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Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset.
Hut Warden: P.Townsend, 154 Syvlia Avenue, Bristol 3.
EDITOR:  D.J. Irwin. 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.

Annual General Meeting

Saturday October 5th at the OLD DUKE (in the upstairs room) 10.30am.

N.B.  The ‘Old Duke’ is opposite the Landogger Trow, Kings Street, Bristol.  Please make a mental note of the starting time, as agreed at last years A.G.M.  It was decided to start in the morning so that the important business of the day could be given the Club’s full attention and not having to be rushed as it used to be when the A.G.M. was held in the afternoon.  It has the additional advantage that members and their wives have a good time to get ready for the Annual Dinner in the evening.

Annual Dinner

will be held at the Wookey Hole Cave Restaurant Saturday October 4th at 7.30pm.  Tickets 25/- each – menu details in the August B.B.

Details of ‘Get you home’ transport will be given later.

Nominations for 1969 – 1970 Committee

Nominations for next years Committee must be in to Alan Thomas (address above) by September 6th 1969 at the latest.  As far as is known at the moment none of this years Committee is on the retirement list and so will be automatically nominated as per the Club Constitution.

Helmets for Sale

Plastic and texolex helmets are on sale at the Belfry.  None of the helmets have lamp brackets but this only means a simple job of adding one to the helmet shell.  Prices are 10/- (plastic) and 12/6 for the texolex.  See the Hut Warden for further details.  Only a limited supply.

Address Changes

Apologies to Sheila Paul for the inclusion of her old address after giving the Editor her new address…

Miss S. Paul, 6 Cricketers Close, Chessington, Surrey.
R. Price, 13 Heath End Road, Alsager, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs.
R. Cross, 41 Jarison Road, Shirley, Southampton.
J. Butler, 58 Tuthill St., Minster, Ramsgate, Kent.
Mr & Mrs J. Ransome, 21 Bradley Road, Patchway, Bristol.
J. Orr, The Red Lion, The Green, Wooburn Green, Nr. High Wycombe, Bucks.
F. Darbon, 444 Meinnis Ave., Fraserview Sub. Div., Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.


Monthly Notes No.25

by ‘Wig’

 ‘Doodles’?, I see no ‘Doodles’ ………..

O.F.D. 1 Survey is available again and is published by the C.R.G. at 5/- each.  These will shortly be available from Bryan Ellis.  It is also reported that the full survey of O.F.D. 1, 2 & 3 will be published sometime in the summer.  Further chats with S.W.C.C. members indicate that this publication which includes a description of the cave may never appear in print for several reasons and that most cavers can expect is that it will be circulated privately.  I sincerely hope that this is not the case when one considers that O.F.D. is one of the longest and certainly the deepest cave in the British Isles.

Next years C.R.G. Symposium said to be ‘Cave Surveying’.

Holluch System reported to have surveyed length of 103km!!!  Must now be the longest cave in the world – still wait until Cuthbert’s 2 is found!

Eastwater Reopened

Tony Jarrett (ACG) and others have worked their way into Eastwater Swallet.  The new entrance lies to the right of the original way in but soon regains the ruckle.  Reports say that the ruckle has not moved and that the old route with the white tape is still there.  However, one should take special precautions when moving through the ruckle.  Both routes to Boulder Chamber are blocked with boulders.  Mr Gibbons of Eastwater Farm intends to put a 2/6 entrance charge on all cavers entering the system.  Members wishing to visit the system should first call at the farm and ask permission to enter the cave.


Summary of the New Constitution

Copies of the new constitution that is to be put forward as a Committee proposal at the A.G.M. are available for inspection at the Belfry and the Waggon and Horses.  Anybody who wants to borrow a copy can get one by writing to me Alan Thomas (address  page 75).   Most people will be probably content with the following summary.

The original draft was prepared by ‘Alfie’ and has subsequently been amended by the Committee on the advice of ‘Digger’ Harris.

The Summary

1 – 3.  The Object of the Club is to do anything conducive to furthering the practices of caving, climbing and hill walking.  The assets of the Club shall only be devoted to its objects and no money may be paid to its members other than as bonafide remuneration.

4 – 17.  Anyone who wishes to support the objects of the Club may apply to the Committee for membership.  The Committee can only grant provisional membership and shall review all provisional memberships over one years standing each January.  Provision is also made for Junior Members and Joint Members.

It is necessary to be a member for five consecutive years before becoming a Life Member.  Provision is also made for the appointment of Honorary Life Members by the Club in General meeting.  In the case of a member being a minor his parents signature is required.

18 – 24.  Membership may be terminated by the Member giving notice to the Club, or through non-payment of sub. or by the Committee for a serious offence. 

Provision is made for the re-admission of past members.

25 – 39.  The A.G.M. shall be held in or near Bristol on or near the first Saturday in October. 

An E.G.M. may be called by the Committee, by the A.G.M., or by 15 members giving notice to the Secretary. 

The quorum is 30 members or 25% of the total membership, which ever is the less. 

Provision is made for the election of the Chairman, the taking of resolutions and the taking of a poll of members.

40 – 45.  Only paid-up members may vote.

46 – 51.  The Committee shall consist of 7 – 12 persons.  Only members who are not members of the Committee of any similar organisation shall be eligible.  The Committee may co-opt to fill casual vacancies.

52 – 57.  The Club in General meeting may make, revoke or vary rules but anything affecting the Constitution may only be done by proper notice being given before a general meeting. 

The Committee may also vary the rules and such variations shall stand until the next A.G.M. 

All members and applications for membership must be acquainted with the rules.

58 – 67.  The Officers to be appointed by the Committee from amongst their number are: Secretary, Treasurer, Caving Secretary, Climbing Secretary, Tacklemaster, Hut Warden and Hut Engineer. Nobody may hold more than two posts. 

There are various disqualifications for members of the Committee. 

Nominations, having been requested 6 weeks from the A.G.M. shall be four weeks from it.  Unless they resign existing Committee members shall be automatically nominated. 

Where there are more than 9 nominations there shall be a ballot.  Voting papers may be sent by post or handed in at the A.G.M.  The Chairman shall declare the result. 

In the event of a tie a show of hands shall decided.  A candidate not elected may still be co-opted. 

The Committee shall disband itself at the meeting before the A.G.M.  The Officers shall continue to fulfil their post until replaced.

68 – 69.  Provision is made for the setting up of special committees by the Club and sub-committees by the Committee.

70 – 81.  The Committee shall meet monthly, normally the first Sunday.  The Committee quorum shall be 5.  All members of the Committee shall be given notice of its meetings. 

The Committee shall keep proper minutes and accounts. 

The Committee shall deal with all correspondence that is addressed to it. 

The Committee may request anyone to attend its meetings.

82 – 83.  Notices from the Club to a member shall be addressed to him at his address in the U.K.

84.  In the event of dissolution the assets of the Club shall be donated in the first instance to some organisation with similar aims to the Club, otherwise some charitable object.

85.  No member or his dependants shall have any right of action against the Club.  All members on joining shall be required to sign their acceptance of this rule.

EDITORS NOTE:           Much has been written about various aspects of cave surveying else where but little at all has been written about – probably the most important subject of all – the drawing of cave surveys.  It is the finished print that the caver is interested in and so presentation forms a very important aspect so often overlooked.  The following article attempts to outline from the commencement of the drawing to the finished print the problems that occur and some solutions to them.  The author makes no apology for the length of this article.


Drawing of Accurate Cave Surveys

by D.J. Irwin

Note:    The term accurate cave surveys covers the range of CRG grade 5–6 and the requirements of the M.S.C.

Once all the calculations have been checked and the errors distributed (assuming the inclusion of closed traverses) drawing of the ‘master’ survey can begin.  The all important point that a draughtsman has to remember, when producing cave surveys, is that all users should be able to understand it with the minimum of effort.   It must be remembered that most cavers cannot read a drawing or survey with the same ease as the surveyor and draughtsman who will have lived with the survey from commencement in the cave to the finished print.  This means that considerable thought must be given to the general layout and presentation ensuring that the finished survey has a clean appearance and be free from any form of cluttering.

Caves are unfortunately not simple geometric forms than can be represented with one or two views, but complicated forms with passages and chambers lying above or below other parts of the system.

There are five basic viewpoints of any cave system that can be drawn to give a complete picture. These are: -

1.                  Plan. This shows the cave as though viewed from above.

2.                  Elevation (projected).  The view point being from some convenient point at the side of the system.  The best position obviously lies on the north – south axis or the east – west axis because the co-ordinates would normally have been calculated form these datums.  Should the cave be best shown from some other datum then the co-ordinates will have to be calculated to suit the required projection.

3.                  Elevation (extended).  There are many instances where the cave passages form large loops at similar levels e.g. Swildons, Cuthbert’s and Eastwater.  To produce projected elevations of this type of system would, unless carefully planned and very well drawn, cause unnecessary confusion.  The alternative is to draw the elevation in which its length is equal to the passage length.  This is also known as the ‘developed’ method.  Although this throws the chambers and passages out of their true relationship at least it will clarify the elevation.

4.                  Transverse Sections.  Where the cave is complex with many levels crossing each other, several sections that are cut across the cave will help to clarify the position.  This section will show the relationship of one level to the other and will lie at approximately at 90o to the projected elevation.

5.                  Passage Sections.  A large number of sections drawn at right angles to the run of the passages will be required to show the local change of passage shape.

The accurate outline survey is primarily of use by the ‘specialist’ caver (1) who will add his own notes onto the survey on whatever subject he may be studying.  In other words he will require a survey of the greatest accuracy that the conventional instruments will allow.  Also he will not want the survey cluttered with floor details, stalagmite deposits and other general data that will leave him no room for his own notes; basically the survey will show passage shape and direction and little else.  The caver will want a map of the cave to enable him to plan his route through the cave and not be terribly worried about the accuracy of the views.  The accurate outline survey can be adapted for this purpose by tracing one survey from the other.

Although the cavers survey will then be up to the same accuracy as the specialist survey it will fall into the definitive descriptive map (2).  Methods of drawing descriptive maps are to be found elsewhere (3).

Summary of Drawing Outline Surveys.

The drawing of any accurate cave survey follows the same pattern whatever the scale and complexity of the system.  After calculating the figures a scale at which the survey has to be drawn has to be decided.  If the size of the system is known prior to the commencement of the survey in the cave it is as well to decided on the scale of the survey then.  This will dictate the amount of detailing that is required.  With the aid of the sketch drawings used to check the calculations the arrangement of views can be determined.  The layout of the survey and its general finished appearance must be given considerable thought before drawing actually begins.  A grid is drawn onto the drawing paper which will be the basic framework to locate the co-ordinates and also will be the reference datums for the description of the cave.  A large cave system (or complicated cave system) might well require several sheets to show all views.  Another important point that must be decided before drawing actually commences is the method of reproduction – now hold your horses not that type of reproduction but whether you intend to use dyeline, gestetner, offset-litho prints for final issue of the survey.  This will dictate, to some extent the actual thickness of line and size of lettering – particularly if the original is to be photography reduced.

Published currently with the survey are two basic reports: 1. Descriptions of the cave with historical notes and 2.  Full details of how the survey was prepared.


To ensure that the finished drawing of the cave is clear to the user it is obvious that considerable thought has to be given to the scale at which the various views are to be drawn. The co-ordinates should be inspected and the extreme values of the northings and eastings obtained; these will give the outside limits of the cave in the four basic directions.  Should a more detailed picture be required to determine the actual shape of the cave then the piecing together of the sketch drawings used for checking the calculations will provide an approximate answer.

If the cave has extreme co-ordinate values of +560Ft. east, -380ft. east, and 1020ft. north say from the entrance, then the area covered by the cave = 940ft. east – west and 1030ft. north – south (4).  The distance from east – west is arrived at simply by adding the two values of the eastings and ignoring the signs which are purely directional.

The problem is now “At what scale do I draw this survey?”  There are two basic limitations that the draughtsman has to face: - 1.  Maximum size of paper available and 2. the smallest passage width that the draughtsman is expected to draw accurately.  The answer to the problem will, in most cases, be a compromise.  The smallest width that a passage width of 1ft. can be drawn accurately is (here I am open to argument) 0.05” thus making the scale 1” = 20ft.  If on the other hand one is lucky and the passage widths (or heights) never fall below 5ft. the scale need only be 1” = 100ft.  There are several instances of large cave systems being drawn as so small a scale that the general passage width becomes the thickness of a single pencil line; alongside the main line are passage sections drawn at a much large scale.  This type of survey is of little value to either the specialist or sporting caver and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary however accurate the main line may have been surveyed.  It is better to make use of all the information gathered and extend the survey to several sheets than give half of the picture.  In any case this form of presentation could only fall into the map classification.

Inspection of the figures quoted above: 940ft. east – west and 1020ft. north – south, the paper size for the plan will have to be 47” x 51” and allowing for a frame line and other notes that will have to be added, the smallest sheet size will be about 60” x 60”.  From the co-ordinates the sizes required for the elevations can also be determined. Assume the cave depth to be 440ft.

Projected elevation.  =   51” x 22” (if plotted on north – south line) or 47” x22” (if plotted on east – west line)

Extended elevation. If the main route through the cave is 2,540ft. in length of passage the section will be 127” x 22”.  Depending on the size of the sheet being used will help to determine whether to draw the elevation in one continuous length or break it into several parts.

Passage sections.  The space required will depend on the number of sections that the draughtsman will want to show.  It may be possible to accommodate all the sections on the same sheet as the remainder of the views without cluttering the survey; if not then they must be drawn on a separate sheet.

If however the paper size is the draughtsman limitation and the scale is 1” = 20ft. is the smallest to maintain drawing accuracy then several sheets must be contemplated.  If this is to be the case an additional sheet must be produced showing the cave in its complete form though it has to be reduced in scale and simplified for the sake of clarity.  This reduction should be overlaid with lines showing the extent of each sheet of the large scale survey.

Layout and Presentation.

The final appearance of a survey has to have an immediate appeal to the eye and be easy to understand; surveys that appear complicated, even though they may be, will only get an occasional glance from the caver.

The layout of the drawing should be read in a similar manner to an engineering layout where all the views are placed relative to one another.  For instance if the cave is better shown in elevation from the east side of the plan then the elevation should be drawn to the left of the plan so the imaginary eye lines can be mentally carried across the paper from the plan to the elevation or vice-versa.  Avoid the common fault made by many draughtsmen of having the plan at the top of the paper and the projected elevation running across the lower edge of the paper when, if the view is drawn to the north – south lines, the view should be drawn to the left of the plan. (See Fig. 1).


Another common fault is can lead to a certain amount of confusion, the placing of the views too close together in order to get all the information on one sheet.  The final result will be a jumbled mess that is difficult to understand.

Many of the problems that the draughtsman will be faced with at the start of his cave surveying ‘career’ lessons as he becomes more practiced in the ‘art’ of drawing. Initially it is best to discuss the problems with ‘experienced’ surveyors who will provide him with many ideas and much food for thought.

One of the difficulties that the draughtsman will have to face up to is the amount of information he can afford to add to his survey without cluttering it.  The quantity of detail that he will be able to add will obviously depend of the scale at which he is drawing the survey; too much will clutter the survey and make the general presentation ugly.  On the other hand a survey with no detail or informative notes is of little use to anyone except perhaps the surveyor himself.  Collins has pointed out that the surveyor/draughtsman has to bear in mind at all times the reason for the survey.  Once this is clear in the mind some idea of the detail required can be determined; this may well affect the scale at which the survey is to be drawn.  Again there is no one solution to the problem and only experience will show what balance is required.  Accurate outline surveys on the other hand are much simpler that the descriptive maps in as much that the required detail is limited to passage outline and the essential notes as to the accuracy of the survey etc.


All maps and surveys are overlaid with a grid that enables the user to quickly locate passage junctions and other places of interest from the written description or route severity diagrams of the cave.  The reference numbers will be found inn the text.  The grid has a two fold purpose, one already mentioned, the other to form the framework around which the draughtsman can work to plot in the co-ordinates when drawing up the survey.  For these reasons the grid must be accurately drawn.

The grid on any survey or map has its origin off or on the S.W. corner and so to keep to convention all cave surveys should be the same.  If the cave has promise of further extension (and which one hasn’t?) then place the point of origin some considerable distance from the cave.  In the case of the new St. Cuthbert’s survey the grid origin lies 10,000ft. to the west and 10,000ft. to the south a point (very near Westbury-sub-Mendip) that takes in any survey made of the resurgence should the cave be found to have open passage that far!  By placing the origin somewhere to the S.W. will avoid the need for negative co-ordinates which if used will increase the chance of error in the calculations.

The quickest and easiest way of obtaining an accurate grid is to purchase sheets of FLAT graph paper from drawing office suppliers.  Remember that paper rolled during or after printing will stretch in the direction off the roll.  It is best to check the paper before purchasing with a rule – it has been found that the error can be as great as ¼” in 9”!

To standardise presentation wherever possible the Mendip surveyors have agreed to a standard 2½ square grid.  This is not a hard and fast rule but a guide as it will be realised that there are occasions when such dimensions are not convenient.

Plotting Co-ordinates

The surveyed line, either in closed or open traverse form, is the basic framework of the cave system that the draughtsman uses to produce the passage outline.  As all the views are being reduced to a number of common planes only two of the three co-ordinates obtained for each station are used.

PLAN    The survey lines are obtained by plotting the northings against the eastings.

ELEVATION (projected).  Plot northings or eastings against height.

ELEVATION (extended).  This view cannot be drawn wholly from co-ordinates.  It is constructed by plotting the calculated horizontal (which are usually summated to each station) against height.

TRANSVERSEW SECTIONS Co-ordinates may only be used if the section lies on either the east- west or north- south datums.  The section is constructed by drawing the projected lines against height.


The co-ordinates have to be converted to fit the cave grid.  If the fixed point, which would usually be at the closing point of the main traverse, in say 10,000ft. north and 10,000ft. east is to say the fixed point for the cave lies 10,000ft. to the north of the grid origin, then the summated co-ordinates are added or subtracted to the fixed value.  (see fig.2)

The values of the heights from the fixed datum can remain as the calculated values but their actual O.D. value can be worked out later when required for entering the permanent survey stations onto the survey.


Preparing co-ordinates for plotting:





































Station 1 is positioned on the grid to suit the extreme co-ordinates.  This will ensure that whole or part of the plan that is required will fit onto the grid that you have drawn.  Once the fixed datum point is positioned, plotting of all the station points may begin.  Station 2 is located by measuring 8.50ft. above the datum line (best measured from station 1) and draw a horizontal line through this point.  Measure 6.47ft. to the left of the datum line and draw a vertical line up through the horizontal to obtain the point for station 2.  Where these two lines cross is the position for station 2.  Repeat this procedure until all the stations are plotted in.  It will help the plotting if you mark at the end of the grid lines the co-ordinate values at that point (see fig. 3).  All eastings with values less than 10,000ft. will be plotted to the left of the datum line and values greater than 10,000ft. are plotted to the right of the datum line.  The northing values are manipulated in a similar manner.  A lightly drawn line connecting each station point on the correct sequence will prove useful when adding passage details.


Elevation (projected)

The simplest elevation is built up on the north-south or east-west lines and for most caves this will suffice.  If however an elevation is required along a line say running N.W. – S.W. then the co-ordinates will have to be recalculated to suit the new projection line. This effectively relates all the bearings to the required datum lines.

The basic method of drawing the elevation is as follows.  Fix the position of the fixed point, bearing in mind the maximum and minimum heights of the cave relative to this point.  To plot Station 2 (assuming the elevation is on the north – south line in this example) measure the value of the northing and plot it against the change in height.  In the case of the projected elevation the north – south line will run from left to right of the paper if drawn on a separate sheet.  If however that is, is being drawn on the same sheet as the plans then, as stated earlier, the projection must, in its correct relationship with the plan; in this case the north – south lines will run parallel with the north – south lines of the plan.

Station 3 is plotted in a similar manner as the previous station by measuring off the northing value against the change on height at the station.  This is repeated for the whole of the traverse. (see fig. 4).

FIGURE 4                                   PROJECTED ELEVATION

It will be noticed that in projecting the passages from the plan, the true lengths will not be shown and that this projection will distort passage lengths and slopes.  However, it has the advantage that all features of the cave are in their correct relationship with respect to each other.

