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Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School,Uphill, Weston-s-mare, Somerset.
EDITOR:  D.J. Irwin. 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.  Price 1/6d

Address Changes

M. Palmer, 27 Roman Way, High Park Estate, Paulton, Somerset.
W. Smart, c/o Richard Costain (CE) Ltd.  PO Box 121, MUSCAT, Muscat and Oman, Arabia

(Bill notes that it takes up to three months for sea mail to reach him – best to use air mail).

R. Roberts, Dept. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge. Mass., U.S.A.
C. Hall, 12 Churly Road, Bristol 6.
M. Calvert, 4 Mead Close, North Petherton, Nr. Bridgwater, Som.

I’ve just received a bunch of notes from out Hon. Sec. in addition to those on page 8 which give me a good excuse to publish these instead of filling the odd space with padding.


Annual subscriptions are due on January 31st. 1969.  Why not give Bob Bagshaw a surprise this year by sending in your subscription (25/-) and your membership card on time?

Can Belfry users help ensure that the two small sump-heaters in the toilets are kept filled with paraffin and lit during the winter.  The heater will burn continuously for a week and help prevent the waterworks from freezing. Don’t forget to keep the doors closed. It is well worth while to write the date the heaters were filled with paraffin on the Belfry notice board.

The February Committee Meeting will be discussing two important topics of interest to all members. The New Belfry and ‘Alfie’s’ proposed new constitution.  At the January Meeting the Committee discussed the Exhibition to be held in Wells, CRG Meeting (April) and, as Norman petty is getting short of timber, the planting of 100 young trees around the boundary of the Belfry site.

Caving Meets

Sunday 9th February: -  Banwell Stalagmite Cave (surveying) – Leader: - Dave Irwin.

Sunday 9th March: - August Longwood System – Leader: - Andy MacGregor.

EASTER: - South Wales

SPRING HOLIDAY: - Yorkshire.


Notes on the East Twin Survey

By D.J. Irwin

This new survey was produced to establish the true direction of the cave.  Two surveys, the first published by the UBSS in their proceedings (1) and the second by the Croydon Scouts (2), had been inspected by the writer who noted quite considerable differences.  The most important variation was the True (or Grid?) North arrow. This differed by about 10o indicating although they both claimed CRG Grade 5, that one of the surveyors had not calibrated his compass.  Another difference, though of lesser importance, was the overall plan lengths. The UBSS showed a length of approximately 127ft. and the Scouts 118ft.  The end point of the Third Chamber from the entrance pothole – UBSS = 95ft. and the Scouts 108ft.

The height O.D. levels were at variance.  The 1962 Scouts did not quote the O.D. level but the UBSS and Barrington (3) quote the following values: -

                                    U.B.S.S.  (1955)            = 600ft.

                                    Barrington                     = 540ft. (all editions)

                                    U.B.S.S.  (1964) (4)       =500ft.

Apart from the survey differences, the errors in O.D. levels were too great to be acceptable and so a surface survey line was taken from Ellick House to the cave entrance.

INSTRUMENTS.  The instruments used for the cave survey: -

                        Ex. W.D. Prismatic Compass

                        Abney level (Japanese manufacture)

                        50ft. Fibron tape graduated in decimals of a foot.

Both compass and the clinometer were mounted onto a dural plate and the whole mounted onto a tripod. Two spirit levels were mounted onto the dural plate for levelling purposes.

READINGS. The surveying method employed was the ‘leap-frogging technique’ developed by Ellis several years ago. The instruments were read to: - compass 0.5o, clinometer 0.5o, and the distances 0.05ft.

CALIBRATION.  The compass was calibrated along a nearby straight stretch of road and the true North bearing taken from a 6” O.S. survey of the area.

CALCULATIONS.  All values taken in the cave were processed using four figure tables and a calculating machine.  All calculations were checked by re-calculation.

CLOSURES.  Traverse closures were not possible as only one line was surveyed through the cave. All values were checked when being taken in the cave and the finished drawing compared well with the U.B.S.S. survey (see table at the end of this article).

PLOTTING.  The calculated co-ordinates were plotted onto graph paper that had been carefully checked for variation in the printed squares and for paper stretch caused sometimes in paper manufacture.  The finished drawing was then traced onto ‘Pertrace’ film.

PASSAGE OUTLINE.  The passage outline was obtained by the ‘raying technique’ and wherever steep angles were involved clinometer readings were obtained to the nearest 5o.  The values were calculated with a slide-rule and plotted with a protractor onto the basic surveying line.  Roof heights were measured wherever possible otherwise they were estimated.

SURVEY GRADING.  A Cave Research Grading of 6D is claimed for this survey.  The survey also conforms to the Mendip Survey Colloquium Descriptive Map and the Accurate Outline Survey requirements.

PERMANENT SURVEY STATIONS.  A small stalagmite flow at the upper end of the Second Chamber has been marked with cold chisel edge.  The co-ordinates are: -

Northing: -51.29’   Eastings: -  +23.13  O.D.  427.58’

(NB.  Both N and E are taken from the datum lines originating in the Third chamber.)

LOST PASSAGES.  It is apparent that since the U.B.S.S. survey that considerable changes have taken place in the cave.  The first aven, shown on the U.B.S.S. survey, could not be located even though a considerable time was spent searching for it.  The entrance to this aven is shown to be very near the floor level and, probably due to later floods, the stream has deposited considerable quantities of infilling blocking the entrance.  The Scouts survey does not show this aven; neither do they show the connection between the stream passage and the entrance passage as can be seen on the U.B.S.S. survey. This connection between the two passages seems to be blocked with fairly large boulders.

COMPARISON WITH EARLIER SURVEYS.  As figures for the two earlier surveys are not available the only check that could be made as to the accuracy was by measurement of the main points within the cave from all three surveys.

Direct line from end of Third Chamber to centre of entrance Pot: -

Total surveyed passage length = 211.9ft

U.B.S.S.   95ft.              Scouts  108ft.                B.E.C.   94ft.




Direct line from Third Chamber to top end of First Chamber: -


U.B.S.S.   127ft.            Scouts  118ft.                B.E.C.   129ft




Depth (from base of entrance pothole).


U.B.S.S.   55ft.              Scouts  71ft.                  B.E.C.   56ft


Copies of this survey (original drawn 1/120 scale) are obtainable through the cave survey scheme. The price will be approximately 3/6.


The assistance given by R. Bennett, R. Saunders and G.Tilly is gratefully acknowledged.  Without this help the making of the survey would have not been possible.


(1)        U.B.S.S. Proceedings 1957/58.

(2)        Unpublished survey by Croydon Scouts (1962).

(3)        Caves of Mendip, N. Barrington.  (1st, 2nd and 3rd Edit.)

(4)        U.B.S.S. Proceedings 1964/65.

(5)        Additional references not mentioned in the above text: -

CRG Trans. 8 (2) Cave Surveying, Butcher and Railton (1966).

Mendip Cave Survey Colloquium – Report (1963).

B.E.C. Caving report, S.J. Collins – Presentation of Cave Survey Data. 1966.

Notes of the surface line from Ellick House to the Entrance of East twin Swallet.

The levelling exercise was carried out by Bill Smart, Keith Franklin, Dudley Herbet, Tim (Hodgoon) Hodgson. Bill used a ‘Quick-set’ and took the line along the road leaving a number of side legs along the way near other cave entrances so that their respective O.D. levels can be obtained in the near future.  The line was carried on down the Coombe and ended at the entrance to Avelines Hole. Although the line was not closed, errors would not be greater than ±0.5ft.


This is the first of a series of the new B.E.C. surveys; next month will be Roger Stenner’s Avelines Hole to C.R.G. Grade 6.  During the year up to date surveys will be published of Sidcot Swallet (the first accurate survey ever!) Banwell Stalagmite Cave, Cuckoo Cleeves (with comparison with the 1968 survey by Dick Warburton) and Roman Mine (found by Jill and Norman Tuck) together with a full report of the important finds made there.  The surveys published in the B.B. will only be an outline and a selection of passage sections.  All of the complete surveys will be obtainable through the Mendip Survey Scheme – full details of this later.  More parts of the Cuthbert’s survey will be on sale next month – get your orders in now to Bryan Ellis and take advantage of the reduced rates the last for the first month sale only.


South Wales Meet - Aug ‘68

By Dave Glover

Andy MacGregor, Jane and myself arrived at the Gwyn Arms soon after mid-day on Saturday 31st August. Tents were pitched opposite the Gwyn and then a few minutes were wiled away in the traditional manner.  At closing time there was no sign of the expected B.E.C. arrivals so it was decided to take to the hills.  A climb up the track behind the Gwyn and a little searching enabled us to find Pwll Dffn Pot.  From there we had a look at several interesting shake holes and one very large sink, taking only a trickle on this occasion.  By the time we had returned Phil Kingston, Colin Priddle, Mike Palmer and Dave Yendle had arrived.   After the evening brew-up we all retired once again to the Gwyn (there’s a Courage a mile down the road! Ed.) where we were treated (??) to the skirl of bagpipes! Bagpipes in Wales, I ask you!  Completely shattered (from the bagpipes, not the beer!) we staggered back to the tents accompanied by a gentle drizzle.

The morning proved that it had not remained so all night.  The river Tawe was running at least four times its volume more than the previous day, and leaden skies were still debauching large quantities of water. Our intended trip into Dan-yr-Ogof was beginning to look decidedly dodgy.  Perhaps I should explain to anyone who is not familiar with D.Y.O., that soon after the show cave ends the stream is met in the form of two lakes. In wet weather these sump and this being the only way through, the prospects of doing the cave in wet weather is not very encouraging.  At 10 o’clock (still pouring) despite the notice ‘Cave open to visitors’, D.Y.O. showed no signs of life and with no prospect of finding out the conditions of the cave, it was decided to abandon the trip.  We all drove to Hendrydd Falls where suitable photographs were taken and then to the South Wales Cottage. By now the weather was clearing slightly and it was decided to do O.F.D. 2 to the waterfall via Cwm Dwr.  At midday the party finally started its descent though a peculiar concrete tube.  We soon overran the turning to the first crawl.  It was noticeable that those who had done this trip before allowed the others the first opportunity of sample the delights of the crawls.  The total length of the three crawls is about 400ft.  The first takes a trickle of water and is mainly smooth rock; the second is pleasantly sandy and flat out in the middle section; the third is gravely and a bit hard on the knees.  Nevertheless, they made a sporting start to the system.  After this the character of the passages change quite dramatically to large passages 70-80ft. high in places.  We soon came to one of the few formations in the cave; a white stal. flow. Some very interesting sand and mud formations can also be seen in various parts of the cave, but although most are taped off they seem to be suffering from the attention of the ‘heavy boot brigade’ and some have been completely destroyed over the last 18 months. Soon after following the Cwm Dwr stream passage we came to a dodgy looking boulder ruckle that connects C.D. with O.F.D.  This must be more stable than it looks (famous last words) for it gets a considerable amount of traffic through it and shows no sign of movement.  Once through we were in O.F.D. and there followed a delightful piece of caving, mostly gentle walking over soft sand in airy passages. After taking all the correct turns we arrived at the streamway.  This had taken about 1½ hours and after a short rest we set off up the 1½ -2 miles of streamway.  At first this was greeted with enthusiasm, with mush splashing and shouting.  The streamway is a most interesting passage with small waterfalls, deep potholes which have to be swum and interesting rock formations – some of which were razor sharp.  The one big problem is that’s almost impossible to tell whether your next step is going to land you in six inches of water or six feet, so that after ½ an hour it was noticeable that great concentration was the order of the day. After an hour of this the climax of the trip was reached – a superb 25ft. waterfall.  After a few minutes rest and time to admire the fall we turned back.  The journey back was uneventful except for a couple of wrong turnings.  The total time of the trip was about 5 hours.


All Library Books To Be Returned To Dave Searle By Mid-February


The Route Severity Diagram

A new system of describing caves had been developed by ‘Alfie’, first explained in the BEC Caving Report No.12 and since that time modified by the addition of certain symbols, is now part of a new B.B. series….

By S.J. Collins

PART 1.  Introduction

For most purposes, the ordinary type of cave survey is quite good enough and the fact that surveys have been used by cavers for many years bears this out.  The trouble starts when caves are very complex – like St. Cuthbert’s – come along.  The normal type of survey of such a cave system contains many passages and chambers which lie over each other on the survey, and this begins to make reading such a survey a difficult process.

To any caver who is using a survey for measurement purposes – as an aid to further exploration perhaps, or to plot the course of streams, or to trace the underground bedding of rocks, there is no substitute for an accurate survey of the normal type, however complicated the cave.  A caver doing the sort of work already mentioned will not mind the time he may have to put in when sorting out “what goes where” from the survey.  On the other hand, the normal caver, who merely wants to know how to get from A to B and what difficulties he may expect to encounter on the way needs a simpler method of seeing where he is.

The problem bothered me for a number of years, and I thought it might be possible to invent a simple diagram – rather on the lines of a ‘circuit diagram’ used in electronics. The result is the Route Severity Diagram.  Since I first started to interested other cavers in this method of writing down the features of a cave, I have been helped by many useful suggestions, and the R.S.B. in its present form is the result of the help which I have received from many cavers, all of whom I should like tom thank.

The R.S.D. has now been adopted by the Mendip Survey Colloquium as one of the preferred ways of drawing a Descriptive Map of a Cave.  To well known surveyors are at present engaged in producing R.S.D.’s of caves, which will soon be published.  I thought that readers of the B.B. might like a short (and painless!) course on reading this type of map, so that the surveys will not seem so strange when they start to appear.  A very short ‘article’ will thus appear in each issue of the B.B. for the next few months. Each part will teach a part of the system and should not take too much ‘wading through’.

