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The B.B. Questionnaire.

This B.B. is mainly concerned, as is usual with the October number, with reports and news of the A.G.M. and dinner.  One of the subjects arising from this was a suggestion made in the A.G.M. report on the B.B. by the editor that a questionnaire be sent out so that it could be seen just what changes, if any, the majority of club members would like to see in the B.B.

This questionnaire, which will come out during the next month and be attached to the next B.B. for the benefit of members who have their B.B. by post, will contain a series of questions designed to let members specify their ideas of the ideal form of the B.B.  Some of these suggestions may not be easily implemented.  For instance, if someone says that he would like to see a B.B. with at least one long, serious caving article each month, there remains the problem of persuading someone to write such articles.  Thus, when you get the form and, as we hope, fill it in, remember that we should also like YOUR suggestions as to how the state of affairs you would like to see can be brought about in practice.

A.G.M. Attendance.

This was the highest for many years, as was also the number of members voting.  We hope this may have been due in some measure to the appeal in the B.B. last month.  In any case, it was a good show and very encouraging.



Cave Research Group of Great Britain.

The Annual General Meeting will be held at the training college, Matlock, Derbyshire on November 10th at 5 pm.  For further details of this meeting see the circular which will be on the Belfry Notice Board, or communicate direct with the secretary, A.W. Ashwell, "Cuilcagh", Stanyeld Rd, Church Stretton, Salop.

University of Bristol Speleological Society.

The Sessional Meetings for the 1962-63 Session will be held at 8.15 pm in the Geography Lecture theatre. Subjects are as follows:-

Monday, Oct 8th.  "How old is the Sahara?"
Monday, October 29th.  Films on Anthropology & Archaeology.
Monday, November 19th.  A Caving lecture.
Monday, December 3rd.  "The changing face of Neolithic Britian.
Monday, January 21st.  "The caves of N.L. Clare"
Monday, February 4th.  "The mineralisation of the Mendip Hills"
Monday, February 18th.  Title not yet known.
Monday, March 4th.  A.G.M.  Presidential address at 9pm.  "The mythical massacre at Glastonbury Lake Village"

The Annual General Meeting.

(This account is a description of the main events, but it not the official minutes of the meeting. Ed).

The 1962 Annual General Meeting opened at 2.55 pm with 45 members present and began with the election of a Chairman.  Dan Hasell was elected and he started by remarking that it was very gratifying to see so many members present.  The collection of member’s resolutions and ballot forms followed.  The Chairman then asked for volunteers to act as tellers and Brian Prewer, Gordon Selby and John Eatough volunteered.

While the counting of voted went on, the chairman asked the meeting whether they wanted the minutes of the last A.G.M. to be read.  A vote taken produced 14 in favour and 14 against.  The Chairman then exercised his casting vote and decided to read the minutes. The minutes were then read and adopted.

The Hon. Secretary's report followed.  He reported that a total of 31 new members had been accepted this year, as against 27 last year and 34 for the year before that.  The paid up membership had increased to 138, but in fact was probably higher as he confidently expected to collect some more membership subs before the night was out.  Some of those assembled were seen to pale visibly at this stage; attendance at the dinner was expected to be 116.  The dinner, he felt, was proving more popular amongst members of other clubs, as he had had a number of applications from such people.  The attendance at Redcliffe Hall was slowly improving, although he hoped that further improvement would be made in this direction.  The Charterhouse Caving Committee was in process of negotiating a final form of agreement.  He felt that the result of this would be satisfactory from the club's point of view. There were no questions, and the report was adopted.

This was followed by the Hon. Treasurer's report, with the usual remark from someone of "It’s the same bloke!"  He stated that the substantial surplus was mainly due to the higher membership figures and the preference for life membership.  The expenditure on tackle was still not as great as he had hoped. The profits on lamps and caving reports were the results of last year's efforts and off set the losses which occurred then.  The report was adopted.

Another vain attempt was made at this point to catch the Hon. Treas. out.  He was asked why the difference between the cost of ties and the sales figure was not a multiple of the cost of a tie.  The questioner was demolished by being told that the apparent discrepancy was due to money sent by members, very properly, to cover postage.

The Caving Secretary then gave his report.  The B.E.C. had been very active, but there had been a change in the pattern of caving this year.  Cuthbert's - not Swildons - was now the most popular cave nearby and there had been a dramatic interest shown by B.E.C., members in Eastern Mendip.  Bottlehead Slocker, Heale Cave, Heale Slocker and Newman Strret Slocker were all dug with the assistance of members.  In addition, a large number of tourist trips for other clubs had been run and a fair number of beginner’s trips.  The B.E.C. had turned out on a number of small rescues, but luckily, nothing serious had occurred this year.  The Cuthbert's Leaders Meetings had been a success, and interest in the cave had been further aroused by the publication of Caving Reports on the subject and by the work on the new entrance.  The report was adopted and a vote of thanks proposed for Bryan Ellis and Alfie for their work.

Arising from the report, Garth asked why there had been no mention of the recent discoveries in Stoke Lane, as B.E.C. members had been present.  The Caving Secretary rectified this omission which was due to the recent nature of this discovery.

This was followed by the Climbing Report.  The Climbing Secretary stated that there had been a slight decline in the climbing activity this year, but climbing in the Avon Gorge had proved popular and had attracted some cavers including the Caving Secretary!  A trip to St. Ives at Easter had been well supported and Cader Idris visited at Whitsun and August.  The report was adopted.

Question time provided a fine example of repartee.  Kangy asked the Climbing Sec. if he would define a meet.  Tony, suspecting this question, immediately replied that a meet consisted of at least two male club members.  Kangy then announced with glee that his meet had not been mentioned. The Climbing Sec. then reminded him that no report of it had been received.  At this stage Kangy declared himself to be speechless!

At this stage, the results of the committee election were known and the Chairman read them out.  In the order on the ballot form they were:- Bob Bagshaw, 59 votes; Alfie, 57 votes; John Cornwell, 35 votes;  Garth, 42 votes; Tony Dunn, 36 votes; Mike Luckwill, 20 votes; "Mo", 58 votes; Mike Palmer, 35 votes; Norman Petty, 56 votes; Alan Sandall, 4l votes; "Sett", 47 votes and Jim Hill 29 votes.  The Chairman pointed out the tie for last place to the meeting.  It was agreed to follow the precedent of allowing both to stand. The 1963 committee thus consists of ten members.

The Tackle Officer then gave his report.  We have made 140’ of new ladder during the year and scrapped 65’.  This gives the club a total of 230' of ladder.  We have lost a 120’ extra weight nylon rope in Swildons and the 80’ three quarter weight rope is stuck in Cuthbert’s.  We therefore need more rope.  At once in true B.E.C. fashion, members announced that they were in various positions to supply free rope and over 600' of rope was promised.  These offers were accepted and the report adopted.

The Hut Warden announced in his report that the bed-nights this year totalled 1,267.  This was a slight drop on last year's all time record and was due to the loss of some regular members.  The increase of tidiness in the Belfry had not been maintained. He had plans to improve this next year. The stone hut's main fabric had been completed and the new extension was well advanced.  When the extension had been completed, the whole Belfry will be re-roofed.  The report was adopted.

A large number of questions designed in increase the tidiness of the Belfry were then raised. As result, the committee was instructed to look into a number of schemes designed to improve the Belfry facilities and to increase the standards of cleanliness and tidiness of the Belfry. The report was adopted.

The Belfry Bulletin report followed.  The Editor stated that, for a variety of reasons, the B.B. had remained similar in shape, size, contents etc for about three years.  He wondered if present feeling in the club was in favour of any changes and suggested the circulation of a questionnaire which he had prepared if the meeting should so wish.  It was agreed that this was a good idea.  The need for a new volunteer to deal with the postal side of the B.B. was brought up at this stage, and "Kangy" bravely volunteered for this job.  The report was adopted.

The Hon. Librarian then gave her report.  The library had been catalogued.  One copy of this catalogue was in the library itself and the other copy at the Belfry. Some new books had been published and a list of the main contents of the library was read out.  Clare Coase has donated all of Don's books to the library. The librarian then appealed for some back numbers of the B.B. which she heeded to bring her list to completion. These are 1-5 inclusive, 7, 8, 9, 12, 21, 42, 49, 84 and 97.  She would be grateful to any member who could donate any of these B.B's.

John Ifold asked where the remaining books were, as he had counted 152 books during his term as Librarian. The Librarian replied that she had no idea of the whereabouts of these books, and that they did not form part of the library as handed on to her.  'Gaff' Fowler suggested that we write to Bristol Public Library, as they sold cheaply any slightly soiled books at regular intervals.  Alan Sandall then got the biggest laugh of the afternoon, by suggesting that, in that case, we send a team to the library to slightly soil all the caving books (later information suggests that the library have given up this scheme).  The Library report was then adopted.

Member’s resolutions then followed.  The Chairman read out the first resolution by Jim Giles that "The B.B. be reduced to a monthly news sheet and that the club publish an Annual Journal". Before asking for a seconder, the Chairman invited comments from the Editor, who replied that this point would be covered by the forthcoming questionnaire.  There was no seconder and thus the resolution could not be put to the meeting.

The second, resolution, also by Jim Giles, was 'That something be done about Emborough'. Before putting this to the meeting for a seconder, the Chairman asked for information on this resolution.  This was provided, and the Chairman, although he thought that this was a subject more properly dealt with by the Caving Secretary, asked for a seconder.  None was forthcoming and so this; resolution could not be put to the meeting.

The third resolution - by Jim Giles - was that the club constitution be amended to article 7 to read ‘four weeks before the Annual General Meeting'.  Again, no seconder could be found and the resolution could not be put to the meeting.

The fourth resolution was put in by Jim Giles.  This was that in the event of the third resolution being vetoed, the Annual General Meeting be declared invalid unless all voting forms were received at least a fortnight beforehand, as required by the present constitution.  The Chairman ruled that this resolution was out of order, since the breaking of Article 7, although this might result in the postponement of the committee election, did not invalidate the Annual General Meeting. In any case, the A.G.M. could, if it so desired,   adopt a different method of electing the committee, as was done, a few years ago when the committee was elected by a direct vote at the A.G.M.

The fifth resolution - submitted by Jim Giles - was then read.  This resolved that ‘the date of the A.G.M. be published' and found no seconder. A similar situation occurred when the sixth resolution, which came   from Jim Giles, was read out.  This resolved that the visitor’s fee be increased to 3/-.  A seventh resolution by Jim Giles was not put to the meeting.

A resolution by 'Mo' that the Club Rules should be more rigidly enforced, particularly as regards the Belfry' was discussed and an amendment to remove all crockery and cutlery for an experimental period was  first voted on.  This was carried by 19 votes to 13 - it being noted that the top five regulars all voted against the amendment.  The amended resolution was then carried nem. con.

Under any other business, Kangy raised the point of the desirability of removing broken stal from caves.  It was generally agreed that, unless the circumstances were exceptional and the stal was required fur some approved scientific purpose and could not be obtained from other sources, such as quarries, it should not be brought from caves.  Under no circumstances, the meeting felt, should stal be removed by breaking and the Chairman reminded all that the club rules were very specific on this point and that any breach of them would be regarded as a serious offence.

On the subject of the Caving Log, Mike Luckwill volunteered to provide a monthly summary for the B.B. A few words were also said on the subject of the Mendip Cave Registry when Alfie explained briefly what had been done to date.

The meeting closed in plenty of time for the dinner.


In order to improve the tidiness of the Belfry, as from JANUARY 1ST I963 for an experimental period of THREE WEEKS, all cutlery and crockery will be removed.  If this proves to be very inconvenient, but only providing that there is a marked improvement in the washing up during the rest of 1962, the crockery and cutlery will be put back by replacing it with stuff of a uniform nature.  If, on the other hand, washing up is still not done, it may become necessary to remove saucepans, etc. as well. PLEASE TAKE NOTE!!

In other words: -

If you wish to find a cup,
Plate or spoon in '63
We must all co washing up,
Tidy cavers we must be!


Publication of the New Style Caving Log will start in next month's B.B.  Articles for the Christmas B.B. should be sent in soon.  These are needed urgently.

Financial Statement for the year to the 31st August 1962.

Annual Subscriptions




Redcliffe Hall:


£19- 16-1



Less Hire

£10-  0-0

£  9- 16-1

Post Office Savings Bank Interest:



£    1-  9-6

Goods for Resale:


£   11-10- 0



Less Cost

£    6-  8- 9

£    5- 1-3

Car badges:


£    9- 2-  6



Less Cost

£    6-11- 0

£    2-11-6




£    6-11-1

Caving Reports


£   64-11-10



Less Expenses

£   51-  0-4

£   13-11-6



£     2- 2-3



Less Expenses

£    1-  8-0

£     -14-3




£143- 7-2



£109-  3-0



Less Receipts


£    - 12-1

Belfry Bulletin:

Printing, etc

£  6- 14- 6




£  20- 4- 0

£  26-18-6

Concrete Pipes



£  12-  0-0



£  20- 11-10



Less Receipts

£    6- 19-6

£  13-12- 4

Postages and Stationery



£    0-  3- 12

British Mountaineering Club Subscription.



£    1-    -

Club Ties


£  31-   6-0



Less Sales

£  30-   0-0

£    1-  6-0




£    3- 11-4

Printing Rule Sheets



£    5-    -

Annual Dinner:


£67- 0  -  9



Less Receipts

£66- 16 -  0

£  33- 0 -0

Public Liability Insurance (two years)



£  17- 0 -0

Photographic competition prizes



£    6- 0- 0

Langdale Mountain Rescue Team



£    2- 2- 0




£    1- 2- 5




£  49-18- 1




£143-  7- 2





Total Club monies @ 31st August, 1961



£  87- 9 - 7

Add Surplus as above



£  49-18- 1




£ 137- 7- 8





Post Office Savings Bank Balance 31.8.62



£131-13- 1

Cash in hand 31.8.61



£    5-14- 7

Total Club Monies 31.8.62

£ 137- 7- 8

Second Warning!

Further to the notice on page four of this B.B., and as part of the campaign to tidy up the Belfry the Hut Warden wishes to announce that, after two warning notices in consecutive B.B.’s (of which this is the first) all personal gear left at the Belfry, other than that in the regular's lockers or placed tidily on regular's bunks, will be got rid of.  This will be done by throwing away any objects which appear to be of no value, and auctioning anything else on the spot for club funds.  THIS PURGE WILL OCCUR SOME TIME IN DECEMBER and will be followed by similar purges WITHOUT FURTHER WARNING.  If in any doubt, consult or get in touch with the Hut Warden. R.A. Setterington, 4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset.

Annual Dinner

by "Kangy" King.

The club dinner succeeded in that extraordinary difficult thing and managed yet again to be "better then last year".  Roll on next year's!  To be better than Annual Din. '62 it will need more than 116 diners; a monster hall for the photographic competition, and a choral society of distinction to sing a number of original and uproarious songs.

An enjoyable chicken or beef din. was followed rapidly by the after dinner speakers who were Fred Davies of S.M.C.C., Dan Hasell, Dr. Cannicott of Axbridge and Pete Blogg. Their common theme was, as far as could be discerned through the usual haze, concerned with a black and white Axbridge ostrich which boarded a Bermondsey bound bus and refused to sit down because its trousers were now fitted with zip fasteners.  I think.

Several presentations were made, attention was drawn to Bob Bagshaw's consistent success as our club officers and he received a large pink cuddly piggy bank.   Sett was presented with a new mug (beer mug).

An adjourn was made to the bar and to the barrels of Charrington Ale kindly provided by Bob Bagshaw, Alfie, Postle and Sett on the occasion of their duo-decadence or Twentieth Anniversary of first caving trip.

Relief and vigorous nattering was interrupted by the slide show.  This, which is the crown of the photographic competition organised by Mike Baker, was presented by John Eatough.  John, who acted as one of the judges, must be thanked and congratulated on having the courage to be projectionist and to express the controversial yet helpful comments of the judges in a forthright manner.  Of course, not everyone agreed with him, but it must be remembered that the main thing is to enter so that the photographs may cause interest and give pleasure.

Photographic stimulus gave way to the hilarity of a series of very funny and highly original songs, rendered for their creators by the singing of Gaff, Mo, the brothers Franklyn and Alfie.  The accompaniment was played in a professional manner by Mike Luckwill. Now booking.  The best of an impressive set of songs was adjudged with great acclamation to be a seductive 18th Century style ballad conceived by Alfie Collins.  It is to be hoped that we shall have the pleasure of adding these songs to the club repertoire.

