Local Services

Search Our Site

Annual List of Member’s Addresses.

In accordance with recent custom, we are printing the list in the November B.B.  Without increasing the size of the B.B., this means that half is taken up with the list  We hope to minimise the delay caused in holding back articles by getting out the December B.B. early this year, so that in fact such a delay will only amount to two or three weeks.

Information for inclusion in the Christmas edition of the B.B. should be sent to the editor as soon as possible, since it is hoped to publish this early in December this year.

Four to Gaping Gill

by Roy Bennett.

Although the Main Shaft has been booked on previous occasions, the weather had prevented attempts to ladder it.  This was becoming a bit of a joke among certain of our Northern friends, and a weekend trip was arranged to remedy the situation.  Numbers dwindled as the day approached, until there were just four from Bristol with the possibility of some more from London and Yorkshire.

On arrival, no possibilities were found and the four set off with vast amounts of tackle to see what could be done, encouraged by reports of ‘little rain for a week’.  Fell Beck was found to be quite low, and seventy minutes sufficed to dam it effectively and divert it into the Rathole.  This was done by placing large stones and earth-filled sacks on top of turfs in a line at right angles to the steam on the smoothest part of the bed.  Some additional work diverted more of the water into holes further upstream.

This pleasant activity completed, attention was turned to the pothole itself.  The only point where a straight pitch can be obtained is in the far right hand corner used for winch descents.  The four hundred foot ulstron lifeline was rigged through a pulley belayed to a stake left in the moor above and a man sent out to sit on the edge of the ledge on the right hand side and feed the ladder down in the corner.

A large block provided the main belay, while a tether was looped over an old iron spike on the far side to hold the ladder against any sideways slippage.  A telephone cable was then sent down with a bag of stones on the end, and all was ready.

It was decided by the rest of the party that Norman Petty should be first down, and he duly descended with only brief halts, lifelined by Keith Franklin.  The usual whistle signals sufficed on the way down, with the telephone being used only from the bottom.  Phil Kingston then joined Norman, who came up do that Roy could go down.  On reaching the surface, Norman made the categorical statement that this was far preferable to Southern Stream Passage in Agen Allwedd – this condition is known as ‘horozontigo’.

The actual descent is quite interesting.  The first part is well lit and somewhat alarming; with the ladder dropping free to disappear past the ledge into blackness.  The damming as done does not interfere with the lateral passage water, which comes in on the right to form an impressive unbroken waterfall of over three hundred feet – the highest in England.  The ledge was put out of reach by the positioning of the ladder, but this was compensated for by the straightness of the descent.  Below the level of the ledge, the shaft assumes a more benign aspect and the gravel covered floor of the Main Chamber appears quite near until one remembers that the ‘gravel’ is actually stones and boulders.  A little lower, and one is on a level with the roof, the ladder drops across a knob of rock which makes a fine seat to admire the scenery. This viewpoint can be strongly recommended, with all the waterfalls visible and the walls of the Great Chamber receding into the blackness.

Back on the surface, it had been raining for some time, and it was decided to start de-laddering.  It was then that things started to go wrong – the ladders would not come up, even though pulling was tried from all possible positions.  Keith fixed a rope a little way down in case the obstruction was right at the top, but to no avail.  By this time, it was getting quite late and there was no alternative but to leave ladderless and despondent for the valley, and return in the morning.

It seem fairly certain that the ladder was catching towards the bottom, and the best scheme would be for somebody to go to Main Chamber via Bar Pot and pull the ladder away from the rock with along rope, while it was being lifted from above.  It rained quite a lot during the night and by the morning this was only a scheme, as a direct descent of the Main Shaft was ruled out. The Northern Pennine Club lent some tackle, and several of their members generously offered to lend a hand.  Two of the party laddered Bar Pot, Roy going to the Main Chamber, while Phil came out to help on the surface.  With a two hundred foot line attached to the bottom, the ladder was readily pulled clear of the rock, and it came up quite easily much to the relief of the hauling party.  All that remained to do was to collect man and ladders from Bar Pot with apologies to the party who had booked it.  They seemed somewhat surprised at the present day small size of B.E.C. parties.

In conclusion, one may say – G.G. Main Shaft laddered – time, two days – and many thanks to the N.P.C. members for their much needed help.

Long Term Planning - 1

In accordance with the instructions laid down at the recent A.G.M., the first meeting of the Long Term Planning Committee took place at the Hunters on November 6th.  The committee have arranged to meet monthly until its work is completed.

The fist meeting began by electing a chairman (Pat Ifold) and a secretary (Alfie Collins) and then went on to agree on how the job should be tackled.  It was decided to concentrate on one aspect of the job at each meeting – at any rate to start with.  We realise that, later on, we shall have to do some backtracking – because later decisions we take will affect those we have already taken, but we will do our best to arrange matters so that this is kept top a minimum.

One thing on which we are all agreed is that the meetings of this committee must not be allowed to degenerate into a general nattering session.  There is a very great deal of hard work to get through.  For this reason, we have reluctantly decided that we shall not be able to accept visitors at our meetings.  On the other hand, the last thing we want to do is to stifle discussion outside the meetings, so we have decided to keep the club fully informed of our doings month by month via the B.B.  We hope that members will write to us with their views and suggestions, but would ask them to keep to the ‘Subject of the Month’ so that we can work as tidily as possible.  Any correspondence we receive will be read out and discussed at the next meeting of the Committee, so no member need feel that his views do not count or will be ignored.

The subjects, in order of out dealings with them, will be described next, in some detail….


Whatever we decide will cost money.  It seemed to us that we must therefore consider ways or raising a large sum of money as the first part of our job.  Without money, anything else we discuss will be merely idle speculation.  We have therefore put money first


Once we can be sure that the project is possible we must think what sort of a Belfry we need, how many it should feed and sleep and what other facilities are necessary.


Where shall we put this building?  We shall be as open minded as possible here and may even consider other sites.


How are we going to get it built?  How much of the work, if any, can we expect members to contribute?  How can we organise this to be sure of success?


The actual drawing up of plans, preparation of detailed estimates etc., will come last after we have answered all the questions which seem to us to be necessary.

This, then, is our basic working plan for the first few months.  Having sorted this out, the meeting then went on to discuss the first of these headings – that of finance.  This is what was decided….


We don’t know, at this stage, how much money we are talking about.  The situation will vary according to whether we can get any assistance from public funds, and in any case the sum will obviously depend on the size and type of building we later will decide on, and also the amount which we consider to be practicable of building by members.  We must, however, start somewhere – so we took the arbitrary sum of £3,000 and set out to see how we could raise it.  We think it should be emphasised here that this does not mean that the building will cost us £3,000.  We have chosen this sum so that, whatever happens in the way of grants etc., we shall be adequately covered.  We can always ask for less in the end.  This is much easier than aiming too low and having to realise later that we must find additional sources of money.  Bearing all this in mind, we suggest……


It has been suggested that an appeal be made for some club members to agree to donate (by Banker’s Order or by some equivalent means) a sum of £1 per month for a period of three years.  While we realise that members in this category already have considerable commitments, we think that it might be possible to expect a response to an appeal of this sort to result in up to 25 members contributing.  It is expected that members in this category will be mainly those who have been connected with the club for many years and that most of them will be life members.

Amount expected……………….£900                   Amount left……………£2,100


The B.E.C. subscription is about the lowest of any caving club in the country.  This alone is no excuse for raising it, as owing to the way in which the club is run, it normally is enough to keep everything running. We have, in the past, raised some things, like Belfry Dues, for specific periods – to pay for such items as the installation of water, electricity and calor gas to the Belfry.  In each case, this surcharge was removed as soon as the thing for which it was imposed was paid for.  We thus feel that members need not feel apprehensive about any temporary surcharge.  If this surcharge was 10/- p.a. for three years, it would bring in about £200.  If, however, we made the annual sub. two guineas for three years only, reverting to its present value afterwards, we should undoubtedly lose some members.  It is however, estimated that, even with this effect, we should obtain about £600. Present life members would not be affected, as it is expected that they would mostly be included under the first scheme.  Incidentally, we expect the committee to investigate the case of any members who leave the club for three years and then reapply for membership when the rate has reverted to its present level!

Sum expected…..£200 - £ 600                            Sum left….£1,500 - £1,900


An extra 1/- would probably bring in about £150 in the three years.  We could also run an appeal to visitiors for donations.  Many visiting clubs are grateful for the ‘Open House’ policy favoured by the B.E.C. for many years, and will benefit from the new building. We might count on about £200 altogether.

Sum expected…….£200             Sum left……£1,300 - £1,700.


So far, we have suggested measures designed to obtained money from (1) Those who have been staunch club members/Belfryites in the past (2) Those who are at present members of the club, and (3) those who use the Belfry at present. We feel that those who will obtain the main advantage from the new building should be called upon to pay their share of the cost  This can be done by arranging a loan, carrying interest, which will be paid for by increased charges for the New Belfry (We really must find a name for it, incidentally – we can’t keep on calling every building the New Belfry. How about SUPER Belfry?)  It is estimated that we could possibly raise £500 by this method.

All this would leave between £800 and £1,200 to raise.

Any other sums, we feel, must come from sources other than from members.  One suggestion already made is to hold a Jumble sale which its sponsor estimates would raise over £100.

Money from Public funds has not been discounted.  We are investigating this and, providing no strings are attached, we are in favour of accepting any such grants which may be obtained.

Over to you!

Please write in and tell us YOUR reactions to these proposals.  Any suggestions you may have for ways of raising money, with offers to organise things will be welcome.  Please keep to this month’s topic – FINANCE – and send your letters to the secretary, Long Term Planning Committee, at the following address: -

S.J. Collins, “Homeleigh”, Bishop Sutton, Somerset.


Information for inclusion in the Christmas edition of the B.B. should be sent to the editor as soon as possible, since it is hoped to publish this early in December this year.


The Council of Southern Caving Clubs have recently produced a Handbook which, besides giving information about the C.S.C.C. list requirements concerning access to caves in the South of England, and their secretaries; National and Regional Organisations, Reference groups, and accommodation available on Mendip.  This 21 page mine of information can be obtained from, The assistant Hon. Sec. C.S.C.C., I.J. Standing, 4 Springhill Lodge, Spring Hill, Nailsworthy, Glos.  2/- plus 6d postage.

B.E.C. Members’ Addresses

T Andrews

186 Courtlands Avenue, London S.E.12

J. Attwood

64 Main Road, Shortwood, Nr. Mangosfield, Bristol

R.J. Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4

M.J. Baker

‘Morello’, Ash Lane, Wells, Somerset

D Balcombe.

49 Shelford Road, Trumpington, Cambridge

R. Bater

20 Woodlands Glade, Swiss Valley, Clevedon, Somerset

K. Barnes.

14, Riverside Road, Oxford

R. Bater

40, Thornleigh Road, Horfield, Bristol 7

Mrs. R. Bater

40, Thornleigh Road, Horfield, Bristol 7

R. Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol

J. Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol

D. Berry

10 Green Lane, Avonmouth, Bristol

P. Bird

City Museum, Queens Road, Bristol

P. Blogg

Hunters Field, Chaldon Common Road, Chaldon, Surrey

M. Bourne

55 Argyle Road, Fishponds, Bristol

Miss S. Bowden-Lyle

17 Rokeby Avenue, Redland, Bristol 6

R.J. Brook

130 Sylvan Way, Sea Mills, Bristol 6

N. Brooks

9 Martin Grove, Normandale, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

R. Broomhead

The Somme Co., R.M.A. Sandhurst, Camberley, Surrey

J.J.. Butler

36 Tothill Street, Minster, Ramsgate, Kent

M. Calvert

16 Wetherley Avenue, Old Down, Bath, Somerset

J. Churchward

1 Jamaica Street, Bristol

A. Coase

53 Broughton Road, Croft, leicestershire

Mrs C. Coase

c/o Lamont, 57 Etna Street, Gosfor, New South Wales, Australia

P. Coles

32 Derham Park, Yatton, Bristol

S. Collins

c/o Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol

D. Cooke-Yarborough.

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

N. Cooper

3 West Terrace, Westbury, Sherborne, Dorset

J. Cornwell

419 Whitehall Road, Street George, Bristol

D. Craig

Flat 4, 78 Milson Road, London W.14

B. Crewe

16 Pinewood Road, Midsomer Norton, Bath, Somerset.

I.M. Daniels

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

J. Davey

32 Cheltenham Gardens, Huddersfield Road, Halifax, Yorkshire

F.G. Darbon

43 Arthur Henderson House, Fulham Road, Fulham, London

Mrs A. Davies

Withey Lane, Neighbourne, Oakhill, Bath

Miss P.M. Davies

410 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4

G. Dell

c/o The Belfry, Priddy, Somerset

P.L. Derrick

49 Mayfield Park South, Fishponds, Bristol

K.C. Dobbs

85 Fox Road, Pinhoe, Exeter, Devon

N. Downes

18 Coombe Street Lane, Yeovil, Somerset

A.J. Dunn

63 Oakdale Road, Downend, Bristol


116 Newbridge Road, Brislington, Bristol

B.M. Ellis

‘Knowkauns’, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset

C. Falshaw

23 Hallen Grange Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield

P.G. Faulkner

251 Rowah Crescent, Langley, Middleton, Manchester

T. Fletcher

Address unknown

K. Franklin

52 Rockingham House, Lawrence Weston, Bristol

P. Franklin

52 Rockingham House, Lawrence Weston, Bristol

P.M. Giles

C.P.O.’s Mess, R.N.A.S. Yeovilton, Yeovil, Somerset

K. Gladman

93 Broad Walk, Kidbourne, London, S.E.3

D. Greenwood

19 Gren Croft Avenue, Northrowan, Halifax, Yorks

C. Green

12 Lytton Close, Northolt, Greenford, Middx.

S. Grimes

R.N. Test Squadron, A & A.E.E., Boscombe Down, Amesbury, Wilts

D. Gwinnel

Sgts. Mess, J.R.U. Royal Signals, Denbury Camp, Newton Abbott, Devon

C. Hall

375 Fishponds Road, Eastville, Bristol

N. Hallett

27 Alexandra Park, Redland, Bristol 6

M. Hannam

(Address to follow)

N. Hart

Barberry House, Kingston, Seymour, Somerset

C.W. Harris

Diocesian Registry, Wells, Somerset

D. Hassell

‘Hill House’, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset

R.J. Handy

2 Coleshill Drive, Hartcliff, Britsol

Hawksford, L/Cpl. A

Depot & TRG Establishment, Deepcut, Camberley, Surrey

J.R. Henderson

8 Oldfields Place, Hotwells, Bristol

Miss A. Henley

23 Maynard Road, Hartcliffe, Bristol

B. Hewitt

21 Clarendon Road, Redland, Bristol 6

J. Hill

16 Oak Road, Horfield, Bristol

Miss D. Holden

Wetherlam, Wolley Green, Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts.

. Hobbs

Hokerstone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells, Somerset

B. Howe

48 Martins Road, Hanham, Bristol

Mrs Howe

48 Martins Road, Hanham, Bristol

P. Hudson

28 Bungalow Caravan Site, Bradenstoke, Chippenham, Wilts

J. Ifold

Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Somerset.

