Local Services

Search Our Site

Future Supplies.

The B.B. is only produced in the size and shape it is by talking advantage of any cheap sources of paper, printing, etc, as they appear.  The latest move to safeguard future supplies of covers is the receipt from a new printer - connected with the club - of five thousand covers for the magazine.  This will keep us going for some time to come.  The next crisis will be a shortage of paper and this will hit us soon.  If any member can help with gifts or cheap sources of foolscap duplicating paper, this will, be greatly appreciated.


The farmer has asked us not to dig until the weather has improved and suggests we see him again ‘later in the year.'  This is fair enough, although disappointing.  It is interesting to note, though, that he has heard all about accidents which happen down caves and, again understandably, doesn't want that sort of publicity to be connected with him.  All of which goes to show that the adverse effects of caving accidents have unfortunate repercussions which keep on going for many moons afterwards. We hope that the Emborough team will be able to help on the Cuthbert’s Culvert in the meantime, and decrease the water danger in this cave.


The state of affairs is very healthy.  So many members have written articles recently that a bigger B.B. seems called for. We are afraid, that this will have to wait, at least until next month, as the, editor is being worked rather hard at his job at present (dammed-.shame!) but, meanwhile, keep it up! One member -   'Sett' has sent in almost enough stuff for a complete B.B. this month, and so the magazine which fellows is largely the work of our guest-editor-for-the-month.  To others, we will print your articles just as soon as we can and we do thank you very much for sending then in.



Congratulations to “Spike” and Pam on their engagement.  Also thanks on behalf of club members for the celebration at the Hunters.

We are sorry to report that our Hon. Sec. & Treas. has boon recently laid low with the dreaded appendicitis.  However, he has had the offending organ removed and is now well on the way to recovery. We hope he will be amongst again soon. Incidentally, we hope he won't mind if we note that this is probably the first time that anyone has ever got anything out of him'.

Most members will have heard of Ian Dear’s unlucky accident over the Christmas.  We are pleased to be able to report that ho is also doing well and we have received the following from him. ....

Ian Dear, who until recently had a cracked head, wishes to thank all those members who visited him in hospital.  He is on the road to recovery and return to Mendip.  This latter event will serve as an excuse for a barrel.

Unnecessary Facts Department.

All the printed pages of last year’s B.B. would, if placed end to end, stretch from the Hillgrove to the Hunters.  The covers would reach from the Hunters to the Belfry.  You do not wish to know this, but we hate wasting these odd spaces which appear in the B.B.

A Visit to La Cueva De Nerja

by "Sett"

The cave is about two miles east of the village of Nerja, which is a village, on the south coast of Spain some thirty miles east of Malaga which is, in turn, about a hundred miles east of Gibraltar.  I first heard of the existence of the cave from an article in one of the British Sunday papers.  This claimed that the cave contained a profusion of prehistoric paintings and that it would be opened to the general public in October 1960.  As I would be in Malaga towards the end of September, I decided to make a serious attempt, even pulling a few strings if necessary, to visit the place.

We arrived in Malaga for late lunch on the Sunday, and after the usual, heavy meal and subsequent siesta, went in search of the tourist office. As we night have guessed, had we thought, the office was shut.  Not because it was Sunday, but because it was the afternoon of the day they opened in the evening.  This, in fact, was not so, and we eventually called on them at 9 am the next morning. ''Yes, the cave is open from 10 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm.”  “Yes,  the local bus leaves the terminus in Malaga at 8 am and 1 pm each day,   returning at 12.30 and 5.30 pm.”  This would only give me half an hour, but it would be enough and anyway, I’d come nearly a thousand miles and wasn't going to be discouraged very easily.  Next, down to the bus office to book a seat, then back to the hotel to pick up a camera and tape recorder and dump towel and costume and then back to the bus stop. There were two buses waiting at the stop and I soon found out that the seat I had booked - No 2 - was a single seat right up in the front next to the driver.  The rest of the bus was filled mainly with locals and the whole of the corridor was full of large shopping baskets.  Dead on time the driver and conductor got on and we started round the harbour and out along the tram route.  They have a very good parking rule on the tram route - that is, if you happen to know it.  Since the lines run very close to the pavement, you park on the centre line of the road.  Very awkward for overtaking.

It was a very hot sunny day, and as soon as we got out into the country it started to become obvious why the bus was going to take two and three quarter hours for a thirty odd mile journey.  The road surface was awful.  We bounced along quite happily.  The driver, who was a big strong man, wrestling with the wheel and occasionally sounding one of the loudest horns I have ever heard, right under my foot. About half way,   the bus stops for twenty minutes or so, to give the driver a breather and allow everybody to got out for a quick drink and buns. Locals also got onto the bus to sell you pasties and other delicacies to keep your strength and morale up for the rest of the journey.

During the summer, the rainfall is extremely low; it doesn't rain for months on end.  However, by careful irrigation, it is amazing how great a profusion of fruits and other crops are grown in this area.  I saw grapes, oranges, tomatoes, peppers and prickly pear and I learnt that potatoes were the third crop of the year.  Other crops wore tobacco, all sorts of citrus fruits, peaches, apricots and literally hundreds of square miles of olives.

The bus finally drew up at the cave entrance and after confirming the time of the return journey. I checked on the time of the cave opening – a nominal 4.30, but it could be earlier if there were enough visitors.  It was now nearly four o’clock and I made for the futuristic cafe opposite the cave.  On my way I was stopped by an elderly woman with a thick American accent.

"Say!  Do you speak English?"

"I AM English."

"What is this here?"

"It’s a cave with prehistoric paintings."

"Hey Elmer!” – Elmer was having trouble trying to make the locals understand American English.  This wasn't surprising as there was only one who spoke any language other than his native Spanish and he wasn't there at the time and the other language was French anyway. "It’s only some old cave; we don't want to see an old cave."  Whereupon Elmer explained to me that they had to be in Grenada that night and couldn't spare the time. They had a large travelling sex palace and probably toured Europe in a fortnight.

I didn’t have to wait long for the opening of the cave, and in we all went.  There was no guide attached to the party, you just wander through with guides at strategic points to direct you and answer questions.  After an artificial entrance shaft there is a few tens of foot of passage which brings you out well up the wall of a chamber of the same sort of shape and size as Lamb Leer.  A flight of concrete steps load down the side to a flat floor which has a small stage and auditorium.  I hurried through this and into two more chambers roughly the same size as the first and well decorated with formations.  I suspect that the rock is Triassic Limestone, which appears to be more soluble than the carboniferous variety, but it could be the higher temperature of the water.

There was no sign of the paintings, so I made my way back to the first chamber and collared a group of three guides.  I finally got it over to them, and one of them led me back to the far end of the furthest chamber where he showed me a traverse leading on.  I was quite willing to have a go, but he said it got tight and muddy and promptly called my bluff.  Since most of the conversation was by sign language, we got on very well. He told me that there were a large number of  relics which had been taken to Madrid,  including some  stuff called ' Trigo' which I couldn't get until he showed me some in the sand bank near the entrance.  It was wheat - something I've never seen in any natural cave site before.  He was really most patient and explained that the paintings would be open to the public sometime next year (l96l) and then led me outside to have a chat with the cashier the one who spoke French.  He explained that all the artifacts and remains were in a museum in Malaga.  In view of this conflicting information, I decided to give these a miss.  During the whole time I was underground, I was entertained by Hi-Fi sound from hidden loudspeakers playing popular classics. The “Ride of the Valkyrie" was the only one I recognised.

Some postcards from the cafe, and back to the bus for the return journey.  I finally got back to Malaga in time for a wash and aperitifs before dinner.  We were delighted to hear the B.B.C. announce frost as we sweltered.

Belfry Water Supply.

The sixpenny surcharge which was imposed to pay for the installation of mains water has now raised the sum of £41 and the Belfry fee reverted to 1/- on January 27th.  It was originally intended to continue the charge for a few weeks to build up a stock of tea and sugar, but the Hut Warden has suggested that a system of fines for failing to do a fair share of the Belfry chores will be started instead and we’ll see how it works.

B.E.C.  1961 Continental Tour.

At both the 1959 and I960 A.G.M.'s the possibility of running a B.E.C. trip to the continent was considered.  Last year it fell through, but it is still a possibility for this year.  We can either run an organised trip for all the interested members or, if there are only a few members who want to visit the continent but who have not the experience or the knowledge of the language to travel on their own, we could probably find members who have been before and would be willing to act as guides or couriers to other members.  Would  anybody who is interested in guiding or being guided please contact Sett, either at the Belfry or at his home  address giving brief details of country, standard of accommodation, subjects of interest and number in the party.


