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By Tim Large

New members:

948       Axel Knutson Jnr., 21 Milford St., Southville, Bristol

Address changes

933       Di Beeching, 15 Waterloo Road, Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
Bob White, Cedar Hall, Henley Lane, Wookey,'Nr. Wells, Somerset.


At the recent annual, meeting improvements to the indemnity chit and permit system was agreed.  To overcome the constantly increasing files containing the application forms a revised form will be produced which incorporates the permit as well as a tear off slip.  In the case of temporary permits one of these will be completed at each application.  For club members the complete form will be completed once every 5 years.  In this way the files can be greatly reduced. From the issuing point of view we can be sure: that an application (indemnity? - Ed) has been signed. Whereas before we have often taken a persons word for it.


The UBSS have now informed us that the new bolting arrangements are complete.  They write, “We have now re-bolted the Ladder Dig with two new bolts with removable hangers.  The lowest of these is about two metres above floor level an the next is a reasonable distance up and to the left.  From the second the series of existing three eyebolts and chain can be reached.”

"The bolts are TROLL punch-bolts.  Take with you two hangers having 3/8"holes and an open ended spanner.” Eventually the club will provide these for members use.  More details when they are available.


Following the concern shown over the new tackle arrangements some modifications to the system have now been made.  The box in the Belfry which holds the tackle store key has had its lock changed.  In the past, the lock was the same as the Belfry door and so the Belfry key would fit this lock.  Now this has been changed and a security lock fitted.  The key for this is available to members on personal application to the committee.  It is intended particularly for those caving mid-week as the key can be obtained from any committee member at the weekends.  I would stress that by mid-week etc., it means on a regular basis. The number of keys being issued will be kept as small as possible, so if you are a once in a blue moon mid-week caver, it is doubtful that you will get a key.  Also if there are two or three members who normally cave together, then only one key will be issued under the names of the three, so that anyone of them could use it.  The cost of the key will be the cost of having a key cut.  Currently it is £1.00


An illustrated talk by Jack Culvert entitled….


The talk will last about an hour and a half, so there will be plenty of time for the pub.  Jack says that he has about 300 slides.  This should be a good evening.  REMEMBER 7.00pm at the BELFRY, 7th APRIL.

Cuthbert's Insurance

Some concern has been expressed by leaders and members regarding this topic.  The Committee have enforced the recommendation made by the 1976 AGM but when the matter was discussed again at the March Committee Meeting some points were raised which should be seriously considered.

  1. The Cuthbert's leader's are, now insured, but what about the ordinary member?  The 1976 AGM also recommended that they, too, should obtain suitable insurance cover (third party, at least) but no pressure has been placed them (you, the reader!) to do so.  The whole question of this insurance was sparked off by the Lamb Leer incident.  Although not tested in court, the parties were sufficiently worried to settle the matter, with a substantial payment; and this was an ordinary caving trip.

    Having gone to all this trouble in respect of Cuthbert's, it could be disastrous if a claim were made against a member on an ordinary caving trip, and that person was not insured.  Are we absolutely sure that in those circumstances there could be no claim against the club?  (NO. - Ed)
  2. The main reason for not including the person - person liability in the club insurance was the question of cost.  At present we pay about 60p a member, as opposed to about £4 if it were included.  At the present subscription rates this would mean if we went for the ‘gilt-edged’ policy, similar to what we had prior to 1976, the subscription rate would have to be increased to about £8.50 allowing for the necessary proportion for life members.  In this day and age is that too much to pay by comparison with other activities?  Another question for you.  Isn't one of the reasons for joining a club to obtain the benefit of access, information, equipment AND insurance?
  3. When Cuthbert's leaders take a tourist trip requested by the Caving Secretary what happens if one of the members of that party does something that injures the leader?  Should the club ensure that party members are suitably insured?

    It appears that the matter is very far from being clear and a meeting has been arranged primarily with the Cuthbert’s Leaders and the Club Committee on Sunday 20th May 1979 at 2.30pm in the Hunters.  All members interested are asked to attend.  This, meeting, obviously is only a fact finding gathering and though the Committee can take a certain course of action within Club policy it cannot take any major policy change without first going to the Club by an EGM or wait until the AGM.

(Ed. I must point out that though Tim’s the Club Secretary, this column does not represent the official view of the Club Committee and are Tim's own reports and thoughts on any Club matter).


Meeting Of The Cuthbert's Leaders And The Club Committee

To discuss the matter of insurance for Cuthbert leaders…………….

SUNDAY MAY 20th AT THE HUNTERS AT 2.30pm.  Any member, leader or not, is welcome to attend.

Letter To The Editor

Dear Sir,

I would like to draw to the attention of readers of the B. B. to a joint project by the Council of Southern Caving Clubs and Wells Museum.

It has long been thought by several people on Mendip that a permanent collection of caving equipment etc., relating to this area, should be gathered before they become dispersed and lost.

We are therefore planning two phases:

1)                    A large exhibition in the Museum Lecture room for about a month, opening for Easter this year.  This will include donations and short term loans of equipment.

2)                    A permanent display at the exhibition of those items donated on long term loan.

Would any readers who can assist, either with exhibits or information please contact Chris Bradshaw at Wells 74382 (evenings) or Mr. Cooke at Wells Museum during opening times.

Yours sincerely,
Chris. Bradshaw. Feb. 1979


Belfry Jobs

As everyone will know only too well, there is always work needing to be done at the Belfry and for those with a few minutes to spare, Mr. ‘N’ has produced the following list.  If every member gave up an hour of his time the task could be finished by the A.G.M.

  1. Septic Tank: - land drains to be laid out on top of stones and these in turn to be covered with a plastic sheet or poly bags.  The whole lot to be covered by earth.  Topsoil to be made and graded.
  2. Tackle Store: -

a)       Old Stone Belfry - rear wall to be made up to roof and sealed up.

b)       New steel frame/mesh door to be made up and fitted inside main entrance door.

c)       Store to be cleared and re-fitted.

  1. Men’s Bunkroom Fire Door: - To be repaired, sealed and new panic bar fitted.
  2. Night storage heaters in men’s bunkroom to be repaired and brought into use.
  3. Upper tier of Alpine Bunk to be repaired.
  4. Shelving to be fitted in Library – liaise with ‘Wig’
  5. Potholes in car park to be filled with rubble and re-graded.
  6. Formica strip or other suitable covering to be fitted to front of sink units.
  7. Stone wall around heart to be repaired.
  8. Door to men’s bunkroom to be fitted with door closing spring.
  9. Sound proofing to be fitted to interior wall of men’s bunkroom and main room.
  10. Shower and toilet area (including changing room).  Area to be improved as per Committee decisions (see Hut Engineer)
  11. Proper allocation and identification of lockers and cabinet in main room of Belfry.
  12. Carbide store – job complete.
  13. General tidying up of site.
  14. Manufacture of an A-Z wall cabinet to place members BB’s for collection.

The Odd Note

CG is still in the throes of house building are managing to get some work carried out in the oxbows in August hole.  Apparently the perched sump is now a ‘suspended duck’ giving free access to the far ends.

Willie Stanton is at long last revising the Swildon’s survey – probably due to Milch’s continual prodding!

            Refuelled after the Christmas ‘blow-out’ Graham Wilton-Jones and Tony Jarrett set off to tackle the longest cave system in Europe.        

Day 3 – Hölloch
Day 4 – Eiger, North Face.

An account by Graham Wilton-Jones

It’s J-Rat’s fault. He asked if I would go to the Hölloch. Then Milch explained that it was a Shepton trip and everything was arranged.  As it was only two Shepton members were going (Rich Kemplerer and the Block of Wood).  Additionally there were two Wessex (Pete M and Alison H) one Westminster (Jim Watson) two Liverpool University (Nigel Anderton and Max McDuff) and three Grampian (Ivan Young, Pete Dowswell and Dave Warren).  I went along to represent the BEC and prove that we get everywhere, while J-Rat represented and all of the other clubs you can think of!

Fore a mere £280 a minibus was hired and a multitude of forms and certificates filled in or collected to please the EEC bureaucracy.  On Boxing Day, Block and I drove the bus on a circular tour of southern Britain, from Winchester via Mendip and Aylesbury, to catch the Ramsgate-Calais hovercraft early on December 27th.  We even had a tachograph to play with, its little lights and dials telling us that if we’d been driving too long or too fast and us supposedly telling it where we were driving, eating, working or sleeping. Occasionally we were confused by this wonderful invention, or we confused it – if you were a tachometer what would you do with both drivers asleep and the wagon doing 110kph down a frog auto route?  We eventually arrived outside the Hölloch-grotte Gasthous in the small hours of the 28th.  The house being shut for the night, we slept in the van, in the snow, under piles of logs, in the wood shed, on the van roof, on the Gasthaus steps.  Around 5am (they haven’t heard of the British ‘lie-in’ in Switzerland) and the landlady discovered Block on the steps and gradually the rest of us stirred and crept into the comfort of the guest house and the mattresses on the floor that had been prepared for us.

The Hölloch is situated at the head of the Muotatal valley, near Schweitz (Schwyz) which is 27 miles south of Zurich. Its single entrance (the little hole 30 feet above is supposed to be walled up) leads to over 135km of galleries, making this the third longest known cave in the world.  It was the longest until Flint Ridge and Mammoth were connected, and now Optimachenka looks like taking this title.  (Sorry – Peschtschers Optimistitscheskaja!)  The Hölloch also has a very respectable depth/height making it one of the world’s deepest caves as well.  In spring, summer and autumn, when snow in the shafts above is melting, most of the cave is inaccessible for the first kilometre as the entrance passage drops down to the bottom of a deep phreatic loop; this sumps in the thaw or in wet weather.  At times water even comes flooding out of the entrance, nearly 100m above the winter water level.  In winter time the greatest danger is to become trapped between the aforementioned phreatic U-tube and a second one ten minutes further into the cave.

We were aroused for continental breakfast at 9am and then began the hassle to actually go down the cave. It seems the same as elsewhere in Europe – you arrange everything in minutest detail, preparing for every contingency and when you arrive ‘ees not posseeble’ (the weather too bad, the guide in drunk, they’ve heard of your club, no way can you go down.  And what a string of excuses we had this time: too many people in the cave already (35, though the NSS Euro-region Grotto newsletter, suggests that 300 to 400 cavers at one weekend in the cave is not unusual) bivouacs 1 and 2 full up; bivouac 3 no longer in existence (true) and a dangerous site anyway; the great deity, Prof. Bogli in residence at Bivouac 1 and not wanting to be disturbed (why not, we wonder?); the weather warming up and set for a thaw.  Finally we persuaded the landlady, Frau Suter, who controls the access to the cave, to let us go in as far as the Wasserdom and then return, which we did.

From the Gasthaus a walk over, the river and then on a path criss-crossing a small ravine and zigzagging up its sides takes you to the cave in a few minutes.  The gated entrance is at the head of the ravine.  The first kilometre of the system was once equipped as a show-cave and much of the roof is marred by the decaying remains of cable insulators.  In places the floor is of level concrete and there are many concrete steps on the main route and around some of the oxbows.  Rusting and rotten steel cum wooden steps, with the odd wire handline, lead eventually down to the Sandhalde and the bottom of the first phreatic loop. Up to this point much of the beauty of the cave, apart from some excellent potholes, has been obscured by the show cave fitments.  There are no formations worth speaking of anyway and it is not surprising that the show cave venture failed.

Many of the upward flowing phreatic slopes, like the Sandhalde (Sand Slope) are littered with debris, particularly gravel and pebbles.  On the other hand most of the downward flowing slopes are broken only by large scallops and sometimes single vadose runnels, very useful for climbing up. The passages in the next section are frequently wide, arch bedding planes as the loops zigzag within their narrow band of limestone.  Names like Zimmermanns Angst (Dread) and Bose Wand (Evil Wall) with its 114 rung steel fixed ladder, reflect the danger of delaying in this flood pone section.

Several ups and down and another fixed ladder later we reached the next danger point – the bottom of the second phreatic loop – at the Keller (Cellar).  Like most of the region of this cave it was nearly dry.  Climbing the Alligatorenschlucht we found the Aquarium dry, a healthy indicator.  Entering the Seengang (Lakes Passage) we at last began to climb away from the entrance passage.  A small steam chattered form the two lakes, Langensee ( Long Lake) and Drahtsee ( Wire Lake) and also from a cleft in the wall, dispelling all my preconceived ideas that the Hölloch is either flooded or totally inactive. Drahtsee had no wire but a ladder was perched horizontally across it, although it was possible to traverse round the water.  The passage continued steeply upward following a bedding plane and joint forming a typical diamond shaped cross section.  Still the passage remained a fairly homely size – no squeezes or constrictions, but no huge passage either.  Even when we entered the Riesen Saal (Giants Hall) there was no impression of hugeness, just a wide elliptical passage with ceiling at ceiling height type.  We met a large party of Swiss cavers (or were they skiers?) and one Australian who had come to ski in Switzerland, on the non-existent snow.  There is little doubt that, apart from the length, the cave could be graded VDC.  The Aussie spoke of a squeeze – we think he did not take off his pack.  Finally we arrived at Wasserdom, a high chamber where the water cascades out of the roof, forms a gravely pool on the floor and disappears down a low cleft.

The Hölloch is formed, basically, in the lowest of three bands of tilted limestone, each band being interspersed with impervious layers of rock.  At a very few points an independent vadose system within the middle limestone band has broken through into the lower phreatic system.  Here at Wasserdom is one of these points.  The top layer of limestone is the surface lapiaz, in which there are many shafts, including one which could provide access to the middle layer vadose system via a wet, loose boulder choke.

From the Wasserdom we slithered and slipped our way back to the entrance.  The cave is noted for its slippery smooth rock – Hölloch is alleged not to mean Hell Hole as some suppose but Slippery Hole.  Four and a half hours after entering the cave we were changing in the warmth and comfort of the Gasthaus.  Not many caving huts can boast a bar and restaurant among their facilities. Wiener schnitzel and beer to round off the day became a catching habit.

The following day it still did not look as if we were going to manage a long trip and bivouac in the cave. The weather being reasonable, a small group of us set out to scale the cliffs behind the Gasthaus, while the remainder went down to the sumps of the resurgence series, accessible from just inside the entrance to the Hölloch.  First of all, by mistake, they travelled round into the next valley to the narrow slot of a resurgence which has no accessible passages.  We ran into bother too.  The cliff, about 1,000m high, proved to be covered in nasty slippery grass, loose boulders and rotting tree stumps, and we only made it about halfway up. Besides, there was no beer at the top.

Day three found us all in the Hölloch again.  This time route finding was no problem and we were 2km into the system in about one third of the time.  There was now more water in the cave – a stream flowed into the now full Aquarium and the reason for the ladder over the Drahtsee was abundantly clear.  Just short of the Wasserdom we turned into the Domgang.  This passage is more the size one would expect of a cave such as this.  Domgang can be compared with Aggy Daren Cilau for size (the 1,000ft crawl? Ed.).  At Glitzertor (Glittering Gate) were the passage is coated with Aggy like encrustations of selinite, four Swiss were in bivouac, undertaking the exploration of a new access point into the upper series.  One of them showed us the route, via Hexenkessel (Witch’s Cauldron) and Regenhalle (Rain Hall) to the Himmelgang (Heaven’s Way) where we lifelined Alison up an awkward little climb beside an exposed shaft – Todesschlund (Death Hole). The Himmelgang was of normal size, three metres high and wide.  In a smaller passage, just off one corner, we found the Ruebli (Carrot) one of the Hölloch’s few formations, a 30-40cm long translucent orange stal.  Just around the corner of this beautiful, if lonely stal, was a pile of festering filth – carbide, poly sacks, tin cans, old batteries, etc.  There was a similar dump in the Riesen Saal.  So many of the continentals do not seem to care about their caves in this respect. In search of the Galerie des 1001 Nuits we became confused in a maze of, believe it or not, crawls, so we headed out. We had promised Frau Suter that we would be no more than six hours, and so we were.

Day four – New Year’s Eve – was warm and blue.  Though the dreaded Fohn was not blowing from the south, a high pressure pocket had developed just over the Muotatal and this was holding off the European snows, so they told us.  Several of us decided on a tourist visit to the Eiger while Jim and the Grampian hard men prepared to wade through the lakes and bivouac in the cave regardless. In the Hölloch the waters flowed even more strongly and the happy campers were repulsed.  Other bivouacees were seen making rapid exit from the cave, many having made extra long detours to avoid the flood waters that were now creating sumps in various sections of the cave.  Meanwhile, at the Eiger, three of us managed to reach the Nordwand station, braving blizzards and spindrift to do so.  Others walked to various heights on the approach walk to the face according to their whims.  Using low, devious cunning I avoided much of the blizzard by walking through the railway tunnels but none of the drivers would offer me a lift.  J-Rat, using even lower cunning, kipped in the van all day!

Then came New Year’s Day proper.  Before too much alcohol had been consumed we decided to head for home the following, travelling via the odd show caves to make up for what we had missed in the Hölloch. We brought in battery and cassette player from the minibus and saw the New Year in to the wail of pipes. Actually we did this twice – once for New Year local time and an hour later for New Year White Man’s time. Frau Suter presented us each with a bottle of Neujahr wine, while J-rat shared round the whiskey and tried the Highland Fling.  Someone loaded the alcoholic, somnolent Rich with half full glasses and bottles, then disturbed his humour with a nudge, much to the delight of the landlord and the company.

The sore heads of New Year’s Day found it difficult to grasp that it was snowing hard and Dave was trying to drum up enthusiasm for a three day trip in the Hölloch.  However, eventually the Grampian contingent plus J-rat, Jim and I headed in towards bivouac 2 with packs and three days supplies. We began to realise that the Swiss spared no expense or energy in equipping the cave for the season’s explorations.  Just short of the Riesen Saal we took a short cut to reach the Styx and found a handline of best Bluewater.  Down a short muddy slope to the Styxsee and there was a fibreglass dory, which must have taken ages to man-handle there.  We pulled ourselves individually across the lake, waded round and through several muddy hollows and then began the long struggle up the Innominata. The series of several long handlines is virtually essential on these steep, mud covered phreatic tubes.  Two and a half hours from the entrance we arrived at bivouac 1, which we studied with awe.  We had to move on though, now through the wide, elliptical Titanengang, until this petered out close to the Seilgang (Ropeway).  Here the passage meets with one of the few faults encountered in the cave and drops down with unusual steepness via rope and fixed (by faith) ladder, to the second fibreglass dory, this on the Burkhaltersee. Soon after, at 6.30, after a 5¼ hour trip, we reached bivouac 2.  Just around the corner was 2a, and next to that the newly built extravagance of 2b.

On our first two visits to the Hölloch there had been a reasonable draught.  On this occasion there was a howling gale, making a noise like raging floodwaters at one constriction, and more powerful than anything I have seen emitting from the EDF Tunnel of the Pierre.  The bivouacs are in corners and hollows of the main passage and have been protected somewhat from the wind by the creation of large polythene sheet shelters.  The floor has been levelled using sand carried form other parts of the cave, and there are foam mattresses permanently in position in sleeping quarters.  Permanent water supply is laid on via polythene pipe form the upper reaches of the system.  Steel and wood tables, vinyl covered, are concreted into the floor with foam and steel covered seats.  Cutlery, stoves, pots and pans, racks, bowls, buckets etc., are all brand new - £100’s worth. We settled down to our dehydrated goo, mouth watering as we watched the Swiss residents consume salad, ravioli, spaghetti and so on.  After a cool (6°) game of cards we retired.