P. Ifold

Sunnyside, Rectory Lane, Compton Martin, Somerset

D. Irwin

9 Campden Hill Gardens, London W.8

Miss P. Irwin

White House, West Ashling, Chichester, Sussex

Jackman, SAC A.

c/o M.C.U., R.A.F. Muharraq ( Bahrain) B.F.P.O.63

R. Jarman

Jable, Digby Road, Sherborne, Dorset

R.L. Jenkins

88 Beesmore Road, Framton, Cotterell, Bristol

A. Johnson

Warren Cottage, Station Road, Flax Bourton, Somerset

F. Jones

c/o 8 York Gardens, Clifton, Bristol

U. Jones

Marsh Farm, Askem In Furness, Lancs.

A.J. Kennett

9 Belmont Road, Bristol 6

R.S. King

22 Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch, Bristol

P. Kingston

3 Kingsely Road, Eastville, Bristol 5

R. Kitchen

25 Furse Hill Road, Tidworth, Hants.

J. Lamb

‘Broadmeadows’, Padstowe Road, Wadebridge, Cornwall

B.T. Lane

c/o Bristol South Telephone Exchange, Bath Road, Bristol 4

T.E. Large

16 Meade House, Wedgewood Road, Twerton, Bath, Somerset

O.C.  Lloyd

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

M. Luckwill

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

G.T. Lucy

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

R.A. MacGregor

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


3 Woodside Close, Burton Joyce, Notts

Mrs McKee

3 Woodside Close, Burton Joyce, Notts

J. Major

Saint Cross, Green Down, Litton, Bath, Somerset

Mrs. J. Major

Saint Cross, Green Down, Litton, Bath, Somerset

C. Marriott

Brulbergstrasse 15, Apt. 21, 8400 Winterhur, Switzerland

A. Meaden

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

T.G. Mossman

33 Whateley’s End Road, Eastville, Bristol

J.W. Manchip

375 Fishponds Road, Eastville, Bristol

N.J. Monk

123 Novers Lane, Bristol

K. Murray

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

A. Nash

c/o 22 Stuart Lane, Bristol 3

F.L. Newport

43 Swiss Road, Ashton Vale, Bristol 3

R. Orr

183 Queens Road, Wimbledon, London S.W. 19

D. Palmer

9 Forest Road, Kingswood, Bristol

M. Palmer

111A Winner Street, Paignton, Devon

Miss S.E. Paul

21 Lovelace Road, Surbiton, Surrey

J.F.W. Pearce

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

R. Pepper

Frenchay Lodge Bungalow, Frenchay, Bristol

V.S. Peacock

3 napier Road, Eastville, Bristol 3

L. Peters

(Address unknown)

N. Petty

12 Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol

A. Philpot

3 Kings Brive, Bishopston, Bristol

G. Platten

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

Miss B. Plummer

2 Hogarth Walk, Lockleaze, Bristol

G. Pointing

10 Green Lane, Avonmouth, Bristol

B. Prewer

East View, West Horrington, Nr. Wells, Somerset

R.J. Price

2 Weekes Road, Bishop Sutton, Somerset

C. Priddle

19 Stottbury Road, Horfield, Bristol 7

J. Ransom

9 Archfield Road, Cotham, Bristol

Mrs Ransom

9 Archfield Road, Cotham, Bristol

C.H.G. Rees

7 Coberley Road, Footshill, Hanham, Bristol

Mrs Rees

7 Coberley Road, Footshill, Hanham, Bristol

D.L. Rebori

11 Kellaway Avenue, Westbury Park, Bristol

A.H. Reed

156 British Road, Bedminster, Bristol 3

A. Rich

c/o Pox 126, Basham, Alberta, Canada

D. Richards

59 Brook Road, Fishponds, Bristol

R.J. Roberts

5 Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset


Christmas B.B.

Once again, the time has come round for a B.B. somewhat larger than usual.  The Editor’s spy system – and no self respecting editor of a caving club magazine would be without some method of gauging opinion – tells him that the production of the large Christmas B.B. has its detractors as well as its adherents.  It suggests that the editor may be rather too obsessed with breaking a record for size, to the extent of withholding topical articles to help pad it out.

Admittedly, the idea of record breaking does provide a welcome incentive for extra exertion in what can sometimes degenerate into a repetitive and demanding job – you do need a certain amount of mental stamina to produce a monthly magazine month after month after month, and it is the Editor’s hope that this B.B. may be the biggest ever.  The idea of a large magazine once a year is to help keep those club members happy who bewail the small size of the B.B. and wish it was thick as the W****x J*****l – even if it did not appear so often.  On the other hand, many other members of the club rate the monthly appearance of the B.B. as one of its most important features.  The questionnaire on the B.B. conducted a year ago gave this answer strongly.  The Editor himself feels that club journals – like clubs – should be different. Otherwise, we might as well all belong to the same club; the B.E.C. of course!

With the technical reasons why it is not always possible to include all material as soon as it comes in, we will not bore you but we would ask authors who feel that the impact of their work will be lost if not published at once to write NEXT B.B. at the top of the article and we will treat this wherever possible as a matter of priority.  Perhaps we could take this system a stage further.  If you have a lengthy article which you do not wish to split and appear in serial form in two issues, please write SAME ISSUE in some prominent position. Sometimes an article is just too long and a little précising is carried out to make it fit.  If this is objected to by the author, please write DO NOT PRECIS and your instructions will be complied with.  If you write any two, or all three instructions on your article, you must realise that you will be setting the Editor a difficult job which may prove impossible, so please use these instructions with some restraint.

The B.B. is the club Magazine, not a one man band, and the Editor exists to serve the club.  We hope that these instructions may help to reduce any slight misunderstandings and take this opportunity to wish all club members; all readers, and all cavers everywhere….

A Very Happy Christmas



Club Trip to South Wales

by C.J. Priddle

Norman Petty, Terry Taylor and I left Bristol at 9.30am on Saturday and drove through fog over the Severn Bridge top the S.W.C.C. headquarters.  We found that the arranged O.F.D. leader had left the cottages half an hour previously, so with no prospects of O.F.D. that day, we left for the Gwyn Arms and later on in the afternoon went for a drive to Carmarthen and Llanelly.  En route we stopped at Kidwelly Castle and spent one shilling and a pleasant hour climbing towers, running round battlements and exploring the darkest rooms.  Then we had a meal at the S.W.C.C. cottage and visited the pub again.

The next day, I was lucky enough to secure a trip to D.Y.O. new extensions.  Unfortunately, Norman and Terry were unable to go on the trip, as it was wet suits and Nife’s only.  I started with a party of six to photograph D.Y.O. Three (found two weeks previously) being led by Alan Coase, but just past the lakes one of the party fell badly, and he reluctantly decided to return with his friend.  A photographic trip was out of the question because of the amount of equipment to be carried, so we proceeded through the Endless Crawl, which is very sporting when carrying tackle.  Then down a short pitch and “Welcome D.Y.O. Two!”

From the pitch (Gerard Platten Hall) to the Green Canal, we walked through the most impressive chambers and passages.  They were impressive both in size and the amount of formation – which consisted mainly of a fantastic number of straws, most of which were over six feet long while the largest was twelve feet long!  Helictites were also most abundant and a small green stalagmite was seen – much to Alan’s surprise.

The Green Canal was boated by two with tackle, whilst the others swam.  It is far easier to swim, as the canal – although two hundred feet long – is quite tight for a dinghy, and some of the bends rather sharp for easy manoeuvring.  We then proceeded through Rottenstone Aven to High Way, where a climb to where D.Y.O. Three starts. This consisted of a twenty five foot pitch and then a free climb for sixty feet to a small passage which contained some fine crystals at least an inch and a half long.  After crawling upwards through this passage, we came to a drop which could be traversed by rope.  This brought us into a horizontal passage containing the most awe inspiring helictites I have ever seen.  Some were three feet long (un-straightened).  A short distance up the passage brought us to the pitch into D.Y.O. Three, but as time was short we hurried back along the same route, stopping only to look at Hanger Passage and Flabbergasm Chasm, which certainly lived up to its name.  Total time for this trip was six hours, but eight to twelve hours is really needed to photograph and to go the extra mile to the end of the cave.

Whilst I was caving, Norman went walking and found Pant Mawr Pot, which he says he is sure of finding again.

One complaint to be made. The last two trips to South Wales have been supported by three club members. This not only lets down the members turning up, but also lets down the B.E.C.  I think we can do better then this on future trips.


Fragment (Sent in by older member)

“Some people complain that there are people who do nothing but sit around the stove talking about what it used to be like in the Good Old Days.  We used not to do that.”


Cuthberts Rescue

by Keith Franklin

A party of six from The Pegasus Club were taken down St. Cuthbert’s on the 20th August by Phil Kingston and Keith Franklin.  The cave was entered at approximately mid-day, the route having been decided as Pulpit – Bypass – September – Catgut – Duck and out.  After looking at September Series, it was decided to visit Cone Chamber on the way out.  It was during this part of the trip that Barry of Pegasus fell about four feet dislocating his shoulder in the process.  Later discussion determined that his hand hold had come away and probably fallen on him, thus causing the dislocation.  Phil left, with another member of the party for the surface when the full extent of the injury had been ascertained, and gave the call-out at the Hunters at approximately 2.30pm.  The M.R.O. were alerted and a doctor sent for.  Meanwhile the injured person was now in a more comfortable spot, but it soon became apparent that for his well being, an attempt should be made to get him out of the cave, hoping to meet the doctor of the way in.  It says much for Barry’s mental and physical powers that he had got as far as the ‘S’ bend in the ruckle before meeting up again with Phil, who had come back with carrying sheet in case it was needed.  The telephone party were contacted in High Chamber and after finding that the doctor had not yet entered the cave, it was decided to keep moving.  The Old Route out was selected as the most suitable way out.

Fairly rapid progress was made, with Barry being able to help himself, until Pillar Chamber was reached where the party was strengthen by three who brought ropes for the pitches. Dr. O.C. Lloyd joined the rescue in Upper Mud Hall and made two attempts to reduce the dislocation.  These apparently failed, but on moving off again and climbing the ladder out of Mud Hall Barry felt his shoulder go back in. Besides giving a psychological boost it also gave Barry more manoeuvrability, as he had previously been restricted to a half stooping position – being the one which gave him the least pain.  The rest of the trip out was fairly uneventful.  Barry climbed the entrance pitch mainly unaided using his legs only through two loops of rope for support, and reached the surface at 6.40pm.  He was taken to hospital by car and was discharged the same evening.

The lessons learned form this rescue are difficult to say.  The surface organisation was left mainly to the B.E.C. and it functioned most efficiently (although one party was kept on standby for far too long at Young’s farm for which I make an apology).  All decisions that had to be made underground proved effective and all things considered, the rescue proceeded satisfactorily.  As was shown in the Stafford rescue so much depends on the victim.  Barry, being a very experienced caver, is also a leading member of the Derbyshire C.R.O. and undoubtedly his physical condition, and even more his mental attitude contributed much to the success of the rescue.  There are factors which can only be assessed at the time, but these are the ones that play the most important part in a rescue of this type (i.e. where the victim is mobile and is able to help himself to some extent).

P.S.  The fixed tackle on the Old Route was essential to the success of this rescue!

P.P.S.  Place no trust at all on any hand or foothold in September series!


We have received a request from the U.B.S.S. to publicise their rule that NO CARBIDE LAMPS ARE PERMITTED IN THE LADDER DIG EXTENSION IN G.B.  PLEASE NOTE!!!!!


Caving in Southern Germay

by Kevin J. Barnes

Fortune, together with a German cave guide book, took myself and a party of seven to the area of the German Alps.  The caves actually explored were Mordloch; Bauerloch; Falkensteiner Hohle; Tieffenhohle and Nebelhohle.  The latter two were show caves but permission to explore was granted and ten metres, consisting of an ascending tight mud shaft, were added to Nebelhohle.  The two most interesting caves, Mordloch and Falenseteiner Hohle, I will deal with.

Mordloch (2,500m).  Nearest village Eibach.

A party of six entered the resurgence entrance.  The passage was four feet wide and seven feet high.  Gradually the icy cold water came higher and reached our waists.  The stream passage was followed for 80 metres until we came to a sump chamber.  The sump consisted of three ducks and then a major sump.  I went through the ducks – minus wet suit – and arrived at the sump. Finding no definite way on. I dived for about a meter, but I could find no more air pockets.  The water was icy cold and I began to get a splitting headache. Coming back to the chamber, a route over the sump was tried but proved not feasible due to slippery mud on smooth rock.

Retreating down the streamway, a route on the right was found high in the roof about twenty metres from the entrance.  This was climbed and after a short traverse was made, we dropped into a tributary stream flowing in the opposite direction (i.e. away from the entrance).  A tight crawl in the stream followed and after much crawling and twisting we left the stream and ascended a mud passage.  A drop of ten feet into a chamber came next and was again followed by more mud crawls.  Eventually, we reached a dig and it was there the party decided to retire. The trip in all took two hours and thus did not cover the entire known length of the cave.

Falkensteiner Hohle.  (3,000m).  Nearest town, Urach.

The entrance is really impressive – a huge limestone rift with the darkness of the cave opening inviting exploration.  The entrance was dry, but after a hundred metres the streamway was found.  The water varied in depth from ankle to neck.  The stream passage was narrow enough to allow traversing in places above the water.  At one point, however, a bend in the stream had to be negotiated and this resulted in one of the party taking a ducking.

After four hundred and sixty metres in half an hour from the entrance, a duck was found.  It was beyond this point that a group of students was trapped for sixty and a half hours.  A rope was secured through the duck and the party went through.  The duck was about twenty feet long with about four inches of airspace.

Again the stream passage was followed, and an ascending ladder found.  This brought us to a chamber which we crossed and then descended another ladder back to the stream.  We went on and on through streamway and boulder chamber until we came to a series of steep mud banks with steps cut in them.

Negotiating these, we came to a high rift descending again to the stream.  Going down this, the stream disappeared in a boulder maze.  We had taken three and a half hours and most of the party were suffering from exposure with one person in a dodgy state. I should judge that we covered about two and a half kilometres.  We retreated fast, getting out in an hour and a half.  The worst case was put inside several sleeping bags, and he proved to be all right in the morning.  The rest of the party were well enough to visit the local gastsatte.  This area has vast possibilities for exploration and the number of springs, sinks, and caves which we saw but had no time to visit were innumerable.


By special arrangement, the Belfry will be CLOSED to all except those taking part in the CUTHBERT’S DIVING OPERATION in which it is hoped to force the sump, over the weekend FEBRUARY 4/5 1967.  PLEASE NOTE!!!!!!!!



While we should not like to see the B.B. become full of nothing but “stirring” (no caving publication that we know of descends to this level) we must admit that we hoped someone might reply to our recent contributor ‘St’ Cuthbert’. It is encouraging to see people springing to the defence of the club and proving that we are not the apathetic lot we are sometimes thought to be!

1935243 Jnr. Tech.
Mech. Eng. (A/C) Sqn.
Royal Air Force,

To the Editor, Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir,

In reply to St. Cuthbert’s letter printed in October’s B.B.

On the complaint that members of the B.E.C. were a trifle late in arriving for the A.G.M., this is surely a B.E.C. tradition – to be late (except for opening time) on principle that “we are the B.E.C.”