Should only part of the system be required to be shown in this form then the elevation or section should be entitled PART ELEVATION or PART SECTION.

Extended Elevation

Before discussing the method of plotting the survey station points a note on presentation is needed. Extended elevations are really special cases in as much as that the other views are drawn in pre-determined limits, i.e., the extreme co-ordinates.  The development of passages involves the passage length which is a constant value but the various ways of presenting the development can present a problem ‘of which one is the best’.  It is advisable to make several layouts of the extended elevation before adding it to the master drawing to ensure that what is being shown will be clear to the user. In fact where difficult elevations are involved try the arrangement on as many people as possible – preferably the typical caver – if he can understand the layout then use this even though the draughtsman may feel it is not the best method.

In the case of a complicated (from a surveyors point of view) system, i.e. (Eastwater, Swildon’s and St. Cuthbert’s) a projected elevation would be extremely difficult to show clearly the run of the major passage as in many cases it would have to be shown as ‘hidden detail’ (i.e. other passages crossing in front of them) (see fig.5).  In this event the extended elevation is the ideal method to clarify the situation.

The method of plotting the main lines is as follows: - Plot in the fixed datum point.  Draw in the horizontal distance between station 1 and station 2 and plot this against the vertical change in height.  Repeat this for stations 2 and 3 by drawing the horizontal distance for station 2 to 3 and plot against the vertical change in height. Continue with this procedure until the whole traverse (if this is all that is required to show on this elevation) is completed.  If the survey is to be simplified by the omission of minor passages then this should be stated.   This type of elevation ignores passage direction but the true length of the passage is retained.   In other words  –  the bends in the passages have been ignored and the passage has been pulled out straight.  It must also be noted that any side passages or chambers that are shown will not be in their correct relationship with each other – this fact must be stated on the drawing.  An outstanding example of this method in use is Stanton’s extended elevation of Swildon’s Hole.

The extended elevation has the great advantage of being able to straighten out a circular route in a cave and present it in a straight line the ends of which is the point where the elevation has been broken.  Where two passages run between the same points one of these passages will be longer than the other.  If these are plotted in the extended form the shorter is broken at a suitable point and a note to the effect that no passage length has been omitted.  If on the other hand, the shorter passage is best shown in full then the longer must be broken and the length of passage omitted stated (see fig.6).



Transverse Sections

There are many occasions when a complete section of the cave is necessary to gather the full picture of the shape and general position of chambers and passages.  Theses will be drawn either above of below the plan depending on the direction that they are being viewed and will be at 90o to the main elevation.  In other words they will run on the east – west line if the elevation has been drawn on the north – south line.  The method of drawing the transverse section will be similar to the elevated except that the eastings will be plotted against the vertical changes in height. This type of section will only show the passage section at that point chosen for the section of the cave through which the section line passes.  If the cave is complex then several views of this type will be required. To throw the passages out more clearly it might be suggested that the passage shape be shaded or even blacked out (see fig.7).


to be continued.


BEC Items for Sale

B.E.C.  Car Badgess     ------ 17/6 ea.     B.E.C.  Ties…………………..17/6 ea.

The above items are available from Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.

B.E.C. publications are available from Bryan Ellis, Knockauns, Combwich, nr. Bridgwater, Somerset.

BELFRY BULLETINS (pre 238) are available from Dave Irwin, 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3 at 9d ea. when available.

AUGUST ISSUE of the B.B. includes Part 2 of drawing of Cave Surveys; review of James Lovelock’s latest book Caving Ireland, 1969; and the usual regular notices.

SEPTEMBER ISSUE includes Achnenschacht 1969, the Surveying Unit;

October issue: Location of Errors (surveying); address list.

Other material in the pipeline includes ‘Repair of Nife Cells’; Cave Photography; A Walk in Malaya.

Repairs At The Belfry

The  following materials are required to repair the Belfry before winter.  Stove pipe, glass, timber, tar and sand for roof, toilet door and mattresses.  If anyone can help either by working or supplying materials free or cheaply please contact the Hut Engineer (John Riley). If you have any spare time at the Belfry why not carry out a few repairs? – It may be some time before we get a new one.

A working weekend has been arranged for the weekend 6th/7th September, the Belfry will be closed except to persons working.  The response to the previous two working weekends was almost nil, please give this one your support.


Route Severity Diagram

By S.J. Collins


Getting down to detail, it is possible to have many different types of constriction – as the tile of this part suggests.  Since all are forms of constriction, we use the basic sign for this throughout, but vary it as follows: -

If the passage is a RIFT, we use the basic constriction sign.  This will be a rift which is sufficiently narrow that you can’t quite travel down it without moving your shoulders sideways a bit.   If the rift gets very narrow and you have to squeeze sideways through it, it is shown with the constriction signs TOUCHING the other side of the passage.  Thus we have: -



Beds are shown with the basic constriction sign in BLACK.  Thus a bed which involves hands and knees crawling, or heavy stooping would be shown thus: -

………………while a flat out crawl type bed would be shown as a narrow bed like this: -

A DRAINPIPE is a passage which is constricted in both directions, so we draw both signs alternatively like this: -

…………and, of course, a tight drainpipe becomes…………

If we want to, we can show a passage which is very tight vertically and moderately tight horizontally like this: -

………….and equally well, the opposite……………

Localised squeezes are shown like this, for a vertical squeeze (rift type)…….

and similar signs for a short horizontal squeeze (bed type) and for a hole.

Bed type squeeze  

Tight hole   



Continuing our look at detail possible with the signs of the R.S.D., we saw at an earlier stage that we could combine the sign for tightness with that for a pitch to produce a tight pitch. A chimney is a vertical drainpipe, so we can show a chimney like this, if we need tackle (it might be fairly tight but still need tackle owing to smooth walls, widening drop underneath it etc.).

…………..or a climb up or down a tight chimney like this: -

If a pitch is only constricted in one dimension, we show it as a rift pitch – like the entrance pitch to Cuthbert’s and the sign is show below left, or for a tight rift pitch the sign is show below right.

to be continued.


For Your Diary

Club activities including the………

CAVING PROGRAMME – for further details contact Andy MacGregor, John Riley or Dave Irwin.

Sat. Aug. 2nd.   - South Wales – O.F.D. II.

Sun. Aug 3rd.    - Committee Meeting, 2.30pm, Hunters.

Tues. Aug 5th.   - St. Cuthbert’s – Dining Room Dig.  6.45pm.

Thurs. Aug.7th.  - Waggon, Bristol.

Sat. Aug. 9th.    - St. Cuthbert’s – Cerberus Rift (w.t.) & D.B.

Sun. Aug 10th.  - East Twin Swallet – digging

Tues. Aug 12th. - St. Cuthbert’s – Dining Room Dig.  6.45pm.

Thurs. Aug.14th.            - Waggon, Bristol.

Sat. Aug. 16th.  - St. Cuthbert’s – Tracing Coral Stream (further details from Roger Stenner and Dave Irwin.

Sun. Aug 17th.  - Dining Room Dig, Dam building and checking water samples of Coral Stream

Tues. Aug 19th. - Dining Room Dig, St. Cuthbert’s

Thurs. Aug.21st.            - Waggon, Bristol.

Sat. Aug. 23rd.  - St. Cuthbert’s – Dam building, Rabbit Warren Extension (w.t.)

Sun. Aug. 22nd. - Dining Room Dig and Dam building.

Tues. Aug 26th. - St. Cuthbert’s – Dining Room Dig.  6.45pm.

Thurs. Aug.28th.            - Waggon, Bristol.

EVERY WEDNESDAY   - Digging in the Chepstow area, further details from Roy Bennett, 8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.  ‘Phone 627813.

Another programme for August/September period in the August B.B.

Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset.
EDITOR:  D.J. Irwin. 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.


Annual General meeting – OCTOBER 4th. 1969 at the ‘Old Duke’ (in the upstairs room), 10.30am.

ANNUAL DINNER will be held at the Wookey Hole Cave Restaurant SATURDAY OCTOBER 4th at 7.30pm. Tickets 25/- each.

Details of the ‘get you home service’ in the September B.B.

Menu: -

Minestrone Soup,
Coq au Vin, 2 veg and potatoes.
Fruit Salad,
Cheese and Biscuits,

To ensure that you get your ticket book early with Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Bristol 4.

Headline News:

Congratulations to Barbara and Dave Turner, Dave and Lesley Jones, Pat and Mike Palmer, Jon and Val Ransome, Dave and Kath Serle on their family additions – just show what happens when the Belfry ‘lectrismo meter runs out of bobs!

Overheard At The Belfry

Female talking to Hut Warden:   “According to the rules, as Hut Warden, you should have had me in bed by 1 o’clock. Why didn’t somebody tell me?”


At least we have a Hut Warden that is consistent – he’s never there!


Letter To The Editor

Dear Sir,

Caving and the Unconscious. (B.B. No. 225 June 1969.)

I don’t want to criticise Henry Oakley’s article, because really it is rather a good one.  But as I have a big point to make, perhaps I may make some similar ones first.

Drowning – Step 1.  Leave it out.  Ruben and Ruben (1962, Lancet, I, 780.  I can quote references, too!) showed that only insignificant amounts of water can be tipped down the throat.  Besides this, every second counts, and you must get some air into the subject’s lungs. Nowadays we are trained to do this while still swimming.

The Sylvester – Brosch method of artificial respiration is not as difficult as mouth to mouth, but it is also not so nearly so good.  The latter cannot be learnt without training.

To wait for one minute before finding out if the heart is beating is excessive.

Don’t model your training on the assumption that there will be two or three others handy to help. You may well be all on your own and should know how to manage.

Laying the subject on his side (the so called ‘coma position’) is not as easy and needs to be taught.  It is important to get it right and not to inflict a head injury in the process.

Cold Exposure.  This is far more dangerous than Oakley suggests.  The rescue organisation should be called out at an early stage.  We may gripe, but it is right.

The amphetamines, when given with glucose and water are excellent treatment for exhaustion.  I don’t know why Oakley descries them.

I’m surprised he has omitted the hot bath treatment.  This is the rescue organisation’s business, which means that it is every caver’s business. (You are all in the M.R.O.).  It is by far the most satisfactory way of treating hypothermia.  It was the only thing that could have saved the recent Meregill victim.  But on that occasion, although they had four hours to prepare it, they had no telephone (someone dropped them on the way) and so no precise information about the subject the other side of the sump.

This brings me to my big point.  Reading about emergencies passes the time and whets the appetite.  It is of no practical good.  To learn how to deal with case of near drowning you must take a life saving course.  Barry Lane and I did this last year and found it very useful.  We are this winter conducting classes for the Bronze Medallion of the Royal Life Saving Society from early October to mid-December and would welcome cavers who can swim.  The classes are from 6.30 to 7.30pm in the University Swimming Bath, Queen’s Road, Bristol 8.  Entry for visitors 2/6.  Entrance fee for examination 5/-.  Temperature of water 81oF.

Come and learn how to do it properly.

Oliver C. Lloyd M.D.
Hon. Sec.
Mendip Rescue Organisation.


Operation ‘Alpha’ – Ogof Ffynnon Ddu

Member may not realise that B.E.C. members were looking for the elusive O.F.D. II soon after its discovery in 1946…the following is an account from the Club log of a C.D.G. meet on 15th – 16th November 1946 by the late Don Coase.

Present B.E.C.  D.A. Coase, G. Lucy, A. Hill.

OTHERS.  G. Balcombe, C.P. Weaver, J. Parkes, P. Harvey also numerous other people of the S.W.C.C.

The Bristol contingent travelled by road in convoy, or at least that was the idea, on Friday evening in pouring rain.  Coase and Lucy on that temperamental steed “Rasputin”.  (The writer feels that owing to his service to first, the Hon. Sec. and now to the Hut warden, Rasputin deserves a place in these records.  In fact Rasputin really deserves to become Honorary Life Member). + The convoy was in bits as far as Gloucester, then reunited for refreshment.  Then the cars departed and despite some masterly driving by Coase was unable to catch them up.  Then owing to a leaky carb. petrol ran out and pushing the bike for ¾ mile to a garage was the consequence.

Then, to make up for the delay, some furious driving resulted. Along the winding hilly road across the Forest of Dean with a patchy mist to assist matters. This resulted in some amazing cornering on Z bends but luckily the bank was never scraped hard enough to cause a spill.

A short halt was made at Crickhowell for cocoa which Lucy produced and to tie the bike together again. Setting off once more with Lucy at the ‘controls’.  We hadn’t gone 4 miles when the primary chain broke.

This was awkward, as the rucksack with the tools was in the Weavers car.  So the two intrepid adventurers spent the night in a manger about 12” wide by 12ft. long with sufficient straw to lie upon.  Next morning after a chilly and uncomfortable night, the first bus to Abergavenny was caught.  After waiting on the doorstep for Halfords to open at 9 a new chain was purchased and the 9.15 bus taken back to the bike.

A car was stopped, tools borrowed, chain fitted and then off again at 10.30 and the Gwyn was reached at 12. Here Mrs. Price kindly found some grub. Then off to Danny Lewis’ where Mrs. Lewis welcomed us.  After contacting the gang who were already shifting gear into the cave, a return was made to a jolly fine lunch at Danny’s.

Then the operation really began.  After the kits were checked at the barn, they were packed in small (?) parcels and everyone duly loaded set off into the cave at about 4pm.  After much fun and games especially crossing the pots the sump was at last reached.  The major trouble was found to be, that while passing the stuff from hand to hand, the person at the end had nowhere to park the gear in the dry.  This meant hanging stuff on odd projections on the walls which required some delicate balancing.  This difficulty may, to a slight extent, crop up during ‘Operation Gough’ in Swildons.

A base was established on a small ledge where the three divers tried to dress.  The outstanding spectacle was Weaver and the writer in the nude, feeling quite warm, while the other poor ‘bods’ hung around in wet caving things.  Weaver and the writer were cunning!  They changed into dry togs, but Balcombe just jumped (?) into his diving dress as he stood. I don’t think he even wrung his socks out.  Brave man, me, I’m not so tough as that.

At last, after a confused struggle in the gloom, each diver having pushed the others around a bit to get more room for himself, all was ready.  As it was Weavers pet pool, in he went trailing flex behind him.  After some time, he returned and said after 8’ or so, the way on was along a “dirty little rift”, about 1ft. wide, and was pretty hopeless.  Graham then gave me the high honour of seeing what I thought of it, so I went in.

It was as CPW had said, a ‘dirty little rift’, but not quite so narrow as all that, at least 18” wide. So I inserted myself and got into it, though not without some horrid scratching sounds on my suit.  To make it worse, the ‘dirty little rift’ was lined with fossils.  However, once in I pressed on regardless and went some way down it.  At last I felt a bit lonely and I wasn’t sure whether Graham would approve of going down the ‘dirty little rift’ so I beat a retreat and reached base without springing a leak.

Graham then went in to looksee and whilst he was engaged in “aquatic sports”.  Someone produced a cup of ‘OXO’.  This certainly went down well.  Blessings on the heads of the OXO brewers.  At last Graham returned and said he had gone down a small drop ‘The Pit’, and that the way on was down a small tube, leading down the strike and to the right.  This was not very helpful, but CPW went to see for himself and I followed him.

To start with, my face mask leaked violently, but Graham managed to adjust it for me.  CPW tried to get down his ‘dirty little rift’ but couldn’t make it, so beckoned me to go on.  After a struggle I crawled over him and went on down.  The rift didn’t seem so bad this time, perhaps because I was using Aflo, which gave more light than CPW’s torch.  I floated down the drop off and was just looking at the way on, when my blasted facemask started to leak violently again.  Coupled to this, my nose clip slipped half off, so decided to get out quick.  So I turned off the main light of Aflo, and using my emergency torch went back up the rift. Halfway along I bumped into Weaver who was coming down backwards, so I tapped out distress signals on his posterior, whereupon he retreated and enabled me to reach fresh (?) air again where I was able to drain off a bit.  The OXO wallah again dashed over with more of his warming brew.

CPW then went in again to retrieve Aflo, but wasn’t able to get down this ‘Pit’ and reach it.  So I went in again, after making sure that my face mask was sealing properly.  The ‘dirty little rift’ was becoming quite friendly by this time.  Arriving at the bottom of the ’Pit’ I decide to try and have another shot at inspecting the strike passage.  It was certainly too small to get through without considering the risk of getting fouled, altho’ it would be an easy crawl if it were a common garden dry passage.

I then detached the guide line and was just going to start back when I began to float off the bottom. This was rather shaking.  After turning off the oxygen, I tried to free the relief valve on the breathing bag which I presumed had fouled under the canvas’ horse collar’.  By this time I was stuck to the roof and had to let go the Aflo which robbed me of quite a lot of extra ballast.  I found I could not reach the valve owing to the restricted space I was in.  What with buoyancy and the force of the current I war shooting up the passage at quite a speed.  I could see the lights at the surface but how far away they seemed! All of a sudden I was at the surface again to my considerable relief.  The ‘dirty little rift’ has laughed last.

So it fell to Graham (Balcombe) in the end to retrieve the Aflo without incident and to conclude officially Operation ‘Alpha’.

Then the pleasure of undressing and changing back into wet caving things; then packing up and getting out of the cave about which the least said the better.  The gear was at last thankfully dumped in the barn and Coase and Lucy returned to Danny Lewis’ where a meal was ready, and after a conflab, bed.

Was it worth it?  For me, ‘Yes’.  I learnt quite a lot.  Although the operation did not lead us to miles of passages, I, as a diver, gained in experience, ready for the next trap.

+ “Rasputin” was Don Coase’s motorcycle.



B.E.C. Publications Department is proud to announce the publication of PART 1 of ‘Alfie’s’ Spelaeodes on Saturday OCTOBER 4th. 1969.  PRICE 4/-  30pp. with illustrations by JOCK ORR…..

PART 1 includes the tales of

Sammay Smayle

Freddy Fry

  And Kenneth Lyle and his Caving Machine.

The Spelaeodes are being issued in three parts, Part 2 being published just before Christmas. Purchasers of all parts can obtain (from ‘Wig’) a plastic binder to bind all three parts as a single volume when they are finally published in February next year.

Members wishing to have Part 1 sent through the post to them can take the advantage of getting them on publication day at 4/- post paid.  This part will be sent in flat envelopes.

Orders for this publication may be sent to either ‘Wig’ (Dave Irwin, 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3) or Bryan Ellis, Knockauns, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset. To ensure getting your copies on time make sure you order is in by September 20th together with the cash (no stamps please).  REMEMBER THE PROFIT FROM THE SALE OF THE SPELEAODES WILL BE GIVEN TO THE HUT FUND.




                                                                        NOW to avoid disappointment

When you discover that they have been out of print for months.


Monthly Notes No.26

By ‘Wig’

Members will have noticed the work programme in the June issue of the BB – I hope that this will encourage more members ‘on the Hill’ to give a hand.  There are several sites being worked – all show real signs of going quickly.  Last year work in East Twin resulted in a new survey and an interesting new digging site. For a short spell this dig was pushed with Keith Franklin, Dave Irwin and John Riley – though extremely awkward and muddy it revealed the top of an arch into which the stream is flowing. Left for the winter, and other work in St. Cuthbert’s, the increased size of the winter stream did a lot of work for us.  A rift was opened up to a depth of 40ft. and is reported to be still going.  If this depth is correct then it now forms the lowest part of East Twin.  ‘Wig’, Norman Petty and John Riley will be working the site early in August.  The results will appear in the next issue of the B.B.

Another point of interest is in the Rabbit Warren Extension (St. Cuthbert’s).  Dave Turner, gathering material for the Cuthbert’s Report, entered a passage where the sound of a ‘large’ stream could be heard.  This is of considerable interest because if this IS a large stream then there is a very good chance of getting into the upstream reaches of the Plantation Stream.  The other point of interest lies at the top of Cerberus Rift.  A tight high level passage, discovered just after the Spring Holiday, needs chipping open.  A three foot high passage leads on up dip.  Again details of any further discoveries will appear in the B.B.

Weather Reports In Yorkshire

Arrangements have been made by the C.N.C.C. to have local weather reports on display at the following points (weekends only):

1.                  Front door of the Spindle Tree Café, Clapham….5.00pm.

2.                  Interior of National Park Information Centre, Clapham.  Whenever centre is open.

3.                  Penyhghent Café, Horton-in-Ribblesdale…5.15pm.

4.                  Notice board at the Police Station, Ingleton, early evenings (time uncertain as station not continually manned).