In the late morning, as we lazily breakfasted, the Liverpool contingent arrived.  They had come in and stayed at Bivi 1 overnight.  While they settled down to a second breakfast we moved off along the SAC gang.  The memory is of wide, elliptical passages and very little else.  There was a fair amount of breakdown as we reached Bivi 3, which seem to comprise a pile of slabs, a poly sank and a rusty tin can! Not even a level spot in sight! We were then very glad that Frau Suter had dissuaded us from staying there with the words ‘there is nothing there and it is too dangerous.’  Apparently it was erected one winter and there was no sign of it the next.  They tried once more but once again the summer flooding destroyed it, so they gave up.  As we descended through the dark brown, worm infested mud towards the lower sections of the cave once more, the carbides began to run low on water.  This is one of the hazards of the place, but we were lucky to find a pool at the Schuttdom.  Climbing the Faule Wand (Rotten Wall) by its equally rotten ladder and then an electron ladder we dropped down to the Dreiecksee ( Triangle Lake).  Two days earlier this had been sumped but now we were able to walk around one side with ease. On we tramped, along the scalloped rock or solid mud floor passage, where the general brown-ness effectively soaked up the glow of our mega-carbides.  At Minster wall a handline strung directly from an insecure and bendy piton did not inspire confidence.  The wall was free-climbable anyway.  Finally we arrived at the clear, pebble floored pool that is the SAC siphon. One does not dive through Hölloch sumps. Two hours of extra caving could have taken us to the other side but we decided to head back towards Bivi 2.

Just above the Schuttdom we left the SAC gang for a low tube where we actually had to drop down onto hands and knees.  This was to cut out a large loop of the SAC gang and big Jim really lapped it up, soon learning that Zwerhstollen had something to do with a dwarf.  A cold, clear pool, almost invisible, smooth, white rock, stretched right across the passage and some distance along it. Everyone now got wet feet and blamed me for leading them that way.  We climbed up through the mud banks of the Lehmtal (Clay Passage and back to the Doline in the SAC gang.  It was decided to try and return to the bivouac via the Lehmschollengang ( Clay Way) but, unlike other part of the cave, the pitches in this were not tackled. However the passage is adorned with fascinating forms, all man made, carved out of the fine clay deposits. Even A. Bogli has a sculpture there, above all the rest.  Naturally we left our own, in our own inimitable way.  Returning to Bivi 2 we met up with Block, Pete and Alison who had entered the cave that morning, when it was still snowing.

On the 3rd day we all headed out, enjoying a most exhilarating slide down the Innominata. Water levels were low everywhere. Two and three quarter hours later we blinked at the snow and the sunshine from among the long icicles of the entrance, after just over, 48 hours underground.  The next night we were struggling through the artic wastes of France with only dim memories of our rapid passage through the damp and draughty tubes of underground Switzerland.


Ed. note: For those wishing to see a survey of the Hölloch should refer to the W.S.G. Bulletin


8 Year Olds View of Caving

For a change from the regular Belfry Bulletin scribe here's a report of a caving trip by Stu Lindsey's eight year old lad David.

In December I went to the Belfry, and it was cold outside.  On Saturday dad took me caving down Swildons Hole.  We went over the top of Jacobs Ladder and comes out at the wet and the dry way.  After then it was a pretty part of the cave.  We came out at the wet way.

In the afternoon mum cooked the diner, and while my dad painted the doors.  I helped run around the table making Belfry Bulletins.  We went to the pub at night I slept in the car and drunk lemonade.  I slept in the little room.  In the afternoon John Dukes and Sue took me down Manor farm Swallet.  First we went down a 58ft ladder climb, and then some passages, and down a 20ft climb, and then we seed a curtain, and down another climb. I slipped so John lowered me down. Then through Albert’s eye, up through a passage to a beautiful bit.  Then we went up through a hole in the seeling into NHASA gallery.  It was hard climbing out.  I think my stay at the Belfry was mint, and I am going to come again.


That was Davis first visit to the Belfry and by the sound of it, it won’t be his last – perhaps Stu is thinking of making an advance application for Dave’s membership to the club.


New Year, Caving, The Dales

While other members of the BEC were spending their New Year Celebrations in Switzerland and the other Belfry regulars spending their time in the Hunters, Stu Lindsay was wallowing in the underground waters of the Easegill system…   

We, my wife Susan and I arrived at the Helwith Bridge Hotel 2 pints to closing time on Wednesday night. The drive up the M5/6 being a rather hectic though exhilarating experience in the adverse weather conditions. My battered 101 in its three and a half hour jaunt negotiated the perils of gale force winds, torrential rain and zero visibility when overtaking convoys of monstrous, mist spreading, juggernauts.

Thursday, the 28th, greeted us with howling winds, more rain, sheets of it pulsing the Ribble to a raging torrent of foaming, peat stained, water 5ft over its norm!  Yet 72 hours later this destructive force was relegated to a small, gentile stream, gurgling effortlessly amidst a million snow capped rocks…alas! to day was caving day, UGH, the prospects of attaining one or more of the goals in Easegill (together with Lancaster, Pippikin and Link Pot is reputed to be Britain's longest cave system) looked decidedly bleak. Indeed with water everywhere, a diversion via Ingleton due to a flooded road, made me wonder if we would even get there!

Setting off from Bull Pot Farm an hour later, twelve one time keen, eager souls were being slowly whittled away by the sudden drop in temperature.  The rain became noticeably heavier, driven relentlessly by the increasing wind, stinging……chilling…..BBBrrr.  It was crossing the top of the Fell that it really hit us with a vengeance, the open moor offering no respite from a million stings a minute, snowflakes, gentle snowflakes, frozen into needle sharp missiles, projected by force 9 winds, yes, these violent, poundings in my left ear were being caused by frozen snow…..Painfully, eyes squinting and teeth chattering we covered the final half mile to find the Beck a 2ft deep and 12ft wide torrent……yeh!

Entry into County Pot was swift, its warmth beckoning like a magnet to the shivering multitude waiting to descend.  Progress to Straw Chamber (does he mean Easter Grotto? Ed) was slow but sure, the novices doing quite well.  The water level in the Main Drain was quite high, although after visiting S.C. the level had receded about 3 inches.  Straw Chamber proved to be a large, mud/sand covered bouldery ‘passage’ with a bedding plane roof liberally covered with straws to 2ft in length, best viewed form the far end.  Small bedding plane grottos decorate the higher parts of the chamber sides, whilst behind the ‘view gallery’ a breakdown passage reveals numerous sections of false calcited floor (yes he does – Ed.).  A visit to trident Passage in full spate proved fun but the water was very cold. The oxbow passage yielding some superb formations, equal to some of the better known stals in the system.  The rest of the trip proved uneventful, although the water from Spout Hall outwards was conspicuous by its absence, the first pitch being almost dry.  The desperate weather conditions on the surface became increasingly more apparent as the ascent of the entrance shaft was made, now the moor, ice covered and darkness provided another hazard, ‘Peat Pits’ knee deep hiding in the dark, in the freezing wind, the cold……… stew………the pub…….warm fire…….a few pints. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz a day to remember.

SELL GILL - With the Bar Pot trip being cancelled due to weather problems, the 29th was taken up with a dinner time session and a walk to liven up the system for a renewed attack on the evening guzzling record.

So to the snow covered 30th, when four of our intrepid little band set off intent on doing Sell Gill. In normal friendly conditions one can imagine how pleasant the walk up from Holm Farm must be.  But on the day my fortune took me up to savour its delights; the snow had drifted, drifted and drifted….thus making the simple walk really hard graft.  Yet for the second time in two days I was caught with my wet suit exposed….the delights of being battered, frozen and fatigued crossing Casterton fell had taught me nothing!  A cagoule protects those parts other wets suits do not….YOH!  The perils of caving – the blizzard swept the fells in sub-zero, howling winds are manifold, so be prepared and do not underestimate the weather.

Eventually we reached the Pennine way track – so I was told as it lay under a couple of feet of snow. Huddled behind a wall enjoying a brief respite form the wintry ‘breeze’ the harsh realisation suddenly dawned, we were light on tackle.  One of us was guilty of forgetting a couple of ladders, so Neil R…peeled off his tackle and bolted off down the hill like a spring lamb, diving into large snowdrifts en-route, he soon disappeared from sight.  Progress to the hole was achieved regretfully demolishing a number of fine snow formations, the wind having moulded the drifts into arêtes and cornices.

Rigging the First Pitch proved to be very hazardous indeed, Alan T., at one time appeared to be standing on a snow bridge, it was in fact the ‘bar belay.’  The ladder rigging was completed as Neil came bounding over the rise with the missing ladders and a rosy glow to his cheeks!  In contrast, the lifelining job I had undertaken was becoming desperately uncomfortable, the cold wind blowing down the beck cutting into my neck like a razor sharp knife, the rigid, ice covered rope proving more and more difficult to manipulate – it stuck to everything including my gloves! Once inside the entrance, the warmth of the cave soon had us tackling the second and third pitches.  Pitch 2, an easy 12m, is mostly a gentle free hang, the first bit against a well broken wall, the third pitch follows straight away, the 14m broken by a steep cleft at the top while the remainder of the climb being a superb lightly fluted shaft.  The floor of the chambers below the pitches are of the cobbly type so beware when ascent/descents are being made!  Left, down cave, a roaring 23m waterfall is encountered; this enters the big shaft about half way down and marks the start of the main chamber.

Huge, mud choked blocks litter the floor of this 40 x 40 x 30m (est.) chamber.  The stream follows the left wall down into a walking side passage that gradually reduces in size to force the caver to a series of wet crawls under stalagmite bridges and ends at a sump – very promising – oh! for a Mendip dam and…. Not much exploration was carried in other parts of the cave due to obstinate failure of a Mendipian’s ‘magic eye’ when photographing the Main Chamber.  Nine times the slaves on two guns failed…oops.  So it came to pass, an hour later, poor Mike B. was chipped from his perch by the waterfall, and thawed out under a handy carbide.  A rapid exit of the cave was then accomplished, the undaunted photographer trying to salvage his pride and previous efforts, by snapping some candid action shots on the pitches.

At the First Pitch it was found that more snow had been blown in, the top half of the ladder was frozen into the ice around the top of the entrance making the last four or five feet extremely tricky.  The final climb up onto the dark, cold, snow swept moor, in the face of an icy wind, on an iced up electron ladder (sticky with a dry ice effect) was quite enthralling. To me both trips were great fun never having experienced such extreme conditions before.  The walk back was far from an anti-climax, the snow drifts now deeper and more spectacular in the mellow glow of our cap lamps acted as ramps to propel powder dry snow particles, at bullet speeds, into our cold stinging faces.  The final coup de goop was not the frolics of the ten foot drifts but the task of trying to pack ‘sticky’, stiff tackle into the car! Have you even seen the old comedy sketch trying to get rid of toffee paper?

Unfortunately the next few days were enforced non-caving day, the weather began to get bad, the wind was dropping and the snow storms becoming more intense, but shorter, interspersed with clear blue skies and sunshine.  Yes, the sun does shine on the dales (in 4 days throughout 1978 I saw sunshine about 5 times!)

After the New Year’s Eve festivities, black pudding and polony with your ale in the pub and savoury baked taties at the party afterwards it was with long faces, that a number of sleepiness bodies out into the crisp dawn air to start the flaming car! Thirty minutes of wasted sleep time was spent in trying to open the rear engine compartment of the offending VW. THE BATTERY is located UNDER THE BACK SEAT!!!  And so it was, we were all ready two hours later when it snowed, but this was soft snow, soft, white un-driven snow, fluttering ceaselessly and silently earthwards.  Some three inches fell in under an hour.  It was still falling when the convoy left the ‘Bridge’ after a record breaking clean and pack fiasco, destination Leeds.  And so, the last of my first (last?) visit was spent in the hospitable comfort of Mike Gisby’s residence.

That night we celebrated our close escape with a few pints of Darleys Ale at the ‘The Rook’, the YSS local boozer.  The snow had stopped, it was freezing and time was, we should be heading home……south, the centre of the universe.


St Cuthberts Trip

The following account of a wet trip into St. Cuthbert's only to find that the entrance rift was impassable is given by Martin Grass….          

At approximately 0200 hours on Saturday, Feb. 3rd, Jim Watson and I entered St. Cuthbert's for a night time trip, the weather was freezing and Mendip was blanketed in snow. Although the stream was cold it was not particularly high for winter conditions.  The party exited at about 0700 hours, just as the sun was rising.

At 1000 hours a walk to the entrance showed the water rising rapidly as the sun was quickly melting the snow and by 1200 hours the depression was completely flooded with a pool about 60 feet across in the bottom of it.  The dams were out and completely submerged.  I laddered the entrance rift and tried to descend but could get no more than three rungs down the ladder before I started swallowing large amounts of water as it was not only going down the rift but shooting horizontally across it.  Water was even entering at the base of the entrance pipe.  Graham put the dams in to see if the water would subside and although submerged, a considerable difference was made to the rift, in fact enough to get a party who were down if the need had arisen.  By 1700 hours the pond had disappeared and the swollen stream was following its normal course.  It was interesting to note that a visit to Swildons on the same day showed the water was only slightly higher than the normal winter level.

Editors note; This is the first time for several years that a report of the cave being in spate has been recorded.  The last I know was in January 1974.  The rift is passable by experienced cavers under these conditions.  Breathing is difficult but the entrance series to Mud Hall is worth seeing under these conditions.   The water entering at the foot of the entrance pipes sweeps across the passage from the pipe and forms about a 6"-8" deep stream along the entrance passage.  The top of the entrance rift is swilling in water and about 6 feet down from the top of the rift, a large jet of water streaks across the rift from a stal hole in the wall.   The waterfall in Arête is large by any standard and the Ledge Pitch stream sweeps across the rift hitting the far wall.  The Wire Rift steps are not visible as the water forms a white foaming streak down the passage, so loud that you can’t hear anything else.


Cavers Bookshelf No.1


Edited by Ivan Young

Published by Grampian Speleological Group.  Special Publication Number 1 (Oct.’78).  Price 50p + p&p from G.S.G., 8 Scone Gardens, Edinburgh, EH8 7DQ.  30pp. A5 saddle stitched.  Printed by off-set.  5 area maps and 9 surveys (un-graded).

Appin peninsular lies west of Glen Coe.  Many of the caves having been opened by the G.S.G. in the last couple of years – though they were not the first to explore in the area.  Though not many of the caves exceed 1,000ft they are said to be able even the most demanding caver some good sport.  This concise booklet gives a brief description of each cave together with surveys of the larger and more important systems.  Each cave is located by an eight figure grid reference and is graded numerically, similar to the northern cave guides.  One occasionally jolts at the use of Americanisms, for example Speleothems.

Apart from my old platform where the surveys are un-graded, though they look well drawn though a little cluttered making the detail difficult to read clearly, the main criticism must be at the size of type.  Six point is too small to read comfortably and would have appeared much better had the type been 8 point, this would not have increased the area of printed matter much and it could have been easily accommodated in the same number of pages. Still, one should not moan too much when the booklet only costs 50p.


Wigmore Swallet

recent digging and breakthroughs.

Again this month we have another episode in the fight to extend the latest B.E.C. discovery

by Tony Jarrett

Since the breakthrough of 28th December 1977 (B.B. No.359) most of the work at the site has been in the nature of solidly shoring the entrance shaft by means of stone and mortar walls, and of constructing a secure concrete capping for safety reasons (see Stu Lindsay’s article in B.B. No.368).  The wisdom of this move has been amply demonstrated by Lord Waldegrave’s delighted thanks to the team and his offer of any other digging sites on his estates.  Thus, as a public relations exercise this has been more successful than we had hoped and it is essential that all visits and further digs in this area are continued in the same tradition.  Incidentally, anyone wishing to visit Esker Hill and Buddles Wood mining areas should arrange permission first via the Estate Office at Chewton Mendip.  A refusal is now doubtful, allowing for the shooting season.

Once the engineering section had been completed their noble edifice it was suddenly and sadly realised that we may had to go back underground!  During the early part of the year various visits had been made to the end, including ‘Wig’, Graham W-J and Martin Grass's surveying trip and odd digging visits by Ross White, Claire Williams, Chris Batsone, Trev Hughes and others.  These investigations had shown that water sinking at the far end of the terminal chamber could be heard flowing under the boulder floor in the far left hand corner. Partial removal of these boulders had been attempted but it was suggested that any further work would require a good dollop of ‘Irish marzipan.’

On 14th October the writer went for a recce dig at this spot, accompanied by Chris Batstone, Chris Smart and John Turner.  A vast quantity of mud and rocks was removed leaving a low black hole with a view into open passage and a sofa sized rock precarious balanced above said hole.  A good draught could be felt (a peculiar thing about this dig is strangely that the normally ‘four letter word’ men, burst forth with amazingly long and intellectual words rarely heard before!

The following morning, accompanied by Alan Thomas, I went back to the offending boulder, which was duly demolished and an afternoon’s work by Simon ‘Woody’ Woodman.  Steve Plumley (the Apprentices) Chris Smart and myself enabled the debris cleared and a better look at the way on obtained. Unfortunately three more boulders just prevented access, though some ten feet of clean washed bedding could be seen.

On the 17th, the writer directed Wessex member, Rob Harper, from an Aggy trip and soon cleared more gravel from a bang arranged by Al Mills (also Wessex) during that morning.  We soon squeezed into the inviting hole to gain some 30ft of low, rock strewn bedding crawl, identical to Christmas crawl further back in the cave.  A collapsing roof bedding at the end prevented further progress and was a textbook illustration of passage formation by breakdown along small joints.  Some clearing of this new crawl was started to enable more ‘portly’ (i.e. blood fat) diggers to reach the working face.  The crawl was christened ‘Pinks and Posies’ as that was what the vocal duo were murdering at the time.

More clearing trips on 20th – 22nd drastically altered the height of the passage and amount of hairy roof and wall at the end.  Diggers and sledge haulers were Stu Lindsey, Chris B., Trev, Tim Large, Kevin, Lorraine and the writer.  Some eight feet of collapse were cleared and the low bedding plane continuing to draught strongly.

On the 28th November, Trev Hughes, ‘Tuska’ Morrison (WCC) Rich Maskell (hijacked matelot) and the writer cleared a further four feet of collapse to reveal an open section of tunnel. This was entered by the two B.E.C. men two days later after gardening the roof and walls.  The crawl here is low but wide and after some twelve feet is obstructed by a large slab.  Work continues-

WIGMORE - The formation of the cave.

The writer has a theory on the formation of this small but interesting cave which he would only be delighted to have further informed opinions on.

He suggests the initial development began with the local drainage following a weakness in the mineral vein down which the entrance shaft was excavated.  This relatively major joint continues below the vein to the head of Christmas Crawl, being intersected in hesitation Chamber by several cross rifts, forming minor inlets from further along the vein.

Reaching the softer marl (?) bed of the crawl, the drainage gradually eroded this material, following the dip of this bed.  Initially the passage was very low, though fairly wide in places.  Weakening of the roof caused collapse into the passage as is at present happening in places.

A junction of small oxbows and inlet in the Santa’s Grotto area created a much wider section, considerably enlarged by roof collapse to create a fairly roomy chamber.  The combined drainage leaving this area once again is concentrated in a single conduit and the collapse in Pinks and Posies may be due to a continuation of the entrance joint again reaching the crawl.

It is suggested that the cave will continue its gentle dip along the bedding being still a low passage until it meets the limestone junction and then…who knows?

WIGMORE – notes on the survey

by ‘Wig’

The survey was carried out on a single trip during April 19768 and the field notes gathered by Martin Grass, Dave Irwin and Graham Wilton-Jones using Suunto compass and clinometer and a 50ft fibron tape.  Both the clinometer and compass were calibrated to conform with the BCRA Grade 5 requirements.

Due to the constricted nature of the lower passage (Christmas Crawl) the bearings were always forward through leap-frogging was carried out from the top of the climbs to the entrance shaft.

The extension from the chamber (Santa’s Grotto) was surveyed by Tony Jarrett et al (Pinks and Posies) soon after it was opened up.  The original is drawn at 1/120 and prints will be available through the Mendip Survey Scheme.