St. Cuthbert then goes on to condemn the one or two members who were in high spirits.  Well!  The only thing that can be added to this is that if St. Cuthbert finds this objectionable I suggest that he (she?) finds another club.  I’m sure S.V.C.C. would welcome him/her.

If St. Cuthbert wishes to be elected to the committee I suggest that he divulges his real name – or maybe that wailing and bemoaning of his loss to the committee is just sour grapes?

The purpose of the Belfry - whether or not it encourages festering – is to be the B.E.C. Mendip’s Headquarters and also to provide a service to members who wish to devote the whole of the weekend to caving and other B.E.C. activities which shall remain unsaid.  Many members, including myself, travel well over 160 miles to cave on Mendip and require a more civilised place to stay than Maine’s Barn.

It must also be remembered that the club forms a place for cavers to gather; sit and talk (fester?) on caving and other subjects.  The Belfry, believe it or not, has quite a high standard of conversation.  St. Cuthbert should listen some time and he might find out what the B.E.C. is all about.

Agreed the changing accommodation could be better, but until plans for the new shiny Belfry are completed, the Belfry as it stands is more than adequate.  Most clubs don’t even have the comparative comfort of the Belfry, so consider yourself very lucky, St. Cuthbert, with what you have got.

Washing! While caving! – almost blasphemy!

Yours sincerely
A. Rushton.

….and while we imagine St. Cuthbert is still recovering from that one, here is another…..


To the Hon. Editor, Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir,

I am afraid I am unable to make up my mind about your introductory note to the latest “St. Cuthbert’s letter. Is venerable quite the right word?  I could think of other words more suitable.

Judging by the contents of his latest ‘gem’ he must have been in the same state as his victim at the A.G.M., when he wrote it.

The fact that he was not nominated for the Long Term Planning Committee seems to me to prove his statement concerning unknown people being nominated quite incorrect.  (Who is St. Cuthbert?).

It is very gratifying to know that everyone has a car these days, but I do wish that he could explain to me why it is that so many of the younger visitors to the Belfry almost form a queue for lifts back to Bristol - or beyond – on a Sunday evening, and also why it is that one can often start from Hillgrove with an empty car and arrive at the Belfry with the thing positively bulging with people and their gear. Perhaps the answer is that he does not visit Mendip often – or regularly enough to be aware of the situation.

I am glad he wants first class changing and washing facilities.  So do a lot of us.  This is where he could, perhaps, start the ball rolling by offering to help in a practical way.

We already have a club where members can, and do so, meet and talk.  It is called the Belfry.  If St. Cuthbert was a regular, he would know that late night talking is discouraged by the Hut Warden, as it is festering.  There is plenty of work to do around the Belfry site for those who do not want to go caving, and I am sure the Hut Engineer will soon find a job for anyone if they sit around too long.

In closing, I would like to put one serious question to St. Cuthbert.  Why hide your identity behind the name of the most beautiful cave on Mendip? Is it because you are ashamed of some of the nonsense you put on paper

Yours sincerely
            Gordon Tilly

Editor’s Note:    We think that “St. Cuthbert” has been adequately answered by theses two letters. He is, of course, entitled to reply if he so wishes.  We note that neither of the correspondents suggested that St. Cuthbert shut up altogether, so we may well hear more form him from time to time.  On the more general topic of anonymity in the B.B. the rules are adopted are that correspondent’s name is known to the Editor, and that writing under a nome de plume is fair enough if the writer feels freer to express opinions as a result.  If any readers have other views on thus subject, we shall be pleased to hear from them.


The Variation of Temperature and Hardness of Streams in St Cuthberts Swallet

….A progress report, by R.D. Stenner….

1. Introduction.

A B.E.C. Caving Report with a more detailed account of this and other related work done in the cave is due to be published in two year’s time.  In the meantime, it has been thought desirable to make this preliminary report available to others engaged in similar work.  Additional information may be obtained by writing to the author.

Work on measuring water temperatures in the cave was started by D.A. Coase; N. Petty and P. Burt in 1957 and came to a standstill with Don’s death in 1958.  Their work was published in B.B. Numbers 118 to 122.  The work now in progress began in August 1965 as a survey of the temperature variations in the small inlets streams in the system. Some streams were 2°C colder than expected and chemical analysis of water samples was considered as a means of throwing more light on the problem. Chemical analysis of samples began in February 1966.  As the preliminary work progresses, many subsidiary problems presented themselves. They will be mentioned later.

2. The Measurement of Water Temperatures.

Thermometers calibrated to 0.1°C were chosen and checked. The following points became clear.

1.                  Don Coase’s scheme of work was oversimplified.

2.                  A party of two is ideal, working upstream.

3.                  To cover the system adequately in a short time, more than one party will be needed.

4.                  A carbide lamp one foot from a small stream will raise its temperature half a degree in ten seconds.

5.                  As a thermometer must be read while its bulb is immersed, this often means getting very wet. Without an exposure suit, the time that can be spent on the work is limited.

3. Chemical Analysis of Water Samples.

Collecting Samples.

Transporting large numbers of sample bottles is not easy, so sampling trips should be planned carefully. Pint bottles made of polythene should be cleaned thoroughly and numbered.  They should be rinsed with water being sampled and then filled completely. As with temperature work, move upstream. Other people in the cave give rise to false results.  Collecting water samples can be combined with measuring water temperatures.

The Scheme of Work.

Water in caves will contain calcium, magnesium and many other metals in very small concentrations, carbonate/bicarbonate, chloride, sulphate, a little phosphate and silicate and dissolved gasses, of which cardon dioxide is very important.  Several of the constituents are quite easy to measure; others involve very time consuming procedures.  A scheme of work was designed for speed of work and economy of use of the sample.  pH is measured as soon as possible with a prtable pH meter.  The carbonate/bicarbonate content is found by titration with hydrochloric acid to pH 4.5 using the pH meter.  Ca and Mg are found by M.D.T.A. titrations.  Chloride is found by titration with silver nitrate.

4. Results.

If it is not possible to reproduce many of the results here.  Some results are shown below.  Results of temperature measuring trips can be found in St. Cuthbert’s Newssheet No. 6


Editor’s Note:    Owing to the methoid of reproduction, the above graph should only be taken as an indication of relative temperature variations, for more accurate information, please contact the author.

5. Conclusion.

Some stream very less than others in temperature, and the streams with the least temperature variation are harder than the other steams.  This would suggest that they originate as slow seepage rather than a surface stream.

6. Additional problems raised by the work.

(a) The change in Temperature and Hardness of a Stream, as it Flows through the Cave.

Changes are greatest in the space between the sink and the stream’s re-appearance in the cave. Inside the cave, temperature changes are very slow, except at the pitches.  Apart from this, sudden changes of temperature or hardness are indicative of admixture with water from a different source.  The change in Temperature and hardness of water between Plantation Swallet and Plantation Junction (22.5.66) was strikingly small.

(b) Using measurements to find the Relative Sizes of Stream.

The effectiveness of this method can be seen from the examples given below.  When working out the distribution of water in the cave, this considerably reduces the number of weirs to be constructed.

Ratio of Main Stream to Plantation Junction Stream – from measurements at Plantation Junction – 22.5.66.

Temperature Readings

Total Hardness

Calcium Hardness




(Outside limits 13 – 7)

(Outside limits 16 – 9.5)

(Outside limits 12 – 8)

A value of 1:10 will be more accurate than a figure given by weirs.

(c)  Measuring Air temperatures.

Preliminary work with thermometers showed that when trying to measure air temperatures, there could be a half a degree error after the thermometer has been left for five minutes. A study of air temperatures is more appropriate to a study of the meteorology of the cave than to study of the hydrology of the cave.

(d)  Using measurements to Indicate the Source of Inlet Stream.

In this cave, a winter temperature of stream below 8°C or a summer stream temperature of over 10°C indicates that the stream has come from a direct route from the surface.  Hardness figures are more complicated to interpret, and there is a lot of more work to be done.  As depth increases, hardness of inlet streams increase, but not enough samples have been taken.  A stream flowing directly from the surface may be identified by sampling the possible surface streams.  The method may also indicate when a stream splits up inside the cave.  The source of the Maypole Series Stream has been found using temperature and hardness methods.

(e)  Seasonal Variation of Temperature and Hardness of Inlet Streams.

Results show that when a stream increased in size after rain, the hardness becomes less. Temperatures of streams are much closer to those of the parent surface streams when the volume increases, and the hydrology can change.  Assuming the temperature of some small inlets to give an indication of the temperature of the rock, there does seem to be a change of rock temperature, this variation being ‘out of step’ with seasonal temperature.  Rock temperature would also appear to increase with depth.

(f)  A More Comprehensive Analysis of Water Samples.

Mr. N.L. Thomas has found values of less than 1 p.p.m. each for Iron, Lead and Manganese.  Mr. G.A. Fowler has found less than 1 p.p.m. for silicate and phosphate.  The author has found values of Iron of 0.01 p.p.m. and Lead too small to measure by the Sulphide (colorimetric) Method.

The author has tried to measure permanent hardness by two different methods, but results have only been reproducible within limits of ± 5 p.p.m. of CaCO3.  A method of measuring dissolved Carbon Dioxide by a volumetric method has been attempted, with similar limits of reproducibility. Results from samples obtained 20.8.66 and 22.8.66 are given below.  All figures show the equivalent concentration of CaCO3 in parts per million.































Permanent Hardness


















Carbon Dioxide






Key: Col. 1. Plantation stream.  Col 2. St. Cuthbert’s Pool.  Col. 3.  Wookey Hole Stream.  Col. 4  Wookey Hole Gour.  Col.5 Cuthbert’s Gour.

7.  Work still in progress.

The author wishes to re-emphasise that the work is still in progress, and that this is only intended to be brief report on the work done so far.



Most members will be aware that some cases of stealing have been reported on Mendip recently. Opinion seems to favour an outsider – possible a grudge against the caving fraternity.  However, until the culprit is found, or gets fed up and stops, all members are warned to be very careful about any personal property. This applies especially to property left in cars outside pubs on Mendip.  In addition to keeping a watch, all members are asked to look out for the following stolen property

Stolen between 10.20 and 10.40pm on 18.11.66 from outside the Queen Victoria, Priddy.

Framed Bergen style rucksack.  Dark green with numerous scout & Y.H.A. badges on it.  Cleveland neoprene wet suit jacket.  I pair black leather boots.  Boiler suit. Miscellaneous socks and shirts. Premier carbide lamp.  2 carrying bags.  I towel.

Stolen between 9.00 and 10.30pm from outside Hunters Lodge.

Es W.D. Rucksack.  Khaki webbing type with red square and ‘141’ painted on it in white.  Typhoon wet suit – double skin neoprene – black.  1 new pair red leather boots size 8.  1 roll neoprene tape ¾” tape.  1 tin evostick.  3 waterproof crayons.  1 sleeping bag, royal blue with lining having two tears which have been repaired with light blue tape.

A further theft of similar equipment occurred at Maine’s Barn, Priddy during the night 19th/20th November.

Any information which any member may discover about any of the above or similar equipment known to have been stolen on Mendip should be given to the police at either WELLS 3481, or to P.C. Brice at CHEWTON MENDIP 326.

Club Officers – 1966

The following is a complete list of all club officers for the year October 1966 – October 1967.

General Committee.

R.J.Bagshaw; R. Bennett; S.J. Collins; G. Dell; N. Petty; D. Searle; R.D. Stenner; A.R. Thoams; G. Tilly; E. Welch.

Long Term Planning Committee.

S.J. Collins; G. Dell; R.S. King; P. Ifold; A.R. Thomas; W. Smart.

Cuthbert’s Sub-Committee.

R. Bennett; B.M. Ellis; D. Irwin; R.D. Stenner; G. Tilly.

CLUB OFFICERS.   (Alphabetical order of jobs)

Belfry Bulletin: Editor                                      S.J. Collins.
Belfry Bulletin: Postal Department                   J. Bennett.
Belfry Engineer                                              G. Dell.
Caving Publications: Editor                              B.M. Ellis.
Caving Publications: Production                       G. Tilly.
Caving Secretary                                            R. Bennett.
Climbing Secretary                                         E. Welch.
Committee Chairman                                      S.J. Collins.
Hon. Librarian                                                J. Bennett.
Hon. Secretary                                               R.D. Stenner.
Hon. Treasurer                                               R.J. Bagshaw
Hut Warden                                                   G. Tilly.
Hut Warden (Assistant)                                  D. Searle.
Minute Secretary                                            S.J. Collins.
M.R.O. Wardens (Appointed by M.R.O.)          K. Franklin.
M.R.O. Wardens (Appointed by M.R.O.)          D. Irwin.
Planning Committee:  Chairman                      P. Ifold.
Planning Committee:  Secretary                      S.J. Collins.
Spares                                                          D. Searle.
Tacklemaster                                                 N. Petty.

The addresses of all club officials follow: -

R.J. Bagshaw,          699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.

J. Bennett (Mrs),      8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol

R. Bennett,              8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol

S.J. Collins,             c/o Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Somerset

G. Dell,                    c/o The Belfry, Priddy, Wells, Somerset

B.M. Ellis,               Knockaouns, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset

K. Franklin,              52 Rockingham House, Lawrence Weston, Bristol

P. Ifold,                    Sunnyside, Rectory Lane, Compton Martin, Somerset

D. Irwin,                   9 Camden Hill Gardens, London, W.8

R.S. King,                22 Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch, Bristol

N. Petty,                  12 Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol 4

D. Searle,                Dolphin Cottage, Priddy, Somerset

W. Smart,                c/o Richard Costain (C.E.) Ltd., Aberthaw(B) Power Station, Aberthaw, Glam.

R.D. Stenner,           38 Paultrow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3

A.R. Thomas            Westhavenj School, Uphill, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset

E. Welch,                Jable, Digby Road, Sherborne, Dorset

G. Tilly                    Frenchay Lodge Bungallow, Frenchay, Brsitol

Caving Reports

Ladies!  Why not give your boy friend a B.E.C. Caving Report for Christmas?  It might take his mind off other things for a while!  Seriously, most of the B.E.C. Series of Caving Reports are still available, but quantities are limited and stocks will not last for ever.  Now is a god time to think about adding to your personal caving library.  As you will see from the list below, some reports are already unobtainable and the current position is as below: -

No. 1

“Surveying in Redcliffe Caves, Bristol”  (Reprinted 1963)


No. 2

“A Preliminary Report on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet”

Out of Print

No. 3

“Manufacture of Lightweight Ladders”

Out of Print

No. 3A

“Manufacture of Lightweight Ladders” (Revised 1962)


No. 4

“The shoring of Swallet Cave Entrances”


No. 5

“A Survey of Lighting and Headgear for Caving” (To be revised & Reprinted)

Out of Print

No. 6

“Some Smaller Mendip Caves – Vol. II”


No. 7

“A Second Report on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet”

Out of Print

No. 8

“A Preliminary Survey Plan of St. Cuthbert’s”

Out of Print

No. 9

“Some Smaller Mendip Caves – Vol. II”


No. 10

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


No. 11

The Long Chamber/Coral Area of St. Cuthbert’s (including survey)


No. 12

“The Presentation of Cave Survey Data”


No. 13

Part ‘O’ St. Cuthbert’s Definitive Report (Miscellaneous information)



1966 Annual General Meeting

A long account of the recent A.G.M. follows.  We make no apology for taking up so much B.B. space with it, as some discussion which may affect the club considerably took place and we feel that, as a democratic club, we should give those members who were unable to be present, some opportunity to read the proceedings in as full a form as practicable.

