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The covers have at last arrived and in addition it is hoped to be able to make this a six page B.B. is getting back to normal.

Some time back, it was suggested that to satisfy both the members who wanted a large but less frequent B.B. and those who wanted a regular monthly magazine, we should from time to time publish a big ‘bumper edition’.  At present this is only done at Christmas and the amount of material received by the editor does not warrant doing this more than once a year. However, if all goes well this year, October should see the two hundredth edition of the B.B. and this seems a very good excuse for large and special B.B.  It would, of course, be followed almost at once by a large Christmas B.B., and so if we are going to do this double ration, plans for it must be laid shortly.  If any members feels that he could write a suitable article of any type – and produced it fairly soon – it will enable us to make a start in putting such a B.B. together.  The article should be such that it doesn’t “date” between now and October and articles with an “historical” flavour might be appropriate for such an edition.  It is rare for a caving journal to reach its 200th edition, so let us have a go at putting the club motto in practice and see if we can “do it to excess!”


Tackle Arrangements

The primary object of this write up is to lay out for all club members, particularly the newer ones, the method of working of the new tackle system, so that nobody can complain that they know nothing about it.

Criticism of this system is already flowing in, but we must remember that the system has only been introduced because the club has been losing tackle faster than the few stalwarts who devote much of their spare time to making our tackle, can replace it. Apart from the unfairness of expecting these people to make tackle just for other members to lose, it seems that a method of controlling tackle is the only way by which the club can steadily build up a useful stock of tackle and ensure that all members can be liberally provided with tackle for caving.  The Committee are quite willing to consider modifications to this scheme, but let us first of all give this scheme a fair trial.

A new lock has been fitted to the tackle store and the keys distributed (a list of names of people holding keys has already appeared in the B.B.)  It is not intended to issue any more keys, as this would cut down the amount of control exercised and thus defeat the whole object of the scheme.

There can be guaranteed to be at least one member with a key on Mendip during any weekend.  Anyone planning a weekday trip will know of this in advance and can easily contact any of the holders of keys, either directly or in writing beforehand.

All tackle has been given an identity tag.  L1, L2, L3 &c for ladders; R1, R2, R3 &c for ropes and T1, T2, T3 &c for tethers.

A log book has been drawn up and is held by the Hut Warden or Assistant Hut Warden or by anyone to whom he may delegate this job, should he not be available.  This log book carries a list of all the tackle on the inside of the front cover, giving the tag number and the respective lengths.

All a person has to do is to obtain the key; take the tackle he requires; lock up the tackle store and return the key (if it is a weekend) and enter, in the columns provided, the date and his signature.  When returning the tackle, it has simply to be signed off in the log book and replaced in the tackle store.

Remember that, until you have signed for the return of the tackle, you will be held responsible for it all and you will have to account for it to the Committee if it is still outstanding when the log book is checked each month.

If at any time, tackle has to be removed for testing or repair, it will be entered for and signed up by the Tackle Officer so that anyone can see what tackle is available at any time, and who has the rest of the tackle.

All this sounds very officious, but please remember that the whole object of this scheme is to ensure that tackle is there when YOU want it.  With a little thought, it should be perfectly possible to make this scheme work, so please co-operate.

M.A. Palmer.  Asst. Caving Secretary.    

Caving Log

February, although a short month, does not seem to have been short of caving trips.  Of all the trips entered in the caving log for the month, Cuthbert’s proves to be the most popular cave by far.

On the first and second of the month, digging was continued at the back of the Dining room, by ‘Mo’ Marriott and Dave Irwin.  More clearing out was done, using a sledge which made it easier to transport rubble along the constricted passages.  On the same date, Brian Reynolds saw a bat on the wall above Lower Mud Hall Pitch while doing a Pulpit Trip.  Does Pete Bird know of this?

On Saturday, 8th February, Phil Kingston and Ron Drake went into Cuthbert’s to look at a hole under the Arête Boulder, a fifteen foot pitch led to a stream passage.  After clearing away small boulders and silt, a tight squeeze was passed which led to a junction.  One of the routes led to a high rift which contained some white stal., while the other, by following the stream, terminated in a very tight squeeze which led to the waterfall opposite the Lower Ledge Pitch (The Showerbath.) As it was not possible for them to climb down, they had to make the return journey.  A sketch is included, drawn by Phil, to illustrate the findings.

On this same day, Nick Harte and Dave Irwin laboured at the top of Pulpit Pitch and provided a Rawlbolt. As a change from Cuthbert’s, Gordon Tilly, Barry Wilton and Kevin Abbey went off to explore mineshafts. Innocently taking 80’ of ladder, they climbed to the bottom of this mineshaft to find that a further 40’ of ladder would be required to bottom the shaft.

Returning to Cuthbert’s, Roger Stenner has done some more survey work which includes Mud Hall to Traverse Chamber and other bits and pieces required to finish off this bit of the survey.

Another trip into Cuthbert’s on February 8th saw Steve Wynn-Roberts, Nick Harte and Jim Giles taking three sections of maypole to the Trafalgar Aven in September Series with the object of climbing it.  The caving log states that a trip was made in January in which Steve succeeded in getting about forty feet up in the aven before he ran out of holds.  On this trip, however, with the aid of the Maypole, Steve succeeded in reaching the top at about 85 feet.  The Aven clamped down and a very small passage led off.

More Rawlbolts have been provided on Upper Mud Hall Pitch and in the Wire Rift by ‘Mo’ Marriott and Mike Palmer and a new chain has been provided in the Wire Rift which replaced the old, worn out, cable.  The tackle on Stal. Pitch has now been removed for renewal and the pitch cannot be used unless tackle is taken.

Digging was continued at Castle Farm on February 8th by Dave Irwin, Dave Smith and Andy MacGregor. Dave Irwin reports that they continued clearing the choke at the bottom of the shaft and that some fair sized boulders were removed.

During the month, many trips to Swildons and Eastwater have been made, but all were either photographic or tourist and so deserve no special mention.

Mathematical Puzzles

by Sett

Here is the solution to last month’s problem.  Up to the time of writing, I have had no correct solutions to either section, although Phil Townsend produced a solution to the Amateurs Section which he had worked out previously, thereby promoting himself to solving the Mathematician’s Section. The answer is as follows:-

A.         Divide the pennies into three groups of four and compare two of the groups.  Two results are possible.

1.         They balance.  Showing that all eight coins on the scale are standard.  Compare three of these coins with three from the third, untried, group.  Again, two results are possible.  If they balance, the final untested coin must be the odd one and it can be compared with a standard count for the final weighing to determine whether it is lighter or heavier.  If they do not balance then the heaviness or lightness of the odd coin is determined.  Which it is out of the three can be found in the final weighing by weighing any two of the three against each other.

2.         They do not balance.  Say the left hand pan is heavier for the sake of illustration. There is either a heavy coin in the left hand pan or a light on in the right hand pan.  All the untested cons must be standard.  Remove three coins from the left hand pan, transfer three coins from the right to the left hand pans, add three standard coins to the right hand pan and reweigh.  Three results are possible.  They balance, the direction of unbalance is the same, or the direction of unbalance is reversed.  These show respectively that the odd coin is heavy and is amongst these 3 removed from the left hand pan; the odd coin is one of the two remaining in the same pan as in the original comparison, or the odd coin is light and is among the three transferred from the right to the left hand pan.  In each case, the final balancing will simply supply the required additional information.

M.        The solution above completely separates twelve counts and this is the maximum number which can be considered in 3 balancings.  If it not required to determine heaviness or lightness of the coins, then a thirteenth coin can be added.  This is not used in any of the balancings and if they all give a balanced answer, then this is the odd coin.  Naturally, the odd coin will be amongst those balanced twelve times out of thirteen and will then be completely determined.

The general solution for the number of coins which can be separated in ‘n’ balancings is given by the expression.   = 1  The extra 1 is used if knowledge is not needed of the type of discrepancy or the odd coin.  The system of balancing is relatively simple to work out, but takes an awful lot of describing.

A complete treatment is given in the Mathematical Gazette 1946 Vol. 30 p.231 by F.J. Dyson

This month’s problem is a practical one which I have not seen treated before.  It concerns the number of races needed to ensure that every car in a group races every other car at least once in a minimum number of races.

A.         Sixteen cars race four times on a four lane racing track.  What is the minimum number of races needed to ensure that every car races every other car at least once?

M.        First solve the A. Section and show that the number of races is the minimum possible. Produce a general solution for the number of cars in a group which can race each other, four at a time, once and once only.  I have not yet found an arithmetical method to show how these races should be arranged, but a solution for the sixteen car problem will be given next month.


COASE, Alan                  53 Broughton Road, Croft, Leicestershire.

COMPTON, Philip           c/o 536932 Compton W., Sgts Mess, R.A.F. Chagi, Singapore.

DELL, Garth                    L/Cpl. G. 23128511, O.P. Omentum, Aden, B.F.P.O. 68.

DAVY, John                    12 St. Annes Road, Skircoat Green, Halifax, Yorks.

FRANCIS, Albert             22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset.

HALLETT, Nigel               c/o Martin Inn, Ocean Falls, B.C. Canada.

HANNAM, Mervyn           c/o 14 Vyvyan Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.

HILL, Jim                       100 Cotham Brow, Cotham, Bristol.

