if you have.

If not, write to the B.B. about anything else.


 

St. Cuthbert’s Two

The extended elevation and plan of Cuthbert’s II on this page are designed to illustrate the report on Cuthbert’s II which appeared in the last issue of the B.B.

The scale is 40 feet to the inch, and the grading of the original survey from which these drawings have been taken is listed as C.R.G. grade 6c.

The reason for the two parts of the aural connection being shown as some distance apart on the elevation is due to the fact that bends are ‘pulled out’ on an extended elevation. Reference to the plan will make this point clear.

 

 

 

Nominations

In Accordance with the club constitution, members are requested to put forward their nominees for the 1970 – 1971 committee.

As in recent years, no actual forms for this purpose are being sent to members, since the actual number of nominations does no make it worthwhile providing the paper out of club funds.  All you have to do is to decide who you will like to see as a candidate for the next committee.  FIND OUT FROM HIM (OR HER) WHETHER HE OR SHE WILL BE PREPARED TO SERVE ON THE COMMITTEE IF ELECTED, and write on a suitable piece of paper ‘I nominate………….as a candidate for election to the committee and state that he is willing to serve if elected.’ Then SIGN the paper and put down your membership number if you can remember it.

Members of the present committee do not require to be nominated.  They are automatically nominated provided that they are willing to stand for election again.  The members of the present committee are Bob Bagshaw; Norman Petty; Pete Franklin; Alfie Collins; Dick Wickens; ‘Fred’ Atkins; John Riley; Tim Hodgson and of course Alan Thomas.  At the time of printing, it is not known whether all of these are prepared to stand for election again but, whether they do or not, they do not require nomination.

Remember that, if insufficient people are nominated, there will be no election for the committee and you, as a member of this club, will have lost YOUR chance to choose people that you would like to see running the club on your behalf.

Nominations should be given or sent to the Hon. Sec. Alan Thomas whose address is ALLEN’S HOUSE, PRIDDY, WELLS, SOMERSET.

The closing date for nomination is Saturday, September 5th and the date of the A.G.M. is Saturday October 3rd.

A final suggestion. Why not put up for the committee yourself?  You can easily persuade somebody to nominate you.  No seconder is needed, but the person who nominates you MUST be a club member. Come and help us run the B.E.C.!

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

This appeal for nominations takes the place of ‘Just a Sec’ for this month.  The Hon. Sec. is at present away on holiday.


 

At The Belfry

During May and June, we entertained Crawley Caving Club (twice) and Surrey University, the total number of bed nights 217.  This was not bad considering the fact that we were very short mattress.  This problem has now been partly overcome thanks to a donation of six mattresses from a friend of Martin Bishop’s.  As well as mattresses, we still need cutlery, tables and chairs so, if you’ve any you want to get rid of, bring them along to the Belfry.

The traditional B.E.C. barbecue was resurrected this year and was held on the 27th June, the traditional Saturday closest to Midsummer’s day.  It was not all that well attended, mainly because of the short notice.  The people who did attend, however, thoroughly enjoyed themselves in true B.E.C. fashion.  Thanks are due to Pete and Mary Ham for the organising and the food, and to B. Wilton, Esq. for the fire.

Various jobs are in the process of being completed in the Belfry, and Jok has constructed a magnificent banqueting table which has to be seen to be believed.  So, within a few weeks, we will be fully equipped and operational BUT all the facilities like the new showers, lighting and plumbing will be wasted if we have nobody staying at the hut.  If you intend to go caving on a Sunday, why not stay at the hut on the Saturday night?

Swinsto / Kingsdale

by Roy Bennett

Although it is stated to be the ambition of many cavers to traverse a cave system from sink to resurgence the number of places where this can be done are very few.  The Swinsto-Kingsdale trip is, as near as makes no difference, one such and had the descent of a succession of pitches which do not have to be re-climbed.  To sample these delights, the usual B.E.C./Shepton party consisting of Bob Craig and Mehew, Martin Mills, Pete Bowler, Alan Butcher, Tim Large and myself forgathered on May 30th at Kingsdale.

The equipment consisted of three ropes of various lengths; assorted climbing gear as an insurance against poor route finding, and of course personal abseiling gear (karabiners and slings).

To begin, Bennett and Large were sent into the valley entrance to ladder the twenty foot pitch out of the master cave.  The party then walked to what Bob Mehew was certain was the right entrance, and started on the low first section to the first pitch.  The descent then proceeded with the rapidity of the description in Pennine Underground with the leaders leaving ropes on each pitch, while the rearguard de-tackled behind the party and pushed the ropes up to the front. The existing belays were used on all except one pitch, where a short sling was abandoned.  Ease of rope retrieval was checked at each pitch by the last man before descent, and no difficulties were encountered.  The bottom of Swinsto was soon reached, leaving only the blurred memory of pitches rushing by and a few other bits in between. The correct low passage to the master cave was then located and the party stopped for brief refreshment at the banks of the stream.  The stop did not last long, as the smoker’s weeds had got rather wet, and the atmosphere remained unpolluted.

Most of the upstream section of the master cave was then looked at and found to be disappointingly low, deserving the name of master cave only in functional sense. Downstream things improved rapidly and a fine stream passage began – only to end after a fairly short distance at the ladder and terminal sump.  Milch free climbed this pitch, finding the top rather awkward, while the rest used the ladder which proved a wise precaution.  The party then went out through the rather mucky passages and canals to the entrance.  Time of trip – three hours.  The day was rounded off by doing all the possible routes in Yordas Cave – including a fine eighty foot abseil.


 

Caving With The Lid Off !

1. Pennine Beck Walking

The other week, I went along with the Craven Pothole Club to Meregill.  The sky was clear and it was arm and sunny, but alas, the mere at the entrance was full and the duck impassable.  Thinner members of the party managed with some effort to penetrate the narrow slit entrance nearby.  I boasted of my ability to get through tight bits, but my ego was shattered and after a lot of puffing and swearing, I got out of the hole in disgust.  I was wet and muddy and sweating heavily.  Three other blokes had similar experiences. One of them, Ken Chappel – an extremely energetic bloke in his mid-thirties – suggested that we went for a beck walk.  “What the hell’s that?,” I exclaimed.  “Ah!,” said Ken, “Your miserable ignorance of northern ways shows itself again!” and I was duly transported to the scene.

Has anyone walked by the waterfalls near Ingleton?  I remember one wet day over Whitsun spent sightseeing with Alan Thomas and I thought on that occasion what a wonderfully sporting cave the river would have made if it only been roofed over.  Now, we had had quite a lot of rain and the river was much fuller than usual.  I was advised to keep helmet and boots on.  We also took a rope and set off to the head of the falls.  You just waddle into the water and let the current take you.  You can swim – float – do what you like.  The current takes you along.  We roped up going down the long drops but just jumped into the white water on the short ones.  Incidentally, if you’re not a swimmer, don’t try this sport because it can be pretty tiring and some becks run through narrow gorges where the current is very swift and the water very deep.

What an outrageous way travel a couple of miles!  It was quite fantastic and a very interesting twist on caving.  It has something in common with white water canoeing as well. Don’t be surprised if it catches on in a big way, and you see PENNINE BECK WALKS (Dalesman, Clapham) on the bookstalls before long.  Why not have a go?

Bob Cross

2. Highland Burn Walking

About the second time I went to the Scottish Highlands, I had occasion to stop the car on a lonely stretch of road for the usual reason.  Being a naturally modest character, I went a few yards away from the road to avoid offending any passers by.  Luckily, I was looking where I was going at the time, because I quite suddenly came to the edge of a most fantastic gorge.  It was some forty or fifty feet deep, but almost narrow enough to jump. The sides were completely vertical, and at the bottom a healthy stream ran over small pitches and amongst boulders. I thought to myself that this was a cave with all the attributes of a cave except darkness.  Once down, there would be no climbing out until the trip had been completed.  Unfortunately, I was chauffeuring some weegies around the highlands at the time, and so was not able to put the idea into practice.  Equally unfortunately, I omitted to note the exact spot where I found my gorge.

This summer, Sett, Janet, their small son Julian, Sett’s brother ‘Tich,’ Sally and myself found ourselves up in the highlands again.  I had mentally put burn walking on my programme.  The weather was against us in two ways – it was extremely wet while we were there, thus making long journeys to get to likely spots very uncomfortable unless one was prepared to take a complete change of clothing along and on the other hand, it had been extremely dry a month before we arrived, thus ensuring that most of the burns were dried up.  To give an example, the river Urquart was completely dry, without even a small puddle to show that it is normally a respectable sized river.

Some burn walking was, however, carried out.  There is a fine stream which you can start by a bridge on the north side of Loch Garry and which leads you upwards via an extremely fine set of waterfalls for a mile or so.  All the pitches are climbable without tackle but beware of the dreaded Scottish moss which covers some of the rocks.  Even when apparently dry, it remains the most slippery substance know to man!

A two mile scramble along the river Moriston followed this, and then we set out to find my gorge. Friends told me it was probably the Corrieshallock Gorge I had found on my previous trip, so off we went the ninety odd miles to investigate.  The weather was absolutely vile – wet and very cold with a howling wind.  Needless to say, it proved to be the wrong gorge but even so, well worth a visit.  It is over two hundred feet deep and has been formed by the cutting back of the falls of Measach.  There is a weegee path around the top which is surprisingly dicey in wet weather and a mini suspension bridge from the centre of which you can see the bottom of the gorge and also the falls.  As a caver it would be very hazardous owing to the amount of rock falls, one might get into difficulties from the authorities – it is owned by the Scottish National Trust.  The rest of the day was spent hunting – without success – for my previous gorge.

From this little experience, I can thoroughly recommend burn walking and an interesting variant of caving. If anybody wants to try it and have a go at finding the missing gorge, I can only supply the route I took on the first occasion.  It must be somewhere along this route!

“Alfie”


 

Solution to Crossword No.1

C

A

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C

A

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E

+

E

+

+

E

+

V

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N

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V

T

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A

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E

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T

I

E

I

+

+

+

N

+

R

+

R

N

I

F

E

+

T

Y

R

E

M

+

I

+

A

+

+

+

S

I

N

N

+

V

O

M

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T

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+

A

+

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+

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L

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Y

Monthly Crossword – Number 2.

1

 

2

 

 

3

4

 

5

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

12

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

 

 

ACROSS:

1. This becomes easier to do though the whole without age (4).   3. Possessed by judge or B.E.C. (1,3).   7. Not remembered in St. Cuthbert’s (9).  8. Still host in practice (3).  9. Has entrails in Cuthbert’s (3).  13. Glad ‘er did this cave extension (6,3).   14. Protection or guidance device (4).   15. Place in Clifton (4).

