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The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: Ted Humphreys

Cover Picture: The Balcony Formations, St. Cuthbert's Swallet

(Part of a photograph taken by Phil Romford )


1989 – 1990 Committee

Hon. Sec                 Martin Grass
Treasure                  Christ Smart
Caving Sec.             Peter McNab
Hut Warden             Chris Harvey
Tackle Master          Stuart McManus
B.B. Editor               Ted Hunphreys
Hut Engineer            Nigel Taylor
Membership Sec.     John Watson
                               Ian Caldwell



The big push in Cuthbert’s was a success in so far as the power cable and telephone from the Belfry to Sump 2 and the electric pump actually worked.  Unfortunately the pump could not handle the glutinous stuff at the bottom of the sump so the attempt was abandoned.  Plans are afoot, however, for further efforts.

The 60's/70's disco was a great success and enjoyed by all who came.  There was a report on a local radio station the following morning that an 'acid house' party on Mendip was raided by police but that no arrests were made. The BEC disco was visited by the constabulary but the suggestion that this was the party referred to is, of course, a wild exaggeration and totally untrue!

Last year I included the treasurer's report and club accounts in the BB and was told that this was wrong as these should be available only to members.  This year, therefore, they are produced separately. Those of the members who have their BB's posted to them will get their copy with it.  The rest can get them from any committee member.

In June 1959, the club published the Belfry Bulletin Digest Number One (price three and sixpence) edited, I believe, by Bryan Ellis.  This contained a selection of the better material that had appeared in the BB up to that time, I think it's time that Digest Number Two appeared with a selection from 1959 onwards and also, maybe, some of the items from the first digest. It makes fascinating reading the discovery of Stoke 2 - the discovery of the Ifold series - the ingredients for a Belfry Binder etc ... If there are any budding editors among you, step forward and be recognised!  I'd help out with the typing, to get it all on disc.  The club might even make a profit!

Please could I have contributions for the Christmas BB.

There are no articles whatsoever in hand and an attempt is always made to make the Christmas edition a special one. Anything would be welcome – articles, anecdotes, puzzles, games, cartoons, jokes, poems etc ..


B.E.C. Secretary's Report, 1990

Martin Grass

This year I honestly believe the club had one of its best committees for many years and much work has been started and more importantly completed.  The most important of these has been the signing of the St. Cuthbert's lease which now means we are responsible for a large area surrounding the cave.  This year should also see the publication of the long awaited St. Cuthbert's report. Everything is ready for the printers and it should be available for Christmas.  Thanks to everyone who has worked extremely hard on these two projects.

As can be seen from the Hut Engineer's report a lot of work has also been carried out on the Belfry, it is just a sad fact that work it is normally the same people doing all the work.

I have not found the post of secretary to be too taxing as most of the hard work has been handled by the other committee members (it's called delegation).  I have had the usual letters from prospective members etc. to deal with and the usual minute-writing which Glenys Grass has typed.  A big thank you to her for this.

Unfortunately this year has seen a deterioration of our relationship with our neighbour Walt. Mainly over his various tree felling activities in the Plantation. Hopefully our lease to this area will stop this type of destruction.

I have always maintained that continuity on a committee is very important and I am prepared to stand for secretary next year.  I also hope that the majority of my fellow committee members will stand and hopefully, some of the younger club members so we can get into a position of having new committee members each year but not having to change the whole line up which I believe adds to confusion.

Finally we have had a meeting every month this year and the attendance is as follows (10 meetings up to August)

Martin Grass                 8
Nigel Taylor                  8
Chris Smart                  10
Ian Caldwell                  8
Ted Humphreys             9
Chris Harvey                 9
Stuart McManus           8
John Watson                8
Peter McNab                5


Caving Secretary's Report, 1990

Peter McNab

This will be read out at the A.G.M.  Snablet has written it but keeps leaving it in Bristol or goes gallivanting all over the place doing silly things like caving!  I left this big space for it and now, since I need to get it to the printers as soon as possible, I haven't got anything that fits - Ed.

Tackle Master's Report. 1990


The tackle located within the Belfry store has been in constant use as usual.  The quality of the lifeline ropes has been reviewed with the outcome of two additional ropes (1 x 45m. and 1 x 20m.) being purchased, the existing ropes have either been scrapped or cut into shorter lengths. Tackle bags have also been provided to carry lifeline rope and so protect it from damage within the cave. Please remember to use these tackle bags.  Ideally I would have liked to have bought more life lining rope but due to club finances being low this will have to wait until the next financial year when additional ropes and tackle bags will be provided.

The only real complaint I have is that ropes and ladders are sometimes being left dirty and lying in the Belfry changing room.  I would appreciate if members would assist by either making the culprits see the errors of their ways or I would ask members if they see any tackle lying around the hut please would they clean it and hang it up to dry within the store, after all it is your tackle!

The SRT rope which is kept by the Tackle Master has not been used that much over the last year.  Their main use has been on expeditions abroad. (Matienzo at Xmas and Austria this summer).  Perhaps this reflects the lack of organised or other trips by club members to Yorkshire etc.  Remember the ropes can be used for trips on Mendip as well.  Newer members may not be aware of the SRT rope and so I have taken the opportunity to list it at the end of this report.

The club has bought four 10m. ladders during the year and these together with two ladders donated by a member of the club are also kept by the Tackle Master for use on home or away trips.  I would appreciate it if members borrow this ladder for away trips, to ensure that some tackle is left in the Belfry store for other members to use.

It would be appreciated if organisers of expeditions book tackle in advance so that rope and ladder can be made available to other members whilst you are away.

Members have been donating old rope for digging and it would be appreciated if these members would hand them to the Tackle Master, and not just put them in the store as, believe it or not, old SRT rope etc. sometimes finds its way onto the active lifelining hooks! I would therefore prefer to hold on to the digging rope myself and issue it to members who will know exactly what it is for rather than leave it in the store.  I do have quite a few 100 feet of rope available for digging purposes, so please diggers don't hesitate - come on down!

Equipment held by Tackle Master.

SRT Rope.

1.         54m. Blue Water
2.         18m.
3.         33m.
4.         40m.
5.         100m.
6.         40m. Edelrid
7.         Rope Protectors.
8.         Tackle Bags.
9.         Hangers and Maillons.


4 x 10m.  Ladders
2 x 25 ft.

Survey Equipment.

3 sets of Clino and Compasses.
1  30m. Survey tape.

Other Items

1 Cement Mixer
(For Hire on a day rate)

Please contact Tackle Master two weeks in advance of any trip to organise issue of tackle.



B.B. Editor's Report. 1990

Ted Humphreys

Only five BB's have been produced again this year.  I keep scratching my head for ways to attract more material!  We have currently about 225 members in the club but over the last year only 25 or so have contributed to the club journal (and this number includes all the committee members!).  To those 25 thank you very much your contributions were much appreciated by all. As for the other 200 members - how can I get you to put pen to paper?  Even if you no longer do mammoth super-severe trips, there must be some unrecorded caving exploit(s) that would interest members.  Everything ought to be recorded, even if it’s only for posterity!

Perhaps I should quote some statistics about the BB.  The current print run per copy is 250 (I always have a few left over).  I did try reducing the number to 240 once and some clubs on the exchange list missed out.  When the BB arrives from the printers, J'Rat kindly volunteers to hand out as many as possible before the remainder are posted (Thanks J'Rat!). The number posted is about 120. This is an important number - if it’s less than 120 I have to stick the stamps on and get very gluey - 120 or more and the Post Office franks them.  The number of pages per issue drops as the year progresses, from 33 at Xmas to 14 in August, being directly related to the amount of material available (perhaps the editor should hoard articles - were it only possible!).

Although being Editor involves many hours sitting at this keyboard, I have quite enjoyed the experience and would be prepared to continue next year if the club so desires.

Hut Warden's Report, 1990

Chris Harvey

The year started well with quite a few bookings from Clubs who normally stay.  During the second half of the year the bookings dropped off somewhat and seem to have levelled out on a low.  The reasons for the decline in bookings in my opinion are as follows:-

1)       The general condition of the Belfry leaves a lot to be desired.

2)       Working weekends must be more frequent as the place is deteriorating rapidly. 

3)       Only a small number of members are keeping the place clean and up together.

4)       Babs says members are nice.

We have had no service bed-nights again this year.  This is due to some of the points mentioned above in my opinion.  On a positive note, Roger has put his beer up again.    



B.E.C. Hut Engineer’s Report. 1990

Nigel Taylor

Since joining the B.E.C. nearly twenty years ago, I have undertaken three different committee posts. Hut Warden, Caving Sec, and Hut Engineer.  Though I cannot speak with any authority regarding the other committee posts.  I have always felt that the most challenging of all these positions is that of the 'Hut Engineer'.  So it was that I felt great trepidation in putting my head 'into the noose' for another year of Belfry maintenance and associated trauma!

Thus it is with great relief that I can report that, in my view, it has been a most rewarding year, made possible by both the firm support of this years committee and membership alike. Cries from the usual 'Doubting Thomas's' (Not Alan) to the effect of "It's no use having working weekends, no b----r will turn up for 'em" were definitely not true.

I decided that, in order to make a Belfry working-meet successful, certain basic criteria exist; to ensure sufficient tools and materials for the proposed tasks are assembled in time for the event (This is a prime requisite) to make a major event out of the meet and for it to last only one day of the weekend so that the keener cavers amongst us can get underground on the Sunday.  Further I reasoned that a 'Belfry Binder' of yester-year would round-off the working day, most especially if followed by some form of entertainment and perhaps a barrel!

So it was, that on Saturday 10th. March 1990, nearly twenty B.E.C. members, wives and girlfriends descended upon the Belfry and spent the rest or the day, in near perfect weather and harmony, completing the following jobs: -

Clear out of attic space, complete site clearance of waste and scrap and loading into two commercial waste skips and re-storage of useful items, full glass fibre insulation of loft space, insulation of water tanks and pipe work, repair of shower system and installation of thermostats and timers etc., replace broken sanitary-ware, cleanse toilets and shower areas in full, removal of old broken cattle-grid, refill with stone and build speed ramp and tarmac over, re-felt wood-store roof, re-point storm damaged main roof tiles and ridge, fix ridge tiles to carbide store, build carbide-store fire sand waterproof cover, general cleaning and much repainting of Belfry interior, clean-out Fair Lady Well stream and pond, fit new outside economy light switches, all of this and much, much more!

The end of the working day came at last, and a superb repast was prepared, cooked and served by Hon Sec's best, Glenys GRASS.  This was followed by ZOT's magnificent slides of pre-Argie Falklands.  Penguins etc. (With and without wrappers!). This in turn was followed by Chris SMART's "Antics on a Chinese bicycle" (I think that was the title), both slide shows accompanied by the usual banter!  The Belfry was packed.  After a brief respite at the Hunters, all returned to the hut and savoured barrels of further nectar.

The support for the event was excellent, though I have mentioned some names above I dare not mention more, for fear of ignoring someone from the list.  I was greatly impressed with the efforts made, especially by some of the ladies in cleaning the 'Bogs' etc.  Even flowers and a vase appeared in one!

As you will see from the Treasurer’s accounts, I had managed to inveigle from his clutches a very large sum of money for the hut and the basic necessary materials to effect certain non-recurring jobs.  The working weekend alone swallowed up in excess of £250, though the long overdue full insulation of the Belfry attic accounted for £144 of this sum.

Last October's A.G.M. directed a replacement fire to be installed, accordingly, in November we travelled to Wiltshire and purchased a fine new 'Arctic Stove’; this set the club back another £250+.  We then re-sited this in a far better position against the Library wall.  This not only gives more useable main room space but also adds heat through the wall to the library and books.  To offset an 'Anon member's' outstanding hut fees, a new wall surround was added.  The provision of a new chimney and flue to conform to new building regulations, as well as fire-safety risks, added nearly a further £300 to this expense.  I hope that the 1990 A.G.M. will agree however that this has proved to be monies well spent.

The A.G.M. may also care to note that the new stove and loft insulation partially negate any need for an expensive Central Heating system in the hut.  The night storage heaters combined with the extra insulation are now more efficient when allowed to work properly.  It is my personal view, based upon research into costing a system for the hut, that the expenditure is in excess of what this club can afford. Therefore, the proposal of last year's A.G.M. should, with this year's 1990 A.G.M., be voted to be held over for at least one further year, in order to monitor the revised state of the hut's heating and insulation system.  Regular Belfry stayer's have said to me that the hut can in fact be too warm on a weekend if the fire is going well.  I would welcome the direction of the A.G.M. upon this point, as I hope to stand again for Committee this October and should like to offer myself again for election to the post of Hut Engineer.

You may also have noted that new 'high-security' locks have been fitted to both the Library and changing room doors.  Your main Belfry key no longer fits the changing room door and I should like to explain the idea behind my thinking on this subject:- This ensures that guests given the special 'Guest Key' can enter the hut (via the changing room) but cannot gain access to the club's tackle.  The tackle-store key now being available to all members from the key box inside the front door, opened using your main Belfry key.

I should most especially like to thank Pat CRONIN and Stu (MAC) McMANUS, who have both worked hard, and freely given of their time, in installing the new 'Super-Shower' system.

Constant small jobs around the site have been tackled by members and myself this last year and the amount of time it involves cannot always be measured by outward appearances. For example, I have surprised myself in discovering that I have made over five dozen telephone calls to planning depts., rating depts., fire officers, lawyers, builders merchants etc., and driven over 720 miles upon Hut Engineer business this year.  If, as I suspect, these figures are matched by the other members of the outgoing committee.  I believe this is no mean feat and should be borne in mind by the very rare but sometimes vocal complainant within the club.  Usually this beast absents itself from any work or club effort!

I am indeed proud to have worked with a very active B.E.C. committee this year.  Much effort and work has been done and I believe this has most fittingly culminated in the signing this month (August 1990) of the "St. Cuthbert's Lease" after much effort by many past and present committee members.

I end in thanking you all, may the club continue to go from strength to strength, yours in caving and comradeship.

Mr. 'N'


Membership Secretary's Report. 1990

John Watson

This year will be my 4th year as membership secretary and each year late payment of subscriptions is a problem.  This year more than most!  The need for a new stove and other expenses has left the club extremely short of funds, especially at the start of the club year.  Prompt payment of subscriptions would alleviate this problem considerably. I would like to remind all members that subs. are due after the A.G.M. (1st weekend in October).  To avoid the unnecessary expense of sending B.B.'s to members who do not wish to rejoin this year, no one will receive a B.B. after the 1st of January (i.e. 2 months after the A.G.M.) if they have not paid their subs.

On a brighter note membership is up again on the previous year.  Although some have fallen by the wayside, a few older members have rejoined after a slight lapse.


Librarian's Report, 1990

Michael McDonald

Slowly progressing to some sort of order.  Various pictures are being prepared to go on the wall - Jill Tuck, Zot, J'Rat and his barrel in the Mineries plus cave photos and the odd decent survey of local prominent caves.  We are also at capacity so we need a few more units, especially to house Club Journals which in their own way are the most valuable source of reference material. Cataloguing is proving difficult as so much is missing and it's difficult to catalogue if you don't know what you're supposed to have in the first place.

BOOKS NOT BOOKED IN (as at 18th August)

Potholing by Heap.  Andy Sparrow since 20.4.89
Darkness Beckons by Farr (sic).  Stewi since 15.10.89
Mines of Mendip.  Pete Bolt since 9.12.89
Darkness under the Earth.  Jake since 21.1.90
Cheddar Climbs.  Brian Johnson since 1.3.90
Mendip Underground.  Pete Bolt since 3.3.90

I'm concerned at Darkness Beckons as it’s out of print and now a collector’s item, probably.  If we lose it getting another may be difficult. Return it please.  'Mendip Underground' is a guide reference book and should not have been removed anyway!

I might get rid of the photo-copier.  It's broken more often than not, is hardly ever used and takes up valuable space, which is at a premium.  Old Climbing etc. magazines are being stored in the attic for want of space.  Maps and surveys are now sorted and classified in the map chest.  Most of them are a little dated, so if anyone has any useful up-to-date material, maps, surveys etc. please let me have them.  Any other contributions also very appreciated.  'Expedition' box files have been made up ego Mexico, Jamaica, Perth, West Virginia etc. so if you have any snippets to add, or a load of bumff an anyone area, let me have it so I can add to the collection.  I feel much of our stuff is very dated, so we need constant modernisation of our collection and info.  We only have a limited budget for new books and this is usually spent replacing what is pinched or lost, so we need contributions from the membership to keep our library flourishing.  Has anyone got any spare plastic covers for the two library strip lights?  The two I got off the back of a lorry are just too small.


Membership Changes

We welcome seven new members, who are: -

1141       Gary Jago. Farrington Gurney
1142       Angela Garwood. Cathays. Cardiff
1143       Jane L. Evans. Roath. Cardiff
1144       Sophie Crook. Roath. Cardiff
1145       Roz Bateman, East Harptree. Bristol. Somerset
1146     Leslie Robert Williams, Prestleigh. Shepton Mallet, Somerset
1147      Simon Benedict Taylor, Draycott. Cheddar, Somerset


Nigel's Dirty Weekend?

(or, The BEC Cleanup)

A monologue by Mike Wilson

We set our alarm for 7.30 and climbed out of warm cozy bed
Quick scoff down snap and coffee, we're off up Mendip T/shed
We arrived at the shed fairly early, to find mates all sitting intsun
"Hey Up" has anyone seen Nigel? He's got list of work to be done!!
Nigel arrived at 10.30 and we all got stuck in reet good!!
Babs cleaned out "crap" in toilet. Whilst Blitz hung a new door of soft wood.
Zotty had a grand row with Walter, and we all took his side in some way
Don't let him get away with it Zotty, he ne-er gave us his timber I'd say.
Come tea time it were rock cakes and biccies. All cooked by the "Dragon's" fair mitt.
Snap tin were guarded reet close like, in case Hannah got paws into it.
By midday tasks were progressing.  Shed were real shiny and bright!!
We're all looking forward T/barrel and slide show with Zotty tonight.
First of all there's a grand feast by Glenys. "Wow" what a blow out that became!!
Gorging spuds, garlic bread and beef wellie. Hurrah for chef Glenys "What's her name?"
Well it's time to put tools away tidy and say well done lads  "Proper Job".  Reet sad
It's too bloody hot in the Belfry.  Some idiots lagged roof space, Real Bad.


The End is Nye or is it?

Steve Woolven

Having spent a week in the Dordogne in July we couldn't leave without visiting the Grottes de Saut de la Pucelle.  Echoing Vince Simmonds article: 'it's a superb fun trip' we also took 6 ladders, 1 rope and various slings, belays etc.  The problem we would like to clear up is the END???!

Graham Nye and myself entered and followed the main stream passage leaving ladders at every would-be pitch and jumping in and swimming the deep pools, even though there was some kind of drought on and only a trickle of water flowing through the cave.  After having laid out all the tackle, we passed a very large deep black pool by traversing to the right some way down the cave only to come up to a 30' pitch which definitely needed a ladder.  Rather than call it a day I back tracked to our last ladders and took them back down (Quite a few of the first pitches are easily free-climbable, so don't make our mistake of laddering everything that can be laddered).

From here we followed the streamway down quite a considerable distance, with very nice formations, till there was some breakdown and boulders, followed quickly by an insignificant pool of water.  Here we could find no way on?  After a good look around; there being a lot of writing in the mud on the walls where other people had stopped; one thing bothered us!!  Where is the Plaque to Martel?  We could not find it (Ref: Vince Simmonds article, May '90).  We concluded either: -

1)       Somehow we missed a small hole that passed this sump? or

2)       Some buggers nicked the Plaque as a souvenir?

Can anyone put us right?

I would like to thank Trebor and Steve Redwood who supplied us with literature on this area, which helped us tremendously.  Apart from the trout in Vince's article we found an evil looking lizard sitting static on a rock, about twice the size of the outdoor ones.  Black in colour with orange markings down its back; which I thought a fake rubber one until Graham gave it a prod (That's another beer I owe him).

I would also like to say hello to Peter and Maria from Speleo Netherland, who were caving on our ladders and left a note on the car, whom we never did meet.

U.B.S.S. - Sessional Meetings 1990-91

Members are invited to attend these illustrated talks, which will be held in the UBSS room on the 2nd floor of the Students Union, Queen's Road, Bristol between 8 pm and about 9.30 pm on Wednesday evenings.

31 October 1990.           "The Exploration of St Cuthbert's Swallet" by Dave Irwin.

5 December 1990.          " New Mexico 1988 including the Carlsbad Caverns" by Chris Howes

13 February 1991.          "Cave diving beneath Cheddar Gorge" by Rob Palmer


Cave Excursions on Cebu Island. Philippines (Part 2)

Jim Smart

Sat March 25 - Tues March 28, 1989.  Tabunan Talamban, Adlaon, CEBU CITY.

Roque Cuasito does not operate on Pilipino time.  He arrived at my lodging with his 6 year old son Brian at 6.30 while I was still breakfasting.  By 7.15 we were at the Jeepney terminus in downtown Cebu City fighting to cram three large backpacks plus a small one for Brian into an Adlaon-bound jeepney.  A short while later one of Roque's employees arrived to act as porter and cook during our excursion.

By 10.30 the jeepney had brought us to Adlaon, a ramshackle one-street village at the road head. Here we met Liam, a middle aged simple country boy, whom Roque knew from many previous explorations in the area. Liam was already half drunk and happily agreed to come along with us and carry a pack, for a few pesos.

Our route into the hills to Tabunan Talamban was mostly along steep, single-file tracks.  Six year old Brian slowed our progress somewhat as did the hundreds of people we met travelling in the opposite direction. It was market day.  We haggled over various items and though we couldn't get a good price on a live chicken we did buy a large joint of lechon (roast pork) to supplement our diet.  By midday we were far beyond the reach of wheeled transport, across two deep valleys; outcrops of limestone were to be seen everywhere on the rolling and grassy landscape. (A few days later, in Cebu City, I was shown a book recounting the exploits of the Philippine resistance movement in this area during WWII.  There were numerous references to caves but what struck me most, looking at the pictures, was that this entire area - as far as the eye could see - was forested.  Today trees, in isolated clumps, account for probably less than 2% of the surface area. All gone in 45 years).

At last we arrived at the place Roque had planned for us to camp.  We waded our final river and, before we could unpack, received an invitation to crash out in the house of Alfredo Arcayan.  We readily accepted the invitation as storm clouds were rapidly gathering.  We'd no sooner charged up Roque's primus stove on the verandah of Alfredo's thatch and wood home (pigs occupy the ground floor) than the storm broke in a deluge that left market returnees stranded on the far side of the river and us assured that there would be no caving today.  Delighted, Liam held a whip-round (my money) and danced into the storm in search of a gallon of tuba, the local hooch.  We had a lot of visitors that night.

Day 2. Easter Sunday. March 26, 89.

The usual train of men and small boys followed us to the caves.  A man by the name of Perfecto was our guide: a wonderful, knowledgeable, shy man with no English whom I'd have liked to know better.  We followed him down river for an hour and a half, sometimes scrambling over boulders or walking along gravel banks and sometimes pushing through damp scrub: the sun was not yet high enough to dry the aftermath of the storm.

At last Perfecto led us along a trail rising high above the river's left bank, into some thorny secondary vegetation, to the entrance of the cave known as MIT-OL.  We were about 200 ft. above the river.  The climb over the entrance ledge was guarded by thousands of little stinging ants.  Mit-ol was a focal point of resistance against the Japanese in World War Two.  It had been a hard hike and we posed proudly for photographs.

It took quite a while for our team to negotiate the short climb down into Mit-ol 's main passage. Only about half of them were affluent enough to have their own flashlights and batteries though one enterprising fellow carried the standard domestic illumination: an old whisky bottle filled with kerosene with a corn-cob for a wick.

A few minutes along the Main Passage and Perfecto led us up a short climb to the left where we gained a narrow rift passage which in turn led to larger passage until we were halted by a couple of pitches above an enormous chamber about 100 ft. high containing some magnificent formations.  Even a veteran B.E.C. man would need a rope to continue here so we made a slow retreat while I sketched a survey.

Back in the Main Passage we continued away from the entrance until some extremely dodgy caving amongst some very loose boulders brought us up to a second entrance.  Jungle bashing brought us back to the Main Entrance about 100m. away.

Sadly most of the team surfaced with bats or speleothems as souvenirs.  Several of the boys had taken catapults into the cave and, though their hunting had mostly resulted in broken stal, enough bats - each about the size of a Greater Horseshoe - had been killed to provide a small feast.  A small stick fire was quickly prepared and the dead bats - fur and wings and all - were flung onto the embers.  One nimble bloke had even caught a couple of swifts but these were far too decorative to be eaten.  I saw them the next day in his house, tethered by their legs to his door frame.

In a nearby pasture we cooked rice and opened tins of fish which we ate with our fingers off a communal banana-leaf plate.  Then we turned our attention to Cathedral Cave.

An exposed and bouldery entrance chamber leads to large walking passage on the left.  A fire was lit in anticipation of the bats to be eaten later.  A notice in carbide smoke on the wall of the Main Passage warns guano collectors to keep out "signed Barrio Captain".  While most of the team remained in the Main Passage playing with their catapults I followed Perfecto past a Crossroads to a T-junction.  To the right the passage soon petered out in a couple of ascending calcited rifts, but left led to about 100m. of comfortable walking passage until a sharp left turn into a tunnel passage 20ft. high x 30 wide led to a definite conclusion.  I grovelled around in some painfully sharp alcoves here without success. A nearby high level passage was not explored.

Retracing our steps towards the T-junction we explored a passage on the right which returned us to the crossroads in the Main Passage.  A tricky climb on the far side of the Main Passage that only Perfecto and myself were able to negotiate brought us after a short while to three alternative entrances - 2 vertical and one horizontal.

After a short rest for cooked bats and cigarettes we headed for base arriving there about 4 p.m.  We cracked open the tuba and as the glass was passed round - the custom here is to have only one glass and wait your turn - so the tales of our activities expanded and improved.  Liam decided there wasn't going to be enough tuba to get us through the evening so he held another whip-round (my money again). Roque and I accompanied him to the store - about 20 minutes walk away where we found the majority of the villagers roaring drunk.  While Liam haggled over the price of tuba, Roque and I spent about 60 pesos (US $3) on a mountain of food and that night about a dozen people ate and drank to their heart's content on the veranda while another storm lashed its way up the valley.

Easter Monday. March 27.

Everybody very hungover. Reluctantly about five of us got ourselves to the store by noon where we employed an old guy to lead us to some springs about 45 minutes away upstream.  The associated cave passage was disappointingly small but they did provide the Filipinos with some more bats which they cooked while we sheltered from another passing storm.