By telephone:

1.                  Penyhghent Café, Horton-in-Ribblesdale (tel. Horton-in-Ribblesdale 257)…5.15pm.

2.                  +National Park Information Centre (Clapham 419) 11.00am (until 4.30pm Saturdays and Sundays)


3.                  Settle Police Station (Settle 2542)..5.30pm

4.                  +Head Warden, Yorkshire Dales National Park (FRIDAY EVENINGS ONLY – if not otherwise on duty) (Airton 256) ..6.30pm to 10.00pm.

+          Although only available at limited times, the National Park Information Service will endeavour to provide information on current weather conditions in addition to reading the forecast.  Please ask for any information you feel would be of help.  (Reprinted from N.C.C. Newsletter No.31 (June 1969).

New Lifelines

The committee have authorised then purchase of 600ft. of full weight nylon to be cut to various lengths.

Members are reminded that all tackle must be returned to the store where necessary, folded coiled and washed.  An unknown borrower recently returned ladder L14 in such a state that he left it in the changing room for John Riley and ‘Wig’ to discover.  The ladder is NO LONGER IN A USEABLE CONDITION.  Several of the wires have broken rendering the cable unsafe to a point that anyone attempted to climb they wouldn’t reach the top. The Committee take very dim view of the attitude of some members with respect to tackle and they warn that if any member is found misusing tackle they will take action that will be most unpleasant for him.

C.R.G. Foreign Language Library

C.R.G. Newsletter Nos. 115 and 116 contain lists of part of their Foreign section of the C.R.G. Library. Publications mentioned cover caves and caving in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy.  The list is to be continued in future newsletters.  (In B.E.C. Library).

Charterhouse Caving Committee

Hon. Sec.’s address:

A.J. Knibbs, 2 Rectory Lane, Byefleet, Surrey.

New G.B. Survey

published by U.B.S.S. Price 4/-  (In B.E.C. Library).

A revised plan survey of G.B. was released with their Jubilee Issue of Proceedings.  This survey is now available separately from Bryan Ellis, Knockauns, Combwich, Bridgwater, Som.

It is a great pity that the U.B.S.S. cannot produce a completed survey of the system showing elevations and sections.  The relationship of one passage to another could be of real interest to the caver; or is it perhaps that the U.B.S.S. do not want this information available generally?

The plan shows all the new extensions and all known passages.

HUT WARDEN CHANGES:  Recently Bob Cross was appointed Assistant Hut Warden but his move to Southampton has made this task rather difficult to carry out. In his place the Committee have appointed Chris (Zot) Harvey, Jock Orr, Martin Webster and Dick Wickens – all Assistant hut Wardens until the A.G.M. when the position of Hut wardens can be discussed in detail.


                                                THE B.E.C. GET EVERWHERE---

Recently a party was held in George Pointing’s caravan, now installed on the W++e+ site at Upper Pitts, including ‘Alfie’, Phil Davies, George (of course), Dave Berry, Sally xxx (oops – Ed) Merrett among others.  As the party didn’t break up until early morning most were not in a fit state to get home an so unknown to ‘Chairman’ Hanwell, Upper Pitts was declared open and the party continued inside the ‘Gin Palace’.  So, the B.E.C. have been there first and to prove it they have left their beer stains.


The Use of a Barometer in Cave Surveying

By R.D. Stenner

For quickly checking the altitude at any point in a cave and for producing a survey of the surface contours above a cave system and the value of a sufficiently accurate and portable barometer is obvious.  The instrument has a place in rapidly surveying a system which is essentially vertical, in nature, used with a clinometers and compass.  The combination of instruments can be used to survey continental shafts that may be hundreds of feet deep, and the resulting survey can be as accurate as one produced using a tape, providing that the precautions outlined in the following article are followed.

There are two types of instrument that can be used.  The first is a capsule barometer calibrated to measure air pressure in millibars. One can read this instrument to an estimated 0.01mb. measuring differences of heights to ±0.3ft. representing a precision of one part in 105.  Such instruments are expensive.  The second type of instrument is an ex. W.D. altimeter, which is an aneroid barometer calibrated to measure altitudes directly.  The instrument most commonly available is calibrated at intervals of 20ft. and readings can be taken to be estimated to ±5ft.  Altimeter readings need to be corrected for temperature and relative humidity.  Both instruments have the same method of operation.

Air pressure varies in a complex way.  In some conditions an unstable inversion of layers can make any barometric survey unreliable.  In settled weather with a steady blight wind, pressure variations will be approximately linear.  In such conditions it is permissible to use a single instrument, duplicating readings at one station to obtain the correction graph.  The time of reading should be noted, and the air temperature should be measured.  In stormy weather and especially in thundery weather rapid and irregular changes in air pressure can take place.  If it is necessary to make a barometric survey in these conditions a second instrument should be used on the surface to obtain a correction graph.  If a strong draught such as may be met in a narrow constriction or at a pitch where a considerable volume of water is falling in a narrow shaft, and is strong enough to extinguish a carbide flame that may be a pressure difference big enough to cause considerable error.

All aneroid barometers must be tapped lightly before a reading is made.

The Calculation of the Results.

The change of height between two stations is related to the change of air pressure.  The relationship can be expressed mathematically by the following equation:

H =   x   x

h:  increase in height from station 1 to station 2

t:  mean temperature in 0oF

po:  air pressure in millibars at station 1

p:  air pressure in millibars at station 2

go: local value of gravity in C.G.S. units

gm:  mean value of gravity, 970.67c./sec2

wm = water vapour pressure at t0F x relative humidity divided by pm.

Pm:  mean pressure between stations 1 and 2

The local value of gravity can be calculated.

g(seal level) = 978.05 (1 + 0.005288sin2Ø – 0.000006sin2Ø)

where Ø is the latitude.

gn = g(sea level) – 0.000309H + 0.000042 ÓH

where Ó is the density of the mountain and H is the altitude.

If a Fortin barometer is used to calibrate a barometer or an altitude the readings must be corrected as follows:

Lc = Lt 1 - 

Lt: height of mercury column in cm at toC

Lc:  corrected height

 C: 0.0001818 per oC

 :  0.0000184 per oC

L.o.g. = pressure in dynes cm-2

Gn: mean value of gravity, 980.67 cm/sec-2

This is the pressure at standard gravity, and with go as before, and the mercury barometer calibrated for standard gravity.  The readings can be corrected for the local value of gravity as follows;

hn = ho x

hn: corrected reading                              ho:  observed reading


The gravity corrections are usually negligible, and leaving them out gives an error usually less than 1%. Neglecting the humidity gives an error of 0.5% at 50oF and 100% relative humidity.  An error of 5oF gives an error of 0.9%.  An error of 0.1mb gives an error of 3ft.

Examples of the Use of Barometers in Cave Surveying.

1. A sensitive capsule was loaned to the Bristol Exploration Club by the makers, Mechanism Ltd., of Croydon, for evaluation of the instrument.  The micrometer could be read to 0.05mb, and the electrical contact was sensitive to vertical movements of 6 inches.  The instrument was mounted in a wooden box measuring 9” x 9” x 7”.

A barometric survey was made by Roger Stenner and George Honey in St. Cuthbert’s Swallet, on 2nd August 1959, using the instrument.  The trip was deliberately lengthened to almost eleven hours.  Readings were taken at the entrance at the beginning and the end of the trip to enable the readings to be corrected (assuming a linear change of air pressure at the surface) and to test the correction, readings were duplicated at one station (High Chamber) with a time interval of five hours.  When the barometric survey was made the cave was un-surveyed, but it is now possible to evaluate the measurements.

Air temperature measurements in the cave have shown the air temperature to be fairly constant at about 10.5oC and the Relative Humidity 100% (Burt and Petty, 1958, pp -5; Petty, 1957, pp.3-4).

The equation becomes:  h = 54790 x 

The stations: -

1 – top of the Old Entrance Shaft.


2 – floor of passage from Entrance Pitch to Arête Pitch.


3 – Arête Chamber to top of Arête Boulder.


4 – floor of passage to wire rift.


5 – Mud Hall, bottom rung of ladder.


6 – Boulder Chamber, near Kanchenjunga.


7 – Upper Traverse Chamber.


8 – High Chamber floor.


9 – High Chamber floor.


10 – Main Stream, Plantation Junction.


11 – Main Stream, Beehive Chamber.


12 – Gour Hall, lip of Great Gour


13 – Main Stream, bottom of the gours.


14 – Main Stream, the Duck.



Time hours

Air Press. mb

Corr’d Press mb

Depth feet

Height ab. O.D. feet

O.D. ht. from survey ft.

Difference feet

























































































































The agreement is good enough to show the useful ness of a single accurate barometer, used in stable weather conditions, and the value of such an instrument (use in conjunction with a clinometer and compass on a combined head) in an essentially vertical pothole, is obvious.  The variation between stations 1 & 4 may be due to a variation in air temperature near the cave entrance, warmer surface air being drawn into the cave.

2.  A. Single ex W.D. altimeter used in stable weather to survey surface features.

The surface features in the neighbourhood of St. Cuthbert’s Swallet were surveyed by Roger Stenner, Dave Irwin and Alan Thomas.  On April 2nd, 1966 a single line survey was taken across the valley from the cave entrance to Plantation Swallet by conventional cave surveying techniques, and a number of stations were marked.  Using this line as a base line, the depression was surveyed on April 3rd. 1966 using a compass and the altimeter.  The plan position of features in the depression were fixed by triangulation, using the compass.  The altitude of the features were determined by moving around the features in an anticlockwise direction estimating the altimeter readings to two feet.  Readings were repeated at the starting point, the cave entrance, and the rest of the readings were corrected.  The whole set of readings (and the corrections) were repeated, moving in a clockwise direction.  The corrected altitudes were compared.  In most cases the readings differed by less than two feet, in which case the mean was used. If corrected values differed by more than two feet the determination was repeated.

By this method the surface depression above St. Cuthbert’s Swallet was surveyed quickly and to the required accuracy.  The altimeter was free from the common fault of sticking and thus being unresponsive to small altitude changes.  Altitude measurements made that day were quoted as having a precision of ± 1ft.

3.  The use of two ex-W.D. altimeters in unstable weather conditions.

During August 1967 an expedition was made to the Ahnenschacht, in Totesgebirge, Austria, by members of the B.E.C.  During the expedition a series of altimeter readings was made at the surface by the writer, while Alan Thomas made a series of altimeter readings in the Ahnenschacht, over a period of 32½ hours.

The measurements were started during a fine hot spell and during the first night a thunderstorm swept the mountain.  The following day was dry and windy, but the night brought another thunderstorm, and ten hours of heavy rain that put an end to the assault on the final unexplored shaft. The results of the measurements made in the cave are shown in figure 1.  Results of the measurements made in the cave are shown in the following table: -


1  Entrance.


2  Top of Pitch 5.


3  Top of Pitch 9


4  Foot of Pitch 10.





Time (hrs)

Altitude Ft.

Correction (ft.)

Corr. Alt. (ft.)

Depth (ft.)

























































The altitudes quoted are relative to an arbitrary value of 5,000ft. for the base camp.  Apart from the second reading at station 4, the mean will agree to ±6ft., even in these unsuitable weather conditions.  At the time of the second reading at station 4 was made the air pressure at the surface was varying rapidly, and an error in time measurement of only ten minutes at the surface would bring the value of the depth to 460ft.  Figure 1 demonstrates the need for the second instrument if the weather is unsettled, or if the measurements have to be made over a long period of time.  Both of the altimeters were sticking at the time.

The Ahnenschacht is a cave which lends itself ideally to survey by the combination of accurate barometer, compass and clinometer, provided that the clinometer mounting allows for readings of ± 90o (degrees).


Odds and –ods!

Lost Johns ( Yorkshire) – another 1600ft. of passage discovered.

Dave Brook (ULSA) broke his collar bone forcing a squeeze 300ft. below the Allotment.

From the papers – Times (7-8-69): Lascaux Caves; the French Government has doubled the number of visitors into the cave to 10 per day.  The 20,000 year old paintings were attacked with fungus and the cave closed in 1963.  Last year the French allowed 5 visitors a day.

Guardian (?-8-69) – New chamber has been discovered in the Burgos Province, Spain, whose walls are covered with cave paintings.  Antelopes, Horses, stags and goats are represented; many animals are shown with their young or with unborn progeny in the womb.

A New Editorial Staff Service!!

On odd occasions members ask various questions about caving topics and some, though most are, not easily answered.  So far the benefit of those members a new series of ‘question and answer’ will appear from time to time in the B.B.  To set the ball rolling a member recently asked the meaning of the words ‘polje’, ponor, doline.  All of theses words seem to mean the same thing.  Do they and what do they mean?

Towards the end of the last century, a Serbo-Croatian geographer, Cvijic, described in detail the Yugoslavian limestone areas on the Adriatic coast.  Naturally he used a lot of Serbo-Croatian words to describe the features, peculiar to the area; one of these was the word ‘a bleak waterless place’ – Kras.  This type of area then becomes known as Karst.  I do not wish to enter into the arguments concerning the correct meaning of Karst; the definition which I prefer is that of Thornbury (1954): ‘The word karst is a comprehensive term applied to limestone and dolomite areas that possess a topography peculiar to and dependant upon underground solution and the diversion of surface waters to underground routes.’

There are of course a large number of English words which describe Karst features: words which differ from county to county.  Similarly, there are a large number of words in French and German performing the same task. In 1956 the Report of a Commission on Karts Phenomena set up the International Geographical Union, but made no mention of English words.  We are therefore left with foreign term; many of which are frequently misused.

If the writer really wants to read up on the subject, he should start by reading M.M. Sweetings article, ‘The Karstlands of Jamaica’, in The Geographical Journal, 124, 184-199. Meanwhile he may note that ‘doline’ means a pit at the bottom of which soil can be worked; a polje’ is a closed or almost closed valley up to 100 square miles of flat floor which may be flooded annually, and is of great importance of the local agriculture; a ‘ponor’ is a vertical shaft leading from the surface to a cave, ‘aven’ in French.

Finally, rather than use a dictionary or encyclopaedia to look up these terms the questioner would be well advised to use ‘A Glossary of Geographical Terms’ (ed: Sir Dudley Stamp, Longmans) as this goes more deeply into the differing opinions which usually exist concerning definitions of this type.


B.B. changes promised at the 1968 A.G.M.

For many reasons the changes promised at the last A.G.M. have not materialised, one might say, another bout of broken promises by the editor.  The main problem has been how the changes should be brought about and their relationship with the Caving Reports.  In the past it has been the policy of previous Editors to keep articles to a few words so as not to have a ‘series’ appearing in the B.B. serialised articles have never been popular because they tend to lack any form of continuity.  Yet they had to appear in the B.B. as they were too short for a caving report.  It appears to your Editor that a compromise situation has been with us for some time and the proposed changes to the B.B. should overcome this problem.  Member’s comments in the form of Letters to the Editor will be welcomed by the Editor for the September B.B. so that other members can feel the general trend before its discussed at the A.G.M.

With the generally larger B.B. (whether the material content is to members liking is quite another matter!) it has tended to produce quite a heavy work loading onto the B.B. Editor and the many helpers.  The major problem has been to keep to a time schedule each month by typing up to 22 stencils (38 last December) at about 25 mins.  A stencil, printing and getting the B.B. out on time.  With this in mind, the proposed changes will take care of the situation.  Well then what are the changes?  If members agree to them your Editor would like to see them introduced at the beginning of the next Volume next January.

The Belfry Bulletin will revert, as it title suggests, to simply a club newssheet of about 4 pages giving all the club news, comments ‘dirty washing’ letters, caving and climbing programmes, scandal, etc., which will run in the same numbering sequence as the present B.B.  Running parallel with the monthly B.B. will be a new publication, appearing three times a year entitled BELFRY JOURNAL which will be solely designed for caving and climbing topics with the mixture of reviews, photographs, surveys, route maps etc.  This publication will be free to members and contain some 40 – 50 pages of material, thus ensuring that the longer articles appearing in their entirety and allow the Editor more time to prepare the material than he has at the moment.

The B.B. will not be sold or exchanged but those clubs that exchange with us at the moment and the B.B. subscribers will receive the Belfry Journal instead.  The Committee has give its permission to purchase a second hand off-set litho machine and so the Journal and Caving Reports will be printed on this machine.  Not only will the print appear clearer than the Gestetner method it is a much more versatile medium in that photographs and line diagrams can be produced to such a high quality that it becomes difficult to determine the differences between this method and the half-toned printing block.  The cost, too, is generally lower.


Belfry Destroyed By Fire

Members living in the Bristol area will already know the terrible mews when it appeared in the Evening Post.  The ‘Belfry’ was destroyed by fire late on Monday 15th September 1969.

The loss of the Belfry will mean much to most members of the B.E.C; now it can only be kept alive in the memories of members who spent many enjoyable hours there.  That black, twisted ‘old shed’ just off the road to Priddy was on of the homeliest caving hunts in the country; it was warm (in both senses of the word); comfortable; the ‘homing’ point for cavers past and present and above all it was the ‘centre of the universe’!

Now it has gone what now? Your Committee are well ahead with their plans and the reports and announcements that appear else where in this issue of the B.B. will outline to members what is taking place.  A second Committee Meeting will be held in the very near future when definite plans will be drawn up to present members with a clear picture at the Annual General Meeting on the 4th October 1969.  What is emerging is far from black and it is hoped that members will respond to help put the emergency plans into operation as quickly as possible.


To get the news and latest information out to members as fast as possible the October B.B. (already printing) has been completely re-hashed and I hope that members will bear with your Editor with rather a hotch-potch arrangement of material. Apologies are given to contributors, many of them harassed by the Editor to get them in on time, for holding back their material until the November or December B.B.

Precis Of Special Meeting

A special meeting of the Club Committee, with some additional members was held in Bristol two days after the fire.  This enabled the meeting to hear the first reactions from the insurers, and to see the letter which ‘Alfie’ wrote to the government grant body asking for immediate priority.  The meeting took some immediate decisions to press ahead rapidly with the insurance claim; to obtain a definite reply from the granting authority and to go ahead with emergency plans for the Belfry site.  A further meeting has been scheduled one week from the first meeting, and at this meeting, those present will be in a position to formulate definite plans to put before the Annual General Meeting.  The immediate response by members attending the meeting – giving it priority over all their other engagements – and the speed and orderly fashion with which the business was conducted speaks well for the future.  As many members as possible are urged to attend the A.G.M. where they will hear the up-to-date position and have the approved scheme put to them for their approval.

Members present: Messrs Bagshaw, Irwin, Thomas, Riley, Townsend, Petty, Stafford, Collins, Orr and Sybil Bowden Lyle.

What Happened?

The fire was discovered by members staying at the Belfry; they had intended to stay until Wednesday. At eight o’clock they banked the fire up and went to Wells for a meal.  At eleven o’clock, when they returned, they found the Belfry on fire. As the all windows and doors were closed the building was probably in smouldering state and would remain so until the windows broke due to the heat.  The lads opened the door and saw a blaze in front of the fire place. Filling a dustbin full of water from the ‘Drinking Pool’ they threw it onto the Belfry floor but to no avail. The smoke and heat was too great for them to do anything but call the Fire Service.

Apart from the three lads, the Searle’s and ‘Jok’ Orr were soon on the spot.  By the time they had arrived the Belfry was burning well – although the fire was still contained within the building.  The first problem that faced the firemen was – ‘where were the gas cylinders?  Luckily Dave Searle soon supplied the answer. 

In the search for the mains electricity point the firemen broke into the stone Belfry and the tackle store.  By about 1.30am on Tuesday morning the fire was out leaving a smouldering ruin of a Belfry.

‘Jok’ returned to Bristol and woke ‘Wig’ at 2.15am and being ‘Wig’ he took the news as a pretty bad joke so early in the morning.  However, Jok eventually managed to get through to him and they went and woke Bob Bagshaw at 2.45am.  Having delivered the message they went out to the Belfry, calling on John Riley on the way.  The three and John’s brother went to the Belfry and recovered as much of members valuables as could be found.  Several tins of money were collected and given, later to Bob and other items from the lockers, except food, was collected into plastic bags and put into the changing room.  Under nife cell lights, thick fog and a smouldering Belfry produced a miserable picture indeed.  The three returned to Bristol for work on time.  Later in the day the three plus Dave Turner returned to the site and generally cleared up the debris left by the firemen and left it in separate piles for the Assessor who visited the site on Wednesday accompanied by Bob and Alan Thomas. During the rest of Tuesday several members came up to the site and several ‘phoned through to the ‘Hunters’ for information.  More information will be given at the A.G.M. and in the November issue of the B.B.