DOWN:

1. Reverse loop above Cuthbert’s (4).   2. Not only a village is this, but all the local caves (3-6).   4. A.C.D.G. trip late in the weekend? (3,6).   5. See 6 down (4).   6. If this 5 down’s, we’re in! (3).   10. Lots on Mendip (4).   11. Pole in Bristol and on Mendip? (3).   12. A bon viveur not in Somerset? (3).

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

Stencils completed 4th August 1970.

Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas. Allens House, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Hon. Editor: - S.J. Collins, Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol

Editorial

Black Mark

In general, the reports from the club officers reflect the praiseworthy efforts of the many members who have given so freely of their time and money to help the club to recover from last year’s disaster.  It thus seems a pity to read in the Hon. Treasure’s report that ‘there are far too many subscriptions outstanding’.  Appeals to pay subscriptions appear regularly in the B.B. – Chairmen at the A.G.M. have pointed out in no uncertain terms that the days when it was ‘fashionable’ to delay paying subs are dead and gone.  In this column, it has been said that the least that any member could do for his club, if he was not able to supply materials, time or donations, would be to pay his or her subscription promptly.  For many months, the club has been literally balanced on a financial knife edge.  Thanks to the generosity of some members and the hard work put in by others; this has now been overcome – no thanks to those who have ignored every appeal to their corporate spirit.  It would not be surprising if the Committee next year decided on a ‘get tough’ policy towards those members who have done nothing to deserve the benefits which others have worked for on their behalf.

A.G.M.

Elsewhere in this B.B. will be found details of the A.G.M. and Dinner.  Please make an effort to attend the meeting as well as the dinner. Your advice, comments, criticism or praise could have an important bearing on the way our club is run in future.

“Alfie”

1970 A.G.M.

The 1970 Annual general meeting will be held on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3RD at the SEVEN STARS and will commence at 2PM.

Application has been made for a special licence to cover the meeting.

For the benefit of members not normally in Bristol, the Seven Stars is in THOMAS STREET which is just around the back of the Robinson Building.  This building is the large, square tower block just by Bristol Bridge.

The Seven Stars will, of course, be open from normal opening time on the Saturday, so that members who arrive early can obtain a drink while waiting for the meeting to begin.

DON’T FORGET! – SEVEN STARS – THOMAS STREET, BRISTOL – OCTOBER 3rd at 2pm.

And Dinner

The 1970 Annual General Meeting will be followed by the Twenty First Annual Dinner of the Bristol Exploration Club, which will be held at WOOKEY HOLE CAVE RESTAURANT at 7.00 for 7.30pm.  Attractions should include a free barrel of tartan and some sort of entertainment in the B.E.C. tradition.

PRICE 25/- “The Dinners which starts off the Mendip Social Season.”  Applications as soon as possible with money to Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.

Note:    Tickets are never issued for the B.E.C. Dinner. Bookings and money are taken by Bob Bagshaw and your name on his list gets you in.  Don’t miss the dinner this year!  Only 25/-


 

Hut Wardens Report

The main thing that has influenced the job of Hut Warden this year is that for more than half of the time we have had no Belfry for anyone to be Hut Warden of, and in consequence, quite a few people who used to stay at the hut have got used to not staying. Now we have the hut more or less finished, the long and complicated job of luring the people back to stay at the hut for weekends has begun, and at last the bed night figures are beginning to improve.

In the sixteen weeks since the official opening on May the ninth, there have been 417 bed nights of which 91 were by guests; the total takings were nearly £80.0.0  This, in my opinion, is a good start considering the conditions under which we have operated up till now and represents a yearly bed nights total of 1,355.

However, when you realise that over half this total has been made up by the guests and by two club members, it shows that we urgently need more members staying at the Belfry regularly if we are to present a good total which reflects steady use of our new building.

The fixtures and fittings are being completed slowly, and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all the people, and in particular Prew and Doug, for all the work that has been and is being done.

I would like to conclude by saying that the job of running the hut at this time is a fairly complex one and one which takes some time getting used to.  Still, things are improving and the next year should see a great change in the fortunes of the Belfry and the B.E.C.

Pete Franklin, Hut Warden

Caving Sec’s Report

The burning of the Belfry had a severe effect on the club’s caving activities, which is only just beginning to be balanced by the completion of the new Belfry.  A mixture of lack of accommodation and cold weather apathy resulted in a very small nucleus of regular cavers during the winter months, and it was probably only the Cuthbert’s digging and the discovery of Cuthbert’s II that kept us recognisable as a caving club.

However, that small nucleus of regular cavers during the winter months, in partnership with S.M.C.C. members, has been very active throughout the year, both on Mendip and in other areas.  The by now traditional ‘Tuesday night Digging Team’s’ trips to Yorkshire have been regular and successful.  General club meets, however have not flourished.  Most people who wanted to go northern caving went ‘off on their own bat’ and when a Derbyshire trip was organised by myself, no one wanted to go.  We have therefore not had a complete success in terms of organised club meets, and to have not bothered to organise others, but in the event of members wanting them and being prepared to attend, the next Caving Secretary may be inclined to do so.

We have not so far had a practice in St. Cuthbert’s, but I hope to rectify this in September.  A very necessary activity in view of the caving ability of a minority of the people who go on tourist trips in spite of the ‘no novices’ rule.

R. Wickens, Hon. Caving Secretary

Belfry Engineers Report

The Committee decided soon after the last A.G.M. that the club had sufficient funds to contemplate building the new Belfry without the help of a government grant, and building was commenced by Fred Owen without delay.  Meanwhile, a few stalwart members roughed it in the old stone hut, and regular midweek caving took place from the Shepton Hut.  We are indebted to Pat Ifold for his help and advice during the construction of the new building, which was more or less completed by the end of March.  Walt’s new track was in operation when the building started, and a cattle grid was put in at the Belfry entrance.

With the new building handed over, work really started and Alfie fixed up temporary lights so that work could continue during midweek evenings.  Wednesday was set up as a working night and all the old bunks salvaged from the fire reclaimed and installed.  All the walls and ceilings were painted with emulsion paint and the floor treated with sealer.

Prew Albert and Doug agreed to take charge of the plumbing and wiring, and the work is now well under way with all the showers installed and working, but not supplied with hot water as yet until the electrical system is completed.  The showers will be operated from separate coin boxes.

Petty Precision Products installed a marvellous working top along two walls and this has two sinks included in it.  Jok Orr constructed a beautiful indestructible Belfry table which has been admired by all.  A great deal of time and effort has been out in during the past year, and the club is indebted to many other than those mentioned above, who turned up faithfully on Wednesday evenings, particularly in the yearly part of the year.  There is still plenty to be done, but in twelve months we have a fine new hut which is undoubtedly the finest on Mendip.

John Riley, Hon. Belfry Engineer.


 

Financial Statement for the Year to the thirty first of July 1970

Subscriptions

 

 

£ 236.17.6

Seven Stars Levy

 

 

£   28.12.0

Sales:

Carbide

£  2.  4.6

 

 

Car Badges

£  2.12.6

 

 

Ties

£  3.12.0

£     8. 9. 0

Post Office Savings Bank Interest

 

 

£   14.10.11

Annual Dinner:

Receipts

£  179.  1.0

 

 

Less Costs

£  177.19.0

£      1. 2. 0

Refund of cost of Swildons Door

 

 

£      6. 0. 2

Stop the Watch:

Receipts

£   113. 6.8

 

 

Less Costs

£    47.18.7

£    68. 8. 1

Claims on insurance:

Building

£1,149

 

 

Contents

£   183.12.3

£1,332.12.3

New Belfry Fund

Donations

 

£   635.16.7

Loan

 

 

£100

Interest on Deposit account

 

 

£     35.  3.2

Sale of Barn

 

 

£120

 

 

 

£2,584.11.8

DEFICIT FOR THE YEAR

 

 

£   670. 2. 2

 

 

 

£3,254.13.10

 

Belfry

Building

 

£3,074


Plumbing

£40

£  28.12.0


Electrics

£   41.15.9

 


Expenses

£ 127.19.6

 


 

 

£ 209.15.3

 


 

Less Receipts

£ 170.11.0

£   39. 4. 3


Spelaeodes

Costs

£     3.12.0

 


 

Less Receipts

£   46.  6.7

£   11.17.1


Other publications, stationery etc.

 

£   54.16.11

 


B.B. Postage

£   33.11.11


 

 

£   88. 8.10

 


Less sales

£   43.15. 9

£    44.13.1


General postages and stationery

 

 

£    13. 2. 5


Tackle:

Expenditure

£     8.15.9

 


 

Less fees

£     7. 3. 6

£      1.12. 5


Public liability insurance

 

 

£    26. 2. 0


Income Tax

 

£    20. 2. 0


British Mountaineering Council

(two years)

£      5.10.0


Library

 

£      7. 7. 0


Sundries

 

£    10.13.9


 

 

 

£3,254.13.10



Total Club Monies @ 31.7.69

 

 

£1,265.18.11


Less I.D.M.F. accumulated income

to 31.7.69

£     30. 8. 8


GENERAL ACCUMULATED

FUNDS @  31.7.69

 

£1,235.10.3



Less deficit for the year

 

 

£   670. 2. 2


GENERAL ACCUMULATED

FUNDS @  31.7.70

 

£   565. 8. 1


I.D.M.F. accumulated income to

31.7.70

£     30.17.8


 

 

 

£   596. 5. 9



Post Office Savings Bank Deposit

 

 

£   174. 9.10


Lloyds Bank Ltd Deposit Account

£   366. 3. 4


Cash in hand

£     55.12 7


 

 

 

£   596. 5. 9


 

NEW BELFRY FUND

In hand @ 31.7.69

 

 

£1,162. 0. 9

Donations:

Banker’s Orders

£164

 

 

Others

£471.16.7

£  635.16.7

Loan

 

 

£100

Interest to 30.6.70

£    35. 3. 2

Half Annual Subscriptions

£  118. 8. 9

Half Belfry Dues

£    85. 5. 6

Insurance Claim

£1,149

 

 

 

£3,285.14.9

Payments to builder on account

£3,074

BALANCE IN HAND

 

 

£   211.14.9

 

IAN DEAR MEMORIAL FUND

Accumulated income to 31.7.69

 

 

£   30. 8. 8

Interest on £310 5½% National

Development Bonds

£   17. 1. 0

 

 

 

£   47. 9. 8

Income tax

£     6.12.0

Grant from Fund

£10

Accumulated Income @ 31.7.70

£    30.17.8

 

 

 

£    47. 9. 8

Treasurers Report

As you will see from the Financial statement, the Ian Dear memorial Fund is now show separately from the general club funds.  This was the only change which I considered necessary to show the New Belfry Fund as a separate item in future, but if the necessary information is forthcoming, grater detail might be show for publications.