A caver had a bright idea to order a container of beer from Ben; carry it down to the Belfry, and spend a week drinking it.  Unfortunately, he was just leaving the Hunters when he bumped into another caver. They agreed to share the beer on condition that an equal quantity was bought by the second caver when the original container ran out.  When they got back to the Belfry, they found three more cavers already in residence, and agreed to drink the beer that night, the originator of the idea claiming the odd pint.  They were just drawing the first round when two more bods walked in.  A conference ensued and they agreed each to supply an equal quantity of beer every night for a week, the purchaser to get the odd pint. How much beer was there in the original container?

 (Answer to be published next month.)

Pen Park Hole

by Garth,

The cave is situated, as its name suggests, at Pen Park Road, Bristol about a hundred yards from the 8 and 6A bus termini.  The entrance is enclosed by a eight foot high fence.  A cunningly constructed wooden platform covers the actual entrance which, when removed, reveals a twenty foot deep shaft.  This shaft is man made (Largely by the B.E.C. - Ed) and is negotiated by moans of a kind of stemples forming a sort of ladder, which the mud makes rather dicey to use.

The route to the top of the Main Chamber is most interesting inasmuch as it is lined with calcite crystals which line the walls and roof to a depth of about four inches.  I do not know of any other cave where so great a thickness and an area of this sort of crystal can be seen.  It's quite an easy walk and scramble along this route, but there is one place where the rock must be treated with some respect as you scramble through.

When one first encounters the Main Chamber it seems to be one vast expanse of blackness reaching down to infinity, but means of descent is in fact by eighty feet of ladder - which every good caver always carries about with him - plus a hundred of feet of nylon rope and a forty foot tether.  The descent is made, in two stages.  The first is to a convenient lodge about thirty feet down.  From this vantage point one can obtain an impressive view of the lake and the surrounding mud.  This ledge may also be used as a respite after climbing a strenuous thirty feet of swaying, slippery and extremely muddy ladder.  A further forty feet of ladder may then be climbed (downwards, naturally) but I this may prove uncomfortable if the water is at the same level as I saw it - fifty feet from the top of the climb.

The size of the chamber can only be fully appreciated when one is at water level.  Depending on this level, it is over two hundred feet high, about eighty foot long and about fifty foot wide.  There are side passages leading off from the chamber.  The largest of these extends about a hundred and twenty feet in a south easterly direction.  It is approximately a hundred feet up from the floor of the chamber. When I last saw it, however, the dammed thing was flooded within a few inches of its roof.  (The water in the lake at the time was thus about a hundred feet deep.)

This passage is about nine feet high with large lumps jutting out of the roof.  The width varies from five to fifteen feet, I can’t comment on the other passages as I have not been into them.

The lake in this cave is not fed, as you might expect it to be, by a stream.  It is part of the water table and is filled by seepage.  This, I think, tends to make the water just that little bit colder than that in a normal stream underground.  Knowing very little about water tables, I should think that the rates of rise and fall in this cave, together with the very large difference between "high and low tide" would form an interesting subject for research on the behaviour of water tables with relation to the rainfall.

More Personal News

Congratulations (if a little belated) to Steve Tuck and Linda Knight on their engagement.

Desperate Appeal!!

We have received a very good letter from a Mr. A Crutch (Secretary to the Minister without Port Oleo) which we have LOST with our usual efficiency.  If Mr Crutch reads this, perhaps he wouldn’t mind having another go? Editor.


Editor,   S.J. Collins,   33, Richmond Terrace,   Clifton,   Bristol  8.
Secretary.   R. J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road,  Knowle, Bristol 4.
Postal Department.   C.A. Marriott,  718, Muller Road,   Eastville,   Bristol.

February Committee Meeting.

At the February meeting of the committee, G. Selby; John Ransome, Mike Garton, Chris Hawkes (Hawkes of Leicester!) John Tierney were all elected as full members and Norman Tuck was elected as an associate member.  We should like to welcome then all to the club.

Bunks will be transported to the Belfry in a few weeks, to be made into a portable stack to go either in the Ladies Room or in the living room as the occasion warrants, so that the accommodation at the Belfry will  be further increased and advantage nay be taken of the  extra room in the Ladies' Room. 

It was agreed to alter the membership forms to include the signature of the parents in the case of members who are under twenty one.  A new class of membership was also agreed to.  This is Associate Life Membership and it will cost £3/5/-.  This will include the status of associated, combined with the life member’s permanent membership.

The Climbing Secretary announced that ten members had taken part in the last North Wales trip.  The Belfry Engineer agreed to investigate the leak in the kitchen roof and to suggest a scheme for ventilating the roof space so that the likelihood of dry rot would be reduced.  Alfie was given permission to purchase timber to the value of £2 for use as shoring in the Cuthbert’s Culvert scheme.

Whitsun Coach Trip to Yorkshire.

After the very successful coach trip last year at Whitsun, it has been suggested that we repeat the process this year.  The scheme is that, if enough members agree to take part, the club will run a coach to the Gaping Ghyll area, members making their own arrangements about camping, eating, caving, or any other pastime they may be thinking of.  Anyone interested should get in touch with Bob Bagshaw or any committee member.


Although we had a good stock, this is a twelve page B.B. and uses up a lot of material.  More stuff will be very welcome.


Film Show.  There will be a film show at Redcliffe Hall on the 30th March.  The main film will be "The Loving Spirit"


Congratulations to ''Ronnie'' and ''Sage'' on the birth of their second son, Timothy John.  He was born on February 11th and weighed ten pounds.

Answer to Last Month’s Problem

4½ gallons.

New members

BACK NUMBERS of some of last year’s issues of the BELFRY BULLETIN are still available at the Belfry. Price 3d each.  These are obtainable from Alfie or Sett.

Caving Log for 1961

January 1st, Eastwater.   George Honey, Jim Giles and Mike Calvert.  An interesting trip made to this cave in order to ascertain the condition of the boulder ruckle.  This was found to be in the same condition as it always has been - rather loose.  Some dressing down was done, but probably the best method would be force or shoring in the boulder Chamber as an alternative. A large black block hanging from the roof is the main hazard, the floor being covered with loose rocks.  This part is certainly no more dangerous than it ever has been.  A quick trip was made down the Dolphin Pot to the top of the thirty five foot pitch. The rest of the system is quite stable. Mr. Geeks (The farmer) asked us to contact the M.R.O. rep to ask for an early decision on the future of this cave.

January 5th. Brimble Pit & Thrupe Swallet.  Mike Baker; George Pointing, Norman Tuck and Jim Giles.  Brimble Pit was inspected, also Thrupe Swallet.  This latter is situated about two miles north of Croscombe and was first dug by M.N.R.C. in 1936 but was considered unsafe.  A few years ago Norman had another go at it and shored up the loose stuff.  The shaft is now about thirty feet deep at which point the stream is reached.  The stream disappears through a hole which is partially blocked with scree.  Apparently this has accumulated since the summer.  If more interest were taken in this dig, another Cuthbert’s could well be the reward.  Jim Giles.

January 8th. Emborough.  Alfie,  Jill and Jim Giles,  Another. ''Probe around" trip to this interesting dig.  A few photographs taken (by direct lighting) and about "100 tons" of leaf mould removed from the attempted shaft which was all washed in again.       Jim Giles.

14th January. St. Cuthbert’s.  Intended surveying trip.  Party got soaked in entrance pitch, and because of the inadvisability of staying in a cave on the brink of flooding, we went on a quick tourist trip.  Leader R. Stenner.  Party Llew and Jim Hill.

14th January.  Swildons. Dave Causer and Steve Wynne-Roberts went down at about mid-day to continue digging in Shatter Pot.  Several feet of progress was made and the passage is still large when excavated.  Surfaced at 8 pm.  Rather more water down the pitches than when we went in.  Dave Causer.

14th January. Goatchurch and Sidcot.  Jim Giles, Ron Towns, Tiny Tierney and Dave Smith. A beginners trip including the Maze  in Goatchurch and Purgatory in Sidcot.     Jim Giles.

15th January. Swildons.   Mike Calvert; Bruce Lynn, Ron Towns, John Tiny Tierney, Dave Smith and Mike Langley.  Wandered round dry ways and up stream passages.  Damned wet.

15th January. Priddy Green Swallet.   Jim Giles and Jug Jones.  Spent three hours removing cowsh and rocks from the tunnel at the present basement of the dig.  Succeeded in enlarging the size of the tunnel both sideways and in height quite considerably. At the moment the work is quite easy. How about some more diggers??   Jim.

29th January.  Goatchurch.  Jim Giles, Mike Baker and Ron Thomas.  A photographic (?) trip to Boulder Chamber.  The bear seems to be hibernating and not even the dreaded side lighting would wake it!  Jim.


