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Camping Underground

By Dave Hunt

‘Night on a Bare Mountain’ is nothing compare with ‘Night in an Enclosed Cave’.

Camping (even if it was only Goatchurch) is real fun, and I hope if time and money permits, to repeat the ‘experiment’ in Swildons some time.

‘Operation Goatchurch’ was carried out on Sat. Oct 31st. by Viv Brown, Dave Fowler and myself.  As Viv was already caving in Burrington on that day, he met Dave and I there.  He left Bristol at 3.00pm in pouring rain and after calling at Wrington for some meths, arrived at the Combe at 4.10pm, also in the pouring rain.

Reaching the entrance, we were already covered in mud, due to slipping on the ascent.  On entering the cave we were greeted by a horde of happy cavers under the protective wings of Messrs. Sandall and Scott.  (N.B.  They were happy because they were about to go home).

After eating and watching, with much amusement, the dispersal of the afore-mentioned party, we proceeded to select a suitable place of kip.  After a decision hade been reached, Viv shocked us all by announcing that ‘they’ had been open for at least 20 minutes.  Hastily donning coats and bonnets, we proceeded up the Combe with much fervour, arriving at Ben’s in time to witness an excellent display of slides.  Returning to the Belfry for supper we were ridiculed unmercifully, but the spirit of adventure won through and we plodded back down the Combe in a much less joyful moody than we had climbed it.

We got to bed at 1.45am and I was soon very much asleep.  I was awakened later by Dave poking me in the back and roundly acclaiming that it was 4.30 and he would like to go caving.  Ken Dobbs informs me that my reply is, unfortunately not publishable. -- (You should have written it in, Dave, anyway.  We always are pleased to improve our knowledge of the English language.  Ed.).

I was next awakened to be informed that it was 10.40, and about time that I got up.  I am pleased to say that I enjoyed a better nights sleep than I could have expected at another certain establishment on Mendip, and to prove that my hours underground had done me no harm, I went caving all day Sunday, feeling very little effect of it.

One point which has been stressed to us before our departure was not to light a meths stove underground.  I am now completely in agreement with this statement.

If anyone is interested in Camping in Swildons will they please contact me by letter to : -

                        16, Britannia Road, Easton, Bristol. 5.,

as soon as possible.

Dave Hunt

Annual General Meeting And Dinner



Photographic Competition.

The Photographic Competition has had few entries, so you still stand a chance of wining a good prize.  The closing date is now January 20th. 1954.  Send your entries to Ken Dobbs, 55 Broadfield Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4, and enclose 6d. with each.  Minimum size of entry is 3”x3”.  Please state type and value of camera, etc.

A letter from Ken

On behalf of my wife and myself, I should like to offer our belated thanks to Club members for the gift of money presented to us on the occasion of our marriage.

Ken Dobbs.

Xmas Crossword Solution.

Before the solution itself, I should like to apologise for the great inconvenience caused to puzzlers by having the puzzle itself and the Clues on opposite sides of the same sheet (corrected in the reprinted edition).  I had intended to have them facing each other, but somehow I seem to have miscounted the pages with the unfortunate result seen.  May I plead a too early dose of Christmas Spirit?.              T.H.S.




Old Red Sandstone.



Open Cast Working



Exits Then Enters.



Eastwater Cavern.












Sent To Broadmoor.












Easy To Ride Horse.






In Roads.

























































Instep Supporter.






Green Chartreuse.





Letter from Pongo


Dear Harry,

---------I hope that the lack of letters (re. register of caving slides and pictures - see page 5 BB72 Aug, 53.) means that material for the BB is pouring in and crowding them out.  Since I wrote the letter my selection of slides has increased considerably ------ and I hope to be taking some more in South Wales soon.  The supply will then be stabilised for a while at least and I will send you a list of what I have.  Even if no one else contributes I am quite pleased to lend mine to anybody who needs them.  They number about 100, which makes quite a reasonable supply for a lecture.   ---------


Ed’s Note.

Alas, Pongo, no replies have been received.  Your generous offer has been received with the usual club silence.  The only reason that I can see is that – You didn’t explain what a slide WAS.


Copy of Newspaper cutting

submitted by Jack Waddon, and reprinted in the BB because of the numbers of older club members who know the cave concerned.

Cahors SW France.

Andre Breton, an author, was today fined £5 and ordered to pay £20 damages for rubbing out a Mammoth’s trunk drawn in prehistoric times on the wall of a grotto at Cabrerets near Cahors. ---------

M. Abel Bessac who shows parties round the grotto, said in court, “Our chapel of the Mammoths is one of the greatest assemblages of Neolithic and Palaeolithic art”.  On Breton’s visit to the grotto last July he noticed him touch the mammoth drawing with a finger.  “I said, ‘Don’t touch please’, and pointed to the luminous ‘Don’t touch’ signs.  Then he did it again and I saw the Mammoth’s trunk vanish.  I rapped his finger with my pointer”.

Breton’s counsel described the grotto as follows.  “In the first cave M. Bessac shows visitors a footprint in clay”.

“He explains it was the foot of a one-legged woman weighing about 110lbs. and 5ft. 10ins. Tall, carrying a child on her left shoulder, who was attacked at this precise spot by a bear”.

“Then you pass successively before some mammoths and bison.  After that comes a sort of alms box on which you can read ‘Don’t forget the guide’.

“When you come out there is a boar on the left and public conveniences – for which a charge is made – on the right”.