As regards the New Belfry Fund, although there is a balance of £211-11-9 in hand, a further payment of £160 is due to the builder, and a loan of £100 should be repaid.  The balance can, however, easily be taken from Pete Franklin’s “Stop the Watch” surplus.

The amount received in subscriptions is inflated by three life memberships and one joint life membership. There are, however, still far too many outstanding subscriptions.  Although one of the reasons for increasing the annual subscription form 22/6 to 25/- was to help raise money for the new Belfry, I do not think it appropriate to consider making a reduction at least until the club has a reasonable reserve. By that time, no doubt rising process will mean that the rate of 25/- will have to be maintained.  I think, however, that the levy at the Seven Stars might be dropped.  Its collection does give rise to criticism, even if most of it is habitually good natured.

The generous donations to the New Belfry Fund included Swiss Francs; German DM and Canadian Dollars. I have already mentioned some of the outstanding payments since the date of the accounts; I have paid a further £25 towards the plumbing.  There will be further expenses on finishing the interior of the building and also possibly for surfacing the car park.  In addition, although we are insured, our brokers have not yet been paid.

We have sufficient money to cover out foreseeable expenses, a position which I must regard as satisfactory after spending over £3,000 in the year.  Thank you all for your support.

R.J. Bagshaw, Hon. Treasurer


 

Monthly Notes Number 35

by “Ben”

St. Cuthbert’s Sump II

Over the last month or so, the B.E.C./S.M.C.C. digging team has been able to make some progress at this sump, which has been showing the same odd tendency to leak as Sump I. Cutting off the stream flow by, means of the Gour Hall dam causes the water level to drop slowly, permitting access to the first twenty feet or so of the sump.  This was horizontal, ending in a small bell where the water filled part continues choked and steeply descending.  John Palmer  penetrated this  latter  section for an estimated further twenty feet, but found no way on during his original dive. Much, material has already been dug out, to give room to work at the end, but more recently the sump refused to drain.  The team are now considering building g a concrete dam and resorting to bailing to enable the work to go on.  Anyone who would like to come along would be welcome.  Meet at the Belfry any Tuesday evening at 6 – 6.30pm.  There are also weekend trips.

B.E.C. Exhibition.

This has been much delayed for various reasons, and certain items are still required.  Will anyone with good quality black and white negatives of St. Cuthbert’s which they could lend, please contact Mike Palmer.

Little Neath River Cave

Because of the high risk of being flooded in this system, the U.B.S.S. have installed an emergency flood dump in Genesis Gallery.  This is fifty feet from the far end of Pebble Crawl which leaves the Main Streamway at the top of the mound of debris three hundred feet downstream from Junction Chamber on the right bank.  There is drinking water nearby.  The following advice is offered: - Never descend in rain; when rain is forecast or if the river is high enough to flow under the bridge in any quantity.  If caught by rising water inside; attempt to leave the cave if near the entrance (Tributary Passage; Canal; Mud Hall).  If in the Main Stream passage, attempt to leave the cave via the Canal Bypass, and remain in Genesis Gallery if this is not possible.  Do not remain in the main streamway below Bouncing Boulder Hall.  Inform the U.B.S.S. if food has been used and take adequate supplies down in any case.

Bats.

According to ‘Descent’, rabies has been found in bats in Europe and could spread to Britain.  Anyone bitten by a bat is advised to obtain immediate medical attention.

News from Austria

By Alan Thomas

Our friends in the Landesverein fur Hohlenbunde have discovered a new cave at Feichter which is approximately a kilometre north of the Raucher-bar system.  It is situated at about 1600 metres altitude and is so far 100 metres long, and it terminates in a six metre pot.  They are sure that this is not the end and many bones have been found in it.  The Raucher-bar system’s surveyed length is now 16 kilometres, 200 metres incidentally!

This summer, a party of eight Austrians and twelve Poles have spent fourteen days in the Gruberhornhole near Saltzburg.  Because of its extreme depth they are abseiling and prussiking.

Last Ditch

We felt that the following extract from the ‘Last Ditch’ by David Lampe which was published in 1968 and dealt with the time when Britain faced the prospect of imminent invasion, would be of interest.  The extract is from page 37 of that book….

‘In December 1940, the Ministry of Works began to have second thoughts about the Aberystwyth hiding place.  If the Germans occupied Eire, would they not land in Wales?  With this in mind, a number of British Museum’s most treasured exhibits were transferred to uninhabited Skipton Castle in Yorkshire; two stately homes – Northwick Park, Gloucestershire and Haigh Hall, Lancashire and to a Tudor house in Warwickshire.  At the same time, caves in a disused quarry near Bristol, which for some years had been used for the growing of mushrooms, were fitted with air conditioning units and shelves by the Ministry of Works so that they too could be used as a hiding place, primarily for treasures from then British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.  The precise location of the quarry, which provided altogether some 25,000 square feet of floor space, is still a secret because it could, officials say, be used again for the same purpose.’

This quarry was also used as a storage place by the following institutions: - Aberdeen University; The Society of Antiquaries; The Athenaeum; The British School at Athens; All Hallows Church, Barking; The Bodlean Library, Oxford; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; The Colonial Office; Corpus Christ College, Cambridge; The Egypt Exploration Society; Exeter Cathedral; The Free French Government; The Museum of National Antiquities; Glasgow University; Gloucester Museum; Hereford Cathedral; The Imperial War Museum; Lambeth Palace Library; Litchfield Cathedral; The Guildhall, London; Maidstone Public Library; The National Portrait Gallery; Rochester cathedral; The Royal Academy; Salisbury cathedral; Somerset House; Stonyhurst College; University College, London; The Welcome Medical museum; Westminster Abbey; Winchester cathedral.  In addition, various objects owned by the Ministry or Works also went into the quarry.  Many other museums, churches and art galleries had hidden places of their own which they still prefer not to disclose.

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Keep saying this to yourself: -   SATURDAY OCTOBER THE THIRD.    2PM.   SEVEN STARS.     JUST

BEHIND THE ROBINSON BUILDING BY BRISTOL BRIDGE,    THOMAS STREET    2PM     A.G.M. 

EXTENSION APPLIED FOR. 

7 FOR 7.30PM.   WOOKEY HOLE RESTAURANT.  ANNUAL DINNER  FREE BEER.  PANTOMIME.

ONLY 25/-.    APPLY TO BOB BAGSHAW.   

SATURDAY OCTOBER THE THIRD.    A.G.M. 2PM.  SEVEN STARS.


 

The Altra Trail

By Dave Irwin

The Sequoia National Park in California is situated some two hundred miles north of Los Angeles. The Sequoia lies just south of the magnificent King’s Canyon that forms a large part of the Sierra Nevada, which ranges from the famous Yosemite (pronounced Yo-sem-it-e) National Park on the north and the Tehachapi Mountains on the south.  The Sequoia National Park is the home of the famous Californian Redwood or big tree (Sequoia Gigantica).

Having visited the parks during July and wondered at the enormous size of the redwoods – the largest, the ‘General Sherman’ has a base diameter of 36 feet and the tapering trunk rises to a height of over two hundred and thirty feet with the foliage mainly in its upper reaches.  At a height of one hundred and forty feet, the trunk of the tree is still over fourteen feet in diameter!    Being the true Weegee, yours truly bought a small handbook of the area and found that only a very small portion of this national park was accessible by car and that ‘trails’ could be followed to the inner regions.  The longest is the High Sierra combined with the John Muir trails which have a total length of a hundred and sixty miles and include the summit of Mount Witney the highest peak in the U.S.A.  (How about the one in Alaska? – Ed.)  For a one day excursion, this was obviously out, but the Alta Trail looked interesting.  Now to find somebody to accompany me.  As it happened, a Frenchman working in the Anglo-French Concorde team in California was a keen walker and so he agreed to join in.

Thus, on Saturday the twenty second of August, we arrived late in the evening and bedded down in a small log cabin in the heart of the Sequoia forest.  Awake at 6am and having breakfasted by 7.30am we set off for the Sherman Tree two miles down the road and on to the start of the trail.  At 8.30, we reached the Alta Trail starting point.  The path ran steeply uphill for the first three miles through the forest. Here and there were the massive sequoia trees, some singly and some in groups of six or more, their orange trunks contrasting with the general background greenery.  As we climbed higher, the character of the forest changed. Fewer redwoods were to be seen and the Sugar Pine and Lodgepole Pine abounded.  Clearings were passed with the brilliant greens dotted with yellow alpine flowers.  Nearly at the top of the first ridge we were able to view the westerly range of the sierra and able also to look down on the giant forest some two thousand feet below us. The next mile of so was fairly easy going except that the dust trail never altered its character, causing a dust cloud behind each of us.  After two hours and four miles from the forest, we reached Panther Gap and an impressive view of the Great Western Divide lay before us.  Some five thousand feet below lay the Keaweah Valley winding its way westward into the plains of California.

Having taken our fill of the view, we pressed on upwards and, leaving the forest, the trail winds up above Panther Creek basin for the next two or three miles until it plunges down into a red fir forest near Mehrten Meadow.  Shortly after, that alpine meadow was reached at a height of ten thousand five hundred feet.  The meadow – a sloping spread of grass and lupine (a purple flower of the lupin family) lay near the parting of the ways.  The Alta Peak (eleven thousand, two hundred feet) was our goal – but could we find the junction?  Could we h---!  Distances being what they are, we had travelled another four miles and ended up in a very large meadow – the Altar Meadow, but it was worth it.  Here, less than three miles from the Great Western Divide, a high granite massif rose up from the valley in a series of high glacier basins – the whole producing a ripple effect along the western face. Just above the near peaks could be seen the scraggy Mount Witney (fourteen thousand, four hundred and ninety five feet) bare of snow except for a few small ice fields.

Having missed the trail to the Alta Peak only seven hundred feet above the meadow, we began the long slog back to the forest.  However, we were rewarded with a sight of five deer – two stage, two hinds and a spotty fawn.  The antics of the little ground squirrels kept our humour up and the magnificent views were reward enough for our efforts.  The only thing wrong with the day was the temperature – about ninety Fahrenheit in the shade! And no Hunters to take care of our thirst.  However, seeing nobody during the twenty odd miles walk gave us heart that there were still un-commercialised places in the States and at 4.30pm we were back in the restaurant sinking numerous milk shakes.