ISLES, M.H.                   89 Broad Walk, Knowle, Bristol 4.

JARMAN, Roger              c/o South Chase Farm, Chase Lane, Kenilworth, Warcs.

KNIGHT                          61 Worton Way, Isleworth, Middx.

BOWDEN-LYLE, Sybil     P.O. Box 477, Durbo, New South Wales, Australia.

PAGE, Pete                    Cpl. P., R.M. 110 Devils Tower, R.A.F. North Point, Gibraltar

PALMER, D.J.                9 Forest Road, Kingswood, Bristol.

REES, C.H.G.                 7 Coberly, Footrshill, Hannam, Bristol.

SLAPP, J.                      10 Thicket Walk, Thornbury, Bristol.

STEWART, P.A.E.          11 Fairhaven Road, Redland, Bristol.


The Caving Secretary wishes to announce that CARBIDE is now on sale at the Belfry.  The cost is 10d per pound.

Notice.  Would anyone who has access to CHAIN or CAT LADDER please get in touch with the Caving Secretary.  This is wanted for improvements to the permanent tackle in Cuthbert’s.



In place of ‘Stalagmite’s’ usual article this month, we print two contributions. The first is a reply to one of his previous articles and the second is an article largely inspired by his column.

            From Geoff Bull, Westminster Speleological Group.

Dear ‘Stalagmite’

Your remarks last month on the S. Wales rescue do a serious injustice to the miners, who played a very important part in the rescue.

Although non-cavers in general are perhaps not much use in cave rescue operations, these men proved an outstanding exception.  The comments made by some of them on the air bore no relation to their performance underground.

The work they did in removing the squeezes and impossible corners was not only difficult – working in confined spaces – but also carried and element of danger.  It was not in fact possible to use explosive (only a few small test shots were fired) and all the work had to be done by compressor drill and sledge.

I am convinced that work could not have been done so well and safely by cavers, for had explosives been extensively used, as we should probably have attempted to do, the probability was of a roof collapse.  Also, only a limited number of cavers would have been able to operate the rock drill effectively or even use a sledgehammer properly.

The operation in fact was an example of how non-cavers can sometimes be of use, even one of the doctors who had never caved before seemed completely at home, despite his Wellingtons.  In no way, though, would one detract from the work of the S.W.C.R.O. who certainly played an important part in the rescue in initial procedure, organisation, supplies and in bringing the injured man to the surface safely and quickly.

Musings in the Mountains 

by an Exile.

The title of this article is misleading.  That was why I chose it.  It stems from the fact that I am surrounding by mountains which would send the climbing members of the B.E.C. into screams of ecstasy, providing that they have webbed feet.  To reach one impressive peak only three miles away involves a journey of three days to avoid the vast amounts of water on the way.  (The three days are on foot as there aren’t any roads.)

I have just received a large number of B.B.’s which have at last caught up with me, and to provided the Hon. Ed. with some dunnage, I have penned this tome, containing my reflections on that August journal.  Regarding ‘Stalagmites’ challenge in June ‘63 to write a song about the S.G.O.T.M.N.R.C.O.T.W.N.H.A.A., it’s so easy that it isn’t even making me sober up.  At an unannounced date, my humble effort will be released on Mendip.

Norman Brooks’s letter regarding drinking habits in the antipodes in July B.B. for last year prompts me to remark on the drinking habits of Canada.  Who even heard of not being allowed to carry a glass of beer across the room, and not being allowed to drink whilst standing?  How else can you tell whether a person is drunk?  In the August issue, Stalagmite’s article wondered if any one could pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngwllgogerychryndrobwll – llantysilliogogogoch.  Did Stalagmite spell it wrongly or did a slight typing error creep in?  Being big-headed, I’ll state in print that drunk or inebriated, I can say it.

Only one thing puzzles me about the September B.B. I note that Colin Henry George Rees went to Swildons IV.  Could it be that within two months of my leaving Mendip, vandals have so messed the cave without bang etc., that it is possible to ride ones Matchbox and side car all the way to IV?

In October B.B., I see that the A.G.M. was a field day for Mike Luckwill.  He wants to be careful about too much proposing, or the Family will increase yet again.  Also I see that Bob B. is apparently racing Frank Darbon for the favours of insurable companies.  Insurance forms will soon contain the question ‘’Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the B.E.C.?

Which brings me up to date considering the postal service in the backwoods of the world.  Just a passing comment about the place of my exile. 1964 rainfall at 7th Feb is 32.04 inches.

Editor’s Note: - Nigel threatens to be with us again by the time of the Dinner, with new songs etc.


While leaving Stalagmite to comment on the reply from one of the members of the W.S.G. who was on the S. Wales rescue trip, we feel that his remark about the difference between the miners work in the cave and comments on the air is worth further comment here.  One of the sad but true features of cave rescue is the amount of distortion introduced on many occasion by both the press and radio/TV.  With this in mind, members would like to read a factual account of the episode, sent to the B.B. by the W.S.G. to whom we are indebted for permission to print.

Rescue at Llethryd Swallet 9/10th February, 1964

When the call out came through to the S.W.C.C. Headquarters at Penwyllt, the position was, fortunately, that the S.W.C.C. member with the local knowledge; the gen on S.W.C.R.O. procedure and luckily, a member with medical knowledge, had just returned from a dig.  The W.S.G. party had eaten, packed ready to return to London, and was fresh.  Important too was the fact that the entire C.R.O. gear was packed and ready for instant use.  Due to all this, medical aid was on the spot with Butler with 70 minutes of the call out despite the fact that Llethrydd is about 30 miles away form Penwyllt.

The conditions in the cave may perhaps be understated as being tortuous and wet.  Something like Sidcot, only tighter and longer with more ups and downs and with a healthy stream to complicate matters.  A very sporting cave, but impossible to bring out an injured man on a rigid stretcher though.  The stretcher in fact could not be taken straight in places.  One was not impressed by the stability in parts.

When we reached the man, he had apparently fallen awkwardly some 6 to 12 feet and had broken his right thigh in two places near the knee.  It was also discovered that he had cracked ribs, chipped bones in his neck and was suffering from concussion.  Even under Morphia, he was moaning occasionally.  A temporary splint was effected, he was moved to a better spot and the splint remade.

At this time the rescue possibilities seemed to be three fold.  A shaft could be considered as close to the antechamber where the accident happened, is Root Chamber where tree roots can be seen in the roof and the walls.  The depth of the roof below the surface at this point was then thought to be about thirty feet.  Improvements to the original route was a second possibility.  Although this was eventually done, there was more than a slight risk that the route might be blocked entirely if ‘bang’ was used and at least half the 300 to 500 feet of passage involved needed drastic improvement. The third possibility was to make a New Entrance by digging a subsidiary dry swallet a little further upstream. It was expected that this would short cut the tightest parts.

The decision reached on the spot was to concentrate on the shaft, with spare labour employed on improvement work, however the progress of events rather changed ideas.  Meanwhile further supplies were brought in, the telephone set up, and non-essential bods cleared from the cave.  This was about 11 or 12 o’clock.  The depth of the cave at Root Chamber was measured using an electronic method and was found to be a hundred feet.  This was letter checked and verified.

Around 2am, the miners arrived with a compressor and started work on improvements.  By all reports, the N.C.B. and the mine rescue men were surprisingly at home even in the severe conditions encountered.  There were some delays, naturally, of the sort that are bound to arise in any such operation.  The only valid criticism of the miners was perhaps of over caution, but this was a fault on the right side.  The comments that were heard on the air and read in the press were mostly kept for the surface.  It was noticeable that those who did the most work underground were not the most anxious to be on T.V.

At about 3pm Monday, the work was practically finished and the first stretcher party (consisting of cavers) went down while the finishing touches were put to the passage.  Working in relays, with fresh bearers, Butler was brought, still under Morphine, in the remarkably short time of about two hours.

During the time that Butler was having medical attention, his condition deteriorated up to the time that it was decided to give a blood plasma transfusion. It is very likely that this tricky task has never been attempted under such difficult and dirty conditions, and is a great credit to the medics.  It was most unexpected to come across a caver with his sleeves rolled up to the elbows and his arms scrubbed.  When Butler finally reached the hospital, his condition was said to be generally good.

The credit to this operation must go to the S.W.C.R.O., to the miners, the men of Thysons Ltd., the Police, the W.V.S., the farmer and many others.

Editor’s Note:    Members may be interested to know that Llethrydd Cave was discovered by Don Coase, a B.E.C. member.


No, it is not Christmas again. Neither is it some national day of rejoicing, like the Editor’s birthday or the thousandth anniversary of the founding of the B.E.C. in Saxon times by Aleburp the Unsteady.  If the nine page size of the B.B. is celebrating anything, it must be the wonderful amount of material which, at the moment, is coming in from members and others.

Instead of keeping some of this for next month, it is nearly all being printed now, in the hope that this upsurge of writing is not a flash in the pan, but might actually lead to a bigger B.B. on a regular thing.

The diversity and standard of the material is again very encouraging to an editor who has been half starved for too long.  As a result, you will find in this B.B. two articles describing the new work in Mendip caves; extracts from the Caving Log; a description of the last Climbing Section’s trip to Cornwall, besides features such as ‘Stalagmite’ and Sett’s monthly problems.  The odd notice and book review completes the B.B. and the two caving articles are illustrated with maps.