Insurance Claims


All members who had personal gear at the Belfry at the time of the fire should identify and recover their property as soon as possible.

Insurance claims should be made as follows: -

Most members will probably hold insurance on the contents of their dwelling.  These policies normally cover belongings against fire damage whilst temporarily removed from home, usually with a limit of 15% of the total sum insured. Persons in this category should notify their insurers as soon as possible and recover their loss from them. Members normally residing with their parents will be covered under their parents policy.

Members insurers will probably require to know that the club hold policy number 11/7760021 with Pearl Insurance Co. Ltd., and that the claim is being dealt with by Cunningham and Gibaud of Baldwin Street, Bristol 1.

Damaged articles for which claims are being made should be retained for inspection by insurers if required.

Members who hold no insurance of their own may be able to make a partial recovery on the club policy. Those persons should draw up their claims setting of the details as follows:

Item No.


Date purchased

Original cost

Salvage value (if any)

Amount claimed

Articles should be retained for inspection (if found).

All claims should be sent to Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4 by 30th September 1969 at the very latest.

Important Notices

Alfie’s ‘Spelaeodes’, Part 1 will be published on 4th October 1969 – the proceeds are going to the Hut Fund.  The price has now changed to 4/- minimum and after the 31st October the price will be 5/- minimum – please give generously to the HUT FUND

Late News

September 25th is probably the last time that the Club will be meeting in the Waggon and Horses.  A presentation will be made to Mrs Suter who will soon be eighty.  Future meetings on a Thursday will probably be at the ‘Seven Stars’ near Bristol Bridge.  More details in the NOVEMBER B.B.


Monthly Notes No.28

by ‘Wig’

Cuthbert’s Leader –  John Riley is the latest member to become a Cuthbert’s leader.  On his final trip he was leading the writer around the Coral Series when he almost met his match in the Coral Squeeze.  After many ‘blue’ words and one hell of a lot of thrutching he managed to get through throwing the challenge to the writer to get through more quickly.   When the writer shot up the only thing that could be heard through the clouds of steam was ‘Christ! You’re through’ – in a very broad Yorkshire dialect!  I could only add that this waffle is only to allow ‘Doodles’ a chance to produce another of his cartoons below.


‘Aye oop lad, appen we’ll get through t’squeeze yet!

TWIN TITTY  After the collapse of the first 2ft. deep shaft, Mike Thompson and Co. have tackled the ‘bull by the horns’.  With the help of Luke Devenish they have blasted a 5ft. square, 20ft. deep shaft adjacent to the old one which is now filled in.  All this was done over two weekends.  It would seem that they are determined to find Mendip’s largest system yet.

Dave Searle came up with another reference to Wookey Hole the other day.  It is from the Somerset Medley for January.  Friday January 29th 1731.

“Mendip Hills were hereto found rich in lead but now in Lapis Calaminaris, and for a large Cave, call’d Ockie Hole, which contains in it Petrifying Water.

LAMP SPARES  In the very near future Dave Irwin will be restocking the spares box with the usual assortment of carbide lamp spares together with a selected assortment of nife and Edison spares.

Jok Orr has kindly donated several plastic helmets to the club.  These are on sale to members; prices Texolex 12/6 and plastic 10/- each. None have lamps brackets but are fitted with adjustable inners.  The proceeds will be given to the Hut Fund.

SWILDONS HOLE: Readers will remember that the ‘Great Flood’ of 1968 cleared out the Water Rift allowing the caver to follow a much lower path (B.B. No.244) at the end of which is a 6ft. climb to the bottom of the old 40’ pitch.  The climb is easy and only under heavy water conditions would a rope be needed to assist one back up the climb.  During the middle of August a chain suddenly appeared!  During the Autumn Bank Holiday this chain was removed (Biddle was in Edinburgh) by persons unknown.  It has been rumoured that Tony Oldham was responsible for its installation and that Dr. G.K. Crummock of the Mendip Karst Police entered the cave at some ungodly hour to remove it! – I wonder!

A new key has been put onto the Cuthbert’s lock.  Members with Cuthbert’s keys should contact Phil Townsend to exchange their old one.


National Association of Caving Clubs

On the 28th September 1969 the Council of Southern Caving Clubs meets to discuss the constitution of the national body.  As the B.B. will be out before this date the Constitution has been reprinted in full for member’s comments.  If you have any please do not waste any time and send your notes to Alan Thomas so that they can be discussed at the C.S.C.C.

Proposed Constitution For The National Caving Association

1.      The body shall be called the National Caving Association.

2.      Aims

2.1.   To foster the sport of caving and the scientific study of caves.

2.2.   To support the constituent bodies in ensuring and maintaining access in accordance with regional practice.

2.3.   To support cave conservation thorough the constituent bodies.

2.4.   To promote the exchange of information between cavers.

2.5.   To make contact with other National bodies; to provide information on behalf of its constituent bodies.

3.      Limitations

3.1.   The association shall not interfere in any way with the affairs of its constituent bodies and their members.

3.2.   The association shall not arbitrate between caving organisations or between cavers.

3.3.   The association shall not be called upon by the National Sports Council or any other body to assess the merit of caving organisations or their projects.

4.      Membership

4.1.   Membership shall be open to any constitutionally elected body which is representative of a caving region, to the scientific bodies C.R.G., B.S.A. and W.P.C.S.A. and to any other constitutionally elected body which is representative of a particular aspect of caving.

4.2.   Representation at the Association’s meetings shall be four delegates from each of the Regional Councils and one delegate from each of the constituent bodies.

4.3.   Applications for membership shall be put to the Annual General Meeting.  Any body satisfying the conditions above (4.1) shall become a member if its membership is acceptable to the Association.

5.      General Secretary

5.1.   The association shall have no executive officers.

5.2.   A General Secretary shall be elected annually by the delegates to carry out the correspondence of the Association on behalf of the members and to circulate information to the constituent bodies.

6.      Meetings

6.1.   The Association shall meet not less than once a year, the Annual Meeting to be arranged by each of the Regional Councils in turn in its own region.

6.2.   A quorum at all meetings shall consist of not less than 50% of the delegates provided that each Regional Council is represented by at least two delegates.

6.3.   The Regional Council acting as hosts shall provide an independent chairman and recorder for the meeting in addition to their four delegates.  Neither Chairman nor Recorder shall be entitled to vote.

6.4.   A special meeting shall be called if this is requested in writing by not less than three of the constituent bodies.  In this case not less than four weeks notice shall be given to all members.

6.5.   At least five weeks notice shall be given to the General Secretary of any matters to be raised at any meeting of the Association.

7.      Procedure

7.1.   An agenda shall be circulated to the constituent bodies by the General Secretary not less than four weeks before any meeting of the Association to give notice of date and place of the meeting and the subjects to be discussed.

7.2.   Minutes shall be kept of all the meetings of the Association and these shall be circulated to all members of the constituent bodies.

7.3.   When a vote is taken each delegate present shall have one vote.

7.4.   Voting…. See note below.

8.      Finance

8.1.   The expenses of the Annual Meeting shall be borne by the Regional Council acting as hosts.

8.2.   The expenses of the General Secretary shall ne borne in the first instsnt by the constituent body to which he belongs, and an account rendered at the Annual general meeting, which the constituent bodies shall be asked to pay equal shares.

9.      Amendments to the Constitution

9.1.   The Constitution may only be amended at an Annual meeting or at a Special Meeting called for that purpose.

9.2.   Full details of any amendments to be considered shall be circulated to all members of the constituent bodies at least four weeks before the meeting.



Note 1.

The Cambrian Caving Council have suggested amending section 2.5 to read: “To make an contact with other Nation bodies in order tom provide information on behalf of its constituent members.”

Note 2.

Two main alternatives have been suggested for the voting procedure and these are both given below for consideration. There have also been other suggestions which really amount to variations on one or the other of these alternatives.

a.      Procedural questions can be decided by a simple majority, but other decisions must be unanimous.

b.      Any motion shall be passed of not less than 75% of those present and voting are in favour.

Note 3.

No mention has been made in the proposed constitution of the question of inviting to meetings observers from interested bodies which are not in themselves eligible for membership. This should perhaps be considered though it need not necessarily be covered by the constitution.

17.7.69.  J.E. Potts, Hon. Sec. Derbyshire Caving Association

Editors note:      Members wishing to comment on this constitution should send their notes to Alan Thomas as soon as possible.  The Council Of Southern Caving clubs meet on the 28th September and your views can be put to the meeting then.  Dr Oliver Lloyd has circulated some comments on the constitution but it would be better if members made up their minds on the subject as it stands at the moment.


Just a Sec

By Alan Thomas

A number of courses run by the University of Bristol Department of Extra-Mural Studies may be of interest to members.  ‘Geology of Mendip’ by Dr. F.F. Wallis in the Town Hall, Axbridge on Tuesdays; ‘Structure and Scenery of the South West’ by R. Hicks at West Huntspill County Primary School on Mondays and ‘The Wedmore Area’ by A.B. Hawkins on Tuesdays are things of interest of which I have details.

Steve Grime had landed himself a job at the West Highland School of Adventure, Applemore, Nr. Kyle at Lockhals, Rosshire, Scotland, which is now his new address.  He and Dorothy would be delighted to see any of the B.E.C. at any time of the year – though Steve points out that the Schools equipment cannot be used for private purposes.

There will be a Committee meeting on Sunday 28th September at 2.15pm in the New Inn, Priddy, of the Council of Southern Caving Clubs.  Its main object will be to discuss the Proposed Constitution of the National Caving Association (I have copies if anyone wants one).  Now is the time to air your views on this highly political subject.

The Cambrian Council, on which we are also represented, meets on 21st September for the same purposes as the Southern Council

A Register of Environmental Research on Mendip has been set up.  The idea is to avoid duplication of effort.  Anyone conducting and form of scientific investigation on Mendip can get details from me.

Among visitors from the distant past to the Belfry recently was Pete Miller on leave from MaltaMalta is all limestone but the biggest cave is like an ‘ Upper Goatchurch’.

Apologies Department

The Editor would like to offer his apologies to Roger Stenner for ‘inverting’ the curve accompanying his article in the August B.B. – The Use of barometers in Cave Surveying.

Articles for the Christmas B.B. should be sent to the Editor as soon as possible.  This will be the largest B.B. ever – 40 pages approx.


AGM – Officers Reports

As the A.G.M. draws near, the Club Officers are in the throws of preparing reports for the meeting. It occurred to your Editor that it would be a good idea if these reports were published in the B.B. and hope that members attending the A.G.M. would accept them as being read.  It’s well known that none of our Officers have ‘musical’ voices, most tend to drive one to sleep, and in an effort to shorten the meeting just a little the Officers were asked to submit their reports to the B.B. Editor for publication beforehand.  All Officers were asked, but unfortunately not all have been received – food for thought?


The club’s correspondence has shown no sign of diminishing.  Enquiries from prospective members and from members living away from the Mendip area, requests for ‘this and that’ to be passed on to other people and, of course, our dealings with other organisations, have kept me busy.

The purchase of the old barn has been completed and so has the lease of the additional land from the paper mill at Wookey.  The agreement with Mr Foxwell over the track has now been completed and it is hoped that he will be making use of it any day now.

If I itemise a few aspects of the work I would mention the C.R.G. Southern Meeting to which we acted as host.  The arrangements for the meeting, tea and dinner and the Exhibition in Wells Museum which we put on in that connection were considerable; but the whole effort was thoroughly worthwhile and did much to enhance our reputation both locally and nationally.  The C.R.G. were pleased with the meeting and the Museum with our exhibit.

The new Constitution has been discussed by the Committee, advice sought from ‘Digger’ Harris and a new draught prepared.

At the request of the Village Hall Committee, a slide show was given a Priddy Village Hall which was well attended and appreciated.

The not inconsiderable work in connection with the Ahnenschacht Expedition also involves me.

Finally, the secretarial work in connection with the Election of the 1969-70 Committee was very welcome as the large number of candidates indicates that perhaps, after all, there is some interest in the poor old B.E.C.

Alan Thomas


Starting with the home field, the St. Cuthbert’s Dining Room Dig is still progressing steadily with tons of gravel and sand being removed.  The total length is now about 150ft.  The dams for the sump assault are being built by a dedicated few.  It was hoped that they would be finished by the summer 1969 but it appears that they will not be completed before next year.

The St. Cuthbert’s Leaders, at their Annual Meeting last November, agreed that the leader system ought to be opened to members of other clubs throughout the country provided that they had adequate insurance cover.  It was agreed not to ask around but to let it be known by means if the B.B. and other publications.  If any caver was really interested they would contact the B.E.C.  This proposal was agreed by the Committee and it now has to be presented as a Committee proposal at this meeting.

There has been quite a number of trips to Yorkshire and South Wales this year and members are going further a field more frequently; Sutherland and Austria being the other major points of interest.

The Ian Dear memorial fund was used for the first time this year by one of our younger members.  Dave Yeandle received the grant and went with Alan Thomas to the Ahnenschacht.

On the whole it has been a quiet year in the caving activities except perhaps for the regular Tuesday and Wednesday digging evenings when the dining Room Dig and the Chepstow digs were worked.

I would like to offer my best wishes to the next Caving secretary.

Andy MacGregor


It has been assumed for some time that the new ‘Belfry’ will be quite some time before it materialises and we must therefore continue to maintain the present hut in a habitable and serviceable condition, and in fact to carry out any improvements worthwhile.

Progress towards opening up the new track has been slow.  Although the fencing off of the track on the Belfry site has been completed, we are still awaiting Walt Foxwell finishing concreting at his side of the wall before the wall can be breached.   Once the wall has been breached the cattle grid, which is complete, can be fixed.  More hard core was put down on the old track – thanks to Henry Oakley and ‘Jok’ Orr for this gift.

During the early part of the year much tidying up was carried out around the Belfry site and a considerable amount of scrap and rubbish dumped.  Scrap aluminium from the caravan was salvaged for possible use as working tops in the new Belfry.

Rotten timbers around the window frames in the hut have been cut out and replaced.  Also new wall panels have been fitted in the men’s room where necessary.  Both the living and men’s room were redecorated with emulsion and gloss paints.

A new stove was fitted, although generates less heat than the old one, is quite adequate and far more economic to run.

The external timbers of the hut were treated with creosote and the roof with tar and sand.

The response to the recent working weekend (Sept 6/7 1969) was quite promising although there was a conspicuous absence of Belfry regulars!  A new window was fitted by the sink (both sinks have now been fitted with U traps) and much of the rotten timber work in the area removed, this included the adjacent lockers and draining boards.  At the time of writing the lockers have not yet been replaced but it intended that they should be constructed as a separate unit so that they may be moved into the new Belfry.  Modifications were made to the tackle store to prevent theft of tackle, the exterior of the Belfry was creosoted again and part the ceiling replaced.  This just shows what can be done when a few lend a hand.

Much more work needs to be put in to maintain the hut in good condition and members are asked to spare as much time as possible to help in repairs and improvements.

J.G. Riley
19 – 9 - 69


The Clubs Tackle is as follows:

18 standard 20’ ladders.
2 standard 10’ ladders.
4 light weight 50’ ladders.
6 light weight 20’ ladders.
12 ultra light weight 20’ ladders.

A total of 940’ ladder.

The lifelines total approx. 1,400ft. including 350ft. of new nylon purchased to replace old and lost rope.

We have 20 tethers, mostly in 5’, 10’ and 20’ lengths and a dwindling number of karabiners.

N.J. Petty
9 – 9 – 69


Two other reports were due to be published but at the time of printing had not been received.  Bob Bagshaw sends his apologies for not having his accounts completed.  Apparently he’s in the middle of chasing some mistakes in the final draft.


LONGWOOD/AUGUST SYSTEM KEY – obtainable from Dave Irwin, 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.


Here is a complete list of candidates for the 1969-1970 Committee

‘Fred’ Atwell

Joined club a couple of years ago; recently active climber: NEW CANDIDATE.  When actively caving found a new extension to Sidcot Swallet.

‘Alfie’ Collins

Needs little introduction to members.  Past long standing Committee member and editor of the B.B.  Currently following through the Long Term Planning Committee recommendations.  Although not actively caving is interested in various aspects of Cave Surveying.  Member of M.S.C. and is ‘inventor’ of Route Severity Diagram.

D. ‘Wig’ Irwin

1969 Committee Chairman; Editor B.B. & Caving Reports; currently surveying Cuthbert’s; resigning from post of Editor at end of year; writing his own potted notes ends here!  M.R.O. Warden; member M.S.C.

Mike Luckwill

Well known to older members; member of Ian Dear Memorial Committee; member of Ahnenschacht team 1967-69; particularly interested in geomorphology and cave surveying.  NEW CANDIDATE.

R. ‘Jok’ Orr

NEW CANDIDATE; Belfry regular; has devoted many hours to upkeep of the hut.  Interested in cave photography and development of the Belfry site.

Norman Petty

Needs no introduction.  Long standing member of B.E.C. Committee as Tacklemaster

John Riley

Joined B.E.C. two years ago; climber but now active caver; 1968-69 Hut Engineer when spent many hours keeping Belfry in good repair.  Active digger in Cuthbert’s.

Pete Franklin

Cuthbert’s leader; NEW CANDIDATE; interested in cave rescue methods has several times been ‘victim’.

Bob Bagshaw

Needs no introduction to members; long standing Club Hon. Treasurer since 1951(?); still interested in caving when family commitments allow.

Gordon Tilly

Needs no introduction; past Hut Warden; Minutes Sec. 1968-69.  Currently active engaged in preparation of plates and printing Caving reports.

Mike Palmer

NEW CANDIDATE; past Committee member; interested in various aspects of the Club.  St. Cuthbert’s leader.

Phil Townsend

Well known member of B.E.C.; Hut Warden 1968-69.  Interested in many aspects of the B.E.C.

Alan Thomas

Hon. Sec. 1968-69; leader of the Ahnenschacht expedition; past Hut Engineer; particularly interested in stimulating the image of the B.E.C. by organising exhibitions and giving lectures.  Last but not least!


Space Blankets

Some time ago I received a letter from Geoff Bull which I am sure will be of interest to members:

 “I think you will have come across the American ‘Space Blanket’, aluminium on polythene sheets now being imported into this country.  We (W.S.G.-Ed.) used one most successfully on our last practice rescue in Longwood and found it better than a ‘goon suit’. I have managed to get the offer of a discount for bulk purchase from the importers.  If you, or anyone else in Bristol is interested I can offer.

a)                  The ‘Rescue Blanket’ for 15/- (usual price £1).  This is the lightweight once-only version, fold to pocket handkerchief size. P&P 6d.

b)                  The ‘Sportsman Blanket’ for 55/- each + 9d P&P.  Orders for 6 or more 50/- each.

Yours sincerely, Geoff Bull.


Address List Of Members

Ed. Note:          Please check your address is correct.  If by any chance it has been omitted please contact Alan Thomas immediately so that it can be added to a correction list in the November B.B.  If your name does not appear in this list it could be that you have not paid your sub??!!  If you haven’t then you know the remedy!


T Andrews

186 Courtlands Ave., London S.E.12


G. Atwell

57 Sandy Leaze, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


R.J. Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


M. Baker

22 Riveside Gardens, Midsomer Norton, Somerset


D Balcombe.