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FOR SALE:  Climbing boots and crampons – virtually new and unused – size 9.  Offers to Graham Watts, 100 Chesterfield Road, St. Andrews, Bristol 6.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 4.

1

 

 

2

 

 

3

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

10

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

1. Describes vertical or collapse of caver’s  moral (5,2)
5. Chamber or rift in Longwood (5)
7. Little Virginia medicinal draught type of cave formation (6)
9. Diphthong in caving word (2)
10. Sounds like endless pub (2)
11. Up and down this in caves.  Up this and down this beheaded in children’s game (6)
13. Reverse 12 and add three points colloquially thick (5)
14. The rats cave Mendip (7)

Down:

2. Desired cave with muddled doctor (6)
3. 22/7  2240 climbing aid (5)
4. Reciprocal Spelaeodes (7)
5. Rag Lyle for something associated with the other partner.  There are two in G.B. (7)
6. Thanks! (2)
8. Credit muddled caver’s shortest route (6)
9. Staid horizontal workings (5)
12. Little journal arranger (2)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword

G

O

U

R

 

S

H

O

W

A

 

 

U

 

M

 

 

I

R

 

 

S

A

C

 

 

R

B

A

T

H

 

C

A

V

E

 

 

A

 

 

 

G

 

 

A

I

R

S

 

L

E

E

R

D

 

 

T

W

O

 

 

I

I

 

 

A

 

N

 

 

F

T

O

O

L

 

G

R

I

T

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Stencils prepared 15.9.70

Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas. Allens House, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Hon. Editor: - S.J. Collins, Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol

Editorial

Once more, we approach the time of the year when the Annual General Meeting takes place and the B.B. becomes full of minutes of meetings, reports from the various club officers and all the other paraphernalia of the A.G.M.  This makes the B.B. bigger but duller.

However, we make no apology for the amount of space taken up at this time of the year with affairs connected with the running of the club.  The B.E.C. takes some pride in the fact that every single member is given the fullest opportunity to take some part in deciding the way in which his club should be run and the only way to ensure that every member is in a position to do this, is to keep each member as fully informed as possible on all that has been done.

The Committee this year has been faced with the task of getting the new Belfry built and fitted out, and this has naturally taken a lot if its time.  During the next year, it faces the equally difficult job of finding the best way to run the new Belfry for the benefit of all club members.  We hope that some members will feel that they could lend an active hand to this process by standing for the committee. If this is not possible, then a member can still help to run the club by turning up at the A.G.M. with his ideas, suggestions or criticisms or by letter the committee know what his feelings about any aspect of the way the club is run, are.

Notices

Has anyone got any spare GLOSS PAINT?  Small amounts are wanted for the doors inside the Belfry.  Any reasonable colour will be considered.  Have a look through your junk cupboard and see if you can help. Please give pint – sorry, PAINT to John Riley.

SINGLE BED MATTRESSES are also wanted for the Belfry.  If you have one that’s going spare, bring it up to the Belfry.  If no suitable transport, let PETE FRANKLIN know about it, and he will arrange for it to be taken up to Mendip.

The ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING and DINNER of the B.E.C. will be held on Saturday, October 3rd this year. Make a note to keep this day free. All details will be found in next month’s B.B.  Don’t forget the date.

If you have any points to raise from last year’s minutes or from any of the Club Officer’s reports, KEEP THIS AND THE NEXT B.B. for reference.


 

Minutes of the 1969 A.G.M.

Editor’s Note:    The minutes of Annual general Meetings are fairly lengthy affairs.  In past years, some fair amount of valuable time has been taken up with the chairman of the meeting reading the minutes and even then, the average members will be lucky if he can remember just what they said.    For the last two years, the minutes have been ‘taken as read’ by one member volunteering to read them and finding out if there was anything in them which members would like to be reminded of.  Now that we print as many of the officer’s reports as we can get hold of before the A.G.M., so that all members cab see them and be able to raise questions if necessary; it seems sensible to do the same for the actual minutes, so that the chairman of this year’s meeting can, if he so wishes, assume that all members have read the minutes.

The 1969 Annual General meeting of the Bristol Exploration Club was held at The Old Duke on Saturday, 4th October and opened at 10.30am with the Secretary calling for the election of a chairman.  It was proposed by Alfie and seconded by Sybil that ‘Sett’ be elected chairman. This was carried without dissent.

The Chairman then called for ballot papers and for member’s resolutions.  He then asked for names for the three tellers.  Joan Bennett, Tony Meadon and Maureen were suggested by the meeting.  Joan said that she would rather not act as teller as she wished to attend the whole meeting.  Garth volunteered in her place and this was accepted by the Chairman.

The Chairman said that all the club officer’s reports had appeared in the B.B. with the exception of the Hut Wardens report.  He suggested that the Hut Warden give his report and that this be followed by questions if necessary.  ‘Kangy’ asked the Chairman whether this was the first report to be dealt with. Normally reports are given starting with the Hon. Sec., the Hon. Treasurer, and the Caving and Climbing Secretaries before the Hut Warden’s report.  The Chairman said this was true, but there was nothing to prevent him starting with the Hut Warden.

The Hut Warden, Phil Townsend, said that he had no actual report prepared but that he was prepared to answer questions from the floor of the meeting.  Alfie said that tales about the way the Belfry had lately been run had caused him mush concern.  As an ex Hut Warden, he was appalled by the fact that there appeared to be no proper records being kept, and instanced the fact that Sybil owed the Belfry six schillings but there was no record of her having stayed there.  Sybil agreed that she could have easily kept quiet about her stay and wondered how many people had, in fact, and just done this.  She gave the sum owing to the Hon. Treasurer. Peter Franklin said that he had taken it upon himself to make up a Belfry book as there were no books at the Belfry into which to enter debts.  This book had been in action for the two weeks preceding the fire and as far as he knew, it was the only source of recording.  John Ifold said that one always had a system of taking names at the Belfry and it was essential to have such a system.  The Chairman said that this was true.  Alfie said that it was symptomatic that no figures of bed-nights had been published for the last two years.  How could one know whether the Belfry was full or not if there were no records?  Later on in this meeting, we would have to decide what to do about getting ourselves a new Belfry, but we were going to have to work in the dark if we couldn’t even say how much the present building was being used or how much the receipts from it ought to be in a year.  Pete Franklin agreed and that he had stayed up for a whole week and nobody appeared interested whether he paid or not.  Alan Thomas said that in the absence of a Hut Warden, the senior member present should be responsible for the Belfry and that Pete should therefore have acted as his own Hut Warden for his stay.  The Chairman said that when he was Hut Warden, he was present for about fifty weeks in each the year and he made very definite arrangements for the other two. Dave Irwin said that this discussion was a bad reflection on the Belfry regulars, who should have been sufficiently responsible to have kept the records going.  He said that we could do well without members who stay at the Belfry and then attempt to get out without paying their dues.  The chairman said he thought many members would not volunteer their dues, but they will pay quite easily if someone makes the effort to collect the money.  Alan said that, in fairness to the Hut Warden, he had the job wished upon him and had stated at the time that he would not be able to get to Mendip regularly.

Sybil asked whether the Committee had realised what was happening.  The Committee Chairman, Dave Irwin, said that it had been agreed to drop the regular monthly reports of club officers at committee meetings, and it was not until May or June that the state of affairs was realised in committee.  He said that members must communicate with the committee if they thought that anything was going wrong.  Alan said that the Committee had tried various solutions. A Belfry regular was co-opted, but he then moved away from Mendip.  The Chairman asked if anyone thought that we were short of a significant sum of money as a result of there being no record.  The Hut Warden said that there was no need for a record.  This raised a general shout of protest to which the Hut Warden replied that if members were not prepared to do the job themselves, they should shut up.   Dave Irwin said that a committee member should be prepared to whatever is necessary. The Chairman replied that he did not go as far as this but would rule that if any committee member takes on a job, then he must do it properly.  Dave Irwin said that if a member was not prepared to do whatever the job the Committee asked him to do; he should not stand for the Committee.  The Chairman said he could not agree with this as it was generally recognised that many people stand for the Committee with a particular job in mind.  For example, we all know that Bob is no longer prepared to be Hon. Sec.  If members elect him, knowing this, it would be high unreasonable for the Committee to expect him to do the job. Alan Thomas agreed with this and said that not all committee members were qualified to do any job on the Committee. Mike Luckwill said that we have had some excellent Hut Wardens in the past but we cannot expect that any Hut Warden will necessary act as they did.

A general discussion followed on methods of Hut Wardening, but eventually Kangy proposed that we should continue the system that we have used in the past.  This was generally agreed to by the meeting without a formal vote. Bob Bagshaw suggested that the meeting adopt a Hut Warden’s Report with a rider that the Committee shall ensure an effective Hut Warden bearing in mind the comments of this meeting.  This was seconded by Pete Franklin who said that he thought that we had lost much money in lost hut fees which we needed badly. He said that any Hut Warden must have an effective paperwork system.  The proposal to adopt the report with the rider was then put to the meeting. About three quarters of those present were in favour.

The Chairman then proceeded to the B.B. Editor’s Report as the only other club officer’s report which had not been previously published.  Dave Irwin then gave his report (attached).  Bob Bagshaw asked why the report had not been published.  Dave said that the B.B. Editor is not officially an officer of the club.  The adoption of the report was proposed by Bryan and seconded by Kangy.  It was accepted unanimously.  Alfie then proposed a vote of thanks to the retiring Editor, this was seconded by Dave Turner and carried unanimously with cheers.

Dave Searle then read his report at Hon. Librarian (attached).  The report was adopted nem. com. after having been proposed by John Ransom and seconded by Alfie.  Dave Irwin then read the report on behalf of the Caving Publications, since Gordon was not present.  Dave Turner asked what the typewriter was for which the club had bought for caving publications and where was it?  Dave said that Gordon had it and that it was used for typing the caving reports.

The Chairman then asked if all other reports could be taken as read.  This was agreed.  He then called for questions arising from these reports, which had all appeared in the B.B.  Results of this were as follows: -

Hon. Sec’s Report.  Adoption without questions proposed by Alfie and seconded by Phil Townsend.  Carried nem.com.

Caving Secretary’s Report.  Kangy asked whether the Caving Secretary anticipated the Ian Dear Memorial Fund being used during the coming year.  Dave said that no one would know the answer to this until next March. Adoption proposed by Dave Smith and seconded by Mike Luckwill.  Carried nem.com.