After lunch we decided to call it a day.  We were too hungover to care much about caving.  On our way back to base Brian and I stopped for a swim in the river until an agitated cry from the bank caught my attention.  Looking upstream I saw a flood pulse bearing down on us. Within two minutes the river which was about 35 ft. wide at this point turned muddy and threatening and the water level rose about 18 ins.   Fortunately we managed to get ourselves stranded on the right side.

Tuesday. March 28.

We started the long hike back to the road head unaware that it was local government election day and all public transport had been granted a holiday.  Worse, there was a 24 hour ban on liquor sales.

At the first store we came to the owner agreed to let us drink beer in her private kitchen since she didn't think the law applied to foreigners and their friends.  She also cooked us an excellent breakfast.  We then continued our way on foot towards Cebu City in search of the elusive transport. Every liquor store we passed agreed to serve us beer and we were quite drunk when, way after dark, we cadged a dangerous ride into town in the company of the electoral ballot boxes and a dozen heavily armed and equally drunk members of the Philippine constabulary.

Jim Smart. Sept 1989. California.


The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: Ted Humphreys

Cover Picture: The Balcony Formations, St. Cuthbert's Swallet
(Part of a photograph taken by Phil Romford )


1990 – 1991 Committee

Hon. Sec                 Martin Grass
Treasure                  Christ Smart
Caving Sec.             Jeff Price
Hut Warden             Chris Harvey
Tackle Master          Stuart McManus
B.B. Editor               Ted Hunphreys
Hut Engineer            Nigel Taylor
Membership Sec.     John Watson
                               Ian Caldwell



This BB is not very Christmassy, I’m afraid.  Lost of people promised, articles and amusing snippets during autumn but few appeared. Things never change!  Anyway thanks to those who contributed and to Blitz who supplied me with Richard's ' Austria' article and the AGM minutes already on computer disk!

I suppose the biggest recent news is that we almost came close to winning the digging barrel this year. Richard Blake and Jake found 150' of new passage in St. Cuthbert’s leading from Marble Hall towards Lake Chamber.  They described it as loose and getting looser the further they went!  Unfortunately when Snablet went to investigate, the following Saturday, he had only penetrated about four feet into it when it all fell on him, smashing his hat, giving him some nasty bruises and leaving him shocked and mildly concussed.  He was lucky to get away that lightly!

I didn't get any serious volunteers to edit another BB Digest, ah well.

Other snippets of news (I might as well put them here as anywhere) are: -

Phil and Lil (Romford) are returning to the Mendips for good.  They should be here before Christmas.

December 30th is a clean up the Belfry day.  A working weekend will be held towards the end of January.

Another Disco is planned. I haven't got the details yet but think it's in late January or February.

If anyone finds any mistakes in the membership list, please let me know, especially if you know the addresses of non-life members where I've said 'address unknown'.

That's all for this year. I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year, or is that the other way round!

Annual Subs. - URGENT

As you will see from the AGM minutes the annual subscriptions were raised to £20 for single membership and £30 for joint membership.  However, only £16 and £24 respectively were due if paid before 31st of December.  The committee has extended the deadline for this rebate to 31st of January as some members won't know about the AGM until they receive this BB.


John Watson, Wells, Somerset


Caving Secretary's Report, 1990

Peter McNab

This year has been quite a good year for new finds (well aren't they all).  Unfortunately not many on Mendip, but it hasn't been for want of trying.


Eastwater has been a hive of activity - digging in the Southbank, Primrose Pot, Morton's Pot and Hard Rain.  As well as digging, a clear up operation has been progressing.  You will remember Eastwater is one of our "Adopt a Cave's", St. Cuthbert's is also our adopted cave.  Another attempt to pump sump 2 clear was made.  Unfortunately, the pump wasn't up to it.  Cheddar has been dived.  Welsh's Green is still being looked at.

Lots of work has also been done in caves such as Bowery Corner, Wigmore, Swildon's, Lodmore, Smitham's Hill Dig and Ridge Lane.  Unfortunately it doesn't look like we're going to win the digging barrel this year unless, of course, we can recruit the Oxford into the BEC (They've just found 200m. in Dallimore's), but we've still got Bowery up our sleeves!


Daren Cilau has been visited regularly this year, what with Xmas Parties and Rescue practices the Rock Steady Crew still found time to dig, resulting in 300m. of new passage heading in the general (ish) direction of Aggy.  D.Y.O. has been frequented by the BEC a few times this year, mainly by Rob Harper and Pat Cronin.  I don't know what or how much their respective digs have gone but I'm sure we will find out soon.  Pwll-Pen-y-Mynydd is being dug by Tav and co.  They've found about 90 ft.

Abroad.  (don't believe the place-name spellings - Ed.)

The BEC have been getting there again.  Bob and Dany have been caving into the 90's in Vietnam and found loads of caves.  BEC spent the New Year in Matienzo, explored a new bit of passage but had to leave it at the bottom of a climb.  Two small teams went to the Dachstein.  The BEC pushed 100m. on Magnum Holen and found a new cave called Blieshprital Holen with a huge, partly descended, shaft "Notzant in Mirror Shades".  The NCC also went and found another new cave, Hieldon Holen - 16 pitches - 2 km. long. A return visit is planned for Xmas. Jim Smart has been in the Philippines again. Jim and some Filipino mates found the fourth longest cave in the country.  The BEC have been in Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand and probably many more places I haven't heard about!



Puck Suds - The Saga Continues.

This is an updated report to follow that published BB 453 (February 1990).

1990 started well with January seeing 8 trips.  54 loads of spoil out and 4.75 lb. bang used.  The last week of the month was noticeable for the atrocious weather which meant that the dig was given a wide berth!

By the beginning of February "Dipso" had been extended to some 30 feet and had taken a turn to the left - back along the strike.  This passage had also taken on the typical characteristics of the cave - flat out and wet!  During the month there were 10 trips.  100 loads to surface and 6 lb. bang used.  A good draught helped clear fumes and the shale roof was easily brought down to give more working space.  The long haul back to the entrance was becoming something of a minor epic but several temporary stacking spaces along the passage helped to ease the situation.

March was spent banging our way through several limestone pillars in "Dipso".  These separated the tiny streamway from an equally tiny upper tube.  90 loads reached surface and 6 lbs bang was used during 13 trips.  Some landscaping of the spoil heap was undertaken.

On April Fool's Day a misfire and visit by Dave "The Boy" Yeandle both seemed appropriate. During this month 65 loads carne out and 6 lbs. bang used over 9 trips.  Half of the work was concentrated on the dig site at the first bend in the cave where Skid Row begins - now named the "Corner Dig".  This would seem to be the original main passage of the cave but became completely mud choked.  On the original breakthrough there was no sign of this passage so the next three years were spent blasting out Skid Row!  By the end of April we had gained some 8 feet of relatively spacious rift passage, half full of water and very "porridgey" once digging commenced.  It's only saving grace was the short distance to drag bags back to the surface.

There were 9 trips in May, 69 loads and one dead rabbit reaching the surface and 2 lbs. bang used. Work was concentrated on the Corner Dig and at the end of the month we had about 12 feet of passage - at least 6 feet high in places but not excessively wide.  One of the Club hand pumps was used to drain the dig so that the floor could be more easily cleared.  On the 30th Tony Blick (CPC) again dowsed the site and confirmed his previous results, also finding a supposed passage heading to the N.E. at about 50 feet depth.

Work continued at both Dipso and Corner Dig during June when 8 visits took place.  62 loads carne out and 5 lbs. bang was fired.  By the end of the month the Corner Dig was 15 feet long, big enough to stand up in and relatively easy to work. Pumping was still necessary.

July saw only 4 trips when 36 loads were removed and 5lbs. bang detonated.  Since then only one working trip by the "Wendy's" has taken place due mainly to other projects notably in Eastwater Cavern. The onset of the rainy season means that little will be done here until next year when pumping and blasting at Corner Dig will continue.

More Diggers

D. Turner, J. Henley (missed from previous list to the extreme sorrow and embarrassment of the compiler).  A. Wllliams. B. Johnson and friends, I. Gregory, R. Blake, D. Yeandle, M. Wilson, C. Batstone, L. Williams, S. Taylor,  A. Garwood, S. Crook, J. Evans (All BEC).   G. Douglas, N. Webb, G. Duncan (SMCC).   N. Hawkes (WCC).  A. Farrant, S. Cottle, A. Gerrard (UBSS).



Vandalism In St Cuthberts

Ted Humphreys

For the first time ever in St. Cuthbert’s there has been deliberate destruction.  Two stalagmites in Victory Passage were smashed sometime this autumn.  One at the upper end, near the column with the fracture in it, and the other in the crawl just before the big part.  I think the culprit may be identifiable from the log and/or my suspicions.  I was absolutely horrified when I found them and was filled with foreboding as to what I might find further in.  Most of the bits are still there and can possibly be rebuilt.  Access to this beautiful and vulnerable (to morons) area may have to be reassessed.


I received the following plea from the heart from Greame Johnson (Bolt) at the beginning of December. Ed.

At the Belfry 11/11/1990. Two Bat Products Chloride Lamps and belts.  J'Rat's passed the ‘Streets are flowing with blood' phase, and is now into heavy breathing on the end of the phone.  I can't take much more.  Ring J'Rat or myself (Bolt) on Leicester (0533)861441 - Reverse Charges.

Now Available!

BEC T-Shirts at £6.80

and         BEC Sweat Shirts at £14.50

White (round) motif on dark blue, obtainable from J'Rat at Bat Products.   All proceeds to the club!  I've bought myself one of the sweat shirts and it seems excellent quality. Much better than the last lot! Ed.


Austria 1990 - The BEC Return to the Dachstein

Richard Blake

Despite a large amount of enthusiasm for this trip (where have I heard that one before?) only Snablet and I were actually going. This left us with somewhat of a problem how to carryall the kit between the two of us?

All of the Friday morning was spent trying to cram far too much kit into my rucksack which soon became too heavy to lift.  Just for a laugh I also decided to take two less than light tackle sacks full of bolts, rope and assorted bits and bobs.  Eventually with everything packed it was time to start the long journey.  In true BEC style I had arranged to meet Snablet in a bar at Victoria Railway Station as he was coming straight from work.

The kit was already beginning to cause me a lot of problems as I found that it was taking me about 10 minutes each time to get it up onto my back, much to the amusement of my fellow passengers.  Luckily I found the bar with no trouble and sat down on my mountain of equipment to await Snablet who appeared after only a couple of beers.

We got on the next train to Dover and made the connection with the Ostend ferry, taking in a few more beers en route. From Ostend it was, in theory, a simple job of catching three more trains to Salzburg.  There is a direct train but because we were late leaving we had missed it.  The route we took was Ostend to Cologne, to Munich, to Salzburg and the journey took about 22 hours.

Getting the kit off and on the train was an ordeal requiring the use of siege tactics.  We had cleverly omitted to obtain any German currency so unfortunately had no food or drink for the entire journey.  Another problem was that the train from Cologne to Munich was a limited stop express which cost us extra money (which we had to pay in Austrian schillings!) and that we found that we were constantly being thrown out of other peoples reserved seats.

On arrival in Salzburg our task was to catch the bus to Bad Ischl. Snablet stood in the queue at the information desk for 15 minutes only to be told that the last bus had just left 5 minutes ago.  So our first night in Austria was spent in the company of the rats at Salzburg railway station.  I had checked with a taxi driver how much it would cost but he had quoted me £75 so I told him what to do with it!  Before we went to sleep we had a good look around Salzburg looking into bars that made two dirty and unkempt British cavers feel a little out of place - we couldn't find a dive of a bar anywhere so went back to the bar in the station which stayed open to 12.30 anyway.  After it had closed you could still buy beer from a bloke wandering around the station with a large trolley.

We got up early next morning only to find out that we had several hours wait for the bus to Bad Ischl. From there we intended to catch the train to Obertran, however we sat there waiting for a train that didn't exist because we had both read the bus timetable and not the train timetable! We eventually realised our mistake and after only a short bus ride and walk we were at the military seilbahn. For me it was my first ride in a cable car and I enjoyed it immensely, certainly better than walking up the mountains with all that kit.

After something to eat and a few beers which seemed to go straight to my head (I think that this was due to the altitude) it was time to carry the kit to the Wiesberghaus.  After only a few moments we realised that it was impossible to carry it all across, the effort being too much for us after the long journey.  Snablet then came up with two brilliant ideas for getting out of carrying the kit:

  1. Catch a plane from London to Salzburg. You arrive within a couple of hours and your kit arrives 20 hours later in Australia leaving you nothing to carry!
  2. Buy a helicopter!

We decided to hide half the kit and made two trips as we hadn't caught a plane to Salzburg and we hadn't purchased a helicopter. Snablet was gob smacked as to how spotless the Glocken was, but it was not to last long.  A good first night was had in the bar of the Wiesberghaus but there was no sign of Lyn or Tuppa from the NCC who had said that they would be there. We settled instead for a 12 hour sleep to recover from the effects of journey, carrying far too much kit and the hospitality of Wolfgang and Elfi, the hut guardians.

Monday August 20th

We woke up at the crack of lunch after the first full nights sleep since Thursday.  We were still tired from the journey but a goulash soup went a long way to reviving us.  We packed the caving kit and set off to find Magnum Hohle.  I was impressed by Snablets memory of where the entrance was since no one had been down the cave since '87.  We also found another small entrance near to Magnum Hohle which we thought might be worth a later look.

We quickly rigged to the '87 limits where I climbed up and over some loose boulders for ten metres and up a boulder slope for twenty metres.  In the left hand wall a small insignificant hole with a small draught led to approximately forty metres of crawling passage.  The up dip passage then lead to a fifteen metre pitch into a chamber where the sound of running water could be heard.  We were very pleased with ourselves but by now it was getting on a bit, so after nine and a half hours caving and walking we returned to the Glocken arriving at 2.30 in the morning.  The only problem being that it had just started raining as we left the cave.

Tuesday August 21st

After 12 hours of solid rain I was beginning to feel very pleased that we had left Magnum Hohle when we did.  In the event no caving took place today although we spent a couple of hours prospecting up towards the Simony Hutte but gave up after we had got soaked to the skin and were cold and miserable.  The wind continued to blow throughout the day and later that night we had to open all the doors and windows in the Wiesberghaus as it was blowing all the smoke from the stove back into the bar and disrupting our drinking.

Wednesday August 22nd

We woke up late again, although this time I think this was probably due to the excess of Steigl beer that night.  Snablet can not even remember going to bed.  The weather was still bad so we decided against caving as we realised that with only two of us, rescue would be impossible, so we decided on some more prospecting.

We were looking somewhere under Brennten Kogel about 1 kilometre north east of Barengasse.  We found several interesting sites but all of them appeared to be choked.  Looking for caves in this terrain is both slow and difficult and the awful weather was not helping.

Snablet and I became parted and after a long time looking and shouting for him I gave up and headed back to the Wiesberghaus.  By this time the weather was getting worse and I was soaked to the skin and freezing cold. Snablet returned about one hour later after doing the same as me and as it was getting dark.  We had spent most of the day walking round in the rain and mist getting lost.  Elfi cooked us an excellent Wiener Schnitzel that evening which was the first full meal we had eaten since leaving Bristol.  The rest of the night was spent drinking beer and playing cards.

Thursday August 23rd

Finally the weather cleared up and we awoke to a beautiful morning.  We entered Magnum Hohle at about 11 am with more rope and additional bolts.  The draught at the entrance wasn't so strong but the cave was obviously much wetter following the previous two days of rain.  We had to re-rig the bottom 70 metres of the bottom pitch further away from the water and the lake at the bottom had risen by one and a half metres. This was not good as we realised that if it rose by the same amount again then it would cut off the 10 metre climb.

We quickly rigged the pitch into the chamber I had found on Monday.  This had a large active stream inlet coming out of the roof and we followed this downstream until I needed to peg a traverse line out over some deep pools to stay dry.  Snablet was amused by my aerobatics and made the comment that I appeared to be more frightened about getting wet than falling down 100 metre pitches.  At the end of the passage the stream sank in boulders in the floor.  These boulders rose up to the roof as a huge unstable pile.  When the going gets tough, the BEC stop for lunch.  After lunch I pushed around in the boulder choke dislodging some alarmingly large boulders in the process and found a route up to a point where I could see into a large black void above.

After some entertaining boulder moving and dislodging falling rocks I managed to squeeze through into a large chamber only to realise that I had been there before!  I had just completed a round trip back to the bottom of the main pitch by the lake.  This concluded the cave.  Now all that was remained to do was to survey and detackle.  This involved us in some interesting pendulums due to the way in which we had rigged the rope away from the water.

We finally surfaced after many hours of hardship hauling three very heavy tackle bags between the two of us; we decided to leave most of the kit at the cave entrance to carry back another day.  The walk back to the Wiesberghaus seemed harder than usual, this was however compensated for when we got back because the Wiesberghaus was still open and Wolfgang prepared an excellent meal for us.

Friday August 24th

When I woke up I could hardly move because of my aching muscles.  The idea of a rest day crossed our minds so we decided it was time to get some food from Halstatt to last us the rest of trip.  (So far food hadn't featured prominently in our plans).  Six hours of solid walking and a quick beer in the Divers Bar and we were back with one tackle sac full of food, we also picked up another tackle sac from Magnum Hohle so it was 7 pm when we began our rest day!  All Snablet could do was moan - he had just used up his last remaining non rancid Tee shirt, but we then enjoyed another evening of Wolfgang and Elfi's hospitality.

Saturday August 25th

We spent today looking for new caves and shaft bashing in the area around Gjaid-Alm.  We found several new entrances that the Austrian cavers had marked which looked very good.  These were numbered 74+, 75+ and 30+.  Snablet checked out another cave but found it to be choked, but with a strong draught disappearing into the boulders.  This set the scene as everything else we found was choked.  We found that the problem with searching for new cave is in fact a lot of people have looked in the areas close to the Wiesberghaus, so we were looking in areas about two hours walk away, well off the few paths and well away from cairns. Snablet remarked that there were fewer snowplugs this year and we found that dehydration was a real problem today.  Wolfgang and Elfi told us that evening that they are keen for us to find a cave with water in it near to the Wiesberghaus so as to provide them with a reliable drinking water supply.  We also found that we were beginning to run low on money but Wolfgang and Elfi are continuing to provide us with lots of good grub.

Sunday August 26th

We got up late today and decided on a days prospecting over on the far side of Grun Kogel.  Just as the area started to look interesting we had to shelter from what we thought was going to be a passing shower. Unfortunately it didn't ease off and a thunder storm followed.  We started back towards the Wiesberghaus as we were about two hours walk away but our walk soon developed into a run as the lightning began landing all around us (Donner and Blitzen!).  We considered the idea of curling up into little balls and waiting for the storm to pass but decided firstly that we would feel like real prats, secondly that we would probably die of exposure if the storm lasted all night and thirdly that we didn't like the idea that we were the two most prominent features on the mountain and that we were carrying lots of lightening attracting metal objects in an area of nothing but limestone.  As we got closer to the Wiesberghaus our pace quickened again as the lightening was by now landing less than 100 metres away, close enough to see the explosion when it landed!.  Eventually we crashed through the door of the Glocken, exhausted and drenched.  The storm was magnificent to watch from the relative safety of the Wiesberghaus and we were advised not to go outside again. At the height of the hail storm the thunder and lightening strikes were averaging about one every three seconds.

Monday August 27th

We woke up this morning with a mega hangover due to our enforced stay the night before in the Wiesberghaus, and the fact that we were drinking all night with Wolfgang, Elfi and her father.  The weather forecast was again bad with more thunder and lightening promised.  We decided to take Wolfgang caving and afterwards we were invited in for a quiet drink which included a bottle of Schnaps. This wiped out the rest of the day and my few remaining brain cells.

Tuesday August 28th

Mozart in Mirrorshades - This is the name of the first pitch in the new cave that we found today.  We had gone back to the area we had been looking at on Monday and soon found a very promising entrance.  We called the cave Bleistiftspitzerschaft - Pencil Sharpener Shaft.

The cave has two entrances. One is a four metre climb down through the roof but the main entrance is a 3 metre by one and a half metre hole that descends at an angle of approximately 40 degrees for 100 metres to the first pitch.  Stones tossed down this were taking 14 seconds to land but were hitting several ledges.  One of the rocks that we dropped must have destroyed a ledge because it sounded as though the whole cave was collapsing.  Snablet was saying it was the biggest entrance that he had seen on the Dachstein plateau.  We marked the entrance and made our way back to the Wiesberghaus cairning the route as we went.

Back at the Wiesberghaus we had a quick Skiwasser and returned to Magnum Hohle to collect the rest of our kit.  That evening Elfi cooked us a wonderful meal of venison which we ate in the company of a botany student.  We had a few beers to celebrate our find although we were feeling a little apprehensive about rigging the pitch as it had the feeling of a deep one.  In Snablets immortal poetry "Its a shed spreader!"

Wednesday August 29th

We got up early today in preparation for a long day.  We had packed all the necessary equipment the night before so it was only after a short time that we set off with two very heavy tackle sacs.  The climb up the climb proved difficult with all the tackle and an additional complication was the heat.

On arrival at Bleistiftspitzerschaft we changed and surveyed down to the first pitch.  This was approximately 97 metres long with a depth of just over 55 metres.  I then began bolting the pitch.  We first rigged a handline at the pitch head as we knew that this would be invaluable in the event of a flood.  A traverse was rigged out on the left hand wall which proved most entertaining because a lot of loose rock kept falling off.  Indeed a lot of gardening was necessary but I had soon placed a couple of bolts and it was time for lunch.  When the going gets tough the BEC stop for lunch.

After lunch I descended for about 50 metres via a rebelay to a rock bridge.  I placed the sixth bolt and paused to look around.  In front of me was a very large empty space, I couldn't even begin to estimate its size as I couldn't see the walls.  I threw some rocks down below me and they took four seconds to land but I could also hear some of them rattling down another pitch for an unknown distance.  I then shouted to Snablet to come on down (What is this - some kind of quiz show?). He said that he was going to check the weather first. When he returned he told me that a thunderstorm was probably coming very shortly.  Needless to say I came back up the pitch de-rigging very quickly.  When we reached the surface the immensity of what we had found began to dawn on us.  We realised that we didn't have enough rope to get down the next pitch, that the weather was obviously looking very bad, that it was getting dark and that we had a two hours plus walk in front of us.  We decided to return to the Wiesberghaus.  The walk back was hell in the dark with route finding problems and very heavy tackle sacs.  However the path was regularly lit up by the lightning that was merrily striking all around.

Thursday August 30th

We decided that today was to be a rest day.  We also had to pack our kit as Wolfgang wanted to send it down on the Seilbahn for us to pick up tomorrow.  Consequently we took the opportunity to take Wolfgang caving again.  I took him as far as the first pitch in Magnum Hohle and he enjoyed the trip very much, he may even come with us next year.  Our last night in the Wiesberghaus was excellent with the accompaniment of live Austrian music and an excess of alcohol.  I had to help Elfi's father to bed as he was so drunk he could hardly walk.  Mind you neither could I.  And where was Snablet all this time.  When the going gets tough, Snablet goes to bed.

Friday & Saturday September 1st & 2nd

All that was left today was to say our goodbyes, to walk down and to pick up our kit.  Just before we left we were given a bottle of Schnaps to take with us.  While we were walking down we met Gofried, our friend the botanist and we walked down with him.  Wolfgang had given us two lock combinations so we able to get into the Seilbahn hut to get our kit and also so that we were able to get a beer out of the store room. Gofried proved to be a great help as he carried 200 metres of rope for us down to Halstatt.

At this point in time Snablet had only 14 schillings left (about 60 pence) and I only had enough to get us to Salzburg. Thankfully the journey to Salzburg was uneventful and we quickly spent our remaining Austrian money on Steigl beer in the station bar.  While we were there an Austrian caver recognised our caving kit and came into the bar to look for us.  He instantly recognised us as we were in the same state as he was!  We talked to him for some time and agreed to exchange caving literature with him.

was livened up at Munich when a group of heavy metal fans came into our carriage with a crate of beer.  We all got very drunk and when we woke up the carriage looked like the Belfry after a Saturday night session.  That is all I remember about Germany and the rest of the continent, although I do remember getting back to Bristol about 7.30 pm on the Saturday and heading out to the Hunters for a beer.

A very special thank you has to go to Wolfgang, Elfi and Guste because they treated us so very well. We were always made most welcome at all times and there is no way in which we can repay them for all the hospitality they extended to us.  Anyone, whether caving or not, will have an excellent time there.

Austria 1991

For anyone interested we will be returning next year in the last two weeks of August.  Blitz has already written seeking a Sports Council and Ghar Parau grant.  We have obviously found a large cave which will probably need a minimum of ten people to push.  As it is so far from the Wiesberghaus we will have to set up some form of camp/bivy near the cave.  So anybody interested contact me.


Public Notice.

This is a public notice regarding Mrs Grass and Blitz who are "Just Good Friends".

The "Belfry Underground" mission states that after a long and exhausting investigation, we would like to state that: -

Glenys does not drag Blitz up stairs by a boat hook locked into his nose, slash his clothes off with a Stanley knife and nail him to the bed with 6" nails (He has never been a missionary).

Furthermore, she does not stuff a dirty diaphragm into his mouth and shave off all the hairs on his body with a blunt cut-throat razor!!

And there is definitely no substance to the rumour that Blitz has been hospitalised for severe cigarette burns to his nipples and other private parts!!

The truth is - he had an operation on his back!!

Anyone who persists in spreading rumours may be subject to birth and libel pains, or the aforementioned method of torture. WOW!!*?

P.S. Zot states that he is conducting courses on the above methods in the library.

. . . . . . . . . .. by our own investigative reporter

 (you know who! - Ed.)


AGM Minutes

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Bristol Exploration Club held at the Belfry October 6th 1990

The meeting was convened by the Secretary, Martin Grass, there being a quorum at 10.35.


Martin Grass, Bob Hill, Chris Batstone, Nigel Taylor, Kangy King, Dave Turner, Dany Bradshaw, Bob Cork, Mr Wilson, Nick Gymer. Kev Gurner, Sharon Beattie, Chris Smart, Glenys Grass, Richard Payne, Babs Williams, Jeff Price, Arthur Griffin, Stewie Lain, John Turner, Brian Prewer, Trevor Hughes. Mhairi Rands, Axel Knutson, Dave Aubrey, Terry Earley, Snablet, Ted Humphreys, Paul Hodgson, John Watson, Dick Fred, Steve Redwood, Andy Cave, S J McManus, Andy Middleton, Tim Large, Graham Wilton-Jones, Nick Sprang, Ian Caldwell, Matt Tuck, Mike McDonald, Rob Harper, Chris Harvey.