Total length 237ft; depth 78ft; BCRA grade 5c-d


B.E.C. Caving Reports

some of the 21 issues that are in stock at the Belfry or at ‘Wig’s’ at Townsend Cottage..

Caving Reports have not appeared regularly since about 1972 although there has been plenty to publish - mainly parts of the Cuthbert's Report.  Though we had access to two printing machines people are not apparently prepared to prepare the plates or stencils for printing the mass of material in the stock pile.  The last part of the Cuthbert's Report to appear was the Rabbit Warren Extension (Part H) in 1972.  Parts on the stocks include Cerberus Series, Maypole Series September Series and the complicated Long Chamber Series.   The New and old Routes and Rocky Boulder series surveys are complete and await the hands of the printers.  This leaves the Main Chambers and the overall plan and elevations.  The plan is virtually complete - a copy can be seen at the Belfry and the elevation is currently undergoing its fifth redraw in an atternpt to produce a clear and uncluttered appearance.

The reports that are available-are:

Report No. 14

Balague 1970 by Roy Bennett.  This reports the club trip to a little known area in the Pyrenees together with surveys of the discoveries made.  One of the feats of this expedition was the descent of the Coume Ferrat - a 680ft deep shaft which had previously descended by the French using a winch.  The intrepid BEC group decided that they would go by ladder - just to chuck some water tracing material into the stream at the bottom.  However, that was the plan, the stuff didn't turn up so they went down because it was there.  Anyway down they went and found some new passage.  A good read.  11pp plus 4 pages of surveys Price 30p.

Report No.3A

The manufacture of Lightweight Caving Equipment by Bryan Ellis (1962). Though ladder manufacture has progressed to the use of epoxy resins and other forms of swaging or crimping the rungs to the wire the method employed in this booklet’s still the most popular form of ladder construction.  23pp illustrated.  Price 30p.

Report No. 15

Roman Mine by Jill Tuck.  This unique mine discovered by the Tucks in the mid-sixties is a superb example of a Roman excavated lead mine just north west of Newport in South Wales.  The report explains the areas where very gold miner’s remains were discovered.   Illustrated with many illustrations and photographs including that of the 6th century bone comb which is now at the Welsh National Museum at Cardiff. A must for those interested in the South Wales area or in mines generally.  Price 60p.  50pp plus photos and survey.

Report No. 13

Part F St. Cuthbert's description of Gour Hall area photos, survey
Part E similar to Part F of the complicated Rabbit Warren
Part H similar to Part F of the complicated Rabbit Warren Extension
Part A Discovery and Exploration currently under revision.

Report No. 17

Burrington Cave Atlas by Chris Howell, Dave Irwin and Doug Stuckey was one of our fastest selling publications (just under 500 in under one year!)  The Atlas has just been revised by ‘Wig’ and is only awaiting the survey of Lionel's Hole.  If all goes to plan (!) the revised edition should appear (A5 size) about June this year.

Report No. 16

Mendip's Vanishing Grottoes is a unique collection of photographs of the now destroyed Balch Cave in Fairy Cave quarry together with a collection of photographs of Shatter Cave.  3 COPIES LEFT.  £1 each


Dates for your diary:

March 11th: Lancaster/Easegill; April 29th: King Pot and May 5th: Disappointment Pot & Far Country.

These trips are being arranged by Dave Metcalfe and his Northern Speleos, who offer a cordial invitation to any BEC member who wants to join than to just turn up for times and further details phone Dave at Blackpool 65985.

March 10th: BCRA One day symposium on Limestones & Caves of South Wales.  Fee for day £1.00 includes morning coffee and afternoon tea.

March 17-18th: Peak Cavern and Wynnat's Head Cave. Staying at Pegasus Hut.

March 23 M.R.O. Annual General Meeting, 8pm at the Hunters.

Easter Weekend: Yorkshire - staying at the Bradford.  Details later.

NEW RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY SWISS CAVERS - cavers intending to visit Switzerland to carry out original exploration work should contact:

Societe Suisse de Speleologie,
Bernard Dudan, President Central, Les Chapons 2, CH-2022 Bevaix, Suisse.

For full details see Vol. 72 British Caver (Spring 1979) in Club Library.

Copy of 1978 Current Titles in Speleology now in Club Library.

The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Som.  Telephone: Wells 72126.

The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be checked in the time at his disposal.

Next month in the B.B.

Horrington Hill Mine (Tim’s Retreat) and survey.  An important discovery of a 1829 Caving letter.




(For latest leaders list see page 5)

I do not intend to make a habit of writing Editorials in the B.B. as it can easily become a platform for one member’s viewpoint.  The B.B. exists mainly as a mouthpiece for members and the 'Letters Column' should provide a forum for argument and discussion.

However, a problem is rearing its head and the Committee is likely to find not any disagreement within its ranks but a serious administrative headache.  It all concerns the requirement that Cuthbert's Leaders should be covered by a Third Party Liability Insurance.

To go back into history. In 1975/1976 the Insurance Companies revised the level premiums for all caving clubs insured through STEWART- Wrightson in Bristol. The CSCC negotiated and steered the discussions from a single option to a series of policies with the cheapest at about 35p per head up to £4.00 per head.  Up to that time we had been fully covered not only for club activities and land owner indemnity but also for member to member and member to guest Third Party Liability cover the options offered to the clubs were arranged so that clubs could select the insurance cover best suited to their needs and their pockets.  The new insurance rates proposed by the companies were for all members and they flatly refused my suggestion to allow clubs to break their membership down into two categories; active and inactive members, so that two scales of subscription could be introduced according to the insurance rate.  The companies replied that any cover that we accepted had to be all or nothing there could be no division of membership.

After a long discussion at the 1976 AGM the Club decided that they would accept the 44p offer which covered club activities as a body through the Trustees and landowner indemnity. This meant that NO MEMBER had any 3rd Party cover whatsoever from the club insurance and the meeting strongly recommended that if all active members had make their own arrangements to get their own insurance cover and that Cuthbert’s Leaders, who were the most vulnerable for any potential claim, did have the necessary 3rd party cover (£250,000).

On, or about the February 1977 committee meeting decided that all Cuthbert's Leaders should have an insurance cover though neither the Caving See and the Hon Sec. of the time made little effort to enact the committee decision.  The 1977 leaders meeting requested that this decision be looked at again by the committee to see whether the need was a real one and in early 1978 the matter was again discussed by the committee who could see no way within the constitution of subsidising each BEC leader.  Even if they could the insurance premium would amount to over £100 each year at current rates (about £7 each).  Several leaders were able to get cover through their domestic household policies for their caving activities - not cover specifically for Cuthbert's).  Further as the policy would cover each leader for his caving activity in general (not solely for Cuthbert's - in fact no insurance company would issue a policy for Cuthbert’s only except in the situation of paying an enormous premium) it was felt by some members if the committee that it was unfair that members of the club should be subsidising a few members for their overall caving activity.

The Committee, though split, passed a resolution raising the tackle fee from 5p to 25p (20p of the total would be considered a travel expense to be divided amongst all leaders at the end of each year).  So the situation stands.  Late in 1978 Martin Grass, the Caving Sec., was instructed by the Committee to write to all leaders BEC and guests, stating that from 1st January a new key would be fitted to Cuthbert's and only those leaders with the necessary insurance cover would be given a new key.  As far as I am aware only about 6 leaders of the 20 odd BEC leaders have the necessary cover and not one guest has come forward with their cover notes.  With only about 6 leaders for cave access for visitors is going to be severely restricted and the likelihood of external political pressure on the club via organisations such as the CSCC is great indeed. WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?  The matter is urgent and it is unlikely that the Committee will be in one mind in coming to a decision.  Please let Tim Large, Martin Grass or myself have your WRITTEN THOUGHTS so that the committee can discuss the matter in March and if necessary call a general meeting.



National Caving Association

NCA's Legal and Insurance Committee have issued the following comments on the Occupier's Liability Act (1957).  It should be pointed out that these notes are intended for guidance only and do not represent an authoritative statement of the legal position. Whilst they have been prepared in good faith, no liability can be accepted for their contents.

Comment from the Legal and Insurance Committee, No.1 May 1978


This Act has been around since 1957 so it is not a new development. The only change over the years has been that court cases have considerably extended a landowner's duty to care for people who are on his land.  But, basically the effect of this act is as follows:-

1.                  A landowner has a duty of care to people who are on his land (with or without his permission). So, if someone is injured as a result of a failure by the landowner to observe this duty of care then the injured party would be able to successfully claim damages from the landowner.

2.                  It is difficult to say with certainty what docs constitute a failure of a duty of care since this is something the court would decide based on the doctrine of ‘reasonableness’ and also considering all of the facts of the case.  So, it is not possible to give a yes/no answer as to whether a certain set of circumstances would give rise to legal liability.  What follows is an interpretation of the view a court might take.

3.                  A landowner with a cave on his land is unlikely to be legally liable following an accident to a caver underground.  This is because a court would probably accept the view the caver went underground knowing that it was a hazardous undertaking and there would be nothing the landowner could do to make the cave safer because the caver by going underground had agreed to descend the cave as he found it (hazards and all).

4.                  Alternatively, if a landowner diverted a stream down a cave after one had descended with the landowner’s knowledge and an accident occurred as a result, then the landowner would probably be liable.  It is suspected that in those circumstances he might be criminally liable as well.

5.                  In cases where an organisation agrees to administer access to a cave for the landowner, then if the access agreement requires the organisation to keep the cave locked, failure to do this could render the organisation liable as well.

6.                  This could happen if the cave entrance was left unlocked by someone (a non-caver) fell down, was injured, sued the landowner and was awarded damages.  The landowner could then sue the organisation in charge of access for negligence in allowing the entrance to be left open.  The organisation would have to show in defence that it had taken all reasonable steps to show that the cave remained locked. If it were able to do this then it might escape liability which would leave the landowner footing the bill for damages.

7.                  It is because of this possibility that most landowners when granting access to a cave to an organisation usually try to protect themselves by the following:-

a.                  including a clause in the access agreement that requires the organisation to indemnify the landowner in the event of someone successfully claiming damages against the landowner.

b.                  requiring the organisation to take out an insurance policy which would enable the organisation to pay the landowner in the event of this happening.

c.                  require the organisation to ensure that all cavers descending the cave have signed an indemnity chit which, prior to the Unfair Contracts Terms Act, would probably have prevented cavers form successfully suing the landowner.

Unfair Contract Terms Act.

The effect of this is to render indemnity chits in effect is preventing a person suing for damages for personal injury or death.  It does not make them illegal; it just makes them a waste of time, since they have no legal effect.  Now, this is not the disaster it might at first sight seem to be.  Indemnity chits are only effective in preventing someone who has signed one from suing.  In the case of an access agreement the only people who would sign an indemnity chit would be cavers.  These are the people who would have the most difficulty in successfully suing a landowner for damages following an accident in a cave (see 3 above).  It is highly unlikely that non-cavers would sign an indemnity chit before falling down a cave!  So, since the people who are most likely to be able to sue a landowner are highly unlikely to have signed indemnity chits, the fact is that indemnity chits are now ineffective hardly alters the landowner’s liability or risk of being sued.  So, the net effect of the Unfair Contract Terms Act might be to cause the disappearance of indemnity chits.


Fixed Aids In Caves

Ed. note:           the following section is of particular interest to members of the club and I hope that the Club Officers concerned read this and take the necessary action….

Fixed aids in caves divide into two types - those maintained by someone and those which are not maintained.

Fixed aids maintained by someone.  If someone takes it upon himself to maintain fixed aids in a cave then if a person was injured as a result of a failure of a fixed aid then the person who maintained them could successfully be sued for negligence.  An example of this would be where a club has installed several fixed ladders, leads trips down the cave and carries out repair work on those ladders. If one of the ladders failed and someone was injured then the club might well be liable for damages (assuming of course that the injured party sued).  It is obviously difficult to state whether a fixed aid is maintained or not and this is something which, in the event of a legal action, would be one of the major issues for a court to decide.  But, in the present legal climate, if there was fixed steel ladder which had failed, then it would be difficult for whoever had installed it or had been the last person to paint it to escape legal liability of sued.

Fixed aids not maintained by anyone.  Examples of these are the rawlbolts at the head of pitches.  The point here is that it is up to the caver to decide whether to use the aid or not.  For example, a caver at the head of a pitch has the choice of using a bolt or putting a tether round a rock flake.  It is up to him to decide which is the safer.  With the bolt there is a risk of it coming out.  With the flake it might break or the tether might slip off.  The person who has to make the decision as to which one he is going to use is the caver on the spot and he can hardly sue anyone if he makes the wrong decision.

So, to sum it up: if someone looks after a fixed aid or alternatively the aid is the only way the caver can traverse the next bit of passage so he has to use it, then there is a possibility that if a caver is injured he might be able to successfully sue the person who, either maintains the aid or who installed it.  But, if no one maintains the aid and there is a choice of whether to use the aid or not, then it is unlikely that a caver would be able to sue anyone for damages following injuries resulting from the use of the fixed aid.

Current Cuthbert’s Leaders List

compiled by Martin Grass,

(Ed. note:  Since writing the editorial, Martin Grass has produced the latest list of current leaders.  Though the situation is not as bad as the Editorial suggests the subject still need airing.  Some leaders who have insurance cover have stated that they will only be taking their private parties down the cave – so please let’s have your comments as soon as possible and fully air the problem.  ‘Wig.’)

The Saint Cuthbert’s lock was changed at the beginning of January and we now have 14 leaders who have produced their insurance policies and have been issued with new keys.  The list of current leaders is as follows: -

Colin Clarke

Colin Dooley

Martin Grass

Ken Gregory (Cerberus C.C.)

Dave Irwin

Mick Jordan (S.M.C.C.)

Oliver Lloyd

Andy MacGregor

Tony Meadon

Gay Mayrick (S.M.C.C.)

Brian Prewer

Graham Price (Cerberus C.C.)

Nigel Taylor

Dave Turner



Dachstein 1978

Notes on the surveys/caves discovered and or surveyed by Graham Wilton-Jones

On our first full day on the plateau, Hermann, Ross and I headed out to the west of the camp towards the steep cliffs that form the northern face of the Niederer Ochsen Kogel. After a fine night (I'd slept under the stars) the day was clear and hot, so we took little notice of Hermann when he told us not to wear shorts because we were to walk through woods. The 'woods' actually comprised of patches of rather low, flattish bushes of pine (Pinus Montana) cunningly designed to rip legs to pieces. As we climbed the steep lapiaz, following no particular course, Hermann found our first 'site', C1, and labelled it so using a can of fluorescent orange spray paint.  Being some distance from the campsite, we thought, it was not until four days later that we looked at it more thoroughly.  The wide open entrance, overhanging on three sides, had a large pillar of snow and a snow cum gravel slope at one end, while the base was of snow, sloping down to a depth of 9m.  With a couple of holes at the edge of the snow, one leading down a further 6m. J-Rat momentarily interrupted our explorations by hurling himself, along with several large blocks of snow, upside down from the top of the snow pillar into the middle of us, using the cornice descending technique.

Continuing day 1 we moved up to the screes below the Ochsen Kogel cliffs, at the entrance to the corrie Schladmingerloch, where chamois played on the patches of more or less permanent snow at the top of the screes.  Hermann had a list of some holes already known in the area and he wished to find No.7.  At the base of a small cliff I found C2, a short, mud floored tube, rather low and blocked with mud after about 12m.  Hermann found a similar wide, low passage nearby, at the base of another cliff.  It led to a pitch, at the head of which a cairn had been built.  Originally he 'mistook it for No.7 but afterwards labelled it C3.  Five days later the pitch was descended and found to be 33m to a boulder blocked floor.

Hermann began looking for another on his list – No.8 - in the Schladmingerloch, but only found a couple of entrances into narrow canyon passage, later to be designated C30.  In the well worn fault lines below the screes of Niederer Grunberg we heard a stream gurgling away in the inaccessible rift, an unusual sound for this almost bare limestone and presumably the result of snow melt.  Above here, while trying to get a closer look at a crimson winged bird that flitted like a butterfly among the boulders and scree, and up the cliff face, I came upon a narrow, slightly draughting rift at the very base of the Grunberg cliff. This was to be C19, undoubtedly our best find, and almost the furthest away from the campsite.  Meanwhile Ross and Hermann had been finding interesting holes plugged with snow away from the bottom of the screes.

It seemed to me that the holes with initially horizontal sections and those with narrow entrances were those most likely to go.   Large open entrances were likely to be filled with glacial debris (if any had reached this far down the mountain) scree or snow.  However, this was not entirely proved to be the case.



During the return journey we did actually find No.7.  Arriving back at camp we found that the others had all been very busy collecting and sorting gear, and setting up camp.  Hermann left us, going via the bottom station of the Seilbahn and sending up the remainder of our equipment.  Altogether we had brought up 460kg, cost wise it was little over £4.50 each to use the cable-hoist.  I’m certain any sane person would think it reasonable to offer a fiver to someone else to carry 75 kg of gear 3km as the crow flies and up over 1000m.

Andy and Dave had been to the base of Niederer Ochsen Kogel and had found one or two holes, including an interesting sounding resurgence at the bottom of the cliff.  On the way back, in the corner of the camp meadow; Andy noticed cool air around an insignificant, peaky hollow.  Camp site organisation, stopped in favour of Mendip style digging.  Several boulders and copious quantities of moraine were removed to reveal a chamber, beyond which the rumbling spoke of a large shaft.  Belaying to a way marker pole, borrowed from a passing footpath the 20m shaft was descended and a second pitch found.

We removed the ladder and Throstle, with his bare hands, destroyed another large boulder from the entrance in preparation for the morrow.

The following morning, after a bit more gardening by the Haslingden Hammer, creating a veritable skiers trap, the second pitch was descended to a small, grovelly collapsed chambers at a depth of 42m.

It had already rained very early in the morning, and although the day was warm there were clouds and mist patches about.  After midday we had an inevitable mountain thunderstorm, lasting about an hour.  The rest of the day was spent prospecting to the north and south of the campsites.  Most of the exploration and the surveying of the sites found (C5 to 11) took place on the next day, in beautiful weather.  C5 is close to the top of Ochsenwieshohe, having a narrow entrance in the bottom a large depression.  Leaving Thros to sunbathe, J-Rat and I explored and surveyed.  The horizontal development ended at a gravel choke while the deepest point, on a boulder floor, became too narrow as it headed back under the entrance pitch.  On the surface once more, we slid down a nearby, rapidly melting snow patch to C60.  J-Rat and I dealt with this one too.  It is about 100m of basically horizontal, vadose passage with one or two short, climbable vertical sections.  The water flow shown on the survey is conjectured.  It possibly derives from the melting snow patch above.  Otherwise the system may well be related with C5. The water sinks in boulders close to the entrance.  When I found it, I had thought that C7 was promising, having a narrow entrance but immediately widening out.  Ross and Thros dropped it and found it to be only 13m deep with a floor of boulders.  C8, at the head of the valleys leading down to the camp, was filled with snow, but it was possible to climb down to at least 8m between the snow and rock.

Ross, Andy and Dave had looked to the south of the camp, so I spent the afternoon labelling and plumbing their finds.  C9 and C10 lie in the same fault.  C10, although not deep at 7m is a significant gash, being nearly 20m long and 3m wide. C11 is an enormous depression (though my survey notes do not tally with my memory there) and contains No.5 from Hermann's list.  The main depression is spear shaped and also contains an egg-shaped depression 20 x 30m and between 5 and 10m deep, and another small pot, 7.5m deep.