Hut Engineer’s Report.  John said that his report was wrongly dated in the B.B.  It was written on the 18.8.69 not 18.9.69 as stated.  Joan Bennett said that the club should thank John for all the work he has put in.  This was seconded by Dave Irwin and carried unanimously.  John said that, after the fire, he had concentrated on making the tackle store watertight and that this had now been done.  The old shower had been removed and three bunks installed.  Water had been connected and electricity would soon be in again.  The report was adopted nem. com.  After being proposed by Dave Irwin and seconded by Alan Kennett.

Tacklemaster’s Report.  Dave Irwin proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Garth and carried nem.com.

The Chairman asked why there was no report from the Climbing Secretary.  Dave said that at present there was no Climbing Secretary.

Hon. Treasurer’s Report.  Dave Irwin asked why the National Development Bonds and the Ian Dear Memorial Fund were in the accounts.  Bob replied that it was the easiest way in which the accounts could be presented.  This was the first time that the Ian Dear Memorial Fund had been used and there was no real need to have them separate.  Dave asked whether we were going to re-invest the I.D.M.F. but Bob replied that the time was not appropriate to change this investment. Bob pointed out that he gave total the club monies, but that the Ian Dear Memorial Fund should not be regarded as money but an asset.  On a question about income tax, Bob agreed that the whole question wanted looking into, to which Joan Bennett replied ‘Hear, Hear!’  Dave Irwin said that he had spoken to Tim Reynolds who was prepared to advise Bob.  The Chairman asked whether the new Belfry fund was an asset.  Bob replied that the total monies do not include assets but do include the new Belfry fund.  Joan Bennett said that there were two points that were misleading.  Caving Publications appeared to have made a loss of £38, but the publications report said that they were doing very well. Dave Irwin explained that the discrepancy between these two points was due to the accounts closing on 31.7.69. Since then, Bob has received more money and the loss to date is actually £8 which includes all publications including the B.B. and its postage.

The Chairman commented that the B.B. could well make a loss which could be offset against subscriptions, and the fact that it is now virtually self supporting is extremely good. Alan Thomas said that he thought it was an excellent achievement and supposed that this would be reflected in next year’s accounts.  Joan Bennett then raised the problem of the Belfry account.  This shows a profit of £3.19.0 on the Belfry, but £36 has been transferred so the Belfry has made a loss of over £30.  There is no breakdown of the figures, so members do not know how this loss was built up.  Joan said that it would be difficult to work out the finance of a new Belfry if we do not know how we are running the present one.  Sett, replying to this, said that in his time as Hut Warden, the details were always accounted for, but not separated out in the financial account. Dave Irwin said that the Belfry, in fact, had made a considerable loss during the year and the accounts should reflect this in an obvious manner.  Bob said this was difficulty to know how much detail to show in the accounts.  Since they were closed he had received £60 in Belfry income and bills for about £30 expenditure, the bills, the loss is therefore not a great as it would appear.  The main items of expenditure were Coke (£24); Solicitor’s costs (£8.10.0); Fire Insurance (£11); and Gas (£10).  There was also about £10 for repairs.  John had been in the middle of redecorating when the fire broke out. Mike Luckwill proposed that the report be adopted buts asks the Hon. Treasurer to do his best to present the accounts in a manner more suited to the higher financial status of the club. This was seconded by Phil Townsend and carried nem.com.

The Chairman the read out the results of the ballot for the 1969 – 1970 Committee.  Voting was, R.J. Bagshaw (56); Dave Irwin (56); Norman Petty (55); Alan Thomas (53); Alfie (52); John Riley (43); Jok Orr (40); Mike Luckwill (37) and Pete Franklin (23).  He declared the above to the new committee.  The remainder of the voting was Mike Palmer (19); Gordon Tilly (19); ‘Fred’ Atwell (19) and Phil Townsend (15).

The Chairman then took member’s resolutions.  The first, proposed by Dave Irwin was that ‘The St. Cuthbert’s leader system be opened to every club having adequate insurance cover’.  Dave explained that while this resolution would open the leader system to include the whole country, rather than the six Mendip clubs as at present, leaders would still have to go through the usual procedure before being admitted as leaders.  Tony Johnson asked how adequate insurance was to be decided.  The Chairman said that he imagined that the leader’s meeting and the general committee would investigate any prospective leaders.  Mike Palmer said that he felt insurance should be adequately defined.  On the other hand, all guests of the club were covered by the club’s insurance. After some discussion, the Chairman said that the Committee must decide on what is adequate.  Alfie agreed with this, but suggested that the Committee should obtain professional advice.  This was generally agreed.  Tony Johnson wondered whether all cavers really counted as guests of the club for insurance purposes.  Dave Irwin then resolved that the Committee look into the problems of insurance and the extension fro the Cuthbert’s system next year.  This was seconded by Jill, and carried.  The original proposal was not voted on as it had not been seconded.

The second proposal was from the retiring committee.  ‘That the new constitution be adopted with the exception of article 85 which should be replaced by a new article 85 as drafted by Digger Harris.  Alfie proposed an amendment that ‘his or hers’ should be removed since the preamble of the constitution already covers this point. This amendment was seconded and passed nem.com.  The vote on the amended proposal was carried with one dissenter.

Another Committee resolution proposed that the words ‘that the accounts must be audited before presentation’ be added to Article 78.  Dave Smith asked how much this would cost.  Joan Bennett said she thought about £20.  The Chairman asked if we were willing to risk having to pay this sum annually.  Pete Franklin said that in his rugby club, two members were elected every year to audit the accounts.  If a similar system were adopted in the B.E.C., the audit would not cost anything. Tony Johnson then proposed that the resolution read ‘that the accounts must be audited by two members of the club not being members of the Committee.’  This was seconded b y Pete Franklin and carried with one against.

Roy Bennett and Kangy proposed that Article 58 be amended to include the B.B. Editor.  Mike Luckwill said that the Committee could always co-opt the Editor if desired and thus the resolution was unnecessary.  Roy said that the B.B. Editor must be on the Committee by right and Kangy said that the B.B. Editor was third in importance amongst the officers of the club and thus should be on the Committee.  Dave Smith said that at any rate, the Editor should be at all Committee meetings.  Tony Johnson said that if the Editor was not a member of the Committee, then he should be co-opted as a non-voting member.  Roger Stenner said the subject was best left loose and Alfie agreed on the basis that the club should not build up a set of rules round the Editor of the B.B.  Mike Luckwill reminded the meeting that any member of the club can attend a Committee meeting, and this would apply to an Editor who was not on the club committee.  Alan Thomas said that the Committee already had powers to deal with situations like this as it thought best and specific proposal was therefore not necessary.  There was some further discussion in which Kangy made the point that the position of the B.B. Editor was anomalous; Alfie said that this was deliberately so and a good thing; Tim Hodgson said that the Editor should always be impartial. Finally, Tony Johnson proposed that ‘the Editor of the B.B., if not a full member of the Committee, be automatically co-opted as a non-voting member’.  This was seconded by Roger Stenner and carried 26 to 13.  A ruling from the chair was given that there was now no point in voting for the original proposal.

There being no other points, the Chairman then asked for a vote on the acceptance of the constitution. Phil Townsend said that the new constitution was unnecessary and the club should not allow it to go through. The Chairman ruled the point out of order, since the proposal to be voted on was already whether to accept or reject the constitution.  Mike Luckwill said that he sympathised with Phil’s feelings, but assured that a constitution of this type really was necessary at this stage of the club’s progress. Garth asked if he could go on record as stating that the new constitution is too large a subject to be debated upon now.  Alan said that every member had had an opportunity to read it.  The Chairman said that this was so.  He had allowed some debate to go on because he realised that this was an important subject, but he would have been within his rights to have asked for  straight vote without debate, subject of course, to proper amendments.  Roy Bennett said that we could always amend the new constitution if necessary and proposed that a vote of thanks to Alfie for the work he had put in drafting the document.  This was seconded by Sybil and carried unanimously.  A vote on the acceptance of the constitution was then carried 32-2.

The next resolution was by Mike Luckwill, seconded by Andy Macgregor, ‘That this club deplores the proliferation of national and Regional bodies concerned with caving.’  It was carried 40-4.

The Chairman then declared a break for lunch.

The afternoon session was devoted to the problem of replacing the Belfry.  Members present at the meeting had been circulated with a broadsheet prepared by Alfie (as Long Term Planning officer) called ‘After the Fire?’ (attached).  The Chairman invited Alfie to give a fuller description of the great situation.  He said that it seemed that our grant was not going to materialise.  The Chairman said that this was a good background, but that we had better forget the grant or any possibility of it.

Two proposals were before the meeting, prepared by the 1969 Committee, reinforced by other members of the club.  Those were….

“Provided that the Committee is satisfied that the club has received a sufficient sum from the insurance and from further donations to a minimum of £600; it proceeds forthwith with the erection of the building as agreed at the 1967 Annual General Meeting.”

Alternatively, a special Committee shall be set up with the following terms of reference:

‘To examine the situation resulting from the fire and to produce a proposal for the future accommodation of the B.E.C. bearing in mind the best interests of the club in both the short and long term.  This Committee is instructed to publish its findings in writing to all club members by a date no later than the ……of….1970 and to arrange their proposal to lie within the financial limits as determined at the time by the 1970 committee.’

A long discussion followed and subsequently by Tony Johnson proposed that the above be taken as two separate proposals.  This was seconded by Pete Franklin and carried nem.com.

The first of these proposals was then discussed, voted upon and carried nem.com.

The second proposal, with the date of the first of April inserted, was voted upon and carried 28-2.

The meeting then went on to discuss money, and a proposal by Tim Hodgson seconded by Alan Kennett to use the Ian Dear Memorial Fund as a temporary measure was carried 19-18.  In view of the heated arguments for and against, and the closeness of the vote, the chairman called for a re-count.  This time the voting was 20-20.  The Chairman then used his casting vote in favour of using the fund provided that interest was paid on borrowing it and that all other provisions of the fund were paid.

The meeting closed by Mike Luckwill reporting to the Chairman that he had been though the minutes of last year’s meeting and that there was nothing to be brought up.  The Chairman declared that meeting closed after the minutes had been adopted, at 3pm.

S.J. Collins
Minutes Secretary


 

August Committee Meeting

At the July meeting of the Committee, some of the later stages of the Belfry fitting out were still on the agenda.  A few items are still needed as gifts from members.

The treasurer reported that matters were now sufficiently in hand for the financing of the Belfry, that he was stopping his monthly report to the Committee.  The arrangements for the dinner were put in hand, and a scheme for the car park was suggested.  Methods of producing the new constitution were being looked into and other matters dealt with included the provision of space at the Belfry for M.R.O. gear and the progress of the B.E.C., exhibition at the Bristol Museum.