Pat Cronin, Alan Butcher, Nigel Dibben, Blake, Richard Steve Tuck, Dave Lennard, Lisa Taylor, Andy Sparrow, Sparrow, Steve Milner, Barry Wilton, Lavina Watson, Jeremy Henley, Miles Barrington, Brian Van Luipen.


Nominations were requested for Chairman of the meeting.  Bob Cork was unanimously elected, there being no other candidates.

Minutes of the 1989 AGM

Previously published in the BB and were taken as read.

Matters arising from the minutes

1.                  The Roy Bennett Memorial plaque had not been installed.  Tim Large said it was to be placed in Cerberus Hall but he was awaiting Joan Bennett to approve the wording.

2.                  Life Membership - The 1989-90 Committee had looked at this and decided to take each application separately.  It was stated on behalf of the Committee that they would only have considered members living overseas.

For acceptance of the 1989 AGM minutes by the meeting.

Proposed: Dany Bradshaw
Seconded: Martin Grass
Carried unam.

Secretary's Report

Previously published in the BB.

For acceptance of the report by the meeting.

Proposed: Chris Smart
Seconded: Nigel Taylor
Carried unam.

Hon Treasurer's Report

Previously published in the BB.

Discussions on the Belfry account ended in Nigel Taylor proposing that the next Committee look raising hut subs

Seconded: Bob Hill. Carried unam.

Tim Large asked where the money to publish the St. Cuthbert’s Report would come from.  It was reported that an appeal for pledges had been made in the BB and that the club was looking for donations.

Andy Middleton asked how well the September disco had gone  Blitz replied that it would appear on next year accounts but that it had made a profit of approximately £450.

For acceptance of the report by the meeting.

Proposed: Dany Bradshaw
Seconded: Trevor Hughes
Carried with one abstention.
Nil against.

Auditor's Report

The Chairman read out the Auditor's Report at the meeting.   This stated that the Treasurers accounts were a true representation of the finances of the club. 

For acceptance of the report by the meeting.

Proposed: Tim Large
Seconded: Dany Bradshaw
Carried with one abstention.
Nil against.

Caving Secretary's Report

Read at the meeting. To be published in the BB.

For acceptance of the report by the meeting.

Proposed: Rob Harper
Seconded: Dany Bradshaw
Carried unam.

Hut Warden's Report

Previously published in the BB.

Glenys Grass asked for a breakdown of bed nights by members and guests.  This was supplied by the Treasurer as 863 BEC, 54 Reciprocal, 575 Guest bed nights.  Blitz then proposed a vote of thanks to the Hut Warden for his hard work.  Seconded: Dany Bradshaw

It was stated however that the external hut site needs tidying up.

Carried unam.

For acceptance of the report by the meeting.

Proposed: Dany Bradshaw
Seconded: Stuart MacManus
Carried with two abstentions.
Nil against.

BB Editor's Report

Previously published in the BB

Mac then proposed a vote of thanks to the BB Editor for his hard work.

Seconded: Dany Bradshaw

Carried unam.

For acceptance of the report by the meeting.

Proposed: Dany Bradshaw
Seconded: Stuart MacManus
Carried unam.

Librarian's Report

Previously published In the BB

Books are still going missing, some are signed out and some are not.  Some considerable discussion ensued concerning access to the Library, which books could or could not be removed from the Library and the possible charging of deposits.

Nick Sprang then proposed the following: Any member failing to return Library items without good reason within a reasonable time will be subject to action by the Committee under section 3g of the Constitution.

Seconded: Dave Turner

An amendment was then made to the proposal to change "reasonable time" to two months.

Proposed: Nigel Taylor
Seconded: Bob Hill
Votes for the amendment.  For 28, Against 7, Abstentions 2
Votes for the amended proposal.  For 31, Against 3, Abstentions 1.

Trev Hughes then proposed that - Rare books may only be loaned out to members at the discretion of the Committee and that a deposit may be charged.

Votes for the proposal - For 8, Against 23, Abstentions 7

For acceptance of the report by the meeting.

Proposed: Dany Bradshaw
Seconded: Stuart MacManus
Carried unam.

Ian Dear Memorial Fund Report

A verbal report had been given by Snablet in his Caving Secretary's Report.  He reminded the meeting that £70 had been given to Richard Blake this summer to attend the BEC Dachstein expedition.  The following polite thank you from Richard was then read out to the meeting by Sharon Beattie:-

"I must thank the committee of the BEC and the trustees of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund for their generous contribution towards my trip to Austria.  May the fund help many more young cavers who find themselves in the position of being short of funds."

A proposal was then made by Mac that the BEC do not transfer any money to the IDMF this year.

Seconded: Nigel Taylor

Votes for the proposal - Carried with one abstention.

Dany Bradshaw proposed that the club publish in the BB prior to Xmas the details of the fund and the names of the trustees.  The new Caving Secretary will contact the trustees to ensure that they are willing to continue in this role.

Seconded: Stuart MacManus

Carried unam.

Hut Engineer’s Report

Previously published in the BB

The Treasurer pointed out that an incorrect figure appears in the Hut Engineer's Report.  The cost of insulating the loft should have read £350.

Dany Bradshaw asked if the fire regulations had been complied with.  Nigel replied that they had.  Dany Bradshaw further asked if the new Committee could double check this as work recommended by a previous fire officer had not been undertaken.

For acceptance of the amended report by the meeting

Proposed: Paul Hodgeson
Seconded: Dick Fred
Carried unam.

Membership Secretary's Report

Previously published in the BB

The outgoing Committee then put the following proposal to the meeting - That the subscription be raised to £16 for single membership and £24 for Joint membership.

An amendment was then made to the proposal such that the subscription be raised to £20 (single membership) and £30 (joint membership) with a £4 (single membership) or £6 (Joint membership) discount for subscriptions paid by December 31st.

Proposed: Dave Turner
Seconded: Graham Wilton Jones
Votes for the amendment - Carried with one abstention
Votes for the amended proposal - Carried with one abstention

The Committee also proposed that members who can not pay their subscriptions in one lump sum may apply to the Committee for stage payments.

Carried with three against and one abstention

For acceptance of the report by the meeting.

Proposed: John Turner
Seconded: Rob Harper
Carried unam.

The meeting adjourned for lunch at 12.30 and resumed again at 13.10.

1990-91 Committee

As no proposals for Committee posts had been received the Chairman asked for nominations from the floor. Jeff Price was proposed by Nigel Taylor and seconded by Chris Smart. Possible commercial interests/conflicts of interest were then asked to be revealed.  Chris Smart declared that he was the Treasurer of the Council of Southern Caving Clubs.

The following were then voted onto the Committee.

Martin Grass            one against
Stuart MacManus     unam
Chris Smart             two against
Nigel Taylor              unam
Chris Harvey            unam
Ted Humphreys        unam
John Watson            unam
Ian Caldwell             unam
Jeff Price                 unam

The Chairman then asked for nominations for the Committee posts.

Secretary - Martin Grass            Pro Nigel Taylor Sec Dick Fred               Carried with one against

Treasurer - Chris Smart Pro Dave Turner             Sec Nigel Taylor            Carried with two against

Hut Warden ­ Chris Harvey          Pro Rob Harper Sec Ian Caldwell            Carried unam

Hut Engineer - Nigel Taylor         Pro Chris Batstone         Sec Stuart MacManus    Carried with two against

Caving Secretary - Jeff Price Pro Stuart McManus            Sec Ted Humphreys       Carried unam

BB Editor – Ted Humpreys         Pro Rob Harper              Sec Sharon Beatie         Carried unam

Membership Secretary - John Watson Smart        Pro Dick Fred                Sec Chris Smart             Carried unam

Carried Tackle Master - Stuart McManus             Pro Chris Batsone          Sec Bob Hill        Carried unam

Floating member – Ian Caldwell               Pro Martin Grass           Sec Graham Wilton Jones

Carried unam

Non Committee Posts

Librarian - Mike McDonald                      Pro Stuart McManus      Sec Snablet                  Carried unam

Auditor - Barrie Wilton                Pro Stuart McManus      Sec Joan Bennett          Carried unam

St. Cuthbert’s Report

Kangy King read the report (St. Cuthbert’s Swallet Report Progress) to the meeting.

Dave Turner proposed that the BEC underwrite the pledges of money from any member to pay for the report and to guarantee to pay it back within five years.

Seconded: Dany Bradshaw.

An amendment was then made to the proposal by Nigel Taylor that the time limit be two years.

Seconded: Dany Bradshaw
Votes for the amendment - 18 for, 8 against, 12 abstentions.
Votes for the amended proposal - 20 for, 5 against, 8 abstentions.

Mac proposed that the incoming Committee decide on a mechanism for how the money will be paid back.

Seconded: Dave Turner
Votes for the proposal - 22 for, 0 against, 2 abstentions.

The Chairman proposed a vote of thanks to the Cuthbert’s Report working party.

Seconded: Dick Fred
Carried unam

St. Cuthbert’s Lease

A verbal report was given by Nigel Taylor.  The lease is now all signed, sealed and delivered.  A letter was read to the meeting from Andrew Sparrow regarding the clubs relationship with Walt Foxwell (letter dated October 5th 1990).  Ian Caldwell recommended that any feuding or problems with Walt be forgotten as soon as possible and left for time to heal the scars.

Members Resolutions

None had been received

Any Other Business

a)       The meeting asked that the requirements for St. Cuthbert’s leadership be published in the BB in the immediate future. 

Carried unam

b)       Dick Fred proposed that a day fees box be put in the Changing Room. 

Seconded: Ian Caldwell. 
Carried with two against.

c)       Dick Fred proposed that the Committee look into the feasibility of installing an automatic fire extinguishing system for the Library.

Seconded: Glenys Grass. 
Votes for the proposal - 14 for, 12 against, 4 abstentions.

There being no other business the Chairman closed the meeting at 14.16.


Bristol Exploration Club - Membership List 16/12/90

828 Nicolette Abell                    Faukland, Bath
987 Dave Aubrey                       Salisbury, Wiltshire.
20 (L) Bobby Bagshaw               Knowle, Bristol, Avon
392 (L) Mike Baker                    Midsomer Norton, Bath, Avon
1150 David Ball                         Broadheath, Horsham, West Sussex
1024 Miles Barrington                Clutton, Avon
1145 Roz Bateman                    East Harptree, Bristol Avon.
818 Chris Batsone                     Tynings, radstock, Avon
1151 Diane Baxter                     Horsham, West Sussex.
1079 Henry Bennett                   London.
390 (L) Joan Bennett                 Draycott, Somerset
1122 Clive Betts                        Clapham, Bedfordshire.
769 Sue Bishop                        Tynings, Radstock.
1125(J) Rich Blake                    Lawrence Weston, Bristol
1152(J) Sue Beattie                   Lawrence Weston, Bristol
731 Bob Bidmead                      Leigh Woods, Bristol
364 (L) Pete Blogg                    Chaldon, Caterham, Surrey
1114 Pete Bolt                          Cardiff, S. Gamorgan
145 (L) Sybil Bowden-Lyle          Calne, Wiltshire
1104 Tony Boycott                    Westbury on Trim, Bristol, Avon
868 Dany Bradshaw                  Haybridge, Wells, Somerset
1137 Robert Bragg                    Odd Down, Bath, Avon
751 (L) T.A. Bookes                  London, SW2
1140 D Bromhead                     Worlse, Avon
1082 Robin Brown                     Woolavington, Bridgwater, Somerset
1108 Denis Bumford                  Westcombe, Shepton Mallet
1131 Steve Bury                        Worcester
924 (J) Aileen Butcher               Holt, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
849 (J) Alan Butcher                  Holt, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
956 (J) Ian Caldwell                   Clifton, Bristol
1036 (J) Nicola Caldwell             Clifton, Bristol
1091 William Curruthers             Holcombe Bath
1014 Chris Castle                      Axbridge, Somerset
1062 Andy Cave                        Old Mills, Paulton
902 (L) Martin Cavender             Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells, Somerset.
1135 Richard Chaddock             Butliegh, Wooton, Glastonbury
1048 Tom Chapman                  Cheddar, Somerset.
1003 Rachel Clarke                   Draycott, Nr. Cheddar, Somerset
1030 Richard Clarke                  Axbridge, Somerset
211 (L) Clare Coase                   Berkeley-Vale, New South Wales, 2259, Australia
620 Phil Coles                          Totterdown, Bristol
89 (L) Alfie Collins                     Litton, Somerset
377(L) Dick Cooke-Yarborough   Address unknown for some years
727 Bill Cooper                         Address unknown
862 Bob Cork                            Stoke St. Michael, Somerset
1121 Nicholas Cornwell-Smith    Oldham Common, Bristol
1042 Mick Corser                      Cringleford, Norwich, Norfolk
827 Mike Cowlishaw                  Winchester, Hants.
890 Jerry Crick                          Leighton Buzzard, Bucks
896 Pat Cronin                          Knowle, Bristol
1144 Sophie Crook                    Roath, Cardiff
680 Bob Cross                          Knowle, Bristol
1132 Robert Crowe                    London
405 (L) Frank Darbon                 Vernon, British Columbia, Canada
423 (L) Len Dawes                    Minster Matlock, Derbyshire
815 Nigel Dibden                       Holmes Chapel, Cheshire
164 (L) Ken Dobbs                    Beacon Heath, Exeter, Devon
829 (J) Angie Dooley                 Harborne, Birmingham
710 (J) Colin Dooley                  Harborne, Birmingham
1000 (L) Roger Dors                  Priddy, Somerset
1038 Alan Downton                   Headingley, Leeds
830 John Dukes                        Street, Somerset
996 Terry Earley                        Wyle, Warmister, Wiltshire
322 (L) Bryan Ellis                     Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, Somerset
1133 Stephen Ettienne              Hayes, Middlesex
1143 Jane L. Evans                   Roath, Cardiff
232 Chris Falshaw                     Fulwood, Sheffield
1148 Roy Farmer                      Shepton Mallet, Somerset
269 (L) Tom Fletcher                 Bramcote, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
404 (L) Albert Francis                Wells, Somerset
569 (J) Joyce Franklin                Stone, Staffs
469 (J) Pete Franklin                 Stone, Staffs
897 Andrew Garwood                 Pulborough, West Sussex
1142 Angela Garwood                Roath, Cardiff
835 Len Gee                             St. Edgeley, Stockport, Cheshire
1098 Brian Gilbert                     Chingford, London
1069 (J) Angie Glanvill               Chard, Somerset
1017 (J) Peter Glanvill                Chard, Somerset
647 Dave Glover                        Pamber End, Basingstoke, Hampshire
1054 Tim Gould                         Newhaven, Edinburgh
860 (J) Glenys Grass                 Ridgewell, Essex
790 (J) Martin Grass                  Ridgewell, Essex
1009 Robin Gray                       St. Mary’s Road, Meare, Somerset
1123 Ian Gregory                       Clapham., Bedford
1124 Martin Gregory                  Clapham, Bedfordshire
1113 Arthur Griffin                     Alperton, Wembley
1089 Kevin Gurner                     Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex
1088 Nick Gymer                      Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex
582 Chris Hall                           Long Lane, Redhill, Bristol
432(L) Nigel Hallet                     Address unknown for some years
104 (L) Mervyn Hannam             St Annes, Lancashire
999 Rob Harper                         Somerset
581 Chris Harvey                       Paulton, Somerset
4 (L) Dan Hassell                      Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset
1078 Mike Hearn                       Compton Bishop, Axbridge, Somerset
1117 Pete Hellier                       Nempnet Thrubwell, Chew Stoke, Bristol
974 Jeremy Henley                    Shepton Mallet, Somerset
952 Bob Hill                              Sultanate of Oman
1105 Joanna Hills                      Billinshurst, W. Sussex
373 (J) Sid Hobbs                      Priddy, Wells Somerset
736 (J) Sylvia Hobbs                  Priddy, Wells Somerset
905 Paul Hodgson                     Burcott, Wells, Somerset
898 (J) Liz Hollis                       Batcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
899 (J) Tony Hollis                     Batcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
1094 Peter Hopkins                   Keynsham, Bristol.
971 Colin Houlden                     Briston, London, SW2
923 Trevor Hughes                     Bleadney, Wells, Somerset
855 Ted Humphreys                  Wells, Somerset
73 Angus Innes                         Alveston, Bristol, Aven
540 (L) Dave Irwin                      Priddy, Somerset
1141 Gary Jago                         Farrington Guerney, Avon
922 Tony Jarratt                        Priddy, Somerset
668 Mike Jeanmaire                  Peak Forest, Buxton, Derbyshire
1026 Ian Jepson                        Beechen Cliff, Bath
51 (L) A Johnson                       Flax Bourton, Bristol
995 Brian Johnson                     Ottery St. Mary, Devon
1001 Graeme Johnson               Cosby, Leicester
1111 Graham Johnson               Wells, Somerset
560 (L) Frank Jones                   Priddy, Somerset
907 Karen Jones                       Stoke St. Michael, Somerset
567 (L) Alan Kennett                  Henleaze, Brsitol
884 John King                           Wisborough Green, West Sussex
316 (L) Kangy King                    Pucklechurch, Bristol, Aven
542 (L) Phil Kingston                 Brisbane, Queensland, 4122, Australia
413 (L) R. Kitchen                     Horrabridge, Yelverton, Devon
946 Alex Ragnar Knutson          Bedminster, Bristol
1116 Stuart Lain                        Yeovil, Somerset
667 (L) Tim Large                      Shepton Mallet
1129 Dave Lennard                    Wells, Somerset
1015 Andrew Lolly                     Kingsdowm, Bristol
1065 Mark Lovell                       Brislington, Bristol
1043 Andy Lovell                       Templecloud, Bristol
1072 Clive Lovell                        Keynsham, Bristol
1057 Mark Lumley                     Stoke St. Michael, Somerset
1100 Sarah McDonald               London
1022 Kevin Macklin                   Clevedon, Avon
1149 Ian Marchant                     Hove, Sussex
106 (L) E.J. Mason                    Henleaze, Bristol
651 Pete MacNab (Sr)               Cheddar, Somerset
1052 (J) Pete MacNab (Jr)          Alexandra Park, Redland, Bristol
1071 Mike McDonald                 Knowle, Bristol, Avon
550 (L) R A MacGregor              Baughurst, Basingstoke, Hants
725 Stuart McManus                 Priddy, Somerset
558 (L) Tony Meaden                 Westbury, Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset
704 Dave Metcalf                       Whitwick, Leics.
1044 Andrw Middleton               Earlsfield, London.
1053 Steve Milner                      S.A. 5051, Australia
936 Dave Nichols                      Praze, Camborne, Cornwall
1086 Richard Neville-Dove          Keynsham, Bristol
936 Dave Nicholls                      Praze, Camborne, Cornwall
852 John Noble                         Paulton, Bath
624 Jock Orr                             Sturton-by-Stowe, Lincoln
396 (L) Mike Palmer                  Yarley, Wells, Somerset
1045 Rich Payne                       Sidcup , Kent
22 (L) Les Peters                      Knowle Park, Bristol Avon
1134 Martin Peters                    Chew Stoke, Avon.
1107 Terry Phillips                     Denmead, Hants.
499 (L) A. Philpot                      Bishopston, Bristol, Avon
1037 Dave Pike                         High Littleton, Nr. Bristol, Avon
337 Brian Prewer                       Priddy, Wells, Somerset
1085 Duncan Price                    Exhall, Coventry
886 Jeff Price                            Knowle, Bristol, Avon
1109 Jim Rands                        Stonebridge Park, London NW10
481 (L) John Ransom                 Patchway, Bristol, Avon
1126 Steve Redwood                 Banwell, Nr. Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
343(L) Tony Rich                       Address unknown for some years
662 (J) John Riley                      Chapel le Dale, Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs.
1033 (J) Sue Riley                     Chapel le Dale, Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs
1070 Mary Robertson                Stonebridge Park, London, NW10
985 Phil Romford                       Address unknown yet!!
921 Pete Rose                          Crediton, Devon
832 Roger Sabido                      Lawrence Weston, Bristol
240 (L) Alan Sandall                  Nailsea, Avon
359 (L) Carol Sandall                 Nailsea, Avon
760 Jenny Sandercroft               c/o Barrie Wilton
237 (L) Bryan Scott                   Winchester Hnts
570 Joy Dcovell                         Transvaal, South Africa
78 (L) R Setterington                 Taunton, Somerset
213 (L) Rod Setterington            Harpendon, Herts
1046 Dave Shand                      Address unknown as yet
1128 Vince Simmonds               Eat Harptree, Avon
881 Alistair Simpson                 Yarley, Wells, Somerset
915 Chris Smart                        Nr. Bradford on Avon, Wilts
911 Jim Smart                          Bristol
1041 Laurence Smith                 West Horrington, Wells, Somerset
823 Andy Sparrow                     Priddy, Somerset
1063 Nicholas Sprang                Whittington Worcestershire
1 (L) Harry Stanbury                  Bude, Cornwall
38(L) Mrs I Stanbury                  Address unknown
1138 Jonathan Stanniland          Worlebury, Weston-super-Mare, Avon
575 (L) Dermot Statham             Westcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
365 (L) Roger Stenner                Weston super Mare, Avon
1084 Richard Stephens              Wells, Somerset
867 Rich Stevenson                   Street, Somerset
583 Derek Targett                      East Horrington, Wells Somerset
1115 Rob Taviner                       High Street, East Harptree
1039 Lisa Taylor                        Weston, Bath
772 Nigel Taylor                        Langford, Avon
1147 Simon Taylor                    Draycott, Cheddar, Somerset
1139 Fiona Teague                    Leeds
1035 John Theed                       Farmborough, Bath
284 (L) Alan Thomas                 Priddy, Somerset
348 (L) D Thomas                      Bartlestree, Hereford
571 (L) N Thomas                      Salhouse, Norwich, Norfolk.
1067 Fiona Thompson               Stoke Gifford, Bristol
699 (J) Buckett Tilbury               High Wycombe, Bucks
700 (J) Anne Tilbury                   High Wycombe, Bucks
74 (L) Dizzie Thompsett-Clark    Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex
381 (L) Daphne Towler               Bognor Regis, Sussex
382 Steve Tuck                         Dousland, Yelverton, Devon
1023 Matt Tuck                         Dousland, Yelverton, Devon
1136 Hugh Tucker                     Westham, Wedmore, Somerset
1066 Alan Turner                       Leigh on Mendip, Bath, Avon
678 Dave Turner                        Leigh on Mendip, Bath, Avon
912 John Turner                        Tavistock, Devon.
1154 Karen Turvey                     Hemmock, Cullompton, Devon
635 (L) Stuart Tuttlebury            Boundstone, Farnham, Surrey
1096 Maurice van Luipen            Address unknown yet
887 Greg Villis                          Banwell, Weston-super-Mare, Avon
175 (L) Mrs. D. Whaddon           Taunton, Somerset
1077 Brian Wafer                      St. Pauls Cray, Orpington, Kent
949 (J) John Watson                  Somerset
1019 (J) Lavinia Watson             Somerset
973 James Wells                      Shelbyville, KY 40065, USA
1055 Oliver Wells                      Yorktown Heights, New York, USA
1032 Barry Wharton                  Yatton, Bristol
553 Bob White                          Bleadney, Nr. Wells, Somerset.
1118 Carol White                      Cheddar, Somerset
878 Ross White                        Cotham
1092 Babs Williams                  Knowle, Bristol, Avon
1068 John Whiteley                   Newton Abbot, S. Devon.
1061 Kerry Wiggins                   c/o Dave Glover.
1031 Mike Wigglesworth            Wells, Somerset.
1087 John Williams                   Clapham
1146 Les Williams                     Prestleigh, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
1075 (J) Tony Williams              Leigh on Mendip, Bath
1076 (J) Roz Williams                Leigh on Mendip, Bath
1130 (J) Mike Wilson (snr)         Keynsham, Avon
1153 Mike Wilson (jnr)               Whitchurch, Bristol
559 (J) Barrie Wilton                  Haydon, Nr. Wells, Somerset
568 (J) Brenda Wilton                Haydon, Nr. Wells, Somerset
850 (J) Annie Wilton-Jones         Llanlley Hill, Abergavenny, Gwent
813 (J) Ian Wilton-Jones             Llanlley Hill, Abergavenny, Gwent
721 G Wilton-Jones                   Watton, Thetford, Norfolk
1112 Catherine Wood                Croyde Farm, Croyde, North Devon.
877 Steven Woolven                  West Chilington, West Sussex
914 Brian Workman                   Catcott, Bridgwater, Somerset
477 Ronald Wyncoll                  Holycroft, Hinkley, Leics.
683 Dave Yeandle                     Bristol.


CSCC Handbook and Box Mines

The CSCC handbook will shortly be published, however in the meantime Council would like to draw your attention to the request from the MOD regarding access to Box Stone Mine.


            Backdoor Entrance                    ST 8365 6930

            Lady Hamilton II Entrance           ST 8332 6874

            Jack's Workings Entrance          ST 8328 6862

This is the most extensive mine of its type and several rescues have been necessary in the past to find parties who had become lost.  Some areas of the mine are very unstable.  All the entrances are situated in woodland above and to the east of Box. There are no known access problems. Visitors are reminded that the entrances are all on private property and although there are no known requirements to gain permission, any requests by the landowner must be respected.  Some areas of the mine back onto MOD property and cavers are requested not to attempt to progress beyond the MOD barriers in the Wind Tunnel.  The MOD Police have requested that they are informed of any visits at least one hour in advance by a phone call to Copenacre Control Room on Hawthorn 810711

Membership Changes

We welcome six new members, who are: -

David Ball, Diana Ruth Baxter, Roy Farmer, Ian Marchant, Karen Turvey and Mr Wilson (Junior).

We also welcome two members who have rejoined the club.  These are: -

Rachel Clarke and Kevin Macklin.

All their addresses etc. are in the membership list.


Library News

Several developments - no messing - here they are, listed for idiots.

a)       New mega-survey of OFD purchased.  It's about 10ft long so too big to display anywhere. Trebor will photo-copy bits of it if anyone wants a certain section.

b)       After a few requests, I've asked our beloved Editor to publish a list of the Clubs and Groups we have reciprocal Newsletter exchanges with.  (See page 32. Ed.)

c)       The AGM decided that 2 months was the maximum time a book could be borrowed from the library.

d)       Guide books e.g. Mendip Underground, are not to be removed from the library.

e)       Pete Bolt has replaced one of the books he lost.  Hopefully we will get a cash donation for the second one which is probably irreplaceable.

f)        Stewi – where is ‘Darkness Beckons'?

g)       I’ve put on disc a list of all our principal books and a copy will be pinned to the back of the library door.  A printout sheet is available on request.  It will be added to as and if we get new books. I'll gradually put on other items such as Mountaineering books and Journals as and when I get time.

h)       Our collection of videos is increasing.  We now have the use of a second one, diving in Warbla Cave on the Nullarbor in Australia.  I will be purchasing some blank tapes in due course so we can copy existing caving/diving videos.  These will be rented out at competitive rates.