PART 2.  Passage and Pitch

The Route Severity Diagram ignores the actual shape of the cave, and simplifies this into two forms – the passage, and the pitch.  These are drawn below.

Pitches are drawn with the one side open to the adjacent passage and one side closed as shown below. The UPPER passage is the one which is closed.  It is easy to remember which is which if you think you can walk straight into the centre of a circular pot from the bottom, but not from the top unless you can fly!

Thus, only knowing these two simple designs, you can see from the R.S.D. whether the cave is mainly vertical or horizontal, and where the pitches are.

All the passages on an R.S.D. are drawn parallel to or at right angles to each other.  To get them to ‘fit’, right angled bends are often made in the passage.  These are ignored but what remains true is that every passage junction is correct. Thus, in an R.S.D. of Swildons, for example, a junction would be shown downstream from the Wet Way showing ‘straight ahead’ for the 40 (or was that the 40 before the flood!) and turn right for the Old Grotto and the Dry ways.

Thus: - 1. Passages are shown by parallel lines.  All passages are the same width.  All junctions and bends are right angled.  Bends should be ignored, junctions are correct.    2. Pitches are show by circles.  The upper passage is shown blocked and the lower on open to the pitch.


The next part will deal with CONSTRICTION.


Penyghent Pot

By Martin Webster

During December, Dave Turner (BEC), Brian Woodward, Brian Talbert, Bob Craig (SMCC) and myself, spent a weekend in Yorkshire with the aim of bottoming Penyghent Pot. Although this cave is no longer the deepest in England, it still ranks as being very severe if tackling and de-tackling is to be competed in the same trip.

Our first problem occurred on the M6 when the throttle cable on the dormobile, in which we were travelling, broke.  Two hours and a tow from a rather disgruntled R.A.C. man, later we were on the move again; cable being joined with string!

After various stops we eventually reached Skirwith Farm at 5 o’clock in the morning and in sub-zero temperatures we quickly erected tents and tried to get a few hours sleep.

The next day, after sorting the tackle and having breakfast (which was in fact lunch by the time we arrived at the café) we set out for Penyghent.  The game-keeper was informed of our intentions and then we drove slowly up the track onto the fell.

The weather by this time was quite good and there seemed little likelihood of rain, so with high hopes we rapidly changed and started off across the moor top the cave.  At the cave entrance Dave sadly decided that he could only help us as far as the end of the canal, as the wet suit he had made out of very thick industrial neoprene was acting like a straight-jacket.  We all agreed that, in the circumstances, Dave was probably right and so we resigned ourselves to the thought of having to carry all the tackle with only four people.

It took 25 minutes to get along the canals to the first pitch.  The passage after this, which leads to the second pitch, is called the ‘Second Stretch’ and was most probably the most backbreaking place in the cave. The top of the main pitches was soon reached and the 60ft. vertical was found to be climbable, although a ladder was hung for the return trip.  For the 70ft. pitch, the ladder was hung under a low ‘roof’ of rock on the right; in this position the pitch was quite dry.  At the bottom we entered the Main Chamber though not as large as I had expected, was still and exhilarating place.

The way continues as quite a tight rift, broken at regular intervals by short pitches, some of which were possible to climb without tackle.  At one stage belays had been forgotten and so a return trip, through an extremely nasty, wet crawl had to be made to fetch them.

We made rapid progress, and after a chest deep walk through freezing water we emerged in Boulder Chamber, the only fairly dry place in the cave!  The following pitches seemed to get wetter and wetter and the waterfall at Niagara (the final pitch in the cave) was a fantastic sight.

The lower main stream did not really seem to take on the ‘ Master Cave’ proportions we had been expecting, although the water does get quite deep in places.  When we finally reached the sump it appeared so suddenly that Bob jumped in to make sure we had really got there!

The return to Boulder Chamber was quite fast and here we munched our way through a pile of chocolate and mint cake.  The short pitches were soon passed and the main pitches were found to be not quite as bad as we had feared.  By this time we were carrying nearly as much water in out tackle as tackle, and so ‘Second Stretch’ was found to be particularly arduous.  A welcome change of technique came when the canals were reached, however, by the time we eventually reached the tight entrance shaft, after 6½ hours underground, a distinct dislike for canals had been developed!!

Feeling suitable pleased with our efforts we raced down the hill and reached the dormobile in record time. Following a quick change we were soon enjoying pie and peas in one of the local pubs.

In retrospect, the cave was just as severe as we had thought it was going to be.  If a team with previous knowledge of the cave did it, very much less tackle would be needed, as we found the shorter ladder lengths and belays (than listed in P.U.) were sufficient and some of the pitches could be climbed, although great care in the far reaches should be exercised.  The cave appeared to be extremely liable to flooding; great quantities of foam were seen in the lower passages! To a strong team however, in dry weather the bottoming of this pot would be very pleasant and technically rewarding trip.

Just a Sec

With Alan Thomas

‘Thank you’ to all hose who have contributed either their own cash or their ingenuity in wresting cash from others for the Hut Fund.  Most recently Robin Richards got £2 in the Hunters by passing the hat round after a short burst of drunken carol singing.  Any bright ideas for 1969?  Thanks also to Joyce and Pete Franklin for catering so admirably for the Belfry Christmas and to Robin (of the carol singing fame!) for donating a barrel of beer for the same cause.

I don’t know if any of the B.E.C. met Hans Siegls son, Wolfgang, at the 1966 Raucherkar Expedition, but we learn with regret of his death in the Dachstein in October.  Older members will also be saddened to hear of the death of Les Browne.  Members will remember Mr. Browne’s activities at Browne’s Hole.

Dave Smith has taken over the Postal Department of the B.B. and we should be grateful to him for volunteering for this arduous task.


Monthly Notes No.20

by ‘Wig’

WATER TRACING again!  Throughout the week January 6th – 11th the new ‘King’ of the Mendip Karst Police (Tim Atkinson) and his consort Malcolm Newson organised another session of filling the swallets of Mendip with lycopodium spores. This month the swallets of interest were those in the

Hillgrove area.  Each of the swallets (Hillgrove, Easter, Rock, Zoo & Whitsun) received 2kg. of spores that had to be pumped into the holes with the aid of water in Hillgrove pond and hoses from the Yeovil Fire Service. The risings being checked are Easton, Wookey, Glencot, St. Andrews, and Scotland (in the Cathedral grounds, Wells), Biddlecombe, Chilcott and Dinder. It will be a few days yet before even the provisional results are known.  The interest in these sites, normally dry, lies in the recent work by Tim Atkinson, when he placed a salt solution in one of the swallets in the Hillgrove area and traced the solution to Biddlecombe.  The time taken was only 4 hours – and if you look on a geological map you will notice that there’s a very nice block of sandstone in the way!  I understand that the next area to be checked is in the Waldergrave pool district.

PUBLICATIONS  Will all Club Secs note that EXCHANGE COPIES of their publications should be sent to our librarian – DAVE SEARLE, DOLPHIN COTTAGE, WELLS ROAD, PRIDDY, Nr. WELLS, SOM.


As a result of the July 1968 floods another small cave system has been revealed and lost to Mendip cavers.  The cave is situated in the field immediately opposite Tynings Farm (grid Ref. 4715.5637) and was found by members of the A.C.G. in October last.  First entered by Tony Jarrett (A.C.G.) and James Cobbett (W.C.G.) the cave has a length (estimated) 250 – 300ft. and a depth of 90 – 100ft.  An entrance shaft of some 10ft. in clay led to a chamber and a deep rift.  From the rift a major passage leads steeply downward and is remarkable for its cleanliness.  The general passage shape is square and is more or less a walk passage for most of its length.  Another chamber is soon reached, with a few stal. formations, where a small inlet stream enters.  This stream can be followed to a terminal choke where it sinks in a choked rift.

The farmer, learning that a cave existed in this particular field was far from pleased.  He planned to use this field for cereals and that cavers would in all fairness be a hazard and a nuisance.  The cave was to be blocked – but before this took place the explorers had a couple hours grace to photograph and produce a rough survey. The survey has been published in the ACG Newsletter and the Mendip Caver (both in the BEC library) while the photographs are non-existent due to a faulty flash gun.  The position of the entrance was later measured and presumably the figures can be obtained from the ACG.  The general direction of the cave is towards G.B.

SWILDONS – North West Stream Passage

The latest issue of the Speleo (SWETC Caving Club) includes notes and surveys of their discovery. The N.W. Stream Passage has been photo reduced to the same scale as Willie Stanton’s published Swildons so that it can be easily attached to the basic survey.  Talking of surveys, the survey of Plantation Junction to the Sump of St. Cuthbert’s is now at the printers and should be available soon.


Charterhouse – I’ve been assured by Tony Knibbs, Sec. of the C.C.C. that the new gates will be finally fixed to the blockhouse and at the top of the entrance shaft by mid-January. New sets of keys will be sent round to all member clubs as soon as possible.


As many will already know a considerable amount of slumping was responsible for the huge quantities of mud in the Gorge and recently this ‘slump pit’ settled again near the surface opening up a route through boulders leading to the top of the Gorge.  Its unstable state caused it to collapse again thus blocking the new entrance again.  One can almost hear the sigh of relief from the U.B.S.S.


8th March 1969 Vaughan College, University of Leicester, Leicester.  Fee 15/- (7/6 students).  Evening session of films extra charge.  Fees include tea and coffee and are charged to Vaughan College. Lectures include: High speed colour and its processing D. Kemp, SWCC and Kodak); Expedition photography (A. Wicks, Pegasus); Flash photography (Unwin, Philips El. Ind.); Equipment review (Coase, B.E.C. & S.W.C.C.); Close-ups in caves (Dr. Wooley, I.C.I.); Stereoscan techniques (Dr. Ford, P.D.M.M.S.); Aerial photography & Investigation of Karts Areas (Dr. Norman, I.C. London); Early experiments with cine (E.K. Tratman, UBSS); Expedition equipment review (H. Lord, B.S.A.); Final discussion. Evening films; Lamb Leer 1938, the Journey, etc.  Apply to Alan Thomas for further details and application forms.

Larger B.B.’s

Instead of one large issue each year at Christmas two will be appearing during the course of this year – Spring issue – march 1969 and Summer issue – August 1969 and of course Christmas issue – Dec. 1969.

The increase in the number of pages will give all those members a chance of putting pen to paper who normally feel that there is not sufficient room in the B.B. for their material!

“The role of hut-warden is at best an unwelcome task”  Phil Townsend (November B.B.)


DESCENT, No.1.  January 1969. Published every six weeks.  Price 2/6 each.  Edited by Bruce L. Bedford.

What! You may say, not another national caving magazine.  Haven’t we had enough trouble with the other!  It’s quite true, another national magazine.  28 pages and the same size as the old B.B. format (Sixmo) it proves to have a drive about it that will no doubt prove quite a competitor to the established other (which is awakening from the dead – once more!). The contents include an interesting account of a newly discovered Norwegian pothole descended to -698ft. and still going.  The Border Caving group and their low cost laboratory is fully described and well illustrated with photographs.  The Ptezl descender and the Tynings Farm Cave are also subjects of two interesting articles, a section of snippets and a final article by John Wilmut entitled ‘Three-prong policy for Pengelly Centre.  A very good half-dollars worth.    D.J.I.



Most members, at some time or other, will have walked or staggered over the ruins of the St. Cuthbert’s Leadworks.  On the facing page we are reprinting from the report on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet a pair of photographs of the leadworks taken just before closure in 1908 (top) and the photograph of the sketch was taken from a print owned by Mr. Burton, Priddy, who said that it was sketched by a local schoolmaster about 1905.  The photograph appeared in the Yeovil area and was copied by Roy Pearce (M.N.R.S.) and has been published in the Cuthbert’s report and British Caver.  Mr. Burton also owns the foreman’s ledger for the period 1907-1908 and it is hoped that extracts will be available for the B.B. later this year.  Even just before closure quite an amount of building was going on at the site – the third chimney in the top photograph being added sometime in early 1907.  In July 1907, an entry for photographs costing 15/- was made and presumably the copy opposite was one of these.  The photograph circulated by Gilbert Weekes several years ago to B.E.C. members seems to be quite common in the Priddy area.  When it was taken is unknown but it is certainly before 1907.

Members looking for this type of material should look through any old postcard collection they may find.  At the turn of the century it was the thing to send your friends post-cards, even though it was just an afternoon outing!  Commercial photographers snapped just about everything there was to take – however ugly.  Just one final point – several post-cards were prepared for the Cheddar cave – both Cox’s and Gough’s – which are worth looking for.



Your Editor has just received a letter from Kay Mansfield regarding the latest situation of one of the important backroom groups of Mendip Cavers.  Kay thanks the B.E.C. for their financial help and support in sending our publications to the Bristol Central Reference Library and she reviews the major items of work carried out by the registry up to now.    These briefly are a) the Mendip Cave Register, housed in three public libraries (including Bristol) lists all known caves and sites of caving interest together with a full bibliography of caving journals which become b) the Mendip Cave Bibliography published by the C.R.G. and finally c) the Registry persuaded the Bristol Central library to start a cave publication section (which I may well add is one of the more used sections of the entire Central Reference Library).  A catalogue of the collection was published in March 1968 by the Registry.

At one time the registry was in financial difficulties and the Governing Body (principal Mendip clubs) gave all the money asked for.  Now, says Kay, there are financially sound and may never need to ask for money.

Kay continues…However things are not as they should be in that the Executive Committee of the Mendip Cave Registry is well below the number required to run it and things are not improving.  Over the past year the Committee has dwindled to a very small number of enthusiasts, needless to say the people remaining are the usual steadfasts.  What in fact is needed now an injection of fresh blood into the registry because a considerable amount of work still needs to be done and there are just not enough people to do it.