So, once again the din. was an outstanding success.  No one knows quite why, of course, but it may be fairly guessed that the skill and imagination of all the organisers had some thing to do with it and we heartily thank them.

The Mendip Cave Registry

The purpose, of this article is to explain briefly what the registry is, what it is setting out to do, how much it has already done, and why more support is needed.

The Registry was set up a few years ago with the support of most of the major Mendip clubs.  The registry is controlled by two members from each of the clubs, who elect the officers.  These consist of a Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and 5 registrars, at present, two of these are B.E.C. members, and a third has been recently co-opted.

What the Registry is setting out to do is to provide a service to cavers and other interested people by compiling a complete set of references to all published and privately owned information on caves in the area.  This data will take the form of a book, which is continually brought up to date, and a copy of which will be available in the Bristol and Wells public libraries.  This book is not a guide book to Mendip caves, and the Registry is not setting out to form its own caving library, although this may come at a later stage.  It is hoped, however, to obtain permission to copy privately owned data and to include references to such documents, all sources of available books, etc will be indicated so that the serious cave research worker may obtain access through the Registry to all known literature on his subject.

At present, the Books have been provided; the system of presenting the data worked out and described in each book; the sheets have been printed and many references compiled. Now the registrars are engaged in breaking these references down to the individual caves and compiling the separate sheets.

The meeting in Wells on the 27th will not only explain the work of the registry more fully, but will ask for people to fill some of the impending vacancies on the committee and for additional volunteers to help the registrars.  All are welcome to come along to the meeting.


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle, Bristol. 
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.  

Jack Waddon

It is with very deep regret that we announce the death of Jack Waddon, after diving in Mineries Pool on Saturday, 3rd of November.

With his passing, many cavers in all parts of the country have lost a good friend; the B.E.C. has lost an old and valued member and the caving and cave diving world has lost one of its most experienced and enthusiastic explorers.  He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

On behalf of the club, we offer our sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to Dorothy and his family.

Jack Waddon We are urgently in need of articles for the Christmas B.B. as most members will know; we try to make this issue of the club magazine somewhat larger than normal. Unless a few (preferably long articles are received within the next week or so, this may not be possible.

Caving Meets

by the Caving Secretary.

In the past, the B.E.C. has tended to fight shy of any form of organised caving and has relied on personal contacts and the use of the ‘grapevine’ to spread news of future caving trips.  However, a recent increase in membership - particularly of young members - has resulted in a number of requests for club meets to some of the lesser known caves, both in the Mendip area and elsewhere.   After all, how many members of club have visited Redcliffe Caves; Bath Stone Workings; Lamb Leer; Fairy Cave; Brownes Hole Etc?  There must be a fair number of people in the B.E.C. who have not visited any of these.

In view of this, it has been decided to attempt to organise a number of club trips over the next year. The following points will indicate how the meets are to be organised.

(a)     The more well known Mendip caves will not be visited.

(b)     It is hoped to run 8 meets in a 12 month period.

(c)     Wherever possible, a leader who is well acquainted with the cave to be visited will be appointed.

(d)     Where necessary, transport arrangements will be thrashed out in club or at the Waggon & Horses on the Thursday preceding the meet.

(e)     Three categories of trip are visualised.  1. Easy trips that could be done in an evening. 2. Moderate trips on a weekend day to lesser known Mendip caves and 3. Whole weekend trips to caves in other areas.

Details of the trips will be published for each half year, thus giving everyone the maximum notice.

The Batu Caves

by Steve Grime.

The caves are located in a plateau seven miles north of Kuala Lumpur.  The limestone in which they are formed is vertically bedded, and seems to be inorganic (not one fossil or trace of a fossil was found by the party all the time we were underground.)  The cave system is very old, as most of the passages of four feet and under in cross section were completely blocked by calcite, although the temperatures inside the caves must accelerate the precipitation to some extent, as they were in the region of 75°F and relative humidity was very low.  Life is abundant in the caves - diagrams of the creatures found appear later in this report.

As we did not know, and did not have time to find out, the names of the main caverns explored, we decided to substitute some British names for them.  I think that, under the circumstances, the original explorers (whoever they may be) will excuse us poor ignorant sailors.

The cavern that we named Sett's Hole, with which this report is mainly concerned, is entered by a high rift about fifteen feet above the cliff base.  This soon opens out into (by Mendip standards) a gigantic cavern. Frank Mercer - a Yorkshire type potholer - and I were wondering at this stage what would be coming next!  We named this great hall the Main Gallery.

Just before the dark zone is reached, a squeeze can be pushed.  The way on lies through a pool of water - at 75°F - and into a very low chamber eight to twelve inches high.  This we called something sounding like Grass Hole - for obvious reasons. On returning to the entrance passage, three passages can be seen to lead off.  The right hand and centre ones are dead ends, although in the right hand one, an interesting squeeze doubles back to the right.  It was here that the two forms of life were found in a pool in which the body of a bird was also lying.

If one faces north on reaching the Main Gallery, two large - and I do mean large - galleries can be seen. The left one heads due north and the right one heads E.N.E.  These two chambers were named Guano Hall (politely) and Cascade Chamber respectively. Although these chambers both close down after about two hundred feet of very open walking and scrambling, they are both worth mentioning on account of their very individual characteristics. Guano Hall, as is suggested by its name, is liberally covered with guano.  The-entrance to it is up a 30° slope that is made into just about a v. diff climb by the bat dung.  Spiders and millipedes were found in this chamber.  Very little time was spent in this chamber, which was a pity as it is now my belief that it is from here that the way on lies.

Cascade Chamber is totally different.  For one thing, there are no bats whatsoever although the gallery (as can be seen from the rough survey) opens out into the same chamber as Guano Hall.  After a certain distance up the series of small vertical pitches into the chamber, no bat dung is found at all a trickle of water appears half way up the ascent (100’) and it was suspected at a later stage of the exploration that this is part of a stream that sinks in the Upper Series about fifty feet higher and about two to three hundred feet to the cast of this resurgence.  However, everything in fact points away from this suggestion.  Firstly, the limestone is vertically bedded and does not seem to take to horizontal corrosion too well and secondly, the stream is flowing to the east at the sink.

At the top of the pitch, the cave floor levels off for a few yards then drops seven feet.  Dead ahead can be seen a cascade which must be all of a hundred feet high.  It is 132 feet round the base and is estimated to have a diameter of about forty feet!  Photographs of this formation were taken, but it is doubtful whether they will come out, as the light from the magnesium ribbon used did not seem at all adequate.

On returning to the Main Gallery, if one looks to the left and up from the bottom of Cascade Pitch, the Sentinel can be seen in a high level passage at the top of a vertical pitch. The Sentinel is a stalagmite boss that is pear shaped in its horizontal cross section.  It has a circumference of some nine feet.  The climb up this pitch probably comes to about diff. standard, and is best attacked on the northern side.  All attempts on the southern side, ended in failure, although I dare say that a climber - with a bit more experience and guts should be able to push a route up the other side.  The pitch itself is a series of flutings ending in spires, looking very much like the mountains of the moon.  From its resemblance to organ pipes as well, this pitch was called Organ Pitch. Almost exactly opposite Organ Pitch is a small alcove about three feet high above the floor level of the Main Gallery. This was named Spider Grotto on account of the weird looking variety of spider type creature found there.  N.B. No webs were found.  Going up Organ Pitch, Sentinel Passage is reached, and then a steeply inclined slope takes one out on to the cliff face, at an elevation of 150 - 200'.  Turning to the left, an enormous cave entrance can be seen, looking like Alum turned sideways.  This holds the entrances to three high level galleries.  From left to right, Tricky Traverse Passage; High Chamber and Disappointment Passage.

Tricky Traverse is just what its name implies.  The team were just too dead beat to tackle it (or chicken?).  A slab eighteen inches wide leads to a point four feet away from and two to three feet below the start of the passage, which is a dried up stal flow. From the slab to a foot below the stal flow - which slopes at an angle of about 70° - is a small ledge three to six inches wide, sloping at about 30°.  This is made more difficult by an overhang of about two feet, jutting out from the ledge and some two feet above it.  The passage seems to go.

Going down the 50ft brings one into High Chamber.  This is an extremely large chamber, in fact the largest in this particular system. There are many entrances from the plateau to be seen in the roof, and the dangers of travelling on the plateau were emphasised by the number of dead animals lying about the cave floor in different degrees of pheeeeeeew.

Facing west, a waterfall sixty feet high can be seen - this is the stream mentioned earlier in this report. Right at the far end of the cavern is a huge flow (The Shrine) at the bottom of which are gours, some being thirty, inches high.  To the left and across a sandy beach Upper Guano Hall is reached.  It was in this chamber that one patch of dung four feet deep was found and again the bats only used one cave out of the three available in this series (any ideas as to why?).

Disappointment Passage is entered by way of a narrow rift which soon opens out into a passage of decent proportions.  This ends in a pitch of about a hundred and fifty feet deep.  Two passages can be seen leading off into the depths but to traverse round the pitch walls is virtually impossible, so the pushing of this passage will have to wait for some- chap with a fixed ladder.

At this point, the party turned round and made its way back to Sentinel Passage where a speedy rappel to the bottom of Organ Pitch took them to their spare fag supply, which was at once ransacked.

Formations Etc.

Only stalactites were seen in any abundance, the cave floor having been well dug by the "Awld man".  What they must have dug for, we do not know, only knowledge of geology, being very basic, was not sufficient to allow me to identify any mineral ore.  In places the cave floors have been dug to a depth of six to eight feet, and the old floor level could be seen as a band of calcite six to eight inches think.  This thickness of stal flooring seemed to be just about average throughout the cave. To my way of thinking this points to a distinct but gradual climatic change, as great torrents could be required to scour out the great chambers of this system.  Also, scallop markings five feet across were spotted in some parts of the cave.  Then, to form the great sheets of calcite, many dry years were required.  One stalactite that was found broken in two had a cross section showing four concentric circles.  Many clusters of helictites were found, the majority of these were seen to be connected to small stumpy stalactites and all of them ended in a pear shaped swelling.  During the whole of the trip not one curtain was seen, but there were many dried up flows.


Creatures were seen like a version of Niphargus Fontanus (See British Caving Plate XV b page 268) but measuring only 1 mm in length.  Other forms were a type of Ancryophorus Aureus (ibid Plate XVII e) and a form of Perga masus Crassipes (Plate XVII j) also Blaniulus Guttulatus (Plate XVI d) was found and measured about 1.5 inches.   The bats seen were like Natterers Bat.

Editor's Note:     Plans of this hole follow in this B.B.  Perhaps some members with knowledge of these caves can identify.


Second warning!!!

Please remember that all cutlery and crockery will be removed from the Belfry for a trial period starting on January 1st. Also, all unidentified gear left around will be disposed of by the Hut Warden.  If in doubt, get in touch with him before it is too late!


We have lost several ropes and some ladder recently.  If any members know of the whereabouts of B.E.C. equipment, the Tackle Officer, or any committee member would be very grateful for information leading to its recovery!


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle, Bristol. 
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.  



Let Bob Bagshaw know your choice of meal before 21st September

Bob’s address: - 699 Wells Rd. Knowle, Bristol 4


SAVE MONEY!!  Discounts may be had at Bryants camping centre of 5% for personal gear.  Show your membership card.  A 10% discount may be had for Sub-Aqua Products (Eastleigh) Ltd., 64 Twyford Road, Eastleigh, Hants.  Send your order for wet suit material on Club notepaper.

Alfie’s Spaeleodes

Work is progressing well. Alfie has made arrangements for the printing and Jock Orr is well underway with the cartoons – I’ve only seen a few but from what I have seen – they are superb!  Publication details later.


The long awaited Caving Report No. 5 is back in print. –

Headgear and Lighting

The only publication of its kind that covers all forms headgear and the many forms of lighting available.  Completely revised by Geoff Bull – 72 pages – PRICE only 5/-.

These are obtainable from Bryan Ellis, Knockauns, Comwich, Nr, Bridgwtaer, Som.  or Gordon Tilly at the Belfry.

Don’t forget 1/- p & p.


LATE NEWS: - Eddy Welch is retiring from the Committee.


Guardian reports (19/8/68)..

Seriously injured caver in Berger.  Appeal to all potholers in Grenoble area to replace exhausted rescue parties.  Injuries are spinal.

Hon. Sec: - A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
Editor: - D.J. Irwin, 23 Campden Road, BRISTOL. 3. BS3 1QA
Club Headquarters: - The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, WELLS, Somerset, BA5 3AU


Ahnenschacht  1968

While still in Austria the following report of the BEC Expedition there has just been received from Alan Thomas…

A brief description of the Ahnenschacht and its situation appeared in my previous article (1) and I shall be describing it in greater detail later on.  This was written whilst still in Austria is intended only to describe our activities and this year’s discoveries.

This year’s party consisted of Mike Luckwill, Dick Wickens and myself who had been there last year with the addition of Alan Thomas (junior), Martin Webster and Ian Daniels. We were accompanied to the Hochogelhutte by Val and Sally Luckwill.

Wise from our experience of last year we decided that it was largely unnecessary to sleep underground, as nothing saps ones moral fibre more efficiently, nor was it necessary to have an enormous carry which equally saps ones physical strength.

On 23 July, Dick, Martin and I carried up to the hole (1½ hours of fairly hard going with heavy packs) sufficient gear to ladder it to Schachthalle which is about 375 feet down.  We spent an hour gardening the entrance pitch and the equally dangerous one beneath it.  We then went ahead laddering six pitches in all which took us about five hours. We found that these upper pitches were very much wetter than last year, probably because there was snow two days before we started and then rain.  It took us about half an hour to get out from the farthest point reached.

The next day all six of us carried to the hole and all except Mike went down.  We were able with some difficulty and very wet (we all had waterproofs on) to ladder as far as the Schuppenstufe (650 ft. down).  This is only about 30ft. above the farthest point we reached last year and we got 150ft. more ladder down to this point. This was a seven hour trip but, as yesterday, it did not take very long to get out.  When we surfaced it was pouring with rain and very misty.  We removed our boiler suits and made our way back to the hut in a record 35 minutes.

We had a tent pitched near the hole which was handy both for the storage of gear and for emergency, had the weather ever been too bad to return to the hut.

The 25th July was a rest day.  Mike, Alan, Martin and I carried the remaining 880ft. of ladder and 1,000ft. of rope up to the hole.  Dick and Ian went down to Ebensee for supplies.  The altitude of the hut, by the way, is greater than Ben Nevis and the hole is situated at 6,100ft.

The next day was extremely wet and it was with great difficulty that we got some of the gear part the way down from Sintertemasse to Schuppenstufe, 170ft. below.

The 26th July was Saturday. Helmuth Planer, his wife and sister in law, Wolfgang Heumer and his fiancé (they were to be married next Saturday) arrived.  It was a very wet day.  We could not go caving but in the afternoon we all walked over to the Ischler Hut to see Frau Kratke.  We were somewhat encouraged to be told that better weather was on its way from Italy.

Sunday morning’s weather was about the same but Dick, Helmuth and I went down the hole early as Helmuth had to be out by mid-day and the others joined us later.  Between us we succeed in getting the five bags of gear down to Schuppenstufe.

The next day was occupied in getting gear from Schuppenstufe to Sickerungsstufe (only about 30ft.) and laddering the next pitch which was about 250ft.  We rigged a telephone from Sinterterrasse to Sicherungsstufe and used radios from Sicherungsstufe to the bottom of the 250ft.pitch which is known as Schachtgabel.  The next day I went down to that point and saw the so-called big shaft for the first time and threw a few stones down.  We got 700ft. of tackle down to here.

The first of August was the day we bottomed what the Austrians describe as the Big shaft.  We gave it the name Joseph Shaft after Joseph Kogler our host at the hut.  It will be appreciated that we were an extremely small team to be attempting such a hole – about three times deep as Gaping Gill, otherwise very similar to a Yorkshire Pot.  It was, therefore, very necessary to spend all these preliminary days getting gear into the cave in preparation for the descent.  The upper pitches were 70o slopes and the bags kept snagging.  For the first week the weather was very much against us; it improved for the second and the hole became drier but the lower reaches were never very dry.