5th February.  Cox's Cave.  Jug Jones, John Ransome and Pat.  A 2/1 trip proving very enlightening.  We learned that (a) A large tin of red ochre is to be found in a tiny niche in a passage loading to the left and that (b) The river running through this cave comes all the way from Snowdon.

5th February. Great Oone's Hole.  A complete trip led by Jug.  A bat was found near the entrance.

11th February. Lamb Leer.  George Pointing, Dave, Paddy and Jim Giles.  Photographic (without side lighting) to the Cave of Falling Waters.  Met a party of M.N.R.C. tribesmen who put on the winch for us; exceeding the 30 mph limit. Jim Giles.

11th February. G.B.  Nigel, Bob Picknitt plus eleven.  Party split into two groups and went their individual ways.  Nigel’s party went up White Passage into the Rift Chamber and up Rhumba Alley.  Nigel got stuck and decided that discretion was the better part of valour and retired gracefully.  Then down the Loop and Oxbow to the bottom of the Gorge and a steady trip out.  What Bob’s half of the party did is beyond comprehension.  Nigel.

10th February. Swildons.  A Friday evening trip round the top of Swildons by some members of E.M.I. Caving Club.  The party consisted of 5 beginners and it is of note that the amount of sweat produced by a caver is proportional to the amount of activity and the amount of excess flesh.   (I'm glad I'm thin)     ''Prew"

12th February.  Swildons. Trip to Shatter Pot on mad fool venture to get cave insects and make temperature and humidity readings.  Party, M. Calvert and B. Lynn.  Leader Roberts.

12th February. Fox's Hole.  Alfie and Jill visited this hole on their way to lunch.

12th February. G.B.  Garth, Jim Giles, Jug Jones, Tiny, Steve, Brian Griffiths, Pete Winter, John Roby, Bob Ball  & Mike Bell.  The mob was fallen in outside the Belfry and transported to G.B. repairing Garth's back wheel on the way.  Ventured down to the sump, which was thought to be lower than normal.  On the way back up, the party split.  Garth’s party sat about smoking while Jim and six others tried Rhumba Alley.  Tiny was well and truly stuck for about fifteen minutes and Jug, who was following, took the hint and went back when Tiny broke free.  The remaining five carried on as far as was possible and returned. This was a return to caving for Jug who last week went to Cox’s and did not get stuck in the entrance squeeze.  Jim G.

18th February. Swildons.  Jin Giles, Dick Dunster, Richard Roberts, Ron Towns, Steve and Mike.  The trip was an epic of pre-planning.  It was intended to be a super Paradise Regained and Trouble Series photographic trip with side lighting, grub and lots of other exciting treats but due to Sod's Law we only reached Shatter Pot.  Two of the team were without Goon Suits and suffered for it. 

              Jim, Dick, Richard and Ron ventured into though Shatter Pot diggings and by the trial and error method, found the right hole. The S.M.C.C. must be congratulated on their work in this Swildons system.  Their tunnels are a work of art!

              For those who haven't been to this part of the Empire, the recent extension to Shatter Pot is very impressive and has some remarkable mud formations.  It is estimated to be about 250 foot long and consists of a rift, larger perhaps than the Shatter Pot Rift.  The floor is made up of mud and large boulders with a stream running across at the furthermost end.  As to the way on, who knows?  The stream is only a small one and the sides of the rift don't look very promising. Perhaps the floor holds a few secrets. Only time will tell.

              There must have been a film show on at Sump 1 by the numbers of Sandhurst types we passed on our way out, or maybe they were going to the Channel Islands.  Jim.

18th February.  Swildons. B. Lynn and Mike Calvert.  A bug hunting trip as far as the mud sump.  Stream moderate.

20th February.  Swildons. Tourist trip to sump 1 with four Lockleaze schoolboys.  Leader Roger Stenner.  A pleasant tourist trip with the water not too high.

25th February. Swildons.  Part, Len Dawes, Alice Grimes, Sheila Paul, Wilf and Pat.  A scientific trip, stream tracing using indicator impregnated cotton. The cotton was placed in the Dry Way above the Old Grotto; in the Black Hole Stream where it emerges this side of Sump 1 and in the main stream way just above this point.  The results of this test will be known in about a week or a fortnight.

26th February. St. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Frank Darbon.  Party George Pointing and four Farnham chaps.  Trip to Dining Room and High Chamber with fun and games in the Rabbit Warren. A very good trip indeed.   George can still make the entrance rift!

26th February. St. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Mike Baker.   Party Jim Giles, Ron, Pat Irwin, Len Dawes and two Wessex (Farnham) types.  Trip to September Series, via Main Chamber, Trafalgar Chamber and Strand.  Mainly photographic.  Air very thin in the Strand.

Cave Photography

by J.A. Eatough
(Dept of Medical Photography, University of Bristol, and John Attwood.)

Editor’s Note: - Older readers will remember the articles on cave photography published in the B.B. and written by "Pongo" Wallis.  They will find this article a useful ‘up-to-date' addition to these earlier articles.  Newer readers will find this article invaluable to start them off on sound lines in the fascinating subject of cave photography.

There is nothing particularly difficult about cave photography, but there are points to remember about problems which are not encountered in ‘above ground’ photography. The photographer has to supply and place all his own lights, to produce the effects he requires.


Expensive equipment is not necessary to produce fine cave photographs.  The main requirements are robustness - to tolerate being dragged over boulders, through mud and water, and through crawls and squeezes, and reliability - so that possibly long and arduous trips are not made in vain.

THE CAMERA.  As in other types of photography, any camera can be used, but it is of advantage if the camera has a ' B' or 'T' setting.  In spite of the total lack of what photographers today call "available light', a fast lens is not required, f4.5 being quite adequate.  A flash synchronised shutter is not required, the 'open flash' technique being far superior.

The film size used is a matter for individual taste - the authors’ choice of camera being a 35mm camera with a wide angle lens (Ilford Advocate Series II) for colour, and a very old quarter plate field camera, with a variety of lenses, for black and white.

Except for one small point, the Ilford Advocate camera might have been designed as the ideal caving camera. It is very robust (one of ours has been dropped a considerable distance down a rock face).  In addition, the hard enamel exterior finish is easily wiped free of mud and the mechanism is free from unnecessary ornamentation.

The camera is fitted with a good quality 35mm wide angle lens, focussing down to three feet, in a simple shutter with a ‘B’ setting.  This ‘B’ position, incidentally, is the only one we use in cave photography.

One of our advocates has been improved by having the viewfinder replaced by an open frame finder which is easier to use than the original optical device,' but the frame is not essential.  This camera would do equally well for black and white photography, but we prefer the ground glass screen focuss¬ing, especially for close ups, and the individual treatment that can be given to the cut film we use.

FILM   Modern ultra-fast emulsions are not necessary.  For best image quality a medium speed panchromatic emulsion is required, i.e. Ilford K.P.3 or F.P.3 or Kodak verichrome Pan or Plus X.

In the case of colour photography, the recently introduced Kodak High Speed Ektachrome has no equal. This film is quite fast enough (We have lit the whole of the Cascade in St. Cuthbert’s with one medium sized bulb). Its image quality and colour rendering are good, and the latitude available is quite fantastic.  As in the case of camera, so with colour films - all types have their devotees.

CAMERA ACCESSORIES.  These should be kept to a minimum but four are essential.  These are (1) A tripod, which should be rigid when erected and which should be incapable of being rendered useless when covered by mud. (2) Lens hoods, which are useful in keeping dripping water off the lens.  (3) A cable release which must have a time lock to enable flash photographs to be taken with the shutter set at 'B' and (4) Supplementary lenses and filters as required.

ILLUMINATION.  On this subject, the authors have no doubt whatsoever that flash bulbs fired by a battery and capacitor circuit are the only light sources suitable for cave photography.

Electronic flash units tend to be bulky; fragile; of low power and high voltage and these volts are liable to go astray when the equipment gets wet.  Of flash powder, nothing can be said in its favour as it gets wet easily and won't burn, and in addition it is extremely difficult to judge how much to use for a given flash factor -  some form of prior weighing being essential.  In addition, stale powder appears to cause a reddish colour bias on colour films.  Smoke from flash powder can be of such quantity as to make many photographs "one off” jobs.  Lastly one of us (J.E.) has seen several cases of very bad burns caused by flash powder. (Editor's note: and I have been totally blinded for about a minute by the wretched stuff).  Similar remarks apply to magnesium ribbon.

The method of illumination we strongly advocate is to use flash bulbs fired from a battery-capacitor flashgun.  The bulbs are reasonably robust and reliable and the output is constant, making exposure determination easy.  The now PF1B bulbs are very small and produce a tremendous amount of light.  These bulbs are supplied in packets of five and flash factors given on the outside of the packets can be relied on to give a good exposure, even when the cave walls are dark and the rock is light absorbing.