Tackle Masters Report

During the past year, we have lost or mislaid four ladders.  Two of these are twenty feet standard type ladders; one is a ten feet standard ladder and the fourth is one of the ultra weight ladders.

The total tackle at present is as follows: -

16 standard twenty foot ladders.
6 lightweight twenty foot ladders.
1 standard ten foot ladder.
11 ultra weight twenty foot ladders.
4 lightweight fifty foot ladders.
7 karabiners.
1600 feet of lifelines.
20 tethers of assorted lengths.


 

The Gouffre of Coume Ferrat

by R.S. (‘Kangy’) King
(Our man in France)

Many fine descriptions of cave exploration abroad have to remain unread until a suitable translation appears.  Since this is the time of the year when B.E.C. members get their annual chance to visit foreign caves, it seems appropriate to publish this translation by one of our members.  It is a summary of an historical account by Georges Jauzion, taken from the XIV and XV volumes of the Societie Meridional de Speleologie et de Prehistoire.

Between the valley of the Ley and the Garonne are the limestone massifs of Gars-Carir; Palournere; Montreich, Lestelas and Castesegui.  The last two are in the community of Balagueres near St. Giroins, which contains the Coume Ferrat – the fourth or fifth deepest pitch in the world.

In 1957, two Balague men told the Societe Meriodional de Speleologie et de Prehistorie of the existence of a hole, and on the 26th August of that year, a team went to investigate.  Dropped stones, which whirred as they reached terminal velocity, revealed an impressive pitch which was confirmed by a cord of 180 metres (590 feet) not touching the bottom.

The first attempt was made on the 29th June, 1958 when G. Hengl descended to a ledge at 128 metres (420 feet).  Though physically fit and naturally strong, the ascent – made practically without the aid of a rope which had become wrapped round the ladder – shattered him. It was a completely free pitch, and he reported that the shaft continued.

This nerve racking experience led them to decide that a better winch, using wire to reduce friction, should be made for the sake of safety.  It was not until the spring of 1965 that the new ladders and the winch became available and the second attempt was made.  This occurred on the 4th of July, 1965.

The entrance passage is rectangular in section, about 30 metres (98 feet) long and sloping so that the end is about 15 metres (49 feet) below the entrance level.  Just before the big pitch is a little chamber with roughly parallel walls.  After this is a narrow passage dropping down into the hole, while above this passage is a higher ledge which now has cemented are four rawlbolts for securing the winch.  A rotting tree trunk CAN STILL BE SEEN.  This was used to hold the pulley and telephone wire for the initial attempts.

R. Vennet went down first and got to the 128 metres (420ft) ledge in twenty minutes.  He was followed by Georges Jauzion, who describes his experience as follows….’I was in an immense cylinder of some hundred feet diameter with walls covered in old stal eroded by falling water.  From time to time, a stalagmite loomed out of the dark. For a hundred and eighty feet, the ladder hangs near the rock but below that, it hangs well clear and there is a tremendous feeling of exposure.  Looking up, I could see the top far away lit by light from the winch ledge.  Looking down it was more impressive with Venet’s light reflected on the wet walls like a little star.  The ladders disappeared in the darkness below my feet.  With the tension of the cable which supported my weight, I could have believed I was floating in space.’

He arrived at last on the ledge, touching the walls for the last thirty feet.  The lower ledge was made entirely of stalagmite which had been later eroded by the action of the waterfall.  A fall of six feet in thickness forms the edge of the second shaft. Twenty feet lower is a ledge with ample room.  This staging point is, in effect, a horizontal stalagmite floor of about thirty feet diameter with its central part eroded by the falling water – leaving a collar attached to the shaft.  Half of this collar is too narrow to traverse, the rest forms the ledge.

The trip finished by sounding the lower part of the pitch and establishing that is was greater than a hundred and fifty feet and also planning the placements of the ladders. The new winch almost eliminated the fatigue of climbing 420 feet to the surface, which was accomplished in about quarter of an hour.

The third attempt was made on the 18th of July.  In order to conserve effort and materials it was decided to use the first ladder for the second pitch as well.  This was done by lowering the ladder on the end of the winch wire.  When the ladder had been fixed, a three hundred foot rope was attached to the winch wire and then pulled up to the ledge by the winch. Jauzion then attached himself to the lower end of this rope and started to descend the second pitch.  A telephone proved essential to co-ordinate all these movements.

At about a hundred and ten feet below the edge, Jauzion stopped to look at the view.  While straining to see the bottom, he noticed that one of the ‘C’ links on a ladder had come adrift below him.  Common sense compelled him to give the signal to ascend. Once back on the ledge, it was found that the ladder was hooked up on a rough section of wall and could not be pulled up.  The solution was to hang the top end of the ladder on the winch wire and let it swing free into the centre of the shaft.  This confirmed that the whole of the shaft could be a free pitch.

Having confirmed that the Coume Ferrat was something like the fourth deepest vertical in the world, tactics were changed somewhat.  An extra four hundred and fifty feet of wire was provisioned and three men descended to the ledge on the 26th September.  Bolts were inserted to hold the ladder and to safeguard Jauzion.  For the first hundred feet until, the slack was taken up in the four hundred and fifty feet of wire, a rope was used.  This was tied to the rung of a ladder to await the return.  A ledge was reached at six hundred and sixty eight feet and the bottom at seven hundred and sixteen feet.  A long passage led northward and a further downwards to finish in a level floor of small boulders and a vertical wall, above which could be seen a possible widening.  Near the ladder was seen a steep slope under a huge rock.  This proved too difficult to climb solo.

Fifth and sixth descents were made which sorted out most of the known cave and paved the way for the big expedition of 1966.

The spectacular feature of this expedition was the success of a large and efficient motorised winch which enable cavers to descend the complete shaft in about twenty minutes. In spite of the big effort made, no important continuations were found apart from a shaft of sixty feet with a small stream at the bottom.


 

B. B. Editor's Report

This has been an extremely difficult year for the B.B.  It started on a note of tragedy with the loss of Mike Luckwill, who was to have been the new Editor.  Mike had great plans for the B.B. but these, alas, have been lost with him.

Luckily, Dave Irwin had retained most of the contacts necessary for an Editor, and it was possible to route all the stuff which  Dave still received straight to me.    However, the next snag to hit the B.B. was a lack of printing time, due to the demands made on John Riley by his work in fitting out the Belfry.  This was finally sorted out by Barry Wilton volunteered to do this job, but, almost as soon as we had overcome this difficulty, a chronic shortage of material prevented the B.B. from catching up.  As if this was not enough, Dave Irwin, on whom the B.B. could always rely for caving material, left for the States and it has only been recently possible to bring out the B.B. at somewhere vaguely close to its publication date.

Under these circumstances, there has been little opportunity to do anything in the way of improving the B.B. – it has been hard enough just to keep it going.  As far as any sort of policy has been formulated, it is one of having a number of regular features to form the ‘backbone’, with articles on caving, climbing etc. making up the rest of the bulk.  The lack of a definite date for each B.B. has meant that some of these regular features such as ‘Just a Sec’; ‘Monthly Notes’ and the newer ‘At the Belfry’ have not appeared regularly, but it is hoped that next year they will do so, and be joined by a regular climbing feature and the rest. Once we have got back to a regular monthly B.B., these features can be calculated at each committee meeting, ensuring a regular B.B. in the future.

Nevertheless, the B.B. does not only want to be written by a few people turning out these monthly features. The rest is, as always, up to you. One or two club members, and at the risk of offending others we must single out ‘Kangy’ as the star performer over many years, turns out a regular stream of good and useful material. Other club members of many years standing in the club regrettably have yet to write their first word for the B.B.

As I see it, the coming club year, and the calendar 1971, will see the 25th volume of the B.B. of the B.B.  This should be a year in which the shape of the B.B. can become firmly established. In January 1972, the B.B. will have reached its Silver Jubilee and, if by then we have a regular B,B, with a healthy number of contributors n- both to its regular features and to its main and shorter articles, letters, etc. – then the club might well consider celebrating the event by looking into the economics of a better printing process. This should, perhaps, be looked into during the coming club year in case the B.B. manages to deserve it by 1972!

S.J. Collins, Hon. Editor.

Hon Sec’s Report

The replacement of the Belfry must loom largely in any report this year.  Once the mandate was given by the 1969 A.G.M. to go ahead with the new building, and the committee was satisfied that sufficient funds would be forthcoming; it was not long before work commenced.  The club now has a headquarters of which it can be justly proud – built entirely from its own resources.

Our relations with other clubs have been good throughout the year.  The Wessex offered us accommodation whilst we had no Belfry (as indeed we had done for them many years ago when they lost their Beechbarrow H.Q.) and so did the Shepton.  In return, we have informed them that their members may stay at the new Belfry at member’s rates.  The barn which we owned on the other side of the depression has been sold to the S.M.C.C. who plan to turn it into their headquarters.  We wish them every success.

Regarding ownership of property in the immediate vicinity of the Belfry, there is one item which is sub judice but which I hope to be able to report at the A.G.M.

The strength of the committee was tragically reduced by the death of Mike Luckwill.  Arrangements had been made for him to take over the editorship of the B.B.  During the year, we also found that Jok Orr had to resign owing to his moving away from the district and Dave Irwin also went to the States.  Dick Wickens was co-opted as Caving Secretary and Graham Attwell as Climbing Secretary.

I have answered many enquiries for membership during the year, a large proportion of them than usual for climbers.  There has been a tendency for the caver applications to come from mature cavers and not novices.

On the closure of the ‘Waggon and Horses’, the Thursday meeting place has been successfully transferred to the ‘Seven Stars’ in Thomas Lane.

As I began with the Belfry, may I conclude by thanking everyone who has contributed effort or money in the past year to make it possible for the B.E.C. to have what it has always had – the finest club headquarters on Mendip.

Alan Thomas, Hon. Secretary, B.E.C.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 3.