We entered the cave at 10am and having nothing to carry we quickly reached Sinterrasse where we left Ian to lifeline us back up the 170ft. pitch.  As things turned out he had to stay there on his own for ten hours. Mike stayed at Sicherungsstufe for nine hours whilst the rest of us proceeded to Schachtgabel.  It was not easy to ladder the big shaft; it’s a loose scree slope, though there is solid rock at the lower end round which we are able to tether the ladder.  A short way down the pitch a ‘doorway’ gave access to a chamber beneath the scree slope. The first fifty feet was a series of steps, after which the ladder was against the rock for another fifty feet and tended to snag every few feet.  Even when it was clear of rock our troubles were not over because I had hardly gone down 150ft. before I came to a great tangle of ladder all depending from one rung. It was easy enough to kick free but the sensation it caused as it hurtled down  and the ultimate ‘boing’, rather like a guitar, as it reached the destination and the rest of the ladder took the shock was remarkable.  This happened twice.  It proved to be about 300ft. down to a circular ledge about 20ft. across.  Going off to the west and then meandering partly south of west was an upstream passage which I followed for about sixty feet before it became too tight.  The floor was a distinct vadose trench.

The shaft continued on the east side of the ledge which needed extensive gardening before continuing (as it was one of the ladders was damaged by falling rocks).  The next pitch was about 20ft., then a scramble over boulders led to a further pitch, east again, of 15ft. and the bottom of the Joseph Shaft.  This last pitch had a very definitive stream pouring down it which I took to be the accumulative drainage for the entire hole.

From here I was able to climb up over some boulders and gain access to a high passable rift passage meandering in an easterly direction which was about 250ft. long before it began to narrow.  The floor was a vadose trench which had a stream flowing in it.  There was mud on the ledges and signs that the passage took a great deal of water at times.  There was abundant botryoidal stal. on the sides as well as an erratic in a form resembling bract fungi of which there were many examples and which I could not remember seeing before.  The passage then narrowed but I did not follow it further as I had spent 2½ hours at the bottom of the Joseph Shaft and it was midnight before we were out of the cave.

At this point some explanation is needed of what happened next.  The day before descending Joseph Shaft I had received an insect bite on the wrist which had greatly swollen and turned septic by the day after which was a rest day.  The others set out on August 3rd to begin de-tackling.  The ladder would not pull up Joseph Shaft (Shades of G.G.! – Ed.) immediately and Martin descended a hundred feet in order to free it.  He therefore saw the ‘doorway’ which I had observed when I had been down and decided to have a look through it.  He soon confirmed this to connect with the other shaft and he called Mike to come down.  Mike entered a tiny passage on the right of the dome-shaped chamber to which the ‘doorway‘gave access and this led into a large rift running at right angles. The rift was heavily decorated – more so than anything we have on Mendip – there were formations coated with formations! This rift was 50yds. Long and gave access to a large passage and further hours of exploration made it abundantly clear that a big system existed.  It was decided that it would be necessary to spend an extra day exploring and surveying and therefore the tackle that was not required for this was taken up the 250ft. pitch.

The further exploration of the lateral development took place on Sunday night.  An exploring/surveying party consisting of Alan, Martin and Dick were taken down the cave by the support party, consisting of Mike and Ian who came out after they had life lined them down the 250ft. pitch. They entered the cave at 4pm.  The support party was out of the cave by 8.00pm. At 5am the support party left the hut and arrived ay the head of the 250ft. pitch only 15 minutes before the exploring party arrived to be life lined back up the pitch.  All were extremely tired and much of Monday was spent in sleep, but the amount of work they had done was formidable. They were partly enabled to do this by the extremely dry nature of the extensions and partly by the fact that took the trouble to wait until they returned to Sinterrasse which was our usual soup kitchen.

About 15 photographs were taken and 2,600ft. of passage were surveyed using a hand held compass read to the nearest 50 and distances to the nearest yard.  Some three large new shafts were discovered, and several smaller ones, of course, not descended.  All the large ones took at least 5 seconds for the stones to fall; the deepest took 9 seconds before the last bounce.

The heavily decorated rift passage first entered continued for about 150ft. and gave way gradually to an undecorated wider ascending passage emerging in a large boulder chamber – also ascending  The passage continued at the top (after a few awkward climbs over boulders) about 25ft. high by 10ft. wide for about 60ft. when it dropped into a stream passage. This was about 40ft. high.  It was followed upstream, a ten foot waterfall was climbed and the passage followed for a further 50ft. to a fork.  The right hand passage at the fork was followed up a 20ft. mud slope into a passage 15ft. high by 20ft. wide with a mud floor.  The passage dimension slowly diminished until it emerged into a large chamber the roof of which could not be seen.  A mud slope led down to a 30ft. diameter shaft with a falling time of 5 secs. clear or 9 secs. to the last bounce.  The shaft was skirted through large boulders on a mud slope and on the other side a climb a 20ft. climb up a mud slope led into another large shaft with a falling time of 5 secs.  At the bottom of the mud slope a descending passage 10ft. x 15ft. was followed to a fork after 200ft.  It was a rift passage 20ft. high b y 6ft. wide with several potholes in the floor with passages leading off.  None of these were followed.  The main rift was well decorated with dying stal. but was not followed to its end.

Returning to the fork inn the stream passage the left hand branch was then followed.  It was an ascending passage 400ft. long with several potholes in then generally boulder strewn floor.  A stream entered from the left at the bottom of a large shaft and apparently flowed back down the passage but could not be heard anywhere in the passage. Here the explorers had a brew up. At about 400ft. the passage changed after a short phreatic section to a descending passage.  The general shape of the passage was low and wide – 6ft. high by 30ft. wide.  It continued for about a hundred feet to another fork with the left side continuing downwards and the smaller right hand passage ascending.  From the ascending passage a strong draught issued.  This was followed for about 400ft. until it emerged in a small chamber and continued at the bottom of a rift too difficult to ascend without tackle and about 25ft. deep.  Throughout the passage the draught was pronounced.

The larger descending passage, left hand at the fork was followed for about 500ft.  It was tunnel like 15ft. in diameter.  After about 250ft. a large chamber about 40ft. high and 40ft. in diameter was entered at the far end of which a steeply descending squeeze about 109ft long gave access to a low steeply descending bedding plane with a sandy floor, wet in places.  This closed down after 100ft. and a vertical squeeze led into a similar descending passage which was followed for 150ft. until several shallow pots in the floor prevented further progress.  At this stage the passage forked.  One side contained the pots already mentioned and the other side of the fork emerged in the bottom of a large shaft and no way on found. (The explorers had no maypole – about 600ft. would be desirable).  It say much for the stamina of the party that when their relief arrived they de-tackled the top of Joseph Shaft and sent three bags of gear up the 250ft. pitch.

The next day (Tuesday) a party consisting of Dick, Alan (Jnr.), Martin and Ian de-tackled the cave as far back as Schachthalle.  This took them about 10 hours.  The following day it took Mike, Dick and Ian about 7 hours to get all the gear from the cave.  On Thursday (about 2am) Mike, cunningly persuaded a member of cheerful Austrians to accompany them on that days carrying.  The result of this was that in fact the carrying was completed in one trip.

The entrance of the Ahnenschact is at 1890m.  The main horizontal development has therefore been found at approximately 1590m and although we did not realise it until afterwards this is exactly what we should have expected.  The entrance of the Raucher is only 3km away and the altitude of its entrance is 1570m. It is more than likely that the geological conditions which appertained to cause the formation of one would have applied to the other.  It is possible that they are connected.  The Raucher entrance lies roughly SSW of the Ahnenschacht and each cave has ¼km of passage in the direction of each other.  Another interesting feature is that the lateral development from Schachtgabel leads off in the direction of the Feuertal where we have seen many possible shafts, some plugged with snow.  The discovery of an easy entrance in the valley would be a boon to the further exploration of the cave.  The possibility of such and entrance existing is supported by the fact that a bat was seen in the horizontal passages leading from Schachtgabel.

Once again having safely got everybody and everything not only out of the cave but back to the hut without mishap we are already labouring under the delusion that we had an enjoyable holiday.  I was perhaps lucky in developing an extremely painful carbuncle at the critical point of the expedition.


References: -

‘The Ahnenschacht’ – A. Thomas B.B. No. 237 (Dec. 67)

‘The Ahnenschacht’ – R. Stenner B.B. No. 239 (Feb. 68)

Osterreichs langste und tierfste Hohlen – H. Trimmel, Wien 1966 (pp. 46-47)

Die Tiefenvorstosse 1958 in den Ahnenschacht (Totes Gebirge) Die Hohle 10, 1, Wien 1959.  (pp. 5-8)

Ed. apologies.  The correct name for the Joseph Shaft is JOSEF SHAFT



With Hedera

For me the Great Interaction proved to be the most stimulating recent event.  Even Sell dropped everything to join the pilgrimage to see the effect of Outdoors on Swildons.  Quite a privilege to be there really.  There before your very eyes Instant Cave Development!

Outdoors got a little confused with Indoors and kept tripping over ‘Wig’ rushing Outdoors all over Mendip on his two flat feet pausing only to light another gasper and with

Shining eyes and waving arms to elucidate the latest marvel.  Well it was marvellous.  From the obvious ones like the Forty, and the vertigo inducing shaft at Manor Farm, to the ones which had to be deduced like the depth of flash rivers in the valleys – it was marvellous.  A walk done which was of absorbing interest was from the top of Velvet Bottom to Cheddar. Interesting to see how the water sank and re-appeared a few hundred yards later and to consider that the mass flow of water which burst from the narrowed Velvet Bottom were it joins the Cheddar Road was probably less than higher up Velvet Bottom.  It seems to me that most of the water from the upper catchment area sunk in the broader parts before it reached the Longwood intersection and that the water emerging at Cheddar Road came from the Longwood Valley and local catchment.  And I’ll show you where the lot sunk! (and resurged? –Ed).

Another outstanding consequence of the Awash was ones ability to walk up and down Cheddar Gorge in pleasant quiet traffic free conditions and to climb there with feeling antisocial.  Let’s start by demanding that at least the Upper Gorge be closed to self defeating traffic.  Common sense must prevail in the end.  Cheddar Gorge cannot be seen from the motor car the presence of which is destructive to appreciation.

Just after the Mendip Awash two Outdoor Men took a two seater canoe down the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal.  Fifteen miles in about six hours in sunshine passing through what must be the most beautiful countryside in the world and giving unique views of the Brecon beacons, the Black Mountains and Llangattock.  A car was left by the canal; a mile or so outside of Gilwern and then the other was driven to the viaduct near Brecon and the towing canoe put in the water a discrete distance from the lock keepers cottage.  Possibly the biggest laugh was the Talybont Tunnel which was entered to ecclesiastical tunes, there was  a pause for a ceremonial beer drinking ceremony halfway and then the rest of the tunnel was treated to secular singing.  The blushes came when a male member of a family party picnicking near the exit remarked dryly, “we enjoyed your singing!”

Meanwhile in the vertical plane bob Sell, Roy Marshall, Pete Sutton with a couple of characters called Bob and Rory have had what must have been a pretty satisfying holiday in North Wales.  They’ve scrambled on Meshag, on Brant, Slape, Sabre Cut, Grim Wall, The Brothers, Mallories Rib, Skylon, The Wrinkle, Yellow Groove and Main Wall.  Interesting to hear that the Main Wall in spite of its relatively low grading was thought good.  Bob Sell also joined Terry Taylor on Red Wall, an HVS, on the way up to Cryn Las. Now that’s something that I like to hear about in more detail because a more horrifying cliff I have yet to see.

Three hundred feet of impeding slime, perpetually wet and apparently smooth.  I just can’t imagine climbing it.  Ah well, pervertion is what the other fellow does.

Our ranks have been increased.  Eddy Welch has recruited a walker, Ruth, by marrying her.  The end justifies the means. Thank you Eddy.

University Of Bristol - Department of extra-mural studies.

Autumn Courses of interest to cavers: -------

Geology – 30 weekly meetings (Tuesdays). 8pm.  Commencing on 1st October 1968.

Limestone geomorphology – Sat. Nov. 23rd and Filed expedition on Sun. Nov. 24th.

Other courses include ‘Pollen Analysis’, Rocks and Quarrying, Fundamental of Soil Mechanics’.


Sutherland ‘68

by Mike Palmer

In the blur of early morning on Saturday 7th August a party of BEC members comprising Tony Meaden, Phil Coles, Mike Palmer and Colin Priddle set out to explore the caving area of Sutherland in N.W. Scotland.

A pre-arranged stop was made in Edinburgh, where we enjoyed the hospitality of ‘Manch’ and the local pub.

The G.S.G. party were to have travelled from Edinburgh in a jeep, but this refused to function satisfactorily and on Sunday morning when the BEC party set out for Sutherland they were still trying to mesmerize the engine into life.  Apart from stops to purchase provisions and to take the odd photograph, the journey was uneventful and the GSG hut was reached by early evening. After moving in operations were completed and cooking a meal had been vetoed, an expedition began to find the nearest public house (which happen to be called hotels).

The hut is situated about 14 miles from Ullapool on the A835 just inside Sutherland border and on the outskirts of the village of Elphin, which is more generally known as the Knockan area.  From the hut, though the village of Elphin, the road can be followed to a tee junction with the A837 at Ledmore.  The nearest hotel from there is to the right and only a short distance down the road, but it proved to be hopeless since it didn’t stock drought beer; however a few bottles were consumed since closing time was near.

Early Monday morning John Manchip arrived in a Reliant Car with a young lad from GSG named Andrew. This arrival interrupted Tony Meaden’s attempt to frighten Phil Coles with tales of ghosts and how they particularly haunt old crofter’s cottages occupied by cavers!

From the hut a very fine view of the surrounding mountains (hills?) is obtained, one in particular being very prominent, Cul Mor.  This is a twin peaked mountain of a mere 2,786ft. the shape of which appealed to the erotic instinct of the of the party and during the safety of breakfast we decided it would be a worthwhile walk.

Three hours later, four of us had reached the highest summit of the two peaks, while the other two, Phil and Colin had taken the other route to the slightly lower peak.

Needless to say Tony had only flexed his muscles a trifle, while the rest of us were absolutely ‘shattered’; the view however was magnificent and a fit reward for our efforts.

The evening found everyone very much in need of suitable refreshment and joined by another member of the G.S.G., Robin (desperate) Duncan, who hitched up from Edinburgh, we turned left at the tee junction and ended up at the other hotel at a place called Inchnadaugh.  No doubt by now some of the exploits of our party was common knowledge at the hotel, so suffice to say that the beer and barmaids were excellent and the hotel is highly recommended.

Because of the very fine weather a lot of the time was spent locating beaches where we could laze in the sun.  One of the best we found – and spent most of our time – was the Bay of Claichtoll, which is approached by following the B869 that branches off the A837 north of Lochinver.

Sad to say on Wednesday we all decided to end the misery of idling our time away on the beach and went caving!  The cave that we chose to explore is situated in the Traligill Valley and was easily found by following a tracked marked on the O.S. map from behind the Inchadamph Hotel.  By careful driving it is possible to navigate a car to a point close to a cottage near the end of the track, which proved to be useful changing place.  Following the general direction of the track, which is well worn, the Cnoc-nan-Uamh System is soon reached (NG. 276206) the distance being about a mile.  The entrance is easily recognisable since it is a large open bedding plane with a sizeable stream running from the left across the visible bottom and disappearing to the right.

Laden with diving gear the party followed the stream to the right, down a spectacular bedding plane, until a short crawl at the bottom ended abruptly in a sump.  Quite impressed by the size of the sump and the amount of water being consumed, Colin was soon prepared for a short exploratory dive.

After 20ft. he returned to explain that the sump followed the line of the cave and was quite large – the water was very clear.  A second dive resulted in a penetration of approximately 50ft., at which Colin decided it was unwise to continue without diving support.  On this occasion he reported that he was nearly able to provide us with a supper of trout, which he saw swimming near the sump.

Next, the upstream passages of the system were explores.  The party was soon halted by a loud sucking noise, which at first was rather alarming until it was discovered that it was caused by a small whirlpool of water where the stream sank in the bed and reappeared in a small pot below. 

Several ducks had to be negotiated, which entailed immersion up to the neck, but they were very sporting and good experience.  This brought us to Landslip Chamber and a large pool approximately 20ft. x 20ft. which appeared to be quite deep.  The stream clearly flowed from this pool and it thought that the pool hides a large sump; because of the size of the pool Colin decided that it would be dangerous to dive by himself.  Also the diving gear was too far away.