To sum up.  It is certain that without new members elected to the Executive Committee, the Mendip Cave Registry will virtually cease to exist and I firmly believe that the member clubs of the Governing Body would not be happy about this.  The Registry has certainly proved its worth n times over; it would be a pity to drop it now. Anyway perhaps I could leave this matter with you…..and if your club has any spare bodies who think they could help the Registry they are cordially invited to meet at Phil Romford’s caravan, behind the petrol station at Townsend, Priddy on Saturday 8th March 1969 at 6.30pm.


Water Tracing Results: Hillgrove, Easter, Zoo, Rock and Whitsun – all resurge at Wookey; also all (except Easter Hole) resurge at various risings in Biddlecombe.

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.

The ‘Belfry Bulletin’ is available to non-members of the B.E.C. and can be purchased singly at the price stated for the month (normally 1/6) or by Annual Subscription of 18/6 post paid.

Clangers Department

Two errors managed to creep into the November and December issues of the B.B.

NOVEMBER B.B.  ‘Speech Communication,’ page 132, 5th para, line 5 should read: ….and the difficulty in obtaining larger transistors.

DECEMBER B.B. ‘Synthetic ropes,’ page 146, Extension table:


1¼” circ.



1⅜” circ.



1½” circ.



1⅝” - 1¾” circ.


The editor would like to offer his apologies to both authors for these mistakes.

Notes for your Diary

U.B.S.S. Lectures.  These are held in the Geography Lecture Theatre in University Road at 8.15pm.

14th Feb. (Friday) 1969: Assyria by J.G. MacQueel.

3rd March (Monday) 1969: Early Mendip Caving by Dr. E.K. Tratman.

C.R.G. Meetings: -

8th March (Saturday) 1969: Symposium on Cave Photography – details in January (No.250) B.B.  Book with the Secretary, Vaughan College, St. Nicholas Circle, Leicester.

19th April (Saturday) 1969: Southern Meeting, Wells, Somerset.  The B.E.C. are host club.  Lecture details to be announced.

21st June (Saturday) 1969: Northern meeting, Grassington.

Mendip Cave Bibliography for the year 1968.

A valuable piece of work carried out each year by Ray Mansfield and published in the Mendip caver. The work list all articles published by Mendip Clubs and outlines the contents of each.  The bibliography in January 1969 Mendip Caver – copy in the B.E.C. Library.


Avelines Hole Survey

By R.D. Stenner

The survey was made in six hours on the 2nd and 4th July 1968 with a party from Hartcliffe School, Bristol.

The instruments used were a Mark 4 liquid filled prismatic compass, an Abney level (Japanese manufacture) and a 50 x 0.05ft. fibron tape.  The instruments were tripod mounted, and the compass and clinometer were read to the nearest 0.05ft.  The target (a carbide lamp) on convenient ledges and projections.  Special care was taken in the choice of survey stations so as to minimise errors due to reading the compass while sighting downwards. Passage details were measured at all stations, and wherever necessary elsewhere by ‘raying’ from a station. Inaccessible details were measured by triangulation.

The centreline of the survey, including the side passages, was made of 15 legs, totalling 223.5ft.

The zero error of the clinometer was checked after use, and appropriate correction made to the measurements.  The compass was calibrated by taking bearings along a nearby straight stretch of the road. Six readings with a maximum spread of ±½0 were made, and the mean was recorded.  The bearing of the road was found from a 6” O.S. map, and all readings corrected to give the Grid North bearings.

The changes of co-ordinates were worked out using four figure tables and a calculating machine. The co-ordinates of a trig-mark carved at the top of a prominent boulder at the cave entrance was assigned the co-ordinates N= 50.00ft; E= 0.00ft; Ht= 324.82ft. above O.D.  Because of the small size of the cave no other fixed stations were left.

The co-ordinates of the centreline were plotted on graph paper checked for accuracy, and the passage details plotted and the drawing made.  The survey was traced onto stable detail paper.

The survey contained no traverse closures, but it is possible to check the precision of the survey. On 19th February 1967 a Grade 5 line survey of the cave was made by the author with Joan and Roy Bennett, and Eddy Welch, during a surveying course organised by the B.E.C.  The instruments were the same as used in the survey published here, used in a similar way, hand-held instead of tripod mounted.  On 30th August 1968 a further check was made by Brian Britton and the author using the same instruments mounted in a survey unit. The three surveys were compared, and the results are tabulated below.


SURVEY 1:  Survey published inn this report, 2-4th July 1968.

SURVEY 2:  C.R.G. Grade 5 survey 19 February 1967.

SURVEY 3:  Survey made with Surveying unlit, 30th August 1968.

Co-ordinates of a point at the end of the cave~:

























From the three close traverses were constructed: -


Slope Misclosure

Percentage Error










The conclusion is that the three surveys are all within the accuracy to be expected from an accurate magnetic survey of this length.  As the survey published within this report gave co-ordinates for the end of the cave which lay between those of the other two surveys, it was probably the most accurate of the three and no corrections were made based on the closure errors that were determined.

AVELINES HOLE based on C.R.G. Grade 6 survey by R.D. Stenner et. al.

(Ed. note:  This survey will be available through the Mendip Survey Scheme within the next few months).


Route Severity Diagram

By S.J. Collins

PART 3.  Constriction

Before we go on with the basic signs of the Route Severity Diagram, it is as well to remind ourselves that there are not really many things we have to learn.  There are only eight basic symbols, and we have already learned two of them, the signs for Passage and Pitch.   It is true that these eight symbols can be arranged to give a great deal of detailed information, but most of this information can be read from a Route severity diagram without bothering with too much detail. Just knowing the sign for Passage and Pitch will show you at a glance whether the cave is mainly vertical or horizontal for instance.

One of the main types of obstruction we encounter down Mendip caves is that of tightness, or Constriction.  The basic symbol for Constriction on the Route Severity Diagram is a sharp point partly blocking the passage like this……

…….and anywhere you see this sign, or anything like it on a Route severity Diagram, you will know that the cave is tight at that spot.

A tight passage will have a number of these signs along it, to remind you that it is still tight, like the ‘30’ signs which are repeated at intervals along a village street to remind you that you are still in a 30 limit.  The actual number of signs is not significant.  Neither is the way up they are drawn.  A Route Severity Diagram is not a plan nor an elevation of a cave, although it may be drawn to look more like one or the other.  Thus, all the signs we use have the same meaning whichever way they are drawn.    There is no ‘up’ or ‘down’ on an R.S.D. and directions have no meaning either.  The only thing that is ‘real’ about it is that if you come to a passage junction of two ordinary passages, the left turn and the right turn really do correspond with the turns you have to do in the actual cave.

Thus, all these signs mean ‘tight passage’……

What about tight pitches? Well, we have a sign for tightness and we have a sign for pitch.  Put them together and we will have a sign for a tight pitch.  The R.S.D. works like that, by building up simple designs to form a detailed picture of the cave in a convenient shorthand form.  Later on, we shall be able to describe things in much more detail.

Reads Cavern, Burrington

News has just reached the B.B. Office (!) that a collapse may have occurred in Reads Cavern.  Z Alley is reported to be blocked and two new chambers found.  The new chambers are reported to lie near the ‘Stone Age’ entrance.  The stream is also sinking near the cave entrance instead of well to the left of the cliff face.

Address Changes:

G. Selby, 913 West Olive Street, Corona, California, USA, 91720.
R.J. Price, G19 Test Equipment, English Electric Co., Kidsgrove, Staffs.
J.W. Manchip, 3 Blackthorn Court, Barnton, Edinburgh, Scotland.
E.G. Welch, 18 Station Road, Filton, Bristol.


Utopia, Here On Mendip?

By Terry Taylor

It was in the year of ‘Warlord’ that ‘the line’ was first noticed, whilst wandering, aimlessly, down the tourist-infested Gorge, dodging an occasional falling climber.

“Thou shalt not climb”, saith the Prophet (pron: profit) Gough, in his First Commandment of the Bye-laws of Cheddar.  “Thou shalt not get caught”, sez we.  Not that it worried me, as I staggered, plaster-legged, towards refreshment.  It gave me an excuse to daydream unlikely routes, up the leaning pinnacles, and overhanging arêtes.

“But……….what is that?................a huge mass of ivy, hanging down what looks like a big cave, or a chimney, or, or………...”

Before long, and without plaster boots, we were back to gaze.  Bill-of-the-Red-Beard and I, desperate unshaven fellows, laden with suspicious-looking clanking things, crossed the road and disappeared up ‘The Shoot’.

Not for long, though, because we soon followed the two ends of our rope over the top of the cliff. We abseiled three times, cleared a lot of ivy and found that it really was a huge chimney.

One week later, Dennis-one-Kidney was with me, as we swung down, stripping more of the green stuff from the cliff.  “Hmm! It’s a real natural one, Den, up this groove, round the overhand….Bob’s your uncle.”

The next visit was with “Mike-the-Poke” and Paul Leonard, and it rained and rained, just to improve matters.  We’d each failed once on the first greasy-green pitch, so I put on some nylon socks over my P.A.’s and taped them round the ankles.  “I’ll give it another try, never climbed in socks, wonder what’ it’s like?”

Well, I got up, not without some difficulty.  “Good hard VS, in the wet, Mick” (Historical note: Manchester Gritstone C.C. on 1959 did a route here.  “Great Unwashed”, 450’ VS, goes off right just above the overhang, at an ancient peg.) Mick followed, with two interruptions, as he didn’t have socks.  We went on to the ivy-ledge, and in one very wet abseil reached the ground.  Round 3 to them.

The next visit was on a sunny evening.  Paul and I couldn’t fail this time, surely.

“Oh Christ!  I’ve forgotten my P.A.’s” sez I.  Dismal thoughts of failure yet again, second searchings and multicoloured curses, all failed to materialise my boots.  “S’pose I’ll have to wear my Kastingers then, Paul, better than nothin’.”  So, off we go, seconds out, Round 4!

Paul led Pitch 1 up to the ivy-ledge, and we were at the limit of our previous attempts, below the huge overhangs.  The next pitch was up over some poised blocks, into a splayed open chimney-type groove.  “Very good jams here, Paul.”  This took us up to a big ledge, thirty feet to the side of the roofs of “Paradise Lost”, (VS, no sign of the bolts though).

The next pitch, “the chimney”, was a ‘gem’.  Up over several small overhangs into the chimney proper.  “Huge chock runners, no need for pegs here, hmm!  Quite a bridge….sh!  A nice little thread there…..lovely!

“Below!  Jesus!  That was lucky.  D’you see that Paul (not that he could miss a rock the size of his head).  A bloody and ‘old came off, hit my right boot standing on nothing much.  Phew! That was close.”

There were no other ‘events’ (thank Gawd!)  and we were soon standing at the top.  We decided to call it “Utopia”, for us it was of a sort, there were two big peg routes to the left (Paradise Lost” – VS and A3; and “Paradise Regained” - VS and A”) and we had only used on peg, and that as a belay.  And it was good climbing.

P.S.  A B.E.C. party, D. Targett and R. Sell, did the second ascent in late 1968.  Is this an omen (at last) of a ‘real’ climbing section in the B.E.C.?  (Ed. Note:  I hope that Terry is right and that the climbing section will put their achievements onto paper!)


Cavers Bookshelf

By R.D. Stenner

Mendip Karst Hydrology Research Project, Phase 3. W.C.C.  Occasional Publication Series 2 No.2 by D.P. Drew, M.D. Newson, D.I. Smith, ed. J.D. Hanwell.  (December 1963).

Series 2 No.1 (Phases 1 & 2) published over a year ago (reviewed in B.B. 239, p21) was concerned with the hydrology of both Eastern Mendip and Central Mendip.  It was an extremely successful publication, partly because of the very large number of cavers who had helped in the field work and partly because the results were of direct interest to so many cavers.  The new publication has more limited objectives, the establishment of the catchment areas for the Langford Rickford risings.  Those who have seen Series 2 No.1 will know what to expect, good quality reproduction of text and figures by offset litho, but a few of the photographs suffer from lack of definition or contrast.  27 pages including 7 photos, 10 diagrams, 6 figures and 3 maps, giving an indication of its large factual content.

The results (published in B.B. No.242, p51) are very much more complicated than those found in Phases 1 & 2.  The results of the traces, and the results related physical and chemical characteristics of the water, are very clearly presented.  The report has been written with clarity and brevity.  Perhaps the brevity has led to a crucial omission. There is no discussion of the relevance of the results to caves, and no discussion of the results in relation to those published in 1963 by Professor Tratman (UBSS Proc. Vol.10 No.1, p22-57). To sum up, an important publication with an interesting section on mechanical erosion (not studied in Phases 1 & 2) but because of its more limited appeal I doubt if it will sell as well as its predecessor.

Monthy Notes No. 21

By “Wig”

Moles at work!  Great new discoveries are being sought for with undiminished enthusiasm but little has resulted in way of new cave here on Mendip for over eighteen months.  Who’s prepared to open a book on digs at present being purged!

NORTH HILL is still being worked on Wednesday evenings and to date has reached a depth of nearly 100ft. and a length of the same amount. To ensure that this team gets a chance in the stakes have commenced another just beyond Priddy Green at a site, Twin Titty, and if I might comment, a very impressive site.  The shaft is over 20ft.deep, following two solid walls that show good signs of past water action.  A slight but definite draught has been reported to be felt at the bottom emerging from a small, tapered, hole between the solid wall and clay side. The entrance to the shaft shows a marked anticline, which, say the diggers, if it goes will branch out in two directions, one to Wookey via Swildons and the other to Cheddar thus proving both Ford and Stanton to be right in their respective arguments regarding Swildons and its resurgence!

Members will remember, at least those at the Annual Dinner, C. Wyndam Harris when he gave the club a copy of a fascinating plan of a possible cave system running from Eastwater area to Wookey Hole.  A map of the area had been divined by one of the world’s greatest authority on the subject, Lt. Col. Kenneth Merrylees and the result is shown on the opposite page.