With the proposed advent of a national caving magazine, the future of club magazines may well seem open to question, apart from their value as newsletters.  On the other hand, club magazines should reflect the particular club they serve and, if this present production of good material continues, there should be no worry as to the place of the B.B. in the future scheme of things.



Recent Excavations in Lamb Leer

by Dave Palmer.

1. Concerning Excavations on St. Valentines Landing.

On Sunday, 5th January, a new M.N.R.C. dig was started on St. Valentines Landing, the site being the tight mud filled passage and the chamber leading to the terminal rift. The conditions in this passage were everything but ideal – cramped position; bad air and a pool of water it was necessary to lie.  In view of this, it was decided to enlarge the entrance to the passage, lower the floor level to drain the pool and make for more space for subsequent operations. A large volume of mud and boulders was removed on Jan. 5th and 12th and digging commenced in the ascending passage. The dig required three people. One digging and two passing back. Of these only the person at the face had good air.  In fact the air was so bad at the second and third digging positions that at times even a candle would not burn.  However, on January 19th a breakthrough was achieved giving access to approximately twenty feet of ascending passage with some small formations ending in a choke of thin stal. floor and loose cave earth with a two to three inch air space. The relative dryness of this new position led to a vigorous attack the following week when a further breakthrough gave access to another sixty feet of tight muddy passage ending in a ‘T’ junction with one ascending passage blocked at the start by one extremely large rock. There were signs of water action.

Reference to the late Prof. L.S. Palmer’s geoelectrical survey (1957) showed that the position of the descending passage was approx. above the rift leading from the large chamber which is alleged to exist.

On Sunday, February 2nd, a small party removed the large boulder and entered the descending passage, which closed down after a short distance and ended in another junction, one side being a tight stal. choke and the other a constricted boulder filled passage where some progress may still be possible.  Work here continues (2.2.64).


2. South Western Inlet Passage

During visits to Lamb Leer in the later past of last year, a passage was noticed entering the main chamber on the south west side, above the large flowstone formation clearly visible from St. Valentines Landing.  A traverse was also noted, running towards this passage from the Windlass Platform and, in view of the possibility of reaching the inlet via this traverse, two climbers from B.C.S.T. were persuaded to come along and try it.  On Saturday 12th January only one climber arrived and did about half the traverse, but he was suffering from a “morning after” feeling (as was his mate, who didn’t even turn up) so the project was left until the following week, when both climbers were in fine form.  They completed the traverse, despite the difficulties of having literally to yell instructions above the fantastic racket made by a certain club who shall remain nameless and who, incidentally decide to cook a mid-day meal directly under the traverse  –  ignoring completely the warnings of falling stones etc., from the climbers.  However, the traverse being successfully completed, they fixed a ladder and the passage was entered.  It was approximately 75 feet above the floor of the main chamber and ran its forty five feet in length directly over it, terminating in a thirty foot ascending aven.  The passage was richly decorated with stal. and flowstone formations and the colouring was particularly striking – reds and blacks as well as pure white.  The passage was photographed the following week and the ladder removed.  The piton remains for anyone who feels capable of reaching this very impressive inlet passage.

It is interesting to note that, even with all the work in Lamb Leer, the M.N.R.C. also managed a digging trip to Vicarage Pot in Swildons II and a pleasure trip to Balch’s Hole to say nothing of various other small activities.  I think that, far from being the least active club on Mendip, they are probably doing more than any other club at the present time.


Easter in Cornwall

by Roy Bennett

The usual Easter trip to Cornwall was not as well supported as in previous years with a maximum of nine people staying for part of the time.  In spite of the optimistic forecasts by the met office, Friday was quite wet. Undeterred by this, the assembled company walked to Wicca Pillar where Roy Bennett and Brian Reynolds climbed in the rain while the Mossmans and Joan Bennett went walking.  One of the climbs was enlivened by a large hold coming away in Brian’s hand.  This produced the expected result and produced a deep suspicion of certain statements in the guide book.  (Granite is the only suitable rock for sea cliff climbing because of its reliability etc.) As a diversion from these operations, some caving was done under a huge pile of boulders near the Pillar.

Saturday was a little better, and various people went walking or skived at St. Ives.  The climbing contingent, augmented by the inclusion of Phil Townsend, repaired to Rosemary Cliff etc., where Brian top roped a tentatively hard route.  After this, Rosemary Ridge was climbed.  This was found to be quite straightforward except for a chock stone which looked more difficult than it actually was.  While this was in progress, Norman Petty and Dave Quickens went walking in search of an old tin mine.

On Sunday the party went to Lands End where Norman and Joan walked to Sennen viewing a stranded trawler being dismantled on the way.  Only two climbs of any length are described for this area and both were climbed after considerable argument as to their whereabouts.  The first, Knight’s Climb, was rather disappointing but the second, Hotel Buttress, was quite interesting.  A severe variation was top roped to get the feel of the rock and was found to be no harder than the last pitch of this normally v. diff. climb.

On Monday the climbing party – again reduced to two – did an interesting climb on Pordernack Point. This had a fine finish which looked ‘orribly loose but wasn’t.  By this time the sun had ventured out and the party headed home with reluctance.


NEXT TRIPS      18th & 19th April – Wye Valley.     Whitsun – Dewar Stone.

Details from Climbing Secretary.

Cuthbert’s Rocky Boulders, Coral Series and Long Chamber.

As discussed at the Cuthbert’s Leaders Meeting, the various overlapping discoveries in this part of the cave have led to a considerable confusion.  Please note that a trip has been arranged for: -

10am Sunday May 24th

and anyone who can contribute to the sorting out is invited to join the party.

Cuthbert’s The Annexe Chamber Area

As recently mentioned by Mike Luckwill, the lesser known parts of the Cuthbert’s System offers the caver unlimited sport and variety of formations, the Annexe Chamber area being one of these.  I do not pretend that any of this system is new, but would be most interested to hear from these who recognise this description and survey.

Climb to Annexe Chamber from the Boulder Chamber and pass through squeeze under right hand wall of boulders leading to small chamber (actually a large space between the boulders). To the right leads a fourteen foot climb.  The left hand wall is stal. lined in its upper reaches and this part should only be climbed on the right hand side.  This climb leads to a large chamber some hundred feet long by thirty feet wide, the floor of which is inclined at some thirty degrees.  When climbing through this chamber, care must be taken not to disturb the loose scree and that good footholds be found at all times due to the existence of holes and rifts in the floor up to seventy feet deep.

To the left of the fourteen foot climb, a rift passage can be seen leading to a ten foot climb and small chamber.  Following the passage leads to a richly decorated chamber with fine stal. formations. The highlights of this chamber are the cluster of helictites and the crystal clear straws and flowstone.  The chamber splits three ways.  The obvious continuation of the passage very shortly becomes a fifteen foot climb to an upper grotto.  EXTREME CARE MUST BE TAKEN WHEN CLIMBING, AS THE SUPERB CLUSTER OF HELICTITES LIE NEAR THE FOOTHOLDS.  Perhaps a chain or fixed ladder could be assembled at this point?  The upper grotto defies description but includes every type of formation imaginable, such as Cat’s Whiskers nearly three inches long and a helictite tripod!  The white gours should also receive a mention.  When entering this grotto through the squeeze, a watch must be kept to prevent the fine straws from being destroyed.  A passage on the left leads to a boulder ruckle with three obvious ways on.

Returning to ‘Three Ways Chamber’, a high level passage can be seen on the left and can be entered through the narrow rift lower down in the wall.  Keeping to the left leads to a fair sized boulder chamber with a fair stal. flow some six feet high and three feet radius on the right hand wall. Unfortunately, one has to enter the chamber by its side and again, great care must be taken to avoid soiling the ‘beehive’ side on the right and the fine curtains of the left.  Another interesting point in this chamber is the stream passage, now packed with large loose boulders (is this one of the original stream passages?).  To the extreme right of the chamber, in the left wall, is a steeply inclined vadose trench leading to a bedding plane richly decorated in places.  Bearing to the right leads one to the passage above the grotto with the white gours.

Returning once more to ‘Three Ways Chamber’ a hole in the floor leads to a narrow rift.  After ten feet, a right angle bend leads to a bedding plane inclined at thirty degrees which suddenly ends with a hole in the floor above a twelve foot drop.  It is advisable to use a rope belayed to a boulder in the bedding plane, as the stal. walls of the drop are covered with a layer of very wet mud.  Turning left in the passage below leads shortly to the large chamber above Annexe Chamber and continuing right down the passage leads one to a junction.  The right hand passage leads out to the Boulder Chamber under the Quarry Corner overhang – a place where it will not pay anyone to hang about.  The small remaining passage leads to the steeply inclined rift overlooking the passage above Kanchenjunga on the way towards Pillar Chamber.  Two minor passages with extensions lead (a) to the drip above Kanchenjunga and (b) to overlook the Boulder Chamber above Quarry Corner.

Further exploration in this area is being made and a further survey will be produced as soon as completed. In conclusion, please treat the formations and the boulder ruckle with extreme care in this interesting and beautiful part of Cuthbert’s.