Traversing round the pool, a large passage was easily followed after a short crawl.  This appeared to be of phreatic nature and towards its end it began to dip towards another sump which looked black and evil. It could be that the passage (like P.R. in Swildons) might rejoin the stream way at a higher level beyond the sump, which showed clear evidence of resurging in times of flood or even normal wet weather.

After Mike has wallowed around in the sump for a short time and only proved that it went deeper and could not be passed at this time, the party returned top the entrance and sunshine.

On Friday we went caving again (apart from JM who stayed in bed) and almost wished we hadn’t bothered. Apart from the cave, called Elphin Hole (NG. 20870956) being uninteresting, we were nearly massacred by the Scottish midges en-route to the cave entrance – they are really ferocious and draw blood.

That just about wrapped up our active holiday band we were forced to go back to the beach and laze in the sun.  To end on a serious note, the potential for caving is good and for those who enjoy walking there is plenty of it and we are sure that the BEC will be welcome to stay at the GSG hut.


Letter To The Editor

90 Elsden Road,
      22 Aug. 1968

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who were involved in my extraction from Nine Barrows Swallet on 12 May ’68.

My injuries consist of a broken leg and ankle which I am glad to say are progressing satisfactory. I expect to have the plaster removed on September 11th which means that it will probably be mid-October before I can treat you to a pint in the Hunters.

                                    John Benham.

Ed. Note: - Details of this rescue appeared in B.B. 143 p.88.

Address Changes: -

Viv. Brown, 3 Cross Street, Kinswood, BRISTOL.
Keith Franklin, 213 Cheltenham Road, Cotham, BRISTOL 6.
Phil Coles, 213 Cheltenham Road, Cotham, BRISTOL 6.


Time for carbide – Empty coffee tins, marvel tins etc, are required by the club to enable the carbide, held on the Belfry site, to be broken down into suitable weights for sale.


NEXT MONTH IN THE B.B. – articles include BEC climbing meet in the Otztaler Alpen and the Bernina, Address list of club members and a look back to Mendip caving in 1947 in an article entitled ‘So What’ by ‘Senex’.


From Other Clubs

By Gordon Tilly

Sheffield University Spel. Soc. Journal Vol. 1 No.2.  This edition contains such articles as ‘The Development of an Inexpensive Flowmeter’ by B. Dobson, ‘Field Telephone Systems’ by S.J. Thompson, and there is also a record of the SUSS visit to Ireland in 1967.  Contents also include descriptions of Bossen Hole, Middleton Dale, Derbyshire and October Aven in Giants Hole complete with surveys.

MENDIP CAVER VOL. 4  No.4  contains results of Phase 3 Water Tracing results by Dave Drew (see June B.B.) and notes from Devon and various cave digs.  Vol.4 No.5 includes a report on the flood damage on Mendip and strangely enough it bears the title ‘Mendip Awash’ which sounds familiar!

WSG Bulletin Vol. 5 No. 10.  This issue deals mainly with club caving log but also has an article on ‘Charging of Nife Cells and the Preparation of Electrolyte’ by Dave Everett.

Monthy Notes No. 17

by ‘Wig’

News in brief: -

French cavers reported to have challenged Pearce (of the Berger) by stating that he only went down 3,696ft. and they have reached 3,749ft.  Pearce replied to Guardian reporter, “You don’t leave footprints on rock”.

St. Cuthbert’s Sump…July flood blocked sump.  Divers and cavers now digging to left of the sump itself. By digging here it is hoped to bypass the constriction that was met by the divers last year.

G.B.  Since the flood reports have been coming in stating that there are several unstable areas in the cave.  It is known that the Ladder Dig Extension ruckle moved during the flood and is now in a more dicey state than it was before.  Also the entrance passage, scoured out by the flood water, is still unstable and beyond the Devil’s Elbow is also another point to watch out for. It has been suggested that the cave is no longer suitable for novices – perhaps it will be best to go and have a look for yourselves in that respect.

CHRISTMAS BB.  All material should be in the hands of the Editor Dave Irwin (Wig) by early November.

Surveys.  A new series of cave surveys is being prepared by club members.  The first will appear in December or January 1968 B.B. All will be to CRG. 6c-d and also maintaining the requirements of the MSC.

Time flies!  The A.G.M. is once again looming on the horizon and its now time to get your nominations sent in to Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Bristol 4.

To remind all members the drill – if you have any member in mind  to stand for the next years committee, first ASK HIS OR HER PERMISSION to be nominated.  Then write on a piece of paper ‘I wish to nominate ………….as candidate for the forthcoming election for the BEC Committee and he has agreed to serve if elected’. At the foot of the paper put down your OWN name and membership number and send it to Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Bristol 4, or give it to him in person BEFORE Saturday 7th September 1968.  There is no need to nominate any of the present committee members since, unless they no longer wish to stand, they are nominated automatically.

The A.G.M. will not be held this year at Redcliffe Hall – details will be printed in the August issue of the BB.  The Annual dinner is at the Caveman Restaurant, Cheddar.  The menu includes Trout followed by Braised Hare and Pigeon with chopped ham – price this year will be about 21/- - full details next month.

The editor would like to apologise for the very poor quality of last months photographs – in case you could not read the details here they are - the full page was by ‘Prew’ of the Fernhill Curtains and the double page were of formations in Balch extension - The Lily Pads (Wig) and the Crystal Column (Prew).

Alan Thomas will be on holiday from July 20th – end of August – all notices and letters should be sent to Bob Bagshaw during this period – 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.

Hon. Sec: - A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Editor: - D.J. Irwin, 23 Campden Road, BRISTOL. 3. BS3 1QA

Club Headquarters: - The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, WELLS, Somerset, BA5 3AU


lavatory wall in Hinton Blewitt

The following inscription was found on a lavatory wall in Hinton Blewitt….

……With apologies to “Alfie”

This is the story of our Stan
A rather quaint poetic man,
Whose dotty ditties neatly scanning
Showed a lot of careful planning.
O’er the whole world he’d seen
From Hunters’ Lodge to Priddy Green,
Nempnett Thrubwell, darkest Clutton
And even up in Bishop Sutton.
He never failed upon request
To give forth poems full of zest,
And onward gaily he’d recite
Rambling on into the night.
Now visitors from near and far
Would cram themselves into the bar,
And drinking freely of the beer
So’s they can lend a friendly ear,
To listen closely without sound
To epic tales of underground.
For though these tales be purely fiction
No one could quarrel with the diction,
And with eloquence divine
He’d gaily flit from line to line.
Year after year he’d do his stuff
And no-one cried “Enough, Enough”,
And now this next line you can guess
He could not do it to excess.
So then out hero had a thought
And for the Hut Fund he then fought,
Deciding then and there to write
On blocks of Solid Araldite?
Using a vast supply of pencils
Blotting paper, pens, and stencils,
He worked on through cold and heat
‘Till his task was all complete.
Then friend Jock comes bursting in
And kicking up a frightful din,
Produces photographic illustrations
With new and subtle variations
On themes which he could now expound
Of strangest happenings underground.
And so they to the printers sped
Who straight away gave the go ahead.
At last it is You we cry
To rush to the shops and buy
In literary and graphic modes
The entire “Alfie Spaeleodes”.



Notes on the Structure of the Mendips – Part 1

by Keith Murray

The purpose of this article is briefly to trace how the structure of the Mendips are formed by rivers bringing sand and silt into an area of sea where they are sorted out – the coarsest sand accumulating nearest the shore and the finest further out. Under the right conditions in a shallow sea a warm climate can cause sufficient evaporation for dissolved salts to be precipitated as calcium carbonate etc., and this form the basis of limestones.  As deposition continues the weight of sediment causes the sea floor to sink so that great thickness of strata occur.  The weight also caused the lower sediments to compact and form almost horizontal layers of rock enclosing remains of organisms which lived in the sea. Eventually the seas silted and became swamps covered in vegetation which, under repeated oscillatory movements of the floor, alternately were drowned and re-established, successive plant phases becoming compressed into coal seams before an increase in the earth movements, namely a force from the S.W. pushing sediments up towards the land barrier to the north, crumpled then into contorted folds which stood up as an island in the new shrunken sea.  The movements described took the barely conceivable time of 80 million years so that it is very unlikely that anything happened with dramatic suddenness.  With the rocks thus weakened and exposed to the elements the top layers were soon ripped off to form new sediments in a different sea.  The coal swamps had been formed in very warm and humid conditions and now the climate was hotter and drier, desert conditions prevailing over the land as witnessed by the red sediments banked up against the limestones with shorelines marked by great boulders fallen from the limestone cliffs to be themselves made into a solid rock formation by the infilling of crevices between them with red silty material.  Continuing earth movements submerged the islands and eventually raised them again, contorting them so much so that a layer from the beds of the last submergence found on the top of the Mendips is now present more than 1,000ft. below sea level under the Somerset Plain immediately to the south.  Subsequent weathering of the rocks leaves us with what we have today.  (Fig. 1 page 79).

From that necessarily sketchy outline a short history of the literature should serve to zoom the subject into speleological range.

As far back as 1824, W. Buckland and W.D. Conybeare described the main Mendip folds in the course of a memoir on the south – western coalfields.  In his all-embracing study of the rocks of South Wales and South-West England published in 1846, Sir Henry de la Beche described the Mendip Island.  In an accompanying map this is shown as a long mass of arched limestone with a sandstone core showing through in places where the limestone had rubbed off, fringed by a beach deposit of boulders and rock fragments, the whole being surrounded by later sands and marls.  Westerly extensions of the limestones were shown in the Bleadon and Brean Down area, with Steep Holm out in the Bristol Channel.

The Carboniferous Limestone series, with a thickness of 3,000 to 3,700 feet in the area, was divided up into Lower Limestone Shales and carboniferous or Mountain Limestone by de la Beche.  As the shales only accounts for 500ft. of the entire succession there remained a crying need for some detailed classification of the great limestone mass.

In 1905, A. Vaughan published a division of the limestones into five main zones and sub-zones based on remains of corals and shellfish found in the cliffs of the Avon gorge where the whole carboniferous Limestone succession is displayed like an open book (not a very strict analogy!) complete with Lower Limestone Shales and Old Red Sandstone at the north-western end of the right bank) Kellaway and Welch, 1948, p.19).

The following year T.F. Sibly published a monumental paper listing every limestone exposure on Mendip with a description of the fossils found in each and its place in the zonal regions of Vaughan. He appended to this a short note on the rocks at Ebbor and the over thrusting which he discovered there, being the first to discover evidence of the complex upheavals of the area.

In 1911 S.H. Reynolds and A. Vaughan produced a very thorough treatise on Burrington Combe, a feature of which is the great number of full-page photographs overprinted with the appropriate limestone zoning.

It was F.B.A. Welch who applied the zonal classification to his detailed 6-inch mapping of the Mendip Limestones (Central Mendip 1929, Blackdown 1932, Eastern Mendip 1933) which revealed the great complexity of structure.  An explanation of the reasons for the structure was essayed in the Regional guide (Kellaway and Welch, 1948, p.8) and a full analysis is presented in the Sheet memoir (Green and Welch, 1965, p.130).  The Sheet memoir also gives details of gravity and magnetic surveys, seismic and electrical resistively measurements made in the area in order to investigate hidden strata.

Having briefly evoked the Mendips in an earlier paragraph the next stage is to relate these happenings to the mass of complications presented on the 1-inch geological map – Sheet 280.  First it is necessary to refer to the sketch of the situation existing at the time the sediments were being laid down.

South of the great land mass over what is now Mid-Wales, the basin floor had two axes or low ridges of vertical movement joining in the Berkley area which acted like hinges.  This situation is deduced from the nature and the disposition of the rocks laid down around them.  Deep seated earth movements responsible for these oscillations probably account for the presence of thermal waters at Hotwells in the Bristol area and at Bath.  In addition, the Mendip limestone succession together with Coal Measures thicken to the east, as the Radstock Coal Basin to the north-east started folding along a N-S axis while these sediments were being laid.  The enormous pressure from the Armorican mountain building in the south ultimately forced the accumulated sediments against and over these axes which resulted not in the simple arching of the Mendips in one or more successive ridges but in a series of staggard folds (in geological ‘jargon’ ‘periclines en echelon’) as shown on the second sketch.

These folds were not only staggered but, as the pressure continued their northern limbs were forced towards the mid-Wales shore so that the strata in them were pushed vertical and even overturned (Blackdown, North Hill and Vobster) or overthrust (Pen Hill). Pressure differentials resulted in tension cracks-faults-right across some periclines, e.g. the Stock Hill, Biddle and Slab House Faults, which affected the North Hill and Pen Hill structures, while a major zone of overthrusting extends from Cheddar to Wells and continues in dislocations in the Dulcote area.

Secondly, a note on the water bearing qualities of the rocks themselves.  The sandstone cores of periclines admit very little as the spaces between the individual grains are mostly filled by secondary crystallisation of silica, and any bedding planes and joints are very close set.  Even in heavily shattered regions near faults the fissures seem to have been largely filled in.  The adjoining Lower Limestone Shales, although with occasional coarse limestones in their lower part, generally form low-lying swampy ground so that their far junction with the Black Rock Limestone of the Carboniferous Limestone forms the location of by far the greater majority of swallets in the Mendips.  The Carboniferous Limestone is, consequently, an important aquifer, and, thanks to the surrounding of the Mendips by later marly deposits banked up against the limestone and beach conglomerate, most of the water entering the limestone emerges spectacularly at the foot of the hills, having fallen several hundreds of feet in a very short distance.  But while these risings afford copious supplies of water, attempts to tap fissures in the rock by borings, shafts and headings are a matter of chance to say the least.  Several worthy examples are given in the Sheet memoir (Green and Welch, 1965, p.173).

Thirdly the geological map. Each of the four main periclinal areas will be taken in turn, with structural reference in the first instance to the accompanying sketch map with sections, and colour reference to detail on the printed sheet (1-inch 280).

To be cont.


Cheddar as described by Collinson: -

“Here indeed, Nature, working with a gigantic hand, has displayed a scene of common grandeur.  In one of those moments, when she convulsed the world with throes of an earthquake, she burst asunder the rocky ribs of Mendip, and tore a chasm across its diameter, of mire than a mile in length. The vast opening yawns from the summit down to the roots of the mountain, laying open to the sun, a sublime and tremendous scene; exhibiting a combination of precipices, rocks, and caverns, of terrifying descent, fantastic form, and gloomy vacuity.”

Drowning By Numbers

By A. (Rusty) RUSHTON

Sumps………………have always been a problem to me, I prefer the use of chemical persuasion to remove the ‘beasts’ and the horror of having to pass them by the accepted method of diving.  No doubt the purist element would be up in arms at such a suggestion of chemicals….so there the ‘beasts’ remain, LURKING, like some great muddy monster, ready to devour some poor unwary caver.

On a recent visit to Swildons I managed to flounder my way through Sump 4 on a visit to Sump 6.  We had descended Blue Pencil and arrived at the Sump in fairly good time, “It’s only 16ft.” they said, this did very little to inspire confidence in me and the high tide mark of grass and other rubbish 15ft. above the present level of water did even less.  After a short rest and half a dozen or so mud soaked ‘Woodbines’ I was still the no more confident.   Not wishing to prove the ‘chicken’ that I am, I ladened myself with lead weights and staggered to the entrance of the ‘beast’.  Clutching the guide wire I settled myself into the lurking waters and warmed my body with internal waters which drained into the stream. After 23 deep breaths and much shivering (fear) I steeled myself to the task that lay before me, I plunged into the murk and pulled myself along the wire, “that’s 16ft.” I thought, surfacing like a rocket…..glad to be out of the foul mess that held me prisoner for the whole 4 seconds, I came into smart contact with the low roof, I rapidly exhaled a burst of fine Anglo-Saxon adjectives.  This was my undoing, for I re-entered the stream, gulping for air, at a rate quicker than which I had left it and took in large amounts of muddy water……..I surfaced……hit the roof again……more muddy water, it occurred to me, as my past flashed before me, that unless I did something soon I would be in dire straits.  Swimming like a man possessed within the devil, I struck out for the shore, wherever it may be.  All of a sudden the water and the wire ran out, the end at last…..I emerged slowly, fearing the dreaded roof that had nearly put me into the next world, to find myself in a passage some 30ft. high…..and my friends doubled with laughter……..40ft. behind me……!