The 1966 Annual General Meeting of the Bristol Exploration Club opened at 2.50pm on Saturday, October 1st, 1966 with 37 members present.  The number rose to 41 shortly afterwards.

It was proposed by Alfie and seconded by John Ransom that Oliver Lloyd be elected as Chairman. This was carried by nom. con.

The Chairman then asked for proposals for tellers for the ballot.  Frank Darbon, Frank Jones and Colin Henry George Rees were elected. Ballot papers and members’ resolutions were then collected.

The Hon. Secretary then reads the minutes of the 1965 Annual General Meeting.  The minutes were adopted unanimously.  The Hon. Secretary then gave his report.  He reminded members that this would be the last time he would be giving this report.  He could not now devote the necessary time and energy to the secretaryship and, in any case, felt that after fifteen years, the club could do with a new secretary. He hoped that the club would support his successor in the same way that it had always supported him.

There had been 29 new members, and the membership stood at 180 – a decrease of 3.  These figures were approximate as there were several outstanding subscriptions which he assured the meeting that the treasurer was confident of collecting.  There would be 125 at the dinner and he understood that a resolution on entertainment was to be brought up later.  The Council if Southern Cave Clubs had continued to operate and he felt sure that this system would enable individual clubs to operate without interference. It was proposed by Alan Thomas that the report be adopted without discussion.  This was seconded by Ron King.  The Chairman amplified the Hon. Secretary’s statement on the Regional Councils, and described the organisation as a body without a head.  This type of organisation was best able to provide a framework within which two clubs could help each other without being dictated to. The organisation will meet once a year.

The Hon. Treasurer then gave his report.  He was afraid that the financial statement did not give the full picture, but hoped that he would have more time to devote to this task next year.  The increase of subscriptions was due to the popularity of Life membership.  The sixpence so grudgingly given contributed usefully to the clubs finances.  Car badges and ties must be re-ordered next year. The Belfry and Belfry Bulletin continue to consume money but he was pleased to see also that there had been good spending on tackle.  He suggested that the new committee should re-invest the Ian Dear Memorial Fund in five and a half percent bonds.

During the discussion which followed, Alfie asked why no Belfry receipts were shown on the financial statement.  The Hon. Treasurer replied that they had been received too late for inclusion.  Dave Irwin asked whether these receipts were up on last year’s or not.  The Hut Warden replied that they were slightly up on last years.  Bob White asked why the Hut Warden only appeared to pay the Treasurer once a year.  The Hon. Treasurer replied that he received money more often than this, but only got a financial breakdown of Belfry receipts and expenditure annually.  He hoped to introduce a better system next year.  The money already received had in fact been subtracted from the Belfry expenditure.  In reply to a further question, he said that the closing date for his accounts was the 31st August.  The Chairman asked whether the capital sum represented by the development bond was shown in the accounts.  The Hon. Treasurer said that he felt they should be kept separately, as they were not part of normal club funds.  He reminded members that the statement was not a balance sheet, nor was it an income and expenditure account.  Bob White asked whether fire insurance was included.  The Hon. Treasurer said that it had not been included in this statement, as it had been paid too late, but was in fact, £4/4/-.

Dave Irwin proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Gordon Tilly and carried nom. com.

The Caving secretary then gave his report.  The past year had been one of great interest, and a wide and varied list of activities had resulted.  Alan Coase’s part in the major new discoveries in Dan-yr-Ogof was the most interesting from the new discovery point of view, but the Raucher Expedition in Austria had resulted In members acquiring experience of long trips (over 80 hours) in cold conditions, and the highlight of this trip was ‘Mo’ Marriotts’ bottoming of a 320 foot shaft.  The B.E.C. shaft (like the B.E.C. at times? – Ed) was found to be too tight.  Alan Thomas had also been to Greece and had led a party earlier in the year to Morocco.  Caving had also been done in Switzerland, Ireland, Yorkshire and South Wales – in addition to well attended local meets.

The interest in diving has been revived, and Phil Kingston has reached Wookey 15.  On general caving, Cuthbert’s remains the most popular cave; but visits to the smaller local caves had also proved popular.  In Cuthbert’s, two mock rescues had been held, which resulted in the removal of a helpless ‘victim;’ from Beehive Chamber to the Belfry in 7 hours.  A special gear had been designed for hauling a victim up the Entrance Rift.  There had also been two real rescues.

On the scientific site, Roger Stenner has been engaged in water analysis, and N.L. Thomas in biological studies in the Maypole area, which is temporarily close to cavers to enable the studies to be continue.  He had also been doing similar work in Gough’s.  Five teams are now working on the resurveying of the cave.

Digging was represented by work in Maesbury and Emborough.  The Caving Secretary hoped that these digging activities would continue as it is only by digging that we shall be able to make new major discoveries. He concluded by wishing his successor all possible help.

The Chairman opened the discussion by saying how glad he was to see that the time and trouble taken by the club members on practice rescues had resulted in the very smooth operation of real rescues from the cave.  While on this subject, he announced that the M.R.O. would be holding an open meeting on Sunday, 13th November.

Alan Thomas then proposed a vote of thanks to the Caving Secretary.  This was seconded by Alfie and carried with applause.

The Climbing Secretary then gave his report.  Six out of the eight planned trips had taken place as well as several privately run trips. Local climbing had also occurred in the Avon Gorge and Frome Valley.  The latter work had resulted in the first Climbing Report be published.  He thought that privately run trips were a good idea for a small climbing section.  Gordon Tilly moved that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by John Ransom and carried nom. com.

The TACKLEMASTER then gave his report.  Due to problems encountered during the year, no new tackle had been made.  The club had also lost two ropes and one ladder (since found – Ed) and hence 640’ of ladder and 850’ of rope.  Bob White asked whether the tackle was covered by insurance?  Norman replied that it was not, except for tackle taken abroad.  The Chairman asked whether it was worth insuring tackle and it was agreed to ask the 1966-67 Committee to look into this.

It was moved by Dave Irwin and seconded by D. Statham that the report be adopted.  This was carried nom. com.

The Chairman then announced the results of the election.  65 valid ballot papers produced the following result.  Bob Bagshaw (63); Norman Petty (61); Roy Bennett (60); Alfie Collins (58); Eddie Welch (52); Gordon Tilly (46); Roger Stenner (51); Dave Searle (21); and Garth Dell (20).  The first nine were therefore declared elected.

The Hut Warden then gave his report.  It had not been too good a year.  The Bed-night total was 1,527 as compared with 1,431 last year, but was still some way down on figures exceeding 1,800 which had been reported in the past.  It had been suggested that the drop had been due to the discouragement of visiting clubs by reducing the number of bunks available to visitors.  This was perhaps partly true and was due to member’s requirements needing priority at the time.  It has since been found possible to increase the number of bunks for visitors.  The Hut Warden said that another aspect had been that many members of the W.S.G. are Belfry Regulars anyway, and that other visitors often preferred to camp.  However, visits from Exeter, Cambridge and the Northern Pennine have taken place and with the opening of the Bridge, perhaps we may expect more visitors from Wales next year.

The Hut Warden reported that the state of the Belfry had improved slightly, but the cleaning of saucepans was still a sore point.  (In view of the expected invasion from Wales, perhaps we should say that we prefer a sospan wen to a sospen ddu! – Ed.)  The Hut Warden appealed for more saucepans.

Alan Thomas said that if members wished to raise any complaints about the Belfry, it might be a good idea to do so now or for ever hold their peace.  The Hut Warden immediately moved the adoption of his report but was ruled out of order by the Chairman.  Dave Irwin asked whether the old car could be removed.  It was resolved by A. Collins and seconded by G. Dell that strong representations be made to the owner and that lack of subsequent action to be treated as a serious offence.  An amendment proposed by Bob White and seconded by Roy Bennett suggested that this matter be left to the Committee.  The amendment was carried 19 – 12 and thus became a substantive resolution which was then carried nom. con.  John Ransom then proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Alan Thomas and carried without dissent.

The Hut Engineer then gave his report.  Routine work had been carried out on the Belfry as and when needed.  The Women’s Room roof had been repaired.  The Men’s end of the toilets had been completed but had not proved as popular as the Ladies, which is used by both sexes. Constant observation of the septic tank had shown that it was working satisfactorily.  Planning permission for the shower had been obtained.  It was proposed by Frank Jones and seconded by Bill Smart that the report be adopted.  This was carried nom. com.  The Chairman then announced a 15 minute break for tea.

After the tea break, a request was received for a recount of the last two places in the ballot.  This was carried out with no change in the previous figures.

The Long Term Planning Report followed.  Alfie explained that the article in the last B.B. had been designed to show the club what might be involved in the construction and financing of a permanent Belfry.

There had been some 20 replies to the questionnaire and that nearly all replies were in favour of a new building, and prepared to help in some way.  He suggested that the next stage should be the setting up of a larger committee to draw up plans.  The Chairman asked who was on the present committee.  Alfie replied himself, Alan Thomas and Gordon Tilly.  The Chairman said that he saw no objection to Alfie’s suggestion that an enlarged committee investigate all aspects including the obtaining of a grant from the Department of Education and Science and that they could prepare a complete scheme including getting all the necessary grants ands permissions without actually committing the club to any course of action. This could then be put to the club, who would decide.

Alan Thomas said that he had seen the Planning Officer and anticipated no trouble.  We could, for instance, put up a rendered or pebble dashed concrete block structure.  He hoped that in any case, the club would not build an ugly building.  As far as the grant was concerned however, he was against it and proposed a resolution that “Under no circumstances will the B.E.C. ask for any grant.”

The Chairman said, before accepting this amendment, he must note that there seemed to be a matter of principle here which was of great importance, and a discussion should therefore take place first.  He assured the meeting that the acceptance of a grant did not involve any ‘strings’ whatever.

Alan Thomas replied that the B.E.C. always stood on its own feet.   It liked to be free to do things its own way.  Suppose, he said, that a government inspector arrived at the Belfry on the morning after the Barbecue when everyone was sitting around nursing their heads.  We would be told to get out and go caving!  He pointed out that B.E.C. was an exploration club and this included, if necessary or desirable, the exploration of the effects of alcohol on the human body. He personally enjoyed a good hangover now and then (cries of “masochist!”) and he did not see why we should allow our way of life – which happened to include a lot of good caving and underground scientific work amongst other things – to be dictated by government officials.

Ron King replied that another principle of the B.E.C. was surely to obtain something for nothing if possible and that we should therefore accept a grant.

Dave Irwin said that he was on Alan’s side.  There were no state grounds for rescues.  If we – as cavers – got into difficulties underground, we knew that only fellow cavers would get us out again.  No government body such as the police or fire brigade was actually involved in rescuing us. It should be the same with the provision of accommodation.

Alan Thomas agreed and said that the B.E.C. accepted people of all races, colours and creeds providing only that they were interested in B.E.C. activities and got on with present members.  We take people, he said, as we find them.  We do not want to be told to do this.

The Chairman pointed out that the club was already open to the public.  We could still refuse individual members and it seemed a little like splitting hairs to refuse free money when it made no difference at all to the club.  As far as rescues were concerned, there was no means of getting money from the government but if there were, the M.R.O. might well consider it.  We could, in fact, go later against the terms of a grant after we had received one and there was nothing the government could do about it. There was an inspector, it was true, but she was in fact a charming lady.  He felt that the club should not set its face against a grant without considerable thought.

Bob Bagshaw said that there was obviously a lot of deeply held feelings both for and against a grant. He wondered if the meeting should make a snap decision and pointed out that there were many things involved which had not yet been considered.  It should be said that the grant was our money since we all paid taxes.  On the other hand, he was against any form of government interference and would need to be completely convinced that no such interference was possible.  We might in any case, be able to raise the money.

Alan suggested that the matter should be referred to a committee as proposed by Alfie and that this committee should be of six people not more than three of whom should be members of the general committee.  This resolution was seconded by Brian Howe and carried nom. com.  Various names were then suggested.  Brain Howe; Bill Smart; Pat ifold; Garth Dell; Gordon Tilly; Ron King; and Bob Bagshaw.  Joan Bennett said that she thought the three committee members should be ex officio and suggested the Treasurer, Hut Warden and Belfry Engineer.  A vote was taken on this proposal and it was defeated by a large majority in favour of electing named people.

Alfie pointed out that the actual job (whether club position or outside employment) was of little importance as a qualification.  What was wanted was six people who would do the work.  These people would obviously consult all the experts they could find – as well as the views of ordinary members.  Sybil asked if her views would be allowed a hearing and Alfie said that, although he could not speak for the new Planning Committee, he was sure they would listen with attention to all the ideas and views presented to them.  An election was then held, and the committee (in order of votes cast in favour) was Alfie; Alan Thomas; Garth; Pat Ifold; Bill Smart and Ron King.  It was proposed that this committee be instructed to prepare a full scheme for submitting to the club, either by publication of by E.G.M. before next A.G.M.

The B.B. Editor then gave his report.  The year had been an average one for the B.B.  On the other hand, an electric operated duplicator together with stocks of paper, stencils and ink to the value of £50 had been obtained at no cost to the club.  He felt that the B.B. was being kept going by too few contributors, and appealed to all to let the Postal Department know of any changes of address.  The adoption of the reports was moved by Frank Darbon and seconded by Ron king and carried nom. com.

The Caving Publications report was then read by Gordon Tilly.  He explained that he was doing the actual production of the reports, while Bryan Ellis was in charge of the Editorial and Sales side.  He said that Reports 11 and 12 had been issued and that the Cuthbert’s Reports would be issued during the coming year.  Part ‘O’ was on sale now.  Kangy added that 32 copies of the Climbing Report had been sold. The report, after a discussion on finance had taken place, was adopted after its adoption had been proposed by Garth Dell and seconded by Nigel Hallett.

The Hon. Librarian gave her report.  The library had been moved to the Waggon and Horses, but had not been used much since. The report was adopted, G. Tilley and R. Bennett proposing and seconding the adoption.

The first member’s resolution was now put to the meeting.  Proposed by Ron Bater and seconded by Brian Howe, it resolved that organised entertainment should be provided at the B.E.C. dinners.  An amendment was proposed by Roy Bennett and seconded by D. Statham that this entertainment should be of a non-professional nature.  In support of the resolution, Brian Howe said that a Group could be obtained and that the cost would be small.  It would add about 1/6 to the price of a ticket.  It was not proposed to encourage Hunters Songs by this means.  Sybil said that she would prefer to consider entertainment in a wider context and would not like to be confined to musical entertainment (that’s what is says in the notes -Ed).  Voting on the amendment was 14 for and 14 against.  The Chairman exercised his casting vote against the amendment.  The resolution was now voted on and defeated 15 – 12.

The second resolution “That the Library be moved to the Belfry” was proposed by Dave Irwin and seconded by A. Meadon and was carried without discussion by a large majority.

The third resolution “That the increase of Belfry dues imposed by the last committee be ratified and the rules accordingly altered” was also carried without discussion or dissent.

The Editor unfortunately had to leave the meeting at this stage and is unable to describe the remaining resolutions, none of which were carried.  At one stage, he understands that the meeting was found to be inquorate, and the Chairman finally called the meeting to an end.