On The Hill

by Stalagmite

Many thanks to Geoff Bull of W.S.G. for his comments on the effectiveness of miners in the Llethrydd Swallet Rescue.  I shall maintain that my expressed opinion – that rescues should be left to cavers – still holds good, and am pleased to see that the eminent Cheramodytes of Wessex is in agreement.  He was present at the rescue and is of the opinion that the rescue ‘sans N.B.C.’ could have been completed by dawn.  Actual time out was 5.30pm.

This is, however, only the second letter disagreeing with me, no one has agreed in print, but I’m not downhearted.

There is a proposal afoot to make speleo affairs governed by a national body.  There is much feeling amongst my contacts regarding this proposal generally, although the feeling is that it must come sooner or later and when it does there will be no choice  as to whether to join or not.  There will, I imagine, be quite a number of difficulties to overcome – consider the uniting of Mendip clubs alone!

News of a bi-monthly professionally produced caving journal for Mendip has reached me.  One thing bothers me about this is the copyright problem on material appearing in other club journals.

By the time this goes to print the Family Club will; have held their A.G.M. (according to my speleo diary).  The next A.G.M. should be Cerberus on May 2nd in Wells.  The next major event is within the club, where it is proposed to collate? enough leaders for Cuthbert’s to attempt to find out what has been discovered when in and around Coral series.  I believe that this takes place early in May.  If there are enough leaders left after this trip, there is rumour that the trial rescue which has been due for about six years will eventually take place towards the end of May.

September Series has been mentioned to me as the stepping off point.  From what I’ve heard from idiots who have been to that part, it seems most unlikely that the attempt can meet with success.  Presumably at least one of the leaders on the scene will have a key to the Tackle Store and will sign S.T. 1 for the stretcher.

Joking apart, I think that the new tackle system is quite sound (presumably the committee also does) but it does rather worry me – all this responsibility for ladders etc.  I wonder if we can get insurance against loss/theft of same?

A few welcome ‘oldies’ have recently been seen on Mendip; Alan Thomas caving in Hunters (Hole) and Alan Fincham in Hunters ( Inn).  This seems ideal with a weeks caving holiday and only wasting one day caving.  Alan F. also paid his sub.  The other rarity is the renewal of the Palmer/Wheadon caving club, Mike Wheadon having been seen, by me at least, on Mendip only about twice in the last eighteen months.

The M.C.G. have got  a new hut near the Stirrup Cup Café (we used to call it the Stomach Pump – Ed.)  Although the Castle is nearer, there is still a strong contingent who get to the Hunters.  Recently there have been some lads, alas from Bristol, who have got disgustingly slewed at Hunters and reports are that Ben is not amused.  Neither am I for that matter.

One last thought. Nick Barrington’s new restaurant at Axbridge will be pleased to provide dinner for you – a t a price naturally.


The editor must apologise for not having found room this month for the programme of dummy rescue in Cuthbert’s next month.  He hopes to be able to publish the B.B. for May in time for the article still to be of value.


New Books

….reviewed by Kevin Abbey

Caves of South Wales and the Marches.  (D.W. Jenkins & Ann Mason-Williams).  Published by the Dalesman Publishing Co. at 7/6.

Written in the same style as ‘Caves of Mendip’ it includes a very complete list of Welsh and Forest of Dean caves.  A short history and seven maps of the area make up a very good book.

The Red Peak.  (Malcolm Slessor)  Hodder & Stoughton @ 30/-.

A climbing book.  A really frank account of the expedition climbing Russia’s highest mountain.  Well worth reading.

B.E.C. Caving Publications

Obtainable from Bryan Ellis, Knockauns, Comwich, Bridgwater, Somerset.

No. 1

(Revised 1963)  “Surveying in Redcliffe Caves, Bristol.

by S.J. Collins.

Price 3/-

No. 3

(Revised 1962)  “The Manufacture of Lightweight Caving Ladders.”

by B.N. Ellis.

Price 3/-

No. 4

“The Shoring of Swallet Cave Entrances.”

by S.J. Collins.

Price 2/6

No. 9

“Some Smaller Mendip Caves – Vol. II ( Western Mendip)”.

by J.H. Tucker.

Price 2/6


“The B.E.C. Method of Ladder Construction.”

by D.A. Coase & N. Petty

Price 3/-

St. Cuthbert’s Surveys.

Provisional Plan (As published in Caving report No. 8)          Price 2/6

Addendum No. 1 to Plan (September Series).                     Price 1/-

Extended Section of Major Passages.                                Price 2/6

Caving Report No. 6 “Some Smaller Mendip Caves Vol. I (Priddy Area)” is at present out of print, but further copies are expected during this summer and orders will be accepted. If ordering by post, please send 1/- to cover cost of postage of one publication, 1/3 to cover cost for two publications, or 1/6 to cover three or four publications.

Bryan has a further 130 different items available for sale and will send his complete list if requested.


NOTICE!!! Neoprene rubber sheets may be obtained at 10% reduction for wet suits.  Order at ONCE through Barry Lane.

By the way, whatever happened to OUR caving programme?


THIS MAY BE YOUR LAST B.B.!!!!!!  The rule that ‘the membership of any individual who fails to pay his or her subscription by the 30th April shall deemed to have ceased’ is going to be interpreted a little more literally this year by the B.B. Postal Department.  If your sub is still due, please send it to Bob before your name is struck off the list for the B.B.


Caving Log


The Castle Farm dig continued on Sunday 8th and Saturday 14th March.  On the 8th, it was dug by Dave Irwin plus five others who removed mud and boulders, and on the 14th by Andy MacGregor and Dave Irwin who dropped the floor by a further four feet.  A small side passage was investigated, which appears to be way on.

From Friday 13th to Sunday 15th, Kevin Abbey and Barry Lane spent a weekend in Cuthbert’s using Cerberus Hall as a campsite.  From Kevin’s report, it seemed that a little too much time was spent lying in sleeping bags; eating; drinking and smoking.  However, on Saturday, Gour Rift was investigated just above the duck and was climbed for an estimated sixty feet.  At this point, the rift seemed to close down and only very small continuations of the rift were found on the way up.  On the Sunday afternoon, Phil Kingston and Ron Drake helped them out with their kit.  Kevin has noted a few points about the weekend which may be of interest. Firstly, after twelve hours or more, one feels like doing nothing except fester (some people feel like this without actually caving at all – Ed.).  The second point is that a tent, although not essential under the conditions, is a very good help at sleeping.  A third point is that, after some time, the noises made by the water begin to sound like that of people talking. The total time spent underground was 43 hours.

From the Caving Log, it is seen that a new area has been found to which several exploration, photographic and survey trips have been made.  On Friday 17th, Noel McSharry, Phil Townsend & Dave Irwin surveyed this part of the new area, known at present as Chandelier Passage.  On Friday, 27th March, Alan Thomas and his brother went down Hunters and removed much litter.  Also more surveying was done in the Annexe Chamber area.


Mathematical  Puzzles

by Sett

Up till now, I have not yet had an answer to last month’s problem.  I’m not even sure that I have a full answer myself and I would welcome assistance on the last part from somebody more knowledgeable than I. Alfie has helped considerably, and I gather that the late publication of last month’s B.B. was due to his efforts on this subject.

A.         A possible layout of the races involving sixteen cars, four at a time is as follows: -

































































































M.        If we define a contest as a race between two cars, then we have in general N cars racing M times in R races and C contests at c contests per race. Thus C = N (N-1)/2 and c = M (M-1)/2. But C/c must be an integer. Therefore, since any car appears in N-1 contests at M-1 per race, both N(N–1)/M(M-) and N–1/M–1 must be integers.  This gives either N–1/M–1 and N/M must both be integers or that N-1/M(M-1) must be an integer.

Therefore, for any value of M there are two series of values of N which give perfect systems.  One starts at N-M with a common difference of M(M+1) and the other starts at N = M(M-1)+1 with the same common difference. For example, when M = 4, the values of N are 4, 16, 28, 40, etc. and 13, 25 37 49, etc.  Simple algebra, or inspection shows that the first series starts N = M, N = M2 and includes powers of M.  It is always even when M is even and odd when M is odd.  The second series is always odd and contains, because of its method of formation, a fair sprinkling of prime numbers.  This is perhaps surprising on initial consideration. The second series is composed entirely of systems of the form R = N, 2N, 3N, etc.  A further interesting point is that perfect systems for a given value of N can occur for more than one value of M.

For example, N = 61 has perfect systems for M = 2,3,4,5 or 6.  The part of the problem which has only been partially solved is the method of laying out the actual races.  Both the Hon. Sec. and I have laid out 13 cars 3 at a time more or less by trial and error.  Alfie showed me an easy way for 16 cars 4 at a time, but I am still awaiting a general method.

Bobby Bagshaw has written me a most interesting letter.  Thanks, Bobby and I will be using your problems later; I will also be implementing suggestions.

The problem for this month is, I hope, not so mathematical and could very well have a very practical application.  The Hut Warden can buy two types of toilet paper for use at the Belfry in rolls. Call them thick and thin for the sake of the argument.

A.         How much paper is left when the roll has decreased to half its initial diameter?

M.        Give a minimum of five different methods of determining the number of sheets left on a part used roll with brief details of calculations where necessary.

Belfry Notice.

An electric Water Heater has been installed at the Belfry.  It will not take rough handling, so please use it with care.  It is an expensive item!

Now that it has been installed, there is no excuse for leaving ANY dirty washing up on the grounds that you were in too much of a hurry to wait for the water to boil. Please wash up EVERYTHING you used (including saucepans etc., which many members seem to think wash themselves up) after EVERY meal.