Caving Secretary's Update

Jeff Price

I am currently trying to arrange next year's BEC cave meets.  If anybody would like any particular caves booked, can they let me know as soon as possible.  In particular Yorkshire caves as some of them have to be booked and permits obtained.  I am going to try for one weekend away each month starting in December. You can ring me on; - 0272 724296.

The trips I am booking as yet are; - Penyghent Pot, Lost John's, Peak Cavern, Otter Hole and weekends in Devon, Derbyshire and Gower.

There are caving trips and/or digging trips every Wednesday, meeting at the Belfry at 7.30 pm. Leaders are always wanted for St. Cuthbert’s on Wednesday evenings!

We now have a new permit for OFD 2 and Cwm Dwr.  Just turn up at Penwyllt any time mid-week.  You need to pre-book by phone to arrange a key.

The St. Cuthbert’s keys will be changed in the near future, leaders will be notified.  (Not all key holders are leaders. Ed).  Also a St. Cuthbert’s leaders meeting is to be arranged.

There follows lists of members who are leaders for Mendip and/or S. Wales caves, the prospective expeditions in 1991 and the club meets so far arranged.  If any member's have been omitted from the leaders lists, can they please get in touch with me with their relevant details as soon as possible.


Expeditions - 1991

Crete (1 week)                                    Jeff Price

France PSM (2 weeks. June/July)        Jeff Price/Dany Bradshaw

Austria (last 2 weeks in August)           Richard Blake

Scotland (1 week)                               Tony Jarratt

Matienzo (Xmas - permit?)

Contact the leaders for more information.

Meets - 1991

Sat Jan 19th. Caves of Crook Peak.  Mendip. 9.30 am Belfry car park. Leader:- N. Taylor.

Sat Feb 9th. Rock & Fountain. Wales. From Belfry or R&F car park 10 o'clock (limited numbers). Leader: - M. Grass.

Sat March 9th. DYO. Wales. Belfry or DYO car park 9.30 for 10 (limited numbers). Leader: - Tim Large.

Sat May 18th. Wookey Hole evening trip.  B/suit, lamp/helmet etc.  A chance to poke around the upper series and general wander around.  Leader: - M. Grass.

June 15th Penyghent Pot

Many more to come when booked!

Mendip Cave Leaders


1.         Jeff Price
2.         Martin Grass
3.         Basset
4.         Dave Irwin


1.         Jeremy Henley
2.         Chris Smart
3.         Jeff Price



1.         Martin Grass
2.         Mike McDonald
3.         Basset
4.         Tim Large
5.         Richard Stevenson


1.         Martin Grass

O.F.D.  1

1.         Martin Grass
2.         Mike Palmer
3.         Richard Stevenson
4.         Basset
5.         Dave Irwin
6.         Brian Prewer
7.         Greg Villis

B.E.C. St. Cuthbert’s Leaders     December 1990

1          Chris Batstone
2          Chris Smart
3          Martin Grass
4          Andy Cave
5          Tim Large
6          Mike Palmer
7          Andy Sparrow
8          Greg Villis
9          Ian Caldwell
10         John Dukes
11         Ted Humphreys
12         Mike McDonald
13         Brian Prewer
14         Nigel Taylor
15         Basset
16         Chris Castle
17         Pete Glanville
18         Kangy King
19         Dave Turner
20         Brian Workman
21         Stuart McManus
22         Chris Harvey
23         Pete Hellier

If people want leaders for trips down St. Cuthbert’s they can either do it through me or contact one of the above leaders directly.

Jeff Price – Caving Sec.

St. Cuthbert’s Leaders Guest Leaders

1          John Beauchamp (MCG)
2          Alan Butcher (SMCC)
3          Tony Knibs (MCG)
4          Alison Moody (WCC)
5          Tony Boycott (UBSS)
6          Malcolm Cotter (MCG)
7          Ray Mansfield (UBSS)
8          Graham Price (CSS)
9          Miles Barrington (MEG)


Bristol Exploration Club - Exchange/Complimentary List 16/12/90

Axbridge Caving Group


BEC Library - 2 Copies

Biblioteca del Gruppo.  Speleogico Bolognese del CAI. Via Independenza 2.  40121 Bologna, Italy

Bradford Pothole Club

Cerberus SS

Chelsea SS

Croydon Caving Club


Devon SS

Dr. H. Trinwel., Obere Donaustrasse, Austria

Gloucester SS

Grampian SS

Grosvenor Caving Club

Hades Caving Club

Mendip Cave Registry

Mendip Caving Group

Northern Pennine Club

Plymouth Caving Group

Red Rose CPC


South African Spel. Assn., P.O. Box 6166, Johannesburg, South Africa



Wells Museum

Wessex Cave Club

West Virginia A.C.S.

Westminster SG

The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: Dave Turner

AGM -10.30am Sat 3rd October at the Belfry

Dinner - 7.30 for 8.00pm Sat 3rd October at the Caveman, Cheddar tickets £8 from Trebor

Dinner Menu

Minestrone Soup with Parmesan Cheese


Liver and Bacon Pate with Melba Toast


Roast Sirloin of Beef Yorkshire Pudding and Horseradish Sauce


Prime Roast Turkey with Bacon, Chipolata Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce


Brussel Sprouts Buttered Carrots

Roast Potatoes Parsley Potatoes Boiled


Home Made Sherry Trifle


Black Forest Gateaux with Fresh Cream


Viennese Coffee with Fresh Dairy Cream and mints


Annual General Meeting  - 3rd October 1987


  1. Election of Chairman

2.       Apologies for absence

3.       Collection of members resolutions

4.       Minutes of the 1986 Annual General Meeting

5.       Matters arising from the 1986 Minutes

6.       Hon. Secretary's Report

7.       Hon. Treasurer's Report

8.       Hon. Auditor's Report

9.       Caving Secretary's Report

10.   Hut Warden's Report

11.   Tacklemaster's Report

12.   BB Editor's Report

13.   Hut Engineer's Report

14.   Librarian's Report

15.   Ian Dear Memorial Fund Report

16.   Election of Committee Posts

17.   Appointment of Hon. Auditor

18.   Any Other Business

Committee changes 1987

There will not be an election this year.

Resigning:         Mark Lumley
                        Brian Workman
                        Tony Jarratt

New Committee members:

            John Watson                 Proposed Tony Jarratt, seconded Steve Milner
            Richard Neville-Dove       Proposed Mike McDonald, seconded Tony Jarratt

Barry Wilton has agreed to stand as Hon. Auditor as Joan Bennett is retiring from the post this year

A.G.M. resolution

The following resolution has been compiled by the Committee and submitted to the A.G.M. as the M.R.O. has requested that the arrangement for the use of the Stone Belfry as the M.R.O. Store be put on a more formal standing.

Proposed on behalf of the committee to the A.G.M.:-

That we instruct our solicitor to prepare a lease or licence, giving the M.R.O. an official standing, regarding their tenure of the present M.R.O. Store, which forms part of the 'STONE BELFRY'. This document is to be prepared with reference to the following guide lines.

1.                  The M.R.O. may not make any external alterations to the building, excluding repairs to the roof or windows.

2.                  Either party may cancel the agreement, on giving 6 months notice of their intention to do so.

3.                  The M.R.O. may make internal alterations to their allotted part of the store, providing that there is no damage to the structure.

4.                  The M.R.O. will have the right of access to the store.

5.                  Any future proposed changes to the agreement may only be passed at a general meeting of the club.


Hon. Secretary’s Report

Officers’ Reports

The A.G.M. cometh, once again another year has slipped by.  The Club has again been active throughout the year both caving wise and in the other activities in which cavers indulge.  Membership is still rising slowly and it was nice to see that only a few members did not continue their membership this year.

Last year’s meeting requested that action should be taken to secure a lease on the land surrounding the Cuthbert’s entrance.  Work still carries on here, many letters have passed twixt ourselves, Cluttons (Agents for Inveresk) and the appointed "Inveresk" solicitor.  The progress so far has been; a lease being offered at a nominal rent (£100 per annum) covering a rather larger piece of land than we originally asked for provided that we were prepared to pay the legal costs incurred by the mill in setting up such a lease.  We agreed to pay no more than £150 plus VAT and the ball was returned to their court, and we await their reply.

Whilst on the subject of Cuthbert’s, Dave Irwin has been hard at work on the Cuthbert's Report, and has attended meetings of the Committee to update the Club on progress. With the help of Barry Wilton and a small team of publication producing specialists, he hopes to have it at the printers by Easter next year.

Wind is and always will be a problem at the Belfry, but never so much as one night earlier in the year when a cool Mendip breeze removed a large proportion of the tackle store roof (mainly above the M.R.O. section).  The M.R.O. were evacuated to the library and the tackle to the showers. Obviously the M.R.O. section had to be repaired with great haste if the service was to remain operational in its usual efficient form.  The following agreement was made with the M.R.O.; that the Club would bear the cost of materials to renew the roof and would do the work in their own time.  If the M.R.O. required the job to be done in less time the Club had no objections to them paying a builder to complete the work. The M.R.O. instantly agreed to stand any labour costs and the job was done in double quick time.  It is now for the A.G.M. to decide if they want to collect such monies from the M.R O.

After the above, the M.R.O. realised that they have no formal standing in relation to the rescue store, and asked the club if it would be possible to resolve this.  The Committee saw no reason why this should not be done and has submitted a proposal to the A.G.M. giving guide lines on how they feel this should be done.

The tackle store was built for the Club by "Alfie" and Jill Tuck.  The saddest news of the year was that of Jill's death.  She was well known and liked by the older members and, not long before she died, she went on a trip to the Risca lead mines which her husband Norman and a number of the younger members, who all enjoyed meeting her.  She always had the club's interests at heart and in her will she bequeathed us £1000. The Committee decided to spend this on upgrading the library and dedicating it to Jill.  A tree will also be planted on the Belfry site in her memory.  Norman has now taken up Jill’s membership of the club.

On a brighter note the Club organised the Wessex Challenge this year and again won it.  A substantial sum of money was raised by this event and credit must be given to Andy Sparrow and his helpers for organising the event and to Dany and Brian Workman for the catering.

A sad loss to the Club will be that of its long standing auditor, Joan Bennett is resigning from the position this year after many years invaluable service to the Club.  I am sure she has all our thanks for doing such a great Job for so long.

The Committee will also suffer the loss of three or its number who have worked very hard in the Club's interest.  Brian Workman has been Membership, Sec. for a number of years and has put the Club into the age of the computer with his attempt to regulate the membership lists. Mark Lumley, the committee room will be a quieter place without him.  He has been Caving Sec. for 2 years and the emphasis has definitely been on "caving".  Tony Jarratt leaves the Hut Warden's position so he may get to grips with the new Jill Tuck memorial library.

There is no election this year as three people have left the Committee and two have been nominated, therefore these people are automatically elected.  I have again enjoyed the year's work but. I will tender my resignation now in readiness for the 1988 A.G.M. as I feel that holding a post for more than three years you may become a little fed up and not do the job as well as when you are first elected. Bob Cork, Hon. Sec.


Treasurer’s Report

1.                  This year has been a particularly topsy-turvy year with lots of money going in and out of the accounts.  Cash flow, as usual, has been a problem with irregular and sometimes large sums being spent and received.  Members can help by paying Subscriptions and Hut fees on time.

2.                  A feature if this year's income has been the fall off of Bednight income (£1853 as opposed to £2195 last year) and desertion by the Services (Army & Navy) in recent months.

3.                  We made a healthy profit on the Wessex Challenge from Food and the Bar, not intentionally but perhaps we didn't think carefully enough about the cost of tickets and food. I see no reason why we should not make a profit on such events and as it turned out we certainly needed the money, but we ought to set the level of prices a little better next year.

4.                  The electricity bill is another large item which is currently being investigated and the Electricity Board will re-checking the metering for defect in due course.

5.                  Sales of sweat and T-shirts have not been up to expectations and hence we still have a deficit of £214 to erase to break even.

6.                  The Belfry itself has not been self-financing this year principally because we had to spend over £1300 on Act of God repairs on the tackle store roof.  We should recoup some of this expenditure back from the Insurance Company in due course.  If it had not been for this unplanned expenditure then the Belfry would have paid for itself by about  £500.

7.                  The Jill Tuck library fund has now been completely extinguished by the completion of the purchase of new bookcases.  We still need a few more cases to complete the housing of all our material and this will be done as funds arise.

8.                  The Ian Dear Memorial Fund is slouching along slowly.  Our injection of £100 pa from the General Fund is helping to keep the account in the black and as nobody drew on it this year the amount available stands at £298.

9.                  Our priorities this year are recommended as follows:

A)                   Complete the re-fitting of the library

B)                   Purchase caving tackle required by the Tackle Master.

C)                   Complete the numerous Hut jobs, drying room etc.

10.              I recommend that the Subscriptions and the Hut fees remain the same.  The members can help financial planning and cash flow paying subs and hut fees on time.

11.              A major project for 1988 will re the financing of the St. Cuthbert’s Report.

12.              I consider the year financially to have been busy and productive.  We have been able to weather the storm of Belfry fire improvements and roof repairs out of our own funds without the need to borrow. Providing members and guests use the Belfry regularly, remain actively involved in the club and pay all dues on time, we should have a good year in 1988.

M.C. McDonald


Hut Warden's Report

The last year has seen regular use of the Belfry by many members and guests.  It has survived numerous barrels, riots and even a visit from the Fire Brigade!  In general the Hut Warden considers that despite everything the place has been kept reasonably tidy by those staying there and wishes to thank the usual hardcore who clean up the mess and all those who were press-ganged into sherpering the dustbins down the track.  The Hon. Treasurer has details of income, expenditure and bed nights.

The present Hut Warden wishes to resign his post at the A.G.M. as he would like to concentrate more on the library during the forthcoming year.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN MEMBERS WHO REGULARLY AVOID PAYING HUT FEES.  They all know who they are and if they don’t cough up at the A.G.M., it is likely that they will be banned from the Belfry until they pay up.

A.R. Jarratt 1/9/87

B.B. Editor's Report

I have produced 5 Bulletins since the last A.G.M., somewhere during the year I slipped a month or 2 mainly due to pressure of work rather than lack of material.  As last year I have had a reasonable supply of articles and I thank all members contributing to the B.B.  I could always do with more but would rather publish a smaller B.B. with interesting and relevant articles rather than pad it for the sake of extra pages. The B.B. can only reflect the activeness of the Club and so as long as we keep digging and going to Austria etc. my life as Editor will be reasonably easy.

A couple of the articles published this year have already been published in other clubs journals. In general I try to avoid this, but I will continue to print such material if the information is useful or relevant to the B.E.C. and I apologise to members who find that they have already read an article in another club’s journal.

Last year I commented on the time it took to have the B.B. printed, typically 4 weeks.  I am pleased to say that this year we have reduced this to about 2 days by using a small printer in Frome, thus making the B.B. much less out of date by the time members read it.

Dave Turner 23/9/87


Caving Secretary’s Report.

The year got off to a slow start with regards to discoveries on Mendip, diggers plans still being thrown off course by courtesy of the NCC.  However, BEC diggers being resourceful types, crowbars were wielded in more obscure, remote sites where the so called powers that be hadn't poked their grubby little noses.

Wigmore was dug on a regular weekend and Wednesday night basis throughout the autumn and winter and we progressed slowly but steadily through a bedding in the marl.  The site still looks good but attention has been diverted elsewhere for the time being.

Hunters Hole has received a large amount of the club digger’s attention and Sanctimonious Passage has been extended for about 100ft to a tight, wet constriction.  The bad air in this section has turned it into a fortnightly dig in recent weeks (J. Rat's face turned blue from excess of CO2)!

The Cheddar caves contingent of the BEC claimed fame in two ways earlier this year, Andy Sparrow, breaking into 500ft of stream passage in Pierres Pot with the cave family Moody. Meanwhile Chris Castle, made history by being the first man to be rescued from 2 show caves in one day!

In Eastwater 50ft of new passage and the possibility of a new route appeared with J’Rat & Co's discovery of Aven Skavinsky just off Ifold series.

John Watson & Lawrence Smith have been tentatively probing a horrific rift in Manor farm while the Eckford factor has pushed Halloween Rift closer to Wookey Hole.

Meanwhile, the Rock Steady Crew staged a 9 day camp in Daren Cilau and subsequently broke into 1200ft of gruelling passage heading towards the Clydach Gorge.  The club also obtained its own Aggy key and began a long term dig at Midnight Passage.

More recently Andy Sparrow, Tom Chapman and Snablet managed to break into a new chamber in Goatchurch which has a promising site for further extensions.

The Keynsham crowd are determined to get back into caving as soon as the Hunters is drunk dry and there's a race on between the Worcester Boys to see if they can get through Swildons Three before the turn of the century.

One of the major club projects of the past few months has been the stabilising and subsequent push of Bowery Corner Swallet.  The site was in a sorry state when we started, with the loose, shale sided depression threatening to undermine the adjacent field.  With a labour intensive effort under the supervision of Stumpy the Rocksmith we erected a solid, breeze block foundation with a 12ft entrance pitch through three concrete pipes.  The site is now stable and we have mined a passage through the shale for about 50ft into a natural stream washed rift.  Hopes are high for the near future- the way things are going it looks as though the Wexeys will be buying the digging barrel this year!

The club expedition to Austria was a great success this year.  Jagerhohle (last year’s discovery) was pushed to a sump at minus 700m. Orkanhohle is now over 300 metres deep and still going strong while the Croydon’s new discovery, Magnumhohle is down to 200 metres deep with the way on still open.

I shall be in Mexico for 3 months next year; consequently I don’t feel that I will be in a position to do the job of Caving Secretary efficiently.  I'll stand down therefore and wish best of luck to my successor.

Mark Lumley.


Membership Secretary Report

Although the post of membership secretary has only officially existed for a year the job has been mine, along with the distribution of the BB's for nearly three years.  In that time I have tried to make the job more accountable in both the recording of membership payments and the cross referencing of that information to the BB address list.

Needless to say any system you care to devise would be open to the complex problems of extracting money and address changes from some of the members within the club.  It is interesting to note that every year it's the same group of members who fall into this category, and I don't believe there’s an excuse that I haven’t heard.

Most methods of getting subscriptions from people have been tried; one I would recommend not to try again is the standing order.  These are always out of date no matter many times you tell some members.

As most of you are aware the address list is now held on a computer, which controls the printing of the address label you find on the envelope of your BB.  Within the file that holds this information a record is kept of the current members (those who have paid their subs before the following April).  This record is used to control the output of labels which means those who will receive a BB!!!

The current membership statistics are listed below and I’ll leave Alfie to produce any trends and caving habits from these in years to come.  A complete listing of members will be available at the AGM to allow any changes to be marked up before the list is published in the next BB.

I'm sure the next membership secretary will want to change the way things are done but I do hope that the link between the membership and the BB distribution is not broken as the BB is for some people the only contact with the club, especially those abroad.

Finally one address change: Brian and Lucy Workman, Catcott, Bridgwater. I’d better make sure I get this one in!

Brian Workman 


Tackle Masters Report

This year it has become plain that the club does not possess enough tackle for general use.  In particular we are short of ladder and lifelines.  Situations arise when all of the 19 ladders are used: when places such as the West End, Hunters Hole and other ‘active-spots’ are rigged, when ladders are temporarily withdrawn for dipping and when there is the inevitable borrow-and-forget-to-return ploy there is not enough ladder for either members or visitors to use on a casual basis at the weekends.

To attempt to rectify this situation a ladder making weekend was organised.  With the help of a few and the advice of many, a handful of ladders were made and put into circulation and several were put aside for finishing. This was a happy situation until some old ladders were retired and one of the new ones had a rung slip.  We were back to square one with not enough ladders. I am completing the unfinished ladders and we have purchased 4 more ladders as we simply do not appear to have the time and expertise to make more.

Six 150' lifelines have been purchased to complement the 2 x 150' , 1 x 200' and the 1 x 60' (now missing). All the old tethers have been retired and 10 new ones of various lengths  have been made.

The SRT rope (plus hangers and maillons) are in excellent condition and have been used only on a handful of club Yorkshire trips.  It is still available for use, just get in touch with the Tackle Master and the conditions for use will be described (give plenty of warning).

One or two grumbles; some people do not sign tackle in and out, some return it in a filthy or rusty condition (4 ladders were returned 2 weeks ago in this state).  It is your tackle please look after it!

General.  We have two sets of Suunto Compass and Clino's, these are about to be re-aligned.  We have numerous tackle bags, ice-axes, snow-shoes and digging tackle, all are available for use.  If you can't find anything get in touch with the Tackle Master.

Steve Milner


40ft Closer To Wookey,  35ft Closer To Cheddar

Two small but significant breakthroughs have occurred on the digging fronts.  Following another bang in Sanctimonious Passage, Hunters Hole, the writer managed to pass the previous limit to find his supposed sump was merely a 10ft long, 2 inch deep pool.  Beyond this, some 40ft of well decorated passage was explored to a stal blockage. Sadly the passage was not large enough to contain both the formations and the explorer.  A further bang at the end should reveal more cave as there is a good echo.  To make life easier a couple of spoil shifting trips are needed.  Any offers?

At our other promising site, Bowery Corner Swallet, we have recently broken into some 35ft of relatively roomy stream passage degenerating into a low, wet crawl with a floor of mud and stones.  This is being actively dug as the way on seems to be open.  Water runs away easily and there is a traditional "good draught".  Digging takes place on Wednesday nights and weekends.

Wigmore Swallet, Halloween Rift and various sites in Eastwater are awaiting attention.

Tony Jarratt  21/9/87


Eastwater - History Of Terminal Rift Digging Efforts

During research on the history of exploration in Eastwater Cavern it was noticed that there was nothing published on the major digging efforts at Terminal Rift during the mid seventies.  I contacted Keith "Ben" Bentham of Eldon Pothole Club who kindly forwarded the relevant information which was clarified and enlarged by Pete Eckford.  For the benefit of future speleo­historians the combined information appears below.  The remains of the "aqueduct" are still lying at the top of the 13 Pots and as the B.E.C. have taken upon themselves to clean up the cave these shou1d be removed when convenient..

Tony Jarratt  18.8.87

On a visit to the terminal rift, Keith Betham (E.P.C.) Pete Eckford (B.E.C.) and Pete Hiscock (S.M.C.C.) noticed that the water was sinking under the right hand wall some 10ft from the pool.  A dig was started in September 1974 with Martin Bishop (B.E.C.) helping on one occasion and Jeff Price (W.C.C.) logged on two trips (Wessex Journal 157).  Excavation of this sink revealed a choked descending 2ft 6ins diameter passage.  Material from the dig was hauled in one gallon paint containers into Sand Chamber where it was stacked using woven plastic bags – a stacking system which, in other digs, has proved very effective.

In October 1974, the water which had previously prevented digging at the site in wet weather was diverted from the Thirteen Pots by using an aerial aqueduct constructed from 6in diameter plastic pipes and tractor inner tube supported on a tightened rope. This carried the stream from Harris's Passage, over the head of the Thirteen Pots, into the Muddy Oxbow.  The pipes came from the old Cuthbert’s Sump One dig.

In November 1974, the dig broke into two avens about 20ft and 30ft high but they were too tight and so digging continued in the floor.  The dig was hampered by tourists treading on the pipe and breaking it, resulting in about half an hour of each trip being spent in bailing the dig. After some 25ft of digging, the passage, alas, ox-bowed back into the Terminal Rift and the Pool flooded into the dig necessitating abandonment of the site.

In the B.E.C. Log Book are recorded five trips by Pete Eckford and Pete Hiscock, three by P.E. and Ben, and two by P.E alone.  All were of the order of five hours duration so treble that figure would give some idea of the man-hours spent on the dig.  There are doubtless many unrecorded trips.  The last trip seems to have been in late 1975 or early 1976 when P.E. and Ben spent two hours bailing the dig.  It is thought that the site has not been investigated thoroughly since.

Ben belatedly wishes to thank all persons who assisted with the dig and to all the Mendip clubs who supplied equipment.

Keith Bentham (B.P.C.)
Pete Eckford (B.E.C.)


NHASA invited to Windsor

To devotees of the Somerset and Dorset Railway Windsor Hill is the site of the twin single bore tunnels, but to cavers it is the area in which the first 'pretty' was found on Eastern Mendip, now known as Windsor Hill Quarry Cave.  By the 1970's much had of course been located in that general area, and expectations were high for the Windsor site in particular.  The railway and its associated quarries had closed and general access had become easier.

The Windsor Quarry area is roughly three-quarters of a mile by a half and lies at a mean height of 600ft. The surface streams, where present, drain southwest towards Croscombe passing through Ham Wood.  It is a quiet area, peaceful in its new role as an industrial archaeological site, with the exception of the regular vandal who tries to destroy our winching systems.  The tree that supported our derrick was nearly destroyed by an explosion and several efforts were made to cut it down.  [Unfortunately he has now succeeded and the tree is destroyed - Ed]

As usual, interest was developing from several sources.  The B.E.C. represented by Albert Francis, Mike Palmer and others, dug on the north side of the railway in the late 60's and one would expect, others to have tried their luck as well.  In the early 70's, Hedley Hill, Shepton Mallet Scouts Leader, was looking for a dig site, and his ploy when approached by members of NHASA was to pretend that he was the landlord.  Mike Thompson spotted the site on a walk down the valley and he and Jim Hanwell followed up with a spot of dowsing.  NHASA then adopted it after abortive efforts at Doubleback and Rock Swallet.

The site comprises a little valley whose southern side is a minor scarp slope at right angles to the dip, and the other side is the railway on a small embankment.  At the head of the valley is a culvert emerging from the railway.  The floor drains down to a quarry and there are open holes for the water in the scarp and also adjacent to the embankment.  Our site lay in the valley floor and may have been opened by the railway engineers in the 1870's - now there's a thought for the record books!

Say seven years work, or about 350 Wednesday evenings, and it can all be summarized in a few words. One can write pages of detail but unfortunately it must all be compressed into a few phrases.  We work as a team and each person contributes his or her skills and talents, so it isn't generally necessary to mention any particular name in relation to an incident or bit of kit.