36 Rotherwick Close, Horley, Surrey


R. Bater

4 Butterfield Close, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


Mrs. R. Bater

4 Butterfield Close, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


R. Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


J. Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


P. Bird

City Museum, Queens Road, Bristol


P. Blogg

Hunters Field, Chaldon Common Road, Chaldon, Surrey


Miss S. Bowden-Lyle

17 Rokeby Ave., Redland, Bristol 6


B. Britton

180 Cheltenham Road, Bristol 6


R. Brooks

87 Wyatt Road, London SW2


R. Brown

24 Cranleigh Gardens, Luton, Beds.


V. Brown

3 Cross St., Kingswood, Bristol


J. Bugler

Dudley College of Education, Castle View, Dudley, Worcestershire


G.A. Bull

37 Norlands Square, London, W11.


G. Butler

58 Tuthill Street, Minster, Ramsgate, Kent


R. Chandler

83 Spring Plate, Pound Hill, Crawley, Sussex


B. Chappell

The College of Education, Bognor Regis, Sussex


J. Churchward

1 Jamaica Street, Bristol


C. Clarke

18 Church Lane, Bedminster, Bristol.  BS3 4NE.


A. Coase

4 Sutton Close, Oadby, Leicester


Mrs. C. Coase

5 Mandalay Flats, 10 Elsiemer St., Long Jetty, N.S.W., 2262, Australia


S. Collins

Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol


D. Cooke-Yarborough.

Lot 11, McKay Crescent, Orange, New South Wales, Australia


N. Cooper

3 West Terrace, Westbury, Sherborne, Dorset


F. Darbon

444 Meinnis Ave. Fraserview Sub. Div., Prince George, British Columbia, Canada





Mrs A. Davies



L. Dawes

223 Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, London S.E.10


G. Dell

5 Millground Road, Withywood, Bristol 3


K.C. Dobbs

85 Fox Road, Pinhoe, Exeter, Devon


N. Downes

18 Coombe Street Lane, Yeovil, Somerset



116 Newbridge Road, Brislington, Bristol


B.M. Ellis

‘Knockauns’, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset


T. Fletcher

The Old Mill House, Barnack, Nr. Stamford, Lincs.


A. Francis

22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset


P. Franklin

93 Devonshire Road, Bristol 6


Mrs P. Franklin

93 Devonshire Road, Bristol 6


M. Fricker

36 Summerhill Road, St. George, Bristol 5


R. Gander

see address changes at end of list


P. Giles

Manor Farm Cottage, East Lydford, Somerton, Somerset


K. Gladman

29 Shenfield Road, Brentwood, Essex


D. Glover

‘Longwood’, 30 Forest Lane, Tadley, Basingstoke, Hants.


J. Glover

‘Longwood’, 30 Forest Lane, Tadley, Basingstoke, Hants.


P. Godley

Officers Mess, R.A.F. Leckming, North Allerton, Yorkshire


D. Greenwood

42 St, David’s Drive, South Anston, Sheffield


S. Grimes

West Highland School of Adventure, Applemore, Nr. Kyle at Lockals, Ross-Shire


C. Hall

12 Churchleigh Road, Bristol


N. Hallett

26 Cotham Vale, Bristol 6


M. Hannam

 ‘Lowlands’ Orchard Close, East Hendred, Berks.



Diocesian registry, Wells, Somerset


C. Harvey

‘Byways’, Hanham Lane, Paulton, Somerset


Hasell D.H.

‘Hill House’, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


Miss A. Henley

23 Maynard Road, Hartcliffe, Bristol


D. Herbert

33, Triangle East, Oldfield Park, Bath, BA2 3HZ


T. Hodgson

26 Danet Road, Henlease, Bristol 8


G. Honey

Droppsta, 19044 Odensala, Sweden


B. Howe

48 Martins Road, Hanham, Bristol


P. Hudson

15 Glantawe Park Estate, Wind Road, Ystradgynlais, S. Wales


D. Irwin

23 Camden House, Southville, Bristol 3


A. Johnson

Warren Cottage, Station Road, Flax Bourton, Bristol


D. Jones

24 Shortwood View, Kingswood, Bristol


F. Jones

8 York Gardens, Clifton, Bristol


Mrs. P. Jones

13 Braichmelyn, Bethesda, Bangor, Caernarvon


A. Kennett

92 Broadway, Henlease, Bristol


R. King

21 Rue LionelTterray, 31 Blanac, France (or c/o Eddy Welch)


P. Kingston

3 Kingsely Road, Eastville, Bristol 5 BS5 6HF


R. Kitchen

Plot 18, Mill Close, Trimley st., Martin Felixtowe, Suffolk.


T.E. Large

16 Meade House, Wedgewood Rd., Twerton, Bath, Somerset


P. Littlewood

257 Chichester Road, Bognor Regis, Sussex


Mrs. Littlewood

257 Chichester Road, Bognor Regis, Sussex


O. Lloyd

Withey House, Withey Close West, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


M. Luckwill

8 Greenslade Road, Sedgley Hall Estate, Sedgley, Dudley, Worcs.


G. Lucy

Pike Croft, Long Lane, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks.


A. MacGregor

The Railway Arms, Station Road, Theale, Reading, Berks.


P. MacNab

121 Gilmore Place, Edinburgh 3


J. Major

Saint Cross, Green Down, Litton, Bath, Somerset


Mrs. J. Major

Saint Cross, Green Down, Litton, Bath, Somerset


J. Manchip

3 Blackthorn Court, Barton, Edinburgh


C. Marriott

Brulbergstrasse 15, Apt. 21, 8400 Winterhur, Switzerland


R. Marshall

23 Highbury Villas, Bristol 2


T. Marston

50 The Deans, Downlands, Potishead, Bristol


E. Mason

11 Kendon Drive, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


A. Meaden

127 Mudford Road, Yeovil, Somerset


D. Metcalf

A.S.F., R.A.F., Wittering, Hants


S.J. Miller

27 Walnut Way, South Ruislip, Middelsex


N.J. Monk

7 Little Soke Road, Bristol 8


D. Palmer

29 John Wesley Road, St. George, Bristol 5


M. Palmer

27 Roman Way, High Park Estate, Paulton, Bristol BS18 5XB


Miss S. Paul

6 Cricketers Close, Chessington, Surrey


R. Perrin

30 Cotham Grove, Cotham, Bristol 6


L. Peters

21 Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


N. Petty

12 Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol


A. Philpott

3 Kings Brive, Bishopston, Bristol


G. Platten

‘Rotherfield’, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, Hants.


B. Prewer

East View, West Horrington, Nr. Wells, Somerset


C. Priddle

367 Fishponds Rd., Bristol 5


J. Ransom

21 Bradley Road, Patchway, Bristol


I. Rees

30 Ramsey Road, Horfield, Bristol 7


Mrs J.P. Rees

7 Coberley, Footshill, Hannam, Bristol


A. Rich

c/o Pox 126, Basham, Alberta, Canada


N.E. Rich

Bishop Manor Road, Manor Farm, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


J. Riley

School Farm House, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol


A. Rushton

Cpl., Rectification Flight, R.A.F. Conningby, Nr. Sleaford, Lincs.


B. Scott

59 Fairthorne Rise, Basing, Nr. Basingstoke, Hants.


D. Searle

‘Dolphin Cottage’, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset


Mrs. D. Searle

‘Dolphin Cottage’, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset


G. Selby

913 N. Olive St., Corona, California, U.S.A., 91720


R. Setterington.

4 Cavendish House, Cavendish Road, Chiswick, London, W 4


R. Setterington

4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset


W. Smart

P.O. Box 121, Muscat, Muscat and Oman, Arabia


D. Smith

Flat 15, 193 Wensley Road, Coley Park, Reading, Berks.


J. Stafford

‘Bryher’, Badgworth, Somerset


Mrs. I. Stanbury

74, Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


T.H. Stanbury

31, Belvoir Road, St. Andrews, Bristol


D. Statham

22 maleney Ave., Balerno, Midlothain, Scotland


R. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


Mrs. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


D. Stuckey

34 Allington Road, Southville, Bristol 3


P. Sutton

56 Arley Hill, Redland, Bristol 6


D. Targett

16 Phillis Hill, Midsomer Norton, Bath, Somerset


A. Thomas

Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset


A. Thomas

83 Coronation Rd., Southville, Bristol 3


D. Thomas

‘Mantons’, 2 St. Paul Road, Tupsley, Hereford


N.L. Thomas

Holly Lodge, Norwich Road, Salhouse, Norwich, Norfolk


S. Thompson

51 Hayward Road, Redfield, Bristol 5


B. Tilbury

256 Cressex Road, High Wycombe, Bucks


Mrs Tilbury

256 Cressex Road, High Wycombe, Bucks


G. Tilly

‘Gable’, Digby Road, Sherborne, Dorset


J. Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


Mrs. D. Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


E. Towler

5 Boxgrove Gardens, Aldwick, Bognor Regis, Sussex


P. Townsend

154 Sylvia Avenue, Lower Knowle, Bristol 3


Mrs. J. Tuck

48 Wiston Path, Fairwater, Cwmbran, Monmouthshire


D. Turner

12 Westbourne Place, Clifton, Bristol 8


P. Turner

21 Northfield, Stanshawes Estate, Yate


R. Voke

8 Pavey Road, Hartcliffe, Bristol 3


Mrs. D. Waddon

32 Laxton Close, Taunton, Somerset


Miss C. Warren

2 The Dingle, Combe Dingle, Bristol BS9 2PA


P. Waterfall

9 Filton Grove, Horfield Bristol


G. Watts

13a Hampton Park, Redland, Bristol 6


M. Webster

43 Shroud Road, Patchway, Bristol


R. White

33 St. Cuthbert’s Street, Wells, Somerset.


R. Wickens

2 Amy street, Southampton


P. Wilkins

51 Constable Road, Lockleaze, Bristol


A. Williams

Hendrew Farm, Llandevand, Newport, Mon, NP6 2AB


D. Yeandle

59 Egerton Road, Bristol 7 BS7 8HN

Additions and changes to Members list


M.J. Thomas

5 Woolcot St., Redland, Bristol 6


J. Cornwell

26 Russell Rd., Bristol 5


R. Cross

41 Jason Rd., Shirley, Southampton


J. Churchward

15 Jamaica Place, Bristol 2


C.H. Dooley

28 Somerford Place, Willenhall, Staffs


R.C. Gander

2 Rock St., Croscombe, Nr. Wells, Somerset, BA5 3QT


J. Ifold

5 Rushgrove Gardens, Bishop Sutton, Somerset


Miss M. Linnell

47 Berkeley Rd., Westbury Park, Bristol 6


Miss B. Plumber

2 Hogarth Place, Locklease, Bristol


Miss D. Randford

39 Winchester Rd., Oldfiled Park, Bath, Som


B. Wilton

22 Wedmore Vale, Bristol 4


P. Turner

1 Rolleston Rd., Hornington, Burton-on-Trent, Staffs



New Austrian Discovery

By Dave Yeandle

While on a walk in the Fuertal, after the Ahnenschacht expedition, a pothole entrance was noted and because it looked promising we returned the next day.


Trusting my reliable belay (Alan Thomas and Bob Craig) I started climbing down the ladder – a wooden rung and wire rope ladder belonging to the Austrians which is much more bulky than our lightweight electron ladder.  Having descended to the bottom of the 35ft. ladder there was still some 10ft. or so to the deck.  Alan and Bob lowered me, which proved to be an interesting ride, to the boulder slope. The chamber I had entered was a fair sized chamber with several side passages leading from it.  I explored these but none went far.

The cave is situated some 500 yards from the turning to the Feurtal Ice Cave on the path to the Ahnenschacht.  It is about 10 yards from the path at the start of a zigzag in the path.  The top of the Muselhorn Mountain appears to be at the same height as the cave entrance.  A little further up the path, towards the Ahnenschacht, is a small cave entrance to the left of the path and about 6ft. up.  The end of this cave does not seem far from point ‘A’ on the plan shown on the previous page.

Surveyor’s take note!

Martin Mills (Milch) of the S.M.C.C. recently came across the following in Ruth Neill in ‘Climbers Club Guide’: Cornwall, Vol.1 by P.H. Biven & M.B. McDermott (1969) p.35.  abridged by Milch.

If you ever require an illustration of the importance of making due allowance for the effect of the Annual Change in magnetic variation, you can recount the disaster in 1893 at Wheal Owles Mine in west Cornwall when 20 men were drowned when a party of miners broke into an adjacent flooded working after a mistake in calculating the effect of the annual change in magnetic variations.


Club Announcements

Caving Logs 

The current Caving Logs were destroyed in the Belfry fire.  Members are requested to help reconstruct the logs.  If they keep personal diaries (giving caving details of course!) or any information in any other form would they send it to Dave Irwin who is arranging a typescript to be prepared from this information.  The log commenced during March 1967.  As you will see we have lost a great deal of valuable information here.

Personal Gear At The Belfry

Would members remove ALL their personal gear from the Belfry site as soon as possible to enable modifications to take place in the stone Belfry and on the site in general.  There is so little room around the site that we cannot hope to store members gear as well as the club tackle.

‘GET YOU HOME SERVICE’ from the Dinner

A coach has been booked by Bob Bagshaw .  Picking up at the ‘Old Duke’ at 6.30pm (October 4th) and at the ‘Hunters’ at approximately 7.15pm.  Coach fare 6/- each.  The coach will tour Bristol only and not to outlying places such as Yate etc.  The coach is expected to leave the restaurant at about midnight.

B.B. Collection Given To Club

A complete collection of B.B.’s has been given to the Club by John Ifold.  This collection includes several duplicates of the rarer earlier issues. The Committee, on behalf of the Club, would like to express its sincere thanks to John for this magnificent gift. Before the B.B.’s are placed in the Club Library they are first being bound in volumes.  This set will be used as a reference set only and will not be taken from the Library.


The Club Library is kept at Dave Searle’s cottage (Dolphin Cottage, 4 The Beeches, Wells Road, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset) – two minutes walk from the Belfry (site). Members wishing to borrow books from this collection can have them out on loan for ONE MONTH only.  If longer periods are required then prior arrangements must be made with Dave first.

A.G.M. and  Dinner

AGM at the ‘Old Duke’ King’s Street, Bristol 10.30am

Agenda below….

Dinner is being held at the Wookey Hole Cave Restaurant 7.30 for 8.00pm

Book now with Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4

1969 Annual General Meeting

of the Bristol Exploration Club…..Agenda

1.                  Election of Chairman.

2.                  Collection of Ballot Papers and Members Resolutions.

3.                  Election of Tellers.

4.                  Adoption of Officers Reports: Sec., Treas., Caving Sec., Climbing Sec., Tackle Master, Hut Warden, Hut Engineer, B.B. Editor, Publications Editor, Librarian.

5.                  Committee Resolutions: - including new Constitution.

6.                  Long Term Planning Report.

7.                  Members Resolutions.

8.                  Result of Ballot.

9.                  Any other business


November B.B.

Due to changes to the October B.B. the material available to the Editor will be spread over the next two issues.  November B.B. will include: - A.G.M. report; recent trip to Black Shiver Pothole ( Yorkshire): and I hope the first of an important series of articles.  December will include ‘Ahnenschacht 1969’; Ireland 1969; cave photography and many others.  The December B.B. PROMISES TO BE THE LARGEST EVER – some 40 – 50 pages.

Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset.
EDITOR:  D.J. Irwin. 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.

Address change

Garth Dell, 5 Millground, Withywood, Bristol 3.


Thanks to Bob Bagshaw and John Churchward for gifts of caving and climbing publications to the Club Library.

Working Weekend

September 6/7, 1969.

The last weekend that was set aside for work on the Belfry had just about nil support from the Belfry regulars.  Another weekend has been booked and will be closed to all except those actually working on the building.  Please come along and give John Riley some support.  There is plenty for members to do – repairs to the roof (some though are being done at the moment) and ceilings; water traps need assembling into the sink units; new door needed on the toilet main entrance and many smaller jobs inside the Belfry.  DON’T FORGET THE DATE AND COME ALONG AND LEND A HAND.

Burrington Atlas

Work is proceeding at a reasonable rate on the Caving Report – The Burrington Atlas.  To illustrate the publication we are looking for early photographs of caving parties and the caves.  If any member has any prints or negatives I wonder if they would let Dave Irwin know as soon as possible?

G.B. Cavern

It is reported that there has been a sizable boulder movement between the ladder Dig and Bat Passage.  This area of the cave is being closed to all parties until the U.B.S.S. have completed their inspection of the area.  Reports of boulder movement have been made from time to time since its discovery in 1965.


Cavers Bookshelf

By Roger Stenner

The Sheffield University Speleological Society Journal, Volume 1. No.4, May 1969.  No price stated.  (In B.E.C. Library).

This edition of the Journal is unlike so many other club publications in that only one of its 46 pages consists of club news unlikely to interest anyone outside the club.  The Journal contains a review of mines in the Coniston area of the Lake District, and the second part of an article on the Mines of Long Rake which is not of much value without part 1 (No.3 in B.E.C. Library).  A mine survey is included which uses the misleading practice of representing a passage by a single line, presumable because of a poor choice of scale. The script contains no details of the survey.  Reviews, letters to the editor (Biospeleological notes; Tratman on the Doolin Cave System, Eire), article ‘Pioneer  Speleologists in Derbyshire’ (largely a biography of J.W. Puttrell) and an article on University Speleological Societies (discussing problems peculiar to University Caving Clubs) make up the Journal together with an article by S.J. Thompson, ‘Karst Water Analysis’, which merits further discussion.

The article refers to more than 50 chemical (and physical) Qualitative and Quantitative analyses for major constituents and trace constituents of Karst Water.  Indicating the sort of determinations that chemists can carry out, it may provoke non-chemists into prodding any chemist in the club into action, but the limitations must be born in mind by all readers of the procedure for a particular determination their article will not and cannot take the place of a spell of a time in a library with Chem. Abstracts and Anal. Abstracts.

It is strange that a review of modern techniques should fail to mention X-ray fluorescence spectrometry for detection and determination of trace elements, and no procedure is given for routine measurement of sodium and potassium (present in more than ‘trace’ concentrations).  Procedures which turn paper chromatography into a quantitative techniques were not mentioned, and although procedures for determinations of minute concentrations of chloride and sulphate were referred to, there was nothing suitable for the larger concentrations usually encountered on Mendip.

The key question of interpretation and uses of trace element analysis was raised.  However, most techniques mentioned are also suitable for analysis of stream-bed deposits, investigations which (since streams are made to flow upstream only with some difficulty) may be of value in spite of flooding re-deposition.

Recent Additions to the Club Library

By ‘Wig’

To attempt to review every publication that reaches the club library would fill the B.B. for many years. Instead I’m taking the publications as they were handed to me by Dave Searle (Hon, Librarian) and hope that I pick out articles of interest to members.

SWETCCC ‘Speleo’, vol.7 No.2 contains an interesting article entitled ‘Swildons 5–1’ followed by ‘Free Diving’ and discusses what can be done, if anything, if a companion gets into trouble when free diving sumps.    The Royal Forest of Dean Caving Group have published an eleven page report on their trip to Ireland in 1968.    Interesting accounts of several trips.  W.S.G. Bulletin Vo.6 No.3 (May/June 1969) odd notes from South Wales; Caving and the Unconscious (see June B.B.) and an unnecessary Caving Glossary.  C.R.G. Newsletter. No.115 (Mar. ’69) has more information on the Norwegian Caves of Kjopsvik (with surveys) and Foreign Language contents (a-c).  C.S.S. Newsletter Vol.11 No.5 – The Western Taurus Mountains (includes surveys of area and Pingargözü Cave).  MSG Newsletter No.73 and 74 – club news only.  Axbridge Caving Group – Newsletter’s Ap. ’69; Mat’69 –Dangers of Hyperventilation by O.C. Lloyd (article in Spelio mentioned above in Spelio). June – reply to Oliver Lloyd’s letter in May issue.  B.S.A. list of members (Jan. ’69).  W.S.G. Vol.6 No.2 Pronunciation of Welsh words and reports of the Pengelly Lectures held at Imperial College, London.  N.P.C. Newsletter contains a report of the A.G.M. of C.N.C.C. Spelio (SWETCCC) Vol.7 No.1 contains notes on the survey of Swildon’s North West Stream Passage (incl. survey to same scale as Willie Stanton’s).  For the Spanish speaking members of the club the Bologna Speleos publication ‘Sottoterra’ contains many surveys and useful lists of publications received by their club.  (Nos 19 and 20 April and August 1968), also No.21.  Speleon (university of Oviedo (Vol.16 Nos 1-4) contains a mathematical treatise on resistivity method of locating caves and a long article by Jimenez of Cuba.  July issue of Climber; the June/July ‘Rocksport’ contains an article of interest not only to climbers but to cavers – ‘Advances in Safety Techniques; June ‘Climber’;.  Northern Caving (Northern Cave Club) Vol. No.1; Care of Lamps and Padirac.  Also interesting account of Meregill by E.E. Roberts (1908).  D.S.S. Monthly Journal illustrates how active the club is at the present time and their Journal includes many snippets of useful information regarding both caves and mines of the Devon area as does the monthly bulletin of the G.S.S.