“You can also purchase picture postcards – in fact, you are invited to.  All this goes on to the sound of light music from an amplifier”.


With my usual optimism I am again appealing for articles for our future issues.  There is very little in reserve at the present time.  We have given a fine Xmas issue; now we ask you to give US material for the future.  No material, no BB; you pays yer money and you takes yer choice.


Another Song for the Collection: -

A Carbide Lamp Totally Failed

Submitted by Alma.

A young caving maid was extremely afraid
When her first trip she boldly abseiled,
When she found herself left
In a deep muddy cleft
With her carbide lamp totally failed.

Now, just as it happened, a male caving type
The maid to this pothole had tailed;
And with anticipation he leapt to her aid
When her carbide light totally failed.

Now strange to relate, his lamp suffered this fate,
As he loudly the poor maiden hailed;
“I just can’t think why”,
Was his wondering cry
With his carbide lamp totally failed.

Now close to the maiden he sat himself down,
And laughed as the poor damsel quailed;
“You’ll be safer” said he, “If you sit on my knee
With your carbide lamp totally failed.

Hours later it seemed they emerged form the cave,
Her face all in blushes was veiled;
No long afraid (but no longer a maid)
For her carbide lamp totally failed.

Years passed and he cursed his impatience with rage,
And his fate he has often bewailed,
For I haste to explain
The girl married her swain
When her carbide lamp totally failed.

Now cavers be wary, in bachelor ease,
Or your single joys will be curtailed,
Most maidens are sly
But men never think why
A carbide lamp’s totally failed.





R.J. Bagshaw,                 Hon. Sec.  56, Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol.4.
K.C. Dobbs,                    Hon. Assist. Sec.  55, Broadfield Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
T.H. Stanbury,                 Hon. Editor.  48, Novers Park Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


The Editor apologises for the delay in issuing this BB. Owing to circumstances beyond my control this issue is almost three weeks late.

G.B. Guest Day

Easter Monday, 19th April is a guest Day for G.B. The time of decent is 3pm. If you wish to take part in this trip please notify Alfie Collins early, as the list has to be in the hands of the U.B.S.S. at least a week beforehand.

Lantern Slides

By Ken Dobbs

A custodian of the Club Lantern slides, my conscience has been pricking somewhat after Pongo’s items in earlier BB’s.

For those interested here is the state of the club slides to date:-

Swildons Hole.

22 in number. Mostly of the Old Grotto. 2 only below the 40. 2 of a gentleman named Broadbent (front & rear) near the ‘Bishop’. 4 at or near the entrance.

G B.

17 in number. We have a couple of the First Grotto and then there is a blank until we reach the Main Chamber. 3 only of the White Passage. (We could do with many more). 4 of the entrance.

Stoke Lane

8 in number. Although this is considered to be a ‘Club’ cave and has been much photographed we have only this number of slides.

Wookey Hole

9 in number. 2 of these are diagrams.


2 only in number. Both of the entrance.


4 in number. Showing

a) Mendip Plateau, Conglomerate at Wookey with a rough section of Eastwater.

b) The building up of a limestone area.

c) Theoretical plan and strata of a cave system.

d) Types of formation.

The building up of a library of caving slides would be a most desirable thing. Unfortunately the cost of photographing even one cave fully and then converting the results to slides would be prohibitive. It would also be wasteful as there must be scores of suitable negatives already in existence in members’ possession. A request was made about 3 years ago for members to loan any negatives they might have for this purpose. The Result was Negative!! Any way, Can I again appeal to members to lend these most desirable bits of celluloid?

Ken Dobbs.


To Postle and Dizzie Thompsett on Jan. 20th 1954, a son, Fabian, weight 7lbs. 6ozs.

How to increase Membership

By Chris Falshaw.

The bods at work had often asked to go caving, just hinting from time to time, that is. Then one fine day the bombshell came. “Laddie, you go caving, don’t you”? “Well--er, yes, I suppose I do”. “Well, when are you going to take us?” “Oh—er, when you like, sir”. (Old fool, little does he know). “Right-O, laddie, weekend after next do”? “Fair enough, sir”. (Stupid old clot).

That is how it happened. It started off that ten would definitely come. They were keen, much too keen, too keen by far. I decided on a top Swildons and during the next week did some explaining about conditions, clothing, water, etc. Then the rot set in; one bod had a date, another developed a cold, another dying aunt, and so it went on until the weekend arrived, and our numbers had sunk to five.

On the fatal Sunday morning we arrived at the Belfry and borrowed some headgear. We then made tracks for Priddy, changed, paid our bobs and reached the cave.

The water was high; it lapped the grill like a child sucking a lollipop, lovingly, longingly. Remarks rent the peaceful air; “We don’t go down that ******little hole do we”? “It ain’t my barf night you know”. And so on. “Yes” I replied, “Down there you go and like it”. After a little more persuasion we entered the cave and made our way to the top of the Long Dry Way. Here we lost another member. Then there were four! We pressed on down the Long Dry Way to the Old Grotto. Dare I hope that the formations would provide some consolation? They did, remarks were very satisfying. I was beginning to hope that the trip was not to be in vain; one subject however haunted my mind, The Water Rift; what would they think? Anyhow I thought I could soon lose or drown them if they became violent.

We soon reached the rift, and here all hopes if industrial advancement for me were crushed for ever. They did not like the water, especially cold water, and said so in loud explosive voices. Two were persuaded to the top of the 40, the rest declined.