I’ve recently been told that ‘Gaff’ Fowler will be back in England at Easter when he will be letting the club have his ‘black-box’ that can be used for tracing cave systems the scientific way!  (Also, he has promised an article for the B.B. on the subject – Ed)  It might be suggested that the area in the Lower Pitts Farm may well repay investigation not only as a result of this map but because small collapses have been reported in this area on several occasions; one such occurred after the thaw in January 1962 along the road near Priddy stores.

Swildons Hole – watch those cuts!

Your reporter recently received a letter from John Manchip.  In it he mentions that one of his party developed a poisoned hand.  “It was a small cut that caused the trouble sustained while crawling though the keyhole in Barnes Loop.  The interesting thing is that a nasty gash received at the Forty (or 10ft. or whatever) which was kept out of the water in Barnes Loop was O.K.  This presumably shows that the water in this part of the cave is even more foul than I thought it was.

As I have never heard of anyone actually getting the lurgi here beforem I thought I would pass the word on.”  Thanks John for the info, all I wish to add is just this – if anyone hears of this type of news and other caving news that it will interest members let the Editor have it please, it helps get over the problem of keeping large B.B.’s that people seem to want.


MORE CAVE PAINTINGS FOUND IN SPAIN.  Reported in guardian as being as important as finds at Altamira and Lascaux.


Long Term Planning report NEXT MONTH


Just a Sec

With Alan Thomas

When Gaff Fowler returns to this country in the Spring he is going to lend the Club his earth resistivity meter so that we can discover caves without going underground!  He is also going to write an article for the B.B. on the construction and use of the formation given in the dowsing map (see page 18, Ed) that Digger Harris produced at the Club Dinner.  Let us know of any good sites you may think of for the instrument.

Norman Petty and helpers have planted a hundred Norway spruce trees on the Belfry site.  They will need to be kept free of grass in the Spring until they are big enough to fend for themselves.

To Bob and Lynne White, a son, Mark Raymond, 6lb 14½ oz., born 20 December 1968.

The A.G.M. of the Southern Council was held in the Geography lecture theatre.  The B.E.C. was represented by Gordon Tilly and myself. An account of the meeting by Gordon is to be found elsewhere.  It struck me a ominous that stringent qualifications were being laid down for professional caving instructors, irrespective of the caves into which they take parties.  I fear that if an accident occurs involving an amateur caving instructor he may be expected to measure up to the same standards.  Very few people are good general cavers – they either don’t like water or ladders or squeezes or something.  The standards for professional caving instructors could be very dangerous document in the hands of a coroner.

I have heard from Austria that the Authority for the Protection of Architectural and natural Monuments (particularly Dr. H. Trimmel) wants to visit the Ahnenschacht this Summer. The Research Group of Upper Austria express thanks for what we did in the Ahnenschacht in 1968.  All the Austrian cavers that some members met on the International Raucherkar Expedition in 1966 wish to be remembered to them.

You can find out about the next attempt on St. Cuthbert’s sump in the March B.B., but can anyone put us in touch with a manual pump capable of shifting about a hundred gallons a minute, either to borrow, hire or buy cheap, that is unless anyone wants to give us one?  Remember the entrance rift is only 9” wide, to the pump may have to be stripped down.

If you go in the Hunters often enough and for long enough you stand a very good chance of meeting everybody you have ever met in there before.  Ben told me Gerald Platten was there about a month ago and one evening this month (January) who should come in but Max Unwin on a brief visit to this country. Not only was he surprised to see the alterations to the bar but he war surprised to see electric light!  Among people he wished to be remembered to were Dan, Sybil, Harry Stanbury and Tommy Thomas.  We had a very interesting chat about some of his old digs such as (dare I say it front of P.C.)  Emborough and Thrupe.  He also drew me a sketch showing the locations of one or two other digs he recommended on Eastern Mendip.

Don’t forget the C.R.G. Southern Meeting on April 19th.  It is to be held at the Swan Hotel, Wells and the B.E.C. is acting as the C.R.G.’s host. There will be an evening meeting followed by Dinner at the Hotel.  We also hope to arrange a number of caving trips on the Sunday and it would help in this connection if as many Cuthbert’s leaders as possible could make themselves available and let Andy know.  We are running a public exhibition in Wells Museum from 12th to 26th April; some offers of help have already been forthcoming but more can also be used.

Need I remind members of Kay Mansfield’s letter that appeared in the January B.B.  It really does need your help and if you feel that this is what you would like to do – then contact Kay, or Ray, ‘Tiny Kott’ Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset., OR attend a meeting in Phil Romford’s caravan at the Regent Garage, Townsend, Priddy on Saturday 8th march 1969 at 6.30pm.

Does anybody know the present address of Tom and Rusty Neil, George Honey or John Bulger?  Please, if you change your address send your new onto me.

We don’t want to be caught on the hop of and when the new postal codes become compulsory so I have started adding them to my copy of the address list.  It would be just as well if members started telling me their postal codes when they know them.

The U.B.S.S. has been having difficulty with the G.B. LOCKING SYSTEM.  Recently the cave has twice been left open.  On the first occasion a set of keys was stolen, involving the U.B.S.S. in expenditure of £12 and on the second occasion when the cave was left open for a fortnight they could have incurred legal proceedings by Bristol Water Works.  NO MEMBER OF THE B.E.C. SHOULD OBTAIN THE KEYS OF G.B. UNLESS HE IS FAMILIAR WITH THE RULES AND INTENDS TO OBEY THEM.  In future anyone who applies to Phil Townsend for a permit will be given a copy of the rules.  Anyone else wanting a copy of the rules can obtain one for me.



By Roy Marshall

To break the caving monopoly in the B.B. – a group of B.E.C. climbers with some others visited Swanage on the weekend of 9-10 November 1968.  The party included out illustrious Climbing Secretary Malcolm, Pete Sutton, Margaret, Celia, Dick and myself with Roger Scull and Howard.

Pete, having a nose for these things immediately on our arrival found the grottiest dive in Swanage! This turned out to be the ‘in’ place. After closing time we drove out to Tilly Whin caves where we intended to camp.  Dick found one of his many and widespread friends and we were able to round off the evening with coffee in civilised surroundings.

No B.E.C. climbing trip is complete without its hairy mini-race.  This took place around the Tilly Whin car park and surrounding lanes. This three car race increased to four in the closing stages.  The new arrival was one of your actual Swanage constables.  He turned out to be human and after a brief friendly chat haired off at a ridiculous rate.  On the Sunday we broke camp and went into Sawnage for an early breakfast (about 10.30) where we were joined in Fortes by many local climbers.  After scrounging a look at a guide book (none of us had one!) we set off for the light house.  The rock is limestone and all the routes are on the sea cliffs.

These range from the Tilly Whin caves (for the benefit of our caving members – these are artificial caves) at one end to the area known as the ‘cattle troughs’.  This covers about 1½ to 2 miles of sea cliff.  The hardest grade of climbing is V.S. and these are under-graded.

To get to the routes one wanders along the cliff top until one is over the routes that you wish to climb. Tying the rope to the very insecure fence one abseils down to either the large ledges or in our case a boulder ruckle.

The base of the boulder ruckle climbing area is reached by a 150ft. free abseil.  On this Sunday the waves were striking the boulders sending spray 15 – 20ft. into the air.  Pete and I tried Jericho Grove.  A severe with, what I found, an extreme approach to its start.  It required jumping onto rocks before they were covered by massive waves.  Needless to say it took me some time; getting soaked twice in my efforts.

Friction is fantastic, so much so that one takes layers of skin off one hands.  Holds consist mainly of jams and lay backs.  The thin flakes give the impression of being fragile but are remarkably strong.  The top pitches are very loose but this is obvious when one reaches them.  All one can be is treat the rock respectfully. At the top of the climbs the steep grass is hairy in the dry – desperate in the wet.  Protection consists mainly of nuts, though a few pegs were in place.

Roger Scull and Howard put up what they thought to be a new route.  This is up a thin crack taking a small bulge free.  The bulge is the crux and is climbed on small finger jams. Roger kindly left a trail of blood to follow after cutting his finger in the finger jam.

After all had followed up this route we made for Bath – the Bell to be precise – Malcolm’s van needless to say could not stand the strain and he struggled in last (well before closing time).

On the whole and enjoyable weekend; the sea noise takes some getting used to, once this is overcome it is very enjoyable climbing.


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

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

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

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

Club News - A Monthly Review of Club Activities

Caving Meets - 1963.

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

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

1.         Sunday, 20th January.

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

2.         Thursday 7th March.

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

3.         Sunday, 23rd April. 

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

4.         Friday, 14th June.

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

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

C.A. Marriott, Caving Secretary.

Committee Meeting.

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

Christmas at the Belfry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

John (Rotten) Ransom.

New Year at the Belfry.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Trips from the Caving Log

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cuthberts Photograph

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

Notes of interest to Some

by Garth.

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


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

In accordance with tradition, an attempt each year to make the Christmas edition of the B.B. larger than normal.  Equally in accordance with tradition, this page is written long before it is know whether or not we   shall have succeeded.  It only remains to hope that we have and to wish all club members and all readers:-

A Very Happy Christmas


The B.B. questionnaire was filled in and returned by a gratifyingly large number of members. The editor would like to thank all those who replied.  In view of this, no apology is made for taking up an amount of space in this B.B. to explain what your views were; how they differed from what is published now, and what we are going to do about this in the future.


DON'T FORGET the removal of cutlery & crockery from the Belfry on January 1st.  Also the removal of unwanted gear from the Belfry and site.

Questions Department.

What is Priddy Round House? It is marked on the six inch O.S. map in the middle of a field to the left of and almost at the top of Nine Barrows Lane. N.G.R.532524.   It is marked as a building and, as its name suggests, is circular in shape.  If one visits the spot (or as near to it as can be judged from the map without taking measurements, there is a roughly circular patch of stinging nettles which may mark the spot.  Perhaps some of our archeologically minded readers may know the answer?  It certainly had me slightly intrigued when I saw it on the map, as I could not imagine the use to which a rather small round building could be put, sited in the middle of a field and apparently not connected with any other buildings.  If anyone knows the answer we shall be pleased to print a reply in next month's B.B. as, even if it is unconnected with caving or archaeological activities, it is good to know as much as possible about the area in which we spend so much of our time.


A fund is being organised for Jack Waddon's widow, Dorothy and the children. Similar funds are being organised by various other caving clubs and the aim is to collect a really respectable sum of money. All donations should be sent or given to R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.   We are sure that members of the club will give generously to this fund.

The Belfry Bulletin in 1963

As explained at the time, the B.B. Questionnaire was produced to give the editor a chance to find out whether the B.B differed from what the club wanted in the way of a magazine, and to stop him having constantly to refer to the B.B. in the B.B.

Response was quite good, and much useful information was collected, for which the editor would like to thank all who filled in the forms.  These forms have been studied and averages worked out.  From this, it is possible to see what the majority of readers would like in future.

Starting next month, the requests and suggestions made by the members who filled in the forms will be put into effect and it was felt, that readers might like to know what changes in the B.B. are contemplated.

The Cover will remain as at present.  When present stocks run out, the bat's face will be improved and the blocks redesigned for better registration.  The date and serial number will not appear, as this proved wasteful and also expensive in the past.  Only one member asked for them this time.  It may be possible to include the odd 'special' cover from time to time as requested by some, if a suitable excuse arises.

The Format will also remain unchanged.  Members were unanimous on this point.  It also saves stencils, and enables us to use easily available paper.

Publication will remain monthly as at present.  A few members preferred every other month, but in addition to pleasing the majority here, it was felt that as the B.B. is the only Mendip caving journal to appear monthly, it would be a good thing to continue the practice.  It would not do to make every journal too similar.

Contents.  It is here that the changes will occur.  The system of relying entirely on articles sent in by members is not working as well as it did.  The new system is based on a number of 'features' which, we hope, will be collected by a number of volunteers and which will appear at different intervals - some nearly every month and some only now and again.  These will form the 'backbone' of the B.B. to which articles will be added.

It was interesting to compare the percentages of space which members wanted with the amount each subject regularly gets in the B.B.  The biggest discrepancy was under the heading of club news.  If we include all matter pertaining to the club, rather than to caving, climbing etc which appears in the B.B., we find that it has been as high as 41% of the entire year's contents (1951) and that it averages over the years at about 30%.  In case it is felt that this percentage has been getting worse of late, it is interesting to find that the reverse is the case.  Last year it was 27% and the year before 21%.  The amount the club want is 9%.  Part of the reason for this discrepancy is that it has been the policy since 1957 to produce a minimum size B.B. every month.  If not enough articles are available, space has been filled up with 'padding' of various forms.  By removing this padding, the percentage drops considerably.

It will not be possible to get the amount down to what has been asked for, however, since one of the main functions of the B.B. is to distribute club news.  In future, this will collected up into one 'feature' and notices will be tucked into odd spaces.  In addition, all 'padding' will be dropped, and this should bring the total down considerably.

The percentage of caving asked for was 26%.  In the past, this figure has varied considerably, from a minimum of 8% in 1951 to the present record amount of 42% in 1961.  By pruning the caving log, and restricting it to trips having an unusual feature or reporting work or a discovery, it should be possible to comply with members wishes and still include all the caving articles offered.

A new subject put into the questionnaire was that of news of the activities of other clubs.  The surprising answer obtained was that the club wanted 14% of the B.B. to be used on this subject - nearly twice as much as was wanted of news of the B.E.C.!  Again, this type of news will form the subject of a feature which will appear in most of the B.B.'s.  Volunteers have already agreed to provide the material for such a feature.