G. Tilly, Hut Warden.

News from Abroad.

We have had further letters recently from Garth and Nigel, which we hope to be able to publish next month.


The Belfry Bulletin. Editor, S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Secretary.  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
Postal Department.  K. Abbey, 15 Gypsy Patch Lane, Little Stoke, Bristol.



Annual Barbecue. This is being held this year on JULY 4TH.  Note: NOT Saturday nearest midsummer’s day. Tickets are price 6/- and are obtainable form Barry Lane.

Caving Meets. The trip to Derbyshire has been arranged for the weekend 28/28th June. There is SOME accommodation at the Eden Pothole Club’s hut.  Otherwise camping.   All interested should get in touch as soon as possible with the Caving Secretary ‘Mo’ Marriott.  There will be a trip to Giant’s Hole and possibly Nettle Pot as well.

Change of Address. The Editor has moved.  His temporary address is: - S.J. Collins, c/o Mr & Mrs Reade, “Homeleigh”, Bishop Sutton, Somerset. Incidentally, he still has no name for his cottage and will give half a gallon of bitter or the equivalent value in any other booze to the best usable suggestion.

Personal. Bob and Mary Price have a new addition to the family, a baby girl, as yet unnamed.  Congratulations to you both.

Annual Dinner. The Committee are already staring to plan for this (they have to, to make sure of a booking).    If YOU have any grumbles, or suggestions for the venue, or for things to do at the dinner itself, get in touch with any committee members as soon as possible.

Caving Log

Edited by Barry Lane.

On the 10th May, a trip was made to Primrose Pot by Kevin Abbey and six others.  From Kevin’s report in the log, everyone got though the squeeze at the head of the pot except himself who, due to physical and psychological reasons, decided to abstain.  Apparently the rest of the party managed to bottom it without much difficulty and the total time for the trip was nine hours.

On the 18th May, ‘Mo’ Marriott and Oliver Lloyd took a close look at the proposed rescue route from September Series in St. Cuthbert’s.  Oliver considered the route to be quite possible, but tedious in places.

Two trips were made to Swildons IV on the 20th and 31st of May.  On the 20th by Pete Sutton and party and on the 31st by Dave Smith, Alan Williams and party.  The practice rescue also took place on the 31st and Mo reports that excellent progress was made and that more will follow in a later B.B.


a short account by Phil Townsend.

Editor’s Note:    In view of the totally erroneous reports of caving accidents and the subsequent rescue trips which have been know to appear, unfortunately, in the press on occasion, it is the policy of the B.B. to print a brief account of the facts as soon as possible after such an event.

Two club members; out for a walk late at night, brought the news back to the Belfry that there had been an accident in Swildons and got everybody up at 3am on Sunday morning 7th June. By 3.15 the first party of five, including a doctor, entered the cave.  They found the patient twenty of thirty feet downstream of the end of Barnes Loop. About fifteen minutes later he was moved to a convenient ledge and put in a goon suit which was then blown up to keep him as warm as possible.  The first report to reach the surface on the condition of the patient stated that he had a suspected fracture of the skull and his pulse was weak.  The second party entered the cave at about 4 o’clock with the carrying sheet and ropes and reached the spot as soon as possible. While this party and the first began the task of moving the patient upstream, a third party put a heavy hauling rope of the Twenty Foot Pitch and arranged a pulley at the top of Suicide’s Leap with another hauling rope.

The patient was semi-conscious and was successfully moved up to the twenty, where the carrying sheet had to be readjusted.  He was then hauled up both pitches with comparative ease.  A new party had meanwhile assembled in the Old grotto, where a rescue kitchen with hot soup and horlicks tablets were also set up.  The patient was taken from the Old Grotto up the Short Dry Way to the top of Jacob’s Ladder and then by way of Kenny’s Dig to the Wet Way. At this stage, he regained consciousness temporarily, but was delirious and confused.  From the top of the Forty, the time taken to reach the entrance was two hours, and the party finally emerged at approximately 9.15am.

The Symonds Yat Area

From caving to climbing.  The last B.B. seemed to have been written mainly by ‘Mo’ Marriott.  This month it is Phil Townsend’s turn!

by Phil Townsend.

Nearly the entire climbing section – both of us – joined the Bennetts and set off one Saturday morning from Bristol in fine weather.  The already colossal party of four was increased yet again at Aust Ferry where the Tucks joined us.  As something by the way of an aperitif, we considered traversing round the ferry in mid river, but we decided is was too easy.

After a very pleasant run through the beautiful countryside, we arrived in the region of Symonds Yat. In seeking a campsite, we encountered a strange being who was obsessed with half hour trips up the river ‘to see the beautiful local scenery’.  We eventually found a campsite a little further up the river, where we could stay only if we had no dogs, so I found myself smuggled in, in the boot of the car. After pitching tents we donned climbing gear and set off, heading in the direction of the nearest pub, which we PASSED, crossing the river (by a bridge) and then walking n miles (where n lies between 1 and 2).  This brought us to the somewhat derelict Symonds Yat Station.  We waited for ages, but alas, no train.  In a desperate attempt to encourage it, Barry was tied to the rails by his hair and the climbing rope.  Even this failed.  Despondent, Steve Tuck, Barry, the Bennetts and I set out along the track towards a distant pinnacle, a distance of some twenty yards.  We left Mrs Tuck holding the baby at the station determined to catch the train.

We climbed up through the woods to the pinnacle, which was on the hillside above the railway track. According to the guide book, the route up this pinnacle was V.diff, but two attempts at it – perhaps through lack of determination – failed.  Turning our attention to the cliffs behind us, we found some nice climbs of short duration.  The rock here was very firm with good holds, but quite vertical.

Descending to the railway once more, we followed it in the opposite direction through a long curving tunnel (Caving as well, then? Ed.)  Unfortunately this led us directly away from our intended direction so we dropped down to the river and followed it to our campsite.  The next day, we decided to go to Wintour’s Leap which is not far from Beachley on our way home, so we packed up and left Symonds Yat for the tourists.  The weather wasn’t so nice and it had rained in the night.  We stopped and looked at Yat Rock on the way.  This is an alleged 500’ precipice, but the climbing is limited and the rock not very safe.

Wintour’s Leap is very similar in appearance to the Aven Gorge.  The female contingent went off walking with the baby, which was a boy (I could tell because it looked as if it ought to have had a blue hat on).  The men (applied loosely) split into two parties to tackle a v.diff. on the main wall.  Steve climbed with Roy, and Barry climbed with me.  The climb involved the use of interesting techniques, but the holds are nice and sharp.  A six foot piece of overhang by a foot to eighteen inches at the top would have made a perfect finish, but through the absence of one good handhold, it was impossible.  The climb was finished to the left.  We set off for home just as heavy rain started.  A most enjoyable weekend.



23128511, Pte. Dell
Ord. Dep., Aden, B.F.P.O. 69.

To the Editor if the B.B.

Five months ago, I left England to spend a couple of years sunbathing and boozing in the middle East.

Today, I received my January and February editions of the B.B. which I instantly tore open and scrutinised.  Upon reading ‘On the Hill’ by stalagmite in the February number, I was reduced to a condition of acute hysteria at the mention of – and I quote – ‘A strange Orange Squash Cult’ which seems to be in evidence at the Hunters.

What has happened to the club in the last few months?  Is it the new influx of young members from Bristol, or are there some old type dominating females getting people under the thumb?  Surely, the devotees of this strange cult should be made to realise that songs like ‘A Local Bloke from Rodney Stoke’ are not just figment of the imagination, but are actually based on fact.  I don’t know about the readers of this drivel, but I certainly can’t imagine a nice hectic drunken singsong at the Hunters based on Orange Squash.  Think of the word being passed round on Mendip – “there’s a barrel of ORANGE on at the Hunters on Saturday!”  Help!

                        (Fighting for the right to drink good English Beer.)

Mathematical Puzzles

by Sett

Here is the answer to last month’s problem.

A.         Simple measurements on a thin toilet roll will show that the diameter of the core is half the external diameter whilst the core of a thick toilet roll is a bout a quarter of an inch less than the diameter of the roll halved.  The answers are thus simply, “None left” and “Time to buy another roll”.

M.        Measure the diameters as indicated above, remove and count a measurable decrease in diameter.  The ratio of the squares of the diameters, allowing for the core, gives the required answer.  A second method is merely to look on the packing.  One firm quoted 500 sheets.  Thirdly, ask the shopkeeper or ring up the manufacturer.  Fourthly, weigh say ten sheetsa, divide the weight of the roll less the core, by this weight and multiply by ten for the answer. At a last resort, count the sheets.

This month’s problem.  In a fictitious cave on Mendip, there is a vertical wall rising from a horizontal floor.  Against the wall is a stalagmite bank, four feet wide by four feet high.  A party of cavers take down four sections of steel ladder each four feet long which bolt together with a four inch overlap, in order to climb the wall.  The ladder is placed on the floor and rests against the stalagmite bank.

A.         Using any method you like, find the height up the wall, to the nearest inch, the ladder reaches.

M.        Calculate the height to the nearest tenth of an inch

Please note:  I shall not be on Mendip for a few weeks, so will accept the first POSTAL solution.