We then returned to the Old Grotto and the Short Dry Route. Here I made one last effort and tried to appeal to their scientific interests with an explanation of cave formation; no one was interested. “Come on let’s get out of this ******** hole”. We eventually reached the entrance with another wetting at the head of the Long Dry Way.

On Monday morning the final blow came. “Chris – er lad, don’t mention caving again”.


One bod did say that he would like to come again sometime, one out of ten, not bad really I suppose. Say 10 per cent, it sounds so much better.

Chris Falshaw.

Provisional Plan for Proposed B.E.C. Trip to 1954.

By Keith Gardner.

Having returned from a trip to the caving areas of , I am convinced that, providing sufficient support be given a club trip to these areas would be a great success. Camping sites abound and a large number of contacts in the spheres of archaeology, spelaeology, geology etc., have been made and have promised their full support if such a trip should be embarked upon. At les Eyzies de Tayac we have an old friend, M. Severin Blanc, the local chief of prehistory, and it is very likely that Prof. Movius Harvard University will be working there again. Both these men could be of great help. At Roc-Amadour, M. Andre Niederlander, a hotelier and archaeologist would help, while in Tarascon in the Pyrenees is M. Robert, President of the local Prehistoric Soc and also an ardent speleo., who could arrange for us visits to the less well known caves and also to closed parts of the vast cavern of Loubrive (this would entail full equipment) and Count Begouen may even be persuaded to open Trois Freres for us. Here also is the Dutch Geological Survey who would welcome one or two companions on their lonely expeditions into the mountains. Quite by chance – in the Geneva-Paris night train – we met Souchard Marcel, the speleologist who again promised his full help – it would be a great thing if we could get him to come with us! Perhaps expenses could be paid?

If, however, such a trip is intended, it is obvious that it will have to be well organised, and many decisions will have to be made early on in the proceedings. How will we travel? Will we live in one communal camp, cooking for the mass, or will we be individual groups? If we are all together it means that everyone will be ready to leave at the proper time, etc., but it also means a duty roster of cooks and camp duties – who is going to plan the meals? - and the equipment for mass cooking?

With regard to travel we have a variety of ways:-

a) A coach hired in would take us everywhere we wished, but it would take several days to get there and several coming back.

b) Train to Lympne airport where a Bristol Freighter could be chartered connecting with a reserved train to Paris and thence to Perigueux. Here a large coach, (S.N.C.F. French Railways) could be hired for the rest of the journey returning us to the station for the return by rail.

c ) A series of locally hired coaches could be used, the longer distances being made by rail.

Of these I think that b) is the most preferable.

One of the greatest decisions which will have to be made of course, is the determination of the dates. Obviously, a certain date will not suit everyone, and I think the weeks adjacent to August B.H. would be the most popular.

Someone in the party will have to be member of the Touring Club de France or a similar international camping body. Camping permits should be obtained for a large party. Someone also will have to be found who can write good French naturally, (a French teacher?) in order that letters can be dictated and. written without trouble.

In conclusion I think that the first job is to get some idea of the number of people interested – if B.E.C. cannot provide them then perhaps other clubs may be invited.

Quotations should be obtained from the transport people as soon as possible, and if I might suggest it – a special committee set up

Suggested Itinery

Saturday. Depart Bristol for Lympne - Paris - Perigueux.

Sunday. Arrive Perigueux. Coach to Les Eyzies. Pitch camp. Collect provisions (1st & 2nd days having been brought).

Monday. Caves of La Mouthe, Font de Gaume, Combarelles, Cap Blanc and Lascaux.

Tuesday. Caves of Laugeries Basse et Baute; Grand Roc; Carpe Diem.

Wednesday. Free day.

Thursday. To la Cave & Roc Amadour. Lunch at Andre N’s., Padirac & Peche Merle.

Friday. Free day.

Saturday. Travel to Tarascon-sur-Ariege.

Sunday. Niaux; Lombrive (possibly a pukka Expedition).

Monday. Labouiche and Gargas via Mas d’Azil.

Tuesday. Free day.

Wednesday. To Mediterranean Coast.

Thursday. Return to Perigueax and by rail to Paris.

Friday. In Paris.

Saturday. In Paris.

Sunday. Return to .

Keith S. Gardner.


As you will see from the attached form, nominations were received at the A.G.M. for the 1954 Committee.

You are requested to fill in the Ballot Paper and return it by the date shown thereon, to :-

K.C. Dobbs, Assist. Hon. Sec.,
55. Broadfield Road,
Bristol. 4.

The Committee consists of 8 persons, one of whom must be a lady member. Therefore, if 8 persons are voted for, one must be a lady member.


Annual Subscriptions

If you have not yet paid your 1954 subs. This applies to YOU.

Annual Subscriptions became due on Feb. 1st.

If you have not yet paid yours, please let the Hon. Treasurer hear from you as soon as possible. His address is:-

R.J. Bagshaw,
56, Ponsford Road,

If you are a member of the Forces, (Conscript) you need not pay an annual subscription, BUT you must let the Hon. Treas. know that you wish to renew your membership.

If you remit by post please let us know your present address, so that a receipt may be sent. If you can find it, please send your last year’s membership card.

If you were a junior member last year and are now 18 or over your subs. will now have risen to 10/-.


The stove at the Belfry has just about had its lot.

If anyone knows where another, preferably of the same dimensions, can be obtained at a reasonable price will they please let one of the Committee know.


Another S.O.S.