Note:  This description does not constitute the ‘official’ description of the meeting.


B.E.C. Caving Reports, and other caving publications including as number of surveys can be bought from B.M. ELLIS, KNOCKAUNS, COMBWICH, BRIDGWATER, SOMERSET. A list of B.E.C. reports will be found on page 63.  Send to Bryan for full details of publications for sale.


An Interesting Experience in Goatchurch

The Christmas B.B. traditionally contains some articles of a lighter nature. Here is a caving report with a difference!

(With apologies to Hywel Murrell)

Hywel, as a founder member of the Wessex Cave Club, was guest of honour at the 1966 Wessex Dinner. He recollected that when he was secretary some years ago, he often received peculiar letters from members or prospective members.  We obtained permission from him to publish one of these in the B.B. and we hope that Hywel will excuse any slight divergences from the original letter as he read it, and that he will make due allowances for the Festive Season……

To the Secretary, Wessex Cave Club.

Dear Sir,

I was caving in Goatchurch the other day.  A friend and I proceeded to the bottom of the cave.  I was somewhat delayed, so that as he reached the end of what we call the Rabbit Run first.  I had just entered the passage, when I heard a peculiar rushing noise and something hit me in the face and put out my candle.

With great difficulty, I worked my left arm behind me, only to find that my matches were in my right hand pocket.  I therefore reversed the procedure and at last managed to get the matches out with my right hand.  A had just lit the candle again and with great difficulty replaced the box of matches in my right hand hip pocket when another bat – evidently disturbed by my friend at the end of the passage, or not liking the look of him (I can hardly blame it) – came flying down the passage.  As I turned my head to avoid it, the bat knocked off my spectacles and hit the candle inside my jumper where it set fire to the hairs on my chest.

I put the fire out by flattening my chest hard against the ground.  This was an unfortunate move, as the safety pin I had used to replace a shirt button had come undone when the candle had gone inside my jumper, and my sudden movement now caused the sharp end of the open pin to be driven hard into my chest, causing me much pain.   I worked my arm down to pull out the pin, inadvertently knocking off my helmet as I did so.

At this point, I made a mistake.  I decided not to put my helmet on again – especially as I would need to have it off in order to replace my spectacles when I had found them in the dark so I attempted to pass the helmet backwards past my body.

I got the helmet past my chest.  This was very painful, as the burns and the place where the pin had gone in hurt as I forced the helmet past.  It was then the helmet reached my hips that I realised it would go no further.

With great difficulty, I got a hand back to the helmet but could not shift it, so I decided to press my hips down hard on it in the hope that I would crush it.  On the second attempt, I managed to do this, forgetting that I still had my right hand under the helmet.  A belt which I had put on to hold the chinstrap dug a groove in my wrist and gave me much additional pain.

With great difficulty, I worked by injured hand free and set out on the job of finding my spectacles and candle.  I soon found the candle, which was quite small and with what I still consider to be great presence of mind in adversity, held it between my teethe so as not to lose it again.

I then saw that my spectacles must be lying in the passage ahead of me, as they were reflecting a light from the other end of the passage where my companion waited.  I crawled towards this light only to find the lid of a Beecham’s Pills tin.  It was at this point I found my spectacles by putting one knee on them which crushed them and cut my knee badly.

It is only natural, I suppose, to jerk violently when one has cut ones knee and is still in contact with broken glass.  The fact that this violent jerk scraped the box of matches in my right hand hip pocket against the rock, where the friction set them alight seemed to me to be sheer bad luck.

With great difficulty, I once more worked my injured right hand down towards my pocket, causing more pain as I forced it past my damaged chest and removed the still hot matches which burnt my fingers.  I also cut my hand removing the rest of the broken glass from under my knee.  As I brought up my hand back to go on crawling, I must have accidentally undone the string which was holding up my trousers because as I made my way painfully along, they gradually turned inside out, making progress very difficult and causing me to scrape the cuts and burns on the rocks as I moved.

Not having any light, I saw no point in attempting to look ahead.  It was probably this which caused me to meet my companion – who had come to find out what was going on – head on, and to bash my head on his helmet.  His helmet had two protruding screws on the top.

The force of this collision caused me to swallow the candle I had been holding between my teeth.

Now that the stitches have been taken out of my head, I have decided that I am not very keen on caving. Please refund my subscription to the Wessex Cave Club.

P.S.  I would like to relieve myself of six pounds of candles if you will have them.


Cuthberts 1966

Work continues, as in the past, at a very leisurely rate and still much work needs to be done.  The latest discovery – in the most popular part of the system – heralds the possibility of yet anther large extension; though more about this later.  In all, the most interesting feature of this years work is that the field had broadened to a much wider front.

From a caver’s point of view, exploration is always at the forefront.  Although little has been found in the way of new passage, the potential of the new discovery promises much for the future.  The new passage is off the Cascade area.  Originally looked at by Don Coase and Norman Petty, it was never pushed far.  This year, Norman’s interest in this area resulted – after nearly ten years – in the discovery of nearly a hundred feet of vadose passage running up dip across the Cascade and Boulder Chamber.  The main part, though, is a huge strike rift about forty to fifty feet long, ten to twenty feet wide and well over sixty feet high.  The top shows a landing from where the Cascade originates – making the flow at least a hundred and ten feet high.  Whether this will ever be climbed remains to be seen.

Roger Stenner also reports unexplored passages in the Water Shute – Mud Hall area during his surveying trip.  Most, though small, certainly show no signs of ever having been previously entered. These might prove interesting. Tony Meadon and Dave Irwin located some interesting side passages and avens in September Chamber that had not been recorded before, with some very fine formations including helictites. 

For the benefit of future explorers in the September Ruckle, it will be as well to say that parts of it are very unstable as Phil Kingston and Dave Palmer found  out earlier this year.  Even after escaping from the collapsing area, booming noises continued for quite some time after!

Digging seems to be the present vogue amongst leaders, with the Dining Room Dig being dug spasmodically.    Mud Ball Dig was finished about April when an oral connection was made with the Dining Room Dig.  From the new survey made of the Cerberus Series it appears certain that there is another fracture running parallel with the main Gour Lake Fault, but whether it is connected with the main fault remains to be determined.  It also appears that the sump passage may be formed along this fault some 20 feet from the main Gour Lake fault.

John Cornwell has revived interest in the sump area, so much so that a great push is being made in this area next Jan/Feb.  So far he has been digging at three or four points.  The first was at the end of the Gour Rift and resulted in the discovery of a completely choked phreatic tube.  The mud contained fair amounts of charcoal to a depth of some 4 – 5 feet. This surely indicates recent choking and speaks for itself.  He has also dug in the high level passage in the roof of Sump Passage but this tends to back towards known cave.  Diligent searching revealed a small phreatic tube sandbank and the sump and some rapid erosion has taken place revealing more passage going in the direction of the sump.  An attempt is now being planned to dig the sump and beat the divers at their own game! By damming the streams outside and inside the cave and lowering the floor of the sump passage digging through the sump is a distinct possibility and this work will be on its way when this article is published.  Will people interested in digging here please contact John Cornwell or myself.

A new survey of the cave is under way and has resulted in the Rabbit Warren, Cerberus Series and the lower part of Rocky Boulder being all but completed, to either Grade 5 or 6. The results of the new survey will appear in the course of the next year or so and will be issued at a scale of 1” : 10’.  These will be issued series by series in the new Cuthbert’s Report (B.E.C. Caving Report No. 13) and will show, in addition to the plan, passage sections and elevations, fully detailed.  A 1” : 20’ plan and elevation will be published later for the complete cave, but will show no passage detail. Appearing in the report will be details of water flow and temperatures, airflow and temperatures and detail of flora, fauna and geology.  The report will be issued in fifteen parts.

Roger Stenner has been studying the variation of chemical content in cave streams with some interesting results.  He claims from his preliminary results (some of which have already been published in the B.B. – Ed) that water flowing into a small sink in the depression is the source of the Maypole Stream.

The Flood Control pipe has been in operation for about 18 months and has proved its usefulness beyond doubt.  Only on 2 weekends has the cave been closed due to water conditions.  On inspection, it was found that the wire gauze was choked with grass etc. thus causing a natural blockage.  Regular cleaning in future will ensure the cave being open in all conditions.  It has been a regular feature of private trips into the system to climb out of the rift with the full stream flowing down making it extremely sporting. Although good fun, this should only be attempted by people who are well acquainted with the rift as a serious accident could otherwise easily occur.

The annual practice rescue took place in June and for the first time the trip went very smoothly and the ‘victim’ (Pete Franklin) was successfully carried from Beehive Chamber to the Belfry in seven hours.  The value of such practices was born out by the two real rescues in February and August.

What 1967 will bring is, of course, in the lap of the gods but with a mass of passages still to be explored and dug, should bring interesting results if pushed.



  • A key to the TACKLE STORE will be held by DAVE SEARLE at Dolphin Cottage, and may be obtained from him when no other keys are available at the Belfry site.
  • A DOZEN VOLUNTEERS are wanted to help with water tracing on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd of Jan.  Get in touch with Roger Stenner.


Christmas Thought.

We hear that the W****X were made a gift of a “cement mixer with a bit missing”.  When it was delivered, they were somewhat surprised to find that the missing ‘bit’ was the engine.


Physical Laws & Effects

About this time of year, we endeavour to bring a spot of culture to our readers.  You may remember last year that our research department, sparing no effort, unearthed a hitherto unpublished fragment of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  This year we feel it is the turn of science, and we publish some known and not so well known Physical laws and Effects.

Laws and effects are given in alphabetical order.

Alfie’s Law:

“The damage done to cave formation is a function of the amount of discovery effected in the system.”  This law was originally discovered when it was found that damage to formations became zero in the case of Alfie’s Hole, when it was decided not to discover the rest of the cave.

Bagshaw’s Principle:

This in an axiom of cave club finance, and is normally expressed by the phrase “A sixpence in the hand is worth two in the book” and is generally taken to refer to the discrepancy between the actual finance and recorded statements.

Bennett Effect:

The Bennett Effect occurs when a human body comes into contact with a cast iron nameplate.  If the velocity of contact exceeds a critical value (known as the Bennett Velocity) the nameplate becomes fractured.

Castle Farm Effect:

(Also known as the Vee Swallet Effect; Maesbury Effect; Fairman Effect etc.) “The estimated date of breakthrough on any cave dig remains constant at ‘Next weekend’ over that last six month prior to the abandonment of the dig.”

Devenish Law:

“The cross sectional area of cave passage decreases with the passage of time” Devenish’s law is expressed by the formula….A = Ao(1 – 1/Dt) where Ao is the cross sectional area of any cave passage on the first trip.  A is the cross sectional area at any subsequent time t and D is the Devenish Coefficient (whose magnitude varies for individual cavers). A corollary to this (sometime known as Devenish’ Second Law of Constriction) states that the total volume V of any cave remains constant with time.  Thus all passage lengths increase with time.

Ellis Criteria:

This is an axiom in Hutmanship which states “In any efficiently run hut, the number of bed-nights per calor cylinder exceeds 100.”

Hunter’s Effect:

“The key in which songs are sung is higher that that which is most suitable for the average male voice by an amount depending on the beer consumed by the singers.”  The expression for this effect is normally written f = fo.2Hm/12 where f is the frequency of the keynote, fo is the frequency of the most suitable keynote, m is the average number of pints consumed by the singers and H is the Hunters Coefficient in semitones/pint.  Practical measurements give the value of H as 0.981. This has given rise to a school of thought which suggests it might be related to the gravity of the beer.

Petty’s Law:

“The total amount of tackle remains constant irrespective of the rate at which new tackle is constructed.”

Principle of Relativity:

This states that the number of cavers related to each other will always increase. In this respect it has been compared to entropy.

Tripod Effect:

This is really a special case of Sod’s law.  It states that the optimum place for the erection of a tripod for photography of surveying is such that one leg will always be too short to reach the nearest ground which will keep the tripod stable.

Thomas Effect:

Kendal mint cake flashes when broken in the dark.

Setterington’s Law:

“The excellence of a stew is independent of the contents and taste.” This law is based on the Setterington Effect which observes that a spoon will stand for some time upright in a good stew.  If this time is represented by ‘t’ seconds, and the stew cost ‘p’ shillings and fed ‘n’ people, then its goodness in degrees Setterington (os) is given by: -

oS = (100n/p0)

It will be seen that for time below 1 second, the answer becomes imaginary. Such stews are therefore known as imaginary stews and may only be manipulated rectorially.  For time greater than one second, the stew becomes real.

Wessex Effect:

“In the absence of illumination, a caver standing above the Forty in Swildons experiences sudden defecation due to emotional shock.”


Long Term Planning [2]

….Second Report from the Long Term Planning Committee.

Two letters were received from members since last month’s report.  One from Sett – who holds the record for length of reign as Hut Warden, and who probably holds the Bed-night record at the Belfry, and the other from John Lamb – who has had a lot of building experience since moving down to Cornwall a few years ago.  These letters were both read to the committee. The suggestions contained re-finance were taken up and are being looked into.  The point made as to whether the Super Belfry is necessary at all was felt by the committee to be outside its terms of reference.  These are to present a scheme to the club.  It is then up to the club to decide whether to go ahead with the scheme or not.

The other new suggestion to come up is that of looking into the possibility of making the club into a company limited by subscription.  Alfie made this suggestion and was given the job of looking into it further.

The committee then went on to consider the next subject, that of accommodation.  Decisions were reached as follows: - Assuming we stay on the present site (this is one of the things the committee will be considering next month) we will need the following accommodation:-

1.                  Good washing facilities – preferably hot showers.

2.                  Tackle Store.

3.                  Changing Room.

4.                  Workshop for Tacklemaster and Hut Engineer.

5.                  Men’s sleeping room.

6.                  Women’s sleeping room.

7.                  Combined living room and kitchen.

8.                  Library.

9.                  Toilets.

The present intention to use the Stone Belfry as a tackle store and workshop and to retain the present toilets.  Thus, the new building will comprise – Washing room – Changing room – Men’s and Women’s rooms – Living room and kitchen – Library.

It was agreed that the women’s room should sleep six and the men’s room a total of thirty six, although it was not envisaged that the full complement of bunks would be provided at first. A moveable partition between men’s and women’s rooms is also a possibility, as the committee stresses the need for the building to be designed as flexibly as possible.

A separate kitchen was decided against on two counts.  It decreases this flexibility, and makes it less easy for control over untidiness to be exercised.  The committee do not wish to see the Belfry split up into a number of rooms as they feel that this could well lead to the fragmentation of the club.  The building must be used as communally as possible, and hence the library must not be allowed to act as a focal point for any one section of the club.  It is intended that this room should be treated as a special purpose room in the same way as the tackle store or workshop, and be normally kept locked as they will be.

The committee then found that the size of the building which would accommodate all these facilities was not incompatible with the money which they had previously decided could be raised.

Your comments on this phase of the work and on the next month’s subject will be welcomed.  Write to the secretary, S.J. Collins. c/o Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Somerset. Next month’s topic is SITUATION. Where do we want to put the new building?  Do we want to say on our present site? &c &c &c.



Cave Surveying (D.L. Butcher and C.L. Railton.)

The original “Cave Surveying” was published in 1950 by the C.R.G.  The authors have completely revised the text and included several recommendations assembled from a variety of sources.