The return dive was uneventful, pure luck this time.  Sumps still send cold shivers down my spine and I will do anything to avoid them. Diving is not for me, accept when necessary.  But now I sit, with my pint of “muled” ale in the back room of the Hunters, and gaze upon my revered audience; perhaps sumps aren’t quite as bad as they seem.

National Speleological Conference and Exhibition

Sheffield – 13th – 15th 1968.  At the University of Sheffield Union, Western Bank, Sheffield 10.  Subjects being covered include: -Ropes, Causes of caving Accidents, Water Tracing, Cave Erosion, UBBS Expedition to Jamaica, Problems of Deep Caves and Films. Phoh Photo. Exhibition.  Trips to local caves.  Full details from BEC Hon. Sec. in July.



by “Prew”

It is becoming increasingly apparent that, over the past few years, a new brand of caver is frequenting Mendip.  The people to whom I am referring are those who with little though of the consequences, and often little experience themselves, take a party that includes complete novices to perhaps Sump II in Swildons or a round trip through the ‘Troubles’.  If they stopped for a moment to think of their responsibilities, as leaders, to their party they might perhaps stop at Sump I or go way and do G.B. instead.  It obviously has not occurred to them that a novice is not only physically inexperienced but also mentally not used to the surroundings to which he or she is being introduced; the consequences of these, in the event of an accident, could be disastrous.  The problems of rescuing an injured or completely exhausted person from beyond Sump I or the ‘Troubles’ are enormous.

The above remarks have been prompted by the recent rescues that gained some extremely inaccurate and undesirable publicity.  Over a period of three weekends three rescues occurred.  The first in Nine Barrows was one of those rare, but genuine, accidents where an experienced caver fell and fractured his leg.  This was obviously a case for the MRO.  The following weekend saw two call-outs from Swildons, the first caused by a party including a novice becoming lost and finally exhausted after trying to complete a round trip through the ‘Troubles’.  This immediately suggests a total lack of experience on the part of the leader in his lack of preparation in ensuring that all members of the party were up to the necessary standard for such a trip.  In these circumstances it was probably correct to call for the MRO as an exhausted party on their own in a cave is a danger to itself.

The second callout of the weekend involved a party at the 40ft.  A member, exhausted after a fall, could not climb the ladder.  “What shall we do?” – “Call the MRO”.  The attitude appears to be that it is the MRO’s responsibility to help any member of a party in trouble and nothing to do with any of the remaining members.  Isn’t it about time that cavers started by trying to carry out their own rescues? – after all this is the policy of the MRO.  Some cavers have the mistaken idea that once in trouble they merely have to call out the MRO and they can shirk any responsibilities they may have had. It obviously hasn’t occurred to some cavers that it might be a good idea to try and haul an exhausted friend up the 40ft. before calling for MRO help.  With regard to the rescue in question, although the MRO were called, it was another party already in the cave that gave assistance.  This meant a lot of wasted effort on the part of the MRO Warden in that all the rescue kit had to be brought to the scene only to be returned again.

If this sort of caving practice is going to continue the MRO Wardens and helpers are not going to be so keen to get themselves and the equipment to the scene of a rescue. This, of course, could lead to unfortunate delays when a genuine accident occurs.

It is all very well making criticisms but what in fact is the answer.  The first that springs to mind is the control of access of all major cave systems.  Unpleasant as this may sound to some it may be the only answer.  If keys are issued to major clubs then it can be hoped that people entering the caves will be ‘educated’ in the normal code of caving practice.  A second method of control would involve the paying of a fairly high deposit returnable only on a safe return.  This could be waived in the case of a genuine call-out.  In this way parties might be prevented from undertaking trips beyond their capabilities.  Unfortunately some of them do not know just what their capabilities are.

Finally, the most important aspect of this foolish attitude that exists is that the Mendip farmers are becoming upset by the number of rescues and the ensuing bad publicity. The result could be the closing of some of the best caves on Mendip.  Let us do something now before it is too late.

The Re-opening of Eastwater Swallet

by G. Tilly

A second meeting of the Mendip clubs was held at the Hunters on Saturday May 19th to discuss the finances of re-opening Eastwater Swallet and the proposed method of shoring the entrance shaft.

Although no decision could be taken due to the poor attendance (only 5 clubs were represented) the most favourable method of shoring appears to be one of pre-cast concrete pipes that can be constructed on site and the total cost of materials (cement, wood etc.) would be approximately £50.    The cost of the explosives required could vary from £21 to £30. During the meeting, Phil Romford, Alan Butcher and Gordon Tilly were elected Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary respectively.  The Chairman and Treasurer would be responsible for the handling of donations received from the clubs.  The Secretary would act as a clearing house for paperwork and a source of information for advising clubs of progress made.  A full report, complete with diagram of the proposed shoring method, will be distributed to all caving clubs affiliated to the Council of Southern Caving Clubs shortly.


From Other Clubs

By G. Tilly

The Mendip Caver  Vol. 4  No. 2 & 3

These two editions contain such articles as “Pioneer Spleleaology in a Quantock Cave” by Peter Hesp, news of a Cerberus S.S. dig in Holwell Cave and other cave digs on Mendip.  Vol.4 No.2  also contains a reprint of the Mendip Cave Registry catalogue of Caving publications held by the Bristol Central Reference Library.  (For more comments on the M.C.R. Cat. See Bryan Ellis’ Cavers Bookshelf).

London University Caving Clubs.  Journals Nos. 6 & 7.

Despite the adverse opinion of many people on the subject of student cavers, these two journals show a wide range of caving activity by this group of four clubs.  The articles range from reports of continental meets, complete with surveys, made during the Foot and Mouth outbreak.  There are descriptions and Grade 4 (with apologies to the Mendip surveyors! Ed.) surveys if the following Yorkshire pits and caves: - Rumbling Hole, Marble Steps, Nick Pot, Gaping Gill (part), Smeltmill Beck Vcave and Tatham Wife Hole.

 (N.B.  All publications mentioned above are in the B.E.C. Library).

Cavers Bookshelf

by B.M. Ellis


It was in 1965 that the Mendip Cave registry managed to arrange for a collection of caving publications to be held by Bristol’s Central Reference Library.  The Registry had for long realised that a collection of this sort was very desirable, provided that it could be located where access was easy for all.  Many clubs, such as the Platten Bequest Library of the M.N.R.C., have been an excellent start for such a collection but in almost all cases access is difficult if not impossible – especially for non-members.  It was Ray Mansfield who, while working there, persuaded the ‘Bristol Ref’ that they were the people to store a collection of caving publications.  They agreed but are unable to spend much money on it.  The library do purchase a few journals, they bind all complete volumes and are willing to photocopy where it is impossible to obtain a copy in any other way.  After these arrangements had been made, caving clubs were asked to donate a copy each of their publications and the response surprised all concerned.  There are exceptions but, in general, all of the Mendip clubs and several from outside have been donating their journals and newsletters, and some individuals have also given publications to help complete sets and runs.

This is supposed to be a book review (or is it?) so perhaps it would be as well to get back to the point! After three years the collection had grown to such a size that it was thought a catalogue of what was available was justified.  This has been compiled by Kay and Ray Mansfield on behalf of the Cave registry. The result is a twelve page booklet listing approximately 1200 caving club publications.  The catalogue serves two very useful purposes.  It is a reference work enabling anyone to try and trace a copy of a certain caving journal to see whether it is available at Bristol, and it shows the publications that are missing from the collection in the hope that clubs or individuals will donate copies to fill the gaps.  Most caving clubs have been sent a copy and there are a few spare copies available on request.  Although there is no charge, a 5d stamped addresses 10” x 8” envelope should sent for a copy; the address is Mrs Kay Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.  A donation to the Registry is always welcome and if this publication is of sufficient interest for you to write for a copy, it is worth a couple of bob to you.

Wandering away again, there is one point that it is as well to make concerning the collection. Complaints have been made by those who know better that a collection based at Bristol is of no use to anyone living outside of the area.  There are two points to be made an answer to this sort of comment.  First, the collection has to be housed somewhere and the argument applies (if valid) where it is kept; if other areas object perhaps they should follow Mendip’s example and get themselves organised – or perhaps this is an argument in favour of a national body which at the same time would cut down the number of publications with which one has to contend.  In this case it was the Mendip Cave Registry who took the initiative.

The second point is much more serious – the argument is invalid and a collection at Bristol is of use no matter where on lives.  If you wish to see an article appearing in a journal that is in the collection the procedure is a follows.  Go to your local library and fill in a ‘Book Request Card’ giving all the details of the article:  title and author; title of the publication with volume page numbers, etc; and add that there is a copy available at Bristol Central Reference Library. The request will then be processed in the usual way and the ‘ Bristol ref’ will provide your library with a photo-copy of the article but they will not lend you the volume itself.  Your library will then let you have the copy either free or for a small charge.  So you see, it does not really matter where you live or where the collection is stored.

This has been much more than a review but then the heading is ‘Cavers Bookshelf’ and this is something that will be of interest to anyone interested in caving books and publications.

FOOTNOTE:  It is disappointing to see that the collection of ‘Belfry Bulletins’ held by the collection at Bristol is by far the poorest of all the major Mendip clubs.  The numbers missing are listed below and copies, or photo-copies, of any of them would be welcomed by Kay Mansfield for adding to the collection.

‘Belfry Bulletins’ missing from the Central Collection.

Nos: 1 – 110; 118; 119; 126; 127; 135; 137 – 139; 142; 161; 163; 164; 166; 172; 175; 176; 178; 180; 181; 190; 197 – 203; 205; 206; 209 – 213.

‘Caving Reports’ missing.

Nos: 1 (1st. Edition); 5; and 7.

‘Belfry Bulletin Digest’ No.1


Monthly Notes No. 15

by ‘Wig’

The digging season seems to be well underway at the moment.  The Bennett/Irwin site in S. Wales has been backfilled and another being opened a little further downstream.  Emborough is steadily gaining ground through the persistence of Franklin and Coles.  St. Cuthbert’s Sump is being worked again by Kingston, Priddle and other members of the CDG.  The Dining Room has taken the ‘biggest bashing’ of its life – some 10 – 12 tons of material has recently been moved out of the passage.  Members interested in the site are welcome to come along on Tuesdays evenings to give a hand. A new outdoor site is being negotiated by ‘Prew’ and permission to start digging will most likely be given in the next few weeks.

In the caving scene Roger Stenner continues his marathon water tracing series of trips in G.B. (his work to date has been recently published in the CRG transactions).  Work in Swildons appears to be gaining ground yet again – Drew is planning a big bang in Pirate Chamber (Swildons); MCG are investigating a site in Longwood valley; UBSS are still pushing Manor Farm Dig; Cornwell has another site up his sleeve, Warburton has just finished Phase 1 on his new survey of Aggy.  Also the surveying team have reported the discovery of a 600 – 700ft. long cave nearby.

The Part A of the Cuthbert’s report is now being typed and will now be available at the end of August. Price about 5/-.  The mention of caving publications brings me to the BEC Library.  It is kept at Dave Serles, Dolphin Cottage, Wells Road, Priddy – some three minutes from the Belfry. Members may get books and periodicals sent to them through the post providing they pay postage both ways.

Finally ST. CUTHBERT’S REPORT PART A.  Exploration of St. Cuthbert’s Swallet by D.J. Irwin, R.D. Stenner and G. Tilly will be available early September.  Approx. 40 pages of text and 4 pages of photographs (8 photos, 5 not previously published).  This publication, divided into 8 parts gives full coverage of Mining Background, Pre 1952 digs, and a Phase by Phase account of the exploration to date.  Included are parts of an unpublished account of the early trips by the late Jack Wadden.  Price 5/- (after the Annual Dinner 6/-).


with Hedera

They seem to be on holiday and I’ve suddenly realised that I should be too.  I’d like to be in the Bernina and that with the Taylor outfit or pottering in S.W. Ireland with the Stafford/Ifold axis or knocking off Lakeland classics with Targett.  I don’t know what I’ll actually be doing but in general it will be Outdoors.

Newish prods reported at Cheddar by Terry Taylor.  Derek Targett is also pioneering those towering buttresses on the south side above the Sugar Loaf.    Yes, why not. absolutely splendid natural lines.  Pete Sutton seems to be on to something at Weston-super-Mud too.  In a less splendid way Bristol quarries are slowly being worked through with the occasional worthwhile small route.  Frustratingly these are so spread that they are scarcely worth noting.

Compared with our glorious past we seem to lack reports of expeditions involving tours such as the Welsh Three Thousands (there are fourteen!) and that once a lifetime experience, the Traverse of the Cuillin Ridge.  I was glad to see that the exiles in Scotland are aware of this lack and are remedying it. So let me draw your attention to such things and the potential rewards.

The Coruisk hoo-ha was settled with typical compromise.  The decision to proceed with bridging the Coruisk River was made but there was to be no blasting of the Bad Step.  The footpath has been widened to jeep width and two bridges have been erected, footbridges I think; a little clearing has been done above the Bad Step as an alternative route.  Heaven knows who but someone managed to pinch a drum of cable and a heavy steel casting from Coruisk but unfortunately it was replaced in a few days and the work was completed despite the sabotage.

So the protests have been made and something saved.  Let’s hope that the lessons that we must have the foresight and initiative to guard against thoughtless action.

My favourite scheme is to bypass traffic from Cheddar Gorge.  You can’t see it from a car and you can’t walk in the road because of the cars. It’s exceedingly dangerous too. One of the club was climbing on the right edge of Hart Leaf Bluff (I can’t remember what the climb is called) anyway, as a result a great six foot block is no longer there and is now presumably undergoing the next phase of the geological cycle – fortunately without either biological or metallic additions.



Mendip Awash – July 10th 1968

Mendip and the surrounding area from Chepstow to Bath and to South Wells received the worst storm of the century on 10th July 1968.  Some have said the worst for hundreds, even thousands of years.  Varying amounts of rain fell over the area between 5” and 7” in Bristol and Bath and a lesser amount in Wells of 2½”.  The rain commenced mid-day with a heavy storm (Wells area); mid-afternoon there was a lull, the rain commencing again about 6pm. The intensity dropped again around 8pm building up to a very severe thunderstorm lasting two hours from 9pm to 11pm.  When the main storm started at 9pm the roads were already awash.

On Mendip the water scoured out the inside of caves to an unprecedented degree.  On the surface the coombes were ripped open so much that the bed-rock was laid bare in many places.  The following account has been built up from the information given to ‘Wig’ by several members of the BEC and from notes he made during the following week.


The water has torn up the road sufficiently to close the Gorge to the public.  An A.A. Officer has been reported as saying that the Gorge looked like Niagara Falls in the early hours of Thursday morning.  Streams were pouring over the edge of the cliffs and the road awash to a depth of several feet.  A hole appeared in the roadway just below White Spot Cave which appeared to have taken considerable quantities of water. It was inspected on the following Wednesday by Dave Drew but no way could be seen.  The depth was 15ft.  The main rush of water came from both the Longwood and Velvet Bottom valleys.  The water built up above the horseshoe bend in Velvet Bottom Valley to such a degree that the roadway was taken with the water leaving a 50ft. x 20ft. deep gash the debris being strewn down the valley for over 100yds.  Many Roman beads and pieces of pottery have been found.  Wandering down Velvet Bottom towards Cheddar the water leaped over and tore through many spoil heaps – some over 20ft. deep.  At the junctions of Manor farm and Longwood valleys stone walls were carried for hundreds of yards down towards to Cheddar; the water depth being something like 4-5ft. deep.  In Longwood Valley itself flood damage was equally high.  There was 6ft. of water in Lower Farm, the tarmac was ripped off the road leading to the farm and cars now have to be parked along the ‘main road’.  Below the farm the flood debris is to be seen again – boulders 100yds. long x 25yds. wide x 3ft. deep!  Young saplings uprooted, plants stripped of their leaves and the MCG Dig lower down the valley completely filled in.  Longwood Swallet blockhouse was undermined but still intact.  Below Rhino Rift the sub-soil has been completely removed exposing the bedrock.


Here again a similar story – roads ripped up, thousands of pounds worth of damage to private property. The West Twin Stream went wild. The debris is several feet high and a 5ft. miniature gorge cut in the lower part of the track.  The water reached a level of about 3ft.  Peter Birds dig just below Sidcot Swallet is completely buried.  The water entering East Twin was too much for the sink and flowed down the valley crossing the road and sinking on the other side.  Avelines was flooded to a depth of 15ft. at the bottom of the main passage.