Without any doubt the most outstanding publication received this year is from the U.B.S.S. with the jubilee issue of their Proceedings, Vol.12 No.1 contents include History of the Society in Ireland; Geomorphology and Hydrology of the Central  Mendips; The Society in Ireland; County Sligo, Ireland and revised survey of G.B. Cave at Charterhouse.  Running parallel with the caving material is of course the Archaeological reports.


Drawing Of Accurate Cave Surveys (part 2)

By D.J. Irwin

All passage detail has to be related to all the survey stations in the area being detailed. Using the data collected in the cave the outline of the passages can now be drawn into position.  But here we find another problem – how much of the information is included and what is omitted; further what is collected in the cave? 

Up to the moment the survey lines have been drawn onto the master drawing but before notes are given on how to add the information it might be as well to transfer ourselves between the cave and the drawing board and examine the detail that is required and how it should be shown on the plan, elevation etc.

Surrounding the survey line is the passage outline.  This should, as near as possible, be surveyed to similar standard of accuracy as the survey line.  Normally a closed traverse should be better than 2% (though this will naturally depend upon the traverse length).

The amount of detail to be collected will depend at the scale at which the draughtsman will draw the survey.  Two points determine the scale (to remind ourselves for a moment) -1) the maximum size of paper available to the draughtsman and 2) the minimum passage width that can draw accurately without specialised drawing equipment.

We should also consider the point of making the survey – is our finished drawing going to be published for the general caver or the specialist or both?  Let’s assume that the finished print is to be for the specialist; as we go along the survey for the general caver will also be considered.

It is obvious that the larger the scale the more detailed the survey – in terms of the passage outline etc.  This will mean that the surveyor will need to collect much floor and wall details including solution pockets, climbs, pools and any other special features.

As an example let’s assume that the cave survey is being drawn at 1” = 20ft.  What information is to be collected?  The smallest width that the surveyor/draughtsman can draw at this scale is a true dimension of 1ft. (0.05”); thus all detail collected in the cave must be greater than this.  As the cave passage is a three dimensional object it has to be shown in the three plans: - from above (plan), from the side (elevation) and through the cave showing passage relationship with their respective height values.  Similarly at any on point along the passage length there is also another group on two planes that must be taken into consideration a) passage height and b) passage width.

Passage Width

The width of a cave passage is something that proves difficult to define and I’ve met no-one that can state this so that it covers all types of passages met with in caves. When drawing the passage section the width can be shown without any difficulty but the drawing of the plan often produces problems that are not easily overcome.  Take for example a narrow sloping rift as found in the Catgut Series in St. Cuthbert’s Swallet.  It is barely more than 2ft. wide over most of its length but the horizontal distance from top to bottom is some 8ft.  Does the draughtsman draw the passage as being 8ft. wide or 2ft. wide? Another type of passage met with quite often is the ‘T’ shape.  If the passage is say 10ft. high, 10ft. across the horizontal bar of the ‘T’ and 4ft. wide in the trench what is shown on the plan?  Swildons streamway below Barnes Loop displays another common shape of cave passage.  A vertical rift narrow at the bottom but very wide at the top.  Is the full width of the passage at the top shown or the width at the bottom?

Among the many other problems associated with passage width is the minor variations near the floor level. How are these to be taken into account? A good example of this type of streamway is found below Plantation Junction and the Beehive Chamber in St. Cuthbert’s.  Here the passage commences as shown in figure 8 and gradually forms into a high, narrow rift. The shelving at the start is well marked; near the stream level on the right (facing downstream) are several ledges 1’ - 1¼’ wide while on the left a high level ledge tapers down to the streamway. Are all these variations to be shown on the plan?


As can be seen there are many variations of the same problem.  How is this to be tackled by cave surveyors ensuring that they collect sufficient information for the draughtsman to lay in the survey and also to ensure some form of standardisation in survey presentation? What is to be shown on the plan, elevation and section?

One of the requirements for a cave survey (1) is to enable a caver to get sufficient information to get him around the cave.  As this is an accepted fact agreed by all cave surveyors then it is not an idea to show on the survey what is seen by the caver when he is travelling through the passage?  In other words the draughtsman shows the passage width along the caver’s path.  In the case of the sloping rift in the Catgut Series – which in this cave is normally traversed along the floor level – the plan will show the width at a point used by the cave i.e. 2ft. ignoring what happens above or below this point; these variations can be easily shown on the elevation or passage section.

If we accept the cavers path for the passage width on the plan the passage profile at the point becomes very important.  Depending on the scale of the drawing and the ability of the draughtsman to draw accurate within the tolerances suggested above then the information gathered in the cave must be sufficient for him to show all the various changes at the caver’s level.  Where the wide section of the passage (figure 8) drops to the caver’s eyeline then this can be shown as a break in the wall outline as suggested in figure 9 illustrating a ledge entering the caver’s eyeline above.  There are not many variations that break away from the basic rule suggested above but there will be occasions when the upper parts of the passage will have to be shown on the plan – when a high level has to be shown when the cavers route to it is by a climb along ledges or ‘up the wall’.



Figure 10 illustrates the ‘ray’ method of detailing large and complicated passages and crawls etc. It will be noted from the figure how the detail is related to the survey station with no difficulty.  The author favours this method where the passage outline and prominent features are surveyed in a similar manner to the main lines. All value read on the clino above 10o are then calculated with a slide rule and are then plotted onto the drawing using a protractor to plot all the points.  The points are then joined together rather like children’s ‘follow the dots’ puzzles.  The calculation of the clino values become necessary when drawing at a scale of 1” = 20ft. or larger.  Estimated distances can involve enormous errors – some as large as 30%.  In a passage of say 15ft. wide or more, errors of 5ft. or so cannot be tolerated in an accurate outline survey.  It is even more ludicrous when plotting to the nearest foot and there are errors in the passage width of maybe 5ft. and over. For the 1” = 20ft. (1/240) scale surveys all distances should, for detailing purposes be measured to better than ±6”.


∆ Principal survey stations

       Sub - lines

___ Main survey lines

FIGURE 10    Detailing chambers and very wide passages.

No view can be expected to show any changes in passage heights, the existing avens etc.  This gives the reasons for the need for elevations and passage sections.  When the passages are all drawn in position and the outline completed a quick glance will show the complicated portions that will need clarifying (figure 11).


FIGURE 12      1 - 9

Passage Sections

Related to the plan and elevations are passage sections.  The passage section plays an important role when presenting a cave survey equal in importance to either of the other views.  What cannot be shown on either plan or elevation must be shown on the passage section.

There are two extreme methods of showing changes of passage section; they are: 1. to draw the sections at regular intervals along the survey line or 2. to draw passage sections at all survey stations.

The second suggestion omits changes of passage shape between stations and consequently does not give sufficient information.  On the other hand the first suggestion shows all the changes of passage shape will involve a tremendous amount of repetition where passages are constant over their length. A compromise must be struck and a general rule observed.  Passage sections are required at all points where there is a marked change in passage section.  This might well occur every few feet along the survey line or it might be sufficient to show the section only at the survey stations.

There are two ways in the section can be presented on a survey – 1. Draw all passage sections alongside the survey line on either plan or elevation or 2. Draw all the passage sections in a separate part of the sheet.  It is recommended that all sections be drawn as in 2.  This is because the plan and elevation may well be complicated or maybe drawn at a small scale that will prevent the draughtsman placing the sections along the passage line.  By working to 2 the draughtsman prevents cluttering the views bearing in mind that names and notes will have to be added to the various views.

As stated under ‘Passage Outline’ the plan will show the cavers path – what happens at a higher level in the passage will be shown in the passage section.  Definite solutions have not been stated in any previous notes on the subject and an attempt is made in figure 12.

Sections 1, 2 and 3 (fig.12) are straight forward and need no comment. The basic rule being that the plan shows the passage width where the caver passes and the section lines are taken through this point on the passage section.

Passage sections 4 & 5 illustrate a stream passage with an upper meander forming part of the passage (e.g. Easegill and Tunnel Systems).  Where this occurs and both are used by the caver then the survey lines should be taken through both levels and detailed as separate passages. The fact that both may be joined by a rift is shown in the section of the passage; an attempt to show the rift feature on a plan would confuse the user of the survey because the additional lines that would be required to show the rift.  The elevation, if scale permits, can be shown with a dotted line representing the upper traverse line of passage.  As the section line on the plan should be annotated as shown in fig.12, so it is important to remember that the passage section must be complete with the section line at the point at which the passage is cut.  In the past it has been a regular practice to number or letter the sections.  Letters tend to become clumsy where a large number of sections are involved – so use numbers.  For example 1-1’, 2-2’, 3-3’ OR 1-1A, 2-2A etc.  A final point – indicate the direction along the passage that the section is being viewed – upstream or downstream (figure 13).  Do not draw the section line through the plan or elevation as this will trend to confuse the user if the passage detail is complicated (figure 14).

Hidden Detail

Quite a number of instances occur when one passage crosses another – the vast majority are simple but occasions arise when a cave has several levels one on top of another. The numbers of combinations of ‘dotted’ lines need to be kept to a minimum.  Figure 15 will help solve some of the problems.  If however one is preparing a detailed map for the cavers and the draughtsman intends to show floor deposits and generally presenting a ‘pretty’ picture of the cave then displacements should be contemplated.

Detail Required On An Accurate Outline Survey

A summary is listed below: -

1.                  All vertical changes in floor level grater than 5ft.

2.                  Permanent survey stations.  The height is given in feet above Ordnance Datum.  This value is obtained by determining the O.D. level of the cave entrance and subtracting the depth of the station in question below the cave entrance e.g. cave entrance height 780ft., depth of station below entrance = 140ft. then O.D. of station

= 780 – 140 = 640ft. O.D.  (See figure 16)


3.                  Names of passages and chambers.  Print all names outside the cave passage outline.  To place names and notes inside the chamber or passage will clutter the survey. Names of individual formations and other prominent features should be added in a different print and arrow drawn indicating their position (figure 17).

4.                  Other features are shown in figure 18.

If the scale of the survey is large say 1” = 10ft., then all of the above notes may be added whenever required.  O.D. levels can be marked at every survey station.  On the other hand should the scale be 1” = 100ft. then passage widths will not allow much to be added within the passage outline.  Hence it will only be possible to mark O.D. levels at every principle junction or at selected permanent survey stations. 


FIGURE 13                                            FIGURE 14


Having decided the layout and detail to be included on the survey the final negative or original can now be traced.  On what ever material is decided (detail paper, permatrace, linen etc.) trace the grid lightly in pencil; this will ensure that the grid lines to not detract the eye from the bold outline of the passage walls or become mistaken as part of the cave outline in the various views.  When finally inking the grid lines it is preferable not to take the grid lines through the views but leave them outside the cave outline.

The thickness of the passage outline for the various scales cannot be rigidly fixed.  The complexity will not often allow thick outlines to show clearly.  To assess the best ‘thickness’ of outline produce several tests trips of the most complicated section of the cave and choose from these.  If the result gives a clean neat appearance and above all, is easy to understand all is well; if on the other hand the appearance is cluttered then try a thinner pen.  A good reason for not making the outline too thick is that when they are drawn close together an optical illusion will make them appear closer together than they really are.  When tracing the pencil original, ensure that the inside of the pen follows the line thus ensuring that the passage width remains true.

Whatever scale the survey is being drawn the following line thicknesses will help keep the outline ‘bold’ and still identify the passage detail.

Passage outlines = 1 (e.g. No.4 U.N.O.)

Pitches, ledges etc = ½ (e.g. No.2 U.N.O.)

Streams, slopes lines, arrows etc = ¼ (No.1 U.N.O. or mapping pen)

The most convenient method of lettering that is neat and easy to apply is ‘Lettraset’ – a form of rub-on stencil; failing this UNO stencils give a neat finished appearance. The advantage of ‘Lettraset’ is that it can be obtained in many types of characters giving the draughtsman plenty of scope for variety of distinctive lettering (passage names in capitals, names of features in lower case etc).  Remember it, there is nothing more unsightly than bad printing however well the survey has been drawn.  A good example of bad presentation and lettering is the newly published survey of Lamb Leer included in the Lamb Leer Report; the outline has been drawn with a nibbed pen, the lettering uneven, appearance looks cluttered (e.g. O.D. value by main pitch) sections displaced down and away from their correct position without and notes and so on.

Title Block

Many a survey up to the present time have not collected the various bits of information together on the sheet to a focal point where all of it is gathered together.  A title block will do this and also help maintain a uniform method of presentation.

Scale Bar

It is recommended that all scale bars be given in metric and feet equivalents.  It is certain that sooner or later the metric system will be fully with us in this country and so it is desirable that a metric bar scale be incorporated now to prevent change to the scale bar later.


Final Note

I’ve deliberately left out of this article details of the various types of drawing instruments that can be obtained on the market and full details of the special surveys (geological etc) that may be produced from the cave survey, nor have I mentioned details of the survey report – all of this can be found elsewhere in caving literature.  A full reference list is to be found below for further reading and nearly all are to be found in the B.E.C. Library.

D.J. Irwin
4 – Feb. 1969


(1)                BEC Caving Report no.12 – Presentation of Cave Survey Data by S.J. Collins, page 9 section2.

(2)                M.S.C. Publication (yet to be published)

(3)                As Ref.1

Other publications on various topics of surveying: -

Wessex Cave Club Journal No.89 Accuracy of a Cave Survey by D. Warburton.

Shepton Mallet Caving Club No.2 Series 4, Traverse closures.

Surveying in Redcliffe Caves, B.E.C. Caving report No.1 by S.C. Collins.

U.B.S.S. Proc.  Vol.6 No.2 Survey of G.B. Cavern.

C.R.G. Transaction – Cave Surveying.


Monthly Notes No.27

By ‘Wig’

East Twin

Members have been over to the cave and inspected the washed out rift mentioned in the August B.B. and confirmed the reports that the passage leading off at the bottom is some 35’ – 40’ deep.  This is particularly interesting as it now represents the lowest part of East Twin. The first 20’ is vertical and the general section is elliptical, about 6ft. long by 2½ft. wide.  Two small passages lead off to the left but become impassable.  Beyond the 20ft. rift, the slope of the passage eases to about a 45o slope and becomes extremely tight.  Both John Riley and ‘Wig’ could not penetrate more than a body length into this passage. Roy Bennett and Martin Hauan then ‘had a go’, Martin reaching the end reported that the passage was diggable but very light.  ‘Banger’ Bennett hopes to improve this by opening a bypass around the back of a fallen boulder.  The result has not yet been seen to enable to decide whether to proceed with the site or not. The foreman at the sight was our Tacklemaster who viewed the entire show from the top of the rift at first and towards the end from a very safe distance – outside the cave!


Sketch elevation of the opened passage.  See BB No. 250 for further details of the East Twin survey.

St. Cuthbert’s – Cerberus Series.

The extension off Cerberus Rift has been attacked with chisels to no avail; stronger measures are being planned.  On a recent visit to the site a cool friendly draught was striking one in the face.


BALLOT PAPERS will be in the post shortly to enable members to elect next years Committee.  Make you choice and return the paper to Alan Thomas as soon as possible – if not before!

As is usual during this time of the year one starts thinking about next years Club Committee.  The position at the moment is not very clear but as the closing date for the nominations draws near perhaps I might copy ‘Alfie’, who a few years ago published a potted background of all members standing for the Committee.  Andy MacGregor (1968-69) Caving Sec) and Malcolm Holt have both resigned their posts on the Committee and so will not be re-nominated with other seven.  So, for the benefit of members who are not around Mendip often, or those that have a poor memory for names, here’s the list or runners: -

Bob Bagshaw – 168-69 Hon. Treasurer.
Alfie Collins - past B.B. Editor and Committee Chairman; LTP bod.
Garth Dell – past Hut Engineer.
Chris Harvey – Belfry regular; active caver.
Dave Irwin – B.B. & Caving Report Editor; Committee Chairman 1968-659; active caver.
Jock Orr – Belfry regular; interested in Belfry site.
Norman Petty – Tacklemaster 1968-69 (hasn’t reached his 1,000ft, of ladder yet!).
John Riley – Hut Engineer 1968-69; active caver.
Alan Thomas – 1968-69 Hon. Sec; organiser of Ahnenschacht expedition 1969.
Gordon Tilly – Minutes Sec. 1968-69; handles production of Caving Reports.
Phil Townsend – Hut Warden 1968-69.
? what about a representative from the climbing section?


‘Alfies’ Spelaeodes Part 1 – to be published on the 4th October 1969.  Members 4/- post paid if order in before September.  Limited Edition.  Price 5/- after October 31st 1969.  ORDER YOUR COPY NOW.  All profits from the sale of the Spelaeodes is given to the Hut Fund.  Part 1 includes the tales of Sammy Smayle; Freddy Fry and Kenneth Lyle and his Caving Machine…..the whole work is liberally illustrated with cartoons by Jock Orr….order your copy now with Dave Irwin, 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.  (after September add 6d for P&P).  Get your orders in now….remember

‘Once down below our Fred got going and soon,
a mass of jets a-glowing,
Quite rapidly, around our Fred
A mist of water vapour, spread,
“Oh, good!”, said Fred, “It’s hot enough
To vapourise the ruddy stuff.
It won’t belong before I’ve got
This cave all cosy, dry and hot.”
And, with a smug and gleeful smirk,
He gave the valve an extra jerk…….ORDER NOW

Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset.
EDITOR:  D.J. Irwin. 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.

1969 – 1970 Committee

Committee Chairman & Caving Secretary

Dave Irwin

Hon. Secretary

Alan Thomas

Hon. Treasurer

Bob Bagshaw

Hut Warden

Jock Orr

Hut Engineer

John Riley


Norman Petty

Assistant Hut Warden

Pete Franklin

Minute Secretary

Alfie Collins

Committee Member

Mike Luckwill

Climbing Secretary

Graham (Fred) Atwell

Other posts other than Committee Members:

Assistant Caving Secretary

Andy MacGregor

B.B. Editor

Mike Luckwill (from Jan 1970)

Caving Report Editor

Dave Irwin

Printing Department (B.B.)

John Riley

Postal Department (B.B.)

Dave Smith

Typing and Production of Caving Reports

Gordon Tilly

Joan Bennett and

Sybil Bowden Lyle

Hon. Librarian

Dave Searle

Tackle Store Keys held by :

Jock Orr, John Riley, Alan Thomas, Norman Petty, Dave Searle and Dave Irwin.

St. Cuthbert’s Swallet: Andy MacGregor will be dealing with all requests for trips into the cave.


Quote for the Month: Overheard at the Shepton Mallet – ‘The W.C.C. and the S.M.C.C. are to play for the B.E.C. Ashes’.



Your present Editor, writing his penultimate notes for the B.B., is now on the run-down towards the hand over of the Club Journal to Mike Luckwill at the end of December. Producing a monthly Journal, such as ours is an extremely rewarding task;  this is even more so when material is freely available.  I might say that I have been lucky and that members have responded splendidly in this respect.  During the last two years articles have flown in at such a rate to keep the B.B. to its present size.  Obviously, too much material can be embarrassing which eventually produces long hold-ups and so helps to encourage members not to write and the other extreme can be equally bad when no material is available as the finished product does not encourage members to send in their articles as the Journal is just not writing for.  To keep the balance the Editor of any Journal must be fully aware of what is happening in the caving scene and select the widest possible material to retain reader’s interest; even if it means going outside the Club membership for specialised material.  It is to be hoped that members will co-operate with Mike when he takes over in the same way that they have been with me.  To assist Mike I will be acting as a clearing house and will accept any member’s material for him so that it can be given to him on his monthly visit to Mendip – this will be the Committee meeting weekend.  The one great advantage that a publication, such as ours has over many others is that it is monthly and so can be really up to date with the news. The greatest piece of news gathering during my ‘term of office’ was without doubt the great flood of 1968  the B.B. contained this news in detail months before any other Journal in the Mendip area; as a result Mendip Caver; C.R.G. Newsletter and British Caver reprinted the article.  One of our competitors also produced a similar article some six months later but although they had much more time to gather material (in our case two evenings before printing) the information contained was little more than that in the B.B.  By being topical also helps to sell the B.B. – keep your ears to the ground and send any information that is heard to Mike and keep it full of news; it may not be the ‘plush’ publication of the other club; neither does it set too high a standard that all its material has to be original work – it is essentially a Club Journal that is up to date and as far as other Clubs are concerned a force to reckon with!