The first stage of the dig was to enlarge the entrance in a downwards direction to expose fully the dominant surface features.  This left us with a hole some ten feet deep, five feet wide and fifteen feet long.  A right turn was taken along the strike in a westerly direction, but this was abandoned after a rock nearly killed our future MBE, Bob Whitaker.  We then attacked the dip in a direct line with the entrance, for ease of hauling, and dug southwards at a 30 degree slope.

The passage exhibited a half-tube in the roof and we dropped the floor to give ease of passage, such that it varied from three to six feet in height, and where necessary the tunnel was wall or roof lined by our building expert, Albert, using S&D coal ash for his concrete.  For some distance there appeared to be a fill between the roof and floor and spoil could be freed with a bar without much trouble, and in one section we gained six feet by entering an open passage.  This bit gave trouble in 1980 when there was a minor roof fall and Albert and Prew were stuck on the far side, fortunately they could come out after a few minutes heaving away at the debris.

We used the traditional Mendip sauceboat for transport to the entrance hole, but not the 'Guss and Crook'.  Spoil was transferred to a simple bucket hoist system to reach the surface.  As time progressed the sauceboat had to be pulled by a winch assisted and pulley-guided method.  It became very labour intensive and it had an enormous drag factor.

The culverted stream caused trouble in winter and many efforts were made to get rid of the water down adjacent beds and holes.  It was an odd experience to divert a large stream and see it sink away.  The chief gardener made us build all sorts of walls and dams to control the flow and at one time we tried to bypass our hole and send the water further down the valley by trenching it and by lining the trench with polythene tubing.  Despite all this there were many occasions when digging was impossible by virtue of excessive water.  With so much quarrying in the vicinity the water carried a good load of silt, and at times it could refill the space that had been laboriously dug the previous week. When diverted down an adjacent hole it could be heard from our dig face and it sounded just like the old forty foot, as we kept telling the youngsters.

Eventually the half tube disappeared and we found ourselves staring at a bedded face with no obvious prospect.  The lure of the water sound led us to deviate eastwards and follow some thin gaps in the beds.  Blasting became necessary to give us a decent height and this was our downfall, for having cleared last weeks debris we had to drill and bang again.  Windsor rock is hard, very hard, and we made slow progress. Plaster charges were tried but they did little work and minds were tuned to alternative procedures.

Windsor Hill was probably the first caving site where a compressor, owned by the diggers, was a regularly used piece of equipment.  It was an intelligent cave, for provision was made for the telephone line, the air line, the bang wire and the spoil transfer system.  One day, at some dig or other, we shall have an injector, and we will have a cement line as well.

The first compressor, to which we had access, was a small model designed for underwater use, and it had a hydraulic action, needing a return as well as a supply hose.  It made a useful hole but was not really man enough for our purposes; neither could we afford to buy one of our own.  So, we ended up with the navvy's friend, the typical noisy but effective air compressed version.  It did us proud and is still a good investment after use at other sites.  Earmuffs are essential gear, for the risks to hearing are well proven.  The hydraulic compressor, with its enclosed oil content, had to be sited close to the entrance and this was a disadvantage to the social life of the dig.  The ideal situation is to find a dig where a compressor can be sited at a reasonable distance.

No measurements were taken, but the length of the main hole, down dip, was about seventy feet when we rebelled at the transport system in use and made the experts do something.  A monorail was devised such that the lengths of timber, say five feet long by six inches by two inches, were fixed centrally in a line down the passage with the six inch measurement being in the vertical plane.  The sauceboat was fixed up with bogies that had one wheel resting on the top of the monorail, which latter was steel-capped to reduce wear, and one on each side. The leverage on these side ones was acute from a loaded boat but the thing worked well.  However, unlike mountain railway systems there was nothing to stop a runaway, and the loaded projectile was potentially lethal, especially as it had pointed ends.  Up top a new winch was provided with two or three handle positions at different gearings to suit various stages of decrepitude.

Our deviated eastern passage gave us a further problem.  The floor was very rough, and solid, and spoil had to be passed bucket by bucket to the main passage.  Eventually a lightweight monorail was suspended from the roof from which the buckets could be hung.  All mod con in fact.

Our final session was on Nov 28th '81.  Everything that had been brought out-the previous week was back in situ again, and we retired disheartened.

The area is still full of Eastern Promise for few sites have been worked.  We all have our own interpretations for failure to find a cave, and it's worth while listing a few, for they can also relate to other sites.

1.                  The theory of open joints.  Perhaps there is no cave.  For a hole the size of Swildons entrance, say 3ft by 3ft, can also be represented on a surface 50ft long by 24ft wide.  If the width contains 9 bedding joints each 1/4 inch wide then the Swildons water can in theory disappear within this area, and limited erosional features can lead to wishful thinking about a theoretical cave.

2.                  Surface disturbance.  At Windsor the stream may have been diverted when it was culverted under the railway, and this happened twice as the line was originally single, then doubled.  Any stream near the quarries would have been used and possibly diverted for steam raising in machinery or for shunting engines.

3.                  Streams that appear to sink in well-established holes within the quarry area may in reality have had a short life.

4.                  If one can't actually follow a stream then the adjacent parallel bed may be too low or too high in relation to the theoretical cave.

5.                  The labour force required to work the dig became too large.  No spoil could be stored part-way to the surface for the stream merely washed it to the bottom again.

6.                  One of the best possible sites was too near a possessive cottager.

Yes, we benefited from this experience.  Our current dig has several localities that can be used as temporary dumps with a small labour force.  All spoil is put into poly bags so that it cannot be washed down again, and we don't have a stream, but that's another story.

There is much more to NHASA than a weekly cave dig may suggest.  Our average age is high, because we have been around for some time, and we are no longer in the first flush of youth.  We don't do epic trips; we just have epic spells of survival between trips.  This aspect of caving is not often mentioned, but we have helped one of our group to overcome severe depression, we have convinced another that there is caving after severe illness, we have helped each other to give up smoking, and we cope with all the ailments to which middle aged gentlemen are prone, like a lack of an excuse to go to the Hunters midweek. Some of us are young, though, and romance can blossom amongst the buckets, boats and compressors.  Brian and Lucy will have many happy memories of Windsor.  We encourage doctors, for we specialize in odd accidents, or how to cut your eye with a caving helmet or burst your thumb with a lump of honest limestone.

It's a rule that in order to attend the NHASA dinner one must do some digging, and it is amusing to note the faces that appear at infrequent intervals.  Some of these people are normally busy at their own digs, others are members of the Craven 'A' team, to whom we play host, and others are noted for their shy and retiring habits.  All are welcome, for we are all equal participants in my last statement .

Wednesday evenings are a period of sanity in a doubtful world, and if we find a cave, well that’s a bonus.

(Note for new cavers) "NHASA", or the "North Hill Association for Speleological Advancement" was formed in the 60's when "NASA" or the "National Aeronautical and Space Administration" was a new and upwardly mobile entity in the USA.

Richard Kenney 07/09/87.


St. Cuthbert’s Swallet

Following the gradual clean up of the cave by BEC members and others over the last year or so, the place is looking a lot tidier, especially around the Sump 1 and Gour Hall Rift area.  Eight carbide dumps have been removed together with over 175 assorted pieces of rubbish according to my count.

Now that the place is looking better, it's time to clean and tape the formations.  Past taping has disappeared and a number of nice formations have been trampled over particularly in Long Chamber.  This chamber has now been cleaned and taping is being done imminently.  We'll then move on to Curtain Chamber and September ....... One dirty mud bank recently was accidentally found to actually to be a nice white stal boss!?

Periodic notices will appear in the Belfry or Cuthbert’s Log as to which chamber or part of the cave is currently being spruced up so any help is welcomed.  Tape is available from Trebor, together with sponges and water containers etc.

By the time the Cuthbert’s Report comes out we may have the place in pristine condition again, as its meant to be.


The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: Ted Humphreys


More of a ramble really, as I write anything that comes to mind that I think might be of interest to the membership.

This Belfry Bulletin is late and small because of lack of material.  Members keep asking me when the next one is coming out but very few actually contribute anything.  Please, please send me your articles.  They don't have to be about great new discoveries or even about caving just about the adventures, travels, explorations and so on, of the members. Articles about well known caves would be appreciated as well, maybe pointing out features not mentioned in the guide books.

For example: -

G.B. is a well known cave, or is it.  At the end of Bat Passage, or at least where the sumped old dig is, the obvious onward continuation is in the roof about 7 ft. up.  This can be followed to the end, passing two ways down into tight rifts which end in chokes, or do they?  However, at the 7 ft. climb, looking the other way it can be seen that the continuation passage doesn't go back down Bat Passage but goes into the right wall (looking down-cave).  A hole at the top of the muddy bank can be entered and leads to a parallel phreatic rift at least 20 ft. high.  It is not obvious from the bottom whether this peters out at the top or whether it slopes over.  Does it lead to an unknown passage?  I haven't yet chimneyed up it and don't know of anyone who has.  Perhaps you know better!

There are similar instances in most caves, as well as more in G.B.  If you know of any, write about them, please:

The day after I wrote the above, Jim Smart's article arrived from the Philippines so the BB is not as short as I feared. His letter also enclosed the newspaper clipping, the card you may have seen at the Hunter's and a note to me. I've included part of the note (edited highlights!) between his article and the clipping.

On the digging front, Bowery Corner is progressing slowly.  Daren Cilau quickly and Welsh's Green not at all.  I hope to have surveys of all three for the next BB.  B.E.C. members, and others, have been busy producing them.

The news from Bowery Corner is that the sump mentioned in the last BB has been passed, over the top, and so has the second one.  The end now is tight and very wet but, for the first time, the sound of falling water can be heard from ahead. The end is also well past the point that dowsing indicated that the passage should turn right and is continuing in a straight line.  Perhaps it turns back on itself at a lower level.

New Members

There are quite a few new members.  Those listed below are the ones that have been given membership numbers, that is, have paid their subs.  I've included Jim Rands and Gwyn Timson again as they hadn't been given numbers in December.

1109 Jim Rands, Stonebridge Park, London NWI0.
1110 Gwyn Timson, Rumney, Cardiff
1111 Graham Johnson, Wells, Somerset
1112 Catherine Wood, London
1113 Arthur Griffin, Alperton, Wembley
1114 Peter Bolt, Cardiff
1115 Robin Mark Taviner, Whitchurch, Bristol
1116 Stuart Lain, Yeovil, Somerset
1117 Peter Christopher Alan Hellier, Chew Stoke, Bristol

Some Caves and Characters in the Eastern U.S.A.

Following the reconnaissance trip by Trebor, Mac and Stumpy (BB 445) the main expedition - J'Rat and Jane arrived in the U.S. of A. on 8th September, after eventually negotiating the dreaded immigration and the large photo of Ronnie welcoming all AIDS - free tourists to the New World.  After an overnight stop in Washington D.C. we drove to Front Royal in Virginia - an attractive old town where we managed to find a proper pub, a 1933 "Caverns of Virginia" and a supply of camping gas.  Our cups runneth over.

The first show cave visited was just out of town, at the start of the boring Skyline Drive.  Appropriately called SKYLINE CAVERNS this is an extensive phreatic system carved from very light grey, chalky limestone and possessing very little in the way of normal formations but famed for the hundreds of large anthodites or "cave flowers" in one short section of the tourist route.  The other attraction was the young girl cave guide full of sparkling wit and repartee and wearing white ankle socks!  Where were you Snablet?  A further novelty was a tape recorded recitation on the Glory of God who had created this magnificent underground marvel.  Fair enough, I thought, but he also created Hunter's Hole. Parts of this cave also suffer from poor coloured lighting and algae growth though it is still worth a visit. The anthodites are advertised as unique in the world but those who have visited Napp's Cave at Ilfracombe will know better!

An early start the next day saw us at the famous LURAY CAVERNS near the town of that name.  This is one of the world's great stalactite caves consisting of large phreatic chambers packed with immense formations some of which divide the chambers into smaller rooms.  Their colour, variety and profusion are incredible and there are some fine examples of the rare "shields".  Not content with their visual attractions the management allowed a Mr. Leland W. Sprinkle to attach rubber trip hammers to a selection of stalactites operated from an organ console.  The strains of "Shenandoah" echoing around the largest chamber, interspersed with the tinkle of dripping water is particularly atmospheric.  The Great Stalacpipe Organ, an awesome bit of vandalism, should not be missed.  (I have a tape recording for those without the air fare).  Other gimmicks here are the underground war memorial, a huge notice board painted with camera lighting settings for the snap-happy and, on our trip, a short and fat cave guide with some entertaining chatter and a Deep South accent.  A most worthwhile experience.

As we were camping at the nearby ENDLESS CAVERNS it was only fair that we went in them.  Another extensive solution system with superb pendants and formations - particularly the "shields".  A young and knowledgeable lad guided us and spouted the customary American show cave jokes ("If that rock falls on you don't worry about insurance - you'd be fully covered" etc) and showing his one-upmanship over other guides by walking backwards all the way out of the cave. To add to the fun of our visit there were plenty of active bats to upset the lady tourists and a few narrow sections to wedge the obese ones (about 90% ).  There is supposedly over 6 miles of passage in this system.  In the 1920's the Explorers Club of New York worked here and exploration is being continued by the owner and his son, both cavers.  A further treat is the gift shop where rubber rocks, bat hats and lurid T-shirts may be purchased (and was).  Incidentally the camp slate here is excellent.

Our next cave was further south near Keezletown.  MASSANUTTEN CAVERNS was recommended by Trebor (Thanks mate:) mainly because of the great character who owns it.  Mr. Brad Cobb is an old time caver badly crippled by a stroke and arthritis but who manfully guides tourists round the ¼ mile of paths on two sticks.  It is not a large cave but is extremely well decorated with thousands of straws, cone shaped and bulbous stalactites.  Mr. Cobb would stop every few seconds to point out items of interest ("Weird, weird, weird") and to continually damn cave vandals ("Buzzards").  After fulfilling his main ambition of owning his own cave Mr. Cobb has two more ambitions left - to live long enough to see the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the cave in 1892 and to visit the Mulu caves!  I hope he succeeds in both.  ( See letter following this article).

We now temporarily left Virginia and after violating the traffic rules in Staunton crossed into West Virginia en route to the FRIAR'S HOLE CAVE SYSTEM near Renick.  Owned by another famous American cave man, Gordon Mathes, this is a 47 mile long wild cave with five of its seven entrances situated on Gordon's 600 acre farm. Like Trebor and Co. we were fortunate to stay at the private caving hut situated near the farmhouse - an old haunt of caver’s world wide, none of whom were around at the time.  Our first trip here was into the huge trunk passage of SNEDEGAR'S CAVE via the SALTPETRE ENTRANCE, where Jane and I were accompanied for a time by two spelunking cows sheltering from the outside heat! Negotiating the piles at breakdown was easy enough but the plies of cowsh was a different matter.  We followed this passage for several hundred feet as far as a low section which leads to a sumped connection with the rest of the system.  Many bats, a crayfish and our first cave cricket were seen en route.

While Jane then sunbathed and drank cold beer (a mandatory American pastime ) I explored the adjacent NORTH ENTRANCE and after giving the complicated Saltpetre Maze a cursory examination continued down the obviously flood prone main passage until stopped by a wide, 15 foot deep pothole with a slippery traverse ledge which I couldn't attempt on my own and without a rope.  This is a very attractively water worn swallet system and connects with Snedegar's Cave via the Saltpetre Maze.

On our way back to the hut the huge, impressive entrance of CRUICKSHANK CAVE was examined.  This is notable for its 100 ft. entrance shaft and nearby sign warning SRT cavers that "Rats may chew the rope"!

Later that day TOOTHPICK CAVE and ROLLING STONES CAVE were visited.  The former is a Yorkshire type swallet connecting with the main Friar's Hole System.  It was followed along 400 ft. of cricket infested canyon to the head of 50 ft. Toothpick Pot.  Rolling Stones was briefly looked before an imminent thunderstorm and the desire for a gin and tonic caused a retreat.  This cave is not yet connected Friar's Hole due to a constricted passage.

Having bid a sad farewell to this great spot we continued on our way via LOST WORLD CAVERNS - a superbly lit and fantastically decorated show cave near Lewisburg.  First entered down a 120 ft. pothole in 1942 this large breakdown chamber boasts magnificent pillars and tall stalagmites - all lit by 30 ft. high double lamp standards.  The tour is usually self-guided.

Next on the list was ORGAN CAVE - the complete opposite of Lost World. Having over 40 miles of passage this is one of America's longest systems with the main entrance and associated trunk passage as a rather tatty show cave.  With its wooden shack ticket office, obtrusive electric cables strung with usually bare light bulbs (though some have apparently ex jumble sale lampshades) on and sawdust covered paths this place seems to be unchanged since the hey-day of the American show cave in the 1930's.  The passages visited are essentially two huge bore tubes forming a Y-junction with a smaller side passage leading off and containing 37 wooden saltpetre leaching vats installed in 1861 when Confederate soldiers worked the sand deposits for nitrates to make gunpowder.  The wood is still in excellent condition.  This cave has little in the way of formations but the tour was made well worthwhile by the "Deputy Dawg" southern drawl of the owner/guide and his fund of tall tales.  At one point a solution pocket was pointed out as the mould of a dinosaur, now removed for display in an un-named museum!  Despite - or rather because of its old-fashioned grubbiness this tourist cave is a must.

Farewell W. Va. and on to Kentucky and the MAMMOTH CAVE National Park.  Volumes could be written on this place (and many have).  At 325 miles surveyed so far this is the world's longest cave and roughly a mile a month is the going exploration rate - a bit like Bowery Corner. From a selection of eight different tours Jane and I selected two that would cover the most extensive and interesting regions without covering the same ground.  Our first trip was the "Echo River Tour" and was led by a woman guide with a trainee male guide in tow, both wearing smart "Baden Powell" uniforms.  Our party of 44 was shepherded from the Historic Entrance, through the Rotunda (saltpetre mining ) past the Giant's Coffin ( Indian gypsum mining artefacts) through Fat Man's Misery to Relief Hall (underground bogs!).  From here a roomy bore passage was followed to the Dead Sea and along a series of paths and catwalks above Echo River - this last section being negotiated with all except the guides wearing bright orange life jackets - their’s were National Park khaki!  Everyone then boarded a couple of large punts for a 50 yard boat trip before returning from whence we had come and out of the cave via River Hall.  Mammoth Dome and Historic Entrance.  My main impressions of the cave were of magnificent flat roofed trunk passages and large, dry tunnels.  The lighting is discreet and gives one the feel of actually caving - in fact, due to electrical faults, Mammoth Dome was hardly lit at all!  The guides are well trained, informative and capable of dealing with any type of questions - and at least one of them was much prettier than Chris Castle.

When in this area it is an obligatory caver's duty to indulge in a spot of morbidity and visit SAND CAVE where Floyd Collins was trapped and died in 1925.  I explored the somewhat eerie entrance chamber in a heavy rainstorm and found the cave passage proper to be sealed by a welded iron grid.  Denied a trip I spent ten minutes photographing the hundreds of huge cave crickets hanging upside down in various niches around the entrance chamber.  Being alone in this atmospheric spot it was difficult to visualise the 10,000 rowdy onlookers who gathered here to watch the abortive rescue attempts over 60 years ago.

Our next Mammoth Cave trip was the "Half Day Tour", via Carmichael Entrance and along the mile long tunnel of Cleveland Avenue - covered in gypsum crystals and flowers and giving some idea of the vast extent of the system.  This passage ended abruptly in the Snowball Dining Room where an underground restaurant and more bogs satisfied the needs of the 200 strong party.  Our route march then continued along Boone Avenue to reach Mammoth Gypsum Wall and yet more bogs after another 1.6 miles.  Beyond here a large collapse is surmounted to reach Grand Central Station where a lecture was given by Duke, the chief guide.  Another character, he has worked here as a Ranger for 20 years and really knows his stuff.  Anyone who can keep control of 200 assorted, American tourists must be good.  The final part of the trip took us to the spectacular flowstone cascade of Frozen Niagara and then out via the entrance of the same name.  This had been a four hour tour and some of the merry throng only just made it!

Returning to Virginia a couple of days later we camped at NATURAL TUNNEL - an 850 ft. long, 100 ft. high and 100 - 175 ft. wide cave passage used as a short cut by the Stock Creek and, more recently, the Southern Railway.  It is quite an experience to be halfway through a cave when a hundred truck freight train comes through - especially when the driver waves a friendly greeting.  For more information on this cave see the recent article by Tony Waltham in Cave Science Vol 15 No 1.

Nearby, across the border in Tennessee is the grotty town of Bristol and its own BRISTOL CAVERNS.  How could we not visit this?  Once used by Cherokee Indians as a water supply and hiding place this is a well decorated show cave with a fine streamway below the main chamber. What a place to be without a Bertie sticker!

The last show cave of the holiday was DIXIE CAVERNS in Virginia.  A mediocre cave but with yet another attractive lady guide.  The ¼ mile long trip through narrow passage and larger chambers was somewhat spoiled by the coloured lighting.  The novelty of this visit came when the guide discovered I was a "spelunker" and I ended up leading the party!  Of some interest here are examples of calcite "boxwork" and the rarely seen Dixie Salamander, one of which was spotted atop a stalagmite.

The next week was dedicated to deep sea fishing, snorkelling and vast alcohol consumption off the Florida coast and of little interest to B.E.C. members though we did find America's only drive in pub - "a six pack and two pints to go buddy". Clutching our beers we drove off into the night.

Save up your bucks - the States and the Yanks are a real treat.

Have a nice day y'all     Tony Jarratt


EDITORS NOTE The letter below was on nicely headed notepaper but I've typed it because Mr. Cobb's writing is not always perfectly legible, probably due to his arthritis.  It was addressed to Dave and I've not altered anything.

Keezletown, Virglnia 22832
Oct. 6. 1988

Dear Dave Turner,

A few weeks ago, I received a second visitation, this year, from the membership of B.E.C.

They were generous enough to bestow a copy of the BELFRY BULLETIN for my somewhat sketchy library of things Speleological (Volume 42 No.3 Number 445 July 1988 ).

I was highly flattered to read your kind words about an earlier visit by other members of B.E,C., in April.  It made me feel as though my efforts to do a good job of guiding was actually appreciated by people who know caves.

Commercial Caves in the States tend to have suffered greatly at the hands of the public.  MASSANUTTEN CAVERNS, also, has received it's share of vandalism by the "Hands On" approach to collecting souvenirs over the years.  During the past third of a century, I have tried to develop a modicum of concern in the minds of our visitors.  Sometimes Success!

It is an uphill fight and every good word is treasured.  The cavalier treatment of all of our environment is pervasive in countries through the world.  This is rather short-sighted, don't you agree?


Bradford ( Brad ) Cobb    N.S.S. 2513


Caving Under The Thames

by Jingles

At the foot of London Bridge - on the north side of the river, next to the MONUMENT, is a building called REGIS HOUSE.  It is the H.Q. of the A.A. as well as being the home of CITIBANK N.A. where I work in the computer department.  In the sub-basement is yet another downward flight of steps leading to a locked door. On the other side of this door is what used to be King William St. Station, which has been closed since 1912.

It was, however, used as an air raid shelter during both wars and there is still evidence of this down there (Posters dating to 1941).  As one wends ones way through the labyrinthine network of corridors, one eventually comes to what can only be a disused railway tunnel. 50 metres into this there is a concrete bulkhead - this is so placed because at this point you are directly under the banks of the Thames!  On the other side of this - the formations begin. The tunnel runs parallel to London Bridge - all the way to London Bridge Station.  It also connects with other access tunnels and eventually to the active Circle Line terminals.  There are two well decorated tunnels - each approximately ¼ mile in length and containing some surprising straw and helectite formations as well as a few columns although admittedly not of the same calibre as those in OFD! These tunnels have been extensively investigated by Jingles and Stuart Lain on several occasions.  If anyone is in the area and wants to have a look then I can take them down too!

Call John Williams to arrange a visit


Windsor Great Cave Trelawny - Jamaica

From the Caving Log, with some editorial licence

27 .11.88

Bob Bidmead (just in case anyone thinks I don't cave any more).  Having been in Jamaica since the 23rd of September with a hurricane relief team I at last managed a Sunday off work.  The original plan, to cave with Ian Mason (Bradford P.H.C.) and Barry Poyser (Jam. Spel.) was unfulfilled as the other two were working.  Barry arranged a local guide, however, so I went with Alphonse and the Sheriff - two local lads from Sherwood.

The cave is a major resurgence, with the lower entrance carrying a stream during the wet season, and drying for the rest of the year, when the water rises through the river bed about 300 yards from the cliff face.  The human entrance is about 60 ft. up the cliff face and represents an older level.  The entrance series is much like Peak Cavern, but with a narrower opening.  Having left the twilight zone the roof became covered with calcite tracery, making it look like a church roof.  The passage wound up over a collapsed boulder ruckle, with the streamway a long way down, perhaps 120 ft. or so.  The temperature was high - in the 60's and surprisingly there was a large population of insects, the usual shrimps and hoppers, but also millions of very tiny flies, like fruit flies.  These took to wing as soon as a light beam struck the surface of the rock they were on, and were so small and so numerous they got in eyes, mouth and nose.  Not so surprising were the colony of Rat Bats, so called by the Jamaicans due to their small size and appearance.  These obviously had a built in food supply with the flies, and also took wing when the light hit them.  We ended up dodging an aerial ballet of bats and flies which seemed to fill the chamber - about the size of the main chamber in G.B.

At the top of the ruckle the roof came down, and a strong draught indicated the way through.  Unfortunately at this point my two local guides chickened out - no way were they prepared to carry on through 2' by 3' crawls or duck under the obviously stable boulders.  It transpired they normally took rich American tourists on grockle trips, which was unfortunate.  The thought of being 30 miles from the coast and having a Land Rover with hiccups did not encourage me to continue alone, so the day was curtailed after 1½ hours. Great cave though, and a return is a must.

Several smaller holes were looked at during the work period, but obvious commitments to the restoration of electricity to the island precluded any further detailed trips. If anyone has a free air ticket I have free accommodation available - offers please!

Bob Bidmead - returned 2.1.89


Daren Cilau

Another  week long camp in December by Andy Cave, Gonzo, Snablet, Gwyn and Jake (Graham Johnson) resulted in Snablet and Andy pushing Shit Rift for a further 90 metres.  The passage is currently Anorexic Whippet sized, draughting and heading south.

A lot of work was done on other sites in the extensions.  Friday 13th boulder choke was worked on and now looks promising but not for the faint hearted as the keystone of the massive choke is now cracked in half and right in the firing line.  Gwyn unfortunately sustained a minor skull fracture when the roof of one of the 'Sand' Digs collapsed on her.  She opted for the relative comforts of the camp rather than a painful, premature trip out.