Nine Barrow – Entrance blocked.

Cuckoo Cleeves – no information.

Hunters Hole – no information.

Goatchurch – 12” of water reported in the Drainpipe.

Stoke Lane – Reports say that there is little change.

S. Cuthbert’s – Most of the water built up behind the Mineries. The water at the New Entrance was 27” above the lower flood pipe.  The depression was clear of water by the following weekend.  None of the unstable boulders have moved in the entrance series. The Sump was reported to be blocked and that the Sump Passage was flooded to a depth of 10ft.  The Rat Run was swamped near Mud Ball end and the ‘U’ Tube was also sumped.

Eastwater – The stream had been quite large – about 4ft. deep. The boulders at the entrance are now completely choked with gravel.

Contour Cave – The entrance is in an extremely unsafe condition.

G.B. – Large volumes of water appear to have entered the cave through both of the depressions.  Small collapses have been reported inn the immediate area.  The blockhouse door has taken a battering. Below the inner gate the floor has been gouged out to a depth of 8ft. and the stal’d over rubble heap in the First Grotto has been flattened by about 8 – 10ft. leaving the Devil’s Elbow ladder hanging three feet from the top and five feet off the bottom of the floor. Sorry no news on the Ooze!  The Easy Way is blocked immediately to the left of the First Grotto. A maypole will be required to reach the window from the lower end of the blockage.  The boulders at the other end of the Devil’s elbow below the chain have moved lowering the floor making the climb 5ft.longer.  At the top of the Gorge a great mud pile has appeared from somewhere in the roof.  Large boulders have been washed down the Gorge.  The Bridge is still intact.  The floor has been considerably lowered in the Main Chamber.  Boulders have moved below the chain of the 40ft. pitch and the ladder has disappeared.  The floor level in the lower reaches has risen by about 5ft. by the silting and the flood water was up to the level of the Ladder Dig Series.  It has also been reported that the boulders in the Ladder Dig Series boulder ruckle have moved yet again.  (See Figure 1. Page 87)


NEW CAVE IN VELVET BOTTOM – About 75yds. above the missing road a new depression is to be seen with a 200ft. long cave going off at the bottom.  Attempts at shoring it are being made shortly with the intention of digging the ruckle in the terminal chamber.  A survey has not been made of the place but it is thought to be running up the valley. An old dig of the MCG at the junction of Velvet Bottom and Longwood Valley has taken a considerable amount of water and will be worth a quick inspection to see if anything has opened up.

Manor Farm Dig – Near the UBSS digging site a huge shaft has opened up – 90ft. (Other reports say 50ft.) deep and about 10ft. in diameter. This is a great breakthrough for the UBSS as it is thought to be the same chamber that was discovered before the original shaft collapsed.

The most spectacular changes in any one system occurred in Swildons Hole – The changes in the cave are to say the least, quite fantastic. One sees the flood damage right from the entrance well into the cave to Swildons 4.  At the height of the flood the water reached some 6ft. above the entrance grating; the total depth of water being nearly 10ft.  The blockhouse is quite undamaged but the water opened up a rift under the tree (to the left of the blockhouse) 10ft. deep and 2½ft. wide. The sink to the right of the stream way has been considerably enlarged.  It is advised to use the new rift as the boulders inside the ‘normal entrance’ have been considerable repositioned.  The chock stone inside the entrance and the flat slab that had to be crawled over have gone - such was the force of the water.  The impact marks made by the stones have been to be seen to be believed particularly just inside the entrance and at the head of the Forty. The entrance to the Long Dry Way is still open but the boulders are believed to have move.  Below the 10ft. climb to the junction with the stream way the chock stone is several feet down the passage and a sizeable chunk of bedrock has been removed.  A few feet further feet downstream one is forced to crawl by a new pile of boulders that are jammed across the passage.  Continuing downstream – the pools have been scoured out and are generally thigh deep and the entrance to the Oxbows is now quite clean.  In fact the whole looks very clean – for how long though?  The water was forced up the Mud Slide (Kenny’s Dig) and is now partially blocked by loose gravel.  The approach to the Well has been modifies in that the stalagmite flooring has been lifted off the floor and transported some 5ft. further downstream leaving it lying over the edge of the Well.  Below the waterfall minor changes have taken place, stal. has been ripped from the walls and the pools have all been cleaned out.  The approach passage to the Old Grotto is considerably deeper and the grass clings to all the formations.  The water filled the Pretty Way to the roof!  At the base of Jacob’s ladder a pothole has been cleaned out.

The greatest and most remarkable change is the Forty – it’s gone!  The Forty can now be free climbed.  All of the choking in the rift leading to the Forty has been cleared out and the floor lowered by about 25ft.  The exposed walls of the rift are liberally coated with stal. and looks quite fine.  Below the keyhole, on the upstream side, is a false floor of stalagmite which certainly prevented the rift from being scoured deeper than it has in the past.  Both the Keyhole and Suicide had water to the roof. The rift is easily passed by first traversing and then chimneying down to the stream way.  A short section of passage leads to a hole near the floor through which the stream flows.  A short sloping trench leads to the final drop of six feet.  There are several useful belay points if a rope is required for the climb.  The changes below the 40ft. are not so striking – pools are deeper and the climb at the bend has gone the stal capping can be seen upended a few feet downstream. Below the 20ft.the changes are even less.  The approach to Sump 1 is now mud covered and the stream flows on top instead of under the boulders.  Sump 1 is now about 5ft. deep and one is standing up to their necks in water on the downstream side.  Duck 1 has about 2” of airspace; Creeps 1 & 2 are now wades (just duck your heads lads) and the second part of Duck 2 is sumped – it’s believed to be about 8ft. long.  Sumps 2 & 3 were dived and it has been reported that Sump 4 is blocked.  Foam has been reported in the roof of St.Pauls Series.  The Mud Sump is full and to date no-one has passed it yet.

As far as one can see the water backed up in three places: - 1 – The Forty, 2 – the curtains below the Twenty and 3 – Sump 1.  The water reached the roof everywhere at and above the twenty to the Entrance except the top section of the Boulder Chamber.  Below the curtains, the upper part of the passage was clear of the flood water.  The level at the Double Pots was about 6ft.  The water flowed through Barnes loop but the depth is difficult to say – some report only 1ft.  The next deep section was below Trat’s Temple and possibly filled to the roof in this area.

The change in the Water Rift has increased the chances of accidents in the writers opinion.  Cavers entering the system will be encouraged to go further than they had previously now that the 40ft. has been removed.  The lack of tackle itself, on the Forty, will produce dangers.  The hole will soon flood with heavy water conditions – even if the caver can climb to the hole the water will soon back up and sump in front of him.  One cannot chimney up the downstream section of the Water Rift – it’s too narrow.  The belay points on the 40ft. ledge are still there and will be very useful for rescue purposes under wet condition – the pitch will be quite dry except for the lower 6ft.  The chances of the Water Rift filling up with water is still very great and should be treated with extreme caution under wet conditions.


TAILENDER – On the afternoon of the flood three cavers went down Swildon’s but soon retreated and in the early evening 5 more tried to get down but Farmer Maine refused them permission – had they gone down they wouldn’t have seen the light of day again. 

Many thanks to all who gave details enabling this article to be complied so quickly.



Thanks Dept: - The Club would like to offer their sincere thanks to Pongo Wallis for his gift of caving publications and books including Cave Science Nos 1 – 24 complete.  The books have been catalogued and are now in the club library at Dolphin Cottage.

Our thanks also to Alan Kennett and Chris Harvey for a pair of sheer legs which will certainly make lighter work of digging.


NEXT MONTH IN THE B.B. Jock Orr’s long awaited article on Cave Photography, Austrian report (if received in time) and a report of the climbing sections visit to the Bernina, Switzerland.  Articles in the pipeline include ‘Ropes’ by Roy Bennett, Greece, St. of Mendip Pt.2, Combined Surveying Unit by Dave Irwin and a CRG 6 survey of Avelines Hole, Burrington Coombe by R. Stenner.

The 1968/69 Committee and Club Officers….

Chairman of the Committee D. Irwin (Wig)
Hon. Sec.: A Thomas (Senior)
Hon. Treas: R. Bagshaw
Hut Warden: P. Townsend
Hut Engineer:  J. Riley
Caving Sec: A. MacGregor
Climbing Sec: M. Holt
Tacklemaster:  N. Petty
Minute Sec: G. Tilly


Reports: -

Editor: D. Irwin
Asst. Editors: - R. Stenner & G. Tilly

M.R.O. WARDENS:  K. Franklin, D. Irwin, Dr. O.C. Lloyd & B. Prewer

New Belfry Co-ordinator: S.Collins (Alfie)

Ian Dear Memorial Fund Comm:

R. Bagshaw, R. Setterington (Sett), R. Bennett, M. Luckwill and M. Holt.

St. Cuthbert’s Report Sub-Committee: R. Bennett D. Irwin, R. Stenner & G. Tilly.


Our apologies to all for the inexcusable error on the first set of ballot papers – and to Phil Townsend whose name it was that did not appear in the list of candidates.  We can though gain some comfort from the quote of the month – angry WXXXXXX members staying at the Belfry cleaning the place said, “This is one club that isn’t going downhill”.

In this issue readers will find the latest membership list and those people not included have the remedy in their hands and should get their sub into Bob Bagshaw NOW. Incorrect addresses and Address changes should be sent to Alan Thomas.

Club Headquarters: - The Belfry, Wells Road Priddy, WELLS, Somerset, BA5 3AU
Hon. Sec: -  A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
Hut Warden: - P.T. Townsend, 154, Sylvia Ave., Bristol. 3.
Editor: - D.J. Irwin, 23 Campden Road, Bristol. 3. BS3 1QA


Climbing in the Otztaler Alpen and the Bernina

By Malcolm Holt & Eddy Welch

The first week was spent in the Otztaler Alpen, staying at the Iaschach Hut (2,434m). the way to the hut is via a pleasant valley road from Imst to Mittelberg, then via the track to the hut – three hours laden with food, climbing gear, clothes etc.  The hut comes into view very early on the walk, and seems more arduous.  The hut is situated at the junction of the Iaschach and the Sexergerten Glaciers and the surrounding peaks are ideal for a first time visit to the Alps the area having snow, rock and ice climbs.  Behind the hut to the right can be seen the Henter Olgruben Spitze.  This is attempted via a long walk up the Sexegerten Glacier, then via an easy snow slope to the summit (3,296m).

To the left of the hut and behind is the nearest peak – the Pitztaler Urkund (3,201m) a rock summit, nowhere difficult and was climbed by the south ridge.  From the summit good views of the second highest peak in Austria, the Widspitze (3,770m) were obtained (Gross Glockner is 23m higher). The peak was not attempted due to the soft condition of the snow, a party which attempted it set off at 03.00 hours and reached the summit at 16.00 hours reporting snow conditions waist deep, but this was very warm weather.

Having given the sun the chance to sort out the snow conditions an early start was made the next day for the Widspitze region.  Initially came a walk across the Iaschach Glacier, taking care to be past the avalanche zone before the sun came on it, then the Iaschach Wand (3,365m) was climbed. This is a snow slope fairly steep and heavily corniced on the face.  A traverse to the Peterson Spitze (3,484m) followed.

Finally a rock peak was attempted the Mitlle Eikasten Kopf (3,260m).  The main ridge is about 1½ hours from the hut and is about V.D. standard, the hardest move is beneath a window in the ridge with considerable exposure, the route can be continued to the Bligg Spitze (3,454m) if time permits.

These are some of the climbs that can be attempted from the Iaschach Hut, the summits being reached in less than hours and thus pre-dawn starts are unnecessary and returns can be made by early afternoon.  The area is ideal to those with little or no Alpine experience.

The Bernina, visited on the second week, is a more serious undertaking.  The range is very compact but is higher than the Otztal and is much more beautiful.  Again the hut – the Ischierva (2,573m) is three hours from the car, initially through sweet scented pine woods which can be traversed using a horse drawn vehicle to the Roseg restaurant.

The first peak attempted was the Piz Roseg (3,937m).  A start was made at 03.30 hours to cross Ischierva Glacier before dawn approximately 2,000m in distance.  Initially we were competing with about eight others to get on the ridge first but were soon outpaced and afterwards discovered them to be trainee guides. The ridge is gained is rock giving way to a hard packed snow slope where crampons were an advantage.  The route is quite spectacular, the second summit being the higher one.

The next day the Piz Scerscen (3,971m) was climbed.  The party consisting of Roy Bennett, Malcolm Holt and Terry Taylor.  The crux of the climb is the Ice Nose, a 200ft. nose of steep snow and ice, which led out onto the final ridge before approaching the summit. Several routes were obvious, one leading up the centre and traversing right, around the overhanging ice walls, another to the left climbing up the least inclined angle of the nose seemed the most worn route, the third, which we took, involved a series if ice chimneys then joining with the left hand route.  Terry led, making a quick work to the first stance, no serious difficulties were apparent.  Roy followed managing admirably, despite lack of forward points on his crampons.  The three were soon at the top, and reached the final summit at 10.30 hours.

The descent conditions proved hazardous due to sun melting the top layer of ice, and great care had to be taken when descending the nose.  The hut was reached at 15.00 hours with them feeling pretty tired.

The following day we intended to do the Piz Bernina (4,049m) the highest peak in the area, requiring a midnight start and an overnight stay at the Marco Rosa refuge (3,597m) in Italy.  Unfortunately weather conditions, up to now perfect, started to deteriorate, so a day was spent on the glacier improving snow and ice techniques.

On Thursday, the last day, we did one of the smaller peaks, Piz Morteratsch (3,751m).  This proved more of a slog than anything else, although a deviation of route took us up a steep ice slope necessitating much step cutting since we had left behind our crampons.  We descended the climb in traditional English style, arseadding, passing a roped party of Swiss plodding steadily upwards, who from the looks on their faces didn’t approve.

Members in the Alps – Roy and Joan Bennett, Terry Taylor, Malcolm Holt, Eddy Welch and Bob Chapman.


B.E.C. Trip to Steepholm

By Andy MacGregor

On Saturday 7th September 1968, a party of B.E.C. members made a weekend visit to Steepholm accompanied by two members of the Steepholm Trust.  The party consisted of Alan Thomas, Andy Macgregor, Dave and Jane Glover, John Riley, ‘Fred’ Atwell and Martin Webster.

After an uneventful crossing we established our camp in the barracks on the south side of the island, Victorian and Georgian cannons were looked at, also remains of more modern gun emplacements.  The island was used as a gun emplacement from Napoleonic times until the Second World War except during the First World War.

The tide was going out, so we decided to walk around the island and look at the caves around the sea shore.  Most of the caves are on the north side, but there are a few on the south side.  There are about 20 caves from 10ft. to about 200ft. in length.  Sunday saw more caves looked at and then an uneventful boat trip back to Weston-super-Mare.

Extracts from the Caving Log

Edited by Phil Coles

28-7-68 to 20-9-68.

Now that the Log Book has been divided into two (Cuthbert’s and Non-Cuthbert’s) it would seem more suitable to deal with the extracts in a likewise manner.  15 trips have been recorded in St. Cuthbert’s including 5 digging trips, 4 surveying, a full-scale practice rescue and a further 5 of a general tourist nature.  Rule 7 of the new Cuthbert’s log states that all members of a party descending the cave should sign the log before the trip.   Many people seem to have a warped sense to remain anonymous; their signatures look like a bunch of politician autographs (perhaps it is! Ed.).  as it is important to know exactly who is down the cave will those gents of the feeble handwriting please make an effort to be legible.

On the non-Cuthbert’s scene, the BEC have been active in Burrington Coombe, centring on East Twin and adjoin digs – totalling eight trips in all (See Monthly Notes No. 18 p.150). East Twin has been now surveyed and apparently the digs are quite promising.  An old MNRC dig on the opposite side of the Higher Twin valley has been dug but has been abandoned for the moment because of unstable boulders.  Water sampling has continued in GB and Swildons has been visited on several occasions.  The Hunter’s Hole dig in Dear’s Ideal (See BB 138) has at last got under way and in my view is the most promising dig since Emborough! (and fell in!!  Ed).