The battery-capacitor flash gun can be easily and cheaply made, and can be very compact.  One of the unit's used by the authors only occupies a pack about 4" x 2" x 1" and will fire up to three bulbs at a time!

In the circuit shown below, a test lamp has been incorporated and this is recommended as each bulb can be tested in turn before firing.  The bulbs can be wired in series or in parallel and each system has its following.  The authors use the parallel system as it enables each bulb to be tested individually and one bulb can be fired as easily as three, without the necessity of shorting out the unused bulb holders.

Wiring Diagram for Battery-Capacitor Flashgun.


1)                  Ex-Govt Hand hold press button (For bulb firing)

2)                  22.5 or 30 volt deaf aid battery (e.g. Ever ready B105)

3)                  Test Lamp 2.5v, 0.2amp or 0.04amp.

4)                  Press .Button as (1)

5)                  Capacitor. 100 mfd,   50 Volt D.C. working (or 25v depending on battery voltage used.)

6)                  Resistor. 2,200 - 3,900 ohm ¼ or ½ watt.

Voltage of capacitor should be slightly higher than the voltage of the battery used.

Minimum battery voltage should be 4 volts/bulb resistance value should be approx 100 times battery voltage


Cost - The three major components can be bought for 6/- to 7/-.

EQUIPMENT TRANSPORTATION.  The rough handling that the equipment is liable to get in the mud and wetness of caves, demand that the maximum protection possible is given to all photographic equipment.  American made ammunition boxes, though rather heavy, have proved ideal, and can easily be obtained.  These boxes are very strong and have useful handles to which shoulder straps can easily be fitted and, most important, they are waterproof.  Our equipment has been taken through the sump in Stoke Lane Slocker perfectly satisfactorily, and even though filled with gear, the boxes floated up on the other side and were easily located.

                                                (To be continued.)

Late Entry to Caving Log.

January 1961.  Alfie and Jill inspected two interesting holes in Lamb Bottom.  One, a cave in conglomerate, believed to be a rift which has become choked with earth etc, at the top and thus provides it with a roof.  This hole is about 30' long, 6-7 foot wide and 6' high.  On the opposite side of the valley, the same rift is open at the top and extends in for about thirty foot, looking at its inner extremity something like the Butter Tubs in Yorkshire.  Nobody seems to know them except Balch, who mentions them in his books.

Since this space was going gash and there was nothing of the right length to fill it with, we have to announce that, with no expense spared, we are reproducing a picture of a typical stalactite column, as it would appear if photographed with the dreaded, side lighting.

Gouffre De Corbeaux

By John Ifold

Last August I went to the Ariage area of the French Pyrenees to study Palaeolithic art.  Whilst there, I was invited by the Speleological Society of Ariege to descend the Gouffre de Corbeaux at Gelat in the forest of Belesta this being one of the most impressive caves in the Belesta area. After driving some distance along the mountain tracks, we left our transport at a farm and walked about a mile through the forest to the cave.  From the top, it didn't seem a very impressive hole, but the French members of the party put over the side what seemed to me to be about a mile of lightweight ladder and the leader of the party then disappeared over the edge.  I had the rather doubtful honour of being the next and after being looked on with scorn for attempting to tie my lifeline on with a bowline (they insisted on a double reef knot) I set off.

After climbing down about thirty foot, I was clear of the overhang and found myself hanging in space - in an enormous hole which I later learned is 201 metres in circumference and with sides dropping a sheer hundred metres.  On reaching the bottom, we scrambled down the scree slope which was littered with the bones of sheep and cows which had apparently fallen over the edge in the past.

About five hundred yards further on, we went down another ladder pitch, this time only about fifty feet which was more like home.  Since we were rather short of time, I wasn't able to see as much of the cave as I would have liked and we had to turn back.  Standing at the bottom of the entrance hole – seeing the ladder fading to a thread three hundred feet above me, I wondered if I'd make it, for I'd never climbed three hundred feet of lightweight ladder all at once before.  I managed it, and it was certainly worth the effort.

The Gouffre is in Jurassic limestone and was first descended by Martel in 1902.


Editor,   S.J. Collins,   33, Richmond Terrace,   Clifton,   Bristol  8.
Secretary.   R. J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road,  Knowle, Bristol 4.
Postal Department.   C.A. Marriott,  718, Muller Road,   Eastville,   Bristol.

Caving Programme.

October 9-10th.  Derbyshire.  GIANTS & NETTLE POT.  Accommodation at Magpie Cottage, Sheldon, Nr. Bakewell.

October 16-17th.  ST. CUTHBERT’S.  Working weekend for the completion of the flood control pipes.  ALL HELP REQUIRED.

October 23-30th.  IRELAND.  To investigate the Slieve Moor area in Co. Fermanagh.  Cost £13.10.0 from Holyhead includes food, transport, ferry etc. Further information from Dave Irwin.


November 21st.  CUTHBERT’S.  LONG CHAMBER & CORAL SERIES.  Party limited to six.



For further details apply to Dave Irwin or Keith Franklin.


There will be a  St. Cuthbert’s leaders meeting on Sunday, October 17th at the New Inn , Priddy at 2.15pm

Library Notes

C.R.G. Publication No. 13 – July 1965 – “Mendip Cave Bibliography, and Survey catalogue” (1901 – 1963) has just been received.  This book is presented in quarto size and is bound in a stiff paper cover with plastic comb binding so that it opens flat, and additional sheets can be added as new material becomes available and is published.  The bibliography is extensively indexed under caves and subjects and consists of the following sections: -

Catalogue of Publications (arranged under authors).
Survey Catalogue.
Subject Index.
Cave Index.

Each section is separated by a different coloured sheet and the whole consists of 164 sheets.  A copy will be kept in the club library and one will be available at the Belfry.  Further copies are available from the C.R.G. price 25/- for members and 30/- for non-members.  If anyone is interested in getting a copy, will they please order it from the Hon. Librarian (Joan Bennett) by the 2nd October together with 25/- please.

B.E.C. Caving Report No. 11 – ‘The Long Chamber/Coral Area, St. Cuthbert’s Swallet’ by Dave Irwin is now available – price 3/6.

June Mock Rescue in St. Cuthbert’s

A practice rescue was held in St. Cuthbert’s Swallet on June 26th.  An attempt was made to make the rescue as realistic as possible with the location of the victim not being disclosed until the last minute.  The only part to be organised before hand was the Rigging Party for Pulpit, Gour Passage and Traverse Pitches.  The alarm was given at approximately 11.45am that an accident had occurred in Beehive Chamber.  People on the Belfry site began to change and a message was sent up to the Hunters to notify B.E.C. Members there.

The first Carrying Party (CP1) assembled and consisted of Dave Irwin, Pat Irwin, Alan Coase and a fourth man.  (Dave Palmer and J, Manchip were already with the victim – Alan Thomas).  They were preceded into the cave by the Rigging Party of Bryan Ellis, Pete Franklin, Phil Kingston and R. Craig, who carried tackle for Pulpit, Gour Passage and The Water Shute.  As soon as Pulpit was laddered, Pete and Phil descended and continued down the cave laddering Gour Passage Pitch (20’ ladder) and the Water Shute (20’ ladder and 100’ rope).  Meanwhile, K. Franklin and Slavin had changed and entered the cave to augment CP1 and also carry tackle down for the Traverse Pitches.  This tackle was collected from the top of Upper Traverse Pitch by the Rigging Party who tackled the two pitches.  The Rigging Party reassembled at the top of Lower Traverse Pitch, continued down to the bottom of Maypole Series and waited for the arrival of the victim.

CP1 located the victim and tied him in the carrying sheet.  The route out was decided as Plantation Junction – across the top of Sewer Rift into the Rabbit Warren and down again to Main Stream Passage – along Everest Passage and across Boulder Chamber to Kanchenjunga and then to Traverse Chamber.  This was achieved in two and a half hours with little difficulty in negotiating most of the route, with the exception of the small stretch of the route in the Rabbit Warren between the stal. bank and the Main Stream.  The only problem was the tying of the victim in the carrying sheet. This was incorrectly done in the first place amended slightly, and finally done properly at the top of Upper Traverse Pitch, under the supervision of Oliver Lloyd, who joined the rescue at this point as an observer.   Points about this stage of the rescue were that about eight in the carrying party were sufficient – handling techniques could have been better with slower pulls rather than quick jerks.  With no real problems of negotiation experienced, the two and a half hours were quite a reasonable time (between 800 and 900 feet of passage length) and this could be cut down by having fewer stops, using Stal. Pitch and carrying on through the Rabbit Warren into the Railway Tunnel and Harem Passage (650 – 700 feet).