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ACROSS:

1. Proceed to an ancient city for this cave formation (4)
3 and 8. Cows have a profitable hole (4,4)
5. The last half that goes on your back (3)
6. City Mendip Swallet (4)
10. Hopefully not delicate underground (4)
12. Old Mendip void (4)
14. Stoke and Swildons this are old, Cuthbert’s new (3)
15. Found in cave digs too late (4)
16. Traditional landing material (4)

DOWN:

1. Describes wet suits; goon suits, etc. (4)
2. This up this from Farrington to Chewton (4)
3. Associated with T (1,1,1,1)
4 and 13. Write ‘Fir’ in Cuthbert’s (4,4)
7. Hall in Hilliers (3)
9. Cave route without mountain route (3)
10. Working sounds like a colloquial write-off (4)
11. 1 across is a form of this (4)
12. Wood, Chamber and Hole (4)

Solution To Number 2

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Stencils completed 21st August 1970

Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas. Allens House, Townsend, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Hon. Editor: - S.J. Collins, Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol

Editorial

Out Of The Red

A year ago, after the A.G.M., some of us thought that it would be possible to raise enough money to get the new Belfry built – although possibly at the cost of driving the club into debt for many years.  Even the most optimistic people thought that the club was in for a few years financial stringency.  The idea that, within a year it would not only be paid for, but that there would be a small surplus would have been dismissed as quite incredible.

At the A.G.M. just over, questioners were told that, after paying completely for the new building including paying back all the loans, the club had a surplus of about two hundred pounds. A formal vote of thanks to the Treasurer was deflected by him to include all those who had helped to produce this happy state of affairs.  Without in any way being smug about it, we have cause to congratulate ourselves and each other on this fine achievement.

The End of The Sixpence

Whatever happens nationally to the sixpence, our own Thursday sixpence that Bob has wrung from us for so many years at club bow ceases to be extracted.  The new club committee has implemented Bob’s suggestion (see Hon. Treasurer’s Report) that it should be dropped.  When it was first introduced to help club funds, it bought half a pint of bitter.  Now it buys considerably less.  Still, we shall miss trying to avoid paying it in the future!

“Alfie”

A hundred and fifty seven people were counted at the club dinner by the management of the Wookey Hole Restaurant.  The Hon. Treasurer’s books count a hundred and fifty two as having paid.  If you are one of the missing five people, please get in tough with Bob and settle up with him.  The alternative is for us to have tickets printed next year, which are bound to add to the cost of the dinner.

Club Officers

Club officers and committee members as at present elected are as follows: -

Members of Committee

R. Bagshaw; S. Collins; N. Petty; A. Thomas; P. Franklin; R. Wickens; T. Large; T. Hodgson and P. Ham.

Club Officers

Committee Chairman, A. Collins; Hon. Sec, Alan Thomas; Caving Sec, T. Large; Hon. Treasurer, R. Bagshaw; Hut Warden, P. Franklin; Tacklemaster, N. Petty; Belfry Engineer, P. Ham;   Minutes Sec, R. Wickens;   B.B. Editor, S. Collins; B.B. Printer; B. Wilton; B.B. Postal Dept, J & V Ransom; Editor Caving Publications, G. Tilly;     Caving Publications Sales, B. Ellis;     Hon. Librarian, D. Searle.


 

Penyghent Pot

by Martin Huaun

One can almost hear the groans!  But wait! Read on!  Saturday, 27th of June saw a party of nine B.E.C., Shepton and Grampian members preparing to descend a somewhat well known hole.      Those in the party were A. Jefferies, B. Craig, B. Cross, B. Mahew, B. Woodward (what a lot of B’s – Ed.) M. Webster, M. Huaun and T. Large.  The sight of nine naked bodies leaping over the fells would surely corrupt anyone’s mind, but to those more acquainted with caver’s way, it would not be an uncommon event – they would realise that it was a certain group of hard men trying to keep their feet dry!

An advance party comprising A. Jefferies, R. Bennett, B. Cross, and M. Huaun preceded the divers in an attempt to ladder the pot, so making delays as small as possible. However, the divers and sherpas caught the advance party up at the fourth pitch,  From here on, one just slid down the rifts leaving someone else to ladder it.  At the sump, M. Webster and B. Woodward kitted up.  Webster won the toss and was given the privilege of diving first. After a couple of minutes, Martin returned saying it was still going.  Brian dived next, but the diving had to stop owing to some faulty equipment. The divers then packed up, and R. Bennett; B. Craig and A. Jefferies proceeded out carrying the bottles (diver’s – not alcoholic!)

Then the floods came.

Flood waters first hit Bennett and Co. in the Main Chamber.  They hit the other party a couple of minuses later below the sixth pitch. We first became aware of the rise in water level when a bewildered B. Cross and M. Huaun failed to locate a climb up. No wonder!  The climb, which had been dry on the way in, was now a roaring Niagara.  The pitch turned out to be very aqueous.  Once out of this, we found a large ledge where we could have a rest and no sooner had we sat down than the main flood waters arrived in a peaty brown tidal wave. The hours were helped along by various verses from ‘We are the exploration club’ and ‘I am a music man.’ The credit for the last feat must go to Bob cross.  Mind you, at the end we weren’t sure which was worst – the floods or Bob’s singing. When the waters first arrived, a marker stone had been placed in a cull-de-sac so that we could tell if the waters were rising or not.  Every now and then, someone would go and have a look at the next pitch to see what it was like.

After some hours of waiting, it was noticed that the waters were going down, but by looking at the marker stone, we could detect no change.  No wonder!  For the last couple of hours we had been staring at a pool!  As we set out, we met some C.R.O. blokes above the fifth pitch. With the extra sherpas, the journey out was a lot quicker.  Some of the pitches proved to be very interesting.  Coming through the canal, one could not fail to see the foam compressed against the roof.  All of us were out by 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning and so ended 13 hours of unforgettable caving.  Full credit must go to the C.R.O. blokes who turned out, fearing the worst.  The next morning we had a whip around and produced £10. This was doubled by the addition of Bennett’s and Craig’s fees for appearing on TV.


 

Expanded Polystyrene

If any members have supplies of this material – particularly in the form of apple boxes – could they please donate it to the Belfry, where it will be used for insulating the roof? Please bring any supplies to the Belfry and dump them in the loft.

Rescue Practice

There will be a full scale practice rescue from St. Cuthbert’s on DECEMBER 8TH.  Meet at the Belfry at 11am.  If you have not been on a practice before, please try to turn up, as it is a most useful and valuable experience.  If you have been on rescues before, please turn up and lend your expertise to the exercise.

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Although the B.B. is not too badly off for articles at present, it is the usual custom to print a bigger B.B. for Christmas.  This has to be planned well in advance to avoid putting too great a load on the B.B. staff.  PLEASE send in anything you might feel could be used for the Christmas B.B. as soon as you can.  Humorous articles etc. are accepted for this number.  Why not see if YOU can make us laugh?

Letter from the North

by Steve Grime

Editor’s Note:    This article was, in fact, written as a letter to the Editor, but it seems better presented in article form.  I hope that Steve will not mind my choice of title, as it seems to describe his various activities….

Some two years have passed since the last letter from the north hit the pages of the B.B. but I will try to contribute more regularly in the future.  In this letter, I will give just a brief resume of the events and go into some of them later in rather more detail as separate articles.

During April 1969, Mike Luckwill and I had our Easter meet in Scotland again.  After an early start from my house in Fife, we arrived in Glen Coe at 8 am and set off to do Deep Cut Chimney (five hundred feet of grade 3) on Codre nam Beith, but the seemingly unsupported tongue of ice protruding from it dissuaded us from starting up the thing.  This was very fortunate, as I later discovered that my super new Grivel ice axe was not sharpened.

On returning to the Glen, we decided to head for Skye, as I was keen to do the ridge – having been repulsed the previous September by lack of training and a broiling sun.  We arrived at Mallaig too late to catch the ferry, so we went and camped on the shores of Loch Morar – Scotland’s deepest loch whose maximum depth is 1,017 feet. It was very pleasant there and I can really recommend it to members with a couple of days to spare on a Scottish tour.

Clear blue skies above us as we finally pitched our tents in Glen Brittle on Monday morning and the whiled away the day with a mixed snow and rock ascent of Sgurr Alasdair by Collies Route (800 feet diff.) followed by a short excursion along the ridge and then a return to the glen by the Sgurr Alasdair snow chute.

That night, a bunch of guitar playing yobs from Edinburgh University kept us awake for hours.  The next day, we tried to blast a way to the ridge in the region of the Bhasteir tooth, but got hung up on a very steep series of iced up slabs and had to give up or we would have been benighted.  An exhilarating glissade – standing; sitting; rolling; in that order – took us down to the glen whence we hitched a lift back to the car.  The Slig ran out of draught that night, so we boozed in Portree in a spit; sawdust; darts and telly bar.

The next day, we left Glen Brittle in a hurry as rain had set in and I still hadn’t done the ridge.

Summer holiday, 1969 was rather unique as I spent a week with the wife, baby and dog strolling round Perthshire camping and pram pushing.

In September 1969, I managed to get the job up at this school and have done quite a lot of climbing since then.

During January this year, I spent ten days in the Cairngorms and had a hell of a hairy time skiing on frozen sastrugi-like stuff on planks with no edges!  We, my colleague and I, did all the four thousands on ski where possible, in twenty four hours; climbed steep wind slabs in gale force winds; got lost on the top of Cairn Lochlan and nearly took the headwall off Corrie Cas straight!  We also snow holed in Garbh Chaire and plopped off on Grade fours.

Apart from a couple of sallies in the Black Corries at Bein Bhan, five miles from my house, I didn’t do anything until mid February when I set off with one of my friends from London – one Terry MacManus from Glen Brittle – to have a go at a winter traverse. We managed a five hundred foot v. diff. but the ridge didn’t go as there was heavy powder snow on hard ice covering the rock.  Back at work in March, we managed to get to Skye with the boys and walked them into the Corries.  They were suitably impressed.  Since then, I have been strolling along at three thousand feet in an electrical storm shepherding fourteen year old Glasgow schoolgirls.  I have also been ‘caving with the lid off’ in semi-flood conditions as well as running before God knows what force winds in the boat – a thirty two foot dipping lag cutter and trying to push routes up the magnificent buttress of Coire Mhi Fearachear on Ben Eighe in Torridon.  This last is a mere hour by road and then a further one and a half hours walk from my house.  The other attractions round here are the Corries at Ben Bhan just an hour away and a magnificent rock buttress A’Cioch – a thousand feet and again, just an hour away. We have some Darness Limestone fifteen miles away and I think it might be worth investigating as I noticed a few resurgences when I was there in March but there was a heavy covering of snow so the sinks were less easy to spot.  We were snowed in for four months last winter by the way.

If anyone fancies a trip up here in winter – or any time for that matter – we will be very pleased to see them.  Just give us plenty of warning, as the nearest supermarket is eighty miles away in Inverness.