The next lap

The destruction of a caving club headquarters would in many cases meant the end of the club.  Many people forecast that this was the end of the B.E.C. when they heard of the news of the Belfry and were rubbing their hands with glee.  But the destructive forces to break up a club the size of the B.E.C. is much greater than merely burning down of their headquarters and the survival factor of a club is such that the new building is no longer a dream but a reality and will be the pride of the B.E.C. sometime in 1970.  To overcome the immediate accommodation problem the Changing Room has been converted into a cosy 9 bunk headquarters complete with cooking facilities and fire.  Members wishing to stay should book their bunks with Jock Orr (the Hut Warden) well in advance to avoid having to turn people away at the last moment.

The Belfry itself has been demolished and the timber that was salvageable stacked to one side of the site in readiness for the arrival of the builders.  Not only is the Belfry site well advanced to receive the new permanent building but the club is very much back to normal though several other changes have taken place.  The Seven Stars is now our Thursday evening haunt in place of the Waggon and Horses. Our long stay at the Waggon certainly caused a wrench but the final evening there went with a bang!  A last minute phone call to the Police ensured that the party could continue.  Continue it did – until about 2am on the Friday morning!  We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Mrs Suter for putting up with us for so long – about 15 years as far as I can gather – and offer our warmest 80th Birthday greetings to her.

The A.G.M and Dinner were both a great success; the latter particularly so.  One guest has been able to sum up the Dinner success when he told Alfie “It’ll take some other dinner a great deal of effort to beat this one!” On the other hand to the outside this was a pay, pay and pay Dinner as various methods were employed to raise money for the new Hut Fund.  The money contributed by members was a tribute to them but unfortunately we still have a long way to go before meeting our target of £700.  Please don’t let the idea drop at this stage and keep sending your contributions to Bob Bagshaw.  Pete Franklin is looking into various money raising events and if you have any ideas on the subject please contact him as soon as possible.  Three years go, when the plans of the permanent building were being discussed it appeared to members, including myself, as ‘Castles in the Sky’ and some £3,000 to go; now its only £500 or so to raise.

As to Caving and Climbing – these are well back on their feet again and work is getting underway on the reports – St. Cuthbert’s Swallet and Roman Mine.  Dam building for the next years sump bash has started again; the survey work has extended its arm into the Rabbit Warren Extension and the Main Chambers and several other smaller projects are again under way in and around the Mendip area.  Away meets, particularly the Yorkshire meets organised by Martin Webster are continuing (an account of the bottoming of the formidable Black Shiver Pothole appears in this issue).  A new caving programme will be published in next months B.B. together with Climbing programme details from ‘Fred’ Atwell, the new Climbing Secretary.

A Mendip Centenary

It’s not often that we have a centenary to celebrate with the Mendip Caving scene.  This year on the 4th November is the centenary of the birth of a man no Mendip caver has not heard of – HERBERT BALCH.  His books are still read avidly by all who cave on Mendip and one still wonders how they and his teams managed with such primitive tackle, to attack the swallets of Eastwater and Swildons and achieve what has been well documented in many books.  This year the B.B. will contain a series of articles dealing with the many facets of the man – the first appears this month by Alan Thomas.



Cave Photography

By Alan Coase

Caves and potholes present a challenge to the photographer which is both difficult and extremely rewarding.  As well as the obvious physical difficulties which might, for example, involves a 300ft. crawl with equipment though a tube more suited to an undersized worm than to a human being, there are problems of darkness, mud, condensation, grit, and carriage to be overcome.

The fact that one is working in a completely dark environment is of surprisingly little consequence.  Indeed, it might be regarded as an advantage, for the photographer is entirely in control of his lighting.  Problems of condensation can be minimised by the use of calotherm cloth (a few shillings from photographers or opticians) or the permanent fitted UV (ultra violet) filter. Use of an angle flash bracket-cum-pistol grip also reduces the handling of the camera body which can be further protected by construction of a neoprene rubber ever-ready case.  Carrying problems are best overcome by the use of surplus ammunition boxes which are cheap, waterproof and very strong.  These come in two sizes and can also be used to accommodate the necessary spares – lighting, food, first-aid, etc. – that should be carried on every trip.

Photography underground tends to take two forms.  It may be an incidental part of a general purpose trip for which the photographer might best aim at self-sufficiently – a small ammunition box, compact camera, small flash gun, etc. – or it may be a specifically photographic trip where the assistance of a willing team is essential.  Here more elaborate equipment, such as a more versatile camera, a really substantial tripod, and a quantity of large flashbulbs, etc, may be needed.

In the first category any camera can be used successfully though a clear viewfinder and full synchronisation are desirable.  In the second, greater versatility may be obtained though use of a camera in which the lenses are interchangeable.  In this respect I find a single lens reflex with a wide angle of view with the facility to use accessories for close-ups, etc.  It also gives up to 36 pictures on a cassette of 35mm film without having to reload – always difficult in a dark and dirty underground situation.  Space does not permit a full appraisal of suitable cameras but the folding roll-film camera deserves mention for it is very compact and is often obtainable very cheaply.

One further camera deserves mention for it is the only one specifically designed for such rugged conditions.  This is the Calypso-Nikkor II (formerly Nikonos) which is compact, completely waterproof, tough and easy to use.  Furthermore, is possesses very clear controls, an excellent viewfinder and a wide angle lens.  Regrettably its high price (over £100) is one of its chief disadvantages though second hand models should be found more cheaply.

Choice of flash equipment is also very important for it again should be compact and lightweight.  This tends to rule out the larger electronic outfits, which are also costly, but I find a small unit convenient for incidental photography, for close-ups and for fill in, or foreground illumination, on large shots.  By and large, however, bulb flash is more suitable.  It is initially cheaper, very much more powerful and fairly lightweight. A convenient method of firing off the gun is desirable, while one gun should be able to fire PF100 bulbs or similar.

Film choice is clearly a personal matter but a relatively fast film is desirable.  I have found FP4 Ilford (125 ASA) and Kodak High Speed Ektachrome (160 ASA) to my liking, although in terms of colour it is worth noting that very good and even faster colour transparency films (up to 500ASA) are now readily available (from ANSCO).

Equipment, however, is far less important than technique, many aspects of which are acquired through experience.  Certain general observations can be made however:

FLASH BULB AND ELECTRIC FLASH UNIT GUIDE NUMBERS – are computed for a ‘normal room’.  Caves rarely fit the specification; so numbers must be adjusted accordingly except where photographing very bright formations. I ‘down-rate’ guide numbers and/or film speeds very drastically – perhaps by a third in a modest sized passage but by even more in a large chamber.

Flash techniques:

1.                  Flash-on-the camera.  This is satisfactory, perhaps essential, for record and action shots but generally most undesirable, especially on formations which will appear flat and uninteresting.

2.                  Flash-off-the-camera.  It is far better to have the flashgun to one side – either on the camera bracket/pistol grip, or at arms length on an extension lead.  In some cases extreme lighting from the side, or even back lighting, can yield beautiful results.

3.                  Multi-flash techniques.  For these the camera must be set up on a tripod and a series of flashes fired. This may be done by:

a)                  Extensions leads giving synchronised flash (but suspect because damp, grit, etc., often short circuits the system and bulbs fire prematurely or not at all) or

b)                  A count-down in complete darkness by the cameraman with a number of bulbs being fired as near as simultaneously as possible, or

c)                  By ‘painting’ the chamber or passage with one flash gun being held and fired by a member of the team at predetermined points.  Lights again need to be doused so this technique cannot be recommended where large pitches occur!

With each of these methods the light source should normally be shielded, as far as possible placed away from passage walls where overexposure will result.  Care, too, should be taken to avoid ‘ghosts’.

The obvious rewards for all this effort lie in the incredible delicacy and beauty of formation, the purity of a new discovery or the importance of a first climb.  Less obvious, but of increasing importance, is the role of the cave photographer as a scientist or recorder, for many of Britain’s caves are being thoughtlessly desecrated.  He should bear in mind the ‘motto’ “Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing behind but footprints” and also remember that competence as a caver comes before skill as a cave photographer.

Good luck – and watch out for the cave gremlins that always fill cameras and sockets with sand, and cause batteries and bulbs to fail just as you have got your models chest – deep in the lake!

(Reprinted from the Scouter with permission of the author).


Letter To The Editor

From Henry Oakeley, M.R.C.P.

Dear David,

Thank you for passing on Dr. Lloyd’s comments.  Some of his ‘smaller points’ echo my sentiments exactly; certainly his main point, that reading about the management of such emergencies is no substitute for practical experience, cannot be controverted.  In my article, I may have been unduly dogmatic in places, hoping thereby to avoid clouding the main issue with all the arguments (and their references too!).  Oliver’s first comment is an example of something which has arguments both ‘for’ and ‘against’, and I would bow to his personal, practical knowledge in this aspect of management of drowning.  I must thank him also for bringing to our attention that I have neither stressed the danger of ‘cold exposure’ sufficiently, nor made any mention of the ‘hot bath’ in its treatment.  I can say no more than that ‘cold exposure’ can kill you, quickly, un-dramatically, and irrevocably.  The ‘hot bath treatment’ is probably the best thing for reversing cold exposure. Victims of this will scald easily so do not make the bath hotter than you yourself can tolerate.  Death can occur during the re-warming process so the presence of a doctor is an advantage, but do not delay because of the absence of one.  At a certain stage in the progression of cold exposure the body will stop producing heat so effective insulation will not stop you from getting colder and only external heat will reverse the process.

There are two points which perhaps he misunderstood, which I would like to clarify.

Firstly, concerning the time before starting cardiac massage.  Following drowning most healthy young hearts will restart readily following the initiation of artificial respiration, without recourse to cardiac massage.  In inexperienced hands cardiac massage is quite dangerous, in experienced hands most of the victims suffer fractured ribs at least which may be so severe as to require continuous artificial ventilation until they heal up (i.e. days).  Cardiac massage performed on a beating heart may stop it.  A cold wet caver with no experience in feeling for a pulse may have the utmost difficulty in assessing whether a heart is beating when the pulse is very weak, so because of this and because of the dangers of cardiac massage, I would advise that massage should not be attempted until you have felt unsuccessfully for a pulse for a good half minute.  A one minute delay in starting cardiac massage is, in these particular circumstances, of less harm than performing it unnecessarily, but if you are experienced in assessing whether the heart is beating or not, then I would agree with Oliver that the earlier that you start the better.

Secondly, concerning the use of amphetamines.  I agree that there is good evidence that amphetamines are of benefit in improving endurance and performance in normal people and in people suffering from exhaustion due to lack of sleep.  Amphetamine taken by mouth takes two hours to act fully so it may, by its ability to improve feeling of well being and of raising morale, prevent the onset of cold exposure if taken in good time during a prolonged and arduous expedition. However, there is absolutely no evidence that it has any effect on reversing cold exposure once it has developed, and the undesirable side effects of amphetamine such as irrational behaviour, over activity and bizarre mental states would be detrimental to the safety of the affected individual and hasten his death.  Glucose is a first rate treatment and has no side effects; it would be wise to stick to this alone.

The conclusion which I hope that your readers will draw from this correspondence is that a few hours of practical experience in lifesaving techniques is worth far more than a millennium of collecting references in ‘learned journals’, and will proceed to emulate Dr. Lloyd and Barry Lane and enrol in a life saving course.

Henry Oakley, M.R.C.P.
St. Thomas’ Hospital, London.



By Mike Luckwill

The sources of information for the local historian are many and varied: local documents are preserved in libraries, town halls, planning offices, churches and museums, to say nothing of private wills, diaries and letters.  Old maps are, of course, an important source of knowledge and are usually available for reference at the local museum or library. Those who are interested in the recent history of Mendip, therefore, will probably be familiar with the Ordnance Survey 1” map in the Old Series, in particular Sheet XIX. The recent reprint of this sheet is now available and will undoubtedly enable those of us who have not had the time or inclination to look at before, to pass many evenings enjoying its details. 

Whilst not wishing to spoil the pleasure awaiting those who intend to purchase a copy, or who already have a copy, there are several points of interest in the Priddy area which I would like to mention in order to whet the appetite, perhaps, of future purchasers. Before we look at these, however, there are two points of general interest.  Firstly, local topography was surveyed with a compass and distances were measured by pacing; even so the errors are not, on the whole, greater than a quarter of a mile (cave surveyors take heart!).  Secondly, and perhaps of even more interest to cave surveyors; the surveyors, who were frequently hired locally, were paid by the square mile of satisfactorily completed survey.

Let us now look a Priddy. The first thing that strikes one is that Priddy and Priddy Green appear to be two distinct communities.  Priddy itself consisted of a rectangle of roads, some of which nowadays are only tracks.  Two sides of the rectangle are the present road from the Green and the first twenty yards of Nine Barrows Lane and the south-east corner of the rectangle was occupied by a church.  The road to Townsend stopped at Alan Thomas’ caravan (which appears to be marked) (is he that old? Ed.) and only continues as a track – Townsend did not exist a hundred years ago.  Ashton Drove continued from its present ending (it still continues as a footpath) and went down into Draycott, alternatively it was possible to turn left, into what is now a track known as the Broad Road, and go down into Stoke Rodney (which explains why there was no ‘local bloke’ in those days).  Stoke Wood is marked and the hill above was known as Stoke Warren; Westbury Beacon is marked at 875ft.; that has not moved.  While we are on the ‘Stokes’, the group of houses by the Shepton Hut was called Stoke Hill.

Although many of what were then tracks are now roads, we may take as an example of what was then a road, but is now only a track- Durston Drove.  It has no name on the map, but what is now Higher Pitts Farm was then called Durston.  From Durston a stream is marked flowing down Ebbor Gorge to meet another stream flowing in the valley by the side of Deer Leap (not marked).  In fact one of the first things one notices is that all the valleys on the edge of Mendip, with the exception of Burrington contain streams which rise near their heads.  One of the longest streams rises just below Tynnings Farm and flows into Rowberrow. One wonders how much of this detail was just a logical imagination of the ‘this is a valley, therefore it must contain a stream’ type; especially when one looks at the immense valley marked north of Wookey Hole and extends almost as far as Durston Drove: that certainly is not there today or its stream.  Whilst on the subject of streams we must remark on the complex of little streams in the Swildons area although no swallets are marked or named on the map; the name Wookey Hole is the only indication that there are any caves at all in the area!  The Mineries Pool is marked much further south than it is today – just about where the small depression is by the Belfry track, but no sign exists of the lead works.

This sheet is particularly wealthy as far as archaeological detail is concerned.  Nine Barrows are marked and so are Eight Barrows.  Four Priddy Circles are marked, but not the straight-line that we know them today.  Priddy Hill farm was not in existence and the hill, itself, was called West Hill; Priddy Hill being reserved for the hill to the South-west of Priddy Green.  The Geological Survey was founded in 1832, but the technique of producing electrotype copies of the engravings was not perfected until 1847; geological detail was thus added to the topographical map and consists of dip arrows, horizontal and contorted strata signs, and symbols for the major minerals.

One could go on and on, but I will leave you with a little more searching to do.  The Yeo was called Cheddar Water; the Sheppey was not named but Decoy Rhine was and the position of the decoy is marked.  The Hunters was not marked (shame – Ed.) even as a building, the Blue Bowl and the Castle of Comfort are named.  Younger readers may be surprised at the existence of Heron’s Green, but even older members have not dropped in to the Powder Mill at Moreton in order to charge their shotguns for an early morning on one of the numerous warrens: Charterhouse, Ubley warren, etc., nor will older readers remember Bishport being in the heart of the country (nowadays Bisopworth).  There is no doubt: for avid map readers, Sheet XIX is a must.

(For further details, see Vo.23 p.38 (March 1969 B.B.). 

In addition to Mike’s note in the March B.B. the following maps have now been published (sheets, flat or folded, 15/- ea. From David and Charles, Newton Abbott, Devon): -




Camelford & Hartland Point








Isle of Wight






Bath and Wells




Truro & Lizard Head




Exeter & Dartmouth












Barnstaple & Lundy Island














Club publications will be available at the annual dinner.

‘Alfie’s’ Spelaeodes  pt. 1 available at the annual dinner – 4/- ea.

Club ties are available from Bob Bagshaw – price @ 17/6 ea.

Club Car Badges are available from Bob Bagshaw @ 17/6 ea. 

Please be early for the A.G.M. – 10.30am.  see page 127 for details.

Potted notes on committee candidates on page 121.

November 4th is an important date for mendip cavers – see Nov. b.b.

Monthly Notes No.29

by ‘Wig’

Gargill Pot (best known as Twin Titty!)

A follow up note – diggers at the site have ‘relocated’ the draught that was felt during the digging of their original shaft.  According to my source of information this blast of air hasn’t diminished much when the hole was opened up.  What can be seen of the way on appears to be mud a choked bedding plane.

O.F.D. Survey.

The latest news I have of the publication of the survey and report is that it will be published sometime on November.  More details when received.

That CHAIN on the Swildons Forty!

The latest issue of ‘Descent’ contains a letter from the Tamesis Caving Club admitting that they installed the chain that disappeared late in August, at a cost of £4.  The greater part of the letter quotes your scribe from his article published last year in the July B.B. on the great Flood.  Then I wrote ‘The changes in the Water Rift have increased the chance of accidents.  Cavers entering the system will be encouraged to go further than they had previously….The lack of tackle….will produce dangers…..The Water Rift… should be treated with extreme caution under wet conditions’.  Well, these lads took my words to the limit and fixed a chain on the six foot climb at the bottom of the Forty Foot Pitch.  Unfortunately I didn’t mean to INSTALL fixed aids but that cavers should use their common sense and if the water conditions looked as though it might get worse, then they took in their OWN TACKLE for the duration of the trip. Further, if the water was already high then there is no earthly reason why one can’t carry 35ft. of ladder to the head of the Forty and place this in position as a safety factor.  It’s only 300ft. to the entrance.

SHATTER HOLE  ( Fairy Cave Quarry)

The original CRG Grade 1 survey of the cave showed it firstly running due south and just beyond Tor Chamber the remainder of the cave swung round to the east.  The new survey to C.R.G. Grade 6 being produced by the Shepton Mallet Caving Club shows the whole system running due south, actually entrance to end boulder choke gives a general bearing of 188.5o.  Just shows how wrong you can be!  The S.M.C.C. are also digging in a small side passage that leads down towards a stream – what happens next?

One hundred years ago, on the 4th November 1969, was born a man who was to in later life be the backbone of Mendip caving for many years.  Founder of Wells Museum; Discoverer of Swildons Hole, Eastwater Swallet and an ardent searcher for great master cave of Mendip – his name Herbert Balch.

To celebrate the centenary of his birth we are publishing a series of articles which collectively will outline the man’s achievements throughout the next twelve months.  The first now follows:


A Man of Mendip

by Alan Thomas

Cavers who never knew the late Herbert Balch are often apt to scoff.  I am putting these few recollections of him on record in the hope of showing what an essentially delightful character he was.  Some of his theories may be long since outdated and many of his exploits less heroic by modern standards but a human being he was larger than life.

He was, of course, an old man when I first knew him.  As a freelance caver at the end of the nineteen forties I used to call in at the Wells Museum to find out what was going on.  He was always willing to chat about the current caving scene and knew everybody connected with it.  In one such occasion he told me of the death of Pat Browne. Apparently a week or so before he was killed Pat told him of a cave he had discovered  on Eastern Mendip and had offered to tell him in strict confidence the location of it but Mr Balch had said, “Don’t tell me until you are ready to tell everybody.”  And so it was the cave was lost.

Later I knew him regularly on Saturday afternoons at the Badger Hole, his archaeological dig at Wookey Hole.  Mr Balch sat at the sorting table in the cave entrance whilst the rest of us dug and carried out buckets of material.  Many splendid finds were made.  Once one of the diggers brought a fragment of human skull with him and concealed it in one of the buckets.  The old man saw it, smiled and threw it into the spoil heap.  Asked how he knew it was not a genuine find, he said he had seen it before!