Shit Rift was revisited by Snablet and Nick Pollard over the Christmas period.  Jake and Andy took Fred Davies down on a tourist trip (Fred's first visit to the cave since his and Boone's breakthrough back in the 60's)

Next camp 10 - 19 Feb (I'm too late again - Ed.)


Hundreds of feet of new passage were discovered on this camp.  Daren is now very close to Aggie Sump 4, Gothic Passage and to Priory Road.  A full report will appear in the next BB.


On The Oregon Trail

As a change from Butcombe, I nipped off to the Pacific North West of America to have a few Budweiser’s - and also a bit of walking in the Cascade and Olympic mountains and along the Oregon coast.  Superb walking, especially in fresh November powder snow.  The place is a backpacker's paradise, particularly in the summer.  Unfortunately there is not a great deal of speleological interest at this time of year, except respectable caves on Vancouver Island, some lava tubes and Ice caves.  I thus failed to get underground in a speleo sense at all.

One aim was to travel down the central spine of Oregon, the Cascades, to look at lava tubes, fossil beds, Crater Lake and other morsels but unusually severe snow prevented me from getting even remotely close, let alone a look-see, I did have however get 'underground' three times.

** In the late 1890's, Seattle in Washington State was blessed with a wonderful sewage system whereby the gentry on the hilly parts slopped their stuff downhill in hollowed out tree trunks. The mess then settled un-firmly on the lower parts which had been re-graded and built up out of mud and sawdust from the thriving lumber business.  Muck and sawdust do not make good foundations so various events, primarily a bit of a blaze, prompted the almost complete re-building of the city in the early 1900's - 12 ft higher than the previous level.  You can thus descend into the depths and walk along the old streets, see original shop fronts, walk through an old speak-ezee cinema etc. Irwin and Knibbs would call it an easy stroll with no technical difficulty, no specialist knowledge or equipment.

** Hailed as the biggest sea cave in the world (some hope - what about Fingal's) this one in the wilds of the Oregon coast contains literally thousands of sea lions.  Technically it is a littoral cave (formed by wave cut action).  Access is by the ultimate SRT experience, a lift down 250 ft into a Semtex blasted passage that would put Bowery to shame. There is no problem with route finding - you just follow the smell and the noise.  The smell really is overpowering, very much like the Belfry bunkroom after a Saturday night barrel.  You don't stay down there for long - a bit like Jim Smart's caving. The sea lions push and barge, honk and wallow in the mud. reminding me instantly of Chris Castle. "Moderately Interesting" on the Irwin/Knibbs scale.

** An island of the Pacific coast is now the proud owner of the most secure BEC sticker - under the bunk bed of cell 48B. Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay. A past occupant was Al Capone. They now let you down into some of the earlier dungeons, easier to get out of the West End, Piers Pot, Coral Squeeze or the Hunters.  In 1963 four inmates did a wondrous bit of digging and squeezing to get out of their cells through enlarged ventilation grills.  I couldn't even get my head through, not that that's saying much.  Needless to say they perished in the swirling, treacherous streamway known as ' Fricso Bay.  "Hours of fun for the intrepid digger and one hell of a sump outside" is how Irwin & Knibbs would have it.



Direct Debits For Payment Of Membership Fees

The committee has been instructed by the membership at the 1988 AGM to investigate the possibility of using Direct Debit as a procedure to collect membership fees.  This procedure is fraught with difficulties and liabilities and really, as a club we are too small an organisation to make it worthwhile. Some points to consider:

As we are not a corporate account, the committee members (and the trustees) would be responsible in the case of a claim against the club, be it from payers or a bank.  An unlimited indemnity must be arranged.

Strict rules must be adhered to.  A mandate must be produced, printed and sent out to the membership.  When completed, the records must be kept on computer and the discs submitted to the bank in the format required to instruct the debiting of an individuals account.  (We would originate the DD. the bank doesn't get involved, hence the unlimited indemnity).

A fee of approximately £50 p.a. is involved (assuming 200 members) and then there's the cost of the printing of the mandates etc etc.

It is better to use the Standing Order method of extracting money from people, there are fewer problems. It is proposed to Instigate Standing Orders for membership fees as from next years AGM.  Instructions will appear in a future Belfry Bulletin along with the Standing Order Mandate in plenty of time for next years fees!

Steve Milner (Treasurer) 7:12:88


Three Unrecorded Sinks At Priddy

This brief article is purely to place on record the existence of three well known but - to the best of the writer's knowledge - previously unrecorded swallets, two of which have been eyed greedily by factions of the digging fraternity for some years.  The third is a less obvious dig site but as the writer lives almost directly opposite it he has had plenty of opportunity to notice it’s propensity for taking water in wet weather.  Descriptions conform with those in " Complete Caves of Mendip" with the exception of altitudes which are in metres . Please note that the first described is not the one that Mrs. Dors washes the empties in!


At 250m. Priddy, SE end of the Hunter's Lodge Inn, adjacent to the wall at S corner of "function room".  Wet weather drainage from the crossroads and inn car park sinks in a waterworn rift occasionally blocked by rocks and silt.  Once took drainage and effluent from the inn stables.  At present being cleared by the landlord.  Dowsing indicated a minor streamway heading towards Hunter's hole.


At 248m. Priddy.  On the S side of Wells Road opposite the cottage at the end of the drive leading to the "Belfry"/Underwood Farm.  A large wet weather stream sinks here after draining from the road.  Presumed to drain into the St. Cuthbert's Swallet system.  Permission to dig has been refused.


At 248m. Priddy.  On the SE side of Pelting Drove opposite cottage "The Homestead".  A concrete lined depression, used as a dewpond, takes a considerable amount of road drainage in wet weather which fills up the pond and depression but does not overflow and is presumed to sink away below the dewpond into the unknown further reaches of Swildon's Hole.

NOTE: A fourth sink in Dale Lane, noted by Roger Dors, has been searched for in vain.  This area needs visiting in wet weather.

If anyone knows of any similar, unrecorded sinks, digs or caves please write them up for the B.B.

Tony Jarratt    27/1/89


Speleo Reconnaissance, Antique Province, Panay Island, Philippines

Prior research of the speleo literature available in the UK had revealed no information on caves in Antique Province apart from two caves marked on a tourist map: Tulingan Cave in the north and an un-named cave near San Remigio in the south.  I had no plans to visit Antique Province but the vagaries of Philippine shipping schedules brought me and Rhona Lacsinto to Antique, both of us island hopping in whatever small boats were available.  We were trying to get to Palawan Island which had been cut off to regular shipping for a month.  We never got to Palawan but we did hear of a few caves.

Some Definitions

Jeepney - Utilitarian pickups, originally converted U.S. army Jeeps now mostly Ford Fiera.  Able to transport an unbelievable number of passengers and personal effects.

Rebel-country - There is a very serious insurgency situation in the Philippines.  No-one can tell me which side is winning but the death-toll is colossal, and includes the civilians who are caught between the two sides.

Bgy = Barangay - The smallest official socio-political unit with an elected administration, usually a village.  A Sitio is a smaller section within the bgy region - e.g. a nearby hamlet.

Tuba - Palm Wine.  It tastes foul.

Friday Jan 20, 1989.

Early evening arrival at Libertad after a scorching day aboard Aida 1, a large outrigger pumpboat.

Sat Jan 21.

4 am. jeepney to San Jose de Buenavista.  No one here knows when a boat will be leaving ("maybe next month") but we do get some information on the cave at San Remigio.   We decide to visit it tomorrow.

Sun Jan 22.

Heavy thunder rain; trip postponed.

Mon Jan 23.

Rhona's birthday - i.e. a day to relax.   Change to a lodging house with better vibes, e.g. "Rule 4: Observe silence and cleanliness most of the time".  In the evening our Bistro meal is interrupted by a boozy journalist who writes me up for the local rag. (see paper clipping - Ed.)

Tues Jan 24.

It's only about 30 km. from San Jose to San Remigio Cave but it took us two jeepneys and more than four hours to get there.  The cave is known locally as BATO CAVE and is located behind La Reunion Elementary School.  It is well known locally everyone saying it has "many rooms and goes deep". So I was rather disappointed with the grubby little rift entrance we found, and further disappointed when Rhona announced she'd come down the cave with me (she dressed in all her snow-white finery).  Thus our exploration was perfunctory and we crawled barely 60 m. into the muddy hole, Rhona insisting that I leave candles every few metres. I decided to leave the girls at home in future.

Wed Jan 25.

I'd been told of some interesting caves in the mountains near Valderama.  This is rebel country but most people thought I'd be "fairly safe", so I set off early and by noon I was in Valderama and had secured the services of a guide and porter for the 12 km. walk up the river to Bgy San Augustin.  After lunch we set off, me wimpishly clinging to the hand of my 60 year old guide as we crossed and re-crossed the swiftly flowing River Cangaran.

San Augustin is extremely impoverished: no work and nothing for sale.  I'd brought my own food and this was prepared for me alone.  I'd eat before the gaze of the entire population of about 150 people.  When I'd finished, my leftovers would be triumphantly carried away by my host to share with his family, and everyone else would go home for about thirty minutes to eat.  This was the only opportunity I got to be alone.

Thurs Jan 26.

Although I'd made it clear that I was only paying one guide about a dozen people set off to MAYBUJO CAVE, about an hour's steep climb away.  This was the cave I'd heard about several times in San Jose and Valderama.  It was reported to be a long cave ending in a shaft that no-one had descended; you can hear running water down there, they said.

That's as maybe.  When we arrived there was a swarm of bees at the entrance and the visit was abandoned.

No problem though. Someone knew of another cave higher up the side of the valley: TABAY CAVE.  This was soon located about 120 m. above the river near sitio Datag.  A 4 metre limb was hacked off a nearby tree to facilitate my descent and the entrance pitch was bottomed to reveal a small steeply descending cave ending with a draughting squeeze negotiable with a lump hammer.  I had no lump hammer, length 10 metres.

We headed back to San Augustin waded the river (hold hands) crossed a few low grade rice fields and began the steep ascent towards sitio Boho where two caves were reported to be located.  My entourage of kids and old men infuriated me, laughing and talking and shouting at each other while I could hardly catch my breath or keep up with them.

About one hour from San Augustin in a tumble of deeply weathered limestone boulders and hidden by trees we found our first cave: BOHO CAVE I.  The larger of the two entrances was the only one negotiable without equipment; even so it was a bit of a nasty climb.  Someone kindly provided a piece of thick string to aid my descent . About 15 metres below the surface I gained the floor and was immediately hit by the horrid smell of batshit: my flashlight revealed their scarey orange eyes.  Within 15 minutes six brave souls had joined me at the foot of the shaft and we commenced exploration, one light between seven of us.

Although the passage was large (say 4½ m. wide and 10½ m high average) the bats were so numerous that we were successfully forced back by them: they flew into us, pissed on us, dropped ticks on us and were generally quite beastly.  I pondered histoplasmosis.  We took refuge behind a rock.  Shall we go now?, my companions asked.  No, we'll give it one more try.

Only two men accompanied on my second attempt and we got to a point where the passage shrank to about two metres square for a few metres.  There was an almost solid tide of bats flowing through here.  My companions started swiping at them with sticks, making great sport of the whole adventure.  The carnage was sickening: I called a halt to the attempt.  Length 100 metres and still going; depth 12 metres.

On the surface we all had a good laugh about the bats, drank tuba, and proceeded to another cave nearby in the same about clump of trees ( BOHO CAVE II ).  A short descent led to 45 metres of crawling maze; depth c. 9 metres.

We returned to the river to wash and then home to San Augustin for lunch ( more eyes, more leftovers).  No one knew of any more caves within safe walking distance (remember the insurgence ) so we clowned and festered away the rest of the day.

Fri Jan 27.

With my guide and porter I set off back to Valderama at 6 am.  I was in San Jose by eleven and found Rhona still sitting on her luggage and hoping for a boat. No news yet, she said, so I said goodbye, abandoned all thoughts of Palawan, and by evening I was enjoying the sultry air and bright lights of Iliolo City.

Other Caves of Antique Province.

Information has been received on other caves in Province Antique, as follows:-


A cave mined for guano located about 4 km. north of Libertad and 4 km. Inland near a river.


Two caves reported here: TURU-ONG CAVE and DAPA CAVE


A cave mined for guano.  Deep water "You have to swim the in cave”.

Jim Smart   Feb. 1989

This is an extract from The Daily Start in the Philipines.

A member of the Bristol Exploration Club, affiliated with the British Cave Research Association based in London, England is in Bacolod city to explore Negros caves.

British’s speleogist James Smart, 40, has 25 years of' experience in exploring caves.

Smart, in a DAILY STAR interview, yesterday, Smart said he is in charge of the foreign section of the B.E.C., which was founded in 1935 and has about 280 active members at present.

Tourism Staff Officer Edwin Gatia is supplying Smart with information on the, locations of caves in Negros.

Smart, who has explored caves all over Europe said that the Madagascar and Austria caves are the most interesting there.

In the Philippines, he said, the Latipan-Lokohonmg cave system located in Sagada, Mt. Province is officially recognized as the deepest at 163 metres, with a length of about 3,975 meters, while the St. Paul subterranean cave in Palawan, he said, is the country's longest cave system with a length of 8,200 meters.

Smart said he intends to visit some caves in the south of Negros, particularly those in Mainit and Konog-Konog in Candoni, Kabankalan, Hog, Cauayan and Hinoba-an areas, and in Escalante and San Carlos in the north.

His research work on Negos caves will be published in the "Cave Science Magazine" circulated in England the official magazine of the B.C.R.A.

Smart has also visited some of the cave systems found in Antique.  GR Gumban

Another snippet said: -

That Somerset County Council road signs do not disappear they merely go underground in pot-holes near Priddy.

Letter From The Philippines

Dear Ted,


If you think the enclosed news clipping is a bit off the mark, this is the second rag to give me coverage. Furthermore the 7 o'clock news the other morning went something like….llong-go, llong-go. llong-go .... Breestol Explortion Club sa England ....long-go, llong-go .... Professor Jims Smart llong-go .... etc." for FIVE MINUTES.  Lord knows exactly what was said but I gather I'm leading an expedition!  Also apparently I've been in the "Towns Talk" column, but I've not seen it. I can't imagine what I'm doing there something about discos or music I expect.

Lotsa caves here on Negros but all the ones I've visited have been small. Travel is naturally slow here and I have to tread cautiously both to satisfy the locals' curiosity and also because of the military situation.  Things are VERY heavy and I can see caves that it would be suicide to walk to.  For my sanity I like to retreat to a city a couple of nights a week to mellow out (= get pissed) and relax (= have my nails manicured).

See you



Club Matters

This is a list of items that the committee have asked me to put in the BB, dating from the December, January and February meetings.  Some may now be irrelevant!

1.                  Hut Bookings - These must be done through the Hut Warden (Snablet).  Anyone else must check with Snablet first.  We've had double bookings and aggrieved people!

2.                  Kindling and firewood are always in short supply.  It would be nice if all members visiting the Belfry could bring a sackful with them.

3.                  The general behaviour of BEC members and/or guests is causing concern.  We must maintain good relations locals as access to some caves might depend on it.

4.                  It is important for prospective members to turn up at the meeting during which their application for membership is discussed  (7.30 pm. on the first Friday of the month).  If they don't bother, their application is likely to be turned down.

5.                  Members are reminded of the availability of I.D.M.F. funds for expeditions etc. Young members don't seem to apply any longer.


The Bowery Corner Song

(to the tune of Old Man River)

Belfryites dig in de Bowery Corner.  Belfryites dig while de Wexxes play;
Pulling dese sledges from de dawn to sunset, gittin no beer and gittin no pay:
Don't get squashed and don't dare drown 'cos that'll make de Diggin' Boss frown:
Shovel out all dat gravel and glass an pull dat rope or he'll kick your arse.

Let me go way from de Bowery Corner, let me go 'way from dat poxy sink.
Show me dat pub called de Hunter's Lodge dat's where I'll drown myself - in drink!

Bowery Corner, dat Bowery Corner, it must go somewhere. but ain't gone nowhere.
It just keeps going, it keeps on going a-long ---It ain't got chambers, it ain't got pitches.
It ain't got limestone, it ain't got pretties;
That Bowery Corner, it jes keeps going a-long ----
You an' me, we sweat an' strain.  Body all achin' an' racked wid pain.
"Carry det det!  Shift dat tamp", lie down in de streamway 'til you die of cramp.
Ah gits weary an' sick of shale.  Ahm tired of diggin' an' want my ALE.
But Bowery Corner, it just keeps goin' a-long!

words by Uncle Tom J'Rat. With apologies to Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern, Paul Robeson and the BEC.

(printed music and cassette of Paul Robeson's version available for anyone desperate enough to want to sing it!)

The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: Dave Turner

1978 – 1988 COMMITTEE

Hon. Sec.          Bob Cork
Treasurer           Mike (Trebor) McDonald
Caving Sec.       Richard Neville-Dove
Hut Warden       Andy Sparrow
Tackle Master    Steve Milner
B.B. Editor        Dave Turner
Hut Engineer     Dany Bradshaw
Membership Sec.           John Watson
Librarian            Tony Jarratt (co-opted)
                        Phil Romford
                        Mark Lumley (co-opted)


Our club archivist - Alan Thomas for those who didn't know we had one! - would like the following if any members can oblige:-

Folio Foolscap paper

Filing Cabinet

If you can help give Alan a ring.





Daren On The Move

The dig at the end of Acupuncture Passage was finally passed on a 3 day camp from 15-18 October.  A stooping/crawling passage 25ft wide (New Boots & Panties passage) continued for about 150 metres westerly to a breakdown. However, halfway along the passage the roar of Borrowed Boots streamway was heard through a small crack in the floor. The significance of a connection here was not lost on the jubilant (and slightly drunk) diggers.  ( Pete Bolt, Henry Bennett, Matt & myself) and a return trip was planned for the near future.

The following weekend Andy Cave, Matt, Steve Milner, Angie and Richard Neville Dove, camped at Hard Rock.  Those who could fit through the approach constrictions went up to New Boots and started digging down for a connection with the streamway while RND drank rum with Liza Taylor, Pete Eckford and I who were down stocking up the camp.  'The Micron' was dug out and Andy & Steve squeezed through a very tight rift into Borrowed Boots Streamway.

Meanwhile, divers Ian Rolland and Rick Stanton, had pushed a passage from the region of 7th Hour Sump for about 1 kilometre in the fossil levels.  Our connection was very significant because it put the dry divers extensions within our reach.  A meeting was held between the Rock Steady Crew and the divers at which we agreed to give them one last push on their own before going in ourselves, establishing an advanced camp (Restaurant at the End of the Universe) and starting digging operations.

Consequently, two weeks later Rick and Ian, bivvied in 'Agua Colorada' (the dry extensions) for 5 days and were joined by Martyn Farr for 3 days.  They found over 1½ kilometres of new passage going all over the place. There are apparently loads of really good digging sites that may go back to Daren, into Aggy and up the mountain. The Rock Steady Crew didn't waste time that weekend either.  Steve Allen and I dug into a 50 metre extension of New Boots & Panties Passage, Pete B. & Andy C. started stocking the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  Steve M, RND, Pete Hopkins and Angie dug out Miami-Vice to fat-gutted-git size and RND then joined us by the Micron!  Arthur Millet banged the top to the Micron and RND & I helped him dig it out until it collapsed on me (Adrenalin really is brown and makes your voice go up an-octave!)

A dry connection to Aggy is a Quantum Leap closer now, but maintaining the efforts this far in is becoming a problem.  Stocking Hard Rock with provisions is bad enough but this advance camp is a long way further in.  To push any digs in Agua Colorada on extended trips from the surface is really out of the question.  The trip into the dig will take 6 hours for a start and the prospect of then doing 12 hours digging, then going out is, frankly ludicrous.  The project is taking the shape of a Continental style big cave push and may well need a lot of people working long weekends to make it a success.  If anyone fancies the idea of joining us on regular monthly 3 day digging trips then get yourself a sleeping bag down to Hard Rock Cafe and you'll be most welcome.

P.S. With the survey of the Divers extension drawn up, a passage is seen to head back down the mountain to within 200 metres of Priory Road, in the Gothic extensions, Agen Allwedd!

Mark Lumley



Interesting Notes Unearthed by the Librarian

BOWERY CORNER According to Pat Cronin this (very tidy) dig is "ours if we want it".  There is a surprisingly large catchment area apparently.

(Reprinted from Severn Valley C.C. Newsletter November 1982)

Bowery n. District (orig. the Bowery, street in New York City) known as resort of drunks and down-and-outs.

(Concise Oxford English Dictionary p.16)


"The attraction might be great, if the opportunity occurred, to open up a cave close to the highway, but, unless the opening or shaft is more than 25 yards from the highway or is (to use the words of the Act) 'within some house or building or behind some wall or fence sufficient to conceal or screen the same from the highway', to do so would involve liability for as penalty of £5 per day."


(Reprinted from Axbridge C.G. & A.S. Journal Vol.2 No.2 September 1954 p36)


1st. JANUARY 1966



(Belfry Log Book 1964-1966)


Bristol Evening Post 25th November 1980

Whilst working on a Keynsham public house builders suddenly uncovered a cavern, the presence and purpose of which are not known.  The entrance is illustrated.

(from Brit. Caver Vol.80 (Spring 1981) p47)


The etymology of the word "belfry" is from the Latin via Middle English (berfrey) and Old French (berfrie) - a watch tower or beacon and hence has nothing to do with the fact that bells are hung in it.  Belfry did not appear in English until the 15th Century.


*published by Alan Thomas - £3.00 (Advert)


New additions to Library

Cavecraft  - D. Cons

Wookey Hole, The Caves and Mill - guide book

donated by A.J.


Letters Received

From the Editor's wife,

I have attended the Annual Dinner for the last twenty years, but I have noticed over the last few years that people don't wait until after the Loyal Toast before they smoke but puff away between each course. I was unlucky enough to sit surrounded by just such smokers this year.  It spoilt the meal and made me feel sick.  Perhaps one day smoking will be banned in public but until then, please smokers consider the non-smokers around you before you light up next year.  One shouldn't have to vet who you sit by to see if they smoke or not.

Barbara Turner.

 [I have heard other members and friends complaining of the same problem - next year I shall push for either the smokers to wait until the Loyal Toast or to be segregated away from those of us who find it offensive. Dave]


Operation Raleigh
Aliabad 7,500 feet above sea level
October 6th 1987

Hello Belfry Mob!

Its little me, Fiona, if any of you remember me and for those who are not too sure I was the Vampire's Bride at the last Bar-b-cue!  How did this years go?  OK, I hope - I'll be back from Sunny Downtown Pakistan in time for my 21st and Christmas so see you all then!

I've been here for a whole month now and have had the dreaded 'Pakistani Trotts' once so far!! I must admit that I'm enjoying every minute!  120 venturers from all over the world descended on Islamabad airport on 7th September, we were split into 3 groups named after mountain goats, shipped off onto one of 3 projects and promptly bitten to pieces by mossies and all manner of nasty beasties!

My first 21 day project was "trekking"!  Not recommended!  Tramping around the Himalayas with a 44lb pack on your back. The altitude messing your head up and 'RAVEN RATIONS' (THROW UP TIME!) in your belly! The views of ' Nanga Parbat' and surrounding snow capped peaks all over 4 times as GB was breath-taking!  I actually reached a height of 14,157 feet above sea level and I can tell you that the altitude does silly things to your head, legs and speech.  I felt as pissed as a fart!!  We also walked up a valley to a place called 'Fairy Meadows' which is at the base of Nanga Parbat and is paradise.  A BEC sticker has been secreted there for prosperity.  Hard work but worth every blistered sweaty moment!

We're now 2 days into our second project - Community Camp Aliabad.  We have to help the local villages build a road.  At the moment there's a footpath that snakes through the village, we have to fill holes in with rocks that we transport from walls that are demolished to make way for the road.!  Today we 'blasted' 3 big rocks - ace fun!  Digging, wheel barrowing and shovelling.  I'm going to come back like a Russian shot-putter!!

Aliabad is situated along the Karakorum Highway which traces the original silk route between China and Pakistan, our camp is in the shadow of Raka Poshi - the view is fantastic.  On 13-14 of this month I'll be taken for a trek up Raka'Poshi - I'm told not to the top!

Its ace here, the flies don't bother me anymore and I've given up counting my mossie bites.  We've all brought bright materials in the town and in Gilgit and got baggy Pakki trousers made up.  The days are very hot and there's a coke stand right outside the camp.  We’ve made a stove out of an old oil drum and last night I cooked scones for 40 people! Today its apple crumble and next week, chapatti base pizzas!

I'll write again next month to keep you all in touch. Look after yourselves and save a barrel for my birthday!!

Love Fiona McFall (1068 I think!!)

P.S. The Vampire and I are now engaged!!  Bloody Hell!


My apologies to the BEC

I will not be able to attend the AGM. due to the fact the dinner is being held at my present place of work; so I have to stock the bar, test the butcombe etc.

Snablet (1052)


Definition of an optimist

"Someone who thinks Wigmore will go"

Definition of a pessimist

"Anyone who agrees with him"

From the profound thoughts of Gonzo Lumley.


Filming in Wookey Hole

Recently Wookey Hole was the scene of the re-enactment of some of Cave Diving feats of daring and courage so that armchair cavers can experience all the thrills ...... ZZZZZ

ZZZZZ watch BBC sometime next year for Sid Perou's latest epic for the electronic screen.

For those who can't wait,-here is a sample of what they can expect to see.  Dany is now charging for his autograph!



The B.E.C. Get Everywhere - More French Show Caves

This years major speleological expedition by Mr. & Mrs. Rat took in about half of the limestone areas of France, a multitude of booze emporiums, assorted eating houses of various quality and an underground village in sandstone - not to mention a selection of traditional Gallic "squatters", one of which may be the last resting place of Jane's Euro cheque card!  A short itinerary and details of the caves visited follows.

After taking the excellent Truckline ferry from Poole we drove south from Cherbourg via the Troglodyte Village near Doue­la-Fontaine.  This man-made series of sand stone caverns is well worth seeing and there is a pleasant camp site in the town of Doue.

Our first limestone area was the Causses plateau (Lozere and Gard depts.) where we camped near Nant at a secluded site recommended by the Wessex and Shepton called "Le Roc qui Parle".  From here the three famous caves of Aven Armand, Bramabiau and Dargilan were visited.

Miserable weather soon drove us from here and we headed east to the Ardeche region, camping at Barjac, midway between the two fantastic show caves of La Cocaliere and Aven d'Orgnac. This area is well supplied with sporting caves and a brief foray was made into the Goule de Sauvas swallet system until stopped by a 15ft pitch only a few yards in.  The extensive and extremely picturesque Ardeche Gorge is near here but is packed solid with canoeists and the Aven de Marzel show cave on the plateau above the gorge is notable only for its museum of speleaology.