Normal articles will, of course, still be needed just as much as ever, as a guide to the subjects which are most popular, the club want more articles of a scientific or informative nature (18% is wanted as against 9% in 1961 and a maximum of 17.5% in I951). More articles on archaeology are wanted (6% as against a maximum of 4.5% in 1961).  In contrast to this, the club are not keen on articles describing member’s travels or personal news of members.  3% on each of these subjects is considered by most members to be ample.

Climbing has been erratically reported in the past.  It has varied from 17% of the B.B. for 1951 to nil in a number of years.  The amount required is 8%.  Humour is in a similar position, with a maximum of 22% in 1952 and a minimum of 2.5% in 1961.  The club want 6% but many members make the proviso that a really good humorous article will always be welcome.  It is now down to the club humorists to see what they can produce in the way of really good stuff!

As a result of further requests, an occasional feature commenting on some aspect of caving or club life will appear.  It should be understood that any opinions in such articles may not necessarily be those of either the editor of the committee.  Manuscripts for this feature should contain constructive comment and be designed to stimulate discussion rather than to ' stir' for the sake of stirring.

All this may mean that the minimum size of the B.B. may occasionally be reduced.  At present, it is never less than 8 pages, although sometimes this has only been achieved by the liberal use of 'padding'.  However, we hope that the size may be kept up, and that it will be possible to print the odd 'special number' now and again - possibly with a special cover.

The only minority which it has not been found possible to cater for are those few members who would like to see the B.B. come out much less often, and have the appearance of a “big" journal.  Some of those members did make the point that they realized that the caving reports performed this function in the B.E.C.  to some extent and we would like to emphasise that, while we are proposing to copy some of the ideas contained in other caving club journals, it is not intended to make the B.B. a carbon copy of any other journal.  However, it may prove possible to go some way towards satisfying members who would like to see a large, less frequent B.B. without altering the B.B. as it stands.  If this scheme proves workable, a suitable announcement will be made in a future B.B.

It now remains to be seen whether the new layout of the B.B. proves popular in practice.  Time will tell!

Notice of Jollification

There will be a "bring your own bottle" party at the Belfry on Christmas day.  All members and friends are welcome. The party will be held in the evening.

Note; The Belfry has been specially enlarged for this function.

Caving Log

(Trips of interest extracted from the B.E.C. Caving Log by Mike Luckwill.)

On the 27th of June, John Cornwell led a trip of 11 people down Stoke Lane.  This is a record for recent times.  He reports, 'A nice wet trip with lots of brown things in the stream!'

Also on the 27th, Mikes Palmer & Wheadon, with Albert Francis and John Swift investigated, ‘Lots of disappointing rifts in Victory Passage which we were rather optimistic about.’ They report the result of this investigation in September Series as being 'lots of loops'.  Again on the 27th, John Ransom did a trip as a weegee to Kent's Cavern.  He describes it as 'very interesting and colourful'.

Mike Holland and three visitors report from Cuthbert’s on Whit Monday descended to Dining Room and out via Rat Run.  On the way out of the Wire Rift, the wire finally gave way under the weight of El Grosso and was coiled up in a tangled mass at the top of the rift.’

On June 12th, Mike Baker, Mike Boon, John Cornwell plus two others did a photographic trip to Cascade Chamber, while Mike Boon investigated the sump.  When lying full length in it, he couldn't get his boot upright.

The Swildons Diving Op on the second of June consisted of divers Mike Thompson, Fred Davies, Mike Boon and Steve Wynn-Roberts with a support party of - Mike Holland, Bob Pyke, Ron Teagle, Jim Giles, B. Johnson, D. Turner and several M.N.R.C. types.  The support party entered the cave and rigged the pitches and proceeded to sump IV.  A second support party and the divers went to sump II when the divers continued downstream and were, met by the support party in Series IV. Marriott, Holland, Pyke and Turner assisted the divers to sump VI while the remainder left the cave.  Holland and Marriott left shortly after leaving Pyke and Turner to operate the kitchen for the divers.  The divers succeeded in passing sump VI and entering Series VII (with the exception of-Davies whose equipment snagged up in sump VI at a constriction).  In Series VII, preliminary exploration was carried out and a rough survey made.  Sump VII was inspected and reported to be 'tightish'.  For further details see’ S.M.C.C. Journal.

A working party in Priddy Green was held on the 19th of June and consisted of Mike Boon, D.A. "Grassy" Greenwood and B.T. Taylor.  The party removed debris produced by Mike Thompson's recent banging.

A Cuthbert's party of Jim Giles, Grassy Greenwood and D. Smith wrote 'Taking advantage of M. Boon's good work in clearing the duck, a further examination of the terminal sump was carried out.  Conclusions reached: Sump and side passages very unpromising.’  J. Eatough's Maypole: Three sections moved to the bottom of the Entrance Rift while remaining section left at Kanchenjunga.  Found the boulder wedged in top of rift to be an interesting addition to the sport of the ‘Entrance Rift’.

On the First of July, a very large party went down G.B. on a photographic trip.  J. Cornwell, A. Collins, T. Philpott, A. Sandall, J. Lamb, J. Wathen, Graham & Julie Robinson, Mike Baker, R. Jarman, G. Tilley, D. Smith, N. Petty, B. Robins, N. White, C. King, D. Ager, P. Board, T. Blanchard and four others.  The aim was to take photographs for the photographic competition.

On the 6th of July, Richard Roberts and R. Croft did a trip to the Maypole Series and Main Stream Passage in Cuthbert’s collecting water Samples and bugs.  The next day, Mikes Wheadon and Palmer with Albert Francis and Dave Stevenson went dawn to Sugar Bowl Chamber after moving the boulder in the Entrance Rift.  They report that they ‘managed to bring walls of Sugar Bowl Chamber down (literally) around our ears.  There is no longer a hole in the floor but through ruckle leads back to Quarry Corner.’ The same day, Mike Luckwill, John Cornwell, Sally Featherstone did a tourist trip round Cascade, Fingers, Cerberus and Rat Run.  John Cornwell reports shattered after early morning exercise with some athletic types.

On the 11th of July, during a tourist trip to September Series, consisting of P.M. Giles, R. Williams and  G. Bell, the telephone line between Kanchenjunga and Pillar Chamber was removed and left coiled at the entrance to Pillar Chamber.  The same day a well in Flax Bourton was investigated by R. Bennett, N. Petty, K. & P. Franklyn and S. Tuck.  The well proved to be some twenty feet deep with five feet of water in the bottom and no apparent way through.  Ten feet down, a passage was revealed after removing deading.  R. Bennett explored it for some fifteen to twenty feet.  The air was bad and it ended in a tight rift.  The first part of the passage appeared to be mined and not natural.

On the 29th July, M. Baker, N. Petty, J. Cornwell and R. Bagshaw went down Cuthbert’s.  M. Baker and J. Cornwell went digging in Cerberus Series in a small solutional passage and reported easy digging but an awful large amount of 'sand'.  R. Bagshaw and N. Petty fixed up a new rawlbolt on the Water Chute to secure the chain.

The September issue of " Cuba", which was sent to most of our members contained an article entitled "Estalagmitas de Geiser" written by Professor Antonio Nunez Jimenez and was accompanied by some excellent photographs and drawings.  The article which follows attempts to provide a partial summary and report of Professor Jimenez's findings.

Geyser Stalagmites

(Translated by M. Luckwill)

The Gran Caverna de Santo Thomas is situated in the Sierra de Quemado, in the province of Pinar del Rio and its ten and a half miles of passages make it the largest underground system in Latin America.  In 1955, Professor Antonio Nunez Jimenez and his party were exploring the system when they came across an unusual formation ‘never before reported in the New World’.  Over the rock floor they saw several stalagmites, conical in shape, and in whose tops appeared craters similar in shape to those of volcanoes.  These were a notable discovery in the field of speleology for they were not at all like the solid structures formed from water drops falling from the roof and slowly building up a large deposit.

At first they thought their discovery would have the following explanation: after the formation of a normal stalagmite by the drop process, the solution, having lost its carbonate content, would be acid and this acid solution, when dropping onto the stalagmite, would produce a hollow crater in them.  However, this hypothesis was rejected for, of the 234 stalagmites studied, the immense majority had neither stalactites nor water drops above. Also a few of the formations had a crater, not at the top, but on the side the side of the stalagmite which clearly indicated that they had not been formed by any falling water.

Their curiosity grew when they observed new characteristics in the formations which also compared with the big volcanoes on the earth's surface, a  more careful examination of the stalagmites showed them that the edge of the little craters possessed marks which seemed to indicate that the force which made them came from the inside of the stalagmite and proceeded outwards.  A microscopic analysis showed that the cones were formed from a porous mass of calcite very different in structure from that associated with the normal process of stalagmite construction.  They also found together with the Calcite, intrusions of Limonite and clay impurities.

It seemed, therefore, that the solution which had formed these deposits had been in the form of geysers and jets of water which had opened up fissures in the cave floor and left sediment of cones of calcite around the water vents, a process similar to that of volcanoes.

A search of the caving literature of the world over a period of years verified that only in the Grotto of Arragonite in Zbrasov, Czechoslovakia had such formations been reported.  There is no doubt that Cuba is the second country in the world to possess these geyser stalagmites.

As in the Czechoslovakian caves, the geyser stalagmites are aligned above a clearly visible fissure in the passage floor known as the Salon y del Abono.  The largest of them is nearly five feet in height, with an inner circumference of over a foot and a crater depth of some fifteen inches.

All photographs and drawings which accompany Prof. Jimenez's article on these formations are well worth looking at.  A copy may be seen in the club library.  It is interesting to note that the carbonate occurs as Calcite. The idea of geysers usually brings to mind hot solutions and under these conditions one would have expected the carbonate to have been deposited as aragonite.

Report Of A New Discovery In Cuthbert’s

by R. Bennett & J.A. Eatough.

On the  6th,May, 1962, Roy Bennett and I were making a thorough investigation into Coral Series, when we came to the conclusion that ...further passages probably lay above the then known limits of Coral Series, and so a systematic search was made.  During this search, many, small holes were probed.  In Long Chamber, I managed to find a way into a boulder ruckle, and pushed through into what was obviously a very large chamber.  I immediately went back for Roy and together we made a preliminary investigation.  This large chamber was found to lie along the fault which forms the western limit of the St. Cuthbert’s system, in a position between Curtain Chamber and Coral Series and thus fills a gap in the survey.  We soon found that the chamber was of considerable size and in places was divided into smaller chambers by a tremendous confusion of boulders lying against the hanging wall of the fault as shown below....


We went into the boulders at the north end of the chamber into a further large chamber, then into more boulders which have so far halted progress to the north.  We left a cairn at this point.

Back in the second boulder ruckle we entered, we found a pile of stones which, after much discussion, we decided might be a cairn left by a previous party, but a very careful search revealed that no previous party had entered the system by the way that we had entered it.  We decided that further investigations were required.

On the way out of this chamber we had a quick look at the boulder ruckle at the south end of the chamber, noting a small passage which was not entered, but we did see a very fine nest of cave pearls and quite a lot of good formations.  Following the discovery of this chamber I made two more trips to the area, this time accompanied by John Attwood and Kangy. During these trips, we pushed on in several directions and found quite a lot more passage including a finely formed and finely decorated solutional passage which ascended steeply to a stal barrier as shown below.....


This was some sixty feet up. While Kangy was having a look at the barrier and the chamber visible beyond, I managed to find a parallel passage and bypass the obstruction.  After a flat out squeeze, I got into the richly decorated chamber.  On my fourth trip, John Attwood and I took some photographs in this last discovery and of the pearls.

On the 28th October 1962, a party of eight of us went down to push downwards through the boulders, in an effort to find a way on and solve the mystery of the cairn.  We pushed on downwards, past the cairn and suddenly came to a large passage which was discovered to be Fracture Rift, above the way into Coral Series.  Due to the extremely dangerous state of the boulders here, we did not push through into the passage, but left a lighted candle, then beat a hasty retreat and went to look for the candle from the Annexe Chamber end of the passage, from which the candle could be seen.

This, then, is a preliminary description of the latest St. Cuthbert’s discovery, which can be safely said to be the most important since the discovery of September Series, and one which has added some five to six hundred feet to the total length of the cave.

Much remains to be done here, but would be explorers are warned, of the extremely dangerous nature of the huge piles of boulders, many of which have no visible means of support. This is most certainly the diciest part of the cave system so far found.

We have decided that the cairn was probably left, in the early Cuthbert’s days, by a party who climbed into the boulders from the Annexe Chamber end, noted the danger built a cairn and then left, having come within a hairs breadth of finding the new chamber, which is probably the second largest in the cave and may well prove to be the largest.

We have named this chamber Upper Long Chamber provisionally.  Exploration, photography and surveying are continuing.


All of which goes to show, amongst other things, the importance of WRITING UP trips where future exploration parties can read them and compare notes!   Ed.



Weekend in North Wales

(19th – 21st October, 1962)

by Roy Bennett.

In spite of last minute changes in plan, fifteen people ascended into the Peterborough and Wellingborough Mountaineering Clubs jointly owned hut at Yefnant near Bethesda.  Difficulty was experienced by some in locating this, but the hut, which was comfortable and commodious, was worth the trouble and coped reasonably well with the influx plus about a half a dozen of the owner members.

Saturday dawned clear, tempting some members out of bed at the unusual hour of eight am and eventually the entire expedition assembled in Ogwen for various purposes.  Messrs Turner, Keys, Bater, Petty and Sybil went walking, Mike and Lourie ascending Tryfan and Crib Goch with intermediate motor transport, while the Tucks and Bennetts ascended Glyder Fawr via the (I can't read Roy's writing! Ed).