Unless there is a material increase in the number of article etc. reaching us, I can give no promise that the BB will remain at six pages, or in fact that it will appear as regularly as in the past. The fact that this is an eight page issue is solely due to the fact that the vast majority was set before these two final notices arrived.



R.J. Bagshaw, Hon. Sec. 56, Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol.4.
K.C. Dobbs, Hon. Assist. Sec. 55, Broadfield Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
T.H. Stanbury, Hon. Editor. 48, Novers Park Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


I am given to understand that there has been some comment and complaint that the initials of certain members are appearing too regularly in the BB.  I would point out that I print articles from anyone, provided of course that they are printable, and that the frequency of any one person's initials on the bottom of an article reflects that person’s enthusiasm and co-operation.  I might also add that as far as I am aware I have never received any article whatsoever from the complainants.  How easy is the path of criticism, but how different when co-operation is called for.

Comment has also been passed, I am given to understand about the fact that my name, plus usually that of Bob Bagshaw and Ken Dobbs also appear regularly whilst that of other officials is not.

Regarding my own name, I am editor of the BB and as such I append my name to each issue as a matter of course.  Ken Dobbs is the other half of the BB organisation and does the rest of the work, ergo, his name.   Bob Bagshaw as the Hon. Gen. Sec. of the publishers, The Bristol Exploration Club must according to the rules of publication (Not club-rules) append his name as the club representative.  As Gen. Sec., Bob also is the clearing house for club correspondence, which from him is or should be distributed to the various sectional secretaries.  These names are not put in because I like printing them, and if anyone else would like to see their name in print I should be very happy to hand over one of the most thankless jobs in the club to them.

I feel most strongly about this matter, and would say in conclusion that if the persons who spend their time in thinking up such pettifogging and puerile complaints were to devote their energies in the furtherance of the Club, as other members are doing, then would be the time to do other peoples jobs for them.

T.H. Stanbury
Hon. Editor

Club Library

Conditions of borrowing Club Library Books.

The FIRST Thursday of the month is Library night.  If you are unable to attend Thursday meetings, advise the Hon. Librarian of your needs and he will send you the book you require by registered post.  It MUST be returned by registered post also, and the person to whom the book was sent will be held responsible for it, i.e. the borrower should not pass the borrowed volume on to anyone else unless he is sure that the Librarian has adjusted his records accordingly.

The Hon. Librarian is John Ifold, Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol.

Additions to the Club Library.

Newsletters of B.C.C. nos. 10 & 11.
C.R.G. Publication No. 6.  The Ogof Ffynnon Ddu System.
British Caver No. 24.
N.S.S. Newsletter No. 9.


New Members

We are pleased to welcome the following new members into the Club: -

J. Pitts No.298.              50 Croxteth Road, Sefton Park, Liverpool 8.
A. Knibbs No.299.          10 River Walk, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.
E.W. Hockey No.300.    The Post Office, Chickerell, Weymouth, Dorset.
W. Ackland No.301.       94, Grittleton Road, Hoirfield, Bristol 7.


To Pat & Margaret Woodroffe, another daughter, Carol Rosemary on Feb. 16th.

Acting on the assumption that two can live as cheaply as one, Mike Jones and Judy Osborn are happy to announce their engagement.


Congratulations to Auntie Prudence (Ray Brain) on his return to the Active fold after a long period of illness.  Also for her/his efforts to comfort the frightened child when he helped control a party of scouts in Goatchurch recently.


A Pongo Book Review.

‘British Caving’.  Edited by C.D.H. Cullingford.

reviewed by Pongo Wallis.

Published by Routledge and Kegan Paul at 35/-.

In producing ‘British Caving’ the Cave Research Group have undoubtedly done the caving community a great service, and I wish them the very best of luck with it.  At the price of 35/- it is, of course, rather expensive for many people to want to buy; the price is really a matter of surprise in that it is so low as the production is on a lavish scale and the illustrations are really first class.  There are a large number of diagrams in the text and a lot of photographs which have been excellently reproduced.  It is a pity that they couldn’t manage just one colour photograph as a frontispiece.

The book is the work of a number of different, writers, each dealing with his own subject.  It is divided into two parts - - The science of Caving & The Practice of Caving.  Part I is largely the work of Dr. Gordon Warwick and his chapters deal with the Geology and the formations of Caves (complicated matters being explained very lucidly) and then treat the various cave regions separately describing their special features and how these react on their caves.  A further chapter reviews the different types of formations and their modes of growth.  Dr. Wilfred Jackson deals with caves of Archaeological interest and there are other very interesting chapters.  All these are subjects about which the average caver is sadly ignorant although he might bandy terms lie ‘Vadose’ & ‘Phreatic’ about it is rare to meet someone with a good grasp of the essentials of the various theories of cave formation etc.

The original papers on the subject are often hard to get hold of and are rather long and complex, but Dr. Warwick’s summaries and explanations are very good and should give every one a chance of understanding everything.  I think that this is the really important part of the book.

The practice of caving is also well covered.  The technique of exploration, including the matter of Tackle, is dealt with by C.L. Railton; cave photography by Don Coase; Bats by the Hoopers; survey by A.L. Butcher; cave Diving by Graham Balcombe, and so on.

At the end are a glossary, a list of caves with their National grid References and a list of Caving Clubs.