Once, in 1953, I went on the bus to Wells from Bristol to ask Mr Balch for a testimonial.  “Schoolmaster!” he said, “I’ll show you some schoolmastering! These boys from the Blue School came here yesterday.  They wrote their names all over my visitor’s book and stuffed pieces of paper into the slot of my little stop model.  The chief culprit is coming to see me shortly.  If you’re still here then you’ll see some schoolmastering!” Presently a boy of about twelve arrived and said “Mr Sellers sent me Sir.”

“Oh, you’re the boy who played about with my slot machine and wrote his name all over my visitors book. And not only that wrote it so badly that I can’t read it.  Go on read?”

“Roger Dors, Sir.”

“Well, Roger Dors….Dors? Dors of Hunters Lodge?  Oh, I know your father and your grandfather and, of course your poor cousin, Francis.  Well, Roger, there are things in this Museum…..”

Another incident occurred about this time that sticks in my mind.  Peter Bird of the Bristol Museum went to see Mr Balch on business.  Whilst he was there he was shown some pieces of new red sandstone containing a vertebrate fossil – “the oldest in the world and the first pieces ever found.”

“ I saw them about a fortnight ago” said Peter.  “Alan Thomas got it from an old man in a pub at Cheddar.”

“Now I know that your are mistaken, said Mr Balch.  “Alan Thomas is a nice boy; he doesn’t go into pubs.”

One final anecdote before closing: not many years before he died the B.E.C. invited him to the Annual dinner and received a very nice letter declining to accept and signed “Herbert Balch, 84 Not Out”.


Just Out

Northern Cave Handbook 1969.  Published by Council of Northern Caving Clubs. Obtainable  from J.R. Sutcliffe, 16 Ryelands Grove, Heaton, Bradford 9, Yorkshire.  PRICE 4/-

C.N.C.C.  Meets Secretaries are:

…for Leck Fell and Casterton…

F. Croll, 6 Byron Avenue, Bolton-le-Sands, Carnforth, Lancs.

…for Penyghent, Fountains and Mongo Gill…..

E.A. Shaw, Sough Lane Farm, Guide, Blackburn, Lancs.

Cavers Bookshelf

by Martin Webster.

CAVING by James Lovelock, published by Batsford at 25/-. 144 pp and photographs.

Yet another in the line of the nondescript books, attempting to put the novice caver on the best lines of safe caving.  In this capacity it is reasonable, although not outstanding.  It has some interesting suggestions and quire useful advice.  If you were to take all the equipment caving that Mr Lovelock suggests, however, at least a team of donkeys would be required!

Many of the ‘tackle’ illustrations have appeared in previous publications and one feels that the photographs could have been selected a little more carefully.


The 1969 Annual Dinner

By ‘Jock’ Orr

This year, for several reasons, the Club Committee decided to change the venue from the “Cave Man” in Cheddar to the Wookey Hole Restaurant.  The result was a sell out, and upon the date arranged, approximately 150 people descended upon the restaurant and proceeded to generate that special blend of B.E.C. conviviality that guarantees the success of any occasion they attend, wherever it may be.

Most of the diners announced their satisfaction with the catering arrangements, layout of tables, quality of food, access to the bar; and commented favourably on the more intimate atmosphere engendered by the dim lighting.  But, as usual, speed of service, the performance of the wine waiter, depending on, it would seem, where you happened to be sitting, provoked an element of complaint within the general cordiality of the occasion, accompanied by protest over the price of 25/-.

In fairness to the restaurant management, the cost of preparing, organising and staffing an event of this kind is not quite the same as providing an ordinary day-time meal service to the general public.  Very few, if any, establishments will provide a dinner at standard prices and include several hours use of the premises into the bargain!  In short, the price is for the function; and not just for the Dinner.

On a more cheerful note, the Pete Franklin Show gotr an enthusiastic reception from the audience, who joined in the last chorus and expressed their appreciation with typical B.E.C. Gusto.  Alfie Collins’ lyrics were great!  ‘Zot’ Harvey, John Riley, Barry Wilton and Oliver Lloyd gave outstanding performances as the leading characters.

Having by now become elevated into a mood of jovial sociability, everybody supplied everybody else with liberal quantities of brewers lubrication and proceeded to the main business of the evening, while the Hon. Sec. took up his customary stance on a table and blared his voice across the heads of the assemble company cajoling all present to support the nefarious activities of Barry ‘The Artful Cadger’ Wilton who was busily filling up his hat with money.

Later on, the Hon. Sec. was observed chatting to various people about the acquisition of a set of priceless photographic prints, and the Artful Cadger was up at the bar negotiating further contributions out of change from rounds of refreshments.  Their combined efforts and the generosity of the subscribers brought in a collection for the new Belfry fund much to the surprise of the Hon. Treasurer and the A.G.M. Chairman (Sett) who both expressed their delighted satisfaction with the response from the Club members.  To round off the evening, and at the invitation of Alan Thomas, many people returned to the burned-out shell of the Belfry and held a farewell barrel-party-cum-wake which continued with due ceremony and honour to the memory of the old ‘shed’ until the early hours of the morning.

Altogether, one of the most successful BEC dinners ever, and one which will set a high standard for the forthcoming season!  And last, but by no means least, congratulations to the ladies for their decorative and charming company.


Address changes and additions

address changes = +

+A. Kennet, 92 West Broadway, Henlease, Bristol.

7123 D.A. Byers, 301 Cressex Road, High Wycombe, Bucks.

+704 D. Metcalf, 5 Caryer Close, Orton, Longueville, Peterborough, Northants.

436 J. Hill, 14c High Street, Lower Cam, Nr. Dursley, Gols.

619 K. Barnes, Officers Mess, 17 TRC regt. R.A., Woolwich, London.


Photographs of the Belfry, taken the day after the fire, are available to members at £1 a set of 11. These were taken by Dave Turner and the profits from the sale of these sets will be added to the Hut Fund.  The various pictures show views both inside and outside the building and the extent of the damage is clearly shown.  The boxed ‘Bertie’ on the door, which was extensively damaged, is also subject of one of the photographs.  Members wishing to purchase a set shout contact Dave Turner, 12 Westbourne Place, Clifton, Bristol 8 as soon as possible.  Separate prints available at 2/- each.


If events work out as the Committee hope, then the new Belfry can be built by Christmas but details elsewhere.  We shall need a considerable amount of furniture and internal fittings.  If you have anything at all which will be of use please let Alan Thomas know fairly soon.  As most people will know by now that Alan has bought a cottage in Priddy and he has kindly offered to store any items of furniture in his large shed there. If you are not able to bring the material to Mendip then it might be possible for someone to come and collect it. The more important items that are required takes the form of tables; dining chairs; wardrobes; crockery, eating irons, and bathroom fittings that would be suitable for the showers.


The conversion of the changing rooms into a temporary Belfry is almost complete and members will be able to move in within the next few weeks.  The accommodation holds nine people, cooking facilities; electric lighting is now on thanks to Doug Parfitt who came up during the week after the Dinner and rewired the building, the roof has been waterproofed by John Riley and his team of helpers and in addition Jock with his Scots determination has demolished the wooden Belfry ready for Fred Owen to move in when the lights switch to green.  Walt Foxwell has been asked to have his new track in operation by 20th October and the cattle grid at the entrance to the Belfry car park will be laid.




Black Shiver Pot – Success!

By Martin Webster

Following our two ‘reconnaissance’ trips earlier this year, it was decided to have another go at bottoming this rather notorious Yorkshire Pot during the August Bank Holiday. After several evenings at the ‘Shepton’ sorting out the men from the micromen, and as there were no applicants, as a result of the ‘advertisement’ in the BB we eventually ended up with a team compromising of Roy Bennett, Martin (Milch) Mills, Bob Craig, Bill Tolfree and myself, all of which we agreed had a reasonable chance of negotiating the entrance passage, which is, to say the least, rather tight.  So, after much thought the dates and times were set and the dreaded day drew near!

So it came to pass, on the morning of Saturday 30th August 1969, a small team of budding ‘Black Shiverites’ could be seen staggering up over Black Shivers Moss with great unwieldy loads on their backs, heading over, what was by then a well trodden route for some of the group.  A little while later Roy and Joan Bennett appeared.  Roy having stopped to don his caving gear.  So the caving team and the surface party (Joan) were both complete.  The tackle was sorted into reasonable looking loads, and after a quick check of personal gear, one by one our intrepid band disappeared down the ‘pot’.

The 10” high entrance crawl only had some 4” of water in it this time.  The first problem came when the 11” high rope bag refused to go through, but after a hefty kick, and a few curses, we managed to crush it into the slightly longer passage beyond.  The 7” high squeeze was not quite as hard as we thought because with someone lying in it most of the tackle could be passed through.

Some 200ft. of rather demoralising crawl later we emerged in the first sizeable passage and were soon at the head of the first pitch.  The ladder was hung though a small hole on the left and belayed round a convenient boulder.  Although this made an awkward take-off it prevented us getting a soaking as quite a large stream flows through the cave ensuring all the pitches are very wet. The first drop is about 28ft. but a 45ft. ladder is used so the next pitch of 17ft. can be done as well.  The second pitch has to be reached through a tight slit which again makes the take-off difficult.

The huge mound of tackle was soon ferried down the two pitches (care should be taken not to lose any in the rather deep pool at the bottom) so Bill and I raced on to ladder the next 31ft. deep Blood Pot.  The passage between the pitches mainly takes the form of a tight rift in this part of the system, so the transportation of gear tends to be a little arduous!  Blood Pot again had a nasty step onto the ladder, and care had to be taken not to knock the belay off the precarious ‘perch’ it had been hung around!  This again was in two stages of 18ft. and 13ft. and leads into a slightly larger passage at the bottom.  Little time was wasted and we were soon at the next 13ft. pitch.  Here the stream pours down into what is known as Black Dub, a murky looking pool some 25ft. across.  This pool is surprisingly deep, as Bill found out when he fell off the ledge we were traversing along to avoid plunging onto the pool.  Again tackle would be very difficult to find if lost here.

At first the way on is not obvious but on closer inspection a low crawl in water can be found at the far end of Black Dub.  This was followed to the head of Thunder Pot, a 17ft. drop.  At the bottom of which we could see a platform, and beyond this a huge spray swept abyss, disappearing into the darkness – the Black Rift.

Once again, the great pile of ladders were uncoiled and threaded, one by one, through a crawl to the left of the platform, to a sloping stance called the Eagles Nest.  Only 80ft. of laddered initially so that we could descend to a series of ledges and re-route the ladders thus allowing a reasonably dry climb to be made.  The pitch as far as the ledges is quite good, being against the rock all the way and with the steam thundering down some 20ft. to the left.  The take-off at the top was once again tricky as the ladder tended to stick into a crack, making the first 5ft. a climb on the belay, rather than on the ladder.

The ledges were soon reached and after an easy traverse out to some large crumbling boulders, which were bridging the gulf, the ladders were pulled across and threaded through a hole between them.  As no reasonable belay point could be found the ladder was temporarily pulled back up enough to make the 80ft. pitch ‘free’ again enabling Bill to descend to the ledge. The final 180ft of the Black rift was a very fine climb, being free hanging all the way, with finely scalloped water washed walls some 5ft. to 10ft. away.

Bill soon joined me at the bottom and together we set off along the spray swept vault, under the main waterfall and through a low duck at the end of the rift into a high passage beyond. The streamway continues on the left at this point and much of the 250ft. to the next 25ft. drop has to be done on hands and knees.  Some of the formations in this passage are quite exquisite, being in the form of straws and helictites.  The beautiful clean appearance of everything was ample proof that few people have yet ventured into this superb cave!

The pitch was quite wet and led into the only chamber in the cave, which had a mud slope to the right and a precarious looking boulder pile leading to a high continuation on the left. The stream flowed on beneath the rocky floor, re-emerging in a passage on the far side of the chamber.  From here the streamway becomes larger and several small waterfalls were climbed until at last the final canal was reached and we had the honour of scribbling our initials in a mud bank at the far end (later to be obliterated when Roy climbed all over it!).  Halfway back along the canal Bill noticed a hole in the left hand wall below the waterline, which is most likely the way on for anyone who would like a 200ft. + dive into Meregill!

By the time we had reached the top of the 280ft. pitch Bob had decided not to bother going to the bottom of the cave as his ultra thin wet suit, which he had worn so he could get through the 7” squeeze, was not keeping him particularly warm.  So while Bob, Bill and myself lifelined, Roy and Milch started off to the bottom.  After what seemed an age they arrive back and after a great amount of shouting, of which little could be understood due to the roar of the waterfall, the two offending articles were hoisted to the top (apparently, someone had forgotten the whistle code!!).

The tackle was soon retrieved and a start made for the surface.  While the others went ahead with a tackle I stayed behind to de-tackle each pitch as we came to it.  In this way rapid progress was made and we were soon at the ‘hole in the wall’ which marks the start of the long crawl.

By now the pace was slowing and we were all glad when the final corner was turned and the low water filled entrance arch came into sight, and so after 10½ hours of excellent caving we scrambled up the final ‘pot’ under a star-studied sky and out onto the rolling Yorkshire moor bathed in moonlight.

Technical Note: -

This cave should only be tackled by people capable of at least 6½” on the Shepton ‘squeeze machine’. They should also be capable of climbing 200ft. wet pitches reasonably easily.  Throughout the cave there are signs of very rapid flooding (the Leeds University exploration team became trapped, when, within 5 minutes the whole cave became impassable.  Luckily they were in one of the few safe spots in the cave when it occurred.  They were, all the same, trapped for 18 hours!).  WHISTLES and KARABINERS are essential for Black Rift.

Ladders Needed: -

1st. Pitch--------46ft.

Blood Pot-------31ft.

Black Dub------13ft.

4th. Pitch-------17ft.

Black Rift------26ft. with 300ft. lifeline.

6th Pitch--------25ft.

A travelling lifeline is needed for lowering tackle.  An assortment of belays should be taken.  Up to 10ft. lengths are useful.  NOTE If cavers respect this system and use their common sense a very fine trip can be had.  DO NOT leave anything to chance!

REF: - U.L.S.A. Review No.2.


Half a Minute

(An account of the Annual general Meeting taken from the Official minutes)

This year, a new departure from the usual arrangements was made, by the circulation in the B.B. of as many of the club officer’s reports as were available previous to the meeting. The intention was to cut down the lengthy business of having each club officer read his report to the meeting. The method seemed to work well, and it is planned to extend it next year to include all the officers’ reports.

In view of this, the writer felt that perhaps a corresponding change in the way that the A.G.M. is written up in the B.B. might be equally a good idea, so this account will be found to be on less formal lines than previously, and to deal with what actually went on, rather than to include such details as who proposed and who seconded each motion, the general idea being to make the account a trifle more readable.

The Chairman (Sett) – after the usual call for ballot papers, members’ resolutions and the election of tellers for the ballot – was thus able to take most of the club officers’ reports as read and dispense with most of the preliminaries.  The remainder of the reports were dealt with in the usual way, and all reports were open to discussion of members present so wished.  In fact, the reports from the Hon. Sec., the Caving Sec., the Tacklemaster, the Hut Engineer and the Hon. Librarian aroused no comment.

The main features of the discussion which arose from the Hon. Treasurer’s report centred on the way in which the clubs financial position was presented to members.  Some members said that it was not easy to obtain a picture of the position of each facet of the club’s activities.  For example, the Belfry appeared to have been operated at a considerable loss, as did the caving publications, yet the officers responsible assured the club that this was not the case.  Items like the Ian Dear Memorial Fund did not appear, and so on.

The Treasurer said that he was well aware of the position, and that he was taking steps to improve the presentation of the club’s financial state.  He reminded members that it was not easy to do this, because many of the items came in too late to be included.  To quote the earlier examples, he has received monies from both the Belfry and Caving Publications and it was true that both these activities were in a better state than appeared on the accounts.  Subscriptions also tended to come in late, and this appeared to be a tradition of the Club.  The Chairman said that all club officers must co-operate with the treasurer if any meaningful accounts were to be compiled, and that the tradition of being behind with subscriptions was a thoroughly bad one, which all members should try to eliminate.

The Hut Warden came in for some criticism, to which he replied with some spirit.  It was, however, generally agreed in the discussion which followed that the absence of recorded Belfry attendances; receipts and expenditures was not in line with past practice or with good accounting technique.  After a further lively discussion the report was adopted with the rider that ‘The Committee ensure an effective Hut Warden, bearing in mind the comments of this meeting!’

A vote of thanks was recorded to the retiring Editor of the B.B. (Dave Irwin).  On the subject of the B.B. and of Caving Publications, the Editor was able to announce that all sales records had been broken and that the entire club publications were within a few pounds of paying for themselves, even including the B.B. postage.  This effort is obviously of great help in the Club’s present financial position.

A vote of thanks was also recorded to the Hut Engineer (John Riley) who continues in office and faces an even more difficult task than the one he has performed so well.  A vote of thanks was also recorded for Alfie’s preparation of the new constitution.

After the reports, the Chairman dealt with Committee and member’s resolutions.  The first of these – a proposal to widen the Cuthbert’s Leader system to include clubs all over the country – was referred to the 1970 Committee.

The second – to pass the new constitution, including a few minor amendments, was passed after a short discussion with voting 32 -2 in favour.

A resolution defining the position of the Editor of the B.B. was, after some discussion, taken in an amended form.  It was agreed 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 carried 26 – 13.

A resolution that ‘This club deplores the proliferation on national and regional bodies concerned with caving’ was carried by 40 – 4.

Finally came the item that most members had been waiting for.  The plans for replacing the burnt-out Belfry.  Alfie began by recounting the history of our grant application and concluded that our efforts were not going to succeed and that money from this source should be discounted.  He drew member’s attention to the broadsheet ‘After the Fire’ which had been circulated at the A.G.M.  Contained in this was a Committee resolution to be put to the meeting.  The Chairman said that this was all good background information, and that a full discussion should now proceed before this – or any counter resolution be put to and voted on by the meeting.  A long discussion followed, centred mainly on the club’s present and expected financial position.  The resolutions were broken into to separate resolutions, but both were eventually carried, the first non. con. And the second by 28 – 2.  The resolutions were: -

“Provided that the Committee is satisfied that the club has received a sum from the insurance and from further donations to a minimum of £1,600; it proceeds forthwith with the erection of the building as agreed at the 1967 A.G..M.”

“Alternatively, a special committee be set up with the following terms of reference: ‘To examine the situation arising from the destruction of the Belfry by fire and to produce for the future accommodation of the B.E.C. at the Belfry site, bearing in mind the best interests of the club in both the short and long term. This committee is instructed to publish his findings IN WRITING to all club members by a date no later than the first of April 1970 and to arrange their proposal to lie within the financial limits as determined at the time by the 1970 committee’”

A discussion as to whether we should borrow the Ian Dear Memorial Fund for financing the Belfry resulted in a resolution to do this being carried 19 – 18.  In view of the closeness of this vote, the Chairman called for a recount in which the voting was 20 – 20.  The Chairman used his casting vote in favour of the resolution with the rider that interest is to be paid back as well as the capital and that all applications for grants under the fund continue to be granted where applicable.

The meeting was declared closed by the chairman at 3.00pm.

S.J. Collins, Minutes Sec.


October Committee Meeting

The 1970 Committee got away to a business–like start on the day after the A.G.M. at a meeting with all members present.  Officers have been elected (see page 128) and ‘Fred’ Atwell co-opted as Climbing Secretary in the absence of any other member to do this job.  Full minutes are being sent to each member of the Committee – together with definite actions, which all have agreed to treat very seriously. The 1970 Committee have also agreed that they hold a collective responsibility for the discharge of all the duties of their members.  They realise that they are faced with what could well be the most difficult year in the Club’s history and are resolved that, at any rate, they will not fail through any lack of organisation.

John Carter, Graham Wilton-Jones and Gordon Rowels were elected to membership of the club.

Most of the Committee’s time was, somewhat naturally, taken up with plans for the new Belfry.  In brief, the financial position now looks possible – although there must be no slackening off in efforts from ALL MEMBERS to contribute in every possible way and, providing we get the insurance offer to GO AHEAD and start building on Monday the 20th October 1969.  The Committee position, which will of course include the position of work on the new hut, will be reported to all members monthly in the B.B.

S.J. Collins, Minutes Sec