Meanwhile, Messrs Marriott, Mossman, Sandall with Mrs's Bater and Sandall led by the invincible Anthony J. Dunn attacked chasm route on Glyder Fach.  Some difficulty was experienced by some on a little obstacle known as the Vertical Vice, but after considerable effort all appeared on the summit. At this point Tony, Alan and Mo decided to walk back to the hut via Y Garn etc as the way appeared easy and the map distance insignificant.  When the remainder of the party returned to the hut, an enquiry from one of the owner members indicated that darkness would fall ere they returned.  Consternation almost reigned and it was wondered if the B.E.C. could stand the simultaneous loss of three committee members.  The Tucks and Bennetts rapidly departed to the house of Stafford in case a rescue party should be required and John undertook to ring up the Mountain Rescue first thing Monday morning if necessary.  However, all was well and the summit party returned to base under their own steam after traversing numerous bogs (vegetable) and other obstacles with consummate ease.


Sunday also proved rainless and was again spent in Cgwen.  Some traversed Tryfan South to North and Sybil had a bad moment on the mountain.  The climbers did various routes on Bochnydd Buttress of increasing difficulty but no one actually fell off and the assembled company made for home after a very enjoyable weekend.

What happened to the Mammoth?

by K.S. Gardner.

Every one is acquainted with the hairy long tusked mammoth that was part of this country's fauna during the last Ice Age.  A tooth of one was found in St. Cuthbert’s Swallet a few years ago by Jack Waddon.

That the mammoth was contemporary with man we know from the lifelike representations on the walls of the French caves, paintings and engravings ten to twenty thousand years old. But what happened to this great beast when the polar front retreated from the British Isles to its present position?  Of his contemporary companions many remain accepted as present day occupants of this earth; the reindeer the arctic fox and the lemming did not become extinct, they merely moved north, as must the mammoth have done initially.

It is widely known that some years ago, a frozen carcase of a mammoth came into the hands of a scientific institution in Russia and that much was learned from its study.  The general impression was that this was a stroke of luck - one mammoth preserved by chance and fortuitously delivered into the hands of science.  This is not quite the case, however, for "superstitious peasants" and people who "must be mistaken" had been taking such happenings for common place for centuries previously.

The word ‘mammoth’ is alleged to have been derived from ‘mammantu’ meaning ‘the underground giant’. Throughout all of Lapp and Siberian folklore are legends of a monstrous hairy beast who sleeps beneath the snow and slowly emerges when it melts.  A more material form of evidence is the long established trade in ivory carried out by Siberian peasants.  At the beginning of this century the province of Yakutsk is alleged to have exported 150 pairs of mammoth tusks per year.  The trade is not new either; both pre-Christian Chinese chronicles and Pliny the elder refer to ivory being dug from the ground in Siberia.

In 1611 in London a certain J. Logan exhibited a huge “elephant's Tusk” from Russia.  In 1692 a Dutchman named Ides reported the discovery of carcases and the legends of burrowing elephants.  In 1724, Peter the Great sent a representative to investigate and he found a putrefying carcase.  In 1802, another was seen by Prof Adams and at last in 1901, the Imperial Academy of Science at St Petersburg announced the recovery for scientific study of an almost whole carcase.

A study of the stomach contents revealed that, far from being a tundra beast, this hairy elephant fed on lush forest plants.  Its remains were found when the forest had retreated - perhaps been stripped even by the vast hordes of mammoth, more and more of whom must have been slowly concentrating on N. Siberia ten thousand years ago.   But did they all drop dead with no descendants, even though the Siberian environment of the time must have been ideal for them?

Three million square miles of Siberia is covered with the world's largest and least known forest - the Taiga.  A forest which could hide Great Britain thirty times over, a forest almost the size of the U.S.A.  Could it be logically possible that a few mammoth still survive?  How old were the ice preserved corpses - ten thousand years? - a thousand years? - a hundred years?

In 1580 a Don Cossack reported having seen a large hairy elephant beyond the Ural Mountains.  In 1918 an illiterate Siberian hunter followed tracks into the Taiga for several weeks.  His quarry eluded him but not before he had seen them.  Shown pictures of the mammoth, he had no difficulty in identifying them!

After the discovery of the so-called extinct coelacanth, who knows what other 'extinct' fauna may prove one day not to be so.

The Ghosts of Rookham Hill

by P.A.E. Stewart.

It is the custom, my masters, on a winters evening when the lamps are trimmed, the wind is moaning in the chimney and the snow lies crisp outside that the talk turns to things supernatural and strange.

As you sip your ale in the "Hunters" and read your Christmas B.B., here is a little tale for your entertainment.  A true account of a rather weird experience on Mendip top (an experience which I hope never to have again!) and its interesting sequel.

In the autumn of the year 1956, I had been to Wells for a meeting and was returning late at night by the old Bristol road in my ford popular car.  I had taken a coffee at the museum - nothing stronger - and was quite cheerful, thinking of a future caving programme and the prospects for some digs that were in progress.

I came round the bend at the bottom of Rookham Hill and had just changed down for the long slope up to the top when I felt a prickly feeling on the nape of my neck.  This sensation gradually intruded itself on my thoughts until I became fully aware of it.  My first thought was of a draught so I automatically felt for the side window and it was closed.  This perplexed me rather and by this time the effect had become more intense - I realised that all my hair was standing on end!  The next stage is difficult, to describe and consisted of: -

(a)                Trying to control rising nervous tension.

(b)                Driving the car.

(c)                Looking for the cause of "all this ‘ere".

The answer to part (c) was even worse.  I realised that there was someone (or something) in the nearside back seat!  By this time I had reached the top of the hill and was passing Bishop’s Lot Swallet on the run down to the Hunters. I don't quite know how if realised that there, was something in the back, but I was completely certain.

By this time, things were beginning to get a bit tough and the over-riding impulse was to stop the car and get to heck cut of it!  However, I realised that this would not solve any problems, as I would have to get back in again and drive on to Bristol, and that would be much harder.  Mendip at 11 pm in the middle of the week is not particularly over populated.  I was stuck with it!

There was only one way to resolve this and this was to look in the rear view mirror and check the back seat.  However I could not bring myself to do this as I knew it would only confirm the situation and most certainly would mean a crash stop with all anchors out.  By this time I had my foot hard down and was going like the clappers past the Hunters, over the cross roads and up towards the Mineries.  I was hoping that if I drove on whatever it was would eventually disappear.

At the forestry houses I must have been touching 55 and at the last moment remembered the wicked right hander ahead.  Brakes, two wheels, grass verge and I was round, but only just!  Foot hard down again past Waldegrave Pool, the Miners and the Castle until just at Land Leer it wasn't there any more and the tension suddenly lifted.  I coasted down to the top of Harptree Hill and mopped a dripping forehead. I quite happily looked in the back seat and of course there was nothing there. Everything was quite normal.

The whole thing was not subjective, of that I am quite sure.  I have been in worse situations without any trace of the "heebies" and I sincerely hope it never happens again.  The nest day, I mentioned the episode to an acquaintance from Wells and he told me this story.  A friend of his was in a combination and had just passed the Hunters going towards Wells. He saw what he took to be the weak headlights of a car at some distance.  The sudden appearance of a coach with four black horses and two sidelights going towards the Hunters put him in the ditch.

When you leave the Hunters these dark evenings, cast a glance towards the top of Rookham - you never know what you may see!

That is just how it happened, my masters, anything in the car that night?  I will never know.

Cuthbert’s Crossword



































































































































































































































As many Cuthbert’s names as possible have been incorporated in (ignoring all two letter words where they occur).  The clues are in the form of a trip description which should prove very m simple to Cuthbert’s experts.  The trip description starts below.

THE TRIP.  The entrance shaft goes straight down, not like a 34 down and leads to the entrance pitch.  This doesn't require much CARE and you could make a 4 down of it.  When you get to the 19 down go to the last part of it and down the ladder.  You are now are 14 across 19 down pitch and should keep 21 across dry unless a lot of 9 across has fallen lately.  On through the Wire Rift and down the 24 across to Upper Mud Hall.  Past the 7 down to Quarry 10 across. From there to Upper Traverse Chamber to visit 18 down Series where 22 down Chamber is visited on the way to the 36 across.  Back in Upper Traverse Chamber; go through a hole in the floor and past 8 down to Bypass Passage in the 14 across Series and on down the stream to Everest Passage.  This stream is not the 18 across.  From there, go through the 39 across to the 1 across Series and so into the Dining Room.  Here, a meal can be cooked and the 17 down thrown into a hole which acts as a 3 down.  Go on, when ready, through the 26 down 17 across taking care not to finish up in the 2 down by mistake or to get to Plantation Junction the hard way via 5 down.  Now to the 32 across Hive Chamber, up the stal bank to see the 36 across. An impressive 31 down.  On to the duck, where anyone wishing to go on would be advised to consider a 28 down suit.  Coming back, 38 down the 26 down 17 across extension pass some mere 30 across on the way to Chain Chamber.  Ahead is the 37 down 23 down from which no 12 down has been extracted!  Coming up through Catgut, rather than down to see the 33 across flake you pass through the 38 across and have to 11 across in many places, sometimes on your 16 down!  Finally, staggering out, you reflect, that you are suffering from 29 across 27 across and it seems a long time 15 across that the trip started.  The Wire Rift and the Ledge Pitches prove 23 across but you take time at Arête Pitch to go and 6 down through the window and see 7 down pitch as well.  Finally, come up the 40 across pitch in the last part of it in time for 13 across (especially the leader who has collected several 35 across!)

What of 1 down and 20 across?  They didn't fit into the trip but, if you want to finish the puzzle, 1 across was not a 20 across and 1 down without its middle letter comes from a 23 down.


Jug’s Journeyings

by "Jug" Jones.

During the few occasions that I attended Mendip, I did very little caving (whatever that is). However, recently I'm proud to say, I've done even less.  Nevertheless, I've decided to contact you and let you know how I am wasting time and the taxpayer’s money in just travelling around.

After finishing our refit period at Portsmouth we left for the Scilly Isles.  Arriving there we found the seas too rough to allow the landing of a motor boat, so regrettably we had to leave.  We were all very sorry about this as the flower picking season had just begun. For those who have never heard of this cult - let me explain - that English, French and possibly young ladies from other places of repute gather here to pick tulips: etc.  As one may well imagine, this causes great festivities, being the only, place in the world where the foreman shouts "Come into the garden, Maud".

However, we sadly slipped anchor and shot through to Portland Bill.  Here we did our Working Up exercises for the beginning of the commission.  This includes exercising every dingle piece of equipment and sailor (even me) on board. To give you some idea, I will list a few that come to mind.

Firstly, landing parties (a mild form of assault party).  Men were landed with 24 hour packs, weapons and shovels etc. and fought the Marines the possession of a cliff top.  As the poem goes "Bootneck, Bootneck, can't catch me,” "Who can't?", "You can't!" EEEEEEEE!  Then we took part in an exercise called "Aid to civil power".  We practiced landing complete field kitchens and stores in anticipation of an earth quake or other such civil disaster (such big words!)

We chased submarines. They chased us.  We fired at aircraft and vice versa.  We chased surface raiders and had star shell illumination at night until we were sick of the sound of gunfire.  Abandon ship exercises followed and a team of wreckers joined the ship, throwing smoke bombs around and writing FLOOD on the bulkheads and generally making nuisances of themselves.  My mate got DEAD chalked on his back twice, but still drew his tot of rum.

We exercised with the French fleet (a cowardly bunch in my opinion) and sped on to Plymouth.  We left, escorting a convoy to Scotland, where we were "sunk" by subs four times en route.  We arrived at Rosyth and everyone enjoyed the break and took the chance to visit such notorious places as "The Thistle", "The Black Bull" and the infamous "Fairlies" in Edinburgh.  Incidentally, I organised a caving trip (most foolish; to visit CHARLESTON LIME CAVES, but enough of caving!  We visited Loch Glass where I chased and caught a lamb, but being a lamb and not a sheep, I let it go.  We left here and went further north to the county of Sutherland.  Here we practised bombarding the mainland with live ammunition (to the Englishmen’s delight).  Durness was quite near, so I asked permission to go and have a look at SMOO cave. Permission was refused.  As simple as that.  Two of us then promised to do a caving trip during the middle watch and return on board at 1630, so help us, but permission was again refused.  This time, we demanded a reason (through the official channels and all that).  The reason - "We are afraid you will use this expeditionary training period as a convenient excuse for a pub crawl"

Our next port of call was Aarhus, Denmark.  We found the cost of living quite high here.  Beer was a half to one kroner per half pint bottle, but I averaged twenty bottles a night for the next four nights, then finally slipped into a Horrible state of suspended animation.  (For non Biospeleologist this means a deep kip).  Places of interest to visit in Aarhus are Folkes Park - a sort of glorified Belle Vue or Battersea and a tiny section called the Old City.  Leaving Denmark, we passed on to Sweden ( Sundsvall).

Now, if the cost of living in Denmark was high, in Sweden it leapt to Skyscraper proportions. However, the girls who were tall and blonde, crowded around our ship for all of our four day stay (day and-night). I have seen the midnight sun before, up in the Arctic Circle, but this is the first time I have actually been ashore and found daylight for four days and nights.  As a matter of interest, one finds one finds it very difficult to sleep, yet looking back on it, nobody seemed to feel tired!

After a short break at home for pre-overseas leave we sailed for Gibraltar. Here, Hooray!  Beer was approximately 6d a bottle.  Viva España.  We visited the bullring and I had my first glimpse of the "leetile Spanish donkee" (50cc) fully equipped with double pannier bags and smelly boy.

After Gib and many adventures (did fail to visit St. Michaels mount or grotto) the ship headed for Ajaccio. This is about the largest town on the island of Corsica.  What was it Corsicans were famous for?   Anyway, all the bandits I met were ordinary bandits.  The bandit’s wives (so a naval officer tells me) spend all day making lace. The place was generally filthy - the water had to be analysed before being shipped inboard - and the French were as filthy as ever!  All the sewers were of the open disposal type (they just ran down on to the beaches).