The Mendip Cave Registry

From time to time, mention is made in the B.B. of the Mendip Cave Registry.  It has been felt however, that members are probably not really certain of what the Registry is, what it does, how it works and what it is all in aid of.  This article will attempt to answer a few of those questions.

The object of the Registry is to produce a book, which is under a continuous process of addition and revision, which lists every known reference book, which exists at present, that are to be found in the Bristol Public Library (Reference Section) and in the Somerset County Library at Wells.  There may, at a later stage, be more copies of the Register deposited in other libraries or with bodies connected with caving or allied studies.

The Register is not a large scale of a guide nook to Mendip caves.  It is true that a small amount of descriptive matter will be found under each entry preceding the actual references, but this has been included to give the stranger to the district a rough idea of the ‘vital statistics’ of the cave in question rather than as a guide to the actual cave itself.  You will still have to but a copy of Barrington if you want a guidebook.

The Register is primarily for the benefit of anyone doing or contemplating any serious work on caves in the area.  It will enable the user to find every word of importance that has ever been written on the cave in question.  This will, of course, involve an additional search for some of the textbooks mentioned, but at least will save the initial process of raising a bibliography.

Complete instruction as to how to use the Register are included in each copy, so it is not worth repeating them all here.  It is, however, of interest to note that the caves are all indexed by map references and that the appropriate maps are included actually in the Register books. Thus, if you happen to be wandering over and unfamiliar part of Mendip and see a likely looking depression or hole, reference to the appropriate map in the Register will provide the map reference and it is then a simple matter to ascertain whether any previous mention of the site has ever been made or whether any work has been done in the past. The Register can thus be of use to the general caver and nobody need feel that is just a reference work for experts only.  Since a brief description of the nature of the reference is given with each reference quoted in the Register, it is possible to say, trace the growth of exploration of Swildons directly from the Register without going further and reading all the references quoted.  A visit to see one or the other of the books at present in existence is thus well worth while.

I hope that this short description has shown that the Register can be of interest and use to the average caver.  Equally, the average caver can contribute usefully to the work of the Registry.  He can attend the Annual General Meeting – either as an individual or, by prior agreement with his club, as a representative. In either case he can help to formulate future policy, and perhaps be elected to do one of the jobs necessary to the running of the Registry.  Without going to these lengths, however, he can still help usefully.  There is, for example, a lot of field work still to be done. The existence of swallets and depressions is not yet completely recorded.  For the more armchair minded, there is the continual combing of literature published for new references to work in caves and the discovery of new caves or extensions to existing ones.  Any members who feels that he can contribute in these ways to work on the Registry should get in touch with the Secretary, Bryan Ellis – either at the Shepton Hut or by post.  (His new address appeared in a recent B.B.)  Any of the other officials of the Registry may also be contacted with offers of help.  The Mendip Cave Registry is the most comprehensive scheme of this nature ever to be tackled in a caving area and is, in addition a fine example of the way in which caving clubs can co-operate.  Its eventual success will depend to a large extent on the amount of use that the average cave makes of it, and the help that he is prepared to give.

S.J. Collins
Chairman, Mendip Cave Registry.


Caving Reports etc. are available from Bryan Ellis.  Write for Prices.


In spite of the reduction in size compared to last month, the flow of articles continues, for which the editor would like to thank all responsible.  The reason for the smaller size of this issue is due to the attempt being made to get back to publication date somewhat nearer the intended ‘first Thursday of the month’ and this month has been chosen as there is an article on the proposed Cuthbert’s Rescue trip which would be pointless if read by members after the actual trip had taken place.

The committee have asked that an appeal be included in this B.B. for volunteers to come forward who would be prepared to and design the necessary plumbing installation in the new changing hut, so that cavers may have hot water and other luxuries on returning from a trip.  The Hut Engineer and Hut Warden have been kept very busy on improvements to the actual Belfry and so we need a new source of willing hands (and brains!) to take on this extra job.  With the high cost of labour nowadays, it seems too much like flinging the club’s money away to have the work done professionally and with modern plumbing there is no longer any need to master the mystic art of making wiped joints before volunteering as a plumber.  After all, the fact that the editor can’t type or spell doesn’t stop the B.B. from being published.  How about a couple of younger members having a go?

Also requested to be announced in this B.B. is the fact that Phil Townsend how holds a Tackle Store key previously held by Roy Bennett.  Intending borrowers please note.


Castle Farm Swallet

A weekend in intensive digging will be held at Castle Farm Swallet over the Whitsun Holiday.

It is hoped that a strong working party will be present at the dig on each of the three days of the holiday.  There will be plenty of jobs to be done, including digging, boulder removing and shoring.

Castle Farm Swallet holds considerable promise of a discovery but this will only be realised if plenty of work is done on the site – it won’t open up by itself!  If you can manage a day at this dig or even half a day, then get in touch with Gordon Tilly, ‘Mo’ Marriott or Dave Irwin and let them know which day you can manage.  Don’t let Castle Farm Swallet joining the ranks of the digs that have been ‘abandoned due to lack of effort’.

Other Caving Meets.

Pinetree Pot.

A trip (or trips) will be run to Pinetree Pot on Sunday15th June.  For more details contact Caving secretary (’Mo’).


It is hoped to hold a caving meet in Derbyshire on the last weekend in June or the first in July.  More details will be announced later.

A Mock Rescue in St. Cuthbert’s

In the “Merry Month of May”, it is proposed to carry out a mock rescue, in order to iron out the difficulties that would obviously arise from such an event.

I would like to make it quite clear first of all, that this programme will not necessarily be agreeable to everyone, but as it has been left for me to organise (and quite rightly so) most of it will be based on my own ideas and, as far as possible, those of other leaders.

Ideally it would be best if this rescue were supported in the main only by St. Cuthbert’s Leaders who have speedy access to Mendip in such an emergency.  Obviously there is a small nucleus of leaders who, being attached to telephones (not literally so) would be called out first.  It is these members that the previous paragraph is particularly directed.  Other than full leaders, there are very few probationary leaders and ordinary cavers in Cuthbert’s at the moment, but these would be very useful in an emergency and are encouraged to help in this mock rescue.

The idea of specifying the people required is because inevitably a load of cavers turn up, there being far more than is necessary for the purpose in hand, who just clutter up the cave etc., making it difficult to assess requirements.  Further, it is no advantage to have a whole band of cavers carrying out the mock rescue, only to find that when the real thing occurs, most of them live in Timbuktu, for instance.  Members will of course appreciate that the above points apply to St. Cuthbert’s only.

Firstly, the ‘Sperahed’ of leaders will be sorted out whose names and phone numbers will be given to the M.R.O.  These persons will, more or less, form the initial rescue party, ahead of anyone else, their aim being to establish contact with the victim as quickly as possible (probably carrying some form of emergency rations) and to relay necessary action back to the surface.  A further ‘working’ party will then take down any necessary equipment, stretcher, etc., and will proceed with the rigours of rescue.  Obviously a doctor will, if needed (yet to be asked) go down with the ‘working’ party.  The above procedure will not be necessary for the mock rescue, but is suggested in case of the real thing.

September Series has been decided on as the scene of the rescue, because it is one of the main tourist routes and because it will present the most difficult rescue problems.

Did I hear cries of abuse? Long Chamber Extension; Coral Series and Rocky Boulder have not been overlooked but as only EXPERTS venture there at present, rescue problems for that area will have to wait.

Unless anyone can turn up with an escalator, the route out will be September Chamber – High Chamber – Upper Traverse Chamber – Traverse Chamber Pitch – Lower Traverse Chamber – Chain Pitch – Gour Passage – Gour Passage Pitch – Pulpit Pitch - New Entrance. By-Pass Passage was considered but ruled out as being, if not impossible, a time wasting route.

The victim will be imagined suffering from broken neck or spine injury, thereby making it necessary to carry him out strapped to a plank, medical advice being sought at this point. The question of carrying sheet/stretcher will no doubt cause a lot of argument.  I believe we have a few experts on this subject in the club and would appreciate their advice.  One point of interest is that the P.C.G. have designed a carrying sheet/stretcher which they have already used quite successfully on several occasions in Buckfastleigh.  I have a copy of the plans.

The question of rescue in St. Cuthbert’s opens up another field to the experts in the club, that of communications.  Help from this angle would obviously be of great value in such a cave.

That seems to cover most of it, except for the date which is the 31st of May.

C.A. Marriott, Caving Secretary

A Caving Meet in South Wales

The weekend arranged for the B.E.C. meet to South Wales was the 24th to 26th April.  After some last minute reshuffling of transport arrangements and a few minor navigational errors en route, the party succeeding in reaching the cottages of the South Wales Caving Club at Penwyllt on Friday night.

The support given to this caving meet was exceedingly good.  No less than 26 people spent the weekend at Penwyllt, including wives and children of some of the members present.  It was also heartening to see the younger element of the club well represented.