On July 30th came the threat of further thunderstorms.  A small amount of fell in the morning, but not enough to deter us after fortification with 'tee mit rum, tee mit citron and peach cake at the Wiesberghaus.  We dealt with C1 and the leaping J-Rat and then moved north west along the fault lines to a small hill overlooking the Wiesberghaus.  On its eastern slope we explored C12, with its two entrances leading down 17m to a black, peaty choke, and then the nearby C13, only 8m deep and tight.  We then split up and prospected further north: accompanied by rolling thunder and a few, weak spots of rain.  Just below the North West end of the hill I found C14, a slope leading in from the cliff edge to a pitch, similar to C3.  I then searched the cliffs and hollows to the North West but only found rifts of seemingly little significance and one short rock shelter. The area has suffered much block faulting, and perhaps the depressions here are caused by this.  Further over to the east Throstle had found some large holes, 5 to 7m deep but reckoned they were without much hope of extension.  The others searched along the valley between the hill and the Wiesberghaus and found the latter!

The last day of July dawned clear and fine and the Austrian army came to visit in one of their helicopters. Maybe it was an exercise, maybe they were curious to discover what a British caver looked like, or maybe it was just a plot to scatter all our cooking utensils about the meadow with wind from the rotor blades. J-Rat’s beloved ally plate was last seen flying through the air and into a patch of rhubarb growing in a doline.


Escaping from the helicopters we made our way over to C14, which proved to be 40m deep in two pitches. The second pitch was an impressive rift which all but defied our attempts descent it.

The best bolting tool we had was broken on it, there were no natural belays except the large boulders at the head, half of which I had pushed to the bottom, and the piton eventually used broke off part of the wall, bent, and went in all of a centimetre.  I had the dubious pleasure of descending the rift without bouncing too much, only to find that the sole way on, in solid rock, was about 10cm wide.

While J-Rat, Ross, Andy and I had been involved at C14, Thros and Dave explored and surveyed C3. J-Rat then did a through trip of No.7 and extended the cave by pushing down a deep rift near one end for about 8m. Dave wondered over to the area I had looked at yesterday and found C15, about 20m of passage and a large, bouldery chamber.  Ross and I attempted to climb up the northern cliff of Niederer Ochsen Kogel, but I felt that a short climb near the top needed some kind of protection, though Ross would have happily continued.  We skirted around the edge of Schladmingerloch, with ravens and alpine choughs soaring and performing acrobats above, and chamois playing in the snow below.  Ross investigated where some water came through narrow cracks in the cliffs to form a small waterfall down to the scree edge.  Other accessible holes in the cliffs were merely rock¬ shelters.  Returning via C3, a route which was now becoming standard, Ross found a couple of deep rifts.  C16 was just around the corner form C3, while C17 was at the end of the C3 cliff face, immediately beneath part of a snowfield over which we had walked several times.  We let everyone know of its whereabouts as soon as possible - and moved the route over the snow field a little to one side, away from the pot.  Leaving the exploration of these two until the following day we headed for camp.  Close to the main footpath between the Wiesberghaus and the Simonyhutte J-Rat and Andy found a Yorkshire style entrance to a 9m deep climbable pot, later labelled C21.  This was typical as a day of wandering in the lapiaz ¬whenever we went to do something specific we came across other sites of interest, giving us all the more to do.

Tuesday, August 1st was fine again, but for reasons unknown we were late getting up the hill.  On the southern corner of Niederer Grunberg there was a large opening that intrigued us.  Without binoculars - it was a foolish decision of mine not to bring them - it was impossible to tell what it might be like because it was high up in the cliff and only visible from the southern side of Schladmingerloch.  A sloping grassy ledge seemed to lead across to it.  From C3 we watched Tony climb towards it but he ended up above it and unable to locate it. Had we been in touch with walkie talkies we could have directed him to it.  As it was he had some difficulties retreating and had to be talked down from below.  The cliffs are steep here and contain numerous holes.  Hopefully we can abseil down to some of then next year.

Tony and Andy traversed around the north and west of Schladmingerloch and found three more significant caves.  C23 was a small cave at the top of the scree, sloping down to a depth of 7m and absolutely coated with and blocked with moonmilk.  C24, at the top of a high slope of scree running down form a bay in the cliffs, had to wait exploration for a week, when I went there with spray paint and a ladder.  The pitch was 8m into a pool floored chamber with little other development.  When I searched the third one, C25, I failed to locate it.  According to Tony’s notes it is a snow slope cave with ice formations, 6m deep and blocked with a snow choke.  It is in a grassy area on the south side of the corrie below the base of the west cliff.

While they were doing their circuit of Schladmingerloch the other four of us descended and surveyed C16. It was a rift opened out in one of the faults.  Part way down the rift a traverse across from a wide ledge led through a narrow opening to further rift.  Being the only one with waterproofs I dealt with C17, since its roof of melting snow caused continuous rain down below.  The survey was somewhat awkward.  Not wanting a soaking wet survey book I left this at the top and took down the end of the tape.  After a short ladder descent, first to - 10m, then to 16m, shouting up instructions like ‘end of ladder’.



Read now.  I traversed across snow and boulders and climbed down to the bottom the pot, where the drip was less, and the way on was too narrow. Communication was difficult, and although the survey readings agree with what I shouted and what I heard replied, the survey does not look right.  The final climb down didn’t seem as steep as the survey shows.  Thros and I then briefly looked at C18.  Although it continues beyond the survey it is tight and awkward.  5m inside is a superb example of a Dachstein fossil - Megalodont (Kuhtrittmuschel) - 'Cow hoof print mussel', projecting from the wall. These are very numerous in this limestone, but are usually visible as planed off sections.

We moved up to the Grunberg cliff and the entrance passage of C19 was looked at -100 feet of heightening rift, still going gently downwards and draughting.  Andy was confident about its prospects.

Half way between Niederer Ochsen Kogel and the campsite Dave and I had found a deep, snow filled hollow in the morning.  By the evening some of the snow had melted and I was able to enter a short horizontal passage; but my light was at C19.  The site was designated C200.  Over a week late I had a brief chance to look at the place again, with a light.  The rift continues over the head of a short pitch that could require tackle because of the overhang.  Another one for 1979.

Every evening was spent in the Wiesberhaus.  There we made many friends of various nationalities, but especially Austrian and German.  Mendip style signing sounded rather rough compared with Austrian yodelling, though Thros excelled himself with a few northern folk songs.  At times the 'haus' family got out their own instruments, Fritz on the skiffle, Fitzi on guitar and Freddi on squeeze box.  Occasionally I managed a bit of diary writing, or persuaded one of the others to draw a quick survey, but highly close social atmosphere of an alpine hut is not conducive to such activities.

On the Wednesday after breakfast our German friends from Wessling, near Bonn, came over to say good-bye, and to invite us to drop in on them on our way home.  We showed them some of our caving gear - most was now scattered far and wide about the plateau - and trundled a few boulders down C4.  Then, all of a sudden, mist rolled in, obliterating the campsite in seconds and it began to rain slightly.  I decided to wander up to the Simonyhutte.  Reaching it in about 45mins, I continued on up to the snout of the glacier, where I was just above much of the mist.

Above the hut, beside route 601 to the ice-field, I came upon a large shaft partially blocked with snow.   Just below the ice tongue, in one of the rock hummocks above the snow, well to the left of the path, was another shaft.  In the rock hummock closest to the ice tongue was a 5m shaft down to water. In all probability these three sites will have no, potential as they will be blocked by moraine.  Like all North European glaciers, the Hallstatter Gletscher, is retreating rapidly and only recently must have covered the site that I found.  The sound of melt waters pouring off, through and under the glacier was impressive, filling the valley with noise.  This vast quantity of water immediately disappears into the terminal moraine, below which it must sink into, the limestone.

When I returned everyone was in the 'haus' with Helmut, who had come up for a couple of days.  After a quick meal and drink, Tony, Hoss and Thros went to the Jaghaus, in the Herrengasse, the deep valley to the north. We had already looked at some sites in this region when we went down to Hallstatt earlier, but a ladder was needed to look thoroughly at 1546/16.

The rest of us moved up to C19.  Most of the rest of our stay was devoted to this pot, but on our frequent journeys out there several other sites were found, and we managed to look at these during the de-tackling of C19.  Maulwurfhohle, as we later named it, begins as 50m of westwards heading rift, narrow and awkward, gradually deepening, and dropping into a big passage at a 25m pitch.

Dave went down first on ladder, and ran about letting his-mind be blown.  They don't make them like that in Scotland.  Climbing up a boulder pile from the bottom of Platzlschacht he reached the base of an aven whose top disappeared into the blackness, making it over 50m high. Downwards a traverse on ledges soon looked over another blackness, the 60m Dorisschacht.  We made our way out through the twisting Gargantuagang to tell the good news and to prepare more tackle.

More mist came on the Thursday, almost immediately after Dave had left for C19, so the rest of us made our way to the Wiesberghaus instead, where Dave soon joined us.  It would be all too easy to become lost in the pathless lapiaz in the mist, and there’s no schnapps up there.  Later we decided to risk the journey up and the mist cleared by the time we reached C3.  Once at the bottom of C19's Platzlschacht, Tony, Dave and Ross ridged a 12m handline down a narrow, back and¬ foot, bouldery rift, the Stiegl. They bolted a ladder down the next 10m to the head of the following pitch.  Thus they had by-passed some of the big pitch found yesterday.  Tony and Ross descended the remainder of the big pitch (40m) using four rope protectors on the ledges, where it will probably have to be re-bolted next year.  At the bottom they found a series of parallel pitches, up to 50m deep.  Andy, Thros and I went into the system and did some surveying from Aufartz, the big aven, to Dorisschacht.

Back at the camp an enormous thunderstorm broke, but we still managed a Spag. Bol. mit wasser. The clear night turned to rain again by morning, but Hermann, in his own inimitable, Austrian way, splashed enthusiastically through the wet to persuade us back to C19.  Ross, Thros, Dave and Tony went up to descend one of the next pitches and continue exploration.  Andy and I went up later to survey the entrance passage, and then came out with some excess tackle.  It rained hard while we were down and drips began to appear from everywhere.  The others found it wet too.  They found that, below the 50m pitch the passage soon deteriorated into a tight, wet, 80-90m rift, the Schlangengang, reaching an estimated depth of -192m.

The weekend was spent climbing the Dachstein and washing and mending equipment, dubbing boots, drinking, eating, sunbathing and relaxing - what all good expeditions are about.

On Monday Ross and Andy took some of the gear (wet suits, crampons, ice-axes etc.) down to the lower Seilbahn station and visited the Bank in Hallstatt - they had been overspending at the Weisberghaus.  The rest of us went to C19, taking Freddi from the 'haus' to do his first ladder pitch. He was suitably impressed.  While Dave took him out, we descended and surveyed Dorisschacht.  Thros went into the rift containing the next three pitches, pulled up the rope from the big one, rigged a traverse line, and started putting in a bolt for another pitch. J-Rat and I followed a rift above and reached a chamber, through the wall of which I could hear Thros hammering. We dropped down a 10m ladder pitch to find we had spiralled back below Thros, about 12m down.  All three pitches joined at a chamber, beyond which a rift, Belfry Avenue, continued.  J-Rat followed this for about 80m gradually descending.  The floor dropped away, very narrow, about 25m, and a good draught went along the rift.  In several places there were bat droppings.  J-Rat's light went out and he got lost trying to return at the wrong level in the rift, but I found him after about an hour.  (Haven’t we heard this tale before?)  On the way out, at the head of the first pitch, I dropped my carbide light and J-Rat's ran out just as he reached me.  The others had made their exit.  The spare lights were at the bottom of the system.  We had sort ourselves out as we hung there - not a good state to be in.

Hermann came with us on Tuesday, more enthusiastic than ever, the rain being wetter than usual. It was so miserable we settled for breakfast in the Wiesberghaus.  J-Rat, Andy and Hermann went to C19 first, Hermann to take some photo's for the Austrian press.  He did not like the entrance passage one little bit and assured us that Austrian cavers would never have looked at it.  He went to the bottom of the first pitch, and Andy and Tony continued on down to explore Belfry Avenue.  They pushed it over 150m to find T.T.F.N. schacht, 10m deep below a 30m aven. Unfortunately no time was left this year to explore further.  They began to bring all the gear out of the cave to the entrance, checking various side passages on the way, especially those near many Meetings, the area off the bottom of Dorisschacht.

Ross, Dave and I went up to the cave a little later.  Dave and I removed some tackle and came out with Hermann.  Ross and I went into the Schladmingerloch, where it was snowing through the swirling mists.  We surveyed and labelled C23 and C24, but I could not find C25 despite a long search. Ross, meanwhile, had found some more sites.  C27 is a large, but rather shallow (4m) hole floored with large boulders.  C28 is near C30 and is a partially snow-filled rift leading to ice formations with no way on.  C29 was most interesting, being another snow-filled rift leading down to ice formations and an ice floor.  However, in this case a draught had kept a hole open through the ice.  Next day we put a hand line down the ice hole and climbed down an ice slope, smashing many icicles en-route, to the head of a 20m pitch between ice and the rock wall.   This will need looking at in 1979 using a ladder, provided that the ice hole is open still.

Freddi had showed us a hole which he understood to be Schmalzgrubenhohle, which is marked on the map, though this name has been given to No.7.  It had been descended by an Austrian caver, but was not marked and was not on Hermann's list.  After a 5m free-climbable pitch 30m of descending passage led to another pitch, which divided, leading down to depths of 35m and 38m.  Somewhere the draught has been lost.  Otherwise it is a promising pot.  We designated it C31, but the painted number washed off in the rain.

Even on the last trip down from C19, removing tackle, another hole was found.  Returning via a different route, along the cliffs above C3, I found a short pothole leading to an inclined, bouldery rift.  Ross named it Ost Wasser Hohle, and delighted in trundling high boulders down the rift to make his way on safe.  As might be expected he blocked the way on with an enormous block, but then decided he had lost the draught and the way had to be elsewhere.

Thus ended a very successful recon of the area.  This year we brought along much more rope than we actually required.  Next year we will probably need more, to use as surface fixed ropes to gain access easily to the top of Hoher Grunberg.  Wet suits were not necessary this year, but next year we have been offered a trip into the extensive Hirlatzhohle, just above Hallstatt.  There is a wet, lower section of lakes and streams in this cave.  We have also been offered a trip beyond the show cave section of the Mammuthohle.

The 1979 Dachstein Expedition will begin, hopefully, round about Friday, July 20th and last until mid-August.  We may have the use of a small hut beside the Wiesberghaus but this has yet to be settled. No doubt we shall again have our base camp in the Ochsenwies-Alm, though it may be necessary or desirable to have a small camp on the top of Grunberg.

If you have enthusiasm, can afford the time and save up the money ( Austria is a very expensive country) then let us know if you wish to join us next year.  Arrangements are underway now.

NOTE: On the survey plans  NM indicates magnetic north from hand held Silva

  N indicates estimated north.

Attempts to measure declination were not entirely satisfactory.  It is not given on the map.  Surveys were made using fibron tape and hand held Silva compass.







Dates For Your Diary

February 10th

Rift Pot, Yorks. Anyone interested should contact Dave Metcalfe in Blackpool.  Tele Blackpool 65985.

February 22nd to 25th

BEC to the LAKES.  Cottages available.  Apply to Mr Sanderson, Fir Garth, Chapel stile, Gt. Langdale, Cumbria.  £15 per cottage plus VAT and electricity.  5 persons per cottage for the four days.  Further information from Mike Palmer.  Tele: Wells 74693.  EVERYBODY WELCOME.

February 21st

Argyll Caverns.

February 28th

Paul Esser Memorial Lecture given by John Liddell entitled “British Wild Water Canoe Expeditions” at 8.15 pm in the Arthur Tyndall Memorial Theatre, Physics Department, Tyndall Ave., Bristol 8.  Admission free.

March 11th

Lancaster/Easegill.  Anyone interested should contact Dave Metcalfe.  Telephone: Blackpool 65985.

March 17/18th

Peak Cavern/Winnats Head Cave.  Staying at the Pegasus C.C. Hut.

Easter 1979

Yorkshire.  Staying at the Bradford Pothole Club Hut.

Dates for your diary cont…


17/18th, March

Peak Cavern/Winnats Head Cave, Staying at the Pegasus C.C.  hut.

Easter 1979

Yorkshire.  Staying at the Bradford Pothole Club hut.

21st Feb.

Aygill Caverns.

SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE OVERDUE………………………….Come on you lot and pay up!

Full members £2.00; Joint members £3.00 and Under 18's £1.50……………………. send your subs to

Sue Tucker, BEC Hon. Treasurer, 75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon.


The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Som.  Telephone: Wells 72126.

The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be checked in the time at his disposal.

Ed. apologies for the standard of the surveys – we are using a different type of stencil that appears to cut poorly using the stencil styilis.

Editor: D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Somerset Telephone: Priddy 369



Date For Your Diary

B.E.C. Annual visit to the Lakes, 1979

Date: February 22nd to 25th.

Cottages available. Apply to Mr Sanderson, Fir Garth, Chapel Stile, Gt. Langdale, Cumbria

£15 per cottage + VAT + Electricity.  5 persons -per cottage for the four days.

Any further information ring Mike Palmer on Wells 74693.  EVERYBODY WELCOME

Object - beer/walking/beer/beer/beer/stroll/beer/beer/short crawl/beer/beer/stoned!


Next month will see two new series commencing with a revival of ‘From the Caving Log’ and a monthly survey of Club activities during the last 35 years since the official formation of the BEC in 1943.  Also in the pipeline ‘Mines of Sandford Hill’; details of a mine at Yatton, Thrupe Lane in grots, the latest from Wigmore with a survey – a good start for 1979, keep it up.

The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be checked in the time at his disposal.

A Very Merry Christmas To one And all And a Prosperous New Year

EDITOR: D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset. Tele: Priddy 369



By Tim Large

In Committee

At the November meeting, Martin Bishop was co-opted to the Committee to fill the vacancy recently made by the resignation of Bob cross.

A provisional booking has already been made to return to the Caveman next year for the Club Dinner. After paying the bill for this year’s event we still have a surplus of money and so will put this towards next year – perhaps we can have a bottle of wine each!!

John Dukes is still taking orders for BEC sweat shirts – contact him to place your order – preferably with money – see previous BB for details.

A new stock of carbide has been obtained – 35p per pound to members, 40p to guests.

The UBSS are concerned that the access arrangements to G.G. are not being adhered to.  Please make sure indemnity chits and permits are completed by everyone before descending and that the key is returned soon after use. Also, the bolts on the climb to the ladder are being replaced, possibly by some sort of bolt or bolthole which will require parties to take their own bolts if they intend visiting the area. More details will be published when finalised.

1979 Subscription Rate

The membership subscription to cover the period from February 1st 1979 to 30th September 1979 has been proportionally set a flows:

Full members    £2.00

Joint Members   £3.00

Under 18’s         £1.50


B.B. Costs

In an attempt to reduce B.B. delivery costs a 'pigeon hole' board will be installed at the Belfry so that regular visitors to Mendip can pick up their B.B’s from there.  More details when system operative.  Those members who receive their B.B via a hand delivery from someone who lives close by will still receive it by this method.

Burrington Atlas

This caving report is to be reprinted with amendments and additions, notably the Lionel’s Hole extension. Why not place your order now? -  it sold out very quickly last time.

Apologies to Postle and Dizzie.  I will amend the club records and I am sure you can look forward to your names and address being correct in next year's members list.  Once again sorry!

Christmas has crept around again; I expect there will be the usual gathering for the season’s festivities at the Belfry and I hope we shall see those amongst us who are not able to get to Mendip as often as they would like.  Anyway, to one and all, a Very Merry Christmas.


Happy Birthday, Stan

The next account comes from our old mate Stan G.  I'm afraid that this is included in the B.B. a little late due to the manuscript being mislaid, in fact I found in lying between sheets of: 'lettraset'.  Anyway, what better time than Christmas to celebrate Stan’s 30th, birthday remember toast him after the regular Belfry blow-out….