Italy seemed an improvement on France, but here again, the cost of living seemed to have risen considerably (sailor's wages remain stable).  The port we put into was Rapello.  This is a sort of toned down Monte Carlo and Geoff Duke lived here when he rode for M.V.’s.  For my money, it was more like a glorified, souped-up, sunlit Southsea.  The beaches however, were perfect and swimming was the order of the day (nothing more than a delicate paddle for yours truly!)

I actually managed to pack my rucksack and get some leave here.  For potential campers, the water is supposed to be dangerous for English stomachs, but I gulped gallons of it and remained O.K.  Still, that doesn't prove anything, does it?

The sunshine faded so did we, and the seas were once more crashing beneath our bows.  Great schools of dolphins seemed to be racing us beneath the beautiful blue sky.  The flying fish also entertained us with their graceful leaps from wave to wave. Trouble overtook us here.  A sailor went down with appendix trouble. The doc decided not to operate, but make for port.  Majorca was the nearest place, so the victim was landed here.  No leave was granted, but from what I could see of the harbour, the Isle of Love is garbage.

The Education of H.M. Forces

On Tuesday, 13th of November, a team of speleologists, all experts comprising of John Cornwell, Sybil Bowden-Lyle and myself, undertook the arduous journey into Wogland accompanied by stout hearts, unwavering devotion to duty and a good supply of cigarettes.

The object of this expedition was to educate the uninitiated wogs (i.e. those stationed at Compton Bassett doing penance for the queen) in the arts of caving and the like.

The ceremony was held in an establishment known as "The Tenants Club" which is in effect a luxurious type of N.A.A.F.I.  A slide show and lecture were presented by John Cornwell and were received with great enthusiasm.  The slides were of the highest possible standard whilst the lecture was most enlightening

Sandwiches, and the always sought after beer were provided by our hosts afterwards.  The expedition made a slight detour on the way home to partake of some of "Gaff" Fowler's coffee.


Annual List of Club Member’s’ Names and Addresses

This list is the one currently used by the B.B. Postal Department and is the ‘official’ list of member’s addresses.  If yours address is not correct, please get in touch with Bob Bagshaw or ‘Kangy’ as otherwise your B.B. is likely to be sent to the wrong address.


S.F. Alway

102 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol 8


T Andrews

135 Danson Road, Bexley, Kent


T. Attwood

4 Bridge Road, Shortwood, Nr. Mangotsfield, Bristol


P.J. Badcock

Sarnia House, Coronation Street, Barnstaple, Devon


R.J. Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


M.J. Baker

Morello, Ash Lane, Wells, Somerset


D.J. Balcombe

58 Lebanon Road, Croydon, Surrey


R. Bater

108 Memorial Road, Hanam, Bristol


R. Bennett

3 Russets Cottages, Backwell Common, Somerset.


J. Bennett

3 Russets Cottages, Backwell Common, Somerset


D. Berry

1 York Place, St. Augustine’s , Brandon Hill, Bristol


W.L. Beynon

Bulimba Hostel, Brisbane Street, Bulimba, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


J. Binden

Tyan, Victoria Roiad, Freshfiled, Nr. Liverpool


P. Bird

City Museum, Queens Road, Bristol


P.M. Blogg

1 Ridgeway Park, Ridgeway, Bristol


A. Bonner

54 Lawson Street, Maryport, Cumberland


J.M. Boon

9 Landsdown Close, Garston, Watford, Herts


P.J. Borchard

35 Hallstead Road, Harrogate, Yorkshire


Miss S. Bowden-Lyle

Garden Flat, 36 Lower Oldfield Park, Bath, Somerset


N Brooks

Falloden, Pierrefondes Avenue, Farnborough, Hants


Miss R. Burnett

51 Bath Road, Brislington, Bristol 4


P. Burt

3 Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts


Mrs P. Burt

3 Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts


M. Calvert

2 Eden Villas, Larkhill, Bath, Somerset


R Casling

51 Oakdale Road, Downend, Bristol


B.R. Chamberlain

102 Egerton Road, Bishopston, Bristol 7


D. Causer

19 Kenmore crescent, Filton Park, Bristol 7


Mrs C. Coase

Box 1, Eiffel Flats, Southern Rhodesia


S.J. Collins

33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8


D. Cooke-Yarborough.

The Beeches, St. Briavels, Lydney, Glos


J. Cornwell

26 Russell Road, Fishponds, Bristol


Miss M. Counsell

39 Hayford Avenue, Eastville, Bristol 5


A.J. Crawford

3 Hillside, Harefield, Uxbridge, Middelsex


F.G. Darbon

43 Arthur Henderson House, Fulham Road, Fulham, London, S.W.6


J. Davey

25 Hanson Lane, Halifax, Yorks


Mrs A. Davies

10 Bramley Road, Street, Somerset


R. Davies

Icknell Way House, A.E.R.E., Harwell, Berkshire


L. Dawes

223 Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, London ES16


Mrs L. Dawes

223 Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, London ES16


I Dear

Tudor Cottage, Vicarage Lane, Studdington, Hampshire


G. Dell

6 Victoria Square, Clifton, Bristol 8


J. Dennis

Hut 376 W, ‘A’ Sqdn, R.A.F. Compton Bassett, Calne, Wilts


K.C. Dobbs

85 Fox Road, Pinhoe, Exeter, Devon


J. Downie

Dimlands, Llantwit Major, Glamorgan


D.P. Drew

24 Merynton Avenue, Cannon Hill, Coventry


A.J. Dunn

63 Oakdale Road, Downend, Bristol


J.A. Etough

116 Newbridge Road, Brislington, Bristol


B.M. Ellis

41 Fore Street, North Petherton, Somerset


D. England

7 Frome Way, Winterbourne, Bristol


C. Falshaw

57 Hallen Grange Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield 10


Mrs C. Falshaw

57 Hallen Grange Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield 10


P.G. Faulkner

251 Rowah Crescent, Langley, Middleton, Manchester


A. Fincham

Leeds University Union, Leeds 2


T. Fletcher

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


D.C. Ford

Department  of Geography, Hamilton College, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



77 Kinshill Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


G.A. Fowler

18 Clayton Street, Avonmouth, Bristol


K. Franklin

18 Clayton Street, Avonmouth, Bristol


P. Franklin

22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset


A. Francis

Keedwell Cottage, Providence Lane, Long Ashton, Somerset


K.S. Gardner

The Grampains, Shepherd’s Bush Road, London


M.C. Garton

H.M.S. Brave Swordsman, G.P.O., London


P.M. Giles

Hut 350, ‘A; Sqdn, R.A.F. Compton Bassett, Calne, Wiltshire


A.P. Godfrey

21 Reynolds Close, Meadow Park, Keynsham, Bristol


D. Gommo

11 Glenarm Walk, Brislington, Bristol 4


J.W. Goodwin

34 Oaklands Avenue, Northrowane, Halifax, Yorks


D. Greenwood

164 St. John’s Lane, Bristol 3


G.H. Griffiths

34 Dodworth Drive, Mettlethorpe, Wakefield, Yorkshire


S.H. Grime

The Spinney, Rickman Hill, Coulsdon, Surrey


M.H. Grimes

34 Gatehouse Close, Withywood, Bristol 3


D. Gwinnel

13 Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset


N.P. Hallett

Myndeep, Westwood Drive, Pill, Somerset


M. Hannam

14 Market Place, Wells, Somerset


C.W. Harris

23 Frobisher Road, Ashton, Bristol 3


R.P. Harte

 ‘Hill House’, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


D. Hassell

147 Evington Lane, Leicester


C.J. Hawkes

29 Highbury Road, Horfield, Bristol


J.W. Hill

135 Doncaster Road, Southmead, Bristol


S.M. Hobbs

13 Lauriston Road, Preston Park, Brighton 6, Sussex


M. Holland

128 Woodland Gardens, Isleworth, Middlesex


D.W. Hoskyns

Apt 21, 1 Superior, Mimico, Toronto14, Ontario, Canada


D. Hunt

Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Somerset.


J. Ifold

Sunnyside, Rectory Lane, Compton Martin, Somerset


P. Ifold

40 Richmond Street, Totterdown, Bristol


B.J. Isles

89 Broadwalk, Knowle, Bristol 4


M. Isles

50 Acacia Road, Bournville, Birmingham 30


Miss P. Irwin

‘Jable’, Digby Road, Sherborne, Dorset


R. Jarman

78 Winterstoke Road, Ashton, Bristol 3


V. Jewell

Warren Cottage, Station Road, Flax Bourton, Somerset


A. Johnson

38 Southdown Road, Emmer Green, Reading, Berkshire


R. Jones

3 Durham Street, Eslwich Road, Newcastle-on- Tyne.


U. Jones

1a East Avenue, Cheadle, Cheshire


W.F. Jones

35 Stothard Avenue, Lockleaze, Bristol 7


G.M. Joyner

22 Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch, Bristol


R.S. King

1st Batt. 2 E. Anglican Reg., Mercer Barracks, Osnabruck, B.F.P.O. 36


R. Kitchen

61 Worton Way, Isleworth, Middlesex


T. Knight

365 Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol 7


J. Lamb

12 St. Aubins Avenue, Broomhill, Brislington, Bristol 4


B.T. Lane

14 Willow View, Bairstow Lane, Sowerby Bridge, Yorks


J.M. Lane

7 Staff Cottages, Farleigh Hospital, Flax Bourton, Nr. Bristol


A.G. Lee

52 Clifton Down Road, Clifton, Bristol 8


M. Luckwill

8 Park Road, Lower Weston, Bath, Somerset


B. Lynn



P. Mack

31 Cornwallis Crescent, Clifton, Bristol 8.


N. McSharry

C.S.D.F., R.A.F. Compton Bassett, Calne, Wiltshire


C.A. Marriott

718 Muller Road, Eastville, Bristol 5


T.K. Marston

33 Greenbank Avenue, St. Judes, Plymouth, Devon


E.J. Mason

11 Kendon Drive Wellington Hill West, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


P.J. Miller

130 Longmead Avenue, Bishopston, Bristol 7


D.W. Mitchell

2 Selwood Road, Frome, Somerset


K. Murray

17 Harrington Gardens, South Kensington, London, S.W.7


A. Nash

23714348 Pte A.G. (Int) H.Q. East African Command, B.F.P.O. 10


T.W. Neil

Bradley Cross, Cheddar, Somerset


Mrs T.W. Neil

Bradley Cross, Cheddar, Somerset



Oldfield Park Lodge, Wells Road, Bath, Somerset


M.A. Palmer

Cathedral Coffee Tavern, 3 St. Thomas Street, Wells, Somerset


Miss S.E. Paul

Flat H, 21 Lovelace Road, Surbiton, Surrey


J. Pegram

333, 5th S.E., Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada


L. Peters

21 Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


N. Petty

12 Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol


A. Philpot

3 Kings Drive, Bishopston, Bristol


T. Pink

53 Burnthwaite Road, Fulham, London SW6


G. Platten

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


G. Pointing

10 Green Lane, Avonmouth, Bristol


B. Prewer

East View, West Horrington, Nr. Wells, Somerset


R.J. Price

2 Weeks Road, Bishop Sutton, Somerset


L. Pritchard

58 Belper Road, Derby


J.M. Pullman

Badgers Wood, Brockley, Bristol


D. Quicke

Kingsway Caravan Park, Cuckoo Lane, Winterbourne, Bristol


Mrs D. Quicke

Kingsway Caravan Park, Cuckoo Lane, Winterbourne, Bristol


D. Radmore

2 Dunkeld Road, Filton, Bristol


J. Ransom

15 South View, Lenthay, Sherborne, Dorset


C.H.G. Rees

10 Clarence Road, Bristol 2


Mrs Rees

10 Clarence Road, Bristol 2



13 Wades Road, Filton, Bristol


A. Rich

c/o Pox 126, Basham, Alberta, Canada


P.A. Richards

119 Welbeck Road, West Harrow, Middlesex


Mrs P.A. Richards

119 Welbeck Road, West Harrow, Middlesex


R.J. Roberts

5 Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset


Mrs Robinson

10 Linden Road, Redland, Bristol 6


G. Robinson

10 Linden Road, Redland, Bristol 6


Miss J.P. Rollason

157 Pen Park Road, Redland, Bristol 6


A. Sandall

43, Meadway Avenue, Nailsea, Somerset.