I suppose we all have our own pet aversions and preferences and I was sorry to see that word ‘Corrasion’ perpetuated.  It has now all the hallowed force of Holy Writ, but I still find it a nasty word.  The O.E.D. merely gives it as an old form of ‘Corrosion’ which is a well understood term, as is ‘Erosion’, the two which seem to cover all requirements.  On the other hand, I was very glad to see the term ‘Cat-run’ well blasted as a poor translation of the French ‘Chatiere’.  Oh! Casteret, what crimes are committed in thy name!  I should also have preferred to see stalactites growing vertically and not on the slant (there is one bad example in the photograph I naturally looked at first).

As you can see, my criticisms are very much of a minor kind, and I cannot recommend the book too highly.



Winter Motoring in the Alps.

By Dennis Kemp.

From where I stood I could see the road rising gently for nearly a kilometre.  Dead straight, bordered by snow-banks and occasional clumps of trees, the surface was alternately hard-packed snow and clear macadam.  The sun was setting and had lost its midday warmth, and slush had already frozen into hard ridges, water on the macadam had turned into black ice.

At the far end of the road was a motor-cyclist, riding a 125 cc popper flat out.  Legs extended on either side, skidding violently on the black ice, he was keeping well to the centre of the road.

Behind him, hooting madly and also almost flat out, was a 2-CV Citroen.  The driver was obviously intending to pass, and his attempts to do so - on either side of the motorcyclist - were only thwarted by the bike’s frantic and erratic skidding.

As they passed me, the motor-cyclist madly hooting back at the car, I climbed down from the tree where I’d taken refuge and promptly went flat on my back on the road.  My nerves were so shaken it took three Dubonnets to recover.

Dennis Kemp

Two Cliffs in Llanberis with the B.U.M.C.

By D. Radmore.

Many months ago Bristol University booked the two Climber’s Huts in the Llanberis Pass.  They very kindly said that if willing we could share the accommodation.  Eight of us took the opportunity, while four more spent the same weekend with Mrs. Jones in the Nant Francon.

We hired a 10hp. Brake and left early on Friday evening.  By 1am., the lights of Ynnys Hettws appeared, Cwm Glas cottage soon reached and thanks to its welcoming fire, tea was brewed and sleep slept.

But only after I had established that I could borrow a rope from ‘Mr. President, Sir’ of the rival organisation.  For I blush to admit it, my own rope had been forgotten in the mad rush.

To that queer animal, the early riser, the crags must have looked very inhospitable in their mantle of snow, half hidden by flurries of snow and sleet.  We were out by 9.30., one party to do the Snowden Horseshoe and the rest of us to climb on Carreg Wasted.

The ‘Crackstone Rib’ was tackled - a climb to be recommended.  The third pitch was ‘Pleasantly Airy’, (so the guide book said) it was also rather near the ultimate, under the conditions.  What is technically the crux of the climb was just yielding as the Uni. Mob sleepily emerged from Ynnys Hettws.  Soon the cliff was festooned with wriggling prehensile bodies, forcing seven routes in sock covered rubbers.

After a quiet snack at Cwm Glas we rejoined the throng on Wasted and did the Wrinkle.  Although one, and reputedly two grades harder than the morning’s climb, it was really of about the same difficulty, but of a more sustained nature.

In the evening after the inevitable stews, we journeyed to the P.Y.G. and when they closed on to the Royal, our plans for the morrow becoming more ambitious as the evening wore on.

Sunday morning dawned all too soon, and with it 3” of snow.  We engaged the Uni. to a snow fight, and the weather took on both parties and won.  For we both decide to attack the Flying Buttress on Dinas Cromlech, but the driving snow turned us back.  And we all roped down from the Gendarme on the second pitch.

After that we tidied up the hut and left by 4.30.  The roads by this time were at least v.s. and we passed 3 cars that had ‘come off’ and would not perform again for many a day.  But we made good time to the English border a drink.

Despite the weather it was a very worth while weekend, thanks largely to our drivers, the Climbers Club and Bristol U.M.C.

Irrelevant Jottings

There might be another similar meet in May.

Cost £1/14/- inclusive.

The bods climbed an average of 0.0105 M.P.G.

It is 15 minutes amble from Cwm Glas to Carreg Wasted, i.e., climbing before breakfast!

Extract from Cwm Glas Log – by kind permission of Barry Page.

My rubbers came off!!
My sock came off!!
And I came o

D. Radmore


R.J. Bagshaw,            Hon. Sec.  56, Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol.4.
K.C. Dobbs,               Hon. Assist. Sec.  55, Broadfield Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
T.H. Stanbury,            Hon. Editor.  48, Novers Park Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


Apologies to our worthy Hon. Sec. for moving him from 56 to 65 Ponsford Road in BB 78.  Ed.

Easter 1954.  LUNDY.

Several people were interested some months ago in the possibility of visiting Lundy, which is now a Wild Life Sanctuary under the protection of the Lundy Field Socy. (Exeter University).

I have been in contact with the secretary of the above and if members are prepared to rough it, then I see no reason why those interested should not go.  The position is as follows: -

The Hotel is closed - too expensive anyway.

The Old Lighthouse, (The society’s abortive attempt at a Belfry) is full and the Warden does not encourage camping parties ‘because of the difficulties of food supplies’.

After telling me this, the Secretary assures me that he is not trying to put me off.

Camping would appear to be the thing, all food being brought a with us, although we may be able to appropriate a barn or some such building when we get there.

Transport is by AIR at £2/5/- return.

Incidentally the Tavern, I believe is unlimited in its licensing hours (not that it interests me of course).

Will interested please contact me as soon as possible.

Keith S. Gardner.