Next stop was the famous Fountaine-de-Vaucluse, a place of pilgrimage for all cave divers.  Low water conditions, tourists, ill considered commercialisation and the ubiquitous dog shit ruined any aesthetic pleasure to be had in seeing this mighty resurgence.  To cap it all the local caving club run a dreadful museum consisting of a man-made fibreglass cave and the Norbet Casteret collection of vandalised crystal~ and helactites!   Definitely a place to visit quickly or avoid altogether.

Hurrying on from here brought us next day to the tremendous Verdon Gorge - a huge limestone canyon but with a seeming lack of obvious spelaeological features and no tourist caves.

Next stop was Vercors where we bumped into Dave and Chris Perkins of the Wessex.  This caused the show cave of La Draye Blanche to be visited under the grip of a paralysing hangover!

A day later, with brains in neutral and stomach linings beginning to heal over, a combined Wessex/B.E.C. team accompanied twenty French school kids through the Grotte de Gaulois - about 300ft of low and muddy passage high in the cliffs of the Bourne Gorge leading to a highly exposed second entrance giving marvellous views over said gorge.

On our way home through France the isolated show cave of the Grotte d'Arcy at Arcy-sur-Cur was visited. An impressive but well vandalised system.

Prospective "show cavers" should note that the production of a club membership card and a query as to whether there is a special price for "speleologues" will usually elicit a discount of around 60p.  At La Cocaliere it got us a free brochure as well because the manager was an old mate of Nick Barrington!


Les Fermes Troglodytiques de Rochemenier (Rochemenier, Doue-la-Fontaine, Anjou)

This underground hamlet consists of two farms, a church, meeting hall and (closed) Cafe - some 19 surface and sub-surface buildings in all.  They are just an example of the dwellings of Rochemenier village, much of which is situated below ground level and still permanently inhabited.  The soft sandstone is easily dug and was extensively quarried to lime the fields - the resulting caves being adapted as houses, barns, stores, ovens, wine cellars etc.  The series open to the public also acts as a museum of farm implements, furniture and old photographs of the area.  These dwellings were obviously comfortable enough but our overall impression was of their extreme dampness.

Aven Armand (Hures-la-Parade, Lozere)

Well described in caving literature this is one of the great tourist caves of France.  Situated on the barren limestone plateau of the Causse Mejean, between the Jonte and Tarn Gorges, it is a very popular cave and an early morning visit is recommended. The original entrance is a pothole dropping directly into a 40m high chamber 100m long by 50m wide and extremely well decorated.  The Virgin Forest - some 400 stalagmites up to 30m in height - is a tremendous sight.  The tourist enters via a 208m long artificial sloping tunnel with a funicular railway in situ. Discovered by Louis Armand, the principal assistant of E.A. Martel.

Grotte de Bramabiau (Camprieu, Gard)

Tourists enter this cave at the resurgence and follow a series of paths mainly along ledges above the fast flowing river.  The passages are generally high, narrow canyons reaching up to 40m in height. Little in the way of formations but the spectacular water worn galleries are well worth seeing.  There are over 15Km of passages in this system and a sporting through trip from the sink entrance is possible by arrangement with the management - except in flood conditions when the whole place is impassable (Bramabiau being the local patois for "bull roaring" the sound of the resurgence in flood!)  Explored by E.A.Martel and team in 1888.

Grotte de Dargilon (Dargilon, Meyrueis, Lozere)

Also explored by Martel and Co in 1888 this cave consists of a series of superbly decorated chambers with most of the formations being in various shades of red, ochre and yellow giving the cave its alternative name of "La Grotte Rose".  Situated at the northern limit of the Causse Noir.

Grotte de la Cocialere (Courry, Gard)

One of the best show caves in France from a caver's point of view and well known to several Mendipites, the tourist section is only part of one of the largest cave systems in France - over 47Km at the time of writing.  The system has been gradually ex­plored since 1850 with Robert de Joly and team extending the cave to 4Km in 1937.  In the fifties the Soc. de Spel. et prehistoire Gard-Ardeche became involved and are still exploring the system.

The concept and realisation of the tourist section was the brain child of Andre Morti who together with his brother and other cavers laid all the concrete pathways and installed lighting etc. to produce a masterpiece of well lit, well conserved and excellently managed show cave.  Most of this is along the middle levels of this multi-level system and there are many fine displays of most types of formations - all still very much "alive" and glistening with water flow.  The gours and shield formations are particularly fine.  Not to be missed if you are in the area and I believe most of the rest of the system is of easy access.

Aven d'Orgnac (Orgnac l'Aven, Vallon Pont d'Arc, Ardeche)

The other reason for visiting this area is this awe-inspiring cave.  Similar to Aven Armand but on a greater scale and, unbelievably, even better decorated.  Entered via a lift and artificial tunnel, the enormous main chamber is partly lit by daylight entering from the pothole in the roof - first explored by de Joly in 1935. Again, part of a lengthy system of which only the first few chambers are commercialised.  The formations are plentiful, spectacular and multi-coloured with stalagmites having the appearance of immense piles of overlapping plates reaching up 35m in height.  One of the foremost tourist caves in the world.

(Incidentally, the BEC were here before - Harry Stanbury had a particularly exciting trip led by Robert de Joly some 37 years ago.  See Belfry Bulletin, June 1950 or British Caver vol 22, 1951.)

L'Aven-Grottede Marzel (St. Remeze, Ardeche)

Situated on the plateau above the Ardeche Gorge.  A rather grotty, small scale version of Aven Armand with plentiful but old and dead formations.  Originally explored by E.A. Martel in 1892 but subsequently the entrance was lost for 50 years.  (Why doesn't this happen to Eastwater?)  In 1949 Pierre Ageron rediscovered the cave and equipped it for tourism.  The BEC, in the shape of Harry Stanbury, were on the scene almost immediately!

Martel was a local shepherd and the bones of "his" dog can be seen lit by ultra violet light. Not a pretty sight.

For those wishing to avoid the cave there is a small but excellent museum of speleology containing many items of equipment belonging to the famous caving pioneers including Casteret's helmet - his other helmet being in the museum at Vaucluse and many more probably scattered throughout France.

For those wishing to avoid both there is a zoo and display of full size dinosaur models.

Scialet-Grotte de la Draye-Blanche (La Chappelle-en­Vercors, Drome)

A spiral staircase leads to a large and well decorated chamber.  Good examples of moon milk and some fine helictites.  "The highest underground cave in France open to the public".  Not recommended with a hangover.

Grottes d'Arcy-sur-Cure (Arcy-sur-Cure, Yonne)

Well off the main limestone areas of France but a convenient stop between Calais and the Vercors - and close to Chablis.

Described by M. l'Abbe Parat in 1666 the cave has been regularly visited and pillaged since then. Buffon vandalised the placed in 1740 and 1759 to decorate artificial grottos in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.  Despite this the cave is worth visiting and is principally a large tunnel forming an abandoned oxbow cave of the River Cure.  There is an active phreatic system below the show cave.  The area is of importance site of Mourterian and Upper Palaeolithic remains.

Tony Jarratt   15/10/87


Cave Photography - A Practical Guide

I have been looking forward to the publication of this book since Chris first mentioned it's gestation to me.  My cave photographic experience is almost non-existent, other than many hours spent lying in cold water for generations of cave photographers.  This book certainly gives the potential cave photographer the information needed to get started, evaluate his (or her) results and gain an improvement on technique.

The photographs used profusely throughout the book are all of the high standard one expects of Chris' work and I thought were in some ways more useful than the text.  It would have been very helpful if more use had been made of these photographs to explain or amplify points made in the text itself. The coding system used to show the positions of the various light sources is a very good idea, but I found it annoying to constantly have to find the chart on page 4 which could have been more conveniently sited inside the front cover.  Perhaps arrows on the borders could have been easier to follow.

I learnt a great deal from reading this book and feel a lot more confident of setting out to take photographs underground.  A careful study of the illustrations has given me an idea of the type of illuminations to use and where to place it.  This was previously a total mystery.  The book was not particularly easy to read but is fulfilling an important gap in the caver’s reference library and it certainly deserves to find a slot on everyone's bookshelf.

Richard Stevenson


The 150th Anniversary of the discovery of Cox's Cave.

A short history by Dave Irwin

This year is the 150th Anniversary of the accidental discovery of Cox’s Cave at cheddar.  It was the first of the three show caves to be fully commercialised, though Gough’s Old Cave may have been open to paying visitors at this time.  Though it has been shown (Irwin; 1987 - BB No. 400) that Gough’s Old cave was known as Great Stalagmite Cavern as early as 1869 a recently located newspaper reference shows that it has been open as early as 1840. However, Cox’s Cave was the first cave at Rock End, Cheddar to be commercialised immediately after its discovery in 1837 (Irwin, 1986b, Fig. 1).  The account that follows is based on a much more detailed paper published in the UBSS Proceedings.


The cave was accidentally discovered by a workman, named Cooper, in 1837, during the building of a coach-house or outhouse for the lease-holder of the now Cliff Hotel - George Cox.  After a considerable amount of effort on the part of George Cox and his workmen, the Cave was opened to the public in 1838.  The original entrance was some 20-30 feet up the steeply sloping cliff face and today is known as Daylight Hole.  This entrance, with a few steps remaining, can be seen from the cliff or just inside the cave entrance.   The earliest recorded description of the cave was published in 1842.  The book was published by the Cheddar Vicar, Richard A'Court Beadon but the description was supplied by George Cox.  A year later, in a letter to Buckland, the Dean of Llandaff Cathedral at Cardiff, the Right Reverend W.D. Conybeare, visited the cave and gave the earliest independent view of the site (Jamieson, 1858)

Stalactite Cavern, Cheddar. 1st July, 1843

Dear Buckland,

... it is the only grateful cave fit for ladies we have; the only thing I ever saw that at all realises my idea of Antiparos.  It has one main porch and three or four lateral branches, narrow fissures, about ten or twelve feet broad, and some thirty or forty feet high, vested and draped with the most fantastic and beautiful marble stalactite one can conceive.  The floor, when discovered, was a mass of stalagmite, covering rounded gravel of the mountain limestone, filling up about ten feet of the bottom.

The owner has cut galleries through this stalagmite, and he is one of the best showmen of a cave I ever saw, lighting the whole with a group of candles on a tin plate, which he raises to the roof, or thrusts through the narrow fissures, so as to exhibit to whole to perfection.  Make this known as the prettiest thing in the island, and come and see it,"

                        W.D. Conybeare,

The present-day entrance, at road level, was cut sometime between 1838 and 1842.

In Hunt (1850) we have an intriguing note in the description of the cave passages, “….the principal of which is easy of access, extending in a zig-zag direction about 200 feet into the solid rock, and is covered by beautiful incrustations ... transparent Stalactites, thousands of quill-like tubes ... ".  This is the only note of the existence of straw stalactites. Many of the roots may still be seen but were probably destroyed during further development in the late 19th century.

The early references to the cave were full of enthusiasm but a solitary note of discord was expressed by one visitor, Thomas Woodhouse of Otterhampton, near Bridgwater, Somerset, who said "This cavern is extremely disappointing, and strikes such a chill that it is a place to be avoided." That was in 1870.  However, the press and guide-books were of one voice that this cave "has no superior in the country" (Worth, 1894).

The initial section of cave open to the public was into the 4th Chamber just beyond the Transformation

Scene in the Third Chamber. Illustrations of famous group of stalagmites were included in Cheddar guide-bocks as early as 1860; published by John Bryne of Cheddar.  There are several editions of this book and the last. two, c.1874 and c.1879 include a different  illustration. The earlier illustration shows the guide holding candles whereas the later shows the Transformation Scene lit with gas jets. Surveys at Longleat House show that the 5th - 7th chambers were in fact known by 1884 but were not accessible to the public.  It is possible that preparations were under way about this time to open this part of the cave to the public as a flight of steps leading to the 7th Chamber are shown on the surveys.  The earliest record of the 4th - 5th chambers being shown is c. 1886. The following year the 7th Chamber was opened and was christened "The Fairies Grotto".  The opening of this ‘new’ chamber was obviously planned to coincide with Queen Victoria's Jubilee and to combat the competition from Gough's activities at Gough's Old Cave that year (Irwin, 1987a)

In 1904, The Times reported the visit of the Martel's thus (E. Cox, 1914): “ ... They were greatly pleased with the kaleidoscopic beauties of Cox's Cave, which will soon be enlarged by the addition of a newly discovered chamber…”   This new chamber was illustrated on three picture postcards published by Hartmann of London in 1905.  The remaining grotto to be developed was the ‘Lady Chapel’; this was first on public show in 1913 about the time the second entrance was blasted out to the side of the cliff.  The Lady Chapel was the last 'discovery' to be made in this cave.

During the winter of 1986/1987 a connection was made from the 7th Chamber into Pavey's Cave (Fantasy Grotto) to allow the visitors to exit through the latter cave entrance.

As the cave prospered and developed an office, stores and refreshment room was built alongside the cliffs at the cave entrance.  Later, about 1884, a photographic studio was built.  The obligatory souvenir shop was also built and no doubt stocked the much sought after collectors item of today.  A handbill (Cox, C & J., c. 1886) describing the cave as far as the 5th and 6th chambers (thus pre-dating the ‘discovery’ of the 7th chamber in 1887) states ‘Photographs of the Cliffs and the Stalactite Cavern, by the Best Artists. In great Variety’.  A later handbill (Cox, E., c.1890) fully describes the cave as far as the 7th chamber, "The Fairies Grotto" which was discovered in Jubilee Year (1887) and lists 18 Frith cave interior photographs being available.  The Frances Frith photographs had a very long life and were continuously on sale in one form or another as late as the middle 1960’s.  The initial selection of prints were available at various prices according to size (Cox, E., c.1890).  By c.1894 (Cox, E.) the number available had increased to 20, and by c.1899 (Cox, E.) a total of 25 views were on sale.  Between 1902 - 1903 all 25 Frith views were progressively published as picture postcards. Edward Cox sent Queen Alexandra a selection of picture post cards in 1910 and received the following reply which was widely advertised (Weston-super-Mare Gazette, 1911, 1st. May and Various issues until 1st July)  (Cox, 1911, p1):

Buckingham Palace,
19th July, 1910

Dear Sir,

I submitted your letter to Queen Alexandra, and I am now commanded to thank you most sincerely for the interesting photographs which you have so kindly sent for Her Majesty's acceptance.

            Yours faithfully, Charlotte Knollys.

                        Mr. Edward Cox.

                                    The Caves, Cheddar.

Certainly photographs and postcards were on sale simultaneously until 1914 and by this date 60 1d postcards were available and the photographic versions were priced at 2d. each.  A special pocket of 14 postcards was available for 1/- and known as The Royal Packet (Cox, 1911, p2;1914, p.9)

Keen to encourage visitors to Cox's Stalactite Cavern and his Pleasure Gardens, George Cox arranged a regular horse drawn carriage from Weston-Super­Mare every Monday, Thursday and Friday during the summer season.  This service commenced in 1861 but probably did not survive the arrival of the railway at Cheddar in 1869.

In addition to the cave, added attractions were arranged in the Pleasure Gardens. In 1861 George Cox organised a 'Grand Balloon Ascent' on the 18th of June, but the day ended in failure as the 10,000 cubic foot balloon could not be inflated due to leaking gas pipes. The Wells Journal (1861, 22nd June) reported "This failure called forth some expressions of angry feeling, which could not excite surprise, seeing that the promised ascent of the balloon was to a majority of those present the great attraction."

Many companies took their employees to Cheddar and in 1868, for example, the annual outing of the Bristol company, E.5. and A. Robinson employees made Cheddar the venue for their Annual Outing.  Travelling in a convoy of horse drawn brakes, one including a brass band for their entertainment during the journey. They left Bristol at 7 am. and arrived at Cheddar about midday (Weston-Super­Mare Mercury, 1868, 1st. August).  They had dinner at the Cliff Hotel and then separated to enjoy themselves according as their tastes led them.  The caves were, of course, the principal attraction and were visited by most of the excursionists"

Early visitors were accompanied by Mr. George Cox or a member of his family, and after their visit were requested to sign the visitors book; though Stevens (1869, p.33) ventured the opinion that since the railway had arrived at Cheddar the visitors book in “which several autographs of persons of note ... will probably be discontinued as the numbers increase.”  Apparently this was not so as the practice continued well into the 20th century, certainly up to 1914, though it may have been produced only for selected visitors.  It is not known whether these books have survived.

The first reported visit of an international figure appeared in the Wells Journal (1852, 28th August) which states "Large parties have lately visited the cliffs, gardens, and cavern notwithstanding the heavy rains and boisterous winds.  Among other distinguished guests who have honoured this neighbourhood with their company, we find the following entry in the visitors book under date of the 12th inst.., "President Fillimore and party, U.S."  This was reprinted in the Wells Journal from the Bridgwater Times.  Millard Fillmore (incorrectly spelt in the account) was President of the United States of America 1850 – 1853.

In the late 1850’s the cave was visited by the teenage Prince of Wales (later King George VII) and his tutor.  From about 1868 George Cox, and later, Edward Cox, regularly advertised the fact that the cave had been visited by the Prince of Wales but only the published date appears in booklets entitled ‘Souvenir of Cox’s Stalactite caves (Cox, E. c.1911, p.3; 1914, p.7) which states “His Majesty, King Edward VII, was brought to see Cox’s cavern in 1857.”

The 1905 Cox’s handbills and picture postcards reminded the public that King Edward VII had visited the cave and photographs of the Cliff village of the time also show clearly painted advertisements on the gable end of one of the building making the same statement.  During the rivalry between the two principal proprietors Gough’s had published the following statement on 1st August 1904 (Cox, c.1906, p.2)

 “Eye-opener for strangers, - His Majesty King Edward never visited Cheddar or Caves. His Royal highness the Prince of Wales never visited Cheddar or Caves.  To make a long story short, visitors should not be misled..”

Cox (c.1906) published the Gough note and added that Cox’s Cave was the cave “that you are advised to be aware of, is the Most Exquisite and Charming in the United Kingdom…”

Providing that the Cox extract is a true copy this grossly incorrect statement by the Gough’s was an appalling act of indecent trading.  It is true that King Edward VII had not visited the cave as King and neither had the then Prince of Wales who was to become King George V.

This play on words was a simply a disgrace.  However, Edward Cox wrote to Buckingham Palace and received the following reply form the King’s secretary:

H.M. Yacht Victoria and Albert,
5th August, 1904


I have had the honour of submitting your letter on the 3rd instant to the King and I am commanded to inform you in reply that His Majesty remembers when quite young having visited the Stalactite Caverns at Cheddar, Somerset.  The King thinks he must have been about fifteen or sixteen years of age at the time

            I am, Sir,

                        Your obedient servant


Though Cox’s booklets state 1857 as the year of Edward’s visit, the date must remain in doubt; on the King’s evidence, bearing in mind his vague recollection, it could be 1856 or 1857.  Jamieson, however, records in April 1858 “..Mr. Cox has laudably determined that the contents of the cave shall not be broken up nor disturbed, anticipating the probability of its being honoured with a royal visit."  This is probably the year of Edward's visit though one cannot dismiss the possibility of a visit by yet another, unrecorded, royal personage.

During 1862 Nicholas Ennor, a Cornish miner operating the Priddy Minery, some 5 miles away. visited Cox's Cave and notes

."..about 26 years since a very beautiful stalactite cave was discovered at Cheddar.  The finder (being an intelligent man) took the best possible means of preserving it not allowing the stalactites (some of them from 6 to 10 feet long) to be broken off. At one point a drop had caused the extension of the uppermost stalactite downward and the lower one upward until they had approached each other so close that there was not sufficient distance between for the drop to fall consequently it trickled off onto the one below.  This circumstance led the finder to imagine that by watching carefully this peculiar phenomenon he would be enabled to measure time.  Shortly after the Bishop (I think) of Llandaff visited the cave…(and said).. "it would be necessary for him to live a thousand years to accomplish his object  Not long since I had an opportunity of seeing both the stalactites and the owner when he freely expressed himself on the wisdom of the Bishop's remark as he could not discover the least perceptible change during the 26 years.”

Ennor concluded that the 'Bishop' is a “useful, thinking man."   The 'Bishop' was the Dean of Llandaff, W. R. Conybeare

The American traveller Elihu Burritt visited the cave about 1864 and published an account of his visit to Cox's Cave comparing it with the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky (Burritt, 1865).

Edward Cox, like Gough, encouraged the public and scientific bodies to visit his cave by widely advertising the names of famous people that had signed the visitor’s book.  In 1880 the Duke of Argyll (son-in-law of Queen Victoria) paid the cave a visit:

(Weston-Super-Mare Mercury, 1880, 28th August) COX'S CAVERN – Amongst other distinguished visitors to Stalactite Cavern on Monday were His Grace the Duke of Argyll and the ladies Victoria Evelyn Mary and Constance Campbell. The Duke and his party remained for some time at Cheddar; partaking of refreshments at the Cliff Hotel, and before leaving, expressed the pleasures afforded them by their visits to the cavern.

By the turn of the century, Edward Cox was able to produce an impressive list of important visitors to the cave (Coc, c.1899). They included H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, T.R.H. the Duke and Duchess D’Aumale, H.R.H. the Prince of Siam, The Duke of Argyll, The Ladies Campbell, the Right Hon. Sir M. Grant-Duff, Lord Avebury (Sir John Lubbock) &c.  In addition to these personages he listed “The two sons of His Majesty the King of Siam and The Lord Chief Justice of England visited Cox's Cavern, 1898.”  The visitors to Gough's Cave have already been outlined in (Irwin, 1986b)

Other visitors of note were Eduard Martel and his wife who visited Mendip in 1904.  They visited both Cox's and Gough's Coves on the 15th June 1904 with 6 strong contingent of Mendip and well travelled cavers.   The host party comprised Balch, Baker, Troup, Bamforth, Botterill and Puttrell.  Of his visit to Cox's Cave Martel wrote in the visitors book (Cox, c.1905):

“Never saw anywhere such graceful and charmingly coloured stalactites in about 600 visited caves. Quite unique.”

Martel later published an account of his Mendip visit in La Nature, 1905.

During the 1913 season Edward Cox (1914.) published a listed of satisfied visitors, probably from the Visitors Book referred to as Cox’s Book, including a certain F. J. Moore from Tasmania. “…We liked it very much better than the other cave.”  A visitor from Cape Town thought that Cox’s Cave was finer than the Janolen Caves of Australia!

The Premier of South Australia, the Hon. A. H. Peake, on a short stay in England, visited Gough's and Cox's caves during a tour of the area including a civic reception at Wells.  The Wells Journal reports (1913, 4th April) that he "signed the book, in which he wrote that he had seen some caves in Australia which were considered to be the finest in the world, but that he was forced to own that those of Cheddar far away exceed them..”  Mr.Peake was referring to the Naracoote Caves in South Australia (Gough, 1900-1918).  On the 2nd June (Cox, E., c.1914) Puttrell, the famous Derbyshire pioneer, again visited the cave and noted in Cox's Book  “The richest and most delicately tinted Cave in Britain, and, remembering its gem-like collection of stalactites, etc, might well be called the Jewel House of Cheddar.”  He had previously visited the cave with Martel in 1904.

The popularity of the cave grew rapidly and it is perhaps not surprising that a certain amount of vandalism occurred.  Two early accounts were reported in the Weston-super-Mare newspapers in 1861 and 1862.  The second case involved a businessman named Eggar in November 1862.  Accompanied by two ladies, failed to obey the admission notice at the cave entrance and entered the cave.  After their ‘private’ tour of the cave, the party left the cave to visit the Cliffs.  Shortly after George Cox noticed that one of the more important stalagmite formations was missing.  The pieces of the four foot long stalagmite were later found to be in a hand-bag carried by Eggar and was immediately arrested by the local police and committed for trial at Taunton early in 1863.  The trial was reported in both of the Weston-super-Mare newspapers (Mercury and Gazette) on the 10th January 1863.  The best account appeared in the Gazette:

MALICIOUS DAMAGE AT THE CAVE AT CHEDDAR  -  William Joseph Eggar, a respectably dressed man, was indited for maliciously damaging a Stalactite in a cave at Cheddar, the property of George Cox, exceeding the value of five pounds, on the 3rd, November last….. enquiries proved that there was no intention on the part of Mr. Eggar to maliciously injure and destroy the stalactite and some arrangement had been come to by which some small compensation had been paid to Mr, Cox and he did not wish to proceed with the case…Mr, Eggar, pleaded not guilty…A verdict of acquittal was taken and Mr. Eggar left the court declaring that he had paid dearly for the Stalactite.  We understand that the terms were £25 and costs.”

Until 1913 the cave had just the single entrance, only one photograph has been found of this taken by F. Frith & Co. Ltd of Reigate c.1901-1910. This obviously was inconvenient to the public as was noted by Stevens (1869, p.31)

..If at all practicable leans of exit should be provided distinct from the entrance so that on special occasions visitors might pass through and much confusion be thereby avoided.

Stevens was also critical of the entrance door (1869, p.31)

At the entrance to the cavern a doorway of modern construction ought to be removed and another substituted more in accordance with correct taste.

A second entrance may well have been considered for some time as the location of "The Fairies Grotto" and its proximity to the cliff face was known as early as 1884 but the actual breakthrough via an enlarged rift from the 7th Chamber did not take place until 1913 coincidently with the opening of the "Ladye Chapel".   Advertisements in the papers (Weston-super-Mare Gazette, 1914, 2nd May) claimed "The New Exit is the greatest improvement" and on the 9th May " ... The first Grand Discovery of the 20th Century, 1913.  The Ladye Chapel.  Much as Cox's Cave has been admired the new chamber (1913) surpasses in exquisite beauty and rich colouring anything yet discovered.  It is close to the new exit, through the postcard room ... "

The second entrance was closed in 1987 and a connection to Pavey's Cave, now known as Fantasy Grotto, has been made.  Visitors may now pass through to Pavey's Cave and exit through the Pavey's Cave entrance.

Before 1870 the cave was by candles but improvements were on the way in the late 1860’s.  Green (1869, p.32) stated that "Gas will be shortly be used to light the cavern." and Stevens (1869, p.31) commented ...