There are, however, several points that seem worthy of discussion.  Without extending this review unnecessarily, these are as follow: -

1.                  The requirement for a Grade 4 survey seems to be obsolete and in the view of the writer ought to be deleted from the C.R.G. Grading scheme.  The spread of survey grades seems to ‘drag’ from 2 to 5. Grade 4 requires a prismatic compass and a tape or measuring cord.  A surveyor usually thinks in terms of two basic kinds of survey (A) Low grade and (B) High grade.  The ‘in between’ grades do not offer completely either one or the other.  The owner of a prismatic compass, clino, and fibreglass or steel tape need only spend a little time to calibrate the compass and his equipment is suitable for a Grade 5 survey.  The increase in time over that required to take a hand held compass bearing accurately; read a clinometer etc. is negligible.  If Grade 5 were minimum high grade demanded. Then far more reliable surveys would be produced.

There are, however, many systems whose passage are very nearly horizontal especially in Yorkshire and South Wales, but clino readings here would be extremely useful for sharp rises (Pitches excluded) in the passage.  All clinic readings under 3o may be ignored. My own suggested grades are: -

I.          As C.R.G. Grades I and II.

II.          As C.R.G. III except prismatic (uncalibrated) or any other giving readings to within 5o.

III.         As C.R.G. Grade V (Hand held)

IV.        As C.R.G. Grade VI (Tripod mounted)

V.         As C.R.G. Grade VII

2.                  Co-ordinates.

All high grade surveys should be plotted by the use of co-ordinates.  Not only does this produce a more accurate drawing but it enables the surveyor to plot his stations without the need of a drawing board or other specialised equipment.  Although co-ordinates are mentioned, insufficient emphasis has been placed on their use.

Finally – a good publication and a useful introduction to this interesting and important sideline of caving. It makes easy reading and illustrates the orthodox methods in a manner that will be clearly understood by everyone.

(Vol 8.  No.2.  Offset litho – 37 pages – many illustrated.  Cost to B.E.C. members 10/-).

B.E.C. Caving report No.12.  “The Presentation of Cave Survey Data.”  (S.J. Collins).  (Price 5/-).

A very interesting and exhaustive discussion on the various methods of presenting cave surveys.  Not only does the author discuss the orthodox method, but he suggests the integrating of various schematic presentations with a view to replacing long descriptions found in caving reports. This will no doubt produce much discussion among surveyors for some time to come.  A good buy for the private or club library.  Liberally illustrated in colour.

Dave Irwin.


Christmas Problem

by “Sett.”

A caver from Yorkshire had arranged to spend Christmas at the Belfry and had been given instructions to get him to Priddy Turning where he knew he could meet the B.E.C. by going straight on to the Hunters. Unfortunately, when he got off the bus, he couldn’t remember which way to go and the signpost was missing. However, he did remember that identical twins lived in the cottage nearby and that they would answer only one question.  Furthermore, he remembered that one only told the truth and the other always lied.

What question could the caver put to whichever twin answered the door to make sure he was directed to the right road?

There is a traditional answer to this question, which was circulated around the B.E.C. some years ago – and also a more recent answer.

A pint to the first person who honestly has never heard the traditional answer and works it out.  A further point to the first person who knows the traditional answer and works out the new one.

Training in Cave Science


Several members have show interest in cave surveying, and expressed a desire to learn more about this side of caving.   When I was starting to learn about Cave Surveying, I had to do it the hard way; making many mistakes and making a nuisance of myself to Bryan Ellis and

other cave surveyors. Dave Irwin had the same difficulty. Now Dave Irwin had offered to run a course on cave surveying.  In this course, Dave proposes to explain the aims, theory and practice of cave surveying, and candidates will have the opportunity to acquire and improve their proficiency in surveying and in the presentation of surveys.

Chemical analysis of water samples.

I would like to offer to train cavers in the techniques of water analysis – what it can be achieve, methods, and calculation and interpretation of results.  Anyone interested should contact me, Roger Stenner, 38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3.


B.E.C. Report No.12.

The author of this report has just had a fault in the reproduction brought to his notice.    The fault makes the section on the Severity Route Diagram unintelligible.

Owners of this report are advised to get in touch with the author who will explain the fault.


Readers may be wondering where the Climbing news may be found in this B.B.  We have not received much in the way of climbing trip descriptions – much in quantity, that is.  What we have received, however, makes up in quality.

Climbing Trip.  12 – 13th November, 1966.

A very wet weekend in Wales
Was partly spent soaking up ales.
We sampled the charms
Of the new Vaynol Arms,
Then climbed at Tremadoc in gales

J.M. James. & R.S. King.

If this sort of thing catches on, who knows what we shall get in the future?  Perhaps we shall be sent “The Saga of Swildons Sixteen” (Starting….It was sweet sixteen, went from Priddy Green…?).  Or possibly “The Chronicles of Cuthbert’s” or even “Bawdy Ballads from Banwell Bone cave” - Perhaps not!


(Major articles are only listed below.)

[The original BBs included a page numbering system that extended the whole year, clearly these are not reproduced on the web]

The Gouffe de Fricuato


Spelaeology in St. Cuthbert’s


Caving in Switzerland


Emergenct Food


Easter 1966


Dan-yr-Ogof.  Notes on the New Extensions


Agen Allwedd


Towards a National Council?


Mendip Rescue Organisation


Caving Photography (1)


Whitsun in Yorkshire


Cave Photography (2)


Raucher Week


Do we want a New Belfry?


British Spelaeological Association Conference 1966


Steepholme with the Other Club


Four to Gaping Ghyll (1)


Long Term Planning Report (1)


B.E.C. Member’s Addresses


Club trip to South Wales


Cuthbert’s Rescue


Caving in Southern Germany


Variation in Temperature & Hardness in St. Cuthbert’s


Club Officers., 1966


Annual General Meeting, 1966


Cuthbert’s Review


Long Term Planning Report (2)



Annual Subs are due on the 31st January, but there is nothing in the club Constitution and Rules to prevent you PAYING EARLY.  Just think – you could become a trend setter!


The Editor, having no item small enough to fill this space, and not liking the idea of just leaving it blank or filling it with some ornamental design has decided to use it to tell you that, having no item small enough to fill this space and not…

End of Volume XX

Club Rules.

The committee are at present engaged (amongst other things) in revising the club rule sheet.  These alterations will require ratification at the next A.G.M. according to the constitution.  The general principle involved is to have a set of rules which are really worked by members or can be properly interpreted.  Thus the rule about providing a lifeline in 'all dangerous places' depends at present on your definition of a dangerous place.  The revised rules put the responsibility on the leader of the party to check lighting arrangements, clothing and tackle according to the cave the conditions expected and the composition of his party. With the last few years’ record of M.R.O. callouts, it becomes even more necessary to take such arrangements seriously.

Annual Dinner - Photographic and Song Competitions.

Jim Giles has agreed to organize two competitions on the above lines.  There will be prizes.  We hope to be able to give more details in the next B.B.

Club Album.

Mike Baker has agreed to compile a club photographic album so if YOU have any interesting Caving/Climbing/Historical/ humorous pictures for inclusion, please get in touch with Mike.

Caving Trips.

There will be a beginner’s trip on the weekend 25th June on the Saturday or Sunday.  Contact Mo (C.A. Marriott) whose address is at the back of each B, B.

There will also be a trip to AGGY AGGY in early July.  Alan Sandall is making the arrangements, and interested people should get in touch with him. Do not leave it too late, as blood chits have to be organised for this trip.

Tea Towels.

The committee have arranged to purchase sufficient tea towels to ensure that clean towels are provided at the Belfry every weekend and regularly laundered.  If this amenity is to be a success, it is essential that towels are not used for cleaning bikes; washing cars; scouring detailers out etc.

Children at the Belfry.

Under some circumstances, when the Hut Warden can be certain that no other members will be inconvenienced, it is sometimes possible to allow members to stay at the Belfry with their families.  However, in all cases, the Hut Warden must be consulted and his permission obtained in advance and a firm booking made for particular days.  The committee will view any infringement of these arrangements with some seriousness.

Urgent Appeal.

Mike Baker is looking for someone who has a reasonable excuse to share in putting up a barrel with him.  It will be the occasion of Mike’s "decadence” soon, so if anybody else is liable to have their ten years of caving coming up and wants to share with Mike he will be very interested.

Don Coase Memorial Plaque.

Various friends of Don Coase's, who can rarely get to Mendip, would like a picture of the memorial plague in position.  This would be a nice gesture on the part of one of our photographers next time he passes that way.  The club could then have some copies done and sell them to interested friends of Don's.

May Committee Meeting.

Most of the business of the committee has already been covered in the above notices.  However, more notices will be found later in this B.B. Amongst other things, a scheme is afoot for improving the sink drainage in the Belfry as well as continuing to enlarge the car park and tidy up the site generally.

Caving Log for 1961

1st April. Swildons.  Upper  Series. Steve and Pete.  Also trip to the Double Pots next day.

1st April. Crackpot Hole ( Fairy Cave).  Swaledale.  N.G.R.  963955.  Dave Rains (N.P.C.) Mike Baker and Jim Giles.  A short photographic trip in a very fine cave. This cave is situated about thirty miles north of Ingleton in the Crackpot area of Swaledale.  This is a resurgence about two thirds of the way up a cliff and the two entrances to the cave are about thirty foot above.  The obvious way into the cave is the hardest and can make a very difficult trip if this entrance is used.  About fifteen feet to the left of this is a small hole leading into a level, Blue Pencil type passage which joins up with the stream after about a hundred foot.

We followed the Stream Passage, which is a comfortable height and about twelve feet wide, as far as the   sump. This passage is very similar in formation to Swildons below the Forty.  The sump is passable but is followed by a boulder ruckle which prevents further access by this route.

On the left hand side of the sump, a short tunnel (dug out under a stalagmite false floor) emerges into a large, almost circular chamber the ceiling of which is a forest of stalactite straws - some exceeding two feet in length. The floor of this chamber is made up of loose boulders and by climbing over these and negotiating a short drop, the stream is regained.

It is possible to follow the stream for a further fifty feet or so until a second boulder ruckle is reached.  At the moment this is the end of the cave, but someone is digging here, so perhaps another section may be added in the near future.  The total length of the cave is six hundred feet.

4th April. Swildons.  Dave Causer and Jim Giles, a six hour trip to measure up a side passage in the Shatter Pot dig for some bang.  We had a further look round the 250' of new passage - Shatter Passage - and found a streamway on the left.  Although this is not on the survey, we were not the first to see it.  This stream passage starts off as a very promising hole just above the ten foot overhang.  It runs level for about thirty feet takes a sharp upwards turn through 70° and forks after a further twenty foot.  The left hand passage carries on at the same angle and ends after thirty feet, giving access to a platform behind.  This platform we explored but it is chocked with mud.

The right hand fork goes on out of sight, but as the passage was at such a steep angle, looked quite tight, and there were a few handholds only, we did got go beyond twenty feet from the intersection of the two passages.  From this viewpoint, we could see for a further twenty feet before the way on turned.  We carried on looking around the main extension passage, but without any further success.  Had another look at the stream passage at the very end and agreed that it just didn't "go".

8th April.  Swildons.  Shatter Pot and Trouble Series. Party; Dave Causer; Jim Giles to Shatter Pot.  Mike Thompson; Mike Holland; Fred Davies; Ken Dawe and Bob Pike to Trouble Series.

Dave Causer and Jim Giles added a further forty feet to the Shatter Pot system of Swildons and the other party gained five foot at the right hand fork at the end of Trouble.

The Shatter Pot addition is off a side passage in Junction Chamber which, until Dave Causer banged an offending bulge of rock, could only be entered by half a caver.  Although this passage (which is a very narrow rift about thirty feet long) shows promise of continuing for at least another ten feet, it is not in the right direction for a sunless trip to Swildons Six.  In fact, if anything, it goes towards the recently found Shatter Passage, but only slightly.  The way on is going to be quite a feat of caving as the rift is partially blocked by rock having an "over or under" passageway.  As the lower route is too tight, the upper must be used to get back into the rift which twists about a little and is very narrow.  From our vantage point at the "over" route of the blockage, we estimated a further ten feet, making this addition some 35 - 40 foot long.  The rift is, for the first twelve foot, easily caved, by walking sideways and the remainder gives just enough space to walk normally.  From the entrance at the dig, the rift floor rises about eight to ten feet in its first twenty five feet of length.  Above, the rift is about ten feet high for the first twelve foot, then it gains perhaps a further five to ten foot, getting wider at the top.

In Trouble Series, the party gained only five foot and there appears to be little promise of a breakthrough    to Swildons 2.  A small circular hole was found in the floor of this five foot extension and goes down for an estimated fifteen foot.  No one was small enough to get into this hole and it was impossible to see down it owing to fumes.

4th April. St. Cuthbert’s.  Photographic trip with two Lockleaze schoolboys. Leader Roger  Stenner.  In the Dining Roan, it was found that a tin of milk had rusted through.  The oldest tin of food was replaced by a new tin.  1 pint of meths taken down.  The lake was dry.  Possible explanation.  When empty, the mud seeps down to block the small water exit - lake forms.  After a sufficient time, water softens mud and lake empties.  Time of cycle:  3-6 years.

9th April. Swildons.  Trip round Upper Series.  Garth, Brian and John R.  Leader, Jill.  Garth got stuck going into New Grotto.  Brian and Jill went through.  John was chicken.  Spare lights carried by all.  No trouble with them and no rescue required.

9th April. Cuthbert’s.  Party of five Bedford Schoolboys taken down the cave.  By way of variation, went down Waterfall and Wet Pitches.  Bryan Ellis.

10th April. St. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Roger Stenner + 2 Lockleaze boys.  I am sorry to, have to report that because of insufficient caution, one of the lads hit an 18" stalactite near Gour Hall and broke it.  The boy and I are both deeply sorry.  The work of thousands of years spoiled by two careless seconds.

10th April. Cuthbert’s.  Mike Baker and Jim Giles.  We left the above party at Quarry Corner and went to the new passage off the Boulder Chamber that was discovered on the 19th March.  This passage was filled with sand and gravel and was rather funnel shaped.  The loose gravel could be easily pushed through with the foot and could be heard going on down.  This squeeze leads round an ' S'   bend and finishes up in the side of a fair sized chamber.  This chamber - Sugar Bowl Chamber - is filled with sand, gravel and boulders to a depth of eight to ten feet.  Due to the dangerous nature of the floor of this chamber, great care must be taken when coming out of the entrance passage, which is high up in the side of the chamber.


A small hole in the bottom of this chamber seemed to be the way on.  To reach the hole, you just have to take one stop forward, and gravity and the sand do the rest.  Momentarily inspired with the possibilities of the unknown, we commenced to dig, but soon found the easiest method was simply to push material through the hole, and were rewarded with some beautiful noises bouncing about below us.  This should have deterred us, but we started to make the hole bigger (at that time not knowing whether we were above a large chamber or a large ruckle) and with some well directed kicks, boulders shot through the hole.

Then it happened!!


We both had that 'let down' feeling.  Everything seemed to be going downwards - sand, gravel, boulders and us.  I shot past Jim’s feet - not very nice at the best of times, finally coming to rest with Jim sitting on my knee (good job it wasn’t Spike).  On the way down, Jim taught me a new word - we had only slipped in about eight or nine feet but were very glad to reach solid rock.  I now know how a grain of sand feels in an hourglass.