It was my 30th birthday; 30 years caving that is; I always prefer to consider that as my birthday or my re-birthday and it sometimes helps to be able to knock off the odd 15 years or so. Anyway there it was, 30 years caving and the newspapers were screaming 'Great Cave Discovery in Derbyshire, 'Caverns Measureless to Man' etc.  Yes, there are a few caves in Derbyshire.  It seems that some local maniac from the Orpheus had done a solo 'donging' job on the old Winnats Head Cave and had successfully broken through. What better way to spend a birthday? A couple of' pints in the Wanted Inn with convivial company and then a quick thrash to have a look at this wonderful .discovery.  It's not every day a new cave is found in Derbyshire; in fact it’s not every 365 days or 3650 days either!

Thus it was that our intrepid band of explorers, which included 4 B.E.C. layabouts, arrived at the cave to find a hastily constructed notice which said 'Access to THE CAVE 12½p'. We duly paid up but I felt that the farmer would have been happier if we had paid him in genuine good old half crowns.

After a bit of mucking about, we all slid into the cave.  The entrance is a 3 - 4ft high passage descending at an angle of 45 degrees for 40ft and ending on a rubbish tip of countless generations of campers and walkers.  Here, local maniac had done his first 'donging' job and the next 10ft looked like an earthworm’s hideout.  Accustomed as I am to the somewhat larger orifices of Italy, this came as a shock, but Nigel bawling from the front and the impending collapse in the rear, caused by Lennie's wild thrashings, urged me to proceed.  A quick thrutch, a few curses and through, not too bad at all, easier than it looked.  Next followed a creepy bit of passage to a small chamber and the next obstacle. This was a large boulder wedged in the passage to form a sort of letter box.  To me this did not present a problem but at this point 3 of our party debunked and it was as just as well that they did because just beyond this point lies local maniac’s 2nd 'Donging' job, even more miniscule than the first in which our portly companions had had some difficulty.  In the middle of this next squeeze, local maniac had thoughtfully constructed a depression which had filled with water, ideal for cooling off in a tight thrutch or killing you off if you can’t keep your face out!

Then blessed relief, a large chamber some 25ft high and 30ft long.  This was more like ‘caverns measureless to Man’ that I had read about.  We were on the top of a ‘gi-normous’ boulder choke and the way on was a somewhat concealed gap between two large boulders. An easy descent of forty feet brought us to a mouse hole and I recall that as I descended, in the crucifix position, I thought ‘There will be trouble here’ and there was!  Next another tight crawl led to a ten foot climb, with the inevitable piece of knotted rope, and a chamber some 18ft high with hanging boulders that looked as if they would tumble if Lennie produced one of his farts.  We were now at the head of a 25ft pitch; an easy free hanging climb brought us to the incredible main chamber, 160ft long x 60ft high and 60ft wide and decorated in parts.  A truly remarkable discovery for Derbyshire.

After taking photos and having a fag we returned to the surface with some difficulty.  The cave must have some magica1 qualities because everything became topsy-turvy.  What had been easy on the descent became bloody difficult on the ascent and vice-versa. At the mouse hole I envisaged us entombed for life as Lennie got stuck fast, completely blocking the passage and the airway as well.  With much thrutching and cursing, Lennie eventually extracted himself minus helmet, lamp, sweater and pants.  Then it was my turn and I fared no better, stuck fast about 1ft off the ground, legs flailing wildly and no prospects of progressing.  You've heard the song which says 'There's a smashing belay only 10ft away' well this one was only 10 inches away but it might as well have been 10ft.

Fortunately some kind soul shoved an ammo box under my feet and with the extra leverage I was able to disencumber myself.  Eventually we emerged on surface a pretty sorry looking lot and with Lennie giving a fair impersonation of the incredible HULK.

The farmer, counting his toy town half crowns, eyed us with disdain as we went to the cars, the three who turned back, laughed at us, and not one miserable bugger wished me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Stan Gee.


P.S.      Rating for the cave.

Tall and slim - moderate

Short and slim - swinish

Short and fat - Bastardish

Tall and fat - Impossible

Ed. Note -         since Stan's visit a second large chamber has been found - when are you going back to have a look Stan?

Another article by Stan is in the pipeline - Italy 1978 - this will appear in the January B.B. together with a new survey of Wookey Hole.



Last month Tim Large outline the arrangements regarding tackle; just too late for the November BB. Graham Wilton-Jones submitted a summary of the tackle situation and this is published below.  A moments thought, after reading the distressing situation will impress on you that the committee have no alternative but to restrict access to the store and if more tackle is lost then all tackle will only be available by a asking a committee member and during mid-week, making prior arrangements.

In the July BB I briefly mentioned that the tackle log was not being used correctly, and that many items of equipment were missing from the store.  By the time the Tacklemaster’s Report was published in September the situation has worsened.  By the AGM the store contained some half dozen ladders, a similar number of tethers and one, yes ONE, rope.  As I write this, a mere fortnight since the AGM, perhaps a few consciences are still pricking and a few garages and car boots being; cleared out a little more thoroughly than usual.  This weekend (20 -22 October) the store actually has a significant quantity of tackle, though, not all it should have by any means.

Someone at the AGM did ask how much tackle was missing and when the value of the missing equipment was queried at the weekend committee meeting I guessed about £400 of ladder and at least half that much of rope.  On the Saturday I did another stock check.  Even while I was doing this two ladders and a tether were returned, and I was informed of the whereabouts of two other ladders.

I believe that a list of missing gear will be useful.  We still await the return of the following ladder's:

L3(10ft); L6(20ft); L7(20ft); L11(20ft); L12(20ft); L16(50ft); L21(20ft); L22(20ft); L24(20ft); L33(20ft); L36(20ft); L37(20ft), L39(20ft); I47(20ft); L38(20ft) and a 30ft lightweight ladder that went missing immediately after I had coded it.  All that adds up to 350ft of ladder, worth at least £1.00/foot.

The following tethers are not accounted for:

T1; T2; T3; T4; T5; T6;T8; T14; T17 and (Spreader) 4. Particularly annoying is the fact that some of these articles were only made in May of this year.

One THOUSAND seven hundred feet of rope is missing.  A little over 1000ft can be written off anyway for a number of reasons; some had been missing for a long time; most is too old to be satisfactory as lifeline; some has been misused and damaged but never ‘officially’ written off.  The following ropes should be in good condition still, but their whereabouts are not known:

N4 R2 (65ft. no.4 nylon); N4 R3 (65ft. no.4 nylon) 140ft polypropylene, coded with blue ends; 60ft polypropylene, coded with blue ends; 150ft Viking Nylon, coded with blue ends, 150ft Viking Nylon, coded with blue ends; Approximately 150ft of brand new nylon super-braidline, un-coded.

The value of this quantity of rope is about £65.00

If we say that the average cost of a tether/spreader is about £1.00 then the value of the missing tackle works out at £425.00. HENCE THE COMMITTEE DECISION TO WITHDRAW PRACTICALLY ALL TACKLE FROM GENERAL AVAILABILITY.  Well, now that we know exactly what is missing how about doing something about it?

Graham Wilton-Jones


News in Brief

Belfry lockers - all members who have lockers at the Belfry should ensure that they have paid their annual rental by the end of January - 50p per year.  Pay this to Chris Batstone NOW or you'll loose it.  Also make sure that your name is on the locker door.

The Committee are waiting for samples of a new Club tie.   It will be in the current wide fashion and a choice of colours silver/royal blue and gold/maroon.  Cost will be about £3.00ea.  Nigel Taylor will be taking orders if the samples are approved by committee members.

The Constitution is being checked for minor editorial corrections by Bob Bagshaw and will be circulated to members as soon us this task is completed.

Cave keys held at the Belfry.  Guests wishing to borrow any of the keys MUST leave £5.00 deposit.  For the Lamb Leer key a hire fee has been set at £1.00. Members giving out the keys should insist on some sort of identification.

Thanks to Tony Tucker for the gift of O.S. maps to the Library and members.

Letters To The Editor

The following letter has been received by Tim Large and should be noted by all members wishing to descend G. B. Cave….

Wthey House,
Withey Close West,
Bristol 9

University of Bristol Speleological Society

To the Hon. Secretaries, Charterhouse,
C.C. Clubs.
26th October 1978

Dear Tim,

My attention has been drawn to the fact that club secretaries are not being sufficiently strict with their members who use the club key to G.B. Cavern with regard to observation of the access rules, agreed to in November 1975.  In particular the following: -

Rule 5:- “C.C.C. permits must be held by each member of the party going down G.B. Cave.”  In order to get a permit each caver must sign the Indemnity Chit.

Rule 6: - I am still having to replace locks at the rate of about six a year, which is absurd, and it is almost entirely due, so I am told, to the practice of leaving the cave unlocked, with the lock lying around waiting to be pinched.  It must surely be clear that a cave the size of G.B. security of unauthorised entry can only be achieved if each party locks the door behind it both on entering and leaving the cave.  Please could you be strict with your parties about this.

Rule 8: - Reservation of digging and exploration right to the U.B.S.S.  The most gross infringement of this rule was by a certain Villis of Cheddar, who spoilt the squeeze on the dry way out of the first grotto. This chap had his tail adequately twisted by his club secretary.  It should be, noted however, that the rule applies to all fixed tackle in the cave, which is the responsibility of the Society.  With particular reference to the Ladder Dig, the Society, with the agreement of members of the Charterhouse C.C. removed the bolts in the wall, the idea being that parties who wished to visit the Ladder Dig could bring their own bolts and remove them at the end of each trip.  This however, has been abused, and unknown persons have fitted at least two sets of permanent bolts, the latest set quite unsuitable, which the Society has had to deal with.  We have not yet finalised our arrangements, but when we have I will let club secretaries know the size of hangers, nuts and spanners that their parties will need to take with them.  In summary, no fixed aids may be put in.

I would welcome your comments on this and on any other ideas you may have which will help us to preserve the amenities of this fine cave.

            Oliver (Lloyd)
                        Hon. Treas. U.B.S.S.


The following letter has been received by Dave Irwin……

Dear Leader,

I regret to inform you that until further notice Fairy Cave Quarry; except for Fairy Cave, is closed for caving trips.

This restriction is due to the fact that Hobbs have been informed by the authority responsible for quarry safety that some rock faces are insufficiently stable.  The Cerberus committee are currently attempting to organise with Hobbs or by other means the stabilisation of the relevant rock faces.

I will inform you as soon as the situation improves.

Yours, Good Caving,

          Ken Gregory, Caving Secretary, Cerberus Spel. Society. 17th November 1978


Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity, through the Belfry Bulletin, to air my surprise on the new ruling by our committee concerning the locking away of the tackle room key.  It was on Saturday 21st October that I was taking a group of 6th form pupils for a days caving on Mendip.  Needing some tackle and inadvertently leaving my Belfry key at home, a trip to the Hunters was called for to beg, steal or borrow a key. On meeting with Mr. ‘N’ it (this new ruling) was explained to me and the reasons for it being that the club had £400 worth of equipment, stolen (or gone missing).  Unfortunately, he and two other members present, could not unlock the Belfry library due to other commitments.  One had left his key at home!  Luckily, one other had his key and kindly went with me to unlock the library to help me out of my predicament.

I put it to the club that on a Saturday or Sunday a member would have no or little, difficulty in obtaining a library key.  But other B.E.C. members, like myself, who do the majority of their caving during the week, to get easy access to the caves without queuing for hours at the 20ft in Swildons, or other reasons would now have to write to obtain a key or hope that a committee member was there.  The latter would be unlikely.  Whilst I appreciate the predicament that the club is in, they must offer a service of some sort to their members.  The easy access of tackle has always been a selling point of the club and one for which many of us have joined the club.  As it stands now my caving days during the week seem to be over.

One or two points to help the club come to mind.  Firstly that the tackle book should be kept where it belongs - in the tackle store, in so doing being a reminder to members to use it.  Secondly, the Belfry lock should be replaced.  So many people other than BEC members must have keys now that Tom, Dick, or Harry, can take equipment.

As it stands now any member who is lucky enough to get tackle should hang on to it.  You won't get any more.

I would appreciate this letter being published in the Belfry Bulletin to find out and stimulate other member’s views on this subject.

Yours faithfully,

Dave Hatherley.  26th Oct. 1978

From the 1943 Caving Log:

March 20th – first trip after the reorganisation of Club.

A trip to Goatchurch. Party went through Drainpipe and examined lowest chamber thoroughly.  A dog marooned half-way up Rock of Ages was rescued by T.H. Stanbury and C. Drumond.  Members present:-T.H. Stanbury, C. Drumond, D.W. .Jones, G. Tait, T. Ward and T. Charles.

3rd April 1943

A trip by cycle to Swildons Hole.  The Club made its first test of wire and duralumin ladder on 40ft pot and found that the ladders exceeded all expectations.  On return journey met. party of 7 men and 2 girls in Upper Grotto and took them out as they were lost!

Members present: T.H. Stanbury, C. Drumond, D. Hasell.

(Ed. note: Though it is generally believed that it was the UBSS that first built electron ladders in this country about 1945 this entry shows clearly that it was the B.E.C. that were first, as usual).


19 July 1959  Stoke Lane

Roy Bennett, Mo Marriott, Norman Petty, John Attwood, John Etough, John Stafford, Bob Bagshaw and others on a trip intended to be photographic, but which developed into a tourist trip.  Sump cold and miserable – otherwise a very interesting trip.  Throne Room and Bone Chamber very impressive.

J.E. (J. Etough)


Anyway Rocket Drop

The following account describes the exploration of a small cave that took nearly three years for the caving population on Mendip to hear about, let alone descend the place.  Accompanying this article is the survey and a group of photographs.  Having done a deal with the Wessex, your Editor managed through the good offices of 'Backbone', to get the survey decently printed and to supply the Wessex for their needs in exchange for the printed pages of the photograph.  One would expect Macmillan’s, David & Charles, Longmans etc. to get caving photos upside, down but NOT the Wessex.  However, they did succeed in doing so - says a lot for their organisation!  Memo to all BEC members 'Have to take the Wessex caving and show them the difference between stals!

by Claire Williams

Rocket Drop first opened in the spring of 1974 when a small, though deep hole opened in one of our fields. The earth continued to subside making a conical hole about 12 feet round and about 10 feet deep leading to a narrow rift.  The rift is about 10ft deep and leads down into a large chamber.

This was explored by Colin (Williams) who found a blind pit on one side of the decorated chamber. The way one proved to be a wriggle through boulders in the bottom of a steeply sloping boulder floor.  This led to a small chamber with flowstone covering the walls below which is a tricky climb of about 20ft (rope advisable). This has now been altered by throwing a boulder or two about to make an easier 15ft climb.  At the bottom the way on was choked with boulders and mud.

Little progress was made over the next few years although our dog, Rocket, was a somewhat surprised Speleodog when he fell down the entrance pitch - hence the name Rocket Drop. The Wessex kindly offered to help with the entrance shaft piping and gating during the autumn of 1977.  After six months or so, many words, much muscle and some brains, four pipes were placed in the cave entrance (they don't get much practise at this sort of thing!).  This made the entrance into a 30ft pitch.

Over the summer of 1977, Colin, Pete Moody and Alison Hooper dug the choke at the bottom of the second rift to enter a long narrow gallery.  This has fine straws end some mud formations.

Further digging and banging opened a low passage at the end of the Second Chamber leading to a tight 15ft vertical rift and the Third Chamber.  From this final chamber a low constricted tube, similar to Easy Street in nearby Pinetree Pot, leads off for a short distance where work is continuing.

The cave is in horizontally bedded limestone and is formed along a series of joints and is probably phreatic in origin.

Tackle required: -

Entrance pitch - 30ft. ladder and 100ft tether:

Blind Pit - 20ft. ladder attached to the entrance ladder.

2nd Pitch (rift) - 50ft hand line.

Access: The cave may be visited by arrangement with Colin either at home at Whitestown Farm, Cheddar Crossroads, Compton Martin, Bristol or at the Hunters (preferably with the offer of some beer!)


Our thanks to the Wessex' A' team for gating (God only knows what the ‘B’ team is like!) Fred Davies and Alan Mills for banging..

..Phil Hendy for the photos (they make it look much better than it really is even though they are upside down!)…

...the 'Wig' for the survey and everyone else who helped.




Brief survey notes: Instruments - Suunto compass and clinometer, 50ft fibron tape. Instruments were hand held and calibrated fulfilling the requirements of a Grade 5 survey.  Original drawing was inked on a stabil material and then photo reduced to suit the size of the BB.  Details of the side rift below the First Chamber were supplied by Phil Hendy.



Le Deuxieme Festival International Du Film De Speleologie

La Chapelle en Vercors, 23 - 27 August '78

Following the successful trip to the Dachstein two of our intrepid explorers went to the cinema…

a report by Ross White…..

The 18th August 1978 saw Andy Sparrow and myself plodding down the road out of Salzberg; having left Graham Wilton-Jones et. al who were returning home after the expedition to the Dachstein.  We were on our way to Le Vercors via Italy, using our thumbs.

Some time later, after surviving a dose of food poisoning and the odd occasion when our sense of humour broke down, we arrived in La Chapelle - En Vercors, a small village situated about 50km south-west of Grenoble.  We met up with Ben Lyon, who had been invited to help judge the films, and Dave Morris, George Bee, Paul Atkinson and families who were over to dive some sumps.  Although we didn't have any caving gear (a prime excuse you might think) as we carried everything on our backs, we did end up doing some caving.

The first trip was with Ben to La Crotte de Bruder, which had a large entrance chamber leading into impressive rift passage.  We only covered a few hundred feet as we weren’t equipped properly and there was a lot of swimming aided by a few dubious looking traverse lines.

We also did some sherpering for the divers into La Grotto de Bournillon.  We’d been well primed with alcohol the night before but the effort was well worth it.  The entrance is immensely impressive (largest in Europe) with a stonking great passage going half mile into the mountainside to the sump pool, which is large, crystal clear and very cold.  D. Morris and P. Atkinson dived 700ft to -70ft then returned, due to the cold and setting tangled in old broken line.

On the opposite side of the valley is a show cave - La Grotte de Choranche, which is an absolute must if you're in the area.  It is exceptionally well decorated and un-commercialised.

As for the festival itself, the second of its kind, the French had obviously put a lot of time and effort into it.  There was an assortment of French, English, German, Belgian, American and Swiss films, 23 in all.  A jury of seven, including Nick Barrington and Ben Lyon studiously sat through all these and eventually awarded Sid Perou's 'Alum Pot' the winning title. 'Pippikin Pot' was also a runner up.

There were a number of remarkable films, the most memorable being, I think; a German film entitled. 'Taucher Im Fels' by W. Mann featuring Joohen Hasenmayer, a cave diver.  It tells of a big push into a large resurgence. The visibility was superb, the passage huge and you can imagine the diver wearing a twin set backpack, four side mounted bottles PLUS a camera in an English sump!  It effectively captured some of the tension and loneliness of long cave.

Another film dealt with the problems of cave conservation in Belgium, problems caused by major quarrying and rubbish tips etc.  Of course, there were a couple of ‘joke’ films - they were so bad, that you had to laugh.

The festival was spread over five days with trips to local show caves and a wine co-operative thrown in for good measure.  It wound up with a dinner and a re-run of the winning films.  As a whole it was worth seeing despite logistic problems and it also gave one a chance to meet foreign cavers.

The cost?  Admittedly not cheap: 10f for an afternoon session, 15f an evening session but you could buy a season ticket for 50f which worked out much cheaper.  Camping fess were nominal.

If anyone is in the area next year I can recommend a visit.  It certainly provides an interesting new dimension to armchair caving! for the dedicated.  The local barman is very friendly and keeps liberal opening hours and some strange reason likes cavers!



These are somewhat shorter this month but we'll try and make up for it in the January B.B.

Address Change: Steve Tuttlebury 28 Beacon Close, Boundstone, Farnham, Surrey.