… that an endeavour be made to light this exquisite cavern with gas or at any rate by some more brilliant arrangement than has been hitherto adopted.  With a powerful light increased or diminished so as to produce the best effects; the result would be truly magnificent

Stevens' wish had been answered within a few months for gas lighting was installed during 1869-1870. During the 1870 season Cox's advertisements stated (Weston-super-Mare, 1870, p.101) “ ... (Now lit by Gas) ...” An advertisement appeared in Morris directory (Somerset., 1872, facing p.l72 ) confirming that the cave was illuminated with gas and the Cheddar notes inform the reader that the that the cave “….is now lit with gas…”  All subsequent advertisements and handbills announce that the cave is "BRILLIANTLY LIGHTED WITH GAS".

The method of lighting the cave was to become the subject of the continued rivalry between Cox and Gough during the 1890’s and early years of the 20th century.  Gough had installed gas in Gough’s old Cave in 1883 (Irwin, 1985b) but when the Diamond Chamber and St. Paul’s Chamber were discovered in 1898, he installed electric lighting in these chambers in 1899.  A typical claim by Gough read “Illuminated by Electric Light. Grandest in the world.”  From the same date Cox’s handbills (Cox, E., c.1899)

Superior to electricity

The type of mantle used with gas illumination was important to obtain maximum illumination and at that time the Welsbach was considered the finest available.  Later, Edward Cox re-phrased his adverts to read “lighted with Acetylene, the most brilliant light yet discovered…”  (Cox, E., c.1906).

Electric lighting of the cave had been considered as a possibility when the cave was offered for auction in 1884.  The Conditions of Sale and press advertisements suggested that “the introduction of electric light, easily practicable, would add immensely to the present attractions and income.”  Another thirty years was to pass before electric lighting was installed: this was 1913. A Cox’s Cave advertisement (Wells Journal 1913, 4th July)  “…”The Lady Chapel,” ….now revealed by the ELECTRIC LIGHT, 1913.”  Edward Cox appears to have altered his view, electricity did have some merit!  Cox’s later advertisement read: “the Cave ….is brilliantly illuminated with electric light, …”  (Cox, E., 1914, p.3).  The cave was partially illuminated by electricity in 1913, presumably only in the Lady Chapel area, and was completely wired for electric light in 1929. A contemporary Cox’s advertisement (Guy-Bray, c.1932, facing p.9) states that

Discovered in 1837
by the Installation throughout of

The cave was widely advertised in the mid-19th century the earliest being found in the Wells Journal in 1852.  Admission charges were expensive 3/- for one or two persons and 1/- each for more than that number and continued at this rate until 1874 and possibly later. Stevens (1869, p. 33) commented that "The charge for admission has hitherto been one shilling each person; probably these terms may be revised, but no one need grudge the outlay, as there is not in England a sight so unique as the Stalactite Cavern at Cheddar." Certainly by 1886 (Cox, E., c.1886) the price had been reduced to " ... One Shilling each for a party of not less than three.  One Single Visitor, 2s.  Two visitors 1s. 6d. each.

More than that number, as stated above, viz:- 1s. each.  Children under 12 half price."  Admission charges stabilised in the early years of the century at 1/- person at both Gough's and Cox's Caves up to the outbreak of hostilities in 1914.

The cave was offered for auction in 1884 but a High Court ruling prevented this and a new lease was given to the Cox family that terminated in 1939.  Since that time the cave has been managed by the Longleat Estate. Full details of this event and that of Pavey excavating Pavey's Cave is to be found in the writer's paper published in UBSS Proceedings for 1987.


The author would like to thank Cheddar Caves management for their unstinting help; Miss Kate Harris, Librarian to the Marquess of Bath, Dr. Trevor Shaw, Dr. William Stanton, Chris Hawkes, Chris Richards and many other for additional references and archival material.

NOTE:  All references cited in this paper are to be found in Cox's Cave.  A History by D.J. Irwin, UBSS Proceedings for 1987.


Librarian's Report

Little has been achieved on the purchasing side but thanks to Jill Tuck we now have a superb set of mahogany bookshelves and the next year will be spent in overhauling the collection of books and journals.  Thanks should be expressed to Trebor, Stumpy and Co who fitted the new bookcases. Will members who have books out please return ASAP and as usual the Club would be grateful for any donations - including B.B.s.  There will be a much tighter booking out system this coming year.

Tony Jarratt.

Hut Engineer's Report

Dany Bradshaw

Dear Member

The main problem over the year was the Tackle store roof, being blown off in the high winds we had in March.  We replaced the old Asbestos roof with a traditional felt flat roof with new lead flashing etc.  We also had a small fire just after Christmas, which caused a lot of smoke damage, but it did not take long to clean up the mess and re-decorate. Having said that, some of the fire precautions which were recommend by the fire prevention officer, have now been finished e.g., emergency fire exit door in main room, fire resisting door & door closer main room, emergency signs and fire extinguishers, the rest of his recommendations will be finished as and when monies become available.

We also fitted a new window with a side hung sash to the women’s room, for am emergency exit.

The showers have caused us a lot of aggro, but it is not just the showers but the coin meters which were the source of most of the trouble, we have purchased 2 new showers which are a lot stronger than last ones, one of which has been fitted along with a new coin meter and I have not had any complaints as yet.

The tackle store has still to be finished, along with a great many other jobs.

Working weekends and members weekends don’t work, but some members have done a fair bit when they can and I must thank all those that have come and worked on the hut, because without the small few we'd be in a right state.  I am sorry I have not got the job list up to date, but it is such a long list now, I have not had the time.


AGM Minutes

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Bristol Exploration Club held at the Belfry on Saturday, 4th October 1986

The meeting was convened by the Hon. Sec. Bob Cork, there being sufficient quorum present at, 10.35 hours.


Bob Cork, Dave Turner, Pat Cronin, Chris Smart, Richard Neville-Dove, Martin Grass, Nigel Taylor, Mark Lumley, Andy Sparrow, Chris Batstone, Garry Trainer, Babs Williams, Richard Payne, Andrew Middleton, Robin Gray, Alan Kennett, Tony Jarratt, Nick Sprang, Steve Milner, Ian Caldwell, Chris Harvey, Joan Bennett, Roy Bennett, John Theed, Bob Hill, David Pike, Mairi Rands, Laurence Smith, John Watson. Mike McDonald, Mat Tuck, Dany Bradshaw, Stuart McManus, Andy Lovell, Peter Hopkins, Dave Shand, Henry Bennett, Axel Knutson, Alan Turner, John Dukes, Phil Romford and Mike Jeanmaire.

Apologies: Ted Humphries, Tim Gould, Alan Butcher, Brian Workman, Jeremy Henley, Bucket Tilbury, Graham Wilton-Jones, Lavina Watson, Chris Castle, Tom Chapman, Pete (Snablet) Macnab, Robin Brown, Dave Irwin and Andy Lolley.

Nominations were requested for chairman - Dave Turner, proposed by Nigel Taylor and seconded by Tony Jarratt, was the only nomination and was duly elected as chairman.

The chairman asked for members' resolutions.

Minutes of 1986 A.G.M.  These had previously been published in the B.B.  They were taken as read and accepted by the meeting, proposed Dany Bradshaw, seconded Nigel Taylor and accepted unanimously.

Matters Arising. The matter of the missing log was again discussed; it was decided to approach Martin Cavender once again regarding the matter.

Hon. Sec's. Report. This had been previously published in the BB and was taken as read.  The acceptance of the report was, proposed by Lawrence Smith and seconded by Richard Neville-Dove and was carried unanimously.

Hon. Treasurer's Report  This was previously published in the BB and was taken as read. Mike McDonald produced the financial accounts which were distributed at the meeting.  This gave rise to a short discussion on telephone and electricity costs from which the following resolution was forthcoming: "The new committee to be instructed to assess our present situation regarding the telephone".  Proposed Stuart McManus and seconded by Nigel Taylor and was carried unanimously.  Acceptance of the report was proposed by Chris Batstone and seconded by Gary Trainer, this was carried.

Hon. Auditor's Report.  Joan Bennett read her report to the meeting stating that the accounts were in order and that they represented a fair and reasonable 'record of the club's financial position.  The report was accepted by the meeting.

The club thanked Joan for her many years of service as the Club's Hon. Auditor and expressed their sense of loss due to her resignation.  A formal vote of thanks was proposed by Dany Bradshaw and seconded by Chris Smart and was carried unanimously.

Caving Secretary's Report.  This was previously published in the BB and was taken as read.  A discussion took place on the subject of the Cuthbert’s Leaders meeting held earlier in the year as a result of which the following resolutions were proposed. (1) "That the Cuthbert’s Leaders hold a formal meeting annually and the Caving Secretary shall be responsible for the minuting of such a meeting and report to the AGM", proposed by Dave Turner and seconded by Roy Bennett.  (2) "That the lock on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet be changed, the new lock should be of a non-copyable type and access be restricted to bone fide trips", proposed Nigel Taylor and seconded by Ian Caldwell.  Both resolutions were carried unanimously.  The acceptance of the report was proposed by Andy Sparrow and seconded by Dany Bradshaw and was carried unanimously.  A vote of thanks was given to Mike McDonald for his efforts in cleaning up Cuthbert’s.

Hut Warden's Report. This had been previously published in the BB and was taken as read.  The subject of debtors was raised and discussed at length.  It was the meetings wish that the following debts be recorded:  Tim Gould, an unknown sum not less than £8 and no greater than £50;  Edric Hobbs, the sum of £1;  James Smart who owes £5 and a £10 debt owed by Mike McDonald in respect of a carbide purchase. From the above the following motion was tabled: "that the Secretary writes to Mr. Timothy Gould requesting that he pay his outstanding debts and conducts his financial affairs with the Club in a more orderly fashion in the future".

A further proposal was made "that the Hut Warden monitors outstanding Hut fee debts and reports to the Committee any which exceed the sum of £10 per individual", proposed Nigel Taylor and seconded by Pat Cronin and was carried unanimously.

The report was proposed for acceptance by Mark Lumley and seconded by Andy Lovell and was accepted unanimously.

Tackle Master's Report.  Steve Milner's report was pre-published and was taken as read.  The following proposal was tabled after a short discussion: "that members who wish to leave tackle underground, may only do so by prior arrangement with the Tackle Master", proposed by Andy Sparrow and seconded by Stuart McManus: accepted.  It was proposed by Bob Hill and seconded by Stuart McManus that the report be accepted and it was carried unanimously.

B.B. Editor's Report. Dave Turner had previously published his report in the BB and it was proposed by Nigel Taylor and seconded by Dave Shand that the report be accepted and this was carried unanimously.  A vote of thanks was given.

Hut Engineer's Report.  Dany Bradshaw gave an oral rendition which left the meeting speechless and wet cheeked. The acceptance of the above was muted by Tony Jarratt and seconded by Nigel Taylor and applauded by the meeting unanimously.  A vote of thanks was neither proposed or given.

Librarian's Report. Tony Jarratt read his report to the meeting.  There being no matters arising the acceptance was proposed by Christopher Batstone and seconded by Bob Hill and was carried unanimously as is the norm.

Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  One application only had been received this year, this had been turned down on the grounds that the proposed trip did not relate to the Club or to caving.  It was proposed by Phil Romford and seconded by Chris Smart that the report be accepted and this was carried unanimously.

Members Resolutions. None.

Committee for 1987-88

There being no election required this year the following members were auto elected, committee posts were agreed unanimously by the meeting and proposer and seconder are given in ()

Hon. Sec.                Bob Cork (Chris Batstone, Robin Gray)
Treasurer                 Mike McDonald (Dany Bradshaw, Stuart McManus)
Caving Sec              Richard Neville-Dove (Tony Jarratt, Mark Lumley)
B.B. Editor               Dave Turner (Stuart McManus, Phil Romford)
Hut Warden             Andy Sparrow (Stuart McManus, Robin Gray)
Hut Engineer            Dany Bradshaw (Martin Grass, Stuart McManus)
Tacklemaster           Steve Milner (Tony Jarratt, Dany Bradshaw)
Membership Sec.     John Watson (Tony Jarratt, Martin Grass)

Ordinary committee members: Phil Romford.

The meeting instructed the Committee to co-opt Mark Lumley and Tony Jarratt.

Non committee post: Hon. Auditor Barry Wilton.

Chris Smart proposed that the Librarian be made an officer of the Club.  This would require a constitutional amendment and therefore could not be considered at this meeting.

Any Other Business

1.                  A lengthy discussion took place as to whether the CSCC constituted "a club of similar aims" as specified in section 5 (a) of the constitution. It was proposed by Stuart McManus and seconded by Bob Cork that the CSCC is of similar aims. For 24; against 12, abstentions 6. Therefore carried.

2.                  Andy Sparrow was asked to represent the Club as rescue team leader.  He accepted this position.

3.                  The car belonging to one Mark Lumley which has been parked on the Belfry site for some considerable time is to be removed by the owner as soon as possible.

4.                  The new committee were instructed to ensure that the Club’s insurance is index linked.

5.                  It was proposed that potential members of the Club attend the Committee Meeting at which their application will be considered unless there are any extenuating circumstances why they should not be present.

6.                  A lengthy discussion took place on the availability of cave keys.  From this the following proposal emerged, that the new committee investigate methods of issuing cave keys along the lines of local members holding them.  Proposed Phil Romford and seconded Alan Turner, passed with 6 against and 3 abstentions.

There being no other business the chairman closed the meeting at 14.53 hours.


Bristol Exploration Club - Membership List 1/12/87

828 Nicolette Abell                      Faukland, Bath
1059 Georgina Ainsley                 Redland, Bristol
987 Dave Aubrey                         Park St, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
20 (L) Bobby Bagshaw                 Knowle, Bristol, Avon
392 (L) Mike Baker                      Midsomer Norton, Bath, Avon
818 Chris Batsone                       Tynings, Radstock, Avon
1079 Henry Bennett                     Pimlico, London.
390 (L) Joan Bennett                    Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol
214 (L) Roy Bennett                     Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol
769 Sue Bishop                           Tynings, Radstock.
998 Crissie Bissett                      Exeter, Devon
731 Bob Bidmead                        East Harpytree,  Bristol
364 (L) Pete Blogg                       Chaldon, Caterham, Surrey
145 (L) Sybil Bowden-Lyle            Calne, Wiltshire
868 Dany Bradshaw                     Haybridge, Wells, Somerset
751 (L) T.A. Bookes                     London, SW2
1082 Robin Brown                       Axbridge Road, Cheddar, Somerset
924 Aileen Butcher                      Holt, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
849 Alan Butcher                         Holt, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
956 Ian Caldwell                          Clifton, Bristol
1036 Nicola Slann                       Clifton, Bristol
1014 Chris Castle                        Westlynne, Cheddar, Somerset
902 (L) Martin Cavender               Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells, Somerset.
1048 Tom Chapman                     Barrows Road, Cheddar, Somerset.
1040 John Chew                          Rodney Stoke, Wells, Somerset
1080 Tony Church                       Shepton Mallet, Bath
1030 Richard Clarke                    Normans Green, Plymtree, East Devon
1005 Jane Cowbrey                     Haworth, Keighly, North Yorkshire
211 (L) Clare Coase                     Berkeley-Vale, New South Wales, 2259, Australia
89 (L) Alfie Collins                       Litton, Somerset
862 Bob Cork                              Stoke St. Michael, Somerset
1042 Mick Corser                        Cringleford, Norwich, Norfolk
827 Mike Cowlishaw                    Micheldever Station, Winchester, Hants.
1060 Peter Crawley                     West Wickham. Kent
890 Jerry Crick                            Wing, Leighton Buzzard, Bucks
896 Pat Cronin                            Knowle, Bristol
680 Bob Cross                            Knowle, Bristol
405 (L) Frank Darbon                   Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. VIT 6M3
423 (L) Len Dawes                       Minster Matlock, Derbyshire
815 Nigel Dibden                         Holmes Chapel, Cheshire
164 (L) Ken Dobbs                       Beacon Heath, Exeter, Devon
829 Angie Dooley                        Harborne, Birmingham
710 Colin Dooley                         Harborne, Birmingham
1000 (L) Roger Dors                     Priddy, Somerset
1038 Alan Downton                      Sundon Park, Luton, Beds
830 John Dukes                          Wells, Somerset
779 Jim Durston                          Glastonbury, Somerset
996 Terry Earley                          Wyle, Warmister, Wiltshire
322 (L) Bryan Ellis                       Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, Somerset
1064 David Evans                        Didcot, Oxon
1063 Peter Evans                        Abingdon, Oxfordshire
232 Chris Falshaw                       Fulwood, Sheffield
269 (L) Tom Fletcher                    Bramcote, Nottingham.
894 Phil Ford                              Greenfield, Clwyd, North Wales
404 (L) Albert Francis                  Wells, Somerset
569 Joyce Franklin                      Stone, Staffs
469 Pete Franklin                        Stone, Staffs
835 Len Gee                               St. Edgeley, Stockport, Cheshire
1069 Angie Glanvill                      Chard, Somerset
1017 Peter Glanvill                       Chard, Somerset
648 Dave Glover                          Pamber Green, Basingstoke, Hampshire
1054 Tim Gould                           Redland, Bristol
860 Glenys Grass                       Sawbridgeworth, Herts
790 Martin Grass                         Sawbridgeworth, Herts
1009 Robin Gray                         East Horrington, Wells, Somerset
1089 Kevin Gurner                       Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex
1088 Nick Gymer                        Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex
432 Nigel Hallet                           Address not known
104 (L) Mervyn Hannam               St Annes, Lancashire
581 Chris Harvey                         Hanham Lane, Paulton, Somerset
4 (L) Dan Hassell                         Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset
893 Dave Hatherley                      Cannington, Bridgwater, Somerset
1078 Mike Hearn                         Bagworth, Axbridge, Somerset
1117 Pete Hellier                         Nempnet Thrubwell, Chew Stoke, Bristol
974 Jeremy Henley                      Leg Square, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
952 Bob Hill                                Assen, Netherlands
1021 Edric Hobbs                        Priddy, Wells Somerset
373 Sid Hobbs                            Priddy, Wells Somerset
736 Sylvia Hobbs                         Priddy, Wells Somerset
905 Paul Hodgson                       Pennybatch Lane, Burcott, Wells, Somerset
898 Liz Hollis                              Batcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
899 Tony Hollis                           Batcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
920 Nick Holstead                       Trowbridge, Wiltshire
387 George Honey                       Address not known
971 Colin Houlden                       Bristol, London, SW2
923 Trevor Hughes                       Bleadney, Wells, Somerset
855 Ted Humphreys                     Wells, Somerset
73 Angus Innes                           Alveston, Bristol, Aven
540 (L) Dave Irwin                        Townsend, Priddy, Somerset
922 Tony Jarratt                          Pelting Drove, Priddy, Somerset
668 Mike Jeanmaire                     Peak Forest, Buxton, Derbyshire
1026 Ian Jepson                          Beechen Cliff, Bath
51 (L) A Johnson                         Station Rd., Flax Bourton, Bristol
995 Brian Johnson                       Ottery St. Mary, Devon
1001 Graeme Johnson                 Cosby, Leicester
560 (L) Frank Jones                     Priddy, Somerset
1074 Jerry Jones                         Portishead, Bristol
567 (L) Alan Kennett                    Henleaze, Brsitol
884 John King                             Wisborough Green, West Sussex
316 (L) Kangy King                      Pucklechurch, Bristol, Avon
1007 Jonathan King                     Pucklechurch, Bristol, Avon
542 (L) Phil Kingston                   St. Mansfield, Brisbane, Queensland, 4122, Australia
413 (L) R. Kitchen                       Horrabridge, Yelverton, Devon
946 Alex Ragnar Knutson             Bedminster, Bristol
667 (L) Tim Large                        Moorland Stree, Axbridge, Somerset
958 Fi Lewis                               East Horrington, Wells, Somerset
1015 Andrew Lolley                     Kingsdowm, Bristol
1043 Andy Lovell                         Keynsham, Bristol
1072 Clive Lovell                          Keynsham, Bristol
1057 Mark Lumley                       Clifton, Bristol 8
1071 Michael McDonald               Knowle, Bristol
1067 Fiona McFall                       Fishponds, Bristol
651 Pete MacNab (Sr)                 Cheddar, Somerset
1052 Pete MacNab (Jr)                Cheddar, Somerset
1090 Robert McNair                     Otley, Yorkshire
550 (L) R A MacGregor                Baughurst, Basingstoke, Hants
725 Stuart McManus                   Priddy, Somerset
106 (L) E.J. Mason                      Henleaze, Bristol
558 (L) Tony Meaden                   Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset
704 Dave Metcalf                         Whitwick, Leics
1044 Andrew Middleton                Earlsfield, London.
1053 Steve Milner                        St. George, Bristol
1086 Richard Neville-Dove            Bristol
936 Dave Nichols                         Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
852 John Noble                           Tennis Courts Rod, Paulton, Bath
624 Jock Orr                               Sturton-by-Stowe, Lincoln
396 (L) Mike Palmer                    Yarley, Wells, Somerset
1045 Richard Payne                    Sidcup , Kent
22 (L) Les Peters                         Knowle Park, Bristol Avon
499 (L) A. Philpott                       Bishopston, Bristol, Avon
1103 Mark Philpott                      Wells, Somerset
1037 Dave Pike                           Yarley, Wells, Somerset
337 Brian Prewer                         West Horrington, Wells, Somerset
1085 Duncan Price                      Edgbaston, Birmingham
1081 Philip Provis                        Barh Rd., Paulton, Bristol
481 (L) John Ransom                   Patchway, Bristol, Avon
682 John Riley                            Waramanga, ACT 2611, Australia
1033 Sue Riley                            Waramanga, ACT 2611, Australia
1070 Mary Robertson                   Stonebridge Park, London, NW10
986 Lil Romford                           Coxley, Wells, Somerset
985 Phil Romford                         Coxley, Wells, Somerset
921 Pete Rose                            Crediton, Devon
832 Roger Sabido                        Lawrence Weston, Bristol
240 (L) Alan Sandall                    Nailsea, Avon
359 (L) Carol Sandall                   Nailsea, Avon
760 Jenny Sandercroft                 Victoria Park, Bristol
237 (L) Bryan Scott                     Havestock Road, Winchester Hnts
78 (L) R Setterington                    Taunton, Somerset
213 (L) Rod Setterington              Harpendon, Herts
1046 Dave Shand                        Penarth, Cardiff
915 Chris Smart                          Nr. Bradford on Avon, Wilts
911 James Smart                        Clifton, Bristol
1041 Laurence Smith                   West Horrington, Wells, Somerset
823 Andrew Sparrow                    Priddy, Somerset
1063 Nicholas Sprang                  East Street, Worcester
1 (L) Harry Stanbury                    Bude, Cornwall
38(L) Mrs I Stanbury                    Knowle, Bristol
575 (L) Dermot Statham               Westcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
365 (L) Roger Stenner                  Weston super Mare, Avon
1084 Richard Stevens                  Worcester, Worcestershire
867 Rich Stevenson                     Wookey, Wells, Somerset, Somerset
583 Derek Targett                        East Horrington, Wells Somerset
1039 Lisa Taylor                          Weston Road, Bath
772 Nigel Taylor                          Langford Lane, Langford, Avon
1035 John Theed                         The Street, Farmborough, Bath
284 (L) Alan Thomas                    Priddy, Somerset
348 (L) D Thomas                        Bartlestree, Hereford
571 (L) N Thomas                        Salhouse, Norwich, Norfolk.
699 Buckett Tilbury                      High Wycombe, Bucks
700 Anne Tilbury                         High Wycombe, Bucks
74 (L) Dizzie Thompsett-Clark       Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex
381 (L) Daphne Towler                 Bognor Regis, Sussex
157 (L) Norman Tuck                   Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, Gwent, Wales
382 Steve Tuck                           Coxley, Wells, Somerset
1023 Matt Tuck                           Coxley, Wells, Somerset
1066 Alan Turner                         Leigh on Mendip, Bath, Avon
678 Dave Turner                          Leigh on Mendip, Bath, Avon
912 John Turner                           Tavistock, Devon.
925 Gill Turner                             Tavistock, Devon.
635 (L) Stuart Tuttlebury               Boundstone, Farnham, Surrey
887 Greg Villis                            Banwell, Weston-super-Mare, Avon
175 (L) Mrs. D. Whaddon             Taunton, Somerset
1077 Brian Wafer                         Orpington, Kent
949 John Watson                        Wells, Somerset
1019 Lavinia Watson                    Wells, Somerset
973 James Wells                         Yorktown Heights, New York, USA
1055 Oliver Wells                        Yorktown Heights, New York, USA
1032 Barry Wharton                     Yatton, Bristol
553 Bob White                            Wells, Somerset.
878 Col White                             Royal marines Police, Hamworthy, Dorset
1068 John Whiteley                     Denbury, Devon
1061 Kerry Wiggins                     Brighton Hill, Basingstoke, Hants
1031 Mike Wigglesworth              Wells, Somerset.
1087 John Williams                     Northwood, Middlesex
1075 Tony Williams                     Leigh on Mendip, Bath
1076 Roz Williams                      Leigh on Mendip, Bath
559 Barrie Wilton                         Nr. Wells, Somerset
568 Brenda Wilton                       Nr. Wells, Somerset
850 J Annie Wilton-Jones             Llanlley Hill, Abergavenny, Gwent
813 J Ian Wilton-Jones                 Llanlley Hill, Abergavenny, Gwent
721 G Wilton-Jones                     Draycott, Cheddar, Somerset
877 Steven Woolven                    West Chilington, West Sussex
914 Brian Workman                     Bridgwater, Somerset
477 Ronald Wyncoll                     Holycroft, Hinkley, Leics.


Bowery Corner Swallet

This is the latest site receiving attention from the Belfry regulars.  Originally dug by the Wessex in 1937 and then again in 1960, the dig which was all in clay was eventually filled in by the farmer and abandoned. In recent years Pat Cronin has had the site on his list of "promising digs" and earlier this year, with interest waning in Wigmore, Pat and friends turned their attention to Bowery Corner (mainly because the entrance is about 15ft from the road!).

A shaft was quickly sunk through shale and three concrete pipes inserted to stabilise the entrance. At the bottom of the shaft a gradual sloping passage three feet high led down to a junction.  The small stream which flows in the summer sank to the right but J'Rat insisted that we progress to the left.  However after a couple of hours our attentions were directed towards the stream sink.  This proved to be the right place after all, as a short dig led into a roomy (compared to the rest of the cave) rift heading due north.  This ended after 6 metres at a low pool.  This has now been passed to 8 metres of low aqueous passage which is half filled with silt and carries a stream.  Progress is continuing and hopes are high of a major find.

For those interested, the first part of the cave is in shale but from the pool onwards the cave is in good firm limestone.  During the recent wet weather two (yes 2!!) large streams flowed into the cave, it is thought that these are mainly run off from the fields and the road.

Martin Grass  1/12/87