On Saturday, trips had been arranged to Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and at about 10.30am two parties entered the cave. Kevin Abbey, Tony Meaden, Roy and Joan Bennet and myself under the leadership of John Dryden and John Attwood, Ron King, Frank Jones, John Major and Sue under the guidance of Gwynne Saunders. The trip into Ogof Ffynnon Ddu was extremely interesting and worthwhile, being the first for most of the B.E.C. party. The trip commenced with a leisurely stroll through the spacious entrance series, with one small diversion to examine some fine mud and stal. formations.  Evidence of an abortive plan to commercialise the cave was seen in this part, in the form of concrete floors, railings etc., although much of this has been destroyed or damaged by the stream when in flood.  At this point the presence of the stream was heard as a distant rumble.  We were assured that the stream was running at normal level, although at a distance it sounded ominously large.  A short descent through some well sculpted solution passages, with fine solution pendants and spongework, brought us within sight of the stream. The rest of the stream passage was accomplished, after some high level detours, by a series of wire rope traverses high up in the stream rift. The noise from the stream was quite considerable even in normal conditions; I should imagine that these wire traverses would be quite spectacular when the cave is in flood. The final section of the traverse – Bolt Travers – led into Bolt Passage and from there into the lofty dry passages of the Rawl Series.  In this part of the cave, a certain similarity to the large dry passages of Agen Allwedd could be seen, although some members of the S.W.C.C. would probably hotly contest this.  At any rate, the similarities ended when formations were taken into consideration, there being no lack of formations in this cave.  Although one noticed a certain lack of large flowstone formations, such as are seen more frequently on Mendip, there was certainly no shortage of the more delicate forms, straws, erratics, etc., and it was a pleasant change to visit a system where the helictites are common.  Most of the large passages are well decorated with a profusion of helictites – including the famous ‘fingers’ which must be familiar to anyone who has glanced through British Caving.

The trip into the Rawl Series was completed with an excursion to Starlight Chamber, which takes its name from the glittering crystalline surface of its high roof. The party then retraced its steps into the Rawl Series and followed a descending rift to meet the stream, just downstream of its point of emergence from a large boulder choke.  In this region, the bulk of the water issues as a clear, fast flowing stream from a small sump.

The party moved downstream for a short way, then entered the Waterfall Series by a high traverse along the right wall.  As the name implies, a subsidiary stream joins the main stream at this point.  The Waterfall Series ascends steeply from the main stream, high and riftlike at first but later broadening out into a series of high vaulted passages with a number of large chambers.  The features to note in this part of the cave are the large amounts of Tufa (cave milk) and the exceptional acoustics.  The stream passage was then rejoined and followed downstream almost to the lower boulder choke.  The downstream trip proved to be one of the most exciting bits of the whole day, the stream meanders down a high rift passage and the force of the water in the floor of the passage is quite strong.  Evidence of flooding can easily be seen in the highly polished black rock along the walls of the stream passage.  Most members of the party were quite content to wade through the swiftly flowing waters but one (who shall be nameless) insisted on straddling the stream at every opportunity.  This was rather unusual behaviour because considering that he was wearing a wet suit. (I’ve heard the song “And her bathing suit never got wet” – but this is ridiculous!).  The caving trip was finally completed by a short climb out of the stream passage and thence to the surface via a curious elbow shaped pool called Pluto’s Path.  This pool is about ten to fifteen feet deep and is negotiated by a rather wide straddle. However, the agility of the B.E.C. proved to be up to standard and nobody fell in, much to the disappointment of the leader, John Dryden.  The parties left the cave at about 5pm after a thoroughly enjoyable visit to a fine system.

The remainder of the caving party, Norman Petty, Dave Quicken, Roger Stenner and Joyce and Brenda plus three lads form Bristol (prospective member?) spent the Saturday exploring the recesses of Cwm Dwr Quarry Cave, which is only a stone’s throw from the S.W.C.C. cottages. The delights of this cave include a long flat-out crawl in a sand filled passage, and a large and impressive main chamber.  Saturday night was spent in the usual manner at the Gwyn Arms, where we were treated to some fine singing by Oliver Lloyd and company.

Most of the party were up and about before 9am on Sunday morning and preparing for their days recreation (?).  Some spent the day walking on the moor land around Penwyllt, while four others spent and enjoyable day in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu under the guidance of Oliver Lloyd – who took them into the Eagles Nest which involves an interesting crawl through a very wet passage.  Two of the walkers, John Major and Sue, also managed a trip into Cwm Dwr.  The remaining eight intrepid members of the party set off for Pwl Dwfn, which is about as hard to find as it is to pronounce. An hour of feverish activity on the previous night had enabled us to assemble enough tackle to do this pothole, only after loans of private lengths of ladder and rope kindly made by messrs Attwood and Meaden.    After changing near the Gwyn, the party set off for the cave, festooned with a great assortment of ladders etc.  The entrance lies in the dry valley above Dan-yr-Ogof, and is notably insignificant. However, the entrance was located without too much difficulty and a start was made in laddering the first pitch about 11am.  Pwll Dwfn is different from O.F.D. as can be imagined and is a true pothole with five ladder pitches (20, 45, 30, 70 and 55) following almost immediately after one another, with very little horizontal development in between.  The laddering of this pot went very smoothly although one or two snags were encountered with the general looseness in places.  Water was only a trickle and did not stop the five people form bottoming the pot.  The final 55’ pitch led into a blind pot at a depth of 310’ with a small lake chamber running off to one side.  We were told that diving operations here had met with no success.  The exit went without a hitch and the party set out for the main road at 6pm after a memorable weekend of caving.  Our thanks are due to the South Wales Caving Club for their warm hospitality and their assistance for finding guides for the excellent trips to Ogof Ffynnon Ddu.

 ‘Mo’ Marriott


Please DON’T leave old caving gear around in the Changing Hut.  This applies particularly to WET gear, which become rotten and COULD even start a fire by spontaneous combustion.  Any gear which looks as though it has ‘had it’ (even if it hasn’t) will be thrown out!

We must apologise to our readers for the lack of our regular writers – Sett, Barry Lane’s Caving Log and of course ‘Stalagmite’. We must also apologise to those three gentlemen – or is it two gentlemen and one lady? for not being able to include their usual features.  Back to normal next month – We hope!  Editor.

Obituary – Ian Dear

It is always a sad occasion when we have to inform members of the death of a club member, but particularly so when that member has been as well known and well liked like as Ian.

A keen caver and active caver throughout his long association with the B.E.C., Ian was always ready to help younger members and many of today’s experienced cavers must look back with gratitude to their early trips with Ian and remember his happy knack of imparting caving knowledge in a tactful and pleasant way.  Although he spent much of his time on Mendip introducing novices to caving, he still found the time to do much work underground and will be particularly remembered for his work in Hunters Hole.  Now ‘Dear’s Ideal’ must join other underground places such as Browne’s Passage, C.B. Chamber and Don’s Delight as reminders of the work of B.E.C. members who are no longer with us.

For some years, Ian served on the Club Committee and was Tackle Officer.  His help to the club however, went further than this and on many occasions he generously donated sums of money to help build up the amenities we now enjoy.  The club was always in his thoughts and his last act has been to donate a very large sum of money to the club in his will.

To his family we offer our sincere condolences.  His passing we are sure will be deeply felt by all his many friends amongst caving clubs on Mendip.

Practice Rescue

The purpose of this article is to describe the sequence of the practice rescue in St. Cuthbert’s Swallet, for the benefit of those who were unable to attend the trip.  The accident was assumed to have occurred in the lower part of September Chamber.  The first “victim” went into the cave in company with two others and made for the scene of the “accident”.

Shortly afterwards, a party of six people followed taking with them the carrying sheet plus all its associated bindings etc., some of the hauling ropes and ladders for the short pitch from Upper Traverse Chamber to Maypole series and the Traverse Chamber Pitch. The main section of this party went straight into September Series, while the tail enders paused in Traverse Chamber to ladder the two pitches mentioned.

In September Chamber, the victim was laced into the carrying sheet and the rescue proper began, along the normal exit route through the boulder ruckle.  On this section, the pace of the rescue was steady if somewhat slow and, although one or two places were found to be a bit awkward, no serious difficulty was encountered until the final section of the ruckle, near the entrance to Catgut Series.  This tortuous and constricted section took some time to negotiate, largely due to the lack of room for the helpers rather than the actual tightness of the section. Once clear of the boulder ruckle, the pace became quite rapid, and the victim was soon brought to the top of the first short ladder pitch.

While all this was going on, a second party of seven people has descended taking with them the remaining heavier hauling ropes, plus the ladders and the lifelines for Pulpit and Gour Passage Pitches.   This party took charge of the rescue at Traverse Chamber, starting with the descent into Lower Traverse chamber, where the victim was changed. 

The first party remained to take the tackle off the Traverse Chamber Pitches and then some left the cave, while the others waited at the top of Pulpit Pitch to assist in the hauling. The second party continued the rescue to Gour passage Pitch, and at that point handed over to a third party of six people.  While the third was moving towards Pulpit Pitch with the victim, the second party left the cave.

At Pulpit Pitch the third party, assisted by the remaining members of the first party succeeded, after one or two delays in the rigging of the hauling ropes, in getting the victim to the top.  It was then decided to call it a day, and everyone returned to the surface.


It can be concluded that the rescue problems posed by St. Cuthbert’s are not as fearsome as had been expected, since the rescue party chosen encountered a range of situations representative of most parts of the system, and no insurmountable difficulty was experienced.

It is important that considerable care should be taken when strapping the victim in the carrying sheet, otherwise adjustments may have to be made during the course of the rescue, and these can be very time consuming.

A helping party of seven or eight seems to be about the right size for Cuthbert’s, while a minimum of three such parties will be required for a full rescue.