The victim was lowered down Upper Traverse Pitch by CP1 and received by CP2 (R. Bennett, R. Meadon, R. King, C. Harvey, D. Searle and J. Hill) who then lowered him down Lower Traverse Pitch with the aid of the Rigging Party.  Telephone communication had been set up ( B. Lane, R. Biddle plus 1) to the surface from Upper Traverse Chamber.  The telephone party then followed the rescue out and at the appropriate moment, B. Prewer entered the cave to bring the other end of the telephone to the top of Pulpit.  Oliver Lloyd, Dave Irwin and Keith Franklin also followed CP2 out to the bottom of Gour Passage Pitch as observers and to give a hand if necessary.  The Water Shute was accomplished without any difficulty, but Gour Passage Pitch was a different matter, and requires a definite technique to be worked out for the sake of both the rescued and the rescuers! This also applies to Pulpit where a double rope was used through a pulley at the top of the carrying sheet. This pulley was a swivel type and, with a construction of a new hauling rope which tended to untwist itself, cause it to jam up with the rope and prevent movement either up or down.  The communications were poor, as the telephone arrived rather late at the bottom of the pitch, and verbal conversation degenerated somewhat.  The salient points at this stage of the rescue were that a dam across Maypole Stream was enough to keep the pitch dry in normal circumstances (so should a permanent dam be built?).  Gour Passage and Pulpit Pitches need more serious consideration about rigging. Wire Rift ought to be tried as an alternative.  A permanent telephone needs to be put in, with tapping points.  The rigging party had two hours to wait at the top of Lower Traverse Pitch, so could be used either to augment CP1 or to leave the cave.

From the top of Pulpit, the victim was pulled up Arête Pitch.  This was more difficult than expected, as the hauling room was restricted and the rope was slippery with mud and water.  It needed five people to be on the hauling rope.  Also the ladder constricts the top of Arête and had to be manoeuvred to a better position. 

The passage though to the bottom of the entrance pitch was negotiated without problems, but the victim could only be pulled half way up the pitch.  The rescue was abandoned at this point.  The difficulties experienced at this point could be obviated by a fresh party in the cave to haul up Pulpit, Arête and Entrance Pitches and not anybody left in the cave from CP1, CP2  or the Rigging Party.  Finally, a practice hauling a victim up the Entrance Pitch in a carrying sheet.  Most of the trouble was caused by the victim’s helmet jamming across the rift.

The total time of the rescue was six hours and in spite of the fact that it did not achieve the object of removing the victim from the cave, it was successful.  If the problems raised by the third mock rescue could be resolved quickly, the B.E.C. could feel confident that at least has a rescue system worked out which could cope with most of the possible accident situations in Cuthbert’s

K. Franklin.

Editor’s Note:    Firstly, an apology to the author re absence of a proper heading to this article. Secondly, we feel that the active cavers are to be congratulated for the work put in this year on Mock Rescues. With this experience, and the completion of the Flood Water Control System, we can surely claim to have taken all possible and reasonable precautions to prevent any serious situation from developing in St. Cuthbert’s.  It seems a pity that the public who are fed lurid accounts of danger in caves, cannot be informed via the press of the less spectacular work which goes on to reduce the dangers as far as it is humanly possible.


Since only one nomination for the committee was received by the date required by the Constitution, there will be no election this year.  The names and posts of the 1956/66 committee will be published in next month’s B.B.

Showcaves in Switzerland -part 2

by ‘Mo’ Marriott.

We boarded the coaches, and were soon on our way, but before finally returning to Zurich, a visit was paid to another cave near Zug – thr Hollgrottem bei Baar.  This system is in complete contrast to the Hollock, both in size and formation.  The cave is at about 2,000 feet O.D. and has been formed in Tuff on the edge of a shallow wooded valley.

The system consists of a series of small grottoes and cambers connected by passages – some natural and others excavated.  The feature of the cave is that these chambers are packed with formations in something like the same degree of profusion as in Balch Hole.  The first and smallest chamber was about eight feet high and the roof was covered with a fine display of betroidal stalactites with colours varying from white to deep brown and red.  I noticed in this chamber and in the next – the “Straw Room” – that there were hardly any corresponding formations on the floor.  I asked if these had been removed and was told that, surprisingly, this was the original condition of the cave.  I was particularly impressed by the length of some of the straws, and the fact that some were deep brown and red in colour.

The next chamber was called the Petrified Forest.  A standard enough name for a show cave, but a name with special significance as I later learned.  This was the most impressive chamber, the main feature being a cluster of perfectly parallel columns riding from the centre of the floor into a chimney in the roof.  These pillars were between twenty and thirty feet long and some were only six to eight inches in diameter – almost like gigantic straws.  As in the case of Straw Chamber, I noticed that these pillars had developed almost entirely as stalactites, since there was little or no build up of flowstone at the base.  In another part of this chamber there were several stalactites of over ten feet in length which had almost reached floor level, yet there was no trace of flowstone beneath it.

We moved on to the next chamber where, Professor Bogli assured us, the origins of these odd formations would become obvious.  The name of the chamber was the ‘ Underground Forest’ and this name proved to be very apt.  In the centre of the chamber were a number of what appeared to be very very thin, dark brown pillars.  Closer inspection showed them to be tree roots!  These roots were about thirty feet long and from one to three inches in diameter, perfectly parallel and smooth with a dense cluster of hair-like roots at the point at which they touched the floor.  Professor Bogli explained to us that, because of the porosity of the Tuff, the fir trees standing on the slopes directly above the cave have to send down long tap roots into the rock to finds enough water. When they reach the cavity, the roots carry on growing until they reach the floor where they send out thousands of fine roots to collect water.  Once the roots have reached the floor, the growth rate drops almost to zero and a thin film of stal. begins to form at once over the root.  This film soon develops into a thick case and forms the columns of the Petrified Forest, and in fact, of most of the vertical formations of the cave.

The depth of the rock above the cave varied from five to fifty feet so that some of the roots sent down by the fir trees could be as much as eighty feet long – probably greater than the height of the tree.

Apart from the trees, the other inhabitants of the cave were bats and spiders – in fact the cave was absolutely infested with spiders.  The final chamber had formerly been half filled with water to form a large calcite basin.  However, a nearby water scheme for Zurich had cut off nearly all the seepage supply so that the basin was now empty.  This did give on the opportunity to examine the walls of the basin (which had been about six feet deep).  The walls were covered with fine Dog-tooth Spar, with some interesting calcite flower formations at the old water level.  On the floor, were several large chunks of petrified wood that had been similarly coated with Dog-tooth Spar.

The temperature in this cave is somewhat higher than that in the Hollock, and this was particularly noticeable when we made our exit into the teeth of a full-blown snowstorm! Thus ended a visit to two very interesting Swiss Caves.

Annual General Meeting and Dinner


As announced in last month’s B.B., the Annual General Meeting and Dinner will be held on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2ND.

The Annual General Meeting will be held at 2.30pm in St. Mary Redcliffe Church Hall, Guinea Street, Bristol. PLEASE try to turn up promptly as it holds everyone up if we have to wait a long time for a quorum.

The Dinner will be held at the Cave Man Restaurant, Cheddar at 7pm for 7.30pm.  The price of the dinner is 16/6 and applications should be made AT ONCE to Bob Bagshaw TOGETHER WITH THE MONEY.  His address is: -

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4

We know that there is very little time between your receiving this B.B. (due to staff holidays and absence) and the actual date if the dinner, but please write PROMPTLY to Bob.

Once again the time has come for nominations for the next year’s committee to be sent in.  Older members will remember that we used to print a special form for this purpose, until it was realised that only about five or six of the two hundred printed were actually used.  To save paper, therefore, the form is no longer required. For newer members, the drill is this.

If you have any members in mind to stand for the next year’s committee, first ASK HIS PERMISSION to nominate him.  Then write on a piece of paper, “I wish to nominate ………as a candidate for the forthcoming election for the B.E.C. Committee and he has agreed to serve if elected.”  Then put down your OWN name and membership number and send it to Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4, or give it to him in person.  You may nominate as many people as you wish.  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 first of the improvements to the B.B. has now been put into effect.  This consists of a manuscript book, into which the editor sticks all manuscripts received – thus cunningly preventing their loss (a regrettable occurrence which has been known to happen from time to time in the past!). This book will also provide a check on any controversy which might arise in the future.  Please help by writing ON ONE SIDE OF THE PAPER ONLY when submitting material for the B.B.  Thank you.


Showcaves in Switzerland

This being the season for caving abroad, we thought the following article, although rather long, would be appropriate for this month….

by “Mo” Marriott.

My first opportunity of seeing something of caves in Switzerland presented itself in the form of a trip to the famous Hollock (I can spell sometimes!- Ed) on March 14th, organised by a club in Zurich.  For quite a modest fee, a whole day excursion to some of the showcaves in Northern Switzerland was offered.  I accepted this offer gladly and piled into the coach waiting at Zurich at 7.00am, somewhat bleary eyed!