The total length of passage is approximately 70 - 80 feet and a rope is advised for anyone in the Gravel Funnel.  Work continues.  This truly was Baker's Folly!

15th April. Swildons.  Ron Wink 'ole; Mike Grimes; Mike Chilvers.  In via Long Dry to bottom of Twenty.  On the way back, Ron lost his helmet and lamp, but found it with the aid of a spare torch - which shows how useful a spare torch is (or perhaps a tied-on helmet)

15th April. Swildons.  D. Causer and J. Giles.  Attempted to pass “Over-Under” blockage (see earlier entry) by using a thirteen inch stemple in the "Over" way.  The idea was sound enough, but it bends too much to allow easy passage by a caver.  Decided that it would be safer to use explosive rather than risk getting stuck in order to push this very promising passage.  By using a hand hold compass, we estimated that the rift turns towards the South or South West.  This is the direction required for Six.  Shatter Pot is going – Slowly!

16th April. G.B.  Leader Mo.  Party, N. Petty; J. Hill; A. Saudall; K & P.

13th April. Swildons.  Leader R. Roberts.  Party G. Owen; R. Books; M. Cuff.  Trip to Four.   This was the first trip to Four for the party.

22nd April. Swildons.  Leader Mo.  Intended to go to first sump.   Due to excessive water this was abandoned and the upper series was done.

22nd April. Goatchuroh and  Sidcot.  Phil   York; Jim Smart; Ron Towns.  First caves for Phil and Jim.  Encountered an army of candle using cavers.  Not only did Jim fall head first down the coal shute, but he fell over on a flat, straight road.

23rd April. Swildons.  Dave Causer and Jim Giles went down Swildons with the firm intention of doing Sump One.  Due to a technical hitch, party retreated after several abortive attempts.

23rd April. Goatchurch.  Garth took several people from Bristol round the cave.

23rd April. Cuthbert’s.  Party K. & P. Franklin, J. Dryden, Mike Thompson, Dave Bussell  and Mo.

23rd April. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Frank Darbon.  Party, Jim Hill, Noel Cleeve and Steve Roberts.  Photographic trip to Curtain Chamber.

23rd April.  Swildons. Richard, Roger Boakes and Mike Calvert. Trip to sump 1 for a cup of coffee.

29th April. Longwood.  Rowena plus six members of Imperial College three of which were girls.   Therefore the other three were men!  Ladder into main chamber, kindly put down by Peter and Pat.

29th April. Swildons Five.  Leader Ken Dawe.  Frank Darbon, Dave Causer, Noel Cleeve, Steve Roberts.  Trip to Shatter Pot for a bang after which we struggled down to Four.  All the party went through sump Four.

Archaeological News

by Keith Gardner.

For many years the study of archaeology has been amongst the aims of the B.E.C., although activities have been sporadic and undertaken by only a few.  The subject itself however is becoming increasingly popular, and to match this interest, educational institutions are introducing more courses; more groups are being formed, and more knowledge is being gained.

In order to channel this interest along useful lines in the B.E.C., whilst conforming to archaeological standards, it has been decided to re-form the archaeological section.  This will not only provide archaeological activities for members, but will also mean that the club itself will attract more members from the ranks of local archaeologists.  It is hoped that the club will affiliate to the local county archaeological society and to the National Council for British Archaeology.

One feature which the Archaeological section hopes to provide regularly is this archaeological news page in the B.B. in which will be published items of news such as notices of lectures; outings; excavations etc. and notes on any finds or research work and also summaries of proceedings of other societies received by the club library.

Member’s views and opinions would be welcomed.

Archaeological Courses.

Details of some twenty courses are held at present by myself, and will be supplied to any interested member.  They range from a course on "The Roman Villa" from 12 - 19 August at Cirencester costing 21/- to one being held in Denmark costing £45 - 50.  Many of these courses do tend to be expensive, but a good one is a weekend at Urchfont Manor, Devizes from Friday 16th Juno to Sunday 18th June. It costs £2.5.0   inclusive of croquet on the East Lawn, after Sunday lunch. An excellent hostelry exists in the nearby village (with a private path via the kitchen gardens).  The subject is "The Romans in Wessex."  Further details can be obtained from the Warden at Urchfont.


Sites where volunteers are welcome are numerous and nationwide.  Locally, the C.B.A. have advised the  following:~

(1)           Pewsey,  Wilts,   Neolithic Camp.  4th - 24th July.

(2)                     Cirencester. Roman Town Centre March and April.

(3)                     Nettleton, Wilts.  Roman Temple/Mausoleum.   Saturdays from 22nd April to 30th September.

Mr. Graham Webster will be excavating a Roman fort at Maddon Hill near Crewkerne between the 10th and 24th June.  For those touring Cornwall, there are excavations on a roman period site at Goldherring near    Penzance.  Should any member wish to learn of sites near his holiday area, this information can probably be provided.

Excavation of a Norse hall in Orkney, being planned for May and June, seems more of a B.E.C. type of project, as does the following gem.

St. Tudwalls, Fast Island, Caernarvonshire.

Excavations at St. Tudwalls, an uninhabited island of about 26 acres will be continued under the direction of Mr. D.B. Hague.  Work on a small medieval monastery last year produced some Roman finds.  Volunteers, preferably experienced, should be mesomorphs prepared to camp and forgo civilised habits.  A doctor; a cook; an architect and the owner of a small boat would be particularly welcome.  Food and passage will be provided.

Prehistoric Society London Conference. 

This used to be attended by members of the B.E.C.  It is from 12th - 15th May this year, and the Summer Conference is in Ireland during the last week in August.  Details from Keith Gardner.

Letters To the Editor of the B.B.

Dear Sir,

I came across the following recipe and felt that it would be useful for any members of the B.E.C. going to a small party.

Norfolk Punch (Date 1800)

In 20 quarts of French Brandy, put peel of 30 lemons and 30 oranges, pared so thin that least of the white is left.  Infuse 12 hours.  Have ready 30 quarts of cold water that has previously boiled.  Put to it 15 pounds of double refined sugar and pour on the brandy and peels, adding the juice of the oranges and 24 of the lemons.  Mix well.  Strain through a very fine hair sieve into a clean barrel.  Add 2 quarts of new milk.  Stir, bring it close, let stand for six weeks in warm place. Bottle for use.

(Note.  Presumably smuggled Brandy is best )

Joan Bennett.


To the Editor, B.B.

Dear Sir,

Perhaps I should reply to Ron King’s letter in the April B.B. apropos the flood warning notice outside St. Cuthbert’s Swallet.

On a number of occasions the M.R.O. has been called out by virtue of “responsible” cavers being trapped in Mendip caves by foreseeable weather effects.  Fortunately, the M.R.O. has always been able to call on the uncomplaining services of the Police or Fire Brigade and the latter have now asked for the co-operation of the caving fraternity in drawing attention to all the caves in which they are likely to be called in the middle of the night.  It does not seem unreasonable to comply with such a request from them.

The fact that this club has instituted a rigid control on parties entering St. Cuthbert’s, as well as undertaking flood diversion work etc, whilst to the credit of the club, does not alter the fact that the cave has been the scene of operations involving the fire brigade.

In theory, the decision of whether to cave or not is the responsibility of the leader, and in this instance it is doubt¬ful whether the notice will make, much difference, but as a general policy - at Swildons and Stoke Lane for example - it is hoped that it might have an effect.  The other potential sources of danger raised by Ron King are presumably borne in mind by the leaders and have not yet resulted in a call out.  The “Great Wetness” has.

K. Gardner, M.R.O.

Editor’s Apology

Owing to holidays, this B.B. has had to be produced in even more of a hurry than is usual.  It is realised that the contents, as a result, are rather "lopsided" and that the standard of production is not all that may be desired.  However, it is important to get the B.B. out before various trips, etc go out of date and members lose the chance of getting in on them.  We'll try and do better 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.   C.A. Marriott,  718, Muller Road,   Eastville,   Bristol.

Recently, we have received quite a few letters, mainly from club members who are not able to got up to Mendip as often as they would wish, who say that they find the B.B. an excellent way of keeping in touch and are satisfied with the present layout and contents. Others, on the other hand, may wonder why the bit which they wrote for the magazine has not yet come out, particularly as the editor is always moaning that he has not got enough material.

The answer to this latter question is that we try to keep a variety in the B.B.  The serial on Cave Photography started last month has unfortunately had to be postponed, as the author is on holiday.  This sort of thing happens quite often in a magazine as small in size and as frequent in appearance, as the B.B.  Other editors will no doubt sympathise.

Talking of other editors, we were most pleased to receive a copy this month of the WESSEX JOURNAL for which we should like to thank the Wessex Cave Club and the editor.  We hope that, from time to time, we shall be able to reprint caving news from this source in the B.B., and make available any of our own new caving articles to the Wessex Journal.  This will further increase the interest, we hope, of those members who wish to keep up with new caving developments on Mendip.

Finally, thanks to the two members who have already contributed supplies of duplicating paper, and an appeal for more.  The B.B. takes about a ream a month and the circulation is now just over 190 copies a month.

One last afterthought. Some time ago, we had some PHOTOGRAPHS in the B.B.  Admittedly, rather badly printed but this can now be remedied.  How about an illustration to YOUR next article? Enclose a print the size you think it should be in the B.B. as contrasty as possible (all soot and white wash) and with not too much black in it and we’ll do the rest!



Whitsun Coach Trip to Gaping Ghyll.

It is still not too late to book for this if you do it NOW.  Contact Brian Prewer, c/o Greenfields Farm, Upper Coxley, Wells, Somerset.  A good time is assured on this trip!

Thursday Climbing Meets.

These have started again.  Meet the Climbing Section, at about 6 p.m. on Thursdays by the tennis courts in the gorge.

Club Ties.

Owing to the firm involved sending the wrong colour; these are still not available for distribution.  We have asked them to be as quick as they can in putting their mistake right and hope to be able to announce their arrival  shortly.


Congratulations to John and Audrey Attwood on the birth of their son, Simon John.  He was born on April 8th at the Bristol Maternity Hospital and weighed 9lbs 10oz.

Caving Log for 1961

5th March. St. Cuthbert's.  Bryan Ellis took two Wessex members down the cave on a tourist trip.  Took the opportunity to remove some of the flood debris and mould covered rubbish from the Dining Room, more important, we took the drum containing the Primus and what spare food there was back from Pillar Chamber to the Dining Room.

11th March. St. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Richard Roberts.  Party Bruce, Mike G, Mike C, Ron.  September Series to Trafalgar and Strand via Main Chamber. Back via Cascade and Everest Chamber. This was originally a bug-hunting trip, but owing to the shortage of bugs, this aspect of the trip was cancelled. The water was very low.  What is someone who collects bugs called?

11th March. Swildons.  Rowena and Gillian - a lass from Australia.  'Gee, it's great' - down Wet Way to top of Forty.  Pretty Way home.

12th March. St. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Richard Roberts.  Party Frank, Bruce, Mike C., Mike G.  September Series to Strand.  Looked at odd passages but found nothing new.  We then went down to the stream which we could hear from Paperweight Chamber.  To the right - downstream - there is a series of interconnecting chambers ending in a vertical drainpipe heeding a rope.  The stream can be heard again from here.  To the left - upstream - is a very complex Boulder Ruckle which needs further exploration.

12th March. Goatchurch and Avelines. Leader Prew.  Party Pat, Frank, Colin Smith and Prew's mate.  A trip to test a dreaded electrismal/magnetismal prototype surveying gadget fairly successful.  It worked through about 500' of reel.

18th March. G.B.   Leader Alfie.  Party Richard, Pat, Tom Neil.  A mainly photographic trip to bottom of cave via Loop and Ox-bow, followed by trip up White Passage to the end.  Alfie and Tom noted the Devenish Effect - due to caves shrinking. The party rested at frequent intervals and the leader explained that this was for the benefit of the younger members of the party.

19th March. St. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Richard.  Party, Pat and Mike Calvert.  High Speed trip to stream passage below Paperweight Chamber.  Explored narrow fissure at end of chambers downstream.  This led to the stream passage again and after about 150’ ended in a sump.  There were several side passages which ended in chokes.  We then returned to the first appearance of the stream and had a 'thrutch' around in the Boulder Ruckle.  We finally ended up in the middle of Catgut Series on the main route to September Series. We were led out by Pat.  The stream passage described above had no visible traces of previous discovery.

19th March. St. Cuthbert’s.  Mike Baker and Roger Stenner thrutched around the Boulder Chamber.  Found a new passage with mud formations - stalactites and two mud stalagmites.  Went into Long Chamber.

19th March. St. Cuthbert’s.  Party Norman Petty; P.G. Davies; B. Baukin; S.G. Banks; D. Home; B. Redfern; J. Williams; Pam and Paul Reinsch.  Tourist trip to Sump via Cascade Passage, Curtain Chamber and Rabbit Warren.

26th March. Cuckoo Cleeves and Dallimores. Garth and Ron.  This was a wild discovery trip for the party.  A determined attempt was made to enter Cuckoo Cleeves, but when faced with the prospect of removing approximately five tons of clag, the beautiful indolence overcame us.  Entrance to Dallimores was accomplished by earoling down a rope into the mud bath.  A few reasonable chunks of stal were encountered down there, just on the far side of the main chamber (of which Jim Giles now has a photo).  On down the Slippery Shute, the way was apparently blocked. Slightly above and to the right is a muddy; wet; body tearing; non-British; non-cricket, temper loosening squeeze and Garth got well and truly stuck and being Garth, cursed like hell. We emerged from the cave wet and steaming.

23rd March. St. Cuthbert’s.  John Attwood, John Eatough and "Kangy".  High into the Wire Rift, then into that horror beloved of Bennett - Rocky Boulders.   Dug speculatively at the duck, then out.  Very dry, very nostalgic, very pleasant.

31st March. Swildons.  Party Nigel and Pete Bagcock.  First trip for Pete.  Down the Long Dry and then to the bottom end of Barnes Loop.  Pete, the idiot, dropped a ladder down the waterfall.  Back out the Wet Way.

31st March. August.  Party Garth and Keith.  Quick trip to the bottom to provide lights for three Reading nits who had been waiting for approximately seven hours for us.

Late entry. 10th Feb.  Weegee trip to Wookey Hole; Gough's and Cox's.  In each, got the usual patter.  Interested to hear about the Rev, Somebody or other who wanted to acquire some of the formations from Wookey so he put straw down on the floor and brought them down by musket fire.  I bet that caused a right clatter round the chamber!  Whilst in Cox's cave, the guide demonstrated how he could play with a rusty nail on stal curtains!  Party G.E., J.E. and and Johnny Eatough.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir,

I was interested to see a cute little "Warning – Great Wetness” notice above the entrance to St. Cuthbert’s Swallet.  I wonder why this is necessary?