It is not necessary to employ complicated systems for hauling in St. Cuthbert’s, since a single hauling line with a strong hauling party proves to be the simplest and most snag-free arrangement.  The only exception to this would be in the Entrance Rift, where the size of a hauling party would be restricted by the available room.

In view of the soaking experienced by the victim on Gour passage and Pulpit Pitches, the question of the Wire Rift as a rescue route is still open.  However, this should be resolved by a further practice rescue along this section only.

Finally, it remains to thank all those who turned up to assist.  In particular the victims for their patient co-operation and Oliver Lloyd for valuable service.

C.A. Marriott.

A Quiet Whitsun

by R.S. (Kangy) King.

Well named, the Exploration Club, enabling examination of the Pembrokeshire coastline to proceed with a clear conscience even though the activity that drew us there was not specifically climbing or caving.

The subtle demands of family tend to modify the routines of Mendip or Wales, not without compensation, because parts of the country previously unvisited can now be explored.  The recently increased party that went to Pembrokeshire at Whitsun was made up of the Eatoughs, the Attwoods, the Quickes and the Kangies – a dozen in all.  The purpose of the trip was to reconnoitre the country, particularly the coast, from the naturalist and sporting point of view.  As always, good weather ensured success.  Several days were spent camping at St. Gowans Head.  The site we chose on the Saturday for its superb situation and isolation was vacated on the Tuesday evening.  A timely call by that virtuoso of the blower Attwood, had revealed that the army training area we had camped on was due to be shattered by R.A.F. high explosive on Wednesday.  We left without regret and commended the site to the brave.

Standard excursions from this campsite are Broadhaven, with limestone scenery and beach, where attacks by oyster catchers are to be expected, especially when one is clinging to thin slab, and white winged black Terns (I know!) are to be seen; to Stack Rocks, where the Guillemots are disguised as Blegugs and the Green Bridge of Wales doesn’t go anywhere.

The cliff scenery is splendid and the sporting opportunities boundless.  In the more massive limestone, horizontal beds containing many voids broken into by the sea.  The more spectacular blowholes have free ladder pitches of 150’ or more and the vertical and overhanging cliffs have few easy routes

While this sort of cliff scenery with simple geology may be an acquired taste, the Cardigan Bay coast is bound to appeal.  There is plenty to see all along the coast, particularly North of St. David’s Head, which is a National trust Area.  Our campsite at Littlehaven was Weegee but pleasant, good view, fresh loos and water and flushing toilets for only 3/- per outfit. Tortuously convoluted O.R.S. with sea caves added interest to a colourful coast with the further attraction of islands and a famous drowned river valley at Solva.  Sport as we know it is lacking – a hungry look at Myndd Prescelly was disappointed by the rounded nature of the beast, but they tell me the surfing is good.

Editors’ Note:    Some additional facts to would-be campers in the area (which are probably out of date by now) are that you can camp free a bit further along the cliff top from Littlehaven  –  that the

Café at Littlehaven is (or was) run by an ex-Wessex member and that it is most inadvisable to run out of petrol halfway up the hill out of Littlehaven village!

Book Review

by Dave Irwin.

Volcanoes- In History, in Theory, in Eruption.  By F.M. Bullard, Ph.D.  Published by Nelson 1962 Price 45/-

Following the excellent film shown by W.C.C. earlier this year, the book outlines the classification of Volcanoes (derived from the word VOLCANO – an active volcano in the Lipari Islands north of Sicily) with detailed descriptions of the many examples to be found throughout the world.  He also deals with the historic volcanoes such as Vesuvius, Stromboli, Krakatoa and Pelle which destroyed a town in 1902 having a population of over 30,000 in less than 2 minutes.

The book, although written for the layman, is packed with detail.  The text of over 440 pages is accompanied by 37 plates and 71 line drawings.

Club Trip to Derbyshire (June 27 and 28th)

by K. Franklin

Seventeen to eighteen people said they would be going on this trip, but the number finally dropped to nine.  These were Roy and Joan Bennett, Dave, Mary and Helen Quicke, Keith and Peter Franklin, Dermot Statham and John Dryden.  Roy and Joan arrived first in Buxton, located the Eldon Pothole Club and decided to camp at Stanley Moor.  Keith, Peter and John were next and, as it was dark stayed in the Eldon Club. Dermot, who travelled up with the Quickes, also stayed but the latter went to find the Bennetts.  Despite several interruptions in the night by the Eldon lot returning from a party, some sleep was possible and the party assembled in the forecourt (mark you!) of the Hardwick Hotel on Saturday morning to await the arrival of the Eldon Secretary, Chris Ineson.  As there was no sign of him by 11.45am, a decision was made to camp at Router Farm, at the top of the Winnats Pass, for the rest of the weekend.  This was accomplished and then came the difficult job of deciding how to spend the rest of the day.  The original intention of the trip to do Giants Hole on Saturday (with Chris Ineson) and Nettle Pot on Sunday. The lack of numbers made it imperative that all the fit and able members should go caving, but as some of them had different ideas this presented a problem.  After acrimonious discussions and preliminary exploration to find Nettle Pot and Oxlow House Farm (both failed) the weather closed down and a decision was taken to do one of the largest pitches in Derbyshire, viz.  the 200’ free pitch in Eldon Hole as a training exercise for Castle Farm Pot Series

One (or Alfie’s Hole? – Ed.) and then Giants Hole on Sunday (to get into training for the Lower Extension of Castle Farm ) so, being led by a local bloke – not from Rodney Stoke, but Derby. Dermot Statham, Roy, John, Dave, Keith and Peter attached 200’ of tackle and lifeline to themselves and set off across the misty moor.  After completing a circular tour and rapidly approaching Giants Hole, it was realised that Eldon Hole had been moved to some safer spot which was duly located and tackled up.  Then we waited, looked at each other, looked down the 200’ pitch, looked at each other again – and waited.  Eventually Peter’s nerve broke and he volunteered to make the fisrt descent. Dermot and Dave Quicke followed soon after.  The intrepid Bennett decided to abseil the pitch and after a couple of abortive attempts reached the bottom much to the amazement and admiration of those below. During this interval a rescue had been performed and two very weak jackdaws were placed in a sack and pulled to the surface.  Roy climbed up the pitch and Keith, who had been lifelining, went down.  John decided that 14 and a half stone was too much to expect anybody to pull out of Eldon Hole, and took over the lifelining.  This proved very prudent as the ascent turned out to be very arduous for most of the party, emphasising that Nettle Pot would have been foolhardy to attempt by such a ladderwise inexperienced party.  Eventually everybody was back on the moor, the pot de-tackled, the jackdaws released and the way to Router Farm found without difficulty.  After a good meal of three or four pints in Castleton, the happy cavers settled down to a good night’s sleep, broken only by the ear-splitting yell from Dermot who ‘fell off’ while climbing with ‘Mo’ fast asleep in the Bennett tent.  He now ‘pegs’ himself to the tent pole to prevent further recurrences!  On the Sunday the weather improved greatly, and breakfast was enjoyed in the pleasant sun.  Roy and Joan were going walking with Dave, Mary and Helen went into Nottingham.  This left Keith, Peter, Dermot and John to do Giants Hole.  They arrived at the cave at about midday, expecting to find the sump bailed out, but this turned out to be a false hope.  However, the B.E.C. bailing team took over, the sump was lowered sufficiently to leave an eight inch airspace.  This proved enough for the Mendip cavers who entered the cave first and proceeded to the first pitch – a fine pot with a 30’ fixed ladder.  This led to the Giants Crab Walk which is a meander passage extending for three quarters of a mile.  The meanders are so abrupt that the last person hardly saw the person in front until the party reassembled at the end of the long passage. The first sump was reached soon after and steps were retraced to find the junction leading to the Geology Pot Series. Here the wrong turning was taken and when the way was barred by a sump (St. Valentines Sump) it was decided to call it a day and get back to the surface and some sun.  The sump was about four inches higher on the way out and the first dam would have been a pleasant swim but for the texture of the water!  Coffee was provided at Giants Farm as part of the 2/6 fee, if a point was made of asking for it!  The camp was then broken up, with Keith, Peter and John leaving first, Dermot waited for the Quickes to return from Nottingham, and Roy and Joan stayed on until the Monday.  A pleasant weekend, in spite of early disappointments.


Our regular contributors seem to be getting a rough deal lately, and the latest “victim” is Sett. The Editor has unfortunately mislaid one page containing vital information on Sett’s Puzzles and so the next instalment will have to wait until Sett can be contacted.  Meanwhile, here are some anagrams sent in by Dave Irwin….


1.                  B.E.C.. v Gran. (2,6)

2.                  Cave men Ll.B. Rare?  (4,4,6)

3.                  Tip cat here! (5,5)

4.                  I see early mops (7,6)

5.                  Wells can rate this bus T.T.  (5,9,7)

6.                  Top toy off tor. (5,4,3)

7.                  Gerald B. Hoe (6,4)

8.                  A western Vat Race  (9,6)

9.                  Stop me, Prior! (8,3)

10.              Initials are important here.

11.              Is this worth £100?

12.              Possibly awkward if you have short legs!

13.              Could be May Day.

14.              Is this consecrated ground

15.              Things ain’t what they sem.

16.              Animals hideout.

17.              Chinese water?

18.              Cave garden.