 

Caving Publications Report

This year has been a dormant one for publications; partly due to other activities at the Belfry, and partly because of my four month – now increased to six months stay in the U.S.A.  The manuscript for Roma Mines has now been edited an prepared for publication and should be in Gordon Tilly’s hands next week.  The Cuthbert’s Report is plodding along slowly – too slow for some; but Rabbit Warren, Rabbit Warren Ext, and at least two other parts are nearing publication stages.  Dr. Derek Ford promises to let us have the MSS for the geomorphology in the next few weeks.  Except for the water tracing and the flora and fauna, all other parts are being worked on by several people in the club.

Sales for the year have been down quite considerably on 1968-69 but the reason should be obvious to all – the lack of cavers at the Belfry site during the building period – particularly guests who are our greatest purchasers.

Since leaving England, Gordon Tilly has taken over the series, and I expect he will be able to answer any further questions.  It just leaves me to say that I hope this meeting is a good fiery one and that all enjoy a good dinner this evening.

Dave Irwin, Caving Publications Ed.

This report, and that received from the Hon. Librarian were both presented at the A.G.M. but were received too late for inclusion in last month’s B.B.  All that is wanted now is the report from the Climbing Secretary, which we hope to be able to print soon.  Latest news from “Wig” is that he expects to be back in time for Christmas. Editor.

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The Westland Caving and Rock Climbing Club have hired three French Caving films, one of which has an English commentary.  B.E.C. members are invited to attend if they so wish…at… Westland Sports Club, Westbourne Grove, YEOVIL, Somerset….on…Thursday, 12th November 1970…at…7.30 for 8pm.

Notice

Members who bought part one of the Spelaeodes may well be wondering when they are going to see parts two and three.  Owing to Dave Irwin’s sudden and enforced departure to the States on business, records of sales of the first part are not yet in, and the club committee could not thus see its way clear to authorise the production of the next part. However, an offer has been made to the club to print the spelaeodes commercially as a single volume including all the material which the club was going to print.  This offer has been accepted by the committee and members will be able to purchase the complete set after December 1st in George’s Bookshop, Bryants, etc.  Copies will be available to club members at some discount and the details will be announced later.  In view of this offer, it was felt that members would rather have the opportunity to buy the complete volume, which will have a colour cover, than carry on with the club’s scheme.

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Articles Response for the appeal for more articles has met with SOME success.  In particular, Steve Grimes has sent in some useful material.  We could do with more so that we can keep the B.B. up to date. How about it?


 

Second Tier Cave

by Bob White

High up Cheddar Gorge, along a thorny, grassy, ivy clad, slippery ledge – partially concealed by a small tree, is the new club discovery.

Originally found and investigated by Arthur Cullen and Derek Targett two years ago whilst looking for a new route, it recently became the subject for an enthusiastic digging team consisting of Zot, Pope and White.

Tools were taken up the chute below Reservoir hole and along the vegetated ledge, at times almost over the traffic and “souvenir souls” creeping up the road.

The original passage was only about ten feet long and the digging was easy in gravel except for the horizontal somewhat congested positioned at the face of the dig itself. Rocks and gravel were soon being moved out, and great care had to be taken to place this spoil safely on the cliff. This operation continued until a stout barrier of stal brought us to a halt and there was no space to lever against it.

The next day, Zot and Pope chemically removed this obstruction and the way into virgin territory was cleared.  While Zot widened the entrance to the small chamber beyond (to assist ‘Podgy’ to get out) the system was explored.  One rift to the left, through a loose tight squeeze (what a marvellous language English is - Ed.) seemed promising but became choked with some gravel, loose stal and same rocks as the rest of the cave.  The whole roof is solid, being fluted and scalloped in places showing vigorous water action which one would associate with larger caves.  This cave may well be very much larger, but, unfortunately for us, it has been filled almost to the roof with infill.  Recent small animal and bird bones are scattered over the cave, and one bat was seen to fly in.  The only other possible way on is an aven, which Derek climbed for ten feet but which closed in small inlets.  To find a cave having such strong indications of water flow, yet to be so solidly choked is disappointing but its an enjoyable dig with a view!

 

Editor’s Note:    The impression is given above that Derek was not in the digging team. This is due to the difficulty which the Editor had in deciphering the manuscript.  A plan of the cave will be found on the next page of this B.B.


 

Climbing Report

Editor’s Note:    With the publication of this report, all the Club Officers reports for the club year just ended are in the hands of club members generally.  At the last committee meeting, it was learned that ‘Fred’ Attwell is willing to continue as Climbing Secretary, and he has thus been co-opted to the committee in that capacity.

The Climbing Section of the club has grown during the past year, and now includes a good percentage of club members.

There have been many visits by the club to North Wales and to Cornwall with a few visits to other districts including the Lake District, the Gower and the Dorset Coast.  On weekends, many members have been climbing in the Avon Gorge and in the Wye Valley.  The Climbing Section also meets on the Avon Gorge during the summer months on Thursday evenings.

Climbing tackle obtained by the club during the year includes two Stubai ice axes and two sets of crampons.  Our thanks are due to Val Luckwill for donating one of these ice axes and the crampons to the club.

In addition, five guidebooks are on the Lake District, two on Cornwall and Lundy and the remaining one on the Gower Coast.

Special Notice to All Club Librarians, Archivists and the Like!!!

Owing to what can only be described as an unprecedented clanger, last December’s B.B. – No.261, was followed by the January B.B. – numbered 269!  This numbering with a blank of eight missing numbers has been continued since.  We are indebted to Mr. A.D. Oldham for pointing out this mistake to us.  Having thought about the matter, it has been decided that the only way to avoid creating even more confusion is to continue the wrong numbering.  The annoying thing is that the error crept in when changing over to a system designed to prevent this type of error occurring!  Please note, therefore, that NUMBERS 262 to 268 INCLUDED OF THE B.B. DO NOT; NEVER HAVE, AND NEVER WILL EXIST.  With regret, this must be added to the list of quaint and unusual facts of Mendip caving!


 

Monthly Notes Number 36

by ‘Ben’

From the Log

As well as multitudinous caving trips on Mendip and in South Wales, members have been pushing several sites on Mendip with varying success over the last month or so.  Most important of these is Second Tier Cave in Cheddar, where a dig in the short, pre-existing rock shelter has revealed a small chamber and about sixty feet of cave passage.  Work continues with good prospects of further extension.

Some digging has also been done in St. Cuthbert’s Rabbit Warren as well as some climbing in Pyrolusite Series.  The Tuesday evening diggers are at present sorting out Sump I and generally cleaning up the bottom of the cave.

Members also took part in trip to Swildons.  This included Cowsh Aven, where an eventual link with Priddy Green is hoped for, and a diving trip during which about fifty feet of passage was found in Swildons VI in addition to a possible bypass to Sump VII.  The latter party used air to exit through Sump IV which is now heavily silted and dangerous to free divers (i.e. – don’t).

North Hill Swallet.

This yielded thirty feet of caveable cave during September and the N.H.A.S.A. team are optimistic about further progress.

Cuthbert’s Leader’s Meeting.

This year’s Cuthbert’s Leader’s Meeting will be held on SUNDAY the 22ND of NOVEMBER at 2.30 at the Belfry.  This meeting controls most of the policy regarding Cuthbert’s so anyone interested in this cave should try to attend.

Practice Rescue.

The B.E.C. annual practice rescue has been arranged for 11am on Saturday, 5th of December.  Meet at the cave – St. Cuthbert’s.  Although the rescue will be used to try out new techniques and alternative routes, its main function is to familiarise as many people as possible with the actual job of moving an injured person through a cave. THIS INVALUABLE OPPORTUNITY TO PRACTICE ON A FIT PERSON WHO WILL POINT OUT ANY MISTAKES ETC. SHOULD NOT BE MISSED, so please turn up for this rescue if you possible can.

Notes on the A.G.M and Dinner

The Annual general meeting got off to a good start – almost exactly on time – in the main bar of the Seven Stars.  Business was very much simplified by having nearly all the club officer’s reports previously published in the B.B. and a full version of last year’s minutes. Business was also simplified by our not having and election for the committee although this cannot de said to be a good innovation and it is hoped that next year sees a keenly fought election again.

The Chairman (Sett) successfully untangled the Hon. Treasurer’s report for the benefit of those present, and it appears that we have a small cash surplus even allowing for the repayment of all outstanding debts and loans in connection with the new Belfry.  The remainder of the Club Officer’s reports aroused little comment and the meeting passed quietly and happily (beer was available right through the meeting from the bar) through the rest of its business.  One of the quietest A.G.M’s the B.E.C. has ever held.

The Annual Dinner followed at the Wookey Hole Cave Restaurant.  Speeches followed the usual pattern with a new joke from Alan (‘Absent Friends’) Thomas, together with a quip which got a mixed reception and a presentation in the tradition of the B.E.C. – this time a very fine stuffed fruit bat to the Hut Warden, the fruit bat being supplied by Norman and Jill Tuck. (History does not relate who stuffed it).  A newcomer to the B.E.C. speechmaking team this year was Zot, whose joke also got a big laugh.

The proceedings went on in B.E.C. fashion with the somewhat tight announcer described as a right pantomime called Puss in Boots or some similar title.  This was, on the whole, enjoyed by the audience and was produced by the team of last year’s ‘Oliver!’ fame – Peter Franklin and Alfie.  Some clever and original songs by Fred Wedlock closed the evening.  Not, perhaps, one of the really great vintage type B.E.C. dinners, but one which was well within the traditions of B.E.C. dinners.

Editor’s Note:    Members may like to know that the committee are making a provisional booking for the same venue next year.  If you have any great objections to going to Wookey again, please get in touch with Alan and provide CONSTRUCTIVE alternative suggestions.  We sit down nearly 160 people nowadays – so don’t suggest some cosy little restaurant!


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 5.          

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Across:

1. One can describe a caver’s state or his relationship with a tight squeeze (3)
4. Found in Club – a trade mark! (3)
6. Dear’s Cave? (5)
7. ‘Warm and 7 across and 1 down’ (3)
9. Member of B.A.C. cavers? (3)
11. Yet eel can provide light (9)
12. 10 across is no use without a pair of this (3)
14. Describes well know grotto (3)
16. Veer N?  Not ever in the case of Cuthbert’s (5)
17. Perches’s Pot? (3)
18. Unusual gathering (1,1,1)

Down:

1. See 7 across (3)
2. Attempt 3 points  (3)
3. Garden bottom hole? (5,4)
4. Caving body in Clubs Amalgamated (1,1,1)
5. Ours has 5 across (3)
8. Cuthbert’s boulders (5)
10. Breathe rapidly for this Welsh cave (5)
12. Go wrong in merry hearted manner (3)
13. Should come last (3)
14. Green on Mendip (3)
15. Mad reversal over Cuthbert’s sump (3)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword

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Stencils completed 3.1.70