The club is now in the happy position of running six digs concurrently – Cuthbert’s – Sump and Dining room; Hunters; East Twin; Maesbury and South Wales – is this a record?

On foreign soil there have been trips to South Wales and I hear that Alan Thomas and company have been pottering around in Austria!!!

ST. CUTHBERT’S SWALLET – Traverse Chamber Choke – reported changes at upstream end of the choke.

On 3rd September 1968 during a surveying trip base at Traverse chamber, measurements were made at the upstream end of the Choke to establish the extent of the reported changes. By comparing the results with measurements made on 27/28th October 1963 it is possible to say that the floor has been lowered a maximum of 1” and the passages extended a maximum of 1 foot. The reported changes here are therefore practically non-existent.

Roger Stenner.


 ‘There are caves so ancient that not only are they completely dry, but they are actually disappearing as they gradually become silted up’ – Norbert Casteret.


’In chambers deep, where waters sleep, what unknown treasures pave the floor?’ – Edward Young.



with Hedra

Have I got OUTDOORS for Christmas yet? Sez Wig.  Ye gods, I don’t even know what they are doing in October (apart from dine)! However, I do know what Ron Pepper and Dick Loxton did in August.  They were fortunate enough to mop up a W/E’s worth of that extraordinary Northern spell of fine weather, staying at Nant Peris at Mrs. Smiths B and B.

They climbed the Flying Buttress watched the ritual ascents of the Gates and then walked across to see Cloggy because they had never been.  Please, where does the pendule above Curving Crack belong?  Incredible to note that their climb on Idwal Slabs on Sunday was done with a fine film of dust on polished holds.

Pete Sutton too was in Wales and had a number of fine ascents during the week after the main party had left.  He threatens to tell us.  (Do you mean a Climbing article for the BB?  Ed.)

Dave Steel and mates from Aces went to a rather horrid ChamonixMont Blanc was fab however and apparently a complete justification for going wog.  Their stay was curtailed by a crevasse accident which fortunately only cost them money.

Derek Targett has removed a wobbly piton from Mercavity and has been caving.

Some of us have been to lectures and seen pictures by Ken Wilson who has become the new Editor of ‘Mountain Craft’.  This event has given a completely new slant to the magazine.  The slant seem mostly overhanging with Big Gorgeous Pix amongst which ones are those taken on the North Face Direct of the Sondre Trolltind by Baille and Amat and a breathtaking Matterhorn shot by Gerald Lacey.  Yum Yum!  Plenty of interesting information including new climbs.  After reading about how you just had to have Skyhooks, (your actual Yosemite Skyhooks that is) I demanded to see these prior to purchase. Close examination revealed that you can’t afford to sneeze whilst dangling from one of these things and so I quickly explained about my influenza and wondered about walking sticks instead. At half a crown “Mountain Craft” we thought.  So that’s why Mark went up then down the Ordinary Route on Idwal Slabs – in the wet.

Traditionally yours


Notes from Our Man in South Wales… Alan Coase.

Work on the new survey (Grade 6D) has shown that the Lower Series in II is much more under the Upper Series than had been thought.  A water tracing experiment from one of the Waen Fignen Felen sinks gave no connection to the Great North Road, but an apparent connection to the stream in Dali’s Delight. Digging in Hanger Passage is continuing and a break through was recently made into an imposing passage which went round to another corner – to another boulder choke.  Success here could well lead to large extensions to the west towards Sink-y-Giedd.



Monthly Notes No. 18

By “Wig”

Since the July floods a few B.E.C. members have switched their attention to Burrington – East Twin Swallet in particular.  At first a probe was made at the end of the Third Chamber but interest soon wavered.  A close inspection was made of the west wall through the main passage.  Small probes revealed little except a possible site between the 1st and 2nd Chambers.  This was dug for a short time by Keith Franklin, John Riley and Dave Irwin. There was sufficient found to encourage further digging at the site (permission being sought from the UBSS). Attention then switched outside to the stream bed made by the flood water lower down the valley.  Roy Bennett, Keith Franklin and others attacked a site leading to an open (?) but very tight rift.  Soon interest lapsed and Keith’s attention switched to the old MNRC dig on the opposite side of the valley.  Further notes on the sites will appear in MN in the future.

EAST TWIN SURVEY ‘Wig’ has produced a new survey of East twin Swallet to CRG Grade 6 c-d – a small scale reduction will appear in the B.B. shortly.  Sidcot Swallet, previously only surveyed to CRG Grade 4 ( Barrington – Caves of Mendip) by Stride Brothers (1944), is to be resurveyed in the near future.

Levelling Burrington!  No! the bulldozers weren’t called in, though I’ve no doubt that Bill Smart could have called them from Costains quite easily if he so wished.  To obtain accurate levels of the Burrington caves a line was taken from Ellick House to several entrances.  This was carried out in two ‘trips’ one of 2 hours on a Saturday evening and the other a nine hour trip on the following day.  The line was tied into the entrance of Avelines.

A full list of O.D. levels will appear in a later issue of the B.B. but here are some to be getting along with:-

Spider Hole 572.24ft.
East Twin swallet 470.61ft.  ( Barrington 520ft and UBSS Proc. 600ft.)
Avelines Hole 324.82ft.  ( Barrington 380ft.)
Trat’s Crack 528.69ft.

S. Wales – Roy Bennett has commenced digging another site near the first backfilled earlier in the year. Looks interesting – might go through the pundits don’t think so!

ST. CUTHBERT’S – Dining Room Dig.

Since late April work has been carried out at the digging site above the Dining Room.  Digging takes place on Tuesday evenings, although there has been some work carried out on weekends on odd occasions.  With the establishing of a regular digging team (basically John Riley, Dave Turner, Bob Craig, ‘Wig’ and others from Bath, Bristol and Bridgwater)  work has progresses at a good steady rate.  The first problem that had to be overcome was to enlarge the dig to a workable size. The small rabbit burrowing technique had outlived its usefulness and so all the dug passage was opened up to a walk through tunnel.  Corners of the passage were removed and the floor lowered by some 4ft. – more in places until bedrock was reached.

The spoil tipping has presented little problem; all of it being thrown down into the Dining Room. There will, however, come a time when the dump will be impracticable – what then?  At the moment the spoil heap slopes up beyond the climbs to the entrance of the dig, the foot of the cone has covered the cement table and is slowly creeping to the entrance and on to the streamway!

Digging continued along the top passage for over 25ft. and later another site at the entrance to the ‘Upper Passage’ was dug.  This lower site attracted a few weeks attention as there were two pointers indicating that the main flow of water had entered this lower passage.  The first was the apparent multi-directional flow of the water at the ‘T’ junction and secondly, the late discovery of vadose markings at the top of the slope in the upper passage.

Both indicated that the upper passage was an inlet.  Digging at the Arch revealed another passage, possibly running parallel with the upper passage.  To date insufficient digging has taken place to confirm its direction.  If this is the way on it will no doubt be a very long term project and our only hope is that the roof of these passage will lift soon. However all is not lost as there are at least two more choked passages in the dig and a return to the upper may well pay dividends even though the water seems to have flowed in towards the cave – time will tell.  At the moment the digging team is still prepared to do battle with site!

Change of C.C.C. Secretary.

At the last C.C.C. Committee meeting Tim (Hodgoon) Hodgson resigned as its secretary and has been replaced by Tony Knibbs (M.C.G.).


Books from the Library 2

Cave Hunting – by W. Boyd Dawkins.  Pub. 1874.  This is one of the classics of caving literature and should be read by all keen cavers.  This book shows clearly the 19th century interest in caving and how it stemmed from the science of Archaeology.  Balch himself was a part-time archaeologist and so is Professor Tratman today.

Dawkins (biography in Cave Science Vol. 5  No.39 April 1966) although not involved in the actual exploration of major systems as was Martel, did much to show the interest that could be found underground and allay the superstitions that were still rife at the time.


A fine cluster of columns, claimed to be the finest in the country, has been found in O.F.D. II. Many of the cavers who have visited this chamber are, probably quite deliberately, very vague as to its whereabouts. They claim that it is in an extremely complicated part of the cave.

Hepste Valley.

Wild rumours have being spreading about Mendip that a large cave system has been discovered there. S.V.C.C. have been suggested as the discoverers, but as they have been on Mendip several weekends recently it does not appear to be them.  What about the U.B.S.S.?  Apparently O.C.L. was seen hairing along the road in his car towards the valley….one wonders!

The Annual Dinner

I was told I enjoyed the Dinner.  One or two other people also followed the traditional to ‘excess’ – notably the Hon. Secretary who was seen, on several occasions, to attempt to fly nimbly from table to table.  Despite the lack of formally organised entertainment there was no lack of interesting personnel to survey – would you believe bagpipes?  Vicars!  Regency costumes (hic) and yet again a ‘Joseph’ Thomas in a coat of many colours.

I have heard no complaints about either dinner or service.  In fact the B.E.C., as usual, have started the Dinner Season with, of course, the Best Dinner of the Year.

Nibs Parker (pen name)

Cavers Bookshelf


1967 EXPEDITION TO THE GOUFFRE BERGER by K. Pearce. Published by the British Speleological Association in 1968.  Not priced.

In 1967 there were two expeditions to the Gouffre Berger, one organised by the Pegasus Club and another by the BSA.  Both teams were at the cave at the same time but the original intentions was for the two to be independent of one another except for communications in the cave, medical facilities and tackle.

The report on the Pegasus expedition was published at the end of 1967 and was reviewed in ‘Cavers Bookshelf’ for April 1968.  This is a report on the B.S.A. expedition written by the leader.

The report is generally well produced, being printed and consisting of fourteen pages and including six photographs.  As the other report has been published earlier, this one seemed to be written in a defensive style, the leader defending himself against implied criticisms of his expedition made in the Pegasus report, and elsewhere.  The reason for some of these criticisms were mentioned in my earlier review.  Whatever the cause, and several possible explanations have been put forward, the B.S.A. expedition suffered a rebellion against the leader and several of the members refused to enter the Gouffre Berger, or made a hurried exit from it. The possible reason put forward by Pearce in the report is that several of them had been closely associated with the Mossdale incident only a few weeks earlier, though he does admit that the first few days of the expedition were very hectic and it would have been more sensible if he had allow the members to get to it more gently.  However this does not excuse the behaviour of those members who just turned round in the cave, without a word to anyone, and left.  It must be added though that Pearce did manage to get himself and others to the bottom of the cave and to get further than he had previously.  How this was achieved is outside the scope of a review and would have to be discussed by someone with more intimate knowledge of the two expeditions.

The sections into which the report is divided cover a summary of the expedition, the expedition log, a medical report, and reports on photography, diving, food and communications. There is also a piece on the laddering of the cave below Camp II.  This is stated to be to correct errors that could arise if any future party based its tackling arrangements on the Pegasus report.  To me it read as though Pearce is trying to say that he knows better than the Pegasus (perhaps he does) and that they were lucky that their incompetence did not give rise to trouble.

Apart from the defensive style of the writing there is only one criticism of this publication.  It is full of spelling mistakes which could have been removed if more care had been taken.  Unfortunately the price is not known as the report is un-priced and it was a complimentary copy that was seen.


Footnote from’ Delineations of N.W. Somerset’ by John Rutter… “The water which forms the springs at Cheddar, is, probably, a stream which sinks into the chasms of the rock above, at Longwood, and in another place, on Charterhouse Farm”.



 “So What?”

By ‘Senex’

Most of us, when some older caving types starts to talk about life in the caving world of twenty or so years ago, quietly drift off and find somebody with a more interesting line of conversation.  We all know – or we’ve been told, that conditions were different on Mendip a generation ago. So what?

After all, it would be trifle odd if things hadn’t changed and our reaction on being told that life was tougher, or quieter or something is to go off and find out who is buying the next round of beer.  Reminiscences may well be all very well for those who only have the past to remember, but we want to get on with things.

Yet, if some time machine were possible, and the Caving Secretary could announce a trip for the weekend to Mendip of the immediate post war years; most of us would probably queue up for the experience and the chance to actually seeing for ourselves.  In the absence of such a machine, it might be interesting to one, which sets us down in the London of 1945 or 6, with a weekend on Mendip in the offing.

The trip has been planned for some time.  It had to be. Like many cavers of that period, we do not belong to any club.  Cavers are very few, and our two or three caving friends in London have got to know a handful of people who are sometimes able to get to Mendip.  There are few clubs, but these are things we have mainly heard about rather than been in contact with.  For example, we have heard about the Wessex Cave Club, but we have yet to meet a Wessex member, and have no idea at all as how to get in contact with one. Amongst the few cavers we know are some members of the Bridgwater Caving Club, and we have heard that some of them will be on Mendip next weekend and will bring some tackle with them.  We hope to be able to do a ‘full’ Swildons – something we have been hoping to do for nearly a year now.  We hope that the weekend will be a success.

Managing to leave work early on Friday, we make our way to Paddington and onto the crowded train to Bristol.  From there we walk to Prince Street to catch the 27 bus to Priddy Turning and from there we walk the last three miles to Priddy Green.  Lifts are out, as there is so little road traffic.  Indeed, it will be most unusual if a single vehicle passes us in either direction on our walk from the main road to Priddy.  Even in a few years timer, it will still be possible in the middle of the road up Deer Leap after a ‘midnight Wookey’ and sleep the rest of the night on the road with no fear of being run over.

So we arrive at Priddy Green.  This is the caving centre for Mendip, and Priddy Green consists of the Vic and Maine’s barn as far as we are concerned.  It will some years yet before the Speed brothers get used to serving strangers at the New Inn, or caving huts appear.  There is the U.B.S.S. hut at Burrington, but, under normal transport conditions, this might be at the North Pole.  The Vic is therefore the place where we meet our friends, keep warm, and refresh ourselves.  Maine’s barn see to our cooking and sleeping arrangements, and Swildons and Eastwater are the local caves, unless we walk over to G.B. or the newly discovered Longwood Swallet.

Dumping our gear in the barn (this consists only of caving gear and food.  Sleeping bags are rare; costly, and very bulky to carry over long distances) we make for the Vic, where our little party completes the assemblage of Mendip cavers.  We are in luck, for with our party included, there are almost a dozen and we should be able to get some caving in.  The B.C.C. types have not only got the tackle, but also have a motorbike with them, on which three of them have travelled from Bridgwater.  One compensation for the lack of transport is that regulations are very lax compared to today’s standards, and one stood a good chance of doing an illegal journey of this length, with the possibility of nothing more than a reprimand if caught.  The bike is one of the few machines of the late 1920’s or early 1930’s which occasionally comes onto the market.  It has a hand gear lever on the tank which limits its passengers.  The days of the excellent ex-WD bikes are still to come, and the record of seven cavers on one bike – all in line astern – is a few years off yet.

The bike does mean that we shall be able to roam further afield during the weekend – on a relay system if necessary, so we retire to the inner room and plan the weekend in detail. Most of us have had some difficulty getting there, and we don’t want to waste any time.  Having done this, we walk across the green, to ‘stack out’ for the night in the hay – after removing our boots, or course.  Breakfast helps to remove the cold and stiffness, and we set off for Swildons.

The bit of the weekend would be familiar with us, apart from the huge and heavy ladders which have to be manhandled through all the tight bits, and which are continually coming unwrapped.  At the Old Grotto, the party pauses while one of the members takes a photograph.  To be more accurate, at least two of the party are involved, as an assistant has to set off the flash powder.  After some time, this finally ignites and fills the whole place with a dense white fog, through which we blunder onwards.  Our photographer assures us that the fog will be gone by the time we come out.

Below the twenty, progress is faster, as we have no ladder to carry, and finally we reach the end of the known cave ‘the sump’.  This is not quite true, as it has been dived, but only found to lead to a small extra bit

of passage length. Coming back, we are slightly relieved when our first ladder pitch is behind us and we start the process of dragging the wooden-runged and rope-sided ladders back to the surface

Back at the barn, stew follows and then off to the Vic for a beer; talk beer; shove ha’penny; beer; singing; beer etc.  Apart from any other reason, a fair quantity of beer helps us to ignore the cold in the barn, and gets us to sleep later.  During the evening, the landlord tells us that he has heard that two other cavers are about.  He thinks they come from Bristol. This news does not excite us much, for we know that the locals usually cycle out for the day and return home at night. However, just before closing time (an elastic hour in those days) they appear, and closing time is postponed. We gather that they belong to the B.E.C. – another club we have heard of, but whose members we have never met. They tell us, although there are only about a dozen of them actively caving, there are a lot more members at present in the forces, and that we shall see more of their club in the future. This starts a discussion as to whether we should all join a club and the Bridgwater boys point out that theirs is about to be disbanded when the works at Puriton close down.  We don’t arrive at any conclusion – this problem can wait for another day.  Instead, we get down to some serious drinking with our new companions, who finally stay at the barn with us, having become incapable of cycling.