Caving Report for 1953.


The year started with the usual seasonal decline in caving activity which lasted until Easter.  The lack of enthusiasm shown at this time of the year is probably due to (a) the weather and (b) the substitution of indoor games for outdoor activities on the part of some members.

A list of caving trips was prepared and circulated covering the period from Sat. 21st. March to Sat.25th. April but trips met with a very disappointing response and after canvassing most of the active members, it was decided to discontinue these lists.

A fairly active Easter meet on Mendip occurred and a large party of scouts was shown round the Burrington caves and Swildons.  On Saturday night a party of small boy scouts arrived at the Hunters and asked Ben if he sold cider!  On being asked ‘Rough or Sweet’?  Some chose the former some the latter.  On arrival back at their camp site, the two groups were easily distinguished!

Between Easter and August a fair amount of caving trips were done including Swildons, Eastwater., Lamb Leer, and the Burrington Caves.  At this point, complaints were received that the club log sheets were not available and were getting lost after completion and so the present permanent log was started.  This log has been filled in very well since it was started in late July and eventually should be quite a useful reference book as well as a record of our activities.  We already have some ‘write-ups’ of visits to Devon Caves and sea caves in the Channel Islands which members may find useful when thinking of visiting these areas.

During June, July & August a determined effort was made to sink (and keep open!) a shaft on the Cuthbert’s site.  After some of the members escaped premature (?) burial on one or two occasions a shaft was started, and on Sept. 20th, a cave was entered.

St. Cuthbert’s Pot has now become one of the major cave systems of Mendip, and will form the subject of an account by Don Coase.

Apart from the very impressive number of hours put in on this new cave, the latter part of the year has seen a really fine amount of caving activity.

One heartening feature has been the number of trips to the major cave systems such as full Swildons and Eastwater trips, Stoke Lane and August Hole – Long Wood which have all been visited several times.

Swildons remains the most visited cave with Eastwater, Cuthbert’s and Stoke Lane.

Two trips to G.B. have been undertaken in conjunction with U.B.S.S. and the club will be running parties to all the trips down this cave during 1954.  Names, however, MUST reach Alfie two Thursdays before the weekend on which the trip takes place.

A few club members have again been helping the Brownes in digging and surveying Browne’s Hole.  A survey of the cave as existing last July has been completed.

As I mentioned at the A.G.M., a measure of the club’s activity this year is given by the fact that on 25th. Oct. members did a full Swildons including Sump 1 and the Black Hole Series, a full August Hole – Longwood, a full Stoke Lane, and a long Cuthbert’s trip, thus visiting four of the five major cave systems which are open at any time on the same day.  A total of 31 caving hours.

Apart from normal trips, an enormous amount of work remains to be done in Cuthbert’s during 1954.  This year has already, despite a very cold spell, got off to a quicker start than 1953.  The efforts of all members will make a great difference to the standing of the club in the caving world if the activity of 1953 can be maintained.


A Final Reminder

If you have not paid your Subscription for 1954, do not expect to receive another B.B. after this one.

Re. St. Cuthbert’s.

Entry into Cuthbert’s is still limited.  For permission contact the Caving Sec.

Further Photography.

Permission MUST FIRST be obtained from the Caving Sec.  Conditions are as follows: -

Two prints shall be given to the Caving Sec.; one for Club Records and one for the Landowner.  The negative must be available to the club so that lantern slides may be prepared if so desired.


Caving Trips

In the past efforts have been made to lay on Official Club trips.  Unfortunately these have not been altogether a success, mainly due to the lack of interest.  Nevertheless, binds are sometimes made regarding the lack of official trips.  In an endeavour to get things going again, it has been decided that in future the responsibility for getting a party together shall fall upon those members wishing to go.  These interested persons must then contact the Caving Sec. or his assistant (Don Coase or Alfie Collins) who will arrange for leaders.


Annual General Meeting 1954.

A very brief outline only is appended below; I have tried to give items of interest to those not present, and if anyone thinks they can do better they are welcome to try.

The numbers refer to the items listed on the Agenda.

There was the usual high attendance which totalled 36 including late arrivals.

1.       Dan Hasell was elected Chairman.

2.       Dan Hasell collected member’s resolutions.

3.       A resolution was passed that nominations should then be accepted for the 1954 committee and the 1953 committee should continue in office until the ballot was held.

4.       The Hon. Sec. said in his report that 24 applicants were accepted for membership in 1954.  There was a drop of three in the total number of members.  This total now being 117.

5.       The Hon. Treas. stated that he did not consider the response to the Photographic Competition justified the payment of prizes.

6.       The Hon. Assit. Caving Sec. stated that organised club trips had been discontinued due to the lack of support.  Apparently members preferred to make their own arrangements.  The Club Caving Log is now in use and shows that Oct. 25th. members did a full Cuthbert’s, Stoke Lane, Swildons, August and Longwood.  It also shows 27 trips in one month.  Members were asked to record all trips.

The Hon. Caving Sec. gave a brief outline of the development of Cuthbert’s and it is hoped to publish further details in the near future.

7.       The Hon. Tackle Officer stated that the stock of tackle had increased greatly mainly due to the work in Cuthbert’s.

8.       The Hon. Climbing Sec. said that there was very little climbing to report.  He had given a few unsuccessful talks to schoolboys.  The Club is co-operating with the University on a guide to local climbs.

9.       Mr. P. Ifold reported that the number of loans from the Library was down considerably.  The Hon. Librarian has repaired a large number of books.