The Hollock lies in Canton Schwyz, some 30 miles south of Zurich and about the same distance east of Lucerne.  The journey from Zurich takes one over several small passes rising to about 3,000 feet and through the gentle mountains of Canton Zug – with the curiously shaped mountain Rigi dominating the south shore, and eventually through the narrow streets of Schwyz. The final stage of the journey is along the Muota Valley, a steep sided valley with some very impressive limestone cliffs and a very noticeable escarpment formation in places. After a while the bed of the valley grew steeper, swings towards the east and climbs up to the little village of Hintertal at about 2,000 feet – the Priddy of Northern Switzerland.

At Hintertal, the party was met by Professor Bogli, one of the leading figures in Swiss speleological circles, who first gave us an excellent lecture – illustrated with slides – on the geology and hydrology of the Hollock and the area around the cave. He then gave us a brief account of the exploration of the Hollock System.

The Hollock lies on the western spur of a group of mountains rising to about 9,000 feet.  This spur is formed between the Bisis Valley and the Pragel Pass.  In fact, at Hintertal, no less than four major valleys join the main Muota Valley, one of them draining land up to 11,000 feet.  These valleys were formerly glaciated, although in recent times the glaciers have retreated, and in the area of the Hollock, only remnants of ice remain.  Large amounts of glacial debris may still be seen in the valley floors.  A large over thrust has occurred in the area, running S.W. – N.E., and the whole mass has been thrust over the Santis group of mountains some miles to the north.  Considerable local faulting has also occurred, and evidence of this may be easily seen in the cliffs along the Muota Valley.  This faulting has evidently influenced the pattern of drainage in the area to a considerable extent.

The majority of the water feeding the Hollock is derived from melting snow and ice, and it is because of this that the visit was made in winter, since the major part of the system often becomes flooded with melt water in spring and summer.  The Hollock was the scene of a famous rescue some years ago when several people were trapped in the cave by flood waters for quite a few days.

After the lecture from Professor Bogli, the party was taken to see the major resurgence of the Hollock System.  Here the water rises through a mass of boulders at the base of a highly waterworn cliff.  At the time of the visit, only a mere trickle was flowing through the boulders, but during the late spring and early summer, a fast river is formed some 20 yards wide and a yard or more deep.  One curious effect of this is that the cave is cooler in summer than in winter, due to the cooling effect of melt water.

The party then returned to the village where we were equipped with large hand carbide lamps, and set off up the icy track to the entrance.  The entrance passage descended gradually.  The cross section of the passage is lens shaped with the major axis orientated along the bedding.  In some places the size and symmetry of the passage section is quite remarkable. There is a noticeable absence of formations in this section of the cave, no doubt due to the effect of the seasonal floodwaters.  However, this is more than made up by the abundance of all kinds of phreatic features, which makes the cave a living textbook for the student of hydrology. Everywhere the rock is smooth and polished by the action of the water.  In one section, known as the “ Glacier Garden” there are a whole series of perfectly formed potholes, some of them with a perfectly formed conical ‘island’ in the centre of the cavity. Many of these potholes were filled with large transparent blocks of ice – hence its name.  Also in this section, Professor Bogli pointed out several very high ‘solutional spirals’ in the roof – in effect the opposite feature of the pothole.  The formation of these involves the mixing of two different streams of water at different temperatures and containing different amounts of dissolved gasses. All the other phreatic features were to be seen, but in a profusion that I have never seen before.  Some unusual features included one produced by water flowing over the ‘end grain’ of thinly bedded limestone, resulting in a regular saw-tooth pattern.  In several places, the flow markings indicate a vertical upward flow of water through cavities of extremely large cross section.  I would hesitate to even try to estimate the amount of water involved.

The tour eventually halted ay the “Bose Wand” – literally “Angry Wall” in quite a large chamber about a mile from the entrance and about a hundred and fifty feet below it.  At this point, we were reminded that in summer conditions, we would be fifty to sixty feet underwater!  The tour had only shown us a mere fraction of the system – the principal claim to fame of the Hollock being that it is the largest single system in the world.

The return to the surface, was followed by an excellent lunch at the village hostelry – with traditional Swiss music and yodelling.

(At which point, in spite of our opening remarks, we are going to leave ‘Mo’ until next month, to allow room for a report on the recent rescue in Swildons, which we think members who are not in the area would like to hear about.  Ed.)


Remark by Alan Thomas: “If caving receives much more adverse publicity, the B.E.C. will have to go underground!”

Rescue in Swildons

On Sunday, 22nd July, at approximately 4pm, there was a cloudburst over Mendip, and a large amount of water fell in a very short time.  This followed a week of heavy rain, which had saturated the ground and the water from the cloudburst thus ran straight off the fields into the streams. After this rain, three cavers thought it would be wise to check up on the state of Swildons, where they found that the stream had risen alarmingly and that the entrance was impassable. They then checked on the barn and found evidence that at least four people were in the cave.  The M.R.O. were accordingly alerted and Howard Kenny and Jim Hanwell arrived on the green and decided that the police should be informed. They in turn informed the fire brigade. By then several people had arrived on the green and Howard and Jim asked the Franklin brothers and Mike Palmer to stand by to enter the cave when possible.

The Fire Brigade started pumping with three pumps at approximately 7.30pm, but by 8.15, the water was still about six inches above the grating and the pumps were only just holding this level.  However, after some deliberation, the party entered the cave.  It was decided to go through Kenny’s Dig to Jacob’s Ladder to see if the party were down there, then to proceed down the Short Dry Way as far as the top of the Forty.

In the passage just before the turn to the Wet Way, the water was almost six feet deep, and the first man was roped on to traverse above the water.  Once past this obstacle, the rescue party made very good time to the Water Rift.  This was sumping, and the party had to go through the upper keyholes.  The first three to be rescued were found at the end of the passage above the Forty, and they informed the rescuers that four other people were at the bottom of the pitch.  Pete Franklin went to the top of the pitch and thought he saw a light shining through the water.  Mike Palmer confirmed this and they decided that something would have to be done quickly if there was a person stuck on the ladder.  Accordingly, Keith sat in the narrows above the pitch to block some of the water while Pete looked over the edge.  He saw that one of the party had climbed the ladder, but had been unable to get over the edge and had got onto the edge just below the lip of the pitch and had tied himself on.  Keith let the water go while Mike lifelined Pete over the edge.  Pete tied the bloke on and the others hauled him up.  He was cold and very wet, but after some glucose and chocolate, he was none the worse for his ordeal.  He had been on the ledge for an hour and a half.  He told the rescuers than one of his party had fallen off the ladder, but thought he was only winded.

After a further twenty minutes, the water level began to drop – due to the fire brigade starting up more pumps – and it was decided to descend the Forty.  Pete went down with the First Aid Box and emergency rations, and was followed by Keith with the M.R.O. goon suits.  They found three others in the passage at the bottom of the pitch, out of the water and in no danger.  Keith returned to the top of the pitch to tell the others that everything was all right.  Mike then took the M.R.O. telephone down, and Howard came down to check up and helped tie them on a lifeline and hauling rope.  Within minutes, a very efficient hauling party pulled the three up the pitch and escorted them out of the cave.  Everyone had cleared up and left the cave by 12.15pm.

The speed and efficiency of the rescue was greatly helped by the good work of the fire brigade, and the Waterworks, whose pumping enabled the rescuers to enter the cave when they did and kept the water low enough for the rescue to continue.  The rescuers helped the fire brigade to clear up the hoses and pumps and everyone left the site at 1.15am




The B.S.A. National Conference will be held this year at Leeds University, Bodington Hall, from the 10th to the 13th of September.  Members who are interested should apply to Bob Bagshaw for further details.


The printing blocks for the B.B. covers having worn out, a new set is about to be made.  This gives an opportunity for a change of cover design. Several new designs will be on show at the Dinner this year, and members will be asked to state their preference. If any member wished to submit a design, it should be done on card, TWICE FULL SIZE.  Suitable cards are available from the editor for ‘do it yourself’ enthusiast.

Cave Communications

This is not a formal report on what is being done on the subject of Cave Communications, so much as a short article to give members some idea as what is being proposed.

Several meetings of those interested in the subject have been held, under the auspices of the B.E.C. and at this stage most of those taking part are agreed on some general principles.

Telephones posses the great advantage of requiring very little or no power to operate them, and can be made very small and light by the use of modern components.  They suffer, however, from two main drawbacks. Firstly, they need a line between each end.  Experience in Cuthbert’s has show that such a line does not remain in good condition for very long, and the expense and trouble involved in taking it down the cave and installing it permanently seem only marginally worthwhile. Some new experiments with a strong line are being done, and it may alter the position as far as damage to permanently installed lines is concerned.  There remains the second drawback to the use of telephones – their lack of flexibility.  It is hardly possible to lay a complete telephone network throughout a complex system like Cuthbert’s  the Cave Communications men have thus concentrated their attentions on other forms of communication.