Otter Hole: The key is available from Peter Capper, Dunraven, Clearwell, Coleford, Glos.

Due to damage in the cave, the RFDCC intend to tighten access conditions.  Details will be available shortly.

Leck Fell ( Yorks.)  Permits for all caves on Leck Fell should - be obtained from:

A. Hall, 64E Manor House Close, Leyland, Preston. PT5 3TY

The Meets Secretary for Casterton Fell only is still:

P. Llewellyn, The Chalet, Lower Newhouse, Waddington, Clitheroe, Lancs.

Penyhent/Gingling - All clubs wishing to visit Gingling next year should make their applications by the 1st February 1979.



On the following two pages are the separate views of Swildon’s stereo plan.

Get a sheet of tracing paper and trace page 14 with a green crayon or felt pen.  Using the guide lines overlay the first tracing onto page 15 and trace this picture with a red crayon of felt pen.

Place the tracing paper onto a good white background to ensure the colours stand out clearly.

Make yourself a pair of red and green glasses, or pinch the kids, similar to those in children’s 3D picture books and see the cave survey for the first time in the full glory of 3D, just turn on the kitchen tap an you can hear the stream plunging into the Double Pots.  Make the wife produce a few gargling noises to stimulate the diving through sump 1 – what a good way of caving in the sitting room!  Make sure you don’t get too excited, fall over the cat and break your legs!  Thanks to Mike Cowlishaw for this copy and to Willie S. for using the survey.


Send them to: Sue Tucker, 75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon.

Details of subscription rates are given in the Hon. Secs. Column ‘Lifeline’ page 2

Swildons Stereo Surveys!.


Wigmore Swallet

Continuing the saga of Wigmore Swallet

Stu Lindsey gives us the up to date picture…..

End of Part One…

The first half of '78 has seen Tony Jarrett and Stu Lindsey busily ginging up the ‘open’ ends of the Winding Shaft.  This was achieved with notable assistance from Chris Batstone, Trev Hughes, Graham W-J, Ross White and Miss Jane Kirby, when they were available.  The task involved mixing by hand, the equivalent, of the ingredients that went into the 'cap', about 2t tons of concrete!

Unfortunately, the need for the ginging….over 50ft of it……meant demolishing the dry walled spoil heaps and the almost complete denuding of Hesitation Chamber.  This latter exercise completely robbing the chamber of its 'loose' character.  However the task did provide a few hairy moments, especially when perched 30ft up the shaft on virtually non-existent ledges, invariably wet and muddy, and handling large boulders and buckets of 'goo'… it was on reflection, quite fun!

In May, with the completion of the most necessary ginging imminent, Stu. L. began the task of constructing the framework to receive the 'cap', areas of obvious instability being grouted in where practical.  The main shuttering (¼"ply) was laid down on five cross members of 2" x 2", each member having 'two legs', this raised them the necessary 3ft up from the only two ledges available on each side of the shaft, stream side and farm side.  (At the present time mid. September, Ed., - this means the cap is mainly supported by the ginging at each end!)  The positioning of the formwork means that the concrete lid is at the same depth as the soil when we started digging.  As a safety measure, and because of the flimsy nature of the base, three large log were dangled under the formwork and suspended by ropes to acrow jacks wedged across the upper part of the shaft.  As things turned out 'the tension on the ropes remained slack throughout the capping ceremony…….!

So, to the big day, the 16th September 1978.  The capping of the Winding Shaft with nearly three tons of concrete.  An operation that made certain doubting Thomas! (no, not Alan Thomas) squib with anticipated delight at the thought of a certain Wigmore Collapse…..sorry to have disappointed you folks!......phew.  The much was mixed in a rather temperamental mixer and pushed 60 yards to the delivery chute where two sweaty figures sculpted it around two yawning orifices.  One, with scaffold pipes across acting as a flood valve!  The entrance hole, 6ft x 4ft. approx. will be covered by the 'wee top frae Ross-shire', this has been delivered from the Bonnie Highlands by various modes of transport.  Whilst no intention of ‘padlocking’ is envisaged the landowner wants it secured - so, the lid will be bolted when the lips of the hole are lined.

Many thanks to ‘Mistair Crestani’ for on-site materials and loan of the mixer and, to all who turned up on the day and assisted with the various operations.  The area around the hole has now been handed back to nature except for the remnants of the big spoil heap which in time will form a dry wall around the ‘cap’.

At present access is still confined to diggers, so anyone wishing to assist please see Stu Lindsey or Tony Jarrett.

It is my intention to display a pictorial history of the dig in the Belfry and also put together 'collections of prints' for various persons.  To this end I would be grateful to hear from anyone who has 'pics' to do with Wigmore, especially subterranean ones, as my camera went wrong during Dec-Jan in the break in period.  My address is 5 Laburnum Wlk, Keynsham, Avon (S.A.E.) or to me at the Belfry.


The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Som.  Telephone: Wells 72126.

The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be checked in the time at his disposal.

Editor: D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Som.  Tele: Priddy 369

In the next few months issues of the Belfry Bulletin the following material will be publishes: Wigmore survey; Loxton Cave survey; New Year in the Dales; Holloch; Wookey Hole survey; Cadbury Hill mine shaft; Austria 1978; Isometric surveys; Reviews of some new books; MRO Annual Report; Details of the Annual Dinner and Mid-Summer Buffet and several surveys of western Mendip caves and two new series.

Subscriptions 1979 (to October 1979)

Full members    £2.00

Joint Members   £3.00

Under 18’s         £1.50

Subs are due at the end of January 1979.  Don’t forget to send them in to Sue Tucker, B.E.C. Hon Treasurer, 75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon.

Useful addresses:

Hon Sec: Tim Large, c/o Trading Standards Office, South Street, Wells, Somerset.
Hut Warden: Chris Batstone, 8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath, Avon.
Tacklemaster: John Dukes, Bridge Farm, Dulcote, Nr. Wells, Somerset.

Odds and Sods:

DYO - ladder into Gerald Platten Hall removed  31 December 1978

Nick Burke Awards. The award is a tribute to the memory of Nick Burke, the BBC cameraman who lost his life while filming the ascent of Everest in 1975.  The competition makes awards to expeditions and is organised by the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol and the Royal Geographic Society.

There were 90 applications for the 1979 award of which six were successful.  Each of these will be lent two super 8 movie cameras (a Braun 801 and a Braun 148) and a tape recorder together with sufficient tape and film for 90 mins filming.  It is intended to show the films on BEC’s programmer series ‘The World. About Us.’



By Tim Large

Christmas has come and gone. A large group enjoyed their traditional Belfry festivities in the usual B.E.C. manner.  This was completed by heavy snow blizzard cut off Priddy from the outside world for a day or so.  On New Years Day a rescue call was received at the Belfry to help evacuate a youth group from the Outdoor Centre in Velvet Bottom.  A motley crew from the Belfry managed to drive by Land Rover to the hut making it rather a non-event.  Shortly afterwards the Cheddar Cliff Rescue Team arrived on skies complete with all the latest gear having somewhat over-rated the situation.  As usual the BEC gets everywhere - and gets there first!


This will be held on Wednesday 28th February at 8.15p.m. in the Arthur Tyndall Memorial Theatre, Physics Dept., Tyndall Ave., Bristol 8.  The subject will be

"British Wild Water Canoe Expeditions of the 1970’s”

by John Liddell.

He was a member of the Himalayan Canoe Expeditions.  The lecture will be supported by over 100 slides.  All are welcome and admission is FREE!


A new tie has been ordered. The design is similar to the old one but with a choice of colours: maroon with gold bat or dark blue with silver bat.  The cost will be about £2.50 each.  More details when supplies available.


Some concern has been expressed by members over the new tackle arrangements which were taken in an effort to minimise tackle losses and keep track of its whereabouts.  Some members feel that the new arrangements are too restrictive and penalise bone-fide members who cave regularly and return tackle soon after use!  In order to resolve the matter the committee will be discussing it at the next meeting on Friday 2nd February.  Anyone who has any view on the subject is encouraged to come to this meeting.


John Riley, c/o Cravenhouse Marketing Ltd., Carleton New Road, Skipton, North Yorks.
Colin Priddle, 15 Mons Road, Delville, Germiston 1401, South Africa.
Teresa Rumble, 29 Cotham Road, Cotham, Bristol.

Don't forget to let me have your address changes or corrections together with the postal code.


Jayrat sends in this snippet of news:

B.E.C. recently beat the W.C.C. at Skittles at the New Inn.

Many thanks to Sid Hobbs’ eldest son acting as sticker-up – young Edrich.



Tynings Burrows Swallet

Members are getting their fingers out and starting to work, in earnest, at the job of re-opening the cave. At the moment it’s blocked below the Second Pitch at the start of the 30ft crawl.  Whether the breakthrough point is blocked will no doubt be told in future BB’s – this will be a problem area.  Diggers are needed from now with 1979’s first project.  Digging will be at most weekends – contact the Belfry or form your own team.  WIGMORE is temporarily blocked.


The NPC have discovered a new cave in the bed of Easegill Beck.  The cave has a 60ft pitch at the entrance and then bombs off downstream for the next two miles.  There are about 16 inlets.  Exploration of the inlets have connected Lancaster and Pippikin giving an estimated length of at least 40 miles thus creating and new national record for cave length.  The enormous OFD lies, now, in second place at about 30 miles.  In the world stakes for length Lancaster must now rank about 7th longest.

News from the north;

Leck Fell

This area is thoroughly booked at weekends until August 1979.


Access arrangement is in jeopardy if clubs keep going to Casterton without permits.

Penyghent/ Gingling

All clubs wishing to visit Gingling this year should have their requests to the meets secretary by the 1st February 1979.

Birks Fell/ Mongo Gill

A major rescue had to be mounted after an incident down Birks Fell Cave.  The two members who were concerned were Derbyshire Caving Club and Glasgow University Spelio. Society, they had gone down without permission during the closed season on the Fell.  Correspondence is taking place between ourselves and the agents to try and repair the damage which the two clubs have caused.  After this incident the Upper Wharfedale Cave Rescue are contemplating the fixing of a permanent telephone cable through the connection crawl. Would all cavers treat this wire with care and respect.

Other areas

Washfold Pot.  The farmer has been gripping the land in the catchment area for Washfold.  Would all cavers please not that the water now raises very quickly.

Wales – DYO.  Cobbler Aven climber giving up 1,000ft of new passage and is known as Mazeways 3.  Russia – Optimistic Cave now 127,000m long.  It is hoped to connect this enormous system with the nearby Oziers Cave of 104,000m.  If this attempt is successful then this will become the longest cave in the world. The current number 1 is mammoth Cave in Kentucky, USA at 253,000m.  Alum Pot, Yorks. Greasy Slab bolt is missing.  Now requires a 12ft belay.  Tony Sutcliffe wants information regarding Pipers Hole, Tresco on the Isles of Scilly.  His address is Dept. of Palaeontology, British Museum (Natural History) London.

FRANCE: P.S.M.  The BEC explored Belfry Pot (well known to G W-J and JD) has been descended by Paul Courbon and he has carried on to the bottom of the PSM and out again by the same route.  I seem to remember G W-J stating that a full trip would never be done – he said it in front of the audience at the 1975 BCRA Conference as well!

New publications available.

Caves of Mulu by Brook and Waltham.  44pp surveys and photos.  £2.00 from Bryan Ellis.

Limestone Caves – a concise explanation.  Pub. Dalesman.  32pp.  Price 50p.

Somerset Sump Index, revised by Ray Mansfield.  Pub. CDG.  Price 50p from Oliver Lloyd.


Thrupe Lane Swallet

Even in this modern age of wet suits and other caving clobber, cavers on Mendip still hold on to the old style of dress, the good old woollies and boiler suits.  The following account by Marie Clarke gives one a feeling of ‘Hell, I’ll keep to my warm and comfy rubber clothes…

During August 1977 Clive North invited me to accompany him on a trip to Thrupe Lane Swallet, the weather had been inclement and the stream was considerably swollen.

The route to the bottom of the cave was to be via Perseverance Pot, Butt’s Chamber, Marble Chamber and the streamway to Atlas Pot.  From there on, the 20ft pitch to the platform, followed by the descent of the muddy Slither Pot route and so arrive at the bottom of Atlas.  This route was chosen in preference to the Atlas Pitch, as the trip was being undertaken after continual rain, and high waters were anticipated.  But how high, we were yet to discover.

The party consisted of Clive North, Richard Whitcombe, Simon Meade-King, Dave Everett, plus a few members of the West London Caving Club, including two novices and the writer.  Quite a large party!

The first wetting was down Cowsh Crawl, but this was only a minor indication of what was to follow. In Butt’s Chamber there was a sudden reshuffling of the boulder slope, which quickly dispersed the cavers of the party.  This may well have been the result of the water rushing through the mass of boulders. However, we proceeded to Marble Chamber where a shower bath greeted us, reminiscent of a downpour above ground. The streamway looked high and I followed Clive who had become jammed in the streamway with the outsize box he was carrying.  This contained equipment used at regular intervals to flood light the cave; all extremely impressive.  But this was no time to become jammed with a box as the water rose immediately behind us. We were an effective dam.  Care was necessary at the head of Atlas Pot where the water that was rushing down the streamway could easily sweep a caver over the pot.

It was agreed that the only possible route to the bottom of the cave was by Slither Pot, and at this point above Atlas, the two novices and one other caver turned back.  The descent of the 20ft was uneventful, although when once on the platform it was very draughty.  In fact, I shall always remember that platform for the intense cold, which appeared to be caused by the rush of water over the edge of Atlas and doubtless channelled up Slither.

As I only use a carbide lamp and the trip seemed to be lengthy, I was allowed second down the pitch. I found I had run out of rungs before reaching the bottom, but a swing on the ladder to a more or less convenient boulder and I was down.  Dave Everett followed me being the only other carbide caver in the party, and with Simon we went to look at the Atlas stream thundering over the boulders.  To accomplish this we crawled under a low arch which seemed to assume a magnitude of almost a sump, and climbed up about 8ft to witness the magnificent spectacle of a thundering cascade.  On my return under the low arch the draught blew out my lamp and I was plunged into darkness and up to my neck in water.  Simon rushed to my aid and we both tried to re-light the lamp, but without success.  By this time Dave, who was still on the Atlas side of the arch was also plunged into darkness, so Simon hurried off to Dave’s assistance.

By this time two more cavers had arrived at the bottom of the pitch, but none of us could re-light the lamps. So we patiently waited for Clive's box to arrive with the matches.  Lamps once again lit, Clive decided that Dave and I would have to return up the pitch because of our inadequate lighting, and also on account of my wearing the usual caving gear of boiler suit and woollens, not possessing a wet suit like the rest of the cavers; or like Clive, who was wearing a dry suit.  I was beginning to feel cold and even wet suited cavers were complaining too, of the cold.

While climbing the 70ft pitch, at about 20ft from the top I became aware of not possessing as much strength in the right arm as the left.  This was due to having torn a ligament some months previously; and I was feeling the unwelcome results of this minor injury.  This I felt was no time to discover my incapacity, so exerted extra effort; to battle my way up the remainder of the ladder.  Once at the top I experienced some difficulty in untying the bowline, but was assisted by the lifeliner.          

It was while waiting near the platform below the 20ft pitch, that shivering spasms began, the effects of exposure I knew.  Soon afterwards, Dave Everett joined me here, and I told him that I was experiencing shivering spasms.  He decided that we would make our way out as soon, as the next caver arrived equipped with a NiFe cell.  Dave and I could not attempt the exit together, as it seemed impossible to negotiate the 20ft pitch without being plunged into darkness by spray from the stream and our lamps were now burning low.  Matches and spares in Clive's box were somewhere at the bottom of the cave!

However, when the next caver did arrive he was reluctant to climb the 20ft pitch without a lifeline for fear of being swept off the ladder and down Atlas Pot.  It should be remembered that the trip was being undertaken in high water conditions and the water was running over the ladder.

So the three of us waited for another caver to appear who would climb the 20ft pitch and light it for Dave and I if necessary.  However, there seemed to be some delay at the 70ft Pitch, and my shivering spasms continued. I may have been standing on the platform for nearly half an hour; when Dave took the initiative and decided to climb and I would follow.  At this, the reluctant third caver sprung into action and climbed first after all, lighting the pitch for Dave and I.  The climb was straight forward and presented no difficulty, though very wet, and now fortunately we were both well lighted for our exit.

Once I started climbing the shivering stopped and did not re-occur even after another soaking in the streamway.  Our progress out of the cave may have been a little slower than the descent, but this was to be expected.  The extra weight of clothes, when soaked, is considerable and only fully realised when removed after a trip.  The only incident at Perseverance Pot was when Dave's light finally failed before reaching the top.  My light was barely glowing and after a short distance was completely extinguished and so we three reached the entrance shaft caving on the Nife cell only!

Form this experience I have learned, that once thoroughly soaked you must keep moving and above all, especially where there are ladders to climb, on this occasion there were four, it is essential to prevent the circulation from cutting off to the hands. I do this by wearing a pair of nylon gloves under rubber gloves and when wet can be wrung out if necessary.  Also on this occasion I warmed by hands by placing them on my neck as it was vital to be able to grip the rungs of the ladders.

Regarding the shivering spasms, I was fully conversant with the consequences if this state continued, but I was also determined to reach the surface again and I knew I could do it without help.  Determination increased tolerance and I remained calm, and also being a caver of some experience I felt I was capable of climbing all the ladders, and take further soaking in the streamway.  Never for one moment did I entertain the thought that I should not regain the surface.

Congratulations To Roy Pearce

‘Caves in Camera’ is the title of an appreciation of the cave photographer and member of the club - Roy Pearce.  He has the privilege to address the zoology section of the British Association. Those who know Roy will be well aware of his series of ‘bug’ photographs that are quite unique.


Italy - Corchia

The search for the Main Drain of the Carchia and the discovery of 150 unexplored cave entrances are some of the ingredients in Stan Gee's 3rd Italian report….      

Having returned from the Apuan Alps I am able to give you a more up-to-date account of the work carried out and the progress made in the area of the Antro del Corchia and Buca del Cacciatore (Abbisso Fighiera)

In the Antro del Corchia, now established as deepest Italian cave at -950 metres, an attempt to blow open a supposed higher entrance has failed and the project abandoned.  This attempt was made because no connection has yet been found between the Corchia and the adjacent Abisso Fighiera.  In fact hopes of a connection are fading because the Fighiera is heading in the wrong direction entirely.  However, it still seems inconceivable that two caves of such a size and close proximity should not connect.

In the Fighiera, 4 bottoms have been reached between -800 and 850m, the deepest of these ends in a siphon and is in a part that is heading well away from the Corchia. Explorations and the survey have been held up due to adverse weather conditions during the winter and spring. In fact there was two feet of snow on July 12th.  Another problem has been the closing of the Tavolino quarry road due to vandalism and theft of quarry machinery.

This road gives access (land rover type vehicles) to within a few hundred feet of the summit and the alternative is a 3 – 4 hours slog up 4,000ft of big, big hill.  To date some 7 kilometres of passage have been surveyed and it is estimated that about another 5 – 6 kilometres remain to be surveyed. The main galleries, which are described as a labyrinth, are heading away from the Corchia and towards the nearby Tana del Vomo Salvattico (The lair of the primitive man or Wildman) and, in fact, towards the main Corchia resurgence ‘la Pollacia’ or ‘Spring of Bitter water’. It has been suspected for some time that a main drain exists between the Corchia bottom and la Pollacia, some 4 kilometres away, and that this drain takes water from Vomo Salvattico and probably from Buca del Cane as well.  It is possible that the Figheria is not going to touch the Corchia at all but drop straight down into this main drain.  If this happens then the Figheria is certainly in line for the deepest known cave as it must enter the drain at a point below the present known bottom of the Corchia.