Next day, over breakfast, we decide that the B.E.C. lads will use the B.C.C. tackle to do Eastwater with a few of the others, while the rest of us go to G.B. using the motorbike to tow two of us on cycles, while it carries three more.  (This bit is not invented, as it actually happened – although a few years later and in South Wales). There is, of course, only one way down the cave – via the Devil’s Elbow.  Luckily, the weather is pretty dry and there will be no chance of the elbow sumping.  If there had been, the trip would have had to be abandoned.  With nobody around to get a party out of trouble, no party could afford to risk getting into any.

Back at the barn again, we pause for a meal, pack our belongings, hope to see the others again soon, and start walking to the Main road.  There is plenty of time, so on the way, we stop at a pub called the Hunters, as opening time has just come round.  This pub is not frequented by cavers, but occasionally used, as we are using it, as a pause on the walk.  We take our beer on to the grass which comes almost up to the front door.  There, we start to talk about the weekend, which we all agree was affine one.  We know that we shan’t be able to talk about it at work when we get back, as caving is regarded as such an odd occupation that it isn’t talked about outside caving circles.

As we lie on the grass, in the evening sunlight, relaxed after a good weekend’s caving, we wonder what the others would say if the time machine could whisk this gathering into their future and deposit them in the same spot in 1968.  How would they react, we wonder, if the grass under them suddenly turned into asphalt; if the space between the pub and the road became full of cars; of the pub doors opened to disgorge cavers in large numbers, going back to the Wessex Hut, to the Belfry, to the Shepton or the M.C.G?

They would hear talk of St. Cuthbert’s, of Stoke Lane, and many other caves new to them.  They would hear of Journals, Bulletins, Surveys, Caving Reports.  They would hear of foreign expeditions.  In short, they would see all their dreams come true.

For this is what we all wanted in those far off quiet days.  Every time we talked over our beer, we would come round to wild suggestions about building our own hut, about discovering caves on Mendip for ourselves, about starting a magazine.  Almost as we set foot on Mendip, we wanted to change it all.

So we did.
So what?



DON’T FORGET THE CUTHBERT’S LEADERS MEETING NOV. 10th Hunters at 2.30pm.  All are welcome to attend.


Membership List of the B.E.C.

If anyone notices wrong membership numbers, addresses etc., contact Alan Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston-s-Mare.


P. Allen

7 Westbourne Place, Bristol 8


T Andrews

186 Courtlands Ave., London S.E.12


J. Attwood

64 Main Road, Shortwood, Nr. Mangosfield, Bristol


G. Atwell

57 Sandy Leaze, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


R.J. Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


M. Baker

‘Morello’, Ash Lane, Wells, Somerset


D Balcombe.

36 Rotherwick Close, Horley, Surrey


J. Ball

4 Church Row, Stratton on the Fosse, Bath, Somerset


W. Ball

13 Beechwood Road, Sanderstead, Surrey


K. Barnes.

24 Missile Regt., R.A., Paderborn, BFPO 16


R. Bater

20 Woodlands Glade, Swiss Valley, Clevedon, Somerset


Mrs. R. Bater

20 Woodlands Glade, Swiss Valley, Clevedon, Somerset


R. Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


J. Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


P. Bird

City Museum, Queens Road, Bristol


P. Blogg

Hunters Field, Chaldon Common Road, Chaldon, Surrey


Miss S. Bowden-Lyle

17 Rokeby Ave., Redland, Bristol 6


B. Britton

108 Cheltenham Road, Bristol 6


R. Brooks

87 Wyatt Road, London SW2


V. Brown

3 Cross St., Kingswood, Bristol


J. Bugler

c/o Squirrel Cot., Horton Scar Lane, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Yorkshire


G.A. Bull

37 Norlands Square, London, W11.


G. Butler



R. Chandler

83 Spring Plate, Pound Hill, Crawley, Sussex


J. Churchward

1 Jamaica Street, Bristol


C. Clark



Mrs. C. Coase

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


P. Coles

213 Cheltenham Road, Bristol


S. Collins

c/o Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol


D. Cooke-Yarborough.

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


N. Cooper

3 West Terrace, Westbury, Sherborne, Dorset


B. Crew

5 Redstone Drive, Ashleigh Gardens, Highley, Nr. Kidderminster, Worcs.


R. Cross

42 Bayham Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


A. Cullen

68 Stoke Lane, Patchway, Bristol


I. Daniels

‘Handsworth’, Pilgrim Way, Chilham, Canterbury, Kent


F. Darbon

1933 Upland St., Prince George, British Columbia, Canada


A. Davies

9 Queens Road, Clevedon, Somerset


L. Dawes

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


G. Dell

23123511 L/Cpl. Dell, Printing Press, 30 BN3. BOD, Singapore


K.C. Dobbs

85 Fox Road, Pinhoe, Exeter, Devon


N. Downes

18 Coombe Street Lane, Yeovil, Somerset


A.J. Dunn

63 Oakdale Road, Downend, Bristol



116 Newbridge Road, Brislington, Bristol


B.M. Ellis

‘Knowkauns’, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset


C. Falshaw

23 Hallen Cross Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield


T. Fletcher

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


G. Fowler

Officers Mess, R.A.F. Locking, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset


A. Francis

22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset


K. Franklin

213 Cheltenham Road, Bristol


P. Franklin



Mrs P. Franklin



M. Fricker

36 Summerhill Road, St. George, Bristol 5


M. Gaskell

23663966, Pte. Gaskell M, IOVE H Coy., ROAC, BFPO 56, El-Adem, Libya


P. Giles

Manor Farm Cottage, East Lydford, Somerton, Somerset


K. Gladman

29 Shenfield Road, Brentwood, Essex


D. Glover

‘Leisure’, Green Lane, Pamber Green, Nr, Basingstoke, Hants.


J. Glover

‘Leisure’, Green Lane, Pamber Green, Nr, Basingstoke, Hants.


C.D. Gooding

43 Monmouth Road, Bishopston, Bristol


D. Greenwood

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


S. Grimes

15 Forrester Rd., Corstophine, Edinburgh


C. Hall

67 Fishponds Road, Eastville, Bristol


N. Hallett

26 Cotham Vale, Bristol 6


A. Handy

2 Colehill Drive, Hartcliffe, Bristol 3


M. Hannam

‘Lowlands’ Orchard Close, East Hendred, Berks.



Diocesian registry, Wells, Somerset


C. Harvey

‘Byways’, Hanham Lane, Paulton, Somerset


Hasell D.H.

‘Hill House’, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


Miss A. Henley

23 Maynard Road, Hartcliffe, Bristol


D. Herbert

33, Traingle East, Oldfiedl Park, Bath, BA2 3HZ


B. Hewitt

21 Clarendon Road, Redland, Bristol 6


J. Hill

14C the Orchard, high Street, Lower Cam, Nr. Dursley, Glos.


S. Hobbs

Hokerstone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


T. Hodgson

19 Alfred Place, Kingsdown, Bristol 8


E. Holley

140 Novers Lane, Knowle, Bristol 4


G. Honey



B. Howe

48 Martins Road, Hanham, Bristol


Mrs Howe

48 Martins Road, Hanham, Bristol


P. Hudson

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


J. Ifold

5 Rushgrove Gardens, Bishop Sutton, Somerset.


P. Ifold

‘The Cedars’, Blackford, Wedmore, Somerset


D. Irwin

23 Camden House, Southville, Bristol 3


R. Jenkins

18 Camberley Close, Downend, Bristol


A. Johnson

Warren Cottage, Station Road, Flax Bourton, Bristol


D. Jones

24 Shortwood View, Kingswood, Bristol


F. Jones

c/o 8 York Gardens, Clifton, Bristol


Mrs. P. Jones

13 Braichmelyn, Bethesda, Bangor, Caernarvon


U. Jones

Marsh Farm, Askem In Furness, Lancs.


A. Kennett

22 Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch, Bristol


R. King

22 Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch, Bristol


P. Kingston

3 Kingsely Road, Eastville, Bristol 5


R. Kitchen

25 Fruse Hill Road, Tidworth, Hants.


J. Lamb

‘Broadmeadows’, Padstowe Road, Wadebridge, Cornwall


B.J. Lane

37 Pendennis Park, Brislington, Bristol


T.E. Large

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


J. Laycock

41 Woodlands Park, quedley, Glouster


P. Littlewood

257 Chichester Road, Bognor Regis, Sussex


Mrs. Littlewood

257 Chichester Road, Bognor Regis, Sussex


O. Lloyd

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


M. Luckwill

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


G. Lucy

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


A. MacGregor

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


P. MacNab

121 Gilmore Place, Edinburgh 3


J. Major

Saint Cross, Green Down, Litton, Bath, Somerset


Mrs. J. Major

Saint Cross, Green Down, Litton, Bath, Somerset


J. Manchip

121 Gilmore Place, Edinburgh 3


C. Marriott

Brulbergstrasse 15, Apt. 21, 8400 Winterhur, Switzerland


R. Marshall

23 Highbury Villas, Bristol 2


T. Marston

3 Maple Grove, Plymton, Devon


E. Mason



A. Meaden

The Post Office & Stores, Cross in Hand, Nr. Heathfield, Sussex


N.J. Monk

7 Little Soke Road, Bristol 8


K. Murray

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


A. Nash

c/o 22 Stuart Lane, Bristol 3


H. Oakley

45 Groveway, Stockwell, London SW9


R. Orr

81 Honiton Place, Newton Aycliffe, C. Durham


D. Palmer

29 John Wesley Road, St. George, Bristol 5


M. Palmer

c/o 2 Hooper Avenue, Wells, Somerset


A. Parker

Ham Green Hospital, Pill, Nr. Bristol


R. Parfitt

‘ Hillside’, Bishop Sutton, Somerset


Miss S. Paul

21 Lovelace Road, Surbiton, Surrey


J. Pearce

6 Lyveden Road, Blackheath, London S.E.3


L. Peters

21 Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


N. Petty

12 Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol


A. Philpot

3 Kings Brive, Bishopston, Bristol


G. Platten

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


Miss B. Plummer

2 Hogarth Walk, Lockleaze, Bristol


B. Prewer

East View, West Horrington, Nr. Wells, Somerset


R. Price

18 Kingfisher Crescent, Lightwood Park, Cheadle, Staffs.


C. Priddle

367 Fishponds Rd., Bristol 5


J. Ransom

9 Archfield Road, Cotham, Bristol


I. Rees

30 Ramsey Road, Horfield, Bristol 7


A. Rich

c/o Pox 126, Basham, Alberta, Canada


R. Richards

11 Tennison Road, South Noorwood, London S.E. 25


John Riley

School Farm House, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol


R. Roberts



A. Rushton

Rectification Flight, RAF Conningsby, Nr. Sleaford, Lins.


A. Sandall

43, Meadway Avenue, Nailsea, Somerset


Mrs. A. Sandall

43, Meadway Avenue, Nailsea, Somerset


B. Scott

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


D. Searle

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


Mrs. D. Searle

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


G. Selby

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


R.J. Sell

51 Swiss Road, Ashton Vale, Bristol 3


A. Selway

15 St. Martin’s Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


R. Setterington.

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


R. Setterington

4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset


W. Smart

37 Norland Square, London W11


D. Smith

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


J. Stafford

‘Bryher’, Badgworth, Nr. Axbridge, Somerset


Mrs. I. Stanbury

74, Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


T.H. Stanbury

31, Belvoir Road, St. Andrews, Bristol


J.D. Statham

43 Coates Gardens, Edinburgh 12


R. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


Mrs. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


P. Stewart

11 Fairhaven Road, Redland, Bristol 6


D. Stuckey

34 Allington Road, Southville, Bristol 3


P. Sutton

56 Arley Hill, Redland, Bristol 6


D. Targett

16 Phillis Hill, Midsomer Norton, Bath, Somerset


A. Thomas

Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset


A. Thomas

83 Coronation Rd., Southville, Bristol 3


D. Thomas

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


N. Thomas

Holly Lodge, Norwich Road, Salhouse, Norwich, Norfolk


S. Thompson

51 Hayward Road, Redfield, Bristol 5


G. Tilly

‘Gable’, Digby Road, Sherborne, Dorset


J. Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


Mrs. D. Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


R. Toms

22 Lancing Gardens, Edmonton, London N9


E. Towler

5 Boxgrove Gardens, Aldwick, Bognor Regis, Sussex


P. Townsend

154 Sylvia Avenue, Lower Knowle, Bristol 3


Mrs. J. Tuck

 48 Wiston Path, Fairwater, Cwmbran, Monmouthshire


S. Tuck

27 Woodbury Avenue, Wells Somerset


D. Turner

12 Westbourne Place, Clifton, Bristol 8


P. Turner

12 Northfield, Stanshawes Estate, Yate


S. Tuttlebury

24 Victoria Rd., Fleet, Nr. Aldershot, Hants.


R. Voke

8 Pavey Road, Hartcliffe, Bristol 3


Mrs. D. Waddon

32 Laxton Close, Taunton, Somerset


R. Wallis

174 Bryants Hill, Bristol 5


D. Warburton

20 Beverley Court Road, Quinton, Birmingham 32


Miss C. Warren

2 The Dingle, Combe Dingle, Bristol BS9 2PA


G. Watts

59, Southbrown House, Duckmoor Road, Ashton, Bristol 3


M. Webster

43 Shroud Road, Patchway, Bristol


E. Welch

18 Station Road, Frenchay, Bristol


D. Weston

‘Maryvale’, 2 Folloton, Totnes, Devon


R. White

8 Regent Court, Stoke Poges Lane, Slough, Berks.


R. Wickens

2 Cherry Garden Road, Canterbury, Kent


P. Wilkins

51 Constable Road, Lockleaze, Bristol


B. Wilton

22 Wedmore Vale, Knowle, Bristol 4


D. Yendle

59 Egerton Road, Bristol 7


October Trip to O.F.D.3

By Martin Webster

Early on Saturday October 12th 1968, Dave Irwin, Dave Yendle, Dave Turner, Bob Craig (SMCC) and myself set out for South Wales with the intention of finding our way to the O.F.D. streamway.  After 2½ hours of driving through torrential rain, and getting lost in Mid-Wales, we arrived at the S.W.C.C. cottage.  At this point “Wig” and Bob Craig decided to fester for the day because, so they thought, the chances of getting into the streamway would be pretty remote due to the heavy rain.  So, after a fruitless half-hour of trying to change their minds, the rest of us changed and staggered off up the hill to the O.F.D. top entrance.  Two of us had been down before but the way to the ‘3’ streamway had not been visited, so armed with only a rather lengthy piece of rope, and a lot of hope, we strode forth into the abyss!

After about 20 minutes we entered passages which were unknown to us.  Large corridors stretched away in all directions, and short drops and climbs made the caving quite interesting.  Some way ahead we could hear voices, and suddenly a hairy apparition appeared before us.  Apparently he too was looking for the ‘3’ streamway.  When we mentioned we had removed our rope from a rather difficult climb, at what is known as ‘The Chasm’ (we had pulled the rope down after us) but thought we could climb back up, he looked rather worried and asked who were we expecting to come and rescue us.  With this he rushed off and announced to the rest of his party that a group of ‘weegies’ had arrived!  Our thoughts can be imagined, when, 20 minutes later the same apparition re-appeared and announced that he had crippled himself against a rock!

After what seemed an age, it became obvious that the other party didn’t know the way either, so we went up one of the wide side passages that we had seen.  The way we had gone seemed very promising and after a short while came across a S.W.C.C. party who cheerfully stated we were on the right track, but only half-way there.  With renewed spirit we hurried on; up climbs; down climbs, through boulder piles.  One of the main obstacles was a vast rift, darkness below and darkness above, and in our case, three quaking cavers trying to traverse along the middle.

The ‘3’ streamway could be heard a long time before reaching it, so it was no surprise when we reached our goal.  It took 2½ hours for the return trip and we emerged from the cave after a serious, but very enjoyable 7 hour trip.