Radio is obviously the most attractive of these.  There are however, some problems.  Radio waves will only pass through rock if extremely long wavelengths are used, and this in turn makes the problem of producing the right sort of aerial very great. Most of the systems which are being designed at present make use of some form of loop aerial.  This seems to be the best method.  The aim of the systems being designed is to be able to communicate through a thousand feet of limestone so that cave to surface and cave to cave communications will both be possible.  Telephones will then be restricted to short distances in the cave – say each side on an obstruction or flooded part of the cave, so that the small amount of line required can be easily carried and laid on the spot when required.

A new idea, which may prove possible in the more distant future, is to use earth mode communication. This is a technique related to earth resistively measurement and has been used in a very limited sphere in the U.S.A.

The importance of good communications to rescue work is very plain.  Much other work could also benefit.  We look forward to being able to report in the B.B. on the first successful system in the not too distant future.


Editor’s Notes.

As part of the process of tidying up the B.B., a distinction will be made between notes about the B.B. (like this one) and the occasional ‘Editorial’.  The latter type of article will appear from time to time under the title ‘Comment’ and the first of these appear in this B.B.  These articles will normally represent the personal opinions of the editor, but the one which follows has been written at the request of the recent A.G.M.  Whilst it cannot be held to represent the views of the club word for word, its general tone may be so regarded.



As most readers will know, the pipe – which for many years deflected the flow of water away from the ladder on the Forty in Swildons – was recently removed by some cavers who, presumably, wished to increase the ‘sportiness’ of the cave.

A similar situation has occurred in Eastwater, where the M.R.O. guideline has been removed for, one imagines, a similar reason.

The provision of fixed aids in caves is one of the perennial talking points amongst cavers and one which will always find supporters and opponents.  This is one of a number of related topics in what might be called Cave Ethics to which there is no absolute answers.  Unless special arguments can be produced in any particular set of circumstances, one imagines that the guiding principle must be that of catering for the majority.

Both Swildons and Eastwater are open to all cavers from all areas, whether club members or not.  In the case of Swildons users of the cave include novices doing their first real pitch, as well as highly experienced cavers engaged in exploration and extension of its lower limits.  One imagines that both these groups would approve of the pipe on the Forty.  In the first case it is pretty essential – there has already been a callout on the 19th September due entirely to the pipe’s absence – in which a novice was unable to climb back against the flow of water.  In the second case, the cavers involved have undoubtedly had enough strenuous caving not to worry about the easing of their return journey up the Forty.

The situation in Eastwater is somewhat different.  With our entering into a discussion as to whether the Ruckle should have been interfered with in the first place and whether or not it would have been more or less stable by now than it is, the fact remains that its present stability is highly questionable and that it has already claimed one victim.  The guideline is for cavers’ safety and one wonders how the removers would feel if someone else had pranged as a result of the removal.

Can it be that some so-called ‘Tigers’ – however much courage and fitness they posses – are rather weak on imagination?  There are places in most Mendip caves where tigerish feats can be performed without increasing the difficulties of either novices or rescue parties or those who are passing through to do a strenuous job further on.  Cuthbert’s has a multiplicity of fixed aids and yet this leaves room for feats like the recent climbing of High Chamber to a height of 200 feet.  Enough to satisfy any person with ambitions to become a tiger.  (There are also places where one can become a ferret too!)

If there remains some to whom these arguments are not acceptable, then, surely, in the open Mendip caves, fixed aids should only be installed or removed with the owner’s permission.  Admittedly this raises the question as to whether the owner has been correctly advised, but, correctly advised or not, if a fixed aid is installed with his permission, then that fixed aid becomes his property and its unauthorised removal cannot be justified.

Finally, it should be remembered that any irresponsible act – especially if an accident results – can hasten the day when all caves on Mendip will be gated and subject to entrance restrictions.  If being a ‘tiger’ involves such irresponsible acts, such people should be confined to tanks rather than caves.



It has been agreed that all important notices appearing in the B.B. shall be “boxed” like this one, to draw more attention to them.



The Committee would like to remind members that the club room at Redcliffe is now open again.  The club library is open in this room every Thursday and there is a very good selection of caving and climbing books to be borrowed.

An account of the Annual General Meeting etc. now follows, for which we make no excuse for its length. Very few club members were actually at the A.G.M. and it is felt that a full account will at least enable those who were not able to be present to learn what went on

Report on the AGM

The 1965 Annual General Meeting did not open at the advertised starting time, as there was not a quorum present.  It was not until Kathy Searle entered amid cheers at 3.20 that the meeting could begin. Oliver Lloyd was elected Chairman nem, con, and he asked the Hon. Sec. to read the minutes of the 1964 A.G.M. There were no amendments or objections to the minutes and it was proposed by A. Collins that they should be adopted.  This was seconded by G. Tilly and carried.

The Hon. Sec. then gave his report.  The club had gained 26 new members during the year.  This was slightly down on the annual average of 30, but this was more than balanced by the fewer resignations.  The actual paid up membership stood at 183 which was an increase of 11 over last year.  Attendance at the Dinner was also up by 9 to 129.  The main event of the year from the Secretary’s point of view was the formation of the Council of Southern Cave Clubs, which was progressing favourable.

Bob then dropped his bombshell – one he has threatened for some time now – but which we hoped might never materialise.  He announced that he would be retiring from the post of Hon. Sec. as from next A.G.M.

Arising from the report, Gordon Tilly said that the impending resignation of the Hon. Sec. was a shame but, he presumed, couldn’t be helped.  Kangy asled Bob if he could not reconsider, to which Bob replied that he was sorry but his mind was made up.  Gordon Tilly then proposed with regret that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Tony Philpotts and carried.

The Hon. Treasure then gave his report.  He said that the revenue from subscriptions was lower that last year as less life memberships had been taken out.  The receipts from tackle included £5 from T.W.W.  Joan Bennett asked if any provision was being made to acquaint new members witch provisions of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  Bob suggested that the Committee could take care of it. Roger Stenner suggested that each new member be given a copy of the rules of the fund with his membership card. At the Chairman’s suggestion, Roger made this into a formal proposal.  This was seconded by Joan Bennet and carried.

Alan Thomas announced that the profits from the Barbecue, which were to have been for prizes for the Juniors Cavers’ Competition could well be added to the Ian Dear Fund, since he had had no entries for the competition.  The Chairman thanked Alan for this suggestion and it was agreed to add this sum to the Fund.  Kangy asked why the subscription to the British Mountaineering Council was not included in the fictional statement.  Bob replies that it was because he had not yet paid it.  It was proposed by Gordon Tilly that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Roy Bennett and carried.  Roy then asked Bob if he would be prepared to carry on as Hon. Treasurer.  Bob replied that he would and the Chairman suggested that it would be a good idea for the treasurer to be a person whose work is of a financial nature.

The Caving Secretary then gave his report.  The year had been an extremely active one, with work on Cave Rescue, Radio Communication, the Austrian trip and caving all over the British Isles.  There had, however, been no active outdoor digging.  Entries in the caving log had shown an increase.  St. Cuthbert’s remained the most popular cave.  New discoveries had been made in this cave and another round of survey work was due to start.  A collection of cave fauna is also being carried out, as are further water temperature studies.  A number of weirs are being constructed to study water flow.  A Cuthbert’s Library is being set up, and the Leaders’ Newssheets revived.  The Flood Control system is about to be completed.  A new method of selection of leaders has been agreed.  The meets have been well attended, as an example 26 people turned up for the Cow Hole trip.  The trip to the Dachstein area was a success.  On the subject of cave communications, he understood that a fully working prototype was feasible in 9 to 12 months time.  Slide shows had been held, the show given by the C.S.S. on Triglav being very well attended.  It was proposed to hold more of this type.  The club is purchasing surveying equipment and it is proposed during the coming year to dig both Nine Barrows and Emborough.

The Chairman said how pleased he was to see the amount of interest being taken in rescue work.  Bob said that it seemed that the communications committee were rather dead at the moment to which Alfie replied that this was perhaps understandable since there was little more to discuss until someone produced a prototype.  Mike Luckwill proposed that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Frank Darbon.

The Climbing Secretary then gave his report.  There has been weekend meets arranged for every month, but 5 out of the last 11 had to be cancelled.  Private arrangements appeared to fill the gap.  The Thursday climbing was quite well attended and some climbs near Frome on Sandstone were investigated.  It was proposed by Kangy that the report be adopted.  This was seconded and carried.