10.   Mr. E.J. Mason stated that work on the site near the Belfry had continued and it was hoped to complete the excavations in 1954.  He wished to record our thanks to Dr. Nash Williams and Dr. Hubert Savory of the national Museum of Wales who very kindly identified the pottery found on the site.

11.   The Hon. Hut Warden reported an increase to 830 bed/nights.  (This was later reconciled with the lower Belfry income by allowing for a) shorter period; b) lower charges; c) fewer visitors).  The addition of 6ft. to the end of the Belfry will increase the size of the kitchen and the ladies quarters when complete.  New & more reliable accumulators have been obtained for lighting.

Considerable concern was expressed at the state of the Belfry as it was felt that visitors would be appalled.  A question asking whether the Belfry should be as clean as a house was answered by a loud shout of “Yes” from a lady member.  It was suggested that the need for improvement should be stressed. to members and more charges at the higher rate should be made.


a.       A resolution for the automatic nomination of members of the retiring committee to be added to any other nominations for the ballot was passed by 12 votes to 11.  In view of the narrow margin it was then resolved to hold this in abeyance for one year.

b.       A letter regarding the short notice given for the A.G.M. and dinner was discussed.  It was pointed out that the delay was due to the efforts to improve the Dinner and not laziness.

No action was necessary.

c.       Proposals to offer Honorary Membership to Mr. (Digger) Harris and M. (Les) Peters were passed.

d.       A proposal to give the committee power to increase the Annual Subscriptions was passed after discussion.  The Chairman then pointed out that the decision would have to be made before an A.G.M. which could annul the increase.

e.       Proposals for increasing the Belfry accommodation and storage of foodstuffs were referred to the committee.

f.         A proposal to have a junior representative on the committee was discussed but no seconder was found.

g.       A proposal to make a tackle fee of 1/- for non-exploratory trips to Cuthbert’s was defeated.  Visitors would be charged a fee of 1/-.


a.       A vote of thanks to the Hon. Editor for his work in the past year was passed.

b.       The Hon. Sec. promised that a list of members would be complied as soon as possible for publication in the B.B.  He agreed to re-address letters to members.

The meeting was closed at 5.50pm. and several Annual Subs. were paid to the Hon. Treasurer.  HAVE YOU PAID YOURS YET??



R.J. Bagshaw,            Hon. Sec.  56, Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol.4.
K.C. Dobbs,               Hon. Assist. Sec.  55, Broadfield Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
T.H. Stanbury,            Hon. Editor.  48, Novers Park Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


Result of Ballot for 1954 Committee.

The following were elected: -

R.J. Bagshaw,          Hon. Sec. & Hon. Treas.

K.C. Dobbs,             Hon. Assit. Sec., BB Printing and Circulation.

D.A. Coase,             Caving Sec., Batsford Road, Lower Failand, Nr. Bristol.

A Collins                  Assist. Caving Sec., 27, Gordon Road, Clifton, Bristol.

R.A. Setterington      Hut Warden, 21, Priorswood Road, Taunton, Somt.

P. Ifold,                    Climbing Sec., 75 Peverel Drive, Henbury, Bristol.

R. Bennett,              Tackle Officer, 57, Queens Road, Ashley Down, Bristol.

Mrs. C. Close,          Lady Rep.

As some doubt has been raised as to the actual number who should serve on the committee, i.e. 8 or 9, it has been decided to co-opt the next person on the list. The matter of deciding the correct number on the committee will be a job for the next Annual General Meeting.

In addition to the above officers J. Ifold of Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol is Librarian.

Additions to Club Library

C.R.G. Newsletters No. 45 & 46, July & August 1953.

N.S.S. Newsletter No. 2 for 1953.

B.C.C. Newsletter No. 1 Vol. 3, Jan 1954.

Result of Photographic Competition.

First:- D. Kemp.

Second: - Pongo Wallis.

Best with cheap Camera:- D. Hunt.


Try Anything Once

By R.J. Bagshaw

Members will, I am sure, be astonished to learn that their Dishonourable Secretary has actually been caving!  After many months (or should this be years?) I was persuaded to go down Cuthberts, but if ever I am again asked my reply will either be a derisive laugh or “Not B****y Likely”.

Going down the very narrow, entrance rift was easier than I anticipated, due to the gravitational effect of 15 stone.  The trip down was comparatively uneventful, but I found it was so long since I had tied on a lifeline that I had to have it done for me.  Of course I carried the largest and heaviest kit, apparently on the basis that as I am Secretary and Treasurer I can do the work of two people.  The only advantage was the fact that I was allowed twice as long as anyone else on the ladder pitches. 

We made the ‘Dinning Room’ our base and between sessions devoted to satisfying the inner man, made exploratory trips of the very extensive system.  The ‘Rabbit Warren’ is a veritable maze of passages, the main ones however, much larger than those required by rabbits.  Unfortunately the passages have large mud deposits, and in some places I sank almost to my knees and had difficulty in removing myself from the clutches of the mud.  It was in these passages that I fully realised that I was in very poor physical condition and my muscles were flabby or non-existent.

I rather feared that I should become a liability to the party, and I knew that certain members (especially those who have not yet paid their annual subs.) would rejoice if I were left down the cave.  My weight would, of course, defy all efforts to hoist me out.  In view of this, I did not go on one of the exploration trips, but remained behind and had about two hours sleep.  I woke up rather cold but soon warmed up in the scrambling exertions of the next trip.