The access restrictions that were in force last year appear to have been lifted and nobody seems to be bothered about who goes down now.  One of the local groups G.S. (C.A.I.) Faenza are hoping to erect a hut close to the entrance of Figheria.  This will be known as the Bivacco or Capanne ‘A. Lusa’, in memory of Antonio Lusa who died last year.  The bivouac will sleep about 8 in beds and 4 on the floor and will be available to C.A.I. members only or others by arrangement.  This should ease tremendously the problem of winter exploration and it should be completed about October this year.

Our own explorations this year were centred on the Buca del Cane which was descended by Nigel Dibben and two Italian friends.  Unfortunately, the hoped for extension above the last pitch proved to be too tight for further progress.  After last years futile search the caves of Monte Forato were eventually found. These proved to be copper mines breaking into natural cave almost immediately.  Nothing much was known about these caves and the Italians, generally, don’t bother too much about caves-cum-mines.  Undoubtedly they are in the right area but are severely blocked by miner’s debris and thus require extensive excavation.

A visit was made to the area at the back of the Pania del la Croce and particularly to Panio del Vomo Morto (Dead Man’s Gulch) and Val de Inferno.  It turned out to be a very interesting area containing about 150 known entrances, noted by G.S. Bologna and including the Abisso Ravel, a single shaft of 950ft!

Many of these caves have not been explored and I feel that there are many more entrances still to be found.  The area is particularly interesting as it lies at approaching 5,500ft and some 4,000ft above the two large resurgences of Grotta del Vento and la Tana che Urla ( Cave of Winds and Hole that Shrieks).  However the only approach is on foot and though a rifugio exists nearby, all supplies have to be brought up by mule from the nearest road some 3 – 4 hours walk away and it is a steep climb.  This area could undoubtedly stand a thorough investigation but its location prevents difficulties that would require a lot of prior preparation. There are a number of good paths to the area but which ever approach is made entails a long hard climb of at least 2½ - 3 hours and our initial investigation suggested that the explorations will consist of mostly of deep shaft work.  I doubt whether a ‘shoestring’ expedition would prove very effective.

Our friends from Verona report the discovery of a 19 kilometres long cave in the Lessini Alps.  Further information as it arrives.

A man has died of a heart attack whilst attempting to dive the Corchia resurgence at la Pollacia.

Stan Gee.

(Ed. note: my apologies for the late publication of this article)

Stan adds the following notes for would be adventures:

A reasonable camp site can be found at Levigliani.  Costs, this year, were 500 lire a night (about 32p).  This includes use of toilets and wash basins.  Bath extra.

Food - a good evening in the restaurant costs about £2.00 including wine.

Beer - expensive, between 30 – 40p a small bottle, but better quality than of previous years.

Spirits – very cheap. 1 litre of Cognac about £1.20.

Wine – reasonable.  2 litres of red or white under £2.00.

Fags -very cheap, between 20p and 35p a packet.  The latter King size.

Petrol. - without coupons about £1.50 a gallon.

Rifugio - The use of rifugi by non-members is allowed but it is expensive.  A word of warning, the reciprocal arrangements between European Alpine Clubs only apply if you are a national of that country of which you are a member.

Map based on the footpaths map published by CAI Lucca section

Scale 1 – 50,000 (not very accurate)


Mountain  ridges


1.                  Buca del Serpente (A.C. lower entrance)

2.                  Antro del Corchia (old entrance)

3.                  Buca del Cacciatore (Abisso Fighiera)

4.                  Vomo Salvattico

5.                  Buca del Cane

6.                  The caves of Fredona

7.                  I a Pollacia (A.C. resurgence)

8.                  Tan ache Urla

A – B: - supposed line of the main drain.


Grand Mendip Digging Challenge



For a barrel of ale to be bought by the losers.

All new cave passage found between 26th November 1978 and the 25th November 1979


N.B. BEC winning to date – 12 feet in Wigmore Swallet!!!



Ogof Craig Yr Ffynnon

the latest developments and details of the new extensions by IAN CALDER.

Following the BCRA Conference held in Manchester last September, various Belfryites came back mumbling and, muttering about the new extension in, the fantastic Rock and Fountain system near 'Aggy' -well the B.B. has now got the gen! Thanks to Ian Calder.  He writes however, “One of the hazards of going to the Annual Dinner is that you can get conned in to writing something for the B.B.' and guess what?  I was conned!

At the end of September I was lucky enough to get a trip into this cave to view and photograph the new extension.  Having dragged ourselves out of bed early on Saturday the four of us, Clive (Westlake), John, Mark and myself, met John Parker by the Rock and Fountain, unfortunately he was feeling rough that day so the four of us took ourselves into the cave without him.  The entrance is certainly small and I had read very unpleasant stories of this first section, however, it was, apparently, very dry, and did not go on for as long as I thought it might.  Then came the first Choke, short but loose, to emerge into a larger passage with some quite good straws and then the Second Choke.  This appears to be more stable than the first but is much longer and the way through is to take a devious upwards spiral - quite an energetic and clever route.  At the top of the Second Choke one emerges out into a large passage which continues to increase in size culminating in the Hall of the Mountain King with formations in abundance.  Not having been in the cave before I felt that the trip was already worth it.  This is an enormous place (about 100ft square in cross section) and the photographs of it do not do it justice.  The cave has some dramatic changes and at the end of the Hall of the Mountain King, perhaps the most dramatic change takes place, for one crawls through the Third Choke and on through a further 600ft. of low passage before coming to the 'Severn: Tunnel', a dead straight rift passage going for around 800ft, before leading into the Fourth Choke.  We noted the ways off to the Blaen Elin stream and the Lower Series.

Then we tackled the Fourth Choke which led us into a large passage.  We were now in the new extension and it was obvious that few people had been there.  The floor has a covering of mud which is in pristine condition.  We tiptoed on, hardly daring to leave our inevitable mark. Shortly a junction appeared and we first followed a side passage to a large chamber.  Across this we passed some good formations before revealing the most fantastic sight I have ever seen.  The clusters of helictites at the end of this passage defy description as well as gravity.  They are so delicate, in some cases 'hair-like', and so interwoven that one can only talk in hushed tones, hardly daring to breath, and marvel at their existence.  I felt very privileged at being able to see them in this perfect condition.  We all just hoped that they would never be spoiled. This is going to be a real problem but let's hope that this passage decor will not be spoiled by careless intruders.

Back in the large chamber we explored the choke at the end and then returned to the junction to descend to the streamway which was dry.  We followed this large passage up for a few hundred feet until we found a trickle and stopped for a brew and a bite to eat.  Duly refreshed we continued to follow this passage for some considerable distance, probably about three quarters of a mile.  It is generally large and mainly phreatic except for an oxbow which requires a certain amount of crawling.  There are many good formations and plenty of selenite crystals on the walls.  Eventually the passage makes an abrupt right hand turn before finally closing down to the end crawl.  We found a way on; needless to say that John Parker has been there before us.  This way on emerged again into a large passage only to end shortly at the Fifth Choke and, at the moment, terminal choke.

Now to work with Clive photographing and the rest of us holding flashes in various strange positions. We made our way back to the brew spot. Clive was using two slave units for the two bulb guns and this was extremely effective.  Having packed up our work in the Hall of the Mountain King, we finally emerged from the cave ten hours after entering it.  It was a superb trip and a very fine discovery.  We met John Parker by the cars and adjourned to the Rock and Fountain pub where Clive photographed the survey.  It is clear from the survey that the cave travels along one main line of weakness on a bearing of 320 degrees, deviating from this in only one or two places - along oxbows and side passages.  At the end it does turn suddenly to a bearing of 060 degrees before coming to the final choke.  There must be a connection with the Llangattock caves somewhere.  Daren Cilau has been dye tested but the dye emerged in the Clydach sometime later and was not detected in Craig yr Ffynnon. Does the cave connect with ‘Aggy’? Much speculation seems to be afoot but if it did what a system there would be under Llangattock!  One thing’s for certain, the hydrology here is anything but simple and speculation will no doubt continue until further breakthroughs take place - which they certainly will.  This new extension has virtually doubled the length of the cave - it may not be long, before this cave becomes a very major system indeed.



By Tim Large.

A new Club year begins, they seem to come round all too quickly these days.

From the comments I've heard, the Dinner-was enjoyed by all.  The usual problem at the Caveman of crowding in the bar before the meal, but then who could cope with 134 people all clamouring for drinks inside 30 minutes. Your comments and complaints will be welcomed in the, hope that they will help iron out the problem in the future. Many faces not often seen on Mendip made a pleasant appearance at the Dinner.  At the Belfry I understand that ‘Jok’ was up to his usual standard of behaviour and had something to do with a case of burnt shoes – Mr. Nigel must have had cold feet.

The E.G.M. on the new Constitution went well; it was chaired by 'Sett' and some changes to the sub-committees proposal made.  The new constitution will be published with the B.B. as soon as possible.  The main changes involve the moving of the Club Year from January back to October; inclusion of the Trustees - to bring them within the control of the Club at a General Meeting; chances to the election of Club Officers; the B.B. Editor now becomes a club officer and the post of Climbing Secretary has been dropped.

The A.G.M., chaired by Alan Thomas, was conducted in record time.  The B.B. Editor, Hon. Treasurer and Hon Auditor’s reports for 1977 were formally adopted and a vote of thanks was given to 'Alfie' for his many years of service to the Club.  The question of tackle attracted a lengthy discussion as much has gone missing - both ropes and ladders.  The A.G.M. passed a resolution that the Committee exercise more control over the tackle at the same time maintaining reasonable access.  There was some concern over outstanding hut fees.  I suggest that people who owe money pay up quickly or you may find your name published on a Belfry debtors list!

At the October Committee meeting it was agreed, in accordance with the A.G.M. resolution regarding tackle to lock the tackle store, keys being available from Committee members only.  A small amount of tackle will be kept in the Belfry changing room or immediate use. Should anyone need large amounts of tackle then a Committee member can be arranged for access to the store.  The reserve tackle will be stored at Dave Irwin’s house.  In all cases the tackle book must be completed when taking any tackle out. Besides being a check on, who has what it also gives the tacklemaster an indication of the life and wear tackle is receiving an important point I think you would all agree.  At the time of the A.G.M. £600 worth of tackle was missing and accounted for in the tackle book.  Since then some has been returned but somebody must have the rest - please return it!  If tackle is needed for long term projects such as digs or caving holidays, arrangements must be made with the tackle master.  At the present time I would think such arrangements would not be available to members because we are so short of tackle.  One instance is of 100ft of lifeline that has gone missing from the library - whoever has it please bring it back.

A provisional booking has been made at the Caveman, Cheddar for next years Annual Dinner - make a point of the date now.

OCTOBER  6th 1979 - only 11 months to go!


New members -- welcome to the B.E.C.

942 Robin Hayler, 39 Ditching; Hill, Southgate West, Crawley, Sussex RH11 8QJ.
943 Simon Woodman, Link Batch, Burrington, Nr. Bristol BS18 7AU
944 Stephen Plumley, 4 Hickford Lane, Burrington, Nr. Bristol BS18 7AU

Change of address;

680 Bob Cross, 1st Helens Lane, Adel, Leeds 16, West Yorkshire.

SUBS FOR 1979... make ~ note of the change……

As your current sub takes you through to the end of January 1979 the SUB FOR 1979 WILL BE FOR EIGHT MONTHS UP TO THE START OF THE NEXT CLUB YEAR IN OCTOBER 1979.

An announcement giving subscription rates for next year will be in the DECEMBER 1978 'B.B. DON’T MISS IT!


Publicatiosn available from Bryan Ellis, 30 Mai Road, Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA7 0EB.

7th International Speleological Congress Proceedings

The main publication of the Congress with 444pp and over 190 papers from the sections on Geology & Mineralogy, Karts Morphology, Speleogenesis, Hydrogeology, Cave Chemistry & Physics, Speliobiology, Archaeology and Palaeontology, Documentation, Techniques & Equipment, Conservation & Tourism.  Price £13.20 including p & p.

Caves And Karst Of Ireland

The Congress Guidebook to Irish Speleology, written as a handbook for the excursions from the Congress.  27pp. Price £0.70p.

Caves And Karst Of Southern England And South Wales

The Congress Guidebook to Mendip, Devon, the Cotswolds and South Wales.  83pp. Price £0.95p.

Caves And Karst Of The Yorkshire Dales

The Congress Guidebook to the Dales area.  37pp. Price £0.80p.

Bibliography Of British Karst

Prepared as an introduction to Britsh Karst geomorphology, the bibliography covers the period 1960 – 1977.  32pp. Price £0.80p

N.B. – All prices include p & p

Cuthbert's Leaders Insurance

Although some leaders have given conformation of an appropriate insurance policy to cover their caving activities, the Committee has decided that it must see each leader’s policy.  Therefore the lock on the cave will be changed on January 1st 1979, and keys only issued to leaders who produce a suitable insurance cover in respect of Third Party Liability.  If the policy is a householders policy, for example, the leader must produce written evidence from his insurance company or broker that the policy covers his caving activity.  Each leader will be receiving a letter to this effect in the near future.  I wonder how many leaders we shall be left with? (Does this mean that you haven't got one Tim? Ed.)  Are we one step from caving permits - watch it or you may be endorsed!

N.C.A News:

The NCA. AGM will soon be with us and this year it is being held on Mendip.  It is now two years since the Working Party Report was published. If you remember it sought out the views of the ‘grass roots’ caver in the various regions.  The general feeling was that individual cavers were as important as any of the large national organisations; that the regional bodies should appoint their own representatives to the NCA Executive Council; that the regional bodies should have some form of protection when actions were being proposed that that may be against their interests and so on.  So far this report has not been implemented and we hear that the Cambrian Caving Council are opposed to the resolution's proposed by CSCC and the BCRA yet again.  I cannot believe that the Cambrian policy reflects the views of their ‘grass roots’ cavers.  DCA are suggestiong that the Working Party report should be implemented at the 1980 NCA AGM which would mean that three years will have elapsed without any action. What to they – the NCA – DCA et al plan to do in the next 12 months that we cavers ought to know about?  (It can only be a stalling action on the part of DCA - Ed.)

The various posts on NCA Executive also come up for re-election at the AGM.  At present Ric Halliwell is the Hon. Sec of NCA. and appears to be approaching things on the right lines and will be resigning at the next meeting after a three year stint.   What will happen if we get a 'non-caver' in this important post as it has been suggested in the grapevine – it could totally alter the face of NCA by making it a 'Yes-man' to the Sports Council.  It is vitally important that the NCA is organised such that it cannot take important policy decisions without first referring the matter to the Regional Council for discussion at the ground level, so to speak.



B.M.C. Rope Offer

The BMC has recently concluded an agreement with Ibex ropes.  These are of kernmantel construction and '……we judge as of good a reliability and performance as the continental products retailed in the UK.'  The ropes are available by mail order or direct sale to BMC members at a really competitive price.

Prices for the ropes are as follows:-

45 metres x 9mm £23.50 plus £1 post and packing

45 metres x 11mm £28.50 plus £1 post and packing

The ropes are fully guaranteed by the BMC and the profits will be ploughed back into BMC.  Colours available are white (with coloured flecks) blue, gold and green - state alternative colour when ordering.

As the BEC is a member of the BMC members can take advantage of the offer.  The BMC is prepared to make special arrangements with its member organisations for delivery and payment.  For instance, if a club wishes to make a bulk purchase on behalf of its members (6 ropes or more) delivery will be free.

BMC address: M.M.C., Crawford House, Precinct Centre, Booth Street East, Manchester, M13 9RZ (telephone 061 273 5835).

Lionel's Hole

Its amazing how a cave can be ignored for several years and suddenly several clubs become interested in the hope of extending it.  Lionel's is no exception.  A week before our intrepid crew went down to look for the stream the Bracknell District Caving Club had paid a visit; descended the end complex and passed the first duck which leads to the new extensions.  They have written a short report of their activities which is printed here in full:

Trip to Lionel's Hole on April 1st 1978.  Party consisted of Peter Ashton, Richard and Helen Woodson.

On a previous trip to Lionel's we had noticed a small tube leading off from the bottom of a rift beyond the Traverse, so we returned to investigate it.  The tube was about 2 - 3ft wide, silted up and half full of water but we could see through a few inches of airspace that the tube did not seem to close down.  We spent about ¾hr digging out silt end passing it back until we had lowered the floor level by about six inches and made just enough room to force away trough the duck on our backs.  Immediately beyond the duck the passage widened just enough for us to twist round for a right hand bend and then a squeeze.  This led to a large rift passage-cum-chamber sloping upwards to the right.  We explored a couple of passages at the top of this but did not push them to any great distance.  The slope and passages were coated with mud and there no signs of hand or foot-prints anywhere.

We found an active stream on the left flowing quite fast.  Upstream, a squeeze and a flat out crawl down a narrow tube led to a dead end where the water seemed to be emerging from a horizontal crack. Downstream, the rock dropped to within about a foot of the water and we crawled in the stream beneath this until we came to a sump.  Although we felt that the roof rose again quite rapidly we did not take the risk of free-diving it and the water was flowing too fast to dam it.

We returned to the rift and after looking around a while longer we went out.  We reckoned that we had covered about 250ft - 300ft of passageway. We blocked up the entrance to the tube with stones and mud, fully intending to return in the hope that the water level in the sump would drop.  It was a very wet day as half the road through Burrington Combe was flooded. Unfortunately we did not get a change to return.


December’s BB will include a report on Mendip’s best kept secret – ROCKET DROP and a ‘stereo’ survey of part of Swildon’s survey.  Make you red and green glasses now!

Small extension made in Wigmore – about 30ft.


A Draft Specification For Caving Ropes

Mike Cowlishaw

For several years the Equipment Special Committee of NCA have been preparing a specification for caving ropes.  The draft has been sent to the BB for members comment.  If you have anything useful to add to Mike Cowlishaw's notes send them to MIKE AND the B.B.!

In July the NCA Equipment Committee set to produce the draft specification whose main points are listed below.  It is hoped that this will eventually form the basis of a British Standard.

The draft is mainly a working document on methods of testing caving ropes (for SRT and/or lifelining), but suggests the following tentative minimum values for rope characteristics:

Shrinkage: 'preferably less than 10%' when washed for the first time.  This washing would form the conditioning required before any of the follow parameters are measured.

Diameter: 12mm maximum, 9mm minimum.

Weight Dry: Maximum 100g/m.              Weight Wet: Maximum 125g/m

Abrasion: A test that can be shown to be repeatable has not yet been defined.  Vertical and Horizontal abrasion tests may need to be used, although it is hoped that Vertical abrasion alone will prove sufficient.

Energy Absorption; Peak force in a 'small' fall should be tested.  The simplest method was felt to be a straight drop test with 80kga8t fall factor 0.75.  The peak force measured should not exceed 12kN (1200kgf).

Strength: Minimum breaking force 24kN (2400kgf). c.f. 12kN peak force in Drop Test.

Temperature: The finished rope should lose no more than 20% of its strength at 150 degrees Celsius.

Handling/Flexibility: The UIAA/ISC knotability test would seem to cover this parameter. Insufficient figures available to enable a value to be suggested yet.

Spin: No test necessary - 'Non Spin construction preferred'.

Stretch at low loads: Less than 2% under 80kg 'preferred'.

Sheath Slippage: No real evidence to justify tests being made.

Chemical resistance and U.V. resistance.  No specific tests needed, but a warning, should be attached to new ropes of any relatively common chemicals harmful to that rope.

Colour: predominantly white or pale in colour.

Markings: Coloured bands were considered helpful to enable ropes to be distinguished.


Mike Cowlishaw, 14 Plovers Down, Oliver’s Battery, Winchester, Hants.


Tim Large requires ferrets to push the short extension at the bottom of Marble Pot.

The B.B. is always short of material – if you’ve been write it up for the B.B.