As far as I know, St. Cuthbert’s is explored and visited under an approved leader system.  To be approved by the Committee each leader must have demonstrated that he is a competent caver, is familiar with the Cuthbert’s system, knows the rules applied to caving, with particular emphasis on Cuthbert’s, and will at all times treat the formations with care and respect.  With the leaders carefully vetted by our beloved committee, what more is needed? Surely unsightly, easily damaged notices are superfluous and a prize example of the Belt and Braces technique.  There are dangers in St. Cuthbert’s more lethal than an inconvenient stream down the Entrance Pitch.  A flooded Cuthbert’s merely means a longish wait in a relatively dry and well ventilated chamber from which communication can fairly easily be established with the surface.  Correctly dressed and equipped cavers will suffer only discomfort.  If we must have notices, please can they be more pertinent to St. Cuthbert’s.  Can they point out, for example:

1.                  The woodwork in the shaft.

2.                  The state of the boulders above Arête Pitch.

3.                  That the metal ladders are intended for the passage of one person at a time.

4.                  The risk involved in incorrectly using the wire in the Wire Rift.

5.                  It is good practice to pass Quarry Corner one at a time.

6.                  That several of the major series are not good insurance risks.

7.                  That there are recognised ways and places for refuelling carbide lamp

We are quite familiar with St. Cuthbert’s but familiarity, though it may breed contempt, does not reduce the dangers of the cave or the tragedy of spoilt formations.  I have the horror to be, sir,


We also note a slight inaccuracy in a recent account of the last Cuthbert’s flooding incident. Although the fire pump was very efficient, and a great help, it did not dry out the entrance pitch.  The best it could do was to keep pace with the water coming in.  Only by increasing the dam capacity by a small amount was the water temporary decreased, enabling the cavers to leave the cave. - Editor.

Side Lighting

That well known exponent of the technique of side lighting n caves, Mr. JIM GILES pointed out to the editor that the so-called cartoon which he drew last month was not a good representation of the effects which Mr. Giles obtains by using this technique and then allowing us some fine examples of some scenery he has photographed by side lighting.

In deference to Mr. Giles’ skill and undoubted mastery of the art of this form of photography, the whole of this apology has been printed SIDEWAYS

Secondary Lighting - A Near Miss

by Jim Giles.

The number of cavers on Mendip is on the increase again as the summer draws close, and perhaps a word of warning about lighting may save some trouble for the M.R.O.  It seems that, despite our club rules, some cavers do visit caves with only a single source of light and no worry as to what may happen if that light should go out.  I was once among those solo light cavers, and prided myself on my ability to carry on, using someone else's light.  A trip in Swildons Hole changed all that!

At about 1 pm on April 4th, Roger Stenner led a trip down St. Cuthbert’s while Bob Lawder led a photographic trip around the Upper Series of Swildons.  Dave Causer and I decided to go down to Shatter Pot using Bob’s party as sherpas on the 40.

Dave had a Nife cell; a carbide lamp and some spare carbide while I had a carbide lamp and two water bottles.  As the Nife cell was rather cumbersome, we left it in St. Pauls Series near Blasted Boss to be collected on the way out.  We reached Shatter Pot and left the spare carbide at the bottom of the pitch and went through the diggings to Junction Chamber where we measured up a branch passage.  At the end of the 250' Rift Passage, there is a small stream passage which at first suggested a way on, but is choked after a few feet.  This stream passage is 3’ long leading into a pool where the stream sinks. The pool is about 6’ long,   1’ high and 1’ wide.  On this occasion, it was half full of water, making it very muddy. Beyond the pool,   the passage widens a little and goes uphill into a small round choked chamber.

As I had not ventured into this passage on a previous trip, I decided to go through and have a look around while Dave remained behind.  As I emerged on the other side of the pool, I put my lamp on some mud.  I swore, but managed to light up again.  On my way back through the pool, I put it onto mud again. This time I could not get it going. I asked Dave for some light, but his lamp had also gone out.  We both tried to get our lights going again but without success.  I wore out my flint and my thumb while Dave decided that his    lamp was completely dead.  The only thing left to do was to try and light my lamp with Dave's flint, so I wriggled round and by splashing in the pool; we were able to get together.  I passed my lamp to him and followed out by touch.  Out in the 250’ passage, Dave was able to get my lamp going, but the flame was very weak and the addition of water made little difference.  With such light as there was, we were able to climb the 10' overhang (almost impossible on flint alone) and make our way back to the spare carbide, where we recharged and were able to leave the cave.

I hope if any single light caver reads this, he will learn by our mistake.  Believe me, it is not funny.  However, if your light should still go out, don't panic.  It’s surprising what you can do when you have to!


An archaeological section is being reformed in the B.E.C. and Keith Gardner is the Archaeological Secretary.  If you are interested, please contact him, or write to him at 10a Royal Park, Clifton.  He will be writing a regular Archaeological feature in the B.B. in future, which will keep members up to date in this field.

G.B. and other caves.

The Committee would like to remind all members that most of the Mendip caves are subject to some sort of arrangements before they may be visited.  In particular, visits to G.B. MUST be organised via the Caving Secretary, who will arrange for the key.  It is not enough to obtain the key from other sources, even if it is one of the B.E.C.’s guest days.


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.   C.A. Marriott,  718, Muller Road,   Eastville,   Bristol.

Club Membership.

The committee have recently been examining the methods whereby new members are introduced to, and join the club and have concluded that some improvements could well be made. The details have not yet been fully worked out, but the main new proposals include allowing a reasonable time for the prospective new member to make himself known generally in the club and, after he becomes a member, arranging matters so that his membership is not automatically renewable until, a reasonable time has elapsed.

The idea behind these proposals is to ensure that the interest of a new member in the club’s activities is sufficiently long lasting to make it worthwhile offering him permanent membership.  By this means it is hoped that we will attract serious cavers and climbers whose interest is great enough for them to remain active in club affairs for a number of years.

It will be some time before the results of such a tightening of membership conditions can be seen, but meanwhile it is worth noting that more stringent entry conditions do not necessarily lead to a decrease in membership.

Archaeological Section.

Keith Gardner regrets that he has been too busy moving into his new country residence to be able to produce Archaeological notes this month, but meanwhile, any members with any queries of an archaeological nature, or who want more information about the proposed activities of this section should contact him at his new address which is-

K.S. Gardner,                         Telephone No.
Keedwell  Cottage,                  Long Ashton 3048
Providence Lane,                    Nat.  Grid Ref.
Long Ashton, Somerset.          ST 537 709


DON'T FORGET the annual Midsummer Barbeque.  Names should be given to Sett stating whether Belfry accommodation and/or Binder are wanted for that evening.  Latest time for inclusion will be MIDDAY on the day of the Barbecue; SATURDAY JUNE 24TH. The fire will be lit at 11 pm.

FOR SALE Len Dawes' Austin Healey Sprite is now for sale.  It is June 1959 and coloured Red.  Extras include Michelin X all round; heater; washers; tonneau cover; reversing light; front bumper; rev. counter; laminated windscreen; luggage rack and workshop manual.  Offers around £470 will be considered.

Climbing Section.

There will be a visit to North Wales leaving Bristol at 6.30 pm 6th June and returning on Sunday evening. Camping in the Llanberis area.  Anyone wanting to join the party get in touch with Tony Dunn.  Phone Evenings Bristol 627621.


Congratulations to our Climbing Secretary Tony Dunn and Fay Walker on their engagement, announced on May 6th.


Photographic Competition

We have now received details from the organiser, of the PHOTOGRAPHIC and SONG competitions which are to form part of the Annual Dinner festivities this year. Members are reminded that the Annual Dinner normally falls on the FIRST SATURDAY IN OCTOBER.  The date, place, etc., will be announced later, but we print this now to avoid the date taking any members by surprise later.

There are to be four classes.  Caving, monochrome print.  Caving, 5.5mm colour transparency.   Climbing, monochrome print.  Climbing, 35mm colour transparency.  Competitors may submit maximum of two pictures to each class.  Prizes will be awarded to the winner and runner up in each class.

In order to give a better chance to all competing, a competitor may win only in one class. Runners up will not be subjected to this rule.  The prizes will be announced at a later date.

Entry forms will appear in next month's B.B.  The entries will be judged by three non-competing first class photographers using an elimination system similar to that employed by the Bradford Pothole Club. THE CLOSING DATE IS SEPTEMBER 15TH.


1.                  Monochrome prints shall be postcard size or larger.

2.                  Competitors may submit two photos to each class as a maximum entry, making a maximum of eight in all.

3.                  No professional photographer may take part.

4.                  All film used must be obtainable from any retail photographic dealer in the British Isles (excluding Eire and the Channel Islands.)

5.                  A picture entered in one class shall not be entered as a print or transparency in another.

6.                  No responsibility for loss, damage or destruction is to be borne by the organiser of the competition; his assistants or the Bristol Exploration Club.

7.                  The competition is open only to fully paid up members of the B.E.C.  (This will be checked!)

8.                  The decision of the judging panel is final.

9.                  The members of the judging panel may not compote.

10.              Processing must be done either by the competitor without aid or by a retail photographic dealer in the U.K.

11.              The entries must have been taken by the competitor.

Song Competition

In order to brighten up the dinner, and subsequent nights at the Hunters, a song competition is being arranged.  The entries should be connected with caving and/of climbing and should be humorous, up to date and original without being vulgar.  The competition is open to all, but the prize will go to the best B.E.C. entry. It is hoped that this will not deter others from entering.  We don't mind if you can’t sing or are shy of performing in public, as the B.E.C. choir can always be laid on (Otherwise known as the Bar Room Ballad Bashers) hindered if necessary by Alfie Collins and his Haphazard Harmony

If you can write your own tune as well, so much the bettor, but this is not necessary.  Only the words need be your own work.

The method of judging, and instructions of how to enter will be announced shortly.  THE CLOSING DATE WILL BE SEPTEMBER 15TH.

Cave Photography - Part Two - Technique

by John Attwood & John Eatough.


Having suitable equipment and having decided to make a caving photography trip, the first action should be to tick off the gear against a cheek list, and this should be followed by a ‘dummy run’ to see that everything works satisfactorily.  A flash bulb and an exposure of film will not be wasted if it saves finding unserviceable gear during what may be a long and difficult trip.  If possible, a fresh film should be loaded into the camera as reloading in caves can cause dirt and damp to enter the camera with disastrous results to camera and film.  In addition, fresh batteries should be put in flash guns.

The checked and working equipment should then be carefully wrapped in plastic bags and packed into the recommended ammunition boxes with some plastic foam underneath.  If those boxes are not completely filled, plastic foam sheets can be added so that cameras will not rattle about if the box is inverted.  On top of everything, a piece of material should be placed so that it can be used to wipe the hands before removing the cameras etc.

Setting Up.

On arrival at the site of the proposed activity, the tripod should be erected and then the hands wiped clean.  After this, the ball and socket head placed on the tripod and the camera and flash outfit set up.


The placing of the flashbulbs will be dictated by the circuit stances.  The position favoured by the photographic manufacturers (of the camera that is) is, generally speaking, the worst possible place for it giving a flat lighting.  To give the best possible results, some modelling light should be provided, by side lighting of some degree, and this can be 45o or more from the camera axis, but wherever it is placed, care must be taken to ensure that no direct light falls on the camera lens.

The best position for the lights can be determined by having some source (i.e. electric head light) moved around while the subject is viewed from the camera position.  The possibility of using back lighting should be examined as this often gives very good results when used in conjunction with "fill-in" light's.  Care should be taken to conceal all wires, whatever flash position is used.

When the situation being photographed is very wet, the camera should be covered by a plastic bag until the last possible moment and if the photographer’s clothing is wet, it will steam and this steam should not be allowed to pass between the camera and the subject during exposure, as it will cause an unpleasant softening off effect. The authors have seen many photographs spoilt by this steam from wet clothing.  A cable release can be very helpful in this respect as the shutter can then be released from a distance.


When the camera is being focussed, care should be taken to ensure that the correct distance setting is used.  Due to lack of objects  to use as a scale, and the lighting used by cavers, judging distances can be very tricky and the distances deceptive.  If your camera is not fitted with a rangefinder, measure the range with a tape measure.  This also applies to close ups using supplementary lenses.

Provided .that the camera has a “B” setting, and a cable release and tripod are available, the open flash method of illumination is by far the most satisfactory as the danger of damp or dirty shutter contacts causing early of late firing is removed. If some ‘action’ photograph is required, the open flash method can still be used if care is taken in setting up the camera and flash to cover the estimated area of activity.


Calculation of the correct exposure is based on the output of the main lighting, the speed of the film and the distance of the main light from the subject.  The Guide Numbers supplied with each carton of bulbs can be relied on to give good results if used intelligently i.e. reducing the factor by 25% or even 50% in very dark surroundings,  or for a dark subject and increasing it by 25% for a light subject (e.g. Cascade in St. Cuthbert’s).

In the exposure calculation, the main light only is taken into account, "fill-ins" being ignored.  Where a lot of light is required it is advisable to remember that where more than one flashbulb is used to light the same area, the guide number is increased by the square root of the number of bulbs used.  This works out as, an increase in guide number of 1.4 times for two flashbulbs; 1.7 for three and 2.0 for four.

If several bulbs are used in different places to illuminate a scene, the camera shutter should be held open,  but with the lens covered with a piece of black paper or similar material so that the lamps of the people arranging the lights do not record as long white lines while moving from one position to another with the flashgun.

When leaving a photographic site in a cave, great care must be taken to ensure that all the gear is packed into the boxes.

On return to the surface, all the equipment should be cleaned and dried out.  If possible, remove the film from the camera and make sure that it is thoroughly dried out before putting it away.

Editor’s Note:    There is not room for the suggested check list of photographic gear in this B.B., but we will include it next month.

September Series

by Richard Roberts

This is one of the most richly decorated series in St. Cuthbert’s at the present moment.  It is reached by talking the large exit out of High Chamber (on the Right Hand Side).  From there, the route is very complicated through a boulder ruckle and finally by a twelve foot climb into September Chamber.

Once in the Chamber, a climb over the loose boulders to the right leads to the real masterpiece.  All around, the stalactites are of the purest white.  To the right again, the chamber extends for about a hundred feet.  The archways above this are shrouded in stal. flow and the whole area has been vary sensibly taped off.  In the wall of the chamber at this point, a glimpse can be had of a really beautiful grotto.

Down the boulder slope to the right, a passage loads off which emerges in a small chamber - Trafalgar Chamber - in which is a magnificent column some three or four feet high.

A climb down a gently inclined slope at the lowest point in September Chamber leads to a small pool and a narrow squeeze on the left.  From there, the way opens into a large passage with several stalagmite columns in the floor.  This is the start of Victoria Passage.  Following this down, one reaches a small tunnel leading to a chamber with a crystalline floor.  It is really a shame to have to walk over it.  This is the Strand.  The formations here are also pure white and very abundant.  The Strand ends in a narrow rift running at right angles to it.  The left exit soon closes up, but the right hand one loads to a largo aven in the roof which goes…?  The whole series is very photogenic, and well worth a visit.

Odd Items

A magnificent hole is being dug at the Belfry for rubbish etc.  This is the largest hole we have ever dug and is well worth a visit before opening day.  Work has started on the new Cuthbert’s Entrance.  Sett did a strenuous caving exploration trip sorting out the passage which we hope to connect with.  John Lamb has returned to Mendip and he and Alfie celebrated by drinking a gallon each of Blue Keg.  Nobody honked.  Walt reckons that "they tourists" are responsible for pinching stones off his walls.  A piece of modern sculpture (complete with hole) has been presented by Mike for the new hut.  It has been found inadvisable to put too many onions in Binder.


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.   C.A. Marriott,  718, Muller Road,   Eastville,   Bristol.