Mrs. A. Sandall

43, Meadway Avenue, Nailsea, Somerset


B.M. Scott

14 Devon Close, Tottenham, London N17


P. Scott

16 Pembroke Road, Clifton, Bristol 8


G. Selby

38 Hawkers Lane, Wells, Somerset


A. Selway

59 Talbot Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


R. Setterington

4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset


R. Setterington

5 Moycullen Court. 96 Maida Vale, London W.9


J. Simonds

31 Springfield Lane, Teddington, Middlesex


C. Smith

48 Windsor Road Leyton, London E10


D. Smith

3 Providence Place, Reading, Berks.


J. Stafford

Wern Isaf, Pethel, Cearns


Mrs. I. Stanbury

74, Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


T.H. Stanbury

6 Aubrey Road, Bristol 3


R. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


Mrs. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


P.A.E. Stewart

11 Fairhaven Road, Redland, Bristol 6


E.P. Tackle

29 Haydon Gardens, Romey Gardens, Lockleaze, Bristol 7


A. Thomas

Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset


D.M. Thomas

12 Clarence Road, Bristol 2


M. Thompson

Ashen Hill Cottage, Priddy, Somerset


J. Tierney

Flat 3, 37 Hawley Sq., Margate, Kent


G. Tilley

Jable, Digby Road, Sherborne, Dorset


G.E. Todd

Sundayshill Cottage, Falfield, Glos


J. Tompsett

Mallins, Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


Mrs. D. Tompsett

Mallins, Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


E. Towler

11 St. Phillips Road, London E8


N. Tuck

33 St. Arvans Road, Cwmbran, Monmouthshire


S. Tuck

13 Hanbury Road, Clifton, Bristol 8


Mrs. S. Tuck

13 Hanbury Road, Clifton, Bristol 8


Miss J. Wathen

Theresa Cottage, Passage Road, Saul, Glos


R.M. Wallis

55 Fluin Lane, Frodsham, Warrington, Lancs


G.O. Weston

126 Woodside Road, Beaumont Park, Huddersfield


Mrs. G. Weston

126 Woodside Road, Beaumont Park, Huddersfield


M. Wheadon

2 Hubert Place, St. Thomas St., Wells, Somerset


C. Wildgoose

18 Baileybrook Drive, Langley Mill, Notts


R. Wilmut

36 Rudthorpe Road, Horfield, Bristol 7


R. Winch

1 Stanley Villa, Crewkerne, Chard, Somerset


J.G. Wolff

83 Newbridge Hill, Walk, Bath, Somerset


R.A. Woodford

80 Torrington Road, Ruislip, Middlesex


E.A. Woodwell

127 Welsford Avenue, Wells, Somerset


A.M. Wring

11 Harrowden Ct., Harrowden Road, Luton, Beds


R.F. Wyncoll

9 St. Christians Croft, Cheylesmore, Coventry

Excuses Reasons for Not Caving

by Jug Jones.

We shall deal first with the medical section, because it the first that springs to my mind, and this class of reason is almost always a good one.

BROKEN ARM.  Here, the crafty use of plaster of Paris is very helpful, or perhaps a sister, mother or daughter who is a trained nurse.  Male nurses can be useful but cavers usually find more important work for these people to do.

SEPTICAEMIA.  This is always good for the indolents, as the failure to wash or bath will help nature considerably by breeding the necessary germs, e.g.  "I've got a boil on my sitting down machine and I can't crawl very well!" (but note how these types always manage to crawl painlessly into someone's transport to get to the Hunters!) Another version of this is the sceptic thumb.  This is cleverly bound in a variety of pink lints, white cotton wools, four 4" bandages and other more subtle forms of disguise such as little leather pockets, pouches or, even more clinical, a rubber glove.  But here one must be careful not to get trapped for .a dig in Priddy Green by passing Shepton Malletiers.  On one occasion, I used a simple sling, carefully knotted   ( St. John’s style) and claimed a sceptic elbow.  Failing this, water on the joint is good but care must again be taken or one of the more aspiring docs of the B.E.C. may diagnose lack of exercise and prescribe a dry cave.

PULLED MUSCLE.  This one is excellent, as it invariably attracts sympathy from older members of club a strong smelling balsam or liniment is recommended, and the colours brown, green and purple give the best effects.

SLIPPED JOINT.  (Or dislocated bone – any will do!)  Is to be acted on as for pulled muscle, but care must be taken NOT to let the phizziotherapists take charge of the limb in question (pun intended).  Then we come to such other forms of bluff as “Internal” or '"Off colour" or “Overworked" (/weight) and some others that I can't write about as I intend to keep them for further use.

TRANSPORT. This section is, of necessity, a brief one, as only lately have I had transport.  To begin with, you must be careful that no one lives near you, or offers of help will begin pouring in:  "Big ends gone" or "Chains snapped" or simply "No transport".  A popular, but much overworked one, at the Belfry is “I pranged!"  (Crafty use of R.A.F. jargon here makes it sound authentic, doesn’t it?)

GEAR.  This chapter too is rather short, but there are endless opportunities for types who like to get screaming shattered in the Hunters but who wish to avoid anything unpleasant connected with caving SUCH AS CAVES! Some good ones are "Lamps duff", -"Somebody's pinched my goon suit", "Lamp pox" "No lamp" etc. (sorry, no more room:  Ed.)


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

Once again we have no material for the B.B. from members, as suggested in the Christmas B.B., the answer to this state of affairs was going to be a four page B.B. but, as this is the first time this has happened, we thought perhaps a gentle hint in the shape of a reprint of the article appearing in B.B. No 126 (August 1958) might be in order.

Cuthbert’s, notice.

The tackle on Stalagmite Pitch is shortly to be removed for renovation.  Leaders wishing to do this pitch must take tackle with them while renovation is in progress.

Annual subs.

These are due on the 31st January.    Bob Bagshaw will be delighted to receive same.

Club News - A Monthly Review of Club Activities

February Committee Meeting.

Despite the continuing bad conditions, the meeting was well attended.  The following new members were admitted to the club - Lionel James; Mike Turner; Albert Charwood; Kevin Abbey; Donald Weston and Valerie Jones.

Other subjects dealt with included a mention of skiing having been taken up by the climbing section (books on the subject are available in the club library!) the first caving meet, Cuthbert’s new entrance, the Charterhouse Caving Committee and Belfry arrangements.


The first caving meet for 1963 (Lamb Leer) went off very successfully with twenty seven people attending the meet.  The trip was a week later than planned due to the cave entrance being blocked with snow. During the trip, an attempt was made to reach a high level fissure in the chamber.  It was not reached, but a feasible route to it (involving artificial techniques) has been planned by Noel McSharry.  There will probably be one or more trips in the near future to make a concerted effort to reach this fissure.

The second meet will be on the evening of Thursday, 20th March to Redcliffe Caves.  I have been negotiating with the night watchman on the corporation site, and we may be able to have the run of the place without the usual weegee guide.

C.A. Marriott, Caving Sec.


The three week's removal of the cutlery and crockery which was announced in earlier B.B.'s is now complete and, the experiment being over, it has now been restored.  It has been agreed to buy a new set of plates to assist in tidiness.  A new stove set of parts will be purchased later in the year and another £50 budget for continuing the renovations and redecoration of the Belfry in the coming year has been approved, a temporary levy to cover this may be added to the Belfry charge, if this should be necessary.

Trips from the Caving Log

A Cuthbert’s trip on November 3rd found the 'dogs' on stal pitch too far apart and the leader - Pat Irwin - asks whether a closer spacing could be employed.  A trip in the same cave led by Roy Bennett ran on the 17th of November took a small passage from Cascade to Everest chambers not marked on the survey.

A working trip to Sugar Bowl Chamber was run by Mikes Wheadon and Palmer on the 25th November. They report 'Each ton of sand moved out, moves back in rapidly from another direction so only two halves of rope were recovered, less about six feet.'

A further trip by the same leader on the first of December reports 'Short trip into the extension behind Long Chamber.  Entered new bedding plane, also found new passage following the big fault.'

Roger Stenner, on a G.B. trip on the 2nd of December, reports that 'formations in the Ladder Dig extension are badly damaged but still worth seeing'

John Cornwell, Noel and Norman Brooks had a working trip in the new Cuthbert’s Extension on the 8th of December.  The nature of the work was presumably exploratory.

An unusual trip on the 16th December was run to the caves at Draycott by Roy Bennett and the Franklyn brothers who report.  'Two caves in rocky escarpment overlooking Drayoott.  One four feet long, the other found to be about ten feet long and not worth digging.  Several natural depressions noted on Draycott and Cheddar head road.'

A trip of an even more unusual nature was undertaken by the terrible trio consisting of G. Tilley, Esq., J. Ransom Esq., and R. Jarman (Gent.) who were invited to Digby School, Sherborne to investigate a long underground passage, and report as follows:-

‘The entrance was discovered by the caretaker a few weeks ago.  After getting fully kitted out, we entered the passage, which seemed to be a drainaway between two stone walls.  We were met by a loosely cemented brick wall, and after removing a brick, we thought we could see a continuation on the other side, so we asked if we could remove part of the wall to enable us to continue.  Permission was given, so we started to hack the wall down.  A hole big enough for a head was made, then putting a large head through, a prehistoric dustbin was found situated in an adjoining cellar.  The passage measured nearly thirty feet long, and is continued on the other side of the cellar.  This will be followed when the caretaker has removed five tons of coke.  Very interesting, but people should build passages slightly larger!''

End of Caving Log for 1962

How To Write An Article For The B.B.

It is a fact most wonderful and strange to contemplate that our club consists of some hundred and twenty members, most of whom can read and write.  It can further be shown (as Euclid, no doubt would have put it) that it requires two articles of average length to complete the usual eight page B.B.

We are now in the happy position of being able to draw a conclusion.  If every member wrote an article every four and a half years, this would be sufficient to fill the B.B. ad inf.

The next move in this erudite argument is one of extreme subtlety.  Each member must be persuaded to write an article.  At this point, a snag arises.  One can imagine the reader - aghast at this suggestion - pointing out that it is inhuman to expect each member to produce one article every four and a half years.  "No man," one can imagine him saying "could work at such a feverish rate and still retain his sanity."  This is, of course, agreed.  Fortunately, a solution is at hand.  Owing to the average stay in club per member being of the same order as the frequency, with which he should write an article, each member need only write one article during his entire stay in club.  It is generally conceded that this effort, though still severe, is intellectually possible.

At this stage, the reader has, one hopes, been fired with enthusiasm to take up this fearsome challenge, only to have his aspirations dashed once more to the ground by the next obstacle.  "What" he asks, quite reasonably, "can I write the article about?"

Agreed, this is something of a facer.  The equipment needed at this stage by the intending author is known as an IDEA.  An idea is not easily come by.  In this respect it resembles a clue, and people have been known to go for years without either.

But don't despair! You too can have an idea, and remember, you have four and a half years to have it in!  A widely held believe asserts that the average bloke is capable, under very favourable circumstances, of producing an idea every two years and these have been cases of individuals, by sheer concentrated

effort, reducing even this fast time.  However, this applies to what we call in the trade a spontaneous idea.  That is to say, an idea which occurs without the benefit, or even in spite of, our AMAZING SYSTEM.  With this system, an idea is guaranteed to occur.  To obtain the full benefit from this system (send no money; you have only to peruse the following, and pick out the group most suitable to your circumstances: -


You fall into this group if you are a keen, active fit and energetic young caver/climber at the peak of your enthusiasm and vigour - as distinct, of course, from a senile old dodderer (see groups "B" and “C".)


You fall into this, group if you are a mature, experienced caver/climber at the peak, or at any rate approaching it, of your judgement and wisdom - as distinct, of course, from a brash young upstart  (see group  “A” or an old has been - see group   "C")


You fall into this group if the increasing responsibilities of your successful career have meant that you have either had to move far away or can no longer spare the time.  Now read on.

If you are in Group “A” in your activities, you MUST have been on a trip in which something  interesting or unusual or amusing happened - just one at least!   Listen to the lines shot at the Belfry, Hunters Etc.  YOU probably shot one last weekend, why not write it down!

In group "B", all the remarks of group “A” still apply, on the principle that, if anything, lines get bigger with time.  In addition, you know that things are not what they were (they never are).  The poor blokes, who go caving/climbing/drinking/&c now, never knew what it was really like etc, etc, etc.  Tell them.

If in group "C", when you do come to Mendip, what's it like?  Has it changed?  Any new caves?  Come to that; are there any caves your way?  Etc, ad nauseam.

Now let us rashly assume that you have something to write, about.  The next question is what form you are going to write it in.  The table, of weights and measures below might be of use here.


2 entries in log = 1 letter
2 letters = 1 poem
2 poems = 1 article
2 articles = 1 screed

Poetry requires fewer words per line than prose and also makes you appear cleverer than you really are. This is obviously worth looking into. A letter, on the other hand, is easily written and can always be padded out by praising the editor, thus ensuring publication.  Only the advanced writer should attempt a screed.

Older readers may remember at this stage, the imaginary efforts of Bert Bodge, our shining example of the system in action.  Alas, time has shown that Bert has let us down and so we now consider the career of one B. Wynden-Water.  Young Basil (he was born on the Shetlands) joined the club in 1965 and, on his second weekend at the Belfry (the first was spent emptying the detailer) he was persuaded to go on a beginners trip down Swildons, on which trip a ladder rung slipped as he was climbing back up the twenty.  The next day, owing to a misunderstanding caused by the amount and specific gravity of the beer drunk on the Saturday night, he found himself taking part on a trip to Stoke Lane.

After this energetic weekend, young Wynden-Water remained for many years a keen and active club member, regularly attending the Hunters on ''barrel" nights and taking his full share in the running of the club at Annual General Meetings, even after a change of employment forced him to move to Kerrimuir in April 1966, where he is now employed by a firm of ball manufacturers.

Naturally, this keen all-rounder has never neglected to write for the B.B.  Anxious as he is, even now,  to take part in all club activities, he has made the most of his one weekend underground, as the following list of his published work shows:-

(Extract from the classified index of authors, issued with B.B. No 250, Christmas 1968)


B.B. 185 (July '63) “My first Caving Trip - A novices impression of Swildons Hole (Article).
B.B. 187 (Sept '63)  "A visit to Stoke Lane Slocker" (Article).
B.B. 191 (Jan '64)  Letter replying to ‘geologist’ pointing out that Swildons is different to Stoke.
B.B. 195 (Mar '64)  Letter replying to ‘hydrologist’ pointing out ' that Stoke is different to Swildons.
B.B. 202 (Xmas ‘64)  Poem.  "When you're climbing up a ladder"
B.B. 204 (Feb ‘65)  Letter replying to author of article on tackle about the slipping of ladder rungs.
B.B. 210 (Aug '65)  Poem. "Going through the sump in Stoke"
B.B. 234 (Aug '67)  "Mendip revisited"  (Article)
B.B. 236 (Oct  '67)  Recollections of some caves of central and Eastern Mendip.  (Article).

It is, as you will no doubt agree, surprising to see what a lot can be written about practically nothing. This article has been written on the same principle.


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