Building sessions at Tynings Barrows on Wednesday evenings – help required.

If you’ve been – don’t forget to write it up in the caving log.

Fill out the tackle book when you take tackle from the store.


October 15th 1978.  Rescue Practice – Goatchurch Cavern.

During October the MRO agreed to join with the Red Cross in a joint exercise at Burrington Coombe - there were to be several victims placed underground in Goatchurch.  CHRIS BATSTONE  is our reporter.

This practice was organised in co-operation with the British Red Cross who were holding an exercise at Burrington.  The caving casualties were from the Casualties Union, a group of people who act as the injured in such, exercises as this.  Their acting is extremely realistic so-much-so that one wonders if they are really acting!

The call-out came to the Hunters at approx. 12.45 p.m. and most, of those taking part were at West Twin by 13.00 hours – probably one of the quickest call outs on record.  A lot may be said about the ride over on Mr. N’s car. The rescue team assembled at the Tradesman’s Entrance and the job of ferrying rescue kit began.  Equipment included the 'Revival', Paraguard Stretcher and Dave Major’s carry-sheet.

A total of seven casualties, all having an assortment of injuries, had to be evacuated from the Boulder Chamber.  Four of the 'wounded' who could walk were evacuated first and it must be said that these people played their part very well - and of course; equally, so the rescuers. Having evacuated those capable of helping themselves, the job of removing the three stretcher cases. Injuries consisted of one man with spinal injuries; one with broken legs and one with a fractured collarbone.  The last was carried out in the DM carry sheet whilst Don Thompson and Bob Pike, our two caving doctors attended the other injuries.  Next out was the spinal injury in the Pareguard and the carry was better and quicker due to the fact that the main problems had been overcome on the first carry-out. After handing the injured man over to the Red Cross at the cave entrance the Paraguard was sent down to remove the last victim in an equally quick and efficient manner.

The whole operation was completed in about 3½ hours from callout to the last casualty reaching the surface.  It also provided an opportunity to use the Revival kit in conditions that were as near realistic as possible.  A lot was learnt from this practice that will be of great use in the future.  After the cleaning up the rescuers made their, way to the village hall at Burrington for tea and stickies and also to admire the handiwork of Bob Pike who did an excellent job of plastering up the two broken legs.  It took nearly twenty minutes to remove the plaster.

An interesting twist of events came to light after the practice - it seems a party of cavers were returning to the surface and on seeing the carnage in the Boulder Chamber, one member of the party fainted!  He was revived and taken out safely.

Bristol Exploration Club - Membership List October 1978

In keeping with past tradition the November BB contains the current address list of members.  Fiona has kindly done the donkey work by typing the stencils – many thanks for doing this dismally dull job.  Will all members check for the list for errors and contact Tim Large with any queries or errors.

Does anyone know of the address of D. Cooke-Yarborough?  Recent correspondence has been returned address unknown.


Nicolette Abell

Michaelmas Cottage, Faulkland, Bath

20 L

Bob Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol, Avon

392 L

Mike Baker

10 Riverside Walk, Midsomer Norton, Bath, Avon


Ken Baker

36 Northumberland Road, Redland, Bristol


Richard Barker

40b Croxteth Road, Liverpool 8


Arthur Ball

4 Charlotte Street, Cheadle, Cheshire


Marlon Barlow

93 Norton drive, Norton tower, Halifax, West Yorkshire


Chris Batstone

8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath, Avon


Dianne Beeching

8 seymour Close, Wells, Somerset

390 L

Joan Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol

214 L

Roy Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol


Glenys Beszant

14 Westlea Road, Warmley, Broxbourne, Herts.


Bob Bidmead

Valley Way, Middle Street, East Harptree, Bristol


Martin Bishop

Bishops Cottage, Priddy

364 L

Pete Blogg

5 Tyrolean Court, Cheviot Close, Avenue Rd., Banstead, Surrey

336 L

Alan Bonner

Crags Farm Close, Little Broughton, Cokermouth, Cumberland

145 L

Sybil Bowden-Lyle

111 London Road, Calne, Wiltshire


Brian Bowers

44 Manor Way, Bagshot, Surrey


Dany Bradshaw

7 Creswicke, Bristol

751 L

T.A. Brookes

87 Wyatt Road, London, SW2


Neil Raynor Brown

25 Lingfield Park, Evesham, Worcs.


Viv Brown

3 Cross Street, Kingswood, Bristol


Tessa Burt

66 Roundwood Lane, Harpendon, Herts


Alan Butcher

17 Cedar Grove, Pennfields, Wolverhampton


Aileen Butcher

17 Cedar Grove, Pennfields, Wolverhampton


Ian Calder

22 Greenways, Lydney, Gloucestershire


Penelope Calder

22 Greenways, Lydney, Gloucestershire


Martin Cavendar

The Old Rectory, Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells, Somerset


Francisca Cavendar

The Old Rectory, Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells, Somerset


Paul Christie

7 The Glen, London Road, Sunninghill, Ascot, Berks


Patricia Christie

7 The Glen, London Road, Sunninghill, Ascot, Berks


Colin Clark

186 Cranbrook Road, Redland, Bristol

211 L

Clare Coase

The Belfry, 10 Shannon Parade, Berkeley-Vale, New South Wales, 2259, Australia

89 L

Alfie Collins

Lavendar Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr Bristol, Somerset

377 L

D. Cooke-Yarborough

No known address


Bob Cork

25 The Mead, Stoke St. Michael, Somerset


Tony Corrigan

139 Stockwood Lane, Stockwood, Bristol


Mike Cowlishaw

14 Plovers Down, Olivers Battery, Winchester


Jerry Crick

2 Coneacre, Chersey Road, Windlesham, Surrey


Bob Cross

1 St. Helens Lane, Adel, Leeds 16, West Yorkshire


Gary Cullen

47 Eversfield Road, Horsham, Sussex

405 L

Frank Darbon

PO Box 325, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

423 L

Len Dawes

The Lodge, Main Street, Minster Matlock, Derbyshire


Garth Dell

AI 5 Printing, HQNI, BFPO 825.


Colin Dooley

51 Osmaston Road, Harbourne, Birmingham 7


Angela Dooley

51 Osmaston Road, Harbourne, Birmingham 7

164 L

Ken Dobbs

85 Fox Rd., Beacon Heath, Exeter, Devon


John Dukes

Bridge Farm, Dulcote, Wells, Somerset


Michael Durham

11 Catherine Place, Bath


Gillian Durrant

14 St. Andrews road, Broadstone, Dorset


Jim Durston

Hill View, Old Beat, Maidentown, Nr. Burlescombe, Tiverton, Devon

322 L

Bryan Ellis

30 Main Road, Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, Somerset


Chris Falshaw

23 Hallam Grange Crescent, Sheffield


Helen Fielding

175 Bramley lane, Hipperholme, Halifax, West Yorkshire

269 L

Tom Fletcher

11 Cow Lane, Bramcote, Nottingham.


Phil Ford

27 Bryn Dyffrn, Holway, Clwyd, North Wales

404 L

Albert Francis

22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset


Joyce Franklin

16 Glen Drive, Stoke Bishop, Bristol


Pete Franklin

16 Glen Drive, Stoke Bishop, Bristol


Colleen Gage

36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Avon


Tom Gage

36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Avon


Leonard Gee

15 Warren Close, Denton, Manchester


Stan Gee

26 Parsonage Street, Heaton Norris, Stockport.


Bob Givens

Newstead Lodge, 1 Fields Green, Crawley, Sussex


M. Glanville

Jocelyn House Mews, 18a High street, Chard


Bruce Glocking

213 St. Leonards, Horsham, Sussex


Richard Gough

35 Gladstone Road, Ashstead, Surrey


Martin Grass

14 Westlea Road, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts


Christine Greenhall

13 Nooreys Avenue, Oxford


Chris Hall

1 Chancellors Cottage, Long Lane, Redhill, Bristol

432 L

Nigel Hallet

62 Cranbrook Road, Bristol


Sandra Halliday

6A Collingwood Road, Redland, Bristol 6

104 L

Mervyn Hannam

14 Inskip Place, St Annes, Lancashire


Chris Harvey

Byways, Hanham Lane, Paulton, Somerset

4 L

Dan Hassell

Hill House, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


Dave Hatherley

6 Withiel Drive, Cannington, Bridgewater, Somerset


Robin Hayler

39 Ditching Hill, Southgate, Crawley, West Sussex


Robin Hervin

12 York Buildings, Trowbridge, Wiltshire


John Hildrick

Tarngulla, Old Bristol Road, Priddy


Robert Hill

32 Ridings Mead, Chippenham, Wiltshire


Rodney Hobbs

Rose Cottage, Nailsea


Sid Hobbs

Hokestone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy


Sylvia Hobbs

Hokestone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy


Paul Hodgson

11 Ockford Ridge, Godalming, Surrey


Mike Hogg

32 Birchley Heath, Nuneaton, Warks


Liz Hollis

1 Bugle Cottage, Milborne Wick, Nr Sherborne, Dorset


Tony Hollis

1 Bugle Cottage, Milborne Wick, Nr Sherborne, Dorset


Nick Holstead

14 Lower Alma street, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

387 L

George Honey

Droppsta, 19044, Odensala, Sweden


Jennifer Hoyles

35 Gladstone Road, Ashstead Surrey


John Hunt

35 Congre Road, Filton, Bristol


Trevor Hughes

Creg-ny-Baa, Charlesford Avenue, Kingswood Sutton Valence, Maidstone, Kent


Ted Humphreys

Frekes Cottage, Moorsite, Marnhull, Sturminster Newton, Dorset


Maurise Iles

50 Warman, Stockwood, Bristol


Annette Ingleton

Seymour Cottage, Hinton St. Mary, Sturminster Newton, Dorset


Angus Innes

18 David’s Close, Alveston, Bristol, Aven


Margaret Innes

18 David’s Close, Alveston, Bristol, Aven

540 L

Dave Irwin

Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Somerset


Ken James

Flat 2, Shrubbery Road, Weston-super-Mare


Tony Jarratt

Alwyn Cottage, Station Road, Congressbury, Bristol


Russ Jenkins

10, Amberley Close, Downend, Bristol

51 L

A Johnson

Warren Cottage, Station Rd., Flax Bourton, Bristol

560 L

Frank Jones

103 Wookey Hole Road, Wells, Somerset


U. Jones

Woking Grange, Oriental Road, Woking, Surrey


Karen Jones

Room 63, New End Nurses Home, New End Hospital, Hampstead, London NW3

567 L

Alan Kennett

92 West Broadway, Henleaze, Bristol


John King

4 Nightingale Road, Langley Green, Crawley, Sussex

316 L

Kangy King

22 Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch, Bristol, Avon

542 L

Phil Kingston

257 Pemona Street, Invercargill, New Zealand


Jane Kirby

Basement Flat, 8 Worcester Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8

413 L

R. Kitchen

Overcombe, Horrabridge, Yelverton, Devon


Calvin Knight

Crossways. Hillesley, Wootton under Edge, Gloucestershire


John Knops

Ida Cottage, 235 Englishcombe Lane, Bath


Dave Lampard

Woodpeckers, 11 Springfield Park Road, Horsham, Sussex

667 L

Tim Large

c/o Trading Standards Office, South Street, Wells, Somerset


Peter Leigh

5 Armoured Workshops, BFPO 126, Enkessen


Stuart Lindsay

5 Laburnum Walk, Keynsham, Bristil

574 L

Oliver Lloyd

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


George Lucy

Pike Croft, Long Lane, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks

495 L

Val Luckwill

8 Greenslade Road, Sedgeley hill, Dudley, Worcs.

550 L

R A MacGregor

12 Douro Close, Baughurst, Basingstoke, Hants


Stuart McManus

33 Wellsford Avenue, Wells, Somerset


A. McRory-Peace

5 Colmer Road, Yeovil Somerset

106 L

E.J. Mason

33 Bradleys Avenue, Henleaze, Bristol

558 L

Tony Meaden

Highcroft, Westbury, Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset


Dave Metcalfe

10 Troughton Crescent, Blackpool, Lancs.


Warren Miner-Williams

8 litton Court, Blakeney Road, Patchway, Bristol


Keith Murray

17 Harrington Gardens, London  SW7


Dave Nicholls



John Noble

18 Hope Place, Tennis Court Road, Paulton


Graham Nye

7 Ramsey Road, Horsham, Surrey


Kevin O’Neil

4 East Street, Laycock, Chippenham, Wiltshire


J. Orr

8 Wellington Terrace, Winklebury, Basingstoke, Hants

396 L

Mike Palmer

Laurel Farm, YarleyHill, Yarley, Wells, Somerset

22 L

Les Peters

21 Melbury Rd., Knowle Park, Bristol Avon

499 L

Tony Philpott

3 Kings Drive, Bishopston, Bristol, Avon


Graham Phippen

Rock Cottage, Rock Road, Wick, Bristol


Steve Plumley

4 rickford lane, Burrington, Nr. Bristol


Brian Prewer

East View, West Horrington, Wells, Somerset


Jeff Price

18 Hurston Road, Inns Court, Bristol


Colin Priddle

10 Franklyn Flats, Kopje Road, Gwelo, Rhodesia

481 L

John Ransom

21 Bradley Rd., Patchway, Bristol, Avon

452 L

Pam Rees

No Known Address

343 L

A Rich

Box 126, Basham, Alberta Canada

672 L

R Richards

PO Box 141, Jacobs, Natal, South Africa


John Riley

Araluen, Linershwood Close, Bramley, Surrey


Pete Rose

2 The Beacon, Ilminster


Richard Round

131 Middleton Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire


Theresa Rumble

71 Chiltern Close, Warmley, Bristol


Roger Sabido

15 Concorde drive, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


John Sampson

8 Hillcrest, Knowle, Bristol

240 L

Alan Sandall

43 Meadway Ave., Nailsea, Avon

359 L

Carol Sandall

43 Meadway Ave., Nailsea, Avon


Jenny Sandercroft

5 Eastcroft, Henleaze, Bristol


Derek Sanderson

23 Penzeance Gardesn, Harold Hill, Romford, Essex.

237 L

B. Scott

Merrymead, Havestock Road, Winchester Hants


Gordon Selby

2 dodd Avenue, Wells, Somerset

78 L

R.A. Setterington

4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset

213 L

R. Setterington

4 Cavendish Road, Chiswick, London W4


Chris Shaw

7 Queens Head Walk, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts.


Mark Sherman

Wood View, Grey Field, High Litton


Steve Short

78 Greenwood Avenue, Laverstock, Salisbury, Wilts.


Chris Smart

15 Timor Close, Popley Islands, Basingstoke, Hants


James Smart

c/o 72 Winchester Road, Brislington, Bristol


Andy Sparrow

2 Grosvenor Place, London Road, Bath


Maurice Stafford

28 Rowan Close, Sonning Common, Reading, Berks.

1 L

Harry Stanbury

31 Belvoir Road, St. Andrews, Bristol


Mrs I Stanbury

74 Redcatch, Knowle, Bristol


G. Standring

71 Vienna Road, Edgeley, Stockport, Chester

575 L

D. Statham

The Bungallow, North Barrow, Yeovil, Somerset

365 L

Roger Stenner

18 Stafford Place, Weston super Mare, Avon


Richard Stevenson

Greystones, Priddy


Paul Stokes

32 Manor Way, Bagshot, Surrey


Derek Targett

North Hall Cottage, Chilcompton


Mike Taylor

39 Reedley road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


Nigel Taylor

Whidden Farm, Chilcote, Nr. Wells, Somerset


Tom Temple

3 Larch Close, Lee-on-Solent, Hants.

284 L

Allan Thomas

Allens House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Somerset

348 L

D Thomas

Pendant, Little Birch, Bartlestree, Hereford

571 L

N Thomas

Holly Lodge, Norwich Rd., Salhouse, Norwich, Norfolk.


Nick Thorne

20 Hawkers Lane, Wells, Somerset


Buckett Tilbury

15 Fernie Fields, High Wycombe, Bucks


Anne Tilbury

15 Fernie Fields, High Wycombe, Bucks


Roger Toms

18 Hoton Road, Wysemold, Leicester


R.S. Toms

18 Hoton Road, Wysemold, Leicester


J.M. Postle Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex

74 L

M.J. Dizzie Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex

381 L

Daphne Towler

7 Ross Close, Nyetimber, Bognor Regis, Sussex

157 L

Jill Tuck

3 Crown Rise, Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, Gwent, Wales


Steve Tuck

Colles Close, Wells, Somerset


Tony Tucker

75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon


Sue Tucker

75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon


Dave Turner

Moonrakers, Brewery Lane, Holcombe, Bath


John Turner

Orchard Cottage, 92 Church lane, Backwell, Avon

635 L

S. Tuttlebury

28 Butts Road, Alton, Hants.


Greg Villis

The Oaks, Round Oak Road, Cheddar, Somerset

175 L

D. Waddon

32 Laxton Close, Taunton, Somerset


Eddie Welch

18 Station Road, Filton, Bristol


Mike Wheadon

91 The Oval, Bath


Maureen Wheadon

91 The Oval, Bath


Bob White

Weavers Farm, Binegar


Ross White

9 Ellery Grove, Lymington, Hants.


Wally Wilkinson

17 Kings Street, Melksham, Wiltshire


Val Wilkinson

17 Kings Street, Melksham, Wiltshire


Colin Williams

Whitestones Farm, Cheddar Cross Roads, Compton Martin, Bristol


Claire Williams

Whitestones Farm, Cheddar Cross Roads, Compton Martin, Bristol


Jane Wilson

University lab of Psychology, Park Road, Oxford


Barry Wilton

Valley View, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol


Brenda Wilton

Valley View, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol


Graham Wilton-Jones

24 Redland Way, Aylesbury, Bucks


Annie Wilton-Jones

Cwm Dwr, 110 Pierce Avenue, Olton, Solihull, West Midlands


Ian Wilton-Jones

Cwm Dwr, 110 Pierce Avenue, Olton, Solihull, West Midlands


Roger Wing

15 Penleaze Gardens, Harold Hill, Romford, Essex


Simon Woodman

Link Batch, Burrington, Nr Bristol, Avon


Steve Woolven

21 Three Acres, Horsham, Sussex


Brian Workman

11 Moreland, 11 New Bath Road, Radstock, Bath


Sue Yea

Bridge Farm, Dulcote, Nr. Wells, Somerset


Club Officers and Appointments

Trustees: Bob Bagshaw; Roy Bennett; Les Peters and Alan Thomas


Chairman: Dave Irwin

Hon Sec: Tim Large

Hut Warden: Chris Batstone

Hon Treas: Sue Tucker

Caving Sec: Martin Grass

Hut Engineer: Nigel Taylor

Tacklemaster: John Dukes

B.B. Editor: Dave Irwin

Committee Members: Graham Wilton-Jones and Bob Cross

Librarian: Dave Irwin

Publications (Sales and Editor): Glynis Bezant

B.B. Postal: John Dukes

Ian Dear Memorial Sub-Committee: R. (Sett) Setterington and Mike Palmer plus the Caving Secretary and Hon. Treasurer

As Climbing Sec has been dropped as a Club Officer, Bob Cross has volunteered to be our contact man with Climbing activities and the B.M.C.

C.S.C.C representative: Tim Large


Revised Burrington Atlas being prepared – early photographs of the caves and cavers required.

Committee to discuss publications and future policy at November Committee Meeting.

See Lifeline for details of change to Cuthbert’s lock and tackle arrangements.

See Jottings for details of cheap rope offer.

Have you order sweatshirt? You must get the ‘Bertie’ sweatshirt. Contact John Dukes NOW.

The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be checked in the time at his disposal.

EDITOR: D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset. Tele: Priddy .369

Date for your diaries:

February 25th. Derbyshire - Winnatts Head Cave & Peak Cavern - details from the Caving Sec: Martin Grass.