The Tackle Officer then gave his report.  The total Bed Nights were 1,441 as against 1,800 last year.  On this year’s total, club members had contributed 1,012.  He was sorry to say that, after extensive redecoration, the standard of cleanliness had not improved.  There is, he said, an element which regards the Belfry as a hotel.  We warned these people that they might well find themselves paying hotel prices. There had been no breakages during the year, but the usual number of cups had been lost during the barbecue. All the blankets had been cleaned during the year.  In the discussion which followed, the Hut Warden was asked to what he attributed the fall in bed nights.  He replied that fewer people had taken holidays at the Belfry.  It was also suggested that perhaps the Hut Warden should be prepared to charge 2/- normally and only reduce this to the 1/- fee on evidence of work done.  The Chairman summed up by saying that a mixture of good example and big stick was the only practical solution.  It was proposed by Alfie that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by John Ransom and carried.

The Belfry Engineer’s Report followed.  This was read by Mike Luckwill and the B.E. was suffering from a sore throat.  The response to labour requirements had been very good.  A set of tools had been obtained, but more tools could be out to good use.  A very successful working weekend had been held in which the wooden Belfry had been renovated.  A new washbasin had been fitted in the woman’s room.  A display table had been added to the amenities of the living room, and the Belfry roof repaired.  The new flush toilets were almost complete and would be opened soon. The showers had been postponed as it was considered that the toilets should have priority, but in any case, the stone Belfry was now thought to be unsuitable for them.  A sub committee had been set up to look at the long term development of the Belfry site.  A vote of thanks was proposed to the Belfry Engineer by Alfie and seconded by Gordon. It was then proposed by Roger Stenner that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Gordon and carried.

The B.B. Editor then gave his report.  It had been a very average year for the B.B. – neither good nor bad.  He was reluctant to discuss proposed improvements, but showed the meeting some designs for the new coverts.  It was agreed to adopt the design sponsored by the Editor.  A vote of thanks to the Editor was proposed by Kangy and seconded by Gordon.  The adoption of the report was proposed by Gordon, seconded and carried.

The Hon. Sec. then read the report of the Editor of Caving Publications.  Bryan said he was not certain that he should be giving a report as he thought that he had resigned but he understood that Gordon Tilly was now in charge of the production and the Bryan retained the sales and editing.  A new report had been published during the year and the sales of earlier reports continued.  It was proposed that the report be adopted by Gordon Tilly and seconded by Roger Stenner.

The final report was that of the Librarian.  She announced that it had been quite a year with 77 borrowings.  Additions to the library had been mainly magazines and guides etc.  Roger Stenner asked whether a list of all books in the library could be published. Alfie said that such a list had been published when Sybil was librarian, but that there had been no demand for copies. It was agreed that there was no case for duplicating such a list, but the Librarian said that she would endeavour to let Roger have a list.  The adoption of the report was proposed by Roy Bennett and seconded by Kangy.

The first of the members’ resolutions followed.  It was proposed that, “The Tackle Officer hereinafter be known as the Tacklemaster”, the proposer and seconder being Dave Irwin and Alan Thomas.  The Chairman asked what would happen if a female ever took over the job?  The Hon. Sec. was heard to mutter that this would mean another alteration to the rules, but that it was a well deserved compliment to Norman.  The Chairman asked Norman what he though of it, and he replied that, “It had a good solid Victorian ring.” The resolution was carried unanimously.

The second resolution was put forward by the 1965 committee and proposed, “That the category of Associate Membership be abolished.”  The motion was carried unanimously.

A third resolution, aimed at putting tolerance on the quorum figure, was discussed and finally withdrawn.

Under “Any other business”, Mike Luckwill asked what the club’s insurance cover actually provided. It was established that it was a third party policy and did not cover injuries to members themselves.  After a discussion, the meeting felt that it was up to the individuals to arrange personal cover if they considered this to be necessary.

Tont Philpotts then proposed a vote of thanks to Bob for his work over the years as Hon. Secretary which was seconded by the entire meeting. Finally, Roger Stenner brought up the question of the club’s attitude to the removal of the pipe from the Forty in Swildons.  The editor was instructed to write an editorial deprecating this action.

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 5.10pm.


Junior and other younger members of the club are reminded that it may be possible to assist them financially on projected trips abroad for caving or climbing purposes under the terms of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  Members wishing to obtain such assistance should get in touch with members of the Fund’s Sub-Committee whose names they will find in this B.B.



Sunday, 6th September.  Committee Meeting at 10.30am in Alan Thomas’ caravan.

Communications Meeting at the Hunters at 1pm.

Belfry Planning Meeting at the Belfry in the afternoon.

The Dinner

One of the best things about the B.E.C. dinners is that they do not follow to set a pattern.  This year’s dinner was well attended and the food was extremely good.  This was followed by what must be a club record for the size of a caving trip with a total of 104 people in Goughs.  One blot on the horizon was the fact that the club appeared to have drunk the restaurant out of most drinks before the rather generous extension finished.  On the whole, there seemed to be few complaints. The Mendip Dinner season is now open. Who is going to be diner of the year this year?

Club Officers

The following are the official appointments for the year 1965 – 1966….


S.J. Collins (chairman), R.J. Bagshaw, N. Petty, A. Thomas, G. Tilly, D. Irwin, R. Bennett, K. Franklin and P. Kingston.


R.A. Setterington (Chairman), R.J. Bagshaw, D. Irwin, R. Bennett and M. Luckwill.


A. Thomas, G. Tilly and S.J. Collins.


Hon Secretary and Treasurer        R.J. Bagshaw.

Caving Secretary                         D. Irwin.

Climbing Secretary                      R. Bennett.

Hut Warden                                G. Tilly.

TACKLEMASTER                        N. Petty.

Belfry Engineer                            A. Thomas.

B.B. Editor                                  S.J. Collins.

Hon. Librarian                              J. Bennett.

Assistant Caving Secretary          K. Franklin.

Assistant Hut Warden                  K. Franklin.

Minutes Secretary                       P. Kingston.

On Crossing the Gour Fault….

by Roy Bennett.

The picture of St. Cuthbert’s with the main development running into Gour Hall Fault line leaves the question of extensions beyond the boundary open.  Clearly cave water must leave this line somewhere to get to Wookey (or perhaps, earlier to Ebbor) and does so now at the Duck.  The sump is quite near the line however, and the stream could perhaps flow into the fault further on.  In this case, digging right at the end of Gour Rift could be an easier alternative to digging at the sump itself.

The holes in the roof of Gour Hall do not appear to cross the fault and the Pyrolusite Rift tends away from this line.  In the higher parts of the cave, in the Marble Hall area, streams coming down dip have been completely intercepted by the fault and there appears less chance of crossing.

This leaves the Cerberus Series where the water diverted form the Main Stream Passage appears, disappears apparently for good.  It could perhaps be lost through the fault.  There are tubes, too small to get into, between Lake and Mud Ball Chambers, going in the desired direction.  Some digging has been done in a small tube off the high level connection between the latter chamber and Cerberus hall.  The largest effort so far has been on the dig behind the Dining Room where the choked passage is much larger.  Either of these places are worth effort, though there is unfortunately no way of telling how extensive the fill is without digging it out!

Financial Statement for the Year to the Thirty First August 1965.

Annual Subscriptions




Redcliffe Hall:


£20-  3-0



Less Hire

£10-  0-0

£  10- 3-10

Club Ties



£    9-16-6

Donations etc.



£160-  7-0

Post Office Savings Bank Interest:



£    2-  1-7

Sales of caving Report



£    6-12-0

Annual Dinner:


£97-  2-  6



Less Cost

£96- 15-  0

£    0-  7-6










Less Receipts

£  52-11-10

£  48 - 5-2

Belfry Bulletin:


£  17-  7-6




£  14-  2-6

£  31-10-0

Postages and Stationery



£    1- 1- 0

Library Expenses



£    2- 9- 6

Public Liability Insurance



£    1-14-7

Charterhouse Caving Committee



£    4-  0-0

Council of Southern Caving Clubs



£    0- 10-0

C.R.G. Subscription (two years)



£    2- 10-0



£  27-17-10



Less Fees

£    8- 14-0

£  16-  3- 6

Goods for Resale:


£  38-  0- 9



Less Sales

£  14-  0- 0

£  24-  2- 7

Car badges:


£    6-10- 0



Less Sales

£    3-  8- 6

£    3-  2- 3




£    2-  8- 5




£140-  9- 0




£153-  4- 4




£293- 13-4









Total Club monies @ 31st August, 1964



£  82- 1- 0

Plus Surplus as above



£153- 4- 4




£235- 5- 4





Post Office Savings Bank Account



£258- 1-11

Less cash Overdraft



£ 22-16- 7


£235- 5- 4