On the way out I managed to climb the fearsome Pulpit Pot but my lack of fitness was shown by the three rests involved on the ascent, to recover a bit more energy for the rest of the climb.  I must also record my thanks for the assistance I received in various other places from the rest of the party.

Unfortunately the hardest climb is left until the end, by which time I felt a complete wreck, I forced my way up the first part of the entrance rift fairly easily, but as I weakened and the rift narrowed progress was practically halted.  I found the tightest part was round my chest as my tummy is soft enough compress.  However, in about the same time as it took all the rest of the party together, I reached the top, and soon afterwards I was thankfully collapsed outside in the fresh air.

A very welcome cup of char and a wash were followed by a visit to the Hunters which concluded the caving trip for the day and, I expect, my caving for the year.

I was very much impressed by the extent and size of the passages, the beauty of the formations and the number of ladder pitches.  However, considering the cave as a whole (no pun intended) I do not think formation is abundant, but it was very beautiful and in some cases very extensive.

P.S.  In the second paragraph for ‘largest and heaviest’ read ‘smallest and lightest’.

P.P.S.  I do consider, in all seriousness, that these 20 hour trips are too long, even for active cavers, unless adequate sleeping arrangements could be made.

R.J. Bagshaw.

Letter to the Hon. Assist. Caving Sec.

The Castle,
         30th. April. 54.

Dear Mr Collins,

            The last time that his Grace requested me to write to you it was to complain of' the accommodation which you were providing.  His Grace has recently been able to inspect for himself the present state of the Belfry and he has now asked me to write and tell you that he is, on the whole, most impressed with the facilities which you have arranged.

            He considered that the provision of a cave on the door-step was most happy but suggested that a hose was taken down to wash off some of the mud from its walls, but he found the catering facilities very adequate.

            With regard to the interior of the Belfry itself he has, however found one thing wanting.  On coming out of the cave he found that it was necessary to deposit his tail coat and top hat on the floor.  His valet has complained that this removed the creases from the trousers and a new suit has therefore had to be obtained.  We hope that this will be remedied within the next few weeks as, His Grace hopes to be honouring the B.E.C. with his company at Whitsuntide, and we are afraid that a recurrence will lead to the valet tendering his resignation.

            Incidentally, His Grace did not approve of the inscriptions which were written on the coachwork of the Bentley.  The chauffeur has, of course, been dismissed for allowing the car to get into a condition where writing on the car was possible.

Yours faithfully,

 (signed)  R.M. Wallis,
Private Secretary to His Grace the Duke of Mendip, Baron Priddy, & c.

New Members

The Club are delighted to welcome the following new members: -

P.E. Williams.                     4, Alison Road, Brislington, Bristol. 4.
R.E. Colyer.  No. 302;          35, Swiss Drive, Ashton Vale, Bristol. 8.
A.C. Williamson.  No. 303;    35, Creswicke Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.

And as Hon. Life Member,

Mr. C.W. Harris.  No. 304;    14, Market Place, Wells, Somt.


Roy and Joan Ifold are now the proud parents of a baby boy, Peter Allen, Born on 26th. April and weighing 61bs 8oss.

Congratulations to you both.


Trips to G.B. Cave organised by U.B.S.S. are as follow: -

Sunday 13th. June.  11.00am at the cave.
Tuesday 3rd. June.  2.30am at the cave.
Saturday 2nd. June.  2.30am at the cave.

All members wishing to attend on either of theses dates MUST inform Bob Bagshaw well in advance of the proposed visit as all names must be in the hands of the U.B.S.S. before the trip commences.

Annual Subs.

So far there are still 36 Annual Subs outstanding.


Northern Doings.

By R.M.W.

Merseyside is becoming a hive of caving activity these days and more and more cavers are coming to join us in the murky north.  Most recent arrival is Johnny Binden who is trying to flog his particular nauseating brand of ‘pop’ around these parts.  He seems to be making the acquaintance - I won’t say ‘friendship’ - of a lot of barmaids.  A recent visitor was our old friend Johnny Menace and a small party was made up for dinner followed by ale.  The Menace’s brakes are still in good order which was just as well, as round about 10.30pm. stone walls seemed to be jumping in front of the car with monotonous regularity.

Another resident is Johnny Pitts (ex U.B.S.S.) who hasn’t yet had the sense to join the B.E.C., although we have hopes that he will come to his senses soon.  Then, of course, there is Les Thompson, but his brother Geoff seems to have taken root in the midlands and is seldom seen.

Les and your correspondent investigated some North Wales minor holes over Whitsun (the latter getting very wet in the process and finding a very dead sheep in one of them) but as the weather suddenly turned most unusually summery the beach was found to be more attractive than underground.  Later on in September a further visit was paid to the Ease Gill – Lancaster region.  The party of 5 included Johnny Pitts and Charles Barker of G.B. Fame.  This time the weather went to the other extreme and Ease Gill was flooded for the early part of the week but a number of interesting trips were made and everyone voted it a very good week.

At the beginning of November your correspondent deserted the north for South Wales but found that he had brought the weather with him.  However, in company with the Coases several trips down OFD were undertaken and the marathon trek up to Pant Mawr was also made.  The London Section came down in force in its Land Rover for the second weekend and they brought some weather with them as well.  OFD was quite wet on Saturday with all this weather!

If any of you blokes from the sunny South are coming up this way don't let us know or you are liable to find yourselves dragged down some pot and we know you wouldn’t like that.